Friday, August 31, 2007

Bad news and good news

The bad news:

Last month I had a conversation with a well-meaning citizen, who was fretting about the safety of cyclists she observed on U.S. Highway 80 east of Savannah — otherwise known as "Tybee Road." She wondered if there was a solution for keeping these cyclists off the narrow, high speed route to the beach. She asked, "What if the city or county built some kind of facility? Then they could all go there to ride so they wouldn't have to be out on the streets."

Sadly her perception of bicyclists and their needs is probably shared by a significant portion of the local population. As I've so often complained over the last two years, bicycles are often perceived as toys or as exercise equipment, but not as vehicles. I tried to explain that her proposed cycling park would be absolutely useless to me and others who use bicycles for transportation. She didn't seem to get it.

And now the good news:
  • The number of regular bicycle commuters working in my building has remained high throughout the summer. The bike rack usually starts emptying out as the temperature climbs. Not this year. They just keep on pedaling.
  • A community activist, who has worked tirelessly to fight "road improvement projects" that destroy neighborhoods and induce additional automobile traffic, has recently taken up transportational cycling.
  • Finally, there's the Xtracycle situation. I first mentioned the product here on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2005 and early last month I finally ordered a Free Radical of my own. While I was waiting for it to arrive, I started prepping myself for the role of Savannah's only Xtracycle owner. Then I saw a man riding one down Habersham Street and a couple weeks later, a woman riding a Free Radical-equipped Trek mountain bike downtown. So, I'm happy to report that I'm one of at least three weirdos riding around Savannah on "Sports Utility Bicycles." I hope there will be more of us soon.
I'm planning to write my early impressions of the product and post some photos (I'm currently between digital cameras) soon. Please stay tuned.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A new cycling hazard?

On Friday evening I pedaled to the Jones Red and White Market for some groceries. About three blocks north of the Habersham Village shopping center, I experienced an instant and intense stinging sensation in my eyes. It was so severe that I had to blindly brake to a stop at the curb. Only after rubbing by eyes with a handkerchief, I was able to continue (though squinting) to my destination.

Then I saw it: A bright yellow twin engine airplane flying just above the treetops.

On the way home I saw a yellow helicopter, working the neighborhood from the other end. Chatham County Mosquito Control was delivering a little shock and awe to the insect population of Ardsley Park and I my eyes were collateral damage. They were a little irritated for the rest of the night, but fine the next day. The real question is, how much of the stuff did I inhale?

Monday, August 13, 2007

First post of the new Bike Year

The second anniversary of Bike Year passed without comment from me. My readers (if there are any left) are probably wondering what happened to me. Did I keep riding? Or did I hang up my bike? Well, it's been a little of both. I've probably driven more frequently in the last 30 days than any time since I started this blog. I'm using home repairs (which often required me to return home during the workday) and the high temperatures of the last week as my primary excuses.

As of last Friday, however, I'm back in the saddle. And I have a new addition to my stable (more about that soon).

While I have not been on bicycles lately, bicycles have been on my mind. I attended an informational meeting about the Coastal Georgia Greenway project and volunteered to set up a Web site for the group, which can be found here. I'm also researching shared lane pavement markings and preparing a proposal for local application for a subcommittee of a committee of the metropolitan planning organization. So I've not been completely useless.