Saturday, May 30, 2009

Big Dummy

For a while this morning it seemed like everywhere The Family went The Big Dummy was there.

First - farmer's market - there was The Big Dummy.
Second - drive by The Owner's bike shop - Big Dummy was there.
Third - the grocery store - proof of the presence of The Big Dummy.

I never actually talked to him. But The Family did while I was off fetching a bell pepper.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Me & A Clock

So many things to put here, so little time...

Hot news yesterday in my world was South Dakota's move from 41st to 28th in the League of American Bicyclist's 50 state rankings. The most thoughtful write-up of that fact is over at Snakebite's site. If you hit that site remind him last year there wasn't a 60 member Bike To Work Challenge or a three year old Falls Area Biclists Club that he helped found (find?).


Then there's the strange q-tip graffiti being spray painted in many intersections around the city. I know a lot about these - but I don't mean to imply I painted them. Every time I interact with the guy who does paint them I thank him profusely - because he has completely changed the way I perceive red lights as I approach them on a bicycle.

There's still work to be done here. These aren't permanent. It would be a shame to waste all the effort traffic engineering is putting in to this by letting winter arrive without having some policies change.


But really today I want to write about biking. How on my way home I crossed paths with Dyann a Snakebite Bike To Work Challenge(r) (HI DYANN) and then found Eric and his soon to be wife and later to be child. You guys stray pretty far from home! :-)

I stopped off at the Falls Area Bicyclist's Time Trial event too. 21 time trialists participated which seemed pretty great to me. I'm pretty sure I won the Cargo Shorts and T-shirt (Fat Cyclist Style) division. I tried to enter the Guy's Who Haven't Been In A Car Since Monday division but couldn't find it on the reg sheet.

On the way home I successfully identified the sensor and tripped the trigger on The City's newest traffic signal. paint necessary. Could it be there's additional attention being paid to new installations? What if...

30 miles.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This Is How I Roll

Spent two hours on the bike today.

I started off by failing to trip a traffic signal in my neighborhood. It's adjacent to a city provided bicycle facility. I reported the malfunction. I'll take a photo and post it if any improvements are made.

A couple days ago I tried to get a photo of the paint at 22nd & Western but the sun was too bright for my cell phone camera and I wanted to be attentive to the travel needs of the two police vehicles behind me at the light. I was pleased to be able to cause the light to trigger for them instead of blocking their path waiting for some other auto to approach.

Stopped off before work for some fresh pineapple and a cup of joe.

Post-work I found the office supply store and acquired a document tube. I've got some Coffee & Donut Ride posters to deliver or maybe I just like riding around with a document tube poking from my messenger bag. Kinda like walking around work with a clipboard. Makes me feel busy.

Next stop was going to be the mid-town Caribou but I realized the east side Dunn Brothers was a reasonable destination, if not a bit of a reach.

I made it to my evening meeting a few minutes late, a nice warm beverage in hand and feeling much refreshed after learning that some people still feel comfortable offering bicycling advice from the hole in their metal and glass cages. I'm sure they were less than impressed with my latte laden left hand.

The meeting was the bike planning meeting for the Metropolitan Planning Organization. It was a very good meeting. We reviewed the draft and agreed June would be a good time to make it public. This planning document details ways to connect the five major population centers in the area with designated bike routes and bike trails. Lots of goodies in there like better communication of chip sealing, better design of rumble strips and generally better roadway design.

I learned a few pleasing bicycle related things are going on at the state government level. I also learned that our city planner and representatives from the state DOT and fed DOT visited with the county commissions today and received some favorable responses to bicycle related ideas.

Exciting stuff!

On the way home I identified another traffic signal that I was unable to switch with my bicycle.

Next stop was Monk's for some much needed mentoring, questioning, and conversating. Monk's is a very good venue for that.

Finally on the way home I identified another traffic signal that failed to detect my bicycle. The police have a simple answer for what to do when in this situation. Turn right. Find an alternate route.

I was in the left turn lane. Given that a right turn from the left lane is illegal and not appropriate for my destination I rode through the red light.

Eh, who am I kidding, I'd a ridden through it anyway but not before stopping and confirming that it wasn't going to change for me.

30 miles.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Bike To Work Day That Was...II

Ugh. All that picture story telling in the previous post and I forgot my favorite part!

We really mean to share the access to this park. As hard as we're going to try to do this I still don't think we'll be able to expand the wake boarding opportunities beyond what they already are.

The B2W Day That Was...

Got up dark and early Friday morning to ride with some deer and head downtown to sit behind a table. From behind the table I could see hundreds of people eating pancakes. My two favorite were The Mom and The Dad.

We displayed a large map of The City and encouraged visitors to push pins in the places they travelled from. By the end of the day this was a pretty impressive display. Best of all the map ended up on display at MinusCar central.

Plenty stopped at Snakebite's vendor table - which looked suspiciously like a Big Dummy. Most of them stepped on his scale - which to me demonstrated a pretty big commitment to Snakebite's Bike To Work Challenge. It's a beautiful thing to think that some of these folks will succeed in their commitment to ride to work from May 15 to October 15.

Many of them will use their car less, saving hundreds of dollars, many of them will lose some weight, saving hundreds of dollars, and a few of them will finish the challenge with some prize money, gaining them hundreds of dollars.

Post event Mr Bite and I convened at Michelle's for lattes and additional scheming. What no work? That's right, Bike To Work Day is a holiday for me.

From there we ventured to a park not far from downtown to do more imagining of what it would take to make this...

...look more like this... that more people could see things like this...

...without having to leave The City - usually in their car.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Another Day Another Bike Ride

The day started with the discovery that Snakebite had indeed written about my money tree on his blog. Magnificently coincidentally today on my iPod-bug-zapit-thingy was one of my heroes Wangari Matthai on Speaking of Faith, talking about planting trees.

"...she has fought off encroaching desert by planting 30 million trees..."

Someone then brought to my attention an article from The Local Daily. They wrote-up Snakebite's Bike To Work Challenge today - which indirectly raises the profile of the Bike To Work Day event. In the paper version there's some pretty great photos of Sean rolling on his xtra-cycle - and his lambchopped mug on the cover.

Toward the end of the work day I recieved a very nice, honest e-mail from a traffic engineer related to vehicle sensors that don't detect bicycles. You can tell it was honest because it contained an admission that there's room for improvement. It also contained hints of their plan to make improvements.

After work I spent 90 minutes at Monk's with this guy.

Don't be alarmed. He was properly supervised.

We made progress on the local singletrack project. We looked at some pretty sweet soon to be ready for public consumption diagrams of what we're trying to do and prepared to visit the site for some "before" photos.

After the meeting we observed that the design guy's last name is an anagram of his first name - and his parents didn't do it on purpose.

Then we made Adam cut his hair.

After being gone from home so much today I darn well better not forget to pick up a half-gallon of milk on the way home.

32 miles.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Went 16 miles with The Family today. Nice low wind cool sort of a day for that.

Later we landed at The Mom's house to deliver a card and chat her up a bit. My favorite thing I learned during the visit.

Long time readers might know they sold car #2 a couple years ago and The Dad rides to work year round.

What I didn't know is that The Mom has taken to escorting him to work a few times a week.


I expect she'll be a mid-pack crit racer by the end of the season. We'll know for sure if she starts asking Tour deFrance questions in July.

Ebert On His Impending Death

Roger Ebert writes beautifully (doesn't he always) and thoughtfully (doesn't he always) about the death he expects will visit him sometime before the end of his life.

h/t Prairie Progressive.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Open House

It's that time of year.

SDBC - It's Alive

Friday at promptly 5pm two fellas converged upon my home. One from 1 hour north. One from 1 hour south. We piled into an unmarked van and drove 2 hours west. Upon our arrival we discovered two people had already prepared the workspace.

There is was. In the middle of the room. Up on blocks with the hood open. The South Dakota Bicycle Coalition, Inc.

After 3 1/2 hours we closed the hood, tightened the final lug nut, and spit shined the hood ornament.

The wheels are back on the SDBC.

Friday, May 08, 2009


I heard local bike celebrity Snakebite was on the television last night. I can no longer find the power button on my TV - but a search of the KDLT website reveals the rumor is true.

The 6pm article was all about vehicle sensors for traffic signals. It also hints at a 10pm article which I couldn't find.


In other news with that special snakebitten touch - kicking-off on Bike To Work Day he's running the Snakebite Bike To Work Challenge. He put it on his blog today. Check it out...and remember, anything he says about me might be true.

If you have a couple seconds over there - remind him that any financial contributions to the effort on my part represent a portion of the funds that in my previous life would have gone for gas and car maintenance.


Thursday, May 07, 2009


The camera gets a bit lost in the traffic signal.

The Sixth Of May

My trainer says she's really thinking hard about how to bike to work once a week. That's awesome! Most people don't even think...then she made me run a mile.

I did a brief telephone interview with a newspaper reporter about Snakebite's Bike To Work Challenge.

The same local daily today printed an article about The City's new pursuit of Bike League Bicycle Friendly Community status. That will be interesting and possibly helpful. I noted the first two public comments attached to the article were about having better sidewalks. Education is a piece of the bicycle friendly community program.

Finally - and certainly not least - I picked up my car from its annual oil change and check-up. I learned my mechanic (and shop owner) of 20+ years, after moving his business a bit closer to home, rides his bike to work now.

He's going to save himself a fortune in car maintenance fees!

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Poster Bikes To Work

I drove around Wednesday between 5 and 6pm delivering these to the local bike shops. It was evident that I haven't driven during that hour for a long time. Give me my bike and a side street!

To download the PDF click here.