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July 4/00 11:44 am - Shep Report, Ontario News


Posted by Editor on 07/4/00
 

Shep Report

From the look of things outside the condo on Saturday night most racers probably thought we would be doing a monster truck mudbog versus a world cup mountain bike race! It poured, and we're talking about an inch in two hours, but come morning the humidity did it's thing and the course dried nicely. Each lap was divided into 5 steep climbs followed by 5 somewhat difficult descents that had you grinning by the bottom (or crying as noted by many during the race!)!!!

The start was really sketchy as the 85 riders went full throttle, eight, side by side, around the start oval then dashing up the first climb. Frishy (Frischknecht) flatted on this loop and would have to fight through the masses the rest of the day to maintain world cup points. The group stayed together in a pack until entering the single track and that's where I couldn't see what was going on up front. Rollie (Roland Green) cruised at the front for a couple laps and then blew, but man, is he ever showing the other guys what the canucks are about! He ended up 11th. Steady Eddy (Kabush) decided that this was not the way to race Mount Saint Anne and he cruised to the front and never looked back, and we're talking about a eighth place finish (locking his final olympic qualifier in the process) - goood job Jeff! I worked with Shamoe (McGrath), Toulouche (Toulouse), and Gully (Gullickson) for two laps until my wheel decided it wanted to be supported by 31 spokes and not 32.....off the bike, wrapped the spoke, stepped on the wheel and I was good to go in about forty seconds! You have to like it when you hit the pits and there are no screw ups! I chased like a banshee for two laps solo then made contact with just over a lap to go. I rested for a bit hiding from the ever present gale that was about to dump a fresh load of rain on the course before trying to pull hard up the first climb on the last lap. Shamoe and Matt responded and the three of us continued to ride together until Matt's hydraulic brakes decided to not work any more (how did that tree feel Matt?)! Shamoe in 25 me 26th and Matt bravely riding with no brakes ended up with a solid 27th! At the front the lead had changed from Vandooren to Cadel with Duphoey (Dupouey), and Meirhagre (Meirhaeghe) chasing hard.....look who else is in the top ten.......Dry Ryder! Ryder (Hesjedal) continued a stellar performance all the way into the last lap when he flatted.....ouch that hurts...down to 22nd he fell, just in front of wicked wedge (Peter Wedge) in 24 (another steady ride from the man of three disciplines). And that is the way the canucks went. Julian (Hine) had a great ride in 30th place and everyone is stoked for Canmore this weekend. Of the cross country rider's that raced, most of the canucks showed fine form for the party....we're always having fun! Later.

chris


Festival of Nations Cycling Classic - Ontario

Sunday, July 2nd - Chatham, Ontario

Men

Senior - 1
1. Simon Small, Ital Pasta/Atlas Cold
2. John Harris, ItalPasta/Atlas Cold
3. Heath Cockburn, Jet Fuel

Senior - 2
1. Brent Arthurs, RNH
2. Greg Janssen, Genesee Valley CC
3. Steve May, Maple Leaf Cycling

Senior 3
1. Chris Reid, Mississauga
2. Chris Helwig, L.C.W.
3. Nathan Chown, Independent

Master-A
1. David Bogue, IND
2. Mark Castillorx, QCC
3. Jeff Chow, Maple Leaf Cycling

Junior
1. Buck Miller, St. Catherine's
2. Jon Hughes, Wolverine
3. Thomas Sulatycky, St. Catherine's CC

Master-B,C,D
1. Bill Gilboe, Essex Brass
2. Ed Reid, Prestige CC
3. Rob Cheskey, Hamilton

Cadet
1. Nathaniel Bere, Maple Leaf Cycling
2. Ryan de Boer, Mississauga Bike Club
3. Alex Keomany, Ann Arbor

Women
1. Julia Farell, KIRO
2. Julie Boltman, Ann Arbor
3. Joan Cuttitta, Wolverine Sports Club

Complete results to be posted at Maple City Wheelers.
Courtesy Martin Thuss - Maple City Wheelers Cycling Club Inc.


The World Meets in Amsterdam for Velo Mondial
by Susie Stephens

The following is a personal report from the Velo Mondial international cycling conference. If a Canadian delegate would like to send us a report on the proceedings, we will be happy to publish it.

"I'm dreaming!" I declared rubbing my travel-weary eyes. I felt like Dorothy after her tornado flight from Kansas to Oz. After 20 hours of airplane and train travel, I stepped outside the Central Train Station into a bicyclist's techni-colored dream world--Amsterdam.

I set down my back pack and stood gaping at the world around me. Hundreds--no, thousands!--of bicycles locked to racks, fences, utility poles, anything nailed down. One speed cruisers fill bicycle paths that crisscross the city. The young and old, the finely dressed and casual, the high-heeled and lip-sticked, the tattooed and pierced, and the suited and cell-phoning all ride bikes.

I was one of 19 American bicycle advocates joining the nearly seven hundred delegates from 51 nations at the world bicycle conference, Velo Mondial--four days of planning, strategy work, and networking to create better, safer bicycling world wide.

But first I wanted to find out why the Dutch make 39% of trips on bicycles, compared to the measly 1% of American trips. So, I rented a bike, an up right cruiser with coaster brakes built like a tank. I was given a heavy chain, the kind I had seen wrapped around the waists of New York City bicycle couriers, and was sternly instructed on how to use it.

Amsterdam is a city of bicycle thieves. Estimates of stolen bicycles range from 150,000. to 300,000 per year. An American friend living there had six bicycle stolen last year. If you know what street corner to visit, you can buy a "second hand" bicycle from a shady character for 25 guilders (about $13)--an illegal twist on the recycled bicycle programs at home. Most people invest more in locks than bicycles.

Nearly every street in Amsterdam has a bike lane or separated paths on both sides. Lanes and paths are usually painted a distinguishing brick red. Intersections have special signals, lanes, and actuated buttons for bicyclists. The city center is dedicated almost exclusively to pedestrians, bicyclists, and electric trams. Two way curbed "bicycle freeways" cut through many of the squares.

Outside Amsterdam, an extensive network of two way bicycle paths connect fishing and farming villages. Directional signs give distances. Two afternoons of exploration (with frequent stops for coffee and apple turnovers) left me with the impression I could go anywhere in the Netherlands without ever sharing asphalt with a car or truck.

What strikes me most is how the volume of cycling impacts the culture. There are so many cyclists I'm almost unaware of them. They are simply a part of the city, as cars are a part of American cities. Cyclists don't wear helmets or lycra, special clothes or shoes. I'm not sure most even think about bicycling. They just do it, like walking.

Dutch cyclists don't need neon clothing and flashing lights. Of course drivers look out for bicyclists. They have to; they are everywhere. Bicyclists "own" the streets. In such great numbers, they safely cross intersections--as often as not against the light. Pedestrians move out of the way at the sound of a bicycle bell. Only tourists walk in the bicycle paths. Bicycles are chained everywhere, sometimes to the "no bicycle
parking" sign.

Members of the Dutch Cycling Union reminded me that Amsterdam is not perfect. While a 39% mode split (mode split is the percentage of trips taken by a type of transportation) is impressive, a half a century ago twice as many people bicycled. And, theft is a deterrent to bicycling. Secure bicycle parking, in some cases ANY bicycle parking, is a problem. At popular destinations, every rack, railing, tree, lamp post and sign is filled to capacity with locked bicycles. (Imagine bicycling around and around the block waiting for a bike parking spot.)

At the conference, I found issues facing bicyclists world-wide are both strikingly similar and astonishingly different. Chris Morfas, Executive Director of the California Bicycle Coalition, described a conversation with a delegate from Senegal: "He told me Senegalese people don't bike to work because they don't want to get sweaty and rumpled. Government treats bicycles like toys rather than transportation. But he planned to concentrate on getting children safely to school."

"Imagine that!" said Morfas whose group was instrumental in California's Safe Routes to School legislation, "Here we are living on opposite sides of the world dealing with the same challenges and solutions."

On the other hand, some problems are dramatically different. For example, another African delegate focuses on lowering the 40% bicycle tax. "With an annual average income of $300", she said, "a $90 bicycle is out of reach for most families." And, a speaker from the Philippines described the difficulty of encouraging women to bicycle where straddling a bicycle seat is a social taboo.

I was impressed with presentations on safe routes to school. Great Britain may lead the world here. Paul Osborne of the British non-profit Sustrans gave an impressive presentation on his school program. "When asked, forty percent of the community supported bicycle trails." Osborne reported. "That number jumped to 70% when the community was asked if they support safe routes to school."

This is a good sign for bicycle advocates many of whom are working with Congressman Oberstar of Minnesota to create momentum for more Safe Routes to School programs in the United States.

The primary lesson I will leave the conference with is the political nature of creating bicycle-friendly communities. Again and again, speakers describing cities implementing bicycle plans pointed to supportive mayors or other elected officials.

At the opening session, Executive Director of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) John Horsley summed up the conference with a line that was repeated throughout Velo Mondial: "Take a politician to lunch."

After ten days, I realized that there really is no place like home. Another long airplane journey, not emerald slippers, returned me to my small Washington State town with a renewed sense of the importance of bicycle advocacy and the Thunderhead Alliance. I see the Thunderhead Alliance as a pace line of bicycling organizations. We are pulling each other, often into strong cultural headwinds, by sharing strategies and information. Velo Mondial has made the pace line international. And Amsterdam gave me a look at what is possible. I look forward to rolling my bicycle into a warehouse-sized bicycle garage at the train station.

Susie Stephens is the Managing Director of the Thunderhead Alliance, a growing coalition of 28 organization advocating for bicyclists. She is a seven year veteran of bicycle advocacy having led the Bicycle Alliance of Washington prior to joining Thunderhead. An outcome of Velo Mondial will be the addition of Canadian organizations to the Thunderhead Alliance. Though the Thunderhead Alliance is a "virtual" organization located on the world wide web at www.thunderheadalliance.org, headquarters is located in the small mountain-biking town of Twisp, Washington.

 


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