Ben August commutes to work everyday by bike with his son. From his house in Carrboro where he lives with his wife and three children, Ben and his 6-year-old son Jacob start their journey every morning together. First stop, kindergarten! Once Jacob locks his bike and heads to class, Ben jumps back on his bike to continue to work in Chapel Hill. Continue reading
If you read last week’s recap you already know that #CarlessMarch has been just as hard if not harder than I expected. I was surprised at how easily I handled long distances. Getting to my office or between cities in the Triangle was a breeze and I have really begun to enjoy those 20-30 minutes of downtime I have to catch up on things or just clear my head. The distances that have proved to be most challenging are those medium-length distances that are a little too far to walk but just aren’t convenient to reach via the bus.
I was surprised at how easily I handled long distances. Getting to my office or between cities in the Triangle was a breeze and I’ve really enjoyed those 20-30 minutes of downtime I have to catch up on things or just clear my head. The trips that have proved to be most challenging are those medium-length distances that are a little too far to walk but just aren’t convenient to reach via the bus.
I bought a bike.
I ended up cheating a few times before it really hit me that this was the necessary piece for going carless successfully and painlessly (if you disregard how much pain my quads and glutes are in right now).
Not only is this a great opportunity to show some love to local businesses but small, local bike shops are going to make this process as simple as possible. Folks in these shops know the area, the roads you’ll be traveling, and obstacles you may face. They’re also committed to getting people on bikes in their community which means you’re going to get way more help than at a huge store, online site, or someone on craigslist (which I’ve done but would only recommend if you have a decent amount of bicycle knowledge).
I chose to buy my Raleigh Rush Hour from Cycle Logic in downtown Raleigh. I’m familiar with the shop and knew they would get me set up on something awesome and within my budget. You can check out their website which lists all the new, sale, and used or antique bikes they have in stock before heading over to their eclectic shop.
I live in Durham so had to show some support here as well. I picked up some accessories at Bullseye Bicycle over on Morris and Chapel Hill Rd. I’d never set foot in the shop before but Rob was super helpful and even invited me to join their monthly casual ride.
The ride is going down next week on Thursday, March 27th! According to Rob, it’s not only a great way to meet people in the community but also to gain some road-riding confidence and learn best biking practices and routes. I, for one, can’t wait.
Once you get comfortable on your bike, pair it up with your bus route to really capitalize on some multimodal transportation. I put my bike on the Triangle Transit Route 105 out of Raleigh just minutes after purchasing it. I’d never used the rack before but my operator, Nate, hopped off and gave me the quick tutorial (after which he teased me for working for Triangle Transit and being such an amateur).
I can’t wait to see you on the road!
Share your biking and multimodal stories in the comments!
Today’s blog post is basically a hats-off salute to a group of cyclists that are really taking their riding to the next level: Russians. That’s right. In Moscow, a city with some of the worst traffic in the world where your hands will definitely go numb and snot will definitely freeze on your face, ridership keeps going up.
A cycling group named Velonotte is mixing biking, culture, history, and community to create a movement on two wheels.
One ride drew in 5,000 riders wearing headphones and listening to an audio track about the historical locations they’d be passing. Other events have amassed up to 10,000 riders. It’s a beautiful mixture of all the different reasons people choose to hop on their bikes: exercise, entertainment, community, travel, and more.
The founders of Velonotte are using cycling culture to change the young, urban perception of everything from architecture to individual expression in Moscow. “People still need to show that they have a lot of money with a car and an iPhone… we are trying to change that opinion.” Creating this cycling community is not only powerful in its social effects in the young, urban population but also in its potential to change the face of public transit in Moscow.
Though the Triangle is undoubtedly more bike-friendly than Russia, we think cycling get-togethers could absolutely benefit the area. Creating better community among riders, getting people on their bikes and on the roads for the first time, and fostering a greater appreciation for the cities we live in seem like great reasons to encourage groups like this in the Triangle.
What would convince you to join in group rides in the Triangle? Are there any historical or interesting sites you think would deserve to be included?
Share your thoughts in the comments!
One of the biggest headaches in the Triangle, when it comes to transportation, is the traffic and congestion on I-40 (as well as many other roads) during peak hours. We often look to public transportation as a solution to this. Utilizing public transportation as a substitute for commuting alone, in your car not only helps decrease congestion but also gets you through traffic more quickly when bad traffic is slowing everyone else down (thanks to our Bus on the Shoulder System!)
But what happens when more people use multimodal and environmentally friendly methods? Turns out, traffic is still a problem even when you’re on 2 wheels instead of 4.
The Netherlands, a place renown for its amazing bike culture, gives a glimpse into the changes that occur when bikes become the primary mode of transportation. From lines at stoplights that get clogged to people not obeying safety laws designed for drivers, there is a lot of infrastructure that has to be designed with cyclists in mind.
Hopefully our cities will have to deal with these problems one day because that will mean our population and our cities are growing healthier and more efficient.
Check out a glimpse into rush hour in Utrecht, Netherlands to give you an idea of what the future may hold for us in the U.S.
On Tuesday we talked about multimodal transportation and the importance of recognizing it as a an alternative to driving your car. It’s not a battle between public transit and personal vehicles. There are so many other pieces at play.
Cycling is one of those major pieces. In terms of multimodal transportation, cycling is one that often moves people over distances too far to walk or connects people to types of transit that can take them over longer distances. Another major benefit of biking is that it adds an element of health and exercise to travel that many other modes don’t.
All that being said, recognizing the importance of cycling as a piece of multimodal travel calls into attention the fact that we need to develop systems or improve the infrastructure supporting it.
Well, the DOT is finally starting to do just that. On a small scale, the DOT in places like Pittsburgh is pushing to develop more bike lanes and make cycling safer in an effort to decrease fatalities. Thankfully, this is being backed on a federal level. The DOT just released new bicycle safety information called “BIKESAFE“.
Read through BIKESAFE and see what additional things you can be doing to stay safe on the road.
Be sure to share with us any extra tips you might have as well!
At GoTriangle we are all about the bus. Whether you’re cruising Downtown Raleigh on the R-Line or using Triangle Transit to stay connected between cities, we’re so excited to see people utilizing transit. That being said, we don’t talk often enough about the other pieces involved in public transportation.
We know that if you’re using transit you’re probably including other forms of transportation as well. City Lab recently put up an article describing how cities need to address the need and existence of multimodal transportation. This excerpt from the article gives a perfect example of what multimodal travel looks like on a daily basis.“If you leave your house in the morning as a driver, you are almost certainly going to make all subsequent trips for the day by car, eventually driving back to your garage. With many choices, however,we might leave home on foot to the coffee shop, then take transit to work, then cycle to the store and lug our groceries home in a taxi. For this example, one car has been replaced by four separate modes of travel, all of which represent choosing a mode for each trip based on what works best for each person.”
We’re aware that people travel this way and are taking note of what we can do to help. CityLab gave three great ideas to be aware of and consider when planning to make cities more multimodal friendly.
- Move past the idea that public transit and car use are at odds with one another.
- Public and private forms of transportation have to work together.
- When planning, all modes of transportation have to be incorporated:walking, biking, driving, public transit, taxis, etc.
In addition to thinking about ways to make our travel more efficient and less costly (be it paying for gas or negatively impacting the environment) we want to think about ways to travel less.
One of the most popular ways to go about this is by teleworking. Whether you can work from home full time or just one day a week, it carries with it a huge impact. Employers are starting to see the benefits of offering teleworking days to their employees:
- working hours aren’t eaten up by commuting
- productivity rises when office distractions aren’t curbing focus
- employees are generally happier and do better work
- cars aren’t being driven
- money isn’t being spent on travel resources
- it promotes a healthier work-life balance
A great tool for anyone interested or already involved in any amount of teleworking is “Workshifting“. This online resource pulls in tips, tricks, articles, etc. all revolving around this increase in people working from home, out of coffee shops, or constantly on the go.
If you’re wondering if teleworking is for you (or if you’re already included in the portion of the workforce that’s doing it) check out this definition Workshifting uses to describe themselves as well as who their work relates to.“If you work out of coffee shops, hotels, airports and your home every bit as much as the office, workshifting.com is for you. We share resources on remote working, telecommuting, travel, technology, business and virtual offices to help you shift when, where and how you work! We coined the term “workshifting” in March 2009 as an updated definition for “telecommuting” and “remote working”, that refers to the ability of being part of a distributed workforce, working from outside of the office and shifting one’s work habits to achieve a better work-life balance.”
So whether you’re taking four different methods of travel or you’re staying at home in your pajamas, we hope you feel a little more encouraged and equipped to leave the car in the garage.
Is multimodal travel something you’re already doing? Do you work from home or a coffee shop? Share your stories with us!
Last week we touched on an inspiring story about one guy who spent a year riding his bike across the globe. This week, we wanted to continue the conversation on how biking can be a great alternative way to travel while highlighting some additional benefits of putting your pedals in gear.
Ride and Read
We often talk about the overall health benefits of changing the environment of transportation to a more efficient, sustainable one. From utilizing the bus system and biking to encouraging walkable communities, there are many pieces to be considered when creating these communities.
Commuting via the bus, train, or carpool not only works to do this while saving you money and the demands of driving, but also gives you time to catch up on emails, read, take a nap, or just clear your head.
This Fast Company article shared a profile on a school in the near and dear city of Winston-Salem, NC that is applying similar logic to their reading program. Students in this school can now stretch their legs, get their blood flowing, and knock out a few chapters in whatever book they’re reading. That’s right, a classroom full of stationary bikes for the specific purpose of pairing reading and exercise… and the school has seen great results.
Just like taking public transit allows you extra time for other activities that you can’t do while driving, these students are able to do this everyday task, reading, while getting all the added benefits of some time on top of a bike. Test scores have been better and kids with a lot of energy have a healthy outlet.
Maybe stand-up desks in offices will be replaced with bikes. Would you make the switch?
Biking Close to Home
There are all kinds of great places in the Triangle to ride your bike. You can spend a Saturday seeing downtown Raleigh or Durham from the seat of your bike or you can take a scenic trail and get some quiet exercise.
No matter what you choose, we want to be a resource for you. Take some time to visit our Cyclist Resources page and find a new place to take your two wheels.
Can’t wait to see you out there!