President’s Paceline – May 2017

It’s been a sad spring for the cycling community in Tallahassee. Two local cyclists were killed in traffic crashes within a few days of each other, leaving two circles of families and friends without their loved one. Steve Reker was out on a training ride on March 28, when he was hit by a car on US 90. He was a passionate cyclist and long-time member of the club. Always ready to help and encourage others, he was extremely well liked by everyone that had the pleasure of riding with him. Steve’s friend Pete Butler organized a memorial ride the very next day. On Wednesdays, Steve would ride either the Food Lion ride or the Wednesday Chaires ride. This time both groups would be riding in Steve’s honor with assistance from the LCSO. At the intersection of Baum and Capitola more than a hundred riders came together with Steve’s wife Christina and exchanged thoughts, prayers, and memories. Steve will be sorely missed.

Just a few days later Marlene Larmore was out riding the St Marks trail when she was struck by a car at Oak Ridge Road. She would pass away from her injuries a week later.

These incidents illustrate that the most important thing of any trip we take is that we get home safe, whether we drive a car, ride a bike, or are on foot. Crash statistics do not paint a pretty picture. In Leon County, the number of traffic crashes is up 50% with respect to 5 years ago. The number of injuries is up 32%. With 41 traffic fatalities in 2016 in Leon County we’re close to a 20-year record. Traffic behavior is getting worse rather than better. While it is easy to blame others, start with yourself. Set the right example, whether we ride or drive: Obey the speed limit, slow down when pedestrians are present, stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, use turn signals, don’t run red lights, don’t use your phone. Talk about it with your family and friends. Be safe.

President’s Paceline

I’ve had the pleasure to have been in a paceline with many of you, but this will be my first one that I’m pulling while sitting in a comfy chair, sipping a great local beer.

Cycling has always been an important part of my life. Born in the Netherlands, it would have been nearly impossible not to spend part of the day on a bicycle. When I was 4 years old, my mother brought me to kindergarten on a bicycle. I was in front, in a seat mounted to the handlebars, while my older brother was in a seat on the rear carrier. It was really exciting to get my first ”big bike’ when I was 9, so that I could ride my bike to school by myself. The bikes have changed over the years, but they got me to school and to university for many, many years. For me the bicycle was an economical means of getting to school, to work, or the track club, but not so much a sport. At the time, environmental or health considerations did not play a role for me. That changed a bit when I got to Grenoble, France. Work was in the valley, about 200 m above sea level. Home was in the mountains at around 1000 m. Most days I took the car (a Peugeot 205), but the days I took the bike (also a Peugeot) really made the ride home quite a ‘sporty’ exercise. However, it was not until the Maglab got me to Florida and I became a member of Capital City Cyclists that I ever rode in a paceline, and here I am trying to write one.

I’m honored to have been entrusted with the club’s presidency for 2017. This will be the club’s 35th year after its inception in 1982. That year the original TOSRV (Tour of The Suwannee River Valley) and a push for bikelanes on Miccosukee road led to the first cycling organization in Tallahassee. This combination of great rides with your club buddies as well as an advocacy platform to spread the joys of cycling is a great tradition that I am committed to continue.

There is a lot of positives. We see more and more cyclists on our roads. The city and county want to promote active transportation. But 2017 does present some challenges to the club. We’ve been very fortunate to have Paul McManus run the Kids on Bikes and the Trips for Kids Programs and be the Spaghetti 100 Ride Director for many years. However, Paul has indicated that he will not be able to continue to do that this year as his growing business requires his full attention. Fortunately, Paul will stay around as a board member, and we greatly appreciate all that Paul has done for our organization over many years. There are other challenges. Our membership is significantly below the levels of a few years ago. There are few new participants on club rides. We have not a lot of young members. Not a lot of women or minorities.

Fortunately, we do have a great board to address these challenges. Kelly Beacher is our capable treasurer, Sarah Dugger our resourceful secretary, Garry Breedlove is our welcoming vice president. And who does not know Jim Mann, our Ride Group and membership Director, advocate Joe Barnett, and Karen Loewen who will help with our communication. And we are very fortunate to have Paul McManus and our previous past president Brady Irwin to share their experience and knowledge.

Foremost, we are here to serve our members and to advance cycling at all levels. I will be pleased to hear from you. Don’t hesitate to share your ideas, criticism, thoughts. Just email me at hans@cccyclists.org.

Ride on,
Hans

2014 March Presidents Paceline – Bicycles Rule!

So I must open by apologizing as it has been TOO long since my last Presidents Paceline entry. I could discuss all the club has been up to (which is a lot) but I thought it would be more fun to get back in the swing of things by geeking out on cool bikes – that IS why we all ride after all 🙂

With that mindset I thought I would share a recently found favorite of mine – the Vintage MTB Workshop (www.vintagemtbworkshop.com.) For some this will be a look at early off-road bikes and for others it will be a trip down memory lane allowing you to reminisce how these bikes (or ones similar) from two decades agos “felt” as we turned each pedal stroke.

For me I cannot help but remember lusting over the early 90s Klien Attitude. I never personally got to own one myself however, working in a bike shop, I did get to ride a few in my time. Along with Cannondale, Klien was one of the first companies to popularize the use of thin-walled oversized aluminum tubes which are commonplace today. Before the use of this once “radical” tube design aluminum bikes were flexy (anyone else recall watching the slow motion replay of Sean Kelly’s sprint victories atop his Vitus and how the front and back wheel went almost sideways?) Klien was famous for their consistent smooth welds and unyielding strong stout frames along with their garishly fantastic multi-toned paint jobs. They also where one of the first to use the now common double oversized pressed-in headset designs to allow for a light-weight steering assembly that still tracked strait as well as press-fit bottom brackets and unified handlebar and stem. This integrated “frameset” design (frame, fork, headset, stem, seatpost, and BB) allowed Klien to be on of the first to push the limits of endurance and lightweight design which is now the standard for all high-end bicycles.

The Klien Attitude also fit the mold of the quintessential MTB race bike of the early 90s era. Stiff frame, low handlebars, crazy paint, and built for speed. These bikes where not comfortable but they where fast with every push of the pedals propelling you forward and a frame geometry that allowed you to instantly change your line. It was this design that I first fell in love with in the world of bikes and still gets my heart racing today…

What was your first bike love?

Zach Finn
CCC President

September Presidents Paceline: Annual Club Picnic

Hello fellow cyclists!

The weather was fine and we had a beautiful day at Maclay Gardens for the September 16th 2012  Capital City Cyclists annual club picnic!  A special thanks to Jim Mann who lead the road ride, Karen Loewen who lead the off-roaders, and Jennifer Koch who handled drinks and food.  After pedals where turned and food was consumed I had the opportunity to talk about the what the club has accomplished so far this year plus a preview of what is yet to come.  For those that could not make it following is a recap:

2012 Accomplishments

  1. New website – you are here now so glad you could check it out 😉
  2. Successful 2012 TOSRV – big thanks to all the volunteers and Paul McManis.  2013 will be even bigger with both our classic routes and the introduction of a dirt road option.  Mark your calendar as dates are set for 4/20 – 4/21 2013
  3. Publicly incorporated the Elementary Education program initiated by Ken Foster Florida Traffic and Bicycle Safety Education Program (FTBSEP) into the club as the Capital City Cyclists Kids on Bikes Program.  This also includes Trips for Kids.
  4. Continued Advocacy
    1. Franklin Blvd.
    2. Helped spur the creation of a joint city/county bicycle workgroup
    3. Continued meetings with the city/county planning department on a recognized bicycle transportation route network.
    4. Updated the Florida’s Drivers handbook
    5. Supported new Cycling Savvy instructor
  5. National Bike Month activities – did you see the billboards in May? (big thanks to all volunteers and Karen Loewen)
  6. Filed for 501c3 – FedEx certified receipt by IRS on 7/26/2012 – IRS acknowledged receipt and that we should have word back in 90 days form 8/16.
  7. New logo – It was designed to give the club a more open and professional feel as we continue to grow our membership base and our non-profit services.  Specifically we wanted a logo to represented the following key items:
    1. that we are clearly bicyclists – even at a glance,
    2. that we are open to all types of cyclists, and
    3. that showed our non-profit focus of getting kids on bikes.
  8. New jersey – on track for early October delivery (just in time for Spaghetti)
  9. Hired Jack Tomisetti as a part time Club Director to run our Kids on Bikes Program and Direct the 2012 Spaghetti 100
  10. Highest members count on record of over 470 and counting…

 

Closing out 2012

  • Spaghetti 100 October 6th
  • Christmas party
  • November 11th Cycling Savvy Course – CCC and Commuter Services are sponsoring a series of Savvy Cycling classes for CCC Members, local Law Enforcement, and the general public.  First class is in November and is free to CCC member who register early ($70 value!)
  • 500 members!

 

Club Needs

  • Accountant
  • Help with 2012 Annual report (produce and distribute)
  • Fundraising Director
  • Writers and contributors to the Blog
  • More recreational and neighborhood ride leaders

 

Plans for 2013

  • 50 mile MTB Epic – Mid February 2013
  • Bigger TOSRV with a dirt option – April 20th-21st 2013
  • Expansion of the 35 Mile Challenge and the Tallahassee World Champion riders at Spaghetti 100 – October 2013
  • New maps!
  • The Tallahassee Cycling history project
  • Club merchandise & gift items such as bumper stickers, water bottles, etc

 

July Presidents Paceline: A Moment of Silence

Hello my fellow cyclists,

Today (July 19th 2012) I ask for a moment of silence. One year ago today my friend and cycling hero Dave Baton was killed while riding his bike.

I have had many thoughts on what should be in this paceline article but realized that there was perhaps nothing more important than an explanation of how it came to be…

I first met Dave when I was a 15 years old just starting to ride and he was the top mountain biker in the Southeast. I still remember today thinking how impressive he was and how he looked like a real-life action figure, the G.I.Joe of Mountain Biking. At the time Dave was winning pretty much every race he competed in making him a God among men and who I wanted to be. Over the next few years I road, a lot, and to my delight found myself crossing paths with Dave. As I raced more we ended up spending many long hours together traveling and peddling on the bike. Over the years we had good times and bad times all the while sharing our life’s stories with each other.

What I learned during our conversations is that Dave had a hard up-bring and was on a dark path until he escaped and found a new life. He shared with me that part of that escape was his bicycle. When he was peddling it made him feel good, it cleared his head, and it gave him confidence to change. Dave loved riding and it was something he felt good doing. His bike helped give him reason to change his life for the better.

Dave is the reason I am now president of Capital City Cyclists. He was a man who made quick decisions and was not afraid to take action. After his accident I committed to do what I could to help make cycling safer and, more importantly, help others fall in love with bicycles and an active lifestyle and improve their life – just like Dave did. So when I was asked to lead the club I thought of Dave and took action.

I love you Dave and thanks for the inspiration,

Zach Finn
2012 CCC President

May 2012 Presidents Paceline

Wow what a first quarter of 2012!  It is already May and the last presidents paceline was back in February – where does the time go…  We have been busy and done so much in just over 4 short months!  Follow are the highlights:

  • TOSRV was a success with about 200 riders and next years event is already set for April 20-21 2013 and will be even better!
  • We have a new club website and brochure http://www.cccyclists.org/TrifoldBrochure2012.doc.
  • We have the highest membership count in years and new members are still joining every week.
  • Continued work by our advocacy committee including ongoing meetings with the city/county planning on making the our bike route network official and work with the Ton2 KCCI group on establishing a city/county/CRTPA recognize bicycle advisory committee as a unified established platform for cyclists to engage our local government.
  • National Bike Month activities have been planned for May – check em out at http://www.cccyclists.org/?page_id=10572.  A big thanks to Karen Lowen and other volunteers!
  • 501c3 paperwork is done (man what a lot of details to gather and a special thanks to Laurie Koburger for getting our last 3 years of financials documented!)  We anticipate submitted in the package to the IRS before June.

 

I have likely forgotten something but wanted to go ahead and get something out to everyone to keep you informed 🙂

 
More exciting club updates are coming so spread the word, get involved, and continue to have fun with bicycles!
 

Zach Finn
President 2012
Capital City Cyclists

February 2012 Presidents Paceline

Since I have become President of Capital City Cyclists I have had the opportunity to be part of many conversations with regard to bicycles.  It has been a wonderful experience to reconnect with old friends and to get to know  many  more fellow bicycle enthusiast – all with different backgrounds and perspectives on what it means to be a “cyclists.”  It is from this perspective, as well as my own experiences on bicycles, that I write this months presidents paceline…

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Bicycles are amazing inventions! They are legal vehicles on our roadways zooming along at 20+ mph; they are off-road vehicles that can take you over mountains; they are “pedestrians” taking a leisurely stroll on the sidewalk up to the corner store; and they are “toys” that my 2 1/2 year old son rides circles on in the kitchen. What other apparatus crosses such boundaries?!?! Perhaps it is an “odd” perspective unique to me, but this adaptability is one of the things that makes bicycles so amazing.

 

With this mindset lets look at bicycle commuting – it’s a common debate if cyclists should use the road or sidewalk… I would suggest both and that cycling on the road or the sidewalk is akin to learning to drive a car. We would not encourage someone to jump in a car and make a left turn across 6 lanes of traffic without completing the necessary requirements to get there (i.e. over 16, pass a driving test, and have some experience). Sidewalks are a good option for younger or less “experienced” cyclists as they use them as pedestrians at a relatively slow speed. Before jumping on the street a cyclists should learn rules of the road and master basic skills to gain a level of confidence in their riding ability.  This will then allow them to focus on the environment and become aware of their surroundings to a point they can ride safely on the road.  Once a cyclist is “comfortable” and has gained some “experience” we want to make sure there are efficient facilities for bicycles to get to work, the store, and back home again as a vehicle on the road.

 

One of my goals for Capital City Cyclists over the next few years is to support and encourage ALL forms of bicycling. The challenge is to figure out how to be appealing to the context and use for one particular cyclists while still appealing to the context and use for other cyclists…  As a start perhaps we should categorize the various “contexts” or “uses” for bicycles (e.g. vehicles on the road, pedestrians on the sidewalk, MTBs riding between trails, “toys” ridden by children).  From these various perspectives I bet we can find “best practices” for each that we can all agree on and then overlay them on a continuum based on level of “experience” and “comfort” that ends with bicycles as vehicles on the road…

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Who is willing and can help us come up with this language and materials for the benefit of ALL bicycles – from our road warriors to our kitchen warriors 😉 As a shameless plug join the club and help us craft this solution!

 

Zach Finn
President Capital City Cyclists

January 2012 Presidents Paceline

I owe a lot to cycling: my first job was at a local bicycle shop; MTB racing taught me discipline and hard work; exploring off-road trails has brought me lifelong friendships;  commuting and road riding has provided me a healthy lifestyle; and now riding with my three boys brings my family together.  Cycling has greatly benefited my life and I am honored to have been elected to take a turn at the front of the paceline and give back to the culture, the community, and the machine that has been there for me over the last two decades.

 
Tallahassee has an amazingly rich cycling community!  For example: we have one of the best off-road trail systems in the nation; we have beautiful canopy roads that are a joy to ride; we have a largely unknown racing heritage (From the days of 10 speed drive and Team Jamis to Team Type1 today); and we have a city/county planning department that appreciates cyclists.  Are we the perfect bike city – of course not… But, we are one of the great places to live if you love to ride!

 
So what are my goals for the club? Well, simply put I want to see Capital City Cyclists as an organization that says “Let us help you find your place in Tallahassee’s cycling community”. I want to grow our already deep roots stronger while we branch out to expand. In other words I think it is important to pay tribute to our heritage while introducing cycling to a new generation. It has been my experience that goals are only met when you have specific tasks; so for 2012 I think we can complete the following:

  • Introduce a new website as a “fresh face” for the club – A big thanks to Marv for sharing his knowledge and I hope you like the new look.
  • 501(c)3 status to position the club to better receive charitable donations and/or grants.
  • Complete a successful TOSRV 2012 with 250 riders and begin TOSRV 2013 prep by 3rd quarter this year.
  • Increase membership to over 400 members by using an easy-to-complete on-line registration process and a focused recruitment effort.
  • Closer integration with Bicycle Tallahassee as the Capital City Cyclists Kids on Bikes Elementary Education program.
  • Stronger relationships with our fellow community cycling clubs including Tallahassee Mountain Bike Association (TMBA), Gulf Coast Velo, FSU Cycling, and GulfWinds Triathletes.
  • Continuing to foster a strong bicycle advocacy committee that works with city/county planners with a focus on: 1) commuting bike routes, 2)bicycle/car education, and 3)a PR campaign through blogging/social media and articles in the newspaper to show bicycling as a positive everyday activity.
  • A successful Spaghetti 100 by having 350 riders and obtaining corporate sponsers through promoting the success of the Kids on Bikes program.
  • Show, anyone willing to listen, how FUN it is to ride a bicycle!

 
I also wanted to thank all the individuals that have done so much over the years to improve cycling in our community. Without their hard work and dedication we would not have the wonderful cycling community we all enjoy!

 
Please reach out and share your ideas on what’s good, what’s bad, and how we can continue to have fun on bicycles!

Zach Finn
Capital City Cyclists President 2012
zach.xtr@gmail.com