Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bike Rodeo!

We had a "Bike Rodeo" last night!

It started out as an activity for my Cub Scouts (I'm a cubmaster these days). But then, good fortune befell me! I contacted bike advocate extraordinaire Lisa Brady, and the wheels started turning. Besides being an enthusiastic transportation cyclist, Lisa is the head honcho of local advocacy group Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance. But even more significantly, she's in charge of the YMCA Safe Routes to School program. Lisa and her Safe Routes colleagues were happy to jump in and help.

With some encouragement from Lisa, we expanded the scope, and invited all the school-age kids, and their parents, of our church congregation. We did our best to publicize and encourage. (We were a bit concerned because yesterday was also the first day of school for most of our kids... would that be a distraction? Would people forget?)

Our concerns turned out to be unfounded. We roped off a big section of a huge asphalt parking lot. Lisa and her team laid out the course, and explained how the adult volunteers could help. The first kids started showing up about 5 minutes early; in keeping with a longstanding church tradition, most people didn't show up 'til 5 minutes late.

What a fantastic group we got! I bet we had 30-35 kids there, ranging in age from 3 up to 16. Most were on bikes... a few had scooters or skateboards. Our "pros" started out with a 10-minute discussion about safety and surviving on the streets. (It was aimed as much at the parents as the kids.) They told 'em, "If you don't remember anything else from tonight, LIGHTS AT NIGHT and RIDE ON THE RIGHT!" Visible... predictable... legal.

Most of the kids rode the "skill course" - and most rode it 4 or 5 times. And then it was just sheer delight to see 30 or so kids on their bikes, happily "free riding" around in the parking lot. There were 1 or 2 minor mishaps... but the victims hopped right back up and the first aid kit stayed latched.

Then it was time for a short road ride. Lisa asked if I would be ride leader - sure! (Granddaughter Bonnie, on the Tag-Along, was stoked. She hollered, "Ready, set, go!" and we were off!)

I was pretty ambitious... my selected route was probably a mile. (I deviated a bit from the envisioned route, because there were a lot of cars parallel-parked along the first road.) The group completed the loop in probably 15 minutes. Lisa said it was all good, because the neighborhood got a good dose of kids-on-bikes-on-the-road... and everybody survived!

Popsicles afterwards!

I've done a few bike rodeos over the years, but this was the most successful, thanks to passionate and expert helpers. My sincere thanks to Lisa Brady and the Safe Routes to School people. If we saved one child from being injured or killed, it was time and effort well spent! (My only regret? I took my small camera, which accompanies me 'most everywhere, but in all the excitement it remained in my pocket! D'oh! You'll have to take my word for it - no photos.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Good 12 months for the Bike Nazi

I just realized... in the twelve months beginning on August 1, 2015 and ending on July 31, 2016, I rode my bicycle on 364 of those days!  That may be the best I ever do in a year, measured by number of days riding.  I missed a day in December when we made a trip to Utah... and I missed a day in June when I was on a motorcycle adventure... Boise to Lolo, MT, to Lewiston, and back to Boise.  And - it's Leap Year, so I rode on February 29.

Friday, August 12, 2016

New Greenbelt stretch is open!

I've been eagerly watching this for several years... the development of a key section of Boise Greenbelt, on the south side of the Boise River between Ann Morrison Park and Garden City (Joe's Crab Shack / Riverside Hotel area).  Because of my eagerness, it seemed to take particularly long, but except for some enhancement of vegetation along the way, it appears to be 100%... and very nice!

It is a key piece of the puzzle in our "String of Jewels" - now a person can ride a bicycle, on the south side of the river, nonstop from the Parkcenter area at the east end of town, all the way to Eagle Road on the west end.  Fantastic!  (You can go even father east, if you're on foot.)  It also adds a spur that extends to the Garden Street Greenbelt - the stretch that goes over the red trestle bridge.  I'll use that extensively going forward, I'm sure.

One other note... I snapped another photo just a day or two before it opened.  It's nice to see that they've finally quit discriminating against non-spellers.  For ever so long, you needed to know spelling to paint the signs on the pathway surface.  (It's good I took the photo when I did... they also obviously have a spelling-correction budget... "YEILD" has been painted over, and changed to "YIELD."  There were at least three occurrences that have been fixed.)

Correction! This piece does NOT complete a continuous "greenbelt" from east Boise to Eagle Road... in my enthusiasm, I forgot that there's a detour between 52nd and Remington in Garden City - just east of the Fairgrounds and abandoned Les Bois Park. It's maybe a quarter mile.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Ridin' with my grandbabies!

August 9th was a fantastic day for me.  For the first time ever, I went on a bike ride with all three of my granddaughters.  Mackenzie, 9, was riding her own bicycle.  Bonnie, 3, was aboard the tag-a-long.  And Maren, 1, who is here visiting from Providence, R.I., rode in the baby seat.

It was Maren's first-ever bike ride.  She fussed a bit when we were strapping her in - who can blame her?  Getting attached to a big, strange machine with an even bigger, stranger person that she doesn't know well!  But once we got rolling, she didn't make a peep.  (Her mom and dad were along for the ride, too.  Photos courtesy of daughter Kellyn.  The second one is a screen-grab from a video she took with her phone.)