Saturday, January 4, 2014
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Monday, September 6, 2010
This means that chapter and ride leaders can make sure information on the web is accurate and timely. Speaking of timely, the new web site offers a calendar. Members can post rides and events on the calendar. Of course, that raises the question, "What constitutes a club ride?" From an insurance point of view, a club ride must be at least three (3) members. From the club's point of view, a club ride must have a ride leader. That raises another question, "Who can be a ride leader?" At present, the club has no clearly established criteria. But, I believe there are several things ride participants would hope for, and expect. Of course, with the new web site, some of these expectations are changing. In the club's future, I believe a ride leader must:
-Know how to add/update/delete events on the club's web site calendar.
-Sign-in riders at the start of the ride getting waiver signatures and emergency contact information.
-Be prepared to file an incident report in the event of an accident.
-Be able to demonstrate a good understanding of the rules of the road and basic riding techniques.
Of course, making sure that everyone has a good time, also depends on, providing route information, looking after each other, and many other things. And that brings us back to the original question, "What constitutes a club ride?" I think a club ride is an opportunity to enjoy cycling in a social environment. Any of us can choose to ride by ourselves any time. But, we all recognize that riding with a group has lots of appeal and benefits. As a club, we offer tangible benefits, such as insurance coverage, a newsletter, a web site, etc. But, we also offer intangible benfits, such as the opportunity to find riding companions who are well suited to our distance, pace, and style.
While the typical Saturday or Sunday club ride is a great thing, I also believe the ad hoc rides, which a few friends can put together with only a couple of day's notice, are part of being an active and social cyclist. In order to give members the maximum value for their membership, I would like to see these rides treated as club rides too. In my vision of the club's future, with a few phone calls, emails, text messages, or by using the forums on the club's website, a few members decide to take a ride. One of the members (having the qualifications above) takes the role of ride leader and puts the event on the club's calendar. The ride leader prints out a sign-in sheet and gets it filled in by the riders. Everybody goes on the ride and has a good time. In this scenario, the members have benefitted from the tangible club benefit of insurance, because the club has provided an environment, which promotes getting out on our bikes. Maybe this ad-hoc ride becomes a regular event, maybe not, but either way, it is a club ride.
Of course, as a club officer, I want to know how many people are showing up for rides. We all like feedback. Doesn't it give you a sense of accomplishment, when you add up your miles for the week? Wouldn't it give you a sense of pride in your club, to be able to brag about how many great club rides there were last year? How many lives have been enriched by the club? How can we gauge the health of the club if we can't measure it's temperature? Nobody want's to turn this simple question into a beauracratic record keeping nightmare. However, our new website provides us with the opportuinty to do this kind of thing with just a few mouse clicks. With today's technology, it's not a question of "if" we can do something. It is a question of whether we care enough to do it at all! If, as a club, we want to grow, thrive, ride, promote cycling, then we must come together and make things happen. Without followers, leadership is nothing! Club members have to make known their hopes and desires for the club. But, at the same time, saying, "The club ought to...." doesn't work, unless there are members who are willing to DO those things that the club should do. The club depends on volunteers. Be proud of your club and ask what you can do to make the club even better.
Monday, August 30, 2010
My normal running route for the past week or two, has been a 3.14 mile loop (5K). That route goes from my front door and loops around the Community Center. I've been arriving home from this run pretty much spent. Today, I thought I would "try" to bring two pieces together for the first time. My plan was to run up to the Community Center and "try" to swim 200 to 400 meters, depending on how it felt when combined with the running. Then I would finish with the run home. Since this would be a first for me, I though I would shorten the run by making a bee-line for the Community Center and then back via the same route. That would shave a mile or so off my "standard" loop. However, about when I got within sight of the Community Center, I realized that I had forgotten my ID and wouldn't be able to "try"combining swimming with running. At that point, it was a relatively easy decision to convert my run back to my normal distance. I was feeling pretty good as I turned onto my street. So, on a whim, I though, "I should 'try' hopping on the bike and riding back up to the Community Center for a swim." So I would "try" my first transition at my own home.... Grab my ID, change shoes, put on my helmet, gloves, get a drink, grab my bike out of the garage, and go. As near as I can tell, that took about 4 minutes, but I felt pretty good getting on the bike. I've been doing all my running in the mornings, but now it was around 6:00 PM and although the sun was setting, the temperature was still nearly 100 degrees. The evaporate cooling effect at bike-speed was refreshing, so, I opted for slightly more riding than the bee-line route back to the Community Center. But the distance wasn't really the point. It was novel for me to do ANYTHING after running 5K, besides flopping down on a patio chair until the sweating and the panting subsided enough for a shower. So, after only about 8 minutes on the bike, I arrived at the Community Center and transitioned again into the pool. I paused for a breather at 250 meters, only to hear that the pool was closing. (Who knew, 6:30 on Sunday? Well, not me!). ...out of the water and back on the bike, I rode home. In the end, within just over an hour, I ran 5K, biked a total of 3.5 miles, and swam 250 meters. So, I try-ed!
I'd be happy to discuss with you the several reasons why I believe that if runners are going to violate this law and run in the roadway, it would be safer for them to run in the direction of the traffic. However, I doubt that the school wants to endorse illegal behavior. I think the most prudent thing, is to instruct runners to stay out of the road except while crossing at designated crosswalks. In defense of the runners, I have noticed that they do seem to pay particular attention to crossing Gavilan Peak Parkway using the traffic signals and crosswalks at Memorial Drive. This is very good!
I think the best strategy for all concerned is to look for running routes which capitalize upon the miles of off-street walks and trails in Anthem. I have spent many hours with Google Earth and other mapping software, studying the network of trails throughout Anthem and I have devised many routes of varying distances and surfaces (concrete, decomposed granite, dirt, etc). I would be happy to work with you and your team members to design routes which meet their training needs while discouraging the use of the roadway.
Unfortunately, many if not most of the adult runners that I see, are also misbehaving exactly as I have described. What I would like to see is a whole new generation of runners that understand why it is so dangerous for them to run in the roadway facing traffic. While we are at it, it might be good to make sure that if any of the students are also cyclists, they should understand that they DO belong in the roadway and NOT on the sidewalks. Traffic laws are for everyone's protection. Obeying them is in everyone's best interests. School is a good place to reinforce this.
Please feel free to call me at 623-326-3455 if I can help.
Thanks for your time,
Saturday, August 14, 2010
It appears that many people, including some of the-powers-that-be, feel that environmental regulations prevent improvement in the washes. It becomes easy to say, "We can't put a sidewalk through a wash! That's a protected area." And yet, the maintenance crews can dump loads of cholla, or piles of boulders in washes to discourage traffic through them. You can't have it both ways! I believe that properly engineered accommodations, such as trails and culverts can be built, particularly in cases where doing so is part of repairing existing damage to the environment or to protecting it from future damage. Many examples of such accommodations already exist within the community. Clearly, there are administrative hurdles to such plans. Does that mean we shouldn't investigate them? Of course we should. We should operate from the premise that rules will not prevent us from protecting our environment.
The improvised bike park is not an isolated situation. A casual observer can recognize many opportunities to improve the trail system here in Anthem: foot paths, made by people going where they want to go, where there is no accommodations to limit their impact on the environment. Rather than simply threatening to enforce rules, the HOA should take stock, and determine what can be done to accommodate where people want to go and protect the environment. Why are so many crosswalks un-marked? Why isn't Memorial Drive striped with bike lanes? How come it's so difficult to ride a bike from the paved multi-use trails to the on-street bike lanes, without encountering a curb? I believe that few Anthem residents are aware of the Maricopa Trail. The Maricopa Trail is planned to circumnavigate the county, linking parks and recreation areas throughout the county, via a multi-use (hiking, biking, and equestrian) trail. An important segment of this trail lies within Anthem, and yet miles of barbed-wire fence and threatening signs hide this gem. The Maricopa Trail should be a featureof the community, not something we fence ourselves away from! Anthem has miles of beautiful trails and bike lanes. But, it could be even better. It could be world-class. Such distinction would not only be good for the environment, but good for property values. The active lifestyle promoted in the brochures, could be more than just marketing hype.
The community enhancement funds were clearly intended to address such issues. Let's build a list of problem areas around the community and prioritize them. We can work with the regulating bodies to get permits to empower us to protect our open spaces and to enhance opportunities for residents to enjoy these areas responsibly. But the residents cannot possibly do this without the leadership and support of the-powers-that-be.
Friday, March 12, 2010
I was wondering what it would be like to ride to this event from the North Valley. It looks like it could be a cool route. Starting from the Park and Ride in Anthem, head down Gavilan Peak Parkway to Tramonto and then take the North Valley/Norterra Parkway all the way to Pinnacle Peak. Some zigging and zagging around Rose Garden and 15th Ave gets you down to Union Hills. So far, the route has been almost entirely on bike lanes. Just east of 7th Avenue, it is possible to pickup the Multi-use path along the Cave Creek Wash. There are two awkward bits on this trail, but they only amount to 3/10 of a mile out of the 8 miles of paved trails to the Arizona Canal near Dunlap Avenue. Another bit of neighborhood wiggling puts you on 23rd Avenue for a few more miles of bike lane before cutting over to the light-rail station on 19th Avenue just south of Bethany Home. Out of the 29 miles of cycling, around 28 of them have been on a designated bike lane or paved multi-use trail.
Buy an all-day rail pass and board the light-rail with your bike for the last 6 miles to Hance Park at Central Avenue and I-10. You can participate in the event or re-board the light rail and continue on to destinations such as Pueblo Grande at 44th Street and Washington, Papago Park, or cross the river to Tempe and check out the Bike Cellar. Your return trip can be as simple as riding the light-rail back to the north end of the line and retracing the route, or can include a ride along the Grand Canal Path.
Would you think you could go from Anthem to Tempe and back with your bike and it would only cost you 58 miles of riding and $2.50 light-rail fare?
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
6. "Bicycle" means a device, including a racing wheelchair,
that is propelled by human power and on which a person may ride and that has
(a) Two tandem wheels, either of which is more than sixteen inches
in diameter, except that the wheels
may be smaller if the bicycle is foldable.
(b) Three wheels in
contact with the ground, any of which is more than sixteen inches in diameter.
Bike Friday and other similar travel bicycles typically have a 20" wheel, so I'm not sure exactly what the concern is.
Personally, I think that a rotary, human powered, propulsion mechanism is central to the definition of a bicycle. Pushing off with a foot, like with a skateboard, scooter or rollerblades doen't fit this definition but a racing wheelchair and a handcycle would. And if we are going to include trikes as part of bikes, why not quad-wheeled devices?
Thursday, February 25, 2010
ABC participates in Phoenix's "Adopt a Street" program. Our designated roadway is Maryland Avenue from 20th Steet to 12th Street. Of course, many club members know that Granada Park is at 20th Street and Maryland Avenue. What you might not have thought about is the subtle irony that a car can't drive down Maryland Avenue from Granada Park to 12th Street... but a bicycle can! There is this "thing" in the way, it's called the Piestawa Freeway or SR-51. A bicycle can go under the Freeway through a bicycle/pedestrian underpass, but a car has to go a half-mile south to Bethany Home Road to get to the other side of the Freeway.
Looking at the Maricopa Association of Governments Bikeways Map, it is hard not to notice that within a few miles of Granada Park, there are numerous roadway underpasses along the Arizona Canal path. There are three bike/pedestrian bridges associated with the Freeway in the Dreamy Draw area and many more to the north. And, there are multiple underpasses allowing cyclists and pedesrians to cross under the Freeway.
When I moved to the Valley in '92, the Squaw Peak Parkway pretty much ended at Dreamy Draw and dumped traffic onto surface streets. A few years later, The Freeway pushed north to Shea, then to Union Hills Drive, and finally, all the way to the 101 loop. So, much of the design and construction work for the majority of these heavily used bicycle and pedestrian accomodations, which many people now seem to take for granted, was already completed before I even got to Arizona. But now, looking back roughly two decades, one thing is clear. This didn't happen by accident! The Arizona Bicycle Club played an important role in insuring that development in the area did not ignore the needs of area bicyclists.
Founded by Eugene and Sylvia Berlatsky in 1964, ABC has served cyclists in the Phoenix Metro area and across Arizona. ABC has grown over the years into a large and robust organization of over 400 members. ABC is a club affiliate of the League of American Bicyclists (LAB). For over 125 years, LAB has been the premier national membership organization for bicyclists, and serves as a strong voice for cyclists' rights and effective education so bicyclists can share the roads and paths of this nation with safety and confidence. Gene and other club members were instrumental in the establishment of the Phoenix Sonoran Bikeway which connects South Mountain Park with Carefree Highway.
Erected in 2005, the Eugene Berlatsky Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge on Maryland Avenue, crosses I-17. No other east-west road in Phoenix has a dedicated bicycle and pedestrian accomodation across BOTH I-17 and SR-51 freeways.
In February 2010, ADOT and FHWA hosted public scoping meetings as an opportunity for community members to participate in the scoping process. Scoping is the first step in the stucy process and is intended to inform and involve the public agencies, and special interst groups. The public scoping meetings marked the beginning of ADOT's public outreach program that will continue throughout the study. Public comments regarding the I-17 Study are currently being accepted and can be submitted by using the Public Meeting Comment Form.
Inspired that one person, can make a difference, I attended one of these meetings. What would Gene do?
Saturday, February 20, 2010
And yet, a few miles before Lake Pleasant with only about 6 miles into the ride, the rain had pretty much abated. Geographically, we crossed the barely noticable New River Wash. With all the rain we've had, it seems like it should have water in it, but the roadway seemed wetter than the wash. We were prepared to shuttle bikes around the construction zone near Lake Pleasant. Even though the construction zone is posted as 3.5 miles long, our reconnaissance had concluded that the areas in question were MUCH shorter. As it turned out, traffic on the outbound leg was light and so the construction zone was a complete non-issue. Our group made the decent into the depths of the Agua Fria river valley. Just upstream, the New Waddell Dam holds back Lake Pleasant but downstream, it looks pretty much like the desert of Marty Robbins' day. At around 1500 feet, this is the lowest elevation we'll see.
Coming up out of the valley represents a fairly demanding 6 miles of climbing. In another 10 miles we hit the highest point of the ride at around 2000 feet and then begin descending into the Hassyampa Valley and turning north and upstream on Grand Ave (US60). Last year's construction on US60 coming into Wickenburg is now completed but we were a bit disappointed by the striping. Bath, rinse clothes, happy hour, dinner, sleep, breakfast, ride... The return leg was almost completely rainless and almost windless but overcast and cooler than it should be.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I've spent some time living and riding bicycles in Europe where cycling is much more of a way of life than in this country. As I was watching the light-rail cruise along Camelback Rd, I was flashing back to a small town in Germany where the "tram" was an integral part of the transportation network. As I was looking out over broad expanse of the Valley, I was reminded of gliding easily across the flat lands of Denmark. The Congressional Bike Ride in Washington DC featured some of the best urban bike facilities anywhere. A few years ago, I rode out of DC on the fabulous Washington and Old Dominion (WOD) Trail , a 45 mile Rails-to-Trails route.
The paths along our canals are awesome accommodations to bicycles. I think they can go toe-to-toe with some of the best that any major metropolitan area has to offer. Our spring riding weather is as good as anybody's. We also get about 4 to 6 weekends in the fall which are pretty close to perfection. But the stuff in between is pretty good too. It may get uncomfortably hot here during a summer mid-afternoon, but the morning and early evening are generally rideable that time of the year. The winter mornings here in the Valley may be cool but by the middle of the day, it's often very nice. We almost never ride in the rain here. Basically, we have a great climate for cycling. Sure, there are hearty souls in other parts of the country who can claim year-round riding conditions because they're not afraid of riding in snow and with lights, but does that really count?
My point is that the metropolitan Phoenix area has tremendous potential to be a world class bike-friendly area. Obviously our climate is conducive to year-round riding. Our terrain is not as demanding as many cities. Our infrastructure here is relatively new and growing. We tend to have fairly wide streets. Valley Metro is making a commendable efforts to integrate bicycles into their operations. Tucson's half million residents are already recognized as living in a top rated bicycle-friendly city. The League of American Bicyclists rated Tucson as a bicycle friendly community at the gold level. Scottsdale and Tempe have both achieved silver status. Phoenix currently has no designation. Could Valley Metro do more? Of course. Could we use more bike lanes? No question. Could Phoenix go gold? Sure!
During the National Bike Summit in March, Andreas Rohl, the Director of the city of Copenhagen's bicycle program, said that this country has lots of "low hanging fruit". He means that if we just do the easy stuff, we'd make huge gains. Let's do the easy stuff! It'll be fun.... just like riding a bike.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
At the starting line.
View of Saguaro Lake
Kristi worked booth at the Expo on Friday, the day before the El Tour de Phoenix ride. Someone had an extra registration and she thought I'd want it. So, at less than 12 hours before the event, I find that I'm in it. I spent an hour or two getting my gear ready and got about four hours of sleep before getting up at o'dark-thirty to drive to Mesa for a 6:30 start. The course is a 72 mile route which ironically never sets wheel in the city limits of Phoenix.
The folks at Perimeter Bicycling Association of America, Inc. sure put on a nice ride. The traffic control alone must be a massive logistical effort. I don't think I stopped at any intersection. I was waved on by the person controlling the intersection. The aid stops were roughly every 10 miles. I think I skipped four of them and fueled up at the other three.
I recorded my performance on GPS and it is available here:
My finish time of 4 hours and 19 minutes puts me pretty solidly in the silver. I'd have to shave 34 minutes off my time to be in the gold but I could slack-off for almost an hour before I would be among the bronze finishers. The complete results are here:
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Lots of links at http://www.valleymetro.org/bikemonth
These events are all opportunities that ABC could be involving ourselves in. I think that if we were just a bit more organized, it shouldn't be that hard to promote ourselves better.
I'm going to plan to ride my bike to work on April 22 and maybe some other days. Post-equinox, the daylight shouldn't be an issue. I've been hoping that the new access road from Anthem down to Tramonto would be open by now. It seems like it might only be days away, but it could be weeks. When it does open it, should shave almost 2 miles off of my commute distance each way. It might get down to under 40 miles round trip.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
ABC membership is currently only $25 per year and applies to any and all ABC chapters that you might choose to ride with. Fees vary for special events, such as the Desert Classic in the spring, or McDowell Mtn in the fall. For special events, a discount is typically given to ABC members. We also typically honor Greater Arizona Bicycle Association (GABA) membership for such special events and vice versa. All ABC chapters are based on a weekly riding schedule, with an established starting time and location (mostly public parks). Geographically, our [insert chapter name here] Chapter might be the closest chapter to you. Of course guests are always welcomed by any chapter. Giving several of them a "test ride" might be very instructive. Seek out the ride leader, sign-in before the ride, and let them know it is your first ride with them as a guest.
ABC is organized under the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) and riders in ABC events are covered by our insurance which is provided through the LAB. Event and mechandise discounts, our monthly electronic newsletter, as well as ride insurance are just some of the many benefits of ABC membership. In my experience, what an individual gets out of belonging to a cycling club is directly related to what they put in. Because of our organizational structure, you can get involved at any level you're comfortable with from the chapter on up to the national organization. The more people get involved in a constructive way, the better it is for the club. But even if all you do is show up for an occasional ride, you can know that a portion of your ABC membership will go to support safe and enjoyable cycling and advocacy in a wide range of ways. ABC board meetings are always public, so we are a very transparent organization. As an ABC member, you will always have an opportunity to be heard.
As club president, I am interested in seeing new members join ABC. As a cyclist, I'm interested in seeing that anyone with an interest in cycling is able to pursue it to their greatest satisfaction. No matter what your goals, or how you choose to pursue your interest in cycling, I'm happy to share my thoughts with you, and I am always interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject. Thanks for your interest in ABC.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
On a more personal note, I feel compelled to confess that my inner Boy Scout failed me, and I showed up for the Congressional Bike Ride woefully under prepared. I've often said, "Its difficult to justify good cold-and-wet weather riding gear when you live in Phoenix, but it's impossible to test it." Maybe I've just been living here too long, but I dismissed the need for full-finger gloves. It's Spring! Right? The daffodils are just about to bloom. Right? It was almost 90 degrees when I left Phoenix, but it started snowing on me during the ride. It was just flurries and the roads weren't slippery, but I was cold. I don't know if my blood really is any thinner for living in the desert but my fingers and toes were really complaining. On a more postive note, it was a treat to ride in our nation's capitol among some of the most iconic landmarks in the world.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. " I prefer to say that a person really only has to worry about three things in life: We have to protect ourselves from the elements and serious injury; We have to maintain proper nutrition; We have to decide to move around or stay put. Every other worry is either secondary or optional. This doesn't really get much more clearly apparent when traveling under your own steam. That is when you come face-to-face with what's really important in life. "Hydrate or die" isn't just a marketing slogan. The choice of what to take and what to leave behind becomes a very personal decision that has to do with what's really important to you.
Tim and Cindie Travis considered worry number 3 and decided to move around. They rode their bicycles away from their home in Prescott, Arizona and they just kept riding. I suspect that the desire to run away from home is nearly universal. A week in a time-share isn't quite like joining the circus, but maybe the driving force is basically the same for both. I think that the desire for adventure is universal. When I'm touring on my bike, it seems that everybody I end up talking to has a bike story. Usually it has to do with their cousin's daughter who rode to Tierra del Fuego or some such. I regard this as evidence of the universal appeal of adventure. Even if folks aren't up to it themselves, we all seem to thrive on living vicariously. The opportunity to share in other's experiences expands our horizons and makes us feel good. Sometimes it even inspires us into adventures of our own. Sometimes it creates a passion that might even grow to eclipse the original inspiration. I know my Dad's stories of riding his balloon tire bike around New England in his youth inspired me to try my hand at touring by bicycle and it's become a part of my life.
Well, just such an opportunity for inspiration is at our doorstep. Come hear Tim and Cindie Travis share their experiences of years of living on the road and seeing the world from the saddles of their bikes. You'll find the details of this upcoming event elsewhere in this issue of The Chain Letter. This is sure to be an inspiring event suitable for the whole family. Bring the kids, bring your spouse, bring your cousin's daughter. I'm sure you won't look at your bike the same after spending an evening with Tim and Cindie.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Some went all the way to the top. My ending mileage was 54 miles. The good news was there was really only one climb.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Event: The January Board Meeting of the Arizona Bicycle Club (ABC). The public is welcome.
Date: 7:00 PM, January 7th 2009
Location: Amerischool at 1333 W Camelback Rd. Phoenix Az 85013
Notes: Following the business portion of the meeting (around 7:30) there will be a presentation by Neill Thompson on Route Mapping featuring TrimbleOutdoors.
I think that when bicyclists show up for a club ride, one of the things they are likely to expect is a route map and/or directions. The collective knowledge of local routes and conditions is one of a bike club's biggest assets. Historically, that tribal wisdom has been difficult to document, store, maintain and share. For the past two and a half years, I've struggled with finding ways to produce route maps for club rides. My primary goal was to produce a quality map. I searched for tools and techniques that not only worked for me, but that other people might adopt. Initially, I never considered that some riders might want to download route information to their GPS unit or cell phone so that they could be prompted for turns. Today, that seems like a reasonable request. Producing a quality printed map is still a vital goal, however, the problem of managing a collection of routes is equally important. The relatively recent proliferation of GPS devices and geographic data has created new opportunities. Organizations such as Google.com, Bicycling.com and TrimbleOutdoors.com have joined forces to provide solutions to these challenges. To take advantage of this capability, a GPS device or expensive software is not required for riders nor ride leaders. I am planning to demonstrate the use of free Internet based software from TrimbleOutdoors.com for route mapping. Additionally, I will be demonstrating ways ABC could manage a collection of favorite routes. Looking at a route using Google Earth puts it in a whole new perspective.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the winter solstice has passed and daylight riding will become commonplace again. Marking the turn of the seasons with an evening ride to the Phoenix Zoo for Zoolights seems appropriate. Tom Adams coordinated a dinner and led an evening ride through Indian Bend Wash in Scottsdale.
My daughter Carol, Kasidy and I rode the Bison with the Coyotes. We did 26 miles roundtrip. It was cool to start out, but it is December.
Actually, today is the winter solstice. The solstice is traditionally a pagan holiday celebrating that there will be more daylight hours for cycling for the next half a year. It is my belief that an appreciation for this celestial event is universally appreciated by modern cyclists, except for a few oddballs who seem to enjoy riding in the dark.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
One of my first goals is to make the club's business much more efficient so that portion of the monthly meeting is very quick and easy. That will leave time to do other more fun stuff. We need to lay all the groundwork between the meetings so that at the meetings we can quickly bring things to a vote when necessary and easily report progress. To kick off the fun stuff, I'm planning to put together a presentation on route mapping technology for next month's board meeting. I hope you can attend.
But the business of the club isn't just about board (bored?) meetings, minutes, agendas, etc. There's the riding. That's what we're about! Putting on a major ride is work. There's no doubt about it. And we're going to put on several major rides in 2009. But it can be fun work if it's done well. In addition to rides, there are numerous other volunteer opportunities that could also be very satisfying and rewarding. Having functioning committees is critical to getting things done well, and having fun doing it. To be effective, the committees must manage themselves, get guidance and direction from the board, and actively report results. I will have an acting chairperson for each committee before the next board meeting. I will work with each committee to consider the survey results and develop goals for the coming year.
But to make this work, we need new tools for communicating and collaborating. Our new Ride Coordinator, Kristi Felts Moore, has been burning the midnight oil setting up just such an environment on the Internet using software available from Google. This software is free for the club because of our non-profit designation. More importantly, this software is designed so that you don't have to be a computer nerd to use it. If you're able to surf the web, you're more than half way there. I think this software has great promise for helping us in many ways. The survey is just one example of what can be done with Google's offerings. I think that the response demonstrates its potential. Getting over 150 responses is incredible!
Please check out what's going on at AZBikeClub.org. Even though there are public portions of this domain, it is intended as a collaborative workspace for managing the business of the club. Dennis MacLeod and Terry Mickelson's work on the AZBikeClub.com site is independent of this and still vital. But these new tools can help coordinate and manage any project that the club undertakes. In the public portion of the new .org site, there is:
- a form for submitting agenda items for board meetings
- a form for volunteering to work on our major rides for 2009
- a form for volunteering to work on committees
- an online calendar
- a report of survey results
- publishing meeting minutes there
- managing the work of the committees in sites they control
- finalizing the draft of a strategic plan and other documents
- creating a project management system
- and much more.
I value your opinion. Let me know what you think.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Thanks to all for a wonderful evening.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings and even explore galaxies in the Sky. You can explore rich geographical content, save your toured places and share with others.
It's that "sharing with others" that really makes Google Earth cool. Just to get a better feel for the geographical distribution of the ABC chapters, I pinpointed them in Google Earth as placemarks. The file attached in the link below should load in Google Earth (assuming you have it installed on your computer) and show placemarks for all nine current ABC chapters.
All Chapter Start Locations
Thursday, December 4, 2008
But I feel the club has a responsibility to its volunteers. The club has to treat volunteers with respect. The club has to plan ahead enough to provide ample notice and clear directions. If everybody understands what is expected, then things will go a lot smoother. I'm hoping that if the club can clearly and very specifically communicate what it needs, it will be much easier to find people willing to step up. For the club to be able to do this, it needs to have a clear and well communicated vision of where it wants to go in the future. Therefore, we are developing a questionnaire designed to help the board develop a long range strategic plan. Additionally, this survey will establish a baseline against which we will be able to measure progress towards meeting the goals we set for ourselves. Please look for a link to this survey in your email and please take 5 minutes out of your busy day to fill out the survey. This is your club and it depends on your input to succeed.
In addition to the regular chapter rides which happen weekly, we are planning for the Gila Bend Tour, The Desert Classic, The Grand Canyon Ride and The McDowell Mountain Century. In addition to our Holiday Party, we are planning on hosting a presentation by touring cyclists and authors, Tim and Cindie Travis this Spring. I think this is going to be a great year of riding but we need your help to make it happen. If you have ideas or comments, please email me at President@AZBikeClub.org.