Car Less Ohio

Promoting the bicycling lifestyle in The Buckeye State

Monthly Archives: January 2009

Winter Bike Commuting Lesson of the Day

This morning’s forecast called for a high today of 29 degrees, and a low of 5. I decided to ride to work after taking much abuse from fellow commuters for skipping out from riding on Monday. The temp was about 32 degrees when I left home, so the day started out even better than I expected.

Even with very little active precipitation, it was a pretty slushy day, with the weekend snow sitting around on the verge of melting. My feet ended up pretty soaked by the end of my 14-mile ride, but my wool ski socks still kept them relatively warm.

I laid out all of my damp clothes at work, and everything pretty much dried out during the day, except for those socks. I had taken a spare pair of light quarter-length socks to wear around work during the day, but I figured those would not be enough to venture out in for the ride home. So, I pulled on my still-soaked ski socks, put on all the rest of my layers, and headed out. It was about 22 degrees out, so again I thought I was going to be better off than expected.

I would have been better off with the lighter, but drier all-day socks. My feet were chilled within the first mile. When I got home, I could barely walk. They weren’t so much numb from the cold, but in throbbing pain. I remarked, “The good news is that if I can still feel them, I don’t have frostbite.” It turns out, that probably wasn’t the best thing to say to calm my significant other’s concerns about this whole night/winter cycling concept. I spent a few minutes on the couch with my feet wrapped in a blanket, and they are fine.

So, the lesson is: pack a spare pair of warm, dry socks for the ride home.

Bike lane leads to new office park in Wooster

Bryan Schaaf of The Daily Record reports that work is progressing on the reconstruction of Secrest Road on the south end of Wooster, Ohio. The work is being done to facilitate access to the BioHio Research Park.

Along with 4,000 linear feet of new road surface, the project also includes 8,000 feet of sidewalk and a bicycle path. It’s good to see that the planners of a new development like this were foresighted enough to consider bike and pedestrian needs.

Hamilton County and Cincinnati Bike Friendly Survey

Hamilton County and the City of Cincinnati are together embarking on a new initiative to make their communities more bicycle friendly. To that end, they have made a survey available for concerned citizens to make their opinions heard. To take the survey, go here:

Brunswick seeks funds for bike trails

According to a post by Melissa Martin on the blog, the city of Brunswick’s Green Advisory Group is seeking funds to build hike-bike trails. The goal of the new trails is mainly to connect existing trail systems in Medina County, link the county’s trails with neighboring trails in Lorain, Summit, and Cuyahoga counties, and expand the area’s Safe Routes to School.

Community Meetings on Cleveland West Shoreway Improvements

Please join the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), the City of Cleveland Planning Commission and Ward 13 Councilman Joe Cimperman for a public meeting to review the proposed redesigned plan for the West Shoreway, also known as the Connecting Cleveland: The Waterfront District Plan. The proposal is working within a finite budget of $49.8 million that includes Route 2 improvements, entrance and exit ramps, and greater lake access via bike trails. The most important component for Ohio City are redesigned exit and off ramps for Route 2 from West 25th and West 28th Streets to enhance pedestrian and vehicular safety, aesthetics, and development opportunities.

Public Meeting # 1:

  • When: Wednesday January 7, 2009 at 5:00 pm
  • Where: The Lakeview Terrace Community Center, located at 1290 W.25th Street, just north of Division. Parking is available on the street only.
Public Meeting # 2: 

  • When: Wednesday January 7, 2009 at 7:00 pm
  • Where: The Lutheran Hospital Auditorium (The Castele Learning Center), located off the Spine & Arthritis Center Building entrance that faces Fulton Road just south of Franklin Blvd.
  • Parking: There is ample, free parking at the Lutheran Hospital lot at W.28th & Franklin (enter off W.28th Street, just north of Franklin)
For more information on the plan please go to and select the “Lakefront West” logo.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to expand bike parking

From The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo will be installing racks for 350 bikes at the Zoo entrance, hopefully in time for spring and Earth Day. The racks will be located in the Hippo Lot, just behind the main ticketing booth. ClevelandBikes has been pleased to offer bike parking with the Ohio City Bicycle Co-Op during EarthFest at the Zoo and have urged that more bike parking should be a permanent element at the zoo. This is an exciting project. ClevelandBikes has also pointed out to builders and developers that cycling makes good business sense, providing credits for sound environmental design and construction. The Zoo, which shares the commitment to environmentally sound design practices, will use the bike parking to meet LEED certification in the design/construction of the new elephant exhibit area, which will quadruple the space for African Elephants, a site to be open in 2010 or 2011.

Columbus aims to be "best bicycling city in the country"

Columbus City Council has laid the foundation for the future of city sidewalks and bikeways.

Legislation passed last month resolves conflicts within the Columbus codes, brings the city into compliance with 2006 changes to Ohio law, and sets the legal framework for behavior by drivers and bicyclists, said Public Service Director Mark Kelsey.

Read the full story from the Columbus Local News web site.

A New Year's Velorution

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, but as my riding mileage dropped way off last month with the onset of bitter cold weather, I figured the new year would be a good excuse to start walking the walk, as well as talking the talk, especially as a co-founder of this blog. So, I began riding my bike to work yesterday.

The worst part about bad-weather riding, in my opinion, is not so much being out in the weather itself. It’s the additional activity required before and after the ride: planning the additional clothing that you need to wear for the ride, and packing more clothes that you’ll have to change into once you arrive at your destination. So, advance preparation is the key more than ever to killing the motivation-killers. Get into a night-before routine–set out your riding clothes, pack your at-work clothes, and make sure your bike and gear are set up and ready to go.

Speaking of bike preparation, I recently added the final touch to make my winter commuting bike ready for action. I needed a rear cargo rack. Mountain bike frames with disc brakes and no rack mounting eyelets present a challenge for carrying cargo. First, I tried mounting a standard cargo rack using clamps around the seatstays for the lower arms of the rack. It held firm, but this caused the rack to sit in a more forward position, which in turn caused my heels to hit whenever any pannier was hanging on the rack.

So, I came across the Axiom Odysee Full Suspension Rack. As the name implies, this rack will work on full-suspension mountain bikes (as long as they don’t have suspension pivots on the seatstays). However, it’s the ideal solution for any bike that has disc brakes and/or lack of rack eyelets. Your rear wheel must have a standard quick release. The design principle is similar to the popular racks from Old Man Mountain, but the price is much more reasonable.

The lower mounting points on the Odyssee Full Suspension Rack use elongated metal plates, with holes through which you thread your rear quick release skewer. The upper mounting points on the rack are made up of two rigid metal support brackets and a pair of clamps that attach to any point on your seatstays. The support brackets are adjustable, so you can get a level rack setup no matter what the angle of your seatstays is.

Here’s what it looks like on my bike. It was an unexpected benefit that it still left room for my seatpost-mounted fender between the rack and the tire. My Axiom waterproof panniers fit very well, as you would hope, leaving plenty of clearance for my size-10.5 hush puppies.

I have never seen any store carry the Axiom Odyssee Full Suspension Rack, but most can special-order it for you. Ask for QBP item number RK6622; they’ll know what you mean. Suggested retail price is $46.99, which includes all the brackets, clamps, and other hardware you’ll need to make it work, and comes in any color you want, as long as it’s black.

New Year’s Day 2009 Mountain Bike Ride

A mountain bike ride on the singletrack loop at Quail Hollow State Park in Hartville, Ohio. I rode my Raleigh XXIX and Brent rode his Surly Karate Monkey.