Thursday, April 17, 2014

Two Young Girls Bicycling Across America in 1944

Cross-posted from Vintage Everyday

In 1944, Doris Roy and Thelma Popp who were 21 years old and just graduated from college, made a plan to ride bicycles from their home in Buffalo, New York, to Cairo, Illinois, where the Ohio River met the Mississippi.

"World War II affected our college life as most of the male student body joined one of the services. Women assumed some of their roles by taking jobs in armament industries. During the summer, I worked from early morning to evening in a public school caring for infants whose mothers were working in aircraft factories or other related industries."

"But now, before starting our careers, we decided that the coming summer after graduation would be the ideal time to have our adventure. We had a limited period of time to accomplish this. I had signed a contract to begin teaching first grade in Middleport, New York, on the Erie Canal on September 4, 1944. And so - with the leanest of equipment - we made our preparations and were ready to leave on June 22, 1944."

They camped outside, slept in barns, hitched rides on riverboats, went to church on Sundays, and worked at a Walgreens serving Cokes when their money ran low. They wrote letters to their families, and nearly every day Thelma wrote in her diary. The entire diary was transcribed and can be read here. [Read the full article ...]

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bike Delaware demands Delaware Bikes forfeit domain, cites unfair competition

We were recently contacted by Bike Delaware with the following allegation. Here is an excerpt from their attorney's letter:

It has come to Bike Delaware's attention that you have recently begun using the name "Delaware Bikes" to promote your views regarding cycling in Delaware, including without limitation, on the website Our client is concerned by the use of "Delaware Bikes" because this phrase includes both terms of its "Bike Delaware" mark, simply inverted. Generally, merely inverting the words in a mark does not distinguish the marks, especially in view of the similar meanings and connotations of the respective marks. The significant similarities between the marks - particularly where the services are identical/overlapping and are directed to the same consumers and through the same trade channels - is likely to confuse consumers. In fact, the League of American Bicyclists has expressed its confusion between the names and Bike Delaware is concerned other people or groups encountering the Delaware Bikes name will associate your activities with Bike Delaware or are likely to believe, in error, that you are affiliated with, or sponsored by, Bike Delaware.

? Is it Bike Delaware or Delaware Bikes ?
To which Angela Connolly, Secretary at Delaware Bikes, responds:

The League of American Bicyclists did not express their confusion, to we at Delaware Bikes or anyone else, as you may have been told. Andy Clark, the President of the LAB merely gave his very narrow opinion on the existence of Delaware Bikes and our mission when asked by us for his support. In an e-mail to representatives of Delaware Bikes, he stated that  "there is no need for a new "voice" that's honestly barely discernible in name and content from the existing voice". That is his personal opinion, and in no way should be construed to reflect what the LAB as an organization thinks. As a matter of fact, Delaware Bikes has made our purpose very clear, at every opportunity - to provide a more balanced approach to Bicycle Advocacy, and to include the concerns of those who cycle on Delaware's roads. This differs from Bike Delaware, whose main focus is on securing funds for future segregated bicycle facilities, such as trails and pathways. This is not merely an allegation; one only has to look at the two websites to draw their own conclusions as to the differences in our missions. On our Blog and Facebook page, which is the way we primarily communicate with our followers, we clearly and at every turn distinguish ourselves from Bike Delaware. And as far as consumers and trade channels, that is irrelevant. We are not targeting consumers nor are we soliciting money or donations. We are a non-profit Advisory Committee and Blog, we do not even solicit memberships. We pay for promotional items out of our own funds.

Poster's note: So, what's in a name? It should be noted that Bike Delaware didn't even formally register their domain name until February of this year. So, does Bike Delaware have a case? Stay tuned! For starters, Andy Clark (President, LAB) is incorrect that our services "are identical or overlap". Nothing could be farther from the truth. Bike Delaware focuses almost entirely on trails and pathway funding, while Delaware Bikes covers LAB's own 5 Es of bicycle advocacy. On-road safety is paramount - it is all but impossible to bike for transportation in Delaware (or just about anywhere in the US) without using roads and arterial highways at some point in your journey. And that's not set to change for generations to come, if ever.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cell phone penalties set to increase in Maryland

Washington Post -- The Maryland General Assembly approved legislation Monday that will stiffen penalties for drivers who cause fatal or serious crashes while talking on a cellphone or texting. The legislation now goes to the governor to be signed.

The Maryland House of Delegates and Senate had passed different versions of the legislation, but in a compromise reached on the last day of the session, lawmakers agreed to these conditions: The law would apply to drivers using a cellphone in a variety of ways, not just texting. Those found guilty would face up to one year in jail and a fine of as much as $5,000. And prosecutors could charge drivers with this law in addition to other laws. [Full article ...]

Poster's note:  A small step forward in neighboring Maryland, but they are headed in the right direction. Ideally, these acts of gross negligence and disregard for other road user's safety should warrant penalties commensurate with DUI. Will Delaware follow suit?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Campus bicycle safety events scheduled this month

A typical safety checkpoint is set up in front of UD's Trabant Student Center
Several free bicycle safety events are being held on campus from now through the end of April for University of Delaware students, faculty and staff.

Members of the campus community are invited to drop by for information and giveaways and to learn how to take care of their bikes.

Remaining safety checkpoints are scheduled as follows:
  • Tuesday, April 8, noon-3 p.m. at the corner of North College Avenue and Ray Street near the pedestrian bridge to Laird Campus (complete)
  • Wednesday, April 16, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on The Green at Delaware Avenue.
  • Wednesday, April 23 from noon-2 p.m. on The Green at Delaware Avenue in front of Wolf Hall.
These checkpoints are conducted by the Newark Bicycle Committee in partnership with the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), the Newark Bike Project, and UD Police.

Have bicycles checked for proper tire inflation and other safety issues. Front and rear bicycle lights will be given out while they last, courtesy of DelDOT. [Full story on UDaily ...]

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why “Share The Road” is gone in Delaware (not)

Why “Share The Road” Is Gone in Delaware ~Bike Delaware
Delaware ditches “Share the Road” signs ~Cyclelicious
Bike Delaware calls for an end to ‘share the road’ signs ~California Bicycle Coalition
Delaware Drops “Share the Road”

The above are just some of the articles floating around the internet, when in fact, "Share the Road" is still appearing in Delaware. As we have learned all too often, a DOT's commitment to change - even in writing - doesn't guarantee it's going to happen. And that's why the enforcement of current policies and guidelines should be a major component of any bicycle advocacy organization.

A brand new CVS on the corner of Route 4 and Marrows Road will have its Grand Opening on May 18th, 2014.

A brand new bicycle warning sign, with "Share the Road", appears out front of the CVS.

In addition to the sign, the new CVS pictured above had the following New Castle County building code requirement waived:

Where necessary, the developer shall provide acceleration/deceleration lanes along major roads, as determined by DelDOT, as well as right- and left-turn lanes and bypass lanes, depending on local conditions and the amount of traffic generated by the proposed development. Where such lanes are required, they shall be at the expense of the developer.  Acceleration, deceleration, bypass, and right-turn lanes shall include space for bicycle lanes, as required by DelDOT.

There are no issues whatsoever when it comes to adding ADA compliant crosswalks and curb ramps with all new developments. In fact, the sidepath facility on Rt.4 (above) is part of the East Coast Greenway, an off-road trail intended for the use of bicycles and pedestrians. Where sidepaths like this exist, however, it provides the perfect excuse for DOTs to exclude on-road bicycle facilities. And that's likely what happened here, just as it did at the Delaware School for the Deaf further east.

The waiving of NCC coded bike lanes
is now common. Pork Chop guidelines are falling through the cracks. We are losing opportunities for bicycle facility improvements with Pave & Rehab projects. And it doesn't stop with on-road infrastructure; the application of laws that help protect bicyclists and pedestrians also require constant vigilance. Had it not been for select members of the Delaware Bicycle Council, our law enforcement and court system would remain clueless about laws like Vulnerable Users and 3 Foot Passing.

Bike Delaware has been virtually absent in these areas, as they choose to focus almost exclusively on Trails & Pathways.

Related:  Share the Road Plaque Removal in Delaware: Fact Check

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Pope Francis: Avoid fast cars and ride a bike instead

Pope Francis addresses seminarians and future priests and nuns during Mass in St Peter's Basilica (Photo: CNS)

Catholic Herald -- Pope Francis revealed that it pains him when he sees a nun or priest driving an expensive car, and he praised the beauty of the bicycle, noting his 54-year-old personal secretary, Msgr Alfred Xuereb, gets around on a bike.

However, he admitted that with work to be done and distances to be covered, cars are a necessity. Just “get a humbler one,” he said, before adding that if the flashier model still looks tempting, “think about how many children are dying of hunger”.  [Full story ...]

Friday, April 11, 2014

Jonathan Harker: Failure to tackle air pollution kills over 25,000 per year

Too bad our Harker can't get the facts straight when it comes to air quality

By Jonathan Harker | Bike BIZ (UK) -- With the evidence stacking up, will a new official public health report prompt the government to put serious cash behind cycling?

Air pollution has been making the headlines recently, but this week's report from the government's own Public Health England (PHE) has linked long-term exposure to pollution to a shocking 25,000 deaths, in 2010.

With the health benefits of cycling in reducing obesity and the burden on the NHS already well covered, this is yet another reason for improving cycling conditions. So expect a few billion to be dedicated to cycle lanes, cycle traffic lights, etc, in the near future. Probably.

Location is one of the deciding factors in the likelihood of air pollution killing you. The report said: "Central estimates of the fraction of mortality attributable to long-term exposure to current levels of anthropogenic (human-made) particulate air pollution range from around 2.5 per cent in some local authorities in rural areas of Scotland and Northern Ireland and between 3 and 5 per cent in Wales, to over 8 per cent in some London boroughs." [Continue reading ...]

Thursday, April 10, 2014

"Befriend a Bicycle" Tips for Commuting and Riding

By Angela Connolly

On Thursday April 10, I conducted a "Befriend a Bicycle - Tips for Commuting and Riding" Workshop at the Newark Bike Project. This event was part of the "Lite Lunch" Wellness Activities, a series of Workshops held by the University of Delaware's Department of Employee Wellness.

Held during the lunch hour, the workshops raise awareness for healthy activities by allowing participants to experience ways to re-charge their batteries during their workweek. With each activity employees attend, they earn incentives to be eligible for a prize drawing.

On the table was information from the Newark Bike Project, Delaware Bikes, RideShare Delaware, White Clay Bicycle Club, Delaware Trail Spinners, the Delaware Bicycle Council, and the Newark Bicycle Committee.

This was a great opportunity to talk about what we do at the Newark Bike Project, and to raise awareness of the many ways we serve the Community through our Shop and our bike related activities.

16 ladies and gentlemen were in attendance, and we covered topics such as, choosing the right bike for your commute, choosing appropriate bags and clothing, selecting a route, and of course, safety and practical tips to stay safe and visible on the bike. Participants took away goodies such as buttons, safety pamphlets, and maps. 

An array of goodies from Delaware Bikes was on hand. Participants were particularly excited about our high-visibility safety ankle snap bands. Delaware Bikes is an Advisory Committee and Blog that promotes a balanced approach to bicycle advocacy.

Angela, talking about what she loves - bicycling!

The event was enjoyed by all, including these lovely ladies. I would like to thank Linda Smith (far right) for the opportunity to present this Workshop today. We look forward to finding new and creative ways to continue to work with the University to keep their Hens healthy!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bad timing for Rumble Strips on Route 72

Clearly, this could have waited
It's not often that we see Rumble Strips cut in a road that's in imminent need of rehabilitation, but that's exactly what just happened along Route 72/Sunset Lake Road in Bear. Even though DelDOT uses a more bicycle-friendly Rumble Strip allowing cyclists to exit and enter through breaks, bike safety has been compromised in several areas because the shoulder is in very poor condition. It is also thick with debris from potholes and crumbling blacktop, and several stretches require a mountain bike - or entering the lane of high speed traffic to circumvent. A "Report a Road Condition" on-line request was submitted a few months ago for one bad section near Reybold Road, but so far there has been no repair activities.

Route 72 between Old Baltimore Pike and Route 40 was last resurfaced in 2004, ten years ago. It was milled (the process by which the old existing road surface is removed by machine to expose the road base) to a depth that exposed the dirt under the shoulders. Once paved, the new surface started out smooth, but began deteriorating within a few years given the soft ballast.

The freshly cut Rumble Strip is plainly seen in the picture above. Deterioration is especially bad along the seam between the traffic lane and shoulder, narrowing available space and creating a safety hazard.

A view showing the brand new Rumble Strip following directly into a large area of potholes.

The view facing south on Route 72/Sunset Lake Road. This stretch, just south of Reybold Road, is quite challenging - especially for those on road bikes.

Though it is seldom cited, distracted and inattentive driving are largely what's behind lane departure crashes.

Unfortunately, Rumble Strips are little more than "lane police", or a way of keeping drivers in their lane, because cell phone laws are toothless and go unenforced. Engaging in a phone conversation - or worse, texting - has been proven at least as dangerous as DUI. Sadly, this is largely ignored because the vast majority of drivers - including the police themselves - engage in this deadly activity. The result? Vulnerable road users end up paying the ultimate penalty - with their lives.

Related: Are more cyclists getting hit from behind than ever before?

Monday, April 7, 2014

U.S. childhood obesity rates have increased since 1999

(Reuters Health) - U.S. childhood obesity rates have increased over the past 14 years, according to a study published on Monday, casting doubt on a recent analysis by government health researchers that found a sharp drop in preschool obesity rates over the past decade.

The good news, announced in February by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), received widespread media coverage and prompted First Lady Michelle Obama to say she was "thrilled at the progress we've made over the last few years in obesity rates among our youngest Americans.

The new study, published online in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, used the same data source as the CDC, but analyzed obesity rates over a different timeframe. It found increases in obesity for children age 2 to 19, and a marked rise in the percentage who were severely obese.  [Continue reading ...]

Even in Newark - ranked as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the East - schools are anything but safely accessible by bike. The only entrance to the Newark Charter School is in a right turn-only lane on Elkton Road, just west of this intersection, and Newark High School doesn't even have a bike rack.

As long as we continue funding and building infrastructure exclusively suited to automobiles, it should come as no surprise that our children are getting fatter. Who'd a thunk it?

Livable communities like this one - now lost in a geography of nowhere - actually prompted children and adults to be active, to engage in outdoor activities, to navigate their entire town by foot or bike without fear of becoming roadkill. Parents rarely had to drive their kids anywhere. What on Earth happened?

“A suburban mother's role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after”

Friday, April 4, 2014

Walkable, Bikeable Delaware Event set for May 1

At last year's Walkable, Bikeable Delaware event, we were ranked as the League of American Bicyclists 5th most bicycle-friendly state in America. This year’s event on May 1st will again feature Governor Markell, along with other elected officials, DelDOT directors, planners, engineers, cyclists, public health professionals, and pathways advocates from around the state. Also on the agenda are transportation professionals from the most bicycle-friendly places in the U.S, and they will try and help us answer one simple question:

“How can we make Delaware the most bicycle friendly state in America?” 

Register for the event HERE.

Poster's note: The Delaware Walk-Bike Summit "Heels and Wheels" took place on March 21, and for the past 5 years, has been our state's premier advocacy event. We hope you'll register, and enjoy this second event just the same!

James Wilson, Executive Director of Bike Delaware, hands the microphone to DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt during the 2012 edition of the WBD event.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

RideShare's "Show Us How You Ride" contest ends on April 25th

From now through April 25, RideShare Delaware wants to see how you ride!

Take a photo of/on your clean commute (Carpool, Vanpool, Transit, Telework, Walk or Bike) and post it to our Facebook (, tweet us (@rideshareDE), or email your photo to to be entered to win! One entry per person, 2 winners will be drawn at random on April 28th.
  • 1st prize: $50 gift card (Your choice - Target, Wawa or Walmart)
  • 2nd prize:  $25 gift card (Your choice - Target, Wawa or Walmart)
Spring is a wonderful time to give alternate commuting to work a try!

Poster's note:  For those who don't know, RideShare Delaware is a dedicated service organization for environmentally or budget conscience "green" commuters. You create an on-line account with them for free, and instantly qualify for free prizes and up to 5 rides home if circumstances call for it. You can also begin logging your miles on your own Commuter Log, which features all kinds of neat eco-enviro statistics. Don't miss the action, check out RideShare Delaware today!