Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Bike Path’

under mud-struction

paving the way for the Greenway extension

This post probably won’t mean much to anyone but a few of my local friends – Jenn, Jeff, Sarah, et al.  But it’s kind of a big deal for me.  We’re getting closer to seeing the completion of a big extension of our local Greenway/walking/bike path.  Once finished, it is going to be a more convenient way for me to get into and around town, avoiding some of the most congested roadways.  The current section under construction is at least a mile or two closer to me (on the north), and I really look forward to avoiding some traffic-hassle in getting to points south, including downtown.

long stretches through Tinsley Park, currently a mud bath

Over the weekend, we ran into Jeff and he mentioned that we all need to take an “inaugural ride” once the new section is completed (yay!).  I am looking forward to the day, although the current state of muck-ness through Tinsley Park appears to be a long way from being in rideable shape, even with some knobby tires.  Hopefully things will dry out, and they can re-grade at the very least … maybe drop some gravel?  I’m not sure if there is a plan to pave this section?

 Mostly, I’m just waiting for the thing to be somewhat contiguous; I’ve never quite understood the method to their expansion plans – very piecemeal and disjointed.  There are short sections on the north end that have been completed and paved for several years, but never connected to the rest of the path, making them virtually useless.  The same thing occurred on the south end at one point.  But I suspect it has something to do with obtaining right-of-ways or permits or funding.

Anyway, it’s exciting stuff – seeing the bridge completed and the heavy equipment in use … I really do look forward to the maiden voyage from north to south.

almost at the point of joining the existing path

the far north end (completed) ... and more rain on the way

pedalweather

There are those days when the weather is so perfectly glorious – crisp and sunny, vibrant blue skies, leaves just beginning to turn color.  A day that simply demands that you ride a bicycle, or take a walk, or sit on a park bench and surround yourself in the beauty.  A day that begs you to spend hours outside.  Pedalweather.   Today was one of those days.

Just pictures.  Your turn to get outside and enjoy it all. :-D

fear factor

 

underpass, undertraffic

It’s been a grey week.  Yesterday, I had an appointment in town – and I’m always glad to have the stretch of greenway to ride.    It’s not that I mind riding in traffic, but having a stretch of traffic-free – and stoplight free – pavement makes the trip much that much easier.

While I was at my optometrist’s office, I had a brief conversation with his assistant about cycling.  She told me that she and her husband and finally unearthed their old bicycles out of the back of their garage, had them tuned up, and had started to do a little riding – but “not on the street!”

And the usual comments followed … too many crazy drivers out there, too scary to ride on the road, the fear of being hit by a car.  While I was so happy to find out that she and her husband were re-discovering the joy of cycling, it also made me a little sad.  It’s so unfortunate that people who really want to try to ride about town, past the constraints of bike paths and greenways, have reasonably legitimate fear of doing so.

 

finding the quiet streets in town

 

This morning I read an insightful blog post by one of my favorite twitter pals and cycling bloggers in Austin, TX – Tim Starry, aka An Old Guy On 2 Wheels.  Tim is a really great guy, an enthusiastic cyclist and cycling advocate, a devoted family man, and I feel honored to call him a friend (and you must check out his blog).   He just attended a cycling transportation lecture highlighting a Canadian group called 8-80 Cities, who pose a really interesting question:  (basically) is your local pedestrian/cycling infrastructure adequate for an 8-year old and an 80-year old to use safely?

In our case, I’d have to say yes to our local Greenway for the most part … but a resounding no to too many other places throughout town.

Tim also cited an excellent and revealing article (definnitely worth a read) by the Portland Bureau of Transportation that discusses the large demographic of people who are curious about cycling and might like try cycling for transportation, but are fearful about the traffic interaction component.   Just like the woman I talked with at my optometrist’s office, and likely the majority of the people using our local greenway.

 

coming thru…

 

I know that progress along these lines will be slow to come in our area.  We are not an Austin, TX, or a Portland, OR, or even a Steamboat Springs, CO, as far as cycling rideshare or political will.  I am grateful for the stretch of greenway we have, as well as the outlook for its future expansion.

And yes, it’s always a good kick in the pants for me to read these things and think about them – and hopefully, to get more involved.

 

#30daysofbiking – Day 2: bicycle dinner party/picnic

I consider it my catering van...

Big Dummy: a better kind of "catering van" ...

Day 2 of #30daysofbiking … Another glorious weather day, beautiful balmy evening.  Sons Mason and Ross are home for the long Easter weekend (while sons Dillon & Grant are off recording with The Band).  Decided to plan a lovely dinner picnic, transported by bicycle to a great little picnic spot along the local greenway.  Didn’t know if it was going to come together until nearly the last minute, due to Mark and Ross driving home from Johnson City … fortunately, it all worked out.

Undoubtedly due to the beautiful weather and school holiday, the greenway was packed with people – walkers, bikers, skaters, scooters.  Everybody out enjoying the beautiful evening.  It’s so wonderful to have a community gathering place – a place where we can all get outside for a while, out of our cars, and just take a walk, socialize.  Take a ride or have a picnic.  Or any combination of these things.

Our dinner next to the creek was lovely.  Our ride was fine.  Another great day of #30daysofbiking. :D

Pass the salad, please.

Springtime dinner by bicycle: divine

Springtime dinner by bicycle: divine!

the others ...

the rest of the herd

grapes for bikes

65 lbs. of concord grapes, ready for a trip on the Xtracycle

65 lbs. of concord grapes, ready for a trip on the Xtracycle

There were too many grapes.

Our vines were quite prolific this year, and we still had canned juice from prior years.  I hate to see them wither on the vine and go to waste on the ground, so I decided to cut what remained and take them to our local farmer’s market.  Rather than try and sell them – and to avoid messing with scales, or figuring out a way to package them in sellable amounts – I decided it would be a “grape give-away”.

Farmer's Market folks - getting some grapes, giving to a good cause (World Bicycle Relief)

Farmer's Market folks - getting some grapes, giving to a good cause (WorldBike)

I really wanted to figure out a way to add a bicycling element to this outing, so I decided to pick a bicycle charity, and give any donations I could gather at the market to one of these groups.  There are a number of smaller bicycle charities I was familiar with – and one in particular, WorldBike, which I believe was founded by one of the amazing folks at (Ross Evans?) at Xtracycle.  I did an informal survey with my cycling friends on Twitter, and in the end decided to donate to WorldBike.  Please take a minute to watch their very inspiring slideshow on Vimeo; it will move you!

So, I spent a few hours cutting grapes and loading them into the plastic window boxes that make great carriers on my Xtracycle – especially for “messy” loose cargo.  The weather had been kind of questionable, with storms in the forecast, but I new I either had to go for it, or give up on the idea.  Our fledgeling farmer’s market only takes place once a week on Thursday afternoons.  I knew if I had to wait another week, the grapes would be gone and on the ground.

I got everything loaded (including my rain gear) and rode into town, with the skies threatening to open up.  Sure enough, barely five minutes after I arrived at the market, the downpour started.  I managed to stay dry under the overhang of the nearest building, but I was afraid that the trip would be a waste – fearing that not many people would be inclined to be shopping in the rain.  And what would I do with all of the grapes?

... and the rains came

... and the rains came

To my delight and surprise, the people were amazing and most generous.  They stuck it out in the rain, were interested in the grapes and finding out about what I was trying to do for WorldBike.  They were intrigued by my Xtracycle – making jokes about it being the “most original pickup at the market”.  The rain also brought several offers of rides home – which I assured them was not necessary.

It was great getting to meet and talk with several of the sellers – a lady who brought in her beautiful tomatoes, and also sells home-made goat cheese, along with a very friendly gentlemen who sells his locally grown grass-fed beef.  We’d actually seen him at the Amish market back in June when we were bike-camping, and he said he remembered us by our unusual bikes.

People took the grapes for jam-, jelly-, juice- and wine-making, and made some very generous donations.  Even in the rain, there was a refreshing sense of community and hospitality around the marketplace; it was wonderful.

Within about two hours, most of the grapes had been claimed, and the remainder I left with the beef man and a couple of the other vendors.  In the end, I matched the dollars that I had collected, and sent WorldBike a decent donation. The whole afternoon left me with such a good feeling – to have participated in our local market, to see the grapes go to good use, and to have collected a small sum for a good cause.  I definitely plan to revisit the market – as a customer.

farmer's market flowers ...

farmer's market flowers ...

... and home-grown produce

... and home-grown produce

riding home on the greenway - after the rains

riding home on the greenway - after the rains

under(water)pass

 

Cleveland, TN, Greenway/Bike Path - after the rain

Cleveland, TN, Greenway/Bike Path - after the rain

Our local Greenway/Bike Path is one of my favorite ways to travel through the more congested parts of the City of Cleveland.  That is, until we have heavy springtime rains.  The path runs adjacent to Mouse Creek, with several street underpasses – all of which wind up underwater with even the slightest rise in the creek.  I guess they had to build it somewhere.

Riding in the rain – I think I’ve finally perfected my rain gear combination: Gore Bikewear Alp-X Rain Shorts, Marmot rain jacket, helmet cover when I need it.  The rain shorts deserve a prize — I don’t feel like I’m wearing a sauna-suit (which happens with full pants). Comfortable, great ventilation and great rain protection at the same time.  Can’t recommend these highly enough.  As long as my seat and thighs are dry, I find that I’m remarkably comfortable in a fairly wide range of temperatures.  

I would love to find a rain vest (?) for warmer temps.  I wouldn’t mind having wet arms, if I could just manage to keep my core dry.

It seems like the news is full of floods, wildfires, crazy weather.  Can’t help thinking about changing weather patterns, climate change … and wondering: how badly have we messed things up?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,996 other followers