Thursday, June 13

Big Schemes: Part I (Dayscheming)

The other day I overheard another transportation planner make a comment to the effect of: “bicycles should stay in neighborhoods where they belong.”

I checked my smarty smart phone.  Yep, it’s still 2013.   For a second I thought we might have reverted back to 1994 attitudes and fashion faux paus.  The phone was my first clue.  

Anyway, I later pondered the comment as I sat in a meeting at a coffee shop with three local bike advocates discussing a proposed regional bike map, signage, and commuter and recreational routes.  I didn’t have to check my smartness meter, I knew it was 2013, and things in Kentucky are moving ahead.  We’re behind the curve on a lot of stuff, and cycling no less so, but we’re making progress, and there are a host of opportunities out there; the proverbial low-hanging fruit.

I didn’t let the neighborhood comment get to me.  Bikes do belong in neighborhood, and while many will stay right there, I know that there’s nothing that person said that could limit them to the disgusting confines of suburbiana with the big head of steam we’ve got going now.

I’ve somewhat forgotten my Colorado self.  Used to we looked for opportunities to ride as a family, and we’ve not been doing that as much of late.  Of course, when we lived with my sister the road out front was not conducive to family riding.  And in our place now you can go nowhere without facing an un-kid-friendly hill either coming or going, and on two of the three routes to town both.  That’s okay. 

Jeff and Casey live way back in them hills and they ride their kids all over the place in trailers and on trail-a-bikes.  It’s nothing new to us, just new for us in this environment.  We’ve got re-translate what we know to what we’ve known.

A week or so ago Mandy took both our kids and the niece and nephew to town on bikes.  All but the Beanie pedaled, and when I got home that night Boone bragged to me about riding over Steamshovel Hill.  His mom told me he was actually a few minutes behind her coming down the long backside.  My son, the conservative descender!  

Bean on the other hand, admonished her mother to let her ride her 16” pink princess bike to town.  When Mandy told her she wouldn’t be able to pull Steamshovel she replied that they could take highway 15.  KY 11/15 is the main road between Clay City and Stanton and has no shoulders and an ADT of 5,900.  My daughter, the hardcore utilitarian cyclist!

I’ve got to harden up too.  While I’m not going to whine about my most recent DNF, I am going to say that I’m far from the performance level I want to be at, on road, mountain, uni-, etc.  I want to be an endurance athlete (laugh all you want) and it’s going to take me letting myself get the stuffing beat out of me over and over and over again to come out where I want to be.

It’s kinda scary, but I’ve been considering how I can bike commute to and from work.  Shortest option—though least sane—is 42 miles.  Everything else maps out to around 48 with around 1,200 feet of gain along the way.  At my current average speeds that translates to 3 hours each way.  I’d have to leave at 4:30am and I’d get home around 8:00pm. 

So I’ve considered the strategy of: drive the bike to work one day, ride home, ride back the next and then drive home at the end of the second day.  If I combined that with some flex time I could knock out one or two days of driving per week.  My monthly mileage would probably shoot back up too.  Heck, if I did that year round I could probably get back up into the 4,000s at least…

I started looking into other SOV substitution opportunities both within the scope of my job and just as a part of my commutes and other trips.  Of course I have been going to all in-town meetings by bike the past two months, and I plan on keeping that up year round if I can pull it off.  I had been keeping Minus in my office for just that purpose until my Long Commute Home.  I haven’t returned the backup bike to the cubical since.  When I’ve wanted to ride at lunch or for a meeting I’ve just suffered either the Dogrunner or The One to the indignity of being hauled on/in my SOV (Camry) for the day. 

Minus is in need of tires.  I had to take the exquisite Continental Gatorskins off and put on the Dogrunner and haven’t had the coin to replace them.  Minus sits flatted-out with overly-worn rubber in the Bike Cave.  It makes one weep at the injustice…

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