Tag Archives: bicycle commute

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. )

SVA BBY 2

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.

Construction instruction

Welp, first — *nobody* was working on either of the two big apartment thingies going up this morning and it’s a gorgeous day.  I’m thinking there must have been a Meeting Of Some Kind.

Last night the Wednesday Pedaling for Pleasure troop went out to Rising to visit the grain elevator and the womannequin out there with her hardhat and riding crop.   I knew when I made the decision that something was happening on some bridge. The bridge was Bradley and traffic was one way with a traffic light enforcing it on a timer.

We went through as fast as we could on the way over and while it turned green for the other guys, they didn’t ride into us, but waited for us and the cars… and yes, people peeled by – but not closely, just quickly.

Both times, we got the green when we were a a bit back and it still would have been green to start up the bridge, but we stopped and waited for a cycle so we could start at the very beginning.  In fact, on the way back we took off as soon as the clump of cars had gone by, a good ten seconds before we got the green.   No, BLOKE 2, we didn’t hug the side and let you by.   We preceded the green this time but BLOKE2 needed to buzz us anyway.   I was compelled to inform the planet that if you’re going to ride like a jerk, vanity tags aren’t a good idea.  I mean, all I know about the morning “stop sign?  You’re just a bicycle, I don’t need to stop” guy was it was a guy in a blue sedan that started with R28.

Yes, these things seem to happen seasonally.

Now, there were at least a dozen other drivers who were extra courteous… and the resident of the “hobbit house” came out and chatted about it with us (a house built into a constructed hill).   Basically it was a nifty ride — and a 40 mile day for me, since I got the commute and laps at lunch and before the club ride. We’ll see about trying for 1000 miles in June…

Dispatch number — get yours!

In the “Just Do This” category — get the ‘non emergency dispatch’ number for where you are most often and either commit it to memory or stick it on your phone.

Ours is easy to remember:   333-8911.   (Hey, it’s “911”  almost — 8911 — and then 3’s in front.)  It’s for “animal control” — yes, they want you to call even if all the dog did was *almost*hurt you, and for situations like last Friday when I was heading East on University from Country Fair and watched as a semi made a U-turn … on Mattis.    I wondered as I approached if I’d get to see a jackknifing happen … it didn’t, and the Plain WHite (18-2heeler) Truck proceeded on its way… with the light standard smashed to the ground behind it.    Wasn’t in the traffic lane, somehow, but it was worth a call (no, I didn’t get license or name of company from the truck but ‘that’s good enough’).

Today’s commute was speedy ’cause the wind is from the East; “rain developing” had started spitting at me on arrival.

It’s still November ;)

This morning at 21 degrees I was passed not once, but twice by bicyclists on the morning commute.   Yes, I saw several others, and this was an “early” day (I see more when I go in an hour later).

Urbana has been deemed GOLD status in bike friendliness, which I thought was pretty cool — and then saw that there are only 21 Gold communities in the country!  (Four platinum) … tonight we have Champaign County Bikes annual meeting and elections.  I don’t even know who’s ‘running,’ and that might be because … nobody is, and if you go to the meeting you’ll be drafted.   We’ll see 😉

It’s November!

Yes, it’s gotten below freezing.   Nothing that a few layers doesn’t take care of.

No, car culture folks, it’s really not that amazing.  You have just as many routines for dealing with the Stuff Of Cars; they’re just routine.   Once mine became routine, it was the Car Stuff — will I need to figure out a place to park?  Where will I stick stuff so I can get to it?   — that was a bunbite.

Nice ride in, because 45 degrees w/ 15 mph headwinds is my favorite ride for endorphin generation.   Had a “bike culture diversity” experience riding in as somebody peeled out of a driveway about 2 miles from Parkland on a Trek 7200… hopped sidewalks and parking lots, including crossing Country Fair and being on the sidewalk there for a spell, then crossing back over to the sidewalk to my right (which may have been because of strollers and loiterers on the left sidewalk), and then as we approached Bradley, he came out into the road on a mad sprint to make the light.   On my Gazelle, having tried not to work up a sweat for my trip, I wasn’t even tempted (but I had to wonder if he wanted to beat me in)… and as I waited at the light a fellow on the sidewalk on Bradley on a Roadmaster crossed in front and did the all-sidewalks-and-paths option.

NEat thing is, of course, that on a pretty darned brisk day in November, there *were* three cyclists descending upon our hallowed institution.  The Trek in question was parked on “my” bike rack and somebody looking lots like the rider was in the lab working on the computer when I came in.

The Gazelle is riding nicely but my back is twinging a little (but that could be that leetle bit of yoga I did this a.m.)… and I’m hoping to get the Xtra back — but the Transport is on sale at Champaign Cycle.   1200 or so  and an awesome utility bike could be yours!

bike friendly isn’t all infrastructure

I’m riding west on Main Street and there’s a mess of construction taking up the other side of the street, and a car coming the other way.

Yes, probably having a whole lot to do with me being out from the curb, the construction guy holds the oncoming car to let me through.   Cool thing is, on a bike, you can just thank the guy all proper-like 🙂

Rainy and supposed to be stormy later… but oh, my, I need my Monday endorphins.   Things that were annoyances yesterday are challenges I look forward to subduing to my omnipresent will right now.  The delusions never last, but do get me moving in the right direction 😉

“raw” – not really

http://qianguata.blogr.com/stories/2010-03-25-Xtracycle/ yet another little blurb about Xtracycles. Makes me wonder how global their desire is to do contracts with bike companies outside Surly.  Perhaps if I ride long tomorrow I’ll stew on a marketing plan wherein I, of course, would be the demo darling for a new frame setup with Just The Right Bike for Going Everywhere.  (A mom with kids might be better, but she wouldn’t have time to figure out the marketing campaign…)

Yes, it’s raining… not hard.  Yes, it’s windy — but it was behindme most of the way.  Therefore, Not Raw.  And even when I was headed North, it wasn’t cold or windy or rainy enough to create that “blasts of cold pelleting your entire body and face and eyes” that can make a ride less jubilant.

I rode the folder, ’cause I could sneak it into the office ’cause it’s still spring break and the co-worker isn’t here (it’s back by her desk ;)).  It is also the MOSTEST fun bouncing down the potholes and concrete aberrations on Main Street.  Boing! Boing!  (No apologies to Cory Doctorow – information should be free 😛 )

I didn’t ride ferociously hard or long, so now I’m chomping at the bit from the taper effect… hoping it holds ’til tomorrow ’cause I want to do a metric.  Might have to do a reconnaissance lap on the Studs if it gets too cold, though, and it won’t be a randonneury route; I’m not ready to “tour.”  I’ll try to set up for that and then realize whatever I forgot once I’m rolling.

Plan for when I’m rolling:

Wielding Power :)

I pulled up to the light at Country Fair and Bradley, having seen a fairly long line of small and large vehicles adn having expected a green along the way.  “It’s been green forever!” the lady in the car in front says out her window to me.

“I’ll just take care of that.”

Fortunately, the walk light button *did* work and in ten seconds we were all on our way.  As I entered the school, someone coming in behind me said to his compatriot, “we were at that light for 8 minutes!”  and acknowledged that another biker had let them through.  Given the timing, I think it may have been me… but it’s completely plausible that ever 8 minutes or so a cyclist goes through.

Hmmm… so, could a person disable the car-trip at other lights and have bicyclists more obviously be the LIberators?

A38 2153

… the 21 might be wrong… but that’s the guy that tried to right hook me at the place on the campus loop where I expect it. Unlike the last time it happened (spring semester) there wasn’t a ferocious wind making me lean as if Iwere turning, either. It felt good to have a horn to lay on, and he definitely hesitated trying to detect the source, but I do wish I had, oh, a bristly brush to leave an impression. A car also swooped right next to me on Church (GBR 44 I think… ) and if it weren’t for the tractor trailer that I had to wait to squeeze through a left turn onto Church, I’d have caught up to him at the light. Don’t know if I’d have tried to talk to him or not; prob’ly would have just positioned my little self closer than three feet to his car and adjusted my shoelaces. I flashed three fingers at him as he went by… he was Interstate bound and obviously getting to that red light faster was important. Of course, he probably doesn’t know what to scan to see if it’s worth sprinting to make the light or not.
A car wwwhhhizzzzed by on my early morning ride, too. (A63 0517) Gave me lots of room, but movin’ FAST. Hi-viz is good ’cause it was dawnish. Hopefully that was my “things coming in threes” for the day – makes one wonder about celestial alignments.