Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Portrait of a commuter as a young (?) racer

(left, Is he commuting or is he racing? Chris Dinsmore competes in cross, road and mt bike events and also commutes to work in downtown Norfolk. Here, he adds style to Trashmore Cross race. Photo by JB.)

Cycling safety on local roads has been in the news the last couple of weeks. In one article, Norfolk council member, Theresa Whibley, spoke about the lack of safety when cycling on Hampton Blvd. She said something about taking her life into her hands while riding a short commute to work.

Next, Tom Coghill canceled his annual Celebration for Life charity ride in Virginia Beach. He said safety for the 1000 participants on biker-unfriendly Virginia Beach roads led to the cancellation. He said he was not happy to learn that the Beach had earned an honorable mention by League of American Bicyclists for being a “Bicycle Friendly Community.” There’s some interesting reading in the 46 comments that readers posted in response to
the article. (Scroll to bottom of article for comments.)

Leave it to
Kerry Dougherty to actually call the League and find out what the honorable mention designation actually means. She found out that “honorable mention” means only that the Beach is on the “cusp” of being Bicycle Friendly because of its efforts. So, just as Coghill had suspected, there was more spin to the award than substance.

I am not sure things will improve around here unless more cyclists stand up, organize, and start chipping away at the tasks. I ask myself what am I really doing to make things happen around here, and the answer is nothing really.

At the same time, I am discouraged by the avid-cyclist stance against multi-use bike paths. Sure, I think shoulders are ideal and I favor shoulders, but I also think the key to encouraging the average person to commute to work is multi-use bike paths. The Beach has paths on London Bridge Road, Dam Neck Road, Princess Anne Road, Little Neck Road, Great Neck Road, small part of Shore Drive, parts of the Oceanfront, and coming soon to Birdneck Road.

Looking at the city as a whole, I agree with Coghill, Dougherty and most cyclists that Virginia Beach is biker-unfriendly. But we gotta give them credit for the muti-use paths that can serve as key commuter routes once more linking happens. Think about D.C. They are moving slowly toward a goal, and perhaps a few fires under them (cyclists) can move things along faster. I am glad that Coghill did not let his fantastic ride go down quietly.

(above, Cyclists spin through Ocean Lakes neighborhood on 2006 Celebration for Life ride in Virginia Beach. Photo by Bob Devich)


Anonymous said...

There's nothing young about that old man huffing up that silly hill.

Rob said...

Chris Dinsmore was on fire last Sunday! Masters plus B race plus neckwear = tough.

JB said...

I saw Chris in the masters race, and took those pictures of the "tie guy" in the B.

Never realized it was Chris till someone told me later and I looked at the pics.


Anonymous said...

Traffic? The traffic doesn't bother me! But everytime I see Dag roll up, I know that for the next two hours my life will be in his hands. Now THAT'S scary!

Kevin said...

quit talkin bout Dag's r o l l s