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Posts tagged ‘Greenway’

utilitaire 8.12: caffeinated

Everyone is going separate ways today, but my beloved and I managed to take a little time out to ride for coffee before he heads out of town later today.  Utilitaire checkpoint #2: coffeeneuring.  Once again a traverse through town on the Greenway, and for whatever reason, I am always compelled to stop on this bridge.  I want to start keeping a tally.  There are other bridges, other underpasses, other places I ride through and across as often, or more frequently, than this bridge… but I always consciously think about this location, this bridge, whenever I cross it.  I have no idea why.

As for coffee – I know that Starbucks often gets a bad rap.  Yeah, it’s not some trendy local roaster, I can’t get a latte with a picture created in the froth, but it’s really about the only game in town.  I tend to avoid the Inman Street Coffee House run by the Salvation Army, because I have a personal aversion to the big screen tv’s they have hanging on the walls playing Fox News, and I take issue with some of the national organization’s position statements.  Sorry, Tim (and the other kids who work there).  At Starbucks, I am always greeted with a smile and treated very well by the barristas I have come to know,  I’d rather listen to music than blaring tv’s,  I’ve made a few friends here (both cyclists and non-) and truthfully, they manage to make the best skinny vanilla latte in the neighborhood.  Not to mention, it’s a convenient ride off of the Greenway.

Rode back, no time for trip-chaining today unfortunately.  Time to get on with the other stuff.  Sigh.

coffee on the go

utilitaire and a little more

Trailhead Bicycle shop

Utilitaire 6.12: it began as a trip to the bike shop, #8 on the control card (for the second time).  And then transformed into a fun family-friendly community ride on the Greenway, and finally a quick stop for dinner – along with picking up a few boxes of girl scout cookies. Mmmm.  :)

Dillon is home from school for a quick weekend visit, and we took a ride to the bike shop.  Our shop owner, Charles, had also gotten a small group of us together at the end of the day for what is hopefully the first of many more family fun rides on our local Greenway.  The idea is to bring families together for some easy and kid-friendly rides, promoting a little more bike friendliness within our community, and working on building/strengthening an advocacy network.  I think there is also a leaning toward trying to fill the rides with “bicycle variety” – fixies, cargo bikes, and other non-typical bicycle”oddities”.    As the weather warms up and the days grow longer, we hope to include other activities like themed rides, bike picnics, frozen yoghurt stops, maybe even a wine-and-cheese type of stop for the adults.  Who knows?  We’ve also talked about incorporating some of the Utilitaire-type destinations and goals into the mix, but ultimately to appeal to a wide range of cycling abilities and interests, and get more people out on their bikes.

ready for fun

soon-to-be-new-dad Jeff test driving & planning ahead

We left from the shop, rode the Greenway from end to end, and stopped to a few minutes of discussion and planning within our fledgling start-up group.  I think we all had fun; I know I did.  Mostly, I hope we can grow the group and the idea … I would love to see more of my local friends join in the fun.  I took a lot of photos and am posting a few – hope these friends don’t mind, as I didn’t really get permission.

After the group ride, Mark, Dillon and I headed back, stopping for a quick bite on the way.  I didn’t manage to get a full-fledged night ride in as I had hoped … but we did get home before it started to rain.  Night rides will have to wait for another day.

gathering

Dillon tries out Jeff's fixie

Charles, owner of Trailhead Bicycle

utilitaire 3.12

Today’s Utilitaire 12 destination: our local public library.  I almost didn’t make it out today; I am battling an annoying upper respiratory bug, which makes me want to just sit around with a box of tissue and lots of hot tea (along with an ample dose of decongestants).  I figured a new book might help, and the library would be a quiet and relaxing destination, so I decided to ride Elisabetta for a relaxing kind of ride.  Fortunately, it was a really beautiful day – and all the more incentive for wanting to get out of the house.

I am not a frequent visitor of our local library, I am sad to say.  I’ve found the book selection to be lacking, and have been frustrated with attempts with inter-library loaning.  Within the past few years, the library has undergone extensive renovations – and the physical facility changes are very nice.   I looked for a couple of books (which they didn’t have, of course), thumbed through a few other volumes, and took a look around at all of  the new rooms.   There is even a cozy coffee/sandwich shop, Lasater’s, that has opened on the main floor of the library.  With the proximity to the local University, it appears to be a popular and well-frequented addition.   Thumbs up for the coffee, too.  Even though I left bookless, I enjoyed the trip.

I rode on the Greenway to and from town – always a nice ride on a sunny day, lots of people out walking and jogging.  I don’t keep an odometer on Elisabetta, so I am only guessing on today’s paltry mileage – 16-ish?  It was just enough for the way I am feeling today … Hoping this passes soon.

library coffee shop

feeling bleh...

utilitaire 2.12

We didn’t get rained on.  Of course.  Because we brought rain gear.

Number 2 in the Utilitaire Winter Cycling games … and I’m having a hard time deciding how to log this one, but will settle on #6: Any Store That Is Not A Grocery Store.  Basically a run around town, from hardware store to bike shop (yes, again) to coffee, to groceries to cupcakes (!).  Mileage: 21-ish.  Rain: none.

It began with a trip to the hardware store, because we needed some new axe handles.   We do a lot of chopping around here, you know.  Well, maybe not me as in we … but still.  Can’t have those ax heads flying off the handle.

hardware store

needing handles

mission accomplished

Then we got to head over the bike shop because I had forgotten a thing or two when I was there the other day.  It was exciting.  We got to witness a really amazing explosion … (Charles, my bike guy has a great sense of humor with these things; he made the video).

From the bike shop, we stopped and met  Grant for coffee.  He was killing some time before heading to work, and we were just … killing some time.  And trying to test our fate with the rain gods.

We hopped on the Greenway and stopped for some groceries, and then headed over to Chattanooga Cupcakes for some desert for later on.   And while I doubt that I burned enough calories to even eat the sprinkles off of one of these things, I just cannot resist …

Greenway

groceries

groceries

cupcakes

CUPCAKES!!!

We got home just as the first drops of rain arrived.  Perfect timing.

When I thought about today’s ride, I often wonder what the bird’s-eye view of our route looks like.  We wind our way on less-traffic’d roads, hopping on the Greenway whenever it works out, and taking what sometimes feels like a rather circuitous route.  I know I could go on Google Maps or Map My Ride and officially map this thing out in an accurate way, but I decided to just doodle it.  Obviously not really to scale or accurate, but close enough.  Surprisingly, it doesn’t look as chaotic as I thought it might.

So two of twelve completed, ten remain.  Bikes: 2.  Rain: 0.

not in any way accurate or to scale

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

social network, social neighborhood

 

photo by Tavia McGrath

The photo above is from one of my ShutterCal friends, Tavia McGrath, from the greater Salt Lake area.  I was really moved when I saw it on her calendar – the sepia, the bikes, the old saddle and basket – and even more intrigued with her caption:

I live in a great, walkable neighborhood, but unfortunately it’s the exception rather than the rule around here. Big suburbs where you’re a slave to your car are the norm unfortunately. I feel lucky to be able to walk to the post office, the library, the grocery store, not to mention two big city parks. There are also a whole host of restaurants, coffee shops, and cool, independent stores all within walking and biking distance. It’s a great place to live!

(~Tavia McGrath)

We had a brief e-conversation about her neighborhood and the strong feelings we both have about the importance of social communities and sensible development with human-powered transport in mind.  From what she described, there are several up-and-coming neighborhoods in the Salt Lake area with the “livable community” tenets in mind – from attractive (non-cookie cutter) housing, small independent businesses, community gardens, and social events to miles of biking and pedestrian trails enabling people to take advantage of everything without depending on a car.

Sounds like a slice of heaven to me.

 

Grant on the greenway

This week has been Grant’s Spring Break, and we’ve been fortunate to have a few balmy spring-perfect days.  We spent some time riding around town – along with throngs of other folks who were out enjoying the gorgeous weather along the greenway.

And it always get me thinking about that famous movie line, “… if you build it, they will come.”  People genuinely want to walk, ride, and get out of the car when they are given the opportunity.  I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t rather walk to the corner store for the newspaper than have to drive, park and deal with the nearest congested StuffMart for the same thing.

In these times when far too much of our social connectivity is linked through cyberspace, from social networks to email and the rest of it, I really believe that many people crave more real social interaction.  From gathering at the coffee shop, or sitting at a sidewalk cafe table for lunch, or simply taking your kids and your dogs for a walk or ride along the greenway.

We crave a sense of neighborhood and a connection with the people within it, even at the most casual level.  While our “virtual” communities may seem limitless, and are not without merit (as I think about Tavia), they are not always as “human” as we need them to be.

I really hope that we can change this … that we start re-examining the direction of our “progress”.  That maybe moving forward will actually take us a little bit backwards –  to two wheels, two feet, and connections with real people.

 

around town

spring

 

 

 

 

 

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