I’ve been heavily involved in genealogical research for my family. Kind of obsessed with it so I haven’t had time to update here. Also, I’ve been preparing for a bike ride, my first in a number of years.
This weekend I’ll be riding the Dirty Pecan Gravel Ride out of Monticello, Florida. I’ll be doing the 60 mile route and hopefully I will complete it. It’s an unsupported ride, which concerns me a little but it’s flat and the weather is supposed to be perfect for it.
Also, today I’m turning 63. My wife decided to take a friend with her to the area so that she will be close by just in case I die.
New York City has a traffic congestion problem so the mayor is stepping up enforcement against e-bikes which are very effective at relieving congestion.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday on the Upper West Side, the epicenter of NYPD e-bike enforcement, de Blasio said the crackdown is part and parcel of his administration’s goal to eliminate traffic fatalities. “Vision Zero is about making us safe regardless of what the threat is — making us safer when it comes to our streets,” de Blasio said.
But he admitted that e-bike riders had not actually caused any fatalities — the enforcement is based on complaints.
According to this Clean Technica article infrastructure projects that incorporate bicycle and pedestrian elements create about 46% more jobs than road-only projects. The study it quotes states:
Using actual bid price and cost data, the study compares 58 projects in 11 cities and finds that bike projects create 46% more jobs than road projects without bike or pedestrian components. On average, the ‘road-only’ projects evaluated created 7.8 jobs per million, while the ‘bicycling-only’ projects provided 11.4 jobs per million. For example, a roadway-focused project with no bicycle or pedestrian components in Santa Cruz, California generated 4.94 jobs per $1 million spent. In contrast, a bicycle-focused project in Baltimore, Md produced 14.35 jobs per million. The PERI reviewers attribute the difference to the simple fact that bicycle and pedestrian projects are often more labor intensive.”
When you add in the additional benefits of less pollution and a healthier citizenry why aren’t pedestrian and bicycling elements included in every large scale road project?
Jason Walker, a Chattanooga radio personality, vented his frustration with people riding bicycles in the street and with Chattanooga investing in bicycle infrastructure specifically along Frazier Avenue in this Facebook post. He immediately had a whole host of his followers agreeing with him and going beyond in his comments.
A lot of people in the comments seem to have a huge misunderstanding of the economics of bicycling. If you add bicycle infrastructure to an area, even at the expense of parking spaces for cars, the businesses along the route experience an increase in sales.
Many critics argue that sacrificing on-street parking in order to build bike lanes would hurt local businesses. However, several studies, including a 2009 study by the Clean Air Partnership in Toronto, show that shoppers who walk or cycle to a business are more likely to return and spend more money in the area than people who drive there. The Toronto study predicted that instead of harming local businesses, bike lanes would increase commercial activity on the street.[ix]
This is exactly the opposite of effect of what people who view cars as the only legitimate means of transportation expect because they are in cars. People on bicycles see more of the businesses on their route and have less of a problem finding places to park so they are more likely to stop and shop along their way.
From an economic standpoint businesses win when bicycling infrastructure is added to their community.
Here’s a great Salon article on why you rarely see drivers punished for killing pedestrians. It addresses a number of issues that tie us to our cars by making cycling and walking a deadly activity. One paragraph grabbed my attention by how much it applies to so many of the dangers in our lives:
New drivers sometimes perceive this mismatch between ease and consequence. Adam Gopnik, writing earlier this month in the New Yorker on learning to drive in middle age, saw the immense, unacknowledged hazard as he turned through a crosswalk. “Driving, I realized, isn’t really difficult; it’s just extremely dangerous,” he wrote. “Making hard things easy is the path to convenience; it is also the lever of catastrophe.”
I don’t know about you but I really, really, really dig a steel framed bike. Don’t get me wrong, I love riding my aluminum framed Specialized Allez with its carbon fork but it’s an aluminum bike with a carbon fork, something to like and even love but not something you can dig. It rides fast and fits me well but lacks a little something in style. Velo-Orange has a model they call the Pass Hunter. It’s a bike I can dig. It probably isn’t as fast as my Allez but it looks like something I could load up and ride and ride and ride.
I dig the cantilever brakes for their ability to scuff off the momentum my fat self and baggage builds up on downhills. I also dig the fact that this allows me the clearance to put wider tires for better stability in gravel on the bike and still have room for a set of fenders. Fenders that I need to keep the lime spray from wet gravel roads from turning the bicycle a mottled white.
I dig the way the steel frame will absorb the vibrations from the road and deaden the shock to my wrists and butt from hitting an unavoidable pothole. I dig the fact that should the frame somehow get bent that I stand a chance of repairing it on the side of the road to at least a level of ridability that will get me back home or to a reasonable pick up point.
I have no beef with aluminum, titanium, or carbon fiber bikes, they all have their place and can be sexy machines. I just dig steel over the long haul.
François Gissy, 32, a daredevil Frenchman recorded the highest speeds ever on a rocket-powered bicycle when he reached 207 miles per hour. The hydrogen-peroxide powered bicycle left a Ferrari in the dust during tests at a French racetrack.
Gissy told Gizmag that with the intense wind that came with riding at 207 miles per hour, he’s “lucky [his] head is still bolted on [his] body.”
Last week Cherokee Schill appeared in court to answer several charges of obstructing traffic. Even though she was obeying what I thought was a reasonable interpretation of the law the judged fined her several hundred dollars. The prosecutor was also asking that she be banned from riding the stretch of highway, US27 in Jessamine Co., Kentucky, she had been ticketed on. The judge didn’t go that far.
This week Ms Schill was arrested for riding the same section of road on her bike, this time for second-degree wanton endangerment which is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.
The report says Cobb “observed several vehicles braking hard and switching lanes erratically in an attempt to dodge the violator. Violator was wantonly engaging in conduct she knew would create substantial danger to the motorists attempting to avoid her.”
So if other people’s reaction to a cyclist riding in traffic is to start driving erratically it is somehow the cyclist fault? How about if they slow down and wait to pass until they can do it without erratically changing lanes?
Here’s a video from the back of Ms. Schill’s bike. I wouldn’t want to ride on that shoulder either.
Dan posted the quote, “We build cities for cars, not people,” yesterday as a set up for his punch line, “which means we already serve robot masters, but not hyper intelligent ones.” However the quote intrigued me enough to google it and find what might have been the original source:
We build cities for cars, not people. This means that we spread out much more than we have to, and consequently end up paying more for transportation than we do for housing. Our grandparents could afford higher quality houses than we can because they spent so much less on transportation.
Reading that quote in context got me thinking about how much we spend because of transportation cost imposed on us by the way we plan and build our communities. We end up compromising other areas in our lives because we put so much of our personal resources into our transportation needs.
My shoulder is healed and summer’s half over. It’s time I get back on my bike before something takes my time or my health. A few minutes ago I drove up the road a bit to Bethlehem to map out a course for me to start riding that will be challenging enough for my level of fitness but not so challenging that I give up.
The course is 15 miles long with no more than 100′ change in elevation over the entire course. The reason I chose to ride in Bethlehem is due to the flatter terrain than I have around my house and the roads are generally not busy at all. I really need to make sure my bike handling abilities are where they need be before I venture back out in traffic around home.
I’ll prepare my road bike tonight and ride the course in the morning before church. Hopefully I can find someone to ride it again with me Tuesday night. I need to make sure I have a couple of usable water bottles to take with me also.
A week ago this past Monday, Memorial Day, Chattanooga hosted the 2014 Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Championship Road Race. During the first descent down Lookout Mountain Taylor Phinney, Saturday’s Time Trials winner, and Lucas Euser were involved in an accident with the race marshall’s motorcycle resulting in Phinney breaking his leg and most likely ending his season. Euser ended up with a little road rash and a destroyed bicycle putting him out of the race.
An anonymous editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press wasted no time in turning this unfortunate event for these two professional cyclist into fodder for his or her campaign to ban bicycles from Chattanooga’s streets. As always this call for banning bicycles is cast as being out of concern for the cyclist.
It’s just not safe to bicycle on steep mountain roads. It’s one thing for professional cyclists to do it while the roads are closed to traffic. And even then, the pros wreck. It’s an entirely different thing for amateur cyclists and the workaday people who have to drive those mountain roads to get to work and home.
The actual motivation for banning bicycles is the inconvenience some motorists may have to endure of paying closer attention to their driving and possibly arriving at their destination five minutes later. I honestly don’t think that it’s asking motorist too much to drive as though their might be a hazard around every blind curve. I also don’t think that a five minute delay in their commute is a big enough inconvenience to ban all cyclist from the road, many of whom have only a bicycle for their transportation needs.
I was driving my car along a very rural section of road in Marion County many years ago when after negotiating an uphill turn in the road there is a toddler with a wagon in the middle of my lane. I was driving as I should have been and was able to avoid hitting the child. That taught me that I need to always approach a hilly, curvy road exactly as though that child might be playing right over the next hill or around the next corner.
Let’s stop this talk about banning bicycles and start looking at out own driving habits to see how we can make sharing the road safer for all of us. It may not be a cyclist around that next corner but a toddler instead.
Making allowances for bicycles isn’t only a safety issue, more and more it is an economic issue and that isn’t just for urban areas, suburbia can benefit from it also.
Increasingly, Nesper says, suburban leaders are seeking out a “bicycle friendly” designation because they think it makes their communities more attractive to new businesses and residents. He cites Greenville, South Carolina, as another unexpected place that earned a bronze designation this year. Amenities like good bike infrastructure can help set a suburb or small city apart from its sprawling counterparts.
It’s not hard to see that people are more and more wanting to spend less and less time commuting and they want their commuting time to be as stress free as possible. Making it possible to commute by bicycle and ride for enjoyment and exercise is going to make a community more attractive to both business and the people working in those businesses.
A new bike rack purchased by the Worthington-Dublin Rotary Club. Image courtesy of Flickr user Don O’Brien.
Gather around and listen, my children and I will tell you stories of old. There was a time when not all cars came equipped with turn signals or even brake lights. This led to problems as the highways started to become used more and more by cars than by bicycles. A system had to be developed to alert other motorists our intentions so they could make allowances for your change in motion.
Someone came up with the idea for using hand signals. Holding out your left arm straight signaled an intended left turn. And since the driver had only the left window to signal from, holding out your left arm bent up at the elbow signaled an intended right turn. Slanting your arm toward the ground signaled that you were slowing or stopping.
This worked great for people without signal lights on the back of their car and it even worked great for cyclists at that time. But, it’s been fifty years since cars were produced without turn signals and most people have completely forgotten about them. So much so that the right turn signal is completely meaningless to younger drivers today who don’t remember the days without turn signals.
Many states have made allowances for this by writing into their laws that holding out one’s right arm straight on a bicycle is acceptable as a right turn signal. Now Michigan is one of those states.
“When I signal a turn in the traditional way, some drivers think I am waving at them and wave back,” Forlini, who described himself as an avid bike rider, said in a release. “If a right-hand signal is put in use, bicyclists and motorists will understand the signal and the road will be safer for all concerned.”