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Archive for January, 2012

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We actually had some winter weather for the inaugural Sitka Winter Cycling Celebration on Saturday, Jan. 28.

In recent years there hasn’t been a lot of snow in Sitka, so winter riding usually means being out in the rain. But we had more than a foot of new snow during the week leading up to the Sitka Winter Cycling Celebration, and the snowplows were still catching up to the snowfall on Saturday. Add in some hurricane-force winds on Thursday, and Sitka definitely had some weather this week, even a bit of thunder snow.

WINTER CYCLING -- About a dozen cyclists ride together down Lincoln Street on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012. The Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition hosted the inaugural Sitka Winter Cycling Celebration, which included a ride around town with a police escort. A warm-up with hot cocoa and door prizes was hosted afterward at Harrigan Centennial Hall, and the movie "Fat Bike" about winter cycling in Alaska was shown. (Daily Sitka Sentinel photo by James Poulson, ran on Page 1 of the Friday, Feb. 3, 2012, edition, reprinted with permission)

WINTER CYCLING -- About a dozen cyclists ride together down Lincoln Street on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012. The Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition hosted the inaugural Sitka Winter Cycling Celebration, which included a ride around town with a police escort. A warm-up with hot cocoa and door prizes was hosted afterward at Harrigan Centennial Hall, and the movie "Fat Bike" about winter cycling in Alaska was shown. (Daily Sitka Sentinel photo by James Poulson, ran on Page 1 of the Friday, Feb. 3, 2012, edition, reprinted with permission)

Because many people still weren’t getting out of their houses much less riding bikes, the crowd was small for our event. But we did have about 15-20 hardy cyclists participate in the group ride through downtown and several other people joined us after the ride to watch the award-winning film “Fat Bike” (by Anchorage’s Carl Battreall, who donated a copy of the DVD). Dan Etulain now has the DVD and he plans to show it on his TV stations.

Thanks to Father Jim Blaney of St. Gregory Nazianzen Catholic Church for blessing the bikes and joining us on the ride. Thanks also to Eric Haseltine, Brian McNitt and Adam Andis for providing bike safety checks, and thanks to Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop for the coupons for $5 off bike safety gear or safety services. The Alaska Injury Prevention Center in Anchorage donated free reflective tape and zipper pulls for the cyclists, and the Sitka Police Department provided a cruiser escort for the ride. Thanks to the Daily Sitka Sentinel for running our event press release and for photographer James Poulson joining us on the ride, and thanks to KCAW-Raven Radio for hosting Doug Osborne on the Morning Edition interview program on Friday, Jan. 27.

We also had some contests. Adam Andis won the slowest bike award. Bill Foster had the most visible bike. Edward Sugai won best sound. Jim Clare won best winterized bike. Joshua Houston won a gift certificate from the University of Alaska Southeast-Sitka Campus for a free spot in a March bike mechanics class. Salvador Pilgrim won a reflective rain jacket donated by Murray Pacific.

Anyway, here are some photos from the event (all photos in the slideshow are by Charles Bingham, except the one of the riders by the Cable House taken by James Poulson of the Daily Sitka Sentinel).

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(This photo and caption appeared on Page 7 in the Friday, Jan. 27, 2012, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel. It is reprinted here with permission.)

BICYCLE PRESENTED – Members of the Sitka Mount Verstovia Masonic Lodge pose with third-grader Ralph Dasalla after presenting him with a new bicycle at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School recently. Dasalla was chosen to receive the bicycle by  his teacher, Anita Simic, based on his exemplary behavior in class and an essay he wrote. Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop donated a lock and helmet as part of the  prize. The Sitka Masons are once again giving a new bicycle to one student in each third-grade class this year.  Pictured are, from left, Anita Simic; Nestor Dasalla with his son, Ralph; Tom Brown; Ken Creamer; Jack Ozment; and Jud Fager. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

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Sitka cyclists Jeff Budd and Laura Kaltenstein will give a presentation, “Two on Highway One,” at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29, at Kettleson Memorial Library.

The presentation covers Jeff’s and Laura’s trip in September and October down Highway 101 and Highway 1, from the Canadian border to the Mexican border. They followed the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route maps available from the Adventure Cycling Association, which has developed several bicycle tour routes and maps around the country.

The Pacific Coast Bicycle Route covers 1,853.5 miles from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Imperial Beach, Calif. Highlights of the trip included windswept beaches, haystack-shaped rocks along the coastline, dairy farms, massive redwood trees, vineyards, vegetable farms and many urban areas.

Jeff and Laura will give a similar presentation about their trip during the noon meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 31, of the Sitka Rotary Club, held at the Sitka Westmark Hotel.

• Flier for the “Two On Highway One” presentation by Jeff Budd and Laura Kaltenstein

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During a Sitka winter you never know what type of weather you’ll get — freezing rain, snow, hail, wind, even the occasional sunny day. But Sitka cyclists are a hardy bunch and many of us ride all winter long.

With that in mind, the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition will host the inaugural Sitka Winter Cycling Celebration from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Crescent Harbor shelter and Harrigan Centennial Hall. This is several events in one, so come join the fun and bring the entire family. And make sure you bring your bike, recumbent, cargo bike, tandem, adult trike, or even one of the dog-pulled bikes we see around town. We encourage safe cycling, so please bring your helmet and wear bright, reflective gear.

We will meet at 10:30 a.m. at the Crescent Harbor shelter for free bike safety checks, free reflective tape and other winter safety items. At 10:45 a.m., we will have a few contests, such as the slowest rider, most visible cyclist, most winterized, best sound, etc. At 11 a.m., Sitka clergy will offer a blessing of the bikes.

At 11:15 a.m., we will depart the Crescent Harbor shelter for a short community bike ride/parade through downtown Sitka. Our course will be down Lincoln Street to Harbor Road (turning left after city hall), then Harbor Drive and back to the start. We have an approved parade permit from the Sitka Police Department, which is supposed to provide traffic control for the event (which should help make it safer for kids). We will ride regardless of the weather.

We will gather again at Harrigan Centennial Hall at 11:35 a.m. to warm up with hot cocoa and popcorn. We will distribute door prizes and announce the winners from the bike contests.

Then at 11:45 a.m. we will show the award-winning film “Fat Bike,” a 27-minute movie by Anchorage filmmaker/photographer Carl Battreall. The movie is about winter mountain biking in Alaska using specially built snow bikes. This movie follows a couple of racers as they prepare for and compete in the 2009 Susitna 100 wilderness mountain bike race over part of the historic Iditarod Trail.

After the movie ends, about 12:15 p.m., we will have a brief discussion about how we can make Sitka more bicycle friendly. We also will provide some safe winter cycling tips. We expect to be finished by 12:30 p.m.

To learn more about this event or the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition, contact Charles Bingham at 738-8875 or charleswbingham3@gmail.com, or contact Doug Osborne at 966-8734 or doug.osborne@searhc.or, or you can check out our website at https://sitkacycling.wordpress.com/. We also are accepting donations of items for door prizes (we encourage donations of winter outerwear, bike items, safety items, punch cards for hot coffee, etc.).

• Sitka Winter Cycling Celebration flier as a PDF file (please feel free to print and post around town)

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Logan Evans of Sitka competes for the University of North Dakota Cycling Club

Logan Evans of Sitka competes for the University of North Dakota Cycling Club

When Sitka cyclist Logan Evans headed to the University of North Dakota, he took his touring bike thinking it would help him get around campus. He soon met up with members of the school’s cycling club, who convinced him to attend a few meetings, train and then compete with them. Now a senior commercial aviation major, Logan is the president of the club and last year represented the team at the U.S. Collegiate Cycling Championships.

“I was not involved in any other sports, so it was a great way to exercise throughout the winter,” said Logan, who ran track and cross country for Sitka High School. “I didn’t plan on racing, but in the spring of 2009 I figured I’d put my skills to the test. I was addicted instantly.”

The college cycling season starts in March and runs through June. But Logan said the University of North Dakota cycling club trains all winter long, usually starting in November. Since North Dakota isn’t the best place to cycle during the winter, the team trains indoors, about 3-4 days a week and 1-1.5 hours a day. As they get closer to the season, they up the practice days to six times a week and the training time to 1.5-3 hours a day.

Logan Evans of Sitka leads cyclists around the corner while competing for the University of North Dakota Cycling Club

Logan Evans of Sitka leads cyclists around the corner while competing for the University of North Dakota Cycling Club

“At this point we focus on building specific skills (sprinting, endurance, climbing),” Logan said. “As far as competition, there are four categories to race in — A, B, C and D. Each category has a different level of cyclist with experience and ability. You start out riding in Category D, and as your skills and experience progress you eventually upgrade to C, followed by B and finally A. I started out in Category D and I upgraded to Category A by my junior year.”

Logan got a bittersweet taste of the national championships last year in Madison, Wis., when he qualified as a junior. He was competing in the road race event when his rear derailleur shattered and he couldn’t finish the race. He finished 41st in the criterium event (a short-course event with many laps), finishing just eight seconds behind the winner. His goal is a repeat trip to the 2012 U.S. Collegiate Cycling Championships on May 4-6 in Ogden, Utah, and much better finishes. North Dakota competes as a Division II team in the North Central Collegiate Cycling Conference.

Logan Evans of Sitka, far right, and other members of the University of North Dakota Cycling Club

Logan Evans of Sitka, far right, and other members of the University of North Dakota Cycling Club

Growing up in Sitka with its 15 miles of road from one end of town to the other, Logan never figured he’d compete on a national level as a cyclist. He still remembers being 5-6 years old when his father (photographer Dan Evans) taught him to ride. Logan considers Sitka a Bicycle Friendly Community and a great bike commuting town, but does think there could be improvements. For one, he thinks there are too many cars on the roads and there should be more bikes.

“I love the friendliness of the locals,” Logan said. “I have never had issues with drivers and they always give a wide berth. The scenery is amazing. I think there should be a criterium race series, and eventually some single-track mountainbike trails. Vancouver, B.C., has one of the most extensive mountainbike single tracks in the world, and it is a similar climate to us in Sitka. The more bicycle-centered events the more people we can get out riding.”

Logan Evans rides his unicycle on Mount Edgecumbe on Kruzof Island

Logan Evans rides his unicycle on Mount Edgecumbe on Kruzof Island

When he’s in Sitka, Logan said he likes to go out to Shotgun Alley to do hill repeats on his road bike. But for scenic rides he likes going over to Mud Bay (on Kruzof Island) and riding to Shelikoff. He also likes to ride his unicycle.

“There are a lot of good road opportunities for cycling, especially using all of the old logging roads,” Logan said. “The only race in Southeast I have done was the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay last June. It is a 150-mile race from Haines Junction (Yukon Territory) to Haines (Alaska). It is by far the most beautiful race I’ve ever ridden, but also the hardest. It can be done with a team as large as eight people or as a solo rider.”

Logan is studying to be a commercial airline pilot, and he hopes to one day after school have a job with Alaska or Horizon Airlines, so he can live and bike in Sitka.

“Sitka is a great town to live in and I know I will be coming back,” Logan said. “Once Sitka gets in your blood, it never leaves. I love the nature, the mountains, our oceans; it’s a perfect blend and there is always something to do. I believe the bike community in Sitka is growing, and will continue to do so.”

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Mayor Cheryl Westover, left, presents Doug Osborne of the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition with a proclamation from the City and Borough of Sitka backing Sitka's renewal application for a Bicycle Friendly Community award.

Mayor Cheryl Westover, left, presents Doug Osborne of the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition with a proclamation from the City and Borough of Sitka backing Sitka's renewal application for a Bicycle Friendly Community award.

During the Tuesday, Jan. 10, meeting of the Sitka Assembly, the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition was presented with a proclamation backing its work toward renewing Sitka’s status as a Bicycle Friendly Community with the League of American Bicyclists.

Assemblymember Mim McConnell read the proclamation into the meeting record, then Mayor Cheryl Westover presented the proclamation to Doug Osborne of the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition. Doug then spoke about the importance for cities to work toward becoming more bicycle friendly, and he detailed some of the coalition’s upcoming projects, such as the Sitka Winter Cycling Celebration on Jan. 28. Charles Bingham also spoke about the coalition’s website, https://sitkacycling.wordpress.com/ (you’re on it), and the group’s meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

Assemblymember Mim McConnell, right, reads the proclamation into the record. Assemblymember Phyllis Hackett is at left.

Assemblymember Mim McConnell, right, reads the proclamation into the record. Assemblymember Phyllis Hackett is at left.

Doug Osborne of the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition speaks about the importance of cities becoming more bicycle friendly. He also discussed upcoming projects by the coalition, and the importance for cyclists to wear bright, reflective clothes (such as his jacket) when they ride, especially during the dark winter months.

Doug Osborne of the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition speaks about the importance of cities becoming more bicycle friendly. He also discussed upcoming projects by the coalition, and the importance for cyclists to wear bright, reflective clothes (such as his jacket) when they ride, especially during the dark winter months.

• City and Borough of Sitka proclamation supporting Sitka’s efforts to renew its Bicycle Friendly Community status.

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