Too Much Fun!
By Jeff Viscount
Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen once wrote that, "there's a whole lot things I've never done but I ain't never had too much fun". After spending the day riding the Raleigh Route iE electric assist bike on the New River Trail I can honestly say I may have just had too much fun.
First, let me set the stage and address the haters. I was making plans for the Rank Riders annual New River Trail ride. It's one of those scenic Rails to Trails rides that everyone ew's and ah's about. What's not to ew and ah about. It's a flat trail that meanders along the New River offering scenic over looks and all the natural beauty of the outdoors. It's also a beatdown in every sense of the word at this time of year. It's cold, wet, windy and so flat that you NEVER get to stop pedaling. Most of my friends love it more than I do but they also love cilantro. I can't stand cilantro. A few days before heading up to meet my friends the idea of taking along an E-bike came up. Chris Sheehan, owner of Uptown Cycles, had a few demos from Cyclofest and offered to let me use a Raleigh Route iE. I jumped on the idea. Why not? Oh yeah...the haters. If you know me you know that I endure a substantial amount of abuse for my choice of preferred beer. Riding an E-bike could only make that worse, right? Well it did and so what. Haters gonna hate. I'm OK with that. I stopped making decisions based on what others think a long time ago. I'm convinced that the only people that hate E-bikes are those that haven't ridden one yet and those that think every ride is a training ride.
I picked up the Raleigh Route iE from Uptown Cycles on Saturday and headed North. Dinner Saturday night with the gang then a few shots of Fireball, a couple of cold OMB Copper's (Note my beer choice all you craft beer snob's), more hate from my "friends" and then back to my room for a few hours of warmth before getting up and stepping out into the cold and wind of Sunday morning. Cold as in it was snowing at the hotel when I arrived Saturday afternoon. Wind as in it was difficult to even drive a car much less ride a bike.
The ride on Sunday was being cut short because the ride on Saturday was brutal and most of the two day riders had enough. Sunday was more about the buffet in Draper anyways so we drove into Draper and started from there. After the typical pre ride banter and some more hate directed at me for bringing an E-bike, we rolled out at 10am. The Raleigh Route iE is heavy. Battleship heavy. But it was also smooth as silk on the trail. The 1x10 gearing was perfect for the terrain and the pace. The electric assist has four levels. I started out using level two. Riding in a group while using the assist mode felt awkward. The bike wanted to surge forward on it's own so I backed the assist level down to level one and found that made a big difference. I also surprisingly found that turning the assist off completely was easy to do and I had no trouble riding along the flat trail without any assist. Two or three miles into the ride I felt comfortable riding the bike on the trail. It cruised over the terrain like a good mountain bike and floated thru a few areas where the surface was more like beach sand than packed cinder. Feeling more comfortable, I shifted the assist up to level 4 and said goodbye to my friends. I easily cruised along at 21mph with very little effort. It was nothing but fun! Over the next 18 miles I took off a few times. I captured every KOM of the day and even though there weren't any city limit sprints, I won them all.
At the end of the ride I insisted that a few others try the bike. They did and if you could have heard Nikki laughing as she took off up the road you would easily understand the place that E-bikes have in the world of cycling. This was a fun ride, not a training ride and the Route iE is built for fun. That doesn't mean you can't get a work out in if you wanted to. Just turn off the electric assist and pedal that battleship. For me, this annual beatdown that I always dread was suddenly an enjoyable Fall outing that I thoroughly enjoyed. E-bikes have an amazing ability to bring out the fun of riding a bike for those times when you just want to have fun. You should stop by Uptown Cycles and ask them about their E-bike selection. Take one out for a ride. I promise you'll have fun. You might even have too much fun.
The Raleigh Route iE is a 350W Currie Electro-Drive motor with easy-access downtube-mounted battery. It has 700×45c tires and Weinmann double wall rims. The drive train is Shimano Deore 1×10 gearing with hydraulic brakes. Uptown Cycles is located at 1432 W Morehead St, Charlotte, NC 28208. 704-632-7440
PLEASE DO THIS RIGHT NOW – 100% MUST HAVE INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR BICYCLISTS
By Ann Groninger
For at least the past ten years, in group talks, blogs and social media posts, I have been talking about uninsured and underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage for North Carolina bicyclists. Recently Bike Law published this very well laid out article written by Bike Law's Maine attorney, again urging all bicyclists to increase UM and UIM coverage: http://www.bikelaw.com/2016/06/20/beyond-cell-and-spare-tube-you-need-to-bike-with-auto-insurance/
Yet we don't seem to be reaching everyone. At least a few times a month we see cases where the driver who caused the crash does not have enough insurance to cover our client's damages and our client does not have enough underinsured coverage to make up the difference. If the injuries are serious, the financial consequences can be tragic.
Hopefully posting this information on others' sites will help spread the word. PLEASE TAKE THESE STEPS BEFORE YOU RIDE AGAIN:
Find your auto insurance declarations page. It should be attached to the front of your policy. If you can't find it, call your agent to send you a copy;
Look for UM/UIM coverage. If it says 50/100, that means you have $50,000 to cover you in the event of an injury, $100,000 if more than one covered person is injured in the same crash. However, in North Carolina, you must subtract the at-fault driver's coverage. So if the driver has the minimum limits of $30,000 and you have $50,000, that gives you an additional $20,000
Ask yourself, "if I am in a crash and suffer a serious injury (think brain injury, spinal cord injury, anything requiring multiple days of hospitalization and weeks or months out of work) will the amount of MY coverage be enough to cover my damages?" If you think, "well I have health insurance to cover medicals and the driver's insurance will cover pain and suffering," think again! Your health insurance may be able to take that $30,000 right out of your pocket.
Call your insurance agent and tell him/her that you want to increase your UM/UIM coverage to $1,000,000. It will likely cost you an additional $20.00 per month. You do not need to increase your collision coverage (unless you yourself have minimum limits) in order to purchase more UM/UIM. If your insurance agent tells you it can't be done, switch your insurance company. Most of them will sell you that coverage.
Read the Maine Bike Law article to find out what other coverage you may need.
Spread the word to all of your cyclist friends and pester them until they do it!
As Lori from Maine wrote:
While health and disability insurance are important, they are often not enough to comprehensively and fully address all of a person's or a family's post-crash losses—which often include lost wages, lost opportunities, permanent impairment, emotional distress, years of pain and suffering, a loss of consortium and other damages. This is why bicyclists may want to think more carefully about their insurance coverage, including their automobile insurance coverage.
As in Maine, what a North Carolina bicyclist may be entitled to in the way of UM/UIM Coverage can often be very complicated and requires interpretation of a combination of your insurance contract, the UM/UIM statute and case law. Further, there are requirements that must be satisfied before you can reach your coverage. Therefore, working with an attorney who not only understands bicycle and personal injury law, but insurance law, is key.
The final word from all of us with Bike Law: "Don't wait until disaster strikes to do your insurance tune up. Just as you wouldn't ride with worn-out brakes or thin tires, don't ride without sufficient UM/UIM. Make sure you and your families have the necessary coverage in the event that anything happens to you. Then, after you take care of all of this paperwork, go back to riding safely and joyfully on the road with the energetic passion of a five-year-old on a big wheel and the wisdom of your collective years, knowledge and experiences."
Ann Groninger is a bicycle crash attorney who has represented and advocated for bicyclists and their families for more than 15 years. She is a member of the Bike Law national network and a partner in Copeley Johnson & Groninger PLLC. When she isn't working you can probably find her riding some type of bicycle.
HB 232: What Happened and When
- HB 232 IntroducedJune 2015
Approved in June 2015, House Bill 232 required NCDOT to study North Carolina bicycle and traffic laws and make recommendations on how the laws could better ensure the safety of bicyclists and motorists.
- HB 232 Work Group SelectedJuly 2015
The first eight members of the work group are selected. The first meeting date is announced along with plans to select three additional members and elect a chair person.
- NCDOT Updates SERAugust 2015
NCDOT Special Events Request Application updated. BikeWalkNC reported the new instructions and guidelines for special events and group rides involving state highways provided by NCDOT.
- Can You See Me Now?October 2015
Too often, bicyclists are treated as scapegoats for the consequences of negligent motoring behaviors. This tactic was on clear display at the October meeting of the HB 232 Bicycle Safety Law Study Committee.
- Privilege or Right?October 2015
BikeWalkNC blog regarding a discussion at the September HB 232 meeting where a member claimed that “use of the road is a privilege, not a right.” The context was a proposal to require bicyclists to carry an official form of identification in order to operate on roadways.
- Stay RightNovember 2015
The following article by BikeWalk NC was submitted to the H232 Bicycle Safety Law Study Committee in September 2015 in response to discussion of restricting bicyclists’ position on roadways.
- Fred Burt HandoutNovember 2015
The following handout was shared with the HB 232 work group by Fred Burt. Mr. Burt was a member of the work group.
- NCDOT HB 232 DraftDecember 2015
The NCDOT presented their HB 232 draft and invited initial public comment. Over 1000 public comments are made before the deadline expressing concern for changes made by NCDOT in direct opposition to the work completed by the HB 232 work group.
- BikeWalkNC FeedbackDecember 2015
BikeWalk NC submitted the following feedback to NCDOT on December 29, 2015 in response to the HB 232 draft report.
- Good, Bad & UglyDecember 2015
Bike Law has been following the work of the study group for several months. I want to be clear that it’s not all bad news. To borrow a title from a Clint Eastwood movie, the report is more along the lines of “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”
- While You Were SleepingDecember 2015
David Billstrom writes an excellent blog comments on the purpose, the process, the results and the "Switch".
- H232 PostmortemDecember 2015
Steven Goodridge writes, "Many cyclists are asking me how the H232 Bicycle Safety Laws Study conducted by NCDOT resulted in a Study Report recommending new laws that, if enacted, would make cycling in North Carolina less safe and more difficult. As a member of the H232 Study Committee that reached conclusions that are substantially different from what NCDOT recommended in its study report, I decided it is important to document some of the back story for posterity.
- Safe PassingDecember 2015
The following article was provided by BikeWalk NC to the H 232 Bicycle Safety Law Study Committee in September 2015, and has been amended to document the final recommendations of the Committee.
- Jeter Weighs InDecember 2015
In a discussion thread on Facebook the following comment was made by Rep. Charles Jeter. Mr. Jeter is one of the three sponsors of HB 232. He said, "I agree that NCDOT recommendations are not acceptable and we will not approve them at the NCGA." Comments were made on the weeklyRides.com Facebook Group page on December 29, 2015. I have added Mr. Jeter to the group and welcome his comments and insight. I hope everyone will appreciate his willingness to engage this group and remain respectful in your comments. Welcome to the WeeklyRides Facebook group Mr. Jeter.
- Far Right is WrongJanuary 2016
BikeWalk NC discusses why bicycling in the left half of a travel lane provides substantial safety advantages in common traffic scenarios. Knowledgeable bicyclists who ride between the lane center and left tire track improve their maneuvering space, sight lines, and conspicuity to other drivers.
- NCDOT BACKS DOWNFebruary 2016
NCDOT’s Chief Engineer Mike Holder told BikeWalk NC that after internal discussions that included NCDOT Secretary Nick Tennyson, NCDOT has decided not to promote or otherwise support legislation requiring bicyclists to stay on the right side of a marked lane.