One of the best ways to enjoy a host of summer activities and places in Northeast Ohio is to get there by bicycle. Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) has compiled a list of attractive rides offered by other organizations throughout the region. The bicycle advocacy organization also sponsors rides of its own, and is building a collection of "Better by Bike" online routes so people can safely and conveniently pedal to places and events on their own.
Ohio motorists are now required by law to give 3 feet of clearance when passing bicyclists. House Bill 154 went into effect on March 21, after the legislature passed it and Gov. John Kasich signed the bill into law. The previous law required a safe passing distance for vehicles overtaking other vehicles, but did not specify what that distance would be and did not mention bicycles specifically.
The new law:
- Defines the “safe distance” by which Ohio motorists must pass bicyclists as at least 3 feet.
- Permits any Ohio vehicle to proceed through an intersection after stopping and yielding right-of-way, when not detected by the device meant to move the signal from red to green.
Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) will celebrate Roll Models and Holidays on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 7 p.m., at Nighttown (12383 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights).
The Heights community has dedicated and capable bicycle commuters. At this event, Heights bikers will talk about why they commute by bicycle and how they make it happen. The program will also provide information about year-round commuting gear and strategies to make bike commuting fun and rewarding.
Concluding the evening is a sing-along to an updated version of "Jingle Bells."
The holidays are wonderful, but putting food on the table is a challenge for some. You can do something about that!
On Saturday, Nov. 19, starting at 10:30 a.m., be part of Cleveland’s fifth annual Cranksgiving, a food drive on two-wheels. Ride your bicycle to Cleveland Heights City Hall, 40 Severance Center. You’ll receive a map of grocery stories and a list of groceries to buy. You'll be encouraged to ride your bike to four stores and purchase food items totaling $15 (more or less) for donation.
Everything purchased is intended to be hauled by bicycle, either in a bag, pannier, rack or trailer. A few hours after the start of the event, riders will return to city hall to divvy up the groceries for donation to Cleveland and Heights food banks and pantries.
Have you noticed more kids bicycling to school this year, and more parents or siblings walking to school with younger children?
Since fall 2010, Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) has been working with schools to promote Walk or Bike to School Day twice a year, once in the fall and again in the spring. This year’s fall event will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 5.
For several years, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District has listed the two Walk or Bike to School Days on its calendar. Initially, HBC produced flyers for elementary and middle schools to distribute to families. For the past couple of years, the City of Cleveland Heights has produced the flyers for the schools, thanks to a grant from the Safe Routes to School program.
For most people, summer is the most appealing time of year for bicycling. This summer, more people than ever are riding their bicycles around the Heights.
Many people ride for recreation, or maybe to run short errands around town. But summer is a great time to try going longer distances or commuting by bicycle.
For longer distances, you can go the whole way by bicycle, or combine public transit with bicycling. The best transit route may become much more convenient if you ride your bicycle to the nearest stop, load your bicycle onto the bike rack installed on all RTA buses, then unload and ride your bicycle from the stop nearest your ultimate destination.
Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) is sponsoring a showing of “Inspired to Ride,” a stunning documentary about the inaugural TransAm Bike Race, held in 2014 on the TransAmerica Trail. The film will screen at Case Western Reserve University’s Strosacker Auditorium on Thursday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m.
The movie follows a handful of cyclists in the 2014 race, a 4,233-mile cross-country race from Astoria, Ore., to Yorktown, Va.
The riders are entirely self-supported—they have no crew, no follow vehicles and no prize money waiting at the end. They ride 300 miles a day and rely solely on their fitness, meticulously chosen gear and mental fortitude.
The athletes climb the Rockies, face winds in the Great Plains and switchbacks in the Appalachians—all for a pat on the back, potential bragging rights and a cold beer when it’s over.
Join the Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) and community members for fun and relaxing bike rides in August. Cycling is a great way to expand your world, meet new people and have fun. All ride participants are asked to sign waivers; helmets are mandatory and bike locks are encouraged. You’ll need a bike light if you are pedaling in the dark.
Aug. 1, 10 a.m. to noon: Back to the Farm, Back to Nature.
This ride begins at the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Arch, at the southeast corner of Coventry Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard, and will feature rain gardens, bioswales (rain collection areas), permaculture (sustainable growing practices), community gardens, “Food not Lawns,” and an opportunity to meet a new generation of gardeners. [Rain date: Aug. 2, 1–3 p.m.]
If you want to join the growing number of Heights residents who use bicycles for short trips and exercise, this is the perfect time to start. If you plan to buy a bicycle, know what to look for to get the right bike for your needs. Local bike shops can help you find one in your price range, or, if you want to purchase a used bike, seek advice from a knowledgeable friend.
Bicycles range from awful to awesome, and you will need help finding the right one for you. You will also need to know some good routes and basic rules of the road.
The bike: If you want the health benefits of cruising to the coffee shop, around the neighborhood, or to work, you need a basic bike that is easy to mount and comfortable to ride.
Bikes with “step through” frames do not have a top bar. These bikes are easy to mount, offer an upright riding position and have a well-cushioned seat. Handlebars are flat or sloped up, and the frames are lighter than an old-school bike.
On May 4, for the fifth year in a row, Cleveland Heights City Council will pass a resolution declaring May Bike Month in the community. That bit of business will kick off numerous events in May highlighting the growth of bicycling in the city.
May 6 is Walk or Bike to School Day. In the spring and fall, Walk or Bike to School Day encourages children and their parents to use the trip to school for some of the 60 minutes of exercise children need every day to be fit and ready to learn when they arrive in their classrooms. The dates are listed on the CH-UH City School District calendar and school websites. The City of Cleveland Heights uses some of the Safe Routes to School funds received last year from the Ohio Department of Transportation to produce flyers. Ruffing Montessori School also joins the fun.
Winter cycling is cool. Sometimes it is actually cold. But, with the proper clothes and equipment, it is a great way to be outside and experience the awe and beauty of winter in both the city and on the trail.
The hearty winter cyclists that keep the pedals turning all year long are brethren to skiers, ice skaters and ice fisherman, and use some of the same equipment.
Warm mittens, snow boots and pants, parkas and goggles are all non-cycling specific clothing that are perfect for winter cycling.
Then there is the bike; skinny tires are out, replaced by knobby or other specialty tires for needed traction in snow and ice, disc brakes are good for more consistent stopping power, and a hearty frame will better withstand lots of salt.
Now that schools are back in session, school walking and bicycling programs are back too. The latest research indicates that regular, half-hour sessions of aerobic activity before school helped all young children become more attentive and less moody, and especially benefits those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), possibly enabling them to reduce medication. Quite simply, exercise—such as walking or biking to school—improves students’ attention and academic skills.
That’s one reason Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) has been promoting Walk or Bike to School days in the spring and fall, since 2010. Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District now includes these dates on its calendar.
This year, the Heights’s fall Walk or Bike to School Day is Wednesday, Oct. 8. This is also International Walk to School Day.
Is it a revolution? Yes, a fun-loving, fender-equipped, wind-through-your-hair rolling revolution. More people are riding their bikes. They are going to work, school, the dollar store and the coffee shop.
How is this happening? Regionally, the work is being driven by many organizations and leaders. Here in Cleveland Heights and University Heights, the Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) plays a small role in advocating, educating and encouraging in the cycling arena (visit www.bikesintheheights.org). HBC organized three years ago to help make CH-UH more bicycle friendly. Cycling advocates in Shaker Heights recently formed Bike Shaker and are working on the same mission in their city.
The Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) continues its series of Freewheelin' Wednesday Rides with a kid-themed ride on July 2, a pub-crawl ride on July 16, and a special visit to Park Synagogue on July 30. All HBC Freewheelin’ Wednesday rides start at the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Arch at 6:30 p.m. Bring a helmet.
The Park Synagogue ride combines a bit of outdoor recreation with information about history and architecture. Ellen Petler, membership and program director at the synagogue, will show the group around. Families are welcome.
Park Synagogue was designed by architect Eric Mendelsohn, who grew up in Germany and designed some of the modern Berlin department stores that were bombed during World War II.
This popular series of Wednesday-evening bike rides returns this year and is a great way to spend summer evenings. The rides are easy, casual, meandering routes through the Heights, and showcase the community.
Free Wheelin’ Wednesday rides are free and start at 6:30 p.m. at the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Arch (corner of Coventry Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard). Each ride features a different theme. After the rides, the group often visits a bar on Coventry.
This year’s lineup includes:
The Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) sponsored after-school bike clubs this fall for third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students at Canterbury and Fairfax elementary schools. Club activities included weekly rides of three to five miles on side streets, with a snack at the half-way stop.
HBC volunteers Sarah O’Keeffe, Jeff Sugerman—with bike dog Chipper—Mitch Pilon and PTA members help school PE teachers Julie Lustic and Alice Stratton run the clubs.
The goal of the clubs is to teach children bike safety and the rules of the road. The clubs also encourage students to get out and enjoy the fresh air.
Even the most dedicated bicyclist occasionally needs to haul something too big for a pannier (a bag attached to a bicycle) or a messenger bag. Trailers and special-purpose bikes make human-powered hauling easier. Whether you need to move equipment, clothing, or your kids, there is probably a bike available to do the job.
Two-wheeled cargo bicycles with a load on one side can be surprisingly stable, and there are options with three and four wheels, too. As with almost everything related to bicycles, the best solutions are often a blend of old and new technology.
Summer is the perfect time to try bicycle commuting. It’s a growing trend for many reasons:
One, it’s good for your physical health and is a great stress reliever. Two, it's economical and good for the environment. And three, all the cool kids are doing it.
Yet, some people have doubts about commuting by bicycle. The Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) offers the following responses to the most commonly cited barriers:
Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles. According to Ohio law, cyclists are permitted to "drive" on all roads except freeways, and are subject to the same rules that apply to all drivers.
Cyclists are not motorized vehicles, however, so a few additional Ohio laws apply to the car-bicycle road relationship.
This summer, Heights Bicycle Coalition will again host Wednesday-evening rides that showcase our community. These are social rides open to cyclists of all ages. The rides often conclude at a local restaurant or pub for refreshments.
May is Bike Month nationwide. The Heights Bicycle Coalition is supporting local celebrations of Bike Month through collaborations with Heights cities, schools and more. All are welcome to participate in free Bike Month activities in the Heights.
This could be the summer that you use your bicycle to get around town for errands, commuting to work, and for fun. To enjoy cycling, however, you need to be confident in your skills, informed about rules of the road and about basic bicycle equipment safety.
Become a confident rider in a class taught by a League of American Bicyclists certified instructor. The Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) is offering a Smart Cycling for adults on Saturday, May 4, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at Heights High.
Riding with others is one of the great pleasures of cycling.
The Heights Bicycle Coalition is hosting Free Wheelin’ Wednesday group rides in September, to get folks out on their bikes. The August rides were very well attended. Cyclists ride together, chat and visit interesting places in the Heights.
When the City of Cleveland Heights wanted to increase bicycle parking capacity, it wondered where to place more bike racks.
To help the city gather input about this, the Heights Bicycle Coalition surveyed its members and other local cyclists about their bike parking needs.
Thirty cyclists responded and gave suggestions about locations throughout the Heights. Severance Town Center was most often cited as an place that needs bike racks. One respondent noted that the Severance ring road includes a bike lane, but that bike racks are rare.
Ohio law states that bicyclists should ride as close to curb as practicable. What exactly is practical? The Heights Bicycle Coalition suggests that cyclists evaluate each situation and ride in the lane location that provides the most comfortable and safe ride. This is often several feet from the curb because:
Riding a bicycle for transportation, fitness, and fun requires a few pieces of equipment: a well-running bicycle, a lock, a basket or bag to carry purchases, and perhaps a helmet. However, the most important piece of equipment a cyclist needs is the skill and confidence to operate a bicycle safely and predictably in traffic.
If you are new to cycling or returning after many years of car-focused transportation, consider how you will develop the skill and confidence needed to really enjoy cycling.
Joining small group rides offers opportunities for new riders to develop cycling skills. But enrolling in bicycle driver’s classes at the Ohio City Bicycle Coop (OCBC), 1840 Columbus Road, Cleveland, is the best way to learn and practice cycling skills.
With gasoline prices near $4 a gallon, using a bicycle for transportation is more attractive than ever. In addition to the economic advantages, cycling is a great way to exercise while also doing errands or commuting to work.
In city traffic, cycling can be almost as fast as driving a car. The average new-to-cycling woman can ride one mile in 5-6 minutes, which means she can cover 10-12 miles in an hour. More experienced cyclists can ride at 15-18 mph.