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Another View: Thank you, Lance Armstrong, for bringing it home

By: Charlene Miskimen
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Welcome to the first column in the Auburn Journal from the Sierra Foothills Cycling Club (SFCC)!
With the exploding popularity of bicycles we thought it time that the cycling community and the non-cycling community get acquainted, get to know each other and learn how best to share the road.
The SFCC is an Auburn-based non-profit organization committed to supporting and furthering the activity of cycling in our area. All ages and all riding abilities are welcome.
Our mission is to promote the sport of safe cycling for all levels in a fashion that embraces the social, mental and physical well-being of our members while supporting our community with charitable events. Our annual fund raising event, The Gold Country Century, raises money that we donate to groups furthering sports activities for children.
Why now? Thank you, Lance Armstrong, for bringing it home! His success has translated to you and I walking into our local bike shop to see what all the fuss is about. In 2009, $5.6 billion (yes, with a “b”) was spent on bicycles and equipment. In 2010 that number is over $6 billion. Suffice it to say, that it is a growing outdoor activity.
We get to live, drive and ride in one of the most beautiful areas in the country! When you encounter us out there on the road, at times it may look like we are gasping for breath, and we are, but we also ride to enjoy the scenery.
Sometimes we like to slow down and take in all that is around us and notice things that we have driven by many times before. Many of our beautiful roads are narrow and curvy.
Have you ever asked yourself what to do when rounding a corner and encountering a group of cyclists in the road? There is a right way to handle that and a wrong way for both driver and cyclist.
Bicycles are considered a vehicle on the road and we are responsible to follow the same rules and have the same rights as vehicles.
But back to my original question. What should you do in this situation?
These are the burning questions I want to answer in future columns. Email me other questions that perplex you about the driver/cyclist relationship.
I want to respond to your emails and begin a productive and positive conversation about actions and behaviors that impact us all. How do we go about making the driver/cyclist relationship a more harmonious one?
If this forum can have a small part in creating awareness and a safe environment for all of us then, well, that is a life with purpose.
Charlene Miskimen is the ride director with SFCC and has been cycling for four years.

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Contact the writer
Reach Charlene Miskimen at:
questions@sfcyclists.org.

More bicycle facts
• Bicycling is the second most popular outdoor activity in the U.S.
• 47 percent of Americans, age 16 and older, say they would like more bike facilities (bike lanes, paths and trails) in their communities.
• Most bike trips made by Americans are short: 50 percent are less than three miles.
• More than three times as many new bicycles (14.9 million) are sold in the US each year than cars (4.6 million).

Source: bikesbelong.org