Jan 23

The RAAM. The Race Across America. It’s an incredible event, and generally regarded as The World’s Toughest Bike Race. It is 3000 miles long, and to finish, solo racers must complete the ride in 12 days, and teams must complete it in 7.

Anchorage has close ties to the RAAM, as it is home for 2 RAAM record holders and at least 6 RAAM racers. We believe it all started in 1999, when Peter Lekisch, Robert Voris, George Stransky, and Jim Mendenhall raced as a team in the 50 and over age category. They made excellent time, (coming in second only to a team from the Royal Air Force who crushed the field). They completed the race in 6 days, 16 hours, and 42 minutes. Shortly after, Peter Lekisch decided he wanted to try RAAM solo. It took a year of training, and in 2001 he became the first solo racer to attempt the 60 years and older age category. It was an enormous effort. About mid-way, Peter was hospitalized due to his depleted condition. But he was determined to continue, and in fact became stronger as the race continued. He succeeded and became the first 60 year old racer to complete RAAM.

The Anchorage RAAM racers decided Alaska needed a RAAM qualifier. Thus the Fireweed 400 was born. Ben Courturier qualified for RAAM via the Fireweed 400, and decided to become the youngest RAAM finisher. It was 2005, and Ben not only met his goal of becoming the youngest finisher, he finished seventh! What a remarkable achievement for a rookie!

In 2007, another Fireweed champion, Jeff Oatley, not only raced RAAM, but came in seventh for his age division!

In Anchorage, we rub shoulders with elite athletes.

Join us on February 17 at 8PM at the Bear’s Tooth for Anchorage’s first screening of Bicycle Dreams. Continue reading »

Jan 15

Bicycle commuters of Anchorage bring you Winter Bike Festival 2011 – three days in February, packed with fun-filled bicycle events! It all starts on Feb 4th, 5:45 at Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge (midtown) with Bike First Friday, then Day Two- 9AM, Sunday, February 13 with the Winter City 50K Populaire ride courtesy of the Alaska Randonneurs. In true randonneuring style, the ride starts at Cafe Amsterdam, and checkpoints along the way include the Fire Island Rustic Bakehouse, The Sugar Spoon, The Cake Studio, and City Market. You’ll have plenty of delicious treats to choose from as you eat your way from one checkpoint to the next! Then you can enjoy pizza and beer when the ride ends at Moose’s tooth. See how easy it is to get around Anchorage by bike as you enjoy a fun and casual ride around town. Fatbike rentals available through Arctic Cycles for $35. Call Arctic Cycles at 907-351-8545 to reserve your bike, and call early as there is a limited supply. This is a benefit ride for the BCA. There is a $10 registration fee and half goes to the BCA. Registration begins at 8AM. The first 20 riders to register and complete the ride will get coupons for free admission to Day Two of the 2011 Winter Bike Festival.

Day Three is Thursday, Feb. 17th at 8PM at the Bear Tooth Theare Pub. We will be showing two films, Cycling Copenhagen and Bicycle Dreams. Learn why Copenhagen enjoys 50% bike commutership. Watching crowds bike commute through the heart of Copenhagen is truly a unique experience. Bicycle Dreams shows us a glimpse of the awesome experience of the Race Across America. USA Today said “Bicycle Dreams is a beautiful film that probes deeply into the sport’s heart of darkness, offering an inspiring glimpse at the high price of glory.” Tickets are $7.00. Ticket sales do not benefit BCA, so we will also be taking donations at the event to support our work to make Anchorage more bicycle-friendly.

Jan 13

On Thursday, the BCA delivered gift baskets from the Great Harvest Bread Company to the Anchorage Municipality and State teams that work all winter long to keep our streetside paths clear of snow. Thanks to their efforts, cyclists, pedestrians, and public transit users have safe and easy passage through Anchorage. These folks do such a good job that I was able to sell my car a few years ago and commit to the bike for my daily 17 mile route.

I was particularly impressed last weekend, when we had to change our route for the Second Saturday Ride. There was an injured moose on the Chester Creek trail, and rather than risk upsetting it, we altered our route and took a combination of streetside paths on UAA Drive, Northern Lights, Lake Otis, Denali, and Fireweed. All the snow had been cleared from these areas and we had a great ride.

If you have comments to pass along to the Muni and State regarding snow removal, we have contact information listed at Trail Conditions on our website. These folks appreciate positive feedback, so be sure to pass along an occasional Thank You.

A big Thanks to BCA board member Steve Cleary, BCA supporter Lori Schanche, and Great Harvest Bread Company for helping us arrange the gift baskets!

Jan 13

The Saris Cycling Group is pleased to announce that they are sponsoring a Poster Contest in each state this Spring to engage fifth grade students in thinking about how the bicycle can be one of the solutions to many of our country’s current issues. The contest will increase students’ knowledge about the importance of bicycling as an important mode of transportation, which is the first step toward helping kids to ride more often. To ensure the success of the contest, Saris is recruiting State Leads in each of the 50 states and Washington DC to implement the contest. The State Lead will receive all marketing materials as well as a Poster Contest Guide that will easily describe how to execute the contest. The responsibilities will also include collecting the winning posters (primarily through email), determining the top three posters and sending in the state winner for National Award consideration. Each state will have three winners (prizes include Saris Bike Parking System, Schwinn Bike, Planet Bike Light and Lazer helmet). State leads will need to be in place by February 15 and Saris anticipates that it will take a volunteer five hours/month through May to organize the poster contest. For more information about being a State Lead on the Saris Cycling Group Poster Contest, please contact Heather Fortune, hfortune@saris.com or 608.729.6147.

Jan 04

Below is a message from Jay Stange, BCA Board Member and Member of the Spenard Complete Streets Coalition.  Spenard Road is a perfect opportunity for Anchorage to transition a portion of midtown from purely auto-centric to  a commercial area that supports community, businesses, and people by focusing on how we all get around. And above all, 3 lanes will make the road much safer for all users. Complete Streets means thinking about and designing for all users. By converting Spenard to a 3-lane road, we can make the corridor more inviting for businesses and their patrons, creating a comfortable and enjoyable place to walk from restaurant to store. 3 lanes would also allow for bicycle lanes that will connect this west end of Midtown to the Chester Creek greenway.  If you want to learn about the project please come out to one of the community council meetings (dates identified below). And if you are from these communities, please consider attending to show your support for this project.  Just your attendance and shown support can be critical to demonstrating the significant demand and desire to transform Spenard into a more livable and safe place.

It’s nitty gritty time for our community’s effort to rebuild Spenard Road. By now, you’ve probably seen the new drawings for the next phase of construction, the stretch between Northern Lights Blvd and Hillcrest Drive.  There is a three-lane proposal with bike lanes and separated sidewalks and a four-lane design with a multi-use trail on the west side of the street.

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed the new pedestrian and bike friendly alignment down the hill on Hillcrest to 19th Avenue, including the pedestrian and bicycle bridge. Assembly Members  Ernie Hall and Harriet Drummond and city engineering staffers have been hard at work coming up with solutions to improve safety on one of Anchorage’s most dangerous streets.

The next two weeks,  proposals for this critical phase of construction will be given public hearings at three key Community Council meetings in West Anchorage. It’s critical we show up at our respective meetings to support the three-lane version which maximizes safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and the disabled. Both proposals address event parking issues in the area by opening up avenues for vehicles leaving 27th Avenue via the light at Romig Junior High School on Minnesota, but the three-lane version allows for safer turning movements for vehicles and no loss of traffic volume while making the area more friendly for shoppers and neighbors who patronize the area as a destination.

Please bring a neighbor and show up to support the three-lane proposal at the following Community Council meetings:

Spenard Community Council, Wednesday,  Jan 5
Turnagain CC Thurs Jan 6
North Star CC Wed Jan 12

If you have questions about meeting times or locations, please contact Mark Butler at the Federation of Community Councils: (907) 240-3868

Jay Stange

Jan 02

Saturday January 8 is the next Second Saturday Winter Ride. Meet us at Goose Lake at 11AM for a ride down the Chester Creek trail to the Midtown Cafe Del Mundo (Fire Island Bakery is closed for a winter break until January 20). Indulge in tasty treats and fresh hot coffee after a fun and casual ride. As always, anyone is welcome, especially folks new to winter biking. Helmets, studded tires or winter bikes, and appropriate winter riding clothes are required. Maybe the beautiful Holiday ornaments will still be up on Chester Creek. I never get tired of seeing them.

Chester Creek with Holiday Ornaments

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