Local Racing in Full Swing

photo by Paul Kumm

Local Racing in Full Swing

by BFC Board Member Will Hickey

will

Our city is amazing for riding bikes in any capacity, but when it comes to local racing Fort Collins is in a league of its own. From April through October there a grassroots races every week right here in town. Grassroots races are as much community building events as they are competitions. Brand new racers are welcome, there’s no need to buy a racing license, and the experienced riders are always happy to answer questions.

The racing world is full of jargon which can make it feel elitist and unapproachable. Here’s a quick primer explaining the two series that are currently in progress.

Thursday in June are the Taft Hill Time Trial. “Time Trials” are races against the clock over a fixed course. Riders leave the start every 30 seconds in a predetermined order and ride the out-and-back course as fast as they can. The race promoter records each racer’s start and finish times and some quick math in Excel shows who covered the course the fastest. Riders often catch each other during the race but drafting is prohibited.

The time trial is the ultimate test of fitness for experienced racers, but it’s also the easiest race for curious beginners. There’s no complicated rules or strategy; just a start line, a finish line, and as much (or as little) pain as you care to inflict on yourself in between.

Tuesdays evenings in June and July are the City Streets Criteriums. Criteriums (crits, for short) are mass-start races on short closed courses. Riders of similar fitness and experience ride together around a half-mile paved circuit. Unlike time trials, crits allow drafting. Riding close behind another racer dramatically reduces wind resistance allowing racers to go faster with less effort. As a result riders of varying fitness levels often stay together in small groups, and the racing becomes tactical rather than just about fitness.

This format is more complex for beginners, but makes the races less predictable and much more exciting for spectators. Watching local racers battle it out on a course lined with dump trucks and snowplows is the most fun you can have at the Fort Collins City Streets Department, guaranteed!

That’s all for now, but there are more series coming later in the year (including mountain biking and cyclocross for riders who prefer dirt trails). Check out the race calendar on Your Group Ride for a full look at what’s in store.

Out and About with Fort Collins Bike Share

Bike Everywhere image FCBS

 

Bike Everywhere image FCBS

 

Fort Collins Bike Share has gone through a lot of changes since launching in April 2016. As a successor to the beloved Fort Collins Bike Library, we’ve seen similar ridership numbers to that of our old business model – about 25% of our riders live within Larimer County, the rest have zipcodes which originate outside the county.

 

While we love receiving all of the love from our out-of-town visitors, the question we must continue to ask ourselves, and push for, is how do we get more Fort Collins residents out on the city’s streets and out on the trails? We are still working to find the best solutions for increasing local ridership. Bike Share is just one piece of the pie. We also realize that Fort Collins is lucky to already have a thriving bike community, where many locals already own a bike.

 

Even still, there are many who do not, and let us not forget that while we pride ourselves on being a platinum bike-friendly community, there are still neighborhoods on the outskirts of town with little to no bike infrastructure and limited access to Transfort bus service.  With that in mind, we stepped into this new spring season with some big changes.    

 

 

Price Adjustments, New Locks, and New Stations

 

First, we changed the pricing structure to incorporate an hourly rate, thereby eliminating the 24 hour pass. Now you can start riding the bike for as little as $2 an hour, up to $18 per 24 hour period. What we found was that paying $7 a day was a barrier to our riders who only needed a bike for a single trip; simply put, $7 was too expensive for a short trip.

 

We kept our membership pricing the same – $15 for a week-long pass; $60 (billed annually) for a year-long pass; and $30 for a year-long pass offered to students. What changed within this structure is the amount of free ride time offered to members. Before, weekly and annual members got 30 minutes of free ride time built-in (once they bought a pass, of course) – now members get one free hour on weekdays, and two free hours on weekends. Pretty sweet, huh?

 

1_ring lock
Ring lock

The second major change in May was our locking technology on the bikes themselves. Zagster is in the process of upgrading all of their bike shares across the country, and Fort Collins Bike Share was amongst the first recipients to be ushered into a new era of bike share technology.

 

Specifically, we now have a Bluetooth-enabled ring lock which replaced the old U-lock. Better yet, the ring lock is keyless – if you’re using a smartphone, you have the option to automatically unlock the bikes using Bluetooth connection, otherwise the option always remains to enter in a code via the keypad on top of your bike’s rear rack.

 

When you’re locking up at the end of your ride, make sure there isn’t a spoke in front of the lock otherwise it won’t close. And with the new ring lock came an updated app and a new docking cable for all of our stations.

 

Docking Station
Docking station

 

Just like before, you can still lock the bike to anywhere outside of a station for quick stops – you’ll note that there’s a funny looking orange tube on one side of the bike, right above the hub and just below the keypad. That’s not just there for decoration, folks!

 

If you press the unlock button on the keypad, then slide the orange tab down on the ring lock, you’ll then have access to a second cable hidden inside the orange tube.

 

Housing Catalyst’s Village on Redwood Station marks Bike Share’s first venture out north, and also our first station living within a residential neighborhood.
Housing Catalyst’s Village on Redwood Station marks Bike Share’s first venture farther north, and our first station in a residential neighborhood.

Spring brought us three new stations as well: 1) West Park Station and 2) City Park & W. Elizabeth Station (both sponsored by Elevations Credit Union); and 3) Village on Redwood Station (sponsored by Housing Catalyst). We now have 20 stations operating in Fort Collins! Ride on!

 

And while we continue to bring in more stations, thereby expanding our transit network, we’re confident that the usability of our bike share will continue to improve for all users across the city. Stay tuned for more new stations coming your way in 2017.

 

The arrival of the West Park (behind Five Guys on W. Elizabeth) and City Park & West Elizabeth station by Starbucks, is Bike Share’s first venture into the Campus West neighborhood.
The arrival of the West Park (behind Five Guys on W. Elizabeth) and City Park & West Elizabeth station by Starbucks, is Bike Share’s first venture into the Campus West neighborhood.

So the jury is in – we’ve heard positive feedback from folks out riding in the community regarding these changes to the bike fleet! It’s now quicker and easier than ever to hop on a Bike Share bike and RIDE to your heart’s content!

 

 

Out and About Roaming the Community

 

Along with these three major system updates, we’ve been forging some awesome new connections within our community.

 

If you haven’t seen already, our station signage has been updated to include Visit Fort Collins as our helmet sponsors! We are so excited for this partnership, particularly because, to the best of our knowledge, no other local tourism office in the country is selling helmets meant for bike share riders.

 

Visit Fort Collins
Come get your helmet for $5 while supplies last at the Visit Fort Collins office in Old Town Square!

 

If you want to protect that precious noggin of yours, ‘head’ over to Old Town Square and purchase a $5 helmet while supplies last! For Visit Fort Collins’ part, they’ve welcomed us with open arms, and we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for both organizations as we pursue more creative, unique, and meaningful outreach opportunities together.

 

We’ve also had a blast at several events happening around Fort Collins. Some of these, like Alternative Transportation Day with the Student Life office at Front Range Community College, were new outreach opportunities and allowed us to make new friends.

 

9_FRCC
At the Alternative Transportation Fair with new friend Nate (far left) from Front Range Community College Student Life, and old friends from FC Bikes, Bike Fort Collins, and Transfort.

 

Other events, like the Earth Day Festival at Civic Center Park, and Open Streets presented by FC Bikes, are tried-and-true, but nevertheless successful, and we get to work alongside our Bike Fort Collins colleagues in a more intimate setting (aka sharing booth space and exchanging information).

 

91_earth day
BFC president Bruce chats with BFC Community Relations Coordinator, Michelle, at the 2017 Earth Day festival

 

92_open streets
Bike Share Ambassador, Lauren (far right), answers questions at Open Streets

 

In these instances, we are reminded of the values we share with the Bike Fort Collins organization, and how lucky we are to work amongst such outstanding individuals committed to a safe and more equitable transportation vision within Fort Collins.

 

 

Summer Fun: What’s Next on the Horizon

 

Technically, it’s not summer yet, but it sure feels like it with everything we’ve accomplished thus far in the season! We’ll continue this trend through the month of June, so let me fill you in on not one, but TWO, exciting summer giveaway programs and contests you can start participating in TODAY:

 

93_soup can
Where the heck is this giant soup can? Do YOU know the answer?…Well don’t just sit there! Hop on a bike, ride there, get out your phone, snap a selfie, and post to social media for an opportunity to win some sweet swag! #bikefromworkbash

1) Odell Bike From Work Bash Scavenger Hunt

In anticipation of Odell Brewing’s annual Bike From Work Bash, we’re presenting a photo scavenger hunt, open to participation now through June 28th! Visit all 12 locations, snap a picture of the location with your bike, your pet, a thumbs up, etc., and post to Facebook or Instagram using #bikefromworkbash and be entered to win some amazing prizes handed out at Odell during the Bash!

 

We’ll also be present in-person around town at surprise ‘pop-up’ locations – we’ll post a pic of where we’ll be and when the day before, then all you have to do is find us in order to receive something a little extra – everybody wins! This past Saturday was our first ‘pop-up’, and we handed out free drink coupons to Odell!

 

2) Ride All Summer Giveaway Program, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente

 

This summer, there are two ways to win awesome prizes simply by riding one of the Bike Share bikes: The top 3 riders of each month June through July will be awarded a prize giveaway, based on the total number of hours ridden. (Remember – members get free ride time built into the pricing structure!) Winners will be announced within two weeks following the previous month’s end on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Ride one of the Bike Share bikes now through Labor Day for chances to win some cool prizes!
Ride one of the Bike Share bikes now through Labor Day for chances to win some cool prizes!

PLUS

 

ALL riders who rent a Fort Collins Bike Share bike between Memorial Day and Labor Day are entered to win a grand prize! One grand prize winner and five runner-ups will be announced via Facebook and Instagram on Friday, September 29th.

 

 

Wrappin’ It Up: Thanks for your support, and drop us a line!

 

So if you can’t tell already, we’re stoked about all of these new opportunities for community engagement! And with all of those above mentioned changes (for the better, I might add), there’s plenty to be excited about! But as I said earlier, we’re not done with our work as part of a larger transportation network.

 

We look forward to improving, as well as working with the numerous folks in our community who are just as enthusiastic as we are to have a bike share in the choice city of Fort Collins. Let us not forget that we envision a Bike Share that helps bridge existing transportation gaps, is fair and equitable, and embodies the values set forth in Bike Fort Collins’ mission of safe streets, more bikes, and one voice.

 

Have suggestions for us? Know where you want to see the next bike share station? Want to bring a Bike Share event or cool idea to your business or neighborhood? Don’t be a stranger – reach out to us! You can drop us a line at anytime by emailing the Director of Fort Collins Bike Share, Stacy Sebeczek, at stacy@bikefortcollins.org.

 

Last but not least, let me take this opportunity to thank YOU, dear reader, for your enthusiastic support of our bike share. We wouldn’t be where we are today without you cheering us along the entire time!

 

Stay tuned until next month!

 

Ciao,

Angela and the rest of the Fort Collins Bike Share staff

 

 

 

MapNoCo

 

MapNoCo

Larimer County Department of Health and Environment’s Built Environment team is excited to announce the launch MapNoCO! MapNoCO is a crowd-sourced data collection tool for Larimer County residents and visitors to document the quality of how they move around their community.

Throughout the month of June, we will be promoting a community wide competition where participants have the chance to win a $100 gift card. We will also be hosting two train-the-trainer events to show residents the tool and teach them about walking audits and infrastructure. We would love your help and support to help get the word out! Whether it’s through social media, newsletters, or handing out the flyer,we appreciate anything you can do to increase our reach.

Additionally, we are happy to schedule a walking audit and training with your organization. Through June 30, we do have some funds for food, child care, and incentives to participate. Please let me know if this is something of interest.

Finally, we will be hosting two community conversation events (June 276-8pm, Old Town Library & June 295:30-7:30pm, Loveland Public Library) where we plan to have activities and discussions pertaining to community values, assets and barriers, and public participation. If this might be of interest to the people you work with, please let us know and we will be sure to keep you in the loop.

I have attached a flyer to this email as well as a quick blurb about the competition and training events below. Please check out mapnoco.org/competition for more information! Thank you for your help. Feel free to reach out with any questions!

Please feel free to use the following text if you plan to include information about MapNoCO in a newsletter or social media post. Thank you!
Join Larimer County Departments of Health and Environment’s Built Environment Program’s MapNoCO Community Competition for your chance to win a $100 gift card! Enter to win and start collecting data about sidewalks, bike lanes, and transit stops June 1 and June 26. Details are available at mapnoco.org/competition.

MapNoCO is a crowd-sourced data collection tool for Larimer County residents and visitors to document the quality of how they move around their community. This information can help ensure that our community is planned and designed for everyone and will positively impact the health, safety and well-being of our community for years to come.

 

Transit Action Week

budget-is-what-you-stand-for

 

Tonight at the city’s regular council meeting at city hall (6:00PM) [note: council voted 6-1 to support the most robust Sunday service option, the route realignment concerns below remain], Fort Collins city council will consider the next step in fulfilling a commitment it made during the last budget process. They are due some credit for this step. Finally, it seems, we will join the vast majority of healthy, vibrant mid-sized peer cities in offering some Sunday bus service.  We are fond of touting our commitment to triple bottom line sustainability- centering on policies that balance and advance social, environmental, and economic health and justice. But our inaction on prioritizing sustainable transportation makes us a regressive outlier.

route 12 realignmentTo whit, even as the city advances Sunday service, they are also considering a route realignment that would eliminate public transit in southwest Fort Collins. This would cut off the ARC, Habitat for Humanity’s Re-Store and planned Habitat Development Cottages on Harmony, Mercy Housing and Timber Ridge Mobile Home Park and more. If you’re troubled by that, as we are, join us in sending a message to city leaders that we can’t just rob Peter to pay Paul and call it progress. We won’t reach a meaningful, useful transit service by shuffling around the same marginal budget from route to route. Fort Collins must invest in transit and in people if we want to become the leader in social environmental and social sustainability we aspire to be.

For our many strengths as a community, and our nods to sustainability as a goal, our lack of commitment to comprehensive transit service and transit oriented development plus our reluctance to shift our transportation budget priorities to put the safety and health and mobility of ALL users ahead of the speed and convenience of cars and parking are alarming tells. Its time we challenged our city leaders: don’t tell us what you stand for, show us your budget, and we’ll tell YOU what you stand for.
Talking points about transit for city leaders:

1) the most effective and cost effective way for cities to lead on climate change is transportation and land use policy that promotes transit and transit oriented development. Support Option 4 for the most robust possible commitment to transit service.

2) Do not cut service that affects already underserved communities. ridership volume is an incomplete, unjust metric for transit service. Economically marginalized and disabled folks need transit that WORKS! this means increasing frequency, service hours and days, and quality of infrastructure at and near busstops.

Earth-Day-Poster-backupQuestions to email city leaders about our transportation budget:

Is our transportation budget fair and just?

Does it prioritize the safety and mobility and access of all of our community, irrespective of age, ability, gender, neighborhood, income level?

Is our transportation budget environmentally responsible?

Does it prioritize mode shift towards healthy, active transportation choices and development that supports biking, walking and transit?

Is our transportation budget economically responsible?

Who pays for the widening and construction of roads? the vast swaths of public and private space dedicated to car storage? the health impact of crashes, sedentary lifestyles, and pollution? the tax revenue lost to sprawl and a workforce that can’t afford to live in Fort Collins which either takes its dollars to surrounding bedroom towns, or spends too much on rent and lacks discretionary income?

 

write cityleaders@fcgov.com by the end of this week, or join us in commenting Tuesday, June 6th at City Hall.

 

plan for people and placesI’ll close by resharing this from a post last week about Open Streets, its relevant today, in a discussion of transit as well:

The more time you spend thinking about what The Atlantic calls “the absurd primacy of the automobile in American life” the more obvious it is that single occupancy, manually driven motor vehicles are, generously, a transitional technology. They’re the fax machines of transportation. Its hard to imagine we’ll escape the judgement of future generations when they try to describe the damage we’ve done in a short time because of cars. Its not unreasonable to propose that American autocentrism is the most costly, deadly, and reckless corporate welfare boondoggle in the history of human civilization.

And so, the death of the car era is inevitable, but anyone who pretends to know what comes next, or to sell a simple solution, or to know what shape the next transportation revolution will take is unreasonably confident. It is coming. It will be disruptive. Many of our city plans and engineering horizons stretch to 20 years and beyond. Fort Collins, like much of the country, is currently building really amazing fax machine infrastructure. The cities that survive will be the cities who have started thinking about how we will adapt and retrofit our transportation systems for whats next.

 

ED Letter for June: Paris, Open Streets, Busses, Bike Month and You

route 12 realignment

(Graphic courtesy of Cari Brown)

 

I don’t like shaming people for personal behavioral decisions that have adverse climate impact.

I know transit isn’t a viable option for a lot of people due to lifestyle or crap routes or schedules

and I know bikes aren’t an option for some people for various reasons

and I know meat tastes good and a lot of otherwise responsible, thoughtful people get oddly patriotic in defense of the environmental catastrophe that is carnivorism

and I know that green consumerism is a stopgap at best in the absence of well aligned policies

and I know lawns and half acre lots in low density developments are aspirational for so much of the country because a lot of us associate urbanization with crime and loss of privacy

We all have our reasons.

I learned a long time ago that nobody likes lifestyle fascism.

I know nobodys perfect. (Arby’s is one of my great occasional guilty pleasures).

But heres the thing:

we don’t have to be perfect

we don’t have to have all the answers

we don’t have to move to high rises and take priestly vows of veganism

If you’re mad about Paris, and you damn well should be, and if you’re privileged enough to have consumer and lifestyle choice, eating less animal based food and driving less not only have profound impacts on the climate, but they send signals to the economy and our civic leaders. In Fort Collins, we still do not have Sunday or early morning or late bus service and huge swaths of the city are still either unserved by transit, or served by half hour of hour interval routes. hardly useful.

And Transfort is currently proposing cuts that would leave SW FC with NO transit. None.

I’m not picking fights. The city has a budget to balance. but if we’re serious about climate change. we cannot cut service. And I’m not advocating for shuffling the tiny pool of Transfort dollars to from one part of town to another

but we cannot reduce transportation choice if we want to thrive as a city in the 21st city.

we cannot double down on sprawl and congestion and vast overbuilt parking lots and long-term financing of massive and expensive parking garages that will be obsolete in a decade…

The most effective climate movement we could join in Fort Collins is a transportation movement.

Buy a bus pass and ride the bus more. (Transfort counts route traffic and use those counts to balance service and justify budget increases).

Own or manage or have influence in a business? use your business to incent people to bike and walk and bus to work and shop.

Write council, attend council meetings and demand we put our money where its mouth is.

We live in a free market economy, more or less. however we feel about the morality of that, our bucks are votes (as are your transportation decisions). Not everyone has enough of them to have choices, but if you do, use yours to stand up for others who don’t.

And the earth.


This weekend the city is hosting its first Open Streets of 2017. Open Streets events were born in Bogota as Ciclovias.  The Bogota model is a little more ambitious than most. EVERY SUNDAY the city closes some 80 miles of public streets and roads to cars making them bike/walk only for a day each week.

The idea is to try to encourage cities and residents to reimagine our relationships with streets. Its only in relatively recent history that streets have been relegated to high efficiency conduits for a singular use. For thousands of years, streets were the lifeblood of economically and socially vibrant communities. In many places they still are, and in yet others, they are finally returning to that role.

In a lot of the world, and to varying degrees, towns and cities took a wrong turn. We went all in on dismantling thousands of years of accumulated wisdom for how to create vibrant communities, and for various reasons, we bought into an development and transportation mode that is less healthy, less socially connected, more segregated, environmentally indefensible, astonishingly expensive, and perhaps most appallingly- has, in living memory, become the leading cause of preventable death for american children.

Indeed, traffic violence is such a perennial epidemic that we are more or less numb it. As folks in Larimer County look at Chicago and its (overstated) murder rate and comfort ourselves that we are safer than city dwellers, The truth is: our rapidly rising traffic fatality rate of 16/100k/year will very likely eclipse Chicago’s murder rate of 17/100k/year next year. Nationally? 2016 saw 40,000 traffic deaths and rising dramatically, while homicides have been declining for decades and now account for about 15,000 deaths a year- or less than half the traffic fatality rate.

The more time you spend thinking about what The Atlantic calls “the absurd primacy of the automobile in American life” the more obvious it is that single occupancy, manually driven motor vehicles are, generously, a transitional technology. They’re the fax machines of transportation. Its hard to imagine we’ll escape the judgement of future generations when they try to describe the damage we’ve done in a short time because of cars. Its not unreasonable to propose that American autocentrism is the most costly, deadly, and reckless corporate welfare boondoggle in the history of human civilization.

And so, the death of the car era is inevitable, but anyone who pretends to know what comes next, or to sell a simple solution, or to know what shape the next transportation revolution will take is unreasonably confident. It is coming. It will be disruptive. Many of our city plans and engineering horizons stretch to 20 years and beyond. Fort Collins, like much of the country, is currently building really amazing fax machine infrastructure. The cities that survive will be the cities who have started thinking about how we will adapt and retrofit our streets for whats next.


A lot of folks think Open Streets is just another street fair in Fort Collins. But the vision is much larger, and part of a much larger movement. Open streets is about starting the conversation around the future of streets. The future of neighborhoods. Its about putting health and safety and vibrancy ahead of relegating streets to “sewers for cars”. Its about future proofing Fort Collins. Its about sharing the tools and the vision for a smarter future. Fred Kent said famously “If you plan for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic, if you plan for people and places, you get people and places”.

Along with creative placemaking collaborative Create Places, FC Bikes and the City of Fort Collins have worked hard to take Open Streets to the next level this weekend. Open Streets is all about planning for people, and demonstrating activated public spaces that inspire community and health. If you’re free Sunday, you should come check it out.

With its decision on Paris, the current administration has guaranteed there will be challenging times ahead, but the forestalling of the post-auto era doesn’t make it any less inevitable. It does mean its on cities to lead the way. The cities that will survive and thrive in the 21st centuries are the ones that embrace the uncertainty of the future and divest from the autocentric strategy of widening roads, devouring open space, subsidizing sprawl and parking, and shrugging off an unconscionable historic public health and safety catastrophe.

Theres a better future waiting if we really want it though.

 

 

plan for people and places