Shiny Tape for your Shiny Bike

Here at Bike Fort Collins we take a very broad, long term view of bike safety and how to improve it: we’re more concerned with land use and city planning than bike helmets and safety vests. That work will ultimately provide a safer, more pleasant community for everyone. In the meantime, we’re well aware of the immediate safety concerns that cyclists encounter, so here’s a handy trick to make your bike a little more visible on the road at night.

Bicycles are always sold with reflectors, but many riders remove them. Racers especially waste no time tossing out the stock plastic reflectors. It saves weight and improves wheel balance, but mostly the cheap reflectors just look out of place. Most of us don’t intend to ride our race bikes after dark anyway, but as summer fades into fall and the days get shorter, sometimes our evening rides push past sunset.

Luckily there’s a cheap, lightweight replacement: retro-reflective tape.

Retro-reflectors bounce light back towards its source. We see them all around us… stop signs, license plates, safety vests and even the silver stripes on running shoes.  They glow when our headlights hit them because they reflect that light right back to us. And because they’re available as tape, adding them to a road bike is cheap and easy:

Department and automotive stores usually carry both red and white. These rolls cost me $2 each:

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If you’re concerned with aesthetics it’s worth planning where you’ll put the tape to complement the existing paint and decals. Wipe down the frame with a clean rag (and rubbing alcohol if you’ve got it) and carefully apply the tape. You can even fold tape back on itself to form little flags around your spokes. The spoke flags really stand out at night, but above 25 mph they tend to whistle, so I don’t use them on my road bike.

All of my bikes have at least some reflective tape. Here’s my town bike with red tape on the rear triangle and white tape on the fork. By day it’s unobtrusive, but in the dark it reflects the camera’s flash, making those stripes light up. Of course it will also reflect a car’s headlights back at to driver, complementing my bike lights and providing a backup if I’m caught out after sunset without them.

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And here’s what a driver will see if you’re caught out after dark with no lights at all:

 

In an ideal world it would be easy to ride at night without sharing space with cars. But in the meantime, this tape is a cheap way to make yourself a little more visible.

August Letter from the ED – A Big Thanks, and Lots of Fun Volunteer Opportunities

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Cityplan Update

A few weeks back, we shared a call to action in defense of Cityplan.  The weeks leading up to that post and the weeks since have been a blur of activity- conversations with city council, city staff, within our advocacy committee, and coalition partners. We received word late that week that the effort paid off and that the Cityplan project budget has been significantly restored (final figures still to be determined), and that a focus on equity will be prioritized.

This is a pretty significant win for the future of Fort Collins.  As I mentioned in the previous post, the last city plan update (2011) does not include the word equity or equality, and makes only glancing references to social inclusion.  In the intervening years, its become increasingly clear that without equity and inclusion as bedrock principles of our comprehensive plan, we are compromising our future as a region by limiting the the voices, values and needs that inform this plan’s design.  And that means limiting who it serves.

Whether you are committed to the triple bottom line approach to sustainability (balancing economic, social and environmental health and justice), or sharply focused on one or another dimension of our resilience, or you just want to ensure Fort Collins stays safe for kids to explore, affordable for working families to work and live, and convenient and inclusive for seniors to age in place, city plan is a conversation and process that shapes the way our city grows, how we build, and most importantly, how we move and connect to eachother and to opportunity.

Over the next year and a half, the city and its partners- including Bike Fort Collins and many others- will convene a community-wide conversation about Cityplan.  The city has a signup list, to keep folks informed about the process, and starting next month, Bike Fort Collins will host a series of info and work sessions, designed to empower and engage neighborhood leaders to make sure that Cityplan includes voices promoting active transportation, and diverse, walkable neighborhoods. This will be an opportunity to both learn from experts, inform our leaders priorities, and have conversations with neighbors about how to align our policies and budgets with a vision of a healthy, safe and sustainable future for Fort Collins.

Thanks to everyone who called or wrote city council to fight for a more inclusive Cityplan.


CSU Stadium Opening Day Bike Support

If you attended the Stadium open house or even just saw the pics on social media, you know that bikes and transit are a big part of the plan to get people into and out of the stadium as efficiently as possible. However you feel about the new stadium, one thing is true- the new location makes it much more accessible for biking, walking, and transit use, and we are working with CSU to encourage as many folks to use active transportation as possible. To that end we’ll be on the ground on opening day, Aug 26th, and we’d love some volunteers to help things flow smoothly.  If you’re free for a few hours before kickoff and want to be a rolling ambassador and help direct folks to preferred bike parking, suggest routes, etc, we’ve got a volunteer signup sheet.  We’re still hammering out some details with CSU, but we expect that this will be a great benefit for Bike Fort Collins, and there could be some cool schwag and rewards for volunteering as well.


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Farm Weekend!

Farm Weekend is less than two weeks away. Bike Fort Collins is still looking for volunteer support. Saturday morning’s Tour de Farms is a 40 mile scenic tour of the farms north of Fort Collins with a few stops along the way to enjoy farm hospitality and some local goodies.  Proceeds for this ride benefit Bike Fort Collins. We’re looking for a few folks to help register, lead the ride. and to greet folks at the farms.    Click HERE to volunteer at Tour de Farms

On Sunday, don’t miss the 3 Forks Progressive Farm Dinner.  This is a shorter, casual progressive farm dinner where you’ll enjoy multiple dinner courses at urban farms in Fort Collins.

Click here to purchase tickets to either the Tour de Farm on Saturday or 3 Forks Dinner on Sunday.


Tour de Fat is almost Here

If that wasn’t enough, we;re just THREE weeks away from 2017 Tour de Fat. A lot is changing at TdF this year, but one thing that will never change is the ALL HANDS ON DECK community support needed to pull it off. Tour de Fat is practically an official city holiday in Fort Collins and if you love bikes and love the work that our great bike nonprofits like Bike Fort Collins, Overland Mountain Bike Club, the Fort Collins Bicycle Co-op and Ciclismo Youth Foundation do to make this the best place in the word to ride, we could use your help. Its a super fun way to support bikes and have a blast doing it. Sign up to volunteer NOW. (rumor has it they throw a killer volunteer appreciation party, too).

 

 

August Featured Bike Friendly Business – Cranked Up Coffee

Larry Conlon and Cranked Up Coffee bike

 

Larry Conlon works the crowd with CSU's CAM the Ram and UC's Ralphie the Buffalo
Larry Conlon works the crowd with CSU’s CAM the Ram and UC’s Ralphie the Buffalo

 

Cranked Up Coffee bike
Cranked Up Coffee bike

One of the things Larry Conlon likes best about Fort Collins is the biking culture. Not only that, but people, here, love more than just craft beer—they love their coffee, too. An idea sparked, and Larry came up with a business plan that included biking and cold brew nitro coffee. He uses a front cargo bike to peddle his wares downtown, and sells wholesale to businesses in the area.

 

Larry has made many connections throughout the region by using local roasters to source the beans. He will roast his own beans for competitions, but likes the variety available through local businesses. Larry has taught himself everything he knows about the process and experiments with different beans to create a blend based on what will accompany the coffee.

 

Cold brew coffee has some interesting abilities that regular, hot brewed coffee doesn’t offer. For one thing, it can be dispensed using a tap.

 

Cranked Up Coffee is available at Lee's Cyclery
Cranked Up Coffee is available at Lee’s Cyclery

That means you can belly up to the bar at Tap and Handle and have cold, smooth coffee; or a beer/coffee blend. Larry’s Cranked Up Coffee can also be found at these locations.

 

Larry has added a few employees as his business has grown, but there are still aspects that remain a one-person job. Batch blending is all him. “I only take sips now, as I develop the blends. The first day I thought I was having a heart attack.” Larry remembers the early days, as he drank half glasses to taste; the caffeine creeping up on him. “I have a high tolerance now.” He says.

 

Creating cold brew coffee using a nitro process produces smooth, rich flavor and a creamy texture and bloom without the dairy. This process has been around for a while, but Larry’s particular style is a closely guarded secret. This unique taste and singular delivery system makes the business stand out. Larry created a niche in Fort Collins and has been growing his business ever since.

 

These aspects made Cranked Up Coffee a great candidate to become a Bike Friendly Business. Larry remembers being approached by Kurt Freiburg, who helps Fort Collins businesses apply for the designation, while he sold coffee downtown. Notably, Larry has managed to keep the business at about ninety nine percent motor vehicle free. He only uses a car for out of town events.

 

Larry Conlon and Cranked Up Coffee bike
Larry Conlon and Cranked Up Coffee bike

Even though the business is small, Cranked Up Coffee was awarded silver status with the first application. Larry has also added to his support of biking events which will allow him to level up when he applies for a BFB renewal.

 

Cranked Up Coffee is a unique business and it seems to be a perfect fit in Fort Collins. Every year Larry adds more variety and is always looking for ways to collaborate with other local businesses. He has embraced the Northern Colorado culture and has added to it with this business. His contributions add to our Platinum Bike Friendly City status and he wants to make sure, as the town grows, we stay focused on local flavor: including bikes.

 

If you’re interested in meeting Larry and finding out what makes his coffee so great, head over to the southwest corner of Mountain Ave and College, near Rare Italian; he can usually be located there (if not, you can watch for updates on Facebook). Check out the bike too, and find out if you can get free delivery to your place!

 

Cold brew coffee
Cold brew coffee
Cranked Up Coffee bike with installation
Cranked Up Coffee bike with installation