C.I.C.L.E.'s Bicycle Lifestyle Guide
Packed with great tips, an easy-does-it attitude, and lots of right-on-the money motivation, this simple, yet smartly woven, little guide is sure to get more people interested in the Bicycle Lifestyle.
About C.I.C.L.E. Cyclists Inciting Change thru LIVE Exchange (C.I.C.L.E.) is a nonprofit organization that is committed to promoting the bicycle as a viable, healthy, and sustainable transportation choice. We believe that this lilâ€™ booklet will help set you on your way towards living the Bicycle Lifestyle. You can learn more about C.I.C.L.E. and about City Bicycling at www.CICLE.org. About this Little Booklet... This booklet about bicycling is a little different than most. While many guides focus on safety and maintenance, this one is going to focus on you—helping you to create a healthier lifestyle by making smarter transportation choices for you and your community. We’re not suggesting that bike safety and maintenance isn’t important. It is—VERY! In fact, knowing how to properly handle and maintain your bike, and how to ride in city traffic is the most important set of tools you have to keep your bicycling experiences safe and enjoyable. And fortunately, many valuable resources exist to help you develop these skills. But our main point, in this little booklet, is to get you inspired—to give you a glimpse of just how cool life on a bicycle can be. And, we’ll also give you a few good reasons, and many great solutions, to help jump-start your new bicycle lifestyle. Happy Riding Pedaling for Yourself Imagine actually enjoying running errands. Each new day, a montage of sights and sounds envelopes you: the distant cry of mourning doves, an exuberant tot waving pudgy hands in the air and shrieking “Hi!” until you wave back, a black cat preening itself in a window, the scent of purple lilacs intermingling with the tantalizing aroma of baked goods wafting out from your neighbor’s kitchen—all yielding to an intimate and authentic city experience not accessible by car. An invigorating sense of independence grips you as you traverse the urban landscape—the audible crunch of a dry leaf sounds under your tires as you roll along. You’re fit, healthy, and energetic. Self-propelled, with the wind in your hair, you pedal with satisfaction knowing that with each bike trip you take, the demands of rapidly rising fuel costs and maddening traffic congestion take less and less of your time and money. Pedaling For a Brighter, Greener Future There are even more important and greater reaching implications in this simple act of bicycling. In fact, your choice in transportation has a greater impact on the environment than any other choice you make as a consumer. Each pedal stroke you take: Curtails carbon emissions that contribute to global warming Reduces the amount of pollutants that impact our local watersheds Creates less traffic congestion and auto-related noise pollution Improves the quality of the air that we breathe Builds a greater sense of community in your city Improves your health and fitness levels, and lowers your risk for disease Makes you an inspiration to your family, your neighbors, and your community Livin’ the Bike Life You’ll need a few tips, tools, and a little inspiration to start living your new bike life. Some of these you can buy, build or borrow—like racks, bags, or bike trailers. Others you can develop like good bike handling skills, confidence, and a few simple strategies to help keep you inspired and motivated. The Bicycle Lifestyle is not an all-or-nothing solution Living a bicycle lifestyle means thinking about when and where you can use your bike to meet with your transportation needs. Remember, 40% of your trips are just 2 miles or less. These trips present the perfect opportunity to swap out the car for your bike. The next time you reach for your car keys ask yourself, “Do I really need my car for this trip?” A short one-mile trip to the post office to pick up some stamps is the perfect time to hop on your bike. On the other hand, if you need to pick up a refrigerator that’s 30 miles away, you’ll probably need the use of a truck. That’s okay. Just start adding a bike trip (or two) into your life where you can, and when it’s easy to do so. TIP: Use the most appropriate mode of transportation for the task at hand. Gear Up! You’re going to need a few new bits of gear—like a bike, a rack, some bags, maybe even a bike trailer. Most of these are easy to come by, and can be purchased at a bike shop. If you’re feeling really inspired, you can even take a DIY approach and build up some really creative solutions. The Bike For short distance errand running most any ol’ bike will do. In fact, you probably already have one that will work out well for your needs. Just be sure to give it a good once-over before you take it out on the road. Your local bike shop, or community bike cooperative can quickly do this for you. If your ambitions are high and you’re looking to put in some miles, a better bike, while a greater initial investment, can be well worth it in the long run. Going Shopping A few good accessories will make your errands a snap. A Basket A simple and elegant solution is the front bike basket. Just the right size for a grocery bag or a six-pack of sodaâ€”sometimes this is all you need. The Bike Rack Bicycle racks, both rear and front, enable you to carry panniers (bike bags) on your bike, and allow you to carry quite a load. Most bike shops or even outdoor equipment stores will carry these. Back Pack or Messenger Bag For fairly light-weight applications. You canâ€™t beat a back pack or messenger bag for its simplicity and accessibility. Panniers If hauling a small bundle upon your back just isnâ€™t your thing, then try panniers. These are bike specific bags that attach onto a rear or front bicycle rack. Panniers can really haul quite a load and make excellent grocery-getters. Bicycle Trailers If you’re carrying really big loads around, you might want to invest in a bike trailer. These hitch to your bike much like a car trailer hooks up to a car. Many trailer styles exist allowing you to carry children, pets, and more. Cargo-Bikes Several bicycle manufactures are beginning to address the urban bicyclist’s cargocarrying needs. Specialty bikes like the “Xtracycle” and dutch “bakfiets” make trips to the grocery store, the nursery, or even picking up the kids a breeze. Make it Your Bike People add accessories to their bikes to meet with their specific needs. Not everyone will need every accessory on this list. Assess your needs and improvise…. GOOD BIKE LOCK – a must for errand running Bell or Horn – a good idea for safe riding in traffic and on multi-use paths Lights/Reflectors – lights and reflectors are required by law for night riding Multi-tool / Patch kit and mini air pump – great for quick roadside repairs Pant Strap – keeps your pant leg out of your chain Rain Gear – depending upon your climate, good gear helps keeps you dry Mirror – helps you keep an eye on the traffic situation at the rear Helmet – to protect your noggin But I just don’t feel like it! It can be tough kickin’ the old car habit, and setting a few goals, or using a few strategies can really help you make the shift towards the Bicycle Lifestyle. Map it out 1. Locate your home on a map. Draw a circle with a 1 or 2 miles radius around it. 2. Find locations that you regularly visit like cafes, markets, etc. that fall within your circle. Mark them with a pen or a marker. 3. Choose one of those destinations and commit to biking there instead of driving. Every month, add another destination to your “to bike” list. Before you know it, you’ll be bicycling much of the time. Tip: See if you can find closer alternatives for destinations that fall outside of your circle. You might be surprised to learn of local merchants that you never even knew about. Make It a Bike Day Pick one day during the week and call it your “Bike Day”. Commit to bicycling to all of your destinations for that day. Tip: You can also use a calendar to keep track of your progress to help keep you motivated. Everyday that you don’t use your car, mark it on your calendar with a big happy face. See how many days per month you can go without your car. Recipe for Success Get connected and keep it fun. Becoming less dependent on your car should not spell sacrifice. Itâ€™s important to keep it fun, and recent studies suggest that maintaining a supportive network of friends greatly increases your chances for success. Connect with people who are already living the Bicycle Lifestyle. You can meet others in your bicycle community on local rides and events taking place in your area. Visit www.CICLE.org for local listings. Invite a friend to go on a bike ride to grab some coffee, or to go see a movie. Plan a fun bike trip to the park for a picnic on a warm afternoon. TIP: Reward yourself for every positive effort. Each ride is a positive step towards a sustainable future. Donâ€™t ever berate yourself for not riding as much as you had planned. Just get back on the bike when you can, and pat yourself on the back for doing so. Where do I ride? In the state of California, bicyclists share the same rights and responsibilities as that of a motorist. Know that you, as a bicyclist, have the right to be on the roadways, and that you are expected to follow the same basic traffic principles that motorists do. Be visible and be predictable, following the same rules, giving the same signals, and making the same maneuvers as everyone else. With very few exceptions, the safest place to ride is ON the street, as a part of traffic, and following basic traffic principles. Bicyclists who ride this way usually get to their destinations faster and, according to studies, have fewer mishaps. But isn’t it dangerous? When we think of bike accidents, many of us think about car-on-bike collisions, because this is what we fear the most. But over half of bicycle accidents are falls, and many car/bike collisions happen because the bicyclist was not following basic traffic principles. Most bike accidents are easily avoided by developing good bicycling style. This is why learning to confidently handle our bikes, and learning smart street-riding skills is so important. If you’re a little uneasy riding in city traffic, check out one of C.I.C.L.E.’s “Bikes in the City” workshops. We’ve designed our workshops to meet with the varying needs of individuals—developing the skills and providing the knowledge that you need to get out there on the road both safely and confidently Become an Urban Explorer Rediscover your neighborhood One easy way to enhance your bicycling experience, is to start exploring alternatives to your car routes. Map out some good route possibilities, and spend a warm, sunny afternoon exploring these routes to see if they’ll make good bike routes. This is actually a lot of fun, and you’ll discover things about your neighborhood that you never knew existed. You might even meet some new people. You’re much more likely to take the bike out for an errand if you have a pleasant route to and fro. On neighborhood streets you will enjoy: Lower traffic speeds Your neighbor’s gardens and the surrounding trees Fewer cars The sound of the birds Lower air pollution levels A greater sense of community A Little “know-how” Goes a Long Way Often the right information, guidance and support can make the difference between having a positive experience or a really negative one. Getting expert advice from those that have been around the block (literally) can ensure that your first bicycling experiences are happy ones. By keeping your first bicycle trips positive, you’ll be more likely to take your bike out for your next outing. C.I.C.L.E. is committed to promoting the bicycle as a viable, healthy, and sustainable transportation choice—and keeping people happy on their bikes helps us accomplish our mission. Our ‘Bikes in the City’ Education and Encouragement Programs provide the knowledge, skills, and the confidence to get people bicycling safely and happily— whether you’re riding for health, transportation, or to improve your quality of life. A Little Inspiration The Bicycle Lifestyle can save the planet and our souls. The Bicycle Lifestyle is something that you CAN do, and it’s a way of life that you can feel really good about! The Bicycle Lifestyle is life-enhancing, exciting, and creative. You will experience and discover some really cool things, and you will meet some really amazing people—people that will inspire you. One day, you may even become that same inspiring person—a person that you never knew existed. You might find yourself reaching for your bike, more often than for your car. You might step on the scale and see that you’ve lost a few extra pounds. Or, you’ll begin to notice that you feel healthier, more positive, and more closely connected to your community. You’ll begin to recognize that you’ve made some really great changes in your life. Better yet, you’ll realize that you’ve created positive changes on a larger scale too—you’ve added a little more life back into your community, and a lot more life back into the planet. Viva the Bicycle Lifestyle! Itâ€™s a bike life... Our Programs ‘Bikes in the City’ Education and Encouragement Program Our ‘Bikes in the City’ Education and Encouragement program plays a big part in helping us accomplish our mission. Our workshops, rides and encouragement events provide the essential knowledge, skills, inspiration and confidence to get you bicycling, whether it’s for health, transportation or to improve your quality of life. We’ve designed our program to meet with the varying needs of individuals— developing the skills and providing the information that is just right for you. Urban Expeditions Urban Expeditions is C.I.C.L.E.’s series of monthly, community-focused bicycle rides, which encourage people to get out onto their bikes for a cleaner, greener city. We believe that bicycling is a sustainable way to get around town, and a great way to reconnect with your community. Urban Expeditions give all cyclists—from first time riders, to racers, to commuters, to recreational riders—an opportunity to come together and explore their cities in a healthy, social, and sustainable way. Urban Expeditions happen on the third Saturday of the month, and are free, leisurely-paced, social, and family-friendly. Visit www.CICLE.org, or call 323.478.0060, for the latest workshops schedule and Urban Expeditions ride information. Friendly Streets • Healthy Body • Happy Planet™ C.I.C.L.E. utilizes Education, Encouragement, and Community-Building strategies as a primary means to engage and empower individuals to choose bicycling as a transportation solution that greatly enhances their quality of life on a personal and community level. C.I.C.L.E. is a project of Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs (SEE), a nonprofit public charity exempt from federal income tax under Section 501 (c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Acknowledgements C.I.C.L.E. offers thanks to the following contributors for supporting the Bicycle Lifestyle. DESIGNED BY ERIC CUSHING PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALBERT ZESATTI ILLUSTRATIONS BY SHAY SANCHEZ & ERIC CUSHING On the web at www.CICLE.org All rights reserved. Copyright © 2009 by C.I.C.L.E. Cover art copyright © 2009 by C.I.C.L.E.