'Prohibition' ride recap

Thanks to ride leader David Curran for a fantastic experience and this write-up!

The Prohibition-themed Year of Yay! ride on March 11 started out on a sunny, brisk 23-degree morning from Whole Foods. 

Hi there! Photo credit: Deo Martinez

Hi there! Photo credit: Deo Martinez

The 20-or so riders braved the cold all the way up the Alum Creek Trail to downtown Westerville to visit the main library and the Anti-Salon League Museum contained within. Nina Thomas of the museum gave us an introduction to it, and a great history lesson about Westerville's place in the Prohibition era.

Nina Thomas, welcoming and educating our group. 

Nina Thomas, welcoming and educating our group. 

Next, on a quick tour into downtown Westerville, we saw a couple of locations of significant events that heralded the beginning and the end of the city's long prohibition of alcohol. We saw where it all ended in 2006, at Michael's Pizza (now closed). We then saw where the original Corbin's Tavern stood, which was bombed by angry Temperance supporters at the beginning of Westerville's Whiskey Wars in the late 1800s.

Michael's Pizza, celebrating the end of Westerville's long dry spell in 2006.

Michael's Pizza, celebrating the end of Westerville's long dry spell in 2006.

Corbin's Tavern, upon being bombed by Temperance supporters. 

Corbin's Tavern, upon being bombed by Temperance supporters. 

We then returned south via the Alum Creek Trail and a quick spin through Easton Town Center. Since we all had our cold-weather gear already on, we relaxed afterwards around the outdoor fire pit at Whole Foods and celebrated with legal and well-deserved libations of choice.

Socializin'. As we do. Photo credit: David Curran

Socializin'. As we do. Photo credit: David Curran

Total mileage for the ride was about 17-miles. A big thank you to everyone who helped make the ride possible.

Getting to Know Mr Deo

Deo Martinez, Yay Bikes! Program Manager

Deo Martinez, Yay Bikes! Program Manager

Recently, Yay Bikes! hired a new Program Manager—one Mr Deo Martinez. This is the guy you'll be volunteering with to support all the awesome Yay Bikes! programming, so we thought you'd wanna know a bit about him. Here goes:

Hometown

Saginaw, Michigan

College & major

Columbus College of Art & Design, Illustration

Former jobs & employers

Slinging food here and there

What's your everyday ride? 

Fuji Track 2016:

When and why did you start riding your bicycle for transportation?

I've been into bikes for a long time, I rode my BMX bike for transportation  and recreation for years. I ended up getting injured doing it and decided to give it up. I sold my BMX and bought Road bike, thus a real bike commuter was born.

What was your most spectacular crash?

I once fell over it front of a sorority party, because my feet were stuck in foot retention.

Fave ride fuel (aka food)?

Anything Seafood! Shrimp, Squid, scallops, mussels! Pass it all my way.

What's the biggest reason you're excited to work for Yay Bikes!?

I'm happy to be part of something that's much bigger than I am. I'm lucky to be in a position to help move this city forward with bicycle commuting and safer transportation.

What most stellar qualities / skills / attitudes / superpowers do you bring to your work with Yay Bikes!?

I believe that I bring a bit to the table in terms of skill and qualities; a different perspective towards bike culture, tallness, art. My attitude is calm, kind and determined. Working under pressure doesn't bother me at all. As for super powers, there might be a rumor out there that I can dance, but who knows?

Why will people definitely want to volunteer this year with Yay Bikes!?

Psh, because I'll be there! I want to know all about your lives while wemake our community a better place forCyclists. Come have fun with me!

Anything else fun we should know?

I have 2 dogs named Alice and Vivan.

I'm a Nerd.

I like to Dance.

I enjoy cooking.


Yay Bikes! is excited to welcome Deo into the fold. So far, so good! We're pretty sure you'll wanna know this guy! ;)

It's your year!

Happiness is volunteering with friends.

Happiness is volunteering with friends.

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not always been easy to plug into the work of Yay Bikes!. With a small staff, it’s been challenging for us to adequately support everyone who wants to be involved. This year, however, we’re ready. We have a new plan, a new person and plenty of opportunities for you to apply your passion to what we're up to. I encourage you to explore, reach out, stick your toe in or your neck out, get trained, take ownership, step into greatness, have fun, settle into a community, make a difference. Yay Bikes! is all that for you, and more. Below are some ways to learn how to plug into all that awesome.

THE PLAN

Read our 2017 Strategic Plan to find out where we're headed, and how you might help advance our goals this year.

THE PERSON

Meet Deo, our new Program Manager

Meet Deo, our new Program Manager

Reach out to Deo (deo@yaybikes.com) for a chat. Deo will be largely taking over the role I've been playing in delivering our programs and coordinating volunteers. And he's lovely, folks! He will take good care of you. When you feel ready to step into volunteering with Yay Bikes!, Deo is your man.

THE OPPORTUNITIES

Stay attuned to the opportunities posted on our Volunteering page; more will be added all the time as our season unfolds (there are often others as well, which may not get posted—again, contact Deo to learn more). If biking is your passion and you want to serve through Yay Bikes!, pick up some shifts parking bikes or tabling or making Year of Yay! buttons. As you model our values doing the small tasks, we just may tap you to get trained for volunteer leadership positions. There is always the chance for growth in our organization. 

 

 

Nick's Yay Bikes! journey

Yay Bikes! Journeys tell the story of how Yay Bikes! is transforming lives and communities, from the perspective of those we’ve impacted. In this installment, we hear from Nick Tepe, Director of Athens County Public Libraries, about how Yay Bikes! has enriched his life and made his community of Nelsonville more bicycle friendly. 


Nick rides Ohio

Nick rides Ohio

We’ve really been able to move the needle on cycling awareness in not just Franklin County anymore, but the entire state. The people who are making decisions about how we can be safe and have fun riding our bikes on the road are actually paying attention to us now, and it is 100% because of this organization. Which is why I am proud to continue to support Yay Bikes!, even though I no longer live in Columbus.
— Nick Tepe

RIDING SOLO: “That’s just what I do, I ride my bike to where I want to go.”

Nick has, for as long as he can remember, ridden his bike to get where he wants to go. Thanks to the gift of 70s-era parents, he even rode his bike several miles to get to his elementary school! So it was a no brainer that he took his bike to college in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and then grad school at OSU. And when he got his first library job at the Columbus Metropolitan Library, of course he’d ride his bike to work. “For me,” he says, it was no big deal—that’s just what I do, I ride my bike to where I want to go.”

Nick, on one of his early big boy bikes. 

Nick, on one of his early big boy bikes. 

FINDING COMMUNITY: “This is great! Yay Bikes! is connecting me to a whole new network of friends and activity.”

The first contact Nick had with Yay Bikes! was the Bike to Work Challenge in 2009. And what struck him about it most was the approach of getting people not just to ride their bikes to work, but also to have fun doing it. Nick’s CML team did have fun—so much so that they ended up winning their category that year and growing their team each year thereafter. Then, when Yay Bikes! announced the Year of Yay! rides in 2012, Nick had just gotten divorced and was looking for ways to get himself out there, keep active, meet new people and take his mind off what he was going through. So he came out for the St. Patty’s Day Parade ride (Year of Yay! 12.3, March 2012), had such a blast that he decided he was going to do the rest of them, which he did. About which he remembers thinking, “This is great! Yay Bikes! is connecting me to a whole new network of friends and activity, and the organization is doing a lot of good, too.”

The first known photo of Nick in his new Yay Bikes! milieu, during a post-ride trip to Hal & Al's in March  2012. 

The first known photo of Nick in his new Yay Bikes! milieu, during a post-ride trip to Hal & Al's in March  2012. 

Rockin' the Year of Yay! 2012 button series.

Rockin' the Year of Yay! 2012 button series.

Ringing the bells of Trinity Episcopal on the Year of Yay! ride he led to various places of worship. 

Ringing the bells of Trinity Episcopal on the Year of Yay! ride he led to various places of worship. 

SEEING RESULTS: “I think [Yay Bikes! Executive Director] Catherine Girves is a bike infrastructure fairy. She visits a town and magically bike infrastructure appears.”

Nick was driving to work shortly after Yay Bikes! led his Nelsonville’s City Manager and a City Council Member on a Professional Development Ride and saw, to his great surprise, sharrows on the road leading from the bike path to the Nelsonville Public Library. He notes with excitement that it’s been great for his patrons, who can now rent a bike for free from the library’s established “Book a Bike” program and use sharrows to make their way safely to the trail for a ride. And he credits “The Yay Way!” with making the difference: “I don’t think that Yay Bikes! would have been as successful as we’ve been with advocacy if we hadn’t done that initial front-end work of making bicycling a fun activity for people, making it something that anybody can do, by making people feel comfortable, by hosting rides that have both more and less experienced riders, on and on and on.“ 

Downtown Nelsonville received sharrows just days after Yay Bikes! led a Professional Development Ride there

Downtown Nelsonville received sharrows just days after Yay Bikes! led a Professional Development Ride there

FEELING PRIDE: “I have just been more and more blown away by everything that we’re pulling off with this group.”

“It’s a credit to Yay Bikes! that people around the state have become aware of the work Yay Bikes! is doing and are reaching out to us as experts on how to improve cycling for everybody in their communities. We’ve really been able to move the needle on cycling awareness in not just Franklin County anymore, but the entire state. The people who are making decisions about how we can be safe and have fun riding our bikes on the road, are actually paying attention to us now, and it is 100% because of this organization. Which is why I am proud to continue to support Yay Bikes!, even though I no longer live in Columbus!”

Party on, Nick! 

Party on, Nick! 

Yay Bikes! is grateful to Nick for his joyful presence, his deep knowledge of all things bike (and every other topic under the sun—yay librarians!) and the innumerable ways he has helped his friends, colleagues and community members achieve happiness and health through bicycling. We look forward to riding with him again soon on a Year of Yay!, when baby Piper is finally ready to rock that trailer. Helmets off to you, friend!


To share your Yay Bikes! Journey, contact Meredith to set up a chat!

February 2017 activity report

Yay Bikes! member Rob Hendricks (by the door) represents on behalf of people who ride bicycles for transportation at the Linden-area Smart Columbus Community Planning Meeting. Photo credit: MurphyEpson

Yay Bikes! member Rob Hendricks (by the door) represents on behalf of people who ride bicycles for transportation at the Linden-area Smart Columbus Community Planning Meeting. Photo credit: MurphyEpson

Welcome to the monthly feature in which we round up all our events, earned media, program delivery, meetings and speaking engagements for the month. Representation and outreach like this is what you fund with your membership dollars and major gifts, folks! Behold, February:

Feb 2

Bike the Cbus planning meeting

Feb 4

Year of Yay! vetting ride

Feb 8

BG Independent News: BG completes first ‘Complete Streets’ efforts

Columbus Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting

Meeting with the General Property Manager of the Huntington Center about indoor bicycle parking for employees

Feb 9

Columbus Green Team meeting

Feb 10

COTA NextGen project advisory stakeholder meeting

Smart Columbus Community Planning Meeting in Linden

Feb 11

Smart Columbus Community Planning Meeting in Linden

Feb 14

Meeting at Ohio Department of Health about the upcoming train the trainer program

Feb 15

Meeting with Mark Wagenbrenner about Wagenbrenner Development's sponsorship of Bike the Cbus

CoGo Bike Share quarterly stakeholder meeting

Feb 16

Bike the Cbus planning meeting

Ohio Active Transportation Plan team leader meeting

Meeting with Sideswipe Brewing about hosting a membership event

Feb 20

Yay Bikes! Board of Directors meeting

Feb 22

City of Dublin Mobility Study stakeholder workshop

Feb 24

How We Roll ride for members

Ride of Silence fundraiser @ Cafe Brioso

Feb 27

Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission Community Advisory Council meeting, which is chaired by our Executive Director

Battle ready

Emotions are running high these days.

Amidst all the chaos, I’ve been tempted to wonder—where does bicycle advocacy belong? I ride my bike as transportation almost every day, so I’ve had the time and space to thoroughly consider this point. And I tell you—people who ride, bicycle advocacy has everything to do with building the Beloved Community we all need.

People who ride, advocating for ethical engineering

What was the most photographed slide by the sold-out crowd of engineers and other transportation professionals atODOT's Active Transportation Engineer’s Forum earlier this week? Remarkably, the one reading:

Vision Zero takes the position that it is unethical to create a situation where fatalities are a likely outcome of a crash in order to reduce delay, fuel consumption, or other societal objectives. It is unethical to prioritize the mobility of one person over the safety of another person.

The goal of transportation engineers is shifting dramatically, from an emphasis of moving cars to an emphasis of moving people. The future is ours, but we have to show up to claim it. As with any change, many may be on board, but some are not. Federal guidelines for bike and pedestrian infrastructure still do not adequately support engineers ready to implement it. And leadership change begets priorities change. We must continue demanding accommodations for those who ride, or inertia will stall our progress and engineers’ best intentions to facilitate it.

People who ride, advocating for sanity

As a seasoned activist, I am cheered to note that most of the survival guides out there highlight self care as a critical element of our effectiveness. To settle in for the long haul, we must make time to unplug, be silent, recharge. I’ve noticed when I ride to my destination I am able to recharge en route and arrive fresh and clear-headed. When I ride with friends, my faith in humanity is restored. Bicycling beats burnout.

People who ride, advocating for transportation options & intersectionality

All people deserve to have viable transportation options that allow us to successfully navigate our lives. And while many of us have the choice to ride or drive, others among us do not. During the 10 years in which I first became a transportation bicyclist it was out of economic necessity. When conversations about affordable housing, safety, education, sustainability, economic development and equity omit transportation, it's a missed opportunity. It's on us to communicate to potential partners how bicycling is a solution to many of the concerns we share.

People who ride, advocating for an expanded notion of safe streets

"It's Trump time, nigger!” A man yelled this out a truck window to a friend of mine as he was riding his bicycle to work. "Mooooo!" A group of men called out to another friend as her large body pedaled down the street. Yes—in Columbus. Our movement, which has focused on achieving infrastructure that promotes safety, needs to become more attuned to the culture in which people have to ride. Let us now understand that not everyone who rides has the same experience of their ride, regardless of the infrastructure available—some of us, due to our sex, body shape or skin color, assume more risk than others. Our community must rally around to forcefully denounce these threats. 

People who ride, banding together

It’s time to advocate. Are you battle ready? I am. Let's join together.

January 2017 activity report

Executive Director Catherine Girves joins staff and lay leaders at Summit on 16th United Methodst Church in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr's birthday at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

Executive Director Catherine Girves joins staff and lay leaders at Summit on 16th United Methodst Church in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr's birthday at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

Welcome to the monthly feature in which we round up all our events, earned media, program delivery, meetings and speaking engagements for the month. Representation and outreach like this is what you fund with your membership dollars and major gifts, folks! Behold, January:

Jan 3

Meeting with Elevator Brewery about Ride the Elevator and Bike the Cbus

Jan 4

Meeting with Whole Foods Easton about 2017's Year of Yay! 

Regular meeting of MidOhio Regional Planning Commission's Citizen Advisory Council, which our Executive Director chairs

Jan 5

Meeting with Columbus City Schools regarding installation of new bike racks

Bike the Cbus planning meeting

Jan 9

Signage meeting of the Central Ohio Greenways Board

Jan 11

Team meeting at MurphyEpson regarding statewide Ohio Active Transportation Plan spring trainings

Jan 12

Conference call for Creating Healthy Communities about statewide trainings

Advisory Committee meeting for SR 161 Corridor Study

Ride of Silence planning meeting

Jan 13

Meeting at Ohio Department of Health to plan for the Ohio Active Transportation Action Institute Conference in June

Jan 14

Year of Yay! ride (cancelled)

Jan 16

Columbus' Martin Luther King Jr breakfast celebration, with leadership from Summit on 16th UMC, University Area Enrichment Association and University Area Freedom School

Yay Bikes! Board of Directors meeting

Jan 19

Meeting with leadership team of the Ohio Active Transportation Plan 

Bike the Cbus planning meeting

Jan 24

Meeting with Ohio Department of Health and Center for Disease Control officials about Ohio's Active Transportation Plan

Jan 25

Regular meeting of the Central Ohio Greenways Board; presented on Miamisburg's Bike Friendly Business program

Jan 26

Ride of Silence planning meeting

Jan 27

Ohio Active Transportation Plan quarterly webinar; presented on our Ride Buddy program and Ohio's new 3' safe passing law

Jan 28

Attended Transit Columbus' board retreat as an invited guest

Jan 30

Canal Winchester City Council meeting; presenting with Kerstin Carr of the MidOhio Regional Planning Commission on the work of the Central Ohio Greenways Board

Jan 31

Attended the Active Transportation Engineering Conference in Columbus

Tracking (is) what matters

That fateful day, thanks to Deanne (front), a goal was born!

That fateful day, thanks to Deanne (front), a goal was born!

'From the Saddle' is a monthly note from our Executive Director. 

On New Year’s Day 2016, I happened to be riding with a group of friends. We had ridden about 14 miles when my friend Deanne said we should ride 16, for 2016. It was cold and we wanted to be done, but we were so close, and it was such a good idea, that we pushed through and did it. There is something about setting a goal that helps a person make a plan, and then move towards achieving it—particularly in those moments when it is not very much fun. So that day I set a goal: I’d ride 100% of the days in 2016, even if only for very short trips, for a total of 2016 miles. Which changed everything about how I thought about bicycling. 

One year later I can report the following: 255 days of biking (70%), for a total of 2,477 miles. Pretty kickass, no?!

I’m not gonna lie. There were days after I realized I wouldn’t make it to 100% in which I chose not to ride, all pouty-like. That’s a danger with setting big goals—when it seems you’ll not be able to attain them, it’s easy to say “f it” and quit. But because I’d been tracking, I noticed something. Maybe I wasn’t going to be able to 100% of days, but 70% was absolutely within reach…and still pretty kickass! Hmmm….so I got back on my bike and rode some more. 

What gets measured gets done, as they say. Clichéd? OK sure. Still true? Yes!

I’m not hardcore. People seem to think I am, but I swear to you that I’m simply utilitarian (OK, and competitive….) I find life is easier when I choose to ride. It’s cheaper, of course, and also I don’t have to deal with parking. And I feel better about myself and the world around me. But I’m slow and my trips are often quite short. My point is that anyone can do what I’ve done—set a goal to ride a certain number of days or trips or miles, do it and then track it. The tracking is non-negotiable. Those of us who are up to something big must have a way to stay motivated, keep ourselves accountable, and cheer ourselves when we feel like a failure. We've almost always done more than we think we have, and knowing that can propel us to carry on.

Not coincidentally, given the time of year, we’re in the midst of setting 2017’s organizational goals at Yay Bikes!. For a small nonprofit, I’m proud to say that we are uniquely oriented toward evaluation. As we develop our measurable objectives and tracking protocols this year, we are motivated to identify the metrics that truly help us achieve the big goals that advance our mission. Not tracking for tracking’s sake, but tracking that provides access to excellence and transformation. From my own experience, I can tell you that this will get the job done. I'll be very excited to share our strategic plan with you as soon as it’s approved at our board meeting this month. In the meantime, you can check out our 2016 Annual Report (pdf) to see what we've accomplished recently!

For the record, what am I shooting for this year? I plan to ride 75% of days, and add more recreational miles to my total. Mileage isn’t so important to me because I’m about replacing car trips with bike trips, and those trips tend to be five miles or less. But whatever type of ride I’m on, you better believe I’ll be keeping track. Join me? Year of Yay! and Bike the Cbus do count, you know! :)

Riding with friends is the best way to ride. See you soon??

Riding with friends is the best way to ride. See you soon??

December 2016 activity report

Our Executive Director, Catherine (right), with Kimber Perfect of Mayor Ginther's office at the hearing for HB 154, Ohio's 3' safe passing law.

Our Executive Director, Catherine (right), with Kimber Perfect of Mayor Ginther's office at the hearing for HB 154, Ohio's 3' safe passing law.

Welcome to the monthly feature in which we round up all our events, earned media, program delivery, meetings and speaking engagements for the month. Representation and outreach like this is what you fund with your membership dollars and major gifts, folks! Behold, December:

Dec 1

Columbus CEO: SIDs' Annual Meeting (pdf)

Dec 2

Statewide Mode Shift Project ("Your Move, Ohio") Meeting

Dec 3

Year of Yay! vetting ride

Dec 6

Attended hearing for HB154, Ohio's 3' passing law

Dec 7

(Bowling Green) Sentinel-Tribune: Complete Streets process to remain in place with closer eye on deadlines

Dec 10

Year of Yay! with 'Heartwarming' theme

Dec 14

Meeting with owner of Orbit City bike shop

Dec 16

(Bowling Green) Sentinel-Tribune: BG makes plans to align city budget

Dec 18

Received 7 bike racks for Columbus Public Health

Dec 19

COTA Project Advisory Group

Yay Bikes! board meeting

Govenor Kasich signs HB154, defining safe passing of cyclists in Ohio's as 3', into law; takes effect March 19

Dec 24

Meeting with founders of Steady Pedaling

'Heartwarming' ride recap

Thanks to ride leader Mark Spurgeon for a fantastic experience and this write-up!

Seventeen adventurous cyclists departed Whole Foods at Easton for the final Year of Yay! ride of 2016. Despite the 22 degree temperatures, smiles and good cheer were in evidence throughout the group. Perhaps it was Jeff Gove’s twinkling holiday lights that set the mood, or the anticipation of our stop at the Ohio Herb Education Center and Geroux Herb Gardens, a resource center in Gahanna—Ohio's Herb Capital (who knew!?). 

Jeff Gove, festive as always! Photo credit: Michelle Blaney

Jeff Gove, festive as always! Photo credit: Michelle Blaney

The Nafzger-Miller house, in which the Herb Center is located, was a welcome respite at the halfway point on our 10-mile route. The house is on the National Register of Historical Places, but the more exciting thing about it to us that day was its holiday ambiance and, frankly, its well-functioning furnace! The Center was humming with activity, as little ones awaited their audience with Santa Claus, eager to share their holiday wish lists.

We peeked in but ultimately left Santa to the kids! Photo credit: Michelle Blaney

We peeked in but ultimately left Santa to the kids! Photo credit: Michelle Blaney

Learnin' all about HERBS! Photo credit: Michelle Blaney

Learnin' all about HERBS! Photo credit: Michelle Blaney

Several riders took advantage of the close proximity of Bicycle One to fortify their winter-riding attire before embarking on the second leg of our ride. An unanticipated highlight of the final leg was the picturesque view along Olde Ridenour Rd, the park and golf course lightly dusted with snow, as we traveled north after departing Creekside Gahanna. 

Among the more experienced riders were several novice and first-time Year of Yay! participants, myself included! This was a very congenial group, as the new riders were made to feel welcome and supported. Tips and tricks for beating the cold, and for making winter-riding pleasurable and safe were a favorite topic. Overheard were a number of spirited discussions about the merits of merino wool vs. lycra as we tackled some brief, but challenging sections on Granville St. and Morse Rd. Despite the freezing temperatures, and holiday shoppers in the throes of gift-giving fervor, the Heartwarming ride was deemed a success! 

As usual, the crew enjoyed food & beverage aplenty at Whole Foods Market after the ride. Photo credit: Michelle Blaney

As usual, the crew enjoyed food & beverage aplenty at Whole Foods Market after the ride. Photo credit: Michelle Blaney

Evaluating a used bicycle

We are grateful to Keith "Lugs" Mayton for sharing his expertise in this guest blog post! You can find Keith online at http://keithlugs.squarespace.com. 

Keith atop his trusty steed. Photo credit: Keara Mayton

Keith atop his trusty steed. Photo credit: Keara Mayton

While a new bike might seem expensive, it's a worthwhile investment and relatively cheap in terms of hours of fun per dollar. When you buy new, support your local bike shops. If you can’t afford a new bike, at least buy your accessories from and have your bikes serviced at local shops. 

If you simply can't afford something new, or just want to try explore bicycling before you commit, there are millions of good quality used bicycles in the U.S. that aren’t being ridden. Many of them eventually wind up posted for sale on Craigslist, social media, and the like, and some are a great value*. Here are some tips on figuring out whether a used bike is is worth purchasing. 

First, when you are going to assess a used bicycle at a personal residence, ensure your personal safety. Take a buddy, look at bikes outdoors, etc. Use your common sense.

There are six basic things you'll want to examine in a used bicycle you are considering:
1) frameset, 2) wheels, 3) drivetrain, 4) brake system; 5) brand and 6) fit. 

YOU WILL NEED TO TEST RIDE THE BIKE! UNLESS YOU ARE SAVVY, WALK AWAY FROM ANY BIKE YOU CANNOT TEST RIDE!

(*Editor's note: If an offer seems too good to be true, it very well may be. Stolen bikes are plentiful on Craigslist and some second-hand retailers—Once Ridden Bikes is a notable exception. Within Central Ohio, you may want to check Bike Snoop before you buy to see whether the bike you're considering has been posted.)

A beaut that Keith expertly salvaged. Photo credit: Keith Mayton

A beaut that Keith expertly salvaged. Photo credit: Keith Mayton

FRAMESET

Look at the frame from various angles to try to determine that tubes are straight and aligned. Head tube and seat tube should be parallel. Seat stays and fork blades should be symmetrical. Check whether forks are bent back or twisted.

Check frame for cracks, bulges, or significant dents. Cracks often form on the down tube just behind the head tube. A bulge in that location is often a sign of a front end collision and might be accompanied by fork blades that are bent back. Also inspect for cracks in the bottom bracket shell. Check the drive side chain stay for excessive "chain suck" damage.

The headset should turn smoothly and without play.

A little surface rust here and there is generally not a problem.

Ask to adjust the seatpost and stem. This allows you to adjust the bike for a test ride and also permits you to ensure the seatpost and stem are not stuck, i.e. chemically welded or rusted in place, 'cause that's bad!

When you test ride the bike, you should be able to ride the bike no hands in a straight line without leaning to either side. If you can't, there is probably a problem with alignment or improperly dished rear wheel.

WHEELS

Spin the wheels and observe where the rims pass the brake pads to make sure they are reasonably true (within 1–2mm) both vertically and horizontally. Also listen and feel for roughness in the hub bearings.

Even if the wheel is true, be sure to squeeze all of the spokes by pairs to see whether the tension on the spokes is even. Flick spokes with you fingernail—the tone should be pretty consistent. A true wheel with very loose and super tight spokes is probably almost dead.

Check rims for cracks. Also, feel the braking surface—if an aluminum rim is significantly concave on the braking surface the rim is near the end of its useful life.

Tire wear is, of course, normal. For old mountain bikes a great upgrade is inexpensive (think Kenda) semi-slick tires to replace knobbies for riding on the street. Makes a HUGE difference in reducing rolling resistance.

DRIVETRAIN

The drivetrain should shift relatively smoothly. Look for bent, broken, or missing parts (to the extent you know what to look for).

Check cables and housings. Frayed ends are common. Fraying behind derailleur anchor bolts or cable stops probably requires replacement. Cable housings that are rusty, that lack outer casing, or have acute bends will also need to be replaced.

Replacement of a chain is almost a given so a dirty or somewhat rusty chain might not be a deal killer.

Check the chainrings while the crank is turning to see whether they spin true. Inspect the crankarms to make sure they are not bent or cracked. Check to make sure pedals are threaded in straight—otherwise they might be cross threaded, which might mean the crank arms would need to be re-tapped or replaced. Also examine the teeth on the chainrings for wear. Teeth that are worn out look hooked or like shark fins.

Grab both crankarms and pull back and forth sideways. Excessive play could indicate one of several possible problems. Pedals should spin relatively smoothly. Check plastic pedals for signs of cracks.

BRAKE SYSTEM

Brakes should operate relatively smoothly and, yes, cause the moving bike to stop safely. Make sure the brakes "return" after the levers are released. Failure to return indicates corroded cables/housings or weak, improperly adjusted, or brake broken springs. Inspect brakes and levers to see whether they are bent, cracked, or appear to be missing any pieces.

Check cables and housing as with drivetrain.

Brake pads wear and might need replacement. It's a good thing to upgrade them regardless.

BRANDS

I would avoid Pacific, Magna, Kent, Mongoose, Huffy, Columbia, and any brand sold at big box stores.

Fuji, Panasonic, Bridgestone, Miyata, Nishiki, Univega, Trek, Giant, Specialized, and brands sold at reputable bike shops are generally good quality bikes. Really, most bicycles that were made in Japan or Taiwan from the 1970s through the 1990s tend to be pretty good, or at least not horrible.

Schwinn, Ross, and Free Spirit are a mixed bag. The lugged steel bikes of all 3 brands are generally good. The old electro-forged Schwinns like the Varsity, Continental, Collegiate, and Suburban were not horrible bikes but they are far heavier than necessary, as in about 40 pounds. Also, Schwinn now makes a line of bikes sold at big box stores. I would avoid those. Ross made cheap gas pipe bikes, easy to spot because they lack lugs and have one piece steel cranksets. Similarly, there are a few Free Spirit models that were made in Austria by Puch that are good. The good ones have lugged construction.

Older French and British bikes like Peugeot, Motobecane, Gitane, and Raleigh might not be a good choice unless you have some basic mechanical skills or a willingness to learn them. Weird threads, cottered cranks, and plastic Simplex derailleurs on the lower end models can make working on them a little more challenging. But when they are properly serviced and adjusted they can be good bikes. By the late 1970s, Raleigh and some European brands began having their bikes made in Japan and eventually Taiwan. I feel that the quality of these later bikes is generally higher.

It never hurts to do a little research on the brand and model before you go look at a bike. The catalogs of many of the major brands are posted in various places on the internet. For example, Waterford Precision has catalogs from before Schwinn went bankrupt. Sheldon Brown’s site has a lot of the old Raleigh catalogs.

If you want some basis for determining a fair price, I find it useful to search eBay completed auctions. Ignore ongoing auctions since bikes often eventually sell for far less than a “buy it now” price, and some sellers tenaciously relist bikes at inflated prices. Also, in my opinion, bikes sold locally should sell for roughly two-thirds of completed sales on eBay because eBay auctions reach the worldwide market for used bikes, which includes well heeled collectors.

FIT

Notions abound concerning how properly to determine whether a bike fits, and rules of thumb have changed significantly over the years. Also, principles of bike fit that might work well for someone who’s racing on a drop bar road or cyclocross bike may have little applicability to someone looking for a city bike with swept back bars and an upright riding position. So for purposes of this article, I’m going to boil it down to a few basic criteria. First, is the bike sufficiently comfortable when you test ride it? The seller should be willing to raise or lower the saddle or stem to help you figure this out. Obviously you should be able to achieve sufficient leg extension without extending the seatpost above maximum height. Also notice whether you feel either too stretched out or too cramped as a result of the distance between the saddle and the handlebars. In addition, are you comfortable with how the bike steers and handles? Last, regardless of the above, there should be at least an inch of space between your crotch and the top bar when you straddle the bike. Here's a helpful video that shows what this might look like for you:

Good luck with your search, and have fun!

Bowling Green: a case in point

The Bowling Green fire chief takes a turn  Photo credit J.D. Pooley of the Sentinel-Tribune

The Bowling Green fire chief takes a turn  Photo credit J.D. Pooley of the Sentinel-Tribune

I spent 23 hours in Bowling Green this fall. On October 12 Kathleen Watkins and I led a Professional Development Ride with the City Engineer, Fire Chief, Civil Engineer and Assistant Municipal Administrator. I returned November 7 and hosted two Professional Development Rides with the Director of Public Works, 2 City Council members, a Bowling Green University student organization representative, a reporter from BG Independent News and one from the Sentinel-Tribune, 2 City Council Members, Ohio Department of Transportation District 2 Engineer and 2 local bicycle advocates. After the rides that day, I led a public meeting with approximately 50 attendees in which I presented about safe riding practices and facilitated discussion about them. The media coverage was encouraging:

Bike tour of BG opens eyes to some solutions

Cycling advocacy group shows ‘tourists’ how to experience bike-friendly BG

VIDEO: Advocacy group's tour points out safe ways to bike BG

And the direct feedback (from the ODOT engineer) was even more so:

I participated in the Bowling Green Professional Development Ride yesterday afternoon. I can’t begin to tell you how much I learned from Yay Bikes! about bicycling in this community in just over 3 hours.

Although I have lived in Bowling Green for the past 14 years, I have never ridden a bike here prior to yesterday. I am not a cyclist. I don’t own a bicycle, and I haven’t ridden one for 30 years. Yay Bikes! provided me with a bike and helmet for yesterday’s ride.

The ride was not at all what I expected it to be. I fully expected a high-pressure sales pitch to construct miles of bike lanes and multi-use paths all over the city. Instead, the entire experience and information shared was intensely practical and focused on cost-effective solutions. The experiential nature of the session really opened my eyes to a lot of things which impact bicyclists and traffic safety that I would likely neglect otherwise, such as: trees, sidewalks, pavement widths, lane widths, use of signaling to turn/change lanes, and (most importantly) bicyclist lane position.

I was pleasantly surprised how courteous vehicular traffic interacted with us on every street we traveled. We rode on several residential, collector and arterial streets, including significant stretches along State Route 25 (Main Street), a 4-lane arterial with many signalized intersections and driveways. We did not have a single close call; no one honked, yelled, or made offensive gestures at us the entire time we were on the road.

I highly recommend this program to anyone who wants to make their community more bicycle-friendly. It was an eye-opener for me, and I’m sure that others will have a similar positive experience.
Photo credit: Kathleen Watkins

Photo credit: Kathleen Watkins

Since the rides, I've spent at least 7 hours on the phone with city leadership, including Jason Sisco, Bowling Green's City Engineer, and Robert McOmber, a City Council Member, about updates they're considering. A group from Bowling Green is planning a trip to Columbus to experience our infrastructure first-hand. And soon, "Bikes May Use Full Lane" signs will be popping up throughout town (the message is already in rotation on the electronic billboard by the police station)!

So 47 hours—23 in Bowling Green, 7 on the phone with their leadership, and an additional 17 in the office preparing. And yet a complete transformation is underway in that community, with dozens of advocates and professionals now on a coordinated path to accommodating people who ride there. Wouldn't it be perfection if everyone in America had an experience of riding on roads? Wouldn't it be pretty close to perfection if every transportation professional did? We're back in action on another round of ODOT-funded Professional Development Rides next spring. Support that work now with your gift. 

November 2016 activity report

Executive Director Catherine Girves represents on a panel at the Center for Urban & Regional Analysis' Healthy Places: Designing Cities for Biking and Walking forum. 

Executive Director Catherine Girves represents on a panel at the Center for Urban & Regional Analysis' Healthy Places: Designing Cities for Biking and Walking forum. 

Welcome to the monthly feature in which we round up all our events, earned media, program delivery, meetings and speaking engagements for the month. Representation and outreach like this is what you fund with your membership dollars and major gifts, folks! Behold, November:

November 2

2 Professional Development Rides in Akron

November 5

Yay Valet! @ OSU v Nebraska

November 7

2 Professional Development Rides in Bowling Green 

Sentinel-Tribune: "Cycling advocacy group shows 'tourists' how to experience bike friendly BG"

Sentinel-Tribune: "Advocacy group's tour points out safe ways to bike BG"

BG Independent News: "Bike tour of BG opens eyes to some solutions"

November 10

Columbus Green Team meeting

Tabling at Columbus' Downtown SID Annual Meeting

November 12

Year of Yay! featuring "Folklore" theme

Meeting with Bowling Green City Council Member Robert McOmber

November 13

Meeting with Bowling Green City Engineer Jason Sisco

November 16

Community Shares of Mid Ohio meeting

November 17

Meeting with Megan Melby of Columbia Gas and NiSource employees

November 18

Meeting with Columbus City Schools about bike parking

Presenting on the CURA panel Healthy Places: Designing Cities for Biking and Walking (with Gulsah Akar, Kerstin Carr, Scott Ulrich, Harvey Miller)

November 20

Year of Yay! ride leader training

November 21

Yay Bikes! board meeting

November 22

Ohio Active Transportation Planning Group lead meeting

November 26

Yay Valet! @ OSU v Michigan

November 28

MORPC Community Advisory Council meeting

November 29

Central Ohio Greenways board Signage and Wayfinding Committee meeting

November 30

Volunteer appreciation event

Gratitude

Profound gratitude.

Profound gratitude.

November! The season to reflect and give thanks! 

Conveniently, with all the hours I've clocked driving across Ohio delivering Professional Development Rides of late, I've had plenty of time to reflect (when I'm not rocking out to Hamilton at top volume, duh). And it turns out I'm grateful, fundamentally. 

Of course my gratitude extends far beyond the scope of this blog post, so in keeping solely with the context of my current situation... For weeks now, as you may know, I've been delivering Professional Development Rides at a rate of 1, 2 or even 3 (!) a week. To date Yay Bikes! has led 20 rides with approximately 100 professionals; 5 more are scheduled and ODOT has just renewed our contract to provide an additional 21 rides. By spring, more than 200 professionals in more than 2 dozen communities in Ohio will have ridden with us. Many of them will have experienced their community by bicycle for the very first time on their ride. 

So when I think of what I'm grateful for this season, foremost on my list is all those who have ridden with us. These people! You guys—I don't wanna say this too plainly lest the word gets out, but....{whisper} they don't have to ride with us! They can easily fill their time with whatever legions of VIP tasks no doubt piling up on their desks. I mean, we have mayors and police chiefs and city engineers and economic development officers and city council members and more coming on these rides! These positions are excuses. Add in the fact that bicycle advocates don't have the best reputation (pugnacity: it's true) and that they may be terrified of riding with traffic, and it's a darn near miracle that anyone rides with us at all. 

But their commitment to this work is unexpected and humbling and inspiring, and they do ride. I'm privileged to be granted their trust, and the ability to inform open minds as they consider how best to encourage bicycling in their communities. It is a rare gift from the universe, and I give thanks.

Join Yay Bikes! today to join me in celebration of this work!

Riding with some Athens VIPs. Yay you!

Riding with some Athens VIPs. Yay you!

October 2016 activity report

Franklin County Consortium for Good Government's candidate forum,  presented in partnership with DRAC and Yay Bikes! Photo credit: Bob Bickis

Franklin County Consortium for Good Government's candidate forum,  presented in partnership with DRAC and Yay Bikes! Photo credit: Bob Bickis

Welcome to the monthly feature in which we round up all our events, earned media, program delivery, meetings and speaking engagements for the month. Representation and outreach like this is what you fund with your membership dollars and major gifts, folks! Behold, October:

October 1

Yay Valet! @ OSU v Rutgers

October 3

Vetting the Massillon Professional Development Ride with help from local cyclists 

Ride of Silence happy hour fundraiser at Hills Market Downtown

October 4

Attended the MORPC Community Advisory Committee meeting

October 5

Bike the Cbus planning meeting

Vetting the Troy Professional Development Ride with help from local cyclists

October 6

Troy Professional Development Rides (2)

October 7

Massillon Professional Development Ride

October 8

Year of Yay!, "The 70s" theme

Yay Valet! @ OSU v Indiana

October 10

Vetting the Bowling Green Professional Development Ride with help from local cyclists

October 11

Vetting the Athens Professional Development Ride with help from Yay Bikes! members 

October 12

Bowling Green Professional Development Ride

Conversation with Columbus City Schools to help plan for bike racks outside schools

October 13

Meeting with Lucky's Market to explore potential partnership opportunities

October 14

Vetting the Athens Professional Development Ride with help from local cyclists 

October 16

Yay Valet! @ Columbus Marathon

October 17

Westerville Professional Development Ride

Yay Bikes! board meeting

October 18

Athens Professional Development Rides (2)

Attended the Annual Race Event Meeting with Columbus Police Department, Columbus Recreation and Parks and the Division of Fire

October 19

Met with a Capital University student about creating a video highlighting our Professional Development Rides

Presented the 2016 Candidates Forum with the Franklin County Consortium for Good Government, in partnership with DRAC

October 20

Vetting the Nelsonville Professional Development Ride with help from Yay Bikes! members

October 21–22

Volunteering @ Highball Halloween to raise funds for Ride of Silence

October 22

Presented on transportation bicycling at the NeighborWorks Community Learning Institute National Conference

October 25

Nelsonville Professional Development Ride

October 26

Meeting of the Central Ohio Greenways board, on which our ED serves

October 28

Vetting the ODOT District 8 Professional Development Ride with local cyclists

Bike the Cbus planning meeting

CURA (The Center for Urban and Regional Analysis at OSU) Community Bike Roundtable

October 29

Yay Valet! @ OSU v Northwestern

October 30

Year of Yay! Ride Leader Training

October 31

ODOT District 8 Professional Development Ride

'The 70s' ride recap

Thanks to ride leader Grant Summers for a fantastic experience and this write-up!

October’s “70s ride” was a great ride punctuated with 3 unique stops that our group really enjoyed! It was the first ride that I have led since joining Yay Bikes! last year, and it was also the first ride since Fall started. We were greeted with a cool, sunny morning, and our route covered approximately 21 miles. 

Someone was READY for this one!

Someone was READY for this one!

After leaving the Whole Foods at Easton, we rolled east through through several Northeast Columbus neighborhoods until we arrived at our first stop, Musicol Recording. This record studio, at its current location on Oakland Park since 1971, also features a vinyl pressing operation in the basement. It is one of only two businesses currently in Ohio that press vinyl records. Warren Hull graciously gave our group a tour of the recording studio, cozily packed with analog recording equipment and instruments, and the vinyl pressing area. We had a lot of fun at this stop!

And just like that, a new supergroup was formed!

And just like that, a new supergroup was formed!

Our next was was only a short three mile ride north, mostly on Maize road, until we reached Skate Zone 71, which you can see off I-71. Dan Merzke, the operations manager, greeted our group and gave us a brief tour of this skating rink plus a rundown of the various skating sessions they hold. Perhaps we might have a Yay Bikes! Adult Skate party here?!?!?

Operations Manager Dan Merzke shares about Skate Zone 71. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

Operations Manager Dan Merzke shares about Skate Zone 71. Photo credit: Darrell McGrath

From Skate Zone 71, we rode northeast through the winding, tree lined streets of the Forest Park neighborhood, until we reached our final stop, Starbase Columbus. The staff was excited to see our group! Each of our riders received a bag with some snacks, and Lori told us stories about meeting the actors/actresses involved with Star Trek. She also demonstrated some Star Trek themed toys, such as a Bluetooth communicator, and a remote control fashioned to like like a phaser. This was quite a memorable stop.

After that it was time to head back to our home base. We were able to pick up the Alum Creek Multi-Use trail at James Casto Park, which is near the Alum Creek shopping center off route 3. We rode this trail until we reached the Strawberry Farms neighborhood. From their it was a short uphill incline until we safely reached Sunbury Road and eventually Whole Foods. 

I want to thank each of our hosts for taking the time to speak with us during this ride. 

Happy Cycling…………

Seeking 2017's Year of Yay! button artist

Five years of Year of Yay! buttons by local artists Ryan Brinkerhoff (2012), Rich Schneider (2013) Jessica Seyfang (2014). Devin Carothers (2015) and Thom Glick (2016). 

Five years of Year of Yay! buttons by local artists Ryan Brinkerhoff (2012), Rich Schneider (2013) Jessica Seyfang (2014). Devin Carothers (2015) and Thom Glick (2016). 

Year of Yay! is 12 monthly rides that each feature a unique theme—which could be something tangible like "Chocolate", or more abstract, like "Resilience". All 12 rides provide participants with a 1.25" button that reflects the theme and connects it somehow to bicycling. 

We are now accepting applications for a button artist to design the 2017 Year of Yay! ride buttons. This is a paid gig! All styles are welcome! To apply, design one button on the theme "Organized Labor" and submit a jpg, png, eps or pdf version of the image to Meredith by October 26. A decision will be made by October 31; all buttons will be due by January 1. 

We look forward to seeing your creativity in action! 

One bike ride at a time

Sandusky's Professional Development Ride. 

Sandusky's Professional Development Ride. 

I thought we would focus on getting bikes off of streets, but the ride made me think of biking in a different way and that done right, you could ride almost anywhere.

This month I've been criss-crossing our great state of Ohio with fellow Yay Bikes! ride leaders, guiding dozens (77 and counting!) of "influencers" on Professional Development Rides that are transforming how they think about bicyclists and bicycle infrastructure. That's not my own feel-good impression. It's coming through loud and clear, over and over again, on our program evaluation surveys. You can see it in participants' own words, scattered throughout this post: this work works. 

Where we've ridden. 

Where we've ridden. 

By the end of this month we will have ridden in 13 communities with professionals from all over Ohio. Mayors! Council Members and Commissioners! Engineers! Planners! Advocates! Public health and parks employees! Philanthropists! Economic development officers! Etc.! 

Our instructors were excellent! The experience has positively changed my thoughts on cycling and bicycle enthusiasts.

Why do all these VIPs consent to ride with Yay Bikes!? It's "the Yay Way"—or rather, how we are with them: kind, encouraging, neutral, grateful. Quoting one hesitant participant: "This isn't going to be some extended bitchfest, is it?". No, it isn't! We don't attack, we don't proscribe, we don't bitch. We lead and teach, and allow our participants to reach their own professional conclusions about what would work best for their communities' cyclists, given their unique circumstances.  

I was unaware of how much right to the traveled lane roadway bike users had.

Many of these professionals had never ridden streets before, or didn't understand how to ride them in a way that maximizes their safety. With the best of intentions, they simply didn't know what they didn't know about how a cyclist experiences different roads, or makes the choices they do to stay safe. But six weeks after their rides? A significant majority say they now "advocate more strongly and confidently for bicyclists" at their jobs. Wow. Take a pause here to think about that. People in position to influence conditions for cyclists throughout the state understand now what cyclists need AND they have become bicycle advocates! This. Work. Works. 

I learned the viewpoint of the cyclist. I learned traffic laws. Misconceptions were cleared up.

Constant travel is exhausting. My unanswered emails are piled a mile high; my brain is mush. But according to the data, one thing remains true and steady: Yay Bikes! is making a difference in this world. And that brings me joy and peace during this crazy season. Which I look forward to sharing with you.... next month, after a nap or several...


We offer programming like this with support from the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Transportation and the support of our members. Join now! 

We're hiring!

Kathleen says: "We're alright! Join us! " Photo credit: Ben Ko

Kathleen says: "We're alright! Join us! " Photo credit: Ben Ko

Yay Bikes! is pleased to announce that we are hiring for the position of Program Coordinator! Here's how to apply:

  1. Review the job description and email Kathleen with a cover letter and resume by Friday, October 21.  
  2. Yay Bikes! will invite qualified applicants to interview during the week of Oct 31.
  3. A hiring decision will be made in November; the position begins January 2017.

Contact Catherine with any questions about this position or the hiring process. 

September 2016 activity report

Officials in Sandusky, Ohio on a Professional Development Ride. Photo credit: MJ Reed

Officials in Sandusky, Ohio on a Professional Development Ride. Photo credit: MJ Reed

Welcome to the monthly feature in which we round up all our events, earned media, program delivery, meetings and speaking engagements for the month. Representation and outreach like this is what you fund with your membership dollars and major gifts, folks! Behold, September:

September 1

Bike the Cbus planning meeting

Columbus Underground: City Phasing Out “Share the Road” Signs

September 2

Bike the Cbus on-site registration & raffle

ABC 6 On Your Side: City changing bicycle awareness signs

September 3

Bike the Cbus

Yay Valet! @ OSU v Bowling Green and Bike the Cbus

road.cc: US city to replace 'share the road' signs with 'bikes may use full lane' ones

September 5

Yay Valet @ Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival

September 7

Vetting the Powell Professional Development Ride with help from Yay Bikes! members

Next City: City to Replace "Share the Road" Signs With a Clearer Message

September 8

Troy Professional Development Ride, in Columbus, with their City Engineer and others

September 10

Year of Yay! with "Resilience" theme

September 12

Powell Professional Development Ride

September 13

Vetting the Richland County Professional Development Ride with help from Yay Bikes! members and local advocates 

September 15

Vetting the Miamisburg Professional Development Ride with help from local cyclists 

September 16

Miamisburg Professional Development Ride

September 19

Richland County Professional Development Rides (2)

Bicycling Magazine: The 50 Best Bike Cities of 2016 (We're 39! We're 39!)

September 21

Vetting the Fremont Professional Development Ride with help from local cyclists 

Vetting Tour de Brew with the team of leads and sweeps

September 22

Fremont Professional Development Ride

Tour de Brew planning meeting

September 23

Meeting with Zach Traxler to discuss the possibility of launching an online store

September 24

Tour de Brew fundraising ride in partnership with Water for Good to provide clean water for communities of Central Africa

September 26

Vetting the Sandusky Professional Development Ride with help from local cyclists 

September 27

Fremont and Sandusky Professional Development Rides

September 28

Vetting Columbus ride for private transportation consultants

September 29

Professional Development Ride, in Columbus, for transportation professionals designing roads nationally

Meeting with Sidney Hargrow, Executive Director at Community Foundation of South Jersey, to discuss philanthropy