Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pavlov's Drivers

I waved to basically every car who passed me nicely this morning on the ride down to Greenstreet.  It's really part of my plan to train Omaha motorists to think happy thoughts when they see cyclists.  We'll see how it goes.  The key is to wave with all of your fingers...

Last night I started reading Joyride by Mia Birk and I think it just might change the way I go about my daily life. Of course, I'm only about 50 pages in so I'll let you know how long my enthusiasm lasts, but so far so good.  The last few days have had a particular impact on me, thankfully in a good way. 

Yesterday I was asked to set up a little commuting/Greenstreet booth at OPPD's Earth Day celebration which was a really nice time.  Thanks to Rich Wilson for the invite again this year.  I had the opportunity to chat with many a cyclist about the routes they have (and don't have...yet!) and what they want to see done for bicycle transportation in Omaha.  The conversations that I found particularly inspiring however, were those had with folks who do not ride.  One woman approached me and said, "Are you one of those bikers that I see in the street and try not to hit?"  Ah, at least she didn't say "try TO hit."  This could have started better, but also could've been worse.  "Yes I am!" I cheerily replied and then engaged her in dialogue about why bike lanes or at least sharrows are important and safer for both cyclists and motorists alike. She did agree that it would be better for her to know that a cyclist is going to stay in their own lane, and walked away giving the idea a head nod and a smile.  I then and there decided that while I love talking with cyclists about the joys of riding, the more important demographic to educate is the motorist. 

Ahhhhh, work...not enough time to update the blog...but that's a start.  More later.

It's beeeeeeautiful out!!!  Get out and ride. Take a 1/2 day at work.  Do it.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Tiny Picture

Ah Spring, Copper loves her trailer.  This is a picture from last year.  Good times.

Friday, April 22, 2011

April Showers Bring (Bike Month is) May Flowers!

Once again, I've been neglecting the ol' girly blog.  My apologies.

Today (Tuesday) was amazing.  It's been a drizzly few days but it's been perfect for riding in...except when I got dumped on by a passing t-storm the other morning.  Ah, memories though, right?

So this morning I got up and decided to enjoy my day off.  And I did.  First of all (for some strange reason) I had the urge to run.  This may be symbolic, but we'll get to that later. Potentially.  Copper seemed up for it too so we left our front door not really knowing immediately where we were headed.  As my feet started pounding the pavement my swagger-step running buddy panted, pulling in front of me.  Then it hit me, "Run to Aksarben Village and head to Jones Bros."  Ok, that was pretty clear.  Off we ran dodging puddles and mud holes and being anxious but happy about the thunderstorm that seemed to be looming, inevitable at this point.

But the rain didn't seem to bother either of us.  Copper didn't do as good of a job avoiding puddles; rather, it seemed that she was aiming for them pouncing through nearly each one with an almost joyous step. But on we ran.  Jones Bros. was busy as usual but I got a word in with Bill, on of the Brothers, and of course put in a good word for cycling, despite the fact that I had run, not ridden there.  We chatted for a moment about making a 99 cent frozen yogurt parfait special for the month of May.  I told him he could promote it as his cyclist's special, seeing that May is National Bike Month and all.  So, starting in May, ride your bike to Jones Bros Cupcakes and get a $.99 tasty parfait! Pretty rad if you ask me! They've been offering a standing 15% off discount if you ride there with the Bicycle Friendly Destination program.  They have great bike parking and a covered patio, all located right off the Keystone Trail at Stinson Park.

Then we ran home taking my usual bicycle route after sitting outside watching it rain from the patio where we were the only ones who'd dream to sit out side in a mist. Beautiful day indeed.  (Notice how nice 63rd St. is, next time you're nearby. Bike lanes anyone?  I think they're in the works. Keep your eyes peeled.)

Upon our return I decided that I would indeed ride my bicycle and not drive to my Safe Cycling classroom workshop that I had to teach at Monroe Jr. High. You know, the whole 'practice what you preach' deal.  It was a brisk ride but not too damp to be comfortable and I made my way down 51st St. heading North starting at about Pine Street.  I love 51st as a North/South, Dundee/Benson connector.  There have been plenty of nights where I ride to a show at The Waiting Room  in Benson and then ride back through Dundee (probably for a beer somewhere) before continuing South towards Center where I live.  51st St. will do it for you!  And pleasantly at that!  I enjoyed it again on the ride home, but that's later...

The class went well but I just don't really feel like I do a good enough job to be teaching our youth.  Hats off to all of you teachers and mentors out there.  Thank you for doing what you do.  After answering the questions of middle schoolers about bicycling and safety, and reflectors, and "the meaning of a bike," and where to ride, and how to signal, and, and, and... for about an hour, I happily hopped back on my bike and pedaled off to Benson to check in on a few more Bicycle Friendly Destinations (BFD) while I was out and about.

I parked my bicycle to a skinny tree outside of Jane's Health Market and decided to talk some more about bicycles.  Jane herself was there and we chatted while she grilled my vegan tempeh rueben sandwich and found goodies for other customers.  She commented on my  GroveCraft hat and that's all it took for me to start talking about bicycles and how we were just in Minneapolis where I picked up this hat at Freewheel Midtown Bike Center and how I'm into bikes. Yaddah, yaddah.  Then I asked her if she knew anything about the BFD program and it didn't seem like she did.  Case in point: Janes' has been a BFD for a while now, decal on the front door and everything, providing a gracious 10% off anything in the store if you ride your bike there.  When I originally went in I spoke with Emily (Jane's daughter) who was amazing and really excited about the program but that was last fall and I hadn't really touched base since. I didn't do a good enough job encouraging Emily to please inform the rest of the staff about the new policy so today when I spoke about it with Jane, I mentioned the importance of making sure your staff knows the deal.  Hopefully I can slowly re-visit each establishment and see how it's going.  Thanks Jane!

Next stop, Jake's in Benson to check in on the latest iteration of their Bicycle Friendly Business-ness.  I walked through the front door off of Maple, right past their BFD decal and headed back to the small bar that opens earlier.  A friendly bar tender greeted me and we chatted about the new BFD initiative and how cool it is that Jake's is participating.  I have been emailing with Alex from there and he offered a $.50 discount if you ride up there before 7:00p.m.  Sweet!  Also, we're fixing to have a Handlebar Happy Hour there maybe in May.  Details will follow.  It's a great little place; check it out if you haven't.

Basically from there I headed home and took a super dumb short little clip of 51st St. headed South between Dodge and Leavenworth.  Nice route!!  I'll try to see if we can or already are getting bike lanes or sharrows on that stretch of the road.  Some day soon hopefully auto spell check will recognize the word sharrow without me telling it to shape up and add it to the dictionary.

Dang, can't upload that video for some reason!!  I'll try another random bike video...please hold.  Dang! The other file must be corrupted.  Here's a tiny stretch by my place.  Dang technology.  I'm just not with it enough to get it to post.  Hmmm...