A No-Brainer

How’d you get that bike locker?

It’s beyond me why our local transit agencies don’t make their services and policies more user-friendly and visible to the general public. Around here, figuring out how to piece together a long, multi-leg, multi-modal commute is not a simple thing. In my case, it took a bit of desperation and quite a lot of research to sort out my 60-mile round-trip commute.

Around here, figuring out how to piece together a long, multi-leg, multi-modal commute is not a simple thing.

The biggest challenge is ferreting out the needed information from the various agencies’ poorly-designed, data-dense, websites. For example, a number of our local transit agencies honor commuter passes from the other local services, but hardly anyone, including their drivers, seems to know this (I carry a print out from their websites in case I need to provide a little “education”). You’d think this would be published in an obvious place online. At least once a week, someone asks me how I got on this bus, or that train, with a pass from some other transit service. When I tell people about this policy they often act as if I’m nuts, even though I’m sitting on the train right next to them, flashing a bus pass from the other transit service.

Another service I often get quizzed about is our City bike lockers. At various “park-n-ride” lots and transit hubs throughout the city, free bike lockers are offered to city residents. All that’s required is proof of residency (a utility bill will do) and a note explaining how you’ll use the locker. If you meet these minimum requirements, the locker is yours for a year, with guaranteed renewal for a second year if you so choose. People frequently approach me as I’m parking my bike to inquire about the locker, and they’re always astonished the lockers are available for free simply for the asking. Why isn’t this service more widely promoted?

I’d love to see more public outreach in this area. I’m convinced more people would consider using transit if it was a little less confusing. People are already looking for excuses to stay in their cars; minimizing the barriers by making the transit option as simple, cost-effective, and user-friendly as possible seems like a no-brainer.

Cycle Truck

Photo © James Black

Aw what the heck, here’s one more for ya. This one is the “Cycle Truck” from David Wilson Industries.

A.N.T. Basket Bike

Photo © A.N.T.

While we’re on the subject, here’s a sweet cargo bike from Alternative Needs Transportation (A.N.T.).

The “Basket Bike” is based on a postal delivery bike of years past, however is a fine design for general city riding and commuting. What makes this bike work so well is the small 20″ front wheel and frame mounted WALD basket [enough for 3 or 4 grocery bags]. The weight of the load is on the frame and not the wheel. The small front wheel adds to the ease of mobilty with or without a load [it works so well it is hard to tell that you are carrying a load]. The basket is also enhanced with a wood base that adds to the visual appeal and keeps parcels from falling through.

SyCip Salumi

Photo © SyCip Cycles

This prototype SyCip cargo bike was spotted on Flickr. Rumor is they’re calling it the “Salumi”. The wheels are 406/622 with disc brakes and Shimano Alfine hubs. The rack actually has a built in salame/baguette holder just behind the cooler. Pretty cool!

California Cycle Chic

A little cycle chic, California style. Inspiration provided by our friends over at Copenhagen Cycle Chic:

“It’s social documentary and bike advocacy in high heels. Daily life in the world’s cycling capital, Copenhagen, where 36% of the citizens ride their bike each day on an advanced network of bike lanes. This blog highlights who they are and how bikes are an inseparable part of our streets and our culture. And how a normal bike culture doesn’t involve lycra, expensive gear and fancy bikes.” —Copenhagen Cycle Chic

The style may be different but the concept is the same: bikes as an integral part of everyday life.

Gallery: Brian’s 1967 Dunelt


My brother the recumbent enthusiast urged me to send you a shot of my utillitarian attorney transport. It’a 1967 Dunelt (Raleigh clone) with the three speed Sturmey Archer hub (of course) and was found at the local Goodwill for $.99. Really. The front fender was pretzelized last summer so we dropped some PlanetBike fenders on it so they’d both match. A single front fender on eBay goes for $65 right now. It can wait. It has a twin in my wife’s bike, acquired off eBay a few weeks after we got mine. Near as we can figure, they were built within a few months of each other. We have a bid on a chainguard for hers on eBay right now. —Brian

[99 cents… I could never be so lucky. Cool bike(s)! —ed.]

The Steel Cocoon

Cars distort our perceptions of time and space. They act as portable extensions of the shelter offered by our homes, numbing us to the reality of the distance travelled and blinding us to the topography we travel through. By using massive amounts of energy, cars reduce the physical effort required to move through the world to nothing more than a twitch of the toe and a flick of the wrist; a physical effort on par with flipping through television channels or surfing the web.

Cycling takes us out of the sedentary womb of comfort and convenience provided by the automobile and immerses us in the real, physical world of weather, hills, car exhaust, barking dogs, natural smells, and beautiful sunsets.

Cars also cut us off from the reality of weather. Headwinds and tailwinds have no meaning from within a car. Rain is only an inconvenience. Freezing temperatures only require adjusting a knob on a thermostat. Experiencing a storm from inside a car is akin to watching a nature movie in a comfortable, temperature-controlled, personal theatre.

Cycling, on the other hand, makes us more keenly aware of the nuances of the landscape and the energy required to cover a distance. Cycling takes us out of the sedentary womb of comfort and convenience provided by the automobile and immerses us in the real, physical world of weather, hills, car exhaust, barking dogs, natural smells, and beautiful sunsets. Driving a car is so effortless, hardly a thought is given to whether a trip should or should not be made. Cycling for transportation requires concerted effort, and consequently, encourages consideration and efficiency. Cycling, by its nature, discourages wasted energy.

We pay a heavy price for the convenience offered by the automobile. Dependence on foreign oil, global warming, smog, traffic fatalities, and many other problems are all part and parcel of our desire to extend our creature comforts beyond our homes by driving our cars. The question is whether it’s worth it, and if not, what we choose to do about it.


 
© 2011 EcoVelo™