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Bicycle Longmont Winter Newsletter 1/2011

Inaugural Winter Newsletter - 2011


Dear Reader, welcome to the first of what we hope to be many Bicycle Longmont newsletters. Initially, we intend to distribute the newsletter quarterly with a collection of news, tips, interviews and events. Newsletter feedback can be sent to

Ways to keep up on Bicycle Longmont activities:

We have a number of means of communication, you may already be receiving this via one of them. However, here's a list of ways to follow what we're doing:

Upcoming Events:

February 10th 5p-7p - Bicycle Longmont Winter Social at Dickens Tavern: Come eat some appetizers, meet fellow cyclists, learn more about Cycling and hear about the cool rides coming in the Spring. We'll also have a few door prizes to give away.

2011 Highlights:

Late May - Longmont Bike Night returns: Join us for weekly cruiser rides through Old Town and along the Greenway. Last year we had an overall average of 55 riders/night and a high of 110 riders one night in June. Keep an eye on the Bike Night blog...

Late May/Early June through September - Free Valet Bicycle Parking at Longmont Farmers' Market: We'll be back again this year to provide this wonderful service. If you haven't had a chance to take advantage of it yet, give it a try. Volunteers warmly welcomed, please see Bicycle Longmont website for details.

June 22 2011 - Bike To Work Day: Mark the date on your calendar now... Last year approximately 22,000 individuals rode into work. Let's see if we can top that for 2011. For more information see

June 22 2011 - Bike To After Work: It's great to bike to work, bit it's also great to bike home. Bike home from work with Bike to After Work. See the Bicycle Longmont website for more information.

Oct - Dec - Bicycle Longmont Holiday Bike Program: Beginning in mid October, donated bicycles (preferably child-sized) are cleaned and repaired by volunteers. The bicycles are then given out in early/mid December to children and families in need. Last year 439 bicycles were donated and repaired.

Upcoming Rides:

Bicycle Longmont is planning several ride series this spring. One is a series of loops around Longmont from 10 to 30 miles. The Long Longmont Loop (just under 30 miles) has been tested with great reviews from the participants. It covers the perimeter of the city out to 75th St. and includes Sandstone Ranch. Additional routes are being developed.

Another series of rides will be to the "L" towns. Lyons and back, Loveland and back, Lafayette/Louisville and back, etc.

Be sure you are on the Bicycle Longmont e-mail distribution and/or use for details and notices of the rides beginning in April & May.

Bicycle Co-op

As a long-term goal, Bicycle Longmont is interested in establishing a program similar to Boulder's Community Cycles ( and/or Ft. Collins' Bike Co-op ( Having a Co-op would allow us to better meet the needs of under-served members of Longmont's bicycling community.

At this point we are seeking a no-cost or low-cost location, zoned for retail, of at least 2000 sq. ft. that we can be assured of a long-term lease on. Once we have a location we will be looking for volunteers interested in hands-on participation and donations to help financially support the program. Please e-mail if you are interested in, or have questions about, this program.

2009 Crash Report Data

The City of Longmont has posted a Crash Report from 2009 accident data. Here are a couple highlights:

  • Total bicycle crashes had been decreasing from 1990 to 2004, but have begun to increase again since 2005
  • In 2009 there were 54 bicycle crashes, one of seven years since 1990 with 50+ bicycle crashes
  •  Elementary & middle school age children (ages 5-14) bicycle crashes dropped significantly in 2000-2009 (111 crashes) compared with 1990-1999 (216 crashes)
  • Middle aged adult (ages 40-60) crashes increased significantly in 2000-2009 (104 crashes) compared with 1990-1999 (38 crashes)
  • In 2000-2009, bicycles were riding on a sidewalk in 58% of crashes, and on a street in 42% of crashes
  • In 2000-2009, 71% of bicycles were riding "against traffic" on sidewalks, but only 18% were against traffic on street

The full report can be found here:

Bicycle Longmont Board

We'd like to take a moment to introduce you to your Bicycle Longmont board members:

Jerry Sequin

Tom Detloff

Ryan Kragerud

Len Marques

Buzz Feldman

Anthony Checkas

Randy Burgess

©2011 Sierra Club. All Rights Reserved. *

The Buzz on Safe Winter Riding

By Buzz Feldman

Have you ever wished you could ride longer into winter but weren't sure how to do that and feel comfortable, warm and safe? You're not alone. Here are a few pointers to get you started:

First off the question often arises, "Will the City do anything about snow that remains days after a snowfall in the south side bike lanes on many City streets?" The answer to that question is that the City Public Works Department does not have money budgeted or available to address that problem. Besides, where would they put the snow that it wouldn't create a problem? Our best hope is for an early spring and warm temperatures between snow storms.

Regardless of road conditions, cycling in winter can be fun and exhilarating when we follow safe riding techniques and dress properly.

Right to the Road:

Riding in winter requires us to remember that as cyclists we are simply driving slow moving vehicles and, as such, we have the same right to the road as any other user. Motorists own a car (or pick-up); they don't own the road.

Be Visible and Predictable:

Every time we ride in traffic, we must be visible and predictable to stay safe. When snow and ice have accumulated in the bike lane, conditions require riding to the left, out of the bike lane. To do this safely, we must ride in a straight line about two (2) feet to the left of the accumulated ice and snow. While this may seem counter-intuitive, doing so accomplishes two things. Firstly, our visibility is increased to motorists behind us and, secondly, it allows us room to swerve right if necessary. Potholes or other road hazards may not be immediately noticed when covered in snow, ice and dirt. Do not hug the piled up ice and snow on the right. That would require you to weave left to avoid the accumulated snow and ice and thus be unpredictable to passing motorists. There may even be a car by your left shoulder at the exact time you need to move left; a truly unsafe condition.

Caution at Intersections:

Often icy patches will be encountered at intersections and at adjacent driveways due to runoff. These circumstances may require you to swerve way to the left to avoid them. Be sure to scan over your left shoulder for oncoming traffic before doing so. On one recent commute to downtown, I had to move to the left and into the oncoming traffic lane to avoid an icy patch. You may have to do the same. Just be sure no motorists are coming from either direction before swerving that far left. Otherwise, be prepared to stop and let traffic pass before proceeding.

Additionally, we need to use extra caution at intersections where sand accumulates. These areas will be quite slippery so slow down and avoid leaning your bike as you make any turns.

Dress for the Conditions:

Okay. Now that you know safe winter riding techniques, let's give some thought to comfortable dress.

With the proper attire, winter riding can be quite enjoyable and a great way to stay fit. Once when caught riding in an unexpected snowstorm, a companion remarked, "There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear." Remembering that has brightened my spirits and gotten me out the door on many occasions when I might have driven or hitched a ride.

I have often had people tell me that they won't ride if it is below a certain temperature. My response is often to ask them if they ski or snowshoe. If the answer is, "Yes", I suggest they dress similarly for riding as they do for comparable temperatures when they are skiing or snowshoeing. Skiing when it is 20 degrees is ideal for me. I never get either overheated or cold. The same is true when biking. The benefit that cycling has over skiing is that there are no cold lift lines or chair lift rides; you are continually moving and burning calories, which keeps you warm.

Don't Overdress:

One caveat: if when you leave for your ride you are comfortable from the get-go, then you are probably overdressed. Unless the ride is only a mile or two, you should begin the ride a bit chilled. It may take you one or two miles to burn enough calories to warm up but, if dressed properly, from then on you will be quite comfortable.

The secret, of course, is to dress in layers. Not only does that keep you warmer but it also allows you to shed a layer or two if you begin to get too warm. And, yes, that can certainly happen, even on the coldest days. The other factor to consider is that as you begin to perspire (and you probably will) that the perspiration needs a way to escape so that you don't stay damp and get chilled as a result. Many of the best winter garments have a wind proof membrane in the front and a mesh or breathable fabric for your back and the back of your legs. These types of garments are referred to as "wind front". Some people prefer Goretex fabrics for cycling. I have never felt they allowed enough perspiration to evaporate and thus I became clammy and uncomfortable. In any case, avoid cotton fabrics since they hold moisture and dry slowly. Nylon, polyester, thermax, etc. are materials that work well. Fleece is good. Wool is even better since it retains its insulating properties, even when wet. Avoid anything that is loose and could cause a crash, such as a scarf or baggy pants legs.

For many, it takes trial and error over two or three years to figure out the winter riding clothing mystery. Here are a few things that work for me. Because everyone has a different tolerance level for cold, they may or may not work for you.

On the coldest days, I start with padded lycra cycling shorts or padded short liners. Over that I put on long underwear bottoms and a wind front undershirt followed by a long sleeve nylon fleece base layer. Next comes fleece lined cycling tights (wind front on the coldest days) and a fleece lined or wool jersey. A mid-weight, wind front jacket is usually enough.

For the feet, wool socks, the thickest I can find. My shoes will have neoprene toe warmers or full neoprene booties if it's really cold.

For my hands, I often use snowboarding gloves with a liner.

My head will have a skull cap that covers the ears or perhaps a balaclava that provides additional coverage. If it is cold enough: two balaclavas. And, always a helmet. It will have a wind proof rain cover on cold days.

On days when it is not so cold, of course you won't need as much and adjust accordingly. That is the trial and error part I mentioned above. It makes riding a fun adventure.

Now, if I can move my arms and legs, I may actually be able to pedal the bike!

* Picture was reproduced from a Sierra Club website with permission of the Sierra Club

Greenway Etiquette

by Lauren Greenfield

We are SO lucky in Longmont to have extensive multi use trail systems throughout the city. To reach various destinations. To teach our kids to ride a bike without having to worry about motor vehicles. To discover the vast collection of public artwork, to walk our dogs; to experience wildlife; to have a picnic; to rollerblade; to train for a marathon; To walk and talk with friends; to fish; to see the sun setting behind the mountains while imbibing at a local brewery. The reasons are many.

Many people seek out the trail system to escape the cars on the road, the multitude of signs, signals and rules. The dangers. The cars. The people. The noise.

But what about the rules on the greenway? The unwritten rules that keep us safe? What are they and when do they kick in?

While Longmont may never see "congestion" on the trailways, like a busy city or a university town might, we definitely have our multitude of users and of different modes. Unbeknown to many, there are "rules" of the trails, and there is etiquette that should be adhered to, to ensure safety, but also to just show common courtesy for the different users.

While perception is that greenways are safe, theyare only as safe as we make them. Because there are no "laws,"we each must take responsibility to act predictably when using the greenway, no matter what the method of transit. I call it unpublished etiquette. My hope is that if we "train" people well, there won't have to be laws for the greenways. Nor will they ever be cluttered with too many signs, but an escape from the clutter that we each are inundated with in our lives.

  • Ride your bike on the right side of the trail; two abreast is okay, except at blind underpasses and corners, when single file is best.

  • Announce your arrival/passing. "Bicycle on your left" tells another user what will be passing and on which side Pass on the left. Always.

  • Always slow down when passing, especially kids, who might act unpredictably, elderly pedestrians, and those with dogs.

  • Slow down anyway! If you feel the need for speed, get on the road and ride the speed limit!

  • Bells on the bike are great . . . and work wonders to alarm prairie dogs of your arrival.

  • ALWAYS announce your arrival to horses/horse riders, and slow down and yield to them .

  • Rollerblade on the right.

  • Walk on the right.

  • Run . . . on the right or the left, as long as you are consistent.

  • Look before you merge. With no signage, you want to be careful.

  • Keep your dog on leash. Not only because it's the law, but because they haven't mastered the "predictability" thing.

  • Hand signal at turns

  • It's okay to have music, but try to be able to hear others .so when they do pass you, you are forewarned

  • Act predictably. Not only are you doing a good thing, but showing others who may not know, a good thing.

The greenways in Longmont offer so much, whether you seek solitude, an experience in nature, a view of public artwork, family bonding, exercise or a pathway to reach one of many destinations. So get out there, use and enjoy the greenways! They're there for YOU!

Bicycle Longmont would like to thank some of the Supporters/Sponsors that help make what we do, and events like Bike To Work Day, possible:

Columbine Lions Club

Longmont Rotary

* All images, trademarks, and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

Show your support for Bicycle Longmont's advocacy and education efforts by joining or making a donation today.

Some of the many valuable services Bicycle Longmont performs, or assists in, are:

  • Working with City and County transportation officials to make our area more bike friendly

  • Working with the City of Longmont to help design and improve the Bike Map

  • Providing support for the Safe Routes to School program

  • Throughout the year Bicycle Longmont conducts numerous safety and skills training classes classes for youths, adults and educators

  • Providing valet parking at the Farmers' Market

  • Organizing and conducting rides throughout the year, including Longmont Bike Night

  • Our annual Holiday Bike Program provides 300-400+ bikes/year to people in need, primarily children.

  • Bicycle Longmont also offers a Bicycle Mentor program to assist people with bicycle commuting

The benefits of Bicycle Longmont membership include:

  • Insurance coverage during participation in Bicycle Longmont organized rides or events

  • Membership in the League of American Bicyclists

  • Subscription to Bicycling Magazine (11 issues/year)

  • Subscription to American Bicyclist Magazine (4 issues/yr)

  • Discounts on professional shipping

  • Discounts on bike accessory purchases

Join online here, memberships are $25 for individuals, $50 for families.

Bicycle Longmont is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. You can also help support us through a tax deductible contribution: