Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Schoolbus and Hiker

I had the pleasure of meeting up along the road with my kids' schoolbus. My daughter was on the passenger side and I could get her attention as I pulled up alongside the bus at one of its stops. We smiled and waved at one another, and then she did her silly Nixon-like finger-peace-sign thing, and then the motor roared them to the next stop. Glad she saw a bike commuter in action! What are the chances?

Very low, actually...I saw no other bicyclists today. Instead, a hiker walked eastward inside the berm, in contrast to all the traffic, with a nice lookin' backpack strapped to his torso. He seemed rather displaced, though; perhaps lost from the Appalachian trail? Who knows...regardless, a good ride.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Two Cold Commutes

January 19
I rode off in 35 degrees this morning, pushing up the steep winding road from my driveway before merging into the main thoroughfare that sends me east.

At the intersection of 15/11 and Market Street (and certainly everywhere else) I often catch sight of the dirty, ugly pile of cigarette butts pushed into heaps along with ruster bolts, gravel, and other trash.

Bicyclists seen: a student bicyclist headed to school; on my last stretch home saw two more bicyclists: one a competitive type, the other a heavy-duty commuter with paniers.

January 21
My second ride this week in morning weather that didn't get out of the mid-twenties. A decent ride nonetheless, but no other bicyclists seen, at least in the morning.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

26F....tie-down freebie!

Yesterday's prediction was that today's temperature would hit 40 degrees, thus I eagerly pedaled away from home to work this morning. While it wasn't 40 degrees when I left our house (instead it was around 26F), the bonus was a found tie-down in the berm of Market Street, in excellent condition, and even made in Indonesia!  Of course I can't say who placed the metal S-hooks into it, but surely he or she did not anticipate a bicyclist to pick it up. It's now fastened to my bike frame, far away from the tropical island it came from!

The only trouble with this morning's cold was my right sock, which is getting old, and so the failing elastic left my lower leg exposed to the cold, and made the prospect of stopping for a quick decaf and warm-up all the more attractive.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

39F, gravel, balaclava found...

Wishing I had biked to work, I cycled later in the afternoon to the local autoparts store to return some parts falsely destined for an old tiller engine. The ride was through post-snow road conditions, which can be treacherous with so many piles and archipelagos of salt and gravel. The ride out of my neighborhood is uphill; the first quarter-mile being a rise of maybe 75 feet. It's a stretch I like to ride at least weekly to let my legs remember what's entailed. When I returned home I rummaged through the attic and found an old red balaclava (LL BEAN) made of materials thin enough to fit under my bike helmet.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bike Rack Found

Not sure if this rather economical bike rack existed prior to my missive to the mall people, but let's assume it's the result of community minded corporate types responding to denizens with transportation issues, at least for the purpose of instilling false hope among area bicyclists. This rack is quite wimpy though, with intermediate vertical bars looking like they could be wrenched back and forth with some good elbow grease and ultimately fractured. Is it bolted to the ground or wall? I didn't get a chance to check -- but I'm whining. 

In these parts, this minimal nod to bicyclists is cause for celebration! Yes, that's right, because I'm not sure how much more infrastructure we'll see for bikes until gas hits four bucks again. 

Are there are mathematical functions related to increased numbers of bike racks and bikers? Surely! Do they entail the number of younger people in a city? The presence of absence of pro-bike policy? How about the number of religious die-hards? More postulating and ranting on this later.

What might a health impact assessment (HIA) make of the presence or absence of more or less biking? For example, Spokane's recent HIA associated reduced pollution,  greater pedestrian safety, reduced noise, reduced expenditures on fuel and maintenance and increased mental health with policies that incorporate bicycling in pedestrian plans.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Corporate Bike Racks?

At the beginning of this week I began what might be a fruitless pursuit -- trying to reason with the mall people. Following my suggestion to the book selling people, I continued my quest for a bike rack in a friendly email to the property management company -- the mall people. In addition to describing the problem, I offered a few web links to bike rack manufacturers.

As readers of earlier posts might know, I'm contending with paltry locking options. Today I rode my trusty Trek on another errand and had a chance to photograph the stand pipe lock-option:
These pipes are the only bike locking options at the local mall, save for a flimsy fence at the grocery store and weakly rooted directional signs among so many cars in an adjacent parking lot. While I am entirely aware of the broader range of problems in the world, the absence of bike racks among so many stores and shoppers reflects the implicit deal between mall people and car people!  Surely the mall people would be interested in supplying a $1,000 investment to their customers, many of whom are in very close proximity to the mall and could easily bike there if they weren't in bed with the car people. Surely hundreds would arrive on bikes if only the suggestion were made!

It does seem that here in central PA a bike rack is a far more feasible goal than a bike lane, the latter (to your typical voter in these parts) a veritable Communist plot to hinder efficient consumption!