Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's A Bike Bus!

I found this on the Utility Cycling website. It's a bunch of high school students making a Bike Bus work in Orlando Florida.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bike To Work Challenge | Bus Challenge

Update: by 8:15 my questions to the transit service manager have been answered. Indeed the changes will be monitored with an eye toward making frequency changes elsewhere. I remain optimistic!

Thanks SAM!


I spent much of this evening at Monk's House of Ale Repute monitoring the weighing in of contestants in Snakebite's Bike To Work Challenge. It was another satisfying year as a good number of people rode to work for more than 80 days between May and October.

Cash prizes were visited upon the three that rode the most days and lost the most weight. Smaller cash prizes went to those that finished outside the top three but still rode the most days or rode the furtherest.

The competition was so intense that one contestant, in addition to fasting for a few days, performed a pre-weigh-in de-pantsing. I understand by 8:30 she was replenishing her energy stores by binging on cookie dough - which she can afford after receiving a fistful of cash.


SAM is putting a challenge in front of me. They are proposing changes to many - maybe all - their routes. Especially hard on The MinusCar Project is the increase in distance from my home to the nearest bus stop from .6 miles to 1.4 miles.


My ability to walk with The Boys from home to bus is gone as well as my ability to rely on the bus as a car-free alternative on snowy unbikeable winter days.

Really I'm ok with all this. Like all public transportation SAM struggles to find ways to improve service and radical changes indicate to me a willingness to try different things.

I'm happy to trade my bus route - by my bus route I mean often when I ride I'm the only passenger - for the potential of increased ridership elsewhere.

Public commentary is welcome on these changes. I'm sending mine via e-mail and hoping to learn what gains might come about from these changes.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bike Sharing + Mandatory Helmet Law = Catch 22

Nice Ride Minnesota - Minneapolis - The first in the United States.

Capital Bikeshare - Washington DC

Denver BikeShre - Denver

I'm a huge fan of bike share programs.

I watched this video about Melbourne's failing program and enjoyed trying to hold two conflicting ideals in my head at the same time.

When I rode Nice Ride Minnesota a few weeks ago I didn't wear a helmet. When I'm home, I'm likely to choose not to ride over riding with someone without a helmet.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Events Center: Downtown

Yes indeed, one of my heroes Rev Billy understands the value of the pedicab. I lifted this photo from his most recent blog post about how "The Mountains and Gardens Will Save Us." I hope he tipped his driver.

Word on the street is that at a recent Green Drinks meetup - where the importance of a DOWNTOWN Events Center was the topic du jour - Sioux Falls Pedicab was used as a bit of a punchline. Dang I sure wish I could have been there. I wanted to go but helping plan the second South Dakota Bicycle Summit was a higher priority for me. It would have been awesome to hear the pedicab come up in the conversation.

It is true the pedicab business is precisely the type of private enterprise supporters are saying would benefit from a downtown events center. Additionally, downtown events are precisely the occasions where pedicabs do flourish.

As far as it being a punchline, I assume very few The MinusCar Project readers have ever been handed a fistful of cash money at the end of a short bike ride. Like I have. Hilarious.


The MinusCar Project supports a downtown events center. The MinusCar Project encourages its readers to join the Sioux Falls DOWNTOWN Events Center Facebook Group. The MinusCar Project encourages it's readers to get some skin in the game by attending a related event or meeting.

For me the Arena/Sioux Falls Stadium/Howard Wood Field is a very depressing area with its oceans of asphalt. How does a resident of the Dow Rummel retirement home attend a baseball game? Do they schedule the shuttle bus to drive them the 100 feet across the unwalkable and uncrossable West Ave? Where does a person eat a decent meal before attending an event in the complex? They drive somewhere else first.

In 2003 The City purchased a study of the Russell Street cooridor. It seems as though The City was experiencing some pressure from Russell Street businesses to add turns off the street into their parking lots. The report supports the assertion that Russell, with it's limited access, is a high speed arterial roadway for moving traffic - and ought to stay that way by continuing limited turning access.

It sounds to me like the problem the Russell Street businesses were experiencing was NOT so much a turning access issue as it was trying to operate for profit in one of James Howard Kunstler's "places that are not worth caring about." The people who use Russell Street are. Going. Somewhere. Else. And that's what you get when you have an ocean of asphalt.

All this brings me to the most depressing paragraph I've ever read in a tranportation related document.
There have been complaints received by the City about the lack of pedestrian facilities in the corridor. However, there was no indication of any pedestrian crash history. There are also no pedestrian facilities provided on Russell Street.

While there may be some desire to cross Russell Street, there is not a good location to install at-grade pedestrian accommodations at the intersections and could lead to a false sense of security for pedestrians.
Yep, that's right. Pedestrians complain about the area. Businesses complain about the area. We don't want to improve the area because we don't want you to die.

Interesting the Timberwolves and the Bucks play at the Arena on Sunday and I've gotten hit from at least 5 sources with offers for discount tickets.

It's hard to get people to go here. Build it downtown.

Chilly Advice

The ride to work was a bit chilly this AM. Riding right now is
important. Not riding now at 40 degrees means not riding at 30 which
means not riding at 20 which means hanging the bike in the garage and
dusting off the car.

Ride. It's worth it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The End Is The Beginning: Playing In The Dirt

Yesterday marked the end of my webmaster duties for the Falls Area Bicyclists (FAB). It also marks then end of (I think) four years of active involvement (board/web) with that club. Coffee/Donut Ride leadership notwithstanding. I will be happy to free up that mindspace for...

Yesterday the Parks Board approved the agreement between Falls Area Singletrack and Sioux Falls Parks. The agreement has to be routed around town and approved by various key people (Mayor) and then Leaders Park will be ours to play with.

What a fun project. Two years ago the conversation about singletrack in Sioux Falls renewed itself. It's been a long walk. Initial winter meetings with 11-ish people at Caribou where we all agreed on the vision. From there a core team of four carried the ball forward. The addition of a landscape architect volunteer with skills to make presentation quality maps was key. Encouragement from parks staff along the lines of "this is the best presentation of this sort we've ever seen" kept things hopeful.

Then we had to tell the neighbors. Briman's got that story:

That last frame is on the back of the FAST t-shirts.

A piece of sharing the vision with the neighbors involved the opportunity for public comment on the parks website. Public commentary also attached itself to articles in The Local Daily. The comments were very telling and very teachable. My favorite commentary theme was "the city is giving in to special interests."

Importantly, when it came time to meet the neighbors the call went out to the biking community to attend the public meeting. And the call was answered. Impressively. Answered in such a way that it was clear to all involved that the person-power necessary to actually build the proposed trail EXISTS.

Along the way FAST purchased $1,300 worth of trailbuilding tools. The money came from within. Snakebite's winter bike swaps, other large gifts from individuals and small gifts $5 at a time. 3 dudes in the core group of 5 I'd never met before.

Yes, indeed we are special interest. Indeed we've cobbled together tens of hundreds of dollars. We're looking to buy land.

Welcome to community. I'm looking forward to playing in the dirt with you.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

FABulous Weekend

Saturday morning began with the usual and customary Coffee/Donut Ride. We wandered around town for a bit. We found the recently resurfaced Russell Street to be so agreeable to our bike tires we almost turned around to ride it all again.

Our destination was the Phillips Ave Diner which did not disappoint with it's fine breakfast (French Toast for this guy), good coffee (four shots of espresso for that guy. really.) and conversation.

We were regaled with a great tale of selling soap over the phone to sexy Golden Globe winning North Dakota actress Angie Dickinson. You know, Police Woman. The only thing missing was the actual presence of the 8x10 glossy that she hopes "brightens your room on a rainy day."

The story of the Twins/Yankees Game #2 foul ball that got away was a distant but respectable second best.

The Coffee/Donut Ride ended at the start of the FAB Apple Orchard Ride. I followed The Owner as he pulled two daughters on the trail-a-bike equipped tandem. South on Cliff to Harrisburg then Dutch Apple Pie and ice cream at the Country Apple Orchard. Yummmmmm...

These people weren't messing around. (photo thefted from facebook, but i posed in it so i can use it, right?)

North on Minnesota Ave back to town where the annual meeting took place. Departing members of the FAB board were replaced by vote with shiny fresh new individuals. I took the stage for a portion of the meeting to tell the story of FAST...as far as it's been written.

The festivities ended and I exited the building to find The Wife and The Boys waiting in the parking lot to wisk me away to the Outdoor Gear Super Sale where coats and hats of dubious origin are sold at unusual prices. We purchased the brightest coat and hat combo ever for The Boy 8 and tried to ignore the word "sample" written on its inside.

Now go ride.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Full Disclosure: Sioux Falls Bike Committee

Afternoon update: the more I think about this post the more I think that I've slighted the planning process. Simple truth: if you it's not planned for, it's very unlikely to happen. Maybe an ode to the planning process can be a future post.

“We didn’t take no as an answer. We took no as a question.” - Mechai Viravaidya – TEDTalk, “How Mr Condom Made Thailand a Better Place

If I’m going to put a picture on a blog obviating the need for more bike parking I should also be asking the question to those with the ability to make the needed change. There is indeed someone assigned to acquire more bike parking near where the photo was taken. Of course, customer inquisitiveness is the greatest motivator (hint, hint).

Ok. Go.

Fred dropped a comment on my previous post asking for more details about what went down at the bike committee meeting that I’ve identified as the best one ever. Fred is a self identified bike advocate in South Dakota so automagically I like Fred. I’m going to give the details, but first here are three reasons why I’m not predisposed to providing them…

1. The details of that meeting are The City’s story to tell.

2.Planning meetings are just that. Planning. The important details are the parts that get done. People love to talk about what’s going to happen. That’s easy. Cable news makes a living pretending to know the future. What matters is what people do after planning.

3. There is something to be said about attendance. After all, you can’t win if you don’t play.

We received a report showing the number of times per month bicycles are carried on city busses. This continues to grow every year. It’s stunning really. I often post those numbers on this blog – so look for that in the future. Of course, people love to talk about what’s going to happen…

We talked about the possibility and desire for 3ft passing legislation and attempted to gauge the level of support within the group. This group is in place to be the bicycling citizens who advise city government on bicycling matters.

Brochures and posters were supplied with information about the Bike SmART Campaign. I now have a complete understanding of that program. I like it. If any local businesses would like a present from The MinusCar Project for Christmas, please let me know.

We were updated regarding current bike trail closures, of which there are plenty. Most interesting to me was the brief discussion regarding the plans to improve the sewage transport in the south where The City repeatedly dumped raw sewage this summer due to flooding.

We talked about the possibility of creating a series of bicycle related instructional videos that could be used as PSAs on local television.

We were shown a bunch of proposed changes to existing bike routes and a few proposed new bike routes. These routes are important as The City will focus on these routes for adding on-street bicycle facilities. These include paint and improvements to bicycle detection at signal controlled intersections. We agreed with many of the changes and rejected a couple because we liked the way they exist currently.

Finally we left with homework. Consider which of the three types of on street bicycle facilities we like best and which would be most appropriate on each of the bike routes.