Author Archive

Rules for Lady Cyclist, Circa 1895

Historically, the bicycle had a tremendous impact on empowering women during the 19th and early 20th Century. However, like many of the roads at the time, the process was pretty bumpy.

The blog Brain Pickings has unearthed a copy of a 1895 New York World newspaper article that details the 41 ‘Don’t’s for female cyclists. Brain Pickings says it best: “Equal parts amusing and appalling, the list is the best (or worst, depending on you look at it) thing since the Victorian map of woman’s heart.”

A few of my personal favorites include:

  • Don’t chew gum. Exercise your jaws in private.
  • Don’t use bicycle slang. Leave that to the boys.
  • Don’t try to ride in your brother’s clothes “to see how it feels.”
  • Don’t scream if you meet a cow. If she sees you first, she will run.
  • Don’t appear to be up on “records” and “record smashing.” That is sporty.

Apparently, a lady’s bloomers was an area of significant concern:

  • Don’t wear a garden party hat with your bloomers.
  • Don’t ask “What do you think of my bloomers?”.
  • Don’t scratch a match on the seat of your bloomers.
  • Don’t discuss bloomers with every man you know.

However, while this list might seem ignorant and out-of-date, there are still some useful gems for today’s cyclist (regardless of gender):

  • Don’t faint on the road. [Always a useful reminder]
  • Don’t forget your toolbag.
  • Don’t wear clothes that don’t fit.
  • Don’t contest the right of way with cable cars.
  • Don’t overdo things. Let cycling be a recreation, not a labor.
  • Don’t ignore the laws of the road because you are a woman. [Or don't ignore the laws, regardless of who you are.]
  • Don’t undertake a long ride if you are not confident of performing it easily. [Cycling should be fun; take it easy and enjoy it.]

To check out the list in it entirety and more content like this, check out Brain Pickings.

Get On The Greenways

Dave Connelly, 2002

Spring Break is upon us, which means no work for everyone, right? Eh, probably not. But with the weather warming up and fewer students and classes to attend (or attend to), now seems like the perfect time to get back on the saddle and enjoy one of Durham’s great cycling resources: the greenway system.

The Durham Bike and Hike Map shows you all of the great routes of which you can take advantage. The American Tobacco Trail is always a favorite among my friends. I particularly like the North-South Greenway that cuts through Rock Quarry Park. No matter which route you choice, you’re bound to have fun; the greenways are specifically designed to link neighborhoods and points of interest around Durham. So even if you’re just going to ride for 30 minutes, spend it exploring Durham on your bike. You won’t regret it!

The Man Who Lived On His Bike [VIDEO]

Just a fun video to start the week. Happy Cycling!

Ninth Street Derby: Spectator & Volunteer Opportunity

Message of interest from Rusty Miller, Duke Cycling Head Coach:

On Sunday February 26, bicycle racing will return to Durham.  The Ninth Street Derby is a full day of criterium bicycle racing for teams from the Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference and for the community at large.  There will be a full road closure of Ninth, Perry, Iredell, and Markham Streets to make a half-mile course that competitors will lap in as little as a minute.  The finish line will be near the Regulator bookshop.

Main events for the day will be 60-minute races for the top collegiate athletes at 1:00pm, and for professionals and elite amateurs at 4:30pm.  The remainder of the day will feature beginner and intermediate races for collegiate athletes in the morning and for the community beginning at 2:00pm.  Duke will seek to defend its regular season ACCC title against strong squads from NC State, UNC, ECU, Appalachian State, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia, US Naval Academy, and others.

The spectacle of criterium racing is not unlike NASCAR as packs of cyclists jostle in close quarters for the best drafting positions in the field.  Excitement is guaranteed.  A pace car will lead the pack of riders around the city streets at speeds approaching 35 mph.  Spectators can walk around the course or sit tight at one of the dozen bars and restaurants along the course.

A full schedule and race flier is up at  If you would consider serving as a course marshal for a couple of hours, you can indicate that on a google form linked on the website.

We hope to see you out!

Rusty Miller
Head Coach, Duke Cycling

10 Lessons from the World’s Great Biking Cities has compiled a list of the top 10 lesson that cyclist and communities should take away from the world’s great biking cities like Amsterdam, Barcelona and Copenhagen. Their top ten lessons are:

  1. It’s the infrastructure, stupid
  2. Bike share!
  3. It’s safer than a sofa
  4. Say “thank you”
  5. Turn streets into backyards
  6. Let prices tell the truth
  7. You don’t need “bike clothes”
  8. Electrify it
  9. Admit it: it’s emotional
  10. It’s a virtuous cycle

You can check out the details of these lessons on this page.

Interestingly, the first, fifth, and last lessons are centered on the need for proper infrastructure/biking environment. Duke and Durham have done a lot in recent years to improve bike infrastructure by adding new bike lanes all over town and placing sharrows on roads too narrow for a bike lane. However, I would be remise if I didn’t acknowledge that there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Personally, I would like to see the abandoned railroads leading out of Duke Hospital, along West Village and near Goldenbelt converted to multi-use trails and  see continuous bike lanes from Duke’s West Campus to downtown Durham and the American Tobacco Trail. Have your own idea on how to improve bike infrastructure and connectivity at Duke and around Durham? Feel free to share in the comments section. Happy Cycling!


Zombie Survival Training with Duke Campus Farm

Worried that you might not have the skills to avoid a zombie apocalypse? Or are you just interested in learning to live more sustainably? The Duke Campus Farm is hosting a series of workshops throughout the spring to help you survive a litany of catastrophes, whether they be living dead-related or not.

You should definitely check out the Basic Bike Repair workshop on February 24th at Durham Cycles on Ninth Street, especially if you’re new to cycling. (No one wants to get stranded with a flat). In addition, the Beer Brewing and Cheese Making workshops look particularly awesome as well, though all the events promise to be a fun time for all.

Space at some of these events is limited (and quickly filling up), so be sure to RSVP today on the Duke Campus Farm’s website. Happy Cycling!

Benefits of a Bicycle

(via the European Cycling Federation‘s Facebook Page)

Infographic on Bike Safety

The good folks at Bike Arlington have put together a great infographic to remind pedestrians, cyclist, and drivers alike of safe practices. Check it out!


New Shower Map

Brian Williams at Duke Parking & Transportation has created a new map of the shower facilities available for registered bike commuters at Duke. The facilities include:

  • Fuqua School of Business, only for use by Fuqua students, faculty and staff
  • Wilson Gym, for registered commuters
  • LSRC-C Wing, for registered students and employees
  • Fitzpatrick Center, for Pratt students and employees
  • School of Nursing, for Nursing students and employees
  • Trent Hall, for Trent Hall students and employees
  • Brodie Gym, for registered commuters
  • Smith Warehouse, for registered commuters

All of these shower facilities are card access, some of which require special permission. Be sure to check the map description to find out who to contact if you need access to a particular shower facility. As a reminder, all undergraduates have access to the Wilson and Brodie Gym showers throughout their hours of operation.

Chronicle Column: Sharrow the road

Be sure to check out Liz Bloomhardt’s column in the Duke Chronicle about the benefits of sharrows. You can read it here or grab a copy from newsstands around campus.

As I’m sure many of you have noticed, the sharrow stenciling has commenced! In addition, a number of the bike lanes are also being repainted, including stormdrain grate painting. Be on the look out for these new improvements.

Also, it is important to thank Brian Williams and Duke Parking & Transportation for making cycling safety a big priority this year. Their efforts are sincerely appreciated.

Chronicle Column: More Bikes Please!

Duke Chronicle columnist Milap Mehta published an article today describing the commuting situation for off-campus undergraduates. For him, it is simply more cost-effective and convenient to bike to campus than to drive to the Blue Zone or take the La Salle bus. And since Duke has a free bike loan program, it was fairly simple for him to get a bike and start riding. However, Mehta also observed some serious shortcomings in an otherwise awesome program.

Since biking is such a great option for some commuters, I was shocked that bikes are in limited supply at Duke. On any given day there are only one or two bikes available for rental. The Outpost opens at 12 p.m., and usually it runs out by 12:05.

When exploring the bike racks outside of the Outpost, one may find many bikes in various states of disrepair. Some have loose spokes on their wheels, broken brakes and other mechanical malfunctions.

The Outpost office itself appears to be underfunded and undersupplied. In addition to the scarcity of bicycles and the obvious need for repairs, the computers are outdated and the ventilation system seems in drastic need of an upgrade. The less-than-stellar condition of the Outpost is surprising considering the decent condition of most Duke facilities.

If you echo these concerns or have ideas on how to improve the Duke Bikes program, drop us a comment! We’ll be working with other campus groups and administrators to address these and other issues with the Outpost and Duke Bikes and want to ensure that your voice gets heard.

Also, feel free to reach out directly to members of the Duke Administration. Getting input from critical stakeholders helps them do their jobs better and makes it more likely that your concerns will get addressed. Plus, it sounds more convincing to them if they hear it directly from students, faculty and staff rather than through a middle person. The following people will be involved in on-going conversions on the Duke Bike program / the Outpost:

  • Jordan Hale, Coordinator for the Outpost, OSAF - jordan.hale [AT] duke [DOT] edu
  • Brian Williams, Transportation Demand Management Coordinator, Duke Parking & Transportation – bpw3 [AT] duke [DOT] edu
  • Christina Lieu, Vice President for Athletics, Campus Services and the Environment, Duke Student Government – christina.lieu [AT] duke [DOT] edu
  • Tavey McDaniels Capps, Director, Duke Sustainability – tavey.mcdaniels [AT] duke [DOT] edu

Sharrows At Duke

Duke Parking and Transportation is preparing to make a huge improvement to the biking infrastructure on-campus: sharrows. “The sharrow, a nationally recognized symbol to alert drivers that cyclists are sharing the main traffic lane, will be painted at 25 campus-wide locations, from the Campus Drive tunnel on East Campus to the entrance of Science Drive across from the Washington Duke Inn. ” Painting will occur during the month of November, weather permitting.

I’ve seen sharrows used in Cary, North Carolina and I can attest that sharrows do work to slow down traffic and remind drivers to share the road with cyclists. Drivers would regularly speed at 45 mph through the town, but some roads now hum along at a more manageable (and legal) 25-35 mph since the introduction of the sharrows. Biking on-campus should be safer after these sharrows are painted, but, as always, exercise due caution while cycling.

BE ADVISED: On-campus traffic patterns will be altered for painting throughout November. One lane will be closed for painting for each sharrow while traffic is routed around the work. Please exercise due caution.

“Each sharrow will take a crew of five people approximately 40 minutes to paint, using a large plastic stencil and quick-drying street paint. Painting on the busiest roads, such as Campus Drive, will be scheduled on weekends and evenings to minimize traffic disruption.” More details about the road work will be posted once available.

(Source: Duke Today)


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