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Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Thoms’

Sitka cyclists are hardy souls, and many of us ride our bikes all year round, not just in the summer. Now Sitka cyclists can ride and win prizes by participating in the eighth annual International Winter Bike To Work Day on Friday, Feb. 14. This year also is the fifth annual International Winter Bike To School Day also on Feb. 14, so watch out for younger cyclists.

Our celebration of winter cycling in Sitka will be simple. First, go to the International Winter Bike To Work Day website, http://winterbiketoworkday.org/, and commit online to riding to work on Friday, Feb. 14 (people who work at home can use a bike ride for errands or sport as their bike commute for the day). Then, on Friday, Feb. 14, during your bike commute, stop by the Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop (329 Harbor Dr.) between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to enter your name and phone number in a contest to win prizes, including a headlight/taillight set from Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop and other goodies from businesses around town.

This is the eighth year of International Winter Bike To Work Day, which started when several communities in Canada challenged each other to see which one could have the highest number of bike commuters. In 2014 the event expanded outside Canada, and Sitka and Anchorage hosted events along with several other communities around the world’s polar regions. Sitka ended up having the second-highest number of participants per capita, trailing only Oulu, Finland, in 2014. We also were the smallest community to have at least 20 participants. In 2015, there were even more winter cyclists participating around the world, and Zagreb, Croatia, became the first community to have more than 1,000 cyclists participate. Zagreb also had the most participants in 2016 (Sitka finished 107th overall, even finishing ahead of some large cities). Zagreb won again in 2017, but in 2018 Novi Sad, Serbia, ended Zagreb’s three-year reign as the top winter biking community. There now are ways businesses and schools can compete.

Last year saw the first winner from the United States, as Denver, Color., had the most points (1,405) and participants (1,207). Boulder, Colo., took second place with 1,174 points; followed in third place by Zagreb, Hrvatska (Croatia), with 520 points; Gdańsk, Polska (Poland), in fourth place with 287 points; and Varaždin, Hrvatska, in fifth place with 264 points.

Sitka finished in a six-way tie for 98th place overall in 2019 with 20 points, matching New York City; Durham, N.C.; Osijek, Hrvatska (Croatia); Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland (Germany); and Getxo, España (Spain). Communities earned points for the number of cyclists who rode and registered their rides with the international website, inviting friends to ride, sharing photos, hosting an event, etc. The only other Alaska community ranked in the top 200 cities was Anchorage in 41st place with 67 points.

For students, go to the International Bike To School Day website, http://winterbiketoschoolday.org/, and commit to riding to school on Friday, Feb. 14. All of Sitka’s public schools should be listed on the site (including the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus). Teachers can do a quick, 30-second survey about how students got to school to help their school’s Bike-Walk-Roll Score.

We encourage all cyclists to be safe in their rides. They should wear helmets, wear bright reflective clothes, and have working solid white headlights in front and blinking red taillights in back. They also should follow all rules of the road, such as riding on the right side of the road (not on the sidewalk) and stopping at all stop lights/stop signs.

We are still gathering door prizes, and businesses or people wanting to donate door prizes to the event can contact Charles Bingham at charleswbingham3@gmail.com or Doug Osborne at douglaso@searhc.org for more information. We are looking for items such as gloves, reflective safety vests, water bottles, helmets, etc., although some businesses donated gift cards, bike books, or non-biking and non-winter items in past years.

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Sitka’s weather on International Winter Bike To Work/School Day, Friday, Feb. 8, wasn’t very wintery, which may have helped Sitka finish in the top 100 in the overall standings, beating several cities with more than a million people.

Sitka finished in a six-way tie for 98th place overall with 20 points, matching New York City; Durham, N.C.; Osijek, Hrvatska (Croatia); Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland (Germany); and Getxo, España (Spain). Communities earned points for the number of cyclists who rode and registered their rides with the international website, inviting friends to ride, sharing photos, hosting an event, etc. The only other Alaska community ranked in the top 200 cities was Anchorage in 41st place with 67 points.

For the first time in the event’s history, a city from the United States earned top honors. Denver, Colo., won the title with 1,405 points (including 1,207 cyclists). Boulder, Colo., took second place with 1,174 points; followed in third place by Zagreb, Hrvatska, with 520 points; Gdańsk, Polska (Poland), in fourth place with 287 points; and Varaždin, Hrvatska, in fifth place with 264 points.

Нови Сад, Србија (Novi Sad, Serbia), which won the overall title last year and finished in second place the previous two years, dropped to 50th place and only 52 points this year (it had a record 1,393 participants in 2018). Besides Novi Sad in 2018, previous winners include Zagreb three times (2015-17), Oulu, Suomi (Finland, 2014, tied for 29th place in 2019 with 87 points), and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (2013, when the event was almost exclusively in Canada, sixth place in 2019 with 241 points).

In Sitka, cyclists could enter a drawing at Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop on Feb. 8. Becky Meiers won a headlight/taillight set from Yellow Jersey, and Katie Reilly won a set of used studded mountain bike tires from Andrew Thoms in the contest. Thank you, Bill Hughes of Yellow Jersey and Andrew Thoms for donating the prizes.

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PerryEdwardsSpeaks

SCS_bikeshelter_inviteOn Tuesday, Jan. 28, Sitka residents gathered together near the Sitka Sound Science Center to dedicate a new covered bike shelter built using second-growth timber from the Tongass National Forest. Before the dedication ceremony, a group of cyclists led by Sitka Assembly member Phyllis Hackett and including a small girl on a pushbike held a community bike ride from Totem Square to the new shelter.

The new shelter (link goes to previous post announcing dedication ceremony) was constructed by students of recently retired Sitka High School construction instructor Randy Hughey and community volunteers. It was designed by Dan Sheehan to use second-growth timber from the Tongass National Forest. The shelter is part of a project coordinated by the Sitka Conservation Society and funded through theNational Forest Foundation’s Community Capacity and Land Stewardship program.

The dedication was led by Sitka Conservation Society employees Ray Friedlander and Marjorie Hennessy, and included a few words from Hackett, Perry Edwards of the U.S. Forest Service-Sitka Ranger District, Sitka Sound Science Center Executive Director Lisa Busch, and Hughey, Hennessey also presented Hughey with a few gifts for leading the construction. After the ceremony, there was a reception at the Sitka Sound Science Center with salmon chowder and locally produced root beer from the Baranof Island Brewing Company. Click here for KCAW-Raven Radio‘s story about the dedication ceremony.

• Two-page flier from Sitka Conservation Society about the young-growth timber used to build this bike shelter

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SCS_bikeshelter_invite

Sitka Assembly member Phyllis Hackett will lead a short community bike ride at 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28, to help dedicate a new bike shelter at the Sitka Sound Science Center, with coordination from the Sitka Conservation Society. Bike riders should meet at Totem Square for a ride to the Sitka Sound Science Center where a dedication ceremony will take place at 3 p.m.

The new bike shelter was constructed using local, young growth timber as part of a project coordinated by the Sitka Conservation Society and funded through the National Forest Foundation’s Community Capacity and Land Stewardship program. The project was led by Sitka High School construction instructor Randy Hughey and Dan Sheehan, who designed the building and constructed it with the help of Sitka High School students and community volunteers. The project provided local, young growth timber to students and volunteers to gain practical woodworking skills, produce a community asset, and further explore the applications of young growth timber.

The shelter is a beautiful timber framed structure made of young growth Sitka spruce and old growth red cedar. Not only is the bike shelter a much needed asset, it is charming in its execution thanks to the vision of Randy and Dan’s design. Randy, who recently retired after 30 years, taught the Sitka High construction and industrial arts courses, while Dan is an experienced timber framer. The two partnered up for this project and collectively poured about 300 hours of work and dedication into the construction of the shelter along with the help of SHS students and local volunteers. Collectively, over 900 hours of work and volunteer hours went into the construction and moving of the shelter.

This shelter will serve as a demonstration project, highlighting the importance of local products, local craftsmanship and knowledge, the strength of community and contributing to local economy. Multiple partners came together, culminating in a donation from Coastal Excavation who relocated and installed the shelter on Thursday, Jan. 16.The bike shelter is located near the Sitka Sound Science Center, Crescent Harbor playground, and across from the Sheldon Jackson Museum, making it ideally located to access all of these community amenities, along with the newly installed Sitka Sea Walk.

For more information, contact Sitka Conservation Society Conservation Solutions Coordinator Marjorie Hennessy, or Sitka Conservation Society Executive Director Andrew Thoms at 747-7509, or contact the Sitka Sound Science Center Executive Director Lisa Busch at 747-8878. To learn more about second-growth structures from the Tongass National Forest, watch this video.

(Photos by Adam Andis and Charles Bingham)

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Stakeholders will gather at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 10, at Harrigan Centennial Hall to sign the Sitka Sustainable Outdoor Recreation Action Plan. (Editor’s note: Here is a link to a KCAW-Raven Radio story about Tuesday’s signing ceremony).

This plan has been in the works for about two years, though it hit a bump in the road about a year ago. The steering committee featured a variety of stakeholders — the Tongass National Forest Sitka Ranger District, Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, City and Borough of Sitka, Sitka Conservation Society, Sitka National Historical Park, Sitka Trail Works Inc., Sitka Tribe of Alaska, and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC). In addition to the major agencies, there also were local outdoor-oriented businesses and individuals on the committee, and there was extensive public comment as the plan was developed.

“The real accomplishment of this plan is how many entities worked together to create it,” said Andrew Thoms, Executive Director of the Sitka Conservation Society. “It included input from citizens, local businesses, NGOs, and state and federal agencies. This plan will be an important tool for everyone working together to make community investments in tourism and recreation so that we have a community that is a great place for Sitkans to live in and a great place for tourists to visit.”

The plan provides two main products — an ambitious and comprehensive set of outdoor recreation projects, and a list of community priorities. By agreeing to continue to work together, these parties are expanding the community’s capability to be a better place to live, visit, work and play, the signing ceremony flier said.

“Without the help of community members, this plan would not have been possible,” said Carol Goularte, District Ranger, Sitka Ranger District, R10 Tongass National Forest, who helped coordinate the planning process. “It is a dynamic plan of important ideas that will be flushed out by landowners and stakeholders based on what is sustainable over time. Adding a new trail or facility is always a benefit. However, the big question is maintaining what we have and what will we give up if we add something new?”

For some of the history of the process, go to http://www.outdoorsitka.com/, a site maintained by contracted facilitators Agnew::Beck Consulting. A final draft of the plan (minus signatures) is posted below as a PDF document.

Sitka_Outdoor_Rec_Action_Plan_FINAL_4-5-2012

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