Tag Archives: Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina

Bike sharing comes to Charlotte

B-Cycles at a station.

Bike sharing, a transportation concept embraced around the world but only slowly making its way to the United States, has come to North Carolina. Charlotte B-Cycle began operating yesterday, with 200 bikes located at 20 stations in Uptown, including several along Charlotte’s Lynx light rail line.
Bike sharing programs offer the use of bikes to people who don’t have them. They’re typically intended to help people run errands or commute to work in urban areas. Bikes are parked at strategically placed stations around town. Participants in in the programs typically pay a usage fee. Generally, you can ride the bikes anywhere (they have GPS tracking), but you must pick them up and leave them at a station. (Lose a bike in the Charlotte system and it will set you back $1,000.) According to Wikipedia, bike sharing programs were operating in 165 cities around the world as of May 2011. France had the most programs, with 29, followed by Spain, 25; and China and Italy, both with 19.
The Charlotte program will allow riders 30 minutes of free use, making it an ideal option for quick trips in Uptown. Each additional 30 minutes is $4.Twenty-four-hour passes are available for $8 — perfect if you’re just visiting for the day — and annual passes, a good option for urban dwellers and downtown workers, are available for $65. Memberships can be purchased online or at the stations.
However, through Sunday the fee is being waived.
Bikes in the Charlotte program as in most bike share programs, are designed for short trips (see photo). All come equipped with baskets, lights and a bell. The bikes, which resemble beach cruisers, have three speeds and are equipped with tires somewhere between a balloon tire and a road tire.
Similar B-Cycle programs are in place in 12 other U.S. cities, including Spartanburg, S.C. An effort is underway to bring bike sharing  to the Triangle.
Charlotte’s B-Cycle program was launched with funding from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina’s new Get Outside North Carolina! initiative. That program promises to pump $4 million into bike and greenway projects around the state over the next four years. Two other programs in line for GO NC! funding include the two-mile Blue Loop greenway at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh and the 15-mile Gary Shell Cross-City Trail linking Wilmington with the drawbridge to Wrightsville Beach. According to BCBSNC, every $1 invested in biking trails and walking paths can result in $3 in savings in medical expenses. read more

Choosing a 5K from a chunk of options

Tomorrow, I turn 55. In observation, I’ve decided that my year in fitness should revolve around the number 55. Since I dabble in running, I’ve decided one of my goals will be to run 11 5Ks, the logic being: 11 races x 5K = 55(K). But which 11 5Ks to do? It was a decision that became more difficult as I looked around and discovered just how many 5Ks there are. read more

From on high, five tips for healthy living

It was a weekend-long conversation that I found both fascinating and frustrating.

The four of us — Alan, Lois, Grace and I — were backpacking Easter weekend on top of Virginia, in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. If there’s an activity that lends itself to long, extended conversations, it’s backpacking. You wake together, you have breakfast together, you hike all day together, you have dinner together, you crawl into your respective tents and listen to one another snore together. It is the ultimate in togetherness. While I was aware of Alan’s interest/obsession with nutrition (including a two-year stint as a fruitarian and his days as a carrot juice magnet) and gathered that his girlfriend, Lois, a nurse, was likewise inclined (she was), Grace was a wildcard. Until she pulled from her backpack a 25-pound bag of fresh food. (Note to non-backpackers: That’s a lot of weight; most backpackers rely largely on dehydrated foods that way a fifth as much.) Though nearly half Alan’s age, Grace was up for discussing his every nutritional nuance, from dehydrating watermelons to waiting 30 minutes to brush your teeth after sucking a lemon because you could brush away your citric-acid-softened enamel. read more

Bee-ing prepared, with an EpiPen and HealthNav app

Late last September I was backpacking a particularly rugged, remote section of the Nantahala National Forest when I entered a clearing and my legs went electric. I knew immediately why: bees, lots of ’em, all digging into my apparently tasty ankles. And I knew immediately that my trip was over and it would behoove me to skedaddle as quickly as possible. Over the years I have developed an allergic reaction to bee stings, and as is the case with bee stings each successive one tends to be worse than its predecessor. The last time I’d been stung, the previous summer, a bee flew into my nose while I was mountain biking. Within minutes my face had swollen to the size of a basketball. read more

Weigh in on weighty issues

Sometimes when I’m at the gym, I look at the woman next to me on the bike, the guy across the way doing bench press, the class behind glass doing Power Yogalates (something like that) and I wonder, “Why are they here? What’s motivating them?”

Maybe that’s because I’m not entirely sure why I’m there. Yeah, it makes be feel good (afterward). Yeah, working out helps make it possible for me to backpack and mountain bike and paddle and a lot of the other things I like to do. And yeah, I know that staying in shape now will help ensure that I can continue to lead an active life later in life. For me, it’s an amalgam of reasons rather than one specific thing. read more