Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tell Us Your Bike To Work Month Story!

Our Commuter Challenge ends on May 31st. Commuters will have until June 3rd to log your miles and get entered into WalkBikeBerks' challenge for a chance to win certificates worth $150 from Spokes, or $100 from Lebo's Pedal Parlor or $10 from The Crank. Also, don't forget to log your miles in by May 31st for PA Commuter Services contest. See our website for details!

We'd like to hear from you about your commute during Bike To Work Month. Tell us if you're a regular commuter or just started. Tells us about the benefits you've seen in your life whether it's your health or your attitude or energy level.

If you don't have an employer but ride your children to school or ride to do your errands tell us about that as well. Here's what one commuter has already shared with us.

"I recently started riding my child to elementary school in the mornings about 3 or 4 days a week on a bike trailer/tag-a-long. My child loves the attention from the schoolmates as they wait for the bus. Other parents who see us ride into the school have also made positive comments to me about it. It's a great bonding time with my child and also helps with the exercise we both need without having to cram something else into our busy lives. And though my children don't think in these terms it's taught them they can get from one place to another without a car for the short trips we make."

This is exactly the mission of WalkBikeBerks. Tells us your story by sending an email to today!

Friday, May 28, 2010

This Day in History May 30, 1896

Bike to Work month is coming to an end and Memorial Day weekend is here. Bicycle advocates celebrate the month of May and the work the League of American Bicyclists has done in bringing national recognition to Bike To Work month. However, there is also another important event that occurred during this month on May 30, 1896.

The event was recorded in the NY Daily Tribune. It is the first reported incident of a motor vehicle running into a bicyclist. The motor vehicle was a Duryea Motor Wagon or a "horseless carriage" as it was called at the time. The driver was Henry Wells on his way to take part in an automobile race. The bicyclist was Evylyn (or Ebeling. . . different sources appear to have editing problems) Thomas.

It appears the result of the incident was an out of control horseless carriage going through an intersection resulting in giving Miss Thomas a fractured leg.

Today, many incidents of motor vehicle and bicyclist collisions are referred to as accidents when in fact many of these incidents could have been prevented and thus be avoidable as an "accident".

Regardless of who is at fault if we treated everyone who uses our roadways as equals, whether motorist, bicyclist, pedestrian, etc, there would be a lower count of "accidents" as we treat others as human beings.

See the article in the NY Daily Tribune here and also note there were other incidents involving bicyclists (or scorchers) running into pedestrians and other bicyclists.

Let's keep the spirit of Bike To Work month with us throughout the year. Continue our advocacy efforts and also practice proper bicycling behavior, educate yourself on the law and know your rights. (See Bob Mionske's book and website here for more information on bicyclist rights).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

URGENT: National surge to pass Complete Streets tomorrow at 12 p.m. EDT

"The National Complete Streets Coalition has created a template to make it easy for advocates to take part in this national surge, directing them to urge their representatives to co-sponsor the Complete Streets Act of 2009. The Coalition asks that, while advocates are pedaling to meet the Secretary, leaders across the country distribute this action alert as widely as possible."

This message comes from WalkBikeBerks parent organization Alliance for Biking and Walking. Read the message below and click on the link to go directly to the National Complete Street Coalition's website and enter your zip code where indicated. Your representatives will be sent a letter urging them to Co-Sponsor the Complete Streets Act of 2009 or thanking them for already supporting this act.

Think of the roads in your community that are NOT Complete Streets and how this Act could improve the quality of life for all users of our roadways in Berks County! Send this to everyone you know and urge them to contact their representatives via this link.



"On Friday May 28th, the National Complete Streets Coalition is thrilled to join with Transportation for America, America Bikes, and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership to bicycle down Pennsylvania Avenue, America’s main street, and publicly express our thanks to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for all his hard work to make sure that walking and biking are on equal footing with other modes for safety, convenience, and accessibility.

DOT’s new policy is a step forward, but if we’re going to make our streets safer for all users, we need Congress to change federal law to make complete streets the standard — not the exception. Only through a strong federal complete streets policy can we end the project-by-project fight for safer roads for people who are bicycling, walking, and taking public transportation.

Join us in support of complete streets and take action: Tell your Members of Congress to co-sponsor the Complete Streets Act of 2009! []

The Complete Streets Act would ensure that future federally funded transportation projects take into account the needs of everyone using the roads – old and young, bicycle riders and drivers, pedestrians and public transportation users.

We are making great progress, but we need your help: Tell your representatives that you value streets designed for all modes – that includes bicycling, as well as walking and taking public transportation. []

National Bike Month has been an exciting chance to celebrate and encourage more active transportation. Thanking Secretary LaHood will be a great way to end a landmark month.

Thank you in advance for taking action!"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Progress In The Fight For Transit Relief

Public transportation plays a pivotal role in pedestrian and bicycle friendly cities, townships, counties and states. See below on the latest information from Transportation for America on a new bill proposal with $2 billion in grants. Send a letter to your senator by using this link today!


"Your efforts have paid off with some good news for public transportation! In the midst of a nationwide transit funding crisis brought on by this recession, the Senate just introduced new legislation providing emergency funding relief for local transit systems.

The new bill - the Public Transportation Preservation Act of 2010 - was introduced today in the Senate. It contains $2 billion in grants for transit agencies across the US for preserving vital service - and it couldn't come at a better time.

Write your senators today: tell them to pass this emergency funding package as soon as possible.

We can't stand by while transit systems crash and burn. Last year, Americans took more than 10.7 billion trips on transit, the highest level in over 50 years. Public transportation use has increased at nearly triple the growth rate of the US population.

At the same time that public transit agencies are working so hard to serve growing ridership, they face shortfalls in state and local revenues. Transit agencies nationwide are being forced to cut service, raise fares, and lay off workers. Jobs and services are being eliminated for those in greatest need.

Congress has been paying attention to our calls for help. The hard work and dedication of our partners and supporters - like you - led to the introduction of this bill. This bill will go a long way toward relieving the pain, but it's up to us to make sure it gets passed.

Tell your senators to support emergency funding for transit systems.

Our lawmakers need to take a stand and say enough is enough: we can't let our transit systems falter.

Thank you for your support for clean, reliable, safe public transportation."


Stephen Lee Davis
Online Coordinator
Transportation for America

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bike To Work Pictures, LAB Class & Commuter Challenge

See the latest pictures from our Bike To Work ride to City Hall. Visit our website here for pictures of our LAB class for youth and here for our ride to City Hall.

Don't forget there's still time to ride your bike into work through May 31st to be entered into our commuter contest. Details and link to log your miles can be found at our Bike To Work link on our website.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

New SRT Maps and Berks County Trails

New Schuylkill River Trail Maps are available! The new maps show the entire SRT from Schuylkill County to Philadelphia. When the trail is fully completed it will cover over 130 miles. The new map shows new connections being completed this year and proposed connections in the coming years.
What to look out for this year in Berks County? New on road signage between RACC and Stone Cliff Park making more visible the link from SRT to the Union Canal trail. Birdsborough is getting a new trailhead off of Rte 724. Construction has been underway and will take the trail away from the backyards of houses just off Rte 724 and The Ugly Mug.
The Berks County Conservancy has also been doing a lot to connect trails and has completed phase 1 of a feasability study to connect trails to Nolde Forest. See their links here. Also, if you haven't noticed since last year there is now a connector trail from Angelica Park to the SRT so users don't need to cross Rte 10 on foot or bike any longer to access the SRT!
Trails play an important part in connecting communities and enable bicyclists to commute from one destination to another while avoiding traffic congestion and smogg on roads. Our roadways need more work to get to Complete Street policies but our trail system is picking up the slack and making Berks County more bicycle friendly!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bike To Work Day - Tip #4

Bike To Work Day is finally here! We had a great ride from Brentwood Trailhead to City Hall on a beautiful day!

Thanks to our Board of Directors Bob Hospidor (head of BCTV programming), Emily Weidner (City Liason) who worked with the city to make it happen, and Nancy Kauffman our VP for getting the refreshments ready for everyone. Also we appreciate the support from the mayor and city police for escorting us into the city and back.

And WalkBikeBerks would also like to thank all the other organizations that are working at making Berks County bicycle friendly not the least of which but including the Berks County Planners, Schuylkill River Heritage Area, Berks County Conservancy, PA Commuter Services, BARTA, and Berks County Bicycle Club.

We also thank our sponsors for Bike To Work Day ride Dean Smith from PowerBar and the NY Bagelry in Reading!

Stay tuned for pictures from our ride!

Now onto today's tip.

Do you remember riding your bike as a kid or teenager. Maybe you had a BMX style bike and enjoyed bunny hopping manholes or skidding your bike to a stop. Do you remember what clothing you wore? You probably didn't have on lycra shorts or jersey. And you probably didn't have special shoes that clip into special pedals. However, you still enjoyed the ride and the experience.

Some of us in the bicycle community might be referred to as "bike snobs" or "elitist" because we think we have to be dressed all in lycra with titanium pedals and special carbon road shoes (I use to be one of them). The reality is you don't need all of that for a simple commute to work on your bike. Yes, there are certain clothing that may make it more enjoyable so your body doesn't heat up as much and your sweat is dealt with properly and your performance is better but if you are just getting into commuting start simple and just do it.

We tend to let inertia prevent us from trying new things. So, today's tip is very basic. Riding a bike is very basic so why make it more complex if you don't need to.

Ready. . . . here we go. . . . JUST DO IT!!!

Happy Commuting!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bike To Work Day Is Almost Here!

Bike To Work Day is just around the corner! You won't want to miss our ride from Brentwood Trailhead to City Hall.

Bike To Work Ride!

Register at Brentwood Trailhead by 6:45 AM. We roll out at 7:00 AM. Come out and enjoy a police escort into the city! We'll have presentations from the city, Berks County planners, Schuylkill River Heritage Area, Berks County Conservancy and PA Commuter Services.Come out and show our local government your support for cycling as a means of recreation and transportation. Refreshments to be provided. Get a sneak peak at the new SRT maps! Sign up now by emailing!

2nd Annual Bike To Work Contest!

Bike to Work month is winding down but the excitement is still going! Check out our website for more details on tracking your trips and miles and sponsors for prizes! Keep track of your trips and miles and log them in at the end of May!

We hope you can join us in these events in May. If you would like to donate or become a member of WalkBikeBerks you can do so through PayPal with the link conveniently located here on our blog!

Happy Commuting!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

L.A.B. Bicycle 123 - Youth

WalkBikeBerks just completed it's hosting of a League of American Bicyclists Youth skills class this weekend. This was a 2 hour class for youth up to age 13 where they received specific, individual attention from our certified bicycle instructor Benton Levengood with assistance from WalkBikeBerks executive board members.

All participants received free helmets courtesy of AAA Berks County office as well as $10 gift certificates to Wolvertons Bike Shop courtesy of Wolvertons as well as completion certificate, bookmarks with tips learned from class, updated PA Bicycle Riding manuals, Nike water bottle and bicycle pins.

The conditions for teaching were excellent and participants showed improvements in skills taught throughout the afternoon. Classes such as this for our youth is a stepping stone to learning how to ride responsibly so riding can be fun for everyone.

Keep checking for updates on upcoming classes or send us an email at if you are interested in a class for you our your children. Even those who have extensive miles in their legs on the bike can benefit from a class on increasing your skills or understanding proper vehicular riding behavior.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bike To Work Tip #3

You want to bike to work but the 20 miles ride is a little too long for your taste. Is riding your bike completely out of the question? This excuse is given by many people but it's really just an excuse. There's always a solution for your bike ride. Here are some tips.

1 - Go to and check out possible routes to your workplace. You'll get elevation and distance metrics to help show you the route. Also, google maps has a bike route in beta testing as well. Find a place where you could drive your car maybe half the distance and park. Take your bike out and ride the rest of the way to the office.

2 - Check out routes from BARTA's bus schedule at and reserve a bike rack for your route. The bus may take you closer to the office and you could bike the rest or you could mix it up and bike to a barta stop, ride the bus to your next stop and than bike the rest of the way.

3 - If you work in another county then check out their alternative transportation options as well. In Philadelphia you have SEPTA and also train service that stops by the Schuylkill River Trail. Mix it up using car, bike, train and bike.

4 - Check out Pennsylvania Commuter Services to arrange for car pooling with a bike rack option.

5 - Get really fit and ride your bike the entire commute! You won't be the first and certainly not the last.

If you are have consternation about how to start biking to work send us an email at We'll be glad to help!

Don't forget to check out our webpage for all our Bike To Work activities and register! And if you would like to become a member we've made it easy for you. Just click the button on the right side of this blog that says "Add To Cart" and designate your amount!

Friday, May 14, 2010

TODAY's Commuter Challenge

Watch Al, Meredith, and Matt take the commuter challenge.
Who will win? Al bicycles to work, Meredith drives, and Matt takes public transportation. Click here. Then set up your own comuter challenge! May is bike month!
Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 21. Visit our website for more details about how you can join WalkBikeBerks as we bicycle to City Hall.
Can't join us? Write to and let us know that you are bicycling to work in Berks County!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Invite your local officials to Bike To Work!

Invite your local officials to participate in WalkBikeBerks Bike To Work ride on Friday May 21st at Brentwood Trailhead 7:00a.m. to City Hall (see more details at The Berks County Commissioners declared a proclamation for Berks County that May is Bike To Work month so help WalkBikeBerks spread the word by going to your local townships and boroughs and inviting your local elected officials to participate in Bike To Work.

See this video from Exeter Township's Supervisor meeting where WalkBikeBerks invites the Supervisors to participate in Bike To Work. If you attend your local meetings regularly you too might become known as "this is the guy with the trails!" Start listening at 19:19:20 into the video and turn up the volume.

Happy Commuting!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bike To Work Tip #2

What happens if I bike to work and it rains or thunderstorms later in the day making my commute home dangerous? There will always be some excuse for those not inclined to ride their bike to work but this is actually one that's worth discussing.

If you remember our tip from last year than I'll spare you from the Wicked Witch of the East syndrome explanation (however, if you would like more information on it, please email me at However, a simple rain shower doesn't have to damper your enthusiasm for riding your bike to work. Here are some options:

1 - If it's just a shower proper clothing like a rain jacket and/or pants will keep you dry enough to ride into/back from work.
2 - Fenders on your bicycle will also help keep water spray off your back and help keep your bike cleaner.
3 - A helmet cover can be used if you don't have a hood to keep your head dry.
4 - Reduce tire pressure if your tire's are already pumped up to optimal pressure. This will help keep your tires from slipping on roads going around corners.
5 - Berks County's bus service BARTA has a Bike-N-Ride program. Call ahead 12 hours before you plan to leave and let them know which stop/schedule you would like to use so a bike rack can be installed. Ride to/from work while taking BARTA for the other part of your trip. See more information about BARTA at Let them know your desire for racks on all buses making it more convenient and accessible to choose routes.
6 - Check out PA Commuter Services at They arrange for car pooling/van pooling and emergency ride home services, and you may be able to arrange for a pickup. If you need to you could leave your bike at the office then take your car, bus or carpool the next day.
7 - Check out and click on the "detail" information for hourly updates. Often a meteorolgist will tell you there's rain or thunderstorm coming for sometime in the afternoon, but if you check out the hourly forecast you'll get good percent chances of rain for each hour on the hour. You may be able to ride in the morning just prior to expected rainfall and then ride home later in the day staying dry if it's expected to not last all day. I check this website daily and has been a great tool for not wasting a bike commute!
8 - As a last resort if you need to. . . call your spouse to pick you up. It may not be the best alternative to relieving traffic congestion and may cause some "ill will" with your spouse.

With these tips in mind along with the re-introduction of The A-Team movie coming out later this summer you'll be able to say with a smile on your face as Col John "Hannibal" Smith would say . . . "I love it when a plan comes together!"

Happy Commuting!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

May is Bike To Work Month in Berks County

As you should already know May is National Bike To Work Month. The efforts of the League of American Bicyclists have gone a long way in recognizing not only May as Bike To Work month but the entire year.

Here in Berks County WalkBikeBerks is making strides to encourage all residents and visitors of Berks County to consider using their bicycle not just as a means of recreation but also of transportation. Studies show that vehicle and bicycle collisions decrease where bicycling activity is increased. Choosing to ride your bike to work helps increase the awareness of bicyclists for motorists and actually contributes toward making riding your bicycle a safer alternative.

The key word here is "choosing" to ride your bike. There are too many roads in this country let alone Berks County where road and community design makes driving a motor vehicle inviting and comfortable but leaves those who would choose to ride their bike or walk without a choice as their roads were built only to accommodate motor vehicles. Yet a bicycle is considered a vehicle under PA state law.

Let your local and state officials know where there is inequity in road design and planning for those who would choose to ride their bikes or walk. If you know of areas in Berks County that need Complete Street maintenance let us know as well. We continue to work with the county planners in updating our Bicycle and Pedestrian Master plan and your input is important.

With all that said we are thankful that the Berks County Commissioners have once again declared May in Berks County Bike To Work month! View this video from BCTV of the Commissioners Workshop from Tuesday May 4th where a proclamation is made and received by some of our board members who also represents bicyclists interest from the Berks County Bicycle Club as well as the League of American Bicyclists.

Happy Commuting!

Don't forget about all the exciting events we have planned for May and register today! Visit our website for Bike To Work month events HERE!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bike To Work Month 2010 Is Here!

Bike To Work Month is here! In addition to the many events WalkBikeBerks is hosting throughout the month (check out our webpage for details), we'll be including some helpful tips on how to make your bicycle commute more enjoyable!

To start things out please visit our program from April on BCTV's website.

Enjoy the ride and happy commuting!