The Online Voice of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bicycle Alliance of Washington and Local Stakeholders Reach Agreement with WSDOT on Hood Canal Bridge Safety Fixes for Bicycles

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 31, 2012                                                              

Agreement paves way to begin Hood Canal Bridge bicycle safety improvements in 2012
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will make some much needed bicycle safety improvements on Hood Canal Bridge, thanks to an agreement struck between the Bicycle Alliance of Washington, local cycling groups, and WSDOT. The agreement, funded largely from a $1.3 million federal grant, allows the state to move forward on a package of safety improvements that will widen (from 3 feet to approximately 5 feet) and improve the bridge surface for bicycles.

Since the Hood Canal Bridge’s reconstruction in 2009, narrow metal plates over the bridge decking and oft-damaged plates covering bridge joints have led to numerous crashes by those on bicycle. These concerns have prompted the Bicycle Alliance of Washington and local cycling groups to advocate for safety improvements. The proposed bridge fixes, designed by WSDOT, aim to provide a more durable, wider, and non-skid riding surface for bicycle travel.

Senator Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge), who played a critical role in convening discussions with WSDOT noted, “I appreciate the work of staff at WSDOT – particularly those at the Olympic Region office – who were open to thinking creatively to make this project a reality. Despite the budget constraints facing the state, WSDOT sought out new approaches to address long-standing safety issues that affect mobility, tourism, and recreation between the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas.”

“We are elated to see the state move forward on fixes that will improve safety and accessibility across the Hood Canal Bridge,” said Bicycle Alliance of Washington executive director Barbara Culp. “The Bicycle Alliance of Washington applauds WSDOT for their diligence in pursuing this fix. We believe this agreement represents a new chapter in WSDOT’s pursuit of incorporating safety and mobility for bicycles on Washington’s bridges and we look forward to working with WSDOT to make this happen.”

The stakeholders representing bicycle clubs and organizations including Squeaky Wheels (Bainbridge), West Sound Cycling Club (Kitsap), Port Townsend Bicycle Association, and Peninsula Trails Coalition (Olympic Peninsula) have used their local knowledge and technical expertise to collaborate with the Bicycle Alliance of Washington and WSDOT Olympic Region on crafting a pragmatic solution that addresses some of the vexing safety concerns of the 2009 bridge reconstruction project.

“This is all about safety for me and the West Sound Cycling Club,” said Lee Derror, former president of the West Sound Cycling Club. “Fixing the Hood Canal Bridge for bicycle use creates a safer link between Kitsap and the rest of the Olympic Peninsula – that’s something we can all support.”

WSDOT expects the contractor selection process to occur in August 2012. Once WSDOT selects the contractor, construction is expected to take approximately five months. Drivers and bicyclists can expect shoulder closures, lane closures and one-way alternating traffic throughout the project’s duration.

Contact: Blake Trask
Statewide Policy Director
Bicycle Alliance of Washington

Monday, July 30, 2012

Free Webinars on the Updated AASHTO Bike Guide

In June of this year, the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) released its long overdue update of Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities.  This publication is a key resource for designing bike facilities in the US and had not been revised since 1999.
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) has partnered with Toole Design Group to offer a series of free webinars on the updated AASHTO Bicycle Guide.  Seven webinars are scheduled and each will cover a different topic area.  The first one is scheduled for August 10 and here’s the description from PBIC:

Aug. 10, 2012: Overview of Revised AASHTO Guide for Development of Bicycle Facilities
This webinar will provide an overview of the entire Guide and its evolution and use throughout the U.S., as well as other resources that are used for bicycle facility design (MUTCD, NACTO). Participants will gain an understanding of the purpose and design imperative for the Guide, as well as the more substantive additions and revisions that have been made to the Guide.  Participants will be encouraged to participate in subsequent webinars that will provide more detail on each topic area in the Guide.
Presenters: Jennifer Toole and Peter Lagerwey
Follow this link to view the entire AASHTO Bike Guide webinar series and to register for any of the webinars.  This webinar series has been approved by the American Planning Association for certification maintenance credits.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nord Alley Transformed into Tour d'Alley

The Bicycle Alliance of Washington, Alley Network Project, and a host of other groups brought Tour de France to Pioneer Square this year.

For two weeks, we set up a big screen, chairs, and an information table and invited the public to join us in watching the Tour de France in Nord Alley.  We transformed our alley into vibrant public space.

People took us up on it and turned out daily to watch this elite event.  The mountain stages were especially popular.  We were joined by tour enthusiasts, our Pioneer Square neighbors looking for a lunchtime activity, and curious passersby.

Coffee and snacks were provided daily and many arrived with their lunch.  One afternoon, we even served up hotdogs and sausages on the grill!

The 2012 Tour de France is over and Bradley Wiggins made history by becoming the first British champion of this event.  You can read the account from Cycling News.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

August First Thursday Open House to Feature Independent Woodworks

Join us for a summer First Thursday open house at our Pioneer Square office on August 2!  Our office gallery will be open from 5:30-7:30 pm, and we're featuring the inspirational and functional woodwork of Jesse Knutson of Independent Woodworks.  Jesse is displaying bicycle-inspired custom furniture pieces, like the bench to the right.

A $10 donation will get you a Bicycle Alliance membership, a limited edition pint glass, and some Schooner Exact beer!

While you're here, wander back to Back Alley Bike Repair and check out the bike art they have on display.  Then view the Diving Belles art display in Nord Alley.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Biking Across Snoqualmie Pass?

This post was contributed by Scott Chilberg.

Biking across the Cascades just ain’t what it used to be, thanks to I-90 construction along Keechelus Lake and a series of tunnel closures on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail between Thorp and South Cle Elum. Luckily, alternate east-west routes allow for continued bicycle access through these areas, so if you’re planning a bike trip make sure to read up on the closures prior to heading out and look out for bicycle route signs along the way. Here’s the low-down on the detours:

Due to construction of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project, WSDOT is restricting interstate bicycle access between Exit 54 and Exit 62. The suggested detour runs along the west side of the Keechelus Lake on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. According to the WSDOT website, this 8-mile trail loops around the lake for about an hour before reconnecting with the freeway and is not recommended for racing-style bikes due to the occasional loose gravel spots and potholes. Bicyclist may also use US 12 White Pass or US 2 Stevens Pass to cross the Cascades. A map of the detour and more information regarding trail conditions and the construction project can be found

Four tunnels along the John Wayne Pioneer Trail between Thorp and Cle Elum will also be closed for an indefinite period because of safety concerns. Detours for both eastbound and westbound travelers are marked along the route, so cyclists should look out for yellow signs and maps marking alternate routes. Visit the
Washington State Parks website for detailed directions and more information about the tunnel closures.

As long as you’re aware of the detours, biking along this stretch will remain very doable, so don’t be discouraged! Just make sure you’re on the alert for detour signs and, as always, do your research before embarking on your trip.

Friday, July 20, 2012

More Summer Rides that Support Growing Bicycling Statewide

Summer weather has finally arrived and bike riding season is in full swing!  These upcoming rides support the Bicycle Alliance's efforts to grow bicycling in Washington State:

Tour de Kitsap photo by Lee Derror.
Enjoy the scenery and backroads of Kitsap Peninsula by bicycle on Tour de Kitsap on July 29.  There are four routes ranging from moderately hilly to challenging, plus a Family Run Ride to choose from.  A post-ride rootbeer float and complimentary shower are available at the Silverdale Beach Hotel.  Thanks to West Sound Cycling Club for supporting us with this ride.

The Courage Classic, August 4-6, is a fundraiser for the Rotary Endowment for the Intervention and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. This three-day, 173-mile, fully supported tour travels over Snoqualmie, Blewett and Stevens Passes.  This is a bike tour, not a race, so take your time and enjoy the scenery, make new friends and take advantage of the Rotary Rider Rest Stops along the way.

RAPsody, Ride Around Puget Sound, is August 25-26.  This two-day ride offers 170 miles of rolling hills, plenty of Northwest scenery, and well-stocked food stops.  Organized by five Puget Sound bike clubs, all ride proceeds benefit the Bicycle Alliance.  Read an earlier post about this ride.

PROS photo by Louise Kornreich.
PROS, Perimeter Ride of Seattle, is September 3.  Water views and lofty hills dominate this ride as it covers 80 miles with 4200 feet of gain.  A PROS Lite route covers 60 miles with 2700 feet of gain.  Thanks to Cyclists of Greater Seattle for organizing this ride as a benefit for the Bicycle Alliance.

Ride the Oregon Coast September 9-14 on The People's Coast ClassicThis fully supported charity ride for the Arthritis Foundation features rugged coasts, secluded beaches, lighthouses, quaint towns and amazing viewpoints.  Can't spare an entire week?  There are two- and four-day ride options available.

Our Ride Calendar is a unique list of events that support our mission to grow bicycling statewide. When you sign up for one of these rides, you are supporting policies to promote bicycling, safer streets for riding, Safe Routes to School programs, and much more.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Calling for auction donations!

It's a party with lots to celebrate!
The Bicycle Alliance of Washington is gearing up for its Annual Auction Gala and we have a lot to celebrate! We are marking our 25th anniversary as a leader in growing bicycling around the state, celebrating the success of Safe Routes to School, and looking ahead to a future when we can all safely ride our bikes whenever and wherever we please.
Please support our auction celebration with a donation.

We need a range of items that will generate spirited bidding and appeal to the whole wide world of bicycle supporters: unique getaways, active experiences, handcrafted items, gift baskets, recreation opportunities, and other enticing products. Popular offerings in the past include a Colorado Rocky Mountain getaway, a week at a Maui condo, a catered taco wagon party, ski & stay packages, gourmet meals, symphony and theater tickets, event ride entries, restaurant gift cards, handcrafted jewelry, quilts, private wine tastings, massage/spa packages and more. 

Not sure what to donate? Cash is always welcome.

Submitting your donation is easy.  Just use our online auction donation form!  You can also print out our donation form, complete it, and mail it in.

Donation questions?  Contact Louise McGrody.

This year's auction is slated for Saturday, November 3 -- again at Seattle Center Fisher Pavilion.  Be sure to check the Auction page on our website for more information and updates.

Monday, July 16, 2012

National Bike Challenge Update

Thanks to Scott Chilberg for writing this post.

Riders all across the country pedaled their way into the third month of the Get Up & Ride: National Bike Challenge this July, passing the halfway mark of the nationwide competition with the same vigor and determination that characterized the kickoff of this four-month event in May. We’re proud to have signed up 576 participants in 69 different teams statewide, and to see our dedicated riders hitting the streets, trails, and pathways every day and fastidiously logging their miles online.

Our numbers as a state are outstanding. Together, we’ve racked up 143,127 miles (enough to circle the equator more than 5 times!) over the past two and a half months, and saved 131,016 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions and $38,494 by riding on two wheels instead of four.

The end of June also saw a second wave of individual prizewinners. Gene Smith from Tacoma won a wallet from Alchemy Goods, Amity Friestman from the Tri-Cities won the Frog lights, and Jennifer Gilpin from Seattle-Bellevue-Everett won a membership with the Adventure Cycling Association. As a reminder to the winners, if you haven’t done so already contact Louise McGrody at to claim your prizes!

Congratulations to all, winners or no, for an awesome first two months! Thank you to our local prize donors, Alchemy Goods and the Adventure Cycling Association, and to every single participant who’s logged even one mile toward the Washington State total thus far. We’ve got a month and a half left, so throw aside those car keys and keep biking!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Bicycle Recycled

The bicycle is a sustainable form of transportation.  It’s inexpensive, doesn’t pollute, and is accessible to almost anyone.  Bikes can be used by men and women, young and old, urbanites and rural dwellers.

Bikes can be recycled to new owners.  A growing number of community bike shops are appearing around the state, making second hand bikes readily available.  Many communities have organized bike swaps as well, and there’s no shortage of used bikes on craigslist.

People are also finding creative ways to reuse bike parts, components and accessories.  Some, like Alchemy Goods, have turned it into a business.  Others do it because it appeals to their creativity, sensibility, or both.

I live with an avid gardener.  He’s also a bicyclist and enjoys refabricating things.  He recently repurposed some bike wheels and chains into a climbing trellis for his beans.  His creation is functional, attractive and quite the conversation piece among our neighbors.

Here's another example of a bicycle recycled.  I spotted this chainring and wheel mobile hanging from a deck in Bend, Oregon.

A pizza place in Spokane sports old bike frames as bike racks for their cycling customers.

I would enjoy sipping a latte on this deck.  How about you?

These are just a few examples of the bicycle recycled.  Do you have a favorite recycled bicycle item that you've seen or created?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

RAPSody: Early Discount Ends July 15

In a month and a half, hundreds of bicyclists will ride around the Puget Sound, following a meandering course on paved trails and back roads, over the water and through the mountains, in a scenic weekend ride broken up by delicious snacks and beautiful rest stops along the way. The 9th annual RAPSody, a 170-mile overnight bike ride hosted by five Puget Sound bike clubs, is taking place August 25th-26th and is open for registration at a discounted early bird rate through July 15th.

If the event description alone doesn’t convince you that this is something you want to be a part of, consider the fact that proceeds from the event benefits you!  Proceeds from RAPSody support the Bicycle Alliance's statewide advocacy and education efforts. And, just for being one of our members, you can receive an additional $10 discount on top of the reduced early bird rate.

For further details about the route, logistics, food offerings, and training tips and to register online, visit the
RAPSody website, or, if you still need convincing, look back at our previous blog post showcasing the ride.

RAPSody has enjoyed eight extremely successful rides to date and has provided an idyllic and challenging weekend adventure for thousands of bicyclists over the years, and, if you register as a Bicycle Alliance member before July 15th, you get to take part in the experience for just $75. Join us and other riders from all over Washington State and ride around the Puget Sound!

A tip of the helmet to the five bike clubs that organize RAPSody:  BIKES Club of Snohomish County, Capital Bicycling Club, Cyclists of Greater Seattle, Tacoma Wheelmen Bicycle Club, and West Sound Cycling Club. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Barb Chamberlain tapped as new ED for Bicycle Alliance

The search is over. Our board has hired a new Executive Director and we are thrilled to announce that it is Barb Chamberlain of Spokane.

Barb currently serves as the Director of Communications and Public Affairs for the Washington State University-Spokane campus, where she has built the communications staff from one person to a team of six. She is also a founding board member of the Empire Health Foundation, led a successful Spokane public school levy campaign, and served on the North Idaho College board of trustees.

With a passion for bicycling and active transportation, Barb worked with the Bicycle Alliance and a host of other groups when she volunteered to spearhead Spokane’s Bike to Work Week beginning in 2008. She was a member of the Spokane Bicycle Advisory Board and chaired the group in 2010-2011, and currently serves on the Transportation Advisory Committee for Spokane Regional Transportation Council. She is a daily bike commuter and launched the blog,
Bike Style Spokane, as a way to encourage more women to try biking.

Barb has been a policy maker as well as a policy advocate. In 1990 she became the youngest woman ever elected to the Idaho state legislature, where she served as a state representative and senator for the Coeur d’Alene area. An Inland Northwest native, she welcomes the opportunity to apply her talents with a statewide organization.

“The Bicycle Alliance does great work that doesn’t get as much recognition as it deserves. With my experience in communications, marketing and branding I hope to position it for a clear understanding of its statewide role and importance,” Barb stated.

“It’s essential that we do that in partnership both with bike groups and with others working in this general arena, so another priority for me personally is to understand and assess all existing partnerships and look for opportunities to strengthen and to add to the overall network so it’s truly statewide,” she continued.

On the policy front, Barb wants to grow awareness both within the community of people who ride bikes and with leaders who work on tra
nsportation policy and community and economic development of just how important bicycling is and why it deserves serious policy attention and consistent funding. She believes bike infrastructure and a fully multimodal transportation network in general will make critical contributions to improved health, to congestion mitigation, to air and water quality, and so many more problems we face.

"We have critical work to do given last week's congressional action on transportation and the Bicycle Alliance will work with partners at all levels to ensure our future transportation system reflects how America wants to travel, which is increasingly multimodal in scope," reflected Barb.

“It’s transportation for everyone, even for people who will never ride a bike because it helps them if others make that shift to cut down on traffic, parking, emissions, and wear and tear on the streets,” she elaborated. “With Washington named the #1 Bike-Friendly State for the fifth year in a row by the League of American Bicyclists, and with the attention biking is getting on many fronts, we need to grow as an organization to rise to the expectations and the opportunities we have before us. We can genuinely lead the nation and that’s where we need to be.”

Ted Inkley, president of the Bicycle Alliance board of directors, is looking forward to working with Barb to grow the organization and to achieve their mission of bringing cycling into the transportation mainstream.

“Barb has a great combination of skills, a long history of activism and political involvement, and a passion for cycling advocacy. I’m confident that her background as a professional communicator will serve us well in helping a broad segment of policymakers and the public to understand that getting more people on bikes will benefit everyone,” he remarked. “The goals we’ve set for ourselves as an organization are challenging, but with Barb’s leadership I know we’ll create and seize every opportunity we can to achieve them.”

Barb grew up in the Inland Northwest, first near Lewiston, Idaho, then in the Spokane Valley. She was a recreational rider until a bike lane was installed in front of her house. The new bike facility motivated her to try bike commuting and she’s been biking to work ever since.

She and husband Eric Abbott, who is a bike racer, have four children between them. They enjoy family bike rides, movies and board games. Barb loves to cook and bake bread using her pet sourdough starter. When time allows, she also practices yoga and knits.

Barb will take the reins as Executive Director in August. Outgoing director Barbara Culp announced
her retirement earlier this year and will assist with the transition.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Tour d’Alley

This post was contributed by Scott Chilberg.

The Tour de France is the epitome of summer. The athleticism, the captivating, pulse-raising excitement, the camaraderie and the competition, all framed by the soft French countryside with its quaint towns and vineyards, is the perfect celebration of the sun’s return. So there’s something terribly wrong about the fact that many of us, due to the unfortunate lack of summer vacation in the professional world, must watch the taped footage of this epic race indoors in the evening after work.

This is precisely why the Bicycle Alliance, along with the International Sustainability Institute, the Metropolitan Improvement District, and a slew of neighborhood sponsors, are bringing the Tour de France outside, to the Nord Alley! As you may recall, the Nord Alley played host to the enormously successful alley watch parties for the World Cup 2010, and we’ve decided to bring them back for all you bike fans out there. We’ll be hosting viewings of this action-packed race from 11:30am to 1:30pm every weekday (except July 4) that it’s running, and will even incorporate some prizes and daily deals from local Pioneer Square businesses.

You can find more information on the Tour d’Alley, including event dates and a full list of sponsors, at the Alley Network Project’s website or on the Facebook page. Whether you’re a devoted fan or a casual observer, the Tour de France has something to offer everyone, so bring your lunch and come watch with us!