Feel good story of the day

If you love grandmas, bicycles and dudes turning a good deed, have we got a story for you. Call it your feel good story of the day. It all started on one of my favorite Facebook groups: Look At My Bike Leaning Against Stuff. The group is about… well… just that. People post photos of their bikes. Leaning against stuff. Pretty straight forward. There are a couple of rules – pictures are of bikes only – no people. Drive side out lest the critiques will critically criticize. Etc etc etc.

But as with many things, a small act of humanity and compassion gleamed through like a shining beacon (cue symphonic musical sweeper) Keep reading →

Sometimes it is just scary

I love riding my bike. I feel quite comfortable riding on the streets of San Francisco, or the country roads of California’s central valley. From my perspective, what negative interactions I’ve had with cars have generally been due to simple mistakes – misjudging speed, not looking in the right rear view mirror when turning right, etc etc. I’m the guy that spend a lot of time complaining about how dangerous others make cycling out to be. I’m the guy urging everyone to stop the fear mongering.

But then someone has to be an asshole. And that can be just flat out scary.

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Happy birthday to me

Bikey Desk Trinkets!
Bikey Desk Trinkets!

Yup. Today is my birthday (cue Beatles song.) And lucky me, I got the most important stuff. First off was the bikey desk trinket. Because there is no such thing as too many bikey desk trinkets. I mean, if you’re stuck at a desk, you should really invest in things that remind you why you’ve chosen to be stuck at the a desk in the first place.

And then the commute gave me a gift too. You see, one of the advantages of having a birthday right in between Christmas and New Years is one of the least driven weekdays out there. Couple that with a week where New Years falls on Friday and we might as well just shut the city down. I think I passed more joggers than cars this morning…

So celebrate my birthday with me. Go out and ride. Because, just like the proper number of bikes, the correct number of bike rides is N+1.

 

New Bike Day

I’d been waiting all day for the phone call that was supposed to come around 12:30. It was almost 12:45 and I’d taken to looking at the time every 3-4 minutes. Finally, the phone rang. I was practically in the elevator before I even thought to answer it. She was done with her meeting. It was time to walk the 4 blocks to our designated rendezvous point.

I had to contain myself as I made the hike. Somehow it seemed that, right then, everyone on the sidewalk was hell bent on walking directly in front of me… slowly. I made it to the address. She was supposed to be standing outside. Oh god… I don’t even know what she looks like.

But then I spotted it…

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Cycling and gentrification: a different perspective

To continue to explore the potential links (or perceived links) between cycling and gentrification, I thought it would be important to solicit unbiased opinions from outside of the cycling community. For this, I reached out to Rashawn, long-time resident of the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco (and the neighborhood inhabited by yours truly.) Below is a series of questions and answers via an email conversation. Rashawn’s perspective provides an extremely valuable outside perspective that all of us interested in bicycle advocacy and advancement need to consider. It can become quite common for advocates of any cause to find themselves constantly “preaching to the chior.” Only by actively soliciting, and taking the time to understand, the opinions of those that are outside our group can we truly find ways to expand the cause we are advocating for.

Note: Any links included in the below transcript were added by me (after the fact) to help provide context for those unfamiliar with the Bayview community, or items referencing what can reasonable be considered “local knowledge.”

JustAnotherCyclist: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. Can you tell us who you are, and a bit about yourself?

Rashawn: I am a Black woman who has deep roots in Arkansas and Louisiana. My family began migrating to the Bay Area during WWII, drawn by the promise of opportunities in the shipyards and looking for a better life. My grandmother came here in 1945, and sent for her children (including my 10 year old mother) a few years later. My parents settled here following my father’s stint in the Army. I was born and raised in San Francisco, and have never lived anywhere else.

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The difference between pedaling and riding

Probably pedaling...
Probably pedaling…

Pedaling and riding. Sound synonymous. But to me the two have some very different connotations.

Pedaling is using the bike to get from one place or another. Generally speaking, pedaling is focused on the destination. You are trying to get somewhere. In that regard the fact that it is done on a bicycle is pretty arbitrary – you could have accomplished the same goal using public transportation, a pair of sneakers, or (Gasp!) a car.

Totally riding...
Totally riding…

When riding, however, the destination is often completely arbitrary. Rather, it is the act of being on the bike that is the primary goal and motivation. Riding is what you are doing when you get the endorphins pumping. It is what you are doing when you are trying to get up that hill faster than ever before, or just trying to hang on the wheel of that faster group of cyclists. It is crossing yet another county line… to cross yet one more state line.

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Time to take my cyclo-prozac

Woke up in a totally crappy mood this morning. No idea why. I found myself pacing around the house in circles while trying to simply put my clothes on. Some days are just like that. I looked outside. Beautiful sunny day. But I didn’t really care. All I thought was “gee… at least I won’t get rained on during my ride to work…”

Ride to work…Now there is something positive.

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Brooks Saddles. They’re that good.

Ran across this in down town San Francisco today. And you thought your puny little bike chain wrapped around your saddle rail and frame was enough.

Protect that Brooks!

A photo posted by JustAnotherCyclist (@janothercyclist) on

Portland’s bridge to the future

Tilikum_Crossing_Jan_2015

Portland, Oregon continues to demonstrate their dedication to multi-modal transportation options with the September 12, 2015 opening of the Tilikum Crossing over the Willamette River. No worries about how cars and bicycles will interact on this bridge – cars aren’t allowed. This bridge is all about transit, shoes and pedals.

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Just be nice…

Photo by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious https://www.flickr.com/photos/bike/
Photo by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious https://www.flickr.com/photos/bike/

There is a scene in the movie Roadhouse where the main character is telling the bar staff at a rather rough bar to just “be nice.” If you haven’t seen it – it is a classic. Go watch it. If you have, stop rolling your eyes at me…

Anyhow, it struck me today how great the advice from this scene is for all of us bicycle commuters out there. There is far to much confrontational thinking where none is needed. Sometimes it is motorists thinking we are complete asses, and sometimes it is us assuming motorists are complete asses just out to kill us. But I had three separate incidents in the past two days that have turned me back on to the idea of “just being nice.” Keep reading →