Bike Commuter Journal – The Wimpy Way to Work (So She Says)

Friday, May 30 by JerryFoster

Kiyomi bikePlease welcome Kiyomi Camp, who also serves on the Princeton Free Wheelers bike club board, as our guest commuter this week.

When I was in high school and college, I used to ride my bike everywhere, both for transportation and for pleasure. As an adult in semirural Montgomery, New Jersey, that didn?t really seem like an option, especially after my kids were born. I lived on a 2-lane highway 4 miles from the nearest commercial area and about 8 miles from my workplace and the kids? school.

Then I went to my 30th college reunion. Seeing all the people riding bikes at the college brought back happy memories. I resolved to try riding my bike to work, at least during the summer when I worked shorter hours and didn?t have to chauffeur kids.

The route I worked out involved riding on the towpath for 3 miles then taking to the streets. At the time, I only owned a mountain bike. The first climb up Mt. Lucas on knobby tires nearly killed me, then I had to climb Cherry Hill Road! I changed my route to avoid Cherry Hill, bought slick tires, and eventually got strong enough to make it up the hills without having to stop. My route was about 9 sweaty miles. I work in a school and have access to showers so this was not a problem. My clothes and lunch fit in my trunk bag and I kept shoes and toiletries in my desk. I really enjoyed riding to work during the summers, when I could ride home before rush hour, but I?m a pretty wimpy rider and found the rush hour traffic on my road during the school year was more than I could handle.

In 2011, I moved to Hopewell, a mere 7 miles to work but on more heavily traveled roads. From Princeton Free Wheeler ride leaders Diane Hess and Andy Chen, I learned some routes through developments that minimize my time riding on The Great Road. I also make use of the ?bike lane? (really, a sidewalk) on The Great Road for the uphill portion of my ride home. My new route turned out to be rideable at rush hour so I can now ride year round although I?m still a wimp and drive if it?s icy or visibility is poor (or if I oversleep.) My ride to work starts and ends with pretty nice downhills. Of course, this means that my return trip starts and ends with some pretty serious uphills, but I can reward myself with a shower and a recovery beverage when I get home.

I acquired some different bikes and became addicted to a couple of bike blogs that extolled the pleasures of riding to work on an upright bike while wearing one?s normal clothes. Enamored of the vision of myself riding to work on a stylish bike in my dress and ballet flats, I decided to give that a try.

Unfortunately, seven miles with a couple of miles of uphill each way is not really fun on an upright bike. I concluded that I really prefer riding a road bike while wearing bike shorts. I?ve learned to bring in a bag of office outfits on my driving days so that I can commute on my unencumbered ?fast? road bike. I also built up a vintage touring bike with a Brooks saddle and Carradice bag for days when I want to look picturesque or carry my clothes and lunch.

As a wimpy rider, I like to make myself as visible as possible. My bikes sport front and rear lights that are used even in daylight, and my main commuter has reflective tape on the frame and rims. I wear a helmet, use a rear view mirror, and avoid road-colored clothing.

I don?t bike to work every day, but I?ve never had a day where I biked to work and wished that I hadn?t. I guess this means I should bike to work more often!

Thanks Kiyomi – if you’d like to share your commuting experiences, please contact wwbikeped@gmail.com.

A version of this post appeared in On the Move, the blog for the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association.

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Keep Bike and Walk Federal Funding in New Jersey

Wednesday, October 31 by JerryFoster

The WWBPA, the Princeton Free Wheelers and the New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition recently sent letters encouraging Governor Christie to spend federal money for biking and walking on biking and walking projects.

Here’s a snip from the WWBPA letter:

“New Jersey?s continued economic development strongly depends on becoming the most livable state, to attract skilled professionals to live and locate their businesses here. As the most densely populated state, we? must look beyond roadway expansion to implement an efficient multimodal infrastructure that is fast, convenient and inexpensive.

Biking and walking is key to increasing livability and transportation efficiency. Those who bike or walk not only have fun and stay healthier, those who bike or walk to work or school reduce congestion and pollution for the entire community.

With relatively modest investments by infrastructure standards, biking and walking, especially to and from transit, can provide a viable alternative to driving a car. The return on these investments will save New Jerseyans over $8,000 per year per car. No other investment can have such a positive impact, and few other states can capitalize on this? opportunity as easily, giving New Jersey a competitive advantage for years to come.

Under the new federal transportation bill, called MAP-21, states have flexibility in the use of funds. We strongly urge you to utilize all MAP-21 funding programs ? including HSIP, CMAQ, and STP – to include biking and walking in all transportation projects.

West Windsor Township, New Jersey?s first Bicycle Friendly Community, has been fortunate to enjoy the benefits of federal funds, for example by building sidewalks near the Princeton Junction train station under a Safe Routes to Transit grant. More needs to be done ? please make biking and walking investments a top priority.”

You can join us to encourage our officials to spend biking and walking money on biking and walking by contacting our public officials.

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Plainsboro and Hopewell Boro Discuss Biking and Walking

Tuesday, February 7 by JerryFoster

The WWBPA’s mission is “To promote bicycling and walking in West Windsor Township and neighboring communities,” and this past week we’ve worked with residents of Plainsboro and Hopewell Boro to encourage them to become more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.

On February 1, WWBPA trustees met with Plainsboro residents, a township official and interested WWBPA members at the Plainsboro Library to discuss the issues. Topics included biking on the road vs. paths, the upcoming closings of the Rt 1 circle at Washington and the jughandle at Harrison, bike commuters to the Forrestal campus, biking and walking connections to West Windsor on the PSE&G right of way and Cranbury Road, biking and walking to school and many others. Various ideas were presented on how best to encourage biking and walking, including a having a bike rodeo at the annual Founders Day event and organizing a community bike ride.

On February 6 at the Hopewell Borough Council meeting, a resident advocate invited bicyclists from the area to support bike lanes on CR 518. A dozen bicyclists, including a WWBPA trustee and 2 members, showed up to support? the bike lanes as well as a Complete Streets resolution for the borough and for Mercer County. Representatives from New Jersey Bike Walk Coalition,? Princeton Free Wheelers, Lawrence Hopewell Trail, New Jersey Bike Exchange and the Battle Against Hunger Ride also spoke in support. We hope to see Hopewell Borough adopt the next Complete Streets resolution in Mercer County!

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Try a Group Bike Ride

Friday, September 2 by silvia

The Princeton Freewheelers are inviting newcomers to join them on Saturday, Sept. 17. Three rides will leave from the Hamilton YMCA at Sawmill Road at 9a.m.: ?D+, C and B-level rides.

The D+ ride will cruise on flat terrain at 11-12 mph (or an average moving speed of 9-10 mph) for about 20 miles.?The C ride cruises about 14 mph for about 25 miles and the B ride at about 17 mph for about 30 miles.

Most importantly, though, the D+ and C rides are social rides.?? New riders may expect much encouragement and support.? No one will be dropped for going too slowly.

This new-member ride has a preliminary stop after 4.5 miles to be sure everyone is in a group appropriate for their ability. That?s in addition to the usual rest and/or food break somewhere in the middle of a ride.? Most people who choose these rides enjoy the camaraderie of others who also like cycling, as well as the beautiful scenery.

Helmets are required.? Riders need to be sure their equipment is in good working order. There will be a brief discussion of safe riding practices for group riding and about the Princeton FreeWheelers (also see the group?s website, www.princetonfreewheelers.com). Snacks will be served.

The PFW provides opportunities for recreational bicycling and related activities, including the promotion of safe recreational riding, fellowship among cyclists, advancement of the general interests of cyclists, and education about the rights and responsibilities of cyclists.

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Charity Ride In Honor of Joe McBride

Tuesday, November 9 by JerryFoster

American Diabetes Association LogoOn Saturday, November 13 at 9:00 am, a charity ride will be held in honor of Joe McBride, a member of the Princeton Free Wheelers bicycle club, who was killed in a motor vehicle collision last week while riding his bike near Washington Crossing, PA.

Join the Hill Slugs on Saturday, November 13, as we ride one of Joe McBride’s favorite routes along the Delaware River and the ridge above Frenchtown.? The ride will be C+/B difficulty, 13 – 16mph average speed, for about 50 miles. Joe didn’t like big hills, so we’ll stay away from the nasty ones. ?There will be one rest stop in Upper Black Eddy, PA, and an additional, optional, stop in Sergeantsville.

Meet in the CVS parking lot off of Route 29 in Lambertville, and please arrive about 20 minutes early, to be ready to leave at 9am. ?Wet roads cancel the ride.

Please bring a check made out to the American Diabetes Association or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Leaders: ?Laura Lynch and Joe Miller. ?Contact Laura Lynch (perpetualheadwinds@gmail.com) if you have any questions.

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2020

Jan 9    Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

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May 14  Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Jun 11  Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

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Aug 13  Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Sept 10  Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Oct 8     Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Oct 14   WWBPA participating in WWP School District Health Fair 2-6 pm.

Nov 12 Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Feb 13  Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Dec 10  Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

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