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Blue Ridge Biking
Friday, 6 April 2012
More Bikes on the Road, Fewer Bike Acccidents
Topic: cycling safety

I love the serendipity of Google. I frequently find interesting things I had no idea I was looking for at the time.

Case in point: I was at my work researching the phrase "safety in numbers" in connection with elder abuse when I stumbled upon this interesting counterintuitive tidbit: As the number of cyclists and pedestrians increases in an area, the incidence of car-bike and car-pedestrian accidents goes down. That's right, down!

Researcher Peter Jacobsen said the result was unexpected and speculated that "motorists adjust their behavior in the presence of people walking and bicycling."

Here's the irony of this finding: Many folks don't ride because they don't feel safe on the road, but if more of them did ride, we'd all be safer!

The article is entitled "Safety in numbers: more walkers and bicyclists, safer walking and bicycling." It was published in the journal Injury Prevention in 2009. Click here to view an abstract

Posted by blueridgebiking at 12:36 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 6 April 2012 11:08 AM EDT
Your Opinion Needed for High Country Cycling Plan
Topic: High Country cycling plan


Do you ride a bicycle for recreation or transportation? Or are you a non-rider who would ride on the road if safer routes were available?


The High Country Council of Governments wants to hear from active and aspiring cyclists of all ages and abilities as it develops a regional bike transportation plan.


A 23-question citizen survey has been developed to gather input on current cycling use, challenges, and desired improvements. It’s available online at through May 4th.


Results from the survey will be used by a regional committee currently working on a comprehensive cycling plan for Yancey, Mitchell, Avery, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, and Wilkes Counties.


The plan will help improve safety, access, and mobility for cyclists by developing a network of designated routes that connect municipalities and other major destinations in the region.


The plan will also identify needed improvements to existing roadways, prioritize the improvements, and develop a signage plan to mark the identified routes.


The High Country Council of Governments is a voluntary association of seven counties and 19 towns located in the northern mountains of North Carolina.

Posted by blueridgebiking at 11:19 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 6 April 2012 11:37 AM EDT
Saturday, 25 February 2012
Greg LeMond headed for the High Country

Soon Lance Armstrong won't be the only Tour de France phenom to spend some quality time in the North Carolina High Country.

Greg LeMond will be in the area March 19th through the 23rd visiting with cycling studies students at Lees-McRae College.

In 1986, LeMond became the first American and first non-European to win cycling's most prestigious stage race. He also won the Tour in 1989 and 1990. 

LeMond's comments on the sport's troubled relationship with performance-enhancing substances have brought him into conflict with some of the most famous names in the sport.

LeMond is expected to lead a group ride March 20th. More on that as details are finalized.

Posted by blueridgebiking at 1:11 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 6 April 2012 11:20 AM EDT
Learn safe road cycling techniques

Learn how to ride on the road safely, and equip yourself to teach others by participating in two League of American Bicyclists trainings coming up in May in Greensboro.

A Traffic Skills 101 class will be offered Friday, May 18th. This one day course will teach you how to ride safely on the road or trail. You'll learn ways to avoid crashes and conquer typical road challenges.

Once you know how to ride safely on the road, learn how to share these skills by taking a League Cycling Instructor (LCI) Seminar. The LCI seminar will be offered in Greensboro May 18-21. To enroll in the LCI seminar, you must be a League of American Bicyclists member who has completed Traffic Skills 101. (You can take the TS 101 class May 18th then enter the LCI class if you wish.)

The courses are being hosted by Bicycling in Greensboro, a Greensboro-based bike advocacy group.

For more information and registration, please visit

Posted by blueridgebiking at 10:58 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 25 February 2012 11:02 AM EST
Friday, 17 February 2012
"The Triumph of Hope Over Experience"
Mood:  accident prone

Samuel Johnson once said a second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience. The same could be said about cyclists who get back on the bike after major accidents.

I suffered a serious biking injury in April 2011. I was about 100 feet from my house beginning a short commute to work when a neighbor's pit bull spotted me. Bella and I were on friendly terms, so I didn't think much of it when I saw her running toward me from a side street. I got ready for the customary dog chase out of my neighborhood.

Bella didn't want to chase that morning, though. She charged at me from the side and just kept coming, straight into my path. I t-boned her at 14 mph. I hit the pavement hard on my right side.

After I hit the deck, I tried to get up but couldn't. I was splayed on the pavement in the middle of my street within sight of my house. After all those rides to the 'back of beyond', my first serious accident took place just out my front door. 

I fumbled around and dug out my cell phone. I called my wife and told her I had been a bike bump up and needed "a little help." I called my office and told them I'd be late. I had no clue how hurt I was.

Meanwhile, Bella stood over me barking to beat the band. Soon several other neighborhood dogs joined in. A neighbor walking his dog came up, dispersed the rabble of dogs and waited with me until my wife arrived. She took one look at me and said, "You have won yourself an ambulance ride to Wilkes Regional Medical Center."

After several scans, I learned there was more to my mishap than a broken clavicle and a little road rash. I had broken my acetabulum, the pelvic socket. It's a rare injury, and it takes a rare surgeon to repair it. Dr. Steven Anderson, our local orthopedist, sent me on to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Baptist has a ton of accomplished orthopedists, but none of them wanted to touch my case either. "You need Dr. Carroll," they all said. I didn't know this Dr. Carroll, but quickly decided to put all my faith in him. 

Unfortunately, Dr. Eben Carroll was on vacation in the Turks and Caicos when I got hurt. I spent the better part of a week doped up in a hospital bed waiting for him to return.

The wait was worth it. Dr. Carroll is a brilliant surgeon and the reconstructive surgery was successful.

After three months in a wheelchair, I graduated to a walker, then a cane, before starting to hobble around unsupported. I will never take my mobility for granted again.

During my convalesence, a lot of people visited and called, offering unsolicited advice with their well wishes. "You won't be back on a bike again, will you?" the sensible folks who didn't know me well opined.

Those who knew me best asked the question a different way. "You will be able to ride again, won't you?" My sister Chris gave me a book written by the first woman to ride her bike up the Amazon valley, and my biking buddy Steve Britton lent me Barbara Savage's tale of her adventuresome round-the-world bike tour. 

By Labor Day, I was back on the bike, playing in the street again. Riding a stationary bike had been part of my rehab, and regaining what little cycling form I had before the accident was surprisingly easy.

Now I'm riding regularly and dreaming of epic cycling treks. I'm sure I'd be "safer" if I had decided to stay off the bike, but a life worth living entails risk. Sometimes hope has to triumph over experience. 

Posted by blueridgebiking at 11:58 AM EST

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