Cool Idea for a living city

Posted: October 31st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Cool Idea for a living city

Yesterday I wrote about how I’ve recently started venturing into biking about town, and of course I did plenty of reading before I jumped in the saddle. One of concerns I’ve heard people repeat a lot is the need for bike lanes, especially ones in relevant areas. I know that in my neighborhood we have a bike lane, but it goes for about 2 miles through a residential area, not really near the local businesses I like to frequent, unless I want to take the back way.

But what if we minted our own bike lanes? What if we showed where we wanted them to be?

I’m reminded of an allegory I heard when I was younger, attending a village planning meeting of some sort. A city planner and a developer were arguing over how to properly align the sidewalks near a development they were going to revitalize, and after a long time bickering, the moderator of the meeting took both parties outside, and pointed to the footpath that had been worn into the grass by pedestrians who could not wait for a sidewalk to be planned, and said “put it there, that’s where people are already going”.

Of course, bikes don’t usually leave a path through the grass to show we’ve been there, but now I’ve stumbled across an item that could probably fill the same role, the Contrail.

“Contrail, a receptacle filled with colorful chalking fluid that attaches to a bicycle’s frame and leaves a bright line in the rider’s wake. ‘It turns your bike into a paintbrush,’ says Gelardi”

Imagine seeing the zigs and zags left by an event like critical mass, or just the daily up and down the block from the copious cyclists helping to improve our air and daring to live car-free. I think it’d be great to watch the paths come back to life after one of our trademark storms washes the streets clean. Let me leave my mark and just maybe someone will take notice.

Contrail by Ulicu LLC from Teresa Herrmann on Vimeo.


(Sweet) New Ride

Posted: October 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Several times over the last year I’ve talked about getting a bike.

I’ve looked into it

I’ve researched online

I’ve stared enviously at the cool kids gliding by on their fixies and cruisers and even the crews of Tour de France enthusiasts speeding around downtown like Spandex-ed flocks.

Every time the weather gets “nice” (you know, those 3-4 weeks during spring & fall that we aren’t melting or freezing solid) I tell myself that I should become a bike person.

Alas, for a long time I was a big talker only. Despite encouragement from transit aficionados like Light Rail Blogger, I was still a train or carpool kind of guy.

Then Europe kicked me in the butt and made me wonder why I was being so reluctant. When I went to visit Anie in London & Paris at the end of summer, I was amazed how many people I saw commuting by bike, and I mean seriously commuting, not just cruising a bike lane, but getting out there, taking the round-abouts, skirmishing with buses and cars and owning their share of the road.

The frequency of bike rental stands in both cities was surprising and inspiring. If these folks could casually stroll up, rent a bike for 30 minutes and drop it off one-way, why hadn’t I atleast bought my own for recreation? I mean, hell, we all know I could use the exercise and I love my neighborhood, so why not put the two together?

So when I landed back in town, I set to scouring craigslist daily, looking for a bike that fit my build and intentions and seemed like it wouldn’t kick my ass. After a couple days, I found this guy, I call him Theodore:

(Free glimpse of the foyer at Casa Awesomesauce, too. Lucky you)

Thus far I’ve taken the bike:
to work (17 min commute)
to the grocery store (12 min commute)
out to lunch (made it to Verde & back in <10 min) and on a leisurely stroll around my 'hood. That last one is how I found Jobot Coffee the day after the opened, and took some cool street art pics; does it get any better on a lazy day? So now I've got a platform to build on, and it's time to get to work on making improvements. A new paint job, a tune up, switch out the seat and figure out some kind of rack-option to put my pack on when going to the grocery store. Either way, it's good to finally hop on and move forward with a new chapter in my own urbanism.


This guy wins the Best Hipster award

Posted: August 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Comments Off on This guy wins the Best Hipster award

bicycle

I’m pretty sure I would ride this bike, too, but the whole time I’d be wondering when someone was going to come and push me over.


Something we could use in Phoenix

Posted: June 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

I stumbled across Transportation Alternatives as they were being discussed on a design blog I read, and as I dug in, I thought “this is a pretty good idea, why don’t we have a strong group for this here?”.

Our Mission is to reclaim New York City’s streets from the automobile, and to advocate for bicycling, walking and public transit as the best transportation alternatives.

Transportation Alternatives was founded in 1973 during the explosion of environmental consciousness that also produced the Clean Air and Clean Water Act and the Environmental Protection Agency. Since our founding, T.A. has helped win numerous improvements for cyclists and pedestrians and has been the leading voice for reducing car use in the city. T.A.’s roots are in bicycling, and many of our members are everyday cyclists. But winning a cycling-friendly city means changing the overall transportation system, which, even in mass transit-centered New York City, is still dominated by the private automobile.

T.A. seeks to change New York City’s transportation priorities to encourage and increase non-polluting, quiet, city-friendly travel and decrease–not ban–private car use. We seek a rational transportation system based on a “Green Transportation Hierarchy,” which gives preference to modes of travel based on their benefits and costs to society. To achieve our goals, T.A. works in five areas: Bicycling, Walking and Traffic Calming, Car-Free Parks, Safe Streets and Sensible Transportation.

Green Transportation Hierarchy

Of course, lately I’ve heard positive things about more and more people riding their bikes, and I’ve certainly seen an increased number of bike riders, and Light Rail commuters, this year.  Perhaps I’m completely ignorant to a local organization that is already responsible for all of this.

But it never hurts to get the word out.


I might ride this to the market….

Posted: January 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | Comments Off on I might ride this to the market….

Whoa, take a look at that bad-boy in action.

According to TreeHugger, the Nijland (crazy Swedes and their product names) can carry up to 1,100 pounds of cargo, and it as easy to ride as a bike. 

I could see myself riding up to the Safeway or AJ’s, and hitching this monster to a post to get my weekly shopping done.  Even better, maybe I could hook a sail to it….


Seen at the Pane Bianco

Posted: January 16th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Seen at the Pane Bianco

I need to own one of these two things. For real.