Monday, August 11, 2014

Fat is coming to Boise!!

The New Belgium Tour de Fat will roll thru town next weekend - Saturday, August 16 to be specific.

How does one describe the Tour de Fat to someone not familiar?

Well, its not about Body Mass Index, or an eating contest, or a gathering of the morbidly obese.

Rather, it's a celebration of bicycle transportation and culture.  It's brought to you by the people who also bring you Fat Tire Amber Ale... which is probably delicious, particularly on a hot August afternoon in Boise!  (Not being a beer drinker, I can't speak from personal experience.  And in case you're wondering, most of the events are all-ages appropriate... particularly the parade, which takes a relaxed pace through downtown Boise on bicycles and contraptions that vaguely resemble bicycles.)

A complete schedule of events, and additional information, can be found HERE.  (It asks when you were born... apparently even though the kiddies are welcome to ride in the parade, they shouldn't be looking at the schedule!)

Mark your calendar now - the parade begins at 11am.  It's probably the closest thing we have to Carnaval, or Mardi Gras.  Very, very festive!  If you've done it once, you'll want to do it every year.

Another favorite event is the "Car for Bike Trade."  An attendee who mostly drives a car for transportation pledges to give up that car for a year... and in return he or she rides away on a shiny new limited-edition Fat Tire bike!  (I'm always jealous... but must admit I'm not the "target demographic" since I'm already a believer.)

Last year, they estimated 7000 parade participants!  No other parade in Boise even comes close!  And - there's another reason to participate... last year the attendees contributed $62,000 to local non-profit bicycle partners (this year the beneficiaries are SWIMBA, Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance, and the Boise Bike Project).

Let's hope for 8000 or maybe 10,000 participants this year... and be part of it!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Another Greenbelt ride to Eagle Road

I promised granddaughter a grand adventure, if she'd go on a bike ride with me.  She took the bait!

We started riding at Glenwood at about 7:30pm Sunday, and headed downstream.  The scenery is in its summer glory... fantastic!  Mackie ran over a little garter snake, yelling "Snake!" and slamming on her brakes.  We stopped to check it out... fortunately it was in soft, loose dirt, and she has fat tires, and the snake continued on his way, apparently unfazed.  (Mackie's only disappointment was when I suggested a minute or two later that we could've caught it and taken a photo of her holding it.)  We also had a beautiful blue heron take to the sky from maybe 15 feet away from us - awesome!

Downstream, we had the overflow canal to ford, since the homeowners apparently removed the plank that formed a makeshift bridge.  I had anticipated it, and we were both wearing our river sandals.  Sah-WEEET!

We crossed the Boise River at Eagle Road, and then headed upstream on the north side, returning to our starting spot at about sundown.  At 10 1/2 miles or so, I believe it's the longest ride Mackie has been on, where she was supplying her own power.  She said, "My legs feel kind of tired, but I'd like to keep going!"  Her 24-inch bike has definitely expanded her horizons.

I mentioned Clancy's dream - of extending the Greenbelt downstream another couple miles to Eagle Island State Park, and having overnight camping available for cyclists.  What a fantastic thing that would be, for a family bike-riding destination!  Mackie agreed heartily.

It always seems 10 degrees cooler when you're near the river.  Maybe it's just the shade, I don't know.

We are both looking forward to our next "near the edge" bike adventure.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Living Healthy - Bike Safety

Our local daily paper, the Idaho Statesman, is featuring a "Living Healthy" insert that's full of good info on bike safety.

What got my attention in particular, was the photo on the cover... of a very high-visibility cyclist.  It's my "visibility guru" and friend, Bob T.  He's a great ambassador for bicycle safety, beginning with being highly-visible to motorists.

Bob is hard to miss!  Hi-viz vest, lights at both ends day and night, big slow-moving triangle on the back.  Bob: "What I'm doing is for my safety, of course, and a courtesy to motorists.  I want them to know I'm there.  I know they don't want to hit me."

There are some other worthwhile articles as well, about safety, rules of the road, local bike commuter profiles, tips for new riders, etc.  Definitely worth a review.

The publication can be seen online, HERE.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Down Memory Lane

Since I've become pretty lackadaisical about generating new posts here on the Bike Nazi, I thought I'd post some links to previous comments that have returned to my attention recently.

One recurring issue is turn signals.  Lots of motorists seem to not be aware their car has turn signals, or are too self-absorbed to think it important to signal... or let's face it, with cellphone in one hand and coffee in the other, it's just not possible to push the little thingie.  Previous commentary on the topic HERE.

Granddaughter Mackenzie is 7 now.  I recently upgraded her to a pretty nice little 24-inch Kona bicycle.  She loves it.  (Although the reality is, a 7-year-old has a lot of entertainment interests and distractions; sometimes it's hard to coax Mackie to go riding with me if a favorite movie is on, or if she's absorbed in a game on one of the family "devices.")  I've been fondly reminiscing about the Summer of '11, when 4-year-old Mackie and I rode to 92 playgrounds around Boise!  More info can be seen HERE. (That will always be one of my fondest memories!)

The Tour de France is underway right now.  (We Americans are once again not interested, since Lance retired, and then fell from grace.)  A few years ago I posted about the Tour de France Diet... and about how your food options are considerably more varied if you ride a bike regularly.  (Since I love to eat, and I have two excellent cooks in the family, that is a considerable incentive for me to hop on and ride.)  Read it HERE.

3k for 2014

Please indulge me while I engage in a bit of self-congratulation.  (It's part of my Bike Commuter Incentive Program.)  Today I crossed the 3000-mile mark, for the year 2014.

Actually, I'm running a little late this year, due to out-of-town, non-bicycling days.  (If I'm in town for any part of the day, I try to ride... but when I'm separated from the bicycle by many miles, it becomes difficult.)  In 2013 I hit the mark on July 10, in 2012, on July 12, in 2011 on June 12 (!), etc.  (Am I a slave to my bike computer?  I'm probably guilty as charged.)

Yeah, it's no big deal.  I'm sure lots of people, even right here in Boise, have ridden more than 3000 miles this year.  However... I'm guessing that the head count diminishes greatly, when you ask how many of 'em have ridden at least that far for 28 straight years.

At this point, it seems unlikely I'll ride 6000 miles this year.  But 5000 should still be easily within the realm of possibility.  Gotta keep the faith!

(Apologies for the infrequent posts lately; I'm going to try to do better.  I've been very, very busy for the past couple months, plus it becomes challenging to come up with new material.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Late spring status report

It's a great time of year to be a transportation cyclist!  If I were more organized, I would've put all the winter gear away by now.  (I never have time to get organized, so the winter gear is just collecting dust.)  The mornings are brisk but tolerable, the afternoons are warm but tolerable.  The amateurs and wankers are starting to show up on the Greenbelt (particularly in the teenager hot spots - check out the new Water Park area!)... but generally aren't yet like a large herd of cattle or sheep.

I had the good fortune to cross paths with "dlb" today - he occasionally posts a comment, and we live almost within hollerin' distance of one another.  We were both astride our velocipedes.

I missed the last 10 days of May, bicycle-wise... had the good fortune to travel back east - specifically to Providence, RI, where my daughter Kellyn married Lucky Man Edward.  They are good people - I'm confident they will care for one another and make a wonderful relationship together.  (Providence was lovely, too!  Traveling to such a place and one wonders, "Why do they call Boise the 'city of trees'?  This is a desert, for cryin' out loud!")  On the day we got back, even though the day had started at before 2am (Mountain Time) to get to the airport on time, I went on a nice 15-mile shake-out ride.

Bonnie and I had an interesting ride, last Saturday.  We rode a couple laps around the big fountain at Ann Morrison Park which is operational for the year.  Then we rode over the footbridge, where we mingled with the tail-end runners competing in the Ironman race.  (I didn't know their route until we were briefly sharing it with them.)  From there, we rode past the Firefighters' Memorial... where a ceremony was taking place!  Full-uniform firemen... flags at half-mast... and best of all, a pipe and drum corps!  Which marched right past us!  Fantastic!

Yep - I feel a little sorry for those poor souls, stuck in their cars.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

NYC Bike Share - ZERO fatalities, one year in

When the CitiBike program debuted in New York City over the Memorial Day weekend, 2013, the talking heads and finger-waggers all had dire predictions about how dangerous it would be, to introduce thousands of relatively inexperienced cyclists, on unfamiliar bicycles, onto the mean streets.

Amazingly, 12 months and 8.75 million trips later, there have been 100 or so reported accidents, which resulted in 25 or so trips to the emergency room... but ZERO fatalities on the shared bicycles. Remarkable!

Story HERE.

(I continue to see occasional updates about the proposed Boise Bike Share that we may see in the not-too-distant future. My opinion remains constant - I'm not sure Boise is big or "urban" enough to support such a program, and I'm not a fan of expending general taxpayer funds. But nobody's asking me anyway.)