Friday, May 22, 2015

Almost a reality - bike/ped bridge in Garden City

Over the past couple weeks, I've ridden out to see how the new bike/pedestrian bridge west of Garden City is proceeding.  Significant progress is being made... 2 Sundays ago, a fella was on duty out there (most likely to keep over-enthusiastic pathway users from trespassing).  He told me they thought it would open "in one to four weeks."

On Thursday (May 21) I rode out there again.  The security guy was gone.  The pavement is all in place, on the south side where I was.  The fence was still in place.  (You'd a-thunk they could've just blocked access to the bridge, and let people proceed on by... but what do I know?)  They seemed to be working feverishly on the north side.

I got excited and emailed the contact person on the Garden City website.  (It's confusing - you pass a sign that says "Leaving Garden City" a half-mile before you get to the bridge.  But supposedly Garden City is managing the project.  Perhaps it's Garden City on the north side.)  I asked her if it would be open over the Memorial Day weekend.

She replied, "The bridge is not going to the open this weekend, but it is anticipated that it will be substantially complete by the end of the month."  That's a bit ambiguous, but I'll optimistically interpret it to mean that the bridge will likely be open for use by the end of the month.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Pedal Power Parade '15

In the early afternoon I started asking granddaughter Mackie if she'd like to ride in the Pedal Power Parade, which she's done probably 5 times in her 8 years.  She hesitated and said, "I don't know."  Which means "no," unfortunately.  Now that she has to provide her own power on her own bike, it's not as easy as back in the Glory Days, when she was in trailer or on tag-a-long.  Her choice.  Hopefully something will make her see the value of regular voluntary exercise.  (Half-price shakes on warm summer evenings are usually more compelling.)

Anyhow... I put on my "CARS SUCK" T-shirt (that I bought from the Aerostich motorcycle people), and Bonnie and I headed for City Hall about a half-hour before start time.

The crowd was smaller than in years past, mostly on account of the unsettled weather, but those who took the gamble were well-rewarded.  Nary a drop of rain, and lots of enthusiasm.

As we rode, I enjoyed a couple of good conversations about cycling in Boise - with Lisa Brady, president of the Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance (our most effective advocacy group, and a primary organizer of Boise Bike Week), and with city councilwoman Elaine Clegg.  Both are enthusiastic practitioners and advocates.

I also had several people accuse me of being the Bike Nazi... and tell me they read the blog regularly.  What a gratifying thing!  I thank them.  It's great to occasionally hear from others who share my opinion... that there's no better place to ride a bike than right here in the Boise area.








Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tortoise yet?

No doubt you're familiar with the old fable about the tortoise and the hare.  I've even commented in the past about the "hare" nature of motorists during rush hour, as the light turns green and they blast down the road to be the winner of the race - to the next red light.  It's actually quite amusing to watch, as I amble alongside in tortoise-like fashion.

By contrast, the tortoise is never in much of a hurry... but he keeps that steady pace faithfully, and in the story, at least, he ends up the winner.

I was never a "hare" cyclist, even at my peak, but these days I content myself by self-comparing favorably with the tortoise.  I've been at it for awhile now.  In fact...

This week (Boise Bike Week) I rolled over 2000 bicycle miles for the year 2015.

Not a big deal, actually.  I wouldn't be surprised if hundreds of other area cyclists have ridden that far and more.

However... this is my 30th consecutive year of riding at least 2000 miles.  (The first year was 1986.) Nowadays I occasionally get passed by a "hare" cyclist who wasn't even born 30 years ago.  I always rationalize, "Let's see how he's doing 30 years from now.  I bet he's slowed down a bit, too!"

Friday, May 8, 2015

Do you have an "activity tracker"?

Suddenly it's the must-have item... a little electronic gizmo you wear around your wrist, and it tracks your "activity."  (Or, have they been around for years, and I've just not been paying attention?  I've seen 'em for six months or so, and now I'm seeing 'em for Mother's Day, Grads, Father's Day, etc.  Makes you wonder how civilization went on for 5000 years or so, without activity trackers!)

They keep track of your steps, distance moved, quality of sleep (wow!), and then you download it to your smart-phone or computer, and can make charts and graphs!

Wouldn't it be a bummer if you bought an activity tracker and a month later it told you the most "activity" you engaged in was putting your activity tracker on, and pushing buttons on your smart-phone to make it work?!!  (nudge-nudge, wink-wink)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Boise Bike Week '15!

Are you a Joiner... or a Lone Wolf?

Traditionally, bicycles as transportation has been a solitary thing, since well over 90% of society car-commutes.  By contrast, "recreational" cycling - be it "road biking" or mountain biking - is usually more of a group endeavor.  But over the past five years or so, transportation cycling seems to be getting more popular and widely-accepted.  One could even describe it as "trendy," when you take the Hipster culture into consideration.  You know those Hipsters - "rebellious, in a conformist sort of way."  (Thanks, Lisa Simpson!)

For me, cycling is almost always a solitary thing, whether commuting or recreation riding.  (Lots of people also like to ride motorcycles with a group... I much prefer soloing, for various reasons.)

Well... starting Friday, May 9, whether you're a joiner or a troubled loner, you should join for a worthy cause - Boise Bike Week!

I believe it's the 13th Annual, if I'm not mistaken.  And, it's actually expanded to almost 2 weeks.

Look over the schedule HERE.  And pencil some events into your Day Planner or Smart Device or whatever right now, while you're thinking about it.

I've probably joined an event or two for at least the last 8 or 9 years.  (HERE is commentary from 2007 - eight years ago.)  Most often the Pedal Power Parade with my granddaughters.

I hope they stick with the published schedule!  Last year I prepped both of my granddaughters and we arrived at the appointed place, five or ten minutes before the appointed time - and the group was long gone!  For some reason they had left 15 minutes early.  No way to run a railroad, or an event!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Fruitful Canada Geese

We've got Canada Geese in these parts.  In fact, maybe they should start calling 'em Boise Geese... how many more could Canada have than us?

From the Wikipedia article: "During the second year of their lives, Canada geese find a mate. They are monogamous, and most couples stay together all of their lives. If one dies, the other may find a new mate. The female lays from 2–9 eggs with an average of five..."

On Friday I was headed home from the office and saw a BIG goose family... snapped a photo.


Count 'em.  I believe there are 33 babies in this bunch!  I s'pose it might be some sort of Goose Daycare or Goose Preschool... or perhaps Goose Fertility Experiments!

Boise - Bike Capital of America for a day!

There is no reason that Boise, Idaho, shouldn't be at the top of the list of bike-friendly cities.

Compared with the cities that come to mind, we are superior. We have better terrain and weather than the cities always at the top of the list. The main things we're lacking in are education and enforcement. (But those things seem to be an ongoing struggle in pretty much every city.) Perhaps we're also lacking in "bicycle culture" - an attitude among both cyclists and non-cyclists that bicycles belong. But that seems to quickly be evolving for the better.

Anyhow - there's a movement afoot, originating with our beloved Boise Bicycle Project, to make Boise the Bike Capital of America for one day... Thursday, May 7. Read more about it HERE. In essence, every person is challenged to ride on that day, and challenge three other people to do the same and "pass it on."

I'm not a social-media sort of guy (unless a casual blog is "social media," and I s'pose it is). But I'll do my best to publicize that particular day. Boise Bicycle Project is ALWAYS a very worthy neighbor. They might be able to help you out with a part or some bicycle advice. And their awesome work on behalf of our community is very worthy of YOUR help, all year 'round. Just sayin'.