• Welcome to I Bike Kansas!

    Welcome to I Bike Kansas!

  • Welcome to I Bike Kansas!

    Welcome to I Bike Kansas!

I am very excited to announce that my wife, Leigh Ann, and I are opening Ottawa Bike and Trail on Main Street in Ottawa, Kansas! The shop will be located at the intersection of the Prairie Spirit Trail and the Flint Hills Nature Trail. These two rails-to-trails State Parks cover nearly 170 miles of trails through some of the most beautiful parts of Kansas.

Our shop will be an independently-owned, family bicycle shop. We will offer bicycle sales, rentals, and service. We will also offer tours and trail support to make it easier for people to experience the trails and area attractions. I hope to make the shop a welcoming gathering place for everyone. Ottawa Bike and Trail will be a welcoming gathering place for everyone featuring locally-roasted coffee, the latest trail information, and plenty of space to socialize, tell stories and have fun.

We would like to thank the city leaders and community members who have been extremely welcoming and encouraging as we put our plan together. Their focus on making Ottawa bicycle and pedestrian friendly, and their investments to make the city a destination for trail users, make Ottawa the perfect location for our business. The Onward Ottawa organization and the Legacy Square project are examples of how the city is looking to the future and making historic downtown Ottawa and connections to the trail system a priority.

The plan is to open the doors in early October. In the meantime, I’ll be sharing more about our vision for the shop in the days to come. I’ll also be doing some product giveaways and other special events as we get closer to opening.

Please check out our website and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay informed.

It’s been a longtime dream of mine to have a place where I can share my passion and help more people discover the joy of cycling. I look forward to serving the community and being part of all of the amazing things happening in Ottawa.

Read more

Tomorrow is the big day!  Me, and a group of my new friends, will be riding the Flint Hills Nature trail from Ottawa to Council Grove.  I put together this timetable so that everyone can have an idea of when we will arraive at the different towns on the trail.  This is based on a 12 mph pace.  Depending on the group we may be faster or slower.   It’s still not to late to join the ride if you want to get in on the fun.  Here’s a link to the facebook event page.

Read more

I’m planning to experience part of the Flint Hills Nature Trail for the first time on Saturday, July 14th and I’d love to have some company!  I’ll be riding 74.1 miles from Ottawa to Council Grove.   Feel free to ride all or part of the route with me.  If you are interested make sure to sign-up via my Facebook page here.

If you want to learn more about the Flint Hills Nature Trail before you decide, you can listen to my Podcast about it here.

The ride is a show-and-go format, so you’ll need to be self-supported and make your own arrangements for transportation.  We will meet between 7:00 and 7:30 a.m. at the Old Depot Museum in Ottawa, Kansas.  We will start the route at 7:30 a.m. sharp. This is a social ride (no-drop) and the pace will be conversational.  We will make stops in the towns along the way for water, coffee, etc.

Here’s a link to the route on Ride with GPS.

Flint Hills Nature Trail Map from Ottawa to Council Grove, Kansas.

I’ll be riding the route one-way and will have a ride waiting for me in Council Grove.  I’ll be staying overnight near Council Grove and return to Kansas City on Sunday.

If you decide to also ride one-way you’ll need to arrange for a pickup in Council Grove or wherever you decide to stop.  If there is enough interest, we may be able to arrange for a van to take everyone back to the start in Ottawa.  Otherwise, if you want to make it an out and back you can ride as far as you want and then turn around and head back to Ottawa.

I think it’ll be a great way to experience the trail and meet some great people along the way.  Please let me know if you have any questions or ideas to make this event even better.  You can send me an email here.

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Read more

Featured Video Play Icon

Check out my new video about the gear I put together for my first bike overnight adventure!

Here’s a list of some of the key gear:

Tent: Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 1

Sleeping Bag: Big Agnes Encampment

Sleeping Pad: Big Agnes Q-Cor XLS

Handlebar Bag:  Ortlieb Ultimate 6 Plus Handlebar Bag

Paniers:  Ortlieb Backroller Classic

Stove: MSR Pocket Rocket 2

 

 

 

 

 

Read more

For episode 2 of the I Bike Kansas Podcast, I interview Scott Allen of the KANZA Rails to Trails Conservancy.  The Conservancy is responsible for the Flint Hills Nature Trail and the Landon Nature Trail.  These Rails-To-Trails projects cover over 150 miles (and growing) of trail across the Flint Hills of Kansas.  I talked to Scott about the unique history and bright future of the trails.  Scott also shares his perspective on what has made the Kanza Rails-to-Trails project so successful.

Stay tuned for details about my upcoming trip on the Flint Hills Nature Trail.  I’d love to have you join me as I discover the trail for the first time.

Enjoy the pocast!

Follow I Bike Kansas:

Facebook: IBikeKansas

Twitter: IBikeKansas

Instagram: IBikeKansas

 

Read more

I Bike Lenexa members have been closely following the new Ridgeview Road project as Lenexa city planners are actively considering bicycle infrastructure for the new road. Cyclists in Lenexa have been frustrated by the lack of on-street bicycle infrastructure and have been working to convince the city to catch up to other communities in the area that are making steady progress. At the current time, Lenexa has virtually no on-street bicycle infrastructure and no dedicated bike lanes. The Ridgeview Road project looked like a great opportunity to get our first bike lanes, but in the end, the City Council decided on a different approach. While this isn’t the result we hoped for, there are a few positive signs that came out of the process.

Bike-lane options considered:

On April, 3 city planners presented several options for consideration by the City Council. Two options included 5-foot bike lanes in both directions (Options 2 and 3). Option 2 featured 5-foot bike lanes, a 10-foot multi-use side path on the west side, and a 6-foot sidewalk on the east side of Ridgeview road. This option was rejected because it required additional girder supports for the bridge and relocation of a sanitary sewer system both of which added significant costs to the project.

Option 3 included 5-foot bike lanes but reduced the side path from 10-feet to 6-feet. So, the only real difference vs. option 2 was the reduction of the multi-use path by 4-feet making it a traditional sidewalk. While option 3 represented an additional cost of $490k, the width reduction solved the bridge and sewer problem and made the project possible. See Figure 1 for an overview of Option 3.

Figure 1: Ridgeview Road option 3.

 

The Lenexa city staff presented option 3 as a viable compromise because it combines on-street bike lanes along with traditional sidewalks on both sides. The loss of the multi-use trail was seen as less of an issue because nearby Mill Creek Trail provides an option for people who enjoy using multi-use paths.

City Council’s Response:
After reviewing all of the options the City Council decided to pursue a fourth option. Option 3 was not pursued because Council members were very concerned about losing the 10-foot multi-use path. Apparently, the loss of 4-feet on the path was a big enough concern for council members to scrap an opportunity for Lenexa to get it’s first bike lanes.

Some council members were also concerned that bike lanes on Ridgeview didn’t make sense because they wouldn’t connect to any other bike lanes. Ward 3 councilmen Cory Hunt said in an email to one of our members:

“I personally could not see putting a bike lane on a road that does not connect to other roads with bike lanes. It would be a bike lane to nowhere”.

The “bike lane to nowhere” argument is a chicken and egg problem. There are NO bike-lanes in Lenexa, so the first bike lanes will not connect to any existing lanes; unless of course, they connect to bike lanes in surrounding cities.

The city council requested another option (option 4) which maintained the multi-use trail while still improving the roadway for cyclists. The new option included the 10-foot trail on the west side of the road, a 5-foot sidewalk on the east. But, instead of five-foot bike lanes, they suggested widening the road by 2-3 feet in either direction to make more room for cyclists. Along with the wider roads, they would include “Share the Road” signage to make motorists aware of cyclists. In the council’s view, the additional road width means more room for cyclists to ride on the road.

Problems with this approach:

While I believe the city council has good intentions, I think their decision to widen the road will actually make it more dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians.  Recent research has shown that widening roads causes motorists to naturally increase their speed which presents more hazards for pedestrians especially when drivers are distracted.  Bike lanes, on the other hand, have the opposite effect of making the roads narrower and causing drivers to naturally reduce or regulate their speed. This has been proven time and again and is a generally accepted tenet of complete street programs.

According to recent studies, lane widths of between 9.2-10.6 feet (2.80-3.25 meters) are optimal to keep motorists speeds in check. It has also been shown that narrower lanes result in dramatically lower fatality rates. Figure 2 shows comparative lane width data from cities around the world. Here’s a link to a report by the World Resource Institute that describes this in detail.  Many other studies around the world back up these conclusions.

Figure 2: WRI’s research shows lane widths between 2.8 to 3.25 meters (9.2 to 10.6 feet), such as Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Tokyo, have the lowest crash fatality rates per 100,000 residents.

The lanes proposed for Ridgeview Road in option 3 are 11-feet wide for the inside lanes and 13-feet for the outside lanes. Adding 2-3 feet to the outside lane will make them 15-16 feet wide! This will create a wide highway feel where motorists will naturally increase their speeds.

Why is the increased speed a concern? Research shows that even a moderate increase in speed can dramatically reduce pedestrian and cyclists odds of surviving a crash. An interactive chart made by ProPublica shows the fatality rates for crashes at different speeds based on actual historic crash data. As you can see in figure 3, at 45 mph pedestrians and cyclists have a 60% chance of being killed in a crash. But, lowering the speed by just 10 mph to 35 mph reduces the fatality rate to 31%; almost half (figure 4).

 

Figure 3: In a 45 mph crash the fatality rate for pedestrians or cyclists 60%.

 

Figure 4: At 35 mph the fatality rate is reduced by half to almost 31%.

 

While I appreciate the City Council’s good intention behind the decision to add width to make room for cyclists, I think they are misguided if they think that it will result in safer roads. In fact, I think that this plan will make the road much less safe for cyclists,  pedestrians, and motorists.

The Good News:
It’s easy to be discouraged when much of the input from the cycling community was not acted on in the way we hoped. However, as we all know making Lenexa bicycle friendly will be a long process consisting of many small steps. So, I prefer to focus on the small victories that came out of the Ridgeview Road project.

  1. City planners did a great job of including cyclists in the planning process and they listened to our feedback.
  2. City planners presented several options that directly addressed our feedback and developed a very viable option that included bike lanes!
  3. If they proceed with the plan Lenexa will have it’s first “share the road” signs!

We should also remember that the city is currently bidding out a complete streets study which will provide a comprehensive plan for making the city safer for pedestrians. I believe that had this plan been in place before this project we would have seen a different result.

It’s my hope is that the city will continue to consider our input and will continue to include bicycle infrastructure in future road projects. I think it’s our responsibility to not get discouraged and to continue to educate the city council, and ourselves, about these issues. I am confident that soon we will be able to celebrate the day when Lenexa finally has its first bike lane.

Please join the discussion and provide your comments and feedback on the I Bike Lenexa Facebook page. 

Read more

I interview Theresa Bockenstedt of the Kandango Bike Tour.  Listen to learn how you can win a FREE registration to the tour!  

Kandango is a 4-day bike tour that originates in Manhattan Kansas.  The 2018 tour starts on May 31.  The tour features both road and gravel options.  It also features some of the most fun you can have on two wheels.

To find out more and register for the tour visit RideKandango.com.

Follow I Bike Kansas:

Facebook: IBikeKansas

Twitter: IBikeKansas

Instagram: IBikeKansas

 

 

 

 

 

Read more

I am very excited to announce that I am launching the I Bike Kansas Podcast!   The goal of the podcast is to promote bicycling for ALL in the state of Kansas.   I will talk to interesting people across the state who are working to make Kansas a great state for cyclists.   I hope to use this podcast to foster a community where we can learn from each other and work together to make Kansas more bicycle-friendly.

Check out Episode 0 to find out what the I Bike Kansas Podcast is all about.

Stay tuned for Episode 1, coming soon! 

 

 

 

Read more