March 2011


VOL. 30 NO. 2      

 March 2011

Newsletter of the Humboldt Bay Bicycle Commuters Association
P. O. Box 9054 Eureka CA 95502


New Members:

  • Gordon Inkles, Bayside

Renewed Members:

  • Daryl and Phyllis Chinn, Arcata**
  • Philip Lescano, Eureka
  • Gail Popham, Eureka**
  • Robert Berg, DDS, Eureka***
  • Jim & Gina Christopher, Eureka**
  • Betty Jain, Arcata**
  • Jillian Money, Arcata**
  • Sherry Myers, McKinleyville**
  • Jack Nash, Eureka***
  • Steve & Noreen Sipma, Fairhaven**
  • Will Spurling, Henderson Center Bicycles***
  • Mike & Bonnie Walund, Eureka**
  • Wally West, Redway**
  • Richard Will, Eureka***
  • Tim Daniels, Blue Lake***
  • Claudio Freixas, Eureka
  • Frank Schmidt, Arcata**
  • Jen Rice, Eureka
  • Oona Smith, Arcata***

Those with a ** have made additional donations to the HBBCA. Those with *** have made donations of $25 or more. Thank you for your generous donations to the HBBCA.

If you have not renewed your membership for 2011, please do so by filling out the application at the end of this newsletter.

The Next Regular Meeting will be held on March 28th in Arcata

The next regular HBBCA meeting will be held at 6:00 p.m., March 28th, at Carmela’s Restaurant, 13th and G Streets in Arcata. Dinner is optional. Agenda items may be suggested by emailing Rick Knapp at

May is Bike Month

Many events are planned for Bike Month.   The Humboldt Bike Month Coalition has been meeting to plan events throughout the Month of May.   Details will be posted on the website in early March.  

Check for updates as May approaches.

Some details that are firm:

Bike to Work Day Rally in Arcata, Thursday, Noon, May 12th on the Plaza.

Bike to Work Day Rally in Eureka, Thursday, Noon, May 19th at the Old Town Gazebo.

As in prior years, the North Coast Co-Op will support the Bike to Work Days by offering free drinks and snacks in front of the Co-Ops—from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. in Arcata on May 12th and Eureka on May 19th

Rick Knapp to Serve as the HBBCA President

It’s been over a year since Scott Kelly left for Portland.   Since then Rick Knapp, in his capacity of Vice President, has served as Acting President.  At its meeting of January 24, Rick, with the support of all members in attendance,  agreed to serve as the President.   Rick is one of the founders of the Association and has served on the Board since the Association was formed in 1982. 

With Rick moving into the President slot, that leaves the Vice-President slot open. Please let Rick know if you are interested in serving as the Vice-President or the Director of Publicity on the Board.

The HBBCA Puts the Heat on the City of Eureka to Sweep Streets

If you ride a bike in the City of Eureka, you have probably noticed the deplorable condition of the shoulders and bike lanes due to the lack of street sweeping since last fall.   The HBBCA sent a letter to the Mayor, City Council, City Manager and Director of Public Works on January 12th to point out the effects that the lack of sweeping has had on cyclists.   As we know, all gravel, glass and other debris end up on the right-hand portion of the roadway where we are supposed to ride.   And, to the extent it does not end up as pollution in Humboldt Bay, it ends up under our bike tires every day, giving us more flats and an increasingly uncomfortable bike ride. 

Please contact your City Council members to tell them of your frustration.   With renewal of the ½ cent on the sales tax in November, they could reinstate street sweeping if they wanted to make it a priority.

3-Feet Passing Law Introduced

In February, Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) introduced SB 910, which seeks to define what a “safe distance” is for motorists to pass  cyclists.   Lowenthal says that the current bill is a placeholder for what will most likely become a “3-Feet Passing Law.”

In 2006, a similar law died in committee after an intense lobbying effort by the CHP and the trucking industry.   But, SB 910 should have some powerful local backers.   “Give Me 3” posters still adorn bus stops around Los Angeles, part of the public service poster contest hosted last year by the LAPD, Mayor’s Office, LA Bicycle Coalition and others.   Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa said of the 3-Feet Passing Law, “We’ll keep at it until it becomes part of the California Vehicle Code.   Support for this type of legislation is also being pursued by the California Bicycle Coalition and on a nationwide basis by the League of American Bicyclists.

Eleven states in the nation have adopted similar legislation.  To date, it appears that the effect has been more toward education than enforcement.

The HBBCA is Working with Caltrans on a Possible Bicycle and Pedestrian Share the Road Campaign

The HBBCA is working with Caltrans District 1 in Eureka on what could become a Districtwide Share the Road campaign.   Currently, Caltrans is determining the availability of funding for the effort.   If it turns out to be available, the HBBCA will assist in developing the comprehensive campaign, which could include messages on radio, TV, and in movie theaters throughout the Caltrans District 1, consisting of Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino and Lake Counties.

Update on Eureka-Arcata Corridor Project

On February 4th, Kim Floyd, Project Manager for the Caltrans Eureka-Arcata Improvement Project, invited representatives of several interest groups to hear an update on the project. Representatives from the Redwood Community Action Agency, Green Wheels,, and the HBBCA attended.

Caltrans is nearing finalization of the preferred alternative for the project and the environmental document.   The proposed concept now includes closing all median crossings except at Airport Road; a half signal at Airport Road which would periodically stop northbound traffic, and allow southbound left turns into Airport Road, and outbound traffic from Airport Road; improving ramps; widening shoulders; construction of a grade-separated interchange at Indianola Road; and replacing Jacoby Creek Bridge.  Revisions have been made to preserve the Eucalyptus trees.   No provisions for a bike trail have been included.   Concerns were expressed at the meeting regarding the out-of-direction travel impacts to cyclists and the potential for wrong-way bike traffic as a result.

Kim indicated that the 50 mph speed limit would be perpetuated as long as the Traffic and Speed Zone Surveys support it.   However, since the cross median conflicts would be eliminated, the formal Safety Corridor would be terminated when the project is completed.

Caltrans has received concurrence from all federal agencies except the Corps of Engineers that the preferred alternative (#3A) is the “least damaging alternative.”  Approval from the California Coastal Commission has not been obtained.   Commission staff wants only Alternative 1 (closing all intersections), as it involves the least impact on wetlands.

Caltrans has not secured funding for corridor improvements except for pavement rehabilitation.   The total cost of the project is $46 million, including $29 million for rehabilitation.

Excerpts from “Smart Cycling” to be included in Wheel People Newsletters

The HBBCA has purchased a copy of “Smart Cycling,” a new publication by the League of American Bicyclists, edited by Andy Clarke.    Last month, excerpts from the publication were included.   Another follows:  

“Smart Cycling” Gives Advice on Choosing a Bicycle

“While all bikes are generally the same, with a seat (saddle), two wheels, and a frame, there are many variables that affect the type of bicycle appropriate for you.   From upright bikes with internal gears designed for city riding to single-speed racing bikes, there is a wide variety of bikes currently on the market.

Mountain Bikes—with fat, low-pressure tires and durable frames, are designed for off-road riding, through gravel and dirt, and over rocks and roots.   Because the tires on mountain bikes use less pressure than road bike tires, they offer the rider a little bit of shock absorption and greater traction.  A wide gear range enables you to climb steep grades.   Powerful brakes, shifters at your fingertips, and upright or flat handlebars provide control and stability.   Front and rear suspension can smooth out the bumps in the trail.

Road (Racing) Bikes--are designed to be ridden on smooth surfaces.   Built for speed, with narrow, smooth high-pressure tires, the road bike is a highly efficient ride.   The drop handlebars (or drop bars, curved in the shape of a ram’s horn) let you adjust your position to achieve maximum efficiency while climbing, descending, or relaxing.   Wheel rims tend to be made of lightweight material—strong, but not ideal for carrying large loads or riding rough terrain…

Hybrid Bikes--are all-purpose bikes that borrow from both mountain and road bikes.   From the mountain bike, the hybrid takes the wide gear range, upright riding position, and powerful brakes.   Like a road bike, hybrid bikes feature higher pressure, medium-width tires that make for an efficient and comfortable ride.

Touring Bikes—are road bikes that have special features for long-distance or overnight travel.   These include racks for carrying heavy gear, a longer wheelbase for a more stable ride, lower gearing to make climbing easier, and often fenders.  Touring bikes are designed to provide a more relaxed position for the rider for long days in the saddle.  A touring bike can be a perfect commuting bike because of its ability to hold gear and its durability and stability…

Commuter Bike—Many people who ride to work or school adapt one of the above styles of bikes to their needs, but the true commuter or city bike should have a bell or horn, fenders, durable wheels and tires, a front white light and rear red light, a cargo rack, panniers, and powerful brakes…

Recumbent Bikes—Riders sit in a reclined, or recumbent, position and pedal with their legs in front of their body……..Many recumbent riders tout the comfort of the seated position while others enjoy the wind-cheating abilities of these bikes…….This position also makes them harder to spot on the road, which is why many recumbent have flags, banners and brightly colored decorations on them…

[Look for more excerpts in future editions.]

If you would like to get a copy of Smart Cycling, go to the League’s website at

Nominations Being Accepted for Bike Commuter of the Month

If you know someone who is a dedicated bike commuter that might inspire others, please send a nomination to us along with the reasons you have nominated the individual.   Then, we’ll contact him/her for an interview that will be included in the next newsletter.   Send nominations to or call Rick Knapp at 445-1097.

Letter to the Editor

(printed belatedly)

I once lived in the Arcata area for several years and I’ve been a frequent visitor for many years since.   On a recent visit I stopped in the Pro Sports Center for some advice on a trip I’m planning in September, cycling from Arcata to San Francisco.   While I was in the shop I picked up an issue of the HBBCA newsletter.   I like what you are doing in the area and would like to keep abreast of what is going on.   In the future I will probably have my bike with me during my regular visits and your newsletter will be helpful I’m sure.

Thanks for what you are doing.   Perhaps during one of my visits I will be able to meet some of the members or take part in some of your scheduled events.

Richard Vance, Tacoma WA

I have recently been working with Melanie Williams on promoting the local Kidical Mass Rides. I recently joined the HBBCA and saw the ad for Kidical on the website. My kids and I have really enjoyed the rides and are working to get more families involved. In addition, Melanie just put on a ten-day bicycling course for the students in my fifth grade classroom and we are hoping that might bring some more families to the ride.

I recently created a website and have a Facebook page for the rides as well. Please feel free to check it out and let me know what you think. I would also like to ask if you could put a link or message on the HBBCA website and in the "Wheel People" newsletter. [Editor’s note: We will do both.]

Brad Albee, Eureka

Melanie Williams is the First Bike Commuter of the Month

By Rick Knapp

As was indicated in the January Wheel People, we are soliciting nominations for Bike Commuter of the Month.   This month, Melanie Williams was nominated by member Carol Stafford.

Melanie has been commuting since she was in Grad School in 1979 in Indianapolis, so some 32 years!   Afterwards, she taught high school there.   She taught 18 years and commuted every day.

Melanie is one of the most enthusiastic cyclists you would ever come across. She has a passion to make her communities bicycle friendly. She not only commutes by bike, but most of her life seems to revolve around cycling.   She does extensive recreation cycling.   She is a member of a French and American Club that does annual bike tours, alternating between France and America.   She has participated in those for the last 10 years.   Melanie has done many charity rides and long distance endurance rides, like the “Death Ride.”  She rides about 5,000 miles a year.

Melanie recently established a business called “”   In her business, she helps adults and kids learn the art of safe and effective cycling and businesses learn what they can do to better accommodate cyclists in the workplace.   She also assists in establishing “Safe Routes to Schools.”   She is a certified cycling trainer, being trained and certified by the League of American Bicyclists.   To learn more about Melanie’s business, check out her website.

Melanie has also helped the HBBCA and Green Wheels with their promotional efforts, including planning and implementing annual Bike Month events.  And, she is Vice-President of the Friends of the Annie & Mary Rail Trail.

HBBCA Board of Directors

President-------------------- Rick Knapp

445-1097(h) email:

Vice-President------------- vacant

Secretary/Treasurer--- Gail Popham, 444-3316(h); 445-5204(w)

Director of Publicity----- vacant

Director of Planning----- Brett Gronemeyer 845-2117(h); 441-5770(w)

If anyone is interested in filling a Board seat, or becoming more involved, please call one of the Board members above.

Who To Call When You See a Safety Concern (Revised 1/09)

The HBBCA checked with agencies in the Humboldt Bay region to determine appropriate contact personnel to respond to bike-related issues. If you see a condition that needs to be corrected in order to improve safety or convenience for cyclists such as a pothole in a bike lane, accumulated debris on a roadway shoulder, the need to re-stripe a bike lane, or the need to clear vegetation encroaching on a shoulder, call the responsible agency/person listed below.

Of course, if you see a condition that requires immediate emergency action, call 9-1-1.  For other conditions, the following is provided:


Mark Suchanek, Deputy District Director


County of Humboldt

Wendy Meeks, Dispatcher


Abandoned Vehicles:

Wally Williams

County Sheriff’s Office 268-3629

City of Arcata

Monica Campbell

Public Works Administrative Assistant


Abandoned Vehicles:

Arcata Police Dept. 822-2424

City of Eureka

Pearl Mendoza

Public Works Administrative Assistant


Abandoned Vehicles:

Mary Kirby



The HBBCA is working to improve and encourage bicycle commuting.  Help make it happen by joining now or renewing your membership for 2011.  Your $5.00 annual dues, paid on a calendar year basis, will help pay for youth helmets, this newsletter, our website, promotions, postage, etc.   And, it will help demonstrate your commitment to our goal.

With your membership card, request the following discounts on bike parts and accessories:

10% (or more) at Henderson Center Bicycles; 10% at Revolution Bicycle Repair; 15% at Adventure’s Edge; 10% at Pro Sport Center, 10% at the Outdoor Store and 15% at Sport and Cycle.

Please click here to download our Membership Application.