• Welcome to I Bike Kansas!

    Welcome to I Bike Kansas!

  • Welcome to I Bike Kansas!

    Welcome to I Bike Kansas!

Ride the Rockies 2017 - Red Mountain Pass

For the last few months I’ve been slacking off a bit.  My bike training as well as my diet and nutrition have not been a primary focus and it’s time to get back on track.  Some of my lack of attention is due to the amount of travel we have been doing, but mostly it’s due to a lack of planning and goals.  I’m the type of person that needs specific goals to motivate me to put in the extra effort each day.

I’ve been putting in some serious thought about what my cycling goals for 2018 should be. This year, 2017, was a year of very big goals, many of which I accomplished.  The year started off on a low note as I dropped out of the Oklahoma Land Run 100 after 50 miles. But, the rest of the year included many high points: I killed my previous Dirty Kanza 100 finish time by two hours.  I also completed Ride the Rockies, a seven-day bike tour which included some of my most memorable days on a bike.  To top the year off I spent two weeks traveling around the United Kingdom and Scotland with my incredible wife.  This trip also included a beautiful bike ride through the English countryside and a chance to see the start of the Tour of Britain in Edinburgh, Scotland.  It’ll be really hard to top 2017; in fact I don’t think I’ll even try.

So what are my goals for 2018? The only goal that is set in stone at the moment is completing Land Run 100 in March. I went into the race last year totally unprepared for the horrible weather conditions. This year I’ll have the training and equipment to get me through anything that the Oklahoma can dish out. My training for the next few months will include as much outdoor riding as possible. Unfortunately, we don’t have red clay mud to train on, but I’ll be riding in rain, snow, and freezing temperatures so I’ll be prepared for anything.

My plans for the rest of the year are pretty vague at the moment. I’ll probably sign up for Dirty Kanza 100 again this year. I’ve thought about upgrading to 200, but I don’t think I’m ready to commit to the amount of training that it will require.   The 200 is still on my long-term goal list, but it’ll probably have to wait another year.

I’m also considering doing Ride the Rockies again in 2018, but I’ll probably only do it if I can get a team together so that I have a group to ride with.  As an alternative I may do some of the big Kansas tours like Kandango, Bike Across Kansas, or Cottonwood 200. I am also hearing whispers about a small group ride across Kansas, from North to South, through the Flint Hills!   The details of that ride are yet to be worked out, but I’m hoping that it comes together.  I’ve even thought about doing a big ride in Montana like Adventure Cycling’s Montana Big Sky Country.

Dreaming about and researching all of these possibilities is a lot of fun.  But, now that winter is setting in, it’s time to make decisions and get registered for many of these rides.  I’ve already got a place in Land Run, and the Dirty Kanza registration (Lottery) opens next week.   Many of other rides I am considering are starting to open up, and there’s always a chance that they will fill up if I don’t get registered soon.  I guess I’ll just need to take some long training rides and make up my mind.   I always make the best decisions while riding my bike anyway.

I’d love to hear what your plans are for 2018!  Feel free to post your plans on the I Bike Kansas Facebook page here.

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If you are not reading Mr. Money Mustache, you should be.   He’s a personal finance blogger, a bicycle proponent, and he has a very large following among the Financial Independence community.   He’s also a master at pointing out the insanity that we all accept as normal.   Here he takes on our “clown-like” automobile culture.     

“The clowns have to wait in line when the traffic light turns red. They have to bumble though the parking lots and wait for each other to back out of parking spaces, because their machines are so bulky that two cannot pass each other in a space less than 20 feet wide. They line up at special events and fight for places to park on the streets. Then they line up at the gas station and the car wash and the oil change shop. And the machines make them fatter and poorer every time they use them.”

Read the entire article here.

Curing your Clown-Like Car Habit

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Here’s a short video I put together showing the delivery of the bicycles I collected for the Ellsworth Correctional Facility Bicycle program.  You can read about the project here.   I ended up collecting 35 bikes to support the orders that they need to fill for this Christmas.

THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to this project!  I think it was a huge success.  I look forward to doing something like this next year.

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I achieved my goal of riding my bike to work one day this week.   It’s been about three weeks since my last bike commute, so I was starting to feel out of shape.   It’s been a really cold week so it was a little difficult to drag myself out of my warm bed to get on the road at 5:30 a.m.   The temperature was around 23 degrees when I started with a 10 mph headwind.  Apart from some frozen toes and a partially frozen water bottle I arrived to work in good shape.  I’ll need to figure out a  better solution to keep my feet warm before I try this again.   Hopefully the ride home will be a little warmer!

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The Lenexa City Council election results are in and all of us who want to see a more bike-friendly Lenexa have a lot to celebrate! As you recall, six out of the eight candidates responded to our candidates bicycle and pedestrian questionnaire. While the candidates have different approaches, ALL of the candidates that responded identified specific actions that they would take to make Lenexa more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.  Interestingly, the two incumbent candidates that did not respond lost their elections. I am confident that their failure to engage with our group cost them a significant number of votes.  Thank you everyone who got out there and made your vote count!

As bicycle and pedestrian advocates, we know that we cannot be successful on our own. We must work work closely with city officials to make the progress that we all want. This means that we must have officials who understand our concerns and are willing to engage with us and take action.  I believe that this election represents a significant change in direction for Lenexa, and I am encouraged that we are seeing a willingness to take action on bicycle and pedestrian friendly initiatives.   I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish as we work together with the current and newly elected city council members.

Here are a couple of quotes from the recently elected council members:

Ward 1: Joe Karlin (Incumbent)

“I am serious about Lenexa, and I’m serious about becoming biker- and pedestrian-friendly.  We have fallen behind.  More than words alone, I propose a formal committee, along with FUNDING for that committee (item 4 above).  Words are cheap, money talks.”

Ward 2: Bill Nicks (New)

“I am the only candidate from Ward 2 that attended the September 12 ‘I Bike Lenexa’ meeting in Old Town Lenexa and I heard that desire expressed at that meeting also.”

“For bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure I will support the inclusion of bicycle and pedestrian use into the planning considerations for all city projects; including the repair, rebuild and maintenance of streets, trails and sidewalks. Bicycle and pedestrian use should also be considered when establishing Capital Improvement budget figures and right of way acquisition figures.”

Ward 3: Cory Hunt (New)

“I believe going forward, Lenexa should consider all reasonable efforts to safely accommodate a design strategy more friendly to bicyclists and pedestrians.”

“As a Councilman, I would actively seek input from residents, benchmark Lenexa against other similar cities with more robust bicycling infrastructure in place and will not try to block city proposals regarding new bicycle planning, policies or design.”

Ward 4: Mandy Stuke (Incumbent)

“My vision for making Lenexa more bicycle and pedestrian friendly is to ensure the adoption of a formal Complete Streets policy. Open lines of communication, community engagement, education along with the explanation of rights and responsibilities of all parties involved on the road (i.e. bicyclists, pedestrians, drivers, etc.) will be of utmost importance in order to bring the vision to fruition.”

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As the weather has gotten cooler I have slacked off a little on bicycle commuting to work.  During the warmer weather I was riding to work 2-3 times each week.   It’s been about three weeks and I am really missing the time each day on the road to clear my head.  This video has inspired me to get back on my bike.  I’m setting a goal for myself to ride to work at least once this week.

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I Bike Lenexa

I developed the following questions to give the Lenexa City Council candidates an opportunity to communicate their vision for making Lenexa more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.  The questions were emailed to candidates on Sunday, October 22, and the candidates were given one week to respond.   Six of the eight candidates provides responses.  I want to thank the candidates that took the time to respond!

I asked two simple questions:

1. What is your vision for making Lenexa more bicycle and pedestrian friendly?

2. What specific actions will you take to improve Lenexa’s bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure?

My hope is that this information will help you make a more informed vote on Tuesday, November 7.  Please make sure to #BikeTheVote!

If you need help finding your election ward click here.

 

Ward 1 

Aaron Borghardt

I appreciate that iBike Lenexa reached out in advance of the upcoming election to provide an opportunity for the candidates to respond to concerns around the city’s pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure needs.

While the city does not receive a very high walk score and is categorized as largely car dependent, Lenexa’s pedestrian infrastructure is quite good consisting of newly paved trails, sidewalks, crosswalks and ample parks which are overall in very good condition. Lenexa has a wide geographic range which can impede walking to take care of errands and getting to entertainment or dining depending on where you live. If one is looking to walk for exercise or leisure without a specific destination in mind, Lenexa has a solid, comprehensive pedestrian infrastructure to accommodate those outings.

However, as your organization is acutely aware, bicycle infrastructure is a different story altogether. There are a few current council members that have served on the council for many years and were on the Lenexa Planning Commission before that. It appears that indecisions by city leadership and an overall shortfall in planning has left the community in a difficult position to move forward with new bike infrastructure. As of the December 2016 Planning Commission’s Comprehensive Plan there still was not a plan to address bicycle infrastructure even though it was directly called out as being an issue:

Where Lenexa has not progressed is in the accommodation of cyclists, even in areas of new development where adjusting road widths to add bike lanes is most viable. As the city continues to build out, it will become increasingly challenging to find the land, or encroach on Lenexa’s right-of-way to provide for a safe path for bicycle users. As long ago as 1997, with the adoption of the previous community-based plan, Vision 2020, there was a call for bike paths, and the 2013 citizen survey continued that trend. In order to preserve Lenexa’s role as a regional leader in transportation planning, it needs to develop policy to consider transportation beyond the narrow terms of vehicles and pedestrians, which it has failed to do.

A bike infrastructure plan will be a community effort; it cannot be done unilaterally or in a silo and be successful. I am curious to learn from your organization how the city can help to meet the needs of cyclists, learn from other suburban cities in the area that have been successful and how those solutions could translate in Lenexa or if we need to develop a unique solution altogether. Some items for consideration that come to mind for any future bike plan development:

Near-term:
• Signage
• Community outreach and education
• Install bike repair and hydration stations that are safely and strategically placed throughout the community
• Assess areas for bike lane viability and evaluate the feasibility of a “pop-up” demonstration to assess the challenges and benefits in proceeding with a more permanent project
• Cyclist-community input for other thoughts and suggestions to partner with the City to develop a comprehensive bike plan that will get us to the longer-term infrastructure needs

Long-term:
• Augment the existing trail system with surface street bike lanes
• Develop a funding and maintenance plan
• Obtain community buy-in
• Ensure bike infrastructure is part of any new development planning
• Assess the feasibility of adding bike lanes to existing roadways in conjunction with any future repairs or enhancement

My feedback here is not intended to be comprehensive but rather the beginning of a dialogue. When elected, we will continue this conversation and provide a forum to determine how we can begin to move forward.  I will listen, advocate and influence on your behalf where I am able. Thank you for reaching out and providing the opportunity to weigh in on this issue.

Joe Karlin (Incumbent)

Thanks for the opportunity to respond.  My responses are:

1. What is your vision for making Lenexa more bicycle and pedestrian friendly?

Lenexa needs to shift gears and gain ground when it comes to being biker-friendly.  We live in a city that is surrounded by great biking amenities, such as trails, parks, and bike-friendly roadways.  However, getting to those amenities can be a challenge, and a safety hazard. I envision and will promote a Lenexa that 1) makes biking a top priority on all new construction, 2) looks for opportunities to retrofit existing amenities and infrastructure, and 3) engages the biking community.

These efforts must be purposeful, as Lenexa does not have the luxury of waiting for these improvements to organically develop. Lenexans should be able to get from their house to these amenities in a manner safe enough for the youngest and most senior of our population.

Personally, I am only an occasional biker, and a more often jogger.  I think my approach and proposals can benefit not only bikers but joggers, walkers, and runners of Lenexa.

2. What specific actions will you take to improve Lenexa’s bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure?

I propose the following actions to achieve the bike and pedestrian infrastructure it needs and deserves:

1) Implement Complete Streets: Consistent with my prior public statements, I support Complete Streets, and the city should enact as soon as possible

2) Pursue biker- and pedestrian-friendly improvements: with all new road construction and other construction (e.g. parks, facilities, etc), look for every opportunity to implement biker- and pedestrian-friendly improvements (including those contained in Complete Streets)

3) Encourage biker- and pedestrian-friendly improvements: with all new commercial and residential development (for which the city cannot directly require biker- and pedestrian-friendly improvements, but can influence) encourage biker- and pedestrian-friendly improvements/amenities within and between developments as well as city-owned infrastructure

4) Implement a Biking/Pedestrian Committee, along with a Funding Mechanism: (Similar to the Lenexa Parks Advisory Board and the Lenexa Arts Council) Lenexa should establish a Biking/Pedestrian Committee.  This Committee should be funded to enable Lenexa to develop infrastructure and amenities according to the Biking/Pedestrian Committee’s direction. A number of options exist for this funding, and options to consider include designation of a portion of excise tax, donation/designations via the city’s Foundation, public/private partnerships, and CIP (Capital Improvement Planning) designation by the city during the budget process. I Bike Lenexa would be a natural body from which to invite Committee members.

I am serious about Lenexa, and I’m serious about becoming biker- and pedestrian-friendly.  We have fallen behind.  More than words alone, I propose a formal committee, along with FUNDING for that committee (item 4 above).  Words are cheap, money talks.

Ward 2 

Stacy Knipp (Incumbent)

NO RESPONSE

Bill Nicks

1. What is your vision for making Lenexa more bicycle and pedestrian friendly?

My vision includes having a community-wide conversation on how to use the streets, sidewalks and trails safely for all; pedestrians, autos, trucks and bicyclists. And that conversation should be ongoing and it should be incorporated into the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Once it is in the Comprehensive Plan, it allows the city, the residents, the developers and businesses to factor it into their individual and collective plans. But the conversation needs to happen and be ongoing. Walking Ward 2, gives me the sense that the community wants to have that conversation. I am the only candidate from Ward 2 that attended the September 12 ‘I Bike Lenexa’ meeting in Old Town Lenexa and I heard that desire expressed at that meeting also. I was Lenexa’s Parks & Recreation director when we had community-wide conversations on such issues as; biking/jogging trails, building a skateboard park, determining park acreage goals, hosting city wide celebrations…………..in my experience, I have learned that the residents will tell their elected representatives what kind of town they want.

2. What specific action will you take to improve Lenexa’s bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure?

For bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure I will support the inclusion of bicycle and pedestrian use into the planning considerations for all city projects; including the repair, rebuild and maintenance of streets, trails and sidewalks. Bicycle and pedestrian use should also be considered when establishing Capital Improvement budget figures and right of way acquisition figures. Along with the infrastructure considerations, I will be an advocate for developing a comprehensive bicycling and pedestrian plan which can be incorporated into the city’s Comprehensive Plan. I will also advocate for the various city departments; Public Works, Parks & Recreation, Police, Communications, Legal etc. to work together to educate the residents on bicycle and pedestrian safety on our streets, trails and sidewalks. Health and safety educational efforts are great city investments.

Ward 3 

Cory Hunt

I am an avid cyclist who enjoys recreational and competitive cycling. regularly use the park and trail systems in our city and grater Johnson County area. I am 48 years old and I have been on a bicycle since I was 4. I am a Half Ironman finisher (currently ride a 2014 Felt, Z85).

1. What is your vision for making Lenexa more bicycle and pedestrian friendly?
I believe going forward, Lenexa should consider all reasonable efforts to safely accommodate a design strategy more friendly to bicyclists and pedestrians. A first step would be to develop a formal (published) bicycle and pedestrian vision/strategy for Lenexa.  A second step would be to link our City Planning committee(s) to resources intended to guide communities in a design strategy.

2.  What specific actions will you take to improve Lenexa’s bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure?
As a Councilman, I would actively seek input from residents, benchmark Lenexa against other similar cities with more robust bicycling infrastructure in place and will not try to block city proposals regarding new bicycle planning, policies or design.

Lou Serrone (Incumbent)

NO RESPONSE

 

Ward 4 

Michael Elliott

1.    What is your vision for making Lenexa more bicycle and pedestrian friendly?

Lenexa has clearly fallen behind in being bicycle friendly. Study after study of Lenexa with nearby cities validates this and no amount of meaningless talk about “complete streets” initiatives will change the failure of the current leadership to be proactive on this topic. There have been multiple, common sense solutions that could have been implemented in the recent past with road projects (87th Street from Pflumm to I-435, all of the new City Center road infrastructure) that could have had bicycle infrastructure added at very little additional cost.

Endless talking, studies and policies initiatives need to stop and action needs to be taken, now, not 5 years from now. I envision a Lenexa where cars and bicycles can co-exist and improvements are done in a regular, timely and common sense way as a regular part of pavement management that has to be done anyway and that does not unduly burden the city budget.

2.    What specific actions will you take to improve Lenexa’s bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure?

I believe encouraging bicycling in the city helps both biking enthusiasts and motorists alike (by reducing traffic, parking requirements and overall community health and livability). I will work with the municipal services department to identify any road project in the upcoming 24 months that could potentially have bicycle infrastructure added to the project (without breaking the city budget) and, if elected, my vote on any pavement management expenditure will be contingent on meaningfully adding bike infrastructure to those projects. I will propose in the next city budget specific funding to make the Old Town area bike friendly (improvements to Santa Fe Trail Drive specifically as a main bike route for eastern Lenexa.) This benefits not only bicyclists in the city but helps bring potential customers to the businesses than need Old Town to be a destination, not just a backdrop for city festivals. It also reduces the need for vehicle parking in the Old Town area. I will also propose that funds currently used to attract private developers to City Center’s surrounding commercial development be used for infrastructure projects (such as biking improvements) before giving away tax freebees to developers (since such commercial development can occur with private funds). Lastly, if elected, at the earliest opportunity I will bring up for a vote an ordinance to rescind or significantly alter the ridiculous “public nuisance” ordinance recently passed keeping bicycles out of the civic center complex and replace it with common sense bicycle rules while allowing responsible bicyclists to feel welcome at the city’s main public facility.

Mandy Stuke (Incumbent)

1. What is your vision for making Lenexa more bicycle and pedestrian friendly?

My vision for making Lenexa more bicycle and pedestrian friendly is to ensure
the adoption of a formal Complete Streets policy. Open lines of communication,
community engagement, education along with the explanation of rights and
responsibilities of all parties involved on the road (i.e. bicyclists, pedestrians,
drivers, etc.) will be of utmost importance in order to bring the vision to fruition.

2. What specific actions will you take to improve Lenexa’s bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure?

I will continue to communicate and work with staff in regards to the Mayor’s
challenge at the June Committee of the Whole meeting. His challenge asked
citizens to provide a “top ten” list of “low hanging fruit” that the city could easily
address to make the most impact, in their view, on moving toward more complete
streets.

Many of the items on this list will be included in our process as the City begins a
Complete Streets study in 2018. The implementation of several of the items are
already underway. For example, the City currently has a sidewalk inventory that
identifies gaps that are used for consideration when improvements are to be
made in a specific area/location. A dialogue was started on September 15th with
staff representatives from Executive, Community and Police along with Municipal Services and Parks & Recreation. They met with representatives of BikeWalkKC as well as bike advocates to discuss the upcoming Complete Streets process.

Additionally, the City plans to include questions about the bike/Complete Streets
issues in the next citizen survey, which will go out in mid-November.
I have and will continue to support the study and eventual adoption of a formal
Complete Streets policy. The plan of action is to retain a consultant to assist with
a comprehensive Complete Streets study in 2018 after the results of the citizen
survey are obtained. The scope of the study will not be finalized until early 2018.
It is envisioned that there will be an advisory committee and expect that to
include representatives of the bike community, as well as other citizen input. For
clarification, rather than applying for “Planning for Sustainable Places” funding for a Complete Streets study, the City intends to fund that study itself in order to
move the process along more quickly. As a side note, the “Planning for
Sustainable Places” process would not allow for the City to get underway until
later in the year and would not complete the process until 2019.

 

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Christmas Bike Drive

One week ago I started a drive to collect bicycles for the Ellsworth Correctional Facility’s bike refurbishment program. The Ellsworth Correctional Facility has a non-profit bike refurbishment program that teaches inmates valuable skills while also giving kids across Kansas the chance to experience the joy of a new bicycle for Christmas.  Last Saturday the manager of the program sent out a call for bikes as they need more inventory to cover over 150 orders for this Christmas.  All of the bicycles they collect will be restored to excellent condition and will end up under a lucky Childs tree in just a few months.

I sent out a request to the Lenexa/Shawnee community and in just one week I have collected 16 Bicycles!  I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity of the community in supporting this project.  I have also enjoyed meeting so many great people along the way.   I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has helped make this project a success!

My goal is to collect 20 bikes so if you haven’t donated already I still have room for a few more bikes.  Also, if you have contacted me about donating and I haven’t gotten back to you please let me know!  I will be talking to the program manager to see if there are other ways that we can help in the future.

I am planning on delivering the bikes to Ellsworth on Monday, November 6.

I will be talking to the local u-Haul companies to see if I can get a deal on a trailer rental.   If you have any contacts that can help out with this please let me know.  I’ll post some pictures and video of the delivery, so stay tuned for more updates.

Also, if you donated a bicycle and want a gift receipt for your taxes I should have them after I make the delivery.  I’ll send out more information on this.

PLEASE CONTACT ME HERE IF YOU HAVE A DONATION OR A QUESTION.

 

 

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Bicycle Friendly Rankings

The League of American Cyclists has released their 2017 rankings by state. Once again, Kansas is near the bottom – 46th out of 50 states. Kansas has not shown much progress over the last few years, the only bright spot being the 3-foot passing law that was passed by the state legislature this year.

The report card for Kansas shows that there has been a decline in percentage of people commuting to work.  This is due to a lack of attention and priority by the state, and the larger cities, in developing out bicycle infrastructure.  Here’s a few lines from the report that I think captures the key issues:

Kansas does above average in our Legislation & Enforcement category, and has some evident bicycling culture that could be capitalized upon for tourism, transportation, and recreation. However, in every category that requires sustained state actions the state is below average.   A good place to focus might be one or more of the currently missing Bicycle Friendly Actions. Either a complete streets policy or a statewide bicycle plan might provide a basis for sustained improvements and a reversal of the decline in bike
commuting.

We have lots of work to do in the state of Kansas!  It’s going to take some action and attention by our state legislature and city governments if we are going to make progress.

You can read the full report card here

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