Archive for the ‘Cycling’ Category

Tour of California returns to San Jose

Riders in the 2009 Tour of California.

The Amgen Tour of California cycling race returns to San Jose for the fifth straight year tomorrow. Racers will start out from downtown San Jose at 11 am and follow a 120-mile route via Livermore to Modesto. This will be the fourth stage of this year’s tour. In today’s stage from San Francisco to Santa Cruz, David Zabriskie, Michael Rodgers, and Levi Leipheimer, the podium finishers in the 2009 tour, made a breakaway and finished 1-2-3 in the stage. Other stars in the race include Lance Armstrong (I’ll assume you’ve heard of him), 14-time Tour de France rider George Hincapie, world road cycling champion Tom Boonen, and Olympic champion Fabian Cancellara.

A map of tomorrow’s stage is available at the Tour website.

19th Annual Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon

What has 1600 wheels, 1600 feet, swims through Uvas Reservoir and feasts on burritos and beer?

The 800 triathletes who are signed up for the 19th Annual Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon!

At 7am Sunday, while most people are still snuggled under the covers, 800 athletes plus numerous volunteers will already be lined up at Uvas, with bikes racked and running shoes set out carefully on towels.  Participants will swim ¾ mile in the reservoir, get on bikes for a 16 mile ride, then take off running for another five miles.  Do you have what it takes?

I’m not sure if I do, but I’ll be there lined up in my wetsuit, too.

The Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon is USAT sanctioned and follows a beautiful, mostly flat course.  Athletes and volunteers return year after year to participate in and support this fast growing sport.  The post race party includes burritos and beer and more!!  If you don’t feel ready to participate or volunteer, feel free to come by and spectate!   It is hard not to catch the triathlon bug when watching your first race.  Don’t be surprised if you decide to hop on your bike Monday and make plans for next year!

Visit the website for more information on the course, parking, volunteering and signing up!  Check back here next week for a write-up of my experience… if I survive!

Via Velo

“Velo” meaning bicycle ~ Via Velo is by bike.

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition and the City of San José are making it possible to come to town ‘by bike‘ and enjoy the Mattson Technology  ViaVelo.

San Fernando Street, between Highway 87 and Third St., will be closed to all traffic. San Fernando will be open to bicycles and pedestrians only.

Visit the many booths, and take in demonstrations. Listen to live music while making sure the family is up on their cycling safety awareness. I would like to see all youngsters wearing helmets.

San Fernando Street

Saturday, May 15th

10 AM to 3 PM

Hyland Bikes will have a booth with free bike tuning.

San Jose Bike Party

Bicycle helmet do’s and don’ts

16th Annual Bike to Work Day

The Bay Area’s 16th annual Bike to Work Day will take place along local bike commute routes on Thursday, May 13, 2010.

Energizer Stations located along the bike routes may provide complimentary bike doctors, free beverages, and snacks along with commuter convoys. Most Energizer Stations will operate in the morning and a few during the afternoon commute. See the Energizer Stations map for locations and times.

No need to register for this free event; however, you may want to register online for a chance to win prizes in the Bike to Work Day Raffle (though May 31).

Check out 511’s BikeMapper for everyday bicycle paths, lanes, and routes.


Bike Party Hit & Run, During Memorial Ride

So sad- if you have any information, please contact the police:
(from official SJ Bike Party post)
These are two follow-ups to two separate Hit & Run incidents.

* Race St (Green Ride) on March 19, 2010
* Hwy 9 on April 8, 2009


This incident occurred on Race St on Friday, March 19th. The fact that this happened on the ride where we were honoring Joshua Ryan West who was killed by a driver on Feb. 1, 2010 is especially ironic.

The SJ Police need all of the eyewitness accounts. If any eyewitnesses have not gotten in contact with the victim and/or SJ Police, now is the time to do so. Please act NOW before it’s too late!

General Plan Task Force Tackles Transportation

The transportation element for the San Jose General Plan Update specifies a variety of different types of streets, depending on their function.

The transportation element for the San Jose General Plan Update specifies a variety of different types of streets, depending on their function.

The Envision San Jose 2040 general plan update task force met this evening to consider transportation and water supply issues, with transportation taking up most of the meeting time. One of the key issues in transportation is to accommodate planned growth in the city without overwhelming the transportation infrastructure; and a key strategy to do that is to increase the use of alternate “modes” of transportation like walking and biking.

A report drafted for the city by consultants Fehr & Peers highlights some ways to do that, as well as laying out a plan to combine personal vehicles, alternate modes, and freight (trucking) traffic, with connections to rail and freeways for regional travel. San Jose is compared to other cities that lead in “mode share split”. For example San Jose has about 1.2% of its commute trips currently taken by bicycle, while Portland has 6% and Davis (just this side of Sacramento) has 14% bicycle mode share. San Jose has about 1.8% mode share for commuting by foot, while San Francisco has 10% and leading college towns like Ann Arbor and Berkeley have 16 or 17%.

One task force member made an excellent point that the configuration of some of our streets makes cycling simply dangerous (imagine biking on Stevens Creek Boulevard, for example) and we’re unlikely to get cycling ridership up to match Portland, or the higher percentages the plan is targeting for 2040, without providing safe, separated cycling paths along such important routes. Which is not impossible, but it does require that the level of public subsidy granted to cycling infrastructure becomes a miniscule, rather than a microscopic, fraction of the subsidy already given to automobiles.

Another issue pointed out was that the proposed general plan doesn’t take into account the new Master Bike Plan adopted by the city council in just the last few weeks. For example, certain roads are proposed to become “bicycle priority streets”, but there’s no mention of actual “bicycle boulevards” as were included as part of the primary bikeway network in the Master Bike Plan. Hopefully some work will be done to align the new general plan with the Master Bike Plan before it’s finalized.

Overall I was glad to see that at least 80% of the task force members seemed to be on my side of this issue, promoting increased cycling (and walking) and improved accomodations for cyclists in San Jose, and I’m hopeful that the plan will go through as they discussed it tonight, and also be fulfilled by the city over the next 30 years.

New Bike Lanes for Downtown San Jose

I just saw this article on Stretsblog San Francisco, thanks to Jonathan at NNASJ. Basically, if a new bicycle plan passes in City Council on November 17, look forward to some dramatic improvements to bicycle access downtown in the coming years. The city is looking in to some experimental lane configurations (according to CalTrans, although they’re all things that have been done successfully elsewhere) that should make it safer and more convenient to ride major east-west and north-south corridors.

Future bike trail threatened


Willow Glen Extra reported the other day on a threat to the “Three Creeks” bike trail proposed to link trails along Coyote Creek, the Guadalupe River, and Los Gatos Creek. The trail is planned by the city of San Jose to be built along abandoned railroad rights of way, but money hasn’t yet been found to purchase the land.

In the meantime, the railroad has sold portions of the land off to other parties, and now one purchaser is planning to build a structure over the proposed trail site. Stucco Supply Co. is requesting planning approval to build a storage area on the land they acquired from the railroad.

Because planning approval is needed there’s still time for input from the public. With enough support, the planning department can require the property owner to grant an easement for bicycle access through the site, allowing the bike path to pass through the area without having to be diverted onto busy streets.

See the WGx article for more detail, including the names and addresses of appropriate government people to contact if you support development of San Jose’s cycling infrastructure.

Report unsafe rail crossings

Rail crossing at 7th and Jackson in Japantown.

Rail crossing at 7th and Jackson in Japantown.

If you’re a bike commuter, one of the most dangerous parts of your ride is probably that rail crossing. The one with broken pavement and giant potholes all around it and a Himalaya range of mounded up pavement running along each rail. To cross this track without landing on your face, you’ve got to pick your path carefully, and that might mean swerving out into the traffic lane to cross at a relatively flat spot.

In my case, that rail crossing is at the corner of 7th and Jackson Streets, just on the east edge of Japantown. Getting to my old job, it was on 10th Street, just north of Hedding. There’s probably a few crossings just as bad scattered around other parts of town too.

For years, whenever I mention these problem crossings to city staffers, they’ve told me they rely on Union Pacific railroad to maintain railroad crossings, and there’s little they can do to get them fixed. But just this week, I had a chance to mention that crossing again to a group of city transportation engineering managers, and I learned something new.

Jay Thorstensen from the Transportation department emailed me a day later and let me know its possible to contact UP directly to let them know about dangerous track crossings. Contact details are found on the UP website. Basically, for non-emergency track or crossing maintenance issues in California, the number is (916) 789-6114. That gets through to a real person, though its not clear how quickly he can actually respond to problems. I’m hoping at least that enough calls about a particularly problematic crossing can move it to the top of the list for repairs.

Bike-to-work day

Bike to work day is coming up again, Thursday, May 14. With over 50 energizer stations (listed here) set up around Santa Clara County, and lots of other bikes on the road keeping motorists aware of bikes, Bike-to-Work Day makes it easy and safe to ride your bike to work, even if you don’t have an established biking routine. And just getting a routine established might be enough to turn you into a regular bike commuter, so give it a try!

There’s also a raffle open to people who pledge to ride their bicycle for work or errands at least once in May, with prizes including bikes from Marin and Dahon, and gear from REI. And, of course, Team Bike Challenge continues, with teams Bone on Bone from Cisco Systems, Vander-Bikers from Vander-Bend Manufacturing, and Garden City Rollers featuring San Jose Councilmember Sam Liccardo leading the Santa Clara County standings.

Graphic: Steren/

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