The RCA works to create better cycling infrastructure and a stronger voice for cyclists in Rochester, NY.

For information on getting involved, visit

Sunday, April 25, 2010

RCA T-shirt Design

Please provide feedback about this t-shirt design (graphic, colors & pricing). Would you support our efforts and mission by purchasing one of our t-shirts?

Make custom t-shirts at

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Trails, Canals, and Project Green

Rochester's routes have shaped its history and will determine its destiny. From its Native American days to the present, Rochester's historical pathways continue to shape and affect its vibrancy. We've come full circle.

Trail. Indian trails shaped today's street arrangement. Instead of a simple urban grid we have Genesee Street, Plymouth Avenue and the trail along the east bank of the Genesee River.

Our nineteenth-century canal system built on these Native American routes. The largely-forgotten Genesee Valley Canal followed closely South Plymouth Avenue and the Feeder Canal paralleled much of today's Mt. Hope Avenue. The Erie Canal followed a curving West Broad Street route as it entered downtown.

Starting in 1878, railroads began supplanting canals. Five different railroad systems operated in downtown Rochester around the early 1900s.

But interstate highways, suburban development, governmental policy, and automobile lobbies eventually supplanted the dominance of the railroads.

In the 1970s, urban redevelopment gave us the Inner Loop, suburban sprawl, and neighborhood separation. Subsequently, the city economi staled and people moved elsewhere. Many of Rochester's core urban neighborhoods inherited surplus housing beyond reclaiming.

Trail! New hope now comes with the City of Rochester's Project Green. The idea is to turn swaths of vacant and substandard housing into greenspaces that will enhance property values and quality of life. Some greenspaces would be used for community gardens. Some greenspaces would be "land-banked" for future development when the economy improves. And some greenspaces will be developed as linear parks for pedestrian and bicycle reconnecting neighborhoods, encouraing active living, reducing carbon footprints and parking pressures, combatting obesity, and generally making life better!

The Rochester Cycling Alliance strongly supports the City's efforts to re-envision and re-provision former canal and rail routes, and to develop a bicycle master plan that uses them to reconnect and re-invigorate our city.

Rochester will blaze new trails by recovering old ones. Bike to the future!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Google Maps - Bikes Is Working & Responding To Route Recommendation

Google maps bikes is now up, working and responding to suggestins. It is in beta testing so they are continuously refining things and encourage us to critique thier suggested routes. I'd encourage you to use it and post your favorite cycling routes to work, schools shopping etc. This can be a powerful tool to direct cyclists to the safest routes. It automatically takes into consideration things like hills ect to make it easier for cyclists. Here is my experience as an example:

I checked out a route my wife wanted to take for a bike trip from Park Ave. to Pittsford and it suggested she go down Monroe Ave directly which was the most direct by car but not the safest.

I typed in an alternative route down Clover using the bike lane and then to the Erie Canal and East as a safer alternative. A week later Google responded with this message. Very cool!

Hi scott, Your Google Maps problem report has been reviewed, and you were right!
We'll update the map soon and email you when you can see the change.

Report historyProblem ID: EDE2-41E3-816A-096AYour report: I would suggest that one continue South on Clover even though this is not the greatest road, it has a 4-5 foot bike lane and certainly better than Monroe Ave which is a 4 lane road with no bike lanes. I would continue south and then pick up the Erie Canal trail and take a left which would lead me into into the town of Pittsford without the danger of Monroe Ave which is a mess and dangerous especially south of Clover where it turns into 5 lanes, has lots of stores and cars turning without remotely considering cyclists or pedestrians. Scott MacRae Rochester Cycling Alliance

--Thanks for your help,The Google Maps team

Check it out by going to Google Maps and then click on the "More" icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen, then click "bicycling" and it will give you a preferred route. If enought of us refine the routes, it should be very handy for folks with time. The system learns by our direct feedback.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Upper Monroe Bicycle Boulevard Ride

Upper Monroe Bicycle Boulevard Ride

The Upper Monroe Avenue Neighborhood Association has stepped up to the plate and become the first neighborhood in our city to endorse the City of Rochester’s decision to include bicycle boulevards in its Bicycle Masterplan. Eventually, we want to provide the Rochester community with an example of bicycle boulevards designed to connect neighborhoods with the city-wide trail system and to encourage bicycle use by casual bike riders to nearby destinations.

We can support them by riding on May 23!

Please consider riding your bicycle with us on our our first Upper Monroe bicycling boulevard ride on May 23rd.  This is just one of the events for Rochester's Bike Week to show off our neighborhood and the bicycle boulevard concept.
We'll meet up at Cobb's Hill Park and bike to Ford's Street Bridge then on to Boulder Coffee shop on 955 Genesee Street and back. 
  • When: 1 PM, Sunday, May 23rd, 2010
  • Where: Cobbs Hill Park (near the corner of Norris Dr. and Culver Rd.
  • Helmet required
  • Total bicycling distance:  7.34 miles of fun.
  • Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Free and Open to the public
  • Ride lead by a Rochester Bicycling Club Board member

Bicycle Boulevards

This is the route we will be taking on May 23rd. 

View Upper Monroe Bicycle Boulevard Ride in a larger map

Tour de New York returns to Rochester in August

ANNETTE LEIN file photo 2007
This summer’s five-stage Tour de New York bicycle race in Rochester is expected to draw 125,000 spectators.
Mayor Robert Duffy has called pro cycling a major tourism engine for the region.
He’s been my saving grace,” Page said. “He’s always been supportive and he’s had the vision of where this thing is going.”
While the event is labeled Tour de New York, the race’s long-range intention is to remain centered on western New York.
Unlike the Tour de France or Tour de California in which riders and their entourages move from location to location, the Tour de New York will use Rochester as its base of operations.
What: 5-day stage road cycling event for professionals and elite amateurs sanctioned by Union Cycliste Internationale.
When: Aug. 7-11 on courses through Rochester and Finger Lakes.
Format: Criterium downtown, Saturday, Aug. 7; 10-mile time trial on Lake Ontario Parkway, Sunday, Aug. 8; three road races of varying lengths Aug. 9, 10 and 11.

Weather Factor: 5 of Top 10 US Bike Cities in Cold Snowy Climates

Well the word is out as Bill has posted. Cold winters are no longer a good excuse for cities being hesitant to build bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. If you build it they will come. Incidentally, Rochester bike commuting rate in 0.6% and rates sixteenth highest of US Cities.

Minneapolis was given the # 1 Bike City rating and 5 of the top 10 US bike cities are in cold climates. These include Minneapolis, Boulder, Madison Wisc., NYC and Chicago. Minneapolis has a 4.3 % bicycle commuting rate and an impressive 6.1% walking commuting rate. That rate grew by 68% between 2006 to 2008 because of trail and bike lane expansion, grass roots advocacy and supportive politicians. Mayor RT Rybak is a regular bicyclist and the County Commisssioner is also strongly supportive.

I've had the opportunity to discuss with Dorian Grilley, of the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota and Steve Clark of Bike Walk Twin Cities about their programs. The program has grown because of infrastructure investment and they plan to expand bikeways 40% over the next few years. The average temperature in Minneapolis is around 25 degrees F in January and Febuary which is similar to Rochester. This is also true for Milwaukee and Madison which are also biking cities. They get less snow, about 54 inches, compared to Rochester's 94 inches which gives us a bit more challenge. In discussions with Steve Clark he noted that they are working directly with the city maintance crews discussing ways to improve the snow clearance using maintanance equipment and salt brine. The winter cycling rates have climbed as a result of this so that now one third of bike commuters are commuting year round. The bike commuters percentage drops down to 10% on cold snowy days but may climb to 40% on nice mild winter days. Walkers use the trails even more consistantly with three forths of walkers continuing to walk through the winter which is a very good argument for why we should be keeping our trails plowed and maintained year round. I've been investigating how northern climate cities have implemented their bicycle/pedestrian friendly strategies because this is the most common question that politicians, administrator and community leaders have asked when discussing Active Transportation with them.

My sister lives in St. Paul and I've cycled around Minneapolis and the trails and bike lanes are terrific. The following video gives you a feeling for the spirit that the Minneapolis community has in about biking and walking. We can learn a lot from them and use thier example to show it can be done in Rochester:

The Bike Walk Twin Cities Wesite is excellent. Check it out. The Midtown Greenway Website is also excellent and gives you a feel for their 5.5 mile trail from the Mississippi to Minneapolis.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cyclists are traffic! Welcome to Capital Coexist

CAPITAL COEXIST is a localized education campaign geared towards cyclists and motorists safely coexisting when using the region’s roadways.

This project was developed by the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) in response to the recently completed Albany Bicycle Master Plan and public requests for bicycle education and safety information.

It is anticipated that the Capital Coexist website will become the clearinghouse for bicycle education material in the Capital Region; a one-stop location for bicycle educational material, safety tips, current bicycle projects and events.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Rochester is #50!

Rochester NY is listed as #50 on Bicycling magazine's list of "America's Best Bike Cities". The link to the map of the cities is here: Click on the pin for Rochester to see our slide. The article is in the May 2010 issue.

-Bill Collins