Monday, May 31, 2010

0531 Transportation Donut

I flatted on Friday. I was unprepared to fix it. I walked a mile in my shoes. To the nearest shop. They were prepared to fix it. That was after I'd visited the dentist for a broken tooth fixup.

It was a good morning all around.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Seeking Sioux Falls, Iowa

Earlier this week The Dad sent me a Google Maps link with driving directions to Sioux Falls, Iowa.

(click for google maps)

That seemed to me like a road ride waiting to happen.

Tonight was the night. The Owner and I set out late afternoon in search of the mythical and elusive Sioux Falls, IA.

Sure we've heard of the place plenty, it often comes up during performances by national touring acts. Often the error is passed off as confusion between Sioux City, IA and Sioux Falls, SD - but no more. I believe now they've known of what they speak.

Because I have been there. Presenting Sioux Falls, Iowa:

Looking north.

Looking south.

Looking east.

Looking west.

Yes it's a gravel road. Yes, we were on road bikes. It's ok, we're both off-road riders at heart.

It was with no amount of sadness we departed Sioux Falls, IA and continued a loop that would take us 30 miles. It was a nice trip that I'll never have to make again.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I Had A Really Great Day...

...thanks for asking.

The bank. Pickle Barrel. The Long Range Transportation Plan Open House. The Plain Green 10 Conference de-brief. The Pheasants.


On my way to work I got honked at (A FRIENDLY HONK) by a car full of goldfish, if you know what I mean.


I heard a rumor that The City had re-painted and re-adjusted many sensor triggered traffic control devices. I happend upon a few of them in my travels today. Put your bike wheels on the circles and the red light will change to green.


At the downtown library I found the LRTP Open House. I saw Snakebite. I saw CycleSD. I saw other friendly faces. I saw lots of data. I put my name on the sign in sheet.

Here's one of the most important slides. It's the fourth item that's groundbreaking.

The Local Daily featured the open house. I found a couple names in the article that I recognized.

The full report is available here on the MPO website.

I also got an answer to my question about the upgrade vehicle sensors. That was nice.


On to Monk's for the Plain Green Conference 10 de-brief. Mostly I sat and was just happy to be there. Good people to sit and absorb words from.

I'm a little disturbed about the bike parking area outside Monk's.


Departed early for the Pheasants game. I found the family car in the parking lot. Locked my bike to it and joined The Family for one beautiful evening of 11-0 good guys win baseball. We even left the stadium one foul ball richer.

Yes, I rode home in the car with The Family.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Today I Met Walter

First - HEY SNAKEBITE - that Long Range Transportation Plan Open House is tonight - assuming today is Wednesday. 4:30 to 6:00 at the Main Branch Library. The City put up an official webpage for the plan. Lots of detail - including some transportation thinking of the video recorded type from some regular citizens like um - me. You can even leave your comments right there on the page - but go to the open house too.


Second - I watched Julie and Julia tonight with The Wife. I loved it, but what's not to like. She blogs the Julie and Julia Project and BONUS Julia's husband was played by Fat Cyclist blogger Elden Nelson who looks remarkably similar to Stanley Tucci.


Most importantly, I met Walter tonight. We met briefly on 46th Street. I was stopped at a stop sign yielding to crossing traffic, of which he was one. 1 mile later we met on 32nd Street when I popped out of a cul de sac and he asked, "does that go through back there?" Why yes, yes it does. (Remember the secret passage from my riding to work video?)

Everything I know about Walter I learned from chatting him up over the next 10 minutes.

He lives within half a mile of my the need to explain why I was following him home was thankfully alleviated pretty quickly.

He works within half a mile of my work.

He enjoyed Bike To Work Day pancakes downtown on Friday with 3 or 4 of his co-workers.

He's participating in Snakebite's Bike To Work Challenge.

What a great experience. That never happens when I'm in a car.


The weather this evening is remarkable.

Monday, May 24, 2010

0524 Transportation Donut

Anybody want a donut?

That's one 33 mile bus ride. A fun part about being on the Southeastern Council of Government's Citizen's Advisory Committee for the Metropolitan Planning Organization is the annual bus tour of all the exciting road construction projects around The City.

The best part of the trip for me is being in the presense of the people who actually make decisions on a day to day basis. For example I can ask complex questions like, "Given that last year a traffic engineer indicated a switch to using a traffic signal vehicle sensor that was better at detecting bicycles, and given that you're reconstructing Elmwood at 12th Street where there is a traffic signal that detects the presense of vehicles, are you installing the new sensor at that intersection?"

For me the answer isn't important - it's that somebody was there to ask the question...year after year after year until it happens. Kinda like Sioux Falls Singletrack.

The single occupant miles were on Monday when I was on TV at 6:30am, had a meeting at 8:30am, worked out at 11am, helped my parents move furniture at 5pm and had to brought The Boys home from there.

Yeah, it's not an excuse. It's just be being lazy.

Did I mention I crashed last week? No? Oh sorry. I crashed last week. I'm not happy or proud of that.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Long Range Transportation Plan Open House This Week

The Long Range Transportation Plan Open House - featured in this MinusCar post - has been scheduled.

Wednesday, May 26
4:30 to 6:00pm
Main Branch Library

The official press release is here.

This is a public presentation of results from the preliminary survey to guide the LRTP process. One of four proposed guiding objectives for the process - as suggested by the survey administrator and based upon survey results - will be to increase opportunities for safe bicycling.

This plan endeavours to guide transportation development for the next 25 years.

I highly recommend local cyclists come to the open house and reinforce the guiding objectives by leaving appropriate commentary.


This is the bright shiny newly renovated Main Branch Library. ANOTHER reason to attend the open house.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Women On Bicycles: An Indicator Species

To be sure - women on bicycles is an important measure of urban cycling culture success. Google "women bicycle indicator species" can explain why.

For all the applause places like Copenhagen and Amsterdam recieve for their women on bicycles - and particularly their photos of women on bicycles...

The Local Daily has a small photo gallery from Sioux Falls Bike To Work Day that contains these two photos that speak for themselves.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sioux Falls: Passive Transport Down, Active Transport Up

Did you hear our new Mayor is riding his bike from home on Friday for a free pancake breakfast at that Museum of Visual Materials. I think that's kind of a big deal.

The City has begun a process to write the next Long Range Transportation Plan. This plan endevours to envision transportation through 2035. The next 25 years.

To begin the process a survey was used to measure current thinking about and use of the transportation system. This is third time this survey has been used in Sioux Falls since 1999 so some trend data is now available.

And the trends are looking remarkably MINUSCAR!

  • a four point drop for single occupant automobiles.
  • a steady rise in carpooling
  • a steady rise in walking
  • a steady rise in biking


    (click for big!)

    Additionally, attitudes about bicycling on the roadways are changing. The percentage of residents who believe riding on city roadways is safe and appropriate has increased 7% over the past 5 years.


    (click for big!)

    The data is great but if nobody notices then nobody cares. In the summary report the author offers four "guiding objectives" for the report. The final of four is to improve the quality of bicycling safe facilities.

    Later this month (and so far unscheduled) there will be a large open house where citizens can come and observe the report and the data. I HIGHLY recommend readers and friends of The MinusCar Project attend the open house and leave appropriate commentary.

    Victory is much sweeter when it follows participation.
  • Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    Traffic Skills 101 #2

    Last weekend 10 individuals rode through the Traffic Skills 101 course.

    Coincidentally Yehuda began teaching his own group a traffic skills course. Very funny, day #1 for him begins here.

    Our intersection of choice this time was 41st & Western. Good times...

    Would You Like Worms With That?

    Yesterday I had the priviledge of consuming a warm and caffienated beverage with Joe Bartmann - director of the Sioux Falls Green Project.

    For months in advance of this meeting The Family has been busily preparing to welcome some new friends into our home. We added a new room (rubbermaid tub), made special modifications (The Boy 12, a drill, some stregically placed holes), and commandeered some bedding (shredded documents).

    I reported our part complete. Now it was Joe's turn. He did not dissappoint - arriving with a mysterious tub in hand, passersby appeared confused by the mysterious and perhaps dangerous ink scratchings on its lid.

    Inside the tub - a fistfull of Wred Wrigglers. Yes indeed. I have worms. These worms will be fed various non-meat food stuffs. These worms will create castings (that's gentlemen-ese for poop). I will feed poop to my garden. My garden will create food that I will eat. On occasion my hands might get dirty doing it. It will be a miracle.

    I can't help but think it's a little bit like the pigs in Deadwood - the television show, not the town.

    Joe calls these starter packs. I'm a little afraid of what he means by starter! Am I on some dangerous path? A slippery slope?

    First I'm collecting worm poop - how long before humanure starts to feel like a natural idea...humanure IS a natural idea? Flushing a toilet with drinking water - that's the unnatural idea.

    And so it begins...

    (I do not mean to imply that humanure is a goal or even an intent of mine. Nor is it Joe' far as I know.)

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Don't Stop On Account Of Me...

    ...I'm turning right.

    I caught this gem a few days ago. Sometimes drivers only stop when they know someone's watching. Sometimes it takes a little extra time to realize when someone is watching.

    26th & Williams.

    Tuesday, May 11, 2010

    Sunday, May 09, 2010


    BP is still charging a fee for their gasoline here. I'm surprised - I understand they're giving it away in the gulf.

    The mess needs a different name than "spill". Containers falling off ships, that's a spill - and there's been plenty of that in the past. Poking a hole in the ocean floor and letting it bleed seems like so much more than anything we've experienced before.

    Live by oil, die by oil.

    Thursday, May 06, 2010

    B2W Display Window

    This really belongs on the Bike To Work Day site (which it is) but I'm so excited I'm sharing it here. There's a display window downtown that looks like this.

    See a second photo on the official site.

    Bike to Work Day is May 21 this year. As usual, free pancake breakfast for those who ride to the Museum of Visual Materials downtown.

    Tuesday, May 04, 2010

    Was That You?

    View counts for the first part of yesterday's ride to work video are double the counts for part 2. That's too bad...I think part 2 has all the interesting riding in it.

    Yesterday I had the distinct and very good experience of riding home from work with The Boy 12. We had fun. He's a very good listener and follows directions well. The busiest road piece was the 22nd St sharrow from Lake to Kiwanis. I took video - he looks really good going down the road with his right pant leg rolled up.

    He has no idea how stylish that other cities.

    Today during lunchtime errand running - Bike To Work Day posters have been delivered to DTSF for distribution - my boss' wife had a chance to run over me with her car. She chose not to. I didn't see her at the time.

    On the ride home my father-in-law had a chance to run over me with his car with a left-cross maneuver. He chose no to. I did see him at the time - we waved to each other.

    I recorded the ride home today - but I'm not posting it until after the view counts on part 2 rise a little.

    May 3 - Ride To Work w/ Me!

    Want to know what it's like riding to work in the 31st best place in the country for bike riding? Come on...

    Part I

    1:12 - sometimes on this corner I see goldfish!
    3:22 - was that a sloppy stop or what?
    4:21 - here is some shared parking/bike lane.
    6:19 -'s a secret passage...

    Part II

    1:05 - SAM!
    2:15 - traffic is going to pick up now.
    2:31 - squirrel!
    3:26 - I like me some tailwind downhills.
    4:46 - this driver's lane position implies a right turn. Implies being the operative word.
    5:00 - ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-thunk - busy streets have the biggest bumps.
    5:45 - that diesel sound - it's what I sound like at ride lights.
    6:00 - I think that bus driver was drag racing me.
    8:08 - here I am - now get to work!

    Sunday, May 02, 2010

    TS101:Playing In The Street

    Saturday I finished leading my first group through the LAB's Traffic Skills 101 course. Saturday culminated in the road test. We spent about an hour in and around the 41st & Minnesota Ave intersection.

    Here's a picture:

    Basecamp was the IPC, I just love that location. We were able to get comfortable on the residential streets then step up to 10,000 vehicles/day roads east of Minnesota Ave. We then played around the edges of 20,000 & 30,000 v/d roads until the group specifically requested a practice run of the double left turn from 41st on to Minnesota Ave.

    On one occasion we waited at a red light that wouldn't change for a very long time as a city transportation planner coincidentally waited behind us in his truck. That experience will come in handy for me in a couple weeks.

    Finally the woman who'd never changed a tire before had the opportunity when we returned to basecamp and all the air not coincidentally exited her front tire.

    She finished the class rightfully proud and on her evaluation wrote words like "I have been biking for over 45 years and I was surprised on how much I learned and how much confidence I gained managing the streets in Sioux Falls and other areas. It really has made me more confident in riding in the very very busy streets of SF anticipating traffic and taking the lane for my safety."

    So there, if I only reach one it will be worth it...and I've reached one. It was worth it.

    Steve Clark, Jim Books and I will be leading another Traffic Skills 101 via the South Dakota Bicycle Coalition at the Outdoor Campus May 14 & 15. Contact me to register.