Monday, March 31, 2008


I am sure you'll all forgive my recent absence. I'll just say that I'm spending every spare moment with my dad while I've got the opportunity. I've got a few moments today, so I will bring up a conversation I had with the hospital a couple weeks ago when I called to find out if they had any bike parking.

Hospital: X X Medical Center, how may I help you?

Me: I was wondering if you had any bike parking available.

Hospital: You mean, like, a motorcycle? You just park in a regular space.

Me: No, a bicycle.

Hospital: Um, you're going to ride your bicycle? Um, I don't know. Hang on. (Muffled) This guy says he's going to ride his bike here and wants to know if we have a place he can park it. [pause] No, a BI-cycle. [pause] I know. (No longer muffled) I don't know if we do.

Me: Who takes care of parking problems there?

Hospital: Um, let me get you security.

I then spoke with a helpful gal in security who said that she thought there might be a bike rack on the bottom level of the covered parking. I thanked her and when I rode to the hospital I did find the lone bike rack in an area that I didn't feel comfortable locking up.

I decided to lock it up next to the front entrance. Easier to get to. The railing I locked up to couldn't be picked up along with the bike - and - the security cameras regularly sweep past the spot.

Yeah, much better.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Law Firm Giving Employees NICE Bikes

Employees at Seattle law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro recently got a big incentive to take up the sport. Management promised bicycles worth $3,500 to any employee who pledges to bike to work three months out of the year.

Okay, they get the bikes at cost, but with 35 people signed up so far they are shelling out 63 grand.

"To me, cycling is more of a creative way of conducting business, whereas golf is more of a businessy, suit-and-tie way of doing business."

I agree.

Here is the article.


Temperature at departure = 38° F (3° C)

I've mentioned before that our high school hasn't had a bicycle rack in over 20 years. In 1987 a car took out the bike rack and it wasn't ever rebuilt ... until this week.

To be fair, there was a bike locked up here a few days ago, but today's forecast of rain must have dissuaded that lone rider. Let's hope there will be more bikes locked up here in the future. It would make perfect sense for the kids in my neighborhood to take the Indian Creek Trail which runs right past the school. I wonder how my freshman will react to the suggestion...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Antioch Tunnel

Temperature at departure = 47° F (8° C)

Eric recently posted a link to a KC Star article about the maintenance (or lack thereof) on the Indian Creek Trail.

It sounds like they have a plan in place to keep it clear, but I haven't seen much in the way of any maintenance since October. My gut tells me it is because they know that sane people wouldn't ride bikes in the winter.

On my wish list: Clean up the path that runs next to I-435, including the tunnel under the Antioch bridge where it is no longer amusing to dodge the broken glass hidden amongst the leaves. Here is a shot taken this morning.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

More Bikes?

You know how it is when you're shopping for a particular kind of car you tend to see that model everywhere you drive? I got that feeling when I was driving to the hospital this morning ... I saw 4 people commuting by bike. I tried to tell myself that the only reason I notice them is because I ride too. Then it hit me, I've BEEN riding for several years and this year there really does seem to be more people out on bikes. Good!

Along those lines; over the weekend I was waiting at a yield sign to turn on to 99th because a car was heading my direction. I also noticed some kids riding their bikes on the sidewalk on the other side of the street. I continued to wait, and wait, and wait on the car. Turns out the driver of the car was the mother of the two kids on bikes. She was driving ~10 MPH with the window down shouting instructions to the kids. So, I'm torn ... on one hand I'm glad to see a parent getting their children out on bicycles, but on the other hand, this lady was a menace to everyone around her. Weird.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Since my attempt to impress Fritz in the previous post failed (he'd already linked to someone else who had linked to the picture...) and since I am mad at my own dogs, here is a New Yorker Cartoon by Alex Gregory which you may think I should consider a little more seriously.

(Although I may like THIS one even better ... hehehe)

One Way to get Chipmunks off the Path

Fritz put link bait out for anyone posting pictures of pets and bikes. Don't know if this counts, but I'm thinking if I could get my own owl or (more likely) red tail hawk to accompany me, I wouldn't have to dodge as many chipmunks.

Picture from BBC News.

[edited to say I'm too late! Arrrrrrrgh]

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Burbank Gets Serious

Wow, just ... wow. The Burbank City Council has secured $152,000 for the construction of 100 bike parking spots at their train station. Currently, they have 8 spots and a waiting list for their use. At $1,520 a pop, it sounds like they'll be a bit more secure than the rack the office park put up for me.

Hey, at least they put one in for me.

Burbank seems to be making a serious effort to get more people out of cars and onto bikes.

The city has 16 miles of bike lanes, but it is still too early to tell if the increase has reduced traffic, she said.

But the master plan has increased the amount of projects the city has undertaken, Kriske said.

Those include installing loop detection devices at intersections and cameras that can see when a bike approaches.

If $1,520 sounds like a lot to pay to create one parking spot, consider that it can cost around $10,000 to construct a typical parking spot for a car. (I may be pulling that figure out of thin air ... but I'm fairly sure I'm right on that.)

Hey, City of O.P., the loops and cameras sound nice, don't they?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Palm Beach Sheriffs Get It

From the Boca Raton News site:

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has awarded the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) an $88,750 grant for the purchase of bicycles and bicycle safety helmets.

The PBSO has implemented the FDOT Bicycle Safety Education Program and is currently providing education at elementary schools and local community events. County commissioners said the PBSO has also begun citation enforcement programs for violators of the bicycle/pedestrian right of way.

The PBSO has several certified bicycle safety technicians who currently provide bicycle safety training in many of the elementary schools and through several community safety events. The distribution of these bicycles and bicycle safety helmets will be done through several of these community safety events. No county money is needed, commissioners said.

I firmly believe the reason the majority of the people I see on bikes are in their 30's and 40's is that parents have been driving their kids everywhere the last few decades. There was some research done in England recently that states that Parents drive on average 1,664 miles a year chauffeuring their children.

I suppose I'm just as guilty as anyone -- but am bound and determined to get some of my other family members out on bikes when they ask me to take them somewhere. Two of the four kids who still live at home are already used to riding with me. The other two are going to get a lesson in biking for short trips as soon as the weather warms up a little more.

Patches? We don't need no stinking patches.

Temperature at departure = 18° F (-8° C)

I am hoping that this will be the last morning where the temperature is below 20° when I head out the door, but you never know. Still, the 70° temperatures of this last weekend show the light at the end of the tunnel.

One thing I won't miss for a while is patches of ice like the one above from this morning's commute. These used to freak me out a bit -- now, as long as they're not longer than 20 feet, I just make sure the bike is at a right angle to the ground and take it easy. I no longer stick a foot out to act as an outrigger because that put me a bit off balance. Just take it slow, straight and steady.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Iowa Winter Cyclist

Temperature at departure = 28° F (-2° C)

Yet another incredulous article about someone who, *GASP*, rides their bike to work in the winter. This one comes via the Iowa City Gazzette Online.

Don't get me wrong, the article is nice enough and even has a video that does a good job of profiling a winter commuter ... I just get tired of all these articles being about people who haven't owned a car since -- forever.

The message I get from these articles is that you have to sell your car if you're serious about commuting by bike. I still drive; more than I like to admit. I would love to see a feature on someone who says they commute by bike because it is fun and that you don't need a lot of special equipment to ride a bike.

You see what happens when I don't get to make my mocha latte in the morning!!!

I Kid You Not

Not to bore you with my work stuff, but I though this one was worth passing on. I was on call this last week and received a call Saturday night from a guy who's radio station was off the air. When I asked him what the issue was he told me the computer that runs the station caught fire. He told me they'd had a problem with a power supply smoking a year or two before, but this time it was an actual fire inside the chasis. He told me he thought it had "something to do with bugs in the system."

There was an uncomfortable silence after I replied "Bugs?"

"Yeah, this box is out at the remote transmitter site and the thing was loaded with dead bug bodies. I think some of them maybe caught fire."

I'm guessing the warranty is going to be void on this baby.