Thursday, August 25, 2011

A slice of Portland is coming to Reno!

I just found this post over on (one of the sites that prompted me to start my blog) about a great event headed for Reno on Tuesday, September 6th.

From "The Dinner & Bikes Tour" website:
Here’s a good idea of what you can expect at one of our tour events:

Dinner and Bikes is an evening of gourmet vegan food and bicycle inspiration. Our goal is to create an interactive, engaging event that brings together people with diverse interests and catalyzes new thinking and action around food and transportation
The evening will start around 7pm (on most nights) and last until 9pm, leaving plenty of time for questions, as well as audience discussion about local issues in bicycle transportation.
You’ll fill up your plate, find a seat, and enjoy new and amazing flavor combinations while touring vegan chef Joshua Ploeg describes the meal and ingredients and, if we’re lucky, tell one of his traveling stories.
Then we get to the bicycles. Elly Blue provides an interactive primer on the economics of bicycle transportation, complete with inspiring photos and jaw-dropping statistics. Then Joe Biel will take the stage with a different selection each night of his very-short films that explore different aspects of Portland, Oregon’s bicycle activism and culture.
You’ll also be able to peruse our mobile book and zine shop, featuring transportation and food related titles.
I missed Bikestravaganza when it came to town last year and I'm definitely not missing this one!  

The details:
Tuesday, Sept 6, 7-9pm
Bibo Coffee Co
945 Record St
$7 to $20 sliding scale
Feel free to RSVP here.

Hope to see you there.

Reflecting on the ride.

Sometimes the ride in to work is the most mellow time of day.  I'm often looking for things that can be improved upon, whether it's my daily route, local street design, or problem areas in Reno.  Not today!  Today it was cool, clear, and quiet (as it usually is in Reno) and I just enjoyed tooling through town and cruising down the river path.  I didn't mean to, it just happens when I ride.  By the time I got to work I had a stupid grin on my face that just won't fade.  Hope your commute was as good as mine!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Construction project vs. Bike lane.

In this case the pictures speak for themselves.  There is no doubt that this creates a potential conflict between riders and vehicle traffic.  The rider has little choice but to merge into the adjacent lane to avoid the obstacle, but the average speed of traffic is 45-50 mph on this section of Longley Lane.  This is a less than idealistic traffic pattern in any situation....what takes the cake is this parking lot and construction is directly in front of the Washoe County Roads Department office!  One would hope that this construction site (of all places) could apply better construction traffic routing than this.  It's also on my list of pet peeves because it's been in this state of "construction" for ~ 3 weeks now.  Strike one for Washoe County Roads Department.

Friday, August 19, 2011

$4.5 million federal grant to build bike paths at Lake Tahoe

This news just in (totally copied from an RGJ post):

CARSON CITY (AP) — The Tahoe Transportation District has received a $4.5 million federal grant that will be used for two bikeway projects at Lake Tahoe.
One project is to develop a 3.2 mile segment between Stateline and Round Hill on the south shore. The stretch is part of an eventual 43-mile route along U.S. 50.
The other project is along Highway 28 between Incline Village and Sand Harbor State Park.
The Federal Highway Administration invited states to apply for federal grants in June and received more than 1,800 applications totaling nearly $13 billion, 30 times the available funding.

Clear roads ahead!

The last year of commuting has been a  bit more challenging than normal for me.  It's not the weather or the riding, rather the route.  The river path has been closed a few times (for up to 5 months) for construction of the new sewage treatment plant diversion system and it has been rerouted for the overhead construction of the 395 north bridge expansion.  Not a big deal really, but it has forced me to take some new routes that include the new bike lanes on Mill St., sections of east 2nd street, Glendale, and Rock Blvd.  Fortunately, all the projects are are more or less rapped up and I'm back to my old route.

The very end of my route still dumps me out at Rock Park and leaves me to ride south on Rock Blvd. over the river.  It's not a great section due to the way the road curves and traffics limited field of view due to the bend in the road, but at least there was shoulder striping that delineated where the cars shouldn't be.......until the new slurry coating was done 2-3 weeks ago.  Now it's a free for all and drivers tend to hug the shoulder a little too close to what I used to consider "my space".  It also doesn't help that there are several locations where trees have grown out and overhand the shoulder, forcing me directly into the lane.

I know, I know, I should just take the lane and the problem would be minimized.  However, the curvature of the road and the speed that traffic travels on this section might just lead to some very rapid acceleration of my bike due to the motivation 2 tons of steel provides during impact.  So today, I finally did something about it!

I also heard back from one of my traffic engineering contacts in Sparks about the timing on re-striping the shoulder.  I'd emailed him earlier in the day regarding the striping (joking about getting some bike lanes put in on this section).  Low and behold, the powers that be in the RTC have seen fit to put in actual bike lanes along this section!!!  I about fell out of my chair when I heard this.  So for those who roll along the gambit that is this section of Rock, the trees are clear and the lanes should be striped within the next 2-3 weeks!  Happy riding is here again!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A good time this weekend.

 Just saw this notice on the Reno Bike Project site:


Total Destruction Alleycat

If you’re suffering from alleycat withdrawals, the boys of Reno Rampage have organized a quick and dirty race on August 20th at the Studio on 4th. Race registration starts at 3:00pm, 5$, all-ages, helmet required!!! If you survive the race, the awards ceremony and after party will be a rockin’ good time at the Studio on 4th. They’re giving away tons of swag like wheel sets, clothes and free tattoos. This will be an awesome race; be ready to throw down. Look out for our upcoming VLOG interview with Rampage.

Sponsors are: Studio on 4th, Reno Bike Project, Reno Tattoo, Cog and Chain Clothing, Fine Line Construction.

Do you Ride?

This is view of I-80 east yesterday...this is how I would have gotten to work four or five years ago.  Enough said.  It isn't the only reason, or even the main reason I choose to ride to work.  If you're in one of those cars you ought to give it a try, because right now I'm smiling and you're probably not!  Have a nice commute!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Perks of the job - or - Pedestrian hazard!

                                                  Note the no parking sign just to his right!

                             I love how the painting on the curb matches the suburbans paint job!

I've been observing some parking patterns that have developed over the last few month in downtown Reno next to city hall.  At first I was just kind of amused that Reno Fire would park repeatedly in no parking zones while (apparently) taking care of business matters.  However, during the same time the RGJ/RPD started reporting on pedestrian crossings and who was at fault (percentage wise) for accidents between pedestrians and cars.  My biggest problem with Reno Fire parking in this manner is that the rather large SUV prevents drivers from seeing someone entering the crosswalk until the pedestrian is fully in the street and the driver is suddenly required to slam on the breaks (in the best case).  So please Reno Fire, how about abiding by the rules and parking in the parking garage less than 50 feet away.  It might just save the guys at the local fire house a roll-out for the day!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

To bike ninja or not.

The commute along the river today was a little bit busier today than most days.  As a result, we were chiming away with the bike bells at a fairly regular interval.  At one point while approaching a female pedestrian (who was meandering along the path rather randomly) I gave a few rings and (thought I) observed her move slightly to the right.  I thought nothing of it and passed on the left even as she continued to wander a bit.  Wifey gave a few chimes herself prior to her pass, only to be greeted with a snide comment to the tune of "thanks for the warning".  Wifey politely explained that we had both warned her with our bells.

So, can you be a  bike ninja during the day with bells blazing?  Apparently, you can, and we were!  It does lead me to wonder if the general public even knows what a bike bell is any more.  My experience is that most people do, even if it's only the faintest memory from their childhood.  What they don't remember is how to react to the sound.  I've seen people who calmly do a little side step to their right or adjust their path to the side of the trail, but I've also seen a myriad of other responses.  These include stopping and turning around (while still standing in the middle of the road),  jumping in complete terror (complete with wild arm movements and girlish shriek), and complete lack of acknowledgment.  So remember....It is possible to achieve Bike Ninja status even when rolling with lights, bells, and common sense.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Forget electric assists....Regenerative flywheels are here!

From NPR's Science Friday, the latest version of an assist on a bicycle.  Now don't get me wrong, I know a lot of people don't want to carry an extra 15-20 lbs on their bike....but I ride an xtracycle, so 15 lbs. is less than the regular stuff I hall around.  If I could engineer it or buy it, I'd be up for one!

Google map results....

Ok, so everyone knows that planning a route for a bicycle based on the results of Google maps may result in some less than ideal riding conditions.  On Friday however, the results were at least tasty!  BBQ brisket and one of the larger and more diverse beer lists in Reno courtesy of 775 Gastropub.  While the suggested route might have involved Virginia St. and Moana Lane, a few quick alterations involving Smithridge Drive and a jog on Peckham Lane resulted in almost no traffic and a nice detour through the Hot August nights event at the Atlantis.  All and all, a great evening in Reno by bike!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ambitious planning….

Not for this blog so much, rather just for the daily riding.  Wifey has joined me for the morning commute (as she regularly does in the summers) and then there are lunch and dinner plans....all by bike.  Commuting doesn't pose much of a problem.  Were fortunate, in that our route from home to work follows about 5 miles of the river path and the remainder is through downtown and the local burbs!  However, lunch and dinner will require some route planning if we don't want to ride through construction on unfriendly sections of McCarran Blvd. or the hairy sections of Mill St.

So I pose the question....  How do you plan your bike routes?

 I've been riding in Reno as a regular commuter for about 4 years now.  The time in the saddle has let me explore most of the areas of Reno that I like to frequent and find all the little back streets and some of the ever increasing (yeah!) routes with bike lanes.  However, tonight's dinner (775 Gastropub) will require some time in an area of Reno that is decidedly unfriendly if you are on two wheels under your own propulsion. 

Google maps have their bike directions (very much still in beta) and option one suggests a leisurely(?!)  ride up Virginia St., heading through downtown.  I've read in the RGJ that the new rapid line that RTC is running is supposed to have a bus only / bike lane on Virginia St., but I haven't verified this.  Either way I'd be hesitant with wifey along, she is still not comfortable in traffic and this route would make me less than popular I'm sure.  The good news is Google maps option 2 is actually pretty good and after a short ride on Virginia St. (and a slightly suicidal section of Moana Lane) it heads for back roads and a pleasantly circuitous route that I might actually use.

The end result for me today is to take quick look at Google maps suggestions and tweak and tune that route with sections I know make for a nice ride (A short section of Peckham Lane, Virginia Lake, the new bike lanes on Arlington, Wingfield Park, etc.) and avoids McCarren and Virginia St. as much as possible!  Wish us luck!