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Category Archives: Contributed

May 5, 2017 7:30 pm

Study: Biking and Skateboarding Support More Than 847,559 Jobs

Wheel sport enthusiasts are packing a punch for the United States economy, with gear consumption adding up to a $97 billion industry. Bicycling reports that athletes now spend about $14 billion every year on bike and skateboarding equipment and $83 billion on skate and bike trips. These industries alone support 847,559 jobs.

This is according to the Outdoor Industry Association’s recent study, which found that the outdoor adventure and recreation industry generates $887 billion in spending each year. It also provides 7.6 million jobs. Statistics like these make this industry one of the top generators of revenue, only outnumbered by financial services and insurance, outpatient health care, and hospital care.

Tim Blumenthal, president of PeopleForBikes, said in a statement to Bicycling that these numbers prove the vital role that bike sports play in the domestic economy. With over one billion bicycles on roads around the world today, they may outnumber cars two to one.

“As the OIA Report attests, bicycling and bike-related businesses are indispensable contributors to the economies of our communities, our states and our nation,” he said. “Continuing investments in better bike infrastructure are essential to keep these financial benefits growing.”

The report emphasized the role that job growth plays in the United States economy, stating that outdoor jobs specifically attract healthy workers and promote healthy communities. Study authors also placed emphasis on the role of outdoor spaces and infrastructure.

“Beyond the industry itself, outdoor recreation infrastructure has proven an invaluable asset for economic development offices and chambers of commerce seeking to attract new employers,” the authors wrote. “Towns and cities that invest in their outdoor assets attract employers and employees who value the work-life balance outdoor access provides.”

National parks and other public lands are some of the largest hubs for outdoor recreation, drawing in $45 billion dollars and creating 396,000 jobs annually, according to the study. Sports like skateboarding and cycling aren’t the only popular activities in the outdoors industry. Every year about 40 million people participate in 515 million camping trips, often in state and national parks.

“Public lands and waters are the outdoor industry’s basic infrastructure, and without them the industry cannot survive,” the study reads. “Preserving access is imperative to enhancing the industry’s economic and social impact. Access ensures every American’s ability to get outside where jobs, health and communities grow.”

Bicycling reports that this call to action could aid in the effort to create more bike-friendly infrastructure, making the roads more accessible for cyclists everywhere. And with more U.S. jobs depending on recreational motorcycling and off-roading than there are lawyers, according to the OIA study, perhaps the wheeled sport industry will gain more decision-making leverage than ever before.

May 3, 2017 7:39 pm

Motorcycle Washing Machines Offer New Ways to Keep Two-Wheelers Squeaky Clean

Americans tend to love — and take for granted — their household devices. We tend to seek out the latest gadgets that can make our lives even easier. In fact, around 69% of homeowners said they were willing to spend more money for kitchen appliances. For many of us, dishwashers are an absolute must; washing dishes by hand is often looked down upon as an antiquated practice, or as a household chore we hope never to have to do again. That’s why families often fill up their cabinets with plates, dishes, and cups that are 100% dishwasher safe, made of materials like melamine or other plastics.

And of course, we couldn’t possibly go back to washing our clothes in the river and beating them on rocks. Easy access to a well-functioning washer and dryer (preferably, high-efficiency models) is non-negotiable. Clothes need to be cleaned well and often to make a good impression.

But keeping our vehicles clean isn’t quite as easy. Sure, you can take your automobile to the car wash, but when you ride a motorcycle, the process isn’t quite as straightforward. Unfortunately, you can’t just stick your bike in the washing machine — or can you?

Recently, a YouTube video featuring pro-motorcyclist Mike Reefman showed the Aussie washing his bike in a massive glass machine that essentially eliminates the need to cleanse with more pedestrian methods. When Lanesplitter contributor Andrew P. Collins inquired where the machine came from, Reefman explained that his brother-in-law, Paul Adams, came up with the concept. Adams spent nine months and up to $15,000 developing and constructing it.

Since several family members ride motocross competitively, the machine certainly comes in handy. It reportedly holds 40 gallons of water, which is blasted through four different jets. It then gets a detergent soap treatment and a hot water rinse. You can even set a timer for cleaning time, depending on how dirty your bike has become. It also has an air compressor so that the bike can be quick-dried.

But Adams and Reefman aren’t the only ones getting into the bike cleaning game. Inspired by an Israeli enterprise called BikeSpa and by American car washes, Arnav Shah and Siddharth Jain set out to change the process by which Indian motorcycles are cleansed.

In India, cars and bikes were being washed entirely by hand, at unauthorized garages or roadside stores. Not only were the waits long, but immeasurable amounts of water were being wasted, too. And since the pair discovered that 81% of the Indian automobile market consisted of two-wheeled vehicles, they decided to make a big move.

Thus, they started BikeCleanse, a concept which features automated motorbike washing machines to wash these choppers within three to four minutes. It looks like a mini-car wash, except the driver doesn’t go along for the ride. Not only does the chamber remove all the dirt and grime, but it recycles 95% of all the water used. BikeCleanse has reportedly washed more than 100,000 motorcycles and managed to save 5 million liters of water to date.

While these innovators are certainly not the only ones trying to tap into the motorbike washing market, the possibilities they present for competitive and recreational riders certainly are intriguing, to say the least.

April 17, 2017 1:22 pm

Officials Working to Prevent Copycats After Daredevil Stunt on 60 Freeway

motorbikeA daredevil motorcycle stunt over a Riverside County freeway in early March has prompted officials to make sure it was a one-time event. Heavy machinery, boulders, and tree trunks were all employed to ensure the dirt ramp used for the stunt couldn’t be used again by any copycats.

An expertly edited video of the stunt that went viral on Instagram is what tipped off CalTrans officials. After viewing the video, which was filmed from five different angles, it didn’t take long for officials to pinpoint the location of the stunt. The giant dirt ramp was all the evidence they needed.

“We want to impress upon people that this was a dangerous stunt and somebody could have lost their life on that highway,” said Terri Kasinga, a CalTrans public information officer. With this type of risk, what motivates people to attempt such ill-advised actions? Perhaps it is the desire for fame. Perhaps it is financial. Consumer debt in the U.S. reached $3.4 trillion in May 2015. Many see YouTube exposure as a path out of debt.

While nobody was hurt, Kasinga and other CalTrans officials are stressing that the situation could have been much worse. Any one of the drivers on the road at that time, or the motorcyclist himself, could have lost their lives during that stunt. These risks put stress on our system in many different ways. The most obvious costs are hospital bills. Additionally, traffic stoppages in this part of the country have a very high cost of productivity. Worker’s compensation pays 100% of medical costs for an injured worker if they are on the job, which could also be a factor here.

Kyle Katsandris, a 24-year-old motocross enthusiast from San Clemente, was allegedly the cyclist behind the stunt was probably not concerned with the possible down-sides. Mike French, a friend of his, said Katsandris was part of a small group of free-riding motorcyclists that typically practiced in areas such as the Timoteo Badlands, where the stunt was performed.

French explained that while he was witness to other stunts performed by Katsandris in areas where biking is allowed, he wasn’t involved in the freeway jump. But he doubts whether or not his friend was the one who performed the stunt. Katsandris, although known to participate in free-riding, works as a salesperson for a tool company.

Katsandris is a young man, but performing stunts and being without a will, even if he is under the age of 40 may not be the smartest idea. According to French, however, Katsandris’s IQ is “through the roof.”

“He is a very intelligent man,” French said. “I really have trouble thinking he jumped that jump and posted it online if it is as illegal as it seems.”
In addition, nobody called 911 to report the stunt after it happened. Officials say even misdemeanor charges may be difficult to dole out, as the driver’s face was obscured by the helmet they were wearing.

“If anybody is caught doing it [again], they will be prosecuted,” said California Highway Patrol Sgt. Randy Costelow.

March 27, 2017 1:39 pm

Winter Or Spring? Changing Temperatures Cause Difficult Transition

This year’s fluctuating winter temperatures confused and concerned people in a multitude of industries. Early thaws in February followed by heavy snowfall in March, baffled farmers, environmental scientists, and beekeepers. On a leisure level, however, winter sports enthusiasts also felt the climate’s impact and are experiencing a more difficult seasonal transition.

From Maine to Michigan, winter sports facilities were feeling this winter’s impacts. In Maine, snowmobilers experienced icy trails because of warm rain followed by freezing temperatures, according to WCSH6, the region’s NBC affiliate. In Michigan, the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex opened its doors only to close them again due to rain and warm temperatures the following day, Michigan Live reports.

“It’s been a roller coaster for us this year,” Bill Baily, the manager Muskegon Winter Sports Complex, said in a statement to Michigan Live. “We haven’t seen a detrimental effect yet because it hasn’t been totally warm yet and we had quite a few cold days, which got a lot of people out here.”

While “biological spring” arrived early, causing plants in a large region of the United States to begin their spring rhythms early, winter athletes may not be ready to do so. Including changes in athletic activities is perhaps the most difficult part of spring remodeling for snowboarders, ice skaters, skiers, and snowmobilers. While 78% of people choose to remodel their bathroom, and 35% take the leap to remodel their whole home, some people make the effort to remodel their winter sport habits and facilities.

An ice arena in Michigan is doing just that. The Hasting Star Gazette reports that the Hastings Civic Arena in Hastings, Michigan is carrying out its spring routine of turning one of the arena’s rinks into an artificial turf athletic field. The multi-day process involves removing the ice, cleaning the rink, and rolling out large rolls of artificial turf. Once the rink is converted, it will be used for activities such as soccer camps, craft shows, and semi-professional lacrosse, according to the Hastings Star Gazette.

While it has been made challenging with constant fluctuation in temperatures, the actual onset of Spring, and the time for spring sports renovation, is just about here.


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