Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Driver Privilege Checklist

This post comes from James D. Schwartz is a Transportation Pragmatist and the Editor of The Urban Country.

RIP Jenna Morrison – Photo by Aaron Lynett / National Post
On Monday morning, a wife, mother and yoga instructor who was 5-months pregnant was run over by a truck and killed in Toronto in a completely avoidable incident. This senseless death has been on the minds of thousands of people in Toronto because it was so tragic and yet so avoidable.
As a result of this incident, fellow Toronto citizen and cyclist Kristin MH wrote “ The Driver Privilege Checklist ”, a list of privileges that drivers often take for granted. The list is essentially disadvantages that cyclists have, but presented as privileges of drivers instead of disadvantages of cyclists.
To briefly explain the concept of privilege checklists, “ The Male Privilege Checklist” is a good example: In that article the author quotes Peggy McIntosh who in 1990 observed that “ whites in the U.S. are taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group.” McIntosh created a list of privileges that white men enjoyin order to illustrate the invisible institutional racism that many people don’t even realize exists.
Using the same technique, Kristin MH highlights privileges that drivers enjoy in order to help illustrate what might otherwise be invisible. Kristin explains that the intention is not to scold drivers:
“Remember when you read this: If you have privilege in a situation, that doesn’t make you evil.It doesn’t mean that you have no problems and your life is perfect. Hell, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t un-privileged in another way! What it means is that you have a greater chance than a non-privileged person of being an asshole under this specific set of circumstances, and thus you have a greater responsibility to act in such a way as to not be an asshole. That’s really about it.”
Here is Kristin’s list:
The Driver Privilege Checklist
  1. If I am hurt or killed while driving, unless I am intoxicated or grossly negligent, I will not be blamed for my decision to drive.
  2. If I live in North America, my driving is subsidized by my local, regional, and federal government, who provide roads and infrastructure. This subsidy is far beyond that given to any other form of daily transportation.
  3. Learning to drive is a rite of passage, seen as a normal and necessary step towards adulthood, whereas other forms of transport are seen as childish or impractical.
  4. If I choose to transport my children in a car, I will not be called a bad parent or berated for doing so.
  5. If my child is injured or killed while in my car, I will not be blamed for their death unless I was intoxicated or otherwise grossly negligent.
  6. If while driving I injure or kill another person, whether they are another driver, a passenger, a pedestrian, or a cyclist, unless I am intoxicated or otherwise grossly negligent this will be seen nothing more than a regrettable accident.
  7. Large areas of the city, suburb, or rural area I live in are built and laid out with driving in mind to the exclusion of other forms of transportation, and may be totally inaccessible to non-drivers.
  8. While travelling I do not have to experience cold, heat, rain, or snow for more than a few moments unless I choose to.
  9. I can complain to friends, family, and aquaintances about minor accidents and other annoyances without being told that I should stop driving.
  10. It is easier for me than it is for non-drivers to buy many staple goods, such as groceries, as they are often sold in car-centric locations which are difficult to access by other means of transport. I also have the advantage of more easily buying in bulk.
  11. Unless I am very extravagant, the money I spend on purchasing and running my car is not seen as wasted, as a car is seen as a necessity. And the most obvious:
  12. While in transit, I am protected by a 2-tonne metal machine which is faster, stronger, and more durable than anything else I encounter on the road besides larger cars and trucks. If I am in a collision with a pedestrian or a cyclist, even if I am not at fault, I am much more likely to escape without serious injury or death.
  13. If I make a mistake while driving, am in an accident, or cause injury to myself or others, this will not be held against all drivers or considered proof that driving is inherently dangerous or irresponsible.
A memorial ridewill be held for Jenna Morrison on Monday November 14th at 7:30AM at Bloor and Spadina.
James D. Schwartz is a Transportation Pragmatist and the Editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at or follow him on Twitter.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Message from our Executive Director

Today I am writing you to tell you an incredible news for you to consider covering it. This is a two part story, Remember Haifa Abubaker, the UT student who lost her leg after being run over by cement truck, she is going to be the guest of honor on our gala this Saturday and Coca-Cola who has become our biggest contributor, will be there at the gala as well, presenting Please BE KIND to Cyclists with a check. Coca-Cola is behind our programs and campaign to bring awareness and education to the roads of America, as you know the gentleman the saved Haifa's life is an employee of Coca-Cola, he too will be at the gala.

Coca-Cola is presenting Please BE KIND to Cyclists a grant check for $25,000 at our gala this Saturday, November 12th. Initially, we were approached by Coca-Cola after the tragic accident of a UT student, Haifa Abubaker, on July 3rd. The person who saved Haifa, happened to work for Coca-Cola and he let the them know about our organization's efforts to raise awareness. Haifa lost part of her right leg as a result of the accident.

*** Gala Tickets Available at ***

This is a big deal for our community that Coca-Cola is supporting our cause. Coca-Cola's grant will help fund the Victim Relief Program which is a program intended to help injured cyclists with financial assistance, emotional, physical, and legal support.

I  am looking forward to seeing you all at our Gala on Saturday night. 

Al Bastidas

Thursday, November 3, 2011

2011 Fundraising Gala Approaches

We are just over a week away from one of the most exciting things our organization has ever put together.  Our first annual Fundraising Gala is taking place on November 12th and we cordially invite you to be a part of this spectacular event.

There are just a few tickets left and we would be honored if you could join us.  All proceeds go to support our organization and enable us to continue pursuing our mission:
To raise awareness and increase the harmony and tolerance between drivers and cyclists; to provide educational materials and resources to both automobile drivers and cyclists for promoting safe cycling and to create stronger and healthier communities.
Be there to witness presentation from our special guest, including the Coca-Cola corporation who will give us special recognition and announce their grant funding to Please Be Kind to Cyclists.

Purchase your tickets at

Friday, October 21, 2011

Garrido's to cater our Gala

We were so excited to announce that our Fundraising Gala had sold out, but then found out we were able to open it up to a few more people so there are still a few tickets available for sale.  We really hope you'll join us and take part in supporting our cause.

As our way of enticing you, we thought we'd sneak you a peak at the food we'll be serving at our fantastic event.  Catering our event is the deliciously fantastic restaurant, Garrido's.

Below is a sampling of what they'll be serving on November 12 and to purchase your tickets, please visit

2011 Gala Menu includes:

  • Chips, Guacamole, Salsa & Queso
  • Smoked Salmon dip with Habanero and capers
  • Pork Bocaditos with watermelon and Goat Cheese
  • Shrimp Bocaditos with chipotle and horseradish
  • Pumpkin rice balls with Jalapeno crema
  • Guajillo Hummus with tortilla chips
  • Brisket tacos with truffle aioli and pico
  • Mushroom tacos with ancho crema and rajas
  • Pastel de Calabaza with Lemon Crema

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Gala Update

We're a month away from our first annual Fundraising Gala and the excitement continues to build.

Not only do we have some of the most amazing musical talent this city has to offer, but many of Austin's top business people and city representatives will be there as well...including Bruce Todd and Chris Riley.

In addition to all of this, our silent auction is sure to provide so many temptations that you'll just need to bid on.  Items included in our auction are being added every day with some of the latest additions being from Perlas Restaurant, Austin Paddle Sports, The W Hotel, Paramount Theatre, and Kruger Jewelry.

Tickets are still available, and we hope you'll join us on November 12th at Pure Austin Fitness.  Purchase your tickets right here.

Share the Road Animated Video

Have you seen the new Share the Road animated video that was put together to increase bicycle safety awareness here in Austin?  Be sure to check it out and watch for the cameo by our very own Al Bastidas and the Please BE KIND to Cyclists logo.

This video is a creative collaboration amongst local Austin businesses for increased bicycle safety and awareness. Original music from Austin based composer Justin Sherburn from Okkervil River.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Toronto Cyclists Union

We're all in this when we see other organizations doing great things to promote healthy communities and safe cycling, we like to take notice.

The Toronto Cyclists Union is just one of the great organizations out there doing fantastic things.  Have a look at what they wish to achieve:

The Toronto Cyclists Union is a member-based organization working to create a city where anyone can ride a bike safely and enjoyably, regardless of age, ability or location. We envision a transportation system where an 80 year old man in Etobicoke can bike with his grandchild to the park, where a mother in Parkdale with 3 kids can run errands, get to work, and buy groceries all by bicycle, where a morning commute is no longer gridlock and frustration, but a swift and safe bike ride from St. Clair to Bay Street. Getting more people using bicycle transportation for trips under 3 km is the fastest, cheapest and healthiest solution to the real challenges of congestion, pollution and rising energy prices, particularly as we experience population increase. The city developed an excellent bike plan – unfortunately, the chain fell off. The Toronto Cyclists Union is the citizen’s tool for getting the city tuned up and shifted into high gear, through discussion, education and advocacy.

Congratulations to the Toronto Cyclists Union and we wish them all the best in achieving their goals.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Dutch Cycling Embassy

So much can be learned from the Netherlands and how they have successfully integrated cycling into the lifestyle of their country and created an incredible cycling culture.

We look up to the Netherlands and our organization is here to make sure to move our culture in that direction.

Please enjoy this magnificent video from the Dutch Cycling Embassy:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Great Day for Riding a Bicycle

This past Sunday, we held our annual Please BE KIND to Cyclists Ride. It was our fourth year of holding the event which is intended to promote bicycles on the road, safe riding, and to celebrate the bike.

It was a fantastic morning in Austin and the riders who participated enjoyed some beautiful weather as they embarked on the 20 Mile and 40 Mile (well actually about 35 mile) routes.
When everyone got back to the parking lot at Pure Austin Fitness, we had a huge array of food and drinks for everyone.  Breads, pastry's, Beanitos, Coffee, and Sweet Leaf Tea....and enough of it to feed an army.

We have a whole bunch of pictures posted on Flikr from the ride so please click this link to view them and see if we were able to capture you in a few.

Please also check out this link with the news story on the ride covered by KEYE TV:

Thanks again to everyone who participated in this year's ride and we hope to see you again next time.  A big thank you also goes out to our sponsors for the event: Pure Austin Fitness, Beanitos, Sweet Leaf Tea, Bicycle Sport Shop, Jack and Adams, Taco Deli, Whole Foods, and Central Market.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


We are very fortunate and extremely happy about the support that has provided to Please Be Kind to Cyclists.  With a mission statement like this, how can we not be:
Our mission is to promote bicycle awareness, safety and education for all people. Our goal is to raise $50,000 to help Please BE KIND to Cyclists and BikeTexas in their campaigns.
So far they have raised over $16,000 which will be split between our organization and Bike Texas.  We are so very thankful for all that has come in so far and look forward to them reaching their goal of $50,000.  This funding will be extremely helpful as our organization moves forward and begins to implement all the programs and ideas that we have in order to help create harmony on the roads.

We will not rest until our mission has been fulfilled.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Barton Hills Elementary Bike Rodeo

The City of Austin, Bicycle Sport Shop, and Please BE KIND to Cyclists are joining together to put on a Bike Rodeo at Barton HIlls Elementary School on Friday, September 9, from 3 to 5 pm. The Bike Rodeo will teach students about bike mechanics and will promote safe cycling, community, an active lifestyle, and overall benefits of riding a bike to school. The leaders hope that this event will inspire other Austin schools to promote bicycling to their students and to host more Bike Rodeos.

At this event, Please BE KIND to Cyclists will also launch a citywide campaign for schools called Cyclist VIP. This educational campaign will help prevent deadly crashes by teaching students to ride their bikes with awareness and common sense. In light of recent accidents between bikes and cars in Austin, students especially need to learn how to best protect themselves on their bikes. Cyclist VIP will play an important role in educating young people about riding safely.

Event: Bike Rodeo
Where: Barton Hills Elementary School, 2108 Barton Hills Drive, 78704
Time: Friday, Sept 9, 3 to 5 pm
Contact: Al Bastidas,

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Please BE KIND to Cyclists RIDE

On Sunday September 18th, we'll be hosting our Fourth Annual Please BE KIND to Cyclists ride.  This has become an Austin tradition and local cyclists have come out in numbers to help us raise awareness and celebrate bicycles.
We look forward to all of you joining us on September 18th as we head out on three different ride options. Choose from a 20 mile, 40 mile, and family ride and then meet us back at Pure Austin Fitness for some good food and celebration.
This is a FREE ride and no registration is necessary.  Simple show up at the Pure Austin Fitness parking lot prior to our 8:30 departure time and take part in all the fun.
See you on the 18th.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


If you’ve always wanted to get involved in bicycle advocacy, but just didn’t know where to start….we’re here to provide a wonderful opportunity for you.

Over the past six years, we’ve done a lot in our field of interest and we’ve now set forth some massive goals to take things ever further.

We need your help to make it happen.

Please join us by volunteering your time and expertise to our bicycle advocacy organization.  Whether you have a lot of time, or just a little…it all counts and we’d love to have you on board.

Volunteer Meeting:

Thursday, September 1, 2011
Jack and Adams Bike Shop (1210 Barton Springs Road)
FREE FOOD and Information on Volunteer Opportunities

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Danny Macaskill

As our mission over here at Please Be Kind to Cyclists states, we're all about raising awareness and increasing the harmony and tolerance between drivers and cyclists.  We are truly passionate about this, but we also like to have fun.

To celebrate the fun (and exciting and dangerous) side of cycling we wanted to post a couple videos by an incredible cyclist known as Danny Macaskill.  If you haven't seen what this guy can do on a bike, it's definitely worth checking out.

Of course we don't recommend you trying any of this on your own, but we hope you enjoy watching his amazing skills.

Danny's latest video, Industrial Revolutions:

An earlier video by Danny, Way Back Home:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cycling Kit Winner

We were pleased to present Michael Glasgow with one of our new Please Be Kind to Cyclists kits over the weekend.  Michael received the kit for participating in our Round Rock Ride.  We entered everyone who registered for the ride in April and then picked a winner as the recipient of our kit.

Congratulations again to Michael and thanks to all of you who participated in the ride.  If you'd like to get a Please BE KIND to Cyclists kit of your own, please visit Jack and Adams bike shop in Austin or contact us to purchase online.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Andrew Runciman Memorial Ride

On April 30, 2011, around three hundred Austin cyclists came together to honor the memory of Andrew Runciman. Andrew was tragically killed by a hit-and-run driver on South Lamar. Friends, family, and co-workers rode their bicycles together to show respect for Andrew.

Please Be Kind to Cyclists, the Thursday Night Social Ride group, and Bike Texas organized this memorial ride. Around 7:00 in the evening everyone started pedaling south on Lamar escorted by three police cars. The ride took the right lane forming a procession that was more than five blocks long.

Now there is a ghost bike, a Please Be Kind to Cyclists sign, and a flower garden at the location where Andrew was hit. This small piece of land, right in front of Red’s Porch, was donated by the property manager. The garden was planted and is maintained by Al Bastidas and co-workers of Andrew. Al says, “I try to water the plants once or twice a week, but with this heat, more water is needed.” Contact Please Be Kind to Cyclists to learn how you can help maintain this garden.

Bazaarvoice, the company where Andrew was working at the time of his death, has joined the efforts to raise funds and awareness. They have kicked-off a fundraiser to help Please BE KIND to Cyclists and Bike Texas as they continue with their mission of making our streets safer for all cyclists. Check out Bazaarvoice’s efforts and join the cause at

More information about this tragedy can be found at:

Victim Relief Fund

Please Be Kind to Cyclists is pleased to announce the creation of their Victim Relief Fund.  As our Executive Director, Al Bastidas explains in the video below it is a fund that will further allow our organization to help and support cyclists.

For more information on the Victim Relief Fund please visit our website.

Join us in our efforts to help and support cycling victims by donating to the Please Be Kind to Cyclists Victim Relief Fund.  Please Donate Here.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Jack and Adam's Bicycle Re-Cycle Project

It is always very exciting to post about good things that are happening the bicycle world, and today's article is even more exciting because it deals with cycling, the environment, and hometown Austin goodness.

Jack and Adams are good friends of ours over here at Please BE KIND to Cyclists and they have now launched a Bicycle Re-Cycle Project.  They are now an official collection station for TerraCycle (the leading trash to treasure recycling company).

Here's the way it works....Jack and Adams collect energy bar wrappers and then they send these along to TerraCycle so they can be turned into goods such as coin purses and bags.  Pretty cool, huh?  It gets even better.  The articles that are made are then used to earn money for non-profit organizations that are chosen by Jack and Adams.

Now here's the best part.  Jack and Adams have chosen Please BE KIND to Cyclists as the beneficiary for this program and will donate all the money raised through their efforts with TerraCycle recycling.

About Jack and Adam's Bicycles:

Located in Austin, TX, Jack and Adam’s Bicycles is a complete
triathlon and road cycling store. Founded in 2004, it has been voted
Best Triathlon Store in Texas every year since its inception. The
store is renowned for its friendly service, incredible product
support, and community involvement.

About Jack & Adam's Bicycle Re-Cycle Green Team:

The Green Team is a recycling campaign geared towards keeping bicycles
and everything bicycle related out of the landfills.  We're extending
our green efforts at events into our daily activities at the shop.
You can be part of it too by tossing your tubes and tires into one of
the bins which will be available at the shop.  We'll have bins for
other items as well, including spare parts and clothing.

About TerraCycles:

TerraCycle’s purpose is to eliminate the idea of waste. We do this by
creating national recycling systems for the previously non-recyclable.
The process starts by offering collection programs (many of them free)
to collect your waste and then convert the collected waste into a wide
range of products and materials. With over 14 million people
collecting waste in 11 countries together we have diverted billions of
pieces of waste that are either upcycled or recycled into over 1,500
various products available at major retailers ranging from Walmart to
Whole Foods Market. Our hope is to eliminate the idea of waste by
creating collection and solution systems for anything that today ends
up in our trash.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ranting Against Cyclists

Earlier this week, the morning radio show of Bob and Bender with Jamie on 98.1 KVET did a little rant about cyclists in Austin.  You can check it out and also listen to a segment of the rant by clicking this link.  As you can probably imagine from the label of "rant", it wasn't a favorable discussion about us cyclists.

We understand that not everyone is a cyclist and shares our same passion for the bike, but I think some of the comments that were made went just a little too far.  Have a listen for yourself, but there was talk about being happy when Bender (the radio dj) layed on his horn and scared the cyclist off his bike.  I know it was all in "fun", but comments like that are just not acceptable.

Our friend Darryl from Loving the Bike was also not impressed and asked if he could be on air to help defend us cyclists.  They had him on the day after the rant, and Darryl was able to explain that we are good people and a mutual respect should be given between cyclists and drivers.  Our Please Be Kind to Cyclists organization was also brought up when they interviewed him and we would love an opportunity to get on air more often to discuss all the things that we believe in.

As always, we stay commited to raising awareness and increasing the harmony and tolerance between drivers and cyclists.  Let's work together to make it happen.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Can Personality Make You a Champion?

This year’s Tour de France has just begun, but before it even got going there were predictions that Alberto Contador could very well take it once again.  If so, this would be his fourth TdF victory in the past five years….but why don’t people like to label him a Champion?  As they introduced him at the team introductions last Thursday….he was booed, and I’ve also seen a whole lot of smiles following the rough start he’s had in this year’s tour.  Yep, people just don’t want to give him that “Champion” title now do they?

If you’re a Contador fan, let me apologize right now for the little bit of slamming I’m going to do on him today…it’s nothing personal, but he’s the perfect subject to go along with the topic of today’s post.  But chances are, you’re one of those people who don’t really dig the guy.  What is it about this incredible cyclist that makes us dislike him?

You know how you see this super hot girl (or guy for our female readers), and once you get to know them a little better and see that they may be a 10, but their personality is more like a 3….they’re all of a sudden not so hot anymore.  The flipside is also true.  I don’t know about you, but I think that a good personality can increase the attractiveness factor of anyone.

Okay, so back to Contador….the dude is just not a likeable guy.  Whether it’s his cheesy shooter fingers that he likes to flash to the television camera, his lack of having a gentleman’s presence (made famous last year when he refrained from waiting for Schleck and his dropped chain), his doping allegations, or just the aura he gives off….his personality brings him down from a 10 to a 3 pretty easily in my books.
There’s no denying that he knows how to win cycling races, but I’m never going to remember him as a cycling champion or legend.

Then there’s our friend, Jens Voigt.  He’s never one any major race, but he is more of a champion than Contador will ever be.  How can you not like this guy? Jens is just a likeable kind of guy, and it’s pretty hard to resist his unique charm and personality.  He’s got heart, guts, and a way about him that makes people look at him like a champion….and that is how we’ll remember him when his cycling career is over.

Yes, personality can make you a champion….and it can also take it away as well.  Sure Contador might win yet another Tour de France, but it will be people like Jens Voigt who we remember.
Let’s hear what you have to say.  Is Contador a champion?  Is it his personality that takes it away for a lot of us?  Let us hear it.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cycling and Hydration

It's Summer....and it's HOT.  What does that mean to a cyclist?  Well, it means that they should be properly hyrdated while out cycling.  But what about using hydration tabs to help out with the process?  Is it a good idea?  How much should you take?

We turned to Kelli Jennings (RD) from Apex Nutrition for help on this one, and here is what she had to say:

This one depends on 3 things: 1) How long are you training? At what intensity? At what heat/humidity (will you sweat a lot)? 2) What brand of electrolyte tablet are you using and what are the mg of sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium? 3) How much fluid do you typically drink per hour during your training (in ounces, the whole bottle, ½ the bottle, etc)?

Okay, so that was more like 7 questions (it’s always a can of worms with me!). For any moderate or high intensity workout, more than 60 minutes, here’s what you need (optimally) the replenish fluid and lytes:

20-32 oz. fluid, 400-700 mg sodium, 100-200 mg potassium, 80-120 mg calcium, 40-60 mg magnesium per hour. Of course, you also have to consider any other fluids or foods you’ll be consuming and the lytes in those. I usually find that athletes get in ~20 ounces per hour when they are really trying, but of course, it varies widely. So, now what you’ve got to determine is how many ounces you’ll drink, and how many mg of lytes your tablet provides. Then, you can mix the right amount of tablets in the right amount of water. This is a more individualized plan than just following the manufacturer directions (although that will get anyone who’s not real serious about the training/replenishing through).

You may have noticed that the “target” amounts above are big ranges. Usually, I consider the weight of the athlete, history of sweating (do you SWEAT or just glisten?), the temperature and humidity, and past individual experiences when targeting within these ranges.

As far as time: electrolytes are often most important, in terms of improving performance, for trainings greater than 120 minutes, depending on all the other factors…
Simple, right? Right.
Here’s the amounts of lytes in popular electrolyte tablets:

•NUUN Caps: 1 tablet = 360 mg sodium, 100 mg potassium, 13 mg calcium, 25 mg magnesium
•Camelbak Elixir: 1 tablet = 340 mg sodium, 125 mg potassium, 0 mg calcium, 0 mg magnesium
•Hammer Endurolytes Fizz: 1 tablet = 200 mg sodium, 100 mg potassium, 100 mg calcium, 50 mg magnesium

I’m a fan of also using salt and Milton’s lyte to fluids when they don’t contain as much sodium/potassium as I’d like. These contain:

•Salt: 1/8 tsp = 300 mg sodium
•Morton’s late salt: 1/8 tsp = 146 mg sodium, 176 mg potassium
•Calcium/Magnesium tablets (crushable or liquids) supplements in a 2:1 ratio (many tablets are 500 mg calcium/250 mg magnesium)

Some athletes also use capsules that are swallowed whole before, during, and after training. I prefer those that are dissolved into fluid for a couple reasons: 1) you have to drink the fluid anyway…taking a capsule + fluid (as opposed to “in” fluid) adds one more thing to remember and 2) the electrolytes consumed are subject to our guts’ rate of absorption – taking more at once doesn’t usually mean more absorbed – small amounts over time usually increase absorption.

Lastly, don’t forget the carbs. You need 40-60 gm carbs per hour when training over 60 minutes. For my time and money, I choose a fluid with carbs and lytes. If you want an easy and inexpensive recipe to get all the fluid, carbs, and lytes you need, try my homebrew at – it’s a free recipe.

For anyone else reading this that’s still on the fence about whether or not they even need to add electrolytes to fluid, review all the good reasons at

Thursday, June 23, 2011

More Great Cycling Organizations

There are countless cycling advocacy organizations out there with the sole purpose of making their area more bike friendly….please forgive me for not mentioning all of you in this article. I’ve been lucky enough to interact with two such organizations and for today I wanted to let you know about and
Better by Bike is crushing it in Bristol, Bath, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (United Kingdom). It’s like they have packed in absolutely everything you need to get started in cycling, or to enjoy it just that little bit more, and placed it neatly into their website. When I first came across these guys something called out to me, and I knew I just had to get to know them better. I’m so impressed with what they stand for and the programs they deliver. Here’s just a hint at some of the great information they provide:
•choosing a bike
•clothes and accessories
•simple bicycle maintenance
•bike security
•how to be a better bike rider
•getting to work by bike
•cycle training
•cycling for fun
•cycling with children

But they offer so much more than just information. Receiving the UK’s first Cycling City status allowed them to create the Better By Bike website and brand. In turn they have used this tool to encourage commuting to work by offering grants to businesses and loaning bikes to employees. They also offer information and training to schools and children. They even share stories on their website about why people love the bike (you know we can totally relate to that one).

These guys rock, and I’ve been wanting to pay homage to them for quite some time now. I’m sure you guys get thanked all the time by your Bristol blokes, but even over here in North America there is someone proud of you for your passion and commitment. Good for you Better By Bike. Cheers on a job well done.
For more information on Better By Bike, please contact them right here.
The Ontario, Canada organization of Share the Road has equally inspired me…and watch out Better By Bike because these guys have the vision of making Ontario the most bike friendly place on Earth. Eleanor McMahon is the founder of Share the Road and even through the limited e-mail communication I’ve had with her, I can just taste the incredible stuff she’s cooking. She started this organization and has been dedicating her life to cycling advocacy since 2006 when her husband, OPP Sergeant Greg Stobbart was tragically killed in a cycling collision. Her efforts have paid off and in November 2008, Greg’s Law (in honor of her husband) was tabled in the Ontario legislature as part of a larger Road Safety Bill, Bill 126 and it passed on April 22nd, 2009.
With the incredible motivation and passion of Eleanor behind the bars of this organization, there’s no doubt in my mind that Share the Road will absolutely achieve all that it is after and more. Not only are they doing great things for the bike in Ontario….they are doing great things for all of us as riders. Thanks for backing us, Eleanor and Share the Road. You are making the world a better place for cyclists.
Please find out more about Share the Road.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

7 Tips to Make You More Comfortable on Your Bike

7 Tips to Make You More Comfortable (and Faster)
By Victor Jimenez (the Bicycle Lab)
Though there is no substitute for seeing an experienced bicycle fitter. There are a lot of simple things you can do on your own.
Adjust Your Seat Height

A properly adjusted seat height is the most important aspect of bicycle fit. A rough starting point is with your foot at the bottom of the pedal stroke you should have around a 30 degree bend in your knee. This will give you a pretty close approximation of your saddle height from the bottom bracket to the top of the saddle.
Adjust the Cleats on Your Shoes

While you can play with this on your own. I strongly encourage you to have the cleat position professionally evaluated. If set up incorrectly you will be waisting power and in some cases cause muscle strain and injury. But if you choose to adjust on your own. The basic idea is to set the rotation of the cleat so that the center lines up with your natural gait. The fore and aft adjustment is dependant on your style of riding, body asymmetries, among other variables.
Raise Your Handlebars

Yep you read correct. A higher bar height will open up your torso to hip angle and help with saddle comfort. Lower-back, hamstring, and hip flexibility are key to this positioning in this area. Improve your flexibility and improve your position. Raising your bars is also a good thing to do when you are not riding as much. Your flexibility will change as your fitness changes.

Level Your Saddle

Your saddle should generally be level or the nose pointed slightly up. If the saddle is uncomfortable in this position there may be something else in your position that needs to be adjusted.
Level Your Bars

The drops of your handlebars should be roughly level or slightly up. This helps keep all the hand positions open.
Tilt Your Aerobars Up Slightly

By tilting your aerobars (if you use aerobars) up slightly most people will find a more relaxed position for their upper body. Aerobar set up is a complex issue, because of differences in design and use. For more information on Aerobar set up, please contact me.
Put Insoles in Your Shoes

Most cycling shoes have no arch support at all. There are many off the shelf brands to choose from or even better get a custom made pair that is molded to your feet.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

There has been a lot of interest in “The Law of Attraction” over the past few years. Books like “The Secret”, “The Answer”, and many more have become bestsellers and created a huge following and a lot of interest. Even Fat Cyclist himself did a post on “How to use ‘The Secret’ in Cycling”….so you know it’s got to be a hot topic.
The secret and the law of attraction are definitely not new concepts or ideas, and they don’t claim to be. The laws and principles have been around forever. If you haven’t found yourself caught up with the hype, let me tell you that “The Secret” is pretty much the old “Fake It Until You Make It” idea….or “Acting As If”.

But you know, there is something to it and it can be applied to any aspect of your life…with cycling being one of them. We’re not just talking road biking here. Visualization and acting as if, can apply to any type of cycling that you do or cycling related goals that you have.

Maybe you’re already acting as if you’ve dropped those 20 pounds you’re looking to achieve by cycling. Pretend it’s already happened. Talk that way. Act that way. Believe it. Or you’re talking it up like you are this person who cycles everywhere they go. In reality it’s not happening yet, but you are acting as if it’s good to go. Whatever it is, try acting as if it’s already happened. Yeah, it will feel strange. Yeah, you might not believe yourself….at first. But I know you’ll have fun with it, and I know you’ll get positive results.

I have heard that when the band Aerosmith was just getting started, they used to play a lot of shows in small nightclubs. Even though many of the places were kind of seedy and the people there were not totally interested in hearing them…….they would act as if they were playing to a sold out arena where the fans were crazy about them. Well, I don’t need to tell you that “acting as if” eventually became a reality for these rockers.

We all love make believe right? Of course we do. We all grow up playing and pretending we are one thing or another. Why not incorporate that idea into our Adult lives? Into our Adult Cycling Lives? It’s not only fun…’s also very effective.

William James once wrote:

“Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create that fact.”

Fake it ‘til you make it……Act as If…The Secret…Thoughts become things….Believe. Whatever you want to call it, try it out.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kids on Bikes

Another school year has officially wrapped up here in Austin, and the rest of the Country will be letting out any week now.  With the arrival of summer holidays, comes a whole lot of kids outside on least we hope they opt for being outside as opposed to sitting on the couch playing video games.

It's a good time to remind everyone to pay more attention out on the road and be aware of kids darting into traffic either on foot or on bike.  Being proactive and aware, can go a long way.

For all of the kids out there on bikes this summer, we wanted to provide some bicycle saftety tips to make sure you have the best (and safest) summer ever.

Wear a Properly Fitted Bicycle Helmet.  The first thing you should always do before pedaling off on your bike is to make sure you've got your helmet on.  Also be sure to have a helmet that fits you right.  For more information on how to ensure a proper fit, check out "Easy Steps to a Properly Fitting Helmet".

Adjust Your Bicycle to Fit.  When buying a new bike, be sure to have the bike shop properly adjust the bike to fit your child.  If you've already got a bike for them, make sure that it still fits them properly this summer after a winter of continuous growing.  Read this to ensure a proper fit.

Check Your Equipment. Before riding, inflate tires properly and check that your brakes work.
See and Be Seen. The more visible your child is to the traffic around them, the better.  This is even more important when kids are cycling in high traffic areas.

Control Your Bicycle. It's fun to go no hands and do tricks, but it's really important to maintain control of your bike....and this means at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.

Watch for and Avoid Road Hazards.  Unfortunately there are things like pothots, broken glass, gravel, and water on the road.  All of these things can cause problems when out on your bike, so be sure to educate your kids on how to avoid and deal with hazzards.

Avoid Riding at Night. If possible, try to keep your kids off the road at night.  It's difficult to see cyclists when it's dark outside and when you're on a bike at night it is difficult to see any hazzards that might be out there.  If they must ride at night, be sure to install a good headlight and reflectors on their bike.

Have a great summer.  Get out on your bike...have fun....and be safe.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's been a great Bike month

As the month of May slowly comes to an end, we can already look back at a fantastic month of cycling related events here in Austin in celebration of National Bike Month.  There have been so many wonderful events and we'd like to highlight a few of them here.

Ride of Silence

Each year, a National Ride of Silence is held on May 18th to honor bicyclists killed by motorists, promote sharing the road, and provide awareness of bicycling safety.  This year's event in Austin was held to honor Andrew Runciman who was recently the tragic victim of a hit and run in Southern part of the city.  The Please BE KIND to Cyclists took part in this memorial ride and were proud to help honor this young cyclist.

Bike to Work Day

May 20th was National Bike to work day and as always, the city of Austin was buzzing with activity for this celebration of bikes.  Please BE KIND to Cyclists sponsored three checkpoints and were able to meet and interact with a whole bunch of cyclists making their way around the city.  The morning was overcast, but the smiles were sure shining on each and every cyclist who stopped in to see us.

How did you spend your Bike Month?  We'd love to hear your stories and have you share your experience with us.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cycling Safety Related Videos

Our friend Darryl from Loving the Bike has a couple of Cycling Related Safety Videos that we'd like to share with you today.

Safety From Sun Glare:

Safety in Strong Winds:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bike Month

Each May the nation celebrates the bike, and here in Austin there is definitely no shortage of bicycle related goodness.  Once again there will be Bike to Work Week, Bike to Work Day, and countless cycling events and rides to go along with all the celebrations.  It is a great month to get excited about cycling and to get out for a solo ride, with your family, or maybe even a commute to work.

Please BE KIND to Cyclists will be sponsoring 3 stations in Austin's Bike to Work Day: Tsunami Bike Shop, Jack and Adams Bike Shop, and Bouldin Creek Cafe (their new location on Mary and South 1st).

Volunteers Needed:
We are in need for 4 volunteers to help us out with our Bike to Work Day activities.  We require 2 people for Tsunami BikeShop, one for Jack and Adams, and one for Bouldin Creek.  Please contact us at or by phone at 512-924-6683 to let us know you're able to help out.  Below are more details on what are required:

Date: Friday May 20, 2011
Arrival Time - 6:45AM
Required from 7:00 - 9:30AM
Duties: Greet cyclists, handout goodies, talk to people about cycling and Please BE KIND to Cyclists, collection donations for bumper stickers, help sell merchandise.

Free breakfast will be served to all volunteers at each station.

If you aren't able to volunteer, we hope you'll take part in Bike to Work Day on May 20th and stop by and see us at one of our stations.  For a map of all the stations for this year's event, please visit:  For a list of other cycling events taking place in Austin during Bike Month, visit

Come out and celebrate Bike to Work Day with's going to be a guaranteed great time.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Pledge

Okay, here the deal I'd like to make with y'all. It's really simple agree to our terms and we'll deliver on what we pledge to do. Is it a Deal?

As a Driver I Pledge:
  • Not to drive while under the influence of alcohal or drugs
  • Not to text, tweet, e-mail, talk, or do anything else with my phone while driving
  • To give all cyclists at least 3 feet of space
  • Not to drive while drowsy, tired, or sleepy
  • Not to throw garbage and other items out of my car
  • To follow the rules of the road
As a Cyclist I Pledge:
  • To continue to do my part for the environment by riding instead of driving
  • To bring down the cost of national health care by keeping my body in top health
  • To spread my positive vibes and attitude that comes through cycling and exercise
  • To encourage my fellow cyclists to show respect and be safe on the road
  • To follow the rules of the road
  • To be street smart on the road and make sure I make it home safely to my family and loved ones
*We understand that not all drivers or cyclists can be classified in the lists that we provided here, and we hope to continue to educate and develop all cyclists into safe and pro-active riders.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hit and Run in South Austin

We won't quit...we can't quit.  Please BE KIND to Cyclists will continue to promote cycling awareness and safety and fulfil our mission:
Please BE KIND to Cyclists is a non-profit organization committed to raising awareness and increasing the harmony and tolerance between drivers and cyclists. 
Our mission is to promote safe cycling for all and to contribute to a global social change by making stronger and healthier communities and providing resources to all: communities, drivers and cyclist; so they can educate themselves and learn to coexist and share the road safely and with respect.

We are once again aware of how important it is to get our mission fulfilled in the wake of a hit and run that took place in Austin last weekend.

24-year-old Austin cyclist, Andrew Runciman was struck down and killed on his bike last Saturday at midnight on South Lamar Boulevard.

Runciman was riding in the far right lane when a dark-colored SUV (also driving south) struck the cyclist and then continued to drive off.

It is customary in Austin (and in other parts of the country) to honor a fallen rider by putting up a "ghost bike" where the event took place.  Azgad Crisostomo, along with another local cyclist, placed a ghost bike in the 3500 block of South Lamar to honor Andrew.

Our own, Al Bastidas placed a Please BE KIND to Cyclists sign next to the ghost bike to further impact the message of making cycling safety all of our concern.

Local police are looking for any help they can get in identifying the person responsible for this tragic incident.  Please contact Vehicular Homicide Unit at 512-974-8164.

For more information on this story, please visit

Thursday, April 21, 2011

2011 Austin Bike Summit

Last weekend, Please Be Kind to Cyclists took part in the 2011 Austin Bike Summit.  This is an annual event that allows all Austin bike advocates and staff to get together and talks bicycle promotion, education, and strategy.

The mission of the Austin Bike Summit is:
An annual gathering that fosters collaboration and bridges gaps between Austin’s various bicycle endeavors, movements, and efforts and provides new volunteers with avenues for involvement.
The summit is open to anyone to attend and we were happy to take part by presenting along with a variety of other great Austin advocates.  Al Bastidas was part of a presentation on Bike Programs at Schools and informed attendees on all that Please Be Kind to Cyclists is doing to promote safe biking for everyone.  Also included in the presentation was:

Bike Programs at Schools
A comprehensive look at bike programming at schools including after-school programs, Safe Routes initiatives, PE 3, and the Boltage Program. The Austin Safe Routes to Schools Project will present an update on their progress to improve the health of kids and the community by enabling and encouraging children and the parents to walk and bike to school. The Yellow Bike Project will present their unique initiatives and their impact on kids who are biking to school. The Boltage and Pe 3 Program will share their current Kid Commute initiatives and expand on the impact they are making in Austin, and throughout the state.

We applaud the volunteers and organizers of the Austin Bike Summit and look forward to being a part again next year.