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The Bike Rack soft launches; going car-free in Cle

Marc Lefkowitz  |  08/25/11 @ 11:00am  |  Posted in Biking, Transportation choices

· We've been waiting oh so patiently for our invitation to arrive in the mail for the grand opening of The Bike Rack, downtown Cleveland's first bike station (it was slated to open in the spring). Not only will bike commuters have secured parking, showers and lockers for a monthly membership fee (once they're accepting members; apparently, it will be daily fees for now), but repairs and bike rentals are on offer for the general public (and some free outdoor bike parking). The signs are up, the fancy German racks with space for 50 bikes are in place-you can see them up close and personal at today's (8/25) Open House from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Starting this Friday, the station will be open for business (the web site calls it a 'soft launch').

· Freshwater.com looks at the growth of Gen X and Y Clevelanders who are ditching their car (and their gym membership) for a bike. While two of the interviewees work at a bike shop, many of us car-free and car-lite Clevelanders hold down jobs at law firms, museums, and other 'traditional' places of business.

· As a historical footnote to this article, a group of Clevleand cyclists and transit riders published, Car-free in Cleveland back in 1997. Some of the information may be out of date, but the book still offers a useful guide to going car free in a less than hospitable environment.

· Alex Nosse is one of those interviews – the carfree co-owner of Joy Machines bike shop – is also the subjects of a Scene Magazine article, "Keepin' it Wheel." Joy Machines opened recently on W. 25th Street in Ohio City. Nosse says he wants to serve the transportation cyclists and those looking for (or to outfit) their ride for bike commuting.

·If you're ready to explore the pleasures of bike commuting, join this Sunday's ride with experienced transportation cyclist Jim Sheehan around University Circle. Director of the Ohio City Bike Co-op, Sheehan knows the Basics of Transportation Bicycling like the back of his hand, but is also a gentle and patient instructor. Start with an in-depth discussion of riding on the road, then Sheeham leads a ride that doubles as an on-road workshop of how to safely and legally navigate the road (with the lovely Wade Oval, Lagoon and museums as your view) . For more information.

· Heights Tile & Stone owner Josh Barrett did what many dream of-he's running a truck on biodiesel that he's making from used fryer grease from Tommy's restaurant. It was a trial and error process, Heights Observer reports in "Praise the lard".

· Next June (20-22, 2012), The Center for Community Progress will convene the fourth national Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference in New Orleans. Our theme-"Remaking America for the 21st Century" - is designed to ignite information-sharing, brainstorming and brass tacks discussions about how to turn challenge into opportunity for the nation's cities and towns.

You can submit a proposal to present at the conference (due by 8 p.m. EST, Wednesday, September 14).

The conference sessions will explore a wide variety of topics related to the challenges and opportunities presented by foreclosed, abandoned, blighted and other problem properties. This time around, we're making even more of an effort to place these ideas in the broader context of the nation's economic recovery and the future reinvention of America's cities and towns. Take a moment to visit our website, download the RFP - and consider submitting a proposal for our 2012 RVP Conference. Proposals are

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