Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 is in the history books

2016 has been a meaningful year for Boise-area cyclists.

We have some sweeet new stretches of Greenbelt - on the south side of the river from Ann Morrison Park to the Riverside Hotel.  And through the new Esther Simplot Park.  I'm happy to see that one in particular - having the construction zone has meant detours for 2 years.

ACHD - the road-building division of government - continues to be generally pretty bike-friendly, adding bike lanes to rebuilt roads wherever feasible.  They decided NOT to add bike lanes on Main and Idaho Streets through Downtown.  Personally, I believe they did the right thing.  There is already pretty good east-west traveling... those roads are one-way which always makes it easier for cyclists to take a lane.  And Bannock has good bike lanes for most of the distance.

Partly as a result of a tragic car/bike crash which seriously injured young Max Wyatt, cyclist safety was thrust into the spotlight.  Jimmy Hallyburton of the Boise Bicycle Project springboarded the incident into a meeting with Governor Otter, who was instrumental in making sure some bicycle safety questions are on every driver's license test in the state.  (And happily, a resilient Max has returned to good functional health.)

On a personal level... December was my worst month, mileage-wise, since January 1994 - almost 23 years!  I only rode 210 miles.  But I rode all 31 days, despite the fact that snow covered the ground, and the roads and bike paths, for the last half of the month.  (And no relief in sight!)  But... I finished the year with 5273 miles... making 2016 the 30th consecutive year I've ridden more than 4000 miles.  (25 of those years I've ridden more than 5000 miles, and 11 have been more than 6000 miles.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Transportation cycling is thrifty!

Way back almost ten years ago, near the beginning of this blogging adventure, I laid out the Top Ten reasons for bike transportation.  Looking at the overall list, those reasons all still resonate with me!

#2 was - and is - "Economy."  I observed that the AAA (the auto people) say the average American spends $8410 per year (back in '04) to own and operate a car.  It's satisfying to consider that I've probably saved $80,000 or more since then, by riding a bike.

A year ago, I shared an article I'd read in the Costco member magazine... "Mr. Money Mustache" He's a personal-finance blogger and enthusiastic proponent of bicycle transportation.  His observations about the "tragic clowns" getting around in their personal cars and trucks struck a note with me.  The guy gets it!

Well, lo and behold... Mr. Mustache surfaced again!  This time on the Bicycling Magazine website, in a story titled, "How to Ride Your Way to a Badass Life of Leisure."  Somebody from the magazine interviews him about his bike-riding thriftiness.  And, it's obviously directed at bicycle riders, rather than the general public.

Some sections resonated in particular...

"How many bikes do you own?"  He owns an 8-year-old Trek road bike, and a 12-year-old mountain bike... and a "city bike" for short errands.  Oh - and an electric bike for snow riding and pulling a trailer.  Surely the Bicycling people are somewhat disappointed that he says "no one besides Tour de France riders needs a bike that costs more than $1000."  (After all, Bicycling depends on advertising revenue from bike companies... primarily "expensive bike companies.")  He questions the need to "prioritize moving further up the toy ladder."  (He must really have disdain for people who spend $50,000 for a giant shiny pickup truck, or $80,000 for a luxury car.)  When the interviewer says the "nexus of price/performance" is a $3200 mountain bike, Mustache says "To me, the difference between [my Trek road bike] and the $10,000 all-carbon road bike a friend of mine has is vanishingly small."

He talks about "tiny details exaggeration syndrome" ... imagining the ride-difference between aluminum and carbon and steel frames to be huge.  "The difference is miniscule compared with, say, differences in tire size and pressure, or the presence of suspension... we need to zoom back out and think, 'What makes a difference in my lifetime of happiness?'"

He talks about paying the bills and staying afloat... and then the surplus can be used for "spending on treats" and "fancier stuff"... or it can instead be used to becoming flush enough to "buy freedom."  "While a fancy bike is kinda fun, getting to ride bikes whenever you like is really, really fun.  It's a kind of fun that never gets old and never needs upgrading."  He feels the same way about buying a $400 bicycling jacket... you can do that, or you can stick to the stuff you "also wear in real life."

How about getting cold and wet?  "Of course you will experience mild discomfort every single day unless you only dare venture out when the temperature is between 68 and 74 degrees. ... But it's the minor... discomfort that reminds you you are alive.  People who use cars just because they are afraid of the weather are completely missing the point of being alive."

The guy gets it... and can explain it!  (Oh - and my target retirement is age 65.  I've not been disciplined enough about hanging onto all those dollars I've saved over my 30+ years of bike riding.  Too many treats and fancy stuff, I guess.)

Boise Bicycle Project plays Santa - AGAIN!

I have nothing but admiration for the Boise Bicycle Project ... they are an organization that talks the talk, and walks the walk!  (Rides the ride?)  Once again this year, they are rejuvenating and giving away 350 bicycles to kids in the area.  It's inspirational and deeply meaningful!  Some of those kids will probably grow up and, like most adults, rationalize that bikes are too fun to be legitimate transportation, and relegate them to recreation.  But of 350 kids who get bikes... imagine if 50 of them embraced bicycles as "grown-up transportation"!  The BBP would've enriched them for life!