Tag Archives: smartcommute@rtp

RTP Cruises Through Bike To Work Month

With gas prices at an all time high and interstate traffic getting seemingly worse by the day, alternative transportation is becoming a more attractive option. This May there was a regional and national focus on one specific alternative method: biking. For some bikingis thought of as a mostly recreational activity, done in one’s spare time to release stress or help work up a sweat.  For others, biking is a way of life, and a way to work.

Bike to Work Month this year brought together all types of cyclists in the Triangle for multiple events and workshops. All of these were “geared” to educate, excite, and motivate the local community towards alternative commuting through biking. Here in RTP we held a series of events to help promote biking to work and to promote biking in general.

Our first event was a safety lunch and learn held at the RTP HQ. Ken Kaye, a registered LCI (league cycling instructor) and RTP employee, educated participants about safe biking practices and safety gear necessary for the avid biker/bike commuter. Next we hosted an informal afterhour’s social at local restaurant Serena. We provided participants with free biking prizes and drink tickets.  The annual “Ride of Silence” was the next day; this event is held simultaneously across the nation at the same time to commemorate fallen bikers and those who have been in cycling accidents. Typically the ride is 5-8 miles, done in silence and at low speeds. Riders were escorted by the Durham Police Department and local news agencies came out to support.

Later in the week, there was a special biking breakfast held at RTP HQ for riders. Bikers stopped by and picked up a complimentary breakfast. This was our way of saying “thank you” for biking to work that day. To finish off our RTP events we held our monthly RTP Food Truck Rodeo with a special emphasis on bike commuting. Everyone who biked to the event received special bike oriented prizes and were also eligible to get a discount on food trucks. The only catch to all these great, free events was that you had to bike to the event to receive the rewards.

Overall the events were a great success, with about 40-50 participants minimum per activity. These weren’t the only events being held for bike to work month.  Each local municipality held their own events and rides, all to promote cycling and bike commuting in the Triangle.

It seems a lot of us get very attached to our cars and our daily schedules and rotations, often times not thinking about practical alternatives for our current lifestyles. This month showed us how with a little determination and dedication you can make a serious difference in your carbon foot print and your wallet. Biking is a great exercise and way to stay in shape. It is becoming more widely accessible to bike in the Triangle due to extended demand for bike lanes and green-ways and hopefully this trend will continue. Whether you biked or not to work during May, hopefully you can take others lead and realize that it isn’t as far-fetched of a option as it once was in the area, and more and more people everyday are realizing the positive effects from doing so.

No Excuses

Happy New Year! Now that things finally feel like they’re getting back into full swing, I hope you’re still sticking to your 2013 resolutions.

If you made a resolution this year to be more active, there aren’t many excuses you can offer up this week for not getting out there and doing it. Even Mother Nature looks likes she’s giving you a leg up with this spring-like weather. The afternoon temperatures have been nigh-perfect for getting outside and enjoying the wonder that is a North Carolina winter – great temperatures and no bugs!

If you’re working in the Park, it’s even easier because there are 17 miles of pedestrian pathways and trails to enjoy and explore. The trails are perfect for walking or running and our handy map breaks down the trail into smaller distances so you can create a comfortable (or challenging) route distance. And, for the botanists out there, you can brush up on your winter dendrology skills (nerd alert!) on our paved Tree ID trail. The Tree Identification Trail is currently marked in the section between Development Drive and Kit Creek Road near Davis Drive; head out and learn what a lot of the specimens there look like without their leaves!

And for the bike enthusiasts, don’t forget about the RTP Mountain Biking Trail – a great technical trail for mountain bikers, located in the southern portion of RTP. It’s a moderately challenging trail that includes rock armoring, stream crossings, and ladder bridges along with an abundance of dips and rolling contours. (It also makes for a pleasant lunch-time walk or hike – just be sure to step aside for cyclists riding through.) Access to the trail is from the gravel parking lot located on Louis Stephens Drive near the new volleyball courts. And be sure to stay tuned for an exciting update about this trail in the coming weeks.

So get out and enjoy this tease of spring-to-come, stick to those resolutions, and be sure say hi if you pass me on the trail! And comment below and share your other ideas on ways to stay fit in RTP.


The SmartCommute Challenge: Two Weeks Remain

We’re in the final stretch of the Smart Commute Challenge, with just about two weeks left.  And even though these fall days are flying by, there’s still time to pledge to try a new commute and win some great prizes. You have until October 15 to take and complete your pledge.  You’ve got several options available to you: you can bike, walk, bus, carpool, vanpool, or work from home, so there’s almost something for everyone; with all the commuting alternatives, there’s really no excuse not to try it. And you’ll save money and reduce emissions. And if that’s not enough, there are chances to win some great prizes just for completing and tracking your smart commute. Tracking is simple. Visit www.sharetheridenc.org/challenge and log in or register to get to our new Trip Diary. You can even watch a short tutorial for instructions:


Also during these last two weeks, GoTriangle is pitting our colleges and universities against one another for a fierce Battle of the Brains. Tarheels! Devils! Eagles! Pack! Time to rep your school. Employees and students alike, join together and GoSmart. You’ve got two weeks to make sure you track your trips. The school with the most trips tracked throughout the Challenge will be the smartest school in the Triangle. This is a ranking you don’t want to miss!

Now, let’s GoSmart!

RTP Food Truck Rodeo

Join us for the RTP Food Truck Rodeo
on September 20

Bring your friends, bring your colleagues, and come on out for RTP’s September Food Truck Rodeo!

Date: Thursday, September 20
Time: 11:30 AM -1:30 PM
Location: RTP Headquarters, 12 Davis Drive (Directions)

Participating Food Trucks

Pie Pushers

Only Burger

Chirba Chirba Dumpling

American Meltdown

The Parlour

Sweet Stacey Cakes

Parking is limited, so we encourage you to carpool, bike, or walk over to the rodeo! And be sure to stop by the SmartCommute Booth and take the SmartCommute Challenge.  There’ll be free gifts to anyone that pledges!

We look forward to seeing everyone.

And save the date for next Food Truck Rodeo on Thursday, October 25.

Go Smart with the SmartCommute Challenge

The SmartCommute Challenge is back and this year’s Challenge promises to be better than ever! We’re upping the ante and giving you more chances to win with our Weekly Challenges. Every Monday starts a new workweek and a new challenge. (And if you’re new to the SmartCommute Challenge, find out what it’s all about and just how easy it is to participate here.)

Cyclists, take note!  Active commuters will be the first group called to the mat for the Pedal vs. Metal contest, September 10 – 16. Track your trips after registering for the Challenge and see how many miles you can save during the week by walking, biking, skateboarding, rollerblading– any method that uses your own personal power to get you where you need to go. The commuter with the most trips tracked during the week, wins!  Click here for more information about the other Challenges, including Try Transit Week (September 17-23).

But wait, that’s not all! We’ve brought back the Photo & Video contest too, now with more ways to play along using social media like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and G+. We’ll also have tables at events throughout the Triangle so be on the lookout.

Thanks for riding and good luck. Don’t forget to share this with your friends!

A Shoulder to Lean On

Signs have already gone up to alert motorists that buses may using the shoulder.

Starting July 16th, that’s just what authorized transit buses will be able to do during periods of congestion – use the shoulder along a section of I-40. The NC Department of Transportation and Triangle Transit have announced that North Carolina’s first Bus on Shoulders System (BOSS) pilot will begin on July 16, 2012 on portions of Interstate 40 in the Research Triangle Region, including all eastbound I-40 RTP exits, allowing authorized transit buses to operate on freeway shoulders.

The BOSS program is a cooperative initiative of the I-40 Regional Partnership coordinated by the Regional Transportation Alliance (RTA) to enhance the mobility of the Triangle’s most critical freeway.

Expected benefits of the BOSS program include:

  • Shorter, more predictable and reliable transit times
  • Fewer missed transfer connections
  • Increased transit ridership
  • Decreased operational costs

Drivers have already begun their training. And rest assured, buses won’t be whizzing by other vehicles at 65 miles an hour. There are guidelines for usage by authorized transit buses:

  • Authorized buses can use the shoulder only when traffic speeds are 35 MPH or lower
  • Buses may only travel up to 15 MPH faster than general traffic (but not to exceed 35 MPH) when in the shoulder
  • Buses must yield to all emergency operations in the shoulder and any other obstruction
  • Use of the shoulder is optional by bus drivers

For more information, read a previous post made by Guest Blogger, Brad Shultz with Triangle Transit or visit triangletransit.org/boss.

Dump the Pump on June 21st

With the return of high gas prices, SmartCommute@rtp and GoTriangle, along with public transportation systems nationwide, are encouraging Triangle residents to participate in the seventh annual National Dump the Pump Day on Thursday, June 21. The slogan of this year’s National Dump the Pump Day is “Dump the Pump. Save Money. Ride Transit.”

Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the 2012 National Dump the Pump Day is a day that encourages people to ride public transportation and save money, instead of driving a car. Started in June 2006 when gas prices were $3 per gallon, this national day emphasizes that public transportation is a great travel option that also helps people save money.

With high gas prices, saving money is on everyone’s minds and public transportation is the quickest way to beat high gas prices. According to the latest APTA Transit Savings Report, individuals in a two-person household can save an average of more than $10,000 annually by downsizing to one car.

And this year, GoTriangle is asking Triangle residents to create a video that demonstrates why they’re choosing to break up with their car! Finalists will be announced on Dump the Pump Day, June 21st at 12pm. For more information on the contest, visit http://www.gotriangle.org/go-info/stop-and-go and check out the video below for inspiration!

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Make Your Silence Heard: 2012 Ride of Silence

By Blanche Dean, Guest Blogger from Team MSFITS.

On May 16, 2012 at 7:00 PM, the Ride of Silence will begin in North America and roll across the globe. Cyclists will take to the roads in a silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists (and the obligation to follow the same rules of the road as motorists), the motoring public often isn’t aware of these rights, and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves.

Please join Team MSFITS as they host the 7th Annual RTP Ride of Silence starting and finishing at RTP Headquarters, 12 Davis Drive, RTP.  The Research Triangle Foundation has once again granted us permission to stage the ride at their facility and they are endorsing this ride.  The Durham Police Reserves will once again lead our procession, adding dignity and safety to our journey.

The Ride of Silence is a free ride, approximately 5 miles in length, that asks its cyclists to ride no faster than 12 mph, wear helmets, follow the rules of the road and remain silent during the ride. There are no sponsors and no registration fees. The ride, which is held during National Bike Month, aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for and honor the lives of those who have been killed or injured.

I know you’ve been out there riding and had things thrown at you, been “buzzed” by a motor vehicle trying to see how close they could get, been screamed at to get off the road, and worse.  You may have been injured and probably know someone or of someone who has died as a result of a motor vehicle/bicycle crash.  THIS is the ride to show your solidarity as a cycling community – to raise awareness and say “shame on you” to those who carelessly travel our roads without regard to life or limb.

We will supply black armbands to all cyclists to wear in memory of those who have been killed and red armbands to those cyclists who join us and are survivors of motor vehicle/bicycle accidents.  Please arrive early enough to prepare yourself and your bike to ride, to sign waivers, and participate in a tribute to cyclists before we head out at 7:00 sharp.  Read more »

May Food Truck Rodeo

Join us for the RTP Food Truck Rodeo
Thursday, May 17th

Calling all Food Truck fans! Bring your friends, bring your colleagues, and come on out for RTP’s May Food Truck Rodeo.

Date: Thursday, May 17
Time: 11:30 AM -1:30 PM
Location: RTP Headquarters, 12 Davis Drive (Directions)

In honor of National Bike Month and Bike to Work Week, SmartCommute@rtp will be providing free gifts to anyone that rides their bike to the event and providing useful information on bicycle commuting.

Participating Food Trucks:

Pie Pushers

Only Burger

The Parlour

Chirba Chirba Dumpling

Will and Pops

Olde North State BBQ

As always, parking is limited so we strongly encourage carpooling, and of course, riding your bike to the event!

We look forward to seeing everyone!

AND save the date for next Food Truck Rodeo on Thursday, June 14th!

Gear up for Bike Month: May 2012

Let’s face it: we live in an automobile-centric nation, and I don’t think I’d be surprising anyone in saying that the Triangle isn’t necessarily the ideal place to commute to and from work by bike.  However, that certainly doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to ride your bike to work; nor does it mean that the Triangle isn’t a bicycle friendly community. In fact, the town of Carrboro has received a silver designation for being a bicycle friendly community from the League of American Bicyclists; and Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh have all received bronze designations. Clearly, bicycle commuting in the Triangle is growing in popularity and amenities to support it are also growing.

For the month of May, the Triangle is celebrating Bike To Work Month, an entire month dedicated to encouraging and supporting one of the most economical and healthy ways of commuting. This month is an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons people ride. Whether you bike to work or school; to save money or time; to preserve your health or the environment; to explore your community or get to your destination, biking can be one of the most rewarding modes of transportation. And if you’ve been thinking about starting to ride to work, but haven’t put your foot to the pedal yet, I hope you’ll use this month to give it a go.

There are lots of events going on in the Triangle to celebrate Bike to Work Month, including several events in RTP, sponsored by SmartCommute@rtp:

  • Bicycle Community Basics – Lunch and Learn
    Thursday, May 10, 11:30AM-1PM
    RTP Headquarters, 12 Davis Dr.
    This seminar will cover the basics of commuting by bicycle, safe cycling, riding in traffic, crash avoidance, and cyclists’ rights and responsibilities. The course is open to anyone and both novice and experienced riders are welcome and encouraged to attend. Registration Required.

  • Bike to Work Month After-Hours Social
    Tuesday, May 15, 5-7PM
    Serena, 5311 South Miami Blvd. Suite A
    Cyclists enjoy free appetizers, drinks, and giveaways.

  • Ride of Silence
    Wednesday, May 16, 7PM
    RTP Headquarters, 12 Davis Dr.
    A silent procession to honor cyclists who’ve been killed or injured on public roadways. Organized by MS Fits and hosted by SmartCommute@rtp, this free ride that asks its cyclists to ride no faster than 12 mph, wear helmets, follow the rules of the road and remain silent during the ride. Visit www.msfits.org/ride-of-silence.html for more information.

  • Bike to Work Month Breakfast Social
    Friday, May 18, 7-9AM
    RTP Headquarters, 12 Davis Dr.
    Cyclists enjoy a free continental breakfast and giveaways.

For a complete list of the Bike to Work Month events occuring Triangle-wide, visit GoTriangle. And for more information and resources on biking in the RTP area, visit SmartCommute.org.