Bike to Work Day at Dartmouth College

20170519_084418Bethany and I arrived bright and early at the Hop at Dartmouth College Friday, May 19, to greet employees and students who arrived that morning on two wheels instead of four. The cyclists were met with a reception of coffee, bagels, and fruit to reward their effort. While some people had never ridden their bike to work before, for others it was a daily ritual. We had a great time chatting with participants, pumping up flat tires, and sharing resources together on a beautiful May morning. About a dozen Dartmouth folks signed up for our Everyday Bicycling workshops — to be held on campus and scheduled for the summer! 20170519_084447

Aside from our hosts from Dartmouth College, we were joined by the Hanover Bike Ped Committee, the student-run Dartmouth Bikes, and Dartmouth’s bikeshare program, Zagster.

New sign-ups to Zagster received a free helmet and other “ZagSwag.” I signed up for the bikeshare, figuring it would be wonderful to have the option to bike around town rather than drive my car on the bustling streets of Hanover.

20170519_084533The process was simple and fast! I downloaded the Zagster app and signed up for an annual membership, which cost $20. The signup process took me less than 5 minutes. Soon enough, I was able to access a bike. The app shows you where there are available bikes and displays their bike number. Unlocking a bike is very easy: you enter the bike number into the app and the app gives you the unlock combination. You enter the unlock code into the keypad on the back of a Zagster bike and the bike automatically unlocks from the docking station.

From there, you can ride for an hour straight (on the weekdays) or for three hours straight on the weekends. The bikes are equipped with locks so you can use the bikes for errands around town without worry. Return the bike within the allotted time and you pay nothing above the cost of the annual membership. For the rest of the month of May, the Dartmouth Zagster bikeshare has a free trial day promotion. Enter promo code: dartmouthbikemonth for a free day trial!

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Even veteran bike commuter Dave Dostal joined Zagster at the event. “I’m 6’2″ and these bikes worked for me!” Though he lives just a half mile from campus, he would still recommend joining the program. “It’s much faster to bike to CVS from the Hop than to walk–even including sign-up time.” Dave thinks the bikeshare would also be useful for people who have to drive into town, because parking can be such an issue. “I only want to have to park once,” and the bikeshare allows him the flexibility to do just that.

Interested in joining Dartmouth’s bikeshare, Zagster? Check out their website.

Interested in hosting a bike workshop at your school or workplace? Contact Bethany at 802.291.9100 x111 or Bethany@VitalCommunities.Org for more information.

 

–Paige Heverly
Energy & Transportation Project Coordinator at Vital Communities

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Dirty Hands, Clean Bikes

Maintenance Haven Lisa GI had a lot of fun teaching a Basic Bike Maintenance workshop at the Upper Valley Haven on April 29, ably assisted by Lisa from the Haven!

A dozen community members and Haven staff gathered for hands-on instruction about common bike issues:

  • removing wheels
  • changing a tire
  • troubleshooting shifting problems
  • adjusting brakes
  • cleaning & greasing the chain (and putting it back on when it comes off!)

Though plenty of bike riders never learn these skills, those who do feel empowered and confident! In the words of workshop participants:

“Keep this class coming!”

“I already bike a lot, but this gives me more confidence to fix mechanical issues if they arise.”

“I would probably not repair a flat tire, but if I HAD to, I think I could manage.” 

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Interested in joining a workshop or hosting your own? Check out our earlier post about our Everyday Bicycling workshops. Or contact me at 802.291.9100 x111 or Bethany@VitalCommunities.Org for more info.

We’re able to run these workshops thanks to generous support from Local Motion and Go! Vermont.

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

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.

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.

Bike-Bus-Car Race 2014 (1)

And the bikes win!

L to R: Charlotte Jeffreys, Bethany Fleishman, Sharon Racusin, Marcia Cassidy, Martha McDaniel, Scot Drysdale, and Hilde Ojibway. Photo: Aaron Brown

A chilly autumn morning greeted 5 volunteers and 3 Vital Communities staff members who met in front of Dan and Whit’s to test an interesting question: Is it fastest to get from Norwich to Hanover during rush hour by taking the bus, riding a bike, or driving alone and finding parking? It was October 21, a normal Tuesday workday, and traffic was thick while the competitors waited for the bus to arrive. Three cyclists with varying levels of equipment were there. Scot sported a recumbent bicycle, which are exceptionally efficient converters of pedal power to speed. On the opposite spectrum was Hilde’s used purple Schwinn, an unassuming but serviceable machine.

Vital Communities Transportation Program Manager Aaron Brown had cyclists and drivers sign a pledge to follow all traffic laws while participating – no speeding cars, no bikes running red lights or stop signs, etc. This would be a fair and legal race. Then the familiar sight of a white and blue Advance Transit bus turned right at the Norwich Inn at little after 8 am.

Valley News reporter James Patterson joined Aaron, Bethany, and Charlotte on the Advance Transit Brown Route bus. The race began when they boarded. The two drivers – Martha and Marcia – headed off in pursuit of the lots where they normally park for work – one at Dewey and the other at Thompson Arena. Riding on the bus, it was hard to keep track of the two cars due to the steady stream of other vehicles in the left lane. The cyclists, however, were easy to spot. Scot blazed ahead with his safety flag flying several feet above his bike.

The bus and bikes traded the lead a few times going down Route 5. But, right after the I-91 northbound exit ramp, the bus hit traffic. It was clear early on that the bikes would win. The bus riders continued to look for the cars but couldn’t see them.

The bus riders arrived at the finish line at the Hopkins Center about 11.5 minutes after boarding at Dan and Whit’s. Scot, Hilde, and the third cyclist, Sharon, were all waiting for them. Scot had arrived there first. His ride took little more than 9 minutes. Hilde barely beat the bus, but she made sure to “keep the results neat and clean” by keeping all cyclists in the winner category.

The group waited for the drivers to arrive. And waited. And waited. Finally, after the 20-minute mark, Marcia emerged from the side of the Hopkins Center, where she had walked from Thompson. The group enjoyed coffee and pastries and waited for Martha to arrive. It took her more than 30 minutes to join the group!

We had guessed that the bikes or bus would win, but we didn’t think the differences would be so drastic. Thanks to good bus service, a separated bike lane, and no need to find parking, biking and taking the bus are the fastest, most convenient ways to get into Hanover at rush hour. Plus, Zipcars are available on Dartmouth’s campus, which means one can enjoy a shorter commute and still have access to a car during the day for meetings or errands.

CitS - Eric Talbot, RSG

Commuting by Bike

Resource Systems Group’s Eric Talbot rides his bike to work approximately 4 out of 5 days a week over the year. In the winter, when the weather is too harsh, Eric walks to work or rides the Green line on Advance Transit to White River Junction. Eric lives about a mile and a half from his office. His main motivations for riding his bike to work are that cars are expensive to own and maintain and he gets great exercise, especially going up a challenging hill on the way home.
Eric finds that most drivers are polite and accommodating to him on his commute. Even on roads without much shoulder, he has not had any problems. Eric mentioned a couple of benefits to working at RSG that help him commute to work on his bike: availability of shower on site and the ability to adjust his hours when the days get short to ride to work and home in the daylight

Christina Lorrey of King Arthur Flour accepted the company's Workplace of the Year award at the annual meeting of the Upper Valley Transportation Management Association. With her are former UVTMA Steering Committee Chairman Dan Dahmen (left) and Vital Communities Transportation Program Manager Aaron Brown (right).

Transportation Award Winners Announced

King Arthur Flour, Dartmouth Coach, and Hypertherm vanpool drivers Bill Goggin and Dave Churchill were honored with transportation awards at the 12th Annual Meeting of the Upper Valley Transportation Management Association (TMA) on Thursday, June 19. The annual awards recognize organizations and individuals making it easier to bike, walk, carpool, and ride the bus in the Upper Valley.

A special award was presented to David Palmer, who retired this year from Stagecoach Transportation Services after more than 30 years of service to central Vermont.

“Our annual awards are one of the most rewarding parts of my job. It’s heartening to see that our region is building a culture around efficient transportation options and making real progress toward sustainability,” said Aaron Brown, transportation program manager at Vital Communities, which oversees the TMA. “We’re especially pleased to honor David Palmer, who turned a very difficult proposition – the building of a public transportation system in rural central Vermont – into a service that has helped thousands of local residents get to work, medical appointments, and other destinations efficiently and affordably.”

King Arthur Flour was honored as Workplace of the Year for its electric vehicle charging stations, internal bike-share program, participation in the Way to Go commuter challenge, and preferential carpool parking. Dartmouth Coach was honored for Project of the Year in recognition of its new service to New York City. The Commuters of the Year are Hypertherm vanpool drivers Bill Goggin and Dave Churchill.

The Upper Valley TMA is a program of Vital Communities that works to reduce reliance on driving alone. The TMA’s members include local municipalities, transit agencies, major employers, and three regional planning commissions.

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