Posts tagged ‘Cleveland TN’
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. 😀
Last week it was the car accident that left us a little shaken. This week … the weather has made the car accident look almost trivial.
Yesterday was the day of disaster, weather-wise. Starting at 8am and lasting all the way until midnight, we were one of the areas hard hit by the rolling wave of bad weather that hit the Southeast. Nearly every hour we rode through thunderstorms, high winds, hail, torrential rain and even several tornados – it didn’t seem to want to stop. I’d never experienced anything as continuous and non-stop, weather-wise.
At our house, we can once again count our blessings, as we only have one large tree down and a few missing roof shingles. Many of our nearby neighbors were not so lucky. As of this morning, there were at least 9 deaths in our county alone, and 15 in Tennessee. Surrounding areas, including north Georgia suffered even more catastrophic damage to homes and buildings.
I took a ride today several roads close to home, and was shocked at the destruction I saw. People are outside milling around, almost shell-shocked. The southern end of our road was still closed as crews worked to clear trees and power lines. Many are still without power; fortunately ours returned to us late last night.
Schools have been cancelled until Monday. Prom has been postponed until … ? There is so much “cleaning up” to do almost everywhere … I finally stopped taking pictures of huge downed trees, because there were just too many of them.
One of the strangest experiences while riding around was finding random pieces of peoples’ lives strewn along the road – in places far removed from where the actual destruction took place. A piece of someones kitchen countertop lying on the edge of the road, clothing and carpeting flung against a farm fence. Pieces of metal roofs and siding hanging from utility lines – with no idea where they came from.
I’ve inserted a slide show of some of the scenes from yesterday’s sky, to the nearby damage I saw today around our immediate area. I haven’t even ventured into town, or into other areas of the county. Hoping my local friends are all safe, and my prayers go out to the families who have lost loved ones and suffered devastating damage. Godspeed.
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.