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.)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Boise Bike Week '14 - personal recap

Well, another Boise Bike Week has come and gone.

I rode every day, and ticked off a little over 160 miles, Sunday thru Sunday.  But my participation in organized activities was marginal

I took my two granddaughters, Mackenzie and Bonnie, for the Pedal Power Parade.  It was supposed to start at 5pm, from Capitol Park.  We got there 10 minutes or so early.  It's difficult to wrangle a 7 year old and a 15-month old who both are fairly attention-deficit, so I tried to time it close.  Too close, apparently... the park had maybe a dozen cyclists, rather than the hundreds that Mackenzie and I have joined in years gone by. (HERE is my report on last year's PPP.) The lady in charge said somebody got anxious, and the main group departed at 4:36pm - 24 minutes early.

The later arrivals - the dozen or so of us - went on an abbreviated ride, maybe 1/4 the length of the intended route, and without police escort and VIP treatment and revelry that are supposed to surround the event.  We returned to the starting point.  My granddaughters and I enjoyed some ice cream, then went on home.

(Photo snapped upon returning and joining with the remainders of the bigger group.)

NOTICE TO ORGANIZERS - if you want to enjoy a broad participation by area cyclists who have busy schedules this time of year, you better stick to your announced schedules!! Please and thank you.

Greenbelt - west update

I saw a story a few days back, reporting on the ongoing conflict between an "affluent Eagle subdivision" that's balking at the prospect of a public bike path being developed adjacent to a few back yards. (I've posted on it numerous times... it's essentially a repeat of the "Riverside Village" debacle. The developer agrees to provide a public bike/pedestrian path as a condition of development... then the homeowners want to back out.)

The most recent story says, "The Laguna Pointe Homeowner's Association recently hired a private contractor to clear a new pathway near the Boise River and away from the homes. Construction on the path was completed on Wednesday. The cost was approximately $4,000. Members of the HOA hope the city will develop that pathway and give up plans to seize the current path now in use." I was curious enough, and the day was beautiful enough, that I decided a personal observation trip was in order.

Here's where the "new pathway" begins, at the east end - the Boise end.  The "traditional" disputed path is on the left, the new one on the right.

It's extremely loose, dusty dirt as of today... I had to walk my bike for the first couple hundred feet.  But it gets better... and that problem is easy to fix.

The route isn't a bad alternative, frankly.  Closer to the river and farther from the palatial estates - what's not to like?

Except... eventually it merges back into the traditional path, just before where it crosses the flood overflow canal.  And - the stout plank that replaced the destroyed bridge has been removed.

I had the choice of either returning the same way I got there... or fording the canal.  The socks and shoes came off.

The rest of the path remained unchanged from previous visits, over the past year or so.

I rode north a half-mile or so on Eagle Road, and then headed back in on the north side of the Boise River... my reward was several miles of well-maintained dirt paths mostly, and lots more very nice scenery.


(And of course I was compelled to take to the streets, when I arrived at the exclusive Riverside Village "nature path.")

It's about 10.5 miles, round trip, starting and finishing at the Glenwood Bridge.  There are a couple tricky places - forks in the road and such - where it helps to have ridden it before.  And I'm guessing that 6 of those 10.5 miles are dirt/gravel surface, generally quite well maintained.  (It may be marginal for super-skinny high pressure tires.)  But if the weather is nice and you've got some time, I recommend an exploratory adventure out that way.

It's a shame that the public status of this pathway will likely be mired down in legal limbo for the foreseeable future.  But I've done the round trip 4 or 5 times now, and have ridden west to Eagle Road at least that many more times, and I've never had a confrontation with anybody.  Hopefully your results will be similar.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mackenzie's new bike!

What better way to celebrate Boise Bike Week, than to do a hardware upgrade?

Mackenzie could've probably made it through one more summer on her 20-inch bike.  But I swear, I've had to adjust the seatpost up another half-inch every month or so.  She's growing!  It was just about maximum-extended.  So, I've been casually watching the Craigslist for a decent 24-inch bike.

Lots of department-store throw-away 24-inchers, and the bike-shop models have all been going for a premium price.  But patience paid off, and I found a nice little Kona "Hula" in pink and white.  If Mackie had spec'd it out herself, that's what she would've wanted.  And, it's been owned by a bike-riding family, meticulously maintained, and stored indoors.

We took it on a quick around-the park on Night One.  Tonight we gave it a better workout - Mackie put 7 miles or so on it, and was rewarded with a refreshing root beer float.

She declares, "I love this bike!"  I'm guessing it will serve her nicely for next three summers, at which point she'll be ready for a grown-up size bike.

We'll be riding in the Pedal Power Parade, along with Baby Bonnie.  Hope you can make it!