Friday, May 31, 2013

A-Hole Alert!!! Car Break-ins On The River Trail

The re-opening of the the River Mountain Road access to the Two Rivers Bridge parking lot was followed quickly by multiple car break-ins in the lot. Smash-and-grabs have been an ongoing problem, mostly on the Little Rock side of the trail, and they often occur when you would least expect it; in broad daylight with crowds around. In one case a year or two ago, the guys had a bike on a rack on their vehicle and would fiddle with it until the coast was clear, then smash the window of the cars close by, take what they could grab, then drive away.
The most recent thefts, witnessed and caught on video, were by guys wearing hard hats so that they fit in with the recent presence of construction workers in the area. Do not leave anything valuable in plain sight! It is no guarantee, but may at least cause the thieves to move  on the the next victim.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Along The Trail: Plazas, Pavement, Berry Pickin' and People

Two Rivers Park Plaza
Work continues on the plaza in Two Rivers Park. Trees have been planted and benches installed.
There may come a time when we complain about over development of the River Trail. Even now, peak time crowds can be vexing and I enjoy the solitude that exists along much of the trail system. That said, adding people-friendly features like the plaza space, walkways, benches and the sundial-topped mound being built in Two Rivers Park will broaden the appeal of the River Trail system and build support for more!
The sundial is not yet in place, so this cheap substitute will have to do. The shadow here indicates the time was precisely 5:35PM. Adjusted for DST, of course.
The man-made high ground creates a new point-of-view in the otherwise flat Two Rivers Park.
Early Morning Observations and the NLR Trail Machine
A good way to see new things on familiar ground is to change your routine. I spent last Thursday evening changing out pretty much the whole drive train of my Cannondale. I then woke up way too early Friday morning, so I decided to head down to the river for a test ride. I ride early on summer weekends, but my weekday rides are mostly after-work affairs. This particular morning was sweet; the smell of flowers reached me all along the way, scissor-tail flycatchers chased bugs, I had my first indigo bunting sighting of the season, I stopped to snack on some tasty mulberries, and life was good!
It's not hard to tell who has been eating mulberries. The purple fingers are a dead giveaway. Stop and enjoy! It's easy to spot the trees. Just look for the berry-stained patches of trail.
I also spotted the elusive big-ass truck-mounted blower that keeps the NLR trail clear of debris.
This rig was pretty neat. The sheet metal elbow swept back and forth under control of the driver in the truck, blasting the trail clean with a powerful stream of air from the blower mounted in the bed.
Another thing that I noticed on my early ride was that the demographic was noticeably and decidedly female. In fact, I would guess that 70% of the runners, walkers and riders I saw were of the girl persuasion. I didn't draw any conclusions, but I did wonder....
Are men more likely to sleep in or less likely to be saddled with weekday after-work child duties?
Are female athletes more ambitious about getting out and getting it done?
I'll leave deeper conjecture about this gender disparity to folks with more time on their hands.
Blacktop and copperheads: River Mountain access is open and snakes are out
The topics are not really related, other than by the fact that a dead copperhead was handily positioned in the photo below of the repaired entrance to the Two Rivers Bridge parking lot near River Mountain Road. Along with the crowds of people along the trail, copperheads and the more frequently seen cottonmouths and common on the River Trail. Watch your kids, dogs, and feet!
I speculated that this poor guy crawled under the rock and absent-mindedly raised his head, resulting in a fatal injury.
The street work is complete in this area, but the contractor will be back to add a sidewalk from the launch ramp parking area to connect to sidewalks to the bridge. I also learned that some electrical work will require a one-day closure of the parking lot at some point.
Another trailside amenity from Pulaski County
This small plaza at the foot of the southwest BDB ramp will provide nice views, benches, and perhaps some shade. I say "perhaps" because I can't remember if this spot is to get a gazebo or just benches.
There is always plenty going on along the trail!

Events: Tour de Rock, FixIt Dedication, Gearhead Tri, Wampoo Roadeo

JBarCycling can 't be depended upon as sole source for cycling event information--there are simply too many good things going on for this simple working man to keep up. I do, however, gladly pass the word when informed!

Here are a few upcoming events of interest:

Tour De Rock June 1: This is likely the second biggest cycling event in Central Arkansas, following the BDB100. It's not too late to get on board and knock off some prairie miles for a good cause!

Marilyn Fulper Fixit Station dedication June 20: this from Charles Ross...
I wanted to invite you to an event coming up on June 20th at 6:00 on the LR side of Two Rivers Bridge. We will be dedicating one of the bike fixit stations that have been purchased by the Marilyn Fulper Memorial Fund. Marilyn’s sister Becky and Marilyn’s daughter Mersey will be there to say a few words to the group. We will also be installing a plaque like the one pictured below. This fund is supported by money raised at the Wampoo Roadeo coming up on July 20th. So far we have placed stations located at the bathrooms in Two Rivers Park, the Two Rivers Bridge and under the Main Street Bridge in North Little Rock. I have another station that will be placed on the LR side of the Clinton Bridge.
The Fixit stations get good use along the River Trail. The only downside is that vandals cannot seem to leave them alone, though there is little of value to steal. It is unfortunate that gifts to the community are compromised by the sheer meanness of a-holes.

Gearhead Triathlon: June 16
Gearhead Outfitters in Jonesboro is holding a sprint Tri!
 If you're one of those folks who enjoys swimming to the start of your bike race and then running away from the bike as fast as you can, this could be fun for you.

Wampoo Roadeo: July 20th (See Marilyn Fulper Fixit Station dedication above)
Flat metric century. I had a pesky cast on my arm at the time, so I drove the course as a SAG guy last year. It was a nice route and a well-supported ride. Proceeds go right back into our community, so get on board!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Along The Trail: River Mountain and Riverfest

Just a quicl note that as of Friday morning, paving at River Mountain Park appeared to be complete so, hopefully, the gates will be open and traffic can return to normal for Memorial Day weekend.
On the other end of the trail, Riverfest has devoured downtown and Riverfest is not a bike-friendly environment.

Bike Week Retrospective

Last week was National Bike Week and that meant that cycling was front-and-center in the mainstream media. I guess that's why I was a slug about getting anything posted! That's going to be my excuse, anyway.
One of the highlights of Bike Week for me is always Bike To Work Day. Since I work from home, that means that I get up earlier than usual, join Diane's convoy downtown, hit the news conference, and the proceed to the Capitol Hotel for a very fine and free breakfast.
A forecast of rain cut down on the numbers in our convoy. Former NLR mayor Pat Hays joined Diane and I for the ride downtown from Park Hill.
The threatened rain did not appear and the convoys rolled in to the press conference in the rose garden at Markham and Broadway.
By the time the TV cameras rolled for a few words by Metroplan's Jim McKenzie, LR Mayor Mark Stodola. and NLR Alderman Charlie Hight, a large crowd had gathered.
Vanessa McKuen was particularly stylishly and practically outfitted for a bike commute.
Cyclist and Capital Hotel manager Michael Chaffin once again welcomed us to the hotel for breakfast. Drop by for lunch sometime and you can valet park your bike! Thanks go out for the gracious hospitality and great food!!
I was not a day of frivolity, as we did actually have to go to work!! Diane shown here crossing the Broadway Bridge on her way to Garver as I headed off to make my Friday morning conference call.
Bike advocacy and the acceptance of cycling is going strong in Central Arkansas. I'm amazed at the many fronts on which efforts are being made to promote all aspects of riding.
Even will all of those efforts underway, I believe that one of the most effective ways that we can create acceptance among non-cyclists is to simply let people know that you ride a bike. I don't mean that we should all smugly brag about our mileage and fitness, but I think that when our friends and business associates know that the riders they see out on the road are not just some spandex-clad weirdos, but that they are the weirdos that live on their block, approve their bank loans, or fill their prescriptions, they will be more likely to pass safely rather than lay on the horn.
Go forth, spread the word, and ride safely.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tri County Shakedown: Think team time trial on open roads of varying surfaces. Think glory. Think personal challenge.

Think bikes. Think beer. Stop thinking now. I got reports that the Scott Tucker Scott Spring Classic was big fun, so this could be the event for you!

Justin Starks at Chainwheel asked me to help spread the word on this June 9 event. Here's the lowdown from the Facebook page:
Think team time trial on open roads of varying surfaces. Think glory. Think personal challenge.
It's happening again! If you participated in the Scott Tucker Scott Spring Classic you understand. For those of you who have only heard the whispers of the epic tales...

On June 9th ten teams of five riders will navigate unsupported roads filled with potential - the potential for glory. Total mileage is roughly 85mi. with roughly nine miles of road bike rideable gravel. Each team will be handicap...
ped and team times count when the last team rider crosses the finish line. Entry is $50 plus two six packs of your favorite bottled beverage per team with 100% of entries going to the purse.

Race start location and start time will be announced at a later date

Official entries must be made by e-mail and race fees must be paid by mail or in person. If you haven't registered, remember that there will be no "day of" registration - preregistration only.

Here's what we need to make your registration official:
1 - Team Name
2 - A check for $50.00 (or cash)
3 - A list of team members including age, sex and race category

You can send email to or snail mail to Justin Slarks C/O Chainwheel 10300 Rodney Parham Road Little Rock, AR 72227

Answers to frequently asked questions:
~ Digital maps will be delivered 24 hrs prior to start
~ Hard copy maps will be given at race start
~ Think of it as a self supported team time trial
~ Team's time counts when the last member finishes
~ Route details have not been released, but count on 85 miles
~ Event is non-sanctioned and course is not marshalled
~ Road surfaces are varied and include some gravel
~ Teams are self supported - no outside help
~ Preregistration required (see above)
~ Five person teams are any combo of men and women
~ Race entry fees are $50.00 plus two six packs of the team's favorite beverage
~ 100% of entries go into prize purse

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Airborne At Angry Dave's Wheels and Bikes

Chris Rogers and his family checking out the early action. A crowd gathered as the show went on. Chris said he was snagging a new BMX bike to relive his youth alongside his young son.
Dave Larson brought in the Southern BMX Stunt Show as entertainment for the grand opening of Angry Dave's on JFK in Park Hill a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, rainy weather limited the show a bit that day, but the boys came back to Dave's last Saturday and we were able to check out some of the action.
Southern Stunts rider John get a little sky time at Angry Dave's
Look out for that tree! Whew! OK, it wasn't as close as it looks.
 I'm usually in danger of hitting the bottom of trees on the MTB.
Spotting the landing.
Ted gave passing drivers on JFK Blvd. a good look.
 John delivered a lot of big air. All the guys were good, but altitude makes for good pics!
The show drew a crowd of enthusiastic spectators.
And here is the grand finale:

You can catch a full-blown version of the Southern BMX Stunt Show at Buzz-B-Q This Saturday, May 18.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Along The Trail:Wednesday Crits, Ride of Silence, and Dragon Boats

The weather has been good and there is more going on than I can keep up with. That is, if I want to ride every night instead of slaving over a hot keyboard, but I will try to hit a few high points.


2013 Ronde van Burns Summer Criterium Series

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
OK, summer means it’s time for criterium racing in North Little Rock’s Burns Park. For the eleventh consecutive year, road cyclists will get a chance to race weekly on a flat course around the park’s soccer fields that is just under a mile long and free of traffic in the CARVE Ronde van Burns Criterium Series. Races are held May 15, 22 and 29, and June 5, 12 and 19.
Click the CARVE link above for more information.
Crits are fast, close, and spectator friendly. Ride on by on Wednesday nights to check out the races or enter.
Also Wednesday night: Ride of Silence
 From the BACA calendar:
Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas (BACA) and Arkansas Bicycle Club are sponsoring the annual National Ride of Silence to remember those who have been killed or injured while bicycling and to recognize that bicyclists have a right to be on the roads. This international event, held during National Bike Month, will take place on May 15, 2013, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Our ride will leave from the new CALS Children's Library on 4800 W. 10th St., Little Rock, just east of Jonesboro St. near the Little Rock Zoo. The riders go silently and slowly, about 12 mph, 2 abreast, and will go east on 12th Street, using the new bicycle lanes. The ride will go through the Children's Hospital grounds and end at the east Capitol steps for a short memorial and silence. Riders will return on their own the way they came, or using 7th St. Helmets are required and bicycle lights are needed. For more information on the Ride of Silence, see www.rideofsilen​ For more information, contact Judy Lansky at 225-5343 or Jim Britt at 912-1449.
Saturday, May 18: Dragon Boat Races At Burns Park Victory Lake
The Dragon boats were being unloaded Tuesday evening at Burns Park in preparation for racing on Saturday.
I think this will be a first for the area.
I don't know much about this event, but I gather that the race organizers work with a local sponsor, show up with the boats and everything they need for a Dragon Boat Festival, raise some money and move on to the next site. I assume the business model is similar to Gauntlet races, etc., but it looks pretty cool. I spoke to one of the folks at the boats on Wednesday and she promised food, music and dancers to entertain at the event.
Once you hear about dragon boat racing and become involved in this world of sport, community and fun, there is no turning back from it. There is much more to it than a great day on the water. There are different and interesting ways to experience the sport for both team members and spectators. Whether you’ve paddled in a festival or regatta, or you paddle regularly in a dragon boat, you feel connected to it. That’s the beauty of it – from the moment you pick up a paddle, you’ll love dragon boat racing!
Traditional Hong Kong style dragon boats are 46-feet long, with 10 seats and 20 people. A drum seat in front of the first two paddlers (seated beside each other) holds a drummer – you want the smallest, loudest, most rhythmic person you can find. A steerer guides the boat with the steering oar in back. These 22 people make up a dragon boat team. The stroke is unlike any other (the most similar is outrigger canoe) and taught in practice.
With origins dating back 2,300 years, dragon boat racing is the most fun, unique cultural event featuring adrenaline-pumping action. Teams race in authentic 46-foot long Hong Kong style dragon boats. They rave about the excitement, friendly competition and community spirit surrounding the sport. All ages, skill levels and physiques perfect their stroke and timing for the ultimate teamwork experience!

You may be able to see some boats on the water for practice or demonstration over the next couple of evenings. Drop by on your way to watch the crits.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

May 12: Sunday Night BDB Closure

The Big Dam Bridge will be closed starting at 5:30 pm on Sunday, May 12 for the Illuminate the Cure race. Bridge opens for the lantern launch at 7:00 pm. Lanterns will be launched at dusk. For more information or to register for a lantern, visit the Susan G. Komen site.

Last Thursday saw a practice launch for the Illuminate The Cure event to be held Sunday, May 12 from the BDB.
750 lanterns will be launched at dusk on Sunday.

From The Committees: Working on Your Behalf

I try to make it a point to attend meetings of the various advocacy groups and bike related committees in Central Arkansas. I am on the North Little Rock Bike Friendly Community Committee (BFCC) and attend meetings of the LRBFCC and the Arkansas River Trail Task Force as an observer and "cyclist at large". I'm a BACA member and sometimes sit on on board meetings, as well.
I try not to be a pest and I actually do feel like I contribute a little value; if nothing else, I'm a bit of a common denominator and and can let one group know if another has already addressed an issue or developed information that is mutually beneficial. All of these groups have slightly different missions, but all are working toward the goal of enhancing cycling in Central Arkansas. Here's a short update on some things coming out of their activities:

BACA: The viability rating of Bike Advocacy of Central Arkansas has had its ups and downs over the last few years, but seems to be thriving under the current leadership of president Judy Lansky. Judy is an energetic recruiter and is not hesitant about pestering folks into cooperation.  At the recent general meeting, a new slate of officers was elected/drafted, to include:

Judy Lansky – President
Mason Ellis – Vice President
Diane Barton – Secretary
Bob Graham – Treasurer
Patrick Hays – At Large
Mikie and Cal Clift – At Large
(John Gillum and Chad Cragle will continue to serve another year)
These folks represent a range of backgrounds and interests within cycling and are set to help continue the progress that has been made over the last few years. Diane is serving as Secretary, so I'll have to weigh my words carefully should I choose at some point to criticise the minutes-of-the-meeting. Former North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays brings his extensive knowledge of central Arkansas government and a wealth of political savvy to the board. Pat is not sitting around in his retirement as he, along with Judy and Diane on the board, recently completed League of American Cyclists  instructor training (LCI).

The recent meeting featured a range of guest speakers including Jim McKenzie of Metroplan discussing the Broadway Bridge project and plans for the Highway 10 west corridor, Rob Stephens of the Arkansas River Trail Task Force on new signage standards for the ART System, Willa Williams of NLR Safe Routes To School on recent LCI training sponsored by the City of North Little Rock and other activities taking place north of the river.
 McKenzie has taken a very aggressive stance with the AHTD regarding accommodation, or lack thereof, of cycling and pedestrian needs as they move forward with the Broadway Bridge and with studies for reconstruction of highway 10 west of I-430. Of the AHTD, and I risk paraphrasing here, that he feels that they do a great job of planning and constructing high speed rural highways, but that they impose those same models on urban infrastructure to the detriment of cycling and walking opportunities.

ART Task Force
This committee met recently and among the business discussed was the approval of standards for signage throughout the ART system. The sign styles will include wayfinding signs with directional arrows and mileage to key features such as the BDB, mile markers, and route markers.
The example at the upper left is an old-style ART sign. The other three are examples of the new-style signs approved by the AHTD for use along highway portions of the Arkansas River Trail System.

ART Task Force members in a exercise to suggest sign placement on the River Trail System. Neil Curry AGFC Witt Stephens Nature Center, Jeremy Lewno, LR Bike-Ped Coordinator, Lynn Bell of Metroplan and John Light, LR Parks Trails Coordinator.

Gene Pfeifer, Rob Stephens, NLR Alderman Charlie Hight, Jacque Alexander of Backcountry Horsemen, and Lynn Warren of Ark. State Parks represent a diverse group of trail users and stakeholders.

Arkansas River Trail Website
The ART Task Force has been behind the development of an extensive website for the Arkansas River Trail System at  
In addition to a lot of information and maps on the trail itself, the site includes information concerning upcoming events, some of which may involve trail closures.

There will soon be a form for event planners to use when applying for use of portions of the trail for runs, rides, and other events. This will provide a single point of contact, as many activities overlap the jurisdictions of cities, parks departments, counties, the Corps of Engineers, etc, etc.

Bike Friendly Community Committees: Little Rock and North Little Rock

While the stated purpose of these groups is to advance the cities' goal toward gaining League of American Bicyclists Bike Friendly City designation (Little Rock) or going for a higher level (NLR bronze to silver), meeting the requirements for the designations requires real improvement. Both groups are doing good work in terms of shaping streets policies, gaining infrastructure, and educating folks on the benefits of cycling. As an example, NLR recently sponsored LCI training that resulted in 16 new League Certified Instructors. The new LCI's included a couple of NLR School District coaches who are an important component on efforts to bring bike education to the schools. On a recent Saturday morning, more than 50 kids, along with their parents, turned out at Crestwood Elementary to be fitted with new helmets and learn the basics of safe cycling from program coordinator Willa Williams and the newly minted instructors. That is exciting stuff! Educate the kids and educate the parents and soon we may have a whole new generation of cycling advocates.

Many of you are just interested in riding bikes and I'm cool with that, but the people who share their time on these committees, whether as volunteers or as part of their jobs, are the key to why cycling has such a large and growing presence in Central Arkansas. Projects like the River Trail don't happen overnight. They can take decades of hard work and persistence to become a reality, but the results can forever change the face of our community for the better.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Local Bad News: Stolen Bikes

Tim and Vanessa McKuen's bikes were stolen. Let's be on the lookout for them, including you Craig's list shoppers.

Vanessa's Bike
This is a stock photo of a Damocles in the red, white, black paint scheme.
Here's info from Vanessa:

It is just the most awful feeling to loose a bike. I hope you don't know it, but if you do, I'm sure you know what I mean. So, I don't have a pic of tim's bike but it is a Red, white and black Ridley Damocles with SRAM Red shifters, SRAM Force crank and derailleurs, Mavic K10 wheels, Oval bar, system and seatpost. Fizik saddle, Speedplay Zero pedals and Arundel carbon cages. My bike (photo attached is a black Civia Loring with bamboo fenders, Brooks saddle and a back rack. I actually have footage of the guys that stole them. They are pretty young and I doubt that they know much about bikes. They probably don't realize what nice stuff they have, but maybe they'll try to take them to a shop if they can't pawn them or don't just ride them or ditch them. Right after they stole the bikes, they rode over to Big Daddy's pawn shop on 12th street where they tried to pawn my camera, the only other thing they took. They were turned down, so they went on their way, but I got the footage from Big Daddy's security cameras. We filed a police report and I've given the police footage, but I don't get the sense that this is a high priority for LRPD.

Anyway, I so appreciate you guys getting the word out to the bike shop/riding communities. Please have anyone with info give me a call at 501-920-7735. Tim is in the midst of finals this week, so probably better to communicate with me.

Thanks again.



Sunday, May 5, 2013

Grand Tour Time! Giro d'Italia Is Now

Many JBar Cycling readers follow the pro bike racing scene closely. For those of you who don't, let me reassure you that bike racing did not die with the demise of the legend of Lance; on the contrary, I think that racing is better than ever. Springtime in Europe is loaded up with one-day classics like Milan-San Remo, , Tour of Flanders, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Amstel Gold, and the big daddy of them, Paris-Roubaix. Through in a bunch of 3-day to week-long tours and we have had a hell of a lot of good racing.

If you want to watch the season-in-a-nutshell, I was introduced to a great resource recently (Thanks, Drew!) in the form of Cyclocosm. In addition to some podcast-style rants on various topics from host Cosmo Catalano, races are broken down in a succinct and often hilarious manner in his regular "How The Race Was Won" video features. Here is a sampling. I selected Paris-Roubaix for your viewing pleasure:

The spring racing season is behind us and now we enter the serious count-down to the 2013 Tour de France with the first of the 3-week Grand Tours, the Giro d'Italia which started Saturday, May 4.
The grand tours evolve over the years, and the last few Giros have been great for the tifosi (as the fanatical Italian fans are called), but not so good for the riders, with brutal climbs, impossibly technical and dangerous urban routes over streets built more for Roman sandals than for a speeding peloton.
Organizers have supposedly toned things down a bit after rider protests and snow-shortened routes in 2012, but the Giro d'Italia remains perhaps the most beautiful of the Grand Tours. In searching out television coverage, I came across an unfamiliar resource, the BEIN Sports network (channel 268 on Central Arkansas Comcast), which had live broadcasts and highlights of Stages 1 and 2 of the Giro. Interestingly, BEIN is owned and operated by Qatari Sports Investments, an affiliate of Al Jazeera Media Networks. While watching an Al Jazeera affiliate may be considered considered un-American by the folks at Fox (hell, I consider Fox News to be subversive, myself), I don't think that I've become any less patriotic over the last couple of days. I'll qualify that by confessing that I was rooting for a foreigner, Manx sprinter Mark Cavendish, in the first stage. I've always liked the brash sprinters, being a long-time Robbie McEwen fan before Cav blew onto the scene. Both have a banty rooster style of toughness, pocket-sized and absolutely fearless, though Cavendish does show his youth with a bit of a tender side that I never saw McEwen display.

I did not see any more Giro coverage scheduled for TV, but you can see almost any bike races live on cyclingfans if you can park in front of a computer. You can also often see recorded video of race finishes and key moves after the race is over. Fortunately, many of the most exciting summit finisher come on weekends. Once you get a feel for it, navigation on cyclingfans is fairly easy. Click on "live coverage" and select an English language link. DO NOT download any of the browser upgrades, etc. Just wait a couple of minutes and you can close out the annoying ads that park over the streaming video.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Little Rock to Memphis Ride Video

I've been meaning to post this video, which was shared by Bud Laumer. It documents a ride from Little Rock to Memphis and is worth a look. It is well-produced and quite entertaining.

Here's link to the route map:

Enjoy, and thanks go out to Bud for sharing!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Moving On and Moving Up

Rolling Like A Locomotive!
Just last week I was railing about the poor planning and slow progress at the site of the culvert cave-in at River Mountain Park, then I commented positively on the pace of the work once it got started. Well, all I can say is that you don't want to stand in the way of moving trains!
While park and trail users complained for months over the delays in repairing the access to Two Rivers Park and the River Trail at River Mountain Road, once the Little Rock and Western Railroad got involved, work proceeded at a remarkable pace. Last Sunday evening, this site was just a large excavation, busy with heavy equipment.
By Wednesday, the tracks were back in place and the finishing touches were being put on the fill over the new culvert. Trail user may make some noise, but railroads make money!
This view from the Two Rivers Bridge shows the discharge of the newly-placed culvert.
Work that was predicted to take nearly a month has been near-completed in just over a week. Now, if only the February weather would move on, park users and commuters could go back to springtime business as usual. I'm not sure of the timing for the road to be re-opened, but it would not surprise me if it was open as I write, given the rapid progress of the last few days.
Moving on up! We're 37th!
In most endeavors, finishing in 37th place would not garner an exclamation point, but considering that Arkansas was ranked 50th last year in "bike friendliness" by the League Of American Bicyclists, 37th ain't so bad. This year's report card is probably a more accurate reflection of where Arkansas stands than was last year's. Though there have not been a lot of real change as of yet, Governor Mike Beebe has become engaged, a statewide advocacy group is being formed, a consultant has been contracted and there is a much more progressive attitude showing at various state agencies.
 I believe that the 2012 application was completed with a "glass half empty" approach by our then AHTD bike-ped coordinator; the application was likely accurate, but most such applications posture to show things in the best possible light while ours seemed weighted a bit to point out shortcomings. That is not to be construed as implying that the application was purposely negative; just that the coordinator was perhaps holding Arkansas to an idealized standard and he saw plenty of room for improvements that were not being addressed.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

National Bike Month

May is National Bike Month and there are numerous related events taking place locally. I'll try to cover some of them here, but feel free to pile on in the comments section if I miss an event.

Ditch-The-Keys Week: May13-17
and Bike-To-Work Day: May 17
Folks all over Central Arkansas will be leaving the car behind and walking, riding the bus or hopping on the bike as the "ditch the keys". Friday will mark Ride To Work Day as riders saddle up to ride to work. Many will be joining convoys of other riders and many local businesses will be offfering discounts, snacks and other amenities to cyclists. (Hint: The Capital Hotel will be my breakfast spot and I work at home!)
Follow this link for detailed information and to find a convoy rolling from your part of town!

Ride Of Silence: May 15
From the BACA calendar:
Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas (BACA) and Arkansas Bicycle Club are sponsoring the annual National Ride of Silence to remember those who have been killed or injured while bicycling and to recognize that bicyclists have a right to be on the roads. This international event, held during National Bike Month, will take place on May 15, 2013, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Our ride will leave from the new CALS Children's Library on 4800 W. 10th St., Little Rock, just east of Jonesboro St. near the Little Rock Zoo. The riders go silently and slowly, about 12 mph, 2 abreast, and will go east on 12th Street, using the new bicycle lanes. The ride will go through the Children's Hospital grounds and end at the east Capitol steps for a short memorial and silence. Riders will return on their own the way they came, or using 7th St. Helmets are required and bicycle lights are needed. For more information on the Ride of Silence, see www.rideofsilen​ For more information, contact Judy Lansky at 225-5343 or Jim Britt at 912-1449.

Bike Dash Scavenger Hunt: May 5

Join Bobby's Bike Hike and the Little Rock River Market for our 1st annual Bike Bash DASH! - bicycle scavenger hunt. We'll place clues around downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock and you'll use your bicycle to compete against teams (via a provided map) to find the clues. There will be two divisions so that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy: a Competitive Division and a Family Division. Don't have a bike, no problem, you can rent one at Bobby's Bike Hike for a discounted rate.

Cyclofemme Central Arkansas Ride

When: Sun, May 12, 2pm – 4pm
Where: Two Rivers Park (map)
Description: Join us for a ladies ride celebrating women on two wheels and encouraging more women to Come Ride With Us. View the Facebook event here: https://www.fac​​s/4339030066898​27/