EverydayBicyclingWindsor

Spring Into Bike Riding Season…

…with practical skills training to get you riding more!

What is Everyday Bicycling?

It’s using your bike for those everyday trips that we all make — grocery shopping, getting to work, or even picking up the kids from school. It’s about making the choice to leave your car behind when you can, in favor of getting outside, exercising, and saving gas!

How can I get involved?

Vital Communities offers a range of bike skills trainings for groups of adults (and mature teens). We can hold one workshop or a whole series at your workplace, community center, or town park.

What kinds of workshops are offered?Pumping tire

Basic Everyday Bicycling (practical tips on everyday bicycling) 60 minutes long (indoors)
On-Street Bike Skills (build your street riding skills) 60-90 minutes long (outside, with your bike!)
Basic Maintenance (tire change, basic adjustments and troubleshooting) 60-90 minutes long (inside or outside, with your bike!)

What does a workshop provide?

• Practical tips from experienced Everyday Bicyclists on incorporating bike travel into any lifestyle
• Expert advice and guidance
• Low-cost gear: bells, lights, helmets, reflective vests, and more!
• Free informational resources

tom-bikeWhat is the time investment?

• We strive to make hosting a workshop very easy for you.
• We offer highly flexible scheduling.
• We provide all of the marketing and promotional materials that you need.

How much does it cost?

• FREE for Upper Valley Transportation Management Association (UVTMA) members. (If you’re not a UVTMA member, give us a call!)

• FREE for Vermont communities and workplaces, thanks to support from Local Motion and Go! Vermont.

How do I get started?

Contact Bethany Fleishman at 802.291.9100 x111 or Bethany@VitalCommunities.Org

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Start a Vanpool in Woodstock!

Looking for a better way to get to work? If you have at least 5  people who share a similar commute and schedule, you can create a vanpool!

Vanpool groups in Vermont can use a van provided by Go! Vermont and their partner vRide. Each rider in the vanpool pays a low monthly fee, which covers all the costs—gas, insurance, repairs—everything! No loan or down payment is needed. Plus, the state offers a $700 monthly subsidy to each vanpool!

Sustainable Woodstock, Vital Communities, and Go! Vermont will host a vanpool information session and demo at the Norman Williams Library in Woodstock on Wednesday, October 26, at 6 pm. A light dinner will be served. Please RSVP if you plan to join us.

Learn more about the state program here.
EverydayBicyclingWindsor

Everyday Bicycling Workshop is a Success

Last month, we led two successful Everyday Bicycling workshops at the Windsor Public Library in collaboration with Burlington-based Local Motion. The first workshop – over pizza in the library’s backyard – went over basic biking safety, what to wear, and how to prepare for “everyday” bike trips to work, school, social events, and more. The second workshop was an on-road practice ride through town. We started the ride with basic bike safety checks, helmet fitting, tire pumping and a little maintenance work on the fly. Several participants hadn’t been on a bike in years, and one said she would have never gotten back on her bike without this workshop! The group hopes to get together for regular rides and maybe even start a Windsor women’s bike club!

To learn more or schedule an Everyday Bicycling Workshop (including basic bike maintenance) in your community or at your workplace, please e-mail Bethany@VitalCommunities.org.

Advance Transit Releases Real-Time App

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An increasingly common tool in urban areas, a real-time transit app has come to the Upper Valley. You can now use an iPhone or Android to see where Advance Transit’s buses are located in real time and when a bus will stop near you. Want to plan farther ahead? Once you click on a stop, you can also scroll through the schedule to see when boardings occur throughout the day. Just tap on the estimated arrival time to see a full schedule.

I recently tested the app for a short trip through White River Junction. It was a slightly cold day – perhaps 25 degrees with the wind chill – so I pulled up the app from the comfort of my heated office. I saw I had about fifteen minutes before an Orange Line bus arrived at the closest stop, Bugbee Senior Center, so I waited at my desk. Once I had only six minutes left, I headed to the stop across the street.

A man in his early 20s was already waiting there. I glanced down at my phone and saw an orange bus icon on a map, which showed me that the real bus had made its way to the end of Sykes Mountain Avenue.  I waited and the bus icon sat there. Another man walked up to the stop for the Orange Line. The three of us each stood there and messed around with our smartphones. I started to wonder if the bus got stuck at a long light, but then the estimated time of arrival changed to give the bus two extra minutes and the bus icon moved ahead.

The bus arrived right at the updated time. I showed the driver the app and asked if he was stuck at the light on Sykes. He said he had a stop there connecting to Greyhound. That explained the slight delay. “It works,” I told him. As I rode the bus, I continued to watch my location pin and the bus icon. The blue dot showing my location moved faster than the bus icon, but the two came together when I got off at my stop.

Now that the real-time app is available, Advance Transit is looking for people like you and me to test it and provide feedback. It’s easy to do! Visit the App Store or Google Play for the free download. Search “Advance Transit” (and make sure you filter for iPhone only apps if you’re using an iPad). Use it on a trip. Submit feedback through the main menu.

If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll find yourself realizing that this app could make it quite easy to use Advance Transit for mid-day trips, like a lunchtime run to King Arthur Flour or an afternoon meeting in Lebanon.

Stagecoach Away

More Bus Service for the Bradford Area and I-91

Exciting new bus service improvements from our partner, Stagecoach Transportation Services!
  • Expanded RIVER ROUTE (Wells River-Newbury-Bradford-Fairlee-Thetford TO Hanover-Lebanon-White River Junction)
    • More consistent timing
    • Better connectivity with Advance Transit
    • Late morning and mid-day trips
    • Service to Centerra Business Park, the new State complex in WRJ, and destinations along Rte. 5 including the Haven and King Arthur Flour
    • Reverse commute service – morning northbound and evening southbound trips
    • Eight daily trips to VA Medical Center
    • FARE FREE UNTIL DECEMBER 1, 2015
  • New CIRCULATOR bus provides service around Bradford, Newbury, Wells River, and Woodsville!
    • Runs Mon.-Fri. 8:30 am-4:30 pm
    • Provides access to grocery stores, pharmacy, senior center, Upper Valley Services, and more
    • FARE FREE UNTIL JANUARY 31, 2016

Find SCHEDULES and more info here.

Ledyard Bridge Bikes

New Study on Funding Local Transportation

Vital Communities is pleased to release a new study that examines an optional vehicle registration fee used by over a dozen New Hampshire municipalities. The fee, authorized under RSA 261:153 VI, allows municipalities to collect up to $5 per registration to establish local transportation improvement funds for projects as diverse as basic road maintenance, sidewalk construction, and public transit.

Vital Communities Transportation Program Manager Aaron Brown, the report’s author, concludes that a growing number of communities are interested in the fee and that towns and cities have benefited greatly from their local transportation funds.

“The municipalities that collect the fee range in population from under 2,000 to more than 100,000, but they share a common theme: the revenue collected under this program is essential for maintaining good local transportation options.” —Transportation Program Manager Aaron Brown

Representative Patricia Higgins, a Democrat who represents Hanover and Lyme, recently introduced a bill that would raise the maximum amount that a municipality may add to their vehicle registration fee from $5 to $10, but only if the voters of that municipality decide they want to raise more revenue.

“Towns and cities can no longer rely on state funds to meet their important transportation needs, be it repairing a bridge so goods can reach a market, funding public transportation so commuters can get to work, or making a bike route safer for students to get to school. This fee, totally optional, allows localities to identify and solve their own problems. I’m grateful for the work of Vital Communities in educating towns and cities all over the state of the existence of this enabling legislation, and I hope my bill will allow local residents more flexibility to arrive at local solutions.”

Read the full report: A Look at the Municipal Vehicle Registration Fee

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Got 5 Minutes? Chance to WIN $50

Do you live in Bradford, Hartford, Norwich, or Windsor? You have the chance win a $50 gift card to a LOCALLY-OWNED BUSINESS of your choice if you complete a 5-minute transportation survey. Click on your town to be linked to its survey.

          BRADFORD Follow-up Survey 
          HARTFORD Follow-up Survey 
          NORWICH Follow-up Survey
          WINDSOR Follow-up Survey 

This survey follows-up the SMART COMMUTE town transportation survey you may have taken in spring 2014. Smart Commute is a collaboration between the towns of Bradford, Hartford, Norwich, and Windsor and local nonprofit Vital Communities. The aim is to help residents of these towns save money, build community, and lower environmental impacts by making it easier to carpool, take the bus, walk, or bike.

You are encouraged to take the survey whether or not you took your town’s original survey in 2014. Thank you for your input!

Smart Commute Home Edition is a program of Vital Communities and is paid for through the generous support of the Canaday Family Foundation and The High Meadows Fund.

office bike share

Office Bike Share

When Vital Communities staff expressed interest in cutting down on car trips to meetings, Transportation Program Manager Aaron Brown found a way to help. He donated an old bike that was taking up space at home and set up an office bike share.

We added rear baskets large enough to fit a laptop and other supplies. Staff can reserve the bike through an online calendar and leave their cars parked for local trips.

Interested in setting up your own workplace bike share? Contact us to learn more.

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Your Input Needed – Stagecoach Bus River Route

Do you ride Stagecoach’s River Route? Or would you like to?

Stagecoach is improving efficiency and increasing options on the River Route Bus Service from Wells River, Newbury, Bradford, Fairlee, and Thetford to Hanover, White River Junction, and Lebanon.

Share your input at a public meeting on the proposed changes to the River Route. 

Tuesday, September 1
    – DHMC in Auditorium G from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
    – VA Hospital in B-44 Room 103B from 1:30 to 2:30 pm
    – Bugbee Senior Center in White River Junction from 6:30 to 7:30 pm

OR

Wednesday, September 2
      – Bradford Academy Building6 to 7 pm 

For more information, please call Stagecoach at 802.728.3773 or email Info@Stagecoach-Rides.org.

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Gear Up for Everyday Bicycling

Do you want to bike more? Ready to take the next step, but not quite sure where to start?  Vital Communities can help! In just one short hour, participants in our Everyday Bicycling workshop learn practical tips to stay safe and active on the road:

  • What gear you need (and don’t need) to stay safe and comfortable
  • How to make sure your bike is in good shape for getting to work, school, the grocery store, etc.
  • How to map out a route that fits with your time and comfort level
  • How to “read” the street and ride safely under a range of conditions

These workshops are free thanks to support from Go! Vermont. In addition to these workshops—available to workplaces and community groups—we also help schools organize Bike & Walk to School daysContact us to discuss scheduling a biking event for your group.

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