Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Not Everyone Is Mean...

1. She passed me as we both performed a left turn. Passing in an intersection is expressly forbidden in law. Passing while both turning left is a move some NASCAR drivers struggle with.

2. When I said "if you wait until after we turn we'll both be more safe." She ever so nicely said she was sorry and she wasn't sure what to do.

Just wait half a block and pass me when it's straight...and I thanked her for being so nice.

It felt like progress.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Bike to Work Week Day 2 - Lessons in Scanning

Today's ride to work reminded me of two very important safe riding rules:

#1 - always communicate to drivers your intentions by signaling your turns. Even when you think you're alone on the road. I got lazy this morning and didn't.

#2 - always always always scan before moving laterally in the roadway. Even when you think you're alone on the road. I did scan left before I turned left and discovered I was being questionably but legally overtaken - well maybe they were speeding, but everybody does there. It was simple enough for me to hold my line and not turn into the car but I wasted most of my margin for error by failing to comply with rule #1.

No, three. Three important safe riding rules:

#3 - the habits you practice matter. Moving left on the bike trail to overtake a pedestrian? Scan left. Turning left from a left turn only lane with two lanes of oncoming traffic? Scan left. Moving right on the bike trail after overtaking a pedestrian? Scan right. The habit is the thing that can save your life when you're lazy.

Happy bike to work week!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride: Saturday May 28

I've been a bit delinquent on posting and publicising the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides. Amazingly attendance remains strong. In fact last week at Caribou/Einstein a friend I hadn't seen in a very long time surprised me and rode with us. The temperature was low and the precipitation was high.

Here we are, two weeks away from the May Saturday Coffee Shop Ride. A couple months ago Flyboy Donuts met us outside as we rode by and they handed us dozens and dozens and dozens of donut holes.

Nothing gets my attention like donuts so this month: Saturday May 28, our venue is Flyboy Donuts.

The plan is to go west over the Tallgrass Bridge, north through the mall and Meadows. We'll note the proximity of the new grocery store to the bike trail. Have I mention there's a grocery store right on the bike trail now? Then south through a neighborhood and back for coffee and donuts at Flyboy Donuts.

Maple bacon donuts. Specifically. Seriously. Maple. Bacon. Donuts. Donuts with maple. And bacon. Bacon.

The ride leaves at 9am. The loop is 11.3 miles and is weather adjustable. Here are general expectations of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides. Faster riders may find the slowish speed of this ride mentally taxing.

Here is the planned route - subject to change.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Driver Mindset on the Bike Trail?

I’ve learned of an early March bike trail pedestrian/bike crash resulting in unconsciousness and broken bones for the pedestrian. I hate it when the driver mindset of “push forward though all risks” visits the trail.

I suspect many riders don’t take into consideration the physics of human reaction time when riding around pedestrians.

First the pedestrian must identify the bell or call-out “on your left” is directed at them, they have to identify the correct response and they have to implement the response. Is that a 9 second process if everything works perfectly?

A 20mph rider travels 261 feet in 9 seconds. That’s 87 yards people. I bet most pedestrians cannot identify a bell or call-out directed at them from 87 yards.

The ONLY safe response to this information is to slow down for slower trail users. I’ve said before, if you’re not matching the speed of the people you’re passing on the trail and especially complimenting the bikes ridden by children you’re not thinking enough about the future of riding in the city.

My high school math teacher will tell you a bike trail crash could end your riding career. It did his.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Things To Do & People To See

I found myself with a few appointments evenly spread throughout the day. With this schedule even pretending to work would be futile. So I took the day off to ride my bike and travel to meetings. I like taking pictures so I took some along the way to document the day. 

To tell the story of being about town without a car.

I departed home at 9:30-ish and returned home at 5-ish. I expected temperatures in the high 40s. The real temperatures were in the upper 30s. With temps this low the 20mph windchill was a factor.  I was very pleased to have made a last minute decision to wear a jacket. Without it I would not have been able to complete the day.

My favorite bike route from home to downtown is the south portion of the bike trail. It's not the quickest but it's the most fun. This is a 45 minute trip and it got me there in time for some coffee and some planning.

The route.

The coffee. I take a lot of pictures of helmets with coffee.

I wandered over to my favorite place to park bikes. Coincidentally nearby is my favorite place to change costumes.

Bike parking - when everybody rides we'll fight about things like lack of parking.

Biker casual.

Business casual.

I walked a bit until I discovered Julie Prairie's Photography Studio. I was part of a photo shoot for Live on Stage: Sioux Falls Concerts Association. I think I'm going to be on the cover of BizNow MagazineHere's a picture of Julie Prairie - yes, that is her real name - taking a picture of me. Her studio is above Fresh Produce in the Gourley Building. If you'd like a signed 8x10 glossy of me I have a limited number available.

From there I did more walking and seemingly randomly took a picture of this Main Ave sharrow marking. Boy I'd rather ride in 10 feet of traffic lane than 4 feet of door-zone bike lane.

Shortly after that I visited the Visual Arts Center in the Washington Pavilion. I really wanted to see the exhibition of photographs taken by the Argus Leader journalists. I very much like photojournalism and I was not disappointed. I half expected and was half surprised to find bicycling was included in the exhibit. Specifically two photos from the tragic ride of Harald Vik. There was a short looping video feature too wherein the photographers said nice things about their work.

From here it was errand running time. The bank, my parent's house, my Sanford Profile coach and lunch at Jimmy Johns. With flags flying half staff the huge flag at Maximum Promotions seemed especially close. The picture doesn't do it justice but it's a bike and a flag so I'm including it. Is it still half for Scalia our is it now for Nancy? I can't keep up. At what point will we just full-time fly them at half?

#16 - Club Lulu. Unwich. If I skip the bread can I have a cookie the size of a plate later?

was pleased to happen upon Kirk on The Troll en route. Always good to see him - and other riders - out and about riding. I was not quick enough to get a picture.

After the errand running it was time to land back downtown at Coffea. I had read an article by seemingly the newest bike advocate in town. I wanted to meet him. So I ordered up a cup of coffee and a cookie the size of a plate and sat across from Zach DeBoer for shy of a couple hours.

This is an ambitious young man who lives and loves the fabric of urban living. I learned that last year he, for one weekend, converted northbound north Main Ave from parallel to diagonal parking and gained 60 parking spots. He did this with duct tape and official permission. He is also the creator of the Art Maze event that my family enjoyed.

The cookie. I may have eaten it.

Zach. Zach seems to do his work through his art gallery Exposure.

Speaking of hands, if you need one there's is one pinned to a tree downtown. High five!

The final item on the day's agenda was mid-term middle school conferences. I had intended to circumvent the city via the north bike trail - to complete the loop - but with time restricted I opted for a more direct route. Time was so restricted I landed on the 45mph Madison Ave under the interstate. Sometimes you gotta do what you must. I arrived with 15 minutes to spare. I was not able to ride 45mph - because of the headwind.

Here's an almost empty bike rack.

Here's the errand running portion of my day. In the end I rode 28 miles. Really, there's no need to be too concerned about that cookie. Right coach?

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride: Saturday March 26

Ride bikes. Drink coffee. We're riding from Scooter's near the 57th St & Western Ave intersection on March 26 this month. We'll tour some of the southern part of the city and also see the shiny new bike path spur under 57th Street.

It's gonna be great! It'll probably snow.

The ride leaves at 9am. The loop is 10.3 miles and is weather adjustable. Here are general expectations of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides. Faster riders may find the slowish speed of this ride mentally taxing.

Here is the planned route - subject to change.

Bikes V Cars - Coming Soon!

The MinusCar Project, Bike Sioux Falls, Spoke-n-Sport and some random dude we found in a coffee shop are bringing Bikes v Cars to Sioux Falls. To watch and stuff.

I KNOW! I can hardly believe it either.

April 3, 2:30 showtime, Zbornik Hall, Science Center, University of Sioux Falls.

Free. If everybody comes then everybody will be there.

Any questions?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

HB 1073 - Get Off the Road - fails

True story. HB 1073 failed to make it out of the transportation committee meeting today. After opposing testimony from a representative who helped with an amendment to make it more moderate, and opposing testimony from the Departments of Transportation, Public Safety & Tourism even the primary sponsor/chair of the committee voted to scrap the bill.

Hear the audio from the meeting here - http://ow.ly/XE5yF - it's a bit lively.

Among the highest of lights is the Secretary of Tourism saying interest in bicycle tourism is at an all time high and he echoed someone he heard say all bicyclists do is quietly roll through the state and leave behind a trail of money.

FAB President Chris Parsley does an excellent job of teaching lane control in 4 minutes or less. People who hear will think they're listening to testimony but what he's really doing is teaching. Go ahead listen in, maybe learn something.

There was one shaky resident of the Black Hills who opposed the bill. Boy I appreciate that. In that position I AM that.

There was Rep Krischman making an awkward joke about being in the wrong room - it's not his committee - and then saying "it's been 8 beers since..." - he meant "years."

The discussion about what a Class 2 Misdemeanor is was oh so disappointingly wrong and incorrect.

Rep Bolin got way out of line when questioning Rep Deutsch. OUT OF ORDER!

Rep Rasmussen did all but move her non-existant reflective clothing bill. It's coming! Be ready!

Rep Schoenbeck got really disappointed with the DOT.  Really disappointed with the state of rider/driver relations on the roadways. Then pretty much everybody agreed that something needs to be done, just this bill isn't that right something.

DANGER! When legislators think something ought to be done.

Tabled to the 41st day of the legislative session. Like you do in South Dakota, because if a bill is sitting on the table and nobody is around to take it off the table - is there really even a bill?

Here's an article from the local Argus Leader about what transpired today. Yes, that's Chris Parsley and I in there.

My friend Jessica and I were on the Dakota Rural Action "Voices" podcast after the vote today. The podcast hasn't been released yet. I can't wait to hear what I said. Jessica, of course has nothing to worry about because she's great. I do know that as my opposition to the idea of a reflective clothing bill was coming out of my mouth I was happy about the words - but maybe I wasn't listening closely enough. The podcast page is here.

I immediately sent messages to three legislators and the DOT offering that I know people who are willing and ready to assist with citizen input into future legislation and policy. All we need is an invitation to participate - which should be easy given that we live in a democracy. Don't find hope in any of these words - it's not that easy. Maybe if the 5 people who read this blog sent the same messages...

I'm hosting another Bicycling in the Legislature call next Tuesday. The Facebook event is here. The call information is on this blog post.  The phone number and meeting IDs are the same, the date and time is 2/2 at 12:15pm.

Bike it!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Resist HB 1073! Do It Today!

Sometimes it's fun to try to come up with ways to look at something that maybe is different enough to get the representative to read to the end...for what it's worth, here's what I sent.
Dear Rep X:
Tomorrow you will be presented with HB1073 - the "get bicycles off the road" bill.

I understand there are concerns in the western part of the state over tight windy roads and the safety of riding bicycles on them. As a bicycle rider and road safety advocate I address unsafe conditions through my local transportation authority. Usually that's my local traffic engineer but sometimes it's the State DOT.

I think the State DOT is up to the challenge. I understand they thought better of allowing 80mph on I-90 through the hills last year after your body helped champion the 80mph speed limit bill. Their reasoned response was to keep limits the same in that area – because speed kills.

Let's keep local control local - please do not pass HB 1073. We do not need this to be the standard across the state. The DOT has tools to address road safety yet still respect the interests of all road users and a road uses.

Thank you.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

2016 SD Legislature: HB1073 - Get Off the Road

We're already knee deep into the 2016 Legislative Session. HB 1073 is in the hopper and making the rounds across the nation - oh, Momentum Magazine ran a story - it's making the rounds across the continent.

I haven't posted anything to the blog. I must be tired.

By this time next year there could be a lot of people in reflective clothing, standing on the roadside with bikes, 15' flags in the air trying to remember a time when riding bikes in South Dakota was fun, safe and healthy.

Because there's plenty of people engaged - and in the end far more will be typed on keyboards about this than done about this, I'm taking a different tack this year.

Weekly connection, getting people from across the state on the phone, sharing information, giving encouragement, hopefully directing some action.

Feel free to join in the fun. Meeting #1 is January 26 at 12:15 Central.

1. Please join my meeting, Jan 26, 2016 at 12:15 PM CST.

2. Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) - a headset is recommended. Or, call in using your telephone.

Dial +1 (224) 501-3412

Access Code: 115-870-357
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting ID: 115-870-357

Online Meetings Made Easy®

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Left Looking, Right Turning, Attention Getting

If a person (me) were to stand on a busy street corner wearing a sign that would bring attention to the need to look right when turning right, what should that sign say?

Turning right? Look right.
Turning right? Look right too.
Look left, look RIGHT, look left again.
Look both ways. Always.
Look BOTH ways.
You should look right too.

Any suggestions? I'm looking for just the right thing and I still haven't found...it.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Survivor Story: Knocked Over By A Left Looking Right Turning Driver

If somebody will design for me a very nice sandwich board sign that asks "Why do you only look left when you turn right?" and loans me a funky costume, I'll get it in the news.


Yesterday The Dad, standing on the corner waiting to walk his bike across the Minnesota Ave & I-229 intersection, was knocked over by a right turning left looking driver.

Lesson 1: even knowing the hazards isn't full protection from drivers who don't look.

Lesson 2: make the report on the scene. Failure to do this could result in very messy living room carpet. And MAKE THE REPORT because THEY need to know it happened.

Lesson 3: if you get run over and you are related to or friendly with me you will be assigned to write a report.


Accident, Eastbound exit ramp of I229 at S Minnesota Ave

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

When I ride my bicycle I am at risk.  It doesn’t matter that I know it’s a dangerous intersection, and I’ve been there hundreds of times.  It doesn’t matter that I know how to get through that intersection.  It really matters that I don’t know everything, and I am at risk.  (I’ll add parenthetically here that my planning paid off and I am not hurt.)

Today, at 4:20 PM, 6 miles into my bicycle ride I got to my intersection.  The first car exiting the interstate looked left and turned right (across my intended path).  I stopped as required by Sioux Falls’ law, but this driver was intent.  I got off my bicycle because pedestrians have more rights that a bicyclist.  stood there saying to the driver repeatedly, “It’s my turn; it’s my turn.”  The driver made the turn, and it scared the bejesus out of her when she saw that I was there and she drove where she never looked.

The rule is that the second driver learns from the first driver.  Today that changed.  I stood there saying repeatedly to the second car, “It’s my turn; it’s my turn.”  The driver made the turn, and this time she turned sharply into the nearest lane.  Seeing me scared the bejesus out of her, too!  I couldn’t get my bicycle out of the way fast enough.  She rolled over my front tire pushing the bike down and, domino like, pushed me down.  I went flat on my back into the snow bank.  I knew my left knee hurt, and it got a minor abrasion. 

Must have been the third car that witnessed the event.  Her first words to the driver were “you ran over his tire pretty good.”  I say, “Thank you, ma’am”, and I got her card.  My bicycle is fine, the wheel is true.

My new rule is that in all the planning and anticipation of dangers, include calling the police and making a report.  The city needs to know that these things happen.  

If you’re still reading, don’t miss this advice.  Go ahead and call the police right there.  I made a late report.  Fire and ambulance came with sirens and lights.  They’ve got their protocols, you know.  Ten of them filed into my house like there was an emergency!  As I write this, Nora has not yet seen the carpet; not-to-fear, I know how to call 911.


The police report is #16-1162.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride: Saturday January 30

The next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride is January 30. It departs from the Minnesota Ave & 13th St Starbucks which is at the intersection of (can you believe it?) 13th St and Minnesota Ave.

Here is December's hearty & hardy group.

The ride leaves at 9am. The loop is 9.5 miles and is weather adjustable. Here are general expectations of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides. Faster riders may find the slowish speed of this ride mentally taxing.

Here is the route and a way to download it:

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride: Saturday December 26

The next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride is December 26. It departs from the Minnesota Ave Kaladis which is at the intersection of 26th St and Minnesota Ave.

The ride leaves at 9am. The loop is 10.5 miles and is weather adjustable. Here 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 looks like this:

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride: Next! 12/26 PLUS: We're 1, Happy Birthday

The next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride will be the last Saturday of December. That makes it a very special post-Christmas Saturday, December 26 ride. We'll depart at 9am from Kaladis on Minnesota Ave. Please realize that because of its proximity to Christmas the venue may change – dependent upon their holiday schedule.

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. For the entirety of the Saturday Coffee Shop Ride posts follow this link.


November’s ride featured our second largest group of riders. Of course, with temperatures rising lots of people were outside enjoying themselves. One youngster was quite impressed with the spectacle of a group of riders outside his home, “WOW!” he exclaimed.

After being greeted by two or three groups of neighborhood people in close proximity it was observed by many of us that when we drive our cars hardly anybody ever waves. Even when we get together with our friends and drive our cars in groups, still nobody waves.

Go figure…

A look back at the history of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides reveals I announced the first one on November 29, 2014. The first ride left from Kaladis on December 27. That makes us 1 year old.

Happy Birthday!

To remember the year below is the complete set of 12 official ride photos. Enjoy.

December - Kaladis - not pictured. I was new at this.

January - Starbucks (14th & Minnesota)

February - MB Haskett's but it was busy so we went...I don't remember.

March - Panera Bread

April -  Pappy's: The Original

May -  Manna Bakery

June -  Scooters

July - Falls Park Farmer's Market

August - Black Sheep Coffe

September -  Dunn Brothers Coffee

October -  Caribou Coffee (28th & Minnesota)

November - Coffea Downtown

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride: Saturday November 14

First, the official photo from the October ride. You'd wish by now I'd figure out where there is too much sun behind the photo subject. Sigh.

The next Saturday Coffee Shop Ride is already November 14. It's really early this month because the holidays are upon us and I have plans. It departs from Coffea Downtown which is at the intersection of 10th St and Phillips Ave. Feel free to plan your own post ride downtown visits to Duluth Trading Company and MacKenzie River Pizza. I may see you there!

We're heading east so that we can go west down the 18th Street hill. Through Riverdale and McKennan Parks. Some block zig-zagging, because I like to zig-zag blocks and back into downtown.

The ride leaves at 9am. The loop is 10.16 miles and is weather adjustable. Here 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 lotta something like this:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The MinusCar Project / John Q Super Commuter Shirts Pre-Orders Now!

Pre-order a shiny new Dan King inspired, Brian Beilke drawn, The MinusCar Project produced shirt today! Dakota Lettering will be doing the screen printing. The shirt will be an Under Armour Locker-T in your choice of 7 colors. The print will be white. Your choice long or short sleeve - hint, order one of each and wear them throughout the year.

Your cost will be $25 for a shirt. In the highly unlikely event that the money received exceeds my cost to produce the excess dollars will be given to the Falls Area Bicyclists (FAB).

Across the chest will be happy smiling John Q Super Commuter. Original artwork by local cartoonist and rider and architect Brian Beilke.

On the back between the shoulder blades will be my The MinusCar Project logo and wording.

I cannot order shirts without money in my hands. I recommend paying with a check that we agree I won't cash until the shirt is in your hands.

Let's do this. Pre-order today!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Cranksgiving 2015

Cranksgiving - the 2015 edition - is coming!

Cranksgiving is a food drive, on two wheels, with a bit of scavenger hunt tossed in. On November 21 depart Spoke-n-Sport at 1pm. Go to grocery stores and buy food. Return to Spoke-n-Sport with food in hand and off it goes to Feeding South Dakota.

Actually it's a race too, but who cares? The race works like this - get 1 item at as many grocery stores as you can. Return with food and receipts in the allotted time. Get points for each visited store. There are other ways to get additional points. Score a lot of points and maybe even win. Last year I won the race on a tandem with The Boy 17 who was 16 at the time. He won youth. It was quite fun chasing other riders around town and encountering them in surprise places.

One of my favorite Argus Leader photos of all time from last year's event.

Here we are with Santa Claus in the obligatory winners photo.

The official rules and what nots are on the Spoke-n-Sport website. Even pre-register there.

Check out Bike Sioux Falls too. There will be fresh content there that will be worth looking at just to see pictures of riders in turkey and pilgrim costumes.

There is a national Cranksgiving website too. See which cities have Cranksgiving events...and see that we have one too!

Come. Ride. Gather food. Share. Enjoy. Give cranks.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

My Response to Super Commissioner Dan King

This month, Lincoln County Commissioner Dan King began a My voice column by saying he had previously been “pretty ignorant about the details and inner workings of local government.” The balance of his column demonstrated that he has more work to do...

Read the rest of what I have to say in the Argus Leader - My voice: City’s policy changes make bike riding safer