Sunday, May 29, 2011

Braddock Bike Day recap

Bike rodeo course
Several FABB members were present yesterday for the first Braddock Bike Day at Lake Braddock High School. Fairfax Co police were on hand to conduct a bike rodeo. Kids were given a safety talk first and then were led through the course that consisted of several bike handling drills: a tight turning course, a balance test, a figure 8 course, weaving between cones, and a stopping drill.

Douglas and Kerie at the FABB table
Oasis Bike Works was on hand to check out the kid's bikes and do safety checks and minor repairs on other bikes. Supervisor Cook and his staff were there and we discussed possible options for the event next year.

There was a small turnout, which is to be expected on the first year of the event. We talked to the few people who stopped by our table about our bike advocacy activities and discussed bike routes in the area. Next year we hope there are other activities that could draw more participants. Having a bike tour of the area would be one possibility, similar to the Tour de Lee that was held for several years in the Lee District.

We rode to the event from Reston, carrying the canopy that you see in the photo on the left, that was donated by REI, along with other supplies in our BOB trailer. It was a nice18 mile ride along the W&OD Trail to Vienna, then taking back roads past the Vienna Metro station to Five Oaks Dr to Plantation Parkway to Route 50, and University Dr to the GMU campus. There are new shared lane markings on George Mason Blvd leading into the Campus. I should say there was one shared lane marking; there need to be more. As evidenced by the motorist who honked at us as we approached the campus, motorists haven't gotten the word to expect bikes on the road.

From GMU we took Sideburn Rd to Commonwealth Blvd which turns into Gunea Rd to Olley Lane to Lake Braddock Rd to the high school.

Update 6/1/2011: See the Connection article on the event, First Braddock Bike Day Promotes Bicycle Safety
Douglas Stewart, a volunteer for Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling, or FABB, stressed basic bicycle care.

“Maintaining a bike is really easy, you just have to pay attention,” he said. “Keep your bike in good working order, tires pumped at the right pressure.”

Stewart also promoted the creation of more bicycle-friendly county roads. FABB’s goal is to “make biking better in Fairfax County,” he said, and group members distributed fact sheets about increasing bicycle transportation.

“A lot of people are afraid of getting hit from behind on the road, but very few accidents occur that way,” he said. “A lot of trips here are 5 miles or less. If more people did those by bike, we’d have a lot less traffic.”

The City of Fairfax has begun creating “sharrows”— road markings indicating bicycle lanes, Stewart said, but Fairfax County needs to build these extra road passages too.

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