Bike Commuter Journal – Commuting Strategies

29 Apr

Zagster bikes at Forrestal Campus Princeton UHow many different ways are there to bike commute? Let’s review the experiences shared by our guest bike commuters.

Ted bike commutes most days that aren’t icy or snowy.  

Robert learned to bike commute in rain, floods and snow.  Then he moved to Idaho – nice!

Brian bike commutes from home to train, and changes from bike clothes to work clothes at the station. He makes good use of a bike locker at Princeton Junction. Melinda is another year-round bike to the train station commuter with a bike locker, and her 1.5 mile commute is on an el-cheapo bike.

Carol drives to work with her bike and work clothes for the next day, then bikes back home in the evening and back to work next morning.

Jenny takes the bus with the bike on the front rack to work, then bikes back home after work.

Kiyomi rides seven hilly miles on good days, in bike clothes with her work clothes carried on the bike.

Jim rides to work directly on CR518, but takes the long way home, as the mood suits him.

Mike commutes year-round, 25 miles round trip between Allentown (NJ) and Trenton.

Steve bike commuted from Princeton to Plainsboro for years.

Twice a week, Don bikes 35 miles to work in Mt. Laurel, but coming home rides 8 miles, hops on the River Line to Trenton, then bikes another 8 miles home.

Whit bikes 4 or 5 times per week year-round, from Hopewell to Plainsboro on CR518 and next to the D&R Canal, and enjoys the bike locker provided by his employer.

Other strategies – another Jim carpools with his wife to her work, then bikes to his work and back home afterwards – 2 miles biking there, 8 miles back to home. I’ve seen bike commuters who’ve gotten off the train in Princeton Jct and biked to their office in Carnegie Center, one had a folding bike with him on the train, another kept a bike locked to the racks near the Dinky.  Folding bikes are allowed at all times on NJ Transit, unlike full size bikes, which are subject to rush hour restrictions.

Bike commuting with children adds other possible strategies – Curt bikes with his son to Hopewell elementary, then continues on to work in Skillman. Denis’s child is too small to bike, so rides on the bikeseat to daycare before he continues on to work. Georgette somehow lives car-free with her 4 children under the age of four – maybe someday she’ll post her strategies.

Have we covered all the possibilities? Not at all – we’d love to hear from someone who uses Princeton University’s Tiger Transit and bikes, and/or the new Zagster bike share for commuting!

Please contact jfoster@gmtma.org if you’d like to share your bike commuting experiences.

 

 

 

Safe Routes to School Bookmark Contest Winners

22 Apr

In celebration of NJ Bike and Walk to School Week, Greater Mercer TMA (GMTMA) announced the winners of its Safe Routes to School Bookmark Design Contest. The contest, open to all third through fifth graders in Mercer and Ocean County, was themed “Walking is fun for all…winter, spring, summer or fall.”

The winners are:

Sara Willis, a 5th grade student at Ocean Road Elementary School, Point Pleasant, NJ

Sara

Hakon Ericson, a 4th grade student at Clara B. Worth Elementary in Bayville, NJ

Hakon

Olivia Kaczynska,  a 3rd grade student at Slackwood Elementary School, Lawrence Township, NJ

Picture2

 

Tanvi Damerla, a 5th grade student at Millstone River School, Plainsboro, NJ

Picture1

“Walking is an all seasons activity,” said Cheryl Kastrenakes, Executive Director of GMTMA, “and the students’ artwork really reflected this. They did an amazing job of capturing the fun and beauty of walking throughout the year. “

The winning bookmarks are being distributed at many Ocean and Mercer County schools and libraries.  Pick one up at your local library!

Congratulations to the winners!

The 2017 Safe Routes to School Bookmark Contest will start March 2017.

GMTMA serves as the NJ Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School coordinator for Ocean County and works with schools, communities and PTO’s to encourage more students to walk and bike to school safely and to improve the areas where it is not safe. If you would like more information about the Safe Routes to School Program, please visit gmtma.org.

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

15 Apr

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.

Image: Distracted.gov

Image: Distracted.gov

According to distraction.gov, distracted driving statistics paint a grim picture: In 2014, an estimated 3,179 people were killed and an additional 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Although law enforcement has stepped up enforcement, distracted driving continues to be a dangerous driving behavior.

But texting isn’t the only culprit in driving distractions.  Common behaviors include, grooming, eating, drinking, using your smart phone for directions or other types of browsing, all of which will be monitored and ticketed.  The NJ campaign focuses on texting and driving because it is considered especially dangerous since it requires three types of attention: visual, manual, and cognitive. It’s becoming very clear now that taking your eyes and attention away from the road, and your hands off the wheel is dangerous in several ways!

Here are a few tips to help keep you and others on the road safe. Just pull over to a safe location when:

  • Taking a phone call or texting
  • Grooming (putting on make-up, fixing your hair, shaving, etc.)
  • Eating
  • When you’re looking for directions on your smart phone
  • Trying to get your favorite radio station
  • Checking your Facebook status (it can’t be that urgent)

Remember, it can all wait until you can safely pull over.  It’s just not worth risking your life, or the life of an innocent person.

To learn more about the dangers of distracted driving, please see the following sources:

Nsc.org , distracteddrivingaccidents.com, distraction.gov, trafficsafetymarketing.gov.

Bike to Work Week Registration is Open!

8 Apr

REGISTER NOW!  Bike to Work Week (May 16-20) and Bike Month events registration is now available at gmtma.org. Registrants that log in their miles at the end of the week are entered to win great prizes offered by the following sponsors:  Kopp’s Cycle, Whole Earth Center, St. Lawrence Rehab Center, Hart’s Cyclery, McCaffrey’s Supermarket, Halter’s Cycles, Knapps Cyclery, Sourland Cycles, and REI. First 150 registrants get a free sports grey t-shirt with the Bike to Work Week logo!

Photo Credit: Deniz Dagci

Photo Credit: Deniz Dagci

GMTMA is also sponsoring the following Bike Month events:

Swap A Ride:  For those of you who don’t or can’t bike to work, replace as many car trips as possible with bike trips and enter to win prizes!

Employer Bike Challenge: Form a group of fellow employees to participate in Bike to Work Week. Enjoy the camaraderie and the great outdoors with co-workers by commuting to and from work together, compete with other employer teams, AND get a chance to win our EMPLOYER WHEELS award.

Visions of Bicycling: To celebrate Bike Month and the beauty of bicycling, GMTMA holds a photo contest (last year’s winner shown above). Bike to Work Week participants are welcome to submit their photographs.

And for those of you who want to express the beauty of bicycling in words, check out the Bike Commuter Journal series on our blog, and email jibara@gmtma.org if you’d like to share your bike commuting experiences. You could be featured on our blog.

And of course, GMTMA offers information and safety tips for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and can provide onsite bike safety and pedestrian education programs for schools and camp programs, businesses, as well as seniors. GMTMA can also help your community do a walkability audit and identify concerns for pedestrians related to the safety, access, comfort and convenience of the walking environment. An audit can also help identify potential solutions such as engineering treatments, policy changes or education and enforcement.

Remember to log in your miles at the end of the week and win great prizes from these generous sponsors:
Halters Cycles, Hart’s CycleryKnapps CycleryKopp’s CycleMcCaffrey’s SupermarketREI Princeton St. Lawrence Rehab CenterSourland CyclesWhole Earth Center 
sponsorslogo

 

Bike Commuter Journal – Where Did 2015 Go?

1 Apr

Bike Commuting RainSomehow it’s been since May of 2015 since my last Bike Commuter Journal entry – I’d say it’s become a ho-hum dull routine, but I’d be lying – just got really busy! So here’s the catch-up in brief.

Commuter Bike Mar 31 2016

Regarding the bike itself, only 3 minor changes – an extender for the handlebar bag attachment so the cables aren’t so crunched, a fixed mirror off the left end of the handlebar and a more solid video camera mounting near the left hand grip. The bike also sports a backup (to the always-on dyno-generated light not visible under the trunk box) rear blinky light on the back rack support strut, but that’s removable. The mirror replaces the old glasses-mounted mirror, which I kept losing.

Reflective Shirt Pics TogetherI’ve been experimenting with bike commuter fashion this year, though calling it fashion seems strange, as the goal is to blend unseen into the Dilbertian officescape, only to be revealed under the glare of headlights (or the paparazzi’s flash).

Anyway, gearing up for this year’s Bike To Work month in May, hope everyone will consider sending in your bike commuter blog post! (jfoster@gmtma.org)

 

 

What is a Walking School Bus ?

25 Mar

We recently launched the “Step into Spring. Ready, Set, Win!” competition and we mention that participants have to use the NJ Walking School Bus App to organize walks. Some people may wonder what is a Walking School Bus and why would you need a bus to organize a walk to school?

Photo: kavalenkau/Shutterstock.com

Well, a Walking School Bus is not really a bus. It is a parent led and organized group of children that walk to school together.  It is a great way to get children to walk to school, and it can be as small as two families taking turns to walk their children to school. There is also a variation for children and parents that bike to school, and it is called a bicycle train.

How can you start a Walking School Bus? You can start by inviting families that live nearby and walk as often as you like, it could be once a week, twice a week, or every day.  Or using our NJ Walking School Bus App you can join existing groups or create new groups and participate in our contest. Winners will be announced in June! Details about the contest are available here.

How does a Walking School Bus help? It helps children get the recommended daily amount of activity, and it helps parents who lead the group get their exercise too.  Children get to socialize with their friends, get to school feeling energized and ready to learn.

A Walking School Bus also helps the community by reducing air pollution and having fewer cars on the road.

If you are interested in starting a Walking School Bus but you are not sure how, what routes you could take, let us know and we will help you get started.

And don’t forget to share your story; you could be featured on our blog.

West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance celebrates 10 years!

18 Mar

Last night the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance celebrated its 10th anniversary at its Annual Meeting. Ken Carlson, the group’s founder and first president who moved from the area, was back in town to attend and be a guest speaker.

wwpa

Presentations from both the current president (Jerry Foster) and past president, covering recent advocacy efforts as well as the history of the group, made it clear that this is an organization that has made a real impact on improving conditions for both cyclists and pedestrians in West Windsor.

Their efforts have made West Windsor a safer place and a more inviting place to walk and bike.  And their work is inspiring other communities and other groups to do the same.   West Windsor is now a bronze designated bike friendly community.  Given WWBPA’s efforts so far… a Platinum designation could be in sight for their 20th!

 

 

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