Check out our write up in Mount Mercy

Mount Mercy earns honorable mention from League of American Bicyclists

In an effort to promote bicycling as a form of transportation and healthy living, Mount Mercy University has done a number of things to convert the campus to a bike-friendly space. These efforts have led Mount Mercy to receive an honorable mention in the Bicycle Friendly University category from the League of American Bicyclists, one of only two universities in Iowa to be recognized.

“We have worked in conjunction with Nikki Davidson, the president of Bike2Work Consultants in Cedar Rapids, on a couple of events such as the Mayor’s Bike Ride, Meet Me at the Market weekly rides, and other events that encourage individuals to bike,” said Brenda Steinke, director of recreation and wellness. “As a result of our interaction with Nikki, she suggested that we apply for the League of American Bicyclists Bike Friendly University Award.”

According to the League of American Bicyclists, Iowa ranks number 25 in bicycle-friendly states and Cedar Rapids was named one of six bicycle-friendly communities in the state.
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Mount Mercy’s Student Activities and Recreation and Wellness Programs have been working to make the university a more bike friendly university in a variety of ways. The two groups have worked together with the sustainability grant program to purchase a bike rack, host bike safety information events, and assist with funding the annual Bike to Work Week and the Bike to Lunch program.

Currently, Mount Mercy has two bikes available for check out at the Sisters of Mercy University Center, along with helmets and locks. The university plans to expand the number of bikes available for check out so it can offer group bike rides and increase participation in the weekly Meet Me at the Market events and other bicycling events.

“The city of Cedar Rapids is making strides to become a bicycle friendly community by expanding local trails and designating bike lanes throughout the city,” Steinke said. “Our goal is to encourage students and employees to consider bicycling as a form of transportation when possible.”

Confused about bike lane markings?

Bike Lane Markings

The quick answer to on-street bike lane markings:

  1.  Solid white marking–do not cross
  2.  Dotted/dashed white markings…you may cross into a lane.  That does include cars that may     need to turn right
  3. Green lanes–may be a conflict point of some sort-watch for pedestrians, vehicles and cyclists
  4. “Sharrows”  – A time when cars and bikes share the lane.  There is not a specific bike lane.  This is indicated with a cyclist stencil and chevron arrows
  5. Bike lane will normally have a cyclist stencil with an arrow for direction
  6. Buffered bike lane will be an additional 1.5-3 feet that is striped like a ladder on the traffic side of  the bike lane to give an additional buffer from traffic
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These are just 2 examples of bike lane markings.

Dashed yellow marking–trail is divided…ride to the right. (used on trails where there are walkers, runners and cyclists)

If the first three examples sound familiar, it is because that is the same information you would use in a vehicle.  Solid white-Dashed white.  Green thermal paint is relatively new, and it is a marking for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.

You will be more comfortable with biking and when sharing the road with cyclists when you have more information.

Ragbrai with a Backpack

Several years ago my sisters and I decided to do Ragbrai in a different way for us.  Instead of tent camping, we decided to use a combination of Bed and Breakfasts and host homes.  We crafted and sent out what we thought was a terribly clever ‘ad’ for the sisters from TX and KY with Iowa roots.

We received calls back from hosts homes, and found several wonderful people to stay with during the week.  Small and big homes, but the common thread was very nice people.  It was nice having a bed every night; a definite contrast from tenting in the Freezing Cold/Stormy/Humid/Sweltering HOT ‘normal’ Ragbrai weather.

We arrived in Sioux City on Saturday late afternoon and were disappointed to find that we couldn’t put our gear on the Ragbrai truck until Sunday morning, the official start.

We left our luggage with some newly met camper/riders who understood our dilemma, and set up a time to be back before they left for the 1st leg of Ragbrai.  They were about 15 feet from the semi truck for Ragbrai and we did trust them.   We rode to our B&B for the night, about 5 blocks away.  After a nice night in a cozy bed, and a great breakfast, we headed down to the Ragbrai truck.  We were about 5 minutes later than expected, and the camper/riders had left.  Our luggage was no where in sight.  We didn’t panic and thought perhaps they had loaded the luggage before they left, but we were mildly concerned.

At the next stop (Storm Lake) our luggage was nowhere to be found.  Ragbrai staff was contacted, and we felt like our luggage would be found soon.

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We stayed a a variety of places, host and B &B’s, and the hosts were quite nice and would allow us to wash our extra shirt/our 1 pair of socks and undergarments.  We checked with Ragbrai every day, but our stuff was never found.

I will say it was pretty freeing: not having to claw through dirty, Monday-Saturday plastic labeled bags for our daily wear.  We still had a great time.  That Ragbrai stands out in many ways, and it’s a story I often tell.  And it was a great learning experience:

you really DON’T need all the stuff you take…….


My Yellow Car

Sacrilege!  How can a bike to work consultant even THINK about driving a car?

How?  Because when you do choose to bike to work, it is not an all or nothing proposition.

I have had my car in for repairs on the paint for two months.  There were some times that I did miss it greatly.  I did have access to another car, but I like to ride my bike (is there a song there? :). I rode my pink bike to many appointments, and for many errands.  I even rode to a much better parking at a graduation when you ride your bike!

But I do love my yellow car.  It’s a 2004 yellow car….economical.  But it can haul stuff…including my bike.  And when it rained for some early morning appointments during Bike to Work week…well…yes, I missed my car.  I missed hauling stuff. That week I especially missed that it hauled my bike.   The car I had access to hauled groceries, but not bikes.  The car wasn’t cute, speedy and fun to drive.  And it wasn’t a fun color either.

BUT I did survive….and thrive!  I still loved riding my bike even though I got rained on.  My appointments understood.  And yes, at appropriate times, I did bring a change of clothes when wet bike clothes just weren’t professional enough.  I was able to utilize bathrooms to change and clean up.  It can be done.  Employers, listen up:

Two of the most asked for amenities for cyclists biking to work are

1)  Secure parking and

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I’d like to think I practice what I preach.  It is possible to bike to work.  It is STILL refreshing, healthy, economical and environmentally friendly…even in the rain.  I didn’t know I wouldn’t have my car for two months, but that’s ok, ’cause I can do most of what I need to on my bike.

I did miss my car and was happy to get it back…looking great!  Tomorrow…I am going to do something that I cannot do on my bike:  Go get some mulch, and some sod….summer is here…but I still need to do some hauling for lawn work that was planned for Spring.  After that?  I’m going to ride my bike.  I’ll be smiling on both trips.

How do YOU work your errands with a bike?  email me at:



Ride of Silence: 2014 Wednesday, May 21

Check your local listings for the ride in your area.  Go to

Have you ever had a bike accident?

I am thankful I have only had two bike accidents..and none severe.  One was on a trail, and one was on the road.  We are all careful, and think that it won’t/can’t happen to us, but it can.  Just as in a car, we are subject to others on the road, be it vehicular or another bicyclist.  As cyclists, we must be watchful of anyone around us and be able to react accordingly.

Years ago, when in a relationship with my soon to be husband, I had a one speed orange bike.  It looked like a 10-speed (am I dating myself?) and I loved it.  Clarification:  10-speed= 21+ speed, drop handle bars/road bike style.

My fiancee threw it away when I was at work.  I was understandably angry, but he promised to get me a new and better one after we were married.  In the throes of love, I believed him.

He did tell me that his aunt was killed on a bike, and even though I felt bad for him and his family, it did not resonate with me; I was going to be  VERY CAREFUL on my bike.

I never did get my bike from him…and went many years without one, until one Mother’s Day/Birthday:  my oldest daughter Kirstin bought me a ‘new’ bike.  It was grey, and I was ecstatic to have a bike again.   The bike issue was one I  still did harbor some anger about.
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That marriage eventually did end, but I was riding a significant amount in the later years.  It is only now when I am on more roads than trails, and I’ve had a few close encounters with vehicular drivers, do I really come only a little closer to  understanding what devastation it could be to loved ones when an accident happens.   I know my then husband was concerned for my safety, as is my present husband.  Just like your loved ones are concerned for you when you ride.

For those who have lost a loved one….my heart goes out to you.  The Ride of Silence, a movement across the nation, honors those who have been killed or injured on a bike, brings awareness to all that bicyclists are on the road and to be careful.   We also stand together that we must all SHARE THE ROAD.  

I hope you participate in the ride in your community.  It is a way to honor those who have gone before.




Tomorrow, group ride 7:10 am CST

Meet at Cedar Lake at the Pavilion area.

Bike2Work Consultants will host a group ride from the NE side of Cedar Rapids, to the SW side:

Do you work at Intermec/Honeywell?  Transamerica?  GE Capital?  Great America Leasing?  The Convention Center?  We will pass these businesses and more.  You can have questions answered and meet others who are new to biking to work.

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Arrive at work refreshed and focused on this ride, the total distance is 7.4 miles.  It takes about 15 minutes to go 4 miles and about 10 mph.  Join Bike2Work Consultants for this ride.


Electric Bikes? Yay or Nay?

I was excited about trying out an electric bike at my local bike shop. (Northtowne Cycling and Fitness) Grabbing my bike to pedal there…ugh…flat as a pancake tire. Ok, I had been on a ride earlier in the week, so I pumped it up and took off. But had to turn around less than a mile away. Flat again. So, loaded the bike in the car and drove to the shop, hoping they could fix my tire while I test rode the electric bike.

I like the exercise of a bike, but sometimes the reason I DON’T ride is because I schedule my activities too closely together. This keeps me from being able to ride at times.

I was able to test drive several styles and models of electric bikes. I must admit….I loved it. I could see so many possibilities! First and foremost, my husband has a chronic disease that keeps him from riding with me since I tend to ride long distances recreation-ally. This electric bike would allow him to ride with me while I ride my road bike. And if I ride my commuter bike, he could just give a jolt of push when needed.
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This electric bike could also help me as I schedule my meetings and events. I could arrive not sweaty (what am I saying? of course I don’t sweat!) and fresh enough to give a presentation.

I also like that I can pedal when the electric portion is engaged. It is still giving me some exercise. The bike is heavier, but I’m ok with that as a transportation choice. That still gives me a leg work out. I ride my mountain bike when I’m looking for a little extra exercise, so the electric bike could be an option there too.

I do see that there is an issue on trails if a bike goes speeding past walkers or other cyclists. It is the responsibility of the rider to be considerate of trail users and call out or better yet SLOW DOWN when on trails. On the flip side, it will allow someone who is lives farther from their work to be able to ride on the roads (still side roads, not highways!) and then have a longer ride in the evening when they may not be as rushed.

The electric bike is a good option to consider. Check one out at your local bike shop!

EcoFest in Cedar Rapids at NewBohemia District and Czech Village

Music, demonstrations, films at CSPS Hall.  A variety of fun events and information!
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Check it out on Saturday, April 26th from 10 am until 4 pm

Meet Me at the Market Registration open!

Bike2Work Consultants is working with NewBo City Market and the Meet Me at the Market program to develop a new formula for the biking piece of the event.  This is a  free, community event.  We will offer several different skill levels of cycling with a leader, or a map if you want to go on your own.  We’ll also be offering some special evenings where we will ride to a destination and do a quick tour.

Levels for biking include:

Meet Me at the Market Mini-family friendly  1-3 miles

Meet Me at the Market NewBE-fun ride -6-10 miles

Meet Me at the Market Adventurer-intermediate-9-18 miles

Meet Me at the Market Mega-20-30 miles

More information to come…but for now…just register…
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at the  link below and then come down each Thursday  from May through September to check in. You will meet and join others at NewBo City Market  in walking, running,(Couch to 5K program) biking or a yoga program. Get a group together, or meet your friends and neighbors, have an late afternoon/evening out with healthy exercise and fresh air.  Not to mention all the great vendors at NewBo City Market.  Take some time for YOU!

Click on the link, then MEET ME and register under the Event Brite tab.  You only need to register once each year, then check in on the days you attend.  See you at the Market!




Tell me about your first ride of the ‘Season’

Happily, the streets were dry and I decided to ride my bike to a B2W Consultant client meeting.

If you live in the Midwest or the East, you are quite tired of the winter, and I daresay, even in other parts of the country, the winter season has seemed quite long.  I was happy to get my road bike out and go to a meeting, even if it was 16 degrees.

The route for this meeting was one where there is a hill. In the summer I have no problem climbing it,  but it still is steep.  I turned onto the hill and continued riding…and then…a giggle came out of my mouth.  Surprised…I laughed.   Then, another giggle.

I am over 40…and I like to laugh…but what a surprise for me to hear a giggle coming out of my mouth when riding up the hill.  And I couldn’t suppress it either….the rest of the climb….giggles continued to pop out.
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Yes, I was happy to be able to ride my bike, even up a hill.  That first ride, after a icy and snowy winter….Priceless.  By the way….I had on a light fleece jacket, Pearl iZUMI high vis jacket and mitten-gloves.  I was plenty warm.

E-mail me with a description of your first ride of the season….even if you rode all winter.  I’m guessing you still have a story about the first nice day.

Spring is coming! Bike on!