Messenger Archive: Winter 2004
Helmets off to Tina for a job well done
by Laura Hallam
After three years of tireless service, Tina Russo passed the gavel to new FBA president Mighk Wilson at the October board meeting. Tina’s energy, enthusiasm and passion for Florida bicycling has helped build FBA into a thriving association.
Tina wears many hats. Somehow she manages to juggle her day job as a trail manager for the Hillsborough County Parks Department while serving as the vice chairman of the Hillsborough County Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee and Trail Patrol instructor and southeastern National Mountain Bike Patrol representative for the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).
She is a League of American Bicyclists League Certified Instructor, a certified expert coach for USA Cycling and a regional trainer for the Florida Traffic and Bicycle Safety Education Program.
In the past she has also volunteered as a ParaOlympic cycling coach and serves on the board of the Tampa Bay Freewheelers.
It's hard to imagine a cyclist with a better combination of competence, passion and leadership ability than Tina Russo... Under her leadership, FBA has gone from a struggling young non-profit to one that other cycling advocacy organizations point to as a success...
— Mighk Wilson, FBA President
When I became a staff member of FBA in April 2001, Tina and other board and advisory members gave 100% to help me be successful in directing an advocacy organization. Tina and I talked (by phone or email) daily and quickly became more than just colleagues. Tina became my friend, mentor, coach and teacher. Her willingness to help others succeed is incredible.
Tina strives to encourage people to have fun on bikes and reach goals they didn’t expect were achievable. She encouraged me to try off-road riding and has taught me many skills with patience and perseverance.
One of our road trips in Fall 2001 took us to North Carolina to attend a trail building camp at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. One day a group went riding at Tsali. Tina took a less experienced group of four on the easier trails while the others attacked the mountain.
The latter would have been more fun and challenging for Tina , but that’s Tina—always the teacher, motivator and Pied Piper of cycling.
Tina has coaxed many to complete their first century or get back on their bikes after a long absence. Recently she challenged a friend to do his first century. If completed, both would get bicycle tattoos to document the challenge. So…..guess who’s sporting new tattoos? (See picture).
She challenged another friend at a recent event in Sebring. He didn’t complete the distance that weekend, but did on Tina’s post Christmas ride on the Suncoast Trail. For Tina, it’s not how fast or far you ride. The important thing is to get out and ride.
Whether commuting to work, spinning at the gym or riding with friends on- and off-road on the weekends, Tina takes bicycling very seriously—for both mental and physical health.
Tina will remain on the board and stay busy teaching bicycle education workshops —among all her other responsibilities. For Tina, this is not work; it is what she was meant to do.
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FBA recognizes Florida’s top bicycling supporters at National Rally for Cyclists in Madison, Florida
The 2003 FBA annual awards were recently presented to fifteen worthy recipients for their contributions to bicycling. The purpose of the awards is to bring attention to the efforts and achievements of groups, organizations and individuals that help deliver our mission to inspire and support people and communities to enjoy greater freedom and well being through bicycling.
North Florida Community College in Madison was the setting for the awards presentation held at FBA’s annual meeting on October 18 in conjunction with BIKEFEST 2003 The National Rally for Cyclists.
Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Lee County MPO Bicycling Pedestrian Coordinating Committee
Ron Gogoi, Bike/Ped Coordinator
The Lee County BPCC is unique in the way it operates. Because Lee County and some of its municipalities have their own BPACs, this body acts a coordinator of overlapping or adjoining jurisdictions.
Similar to MPO’s Technical Advisory Committee, members come from each local government as well as from groups such as the school district, transit, Injury Prevention Coalition, Landscape Advisory Committee and Citizens Advisory Committee.
Because there is no local BPAC for state roads, BPCC acts in that capacity for Lee County and has developed a priority list of retrofit projects and has secured $500K-1.5 million per year in off-the-top funds from FDOT for retrofitting these roads with bike/ped facilities.
Each year BPCC ranks all Transportation Enhancement projects submitted locally. The results of this objective ranking are then sent on to MPO for formal approval.
This year, BPCC was responsible for initiating the production of Lee County’s first user-intended bicycle map. Production and printing of 5,000 copies came primarily from funds left over from a FDOT grant. A future map update and printing will be paid for by private-sector sponsors. The first 5,000 copies will be distributed free to the public from area bike shops, parks & recreation departments and visitor bureaus.
Ron Gogoi, the MPO bike/ped coordinator, has been instrumental in these accomplishments while at the same time handling many other MPO/transportation duties.
North Florida Bicycle Club
David Stow, President
With a mission to encourage all people to participate in bicycling, the North Florida Bicycle Club serves the North Florida community in promoting safer conditions for cyclists and road/trail users. They are committed to support bicycling through social activities, education, leadership by example and civic involvement.
Education in safety and bicycle maintenance are provided for members at monthly club meetings. The club provides volunteers for organized, charitable and advocacy rides in the North Florida area, including teams for the MS150 ride. The club has also supported Bike Florida with volunteers and participants.
Friends of San Felasco Citizen’s Support Organization
Brian McAllister, President
The Friends of San Felasco is the San Felasco Hammock Preserve Park’s Citizen Support Organization, a non-profit corporation given special status by Florida law that make it possible for individuals to support the park through volunteer efforts.
This organization contains a diverse range of outdoor enthusiasts, from horse riders and mountain bikers to ecologists and hikers. Their goals include promoting recreational uses of the park and fostering academic understanding of its unique mix of ecosystems.
Located in Alachua, 2,000 acres of the park have been designated for multi-use programs including night mountain bike rides, volunteer work days and two organized rides, the Felasco Nocturnal and the Tour de Felasco, a 50-mile off-road ecotour.
Education Program (Regional Trainer)
Citrus County Dept of Health
Kris has spearheaded the traffic and bicycle safety effort in Citrus County for the past several years. Through her efforts to date, 27 teachers have been trained in Citrus County elementary and middle schools; 15 public and one private school are now offering pedestrian and bicycle safety education and school bus safety in their schools.
All the schools have instituted low-cost helmet programs. Kris and others are working to get the bicycle helmet law adopted in Citrus County, one of the two counties that “opted out” when the law was passed.
Kris delivers her safety message with passion and enthusiasm. She plans to present the program in 16 schools this year while demonstrating a strong willingness to help other regional trainers in the Florida Traffic and Bicycle Safety Education program.
A League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructor, Kris also teaches bicycle safety to adults.
Corporal Bob Ricciardi, Bicycle Coordinator
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office
Corporal Ricciardi continues to implement one of finest bicycle law enforcement programs in the state. Backed by Sheriff Edward Bieluch, Bob has been proactive with leadership and motivation in his department’s enforcement of bike/ped laws.
He didn’t have to do this alone due to the support of bicycle safety educators Walt Nygard and George Martin who assist with workshops and trainings throughout the county. FBA is working with the Sheriff’s Office under Bob’s leadership to produce a bicycle law enforcement video.
Bob, George and Walt work out of a sub-station to supervise the bicycle patrol division. Their fleet of bicycles, equipment and maintenance department would put most full line bicycle shops to shame. Bob is an IPMBA and League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructor.
Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise
Jim Ely, Director
Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise has created an exceptional multi-use trail that runs the length of their newly created Suncoast Parkway. This trail runs 42 miles adjacent to the parkway through Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando Counties.
The Turnpike Enterprise was visionary in designing, funding and constructing this trail in concert with the development of the parkway, a first for the state of Florida. The design, especially for trail crossings with major and minor roadways is exceptional and an outstanding model for Florida. Future generations and visitors to west central Florida will be forever grateful for this vision and exceptional trail.
IMBA’s Epic Ride
Art & Julianne North, Directors
Every year, the International Mountain Biking Association selects four outstanding routes to present as IMBA Epic Rides. These two-day celebrations bring mountain bikers together to celebrate the sport and enjoy great riding. The first day is focused on trailwork and the second on riding and enjoying the fruits of their labor. Florida’s first IMBA Epic Ride was held at Alafia River State Park near Tampa under the local leadership direction of the SouthWest Association of Mountain Bike Pedalers (SWAMP).
Art and Julianne North and approximately 45 volunteers logged 210 hours on the Saturday projects, which included building new trail, shoring up other trails, building a new bailout, and finalizing work at an adjacent off-road site.
Recognition goes to all the volunteers that made this event happen and especially to Art and Julianne North, Jim Fleming, Wes Eubank and Harvey Minton.
Hillsborough County MPO
Gena has been the bicycle/pedestrian coordinator for several years in Hillsborough County. Gena leads the fight for bicyclists and is their voice for governmental issues. She constantly provides input and presentations for the “invisible cyclist” who gets left out over lack of on-road facilities. These individuals are often the folks getting killed and injured. Gena has created a database charting all types of crashes and where they occur in Hillsborough County. She provides great input and organization to the BPAC her county.
Citizen Bike Advocate
St Petersburg Commuter
Kimberly is a roving bike advocate on wheels throughout St. Petersburg. She works tirelessly in promoting bikes as transportation both by her daily commute and by handing out brochures and flyers to the general public. A long-time commuter, Kimberly’s bicycle is her sole means of transportation. She often describes herself as a chronic complainer, but her passion for bicycle advocacy is loud and clear. One person can make a difference. Kimberly has been very instrumental in the promotion of FBA’s Florida Bicycling Street Smarts and recently donated funds to be used for the next printing of this publication.
After eight years of volunteer service, Jim Solanick, a (Race Across America) RAAM qualified rider, is stepping down this year as Randonneurs USA’s Regional Brevet Administrator (FA) As Florida RBA, Jim organized an annual brevet series consisting of at least one ride each of 200km, 300km, 400km, 600km, and 1000km distances. Florida’s climate and perfect winter and spring riding conditions each year draw hundreds of riders to the series from around the world. Each year, Jim has added extra brevets, and this year the series expanded to eight rides. Jim’s selfless dedication to sharing the experience of long-distance cycling to others will be missed. Jim plans to use his spare time to focus on preparing for an upcoming RAAM. Jim is also a board member of the West Palm Beach Bicycle Club and regularly participates in club planning and activities.
Bicycle Friendly Community
Sheryl Mosley and Pam Portwood, Grant Coordinators
Wakulla, a small rural county of 22,000 in Northwest Florida, is in the process of developing a sustainable economic recovery plan that includes nature based/heritage tourism. The Tourist Development Council and Chamber of Commerce have realized the benefits of these types of sustainable tourism activities and how the bicycle is often key to getting people to visit Wakulla County. Presently, the GF&A trail is underway from downtown Sopchoppy to Ochlockonee River State Park. The Surf Road Bike Trail is also underway from Mashes Sands to Sopchoppy. Presently, the county offers to residents and visitors the St. Marks Trail State Park that begins in Tallahassee and ends at the confluence of the Wakulla and St. Marks rivers. A new gazebo, dock and restrooms greet visitors at trail’s end. Wakulla County also offers many miles of mountain biking in federal lands for wildlife viewing and very primitive exploring. Wakulla County is 73% federal and state managed lands, largely National Forest and Refuge. The St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is a partner with the Surf Road trail and the Appalachicola National forest is a partner with the GF&A Trail. The St. Marks Trail over the past 15 years has contributed to economic redevelopment of the town of St. Marks.
Bicycle Friendly Community
Panama City Beach
Gail Oberst, City Councilwoman
For the past three years, the City of Panama City Beach has been working to plan and develop a 20-mile system of greenways and trails to be called the Great Northwest Coastal Trail. In June, construction began on the trailhead. The first mile of the trail and trailhead were recently dedicated to and named for Gail Oberst by the Panama City Flyers Cycling Club. At completion of the first phase of the project a paved trail will also extend northward to the east west trail that transverses Panama City Beach. The trails will also permit walking and biking to a proposed city nature park located between Hwy 79 and Walton County. Panama City Beach and the region have a once-in-lifetime opportunity to secure these areas. The City of Panama City Beach is working with other coastal counties of the panhandle to establish a multi-county Northwest Florida Coast Trail System.
Suncoast Trails Advisory Group (STAG)
Joanne Hurley, Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise
The Suncoast Trail has been a success story of a multi-jurisdiction trail. This 42-mile trail is managed by four government agencies. This trail won the Millenium Award, the National Trail designation, Florida Department of Environmental Protection Office of Greenways and Trails designation. The Suncoast Parkway is up for scenic designation and the trail is the focal point for that nomination.
Share the Road Tag Sales
Diane Nelson, Pinellas County Tax Collector
Diane Nelson and her staff recognize the value of safe cycling awareness and have contributed to promoting tag sales in Pinellas County. Pinellas County boasts the highest sales, second only to Palm Beach County, 2002 STR Tag Sales recipient.
Share the Road Tag Promotions
Barbara Ford-Coates, Sarasota County Tax Collector
Sarasota County designated May as “Share the Road Month” via several special events including participation in the Sarasota County Bicycle Street Festival. Barbara Ford-Coates personally sets a good example of sharing the road and her bicycle is a frequent companion while traveling.
Morris Steen, Jr., President, North Florida Community College
North Florida Community College generously provided their campus for three Bike Florida events over the past two years: a two-night stop for Bike Florida 2002, the 2002 Share the Road Rally & Summit and BIKEFEST 2003 a National Rally for Cyclists. Everyone from the president of the college to the student body has contributed to the success of these events, which have displaced many from their schedules. So many people have been so helpful in facilitating these events and truly appreciate the support of NFCC.
Former FBA webmaster, Gainesville Cycling Club, Florida Touring Calendar
Roger has been a long time supporter FBA in many ways. He has served as FBA’s webmaster, the association’s primary communication tool next to the quarterly newsletter. He maintains other websites and keeps the Gainesville Cycling Club’s Florida Touring Calendar current to keep people informed about events throughout the state. This same touring calendar is accessible from the FBA website and is the basis for the calendar printed in the FBA Messenger each quarter. Roger is very active in the Gainesville Cycling Club, Friends of San Felasco and other organizations promoting bicycling.
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The Spirit of the Two-Wheeled Tribe
by Mighk Wilson
Homo sapiens are tribal animals.
The essential unit of survival for our species is not the individual, not even the family, but the tribe.
Individuals and families cannot survive outside of the context of a larger community. We feel this subconsciously as cyclists, feeling more protected when riding with others than when alone.
Recently my wife, Carol, and I, with the help of Tricia and Bruce Martin, put on a Christmas Light night ride through the First Unitarian Church of Orlando. We invited FBA members in the Orlando area and also got the word out informally.
Due to the cold temps, the numbers of people suffering seasonal maladies, and general holiday busyness, our turnout was modest; perhaps 25 riders about evenly divided between church members and FBA members.
I’ve come to think of it as a meeting of representatives of two tribes. The primary tenet of the Unitarian Universalist Church is that personal experience, conscience and reason should be the final authorities in religion. There are no dogmas to adhere to, only guiding principles. Diversity is key; you will find people from all religious backgrounds: Jews, Buddhists, Pagans, atheists, agnostics and, yes, Christians.
I write this not to sell you on the merits of the “UU” church, but to set the stage for thoughts about how we might see ourselves as cyclists. I’ve converted a few UU principles to bicycling principles we might adopt:
- Belief in the inherent value of every bicyclist and every bicycle trip
- Justice, equity and compassion among road users
- Acceptance of those who bicycle in ways different from our own and encouragement to improve bicycle use and skills in our communities
In the hall where we met after the ride for snacks and drinks, a “church tribe” member, Nikki, came up to me and gave me a big hug of thanks for putting on the ride. She said she’d bought a new bike just two weeks earlier and that Carol and I and the Christmas Ride were the reason and inspiration.
It was her first ride in many years. A little while later I was talking to a member of the “bicycle tribe.” We watched Nikki outside the window preparing to roll her bike back to her car and lighting up a cigarette.
The “bicycle tribe” member commented about her smoking as though it was quite incompatible with bicycling; a comment I very likely would have made myself not long ago. So I explained where Nikki was coming from.
Creating a culture that embraces bicycling is far more about encouraging people to ride on their own terms and getting everyone—especially motorists—to accept those terms, than about building paths or striping bike lanes.
This is not to say that we should abandon our key principle—that bicyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles—but that we need to be very patient, and lead new riders from a place where they feel comfortable.
There’s no way Nikki would have ever considered riding nine miles, at night, on city streets by herself. But she said the company of two dozen other cyclists made it easy. She had a tribe to support and encourage her.
Ask a group of people about their earliest bicycling experiences and many will use the word “freedom.”
Our power to grow the “bicycle tribe” and change our culture is weakened when we insist that newcomers adhere to dogma, inhibiting their ability to recapture the freedom they’ve lost.
“Thou shalt wear a helmet…thou shalt wear neon colors, Lycra and special shoes…thou shalt ride a multi-speed, high-end bike.” What better way to turn people away from bicycling?
Instead of blind adherence to dogma, UUs strive to “heed the guidance of reason and the results of science.” In the same way the lack of a solid foundation in science education can lead to irrational beliefs about the way the universe works, the lack of training and education on bicycling can lead to irrational beliefs about cycling.
Early YMCA leader and evangelist Sherwood Eddy said, “Faith is reason grown courageous.” Fifteen years ago after I’d completed a solo cross-country tour, a Christian friend told me, “What you did took real faith.”
The comment confounded me, a non-believer, because I equated faith with belief in the unknowable. But now I understand that the strongest faith is based on reason, the known and the knowable.
While I was fully aware that there are a number of people out there who are quite dangerous, I had faith in my skills and experience, and especially in the basic goodness of others.
This faith in the known extends to everyday cycling. Faith in the fact that cyclists do fare best when they act as drivers of vehicles. Faith that in spite of the inevitable harassment from ignorant and belligerent motorists, the actual risk of cycling with motorized traffic is in fact very small, especially when compared to the risks of leading a sedentary life.
Faith that the most basic skills and practices of cycling are adequate to handle most situations.
Which direction will our tribe take? Will the spirit of bicycling in Florida continue to be controlled by a car culture’s taboo that says bicycling is dangerous, frivolous, a mode only for the disadvantaged or the athletic, requiring separate facilities?
And will our tribe stifle its own growth with dogma that insists on athleticism and special equipment?
Or will a new spirit of bicycling be formed, based on freedom, equality, science and reason? A spirit made courageous through community connections and faith in the known.
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Hydration issues: don't sweat it, learn the facts
by Connie Carlson and Marilyn Brady, RN
Your body needs water nearly as much as it needs oxygen.
Water accounts for 55-60% of adult body weight. A significant health risk occurs with a 10% loss of body water; but with as little as 2% water loss due to sweating a drop in blood volume can occur.
When this happens, the heart works harder in order to move blood through the vascular system.
Prehydration and rehydration are vital for cardiovascular health, proper body temperature and muscle function.
Exercise builds up heat in working muscles, causing a rise in internal temperature. To compensate for this increase in heat, the body perspires to cool down.
However, the side effect of perspiration can be dehydration.
The lack of proper fluids can result in fatigue and cramping. Without proper fluid intake, your body is less capable of moving nutrients through your system and distributing oxygen. Recent research has shown that dehydrating muscle by as little as 3% can result in a 12% decrease in strength.
In addition, when you sweat, you lose electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. Electrolytes are critical for all bodily functions. The danger lies in the fact that you become dehydrated before you sense the need to drink.
A hydration study presented at the 48th annual American College of Sports Medicine Conference shows that many athletes may be running on empty.
Seasoned athletes underestimated their sweat losses by an average of 46% and their fluid intake by an average of 15%, resulting in replacing only 30% of their fluid lost though sweat.
One percent dehydration-only 1.3lbs. of fluid loss for a 130 lb. person-can lead to premature fatigue and increase the risk of heat illness.
To avoid fatigue, poor performance, decreased coordination and muscle cramping, the American College of Sports Medicine suggests the following:
- Eat a high carb, low fat diet and drink plenty of fluids between exercise sessions.
- Drink 17 oz of fluid 2 hours before exercise.
- Drink every 15 minutes during exercise. 4-10 ounces minimizes dehydration risk.
- Keep drinks cooler than air temperature and close at hand.
- If you exercise for more than 60 minutes add carbohydrates and/or electrolyte replacement solutions.
- Take 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour during extended exercise. (Carb Explosion has 44 grams per serving)
Low Oz, the drink that sponsored the Century events at the 26th Mount Dora Bike Fest, addresses hydration issues well.
Low Oz has been praised for its low Osmolality rating (Osmolality is the measurement of solid particles suspended in a liquid.).
Remember osmosis from chemistry 101?
Osmolality of Sports Drinks—280+
Osmolality of Blood—250
Osmolality of Low Oz—220
With a low osmolality rating, Low Oz easily travels across the intestinal membrane into the blood system in 90 seconds as opposed to 40 minutes for the standard sports drinks.
FBA has made it possible for you to order Low Oz, Carb Explosion and other essential nutritional supplements online at www.unicityinternational.com or by calling 1-800-864-2489. Use customer # 512471. Any rebates earned will benefit FBA.
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News from Bike Florida...
Administrative changes, sold out ride usher in new year for statewide tour/bike safety promoter
New director at helm
Effective December 1, 2003, Greg Wilson became the new Executive Director for Bike Florida.
The office moved to Gainesville, where Bike Florida has a warehouse and accounting office.
Greg is a regional trainer and former bike ped coordinator and brings extensive event experience to the position.
Greg also will work closely with FBA on Share the Road tag promotions. FBA shares tag revenues with the organization.
Former FBA board member Lyndy Moore served as interim executive director while Bike Florida conducted a nationwide search for a new ED. Although no longer a Bike Florida staff member, Lyndy will assist Greg with tour events. She will be on the 2004 Springs Fever ride teaching the first-ever Rolling Road I course (see below).
She also plans to conduct bicycle education courses, bike rodeos, and free lance bike events in Florida. She will continue promoting the Share the Road tag.
Former director to become
TJ Juskiewicz, the former executive director, moved to Iowa last July to become ride director for RAGBRAI. He will assume that position in August 2004 when Jim Greene retires. You can reach him through the RAGBRAI website: www.ragbrai.org.
Bike Florida 2004: Springs Fever
Bike Florida 2004: Springs Fever (April 3-9) sold out in December with 1000 riders. There will be no waiting list.
This seven-day fully-supported bicycle and tent camping tour will pedal nearly 375 miles along North Central Florida's country roads, visiting Florida's world-famous natural springs. The ride begins and ends in Gainesville, Florida.
Road I cycling course hits road
Springs Fever participants can improve riding skills throughout the week by taking the League of American Bicyclists’ Road 1 workshop, specially reformatted for the week-long ride.
This is the first time for this new format. Road 1 normally requires a two-day commitment for classroom and on-bike sessions.
The “rolling” format will include one- to two-hour hour sessions each afternoon. Workshop organizers will transport notebooks, workbooks and other materials throughout the week. Participants will be able to complete the course by the end of the tour.
LAB designed the course for even the most traveled and experienced cyclist. LAB Certified Instructors (LCI's) will lead the sessions. Over 100 registered riders have expressed an interest in taking the course and at least 10 LCIs are also registered.
LCIs Lyndy Moore, Paul Casazza and Laura Hallam will be workshop primary leaders.
The Bike Florida website has more information on the course and other ride details as well.
New Bike Florida address
P.O. Box 5295
Gainesville, FL 32627
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When the natives are hostile: finding an exit strategy
by Dwight Kingsbury
I have had several friends severely injured and one killed by running over dogs that were chasing them” wrote John Forester in Bicycle Transportation.
Although I've never collided with a dog and have only once been bitten by a dog—while running—I did suffer some leg trauma when I dropped my motorcycle while swerving to avoid a dog that had darted suddenly into my path.
This happened one fair morning on a two-lane suburban road, posted speed 30 mph—which I was observing.
The dog continued across the road and disappeared, leaving me sprawled on the centerline.
This crash was unlike a typical bicycle-dog crash, which involves a chasing dog and in which the dog actually makes contact.
Dogs often seem to head for the front wheel. In Proficient Motorcycling, David Hough suggests this may be a misguided attempt to "round up" the wheeled intruder, preparatory to full engagement.
To avoid collision, a cyclist must steer clear of the dog, but not (as I did on my motorcycle) over-react.
Ordering the dog to "Go home!" rarely has the intended effect, because as far as the dog is concerned, it is home.
If it were so well-trained as to obey orders from a stranger, it probably wouldn't be chasing you in the first place. Hough observes that "an unrestrained dog can have a general turf as large as it wants to defend."
Some cyclists try to use repellent spray or squirt water at chasing dogs. Like Forester, I have found a more low-key response satisfactory. Unless—with the dog behind you—it is clear that you can outsprint it, it's better to slow down.
Don't worry about being bitten by the dog, because fear is distracting, and may be sensed by the animal.
Avoid eye contact, because dogs perceive such behavior as a challenge. Talk to it in a low calm voice. If you can maintain momentum without pedaling, do so.
The idea is to show the dog that you are making a retreat in good order—you are withdrawing from the dog's perceived territory, not because you are afraid, but because the whole thing was just, you know, an unfortunate misunderstanding.
In effect, you are appeasing the dog, but appeasement generally works in bike-dog encounters because smart dogs understand this response and back off.
Loose dogs that are not smart have reduced life expectancies; collisions with motor vehicles are the leading cause of death of loose dogs.
In fact, on the same road that I dropped my motorcycle on, I have seen a dead dog.
In the conflict of moving vehicles with unrestrained dogs, the dogs are the biggest losers.
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East Coast Greenway Alliance plans first Maine to Florida Greenway tour
In fall 2004, a group of no more than 12 cyclists will travel the entire length of the East Coast Greenway while helping to raise critically-needed funds to develop and sustain the ECG trail system. This is the first “end-to-end” tour event along the route from Calais, Maine to Key West, Florida.
“This is a historic opportunity,” said East Coast Greenway Alliance chairman David Dionne.
A small group, 8 to 12 cyclists, will pedal from the Canadian border to Key West along the 20% of the ECG now complete. They will use low-traffic roads in between those trail segments.
The tour will depart Calais on September 11 and arrive in Key West on November 3, an average of 60 miles per day (not counting the seven rest days).
The East Coast Greenway, conceived in 1991, is a network of bike paths spanning the east coast, now with over 60 distinct paths and numerous designated on-road routes. Recent additions to the network are trails in South Carolina, Washington, DC and Virginia.
Noted paths that are parts of the ECG include the Key West Bikepath, the National Mall, the Hudson River Greenway, the Farmington Canal Greenway, and the Charles River Bikepath.
Tour participants will encounter the best the east coast has to offer: Maine’s rocky coast, historic industrial and cultural sites in southern New England, the skyline of Manhattan, national museums in DC, Spanish moss-festooned trees in coastal Georgia, architectural treasures of Florida’s St. Augustine and Miami Beach. The trip ends at the quasi-Caribbean (and always quirky) city of Key West.
A support van will accompany the tour. Accommodations will be basic: camping, homestays, economy hotels, and B&Bs. A daily food allowance will be provided each participant.
An experienced tour leader will accompany the group and handle daily logistics, supported by the volunteer-staffed van. Local tour leaders will join at times to guide the group.
Cyclists will hold at least one media event in each state.
Participants will make their own arrangements to get to the start point and from the end point.
Participants must pledge to raise $10,000 for the entire journey or $3000 per segment if doing less than the entire tour.
Corporate and volunteer contributions will be sought to cover expenses, enabling most monies pledged to benefit the ECGA 501(c)(3) charity.
The ECGA website (www.greenway.org click “ECG Tour 2004”) has information on participation, or call Eric Weis at ECG headquarters, 401-789-4625.
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