Morning briefing

Here is what's on my mind:

* A PIECE OF LEGISLATION being considered in North Carolina would create a statewide bicycle registry and force cyclists to pay an annual fee of $10 for all bikes used on public roads. If you get nabbed without displaying the proposed license/sticker, it's a $25 fine. Revenue would go toward cycling-related projects.

I'm for anything that improves riding, but this is a bad idea. At a time when countless people and groups are doing all they can to promote cycling, demanding a mandatory fee might just put on the brakes for some prospective bike riders, especially those with low incomes. Similar programs have been tried elsewhere, with little success.

The bill's backers argue that cyclists should pay their fair share for using the roads. I think we are already doing more good than harm — by creating less pollution and reducing traffic congestion by keeping motor vehicles off the road.

Here in Maine a few years ago, it was suggested that kayaks and other non-motorized watercraft be registered — with I believe an accompanying fee. It never saw the light of day.

* TODAY'S CYCLING TIP has to do with establishing the correct height for your bike saddle/seat. One general rule is as follows: If you are experiencing knee pain/discomfort in the front, there's a good chance your seat is too low; if the pain/discomfort is on the backside of the knee, your seat may be too high (you don't want to rock in your saddle while riding).

* IT LOOKS AS THOUGH my days as a cycling widower are coming to an end, as my wife, Vicky, wants a bicycle. We went to Mathieu's Cycle & Fitness in Farmingdale, Maine, and selected a brand and model that I believe will bring her loads of enjoyment. I can hardly wait to share the fun of biking with her. More details in the future!

* DESPITE THE COLD TEMPERATURES, I've made the effort to get as many miles as possible on my bike in preparation for an upcoming cycling event — the Frost Heave Fondo on Sunday, April 7 in Searsmont, Maine. It's described as a 31-mile adventure over a variety of roads — smooth pavement, rough tarmac, rutted dirt with muddy and/or icy spots, etc., so whatever bike you choose could be the wrong one at certain times. It should be fun. I'll be sure to post an article and photos after the 7th.

* GROUP RIDES are a great way to meet people and enjoy cycling together. And I've been wondering if there is any interest in having a Saturday morning group ride in the Hallowell area. We have a couple of 20- and 36-mile loops to offer, with a few hills; maybe looking at a 13-16 mph average. The ride could end with a coffee break at Slates Bakery. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section and maybe we can make it happen.

Thanks for reading and be safe on the road — or trails.

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