Tag Archives: advocacy

Creating bike lanes

One thing noted at the Bike Summit Wednesday was that it seems fears that making a bike lane wide enough to fit a car into it actually didn’t end up with cars using the bike lane.

I speculated then about how important a factor the lane being used by bicycles was; that if there weren’t bicycles on it regularly, perhaps drivers would end up using it to duck around and pass and that sort of thing.

This morning I was heading up Church Street to Mattis.   A phone discussion from me some years back means there’s an extra five seconds or so on my part of the cycle but it’s still a pretty short cycle and I knew at my pace & position that I would arrive about when the light changed… so having a mess of cars in front of me would … matter… and I could see, in my mirror,  a light cycle’s worth of cars approaching…

Two of ’em went right on Mattis on the merge ramp.

The other five all lined up in the left lane (there’s also a left turn lane).   I ended up with a fully legal, justified “shoaling,” as I passed ’em all in the right lane and got to the intersection as green happened.   (None of them were turning left; there’s a separate lane for that.)  (erm, yes, I’m going to “pass on the right” in this situation.)

Essentially, they treated the right lane as a bicycle lane, just because a bicycle was in it.   (Yes, I am rather certain that had I been hugging the right side, it wouldn’t have happened. )


Looks like we’ll be seeing a fair amount of each other; this morning I was turning left from Anderson to Washington and mentally noted that no, I hadn’t properly signalled … and I don’t remember if that’s because I could roll on through… which probably disgusted and dismayed the car behind me as it passed grumpily. Nothing aggressive, just that little bit of extra gas … and it was SVA BBY of yesterday’s snarky insistence that I needed to ‘be courteous.’
I do wonder whether she was grumpy because my existence was slowing her down or if I’d not done the foot-down (which would have slowed her down a lot more). I did spontaneously wave and smile at her… and noted that there were a *lot* of bicycles out and about that she was being forced to navigate with… and pondering the most effective ways to generate peaceful coexistence between competitors for time and space when our hormones/affective regulators/ whatever is behind our interactiions don’t always react peacefully.

It’s Unofficial! It’s Cold! I rode!

Airport temp one below accordign to WILL, and they didn’t bother to read their own thermometer… but I bundled up four layers thick to ride on in.   (At 17 below I threw my snowmobile suit from my motorcycle days over everythign, but it’s waddlesome with lousy range of motion, so I demurred.)

I brought the bicycle in the night before so it would be more pleasant to mount, and when I brought it outside decided to try just the little balaclava (really thin) and the “commuter gloves,” but I tossed my thick gloves and my full-on face mask in the backpack.    I’d done 5 minutes on the trainer, and … my hands never got cold.  I never got cold.   I got a teeny bit chilly on the last stretch — because I had stopped at Mattis traffic light, Country Fair traffic light, and Bradley traffic light.

Oh, and it still stinks that the walk isn’t cleared on Bradley… I need to see who to talk to about that.

And I still have to ride home.  On Unofficial.   SOmebody asked on FB if it was a “real thing,” and somebody explained that yea, it was, “kegs and eggs,” and yea, one of my students will be cleaning that stuff off the busses tonight.

The Path less Pedaled

Here’s some pics and commentary from a warmer clime;

http://pathlesspedaled.com/ – today’s post (or mebbe yesterday’s) includes pictures of bike coops and bike lanes etc.


Remember the “sustainable” burger joint that got flame-broiled on Twitter because it denied a cyclist at teh drive-through?

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/09/success-as-burgeville-allows-bikes-in-drive-thru.php indicates that they’re doing a tad better than greenwashing.  Check out the signage 😛 😛


Long Beach bicycling article –– I’d say this is testimony to the INternet having enough space to really tell a story.  Yes, it’s long – but it’s reasonably deep, as well.  “The scoop,” as it were, I say with happiness that something would make me say a phrase reminiscent of the Old Days of reporting.

It includes tasty tidbits like that Long Beach got a bronze award for bike-friendliness… but, um, it was based on bogus information and outright lies, and lots of bike activists were kinda sorta accidently not included in the process.

YEt the story wasn’t spun into an oversimplified “it’s all bogus politics” cotton candy article.  It’s much more challenging to digest.  I’m going to defy the current culture and take the time to do it, especially since I’ve already said I’m taking some “sick time” tomorrow.  I have enough of a cold to need more sleep but not enough to *stay* in bed. Cycling kinda ups the health level, ya know, and those Emergen-C rations prob’ly aren’t hurting, either.  It’s a nasty, though not systemic, critter – coughing *hurts* — but no more than getting up a steep hill, and I do know the value of Thoroughly Expunging Mucosoids. (Alas, one way I know colds from The Usual Allergies is that the snot rockets don’t work so well.)

Got 1025 miles on the month 🙂   Time for Nyquil … when you decide to have some wine and then realize you got down a *bowl* from the cupboard, it’s time for bed.  (THat was after the recognition that a minute is TOO LONG for an already toasted bagel to be microwaved, but it makes an interesting color smoke.)  Think I’ll avoid sharp objects… Channel 3 called and will interview me on the morrow so I was reflecting on driving and cycling and that I decided to thwart the cultural acceptance that people just do kill people with cars and that’s just too bad…  I don’t *deny* that it’s true – but I refuse to spend more time using those dangerous and inherently destructive things than I have to.  Yes, that sounds BIZARRE – but only because, I sincerely believe, of the cultural inertia that means that “every body does it — so it *must* be okay!”  and … because denial is *so* much more comfortable.  THen there was that reflection about the “but you’re stupid to ride a bike because cars can hurt you” – which is accepting that Might Makes Right, and of course tractor trailers can hurt you, too, but you’re taking that HOnda on I-74, aren’t you? Yes, I think a lot of our Powers that Be think that as long as you are the biggest oppressor, you’re nto an oppressor because you’ll trample anybody who calls you one.

But I think I’ll try to keep the positive Urbana vibes goin – the “this is how you live IN the world, as part of it” instead of crashing through it with the toughest armor you can find.

on-street parking (Baltimore)

(Okay, I”m procrastinating)

Found this article about a little grocery store on St. Paul Street in Baltimore that put a bike rack in a parking space.  I *think* it’s a store I went to when I lived nearby back in ’84 and ’85.  I’ll never forget getting my CHristmas Cookie Supplies – lots of sugar and flour – and being asked “is it far to your car?”  and when I assured the man “no,” he then proceeded to *take* the stuff to my car. (I think the weather was weird or something, too.)  It was the first store in my experience to have figured out that its patrons tended to be single or couples, so you could get things in small quantities.  That was 25 years ago – same owner, maybe?  I’m impressed 🙂

Not much riding today, though I could have done more at the tail end.  Put the wheel on the Racer and took it down to the bike coop for a little oil and the meeting.  Good bike stuff is happening!

Now to Get Things Done…

Memory Lane

Remember “the test?” (the “be aware of cycling” blurb)

I wonder how the scuttlebutt played out on it, since it was a piration of  this at our own U of I …   I can’t find how to search my blog to link to the posts from when it happened…  and also found a “Brainiac” version of the same thing on Youtube, probably also within the Brit definition of not violating copyright (because they changed colors of Tshirts and passed lunchboxes instead of basketballs).

In doing so, found that the “top searches” that landed people here included “xtracycle,  i can not lock my elbows,  foggy foggy dew,  diagonal parking bike lanes,  best multi purpose bicycle 2008”

So there’s somebody else out there who can’t lock elbows?  Bet we’re kin…

Press Progress

So… I applauded, then took some issue with Michael Dresser in the Baltimore Sun and his column approving a 3-foot law.  I really like his approach… which is to say that a buffer zone is a good idea, period, no matter how obnoxious cyclists can be, and he describes us amusingly as clad in spandex and “dweeby” helmets.

However, he then discussed being “as far to the right as possible”… and his cyclist source bemoaned the fact that even though he hugs that white line, people buzz  him, “on purpose.”

My issue?  As long as people think that proper lane position is hugging the lane, then drivers will think I”m riding further out “on purpose.”  And as long as cyclists don’t realize that it’s normal behavior based on our human perceptions to try to stay in the lane if it looks like there’s room because you’re not in the road, you’re on the side, then cyclists will think drivers are buzzing them “on purpose.”   Antipathy and hostilities escalate.

First response from him was that the difference between possible and practical was “splitting hairs,” because he figured *anybody* recognized that if there was glass on the road, you had to move out, and the suggestion that this was sort of a “theological debate.”  When I explained that a perfectly clear pavement could still be “impracticable,” but far from impossible, and that in fact a whole lot of hairs could be lined up in that area of pavement, he replied thoughtfully, demonstrating that he at least knew what I was talking about now.

I believe it, too, because I’d ridden home trying to figure out how to explain that counterintuitive didn’t mean wrong; that sometimes there really was a right answer… and tried to figure out an example of something … spontaneous generation?  The masses fervently believed in that, even though we are pretty darned sure it’s wrong. Ah…  “bike paths are safer than the streets.”  It then occurred to me that the article didn’t say word one about bike paths.  Amazing.  I came in and looked again and did a “search” for “path.”  It can be found in the word “sympathize.”

Amazing, indeed. A discussion of “appropriate cycling” alternatives that doesn’t relegate me to a bike path.  I wrote and thanked the man.

Chilly today – 34 degrees or so.

“winter cycling” press

I like this article about “Frosty Cyclists” – not a lot of creative (mis)interpretation of our breed; simple reporting.   It’s about winter commuter cyclists in Ohio – the reporter found several different genres- the 50-something research scientist (“professor type”), the 24-year old who’s thinking green… the 41-year=old new dad who wants to be healthy enough to see his new daughter graduate…

Nobody else came to ride at the Darwin ride, so I just did the out and back.  Body really, really wants more riding.  It’s 12 degrees (okay, less by now)… was going to go to a concert and frankly, if it were 10 miles away instead of 2 I might ’cause I’d be warm (and would get the Real Ride in)… but there’s a list of Stuff to Get Done on the Weekend, ya know…

Got Gazelle’s chain on… the chain guard isn’t snapping into place and I can’t help but think it would be more willing if it weren’t so cold.  Might just turn the heat up for that… and/or take it down to the coop tomorrow for a hoist to the rack and second opinion.  Must remember to practice hoisting *it* so that if it snows I can get it on the bus racks, adn so I can develop BICEPS 😛 😛