Category Archives: training

Cultures of Responsibility

This article by Robert M. Shanteau, Ph.D., P.E., Registered Traffic Engineer, is an excellent resource.  It is a long one but one you can go back and reference time again.  It is pretty cutting edge so it has taken my mind a while to catch where he is going with this history lesson:

Shanteau’s educational piece is good background for this story.   A cyclist was pulled over and ticketed for impeding traffic.  The video clip from the patrol dash cam shows how it unfolds.

Basically the Officer thinks the bicyclists should be riding at the edge of the road, not on it.  He says repeatedly to “stay out of the road”.   This fundamental confusion has a lot to do with the way the traffic laws are written.  In all 50 States bicyclists are required to follow the same laws as other drivers.  This includes the right to use the travel lanes, and associated duties (signaling turns, yielding before moving laterally to change lanes, respecting first come first served).  That’s all good.  The general law for slower moving traffic applies, slower traffic stays to the right.  The confusion comes from the “Far to the Right” law added to control bikes.  It creates a rule that designates bicycles as a second class user.  This creates conflict and confusion, and puts bicyclists at risk for the convenience of motorists.  The Far to the Right law is detrimental to road safety because it confuses the principles of traffic law and creates uneven treatment.  Dropping Far to the Right would let the regular rules of the road prevail and the sharing concept would be clear and explicit.  Bicyclists have a right to the road just like the drivers of other vehicles.  It is not an exception, or a special case.  It is the rule.  Start there and ride to the right as safe.  When moving slower than other traffic, drivers keep right as they judge safe and appropriate.  Bicyclists have to position themselves for safety.  Respecting bicycle traffic is a precondition for guiding safe traffic behaviors.  A good sign for this stretch of road would be:

bikes may use full lane

That makes everyone’s responsibility clearer.  It is safer that way.   Easier on everyone.

Text to the video is here:

The League of American Bicyclists Smart Cycling Quick Guide is an excellent resource

Loving Land from the City

“This is our world, where our health is woven together with biotic communities in a shared environment, and it is so clearly evident at Tahoe.”
–Peter Goin, Using Lake Tahoe photographs to blend art and science, UNR Nevada Today news

Living in the American West makes noticing the unique characteristics of place inescapable.  There are usually mountains rimming town and in most places piercing sun and deep blue sky.  The air is dry and water is rare and valuable.  In Phoenix, Arizona there is a bicycle club with a long tradition of sewing together people’s health with the lay of the Sonoran Desert lands.  They’re putting on a great race next weekend called the Valley of the Sun (VOS) stage race.

It is amazing how deep racing goes.  Included in the festivities is a Hand Cycling race.  “VOS has  been chosen by the United States Olympic Committee, U.S. Paralympics Cycling as one of six events in the US to complete a U.S. Paralympics Cycling Series. The goal of this series is to provide public awareness of health benefits and sport opportunities for those with spinal cord injury.”  VOS also has a kids bike race, rodeo, and safety clinic.  More information here:

Kids Bike Race, Rodeo, and Safety Clinic
Hand Cycle Race and Learn to Ride Clinic
All the events can be viewed at

Every year volunteers from the White Mtn. Road Club put on the VOS series and it draws racers and spectators from all over the country.  The level of community involvement and deep knowledge of the growth of bicycling in the Phoenix metro region in that organization is phenomenal.  I was a fortunate enough to be a member for a couple of years and now I stay interlinked through strong bonds even from 500 miles away.  Bicycling makes one big family.

The White Mountain Road Club is my bike org of the month for January 2016.  Thanks for the work that you do!

Here are a few photos from rides in the Sandia and Manzano ranges this weekend.  The strong El Niño is ebbing for now and the sun is out and the high country is becoming more accessible.  I start and end all my ABQ rides from home.   I am looking forward to the season.

rock cut

woven road S14


S14 tree

double pine on Sandia Road

Ned Overend Never Grows Old

I don’t know if you’ve ever cycled in Durango.  If you have then you know what it feels like to ride with the whole community behind you.  That is a great feeling.  Ned Overend is one of the reasons why Durango is an epicenter for Southwestern bicycling.  Outside Magazine just featured Ned in an article that includes a great video. Here’s a summary of Ned’s top ten tips for riding your bike and never growing old.  Ned makes bicycling more fun.

Keep it fun (“I use Strava and Group Rides”–Ned)
Mix it up
Pay attention to your health
Understand training theory and recover completely from your training
Be able to adjust your bicycling equipment on your own
Keep it within the envelop of control
Focus your competitiveness on yourself
Don’t assume age will slow you down
Stay positive and trust yourself
Find the right ratio of intensity to recovery
Mold your training program to your preferences and racing plan

Here’s the whole article from Outside Magazine:
Ned Overend is the Champion Cyclists Who Never Grows Old
Here’s another article on Ned’s training regime for masters
On Ned’s Fat Tire bicycle that won him the 2015 Fat Tire National Championships

PS that reminds me, I’m a little bit behind on naming SBI’s bike org. of the month.  For November 2015 it is the place called Durango that is the bike org of the month.  It’s the complete chemistry there–the riding, the people, the way the racing community is integrated with the identity of the place–that makes for greatness.  Bicycling is a place maker in Durango.  Durango wouldn’t be the same without bicycling.  The inverse is also true.

Freedom Rolls

“El Paso’s streets are meant to be shared.”  –City of El Paso, streets and maintenance dept.

El Paso Bike

Bicycling El Paso and experiencing that desert city and the environs reinvigorated my senses.  El Paso is creating a comprehensive bicycle plan.  It sounds good.  The planning is being coordinated with the City, MPO and State, which owns and operates many roads in El Paso.  There are community meetings the next two months.  El Pasoans, make your voices heard.

El Paso Wyler

El paso camino buena suerte

After we returned to Albuquerque winter arrived.  I walked across the bike/ped bridge to Los Altos Golf Course and took pictures.  I-40 was closed from here clear to Texas.  I have bicycled this bridge from our home over I-40 to the bike/ped trail and back 100’s of times.  The pedaling rhythm is easy to find.  Walking the bridge on a snowy day gave me time to see more.

ABQ Los Altos Park bridge

ABQ Los Altos Park Bike-Ped Bridge

ABQ I-40 closing off and on

ABQ berries in snow

ABQ dec. snow

It felt like a blizzard but the next day I was riding outside again.  The power of the intense Southwestern sun.  A different look with mountains draped in snow and chiseled in low angled light.  There’s nothing new on earth, it’s our perceptions that open and attenuate.  Learning is stimulated by seeing distinct and a variety of places, reading, meeting people, being exposed to different ideas and cultures, exercising curiosity, thinking freely, reflecting.  Living.

ABQ La Luz resplendent

ABQ Elena Gallegos road to

Today we visited Los Poblanos, an open space preserve in the North Valley on the eastern bank of the Río Grande.  The air whooshed underneath the feathery wings of Sandhill Cranes.  I remember hearing Richard Nelson on NPR talk about how bird flight is simply extraordinary.  Indeed.  Seeing the evening unfold from Los Poblanos was more magical than staying indoors.

Mai's photo of cranes

Los Poblanos good

Los Poblanos bonsai cottonwood tree


I hope in 2016 I can keep bicycling daily.  I like the discipline of riding well, and the symmetry and sense of discovery it brings to life.  Everyone should have access to these freedoms.



laid back

El Paso scenes east



El Paso’s Bike Planning including meeting schedule and interactive map!:

El Paso is also revitalizing a street car line between downtown and University:

The Federal leadership on bicycle planning is heading in the right direction:

Just What the World Needs

When I got the call from mom yesterday that they had arrived in Florida for the winter, it was snowing outside here.  We had the heater on full blast and when I opened the front door a juniper fragrance from the neighbor’s wood stove trickled past my nose.  In Florida my mom had to turn the air conditioner on, it was so hot, they said.  I felt jealous for a fleeting moment, but mostly I felt the sting of sleet on my face from the pelting I took on my ride home.  Maybe we had jinxed ourselves this weekend by joking about not having to pull out the indoor trainers to ride during winters here.  But nah, today the sun clawed out from behind the vanishing clouds and the pavement was dry by mid morning.  I could ride but I think it is a good day to rest.  Instead I ran some errands by foot on the lunch hour.  Got my 30 minutes of activity in.

I saw Klaus Schwab on the Charlie Rose show discussing the World Economic Forum’s agenda for their upcoming meeting, “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”  When we work on bicycling advocacy we often focus on government, but businesses are an able partner in forward looking solutions.  Klaus told Charlie they are “looking at global issues in an integrated way”.  This integration of disciplines blends in social, economic and physical science perspectives, but the ultimate shaper of “contextual intelligence” has to be history, philosophy, and the humanities as the main integer of understanding.  I think in this age of science, tech, biology and ecology, a shout out to the humanities lends guidance and frames the story.  Story puts us in the stream of wisdom and power.  History helps us digest it.  After all Klaus himself is using story to communicate, such is the power.  The business perspective on issues of our times is crucial for harnessing resources and addressing challenges.  Listening to Klaus I thought bicycling is certainly part of this revolution.  It fits principles Klaus referenced, like this:

  1. Asymmetry–small means for achieving great ends.  The bicycle is positively asymmetric.
  2. Networked World–change requires collaboration, partnerships and support of other components of society.  Changes are combinations of variables.  Bicycling and walking rise together, and depend on speeding up and increasing transit, and better managing cars.
  3. Systems Revolution–we are beginning to shift transportation from being almost entirely focused on one mode to balancing healthy choices with a focus on mobility for people.

There is a direct analogy to the World Economic Forum in the bicycling world.  The World Bicycling Forum met in Columbia last year.  From Nine Lessons from the World Bicycle Forum in Medellín, Colombia regarding bicycling as a catalyst for sustainable development:

“The transformative power of the bicycle for creating equitable, healthy and clean cities is well known by many advocates, activists and policy makers alike. We now need to work together globally to scale up the bicycle’s transformative power to encounter the worldwide mobility and liveability challenge in a rapidly urbanizing world.”

We do have some pretty big challenges ahead of us, and I think better including bicycling will pay dividends.  Here are some photos I’ve gathered as I peck away at our local cycling stories.

I saw wild turkeys on the 313 on the Sandia Reservation south of Bernalillo on the ride Saturday

I saw wild turkeys on 313 on the Sandia lands south of Bernalillo on the ride Saturday.  It’s easy to stop on a bike

foothills wedding

On Saturday evening we saw this wedding party in the Sandia foothills, trying to not catch the dress on cactus

I try to keep riding this trail to ward off the desert from reclaiming it, but the desert keeps making progress. Help!

I try to ride this trail often to ward off the desert from reclaiming it, but the desert keeps making progress. Help!

most mornings and evenings I walk to Grant Park where there's a big field and track. The light and clouds show improbable forms

most mornings I walk to the park where there’s a big field and track. The light and clouds show improbable forms

some people say there is nothing here but open space is the quarry for everything, and everything seems more precious

some people say there is nothing here but open space is the quarry for everything, and everything seems more precious

looks like you can ride all the way to Santa Fe with the Sangre de Cristos in the distance. Paseo de la Mesa trail

looks like you can ride all the way to Santa Fe with the Sangre de Cristos in the distance. Paseo de la Mesa trail

When the shaw of clouds comes off, those mountains are going to have a lot more snow

When the shawl of clouds comes off the Sandias tomorrow, those mountains are going to have a lot more snow


Drive Fly Bike

“In every moment, we have a choice:  Embrace life or run from it.  It’s all too easy to watch the news and get convinced the world is an unfriendly place, and make decisions out of fear, effectively running from life.  One of the greatest gifts bicycle touring has given me over the years is continually restoring my faith in humanity through the kindness of strangers.”  –Heather Anderson, in Adventure Cycling free trial issue,

I’m not as courageous as Heather Anderson, who has bike toured solo in Africa and all over the world.  But I did get more adventurous than usual this weekend and turned down some new roads.  I would love to go long distance bike touring but you don’t have to take some big trip to have an adventure.  Try taking some of the dirt roads in the East Mountains just outside of Albuquerque.  There’s so much to explore by bike here.  Or read a story in a magazine or a book.  Adventure is one step away with determination and imagination.

Route 66 Elementary School drive fly bike

I rode Route 66 from Albuquerque all the way to Edgewood.  There is an elementary school called Route 66 Elementary.  Past, future, and especially present, bicycling works great.

East Mountains solar wind dog

Crest view

Red barn Crestview

I had planned to explore some dirt roads heading south off 66 from Edgewood, and find my way to Chilili.  But the roads were rough and the country seemed fierce–it was so wide open it scared me–so I mostly kept to the paved roads.  One of the rules I abide by is when my instinct says no, I don’t go.  I still had a great time rambling.  I found a new favorite road, County Line Rd., which straddles Bernalillo and Santa Fe County.  And got a better feel for place.

Sangre de Cristo over high desert

Four Hills open space vista

It’s so open in Edgewood you can see all the way to the Sangre de Cristo mountains up north. They are topped white now.  I rode past a Wal Mart Super Center north of Edgewood.  I was pretty surprised in such a rural area there was this behemoth store.  Churches were letting out and the Fall day was gorgeous.  After five hours out I returned home and felt I had lived a lot, really done something.  And the people in the East Mountain communities are very kind.  Today I took an easier ride on the Bosque Trail and got my first close up of the returning Sandhill Cranes.  Looking forward to going down to the Bosque del Apache Wildlife refuge with Mai.  Maybe she’ll let me ride my bike there.  She always teases me, maybe she won’t pick me up and I’ll have to ride home.  I guess that wouldn’t be so bad with all these roads to explore.

Cranes return

Cranes are back

Crest Fiesta

While Mai took our guests to the balloon ascension this morning I pedaled the back road from Albuquerque that runs between the Sandia and Manzano ranges and then on up the Sandia Crest.  Bicycling truly is renewable transportation.  It’s a special kind of renewable power that is human sourced.  The more you use it, the more power you produce.  My rides lately have been shorter with work and family priorities, and I noticed the Crest was harder with less practice.  It was a good day to take it slow, be social, and explore the colors, sights and sounds of Fall.

big sky

line up

Crest Fall showing

There are people from all over the country visiting New Mexico this week for the Balloon Fiesta, and many are checking out the other attractions as well.  I saw so many out of State plates today.  At the base of the Crest in the piñon forest people were gathering pine nuts.  I’m guessing most of them were locals.   At the observation deck at the top people were climbing out of their cars stiff legged, yawning and stretching tight backs, arms in the air, loosening up for the final wind up the walking path that leads to the top of the Sandia Crest.  Almost every trip with a car or bike is finished off by walking.  And so it is on the Crest way up above 10,000 feet.

mi happy road

tall lady

the grove

As always people at the top are eager to talk.  As I was sipping a coke, taking in the scene and putting on my SESES wool jersey, and arm warmers, I met a gentlemen from Detroit who loves Trek bikes.  He owns a couple.  I asked if he had heard of the slow roll rides founded in Detroit and indeed he had.  I would like to get some of that good vibe going in ABQ.  I know a lot of neighborhoods are doing walks together, and hosting farmers markets.  Let’s bike together too.  I met a woman who asked me how the descent was, and if the brake pads got hot.  I said oh, the brakes take it no problem, bikes weigh nothing next to cars.  You could do it too.  She smiled.  People are curious about riding.  Walking at the top people say good idea to ride your bike up, the descent must be fun, the hard part is over, kids say wow.  Everyone smiles.  It sure is a lot of fun riding with an open canopy and intermingling with the trees and people.    Everyone I talked to was having a good time.  I was too and let people know the biking here is great, try it out.  What a great way to take in the colors.  I am grateful for the Crest road to bicycle on.  Every day the Crest is a Fiesta, or wherever you decide to take a ride, ¡Fiesta!


thrust bundle

Fall color bloom


Road Diets and Safety Measures

We love our American streets but there are many planning and design devices to make them even better.  The Pedestrian Bicycle and Information Center is offering a free 12 part seminar series for improving walking safety.  Street designs for walking as a primary and dignified travel mode set the foundation for building a culturally rich and lively community environment.

Here’s a brief announcement highlighting the 12 part seminar series:

pedbikeinfo pedestrian safety 12 part series Fall 2015

This series will provide participants with an in-depth exploration of some of the countermeasures and design strategies that can be implemented to improve pedestrian safety. Each of the 12 sessions will feature detailed information about countermeasures and design strategies, supporting research and guidance, as well as case studies highlighting examples of implementation from around the country.

  • Crossing Islands and Raised Medians
  • Road Diets
  • Marked Crosswalks
  • Curb Extensions, Bulb-Outs and Neckdowns
  • Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons
  • Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon
  • Leading Pedestrian Intervals
  • Pedestrian Safety at Interchanges
  • Lighting Strategies
  • Traffic Calming
  • Pedestrian Safety at Roundabouts
  • Transit Stop Improvements

Led by national experts in pedestrian safety countermeasures and design, this series of webinars will be highly valuable for engineers and public works staff who are involved in roadway design. Each presentation will be followed by a discussion period involving a question and answer session with the presenters.  Those who attend the live sessions will be provided with a certificate of attendance for 1.5 hours of instruction. The webinars will also be submitted to the American Planning Association to be considered for 1.5 CM credits.

Changing the culture around driving, walking and street use occurs simultaneously with upgrading road designs.  Making cultural adjustments can be one of the more challenging aspects of any street redesign project.  A basic part of the approach is providing facts to the public, elected officials, and transportation staff to address fears or misperceptions.

When a community meeting was held in Los Angeles to discuss traffic flow on a street with a new configuration, an 11 year old boy stood up to deliver comments that stunned the crowd.  He said, “I don’t understand why driving a car makes you think you’re more important than someone else.”  And he called out the behavior of adults for their horrifying words and violent actions harassing, intimidating and bullying fellow citizens on the road.  This young person expressed the incredible power of clear human wisdom, empathy and an egalitarian mindset.

Doing proactive community engagement, outreach and education helps people experience the power and excitement a good walking and biking network unleashes, and helps us open to the possibilities for improving health, social connectedness and economic growth.  We want to live in a world that recognizes, values and activates our inherent powers.  We want environments designed for health and mobility freedom.  Walking and biking are basic elements of human living, as important as clean air and water.  They are part of the basic constitution of human rights, required for people to survive and thrive and live together.  It makes sense that our everyday culture and environment is designed to support these beneficial activities.  Walking and biking are essential elements of the good life sustaining the American dream.

Federal Highway Administration road diet guide:
Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide
Bicycle Safety Guide and Counter Measure Selection System
Here’s the link again to the upcoming 12 part series on pedestrian safety by
The comments from the 11 year old person are here.  It is one of the most articulate statements I’ve heard on the frankness necessary to call out and eliminate barbaric behavior on roads.  I found this story from Steve Clark, from the Bicycle Friendly Community program.

Clarifying That Bicycles May Use Full Lane

A published study uses empirical evidence to show that the “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” sign works better than the “share the road” sign for raising the perception that bicyclists are an expected presence on the American road.  While “share the road” was a well intentioned campaign, the ambiguity of the message decreased effectiveness.  Clearer is safer.   Here’s the study:


The Bicycles May Use Full Lane sign is a standard sign in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.  It may be used on any road regardless of speed limit.  It explicitly states a principle that is essential for the safe operation of a bicycle, and improves relations between bicycle and motorized traffic by educating the public that the road is designed to serve bicycle as well as motorized traffic.  For guidance on deciding when you should use the full lane, see this piece, “Where to Ride on the Road“.  It is from the excellent resource at  and collates the best advice on choosing positioning from leading bicycling authorities.

The key is a person bicycling has a right and responsibility to decide for themselves where to safely position on the roadway.  Fundamentals of bicycle driving include being predictable, visible, following the rules for drivers, anticipating and avoiding hazards.  It is common for operating conditions to necessitate that people bicycling use the general travel lane.   This sign affirms that right.  The study says that “The Bicycles May Use Full Lane signage showed notable increases in comprehension among novice bicyclists and private motor vehicle commuters, critical target audiences for efforts to promote bicycling in the USA”.   It also draws attention to the web of benefits that a growing understanding and a healthier practice of bicycling allows us to connect to, including realizing greater transportation efficiency and cost savings, increased health, reduced stress on the road, greater mobility freedom, the satisfaction of using our bodies, the independence of self reliance, and a higher quality, more attuned life.


Once again, here’s the study:
“Bicycles May Use Full Lane” Signage Communicates U.S. Roadway Rules and Increases Perception of Safety
More from on sharing the road.  This is where I first saw the study (Thanks Ed!):
The study was done by researchers as NC State University.  They are conservation biologists & “work to unravel the drivers of environmental behavior on which global sustainability depends.”  Bicycling is the most integrative, multidisciplinary, holistically beneficial activity on the planet.
A related post on the “Sharrow” lane marking:
A related misperception is that bicycles may not delay traffic.  In fact New Mexico is one of 42 States that make it explicit impeding laws only apply to motor vehicles.  This means that people bicycling are permitted to move at speeds that are fitting and natural for their bicycle travel.

Upcoming Trainings for Sustainable Transportation / Livable Communities

There are a couple of free training opportunities for transportation professionals, agency staff and community advocates.   Here’s a short summary of three upcoming trainings:

Sept. 16, Shared Streets, Slow Streets.  Different modes of traffic synch up better at slower speeds.  Check out the flyer below for contact information, time, and location.
Sept. 22, Implementing Complete Streets Workshops, at the Mid-Region Council of Governments, 809 Copper Ave NW, 8:30am- 4:30pm.  Contact or 505-724-3639 for more information or to register.  This training looks at innovative urban design guides, pedestrian crossings, case studies, applications, and performance measures for complete streets.
Nov. 4, Signal Timing Manual, Second Edition.  12-1:30pm at the Santa Fe MPO offices at 500 Market Street, Suite 200.  Contact Keith Wilson at to register.  This is a Transportation Research Board webinar focusing on traffic signal applications for coordinating multi modal travel with an emphasis on tailoring approaches for local needs and improving level of service for pedestrians and bicycles.

Here’s the flyer for this Wednesday’s training:

Santa Fe MPO Sustainable Safety training