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Sierra Club | Harris County Chapter

Volume 1 | Issue 4 | Dec 2012



trap on those helmets and get ready to ride: It’s Bike to Work Week. While commuting on two wheels is the norm in some European and Asian cities, many Americans are still warming up to the idea. Bike to Work Week (part of National Bike Month) helps energize communities and spread awareness about green transportation. Now’s a great time to participate in a local event or talk to your employer about the benefits of biking. Let your boss know that he or she can build

a bike-friendly workplace by providing safe bike storage and employee shower facilities. Sweeten the deal by mention ing that some bike-rel ated expenses are tax deductible. Need more inspiration? The League of American Bicyclists recently announced its 2009 Bicycle Friendly Busi ness program honorees. Bike to Work Week con tinues! Have you been cycling to work this week? Here are some inspiring links to get you on your bike if you’re not on it already -- Bike to Work Week is really fun.



f you’ve read our post on becoming a bike commuter or our tips for fe male cyclists, you’re got plenty of practical knowledge about how to incorporate cycling into your daily life. But bikes can be more than just an ecofriendly form of transportation--the two-wheeled wonders are rapidly becoming a must-have fashion accessory and clothing designers have taken notice. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, cyclists need clothing that “moves with them when they ride, protects them from the elements, and doesn’t get caught in any of their machine’s moving parts. ” Beyond those basic requirements, bike messengers and road bikers have always

sported signature styles, but now the fashion industry is embracing bike culture too. In U.S. cites like New York, Portland, San Francisco, and even Salt Lake City, models are pedaling or pushing bikes onto the runway to compliment their hip, bikecentric clothing. The New York Times recently gave bike fashion a nod with a slideshow of dapper cycling outfits and Shanghaiist countered the Times with a gallery of affordable cycling gear. Bike fashion blogs. are Riding Pretty, Velo Vogue, and Chic Cyclists deliver regular doses of cycling style. While stylish clothing can easily be dismissed as a frivolity, we think the fashion industry’s

>> Street art meets bicycles in Berlin. “‘Paperboys and papergirls’ go around the city on bicycles bestowing wrapped packages of art pieces - prints, posters, etc. - onto unsuspecting passerby.” >> Everyday’s Bike to Work Day in Vauban, Germany, according to TriplePundit. Why? Carowners don’t have it easy in this suburb, which has rules that “restrict automobiles on all but just main street and a few byways in and around town. Residents can own a car, but they must park it at the edge of town and pay a staggering $40,000 for a spot.” >> Share your bike life inspirations. A new blog called Change Your Life. Ride a Bike! wants to hear about how biking



January 28-29 Chapter Executive Committee Meetings Austin

Alamo Group San Antonio and beyond

March 31 Chapter Executive Committee Meeting Chapter Awards Dinner Austin

Cross Timbers Outings from Denton

April 27 day Statewide Water Conference Austin

Austin Group Outings

Dallas Group Outings Ft. Worth Group Outings Golden Triangle Trails (Beaumont, Port Arthur, Orange)

April 27 evening Lone Star Chapter Gala Austin

Houston Group Outings

July 14 Chapter Executive Committee Meeting Strawn State Park

Other Links:

November 10 State Legislative Workshop Austin

Texas Hiking

Piney Woods Group Outings (East Texas)

Sierra Trails

Trail Tamers

November 11 Chapter Executive Committee Meeting Austin Additional details and any changes or additions will be posted to the Lone Star Chapter website ( as they become available. For more information, check the website, send an email to or call the Lone Star Chapter office in Austin at 512-477-1729.



ey Mr. Green,

You tout hybrids and electric cars, but what about electric bikes? —Stan in Carson City, Nevada I hereby tout and loudly tout e-bikes, as well as other bikes. A recent MIT study on bicycles’ life cycles suggests that both bikes and e-bikes use less than 10% as much energy as the average sedan while being responsible for less than 10% as much greenhousegas emissions. This study even takes into account the increased CO2 emissions from a bicyclist breathing harder while pedaling! So much for those goofy blogs claiming that bicycles are less efficient than cars. A wider use of either of the two-wheelers would save billions of gallons of fuel and eliminate billions of tons of emissions. Many trips are so short that taking two-wheeled transit is fairly easy and may even be more convenient than a car, since there’s no fuel expense or hassles with traffic jams, parking,



f you ever considered biking to work but were kept away by worries about logistics, rain, or what your coworkers might think, you’ll find a series of tips here on the Compass blog to get you to work on your bike at least once a week. We’ve already discussed picking out a bike, your first day, and weather. Today’s post is about biking for women. If you look around at the cyclists in your city or town, most likely most of them will be men. In fact, male cyclists outnumber females by two to one in the U.S. But that’s not the case in

ARE ELECTRIC BIKES OK? or parking meters. According to the National Highway Transportation Survey, 45% of all household roundtrips average less than 7 miles (an easy ride!), and these trips account for more than a third of all household miles traveled. So why don’t more people get out of their cars and onto their bikes?

National Highway Transportation Administration, a quarter of the 630 cyclists killed in the U.S. in 2009 had a blood-alcohol level of .08 or more, meaning they were legally intoxicated, and as prone to a catastrophic wreck as any drunken moron in a car. But the blood level of testosterone may be an even bigger factor, since men incurred 87% of the bike fatalities and 80% of reported

bike injuries. Some dudes may have to settle for a sex change to survive. The best way to combat the fear factor is to make our roads bicycle-friendlier, with more bike lanes, bike paths, and better signage, because the vast majority of injuries and fatalities do occur in crashes with vehicles. It’s abundantly clear that such improve-

Well, yes, some are just too lazy. But the major barrier to two-wheel ridership is the fear of winding up injured, or as another piece of roadkill squished by a car or SUV. No amount of my touting bikes will alleviate that fear, though the following fact shows why that fear is actually unfounded: While statistics do show that the odds of injury or death per miles traveled are much higher for bicyclists than for motorists, the raw numbers are deceptive, because a few simple precautions can greatly reduce the odds of death or injury for any halfway sensible cyclist. For example, around 95% of bike fatalities result when the rider isn’t wearing a helmet. Booze is also a big factor. According to the latest report from the

OMEN RIDERS European countries like The Netherlands, where female cyclists outnumber their male counterparts. The U.S. can increase the number of female cyclists by building more bike-only commuter routes and paths that provide a greater sense of safety for cyclists. But while we work on that, there are some easy ways for female riders to start biking to work now. Here’s how. Get comfortable. Picking out and then adjusting a bike can be a little more complicated for women. For years I refused to get a road bike because I thought they were uncomfortable (es pecially the seat and the huge grip required to use the brakes on drop handlebars). It turns out most equipment on the market is badly suited for me because I’m a short woman; I need a women’s specific bike and female bik ing gear in order to enjoy my ride. When picking out a bike, keep in mind some of the most common fitting prob-

THIS WEEK’S TIP lems for women, and speak up if something doesn’t feel right. Make sure you learn to tinker with components, because that is how you’ll fine-tune your fit. It is amazing how much you can improve your bike fit with little adjustments like the placement of your brake levers or the tilt of your seat.Get confident. I pedaled many miles of recreational paths before I decided to hit the crowded downtown streets. As a new rider,. nervous and prone to making mistakes. I had to think about every little thing I was doing. I had ridden three-speed hybrid bikes without a problem, but my road bike was less intuitive. Once I’d spent more time on my bike, though, I didn’t have to focus on the mechanics of shifting, breaking, or balancing on uneven pavement. Instead, I could turn my attention to busses merging into my lane and cabs pulling to the curb without looking for cyclists. I spent two years completely avoiding traffic, and I don’t regret it. What did I have to prove? Why did I need to get on the road before I was ready? Women cyclists are far more likely to choose routes

Whether you’re training for a marathon or just trying to shed a few pounds, this week’s tips will help you go green while getting fit. Tip: Use Machines That Give Back Ed Begley Jr. isn’t the only environmentalist with a stationary bike that powers his toaster. Members of Portland’s Green Microgym also generate electricity during workouts. The Pedal-a-Watt device turns a road bike into a stationary that can generate 150 to 200 watts. Watching your budget? Use these instructions to build your own bike: part 1 and part 2. Even a short daily walk to public

POLL OF THE WEEK: Why don’t you ride your bike to


he question really hit a nerve for our readers. Back when we “only” had 704 comments we counted them up (thanks to our intern, Dominic) to see who does, and who doesn’t, bike to work, and why. I assumed that far fewer people would bike to work than those who don’t, but it turns out to be really close. 345 commenters said they do bike, 359 said they don’t. Some of you combine biking with public transportation, some bike part of the time, some can’t bike to work but you use your bike when you can. Of those who do bike to work, you do it to be green (saving carbon emissions not to mention $$ on gasoline and parking), or for the exercise, or for the pleasure it brings to be out in the air with critters and birds. Those of you who do not bike to work were concerned for your safety – it’s clear that there aren’t enough safe biking routes, bike trails, or driver awareness of bicyclists. You also live pretty darn far from where you work.

success stories and current projects. What steps can we, as citizens and bike to workers, take to make our communities and work places more bike friendly? Thanks so much for all your interesting and thoughtful comments on this topic. I’ve learned a lot about biking from reading them – one of these days you may see me biking to work too! Ride your bike to work everyday. Ride your bike to work everyday. Ride your bike to work everyday. Ride your bike to work everyday. Ride your bike to work everyday. Ride your bike to work everyday. Ride your bike to work everyday. Ride your bike to work everyday. Ride your bike to work everyday. Ride your bike to work everyday. Ride your bike to work everyday. Ride your bike to work everyday. Ride your bike to work everyday. Ride your bike to work.

SAVE 10% ON PUBLIC BIKES What’s not to like about bicycles? They’re emission-free, stylish, and great exercise! And now, Sierra Club has partnered with PUBLIC Bikes to offer members a discounted ride.

EDITOR: Jack Daniels

DESIGNER: Amanda Nguyen


What have you or your bike club or town planning commission done to make your community more bike friendly? How did you get your employer to support biking to work? Share your

Jim Beam

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