Ride Richmond.NET BIEK WEAK.

OK jokes aside…..the folks at Ride Richmond, some of whom I have met, are doing their part to make it happen and next week will be the official RIDE RICHMOND.NET (tarck) BIEK WEAK, I mean WEEK. Starting with erryones favorite event the hispter circlecross or track bike racing at southside speedway on the 12th and ending with arguably the best event the whole week, PIZZA CRAWL! Not a big fan of CircleCross myself so I’ll probably miss that one but PIZZA, well like they say, bad pizza is like bad sex….it’s AWESOME! and so I’ll be making special accommodations to accommodate myself (that’s kinda gross sounding, eh?) by trying to be there. The other stuff….well it involves bikes and an alleycat sounds fun…..but for the most part the events don’t appear to be oriented to people who commute, or really even have jobs for that matter, as they are all during the day or late at night it seems.  (10pm start time for Goldsprints? ok….thats when I start….to sleep). The movie at Lamplighter sounds cool although it could be lame as fuk but no one would know because THE MOVIE THAT IS BEING SHOWN ISN”T ACTUALLY DESCRIBED OR MENTIONED IN THE POST. Just a little insignificant tidbit I guess…..if you hang in the scene I’m sure you know that the movie is either “Breaking Away’ or this. Sadly, making movies of people has become doing stuff and doing stuff has become self-promotion to make a movie to one day get a reality show on MTV.  Either way bike week sounds like it should be pretty cool although bike week should be every week and probably is for the myriad numbers  of people who will be doing exactly what they would have been doing anyway at the events that will be held next week. Hell, I’ll be there at some point but that probably would have happened anyway, even without a week for it.

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3 thoughts on “Ride Richmond.NET BIEK WEAK.

  1. You should see all the Germans who ride bikes here without ever once putting on a tiny hat or one-strap sack, let alone getting filmed in the saddle. At any given moment there is a pack of toddlers on Like-A-Bikes riding alongside mom and dad while passing a 90-year-old lady on a bike with her groceries. And it’s not even Biek Weak!

  2. Hi Jake (and everyone),

    You make some really great points. We did try to represent all groups as best as possible during the week-long events, and some of the events aren’t actually thrown by RideRichmond… The Great Bike Round-Up and Registration, as well as the Flying Squirrels ride is hosted by VCU so we really didn’t get much of a say for what time those events start. Sprout, for instance, suggested 10pm when we asked for 9pm.

    I’m sorry that some of the events don’t represent commuters well – what would you like to see?

    You definitely provide some good feedback for us to think about when planning future events or activities.

    Ride on,
    Mike

    1. Hey Mike, thanks for stopping by. I know you guys are working really hard I’m sure to put this together and these things don’t happen overnight so take anything I say with a grain of salt. If I had the free time (which I don’t) I’d offer up to sponsor a day or maybe a coffee break type event where cycle commuters can get a free cup from lamplighter (or a coffeeshop a little less “in the scene” to try and prevent the whole bike image thing from dissuading people from participating) in the AM on their way to work or something similar. Maybe not even at the coffeeshop…maybe some signage downtown on the corner, or get a permit from the city to close down a parking spot (coin operated or similar) during rush hour in the AM and have free coffee, free repairs, and some seating….take back the public space, you know? The mayors office should be able to help you in on this one. Same thing for the VCU bicycle symposium…why 10am? Commuters need their bikes working at 8am and to know they will work again at 5pm when they leave work. A SAG van for the day would be a plus so people aren’t afraid that they will be stranded. If you really wanted to make things pop off get GRTC in the mix and offer free bus rides for stranded bike commuters. The city of Minneannapolis does this every day it rains year-round from what I have heard, free rides. So why not here even if for a day? These events may make sense for a student but 30,000 people is only a small part of the population of the city and even though I came to Richmond as a student and continue to appreciate the university, shouldn’t we be seeking a situation like in cities where the “regular” population commutes by bicycle? Well maybe thats my job and if I had more time than I do I’d probably contribute more than a blog to it.

      On VCU, I know we are all excited that their basketball team did great and all but I have a special place in my rolodex for their shennanigans. This is the “green week” university which builds parking decks like it is going out of style and has the gaul to have their contract parking attendants, who aren’t even paid a living wage, harass students who lock their bicycles up at the Broad Street deck railing adjacent to the bookstore. FYI, while VCU is a “public” university no “public” dollars or General Assembly general funds ever went to, or will goto pay for a parking deck, dorm, Cary Street Gym, or the Steven Segal center; it’s not permitted in the code of Virginia. While the university is busy advocating their green credentials their policies expressively prohibit their employees from bringing their bicycles indoors while they routinely build and build without any consideration of providing a place for them to adequately lock up their transportation but will quickly throw up another parking deck with tution dollars all at tax free rates as the City can’t tax state entities even if the building was built with tution dollars, a net loss for economically stressed urban environs. I know because I used to work there and when, even after a supervisor told me that I should park my expensive road bike indoors for security reasons, a dean in one of the schools (who lives on Hanover in the fan and drives to work…can’t make this shit up) went to my supervisor and instructed her of the policy to politely “dissuade” me from bringing my bike in the building. When I went to the faculty senate to get the policy changed to be in line with the executive order #82 issued by Governor Kaine (the greening of state government, directs state agencies to reduce fossil fuel consumption where possible) I was immediately admonished by the dean of the school I worked for, for “going over her head” I suppose. I thought thats how these things worked but apparently I was wrong; I mean I only wrote the legislation to end the food service monopoly in the commons and all and got it passed, and got the university to fork out half a million to break a contract with McD’s, and have a degree in this stuff from said university but maybe I’m off base. So when I see bike events sponsored by VCU I am skeptical at the least although I know it’s a huge university and there are plenty of people who work there who do ride a bike, are trying their best, and do want to do the right thing, but ultimately can’t because of the politically charged nature of the university they work for. As such I don’t see cooperation with them as one of my interests but I do understand why it would be included as part of “bike week” but when I look to an event like the Flying Squirrels ride and see that “helmets required” it makes me laugh first, then angry, then want to protest. Says who “helmets required” because I feel like taking the day off work and showing up no helmet just to see what happens. I don’t want to make this a helmet debate but look at most industrialized nations where cycling is a major part of daily life and transport and you’ll see very few people wearing helmets. I don’t think the person who made the decision to require helmets really understands transport cycling and the fact is that at best the jury is out regarding helmet usage and at worst it actually DISSUADES people from cycling and gives them the impression that it is somehow a dangerous activity to engage in. Thats not the message I would want to send and while on average 40,000 people die annually in auto accidents I don’t see anyone advocating for helmets to ride the city bus or to drive to work. Yes, a helmet would protect your dome if you crash it, no most transport cyclists, travelling under 10mph, will ever be in a situation where they will need to be protected by a helmet. Making an activity appear dangerous is not the message we need to send to encourage people to participate in it. New cyclists, children, and extreme sports, wear a helmet, daily cyclists for commuting, not necessary IMO. I wear one when out on the MTB but never in the city and if I get hit by a car, I doubt that foam and plastic will do anything against a two ton SUV anyway.

      My primary critique is that there is too much “extreme”, too much track, too much lycra, and definately too much VCU in all of this. If it is the establishment of the city we (a collective we I guess) are seeking to change than simply rounding up the usual cast of carachters and expecting different results (like soccer moms and nascar dads) coming out and seeing “hey there is an advantage to this transport mode, life in the city, etc. it’s probably not going to happen. I am all for what you and others are doing and I groups like RIDERICHMOND.NET and the Saddle Sores are on the right track trying to make cycling make a positive contribution. The adopt a street thing is great and I commend the Sores for doing it, but we need a bucket of paint and some freaking sharrows on the road, maybe some direct action or a volunteer day to make it happen, not a couple thousand dollars to try and convince the city the repave some tennis courts for bike polo. If you wanna see the city support cycling we need to get more cyclists on the road first, then there won’t be a problem trying to secure funding for things like bike polo courts.

      Keep up the good work and ride Hard…..let’s meet up sometime if you get a chance….and I’ll try to be at some of the events this week…and not in protest hopefully.

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