First ride of the year for 2007, after a month off for holidays, winter storms and a nasty flu bug. Also the first ride with two christmas gifts: new gloves and goggles. Both worked great, warm hands and fingers, no eye tearing up and very little fogging (mostly my own fault). The goggles worked pretty well with the bike helmet, sitting a little low, but not uncomfortably so. They could be a bit smaller and still cover my glasses, but it was sure nice to see well and not worry about the cold wind making my eyes water.
It was a fairly good day for a ride; 25°, slushy snow on the edges of the street but not icy. Studs would probably have felt more secure, as the slicks were a little slippery starting out, but no slides or falls. The fenders worked great, they just need a front mudflap to keep the slop off of the BB and drivetrain. I wish i had a camera with me to show the giant pile of snow on the BB, it must have been 3 pounds worth.
I’m just finished with the worst flu bug i’ve had in years, a solid two weeks from first symptoms to the last coughing fit. No, i don’t get the flu shot, but yes, i’m considering it for next year (although people i know who did get it also got this particular bug). Now that i’m feeling almost normal, we get hit with snow and subzero windchills, and i’m smart enough to stay off the bike a few more days, and not just for the lack of studded tires.
A quick administrative note – thanks for the few comments, i appreciate hearing feedback and other ideas. The comment spammers found me, so i was moderating everything until i got the spam filter in place (i love WordPress!). That’s running now, and most comments should appear quickly.
One of the things we’ve been working on in the new year, in a Nyquil haze, has been our household budget. An interesting thing about having driven exclusively for 3 whole weeks in a row (including the holiday week, though i rode on Christmas Eve) is that i can’t help but think about the price of a car trip. Sure, it’s normal to work out the cost of a weekend of driving to a place further away, but i mean everyday driving. Cycling, i don’t think twice about jumping on the bike and heading to the store for one thing, because it’s fun and practically free. When i’m driving, I tend to put off errands and then do a bunch in one day – more efficient and less annoying.
One day this past weekend, we spent the better part of an afternoon running around returning movies, getting groceries and a few other things. Overall, the day probably involved 80-90 miles of driving, which cost $7-8. If i were comparison shopping for these errands, i wouldn’t buy the thing that cost $7 more than another thing, but the extra $7 was the price of being a consumer who shopped by car.
In a way, it’s part of the cost of living in a cold climate, because it’s not practical or safe to do this by bike with small kids in single-digit temperatures. I have a feeling that my mental taxi meter will be running every time i jump in the car for a while now, extra incentive to get back on the bike.
Advocates from Transporation Alternatives, The Project for Public Spaces, and The Open Planning Project join “Gridlock Sam” Schwartz and Enrique Penalosa to call for New York City to consider experimenting with some physically separated bike lanes in the near future.
It’s a good short video, with some nice examples of different bike lane construction around the world. It’s interesting that London is used as an example while there are some serious cycling advocates over there trying to abolish bike lanes (with the idea that chaos leads to safer roads, in a nutshell).
I don’t think all bike lanes are wonderful or necessary, but having some physical separation on major routes would be a Good Thing. Interaction with traffic is (i think) the main deterrent to increasing the number of bike commuters. I can see the potential counter-argument that pedestrians won’t want to cross bike traffic to & from their cars, but i’d be interested to see how much of a problem it is in practice.
While watching the video, i couldn’t help but think that many of complaints about drivers would be solved by stronger enforcement of existing traffic law. Parking and turning on a bike lane should be disallowed, if it isn’t already, and enforced as such. Loading zones could be marked as allowed, otherwise cars ought to stay out.
Likewise, i can’t help but wonder how many fewer people would use a cell phone while driving if police more strictly enforced proper turn signal use?
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for January, 2007.
Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live. Mark Twain