The End and New Beginning of OKC Bicyclist

This is cross-posted from OKC Bicyclist . . .

Still Truckin'

Still Truckin’

When I started OKC Bicyclist in 2008, on-line communities for Oklahoma City cyclists were pretty much non-existent. There were a few mailing lists, but there was no consistent source for area cycling news including both events and advocacy. Since then, much has changed both in the local cycling community and with the ways and means to collect and distribute news. We’ve seen both large advocacy groups such as the Oklahoma Bicycling Coalition and personal advocacy efforts such as Susan Lash’s All For the Love of Bikes dramatically expand their on-line outreach. In my own small way as the VP of the Oklahoma Bicycle Society, I have tried to expand their blogging and on-line outreach as well. And then there is the technology explosion of Twitter and Facebook which has completely changed how to distribute interesting news and links. At this point, the idea of a link blog such as OKC Bicyclist is a bit of an anachronism and has become a burden for me to maintain.

I have not lost my passion for cycling or cycling news, but, for the reasons listed above, the need for a news site is much less and personal advocacy is now much more my passion than simple reporting. Now I could change OKC Bicyclist to an individual advocacy blog separate from my personal site, but that would still leave me with two sites with two different voices. The fact is that between my day job, my upcoming wedding, trying to get a consulting business off the ground and my work with the OBS and OBC, there just isn’t time to maintain two sites. Therefore, in a couple of weeks I will be merging OKC Bicyclist with my personal site Lost in OK and redirecting all links to there. This will both dramatically simplify my life and allow me to be much more personal in my bicycle writings.

With all that said, OKC Bicyclist is not completely disappearing and in some ways, it may now become much more active and dynamic. While you are free to follow me at Lost in OK or at @lostinokay, those feeds will have a lot of non-cycling stuff in them which may not really be interesting to you. Therefore, I will continue to maintain and update both the OKC Bicyclist Twitter and Facebook feeds. Without the need to write commentary on every local news link I come across, I think you can expect to see a much more responsive and active distribution of cycling news both via Twitter and Facebook in the weeks to come.

Closing a site that I have labored with for the last five years was not an easy decision, but is the only one I think that is practical and personally fulfilling. Please feel free to leave any comments or suggestions. And as always, I hope to see you out on the road!


Buyer Beware for Ride in OKC

2/22/2013: New information about this ride has been posted to OBS.

In my duties with the Oklahoma Bicycle Society, I was alerted about a potential ride scam going on here in OKC that I think everyone should be aware of.  My full story on the scam is as follows:

OBS has been alerted by a kind reader about a potential scam ride that has made its way to Oklahoma. The Bike The City ride was announced as a ride in Dallas, going along Hwy. 75 to McKinney. The ride “organizers” announced that they had permission to shut down Hwy. 75 for the route, which if you know anything about Dallas, would be a truly amazing feat of organization and governmental cooperation.

BikeDFW investigated these claims (http://www.bikedfw.org/bike_the_city_tour_buyer_beware) and discovered the following:

  • No permits had been acquired from any of the cities.
  • Bike The City had falsely claimed that the cities of Dallas, Plano, Richardson and McKinney were sponsoring the ride.
  • It would have been extremely unlikely that a permit would ever be given to close down this route.

However, until extremely recently, Bike the City was still collecting registration fees for the ride. Within the last few weeks, the ride site has now changed to state that a ride will take place in OKC.

This ride appears to be just as suspicious as the ride in Dallas. The following are red flags that we believe should keep riders from registering for the ride:

  • The ride route has a large number of turns which would require a large number of manned stations and would be confusing for the maximum 5,000 riders being allowed on the route.
  • The ride route would require a large section of Lincoln Ave. and two good-sized sections of Classen Blvd. to be closed which would, like Hwy. 75 in Dallas, be difficult to do.
  • The ride FAQ states that, “We have communicated with every jurisdiction regarding their requirements and suggestions dating back to last July. Our traffic engineer has completed plans for the race, and we are working with area police chiefs on acquiring Public Safety Officers.” This ride was, as of early January, being planned for Dallas, and therefore we would see no reason that these permits would have been sought for OKC from last July.
  • The website for the Dallas ride is still active with Dallas information: http://www.bikedallas.net/
  • Finally, the registration page still has all of the information from the Dallas ride still included.

All of these flags lead us to discourage any riders from registering for this event. We will inform you if we get any additional information. Thanks to Laura P. from Dallas for alerting us about this situation.

via Blog | Oklahoma Bicycle Society.

Update 02/21/2013 3:44 PM: Local media in Dallas are covering the sketchy nature of the cancellation of the Dallas ride – http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2013/02/organizers_cancel_dallas-to-mc.php


Cyclist Killed in Hit-and-Run Overnight in OKC

BicycleCrashFeb658-year-old Joseph Edward Helmka was struck by a vehicle around 3:00 AM last night near the corner of NW 10th and MacArthur.  He was spotted by a passing motorist and was rushed to the hospital but he expired before arriving at the hospital.  Police are asking anyone with information regarding this crash to contact them at 405-235-7300.

News Sources:

NewsOK: http://okbik.es/15c

KOCO: http://okbik.es/15d

News 9: http://okbik.es/15e

KFOR: http://okbik.es/15f


ACOG Seeks Bicycle, Pedestrian Transportation Planner

The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments is looking for a Transportation Planner for their bicycle, pedestrian and livability initiatives:

The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Oklahoma City Area Regional Transportation Study (OCARTS) area, seeks a highly motivated, skilled, self-starting professional to fill a key position within the Transportation & Planning Services (TPS) Division. This position requires excellent analytical, communication and problem‑solving abilities.

Under the general supervision of the Program Coordinator, the Transportation Planner will be responsible for the planning and implementation of regional bicycle, pedestrian and livability initiatives within Central Oklahoma. Other responsibilities include management of federal grants,

participation in regional transit initiatives and assisting in development of the long range transportation plan.

via Associate Transportation Planner – Bicycle, Pedestrian, Livability – Oklahoma City, OK – employment opportunity or job position American Planning Association Texas Chapter American Planning Association Texas Chapter.

The salary is between $40,632 to $48,420.  Full details here.


Stolen Bike Alert: GT Series 4

A Blue and White GT Series 4 bicycle was stolen from a garage last night in Bethany near Lake Overholser.  Here is a detailed description of the bicycle.

Blue and White GT Series 4 with full Shimano 105 group set, Mavic Aksium Race wheels with light blue Michellin Kromion tires. white and silver Fizik Arione seat., black and silver Serfas seat bag with Blackburn light. 2 white Arundel bottle cages. White Cateye dual wireless computer, silver Shimano 105 clipless pedals. Blue bar tape.

Below is a photo of a similar bicycle, not the actual missing bike:

If you have any information please contact Kevin at 405-408-3090.


Downtown Bicycle Tours in October

Starting this Tuesday, Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc. and Spokies Bike Share are organizing three downtown bicycle tours:

Have you ever wondered what that crazy sculpture is called? Have you ever wanted to dazzle your friends with your intimate knowledge of our city's rich history? Sign up for one of the Downtown OKC Bike Tours! It's fun and it's free.

Sign up today for your opportunity to get a unique perspective of our city's history, art and architecture. Each tour is led by an expert guide who will reveal the people, places and stories that have made Oklahoma City rich with culture. As opposed to simply driving through downtown, bike tours give you a more in-depth look at neighborhoods and buildings. The casual atmosphere of the tours allows for more questions and interaction with the experts guiding the tours.

(via Downtown OKC Bike Tours)

The three rides are as follows:

  • October 2nd: History Tour starting at the Spokies Station at the Chickasaw Downtown Ballpark
  • October 9th: Public Art Tour starting at the Downtown Library
  • October 16th: Architecture Tour starting at the Spokies Station at 9th and Broadway

All rides start at 6:00 PM and are 2 1/2 to 3 miles in length, perfect for riders of all abilities. At this time all Spokies bikes are spoken for, but you are welcome to bring your own bike.

Sign up and full details available at: http://www.downtownokc.com/downtownokcbiketours.aspx

 


Bicycle Training this Weekend

There is a cycling instruction course taking place this weekend, September 29th, from 9 AM to 3 PM at the Metrolake Technology Centers in Oklahoma City.

From the course website:

Who should take this class: Any adult bicyclist, novice or experienced, will benefit from learning vehicular bicycling skills. Most adults are already automobile drivers. This course will help you apply your driving skills to driving your bicycle.

What you’ll learn: The principals of vehicular cycling. Increase your confidence by knowing that you are riding safely and legally.

In the Drive Your Bike! class cyclists will gain a full understanding of how to safely drive a bicycle in a variety of traffic situations. You’ll learn how to perform a bicycle safety check, fix a flat, and make essential “get me home” repairs. Crash avoidance techniques are discussed, demonstrated, and practiced. We’ll take to the road and navigate the urban street-scape including multi-lane roadways and intersections.

(via Course Website)

This course is being provided by a League of American Bicyclists’ Certified Cycling Instructor. The course costs $40 and includes both on-bike instruction and a text book.