Monday, January 31, 2011

The MinusCar Is Dead…

Facing a third lifetime trip to the heart of the core of The MinusCar engine to see perhaps, if indeed the block is not cracked, I spent the holiday weekends working out some new wheels of the automotive variety.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Imagine the misunderstandings of the sales people in dealing with a customer who is more interested in how the car will look parked in the garage or on Google Maps parked in the driveway than whether or not the glove box locks and which button makes the rear defrost work.

So I picked a dollar amount and in the end missed by $226.

The MinusCar II Lives…

But this is not the end of the story. As part of the process the car spent the afternoon with The Engine Whisperer and he was able to identify an ever so slight sound emitting from the engine that ought to be fixed because “surely you can find a Pontiac that doesn’t make that sound.” Sure enough, tilting one’s head just so to the left revealed the sound of an unbalanced washing machine two doors down on the other side of the street during the dog days of summer while the neighborhood kids play a humid game of kick the can.

Shhhh…can you hear it? It’s ok. I can wait. Fix it. I’m used to going long periods of time without a car.

But this is not the end of the story. I could describe the exact details of how it transpired that I possessed the car for three weeks without actually paying for it. Or how it transpired that the title of said car was surrendered to me without me actually paying for it. Or about how I was half way across the state and they called to ask if maybe, perhaps, I was ready yet to pay for it.

But I'm not sure those details are appropriate to share. I'm not even going to name the dealer.

Besides, yesterday I wrote the final chapter to make the car mine. I turned this…

Into this…

This is the end of the story. NOW it’s mine.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm Not Saying...I'm Just Saying

Today's high: 24. Today's bike miles: 24. Today's night riding, plenty. It's a good day. Rode east to the bike trail open house. Good turnout. Solid public meeting. It's nice to be able to ask questions.


I'm not saying that it's because of all the mornings I trample through their snow, bike in tow, while they look at the crazy biker dude through their windows.

I'm not saying that it's because yesterday I stopped and took a photo of the place where in the mornings I trample through their snow, bike in tow, while they look at the crazy biker dude through their windows.

I'm just saying that yesterday I stopped and took a photo:

And today I stopped and took a photo:


I do appreciate The City Public Parking Division's effort to enforce the sidewalk shoveling ordinance. It is a pedestrian and bike issue to not have cleared sidewalks. If you listen closely you might be able to hear the murmur, "nobody walks there so why should I clear it?"

I think it's possible the additional sensitivity to snowy sidewalks produced by an enforcement body's press release, coupled with a user stopping to take a picture, is enough to spur some action.

Or maybe it's just the existence of the law itself (snicker).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Open House: 2011 Bike Trail Closures

Almost half of the bike trail will be closed this summer. Some parts for very long periods of time. There's going to be an open house Wednesday to discuss it.

January 26 from 5:00 to 6:30 at Morningside Community Center. There will be a presentation at 5:30pm.


The downtown greenway project is very exciting to me. Making the riverfront accessible on the east side. In a world that lacks public space - we're getting a little addition.

The sewer system upgrade will mean less poo. After dumping copious amounts in the river last summer The City is ambitiously deciding to fix the problem all at once. From downtown to the lift station the trail will be closed. A very long distance for a very long time. Any complainers get a bucket of poo specially delivered.

Finally the flood control project. Can we just get this done already? Please.


Frustrated and afraid that this will leave only roads to ride on?

April 28, 29 & 30. Traffic Skills 101 will be available for adults through the school district.

How Do You Get Anything Done?

After I dropped the rental car off this morning I was without a car for awhile. Facing an unproductive day without a car I decided I'd just do the best I could.

I worked a full day. I could go into details but I'd rather just suggest I'm working on the death panels and leave it at that.

I managed lunch with The Owner. I made him pay for my free burrito. Ancho Chile w/ chicken. Black beans. Cheese and sour cream? Duh.

I shopped at two stores for some ear protection for The Boy 8. He's headed to monster trucks this weekend. Yay, indoor motor sports! I couldn't decide what form of protection is best without The Google so I stopped looking. I did however get him a personal carbon monoxide detector. I decided to forgo the upgrade to the one with the snooze button.

I went to the gym. Sort of. I walked 5 miles. I count this as a trip to the gym because it's more than just walking. Much of my time was spent on 41st Street. With it's 300 driveways in 2 miles and 30,000 cars a day there's a significant amount of mental concentration necessary. Add an iPod to the mix for sensory deprivation bonus points. It's like exercise only without the membership fee.

It's not all fun and games though. I do have parental responsibilities. I picked up The Boy 8 from piano lessons. I got my quality time in right after that as we walked to the bus stop squashing snow chunks and break dancing on the ice. 40 minutes of nothing to do but just be. Seems pretty decent to me.


We rode the bus to The Engine Whisperer's place (more on him later) and picked up The Outback. It's been done since Friday - but seriously, I'd rather walk.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


The MinusCar Project's plan for regional bike/ped transportation. Anybody want to help implement? Can't win if you don't play.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Today. With Pictures!

After yesterday's post, which I'm sure some are STILL wading through, I thought I'd go for something shorter, but with a little over 3,000 words.

I woke up with a choice to make (it's a rental, I loooove it, it has Sirius tuned to Electric Area because that's how I roll in a Dodge Charger)...

I made my choice...

Next time someone complains about scraping car windows - tell 'em you simply blink and the windows are clear.

When work was done the weather looked something like this...

So I stopped at Pomegranate Market to get some frozen confection... put under my coat to help me stay warm.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Giving Notes

All documents referenced below are publically available on the SECOG website. Enjoy.

Long time readers will remember that I serve on the CAC of the UDC which is the MPO of the SECOG. Don't know what that means? Neither did I for a long time.

Here are my notes from a recent meeting:

1. Project: 41st Street Corridor Study - from and including the I-29 Interchange to Kiwanis Ave. There will be copious opportunities for public input beginning in March. I have input! 14ft outside lanes, fewer driveways and a raised median. Get a handle on some of the 297 turning opportunities between I-29 and Minnesota to make it safer for EVERYONE. Other's might push for bike lanes.

2. Project: Harrisburg Transportation Master Plan. The first draft has been published. This plan informs the transportation decisions for the major Harrisburg roads for the next 25 years. HOPEFULLY, the idea to have two single 12ft lanes separated by a median gets properly labeled as bad. In the case of a crash the road will be clogged. Because a 12ft lane is too narrow to safely share with a bicycle riding one as a vehicle will function like a slow moving crash. This is unacceptable for all the citizens of Harrisburg.

Additionally, apparently, in the next 25 years there will be sidewalks on the main roadways. When I strain really hard I can hear someone saying, "But nobody walks there, why do we need sidewalks?"

3. Project: Tea Brian Street/Main Avenue Corridor Study. A draft study has been published. Planners are accepting public input through Feb 15. These are the main roads in Tea. There are statements in the study that deserve commentary along the lines of, "yeah! let's fix that."

Statements like, "The Sioux Falls MPO Bicycle Plan also recommends a shared bicycle/parking lane with an 8’ width. Widened sidewalks or side-paths may also be used to serve bicyclists, but require bicyclists to stop and yield when crossing streets and driveways."

4. Project: MPO Multi-Use Trail Corridor Study. The people who put this study together are quite impressive. They aren't guessing much when they talk about various methods of providing bicycle facilities, both on the road and on paths. The implementation content in this study could and should be copied by the other consultants and engineers that were in the room.

This is an awesome project. It's very exciting. I think it deserves ATTENTION. Indications are there it may get mentioned in the Thursday Argus Leader.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Birds Of A Feather...

When I arrived at work today I found this in my inbox: "A bike commuter on W 12 Street, between I29 and the Battleship, was passed too closely. Dave reported that the van went past too close (and put up his hands 8 inches apart). The Bicyclist followed with all manner of hand signals."

When I returned home today I found this in my inbox: "I just rode my bike home in this winter wonderland....and it was awesome. Did you?"

The truth is I didn't. The larger truth...reads more like excuses.

Sometimes the truth hurts. "I am having fun with the winter riding, but it's not worth losing toes. And I am not as crazy as the MinusCar..." The truth is mostly MinusCar isn't even suiting up for the games.

Last weeks miles:
Walking: 4.94
Multi-Occupant Auto: 38.21
Single-Occupant Auto: 55.46


I want back in. Michael Jordan's sage advice from a gazillion years ago to the delinquent deviant and destructive Dennis Rodman has been playing in my head lots today. All the experiences you're able to have off the court are made possible by your performance in the game. If that suffers, you suffer.

The other truth is I WAS in the game today. The multi-occupant auto ride downtown with The Wife. The Bus trip to work. I exited The Bus a half mile early because my feet needed to move and my face needed to feel all 5 degrees in the air.

The post work wait in the winter wonderland. The winter weather delayed bus that failed to deliver me to my transfer. The call to the ever so patient and supportive The Wife to come rescue me.


Whether or not this is the proverbial "I'm back and I promise to be a better blogger" post, depends heavily upon how much time passes between this post and the next and the next.

Instead I'm making this post a thank you to the community I find myself in and the community I find in my inbox.

To The Dad who Saturday won the first ever FAB Humanitarian award for bike advocacy and couldn't carry it home because he'd ridden his bike.

To the Bald-n-Surly one who, if he wasn't the wildly gesturing cyclist mentioned in the opener, might as well have been.

To Dirk who may be just now learning the truth about who's the crazy one.

To Val who recognizes winter wonderland when she's riding in it.

To Terry who I've never ever had a cycling conversation with but Facebook says he rides.

To Atom who is going on day 12 without a car (excepting Mondays) and may still be peeling his face off after a rather cold day a week or so ago.

To CycleSD who has mostly forsaken this virtual world and exists solely in the world where people bleed. (Check your Twitter account - I want to meet you for lunch. I need to hear stories.)

To the dude on the motor scooter navigating the 49th & Louise intersection with two legs outrigging the machine.

Who'd I miss?

Save me some space as far as practicable to the right side of the road.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year

Another year another Spoke-n-Sport New Year's Day Bike Ride on the tanden with The Wife. More snow this year and no crashes.