Saturday, July 25, 2015

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride: Next! 8/29

The next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride will be Saturday August 29. We'll depart at 9am from Black Sheep Coffee near the intersection of Grange Ave and 12th Street.

Here is a link to the general expectations of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides. Faster riders may find the speed of this ride a bit mentally challenging. If you want to see the entirety of the Saturday Coffee Shop Ride posts follow this link.

--

Today began early as I departed home on a fully geared front suspended off-road bicycle and an aptly named Camelbak perched upon my back as if it were the hump of a camel. This was somewhat unusual gear selection for the Saturday Coffee Shop Ride, however today I had plans within plans.

I met The Owner and One Of The Owner's Daughters at the Elmen Trailhead. I found them in conversation with a couple well known hoodlums - erm, riders. We bid them farewell and were off to The Falls Park Farmer's Market together while the two riders continued their travels around the north part of the bike trail.

At the farmer's market we joined a family of three generations. We found a young man on a homemade bamboo rig. Another, even younger man was on a beautiful grey and light blue Purefix. Parts he apparently selected on his own. The Owner and  One Of The Owner's Daughters were on a bicycle built for tandem.

The MinusCar Project Saturday Coffee Shop Ride takes all kinds.

Just before our 9:15-ish departure - yeah, we wait for people if we know they're coming - the two hoodlums appeared and were briefly greeted in the form of the Hello Again Wave.

Our first order of business was to arrange the requisite group photo. This one at the Pioneer Memorial.


After some short singletrack and even shorter bits of avoiding fresh dirt piles we crossed Cliff Ave entered the land of "hey, I've never been here before" and "do you know where we are?" I surely enjoy that. Our northernmost point was the Sanford Research building where the horses run but not free.

Along Benson Road we were passed by a half-dozen cars which may well have been a record until we later traversed North Drive and were passed by more and at much closer proximity. If I were to do that piece over I'd probably ride it differently.

In the midst of the North Drive tension a couple inmates played the role of comic foils by inquiring about the likelihood we were heading to Sturgis.

There were some very nice views of The City on this route. Art marshaled the back of our ride and captured this picture as we began the Main Ave descent back to The Falls. Thanks for the picture Bike Sioux Falls.



After cups of coffee, breakfast pizzas and decent conversations were consumed I was off to the remainder of my 35 mile day. A visit to Leaders Park and the long ride home. The icing on the top of my ridecake came with a couple blocks worth of cooling rainfall as I arrived home. Ahhhh...Saturday!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride: Saturday July 25

The next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride will be July 25. It will depart from the Falls Park Farmer's Market north of Falls Park. The route will take us immediately up the hill by the penitentiary and on to the Pioneer Memorial that overlooks Morrells - erm, the city.



50 yards of singletrack will put us in north Sioux Falls where we'll see the place the Schwan's trucks sleep, the Sanford Research Center and the seemingly forgotten Seubert Ave. On the return trip we'll narrowly miss the entrance to Lacey Park, loop around Presentation Street, skim the entrance to the South Dakota State Penitentiary and zoom down Main Street back to the farmer's market for freshly made coffee and/or pizza and/or brats and/or burgers.



The ride leaves at 9am. The loop is barely under 11 miles and is as always weather adjustable. There are general expectations of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides. Faster riders may find the slowish speed of this ride mentally taxing.

Download the route by visiting this link. Otherwise, the route goes a little something like this:



                    Create Routes
                    or Search for a route
                    from millions at MapMyRide
               

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Invitation to Action: Of Safe Passing & Complete Streets

Hey! Thanks for checking in before you head off for your July 4 holiday. It's good you did, I have a pressing issue for Sioux Falls riders Tuesday July 7 that I must communicate.

But first, July 1.

Today is the day that  HB 1030 - that's the bill that requires 3' of passing space when a car is passing a bicycle at less than 35mph and 6' of passing space when a car is passing a bicycle at more and 35mph - becomes South Dakota law. All over the state drivers have begun to move over when they overtake a bicycle on the roadway. I can just feel that it's true.

That previous sentence was a bit sarcastic. HOWEVER, it is my unresearched, unscientific, completely experiential and subjective opinion that as I ride on city roads drivers are trying to get used to how this space will work. League of American Bicyclist's Bicycle Friendly Community Specialist Steve Clark commented that this is probably the best safe passing law in the country. We said yes, we are aware.

If you're looking for an article to share there are plenty.  Because it has my name in it this one is my favorite. It's a WNAX Radio production which means it's audience is people sitting in tractors all across the state. There's this one from KELOLAND that is an excellent example of how to bury a lead in a news article. Sheesh! And finally South Dakota Public Broadcasting talked to SDDOT staff and showed again what I already knew - there's a lot of people in SDDOT that don't understand bicycle law and what it means for safe roadway use.

Speaking of burying the lead - Second, the 7th.

Yesterday the Sioux Falls City Council heard about a proposed Complete Streets Policy. I know this because the Argus Leader published an article about it. Here's the thing. When something lands in the informational meeting it means the council usually votes on it the following Tuesday.

Tuesday July 7th 7pm meeting the Sioux Falls City Council will likely vote on a Complete Streets Policy for the City of Sioux Falls. It would be great if riders and walkers came to this meeting and asked the council to approve the policy.

"City Planning Director Mike Cooper made his first pitch to the council...a complete streets policy that would direct multiple city departments to consider all modes of transportation when planning road rebuilds and new streets."

It's is a big change to have this become a city policy. The policy means streets for every user get created because "it's what we do." The current situation is more - streets for every user get created if someone brings up the possibility at the right time, in the right place, and with the right people.

Please consider coming to the council meeting and voicing your supportive opinion on the matter. Read the Argus article. Go a step further and watch the Informational Meeting video - relevant portion starts at 17:50. Pick a point and echo it to the council Tuesday, July 7, 7pm.

Not sure what Complete Streets are?  Watch the Informational Meeting video. Look-in while city staff explain it to city council.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride: Next! 7/25

First. The next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride will be Saturday July 25. We'll depart at 9am from the Falls Park Farmer's Market. This is near the intersection of 2nd Ave and Falls Park Drive. "What? When we're done with the ride we're going to eat lettuce?" No. Cherrybean Coffee is always there with the piping hot liquid. Skipping Stone Wood Fired Pizza makes their pizzas to order. Dakota Natural Beef always has burgers and brats on the grill.

Here is a link to the general expectations of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides. Faster riders may find the speed of this ride a bit mentally challenging. If you want to see the entirety of the Saturday Coffee Shop Ride posts follow this link.

--

Unlike our truncated wintertime attempt at this loop the weather took care of it's business in the early morning hours. By the time we rolled from Scooters the last bits of moisture were evaporating from the roadway.

Scooter's presents some interesting challenges when it comes to access. Situated near a 40,000 vehicle per day intersection with roads that were created to offer drivers a false sense of safety and efficiency as they move their cars through at 10 to 15 mph over the speed limit, this area is not welcoming to riders or walkers. Thankfully The MinusCar Project's Rides have many of the most experienced urban riders in the city - setting examples and providing confidence.

We departed Scooters moving south on Western and quickly found the relative tranquility of Ralph Rogers Road. Ralph led us to a bit of travel on 69th, the four lane divided roadway. Finally south into the neighborhoods of grand back yards, creative unique siding, and more square feet than I need or imagine.

For this ride we accepted a mascot. After a brief tour of Harrisburg's Journey Elementary student drop-off area we stopped to quickly greet Hazel and mark the moment with a photo.


After riding much of the length of a road that is most excellent for biking South Tomar Road, and the fast sweeping downhill left turn that is Plum Creek Drive we made our way to the bike path at Tomar Park.

What I thought would be the final road challenge of the day, a short bit on 57th Street to Scooters proved to be a non-issue. Our group managed to find a gap big enough in traffic which allowed us to complete the section as one unit.

The parking lot proved to me to be the greatest challenge as we arrived and faced 25mph Escalades and drivers departing parking spots without seeing. Surprise!

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride: Saturday June 20

The next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride will be June 20. It will depart from Scooter's Coffeehouse in the Bridges on 57th shopping area. The route will take us through the southern part of the city. We'll visit Prairie Trail Park. A first attempt at this loop occurred in November during a pretty heavy snowfall. We cut the ride short.



The ride leaves at 9am. The loop is just over 11 miles and is as always weather adjustable. There are general expectations of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides. Faster riders may find the slowish speed of this ride mentally taxing.

Download the route by visiting this link. Otherwise, the route goes a little something like this:


Wednesday, June 03, 2015

He Said Shalom

"Lonnie" rolled by and wished me "shalom" today.

I was walking on the bike trail. I do this during work breaks when my reminders remember to remind me that sitting at a computer all day is likely, in the next 40 years, to contribute to my death. I enjoyed immensely that a person would roll by me on the bike trail and wish me shalom. My thoughts were apparently loud enough for him to take an interest in me. He had stopped. I was catching up.

We chatted.

He told me of the love of God and the saving grace of Jesus Christ. He gets an "A" for noting the two most important commandments then stopping short of applying any behavior requirements to my salvation.

I'm Michael I said. I'm Lonnie - I know Gabriel, he said. We laughed.

I found myself overly anticipating the point in the conversation wherein I'd be invited to join a cult. He handed me The Church at the Gate's current "The Word for You Today" booklet. Not a cult. Huh.

Of all the conservative Christian pastors in town that serve in the state legislature, have been The Daily Show's Today's Moment of Zen, sat with me at a table and asked questions during my hour long safe biking pitch, assisted in getting 3' safe passing legislation passed and that have various other efforts that I'm generally sympathetic too (and others that I certainly am not) - the pastor of The Church at the Gate is one of them.

It might as well have been one of his members that found me on the bike trail and wished me shalom.

Monday, June 01, 2015

I-229 Corridor Study: If You Ask Me...Because They Did...They're Asking Everybody

Today are open houses 1 and 2 of 4 regarding the State's I-229 Corridor Study. From 5 to 7 they'll focus on the Minnesota Ave interchange. The open house is at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. The convention center is the meat in the Arena/Event Center sandwich.

There is always an opportunity for written public commentary. If I were to comment, it would go a little something like this...

RE: I-229 Corridor Study - Minnesota Ave Interchange

As a volunteer on the American Heart Association Advocacy Committee I strongly encourage this I-229 corridor study consider all roadway users (motorized and not) equally as it seeks to improve the way people move in and around the corridor. Interstates within cities have repeatedly proven to be significant barriers to the free movement of people. This is as true in Sioux Falls as it is in cities all over the world.

The American Heart Association identifies living actively as an important factor in preventing heart disease and preserving heart health.  The possibility of active living is greatly enhanced by removing barriers to movement. Public roads and public spaces that are safe for the most vulnerable users are of primary importance.

I am particularly mindful of the southernmost portion of I-229 as it stands as a wall cutting the southern core of the city off from major pathways of desire: the river, the parks, the bike path. Directing these pathways of desire to traffic dense Western Ave, Minnesota Ave and Cliff Ave presents significant challenges to users. A person need only navigate these three interchanges a few times, counting the conflicts that present themselves before realizing these spaces were not meant for users who choose to power themselves.

Please rework the Minnesota Ave interchange seeking to give an equal level of safety to all roadway users, motorized and not. Use it then as a model throughout the city.

Thank you.
Michael Christensen
American Heart Association

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride: Next! 6/20

First. The next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride will be Saturday June 20. We'll depart at 9am from Scooters near the intersection of 57th and Western (5009 S Western Ave). Half a year ago we truncated our attempt at this loop due to heavy snowfall causing unpredictable riding. It will be nice to get a proper ride done on this southern loop. I think it's got some nice features.

Here is a link to the general expectations of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides. Faster riders may find the speed of this ride a bit mentally challenging. If you want to see the entirety of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides posts follow this link.

---

What about today? Today a whole bunch of us descended upon the Manna Bakery. Could it be that riders like a challenge? Did holding the Saturday Coffee Shop Ride on Sunday cause the attendance record to be broken by riders coming out to prove they can't be fooled by a misnomer? Time may tell.




The Manna Bakery doesn't mess around. Whilst we hung around outside before and after our ride a steady stream of customers arrived and departed with fresh baked pastry goodness. Don't be disappointed that once inside you can barely remove your helmet without bumping into a powdered sugar covered something-or-other. They have maximized their pastry product capacity.

Curiously while I shot this picture a driver stopped and waited. I joked that he might be waiting for me to step or fall off the curb so that he could run over me. As I completed my photographic artistry he called me over. He inquired after my knowledge of Falls Area Singletrack, something I do happen to know a thing or three about.

Sid thanked me for the trails at Leaders Park. As a kid he used to live near and mess around in the park. As an olderish man he's ever so pleased that he can still move around in the park because we've cut trails through the brush for him.

To all the volunteers who built and continue to maintain Leaders Park, that one's for you!

Here's our group descending what I think is Cleveland Ave.


Our group anxiously awaiting a green light at 10th and Fairfax. Anxiously because it became clear that 20 riders stopped for a red light was still not going to be enough for the traffic engineer to turn it green for us. Deep red-light-running contemplations were being weighed when the Harvest Church bus arrived for a left turn and immediately activated the trigger. Like Manna from heaven.


The Saturday Coffee Shop Ride is a 10 mile loop, which is pretty short for many riders. This morning The Boy 17 and I departed an hour early with neighbors Clint and Noah. We made our way around the southside of the bike trail. Rode the coffee shop ride. Rode the bike trail north to home.

In the end, 40 miles. 137 for me for the week.


At the very end, a lemonade stand. Clint's treat. #winning



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Quick - Everybody Ride - Now

On my way home from work today I chatted with Gregg, said hi to Kris, Tammy, Kris (again but much later) and chatted with Clint who was fresh from a visit to Madison, 'sconsin.

Also, UNPRECEDENTED - check this out...

I rolled up Main Ave behind a curb hugging woman. We arrived at 9th & Main where her right side lane position blocked my right turn. So I got in line.

Not long after I heard a different woman speak from behind me - "Do you like those big tires? Do they make your bike harder to pedal?" Well you caught me, didn't you.

But notice, FULLY THREE riders were stopped at the same red light at the same time. Also, women are the measure of successful bike infrastructure and the Main Avenue road diet is amazing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride On Sunday 5/31

After pre-riding the loop for Sunday's Saturday Coffee Shop Ride I found more gravel than I'd like for this ride - so I radically altered the route.

The final word: Sunday's Saturday Coffee Shop Ride which is on May 31 leaves the Manna Bakery at 9am and follows a route that goes a lotta something like this...unless I find something whilst pre-riding.



Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Ride in the City



Waving hello to the city traffic engineer from the seat of a bicycle. +1

Getting passed downtown on Phillips Ave. -1

Getting a friendly honk from John the paramedic and his standing-by ambulance. +1

Getting close passed in a neighborhood. -1

Catching said close-passer and his missus at the light and talking it out. +1

Taking 150 minutes and 33 miles to find lunch downtown with The Boy 17 at Chedds. Winning.


Saturday Coffee Shop Ride: SUNDAY May 31

The next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride will be SUNDAY May 31. SUNDAY. I cannot emphasize enough that SUNDAY is the next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride.

Pay attention. There will be a quiz at the end. Sunday May 31 is the next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride.

It will depart from the Manna Bakery - 812 E 6th St. We'll venture a bit into the northeast quad of the city then take a look at the new-ish trail spur that diverts near the diversion channel.

(this ride is on sunday, may 31)

The ride leaves at 9am. The loop is just shy of 12 miles and is as always weather adjustable. We'll enjoy manna from heaven (or maybe just from the bakery) after. There are general expectations of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides. Faster riders may find the slowish speed of this ride mentally taxing.

Pop quiz hot shot. There's a Saturday Coffee Shop Ride schedule for Sunday May 31. What do you do?

The route goes a little something like this:

*** the route has changed - follow this link for new route ***

(the embed feature seems a bit mangled. here is a link to the route page.)

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

...And Remember To Get Milk

Soymilk & cinnamon sugar. Absulotely necessary before school tomorrow. Night ride! 


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Car/Bike Crash - 41st & Kiwanis

If I was given a chance to have my opinion about this week's car/bike crash at 41st & Kiwanis read by someone that pulls the levers of power in this city I would say...

Councilor:

I know this is your work neighborhood. I walk by your front door pretty regularly. You and I met for coffee when the council was considering the 3' safe passing ordinance. Also, you are my councilman.

Thank you for being willing to hear my suggestions.

Consider how we influence human behavior in transportation as you assess crossing 41st & Kiwanis.

A driver encountering an intersection operating at less than standard functionality will poke their way through the intersection as best they can. When intersections are planned to be operating at less than standard functionality we put up signs in advance with warnings and post way-finding messages. We do this because crashes happen when we don't.

Somehow we don't do this for sidewalk users. Heading south or east on the sidewalk we expect users to know 660 or 1100 feet in advance that crosswalk passage through an upcoming major intersection is not available. We offer no way-finding at the point of closure and even if we did the signs would offer options that are round trips of 1/4 mile north or 1/2 mile west. This is a substantial increase in distance and time for most sidewalk users.

Now, my hopefully sensible suggestion:

Don't completely accept police spokesman Sam Clemens press briefing statement, "if you're going to be crossing the street make sure you do it in the marked crosswalk going corner to corner."

Don't completely accept KELOLAND's interpretation of Sam Clemens statement, "Clemens said the crash occurred outside of nearby crosswalks. He urged bicyclists to use marked crosswalks and to make sure the roadway is clear before crossing."


Because you are a city leader I suggest that it makes sense to consider all transportation system users when designing infrastructure. Most crashes happen not because people are out there doing dumb things, but because they're trying to make use of a system that isn't designed to accommodate what they're trying to do. It seems reasonable to me that a person standing on the northwest corner of any intersection in the city wanting to cross in any direction should be accommodated.

Thank you.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride: Next! 5/31

The next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride is Sunday May 31. We'll depart at 9am from the Manna Bakery. The Manna Bakery address is 812 E 6th St. You were paying attention when you read that first sentence, right? It said, "The next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride is Sunday May 31."

Sunday.

After taking this picture it quickly moved high on my list of favorite bike Sioux Falls photos.



The Manna Bakery has no indoor seating so I'm hoping we're beyond the realm of snowfall by then.Also, the Manna Bakery has no indoor seating.

Here's the group picture from April's ride.



Here is a link to the general expectations of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides. Faster riders may find the speed of this ride a bit mentally challenging. If you want to see the entirety of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides posts follow this link.

See you next month.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride: April 25

The next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride will be the last Saturday of April. The 25th. It will depart from Pappy's The Original - 101 S Phillips Ave. We'll encircle the heart of the core of the city, and take a nice long look at Covell Lake.

The ride leaves at 9am. The loop again is about 11 miles and is as always weather adjustable. We'll enjoy coffee or full breakfast after. There are general expectations of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides. Faster riders may find the slowish speed of this ride mentally taxing.

The route goes a little something like this:



Mileage 150406 to 150412

It was a cold, wet and windy week. I was less likely to ride to ride, The Boys were less likely to ride to school. The numbers...

Bike: 67.6
Walk: 7.33
Multi-Occupant Car: 38.45
Single-Occupant Car: 65.57

Upon further review maybe it was just me who was less likely to ride.

My #30daysofbiking pledge survived intact. I've rides 12 of the 12 days of April.


Monday, April 06, 2015

Mileage 150330 to 150405

It's time to get real again by marking mileage.

Bike: 132.9
Walk: 7.78
Multi-Occupant Car: 52.30
Single-Occupant Car: 13.49

I took the 30 Days of Biking pledge. I'm 5 for 5. I've been taking pictures as I go. Here are a few favorites from the week.

The Boy 13 before the ride to school.


The Boy 17 correctly positioned and waiting for green.



...and some spokes.



Saturday, March 28, 2015

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride: Next! 4/25

The next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride is April 25. We'll depart at 9am from downtown's newest eatery. Pappy's: The Original! That's 101 S Phillips Ave, 1st level of DocuTap which was recently formerly known as the CNA building.



Here is a link to the general expectations of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides. Faster riders may find the speed of this ride a bit mentally challenging. If you want to see the entirety of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides posts follow this link.


Today's ride featured two brand new people. Welcome Casey and Gregg. Murph! greeted us at Panera with regrets about flat tires and whatnot. Gregg and Murph! were very loyal riders of yesteryear's popular Coffee and Donut Rides.



See you next month!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride: March 28

The next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride will be the last Saturday of March. The 28th. It will depart from Panera Bread - 5117 S Louise Ave. I like to think of the route as a tour of the Harrisburg School District in Sioux Falls.

The ride leaves at 9am. The loop this time is about 11 miles and weather adjustable. We'll enjoy coffee or full breakfast after. There are general expectations of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides. Faster riders may find the slowish speed of this ride mentally taxing.

The route goes a little something like this: