Working out the kinks in the Tide/bicycle relationship, riding vegan in the Pro Cycling Challenge, and more.
A biweekly dose of cycling news from Norfolk and abroad.
Tied up by the Tide
The first week of public operation for The Tide, Norfolk’s new light rail line, has brought smiles to many faces as thousands of people have taken a free ride. And it IS fun. Norfolk feels suddenly like a bigger, hipper, more progressive place. The possibility of life here without a car is one step closer.
But if you, like some other cycling enthusiasts, have already tried to bring your bike on The Tide, you’ve probably discovered that crowds and bikes make an uneasy mix. The Tide has facilities for hanging bikes, but you can’t reach them if the trains are jammed full of people. You can always stand with your bike on the floor, but you might get some dirty looks as you spread chain grease onto the knees of your neighbors. I expect the situation will be resolved neatly at the end of the week, however, when HRT begins to charge fares for Tide riding. Should be a lot more room for bikes then.
Barriers at ERT crossing
Outside of the train cars, the bike/Tide relationship has been mostly sunny, with a couple of exceptions. I’ve seen a few people who caught their wheel in the tracks and went down hard on the road (cross those tracks at a perpendicular angle, folks, or prepare to wear bandaids). And then there’s the guy who “ran into” the train. No names, but a few weeks ago, when The Tide was running in test mode, a rider crossing the tracks at the Brambleton Bridge somehow managed to miss the fact that a train was already there. He ran into the side, causing minimal damage to himself and the train, but considerable collateral damage to the Elizabeth River Trail. This is because HRT decided to improve safety at that crossing by making it nearly impassible for bicycles. You can fit a normal-sized bike through the new barriers, if you walk it, but good luck navigating a bike with a trailer or a ride-along attachment, or a tandem bike, through the new safety barrier gauntlet there.
Bike Norfolk, our local bicycle advocacy group, has decided to give HRT some guidance on this, to help them realize that this overprotective step is counterproductive.
Chesapeake Watershed Ride — finished on Aug 19
Two employees of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation have just finished a 1,200 mile circumnavigation of the Chesapeake Bay watershed by bicycle. John Rodenhausen and Beth rode to raise awareness of watershed issues. You can relive some of their adventures on their Tumblr blog
Here’s a list of some of their surprising discoveries:
- Cow poop is the most pleasant, or rather the least offensive when compared to chicken or pig
- People are kind and generous to strangers on bikes
- Leave later in the morning so you don’t get stuck behind a trash truck
- Eating is one of the greatest joys in life
- PA has more skunk road-kill than the other watershed states
- Not all roads going over mountains are paved
- We all benefit from clean water
Vegans Go Pro
With Path Norfolk and Quennies recently opening in Norfolk, vegans have more choices than ever for finding great food. In case you were wondering if a vegan diet can truly provide enough nutrition for a healthy lifestyle, consider this: pro cyclist Dave Zibriskie has been eating a (mostly) vegan diet for over a year. He rode the Tour de France in May, and this week is riding the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado. Apparently there is a small but growing cadre of vegan superathletes out there. Interesting.
The USAPCC is into its second day today, with the race ending in a climb to Crested Butte. I’ll be watching the live video feed on my iPhone. You can watch it free on The Shack Tracker online. I love this stuff.
Bikes are pretty things. So pretty that there are in fact websites dedicated to just showing photos of some of the best-looking ones.
And if you prefer to look at people riding bikes, try
Enjoy the ride!