Sunday, December 20, 2009

Good news.... Maybe

As I was getting a ride home today, I happened to look over at the keystone trail as I was crossing it in a couple of places in town.  In Sarpy county around 36th st it looks clear and good.  And around 72nd and Pacific it looks as if it has been plowed clear.  I know that NFM cleared the section that runs behind their warehouse.  But maybe all the voices have been heard?  Can anyone else confirm other parts of the trail?

Yet another reason to ride

If you missed Friday's Bike deLight's ride, or would like to get out again and ride there are a few of us meeting on Monday evening in downtown Omaha.

For more info click HERE.
This ride will be laid back, casual and with no pre-determined route.  Come out and join us if you like.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A trendy business cycle

I saw this article in the OWH a few days ago and began to think whether or not downtown omaha has enough foot or bike traffic to keep shop that sells medium- to high-end bikes profitable. I agree there is a gap in bike shop availability and think providing rentals is a different way to increase bike presence downtown. I also think Mr. Swan has some huevos to open a bike shop in this economy. Kuddos to his entrepreneurial spirit! I'm always excited to check out bike shops and am interested in seeing how this bike shop does! Best of Luck!

A pedal-peddling retailer is spinning into north downtown, selling bicycles and related accessories for everyone from racers to commuters and offering bike rentals and taxis to tourists, concertgoers and future ballpark visitors.

The owner and the manager of Greenstreet Cycles hope to tap into several converging trends with their new venture just east of Film Streams at the Ruth Sokolof Theater, near 13th and Mike Fahey Streets.

The store, which plans to open in March, will be the latest of about a dozen bike shops in the Omaha metro area, plus several large national chains with bike sections, that serve a growing population of cyclists.

More people are turning to cycling as a competitive and recreational sport and also as an environmentally friendly form of transportation. Omaha’s expanding trail system and wellness movements like Activate Omaha are further fueling local interest.

Greenstreet Cycles owner Ben Swan said the downtown area specifically is ripe for serving the biking community, himself included.

The closest shops to his planned store are Olympia Cycle at 1324 N. 40th St. and Re-Cycle Bike Shop at 1902 S. 13th St., which refurbishes old bikes along with selling new ones and trading.

The growing downtown Omaha population, recent completion of connector trails between the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge and the Wabash Trace Nature Trail, and various north downtown attractions made Swan more willing to dive into his first retail venture at a time when some retailers are struggling.

The 28-year-old entrepreneur is investing his own money toward half the $150,000 start-up costs. He is working with local banks to secure the remaining financing.

Swan, a native of Des Moines and 2006 graduate of Creighton University, is vice president of Omaha-based RIC, a bank service vendor that provides software, trust asset review and risk management reports to large regional banks. He also is an owner-member of Omaha-based Entrust Settlements, a life settlement broker.

Swan works near 87th Street and West Center Road and lives downtown.

A recreational biker, Swan said he saw a hole in the market: no downtown bike shop. So did an employee of a La Vista bike shop.

Sarah Johnson, a 28-year-old Omaha native, was working at Highgear Bicycle Store at 8610 Brentwood Dr. when she told Swan of her desire to someday own a bike shop in Omaha. She had owned a bicycle and coffee shop in Grand Lake, Colo., before returning to Omaha last March.

“I just want people to get on bikes,” said Johnson, a 2003 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “I feel like a bike evangelist, just going around sharing the joys of biking.”

“She’s just so good with client education,” Swan said of Johnson. “Very charismatic, just somebody you could trust and count on for future service.”

Swan said he knows business and routinely thinks about starting businesses, but he realized he was no expert in cycling or servicing bikes. He asked Johnson to manage the store and also recruited Highgear’s head mechanic, Andy Pedley, 29.

In addition to the three full-time employees of Swan, Johnson and Pedley, the store will add other full-time and part-time positions depending on seasonal fluctuations.

“I knew if I had the right people, I’m just giving them a platform to do what they do best,” Swan said.

Johnson had a special interest in Swan’s planned location: She always wanted to open a store in Dundee or downtown.

The opening of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge in September 2008, linking Council Bluffs and downtown Omaha, was “the tipping point” in downtown’s potential for biking culture, Swan said.

Johnson agreed.

“With the pedestrian bridge there, we just saw a huge opportunity,” she said. “We just figured it’s just a matter of time before someone does it, so we’re just excited that it’s us.”

Johnson said they considered spaces at 11th and Jones Streets and 10th Street and Capitol Avenue, but the new 22 Floors building was ideal for its proximity to the pedestrian bridge, trails, hotels, Qwest Center Omaha and the under-construction ballpark.

The 2,000-square-foot store is on the ground level between BBB Skateshop, which is part of the Saddle Creek Records complex, and Goodnights Pizza Bar + Patio, scheduled to open by January.

The three-story building also has 22 apartments, which were fully leased within two months, said Christian Christensen of Bluestone Development.

Christensen, the 22 Floors building developer, said the bike shop complements other nearby businesses. They include the independent theater Film Streams, retailers Urban Outfitters and American Apparel, Blue Line Coffee and Slowdown bar.

And because the bike shop is not just selling bikes but promoting social activities, it especially fits with 22 Floors, he said. The apartments’ first-floor lounge, featuring a flat-screen television, Xbox video game system, pool table and laundry facilities, is meant to encourage socializing among the Generation Y tenants.

Swan said the bike shop plans to offer spin classes, social bike rides and “gold sprints,” in which bikes are raced in place at entertainment spots like bars.

Jason Kulbel, one of two record label executives who run Slowdown and developed the neighboring complex, said the bike shop is a modern and like-minded business for the area, which is seeing more cyclists.

“There’s a crew of bikers that one of our bartenders is in,” Kulbel said. “They come to the bar a lot, and I see them riding around on the weekends a lot. I think there’s a bike culture, even though it might be small, around here.”

“Bikes are cool right now,” he said.

Activate Omaha, an exercise advocacy group, said 693 bike commuters logged more than 129,000 miles between mid-May and mid-August in the Bike Omaha Challenge.

The League of American Bicyclists, quoting the Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey, said 0.55 percent of Americans use bicycles as their primary means of getting to work. That’s up 36 percent from the first survey in 2005 and 43 percent since the 2000 Census.

The metro area can support another shop, said Miah Sommer, store manager at Highgear Bicycle.

Highgear is moving from 8610 Brentwood Drive to 8410 S. 72nd Plaza in Papillion for higher visibility, Sommer said.

The store, which shares the same owners as the Trek Bicycle Store at 7214 Jones St., also will change its name to Trek when it opens at the new location Feb. 1, Sommer said.

“I think there’s still enough to go around for everybody,” he said. “There are so many people biking now than when I started here six years ago.”

Swan said everyone from his bankers to his landlord has been eager to give advice on the new store. A fellow cyclist is designing the logo, Johnson said.

“Everybody is just bending over backward to make this happen,” Swan said. “I don’t think it would be like this in another city.”

Where: 1310 Mike Fahey St.

Size: About 2,000 square feet, with retail space covering about 1,100 square feet

Opening: March 1

Employees: Three full-time positions and additional full-time and part-time positions with seasonal fluctuations

What: Bicycle equipment and service store that also will lead free social rides, offer spin classes, rent bikes for rides on nearby trails and the pedestrian bridge, and provide three-wheeled bike taxis that transport two to four people to downtown destinations

Contact the writer:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bike De'Lights Holiday Lights Tour TOMORROW (12/18)

Temperature wise, it looks like Friday, December 18 is going to cooperate with the first annual Bike De'Lights Holiday Lights Tour (more info). It will still be chilly, but not crazy cold.

So tell your boss you don't want to go to his stinking Christmas party, but would rather ride your bike in the cold, don your gay apparel and join us at 7:30pm 7:00pm (or earlier for some pre-ride refreshments at Glo) at the Marcus Midtown Crossing Theater at Midtown Crossing, near 33rd and Farnam.

If your bike isn't sufficiently decked, I'll have some extra sleigh bells on hand if you want jingle all the way.

For last minute ride updates, follow @BikeOmaha on Twitter.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hello Omaha, I love you, but you're bringing me down.

(This has nothing to do with anything, but it looks cool right? But tell me what the front brake is doing)

Mod may have just posted on this, but since it's a fresh grumble on my mind, I thought I'd give my two bits on the state of trail clearing.

I had to turn around and go get my car while riding to work today. Living in mid-town and working near 84th and Giles gives me few choices for direction. There is 72nd and 84th. Both are unwise to ride when roads are clear, but now, when covered in all this gray and white cold stuff, it's down right nonsense. On my winter commuter, I figure I am going about half the speed I would normally be riding. That makes riding streets twice as dangerous - and just a nuisance to drivers who are already freaked out because they find their wheels slipping while texting and eating french fries. Mmmm french fries.

The Keystone is my only option. I had no issue getting there from 35th and Dodge and getting on the trail right North of Center. It was actually plowed -- for about 80 yards. Then snow became about 18 inches deep. I walked for a bit, hoping it would clear, but alas I trudged back, got on my bike, almost got hit by a bus, rode home and got my car. Since it was plowed this little bit, I know it can be done. This is totally not Lynskey.

Ok, obviously, there are not many of us out there riding. But when I see crews clearing park trails in Elmwood and the park at Aksarben village - trails that go in circles - I get a bit frustrated. I would like the choice to ride to work, but when it does not even become an option because I cannot access trails designed to get me throughout Omaha. Come on, you're bringing me down.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Snow on Omaha trails

I'm not sure if this is the right place to send stuff but I figure if enough of us send something then it will get to the right people.

Follow the link and submit your request for snow to be removed from our trails.

Velo Garage Sale TODAY

Some of you may already know this, but Bike Masters is hosting a Velo Garage Sale today. Do you have some old bikes or bike parts you want to sell? Swing by Bike Masters between 5:00 and 6:00 and check it in. 10% of any sales does go back to Bike Masters, but that's common with most hosted garage sales.

Call 964-1080 if you have questions. The sale goes from 5:00 till 8:00 tonight only. I was over there last night, and there are some good frames and used bikes already set up to sell.

I'm heading over after work and adding my wife's early 1980 Schwinn mountain bike to the sale items. That frees up a bit more space in my garage.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

So is anyone else annoyed at Omaha?

Let me pose another question. If Omaha can't take care of clearing snow from it's current bike paths, how is it to manage bike lanes when those lanes are pushed to the curb?

For five years now every time it snows the Keystone (in Douglas County) rarely gets cleared (Ralston somehow get's there section clear). I bring this up because once again the Keystone is covered in drifts of snow. As a four season commuter and one half of a one car family I find this annoying. Now I understand we received a lot of snow but having grown up in Lincoln, a town who's bike paths get cleared before the streets, I find this unacceptable. The difference? Lincoln's bike paths, I believe, fall under the jurisdiction of the parks and rec department. Who is responsible for Omaha's trails?

Okay, enough lip service from me, I'll shut up now and keep riding my bike rain, sleet or snow. We cyclists persevere, we always do.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Bike De'Lights rescheduled for Friday, December 18.

The quantity of snow on the trails and streets that we will be using, along with the forcasted single digit temps on Friday, would make this a difficult ride for casual riders.  The extended forcast for the 18th looks much better, and most of the snow should be off of the streets and trails by then.  See you on the 18th.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Last minute ride?

So I've seen the weather forecast but just out of curiosity does anyone want to go ride at Tranquility?  I'll be free after about 4pm.  Post a reply if your are interested.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

gravel grinder saturday

First called weekend, who's up for some gravel grinder to Springfield,NE they have one of those old school soda machines. Meet up at Scooters next to ak-sar-ben around 9ish leave 9:30ish. Go get some awesome soda from old school machine (I never had soda from this place chances are it might be bad) . We will have south wind to to push us home...40 plus miles post if you like to go... that means you ... yes you reading this post....
change of plans 2:30 jewell bring your climbing legs

Wind Chill

That first day of wind chill in the teens is brutal. Who else rode in today?


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ride Tonight

From T-bone...

Since we haven't done many of these this year we thought tonight would be perfect. Meet at the Blue Line downtown (749 N 14th St) at 6pm and roll at 6:15pm. We'll ride the paved trails over to Manawa and do a lap or two then head back downtown. If the moon is bright enough we might do a "no-lights" lap.

how sweet is this

Pedal-powered x-mass tree check it out