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Car-Free World
alternative transportation news & views

June 16, 2003
Email | BicycleAustin.info
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Research/Tips: Ken Marsh   Contributors: 29 of you   Editor: Michael Bluejay


From the Editor

Vote in our poll


Segways are coming? Not

Bush falls off his Segway


Comments to CAMPO


Bikes for sale

Car-Free World, a publication of and ©2003 by BicycleAustin.info, covers alternative transportation, especially bicycling. We're not opposed to cars, we're opposed to the car culture. CFW is published sporadically, and may be discontinued at any time without notice. We currently have over 700 subscribers. Here are links to subscribe or unsubscribe.

Articles are by the editor if uncredited. Articles by others may have been edited for grammar, clarity, conciseness, superstition, or just for the hell of it.

Bike is Beautiful.

From the Editor

Update: CAMPO postpones decision to raid bike funds

    The last issue marked the debut of the feature that lets you send a prewritten email to your legislators via the website. A whole bunch of you clicked over to send messages to CAMPO asking them to preserve bike funding. I don't know whether it's a result of our efforts, but CAMPO decided to postpone its decision on whether to cut bike funding until this fall. We won! For now....

     I'm overwhelmed by your response to that call for action. A whopping 52 of you responded, which is pretty good considering there are just over 800 subscribers total, and a good many of them live outside of Central Texas and weren't eligible to participate. I'm also really impressed by the comments that you added to the prewritten form letter -- so much so that I'm sharing those comments as a feature below.

    Is that feature a good thing to have in this newsletter, or does it just waste space? Let me know by voting in the poll:

Yes, include reader comments in future issues

No, it's a waste of space

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The Segways are coming? Not.

   The Statesman called me a few days ago to get my opinion about legislation which would allow the Segway (a glorified electric scooter) on heretofore bike-only paths. They wanted to know whether I thought this was a good thing or a bad thing for Austin.

    First of all, if the Statesman would pull its head out, they would realize that we don't have any bike-only paths in Austin. (Except maybe the Veloway, which hardly counts.) All our trails are mixed-use, for both bikes and pedestrians. Besides, is the Statesman so clueless that they really believe that our hike & bike trails are suddenly about to be overrun by people rushing out to buy $5000 Segways?

    Second, I wish the Statesman would ask me about something that's actually important. On the bike path issue I told them that I couldn't think of an issue that concerns me less. As usual, I encouraged them to look into a real juicy bike story, like, oh, the fact that bicyclists can go to jail for minor traffic offenses while at-fault motorists who injure or kill cyclists often don't even get traffic tickets. As usual, they weren't interested.

Bush falls off his Segway

   And while we're talking about Segways, President Bush fell off his. The better articles about this are in the foreign press, which don't treat the President with kid gloves like the domestic media. The BBC's article is headlined "Bush fails the Segway test", and has a photo of Bush taking a dive.

    Not surprisingly, the White House couldn't even cop to this minor mishap by Bush, as though he could never be less than perfect. In the daily press briefing White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said, "I thought he made a particularly excellent rebound. He looked very athletic as he emerged from that."

    Fleischer admitted that Bush is friends with the Segway inventor.

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FEATURE: Comments to CAMPO

You all did a great job in telling CAMPO not to cut bike funding. The comments that many of you added to the form letter were well thought-out, polite, and inspiring, so much so that I want to share them with the whole list. Here are the personalized comments that were made -- all of them.

By the way, CAMPO decided to postpone their decision on whether to cut bike funding until this fall. We won -- for now....

"I would like American cities to have more of a mix so that people have safer routes to walk and bike. I own a car and pay taxes. However, I mostly ride my bike for errands, etc., so please give me my fair share of services."

"I don't know the outcome of your meeting, but want to belatedly share my concern at the possibility of even further resources being directed AWAY from bike commuters. I am writing as the daughter of a man who commuted to work by bicycle for 40 years, the last ten from the Ben White area to UT -- many miles. My father became a quadriplegic (and then died three days later) as the result of a bicycle accident on Austin streets. He followed all the rules, paid taxes, voted etc. etc. etc. More people should be ENCOURAGED to seek the health-enhancing, pollution-reducing effects of biking -- if anything please INCREASE your consideration of bikers."

"As a daily commuter to downtown Austin, I value the bike infrastructure and crave more. Moreover, many of my employees ride in an effort to alleviate road congestion and enjoy our fine city. Please maintain the current bike/ped funding."

"I find it ironic that projects proposed to improve air quality come at the expense of one of the IDEAL methods of transportation in terms of environmental friendliness. WE need to support pedestrians, bikes, bike riders and the attitude that motorists aren't the only show on the road. Please don't cut the funding!"

"I cycle every day, and frequently try to get others to get out of their cars and ride with me. By far, the reason I hear most often for refusals is that the people I am talking to don't feel safe on the roads. Bike lanes and trails are critical to increasing the number of people who will choose biking as an alternative (non-polluting) form of transportation. Please do not cut funding that goes to bike and pedestrian projects."

"Please do not reduce or eliminate funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects. Such funding is increasingly important in Central Texas, especially for areas where population is concentrated. Although light synchronization and intersection widening are also important, these changes should not be funded from budgetary allocations for cycling and pedestrian projects."

"Austin is headed towards disaster by only providing for automobile transportation -- and yes, it's the only way for most of us to get to work. There is no rail service, bus service from North Austin, along the 183/Mopac areas can take you over a hour to get to work down town - and it's only 11 miles! Could we bike it each day in the same time? Yes, except we'd be risking our lives - there are NO bike lanes north of Far West and very few if any for work commuters. So Austin is condemned to suffer from worsening pollution and traffic congestion."

"Let me get this straight. After spending more money on roads per capita in the last 10 years than any other metropolitan area other than Tucson, AZ, you want to spend EVEN MORE money on increasing automobile traffic? Surely this must be some kind of joke!"

"I bike to work each day. The trip is four miles each way. I firmly believe that roads are designed to encourage cars to go faster with little concern for safety of the driver and or other commuters (e.g. bikers, pedestrians, and other cars). Please save the funding for sidewalks."

"I have recently resumed bicycle commuting into downtown from NE Austin, across I-35, and while I don't miss the drudgery of sitting in my car in traffic, I'm afraid. Really, I'm afraid I'll be run over by an Austin driver. The marginalization of cyclist commuters has gone on far too long, and to even *consider* taking away this measly 1.5% is... what? Politics as usual? I hope not."

"Although traffic light synchronization is important, taking away all earmarked money for bike and ped eviscerates the program and may have a hard time coming back. We must exhaust all other avenues of funding for traffic light synchronization before we bleed bike and ped projects dry."

"Please don't remove our current funding for bicyclists and pedestrians. I ride my bike to work everyday and these funds keep me safe while on the road. The roads are dangerous enough as it is, this funding insures that for years to come. If this funding only saves one extra life - isn't that worth it?"

"I am a cyclist who owns a car, but I prefer to ride a bike on my daily commute to work so that I can:

1. save money on gas
2. keep miles off of my car
3. reduce air pollution
4. get some exercise
5. hopefully encourage others to ride too

I would add "get some fresh air" to the list, but the air quality in the Austin area is sickening, and the idea that improving it by encouraging driving (synchronizing traffic lights, widening intersections) is nearly as disgusting. I look forward to future correspondence from CAMPO detailing how making it easier for people to drive will reduce air pollution."

"I would like to remind you that bikers also drive when we have to, and pay into the same tax pool as those who don't bike. We sincerely appreciate the few amenities bikers receive, and would hate to see our funding cut. We feel as if we are already doing more than most citizens in terms of air quality."

"The reason more people don't bike-commute is that it is too difficult or dangerous to do so. It is shameful and should be an embarrassment in a city home to Lance Armstrong, that more complete bikeways are not produced and maintained. We don't need piecemeal projects: there are countless bike lanes that just END without any thought to continuity. Routes need to be planned for full north-south and east-west access with parallel feeders and routes RESERVED and dedicated to bikes. Countless miles of simple paths could be made for the cost of a mile of a reinforced concrete or asphalt road designed to carry an 18 wheeler. It is time to do the right thing and create a truly bikable city."

"I believe you have the best interest of all citizens in mind when you make your decisions. I also realize that you may have pressure from groups with political leverage influencing your decisions. I ask you, not only as a citizen, but as a human being, please leave this meager fund intact. Cyclists need all the help they can get, even if it is not much."

"As a member of the Clean Air Force Board of Directors, I am very aware of the impending air pollution problems central Texas faces. As a community we can not solve our ozone/smog problems if we continue to design our city totally depended on the automobile. It is essential that we provide alternatives and the most cost effective options are pedestrian and bike improvements. Please keep these funds dedicated to these alternative mobility options and help keep our air clean."

"I have lived in Austin for almost eight years now. The little things in life and in this town are what make life neat. Cyclists on the roads keep this town not just different but also energetic. Austin has been known to be one of the healthiest cities in America, let's keep it that way. Please don't take the bike and pedestrian funding away."

"We absolutely cannot afford to give up the precious little funding that is currently being allocated to bicyclists and pedestrians. We need options and at the rate we're headed, those options are being drowned out. Please don't do it. It's already dangerous enough for cyclists and peds out on the road. Help us out a bit eh?"

"Part of the reason you don't see an immediate benefit to air quality & traffic congestion from increases to bike & pedestrian funding is that few people commute this way. A major reason for this is that, quite honestly, it is scary to commute by bike. I escape death by inches at least once every time I ride home from work. Most people won't put up with this kind of risk just to help the environment. Until cycling is made safer by adequate facilities & driver education, the traffic situation will just get worse and worse. With more & more, larger & larger vehicles on the road, you know very well we will never be able to 'widen' or 'synchronize' our way out of the traffic problem. We have to encourage other means of transportation. Please continue to give cyclists & pedestrians the minimal funding we have received. It will pay off in the long run."

"Not every bicycling advocate is a left-wing radical. Plenty of us understand that it's a daunting task facing today's officials who deal with the Central Texas mobility issues, especially with the current budget situations. I encourage you to keep your sights fixed on the big picture. Business and industry, commerce and art--what attracts these elements to this area is that Austin is not Houston. It's not Los Angeles. This area values the environment and has the unique chance to learn from the mistakes already made by the now-congested MPOs who've only built more roads. Keep Austin growing in the right direction. Do not cut bicycling & pedestrian funding. Doing so is a short-term fix and a long-term mistake."

"If you improve bicycle access in a city and provide a safe environment to bike and walk, people WILL use it. I use bicycle commuting about 50% of the time now, but if the streets get any more congested or unsafe for me or my bike I will give up. And then I will get in my car and be a part of the problem. Please don't spend more money to make it easier for people to use their cars instead of their feet."

"Austin is known as a bicycle-friendly city. However, the infrastructure for bicyclists is lagging far behind many other major cities. Those funds could be used instead to noticeably improve the options of those who wish to bicycle around town safely by providing bike lines or bike trails."

"I would hope this small amount of funding could be retained toward encouraging more people to get out of their cars and consider alternative modes of transportation. This will never happen if we do not create safe and pleasant throughways for vehicles other than cars. I believe public boards should be more forward thinking and establish the "big picture". Hopefully the big picture isn't paving all over creation with highways...we need to create incentives to get cars off the road, not create more roads for more cars."

"If anything I think that this needs to be increased in funding for bicycles."

"Providing safe facilities for cyclists and pedestrians is key to enabling more people to cycle or walk to work. Getting people out of cars will reduce emissions much more than shaving a few seconds off of the waiting time at traffic lights. In addition, bicycle and pedestrian facilities are much cheaper to build than enhanced roadway intersections. In other words, it is a more efficient use of our scarce transportation funding."

"It has been my experience that synchronizing lights in congested areas results in dangerous cycling conditions. Motorists get a sense, after driving the same route day after day, of just how much they need to speed up or(more optimistically) to slow down in order to roll through the light. The motorist times the light, and this can lead to disastrous consequences. If the light synchronization should change during certain hours of the day, for instance, then the motorist might assume a green light that doesn't turn green. As a cyclist traveling many crossroads in Austin - my bicycle is my transportation - I would rather the traffic in congested areas stay congested. I would prefer to slow motorists down. I would like to make them see red.

Regardless, as someone who rides the streets and bike/ped paths of Austin, I would like to see 15% of STP4C funds go toward improving the safety and convenience of existing routes for cyclists, or initiating new projects intended for those who ride. (e.g. The Lamar Street path could provide a safe route for cyclists traveling downtown or uptown. Unfortunately, the path east of Lamar - running along Shoal Creek - and from about 15th to the Town Lake seems to be in a constant state of disrepair). I know that you have pressures to reduce traffic and pollution in this city, but pushing the cyclists to the side is not the answer. There are voices in the crowd that say CAMPO is trying to change perceptions rather then solve traffic problems. I sure hope so because the only way this city will be able to effectively grow is if perceptions do change, if a bus ride doesn't seem so bad, or if a bicycle ride to your local convenience store seems more convenient than hopping in a car, or if light rail sounds luxurious."

"Cyclists deserve support for their continued use of alternative transportation...something the rest of us should certainly heed."

"Bus turn outs is also a good use of the funds -- more so than synchronization in my opinion. Nevertheless, pedestrian ROW and bike ROW is CRITICAL in Oak Hill on 290 with the 290 extension to Scenic Brook. Please include bike ROW behind barriers and Pedestrian Crossing buttons at FM 1826 and other intersections. We would like to get other ways besides the car to get around out here!"

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Bikes for Sale

Free bike ads

Ads are FREE for individuals and run for at least four months or until you tell me to remove it. Please keep it to four lines, don't write a novel. :)

15" Giant Cypress DX Hybrid Bike. Like new, super comfy. Front & seat suspension. $199. kelly.raley(at)utexas.edu, 302-3086. 6-03

2002 Giant Rincon: 17" Frame (Red). In good condition. Entry level Shimano components. Will include new brake cables. $150. tjauyuencheung(at)yahoo.com 10-02

Zullo steel racing / track bike, 56 mm frame, all Campy parts, derailer gearing but has one-speed dropouts for fixed gear conversion, in good shape expect for torn decal, $250. info(at)easystreetrecumbents.com, 453-0438 10-02

2001 model Marin Larkspur. 17.5". Aluminum frame, Shimano components, lock, lights, shock seat post. Great transportation. Recently purchased for $350 (have receipt), will sell for $250. Excellent condition, like new. bryon(at)grandecom.net">Email'), 512-476-2887 or 512-689-9266. 10-02


Used inventory at Waterloo Cycles

Inventory as of June 16, 2003. All bikes subject to prior sale, limited to stock on hand, not responsible for typographical errors, prices may change without notice, batteries not included.

ATB/Mountain Bikes

  • $179 Maruishi AT-12 20"
  • $229 Diamondback Sorrento 16"
  • $369 Haro Extreme Comp 19.5"
  • $399 KHS Montana Comp 19"
  • $399 Diamondback Response 14"
  • $449 Diamondback Response Elite 20"
  • $549 Kona Lava Dome 20"
  • $699 Cannondale F400 21"
  • $699 Kona Sex One 20"


  • $269 Sun Marathon 17L

Road Bikes

  • $ 99 Alpine Sporten 15"G
  • $399 Specialized Allez 53cm
  • $499 KHS Aero Turbo 54cm
  • $499 Diamondback Expert 58 cm
  • $499 Specialized Sirrus 58cm
  • $549 Fuji Opus III 49cm
  • $699 Bianchi Campione 54cm

BMX/Kids' Bikes

  • $99  Schwinn Aerostar
  • $129 Diamondback Impression
  • $329 Redline Signature Cruiser 24"

Easy Street Recumbents

Recumbent bicycle sales, service, and rental for Austin. Free Urban Cycling classes with your purchase of a bike. click to visit

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That's all, thanks for reading!