Well-Known Member
Petaluma, CA
This Friday June 2nd, 2023 we are pitting a bike against a race car during peak late afternoon crosstown traffic. I think the race deserves its own thread for updates, photos, and videos of the event. The purpose of the race is to show that bikes are great transportation around town. The street legal race car has over 400 horsepower but will need to obey traffic safety laws and will face lights and traffic, then it needs to find parking and the race car driver will need to walk from parking. The bike can use bike paths and routing that a car can not, such as crossing a gravel lot with a narrow gate or using a cross walk with instant transmutation into a pedestrian. The event will be videoed on each end and with Go Pros. Later it can be edited. It will end on the steps of Petaluma City Hall with well wishers, cyclists, and street safety advocates.
Yes, I would think you want to maintain the appearance of fairness as much as possible. Otherwise, you're just preaching to the peloton.

2 things that leap to mind.:
-Anyone biking to city hall for reasons other than publicity would also need to park and secure their vehicle in an appropriate spot just like the car.
-May want to be careful about revealing your superpower ability to transmute into a pedestrian. Pretty sure CA code differentiates between pedestrians and cyclists. Not saying you can't use crosswalks, but you may not automatically have the right of way if you pedal across instead of walking your bike across.
Cool event! If the bike wins legally under normal traffic conditions, Petaluma could say that it's a place where bike commuting can pay. To say that it routinely pays there, you'd need more than a sample of one. But this race is a good start.

Anything to open minds to at least the possibility of car-less commuting.
Thanks for the interest and input everyone. For scale, the town has 55,000 and is 12 square miles. The race is just over 2 miles. This is mostly festive entertainment among friends. It is something to do instead of yelling at a TV. But it could also make a point that cars might not always be the best, or even the default way to cross town. We are starting a the Petaluma E. Side Community Center. It was selected because it is a known central landmark on that side of town. It is also close to a crosstown bike path that goes along a creek and river. I selected a route specifically to avoid lights and traffic. Part of that is just safety. To be fully legal I would need to walk at cross walks. In truth a slow walk is a sure way to piss off drivers. I may put my right foot on the left pedal and quickly scoot across like a skateboard. The California Legislature passed a bike safety law to allow bikes to avoid lingering within intersections to cut risky interactions with cars by treating stop signs like yield signs. Our Governor vetoed it; bummer. Bikes require momentum for stability. What I am considering is when I come to a vacant four-way stop, doing a toe tap at the start of the crosswalk. Pedestrians don't need to stop and crosswalks. That may be pushing it. Just one idea. The Olympics still say something even if its events are not statically scientific. This race provides fun performance art to the well wishers at the finish line, maybe with a moral to the story. Nick is a race car driver, expert bicycle wheel builder, and master bike mechanic. He also has a good laugh and is good friend. I can build wheels but had him make one for me, because I truly respect his work. After the race is a big group ride that is inclusive and easygoing.

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Oh, @BlackHand mentioned parking. Good point, well taken. I will pop a U-lock on it at the finish line where their is a railing. In our central downtown I have gone to the outdoor seating of a Mexican restaurant, ordered, started eating and even paid while finishing up, while watching large pickups and SUVs circle three or four times looking for parking when my bike is next to me. Most people don't want to walk five blocks from parking to pick up their weekly wine club bottle, so they will drive in circles for 20 minutes, making traffic worse.
It is Thursday afternoon in California. The race is tomorrow. Here is what is happening. There is some buzz and excitement mostly among the better healed and politically active West side green set and the transportation safety cycling set. The local NPR affiliate wants to do the story. We have four radios with the bike and race car checking in with location progress and what is happening back to the communications person Pete about every minuet. He will announce reports to those gathered. The other radio will be digitally recorded by the reporter for later editing a mix with the GoPro audio. KRCB will get an exclusive on the audio. They can trade it or sell it to other levels, shows or affiliates. Nick the race car driver could be several minutes late to the starting line because he has to drive there from another town, Santa Rosa and only has one hour to make they 20 mile trip on the Freeway. He might not make 20 miles per hour because of heavy freeway traffic! We will see. The race is only a two mile distance, yet some are saying that in a car it takes over 20 minutes on a Friday afternoon. That means if I average just 10 mph, it would take 12 minutes. Again, we will see, anything could happen. I have been practicing and visualizing my route and pretending to press and speak into the mic. Nick wants to win.
Anything that raises awareness of the viability of EV travel and sharing the road with cyclists gets my thumbs up!