Thursday, May 07, 2015
May is National Bicycling Week: here's how to give Shreveport streets a chance
"More than half of the U.S. population lives within five miles of their workplace," says bikeleague.org, "making bicycling a feasible and fun way to get to work. With increased interest in healthy, sustainable and economic transportation options, it’s not surprising that, from 2000 to 2013, the number of bicycle commuters in the U.S. grew by more than 62 percent."
As a veteran commuter over a 4-mile stretch of East Shreveport side streets I have a few suggestions for potential commuters.
- Go early. The 8 am crowd is not for me. Bicycling around 7 am, though, brings me in contact with a manageable population of cars.
- Going early gives me time to cool down, towel off and change clothes before work.
- Don't fret about where to store your bike. I used to tuck mine into a tight space in the boiler room. Subsequently I realized that parking it against a wall in the classroom where I teach takes very little room.
- Ride home early or late. Again, it is my preference to avoid the masses. There's a sweet spot of inactivity on the streets of East Shreveport between 4:15 and 4:45 that I like.
- I use blinking lights front and rear and wear a florescent vest. My wife has a light on the back of her helmet that looks effective.
- Brakes and gears on my bike are sharp because I got a tune-up at the bikeshreveport.com Sunday afternoon workshop at the Bike Container, 869 Texas Ave. While volunteers adjusted my settings I was learning what was being torqued and how I might do more for myself.
Flat tire? Malfunctioning brakes? Missing parts? The Bike Container co-op will probably fix it. Most Sun afternoons from about 3 pm to 7 pm the gang is working and partying. Go to the Bike Container FB page to make sure someone will be there.