Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Boise Bike Share '14

A bike-sharing program looks to be a reality by this summer. At least according to this article on the Idaho Statesman website. (Apologies if the "paywall" blocks you from viewing the article.) Here are some details that caught my attention:

- The current likely contractor is "Social Bicycles" (SoBi), and the model is to have 140 bikes that can be either returned to one of 14 hub locations, or just locked to a bike rack anywhere. Q: Can the bike be removed, or parked, outside the city limits? And if not, how is a user to know?

- A customer can "check out a bike and ride it free for as long as 60 minutes of rides per day." Hmmm. Previously they've indicated that members would get "unlimited use, in 30-minute increments." Maybe I'm mistaken, but I've assumed that in many bike shares a bike can be checked out for up to 60 minutes at a time without incurring extra fees. And that such check-outs could be made more than once per day - for example, a 40-minute trip to your destination, and then another 40-minute trip back to your starting point. That scenario would apparently incur extra charges in the SoBi Boise model.

- The bikes provided by SoBi don't have a chain - they have a drive shaft. Interesting. The upside - less maintenance. (Although the ongoing cost per bike is projected to be $25/month.) The downside? There's no way a drive shaft can be as efficient as a chain... but I expect that won't be a dealbreaker for people who will ride for one hour or less per day.

- The startup cost is expected to be $324K, much of it covered by taxpayers. However, the manager, Dave Fotsch, hopes that the $400K annual ongoing operating budget will be paid by system users and private sponsors. If they can do it with private funds, I'm on board! (I continue to be skeptical about our already-bankrupt government taking on more debt.)

(SoBi already operates a bike share in Hailey, but only 18 bikes are involved... and around 50 regular users.)

I've commented about the proposed Boise Bike Share previously... most recently HERE.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


The clouds thinned for awhile Saturday, and I hooked up the BOB trailer and ran a few errands.  I scored some half-price day-after-Valentines "fuel," and also brought home a good-sized fauteuil Turcotte.  (In fact, I'm sitting on that fauteuil at this very moment!)

The days are getting longer and warmer.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Snow Day!

The radio came on a little before 6:30, like it always does.  The voice announced that Boise schools, and numerous other districts, were shutting down for the day, due to the snow.

Oh, great!  If the kiddies can't go to school, the roads must be brutal... right?  I tried to get my act together, put on the harsh-weather gear, and even bagged up my leather saddle, anticipating I'd ride through blizzard-like conditions to the bus stop, put my bike on the front of the bus, and go to work the low-exertion way.

So I was surprised when I emerged into the great outdoors, and it wasn't snowing... the snow was maybe 3 inches deep... and "the powder was bitchin'!!"  (Pardon my French...)  At least on the side roads, I swished silently along - fantastic!  I got to the bus stop, and just kept on goin'.

Powder cycling!  I love it!  And just like power-hound skiers, it's particularly enjoyable when my tracks are the first tracks!

Good gracious!  What pathetic pansies we've become!  Closing school for three inches of snow?!!

"Oh, Bluto!  We can't go to school today!  We might get cold - or wet - or both!!"

'Most everybody is accommodating in their cars, on dicey days.  They probably think, "Look at the fruitcake on the bike!  He's going to kill himself!"  But fortunately, most of them want no part of the tragic incident, and give me space to operate.  (And I'm extremely grateful for the patience and cooperation they demonstrate.)

Except for one guy.

I'm riding along a slippery stretch of road (Americana going north over the bridge, for those familiar).  And Impatient Boy comes up behind me in his pickup truck (no surprise there)... and tailgates me for 5 seconds or so and then goes around, close enough that I could've put my hand open-palm on the side of his truck.  (Less than the mandated 3 feet, that's for sure!)

But it was sad... after he passed me, he was just tailgating the car I had been tailgating... and I was tailgating him.  I hope it improved his outlook, looking at the back end of a car instead of a cyclist, and it was worth risking my safety and/or life.

He probably did it to send me a message: "You're not welcome on my road any time... but especially when it's snowy and slippery!"  But something got lost in translation, and this is the message I received: "I'm just a simple-minded redneck in his big compensator pickup truck, and I don't look far enough up the road to make good decisions, so be patient with me."

It's spoze to snow more over the next few days.  I'd never complain - we need precipitation in the worst of ways.  And no matter what happens... springtime will be here soon enough.

(A side-note - the city does a fine job of maintaining our pathways!  They do their very best to tempt us cyclists off the road, so we won't be a burden to the VIP motorists who have no time or inclination to deal with us.)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

In the bleak mid-winter

Happy Groundhog Day!  (I was really clever this year - I bought a roll of stamps a week ago when they were only 46 cents, and saved a bundle when I sent my Groundhog Day greeting cards.)  Now how does it work - if it's sunny on Groundhog Day, we have 6 more weeks of winter?  D'oh!

I love living in a place where we see four seasons... but I'd gladly surrender two months of winter for one more month each of spring and autumn.  I'm ready for spring now.

On the bright side... the sun has finally come out the last couple days.  If it's not gonna snow, it might as well shine.  (What we really need in these parts is another 6 weeks with a lot of moisture, at least up in the mountains where our summer water supply is stored.  If not, we're going to have a dry summer.  Don't buy a ski boat this year!)

The last couple years during the "winter layover," when I don't stop riding but my mileage is down in a meaningful way... I always wonder if I'll be able to answer the bell this year.  I've gone on a couple 20-mile rides in the last week or so, and it surprises me how quickly that starts seeming like a considerable distance.  But... I anticipate that once I'm back in the groove, riding that much regularly, it won't seem a bit daunting like it does now.

I went on my second ride with both granddaughters yesterday; all three of us enjoyed ourselves.  In my mind's eye I'm already envisioning summer Greenbelt adventures and such.

Here are a few photos I've snapped over the past month...