Archive for category enviornment
I’ve set out in the rain and come home dry, or mostly dry.
I’ve sat comfortably behind big men, the ones that are as wide as Volkswagen Beetle.
I’ve dropped those same men.
I’ve been dropped by women.
And old men.
I’ve set out in the sunshine and come home wet.
I’ve stopped, not because I needed to rest but because I wanted a moment to take it in.
I’ve sat up when the gap was too big.
I’ve had road rash.
I’ve run red lights.
I’ve been defeated by headwinds.
And Coleman Valley Road.
I’ve stopped for wildlife.
I’ve been honked at.
And yelled at.
And waved at.
And smiled at.
I’ve slowed down to chat with strangers.
I’ve taken turns at the front.
I’ve been stopped by the police.
But mostly, I’ve had fun.
First, let me apologize for how quiet it’s been around here recently. Kurt and I happened to go on family vacations at the same time this year (not together) and that, a week or so off of work, always comes with a week of frantic preparation and a week of frantic catching up. Or, at least, that’s my excuse, I think Kurt’s probably still lost on some beach in Hawaii.
I spent about 8 days on the California Central Coast and, between beaches, drives down to Big Sur, trips to the aquarium and shuttling around my wife’s 15 year-old half-sister, I managed to get out for a couple of bike rides in pretty fantastic weather.
I returned home only to find that the rain we’d been missing all winter was due to arrive just in time for my (now dark) morning commutes,
Thirty minutes (or just under) is about perfect when you’re talking about riding in the rain. At 50° it’s not cold enough to get the chills and just as the water starts to slosh around in your shoes and breach the “water resistant” barrier jacket you’re wearing, you’re pulling into the parking lot at work and (careful not slip due to the wet tile, cycling shoe combo) heading into the locker room to change into some dry clothes.
Then, after you’ve hung up socks and jackets and laid out your shorts and jersey to dry in the back of your cubicle, people walk by your desk and say, “you didn’t ride today, did you?” And suddenly you become a hero, at least temporarily, for braving the elements and showing dedication to the cause. Or, maybe they add it to the list of things that make you weird, right after “wears Lycra in public.”
At least, that’s my experience.
Roll down your windows.
Ok, this doesn’t really have anything to do with making the road safer for cyclists, but it’s a good idea. I found myself in the car alone the other day. It was a little brisk outside but sunny and dry. So, I rolled the windows down. It really made the entire experience much more enjoyable.
Give it a go.
Architecture for Humanity is a non-profit organization that provides design services and solutions to various humanitarian issues around the globe. The local chapter in Raleigh, Architecture for Humanity – Raleigh, set forth a competition in April of this year to create one-of-a-kind bicycle racks. The is due to the city of Raleigh having such a growing cycling community and to bring positive attention to this environmental and health conscious mode of transportation. Each winning rack is installed in key location throughout the city. Below is the winner of Capital street. See the other winners at RaleighRacks.com
The bike lane, anywhere on the road, really, is not a garbage can.
It seems that there’s a trend out there to discard trash in the bike lane. This is annoying and gross and makes your neighborhood look, well, trashy. My real problem though, isn’t the litter – that’s just annoying and thoughtless – it’s with the glass. It is true a beer bottle will break when tossed from a moving vehicle onto the road and very few things are as joyful as the experience of hurling a glass bottle and watching it explode, I know. But all that green and brown glass eventually ends up in my tire and, while my Gatorskins are durable, inevitably one shard will make it through to the sensitive inner tube and I’ll end up on the side of the road trying to look like I know what I’m doing as I change tubes.
You’ll probably get a good view of my Lycra clad butt, which, for all I know, is what you were after when you threw the bottle there in the first place.
So when I started examining my non-car options, it required a fair amount of research—which turned it into a kind of game. Using the deductive reasoning skills of Google Maps and a young Yelp.com, every time I left the house, I could determine if my needs could be met by walking instead. My first moment of clarity came when I realized I could walk to a grocery store that I was certain was halfway to Westwood. Thanks to the programmers in Mountain View, it was now only eleven blocks away.
My services were relocated. A drug store nearby got my prescription business; the dry cleaner at the bottom of my street would work just fine. I walked to the West Hollywood Target in the time it had previously taken to negotiate its parking structure. I reasoned that I didn’t really need to drive to the farmers’ market ten blocks away—and once I almost died carrying a watermelon home, just to prove it.
In general, things aren’t as far away as we think they are (probably more true in a city like LA where everything is 15 minutes away but it takes an hour to get anywhere). I think our next move will involve thinking about ways we can be less car reliant, specifically, how can we (and by we I mean my wife who will be the one responsible for getting the kids to where they need to be) be close enough to cycle or walk the kids to school at least a few days a week.
Kurt saw a bobcat on his ride the other day and it got us to talking about all the wild animals we’d seen from the saddle.
My partial list:
- River Otter
Not a bad list considering I do all my riding on paved roads.
Look, I’m really sorry I had to drive to work today. Truth is that the short drive is going to make things a lot easier for me when it’s time to go home and load up the car and drive out to the coast. You’ll be happy to know that, to make up for it, I brought my reusable coffee cup into the office and plan to leave it there for regular, everyday use. In the interest of honesty, I do have to admit I brought the cup in mostly so I could score a free cup of coffee at Starbucks, but from now on, I’ll use it every day. I promise.
While we’re still talking about apologies – last week the recycling bin was full so I put some recyclables in the trash. When I’m in a car, it’s usually an SUV – a small one sure, but I still feel guilty. My kids wear disposable diapers. I forget to turn the lights off when I leave the room. Batteries. Single use plastic bags. Sometimes we buy non-organic vegetables. I don’t compost.
Well, anyway, Happy Earth Day. I’ll ride my bike again when I’m back on Tuesday and try to work on that turning the lights off thing. I probably won’t start composting unless the county starts picking up my compostables. Thanks for understanding and, you know, making it possible to be alive and everything else you do. You’re the best.
“…and many more…”