Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Will a plan to put produce in schoolyards take root?

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?

In that old English nursery rhyme, the answer is ‘with silver bells and cockle shells’…but in Montgomery County schools--the garden gate has been kept shut. And one group wants to change that.

Check out a video discussion with Montgomery Victory Gardens' Gordon Clark.

Gordon Clark, with Montgomery Victory Gardens is trying to establish a program where kids grow their own produce.

“An awful lot of people, particularly children, don’t even know where there food comes from anymore.”

Clark says there’s also a health component. Clark cites the high rate of childhood obesity and diabetes tied to poor eating habits. Clark is convinced, “The best way to get a kid try a vegetable or fruit is to have them help grow it. Guarantee they’ll put it in their mouth.”

Montgomery County Public School spokesman Dana Tofig says the school system is not anti-garden. But Tofig says there are several issues that make establishing gardens problematic; food allergies among some children, the possibility that produce left in the garden could attract vermin, and there’s the matter of who would tend to the produce over the summer when school is not in session.

Clark has an answer for that last one: “Having local communities participate with schools in establishing vegetable gardens is a great way to get the community involved-- and to make sure they’re tended over the summer when school may not be in session.”

Clark says his group, Montgomery Victory Gardens, has contacted school officials and will meet with them later this month. He’s optimistic something can be worked out. “There’s no food more delicious and nutritious, than the stuff you grow yourself.”

Putting the Gardens in Kindergartens... from kate ryan on Vimeo.

Time to boost the mileage?

Ok, so once again we can complain that scientists are telling us what we already know: exercise can keep us from gaining weight. And in this case, simple physical activity, brisk walking or cycling, could do the trick.

But the interesting--and really encouraging-- thing about this news published in the Archives of Internal Medicine  is the news for women who are seriously overweight or obese: you benefit even more than women of 'normal' weight who biked to keep weight off.

And here's the best part of all for those who find time or motivation is short: even 5 minutes a day makes a difference.

The bottom line: don't just sit there, move something.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Snowmageddon, the storm that keeps on costing...

Remember Snowmageddon? For Montgomery County's Keith Compton, Chief of the Division of Highway Services, it's not over.

Compton's still plowing through the administrative and fiscal fallout from the storms that dumped 104 inches of snow on the county this winter. He went before the Montgomery County Council for supplemental appropriations to cover the $60 million dollar pricetag for clearing the streets.

The county just wrapped up a brutal budget cutting session--slashing the budget to cover a billion dollar gap. Will the austerity budget limit the county's snow-fighting ability next year?

Compton says he did have to freeze some positions but added: "We're in pretty good shape. We're standing tall, we're standing ready...and if we get hit with a winter such as we did last winter, we'll be ready."

Red Light, Green Light

Yes, those traffic lights in Montgomery County were out of synch...right smack in the middle of your rush hour.

But they're back in synch now, according to Esther Bowring, spokeswoman with Montgomery County government.

Bowring says starting at 7:15 this morning, the traffic lights experienced a glitch caused--not by a computer system failure--but a leaky air conditioner back in the traffic control office.

According to Bowring, the leak tripped an automatic shutoff-- and that power outage resulted in the lights going out of synch.

Back in November, a failure of the county's computerized traffic system led to days of gridlock.

Video didn't kill the radio star..

...but new media in all its formats has changed how radio works.

So I'll be trying to bring you a bit more. Radio with pictures, videos, what time and space can't permit elsewhere.

For the velo-set, check my bikey blog: LANE CHANGE: Kate Ryan Reports.

To follow what I cover for WTOP News, listen to 103.5fm. Check our web at

And to follow me on Twitter, check kryan1035, and  to see what else is included in my shift, check in here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bike Prom II: Because the fun's not over... long as you can re-live it with your friends. Or someone posts it on their blog.
Here you see BFF's Hillary Swab and Sarah Johnson spinning their wheels.
Despite weather that could melt Kevlar tires in the shade--Washington's bikey set got together for a night of sweat-soaked fun on and off the dance floor.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Meet Maggie Hake. Student. Future Nurse. Bike Commuter.

Hear what she has to say...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Test Ride: Pennsylvania Avenue Bike Lanes

Who in the world would ride a bike right down the middle of a busy city street with traffic on either side? 

 I would. I did.

I tested the just-finished Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes. The paint was still being applied on some sections as I pedaled along. 

Check in at WTOP 103.5 FM and hear the stories running this morning and look for my web story on WTOP.COM. 
For details, a review and my initial audio impressions, read on.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Off to Pennsylvania Avenue Bike Lanes... they blow your flow or smooth your ride? How will cars and bikes mesh? Will this back up the 14th Street Bridge? I'll check them out from behind the handlebars today and talk to drivers about their perspective. Check it out on WTOP 103.5 fm and WTOP.COM on Wed morning...

Seersucker Social...Listen here

Here's a little audio from the Seersucker Social. Organizers Holly Bass and Eric Brewer talk about how fashion, bikes and sweaty Washington summers intersect.

Seriously, if you've ever wondered how to bike to work--or anywhere else--without grossing out everyone you come in contact with, Eric and Holly have some tips for looking cool as a cucumber on a scorching summer day...


Monday, June 21, 2010

Bike Lanes on "America's Main Street"...

The tweaking's complete: bike lanes set to open on Pennsylvania Avenue. And because it isn't real until there's a news conference to announce it--here's the info from DDOT:

Fenty, Secretary LaHood to Open Pennsylvania Ave. Bike Lanes

Part of Bicycle Lane Pilot Program to Increase Traffic Safety

WHAT: Mayor Fenty to join U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood and District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Gabe Klein for the inauguration of new bicycle lanes on “America’s Main Street,” Pennsylvania Avenue.

WHO: Mayor Adrian M. Fenty
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood
DDOT Director Gabe Klein

WHEN: Tuesday, June 22, 2010
2:00 PM

WHERE: Old Post Office Pavilion
11th Street and Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Non-partisan thieves?

Content alert: the following is not straight news. I won't even claim it's 'news analysis' so I can get away with some opining here. The following is a flat-out value-judgement. And that would be:  stealing is just wrong.  OK, with that disclaimer out of the way, read on...

I owe you one...

My apologies to the organizers of the Seersucker Social...have been meaning to post more on this event from last weekend. How good was it? Well, they managed to push the stormclouds from the skies...really.

Friday, June 18, 2010

You can put Capital Bikeshare on the map..

Check this out...this release was just put out by the District Department of Transportation:

Public Invited to Help Map Out Capital Bikeshare Network

Online Survey Lets You Suggest Locations for Bikesharing Stations

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Seersucker Social...First Glance

Just a first look...more, much more, later. But first, I have bike errands to run, so enjoy the cool green and bright colors and stylish sociability pictured here...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Going with the flow...

Of traffic. On water, or on land.

What rowing and cycling have in common and how both could help us think about what happens on the roads we bike, drive or walk along every day.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Safety Concerns from WABA

Last Friday night, a DC cyclist was killed while biking on Southern Avenue, SE. The Washington Area Bicyclist Association will be holding a candle-light vigil this Friday night and is calling for changes to increase safety throughout the city. I called WABA Executive Director Shane Farthing to talk about the issue.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Drumroll, please! The name of the new regional bike sharing program is...

...Capital Bikeshare!

In a news release, the District Department of Transportation and Arlington County announced they'll launch a regional bike sharing program under the name "Capital Bikeshare."

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bells vs Yells...Do Manners Matter When It Comes to Safety?

It's June...the weather's calling you from your cubicle. But you're not the only one seeking sunshine and fresh air. You've got more and more company on area roads and trails. And frankly, it can be annoying to have to jockey for position when all you want to do is get out and play--after all, you experience enough gridlock when you're behind the wheel or waiting for the next train on a crowded Metro platform.

So Arlington County's David Goodman, Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs Manager, says it's time to exercise something along with your muscles: your manners. Arlington County's engaged in a public awareness campaign called "Sharing The Way".

Friday, June 4, 2010

Saddle Time

Looking for a ride? There are a couple going on Saturday.

One celebrates National Trails Day and the opening of the Metropolitan Branch Trail  in NE, DC , and the other celebrates the life of the late Kennan Garvey , an avid cyclist and a supporter of Phoenix Bikes in Arlington, VA.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Convenience and Cool Factor of the Fold Up Bike

Jamie Forzato's a newly-minted WTOP staffer. She just recently made the leap from intern to employee. Yes, students, those internships really do pay off!

And like any go-getter in Washington, DC, Jamie's always looking for new opportunities. And she got one--after her morning shift at WTOP, she zips off to another internship in downtown DC. But her dilemma: the morning shift ends at 11am, she's got to be downtown and ready to rock'n'roll at the new internship by noon. How best to do that?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Real World Riding

Ok, so in Belgium, I bike in what can only be called bike-friendly territory. While the bike-filled streets in various cities in Belgium can feel like the Wild West for pedestrians in congested spaces (bikes really do take the road, and on my first trip, I nearly had my clock cleaned by more than one cyclist) and sorting the sidewalks from the bike lanes can be confusing (uh, the brick-red paint on the path and the white bike outline are your clues) as a cyclist, I appreciated the dedicated bike lanes, the dedicated traffic lights, and the (mostly) deferential drivers.

But back home here in DC, it was time to run my errands: get groceries, head to the post office, the day-to-day stuff. The bike lanes give some comfort and confidence to the city rider new to major routes, but what about those areas where the bike lanes drop off, or those roads without the bike lanes?