Monday, April 25, 2016

Living inside the motorist bubble

Sent two letters before work this morning. Will reprint here.

Editor, Santa Fe New Mexican


Patrick Walker, in his 24 April letter, correctly points out that the Cerrillos Road/St. Francis Drive intersection is not only in serious need of pavement maintenance, but its very design is dangerous. Indeed, its not the only arterial in Santa Fe whose design is inappropriate for mixed use city transportation.

Where Mr. Walker missed the target is in blaming city government for this situation. Cerrillos, St. Francis, and the Railrunner that crosses it are State Dept. of Transportation facilities. The correct targets of criticism are the Governor, her Transportation Secretary, the District 5 engineering and design staff, and the City Different state legislative delegation.

Santa Fe may be striving for sustainability, but if it is to reduce its carbon footprint due to over-reliance on motor vehicles, it is important to design transportation infrastructure that encourages something else. The city government may be on board, but it is absolutely critical to change the mentality of the NMDOT, which puts motor vehicular level of service on a pedestal far above all other considerations. Or, simply transfer all roads within city limits to city jurisdiction.


Dear Ms. Westphal, Albuquerque Journal "Road Warrior"


I found it rather interesting that you would note that bicyclists have the right to take a lane on Albuquerque's busy, fast arterials without noting that the very design of these roads makes such an activity a high risk endeavor. As Chuck Marohn has often pointed out, when you design urban roads like highways (i.e., "stroads"), people behave as though they are on a highway. Albuquerque's high arterial speeds, coupled with their multilane design, ensures that a bicyclist will be hard to spot in traffic and if hit, will be hit at high speed. Hence Albuquerque's profligate use of Ghost Bikes and the city and state's reputation for being an unsafe place for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Aside from that, I suspect a planner would note that for a bicycle to be anything other than a toy, ie., if it is to be used as real transportation, distances in an urban area have to be conducive to bicycling. Albuquerque's sheer girth, including the planned Santolina development, means that someone depending on a bicycle will have a hard time getting to all destinations. Indeed, when we briefly thought of relocating to the SE Heights, my first thought was whether I could get to food, medical care, and the UNM campus efficiently and safely, i.e., without having to bicycle on Central or other fast, wide arterials.

Finally, does anyone know how many miles of regular travel lanes exist in the city? 170 miles of paths and 540 miles of bike lanes may sound like a large number, but could be lost in a city that currently spans 190 square miles.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Hostile Driver Alert

From Reid Priedhorsky

Hi folks,

I encountered a particularly hostile and unsafe driver on Friday morning: near the top of the 38th St. hill, I was using the full lane, preparing to turn left onto Diamond, when I was passed at high speed despite “don’t pass” hand signals and upcoming blind corner. Subsequently, I was able to enjoy a profanity-laden tirade.

It was a silver VW sedan, turquoise NM plates, male driver, booster seat in the back. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a plate number. I suspect he lives in the Aspen School neighborhood and/or drops off a child at one of the two schools here.

I raise this here because I had a similar issue on Central a month or so ago, and I think it might be the same person: also a silver sedan, also a very unsafe high-speed pass. That is, there might be a pattern with this individual.

Could folks keep a look-out for this vehicle and take particular care to call the police if they witness any problematic behavior, and also share anything they learn so others (like me!) can help build a case that it’s a pattern. I’m not sure if this is the correct venue, but it’s what I could think of. Maybe we can get a handle on this guy before someone gets hurt.

Thanks,
Reid

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Celebrate Earth Day By Riding Your Bike to PEEC and Leaving the Freakin' Car Home

Carol Clark reminds us that PEEC is once again hosting an Earth Day Celebration. It will be Saturday, the 23rd.  I've gotten quite jaded by the number of cars I see parked at our major destinations on Earth Day, proving once again that cognitive dissonance is alive and well. (examples here and here)..

If anyone is interested in getting a minimum of 20-30 or more people on bikes, preferrably commuter-style bikes, to meet somewhere downtown and do a parade run through PEEC, I'm game. A commuter bike, for present purposes, is anything on two wheels you can use to ride to a physical destination that you have to go to (work, shopping, home, the dentist, somewhere other than where you are, etc). So if all you have is a pure racing steed, hang a flashlight on the handlebars for the day. I think I have a spare headlight I can loan someone.

Any bike is potentially a commuter bike rather than a car rooftop trophy. Just add human and backpack, if needed.

From a past Bike to Work Day




Sunday, April 10, 2016

Feeling Blue?


Self Portrait With Bike

I've had these Richey Speedmax Pro Alpha and Omega WCS tires with the blue sidewalls for probably a decade. Every once in a while I toss them on the Stumpjumper wheelset but usually they sit in a box waiting to be mounted on a set of the Long Haul Trucker wheels for occasional snow duty.  But their real home is in the dirt, albeit part time.

On fairly hardpacked trails, they are way too much fun. Very fast with a shallow diamond tread and good side lugs. With their slightly smaller diameter, compared to modern 2.3 inch balloon tires, they make for very quick steering. I wonder if that is because they change the steering geometry slightly, resulting in less trail. But on sandy or muddy terrane, they tend to wallow due to the lack of deep lugs. Its nice to have options.

So last weekend at the Santa Fe Bike Swap, I picked up a set of used wheels in primo condition for almost a song: a Mavic 317 Disk (front) and 717 (rear). Yesterday I found a couple used brake rotors for another song. So the Richeys now have a home, and they went for a very fast and engaging test ride back on the North Mesa trails. Blue tires to shake the blues away.

Aside from that, some recent surgery has resulted in me not feeling quite comfortable on the road bikes in a typical racing tuck. Finally, I capitulated and put on a seventeen degree rise stem on the road bike. Better to ride upright than not ride at all.



Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tuff Riders Annual Bike Swap--Volunteers Needed

From Chris Collord

Hi all,

This is just a heads-up.  The annual Tuff Riders Bike & Gear Swap will be held June 4th this year.  Put it on your calendar!  The Bike & Gear Swap is a great place to sell any and all bike-related stuff.  Clothing, complete bikes (mountain, road, commuter, it doesn't matter), bike parts, bike accessories, kid's bikes, you name it!  We have a new and improved location this year and we're hoping this will be the best event ever.

What we're looking for now is volunteers.  We need as many volunteers as possible to run the event.  Time commitments will be fairly minimal - most likely the evening of June 3rd and/or the morning of June 4th.  If you can help either day it would be very much appreciated.  Remember, volunteers get the first look over the merchandise!  :)
If you can help out, please send me an email directly or call me at 505-663-6633.  Also, if you have a specific skill that you think would be valuable on the planning committee, please get in touch!
Thanks,
Chris