May is National Bike Month and one of the events associated with Kickstart 2015 is Bike to Work Day scheduled for Friday May 15. NewsChannel 15 employee Joe Carroll came up with an idea of how to put into perspective what it’s like to ride to work. His idea involved attaching two GoPro cameras to his bicycle; one on the handlebars to capture what’s going on in front of him as he rides and the other attached to the seat post to show what’s happening behind him. The two views would then be synced and shown side by side.
Carroll considers himself to be a novice rider who has been cycling most of his life and once the weather is warm enough, he typically gets out for a 15-20 mile ride at least a couple of times per week.
The ride featured in the video for this story starts in the Copper Hill subdivision in Aboite Township and ends at the WANE-TV studios on West State Boulevard. The ride was just over 6 1/2 miles long and took about 25 minutes to complete at an average speed of just under 16 miles an hour. To put that in perspective, it takes Carroll 15 minutes to get to work by car, although he typically takes a different route, one he deemed a bit too “dangerous” for cycling. He’s all in favor of Fort Wayne and the surrounding area becoming more “bike friendly.” The video itself has been compressed to about 8.5 minutes by speeding it up in several places and omitting lengthy stops at traffic lights, etc.
“I think there’s been considerable progress made in the last couple of years with the growth of the trails system and the addition of bike lanes on some streets, as well as the installation of more ‘share the road’ signs, but I think ultimately it comes down to motorists becoming more comfortable with bicyclists and respecting their right to be on the road combined with bicyclists doing their part to make motorists feel more comfortable by strictly adhering to the rules of the road,” said Carroll.
For example, Carroll always uses hand signals to indicate he’s going to be making a turn and he makes it a habit of obeying traffic signals and stop signs.
“I still encounter confusion at four way stops when I roll up and stop only to find a motorist who isn’t sure what to do. We typically end up staring at each other until one of us motions the other through the intersection,” said Carroll.
He agrees the trail system, which continues to grow to connect different parts of the city, has been a great addition, however don’t expect to see him riding on them very often.
“The trails are great for leisurely riding, but when you’re going 20 miles an hour, I find riding on the street to be much safer. At that speed you come up too quickly on people and they sometimes are unsure how to react even when you yell that you’re coming up behind them. Also, cars tend to drive right through the crosswalks without slowing down, so again I feel safer just riding in the street,” reasoned Carroll.
Carroll recommends using Google maps or MapMyRide to determine which routes would be the best to take on a bicycle. He especially likes MapMyRide because it logs each ride and generates maps with detailed analytics.
He suggests anyone who wants to get into bicycling to visit one of the several excellent shops in Fort Wayne where employees are knowledgable and helpful and there a lots of resources online for those looking to take the “bike to work” plunge.