Sidewalk Bicycling vs. Bike lanes – the debate rages on

Joy ride on the newly updated MSU S. River path

Joy ride on the newly updated MSU S. River path

There’s been considerable press in the State News and discussion this fall (2014) about bike safety and rules after some pretty serious accidents earlier in the semester and the subsequent launch of the MSU Police bike/ pedestrian safety campaign.  Was even included in an Impact 89FM radio show with a MSU Police officer (Randy Holton) who coordinated the aforementioned campaign earlier this week (our part of the show starts at 18:45 (have to download the show and open w/ Windows Media Player or other player to see the time).

All of this has caused me to reflect on where we’re at as a university in terms of improving bike and pedestrian safety; are we becoming a more ‘Bike Friendly University‘? MSU received a bronze BFU award in 2010, but what has changed over the past 3+ years?

S. River Path near Erickson Kiva, summer 2012

Photo of the chaos during class change on S. River Path near Erickson Kiva, summer 2012.  Click pic to watch a video of bike/ped chaos from 2012 at Shaw and Farm Ln.

Well, on the visibly obvious front, we’re up from approx. 50% of our campus roads having bike lanes in 2010 to over 70% today which is phenomenal progress considering we had NO on-road bike lanes in the year 2000 when the university made the decision to adopt what has become known as a “Complete Streets” policy for campus roads (CS is now fully incorporated into our current Campus Master Plan).  MSU opened its first “complete street” at the end of the summer: W. Circle Dr.  After a massive construction project over last summer it’s now completely safe and designed for ALL legal road users!

Casual observations along the corridors where the bike lane network is almost complete (Wilson Rd. for example) and wherever bike lanes exist, make it clear that if we build them bicyclists will start to use them.  We’ve also started adding “Sharrow” markings (aka ‘shared lane bicycle marking’) on roads where there’s not currently enough width for bike lanes (see this video that was produced fall of 2013 to inform the community of these new markings).

The most recent example of physical progress: there was a hugely successful safety improvement to our campus transportation system benefiting both pedestrians and bicyclists completed in late summer 2014.   A video I created, MSU Bicycling on Unmarked Sidewalk vs Newly Redesigned River Path” shows off the benefits and real life on the newly updated S. River path; you’ll quickly see the difference between riding on a crowded sidewalk vs. the new path.  With this segment of the S. river pathway completed only one more large segment is left needing the updating to this new, safer design; the path between Farm Ln. and Bogue St.

Bicycling in the road vs. sidewalk

Like riding slow and stopping all the time?  Sidewalks are for YOU!  Want to get somewhere faster than walking?  Ride in the road!

A companion video features the readily and quickly obvious benefits to riding in a bike lane on the road vs. riding on crowded, disorganized and chaotic sidewalks: Riding in a Bike Lane vs. Sidewalk Bicycling at MSU”.

Bear in mind that the benefits & advantages of riding in the road continue even on roads without bike lane markings.  Bicyclists also have a legal right to ride in the road and a legal responsibility to ride in the road (WITH the direction of traffic, AND obeying the same traffic rules as other legal road users) NOT on the sidewalks on campus.

Yes, we’ve still got plenty of work to do on campus (as this video of pedestrians and bikes mixing it up at Farm Ln. and S. Shaw Ln. shows).  There are some critical roads on campus without bike lanes remaining which abruptly start and stop; they’ll be getting bike lanes, or in some cases, closed to motor vehicle traffic altogether assuming the university’s 20/20 Vision continues to be the guiding document for the coming years.

Read our “Bike Safety Tips” post for a lot more information about this important topic to help greatly reduce your chances of being involved in a crash.

Stay tuned for more progress reports on our ‘Bike Friendliness’.

Winter bicycling workshop series announced

Smiles a plenty on a New Years' Day ride in 2011.

Smiles a plenty on a New Years’ Day ride in 2011.

Did you know that no matter how cold it gets you can still enjoy riding? 

As a year-round cycling MSU professor of packaging (hat tip Diana Twede) likes to say “It’s just a matter of the correct packaging!”.  Your body generates lots of heat while riding and you’re moving faster to your destination.  MSU staff also keep the roads and paths very clear throughout the winter for everyone’s safety, although getting to campus is sometimes a little more challenging!

Come to the MSU Bikes Service Center for one or more of three classes offered and learn more about getting you and your bike ready for winter cycling so you can enjoy it as much as we do!  If none of these dates work for you then review our winter cycling tips here.

If you’re already a cold-weather cycling veteran then come with your setup and do some show ‘n tell! The following workshops are FREE, short and full of good tips you can use this winter to have a better, safer more comfortable time.

Sessions are limited to 12 people attending with their bikes and requires at least 3 attendees, so RSVPs are requested.  Incl. your email address with your name if you want to be notified of possible changes/ cancellations due to lack of attendance or unforeseen circumstances.

All ready for fun cold weather riding!

All ready for fun cold weather riding!

101 Session: (Nov. 18th)- DONE

This session will focus on the overall/ general tips on how to prep your clothing and your bike for comfy, enjoyable and safe riding.
More info. on Facebook here.
RSVP herehttp://doodle.com/kk5reaxef6v5fd97

102 Session: (Nov. 25)

This session will be a quick review of the 101 class for those who couldn’t attend it and then dig into more depth and other finer considerations of cold-weather riding.
More info. on Facebook here.
RSVP here:  http://doodle.com/s9szcae3zv5nt7gd

103 Session: (Dec. 2)

This session will be a DIY studded tire and other DIY ways to modify your bike for added safety and comfort. Materials are NOT included and we’ll NOT have enough time to actually make your own studded tires but instead you’ll see a demonstration of how they’re made.
More info. on Facebook here.
RSVP here:  http://doodle.com/ktc6au84uhk7mucs

Any questions about the class? Call Tim Potter, our host: (517) 432-3414

Our DIY Fixit station is repaired & improved

Our DIY Dero Fixit Station

Our DIY Dero Fixit Station – click to see more pics on Facebook.

Our DIY Fixit station is repaired & improved, AGAIN (as of June 11, 2014)!

We’ve rebuilt the guts of the pump attached to our Dero Fixit station (the internal gasket was blown and wouldn’t pressurize above 50-60 psi) and once again installed a new air hose with the same universal head so you can inflate both Presta (the skinny metal valves found commonly on road bikes) and Schrader (the black rubber ones found on most fatter tire bikes) AND we’ve once again replaced the 15 mm wrench which has been broken for many months.

Additionally, last year we added a new Dero Air Kit 3 pump to our DIY repair area outside the Center which also offers a universal inflator head for both Presta and Schrader valves.  This pump is much beefier and designed to better withstand the demands of frequent public use.

So come and try these pumps out and spread the word. 
If you’d like to see more of these Fixit stations around campus add your support via a comment here or via email to:  bikes@msu.edu

Dero's Air Kit 3 outside our Center.

Dero’s Air Kit 3 outside our Center. Click the pic for more on Facebook.

Join Team MSU for Natl Bike Challenge

Team MSU - Natl Bike Challenge

MSU is ranked 3rd in Michigan among universities and 36th nationally!  Help us get to the head of the peloton!

 

It’s not too late to join Team MSU for the National Bike Challenge. You can add your miles ridden staring in May 1st retroactively very easily.  Join and help MSU get in the lead of the pack of other universities competing! https://nationalbikechallenge.org/school/6394

As of June 12, 2014 we’re #3 in Michigan, #36 among universities and #76 nationally.

Click here to join Team MSU or click on the red Join button on the team page as seen in the graphic below.  You have to first create a profile to be a part of the Challenge.  To join the MSU team make sure you put Michigan State University in the School field when creating your profile.

Team MSU - join button

Team MSU – join button

New CATA Rep for MSU Campus

Bikes and Buses safety video

Bikes and Buses safety video

As of April 30, 2014 there is a new CATA MSU campus representative, Deb Kirby.

She’s your go-to person for any CATA related issues you observe or experience on campus.  Her email:  dkirby@cata.org  and campus office phone #: (517) 432-0888

FYI: Here’s a link to a very well-done video created by the Chicago ATA that CATA has been using for their driver training.  http://vimeo.com/7949969
It’s also got very helpful advice for bicyclists to safely interact with buses, so take the time and watch it to learn more about staying out of trouble on our roads.

Note:  The painted-on bus #, location and time of day of an incident is critical as the digital bus route numbers change throughout the day.
Nervous about putting your bike on a CATA bus rack?

Using the CATA bus bike racks

Using the CATA bus bike racks

CATA has a great web page describing their bike-related services including using the bike racks on all of their buses.  Watch this (non-CATA) video to see how easy it is!  The racks in the video may be slightly different than CATA’s but it’ll give you a real good idea of how easy it is.

Bike lockers are also available for rent at the CATA Transportation Center (CTC), downtown Lansing, 420 South Grand Ave.  The units are located on the northeast side of the building.

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Bike Safety Tips & Legal Resources

Don't be a Ninja cyclist!  Be SEEN and LIVE!

Don’t be a Ninja cyclist! Be SEEN and LIVE!
Click for more info.

 

The most important thing when it comes to being safe on your bike is avoiding an accident, particularly ones with motor vehicles that can be very serious.  So, we want to first focus your attention on how you can best be seen while riding which is one of the things in your control and easily addressed.

 

Be Seen with Lights & Bright Clothing

Watch this video to understand why it’s important to stand out from your environment.  Trust me, you DON’T want to be the bear if a car driver doesn’t notice you.  Wear the brightest clothing you can find ALL THE TIME; safety-vests rock if you’d rather not flip for a new jacket.

State of MI bicyclist crash facts for 2012.

“78.9 percent of all bicyclists in motor vehicle crashes and 15 of the 20 bicyclists killed were riding during daylight hours.”  Mich. Traffic Crash Facts for 2012.

We’re also very big on good lighting for your bike, especially if you commute or ride on the road (as you should) around campus. We stock a good selection of strong headlights and rear lights to fit any budget (and can special order better ones).  A tail light is required by Michigan State Law when riding after dark, but if you ask any commuter or experienced bicyclist, they’ll advise you to run with tail and head lights (strobe is best) all day (use rechargeable batteries or the USB rechargeable type lights and you don’t have to worry about the expense of replacing batteries).

Why use lights during the day?  Well, when you ride in and out of dark shadowy areas of the roads you can become almost invisible to a motorist who’s eyes haven’t adjusted to the darkness in that split second which could cost you dearly.  A report published by the Mich. Dept. of Transportation summarizing crash statistics for 2012 are very sobering; “78.9 percent of all bicyclists in motor vehicle crashes and 15 of the 20 bicyclists killed were riding during daylight hours.” A summary of data for 2013 crashes are now available here which again found “peak hours for bicyclist involvement in crashes were from 3:00-5:59 PM”.

 

Picking a Safe Route

sidewalk-cyclists

Over 90% of all reported bike accidents are the result of sidewalk bicycling on the MSU campus! (courtesy of MSU Photography Services)

Choosing a safe route is probably the most important key to your safety as a cyclist. Our biggest piece of advice: Stay off the sidewalks.  Why? It is against most city ordinances to ride bikes on sidewalks (including the MSU Campus Ordinance) as it’s more dangerous for everyone including the bicyclist.  If you’re going more than 10 mph, even if there are no bike lanes, you have a legal right to ride in the road (just make sure you’re highly visible, ride in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic and follow the same rules of the road as motor vehicles).

It seems safer to ride on the sidewalks but cars just don’t check sidewalks for bicyclists when they approach a roadway to make a turn and, on our campus as with most of the cities in the State of Michigan you have NO LEGAL PROTECTION if you do get hit while riding your bike through a cross-walk as a pedestrian as you’re required to be walking your bike to be legally considered a pedestrian.  National statistics as well as our own campus research show that the overwhelming majority of bike-auto accidents occur when the bicyclist is riding on a sidewalk.

Don't be a "Salmon"!

Don’t be a “Salmon”! Ride your bike in the same direction as traffic!

We’ve noticed an increase in cases of wrong-way bicycling, that is riding against traffic, particularly where there bike lanes.  This is very dangerous for both the wrong-way bicyclist and other bicyclists who have to pass such unpredictable bicyclists (aka “Salmon” after the fish who swim up river) as last minute decisions as to how to pass someone when there are no rules for such behavior can result in collisions, swerves into traffic, etc.

For more convincing graphical presentations and resources read more here courtesy of John Allen’s Bicycle Facilities, Laws and Programs pages.   From that web page:

“…riding on a sidewalk is not necessarily safer and in fact, …the risk is approximately four times that of riding on the roadway with traffic.”

If you’d like to learn more about why it’s safer to ride in the road and exactly WHERE to ride in the road you should review the great animations on this website courtesy of the folks at Commute Orlando.  This one in particular shows you where and why you should ride out in the travel lane.

Riding Safe Tips

Once you’ve got your basic safety equipment all set (see below for our recommendations), the next major area of keeping safe while you ride is how you ride and react to aggressive or clueless motorists/pedestrians/other cyclists. The Bicycle Safe website lists common types of bike-to-motorist accidents and how to avoid them. The League of Illinois Bicyclists has a video on the topic of riding safely and defensively on the roads.

If you’re interested in learning more about safe bike riding, consider taking a class from the MSU Bikes Service Center. We’re planning on offering some classes focused on this topic. Drop us an e-mail and get on our bike classes wait list at bikes@msu.edu.

Helmets

The Bike Helmet:  Cheap insurance.  Example of the kind of helmets we normally stock.

The Bike Helmet: Cheap insurance.

We highly recommend the use of helmets when riding around campus – or anywhere, for that matter. We had a student wearing a helmet stop by the Service Center who shared one of the simplest summaries we’ve ever heard for why wearing a helmet makes sense:”When people say ‘helmets look stupid,’ I just say ‘Would you rather look stupid or be stupid?

  • If you’re not convinced, perhaps you’d like to read some stories about helmets saving lots of lives? (presented by the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute).
  • The MSU Bike Project’s co-founder, Gus Gosselin, has his own story about how his helmet saved his life a few years back, so you don’t have to go far to know it’s worth it.
  • Here’s a great site called “Safety is Sexy” to help people see helmets as sexy (yes, sexy); has a ton of great materials, photos, videos, etc. promoting bike helmets and other bike safety issues.
  • There was a British study published back in 2006 that concluded wearing a helmet and dressing like an experienced bicyclist resulted in motorists passing closer than if you wore no helmet and especially if you appeared to be female.  There has been a lot more research published since then including some excellent lampooning of that British study; see a summary of all that here.  The summary is published by the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute.

 

Eye Protection

Protecting your eyes is highly recommended while you’re riding.  Use tinted during the day and clear for riding after hours or in low-light conditions. Prices range from bargain basement on up.

MSU Bike Safety Video

Check out this bike safety video that a group of MSU Communications Arts students (directed by Katelyn Patterson, they were all volunteers on this project) created for AOP bike tours done in previous years.  Using a bit of slap-stick humor hopefully makes the sometimes boring subject more entertaining.

Fenders

Using fenders will keep your tires from picking up road debris and throwing it in your eyes. Most people associate fenders with keeping water and mud off yourself, but overlook the protection they provide your eyes. We stock a good supply and variety of them.

Bells and Horns

Airzound air horn for bikes

The Airzound – a very loud horn that can be reinflated with any air pump.

Yes, we’re all about bells and horns, too. How many pedestrians, cyclists, motorists are busy talking on their cell phones or listening to their iPods or other radios? Get yourself a nice little bell for letting peds know you’re about to pass them and then consider something stronger like the AirZound Bike Horn for getting yourself noticed by motorists in no uncertain terms. We stock a good selection of bells and horns, including the AirZound.

Michigan Law, Legal assistance and case studies

The League of Michigan Bicyclists has published a very nice summary of the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code which pertains to bicycling here.  They’ve also  published a number of legal columns by two Michigan attorneys (Sarah W. Colegrove and Todd E. Briggs) who specialize in litigating bicycling-related cases. You can read those past columns and get their contact information here.

What to do when hit by a car

We have many bicyclists come into our shop having just had an accident and way too often they report not having reported the incident and telling the driver they’re OK and not getting names or anything only later to find out that they’re injured or that their bike is damaged beyond repair.  Don’t let this happen to you.

The following list is excerpted from an LMB legal column in the site referenced above.

  • Don’t admit liability by stating the accident was your fault.
  • Call the police (911 if there are serious injuries) and make a report.  (The MSU Police non-emergency number is 517-355-2222 for non life-threatening injury accidents).
  • Get driver’s contact and insurance information.
  • Get witnesses’ statements and contact information.
  • Get the officer’s precinct number and contact information.
  • Seek immediate medical treatment for injuries.
  • Report incident to your auto insurance company.
  • Report incident to your homeowners/renters insurance company.
  • Take photos of crash scene, injuries and bicycle.
  • Request copy of police report.
  • Keep folder of all crash information (notes, receipts, log, insurance information, etc.)
  • Contact an attorney to advise you of your rights.

MSU’s commitment to improving traffic safety

In 1995, MSU’s administration made the decision to make improvements to campus roads to improve traffic safety. This has resulted in a drop in automobile-related accidents that result in injuries to approximately 90 percent fewer accidents as of the 2008 accident report. As a result, not only have hundreds of potential accidents been avoided, but MSU was awarded an Outstanding Contributions to Traffic Safety Award from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Advisory Commission in 2006. Click here to read the award announcement.

A new campus policy calling for their construction/ addition to all new road projects was also adopted at the same time to improve bicycling safety and reduce accidents with automobiles and pedestrians. MSU is approximately 60 percent done with installing bike lanes on all campus (MSU-controlled) roads as of the end of the 2012 construction season.

The All University Traffic and Transportation Committee  advises MSU’s Chief of Police on traffic and transportation safety issues and serves as a way for the campus community to have input to the administration regarding related issues or concerns to include parking of all vehicles (motorized and non-motorized).

Questions or suggestions for more safety information?

We’d love to add more to this page.   Have a story or a tip you’d like to share?  Comment below or contact Tim Potter at pottert@msu.edu

Bike Registration and Impoundment

A load of impounded bikes ready to haul away.

A load of impounded bikes ready to haul away.

Note:

MSU’s primary bike cleanup/ impounding starts each year after move-out and continues for several weeks.  Impounding does occur throughout the year but mostly for the most serious offenses or in response to complaints by staff.

Consider using our enhanced security MSU Bike Garages to keep your bike protected from the weather, vandalism, theft, accidental impoundment, etc.

 

 


Example new and improved impound tag

Example new and improved impound tag listing all the reasons that a bike might get impounded.

Registration

Registering your bike is not only required by the MSU ordinance it is a very helpful service in other respects that you might not think about.

  • Registration (a free process that gets you a permit or sticker with a unique number) proves your ownership of your bike.  This helps the police (not only the MSU Police but other police outside of campus) be able to contact you if your bike happens to get stolen.  It also helps you prove to the police that you own the bike if you need them to cut your lock (if you lose your key or break it off in the lock; pretty common problem in the colder months on campus).
  • How to get an MSU DPPS permit?  You can easily apply for one online, they’re free and will come to you through the mail in a few days.  Go to this page and click the “online” link in the 3rd paragraph to begin the process.  If you need additional help finding your bike’s serial number refer to this web page.
  • Where to put the permit?  We see many creative placements of permits which may result the impounding staff not seeing your permit and impounding it.  See photos below so you know exactly where to put your permit.
Where you should place your permit

Where you should place your permit – under the seat on the frame where it’s easy to spot for impounding staff.

Where you should place your permit 1

 

 

Impoundment

Since MSU has over 20,000 bikes on campus the university has rules regarding bikes that are breaking those rules (improperly locked up, abandoned, no registration, etc.).  Go to this page to learn all about the impounding process at MSU so your bike doesn’t get thrown in the bike slammer.

Michigan’s Bike Related Laws

If you wonder about the applicable laws related to bicycling in Michigan here’s a great page that summarizes them all.

MSU’s Bicycling History

Late 1800s-MSU bike-scene

Scene from campus in late 1800′s. Click photo to enlarge. Click here for high-res. version for printing.

MSU, like many older universities and communities around the country, has a long and storied history around bicycling.  Read on for what information we’ve been able to collect over the years.  Have more historical information you’re willing to share?  Please contact Tim with your submission via email.


Did you know that the MSU Cycling Club is over 100 years old?

 

Early MSU Club members standing with high-wheeler

Early MSU Club members standing with high-wheeler circa 1894

It’s a fact! The Cycling Club (Team) at MSU has ruled the competitive bicycling scene longer than… well, for a heckuva long time. Read on… The book, “Michigan State, The First Hundred Years”, written by Madison Kuhn & published in 1955 by MSU Press, notes on page 192:

“A companion development was the bicycle fad, fostered when the high-wheel type was replaced by the modern, chain-driven, “safety” wheel. Students and faculty formed the M.A.C. Cycling Club in 1894, with a Captain to lead and a Whipper-in to follow each club ride. The club used dues and contributions to build a gravel path to Lansing along the north side of Michigan Avenue. Bicycles and street cars scattered the students in their idle moments and encouraged men to move from the unsupervised dormitories into Lansing homes or into those that were springing up in the Collegeville subdivision that Beal and R.C. Carpenter laid out at the west entrance in 1887.” This rich history of the Cycling Club makes it one of the oldest student clubs at MSU if not the oldest.


MSU’s Sesquicentennial Exhibit – Bikes Rule!

The MSU Museum displayed a spectacular Sesquicentennial exhibit in 2005 to commemorate the 150 years of MSU which features three bikes that you can read about below covering the late 1880′s, early 1900′s and current cycling. The following information relates to these periods and the 3 bikes on exhibit. It’s also encouraging to note that the main display that greets visitors to this exhibit features 3 bicycles in 3 different photos out of 8 or so photos. Let’s hope the importance of cycling wasn’t lost on the thousands of visitors (especially university VIPs) going thru this exhibit.

This special exhibit was a rare glimpse at some of the bikes in the museum’s vast collection that dated back to the late 1800′s.

The following pics show:
- an American Light Champion high-wheeler leading the parade of bikes awaiting their place in the Museum’s Sesquicentennial exhibit (this high-wheeler was made by the Gornaully & Jeffrey Mfg. Co. in 1887; nothing seems to capture this period like the high-wheeler; it is quite the work of art when viewed up close; the rear fork looks so much like current carbon-fiber forks it’s amazing);
- a Deluxe Flyer from about 1927 that was used for commuting to campus by a student from ’49 – ’51 (Note the closeup of the Flyer’s tank & the small clip-spring for the door to the secret compartment; this is a Trail Blazer brand Flyer model is dark maroon with black & gold outlining; a tool compartment is attached to the cross bar; the “Flyer” logo is on a sliding panel; the push-button horn on the handlebars sounds a bit like the old police car horns of yore)
- Ernst “the Can Man” Lucas and his last bike used for collecting cans around campus (Ernie’s Magna was lined up behind the museum’s Flyer). “Mountain” bikes have come to rule the MSU campus since the 1990′s for many obvious reasons and some not so obvious (to us purists). Apparently the beefy tires/ wheels, upright riding position, shocks, etc. are ideal for the hazards of campus life and area roads. A good example of these bikes is one of Ernie’s last used bikes, which is also on display at the museum. Ernie, a friend to many & seen regulary on campus collecting cans using his bikes for hauling his precious cargo, passed away Jan. 2004. Here’s a couple links to more information on Ernie. – State News articleMemorial notice in MSU News Bulletin. The Bike Project donated some parts and time to tune-up Ernie’s bike (left) for the exhibit to make it more presentable.


Early Promoter of Bicycling for Conservation @ MSU

Dr. Milton Muelder, a champion & architect of many important aspects of MSU as we know it today, and recently announced awardee of the 2005 MSU Philanthropist Award, was apparently an early proponent of bicycling to conserve gasoline. This photo was discovered in a book celebrating MSU’s Centennial, “Michigan State: The First Hundred Years” by Madison Kuhn, published by MSU Press in 1955. Caption reads: “Early in WWII, Tom King, Milton E. Muelder, and Karl T. Wright, when gasoline was scarce.”

Milton Muelder-on-bike in '50s
Dr. Milton Muelder riding with friends on the MSU campus
Milton-muelder-cycling-w-friends on MSU Campusiends
Another shot of Milton and friends from University Archives, probably from the same shoot as above.

 


 

Other Historical MSU / E. Lansing Bicycling Pics

Here’s more pics from MSU / E. Lansing area cycling history for your viewing pleasure:

MSU-women in early 1900s

Another early photo of a group of MSU women bicyclists. (source: University Archives)

MSU-50s kinesiology bike-based testing

Photo from the 1950′s of early VO2 testing in the Kinesiology dept. possibly? (source: University Archives)

crossroads-imports-storefront One of the many bike shops in E. Lansing during the 1st bike boom in the ’70s: Crossroads Imports & Cycle (source: University Archives)
weathervane-storefront-Un Another shop in E. Lansing selling bikes in the ’70s: The Weathervane (source: University Archives).

If you have a historical story or photo related to cycling at MSU please email us.


Famous MSU Cyclists

MSU’s long tradition in competitive (club) bicycling (see article below on the MSU Cycling Club) has produced a number of world/ national-class bicyclists. Here’s a list of those we’re aware of:

    • Roger Young, '72

      Roger Young, pictured in ’72; photo hanging in Jenison Fieldhouse stairway.

      Roger Young, MBA, Business, ’69, was a member of the ’72 & ’76 Olympic track teams & member of the gold-medal winning US National Team in the Mexico City Pan Am games of 1975 in the 4,000 m pursuit event. See references in “The Evolution of American Bicycle Racing” about Roger’s racing in the ’75 Pan Am games. He was also 6-time national sprint champion and a member of the 1st national track team in ’73. Roger was also the first track director for the Major Taylor Velodrome when it re-opened under that name in 1982. Roger’s sister, Sheila Young, was the first athlete (male or female) to hold world titles in both bicycling and speed skating; both their parents were competitive cyclists and speedskaters (read more about Sheila’s remarkable career); their step-mother, Dorothy, ran Young Originals, a sports clothing company which made jerseys for many sucessful bicyclists over the years especially those in the Wolverine Sports Club.

Jeff_Pierce racing in Pro-Am Criterium in '84 in Detroit

Jeff Pierce racing in Pro-Am Criterium, 1984, Detroit. Photo by Tim Potter

  • Jeff Pierce, ’82, BA, Business, Operations Management – Jeff raced as a professional from ’85 – ’97 (according to this site) on the 7 Eleven Team and then later with the Chevrolet – L.A. Sheriff team. Here’s a photo taken of him the summer of ’84 in Detroit Pro-am crit (by Tim Potter).
  • John-Novitsky-2009-podium at World Championships

    John-Novitsky-2009-podium at World Championships

    John Novitsky, Lyman Briggs, ’81, started to race bicycles mid-life (1998); 2 consecutive US national championship in the individual time trial, for men aged 50-54.   Raced in ’08 & ’09 world championship race.  Has also raced in four US national senior Olympic bike races (two road races, two time trials), and the world time trial championship. Full USA Cycling race record here.

  • Wolfram Meingast, ’79, BS, Mechanical Engineering
  • Christoph Meingast, ’80, BA, Natural Science, Physics Christoph and his other brothers ruled bike racing in Michigan, throughout the midwest and even nationally. See a nice photo of Christoph in the article below about the 6-day Madison races that were held at MSU in ’81.
  • Herb “Always in the Money” Meingast, BS, ’84, Mechanical Engineering. Raced very successfully throughout Michigan and around the country.
  • Klaus_Meingast in 1984

    Klaus Meingast in 1984 Pro-Am Criterium race in Detroit. Photo by Tim Potter

    Klaus Meingast, ’84, BS, Civil Engineering; Here’s a photo taken of him the summer of ’84 in Detroit Pro-am crit (by Tim Potter).
    If you know of other accomplished MSU bicyclists please drop us an email with their information and any photos you have.


Historical Campus Bike Related Files


 

Historic Bike Safety Commentary

A fellow MSU cyclist dropped off this copy of an old State News article (May 1980) on the topic of bike safety (riding on the road vs. sidewalks) on campus which is very interesting for several reasons.  (Would be nice to see the other editorial referenced here, but we can imagine what it said) You might enjoy reading it to see how things have changed and other things haven’t on our campus.

The most interesting point is that MSU apparently had a mandatory side-path law at the time requiring bicyclists to use sidewalks/ paths and not the roads.  Since our campus (and national safety/ design standards) has evolved and shared-use paths have been developed, designed, installed and marked it makes sense to modify our ordinance again to allow for the safe and responsible use of the paths by bicyclists, but we still are faced with the challenge of encouraging more bicyclists to ride on the roads where they’re safest.


MSU’s Demonstration Hall 6-day Madison Track Races

In the spring of 1980 a track-cycling uber-enthusiast, Dale Hughes, (the designer of the Bloomer Park velodrome track as well as many others around the world incl. the Atlanta Olympic velodrome; here’s a great article about that track and others;  he also organized and ran the Tour de Michigan for about 10 yrs. or so; what a great national pro series of crits those were in the 90’s) came to MSU with 3 tractor trailers loaded with a portable wood velodrome track. Dale was hauling this velodrome circus around the country putting on some of the most exciting 6-day Madison races the country had seen in over 50 yrs. The whole thing, 125 m approx. in length, fit neatly inside your average hockey rink with a little room leftover. This was the first track that I had seen and got to ride in person; as a 16 yr. old it left a huge impression on me and I continue to love tracks and the machines that are designed for the banks (I also ended up marrying the daughter of a former Japanese pro-track (keirin) racer). One of the extremely steep banks had the Schwinn logo on it and the other Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” album cover art; very suitable for those banks as they were well over 45 degrees and would feel like a wall if you hit one head-on!

Anyway, we just rec’d some old treasures by a local former bike racer, Bob Pratt; they’re newspaper clippings and photos that he kept from the 6-day Madison races in Demonstration Hall.  Additionally, MSU’s Cycling Club & IM Sports also hosted a big collegiate crit around West Circle Dr. called the MSU Criterium/ IM Race; Bob gave me some scans of a program, an actual ticket from the races and a news article from the 1980 (approx) race, but so far I have no action photos.  Help!

Here are the scans!

6-day-dem-hall-races-article-1 6-day-dem-hall-races-article-2 dem-hall-racing-SN-article-may-1980_Page_1 dem-hall-racing-SN-article-may-1980_Page_2
dem-hall-racing-SN-article-may-1980_Page_3 dem-hall-racing-SN-article-may-1980_Page_4dem-hall-velodrome-article_resizeDem Hall Madison Races ticket, May 1980

dem-hall-velo-race-program1_resize dem-hall-velo-race-program2_resizemsu-club-race-race-results_resize msu-crit-program

Captions:  Yes, that’s local cyclist Lenny Provencher officiating one of his first international pro races.  That’s a very happy Christoph Meingast (lower left); Chris was one of 5 Michigan brothers and MSU student who dominated bike racing in the mid-west and nationally for a long time.  MSU 6-Day Indoor Cycling Classic, Schedule of Events, April 15, 1980 (2 pgs).


E. Lansing Bike Co-op

For many of us old-time bicyclists in the area our introduction to bicycle mechanics was courtesy of the E. Lansing Bike Co-op, which used to be located in the building on Grand River just West of the alley next to the old Taco Bell (which sat at the corner of Bailey St. and Grand River). This co-op was a treasure trove of experienced bike mechanics (some paid, some volunteers) who helped others work on their bikes. Unfortunately, I can’t locate a photo of the Co-op (if you happen to have one please send it to me). One of the first mechanics, Donald Ayers-Marsh, recently contacted me and has this to share about the Co-op.

“To let you in on some history, The Bike Co-op was founded in 1974 at a meeting of people who were mostly already involved in the housing co-ops. We were founded as a member owned not-for-profit with a goal of offering the best service and fair pricing. The store first opened in the middle of winter in a tiny brick building about 10 ft across on Evergreen Ave just behind the Gibson’s bookstore building. I remember Ralph Ellis, Tom Moore and Chris Johnson as well as myself being among the first people involved.
By 1976 we had moved to 547 E. Grand River Ave, occupying part of two floors in the back of the building and eventually storing used bikes waiting for repair in the basement. The Bike Co-op had the best repair turnaround in town and close to the biggest volume. We had a paid mechanic staff, some of whom completed a 60 hour Bicycle Technician Course, as well as some volunteers who helped with stocking and sales and the bike clinic. We were very proud of our repair quality and tracked all guarantee work. We actually had a 7 day no-flat guarantee on tire and tube repairs.
The Co-op had a large market in used bikes (many of which were produced at our winter mechanic courses) and sold new bikes as well. We also sold and rented cross country skis for a time. We offered a winter storage program, one option of which was free storage with a complete overhaul. The Co-op offered the only public repair clinic in town and did a lot of bicycle and safety education on and off campus.”

 


1950 MSU Alumna Donates Raleigh Bought in ’47

Ed Farmer (1950 alumna and former Kellogg Center Conference Consultant – retired 1989) bought this bike used in 1947 at a bike shop that used to be located where the current day Brody complex sits. He traded a 1-spd. Schwinn plus $75 for it. It was stolen 3 times while on campus. Lights/ generator worked fine. Rear wheel had never been off! This bike was sold in 2013.  Click here for more pics of this fine machine.

Mr. Farmer's 1936 Raleigh
1936 Raleigh donated by ’50 grad, Ed Farmer.  Click pic for more details of this lovely old bike.

 


 

MSU’s Bicycle Racing Theme Yearbook – 1978

Recently discovered in the MSU Alumni Assoc. library of old yearbooks is this lovely yearbook apparently designed by a bicycle racing enthusiast, but who didn’t have enough editorial clout to get much more than a design theme. There’s nothing in the content about the MSU Cycling Club which surely had to have been very active during this hey-day of bicycling in the USA. Anyone know of other MSU yearbooks that feature some of the bike racing action in the 60′s-70′s? Drop us an email (include a scanned image if possible). The West-Circle Drive criterium race was a huge event for a decade or so until the insurance/ liability issues forced it off campus and then to obscurity according to our sources (former Cycling Club advisors).

MSU Bike Polo Fridays

After playing on January 11, 2013 in the IM West Turf Grass Arena.

After playing on January 11, 2013 in the IM West Turf Grass Arena.


Come play bike polo in the best (only?) indoor bike polo arena in the Midwest!

Right in the middle of the MSU campus at the IM West indoor turf grass arena every Friday evening from 5:45 pm – 7 pm for spring semester 2014!  Unfortunately all participants/ attendees have to be MSU ID holders (students, faculty/ staff, etc.) to get into the IM facility.  Sorry. I’ll be looking for an off-campus site to open things up more.

MSU Bike Polo Fridays poster

Print out and post this poster wherever you can!

We can provide a limited number of loaner bikes if you don’t have a bike to play on (or would rather not risk damaging your nice bike).  Helmets are recommended.  Polo mallets are also available to borrow if you don’t have your own (here are some DIY instructions for making your own mallet).

If you can please come to the MSU Bike Project workshop at Demonstration Hall at 5:30 pm to help bring the loaner bikes and mallets over to the Turf Arena. 

2013 Blog Traffic Report

Crunchy numbers

Wordpress-2013-blog-report graphic

(courtesy of the friendly WordPress computers)

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people.  This blog was viewed about 52,000 times in 2013.  If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 19 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

In 2013, there were 15 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 30 posts. There were 79 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 50 MB. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was August 9th with 473 views. The most popular post that day was New Secure Bike Parking Facilities on Campus.

Full report here.

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New Secure Bike Parking Facilities on Campus

MSU Bike Garage in Trowbridge Parking Ramp

MSU Bike Garage in the Trowbridge Parking Ramp. The Dero Fixit station can be seen holding a bike.  Click pic for more detailed photos of the Garages.

Michigan State University is certified as a Bike Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists, but the high population density and unpredictable weather can be quite unfriendly to bicycle hardware and riders.

Two new bike parking facilities are opening on campus to help alleviate some of those concerns for students, faculty and staff.

MSU Bikes, a service unit of the Sustainability Department, has been working with multiple units on campus to develop and install MSU Bike Garage enhanced-security parking facilities inside two vehicle parking ramps.

The first two completed locations are in the ramps on Trowbridge Road and Grand River Avenue.

The MSU Bike Garages are fenced-in spaces on the ground level, providing protection from theft on all sides and some shelter from the elements. Access is controlled by the university’s card sensor technology seen in buildings across campus, and the caged instead of solid walls provide a safe level of visibility inside and outside the structure.

Inside the facilities, cyclists can lock up their ride in a row of Lightning Bolt™ racks, which are designed to keep bikes upright and work especially well with U-locks. Riders can also take advantage of a Dero Fixit™ station and air pump, similar to the self-serve amenities outside the Bikes Service Center in Bessey Hall.

MSU Bike Garage in the Grand River Parking Ramp

MSU Bike Garage in the Grand River Parking Ramp.   Click pic for more detailed photos of the Garages.

The Bike Garage in the Grand River Avenue ramp can hold up to 50 bikes, while the one in the Trowbridge Road ramp has space for 23. Annual and shorter term memberships provide are available immediately and provide access to both facilities.  Since there is a physical capacity of 73 bikes that can be parked between the two facilities and membership will be available on a first-come first-served basis.

“Campus cyclists now have new options: if you live too far away from campus to ride your bike the whole way you can keep your bike in the garage over night and have it ready to ride once on campus.”  said Tim Potter, MSU Bikes’ manager, who will be overseeing the operations.  “Or, if you find the garages too far away from your office consider keeping a 2nd inexpensive bike locked in the garage and then lock your nice bike in the garage and ride the cheaper one to your building.”

One of our customers’ top 10 favorite things about the bike parking garages:
1. Your campus bike (and all its removable parts) will all be there when you need them.
2. Your campus bike will stay dry and rust-free over nights and weekends.
3. It’s lit and safe in the dark winter mornings and evenings.
4. Your campus bike won’t get kicked in on the racks after the bar crawls.
5. You can park your car in the Grand River ramp then jump on your bike to get around campus fast – great during campus construction, game days or when the inner lots are full (that’s all the time.)
6. Leave a bike securely parked on campus and you’ve got easy access to the river trail for weekend rides.
7. Rent is cheap.
8. You get the most optimal parking spot on Grand River.
9. There’s a handy bike pump and repair stand. Super deluxe.
10. Your friends who bike in other cities will be jealous that you have such a luxurious work feature!
(courtesy Marian M. Reiter, Graphic Artist II, Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications)

Access to the two Garages will be free to authorized users for the remainder of the summer semester.   If you’d like to take advantage of the free ‘test ride’ period (the rest of August) please come by our Center and fill out our Bike Garage membership application; we’ll then give you a new sticker and get your MSU ID authorized to access both facilities.  You’ll then have the option to continue using the facilities after the new semester starts up for a fee (week – month: $15; 1 mo – 3 mos: $25; 3 mo – 9 mos: $35; 1 yr: $50).

Read more of this post

Dude, Where’s My Bike!?

Where's my bike?

Worst example of how to NOT lock your bike. Click pic for more. Photo courtesy: http://lockyourbike.wordpress.com/page/3/

‘How to recover a stolen bike and reduce your chances of being a victim’

Being a busy bike shop in the middle of a campus of 20,000+ bicyclists you can imagine that we’ve fielded a few emails and stories about stolen bikes and given this topic A LOT of thought.   Most people  ask, “what do I do now?”.   Some, unfortunately give up on bicycling altogether after getting one or more stolen.

Our best advice for AFTER-THEFT action:

1.  CRITICAL!  Assuming the bike is worth the effort, always report it to at least one police department so that the serial number and other key features are on file in their database(s) which pawn shops and others also refer to state wide and sometimes nation wide.

Stripped bike on campus

Don’t let this happen to your bike!

2.  BEST IDEA! To avoid spending countless hours scouring eBay and Craigslist, etc. to find your bike,  create a Google Alert which means you give Google some key words and your email address and anytime Google finds something online that matches your keywords you’ll get an email! Google search-bots will do it for you!

3.  Stop by the area pawn shops to check their inventory and leave them a flyer with a photo, serial number, etc. so that they’ll be aware and put on notice if someone comes trying to sell it.  Often times serial numbers are very hard to find and/ or difficult to read for numerous reasons, so some pawn shops may unknowingly have stolen bikes for sale.

4.  Post your stolen bike info. incl. photos and all other unique identifying items (serial number especially) to a new Facebook group recently created (http://www.facebook.com/groups/michhatesbikethieves/ ) and get some other eyeballs out there for you as some thieves will likely stay offline to launder stolen bikes.

For those of you reading this BEFORE a theft, here’s my best advice:

Anti-theft skewers for wheels to replace the 'quick release' type that require no tools to loosen.
Anti-theft skewers for wheels to replace the ‘quick release’ type that require no tools to loosen.
  1. Secure any components that have quick-release mechanisms with anti-theft type mechanisms that require a special tool to loosen.  Seats and wheels are commonly stolen when they have quick releases as well as lights and other nice accessories.  Anti-theft skewers for wheels to replace the ‘quick release’ type that require no tools to loosen. Anti-theft skewers for wheels to replace the ‘quick release’ type that require no tools to loosen.
  2. Take detailed photos of your cherished bikes NOW before anything happens to them and record your serial number!  Be sure to document any unique features especially certain scratches (aka your bike’s ‘birth-mark’) that would prove your ownership.  While you’re at it put a rider on your home/ renters insurance with that information.  Keep your receipts of purchase too.
  3. Use the best lock you can afford (U-shaped locks are generally the strongest when used correctly) if you want to prevent theft of your bike.
  4. Lock your bike correctly (for examples of both good and bad locking techniques see pics in this gallery) to a good bike rack or, lacking a good rack, to something that’s not movable and/or easily cut.
  5. Lock your bike in an area that’s highly visible; more secluded areas tend to have more theft as fewer people can potentially catch them in the act; thieves prefer to work when it’s dark and where it’s dark.
  6. If your bike is flashy (i.e. newer, bright colors), and expensive it’s best to NOT lock up outside at night ever; bring your bike inside at night to avoid potential thieves/ vandals.
  7. If you have the option on a large rack park your bike in the middle somewhere and not on the ends.  Bikes on the ends tend to attract thieves and drunks who apparently enjoy kicking bike wheels.  Maintenance trucks, mowers, etc. also tend to hit the bikes on the ends.

More anti-theft tips:

Ever forget your lock and need to lockup for a quick visit to a store or cafe?  Here are a few quick tips:

  • Take your whole bike inside with you; if the staff protest remove (and take it with you) just your front wheel and that will deter most would-be thieves.
  • For older bikes open the quick-release on your rear wheel; as soon as the would-be thief tries to ride off the rear wheel will shift in the frame and lockup (only works on bikes without vertical drop-outs).
  • If you have a newer bike you can remove the front wheel quick-release skewer and pull the wheel out of the fork and set it next to the bike to make it appear broken/ unrideable.
  • Use your helmet and strap it thru one of your wheels and frame; it will deter someone trying a quick ‘grab and ride’ theft.
  • This one is more complex, only works with certain brakes and requires some forethought: adjust one of your brakes with the release in the open position then close it when necessary to lock your brake much like a parking brake on a car.  The bike won’t roll until the brake release is opened.
  • Check out the late Sheldon Brown’s page of additional clever anti-theft tips.

Looking for Special Accessories or Parts?

Velo Orange-brand saddles

Velo Orange-brand saddles

Looking for special parts or accessories for a restoration or jazzing up an older vintage bike maybe for someone’s birthday or a Christmas present?  We can special order stuff at great prices from many vendors.

Here’s a short list:  Velo Orange (French-style focus), Merry Sales (SOMA, Nitto, Dia-Compe, other smaller boutique brands; their entire product catalog – w/out prices- can be viewed here), Compass Bicycles (home of Cycles René Herse, Bicycle Quarterly, one of the best quarterly journals on randonneuring-style bikes and related technologies and distributor of Grand Bois parts and accessories from Japan) and United Bicycle Supply (owners of BikeToolsEtc.com, their public website; excellent for repair parts for older bikes/components, awesome tool selection).

Rene Herse crankset from Compass Bicycles

Rene Herse crankset from Compass Bicycles

Give us a call if you’d like a quote and availability.  Our prices can often beat what you can buy these items for elsewhere and you get our excellent pre- and post purchase advice and assistance you wouldn’t get if you purchased them direct.

Honjo Fenders - 4 styles from Merry Sales

Honjo Fenders – 4 styles from Merry Sales

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