Bicyclists: Harassed by a motorist? Alert the Close Call Database

12:00 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017 Lifestyle
Cyclists ride during the Livestrong Challenge in Dripping Springs in 2010. This year’s ride begins and ends in downtown Austin on Oct. 22. Deborah Cannon/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

With about 15 years of bicycle commuting experience under my helmet, I’ve had my share of encounters with grumpy drivers, including a guy who raced up next to me before sunrise and yelled that I needed to grow up and get a car.

He needed to remember to share the road, but I’ve learned not to argue when I’m on an 18-pound metal frame and the other guy’s driving a 2-ton vehicle.

I recently learned about a website, the Close Call Database, where cyclists can report run-ins with hostile motorists. Cyclists log information about incidents involving vehicles, which are then grouped by location. Alerts are sent to users in the area where run-ins are reported.

Ernest Ezis launched the site in December 2014, after a semi-truck buzzed him while he was biking on a two-lane highway outside of Boulder, Colo. The site is designed to catch repeat offenders and identify roads where problems frequently occur.

For the record, I recognize that bicyclists can be jerks, too. Just as there are good motorists and bad motorists, there are good cyclists and bad cyclists. It’s just that the cyclists pay a much larger penalty when an accident occurs. That’s why we all need to work hard to get along.

To sign up to receive notifications, or to report an incident to the Close Call Database, go to closecalldatabase.com.

And remember, cyclists, if you have a threatening encounter with a motorist, you should still report it to police.

Live and Livestrong

Speaking of cycling, the Livestrong Challenge is fast approaching.

The Oct. 22 ride starts and finishes in downtown Austin. Riders choose from distances of 20, 45, 65 or 100 miles through the surrounding countryside. If you’ve never done the ride, expect themed rest stops manned by exuberant volunteers. All cancer survivors get a yellow rose at the finish, and afterward there’s a party with food, music and beer.

Lance Armstrong started the ride more than 20 years ago, challenging his buddies to a race through the Texas Hill Country. The winner got a bouquet of roses, and for a time the event was called the Ride for the Roses.

Armstrong’s long gone from the Livestrong Foundation, which focuses on providing direct services to cancer patients and survivors, and today the noncompetitive ride raises money for the Livestrong Cancer Institutes of the University of Texas Dell Medical School.

It’s still a hoot, and you should do it.

Registration for the bike ride is $105. Those who don’t like to bike can sign up for the 1-mile fun run instead. Registration is $25.

For more information, go to livestrong.org.

Brews for Big Bend

I’ve scraped my shins on cactus, watched tarantulas belly crawl over rocks and laughed when a kangaroo rat climbed up my husband’s pant leg at Big Bend National Park.

I love the place and have visited at least 25 times. I want to keep it pristine so future generations can enjoy it, too.

One way to do that? By attending the upcoming Brews for Big Bend event at Live Oak Brewing Company. The fundraiser is set for 5-8 p.m. Oct. 26 at Live Oak Brewing Company, 1615 Crozier Lane in Austin. Proceeds benefit the Big Bend Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that works to protect and improve the sprawling park in far West Texas.

RELATED: New fossil exhibit tells story of Big Bend’s earliest inhabitants

The event will give people a chance to celebrate Big Bend, share photos and stories about it and win prizes, including a trail sign from the park. Staffers from the conservancy will highlight current projects, including a remodel of the Rio Grande Village Visitor Center and the Trails Endowment.

“We also encourage people to come who have never been to Big Bend but are interested in making their first trip out there — we can answer their questions, talk to them about what to do, where to stay, etc.,” says Courtney Lyons-Garcia, executive director of the conservancy. “It’s a great opportunity to learn more about our state’s first and largest national park.”

Tickets cost $25 and include two beers or nonalcoholic beverages and appetizers, as well as access to the brewery and its nine-hole disc golf course. To purchase them, go to eventbrite.com/e/brews-for-big-bend-tickets-37219096319.

In memory of

Looking for a way to honor a loved one who loves the outdoors?

A limited number of benches made from reclaimed bald cypress and white oak trees are available for adoption on the Butler Hike and Bike Trail around Lady Bird Lake. The benches will be installed at overlook points along the 1.2-mile boardwalk.

RELATED: Heidi Cohn takes over as executive director of The Trail Foundation

Proceeds benefit the Trail Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to maintain and improve the trail. Besides acting as a major force in making the boardwalk happen, the foundation has installed restrooms, planted trees and added exercise stations along the trail.

Bench adoptions cost $12,500, include dedication engraving and maintenance, and last 10 years; after that, adopters get the option to renew for another decade.

For more information, visit thetrailfoundation.org.

AIDS Walk Austin

Client deaths from AIDS-related complications have dropped 93 percent since the height of the AIDS epidemic in the mid-1990s, according to AIDS Services of Austin.

But no cure exists, and until no new transmissions are reported, the organization will keep organizing a fundraising walk.

This year’s AIDS Walk Austin will begin at Republic Square and wind its way 2.5 miles to the Capitol grounds on Oct. 29. Proceeds will benefit 10 local HIV and AIDS advocacy organizations, including AIDS Services of Austin.

The Nightowls will perform, and instructors from Eastside Yoga will lead a pre-walk yoga session. This year’s theme is “celebrating 30 years of sole.”

AIDS Walk Austin raises funds to support education and prevention of HIV and AIDS; 83 percent of money raised goes to services in Austin. Last year’s event raised more than $240,000.

Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. at Republic Square, 422 Guadalupe St., or register and donate online at aidswalkaustin.org.

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