Posts tagged ‘Greenway’
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 …
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I first met David several weeks ago while riding on the Greenway. We had a discussion about the upcoming expansion plans for the Greenway and cycling in our little town of Cleveland, TN. I ran into him again this week, on his bike, and we had a few minutes to continue the conversation…
It always inspires and encourages me when I meet other like-minded cyclists – people using bike for transportation as well as recreation. People like David who are excited to participate in a less car-centric lifestyle, who support and advocate changes that will make our community more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.
Like many of us, David’s love of cycling began in during his childhood. He told me about growing up in Virginia, riding his bicycle around a local Pepsi plant and realizing how amazing it was – being able to get around everywhere and anywhere his legs could pedal him. His love of cycling continued, and over the years he has participated in Chattanooga’s 3-State 3-Mountain Century numerous times, as well as other biking events, and now shares his love of cycling with his family.
Sometime in during the past few years, David decided he wanted to ride more. So he “re-commited to riding every other day” – commuting to work, to appointments, making some shopping trips with a trailer. He discovered that his commute from home to office via the Greenway was actually often faster by bike than by car.
“There is really no downside,” he told me. ”I can get most places fast enough, and feel better about it.”
As we both eagerly await the upcoming expansion of the local Greenway, it was interesting to reflect upon the change in public perception over the project.
“I know there were more than a few people who were initially opposed to the idea (of constructing the Greenway), thinking it would be a waste of money,” he reflected. ”And those same people have been quite surprised by the amazing number of people they now see taking advantage of it; walkers, joggers, cyclists…”
“A lot of people will say how they would like things to be ‘like they used to be’,” he commented, reflecting on small-town life when people would walk into town, to the store, etc. ”What they don’t realize is that adopting policies that will help people walk (and ride) more, and drive less, can bring that back – the sense of community, the interaction.”
And I couldn’t agree more.
Ride on, David! Thanks for the inspiration. Let’s keep this conversation rolling.
The days follow a pattern – a pleasant pattern. Cycling, paddling, taking pictures, conversations, laughter, rest. Watching the sun go down. And come up again. The summer is passing so quickly, sometimes I feel like I can’t quite get it all in.
Riding into town on Thursday, a trip on the Greenway. It’s always heartening, inspiring, to see others on bikes – and their willingness and enthusiasm to stop and strike up a conversation. (And yes – their agreeing to let me take their photos :). When we’re not boxed up in cars, I believe we’re much more inclined to interact, to converse. It makes us more approachable, more a part of the community. Stopping to talk with two other cyclists (and one of the Greenway police officers) and talking about the merits of the Greenway for getting across town, observing the increase in ride-share around town, and just enjoying the simple pleasure of having a “commons” – a place to walk, to ride, to just stop and sit.
The heat continues, and the evening continues to be one of the nicest times to get out. A time to stow the camera in the Xtracycle and just take a leisurely spin on roads close to home. Enjoying the “golden hour”, the hum of the cicadas.
Lazy Saturday mornings spent exploring the river by kayak. Flat grey skies, calm still water – like glass. Different than cycling, yet oddly similar, moving through the landscape. A lesson in patience this morning – spending close to an hour slowly approaching a Little Green Heron, who graciously let me get incredibly close.
Ending the weekend riding with “my boys”. Another summer day, another ride. The sun comes up and goes down. It passes so quickly. I feel like I can’t quite get it all in.