Category Archives: advocacy

They’re baaack…

We’ll see if I’ve got it recorded — I stuck the goPro on my helmet for the ride home, and decided to stick to Bradley and yea, verily… got mildly harassed by a man in a jeep convertible. I watched him decide not to go into the left lane to pass — he had the chance — and then lay on the horn… so I waved him around. He hollered something, so I duly informed him that he had a full lane, going the same direction and that, by the way, he was being recorded. (I don’t want to be committing wiretap offenses, after all.)
He shook his head disgustedly as he went by on Country Fair… he was on Bradley so he wasn’t coming out of Parkland, so perhaps a new U student… so much for a video of a totally dull ride.
However, the experience makes the point that okay, once every few years somebody actively dislikes me being “in the lane.” THey honk. THey holler.
They *don’t* run over me and then weep because they “didn’t see me.”
Interestingly, when I was coming ’round the bend on the perimeter road on campus there were four or five young boys riding bikes in one of the parking lots. One hollered out to me, including a “ma’am,” that there was a car RIGHT BEHIND ME, and I might get run over. I said we were both vehicles on the road, and thanked him…

U Lock Holsters

So this morning’s Sierra Post Daily Deal is shorts with a U-Lock Holster.   I have to assume it’s to hold my bike lock… and that hey, people are just expected to know that 😉 

It’s now become regular to see … not just ‘way more than the “it’s a big biking day — I saw 10 bikes on the commute in!”   that would have been true a year or two ago … but to see riders goin’ the same direction in close proximity who …. aren’t riding together.  

Need to figure out that dashboard thing this weekend… I acquired a LImefuel rugged to snag power from my dynamo.   I was baffled by the cable — turns out it’s just a totally different-looking USB port.   I ‘splained at the site that I am of a generation of folks who do *not* just stick things into holes in electronic things… or at least I don’t after the smoke comes out and I’ve fried the device…

Would love to actually count our riders and their bikes and demographics.   I strongly suspect we have more womenfolks on bikes with baskets per capita than is the norm 😉   

autumn is here :)

Say what? I didn’t blog about LCI training?   They should have just told us “bring your own food” — though, frankly, they should have done better research so we could have eaten reasonably well.   Dudes.  Our culture has gotten past “Man was meant to eat MEAT” which was what the big sign at the barbecue where we ate lunch said. Thursday when I had the League of Illinois Bicyclist folks here, we met at the library and walked over to Common Ground Food Coop to get lunch.   People knew all their ingredients, thank you… Urbana rocks 🙂

Food and lack of sleep aside (nobody’s fault — but it was a hotel room, and not my bed) it was pretty awesome.   Yes, you’d better already be a vehicular cyclist.   I had to be “up” for presentations and what have you, and if I’d had had to apply the same level of focus on the riding around (which I would have if I didn’t commute daily and lead rides), I would have been even more dangerous Sunday than I was.   I was tired enough to “decide,” despite having been told otherwise, that we were proceeding straight at an intersection.   The poor “leader” to my left wasn’t going to get around me… everybody else executed the turn, and then I did, by which time poor Pat had to go straight and around the block, and they wondered why she’d gone AWOL.   Yes, I set them straight about who’d made the blunder…

At any rate, I do still have to get a bit better at teh emergency maneuvers that I was unable to skillfully execute on my Dahon.  (Yea, I know, it should have been *easier,* but I did ’em better on the Xtracycle. Big and Slow work better for me.)

And it’s really, really time to replace that front tire… adding air every other day is getting old.   (Yes, it’s the tire that’s old; not just a tube thing.)

Not my hero cam, but…

The commentary is spot on.   This driver just about causes a head-on… but yea, would be likely to claim he’d been “forced” into oncoming traffic by that bicycle slowing him down… the same bicycle that caught up to him at subsequent intersections because, actually, all thsoe cars were doing that already.

Give me just a little more green :)

Okay, I’ve sort of got that in that today was “closing” on my refinance at much lower interest… but even better than that, yea!!  it really looks like my request for a few more seconds of green on the light cycle westbound at Church and Mattis was granted.   That’s twice this week  that I have been approaching as it changed to green and got *through* before it went yellow, without the walk light having been activated.

I did have a Yellow Checker Cab guy try to right hook me last week… guessing that company doesn’t realize that cyclists might just be a good market to try to be on good terms with.   I’m car free, but if I take a cab, it won’t be from youse guys.
snow in the forecast today so it’s folder time… but might just get home before it starts.

Diet is over

… the construction isn’t done, but they’ve removed that stop sign.  The backup on the side street that detours from Mattis wasn’t very bad when I went by.

I left work with negative patience… stopped by County Market for cheese and a card to kill the time before dinner, and noted to self that I looked well layered and, well, homeless what with my bulging bag and, oh yea, the plastic jack-o-lantern dangling from my Xtracycle bag (with the little LED light in it), and my huge blaze orange gloves that were a *tad* too warm for today but not really.

So I should have been primed for the kindly man in the nice car whose window rolled down so he could gently tell me I really should be on the sidewalk, as it was safer.  I said, “Not really, ” and he said, “yes, really…”

I said, “Only if you’re threatening me.  THe facts and statistics say otehrwise…” and as his window was closing, I half-snarled “but you wouldn’t care about facts and statistics.” Then I figured he may have truly thought I thought he was threatening me.

I simply did NOT have it in me to walk one more person through something that they had some kind of major blockage about…

Youtube path ride (not mine, or anybody I know…)

So.   Just for fun I thought I would do a search for “how to ride on a path.” Of course “how to” are both words that Google pretty much ignores, so what I got was a whole lot of pages describing new paths being built — and this video of a guy doing a 20 mile ride on a sparsely-traveled path (who duly notes at the beginning that you aren’t supposed to drive on the path). I haven’t watched the whole thing but the rider’s thrill at being in nature as well as his complete shock and awe at the interaction with pedestrians provided an insight into the mind of the more normal person who doesn’t ride everywhere. 

This was the most interesting site I found — but I don’t think it has tips in it… it does say the following;

2.2 Segregated versus non-segregated facilities
Direct comparison of the relative safety of bicycle facilities proves to be a difficult task.
Separate bicycle paths may appear to be “safer” than bicycle lanes but may result in
more conflicts at intersection and driveway locations, especially if the path is physically
removed from the roadway in such a way that motorists may not be expecting cyclists at
the junction of the path with the driveway or intersection.
Similarly, bicycle lanes may result in more orderly and predictable behavior between
motorists and cyclists along a road segment, but may lead to conflicts at intersections if
cycle lane traffic must re-integrate with motorized vehicles as they jointly traverse the
intersection and its influence area. Much of the safety performance seems to depend on
the design of bicycle facilities and the context of the road environment on which they are
applied. The New Zealand Land Transport Safety Authority makes note of this in their
Cycle Network and Route Planning Guide as a general consideration for providing either
roads or paths:
One choice is not inherently safer than another; both can be hazardous and both
require high-quality design to achieve safety.2
Research on this issue is far from conclusive. Findings can be contradictory and many
studies seem to exhibit shortcomings in data analysis, basic definitions, (i.e. what are
considered on-road and off-road facilities) statistical robustness, and often – a
preconceived bias that seemingly favors one type of facility over another. Further, much
of the research has been conducted outside of North America where the rules of the
road and the nature of transportation systems and policies are substantially different
than those experienced on this continent.

… and now, to change a few search terms to see if I can find something — add “safety” to the mix or something…

That gets me stuff about neighborhoods being no less safe where there are bike paths (despite the odd idea people get that bike paths will mean ne’er-do-wells will loiter and Do Bad Things), and Dave Moulton’s Oct 17 “Don’t be a Gutter Bunny” (tho’ that wasn’t a direct hit) and links to debates over whether separated cycle tracks are safer than riding on the road.

This seems to be a topic where the Internet commentary is almost certainly significantly different from what you’d get from the general public.   It makes sense — the person who is sort of almost thinking about riding a bike sometimes, and even the person who goes out riding with kids or on paths, is far less likely to have a biking blog or even be involved in the cycling community IRL or online.

I have often considered assorted gathering of my data — every word I type — as, rather than an invasion of my privacy, a chance for what I chose to express to be counted.  AFter all, why in the world should the Internet be considered “private?”

Still, regarding bicycles… it’s obviously a challenge for somebody considering getting started — ready for that 9 mph trip around a path — to find real tips on riding there.   Reckon I should be happy that most people aren’t like me and are brave enough to actually do new things without spending hours on the INternet researching 🙂   is pretty nifty, tho’ almost exhaustive… but does not give tips on how to ride on a path safely; just says ‘be careful, the roads are usually better.”

I did find a reference about greenways that stated blithely: “For Safety
Designated bicycle paths are excellent places to learn how to ride! Riding on designated bicycle paths is safer than riding on unsigned streets and roads.”  It made me wonder when I had ever in my life, especially in New York of all places (which has regulations for just about everything), seen an unsigned road with a designated bicycle path within miles.

Vacation is over!

I’ve left the shaking, rattling rolling East Coast (hoping Irene will duck out to sea), and returned to the bucolic Midwest.

First thing I noticed was yes, a lot of people ride bicycles here 🙂  Getting the ride back from the airport there were at least half a dozen commuters on the little stretches of bike-friendly roads on our car route.

This morning was a little less than bike-friendly — yes, I’ve been off the bike for a week and not tuned in as well, or I’d have noted that the Carle truck that went by on State and turned was the one that pulled in… and almost doored me.  That is, I believe the very first time in my life that’s happened. I had, at State and Logan (or whatever its name is there… is it White yet?), just woken up enough to feel suddenly blissful at greeting all these people so I hollered “Thank You!”  and got an unintelligible answer that, I’m afraid, was in the tone of “you should have…”  moved further over or somethign.  Welp, it wasn’t as if he’d pulled in there as I approached and could see it and, oh, yea, there’s that stuff we learned in driver’s ed — that it is the *parked* dude’s responsibility to make sure there’s no oncoming traffic before opening the door… but of course, he is correct — I think I might have had clearance anyway (I was on the left half of the bike lane) but no, I’m not *sure.*

Then I proceeded to hit every light wrong, except Mattis & Church, where I sprinted as I saw teh tanker truck wending through the left-turn-on-Mattis-before-the-light-change and that there were six cars in the left lane on Church… so I did manage to catch the clot and get through with it.

There were many, many bicycles; I believe there were more than previous years, because several times we really were the dominant traffic… more than one cyclist going the same direction, with no cars between.  I pondered the difference between the fourteenth ranked town in percent of commuters and the actual density of cyclists on the roads —  it would be nice to get the kind of density that other high-percentage communities have.

10:00 traffic

I went to work late this a.m. which means riding in a different circadian place, which is always fun.  I had to snicker when a car with a license plate “JONZ” went by, because on my normal a.m. route, RJONES goes by me… and I managed to catch him smiling yesterday.  (Hey, he must be kin, and my brother is Ralph JOnes,  so I tend to do  my full body smile as I go by…)   It was pretty wicked hot, though.

Happily, it had significantly cooled by the time I went home, though unhappily there has been NO rain. And I was riding and alternating between contemplating my math videos and stewing over assorted online comments and deciding that okay, I’d unsubscribed, but I just HAD to post the specific examples of condescending phrases and statements when really only a couple of people got totally defensive and said that there was nothing condescending on the site and my accusations were counterproductive (oh, and the praise was louder, so they were NOT LISTENING anyway).     And I did… but will unsubscribe if replies show up in my mailbox again.

It’s interesting that condescending people are too busy saying NOBODY ELSE SAYS I’M CONDESCENDING (to more than one person, of course!) so YOU MUST BE WRONG! (and beneath me, of course, but I’m NOT being condescending!)   Guess it would take a non-condescending person to take the time to listen to anothe rperson’s perspective 😉  It annoys me especially when it’s somebody “on my side” on an issue.

And as I’m stewing (but actually successfully also spending almost equal time on Algebra Ideas), I was not looking back much… so the cyclist who breezed by on my right was a surprise.   I’m happy to say that I had *Just* been thinking “okay, these forum things are good practice in using good manners” so that I simply said “On your right!”  (now, I’m workin’ on making the htoughts as accepting ;))

Kinda like last night, when a van driver pulls around me just before we’re going to cross busy Vine ST.  and yup, his right turn signal is on. I noticed some apparent confusion on the driver’s part as I lifted and carried and turned my bike to get behind the van, saying as if to myself or the van that well, yea, I did have to move around to get behind this jerk… Right hook is what it’s called and it’s not that hard to wait… or something on those terms… Ten years from now, if I haven’t been run over and I’m actually wise and polite all the time, you can look back at this and know it diden’t come naturally 😛



yahoos, yahoos…

Seems to be more of ’em — so maybe I should monitor my riding style, but I reckon heat is a compounding variable too.  Got totally buzzed by a van on Kirby — should have been out even further, I suppose.

So I’m going South on Anderson and the guy stops at Fairlawn and then starts going, despite Frank and I being right there in front of him and having total and complete right of way.

I stated “You have the stop sign, after all!”  He hollers out taht he has a driver’s license.   I tell him that it is a public road and he didn’t pay for it personally, and then (tho’ I’m sure he was out of earshot then) that people lose their licenses for running stop signs.   Reckon my first rejoinder should have been “You have a license?  And you don’t know the stop sign rules?”

It’s about 80 out there… many many storms just North keepin’ the temp down, but I wish we’d get some of it.   115 miles needed to get to 1000 in July at the start of the day… got 24 of them and it’s time to go to the store… Krannert Outside is tonight and I want to bring the margarita maker 😉