Bike Friendly Hotels Offer Vacationers a Green Option

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, a nationwide hospitality chain, is doing something new. The hotel chain is embracing the rise of bike culture by partnering with Public Bikes to outfit a fleet of bicycles that will be available to guests staying at any Kimpton location.

The New York Times recently featured the story in their Travel section.

The two San Francisco-based companies worked together to create a fleet of custom three-speed European-inspired street cruisers that feature cherry red frames with orange and blue accents, cream tires, matching double-walled rims, brass bells and rear baskets.

Guests at all properties can purchase picnic baskets with fare created by Kimpton Hotel restaurant chefs and featuring locally sourced goodies in three themes: light and healthy, romantic shareables, and local flair.

You can see the bikes for yourself simply by visiting Kimpton's website. You'll find a charming photograph of one with a basket already loaded to the brim with mouthwatering food.

Kimpton Hotels aren't in every state, but you can find them coast-to-coast all the same. They're in Washington State, Oregon, California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Texas, Minnesota, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, and Florida. 

So if you're trying to plan your next vacation and any of those destinations appeal to you then you've got a unique opportunity on your hands. If you stay at a Kimpton hotel you'll be able to park your car for awhile, and you'll be able to experience the local flavor of your chosen destination up close and personal in a way that you'd never be able to see it if you spent your whole vacation trapped behind your windshield.

Is The Business World Beginning to Embrace Bike Culture?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

There are some positive signs which indicate a change in the way that the business world views bike culture. According to Entrepreneur.com, the number of bike-friendly offices is increasing.

Formerly considered a recreational activity to be done outside of working hours, many North American companies are now recognizing the benefits of promoting a cycling culture in the workplace. "Bicycling is the new golf," says Bill Vesper, President of the League of American Bicyclists, referring to the ability of bike clubs to promote networking opportunities. Cycling is not only a great way to promote physical fitness, but the social aspect of the sport encourages networking and can boost employee morale.

The league lists over 500 businesses that have implemented bike-friendly policies, 55% of which have under 100 employees. From breweries to tech companies and even law offices, small businesses across the country are embracing the benefits of being bike friendly.

Are you interested in bringing the benefits of bike culture to your workplace? You might not have to spend very much money to make the change. Consider taking any or all of the following measures.

  • Simply let employees know that you support the concept of bicycle commuting. Removing the fear of censure can go a long way.
  • Install bike racks in your parking lot.
  • Install showers and provide lockers so employees can clean up and store work clothing.
  • Keep a few bike pumps on site for employee use, just in case.
  • If you're feeling really ambitious, consider reimbursing employees for bike helmets, repair kits, or new cycling equipment, as some of the companies in the article did.
  • Provide trail maps or suggested routes to the office.
  • Stop asking employees if they have "reliable transportation." A car should not be a condition of employment in most cases.

See if you can brainstorm other ways to promote a sustainable commuting culture, which can embrace public transit and car pools as well as bicycle commuting. You may be amazed at the positive differences in your workplace. 

The Rise of the Bike Commute

Thursday, July 18, 2013

It makes sense that the decline of car culture would come with a corresponding rise in bike culture. The 9Billion.com reports that bike commuting is up by 50% since the year 2000.

This is not as large of an increase as it might seem, however.

Still, only 1% of Americans are biking on the regular, compared to 26% of people in the Netherlands, 10% of the Germans, and 19% of the Danish population. The growth in the United States is of course still positive, and a great indication there will be widespread public support as more cities begin to integrate cycling into the transportation grid.

One of the biggest struggles is going to be creating a grid that allows bikes and cars to more efficiently share the road. As the CSM article mentions, there are a lot of issues between the two groups that make cycling incredibly dangerous for both parties. Bike lanes are relatively "new," so some cyclists may not think to use them, and drivers may think that it doubles as a parking space as well.

These challenges are not insurmountable. As the article shows, other countries have tackled them successfully. Americans can certainly do the same. We will need to start by returning the car to its proper place as a tool, and not as a "symbol of prosperity," a "mark of status," as "freedom" or as a part of our "culture."

We simply need to examine our priorities enough to develop the will to do so. Once we have the will, we can find the way.

Then, we can create a transportation matrix that is cleaner, safer, and more versatile for everyone.

Tips for Beating the Heat on Your Bike Commute

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

If you've taken the plunge and started commuting to work by bike then you're doing something awesome for your health, for the environment, and for your community. But there is no denying that bicycle commutes come with some challenges, especially during the summer.

Portland, a bike-friendly city, featured some ways to beat those summer heat challenges on Oregon Live.

The article suggests "treating your body like a finely tuned machine." It stresses the importance of drinking water (twice as much as normal) and finding a shady, cool route for your commute.

The article also suggested slowing down, which went hand-in-hand with tips to go in to work earlier and leave later in order to take advantage of cooler temperatures in the early morning and early evening.

One of the most useful tips involved the clothing that you wear during your ride, however.

You may have an almost spiritual connection with that "Dave Matthews Band at the Gorge 2009" T-Shirt, but it's probably not the best option for riding in high heat...You see, cotton tends to soak up your sweat and will eventually make you feel even hotter...[try] synthetic fibers specifically designed for exercise in hot conditions such as polyesters, micro-fibers, and even ultra-thin wool.

CTAI wants you to be safe this summer, so be sure to follow all of these tips. Heat stroke is a serious condition, and one that might send you right back to your car. Instead of giving up in defeat, you can simply anticipate heat problems and prevent them now by doing a little bit of extra planning.

Bike Sharing Picks Up Speed

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Bike sharing has been all over the news recently.

Forbes just ran an article noting that New York's CitiBikes program has clocked 1 million miles of use. The bike sharing program has only been open for one month.

"As of [6/23/2013] the system has registered almost half a million rentals, with the average ride lasting 19 minutes and 54 seconds.

...Meanwhile, Chicago is getting ready to launch its bike sharing program, Divvy Bikes, at the end of the week."

Across the country, Aspen, Colorado has gotten on-board as well. From The New York Times:

"Never one to fall behind trends, Aspen, Colo. proclaims itself the first mountain town with a bike share program. Its new We-Cycle fleet includes 100 bikes parked at 13 stations around town."

These positive steps come with positive press. On June 24 Yahoo! News ran a story promoting the health benefits of bike sharing programs.

"With bike sharing plans rolling out on city streets from New York City to Budapest, experts say city streets are becoming as fitness-friendly as country trails.

Even short cycling jaunts can make a difference in the health of city dwellers.

"If you were driving a car and switched to biking, that 10 minutes going and coming a day would be a big deal," said Dr. Robert Oppliger, an exercise physiologist with the American College of Sports Medicine.

Oppliger, an avid cyclist, said even a two-to-three mile (3.2 to 4.8 km) spin can yield significant health benefits.

"There's a lot of information coming out on something called active transport that compares traveling by bike or public transit to traveling by car," he said. "The benefits are significant the more mobile you are."

Government guidelines recommend adults accumulate 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity per week. Cycling, he said, can be part of that.

It is clear that bike shares can and should be part of a 21st century total-transit plan. They promote health, and they're fun, which is a winning combination.