Autumn is not only a great time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors but also a great time to have a fundraiser.
Here are some of the events scheduled in Lawrence this fall:
• Saturday — Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s annual Health Fair, 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., LMH, 325 Maine. Free health screenings and exhibits. Contact: lmh.org or 749-5800.
• Saturday — Douglas County AIDS Project’s annual AIDS walk, which includes a three-mile run and two-mile walk, 8 a.m., Maceli’s, 1031 N.H. Contact: 843-0040 or douglascountyaidsproject.org.
• Saturday — Heart of America Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s third annual Great Strides walk, 10 a.m., Sunflower School, 2521 Inverness Drive. Contact: cff.org/great_strides or 913-384-8997.
• Saturday — Family Health and Fitness Day, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Hy-Vee, 3504 Clinton Parkway. Kickoff for children’s One Mile At A Time Marathon Club, a fitness session and educational booths. Contact: 832-0044.
• Saturday — Rally For Respite, a benefit for Trinity In-Home Care, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Jayhawk Tennis Center, 5200 Clinton Parkway. The event features an exhibition match between paralympic gold medalist Nick Taylor and touring professional Chloe Jones and tennis activities. Contact: tihc.org or 842-3159.
• Sunday — Head for the Cure 5K, a benefit for brain cancer research, 8 a.m., South Park, 12th and Massachusetts streets. Contact: headforthecure.org or 816-218-2914.
• Oct. 4 — Lawrence Zombie Walk, 6:30 p.m., meet at South Park gazebo, 12th and Massachusetts streets. Contact: lawrencezombiewalk.com.
• Oct. 6 — The Bob Run, a 5K event, 8 a.m., Rim Rock Farm, 2276 Burnett Lane. Contact: soe.ku.edu/news-events or 864-0709.
• Oct. 6 — The Color Run, a 5K event, 4 p.m., Ninth and New Hampshire streets. Contact: thecolorrun.com/lawrence.
• Oct. 6 — Light The Night Walk, a fundraiser for the Mid-America Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, South Park, 12th and Massachusetts streets. Festival starts at 6 p.m. and the walk begins at 7:45 p.m. Contact: 913-262-1515, or lightthenight.org/mid.
• Oct. 6-7 — Kaw Valley Farm Tour, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s $10 per carload for both days with about 25 farms on the tour. Contact: kawvalleyfarmtour.org or 843-7058.
• Oct. 11 — Douglas County Senior Services’ 40th anniversary celebration, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Lawrence Senior Center, 745 Vt. There will be a program, ribbon-cutting ceremony, live music and refreshments. Contact: dgcoseniorservices.org or 842-0543.
• Oct. 13 — Lawrence Bicycle Club’s Tour de County ride, a 30-mile round trip through Douglas County, 9:30 a.m., South Park, 12th and Massachusetts streets. Contact: lbc-cycling.com/rides/octoginta.
• Oct. 14 — Lawrence Bicycle Club’s Octoginta, a 50-mile or 80-mile ride through northeast Kansas, 8:30 a.m., South Park, 12th and Massachusetts streets. Contact: lbc-cycling/rides/octoginta.
• Oct. 27 — Stepping Out Against Breast Cancer dance, a fundraiser for the LMH Breast and Oncology Centers, 8 p.m. to midnight, Crown Toyota Pavilion, 3430 Iowa. Contact: lmhendowment.org or 505-3315.
• Oct. 28 — Stand By Me, a benefit for Kansas Advocates for Better Care, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Maceli’s, 1031 N.H. There will be dancing, a live auction, silent auction and award presentation. Contact: 842-3088 or kabc.org.
If you know of an event, please let us know in the comments section below or by creating a "post" on WellCommons under Healthy Body & Mind. You can also submit information in the events section of LJWorld.com.
Bike 4 the Brain, a nonprofit organization, is hosting its seventh annual Labor Day event, which will feature bicycling, running and walking courses.
The event begins at 8 a.m. Sept. 3 at Johnson County Mental Health Center, 6000 Lamar, in Mission. It raises awareness about mental health disorders and it benefits nonprofit groups that help people affected by mental illness. This year’s recipients are Kids TLC, Niles Home for Children, reStart Inc., Sheffield Place, Synergy Services and Wyandot Center for Homeless Outreach.
Here are the event highlights:
• On-site registration begins at 7 a.m.
• Cycling courses of 3, 10, 33, 55 and 72 miles begin at 8 a.m. with rest stops at mental health agencies and other locations.
• Run 4 Recovery, a 5K fun run or walk, starts at 8:15 a.m.
• One-mile Walk 4 Recovery will be at 10 a.m.
• Tricycle challenge, where adults who donate $100 can pit their child-size tricycle racing skills against one another, begins at 10:30 a.m.
• Local agencies will have informational booths on mental health.
• Food vendors.
The cost to participate in the bicycle ride or 5K run/walk is $30 at the event or $25 if signed up by Aug. 31. For more information or to register, visit bike4thebrain.org or call 913-205-5962 or 913-338-0400.
Last year’s event drew more than 400 participants. So far, the event has raised $37,500 for nine agencies.
One. Two. Three. … 120, 121, 122 ...
Volunteers are needed to count bicycles and pedestrians next month in Lawrence and Eudora.
The Lawrence-Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Organization and the city of Lawrence will be conducting counts from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, and from 10 a.m. to noon and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12.
Rain dates have been scheduled for Sept. 13 and Sept. 15.
Those interested in volunteering are required to attend one of the following training sessions:
• Sept. 4 — 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Carnegie Building conference room, 200 W. Ninth St.
• Sept. 5 — 11 a.m. to noon, Carnegie Building conference room.
• Sept. 6 — 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Kansas Union’s Pine Room, 1301 Jayhawk Blvd.
• Sept. 6 — 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Eudora Community Center, 1630 Elm.
Volunteers who received training in previous years are not required to attend a session.
The data collected will assist city and regional leaders in estimating usage and demand for bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The counts also will be used to track the region’s progress on increasing the use of nonmotorized transportation, strengthen grant applications to leverage additional federal funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects, evaluate existing projects, and help determine the location of future investments.
To sign up visit www.lawrenceks.org/mpo/volunteer.
For more information, contact Jessica Mortinger, transportation planner, at 832-3165 or email@example.com.
FREE Lawrence community bicycle event offers three rides, training wheel take-off, T-shirts and more
It’s time to dust off those bicycles and air up the tires.
The second annual Lawrence Community Bike Ride event will be from 8 a.m. to noon July 21 at The Rotary Arboretum, 5100 W. 27th St.
It’s a family-friendly event that’s geared toward beginning bicyclists, with three distances to choose from: one mile, three miles and 10 miles. The 10-mile ride starts at 8 a.m., followed by the three-mile ride at 9 a.m. The one-mile loop can be started at anytime. The event is free and open to anyone.
“We wanted to do something that promoted a healthy lifestyle,” said Steve Lane, a member of the Lawrence Central Rotary Club, which is organizing the event.
An area will be available where children can safely remove their training wheels and learn how to ride with the help of bicycle experts, as well as a station where free helmets and bicycle lights will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis, and bicyclists will be available to offer safety tips.
Last year’s inaugural event drew 125 participants of all ages. A 4-year-old boy rode his bicycle without training wheels for the first time. Meanwhile, a 69-year-old man rode his bicycle for the first time in nearly 40 years, and he went two miles. He said he had forgotten how fun it could be.
“There was a host of great stories last year,” Lane said. “There were some couples who were seniors that were out there riding on the flat areas, and it was fun to see that.”
Ali Edwards, of Lawrence, participated in the longest ride with a couple of friends last year. She said it was fun to ride in a different area of town and meet other casual bicyclists.
“We had a great time,” she said, despite the heat and humidity. That’s why the event is starting an hour earlier this year.
“We have our fingers crossed that it won’t be so hot,” Lane said.
He said the Rotary club wanted to have the event in mid-July because it’s just a couple of weeks after the Tour of Lawrence, which draws hundreds of bicyclists to town. The club encourages those watching the professionals to get out and start bicycling themselves.
Lane said the Rotary club, which has about 30 members, also promotes bicycling by running a community-based website called RideLawrence.com, and by adding artistic bicycle racks around town.
The club hopes avid bicyclists join the community bike ride as well. It’s a great way to tout the benefits to those who don’t often ride and provide expertise on maintenance and neat places to ride.
JOIN THE RIDE
The Lawrence Community Bike Ride will be from 8 a.m. to noon July 21 at The Rotary Arboretum, 5100 W. 27th St. It’s a free event and open to the public. There will be a Training Wheel Takeoff activity for children and a Safety Gear Giveaway area where free helmets and bicycle lights will be available along with safety tips. Participants can choose from three rides:
• One-mile easy loop, which is available at anytime.
• Three-mile family ride, which starts at 9 a.m.
• 10-mile ride along the South Lawrence Trafficway bicycle path, which starts at 8 a.m.
Participants can pre-register at ridelawrence.com or at the event, and they are asked to bring their own helmets. Free T-shirts will be handed out while supplies last. Refreshments and drinks will be available.
On a nice day a few years ago, as his wife headed out on an errand, David Brown made a decision on a whim: He’d just hop on his bike and meet her over at the shopping center.
“I thought I was going to die,” Brown said. Later, he learned how far he’d ridden — less than a mile.
Brown has since bicycled across Kansas and is preparing for his second attempt. He’s one of more than a dozen Lawrence residents signed up for this year’s Biking Across Kansas ride, a 475-mile trek from Colorado to Missouri starting Saturday and finishing June 16.
The annual ride draws up to 800 participants of all ages and ability levels, and reasons for signing up run the gamut. Lawrence participants include less-than-avid cyclists as well as longtime veterans of the ride.
For Brown, health was a factor.
He isn’t a smoker and said he’s never had weight problems despite leading a “very sedentary” life. As a busy attorney, he said, there may be weeks where the only exercise he gets is climbing the stairs to the clerk’s office at court.
“When that’s all you do,” he said, “you don’t notice whether you’re fit or not.”
After his ride to the shopping center, Brown realized he most certainly was not.
But he’s always hated exercise. Loathed it. Those endorphin rushes everyone talks about?
“That never happens for me,” Brown said.
He knew he’d need a goal in order to stick to a regimen, and at the suggestion of his masseuse, Biking Across Kansas became that goal.
Before the 2008 ride, which he completed with his teenage son, Brown trained for more than a year, supplementing bike rides with personal training sessions in the gym. Though his son, now a Marine stationed in California, can’t join him this year, Brown is tackling the ride again.
His upcoming 60th birthday ties into his inspiration.
“My brain seems to be working just fine,” Brown said. “I want the rest of my body to keep up with that.”
Brown knows Biking Across Kansas was good for him, but, honestly, he found the experience exhausting and not particularly pleasant.
Lawrence resident Lisa Rasor, on the other hand, finds Biking Across Kansas a fantastic vacation.
Rasor, 46, a legal assistant at a law firm, has done the ride 14 times and plans to participate again this month.
“For a whole week, I don’t know what’s going on in the world, and I don’t care. All you do is bike, and you eat, and you sleep, and it’s relaxing,” she said. “I know people don’t believe that because it’s very physically taxing, but it is relaxing.”
Rasor has been bicycling since 1995, when a friend talked her into joining her MS150 team.
As long as you enjoy bicycling and train to where you can ride at least 50 miles at a time, you can do Biking Across Kansas, she said. Having a friend or two on the ride helps, too, she said.
John Nalbandian, 68, completed his first Biking Across Kansas in 2010 with friend Ray Hummert. The Lawrence residents work together at Kansas University’s department of public administration.
On Day 1 of that ride, Nalbandian’s journal entry included this: “I really want a physical accomplishment I can be proud of. Getting too arthritic for much running anymore, and I am not going to swim competitively. I can play golf and still get better, but I am looking for something more physical — requiring endurance. This is it. We will see.”
It took mounds of ibuprofen, Nalbandian wrote. And he and the other riders endured rain, hail, knotted muscles and saddle-soreness no strategy could cure.
But through the huffing and puffing, they saw a lot of scenery.
Stately old homes in Minneapolis. Live music and a performance by the high school cheer squad in Herrington. The town of Hoxie, where Nalbandian surmised the local Chinese restaurant had never been as busy as the Sunday that Biking Across Kansas rolled through town. And Hunter, where probably 100 of the town’s 400 people volunteered to serve lunch and homemade pie to the cyclists.
“In some cases, you’re going through towns that have fewer people than on the bike ride,” Nalbandian said. “And everybody is so nice.”
This year, Nalbandian looks forward to finishing again and seeing new places along the way.
“It was hard when we were doing it,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun when you look back on it.”
Lawrence is still a “Bicycle Friendly Community,” but now Manhattan is one, too.
They were among a list of award winners released Monday by the League of American Bicyclists.
“I think the competition is on,” said Bill Nesper, vice president of programs for the League of American Bicyclists. “Who’s going to be the best? Who’s going to set the standard for the state?”
There’s only one other bicycle-friendly community in Kansas and that’s Shawnee, and the three are among only 214 communities nationwide.
While Manhattan just earned its designation, Lawrence has been dubbed bicycle friendly by the organization since 2004, re-earning the title in 2008 and this year. The League of American Bicyclists began handing out the awards in 2003, and there are four levels: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. It selects communities based on an extensive application that looks at five areas: engineering, education, encouragement, evaluation and planning, and enforcement. Only about one-third of the applications receive an award.
Nesper said while Lawrence was among the first communities to receive a designation, it hasn’t moved up to the silver level because there’s too much work to do. He noted three specific areas:
• Infrastructure. Lawrence needs more bicycle lanes and other infrastructure so riders can safely get to their destinations. “We think the bicycling network should continue to expand and help connect and close the gaps for people who are trying to get from one place to another,” he said.
• Education. Nesper said Lawrence needs to improve its outreach to children by providing more education in schools. He said some communities are part of a national Safe Routes to School program. He said the community needs to do a better job of educating adults, too.
• Ridership. If Lawrence improves its infrastructure and education, then maybe more people will ride their bicycles. He said Lawrence’s bicycle ridership is below the norm for a college town.
“You have a new bike plan, which is really encouraging. You have a new Complete Streets Policy,” Nesper said. “I think you are right on the cusp of something really great in Lawrence.”
Among other accomplishments in the past four years:
• Lawrence Central Rotary launched a website called RideLawrence.com which promotes bicycling and adding bicycle parking.
• Burroughs Creek Trail, which runs from 11th to 23rd streets, was completed. The 1.7-mile-long trail can be used for bicycling and other activities.
• A bicycle rideability map has been created and is available on the city of Lawrence’s website. The map assists riders in choosing routes most applicable to their skill level.
• The first Community Bike Ride was held July 2011 and it drew 125 participants. This year's event will be July 21 at the Lawrence Rotary Arboretum.
Jessica Mortinger, transportation planner for Lawrence-Douglas County Planning and Development Services, said while the city has made progress, there’s plenty of work ahead.
She said the Lawrence-Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Organization has received $100,000 from the Kansas Department of Transportation to conduct a countywide bicycle study. The study will start in late summer or early fall and take about one year. It will help guide future plans on improving and expanding bicycle routes.
Lisa Hallberg, a bicycling enthusiast, said she wouldn’t have considered the town bicycle-friendly until two years ago when she began serving as chairwoman of the Lawrence-Douglas County Bicycle Advisory Committee. Now, she’s more aware of the efforts being made and the time it takes to complete each one.
“I have a very different view about how the city is really trying to put in place better accessibility for all users in transportation,” she said. “It’s an evolving process. That car-centric way of thinking is pretty entrenched but they are doing the best that they can and they’ve accomplished a lot in the last four or five years.”
Her goal is to become the first Kansas community to earn the silver-level award. Falling behind Manhattan is not an option, she said.
The Lawrence Bicycle Club encourages cyclists to join the 42nd annual Octoginta Oct. 8-9, which typically draws about 650 riders.
There are several events — a race, swap meet and various recreational rides — scheduled during the weekend, and lots of food will be available, one of the main draws.
Justin Graham, race director, said the event would kick off with a USA Cycling-sanctioned, 6.2-mile race that begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday just two miles east of Lawrence at the intersection of East 1750 and North 1400 roads. Classes are available for all ages and skills, but participants must have a USAC annual license or they can purchase a one-day license for $10. Riders start at one-minute intervals, and prizes are awarded.
At 9:30 a.m., a 30-mile casual ride through Douglas County starts at Broken Arrow Park, 31st and Louisiana streets. The ride is followed by a swap meet at 2 p.m. at the park. Graham said people can bring old bikes, new bikes, parts — whatever they might want to trade or sell.
The main attraction begins at 8:30 a.m. Sunday with an 80-mile or 40-mile ride beginning at Broken Arrow Park.
“The route is traditionally a secret, and we don’t tell riders until they show up the day of,” Graham said. “We promise that if you can do a 40-mile ride in this area, then you will have no problem, and the same thing with the 80.”
Graham said support stations would be available every 15 miles with plenty of food and drinks. A huge breakfast of bacon, sausage, eggs and French toast will be served before the event. Minestrone soup and sandwiches will be served after the rides. Brats and sauerkraut will be offered to the 80-mile riders before heading back to Lawrence.
“It’s traditionally a season-closing ride, so the cycling season is winding down and, hopefully, the leaves are changing, so you get nice foliage,” Graham said. “It’s nice and cool, too.”
For more information or to register, visit the lbc-cycling.com.
• 7 a.m.-8:15 a.m. — Registration for the 6.2-mile time trial race, which is a USA Cycling sanctioned event. Riders will start at one-minute intervals beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the KDOT material lot, just two miles east of Lawrence at the intersection of East 1750 and North 1400 roads. Cost is $20 except ages 10-18, which are free.
• 9:30 a.m. — Tour de County, Broken Arrow Park, 31st and Louisiana streets. Cost is $5.
• 2 p.m. — Swap meet, Broken Arrow Park.
• 8 a.m. -7 p.m. — Preregistration for Sunday’s Octoginta ride, Broken Arrow Park.
• 7 a.m. — Octoginta registration and check-in at Broken Arrow Park with rides starting at 8:30 a.m. Cost is $35.
For more information or to register, visit lbc-cycling.com or stop by Sunflower Outdoor & Bike Shop, 802 Mass., or Cycle Works, 2121 Kasold Drive.
Autumn is the ideal time of year to enjoy the great outdoors in Lawrence. Not only is it colorful with hues of red, orange and yellow, but the temperatures are more comfortable.
If you need motivation, well, there’s plenty of opportunities to pick from. There are bicycle rides, runs, walks and golf tournaments, along with health fairs and educational classes.
There’s even Walktober!
It’s a national walking program that’s been fine-tuned by Lawrence health education specialists for our community. Last year 700 residents participated, and organizers hope more will join this year.
Aynsley Anderson, community education coordinator for Lawrence Memorial Hospital and an organizer, said people can participate individually or as a team and the goal is to increase their walking during October. The goal is for everyone to walk at least 2 hours and 30 minutes a week, which is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Participants can keep track of their miles on paper or on a local “Get Moving” website. Those who reach their goal will receive a small prize. In addition, they will get e-mails three times a week that contain fitness, health and nutrition tips plus recipes.
Participants will receive orientation packets that include 31 one-mile walks in the Douglas County area.
Orientation classes for the program will take place at the hospital, 325 Maine:
• Sept. 13 — 6 p.m.-7 p.m.
• Sept. 17 — 9 a.m.-10 a.m.
• Sept. 22 — noon-1 p.m.
If you can’t make an orientation session, call Anderson at 785-505-3066 or Janelle Martin, of Douglas County Community Health Improvement Partnership, at 785-505-3070. The deadline to sign up is Sept. 26.
Anderson said the Fall is a great time to get out and exercise and even socialize. It’s good for all aspects of health—physical and mental.
“Hopefully, there’s something that appeals to everybody, so everybody will have the opportunity to get out and do something that they enjoy and that’s educational and helpful,” she said.
OTHER EVENTS ON TAP:
• Sept. 9 — Penny Jones Golf Tournament, a fundraiser for the LMH Endowment Assn., 8 a.m., Alvamar Golf and Country Club. Contact: 785-505-3317 or www.lmhendowment.org.
• Sept. 17-18 — MS Bike Ride Kansas City. It’s a bicycle ride that starts in Topeka or Olathe and meets in Lawrence’s South Park, where there will be an all-day festival. There are three distances to choose from. Contact: 913-432-3926 or msmidamerica.org.
• Sept. 23 — American Heart Association’s Women’s Golf Outing, 3:30 p.m., Eagle Bend Golf Course. It’s a training and teaching session on six holes. Contact: Kirsten Flory at 785-749-6803 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Sept. 24 — LMH Health Fair, 7:30 a.m.-11 a.m., 325 Maine. Free health screenings and exhibits. Contact: 785-749-5800 or www.lmh.org.
• Sept. 24 — Light The Night Walk, a fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Buford M. Watson Jr. Park, Seventh and Tennessee streets. Festival starts at 6 p.m. and the walk begins at 7:45 p.m. Contact: 913-262-1515, www.lightthenight.org/mid.
• Sept. 24 — Family Health and Fitness Day, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Hy-Vee, 3504 Clinton Parkway. Event will include exhibits by other organizations and an obstacle course for kids.
• Sept. 28 — Children’s Health and Safety Event in Eudora, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Eudora Family Care, 600 E. 20th St. Contact: 785-749-5800 or www.lmh.org.
• Oct. 1-2, Kaw Valley Farm Tour, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. It’s $10 per carload for both days with about 25 farms on the tour. Contact: 785-843-7058 or www.KawValleyFarmTour.org.
• Oct. 2 — Head for The Cure, a benefit for brain cancer research, 8 a.m., South Park, 12th and Massachusetts streets. Contact: www.headforthecure.org.
• Oct. 9 — Nash Dash 5K, 10K & Bash, a benefit for the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, 8:30 a.m., 600 block of Massachusetts. Contact: wwwbertnashdashbash.org.
• Oct. 12 — First WorkWell Lawrence Symposium, 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Holiday Inn Lawrence, 200 McDonald Drive. Contact: workwelllawrence.org.
• Oct. 14 — Homegrown Lawrence Festival begins at 6 p.m. at Abe and Jake’s Landing, 8 E. Sixth St. There will be local food and music along with presentations. The event is a benefit for Lawrence Farm to School.
• Oct 29 — Stepping Out Against Breast Cancer dance, a fundraiser for the LMH Breast and Oncology Centers, 8 p.m.-11:55 p.m., Crown Toyota Pavilion, 3430 Iowa. Contact: 785-505-3315 or www.lmhendowment.org.
• Oct. 29 — WOW Run 5K, a benefit for Women Build, a Habitat for Humanity affiliate, 8 a.m., Body Boutique, 2330 Yale Road. Contact: 785-749-2424, wowrun.weebly.com.
ARE THERE MORE?
If you know of an event, please post it in the comments below. We'll add it to a resource list that we'll post later.
Those who braved a looming thunderstorm to bike to work Friday morning were treated to breakfast in front of Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop.
The event, sponsored by Sunflower Horizons and WellCommons, celebrated the end of Bike to Work Week, which has folks all across the country leaving their car at home and pedaling to work.
We asked those who stopped by for breakfast why they commute by two wheels instead of four. Here's what they told us:
In Lawrence, the commute doesn’t get much tougher than pedaling up Mount Oread. But the steep hill hasn’t kept Doug Nickel from biking to work daily on his bike.
“On the way to work, it (takes) about 10 minutes, and about four minutes of it is pretty serious bike riding up 14th or 17th streets,” Nickel said. “On the way home, it’s about five minutes. It can be very fast. There is sort of a line between adventurous and crazy. I just try to stay somewhat on the safe side.”
Nickel is among the small percentage of Lawrence residents who commute on two wheels instead of four. May 16-20 is celebrated throughout the country as Bike to Work week. Cycling advocates say the habit is one that benefits all of us.
“It is definitely good for the pocketbook, it’s good for the waistline and it’s good for the environment and relieves congestion,” said Todd Girdler, the senior transportation planner for the Lawrence-Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Organization.
To encourage businesses to embrace employees who pedal their way to work, the city of Lawrence sent letters this year.
Here’s the reasons they gave for why employers should champion biking to work:
- People who cycle to work are more productive and take less time off for sickness.
- Without having to fight traffic jams, cyclists arrive at work less frustrated.
- The more exercise keeps them more alert.
- With more people biking to work, fewer parking spaces are used.
- Organizations that encourage biking to work are often seen as environmentally friendly.
The city has never done a study on how many employees bike to work, Girdler said. But he knows it is a small percentage that could easily grow.
“If your trip is three miles or less, it is an easy bike ride,” Girdler said. “I think if you have a commute that short, you should look into it, look at more details and see if it would really work.”
Nickel said he bikes to work about 85 percent of the time. When the temperature falls below 25 degrees, he walks. Since he doesn’t have to pay for gas or parking, Nickel estimates that he saves hundreds of dollars a year. An added bonus is that he is sure to score an awesome parking spot every morning — at the bike rack.
“It’s a good way to start the day,” Nickel said.
Reward yourself with breakfast on Bike to Work Day
All week, be sure to check out SunflowerHorizons.com for tips on biking to work. And stop by Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop on your bicycle commute Friday morning.
Sunflower Horizons and WellCommons will be hosting a Bike to Work Day breakfast from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Friday in front of the store. We’ll help fuel your commute with coffee, juice and a light breakfast. To RSVP, go here.
Last school year, one of my daughter’s first assignments was to create a word cloud.
I don’t recall all the details, but she and her classmates were required to write an introductory paragraph or two, with their likes and dislikes and hobbies and such, then enter their submissions into a website that creates word clouds — visual pictures of the text that weights the most common words by making them appear bigger than words used less frequently.
At back-to-school night, my wife and I admired her word cloud. There, we saw things we thought appropriate to her tween sensibilities: references to her favorite musicians du jour, maybe a TV show or two, her hobbies, etc. Simultaneously, however, our eyes alighted on a rather large word toward the lower right: husband. Say what?
Since we’re neither from Arkansas nor the 1800s — where, and when, I understand preteens wed frequently — we couldn’t figure why on earth our lovely daughter would espouse a spouse in the story of her life.
After meeting with her teacher, who was similarly stumped, we confronted our daughter. As it turns out, she merely included a bit of trivia in her paragraph: that my wife knew the husband of my daughter’s teacher. As in, “My mom knows your husband.”
Because the introductory submissions were so short, there were few words from which to choose, so “husband” was among the biggest words purely by chance.
I bring that up not because I want to assure the slobbering junior-high masses her hand is still available (back off, fellas), but because my blog just hit a milestone.
My last entry was my 200th, and ever since I saw my daughter’s word cloud, I knew I wanted to mark the milestone with a Rolling Along word cloud.
See, every now and then I’ll pen (keyboard?) a blog wherein I’ll grouse about the road or weather conditions or a wayward rodent or, oh, yeah, some gem of a human who tries to kill me, and, somebody will post a comment about what a negative fellow I am. Inevitably, the rant is something like, “If riding your bike is so awful, why do you do it?”
I resist the urge to reply, because I figure aforementioned trolls skip over the blogs in which I wax poetic about rainbows and shooting stars and unicorns and moonbeams, and, because they’re such magnets for negativity, are drawn to the blogs that include a bit of conflict.
Or maybe I am overwhelmingly negative.
If so, I don’t mean to be. Obviously, I consider the positives of cycling outweigh the negatives, or I wouldn’t do it.
Hence, the word cloud.
Rather than re-read all 200 of my blogs (even I couldn’t do that), I simply copy-pasted a whole bunch of ’em — like, 50 or so, which I had close to hand — into the wordle.net website to create a word cloud.
Much to my relief, the biggest, boldest words weren’t curses or near-curses or overtly negative words. Sure, what precedes or follows, say, “drivers” or “kids” or even “wife” determines whether the overall phrase is good, bad or indifferent.
But I was thrilled to see only one word that triggers a negative thought — bad — and it was awfully small.
The two biggest — and, therefore, most common — words in all those blogs? “Bike,” by far, followed by “like.”
So, there you have it. Bike like. I think that pretty much sums it up.
Dr. Scott Solcher, chief of staff at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, will be riding 100 miles on his bicycle Friday, Oct. 8, to help low-income patients.
Solcher, medical director of Kansas Dialysis Services’ units in Lawrence and Topeka, will be riding along with Stan Langhofer, administrator and CEO of Kansas Dialysis Services. They will be participating in the second annual Tour de Dialysis, which raises awareness and money for the Kansas Dialysis Patient Assistance Fund.
The fund provides emergency financial assistance to patients and their families and is managed by the Stormont-Vail Foundation. Assistance includes prescription medicine, food, transportation, gasoline, clothing, temporary lodging, rent, utilities, automobile, appliance repair and insurance premiums.
The bicyclists will start at the Kansas Dialysis Services in Topeka, stop at Nemaha Valley Community Hospital, and finish at Sabetha Community Hospital. Last year, the tour stopped at LMH and raised $23,200.
If you would like to pledge support for the Tour de Dialysis by donating for each of the 100 miles they pedal, contact Langhofer at 234-2277 or the Stormont-Vail Foundation at 354-6851. The deadline is Thursday.
Kansas Dialysis Services is co-owned by divisions of Stormont-Vail HealthCare and St. Francis Health Center in Topeka. It provides dialysis care for more than 350 patients.
The policy group Complete Streets made a presentation Wednesday night to discuss more accessible streets in Lawrence.
“A Complete Streets policy establishes a way to accommodate all users in the public right of way,” said Carol Kachadoorian, a senior planner for Complete Streets. “A policy would result in redistributing that public right of way to provide adequate and safe and comfortable transportation facilities for all users.”
The Lawrence Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Organization, the city of Lawrence and the LiveWell Lawrence Initiative sponsored the presentation in hopes of including ideas in future developments.
“Complete Streets is a set of principles … about designing and building and maintaining streets so that it’s safe and accessible for all users,” said Todd Girdler, the city’s senior transportation planner, “whether you’re in a car, on a bicycle, walking or riding transit.”
About 30 people gathered in the City Commission room to hear what Kachadoorian had to say. She said Complete Streets provides a guideline for communities, like Lawrence, that want to move forward with health-minded development.
“Lawrence, Kansas, seems to be a place that wants to improve walking and biking conditions for the folks that live here and visit,” Kachadoorian said. “This is the beginning of a communitywide dialogue about how Lawrence will achieve that.”
Kachadoorian and another representative from Complete Streets will host a workshop Thursday with a group of city stakeholders. They will discuss current and future transportation policies and how Lawrence plans to move ahead with that information.
“We need to make sure all users (of transportation) are accommodated in new construction,” Girdler said. “Eventually we’ll get policies that match up with that more, and we’ll be on our way.”
“This is the beginning of a conversation that will result in something good for the community,” Kachadoorian added.
The Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation plans to roll out a mobile bicycle education station — or BikeMobile — this fall.
The goal is to reach thousands of Missouri schoolchildren with a hands-on bicycle safety course called BLAST (Bicycling Lesson and Safety Training).
How cool is that? Is there a similar effort in Kansas or Lawrence?
The Missouri federation has received money through donations and a MoDOT Safe Routes to School grant. They have funding for instructors, a coordinator, equipment, bicycles and helmets. It just needs a vehicle.
Brent Hugh, executive director, said they are looking for a van, box truck, school bus, ambulance or paddy wagon to covert into the BikeMobile.
If you have an old vehicle to donate or just want to learn more about the project, visit its website.
According to the federation, a child’s lack of confidence and parents’ fear of traffic prevents many children from riding a bicycle. Today, fewer than 2 percent of children bicycle to school.
You can help raise awareness about mental illness by participating in Bike 4 The Brain.
The fifth annual event will be Labor Day at Johnson County Mental Health Center, 6000 Lamar, in Mission.
Registration begins at 7 a.m. and the event is at 8 a.m.
Bicycling courses include 10, 25, 50 and 64 miles. The cost is $20 if signed up before Friday, and $25 thereafter.
Bike 4 The Brain supports nonprofit organizations that help people who are affected by mental illnesses.
If you don’t bicycle, there is a 5K fun run/walk.
For more information or to register, visit www.bike4thebrain.org or call 913-323-6529.
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Volunteers are needed to count bicyclists and pedestrians in mid-September at 11 locations in Lawrence.
The data collected will assist city and regional leaders with estimating usage and demand for bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
The counts also will be used to track the region’s progress on increasing the use of nonmotorized transportation, strengthen grant applications to leverage additional federal funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects, evaluate existing projects and help determine the location of future investments. The counts will be:
• Wednesday, Sept. 15, from 10 a.m. to noon, and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
• Saturday, Sept. 18, from noon to 2 p.m.
• Thursday, Sept. 16, is a rain date.
Volunteers will need to attend a mandatory training session at Lawrence City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St., in the City Commission room. They will be:
• Monday, Sept. 13, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
• Tuesday, Sept. 14, from 11 a.m. to noon.
For more information or to volunteer, contact Jessica Mortinger, of Lawrence-Douglas County Planning & Development Services, at email@example.com or 832-3165.
After riding a bicycle 1,700 miles across the country, with an additional 2,300 miles to go, Jeff Serbus has every right to complain.
He’s had a total of three days off the bike since leaving San Francisco on June 17, his bicycle seat leaves a lot to be desired, he sleeps at night on church basement floors, and, still, he’s upbeat.
“I love it out here,” he says, from an overnight stop in McCook, Neb.
Serbus, 28, a Free State High School and Kansas University graduate, is on the Journey of Hope, an annual fundraising trek sponsored by the Push America program of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.
“We were founded in 1977, originally as an organization that built accessible play units for children with disabilities,” says Adam Phillips, director of marketing and public relations for Push America. “As the years went on, we expanded our reach.”
In 1987, Bruce Rodgers, then a Pi Kapp at Stetson University (DeLand, Fla.), decided to ride his bike across the country by himself to raise awareness for all people with disabilities.
“He was the inspiration for Journey of Hope, which started the next year,” Phillips says.
This summer, Serbus cycles with one of three teams — each with 26 cyclists and a crew of five — wending their way across country. Participating members are asked to meet a fundraising minimum of $5,000 for cyclists and $2,500 for crew members. Serbus has raised $5,500 so far.
“I was on the crew in 2002,” Serbus recalls. “One of the guys who drove the van and brought all the water and the stuff from place to place. Originally, I just did it as a way to see the country. But, after that, I started getting involved working with people with disabilities. The next summer, I worked at Camp Sunnyside in Des Moines, an Easter Seals camp, and just had a great time. I’m doing the ride for the people I met there.”
Serbus also met a fellow camp counselor, Laura, who would later become his wife. She returned to work at the camp this summer and will reunite with her husband when his team rides into town in the next week or so on a “friendship visit,” the outreach component of the Journey of Hope.
“Along the way, we stop in places that serve people with disabilities. If we can, we help out, work with their clients. Sometimes, they’ll have dances and things. Most of the time, we’ll give the facility a grant — like $750 — and we can actually see where the money is going. It makes it a lot more personal.”
“It will be great to see Camp Sunnyside and Laura,” Serbus says. “And it’s almost our sixth anniversary, so we can work a little romance into the trip.”
Though Serbus downplays it, the cross-country trek has been grueling. On one day, the team logged 95 miles, crossing not one, but three mountain passes.
“It was going into Lake Tahoe, Calif.,” Serbus remembers. “It was a combination of extreme elevations and extreme distance, which made it a really bad day. It was early in the trip, too, and most of us weren’t used to the really long rides. I felt like I had the flu the next day.”
And though it’s a long road stretching out before him (the team doesn’t arrive at the finish line in Washington, D.C., until Aug. 14), Serbus remains gung-ho.
“Every day is a new experience, and I love it. The main problem is getting used to that seat,” he adds. “I’d like to have something more comfortable.”
FOLLOW THE TREK
If you would like to follow Jeff Serbus on his ride or donate to Push America, go to www.myjoh.org.
It’s called Bicycling Traffic Skills 101 and it’s coming to Lawrence.
Bicyclists will learn:
• Safe lane positions for a bicyclist.
• How to stay safe in traffic.
• How to manage gravel, potholes and dogs.
• How to change a flat tire.
• Basic bicycle maintenance.
Rachel Ruhlen, of Columbia, Mo., is one of the instructors. She uses her bicycle to commute to work and the grocery store. She took the class three years ago to learn the rules of the road.
“It really made a difference for me. The bicycle class really teaches you where the bicycle is supposed to be, so you know you are in the right place no matter what everyone is yelling at you.”
The class will be:
• from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 22.
• at the East Lawrence Recreation Center, 1245 E. 15th St.
• taught by two League of American Bicyclists certified instructors.
• Cost is $40, which includes lunch, materials and rental fee. • There’s only 10 spots available.
• To enroll, call Ruhlen at (573) 268-8770 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ruhlen is hoping her parents, David and Betty Ruhlen, of Lawrence, take the class:
“I want him to take the class because he bicycles around Lawrence sometimes. We usually go for a ride when I visit him. I’ll be more comfortable about him bicycling in Lawrence if he knows the best bicycling practices and understands why they should be followed. My mom is also interested in the class. She hasn’t bicycled much because she is scared of traffic. I hope she will feel more confident after taking the class. Many people their age — over 60 — could benefit from more exercise. I will worry less about them if they are getting plenty of exercise.”