Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Things you find on a bike ride.

You notice things when you ride a bike that you just wouldn't if you were driving along in a car.  I'm not saying it's a good thing all the time.  Usually, it's the bad stuff....like how much broken glass is out there or the volume of litter.  There are some things however, that do pique your interest as to how exactly such an item came to be in such a location.  This morning it was this:

Yep, a single tube sock.  Just one, laying there in the middle of the path.  How does one come to lose a single sock at this location and just continue on without noticing?  I mean it does require removing the shoe to lose this right?....and then not noticing you are no longer in possession of said sock when the shoe goes back on!?

Now I realize they may have opted for a bare foot hike at some point, but still...don't you secure the socks in the shoe or a pocket before continuing the stroll?  I mean you might want them later.  Or perhaps if your homeless you are carrying laundry.  Maybe you're even doing laundry in the river of all things....but then you'd think you have a vested interest in keeping the clean socks. (Please note I did not inspect this item closely enough to determine if it was clean or not!)

Either way, you see weird stuff when your out riding....there's no doubt about it!

Monday, July 30, 2012

The "War" on Cars!

Here's the article from NPR.  

Motorists To Urban Planners: Stay In Your Lane

Cities and cars share a conflicted relationship these days. Environmental concerns, growing traffic congestion and an urban design philosophy that favors foot traffic are driving many cities to try to reduce the number of cars on the road. In cities such as Seattle, Chicago, Toronto and Boston, some people go so far as to claim there is a "war on cars."
That's a phrase that has popped up around the country as cities spend more transportation dollars on transit; add streetcars, bus and bike lanes; raise parking rates; install "traffic calming" measures; and increase traffic enforcement with cameras. Advocates of these changes say they give people more options and make cities safer. But some motorists feel like they're under attack.

Heated Rhetoric
In Washington, D.C., where 9th Street NW meets I Street NW it's a one-way street with three lanes of traffic. The right lane is labeled with giant letters on the pavement: BUS ONLY. The bus lane is among changes in recent years in Washington and other places that are making room for other forms of transportation, not just cars. It's a source of tension with some drivers, especially cab drivers, who are often stuck in congested street lanes with empty bus lanes right alongside them.
Lon Anderson, chief spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, wrote an op-ed in 2010 about what he called a "war on drivers" in Washington. He says he sees it in the more than 1.6 million parking tickets issued annually in the city, not to mention increasing automated enforcement, red light cameras and speed cameras.
"Welcome to Washington, D.C. Please just open your wallets and be charitable. And if you don't, we'll still get you," he says in jest as he spots a speed camera behind a sign welcoming visitors to the nation's capital.
Anderson contends that these cameras are installed for reasons other than safety. He accuses the city government of balancing its budget "on the backs of motorists."
Political consultant and Washington resident Chuck Thies, who has written about what he calls the "war on automobiles" for the Huffington Post, says, ultimately, that war is over resources.
"Transportation dollars are few and far between," he explains. "If you're a bicyclist, perhaps you want it for a bike lane or more bike racks. If you're a motorist, perhaps you want it for more highways or the roads to be improved."
Some cyclists, and other nonmotorists, may have a negative attitude toward cars. But Thies, a cyclist who for years didn't own a car, says critics need to face the reality: We can't get rid of cars. They're essential to the economy, he says.
"[Cars are] the predominant form of transportation in America. In fact, it's something that we can't live without," Thies says. "When you get a refrigerator delivered ... they don't bring it on a bicycle. ... They bring it in an automobile. It's easy to vilify the automobile, but it's not productive."

Still, on the other side of this argument, cyclists often express concerns about the difficulties of sharing the road with four-wheeled commuters.
"If you ride your bike around the city enough, you certainly feel like they're at war with you as opposed to you being at war with them," says Washington cyclist Martin Vieiro. And if there is a war, some people argue, cyclists and pedestrians are the ones who suffer casualties.
Cast about North America and in just about any city you'll find heated rhetoric about urban transportation.
In Toronto, the mayor pledged to end a so-called war on cars. In Seattle, the phrase has been aimed at all kinds of city plans, including lower speed limits in residential areas. It's also been used in Chicago to label bus lanes and a "congestion fee" at parking garages.
In Boston, a local columnist for The Boston Globe accused the mayor of waging war with a proposal to turn parking spaces into tiny parks called "parklets." Some even accuse the U.S. federal government of waging a war with money that helps cities make these kinds of changes.

The History Of Cars Vs. Jaywalkers
The "war on automobiles" is not just a 21st century phrase. It's nearly as old as the car itself. In 1909, The New York Times reported that a Georgia town waged a "war on automobiles" by banning them.
Peter Norton, a technology historian at the University of Virginia and author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City, says America did eventually welcome the automobile. But it was not an instant love affair. In fact, he says, cars were initially greeted in cities with hostility and militaristic language.
"Today a lot of people think it makes sense that cities made space for cars because streets are for cars. But the attitude then was, 'No streets are for everything except cars,' " Norton explains. "Mothers told their children to play in the streets at that time, and they did and it was normal. And when a child was struck by a car at that time, people didn't blame the parent. They blamed the motorist."
Norton says people had to be retrained before motorists were given right of way. That took a public relations offensive. One tactic involved ridiculing people who walked in the street as "jaywalkers."
According to Norton, "jay" used to be city slang to describe people from rural areas, and "jaywalker" was an insult directed at people who bumped into other pedestrians because they were distracted by all the city sights.
But with the advent of the automobile in cities, a new meaning emerged. In campaigns to clear city streets for vehicles, "jaywalker" was newly directed at pedestrians who were walking in the street and getting in the way of cars.
"In a number of cities, they had clowns dressed up to look like uneducated rural people with sandwich board signs that would say things like 'I'm a jaywalker.' And they would walk around looking like idiots," Norton says. "In a parade in New York City, they had one of these characters repeatedly rear-ended by a Model T to the delight of onlooking crowds."
Ridiculing pedestrians in parades may not be as common today, but Norton says the current debates about cars and cities echo discussions from a century ago. It's not obvious, he says, "because the success of the automobile-age vision of the city street was really complete for a few decades."

Getting Out Of The Car Lane
Back in Washington, D.C., Harriet Tregoning, the director of the city's Office of Planning, says the nation's capital is shifting away from decades of car-focused transportation planning.
"We've begun more than a decade-long effort to rebalance our transportation system, in part because we just don't have the capacity in the city to accommodate everyone who wants to be here to work or to live if everyone was always in an automobile for every trip," Tregoning says.
According to Sam Zimbabwe, associate director for policy, planning and sustainability at the city's Department of Transportation, automated tickets are about safety. He says the city raised raising parking meter rates to encourage more turnover in street parking spaces.
Overall, city officials say, they're trying things out — experimenting, innovating. Washington's bus lanes are supposed to create space on the street to move lots of people. But they don't work perfectly, Zimbabwe says, and they may be removed. Bike lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue were restriped three times before the city settled on the current plan.
Those bike lanes, and an anticipated new streetcar line, give people more choices. And choices, Tregoning says, enhance the vitality of street life for city residents, not just suburban commuters. As for a war on cars, she says she knows of no such war.
"People are using these other transportation modes, and it's making it possible for restaurants and other businesses to open in all kinds of neighborhoods throughout the city," Tregoning says. While she loves cars and owns one herself, she adds, "It's also great to get out of them every once in a while."

It's difficult to measure whether commuters are actually getting out of their cars in the Washington region, one of the most congested areas in America. But Tregoning points out the city's population has grown by tens of thousands in the past several years. At the same time, there are 3,000 fewer registered vehicles, and the number of cyclists in the city is up. Capital Bikeshare, a bike rental program that began two years ago, just celebrated its 2 millionth ride.
Right now, the city estimates half of the trips made in the nation's capital are made without a car. The mayor's sustainability goal is for 75 percent of trips to be made without one by the year 2030.

I missed it all.

Stock photo via the web....better photos to follow.

I missed all the bike action in Reno this weekend due to a backpacking trip up to Peeler lake (just outside Yosemite).  I hope you enjoyed biking the bridge, Tour de Nez, and bike movies at Craft!  I'll have to say, I was disappointed to miss the events, but the weather and views were worth the lack of bicycle action!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Bike theft in the news.

From KTVN (a few days ago....but new to me).

Keith Joyner can handle the hot sun. It's the cold-hearted crooks that are killing him. As he told us, "I had my bike stolen. I had a pretty good-sized chain, and they had some bolt cutters. I felt pretty violated. I was angry."

Down the street, Randy Ybarra misses the bike that was like one of the family. Randy said it was "One of those racing bikes with the thin tires. When I came out and it was gone, I was crushed. I like the exercise. I was crushed. It's my way of travel and gas is expensive, you know?"

It was not hard for us to find recent victims of bike theft. Talk to a few bicyclists and odds are you will find one, or two, who lost their bike to thieves. I'm one of them. I lost my nice mountain bike behind the Imperial Bar about 2 weeks ago. I couldn't find a bike rack, so I chained it up on a pole with a cable. At downtown Reno's College Cyclery, Ed Jensen said he hears that kind of story all the time. As he said, "Typically a wire-type cable can be cut through pretty easily."

Ed sells a lot of bikes to theft victims, but he loves bikes and hates hearing about anyone losing theirs. Even though he sells a great selection of anti-theft devices at College Cyclery, Ed was a theft victim himself. "I felt really stupid. I knew better."

Ed's been in the bike business for 10 years now and has never seen so many thefts, but he thinks it's because more people own bikes. Whatever the reason, 74 bike thefts have been reported to police so far this year in Reno, not including the UNR campus:

Bike thefts reported to Reno Police - 2012 (so far)

From residences: 23

From public streets: 15

From storage units: 7

Other locations: 29

Total: 74

Reno police try to recover bikes and often check with pawn shops, but all too often serial numbers are not recorded, so they can't prove a bike they recover is stolen. Lieutenant Mac Venzon told us, "The only way for us to generate an inquiry into a bicycle, is to have a serial number."

The lieutenant, and Ed, say thieves are smarter. In response, locks and chains are bigger. Ed says U-locks are the best you can buy. He himself uses a chain, which "works ok, but I'm not really taking my eye off the bike."

Neither will Keith. After his loss, he keeps his new one inside his apartment. As he told us, "Where there's a will, there's a way. And there's a will for these guys who are doing this."

-written by John Potter

Good Advice....from Yehuda Moon!

Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery

Thursday, July 26, 2012

River path construction is complete!

The construction wrapped up in record time for the closure at the east end of Rock park.  There is now about 100 yards of brand new, silky smooth concrete trail under the Rock Blvd bridge!

I may not like the abrupt closure style they use on the path construction projects, or the lack of detours provided, but they sure did this one about as quickly as possible and it seems to be a really good result.  Turns out (after talking to some BPAC folks) the reason for the upgrade was purely due to the deteriorated condition of the trail in this section.  I ride it once in a while and didn't think it was that bad....but who am I to judge.  If I had my vote for worst portion of the river trail it would have to be the section along the automobile museum!

The only things I would have liked added to this particular project would have been a connection to the well used foot path that connects to the road above.

And it would make the area look a lot better if they cleaned up all the junk conduit that they left from the bridge construction!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Daily Motivation.


Rock park river path construction update.

Yesterday I took some time on my way in to stop by the construction site on the river path (where Rock Blvd. crosses the Truckee).  The guy I spoke with didn't know the completion date, but was able to tell me that they are installing a concrete upgrade to the path in this location and some low walls along the outside edge of the path.  He didn't know the purpose of the walls (neither do I).  I'm guessing it's a flood control thing?? 

My only real gripe is that they let you ride most of the way through the park before they tell you the path is closed.  This leaves any trail user to turn back and retrace their steps to get out to the park exit.  The worst part about the "detour" associated with this closure is that you end up on the wrong side of the river with no way to get back to the trail!  It's not a huge deal, you can use the bike lane on Mill St. and then cut back North on McCarren to get back to the path, but not everyone is going to know about this unposted and unmarked "detour".  So if you need it there's your alternate route.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The truth is simple.

get fit 1316 Daily Motivation (16 photos)

Wet and wonderful!

It's not very often that an entire ride in Reno is taken on rain soaked roads/trails.  Today was one of those days.  After the early morning down pour (that apparently hit the hole city) there wasn't a portion of the ride that wasn't nicely soaked!  I know many of you don't ride with fenders and you may have a slightly damp rear end as a result, but you have to admit the change of pace is pretty nice.

Here's the view for those of you who opted out of the "wet" conditions.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bike in film fest!!!

Just saw this over at Reno Rambler......repost or not, this is sweet!

River path construction project.

Well, it appears that the construction on the path just east of Rock Park is a bit more extensive than fixing a few sprinklers.  They've torn out the path all the way under the bridge and started building a wall on the south (river) side of the path.  I'm not sure exactly why....as the path has never flooded here to my knowledge and it was in good shape.  I'm planning to stop by and ask the workers what's up and how low to expect the closure next week.  It's inconvenient at best and there is no easy detour.  Even if you head out on Rock Blvd. and try to cut down off the overpass to re-access the path they have the dirt trail blocked off.

So for know you're out of luck if you want to head east of Rock Park.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

If dogs could text.

Also....another reason to bike in normal street cloths.  The dogs notice the difference!


Monday, July 16, 2012

River Path Construction.

After my "low stress" portion of the morning commute, I exit the river path at Rock park and head south on Rock Blvd.  As I was crossing the river on the bridge, I was looking down at the path and noticed a nice little barricade across the path.  I'm not sure what their up to.

If I had to guess, I'd bet something is wrong with the sprinkler system in the park and the removal of the asphalt in the trail is for a repair.  Let's hope they get ambitious and fix up the path while their at it!

Bike lock cable is a bike rack!?

I was wandering on my monday morning commute today.  I suppose because it was monday and I didn't really want to get to work.  So as I was tooling around through downtown, enjoying the morning, I made a slightly awesome discovery.

Just outside ComRow (climbing gym), I discovered a new bike rack.

I didn't stop to take more pictures....but I should have.  The end on the far side is shaped like a combination roller (you know the cheap kid version of a bike chain).  It's a neat art rack installation.  the only real problem is it's installed too close to the building.  All in all I'm calling it a win!

I didn't even notice until I looked at the picture, but this rack comes with it's own video security camera too!  So if anyone does get ideas about a nice "new" bike they'll be on ComRow security footage!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Truckee Mountain Biker headed to the Olympics!

Katerina Nash is a mountain biker who lives in Truckee and will compete in the London Olympics for the Czech Republic.
Katerina Nash is a mountain biker who lives in Truckee and will compete in the London Olympics for the Czech Republic.

Check out the story over at RGJ.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Local bicycle fatality (Updated).

Taken from the RGJ:

A bicyclist died Friday in Truckee while riding down Old Highway 40 near South Shore Drive, Truckee police Sgt. Allen McKay said. The man was taken to a Reno-area hospital after his accident at 9:35 a.m. Friday, McKay and a police report said. He was declared dead at the hospital, McKay said. The bicyclist was wearing a helmet, but he experienced massive head injuries, a report said.

Two officers working on the investigation patched a pothole within several hundred feet of the accident scene, McKay said. “I can tell you that there is a pothole near the scene of the accident,” he said. “Whether that pothole was involved has not been determined yet.”

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact police Sgt. Robert Womack at 530-550-2323.

UPDATE:  The cyclist was Larry Sage. He was the director of Nevada County's Department of Environmental Health before retiring in 2005.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Post 300....not a bicycle in sight for me today!

So I guess this should be a fancy post with a lot of retrospection on the shape this blog has taken.  Ha, it's definitely not going to be that.  It's my blog and I'll do what I want.  So.....Kayaking!

Instead of riding, I had to test out my new to me truck camper.  I decided the best way to do this was to drive it to work and then use it as a changing room for a lunch time kayak run.  Not perhaps a glamorous use of the new rig but fun none the less.

The Rock park whitewater section is just across the road from my office so I parked there and walked up the river path a bit before putting in.

It was lunch time and the park was in full recreation mode when I got there.  With low volume flows this was more of a float trip for me with a few upstream paddle laps to get a workout.  The kids however love the low flow and rafts and good times were all around.

 Unfortunately, the number of people using the park has lead to large amounts of garbage on the river bottom.  You can just make out several cans in the pic above.  What ever happened to personal responsibility and cleaning up after yourself?

 On the up side, all the people has lead to some creative designs in personal bathing pools.  This one made a nice 3 ft deep pool for lounging!

I paddled about a mile and half down river from the park until I decided I didn't want to have to carry the boat too far back up the trail.  All in all, it's not a bike but it sure made for a fun lunch break.  So whatever form your alternative transportation takes, I hope you got out and enjoyed it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tour de France rider sets Time Trial record on mini-bike.

Just kidding....

Reno Fire Department.....pedestrian hazards!

I know this issue is like beating a dead horse, but I'll post on it one more time.  RFD....do not park in no parking zones and block crosswalks views, you are going to get someone killed.  I mean seriously, all you need to do is follow the rules that apply to everyone else and we can save you one more roll out.  You'd think at the very least these guys could car pool given the "dire straights" their budget is always in (there are 5 vehicles today and 4 on a regular basis).

If you know a Reno Firefighter you might mention to them this isn't helping their image in town.

Here's my gripe.  No car traveling north on center can see past these large vehicles to know if a pedestrian is coming out in the crosswalk.  Above the Center and First crosswalk is obscured and below the bike path is obscured.  There's a reason these are no parking zones!

Just so you guys don't think I'm a public servant hatter (I'm definitely not)....notice RPD seems to get it and has parked in the "ice rink" parking lot.  Please note there is plenty of room for the RFD guys in this same parking area (and it won't hurt their response time).

Monday, July 9, 2012

Seriously, your car is killing you!

Slightly disturbing.....you've been warned!  I'm definitely sticking to my bicycle!

Reeled in.....

Ok, today was a pretty typical commute.  Beautiful sky, perfect Reno temperature, bike path on a river.  It's summer so I expect this pretty much every day.  These conditions have also lead to a seasonal uptick in riders (which is a good thing).  Here is one such rider.....

.....or so I thought!  My normal mode of operation here is a few quick rings of the bell, an on your left comment, and saying good morning as I ride by them.  That's it, I pass them and it's the last I see of them (since I don't have a rear view mirror).  Perhaps I should have paid more attention to this gentleman's well worn Brooks saddle!

Now first up....I'm slightly competitive.  So if I see a rider up ahead I do tend to reel them in.  I did this with this gentleman.  I don't ride at a really face pace, but I'm not always in "recreation" mode either.  Once I've made the pass however, I usually keep it in gear so I don't acquire a wheel sucker.  I made this pass with this exact thought in mind.

Now I can't tell for sure (because I didn't ever look back), but apparently I didn't keep it in gear quite enough.  I never heard him or sensed him, but as I let up just a little before exiting the river trail at Rock park, I got an "on your left" from behind me.  Sure enough, this same gentleman had been with me for the last 2.5 miles.  I don't think he was drafting (wheel sucking), but he must have been just back a bit waiting to let me know I hadn't dropped anybody!

So well played sir, well played.  I look forward to our next meeting.  I will bring my A-game for the pass!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Rolling on the River....bicycle style!

Ok, tonight is a busy night.  Not just for me.....for all of you.  So I hope you packed up your bicycle this morning for the big day.

Your evening is going to kick off with Food Truck Friday down at the old bus station in central downtown Reno. 

This is something you don't want to miss.  The food is fantastic and the choices are huge.  Great Basin will be pouring beer.  The best part is there is a ton of parking (for bicycles)!  If you chose to drive down parking will suck.  Remember to come early because the lines build quickly.

Now that your fed, you can wander (or waddle depending on your caloric intake) over to Wingfield for Rolling on the River!  Parking is again absolutely no problem (if your on a bike)!  Bring a blanket and find some space on the grass for Keyser Soze. 

Now that you're fed and entertained you might want to finish off the evening with a quick nightcap.  I'm thinking some high end beer down at Old Bridge Pub, but if you just want some Sierra classics all you have to do is make it over the bridge to Sierra Tap house!   

So there....now you have evening plans.  So if you didn't ride this morning, you should give it a try this evening.  So dig out that bike and come join us for an evening on the town.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Hopefully, your ride today will be better than this guys...but your attitude will be just as good!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Bicycles and Artown!

Starting tomorrow some bicycle art will be taking over downtown Reno.  "Art" bikes will be displayed all over town to celebrate the Tour de Nez, so keep and eye out!  I'll have pictures as I find these little gems!

To be honest I'm not sure what form these bikes might take.  I'm thinking something like this.

Pop Art-Cycle    Ongoing  Visual Arts 

Presented by: Tour de Nez Outreach
Event Dates:
July 4th-31st

Admission: Free

Contact Information:
(775) 348-6673

Month-long display of bicycles all art'ed up to celebrate the Tour de Nez bicycle extravaganza. Bicycles displayed in and in front of businesses throughout the community for the entire month and then paraded during the Tour de Nez festivities July 29 at Wingfield Park. Hours and days will vary with business hours.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The perfect bike for "corking" an intersection!


Ok, sorry that the old blog has been quiet for a week plus.  I had some things to take care of back in Michigan.  The first and foremost was to finally marry off my brother to the gal who's been putting up with him for the last several years.

 It was a beach wedding and we scored on the good weather!  It was mid-90's the week before and we managed to drop the temperatures to the 80's and not get rain!  For those of you who are Nevada born....water falls from the sky a bit more often in the rest of the country, so this can be a real concern.  There was of course a reception party afterwards and things quickly got interesting!

I'm sure you didn't have this much fun at your last wedding!  The rest of the trip was catching up with family and spending some time on the beach. 

I know that you were probably expecting detailed postings about all the biking we did.....however, the best I can give you is that we did dust off my parents old mountain bikes (with some impressively large saddles I might say) and ride down the boardwalk to the local brewery.  It was an excellent reminder that bikes take zero maintenance and can roll out when called on.