Archive for the 'biking' Category

Possibilites of Cycling

Not right now for me, since my bike is still stuck on my balcony.  It will be unstuck soon- has to be, I’m moving in a month- and I’ll be riding it.  There have been many new cycling developments in the last few weeks.  For instance, Biking Person, my new landlord, has already shown me (threatened me with) the best cycling route to our current workplace.  This was aided by Google maps, which now has a filter to show you the best biking path from place to place.  It’s not right as often as driving directions and I find that “bikable path” is a highly subjective term so grain of salt and double-check.  I’d die on the path he showed me though.  I’m terrible at cycling on real streets.  I don’t know what to look or listen for, and I’m constantly nervous.  But he also pointed me to a free class by the Washington Area Bicycle Association, on exactly that- beginner and intermediate cycling on real streets.  The next one is Saturday at 1, and then again April 15th at 6.

Great idea, hunh?  And I’m finding out just in time.  But DC is trying to make it easier for cyclists in the city by opening larger bike lanes soon, on some major thoroughfares.  Check it- the link gives you maps and some renderings. The first one down Pennsylvania Ave.’s median should be done in May.

Biggest news, though- the Secretary of Transportation announced last week that walking and biking are just as important kinds of transportation as driving a car, and that his department will treat them as such, from now on.

Take a minute to consider that.  Some people just live too far from their destinations to have the option of foot or bike transport.  But most of the time, it’s just not safe to get on the roads where cars have all the power and space, even if the grocery or work aren’t that far away.

According to that Wired article, it means that federally funded projects- with stimulus money, that’s lots- have to include many modes of transportation.  That’s bike access and crossing points, safe spaces for pedestrians, new bikeways…

Where would you not drive if you could walk or bike safely and conveniently? I’d like to be able to bike to the metro.  Right now it involves several rough intersections, crossing under a highway, and no bike lanes on any available road.  It’s much easier (though with the bike path assaults, not safer) to bike to the metro 40 minutes away than the one that should be 10 minutes away.

All these changes aren’t getting my bike off the balcony, though.  Dah.

Apartment Agitation: Lost Emails?

So I sent that email about getting bike racks and better recycling facilities a couple weeks ago, and then checked with the office a couple days later.  The office lady said she didn’t get it, and the manager probably didn’t either.  So I sent the email again last week, and still no reply.  I’ve double-checked the emails, and they’re the ones on the card I was given, and the domain they answered when I was applying for the apartment, soooo.  Hrm.

So no direct response, but this morning we got a message under our doors about “balcony inspections” wherein they make sure our balconies are respectable, and mentioned that they are “asking corporate” about getting bike racks for the complex.  Until then, we are welcome to keep them in our apartments (gee, thanks!) or in a maintenance facility storage room open M-F, from 9am to 3pm (what?).

So, the bike’s still on the balcony, which works because it’s raining all the time anyway, and I’m gonna hook up my printer to make some paper copies of the letter tonight and hand them in in person tomorrow.

Phoenix Bikes Show Thursday

I posted about this, but I buried it, and it deserves a headline.  Getcher tickets for $30 online or at the door, and be at the Dome Theatre on Wilson Blvd. in Arlington from 7-9 this Thursday.  There’s food, drinks, bike-power smoothies, helmet tattoos, and a presentation honoring impressive cyclists in the area.  In my head this is based on thigh girth and BMI indexes, but online it sounds more like people who support local cycling, so take it as you will.

Proceeds benefit the Phoenix Bikes education and repair programs, worthy causes indeed.

Events All Over

In order of occurrence:

Alexandria Earth Day Celebration, Ben Brenman Park.  It’s this Saturday from 10-2- the park is right across from Beatley Library (the one with the five triangle peaks that bug me).  The theme is green transport, so bike (they have a bike valet, and the Holmes Run Trail is very convenient), take the free shuttle from King Street Metro, or take the AT8 bus.  I’ll be in class, so we can’t hang out, but there’s a tree sale and lots of booths!  Plus the Eco City people will be announcing their Phase II draft of our Environmental Plan.  More on that later.

Phoenix Bikes 2009 Bike Show.  April 30th, 7-9 at the Dome Theatre in Arlington- 1101 Wilson Blvd.  Tickets are $20 online, and $30 at the door.  Proceeds benefit the same bike repair/recycling and teaching shop that I got my little white Peugeot from a couple years ago- it’s a great program.  Plus, raffle.  And drinks, food, and smoothies, bicycle blended.  Also helmet tattoos.  Should be a thing!  See you there?

Eco City Open House- May 11, comment on the Action Plan Phase II draft.  Houston Rec Center, 901 Wythe, 6:30 to 9 again.  You know the drill!  Except a call to action, and citizen commitments.

Apartment Agitation: Recycling and Bike Racks

I sent this email to the property manager and one of the associates this morning.

Hello,

I am a resident in the #### building.  I lived here about a year ago, also, in the #### building.

When I lived here last, we had just gotten the recycling bins at the end of the complex, and I asked about getting more convenient bins for each apartment building, so that we could recycle more items.  Are there any plans in place to widen the recycling program here at -the complex-?  If not, why not?  Is there anything I can do to help enlarge the program?  Additionally, I have noticed that the bins have contradictory labels- they’re labeled with the single-stream recycling stickers for Alexandria, but they also have separate “Newspapers Only” and “Cans Only” labels that make recycling here a guessing-game.  What exactly is the recycling policy here at -the complex-?  Has it been clearly stated to each resident?  I received no instructions for it when I moved back in, and wouldn’t have even known we had a recycling option if I hadn’t lived here before and specifically asked about it.

Also, I bike to work, and I’d like to know if there are any areas that I could store my bike in the complex.  I live on the third floor, and carrying my bike up and down the two flights twice a day probably builds character, but it would be very convenient if there were a bike rack somewhere on the ground floor.  There is an area under the stairs in this building that’s unused, and the bikes in a rack there wouldn’t be in anyone’s way.  Bike storage on the ground floor would also prevent cyclists from carrying the dirt and mud of the local trails higher into the buildings.

Let me know if there’s anything I can do to get either of these initiatives started.

Best,
Me
Address
Phone Number

I actually included where I live, though.  I’ll let you know what I hear back- now I’m off to report a leak and animal noises behind the vent, and casually mention that I sent an email with demands.

Progress: It’s Been A While

Hey there!  I moved.  It took a while, because there was also a wedding and a class project in there too.  But the composter is humming away on my new balcony, my herbs are sitting in the window of my new kitchen, and I’ve got my very own separate gas and electricity bills are coming in, so pretty soon I can follow EcoCheap’s excellent example, and switch to wind power!

So, good start- I’ll post photos of the seedlings, which I expect any minute now.  I have checked three times in the past day- nothing yet.

Oh, also!  Biking to work?  I can, as soon as I mentally prepare myself to carry the bike down two flights every morning, then up the same stairs each night.  I’ll be in the weight room tomorrow morning, working on that part.  I imagine this will build me more character than muscle, really.

But the eating-my vegetables thing has been going really well.  I cooked a big vegetarian meal for the folks who came by to help me move- cheaper than pizza.  After the move, I’ve been living off of, well, cheese and crackers, but I’ve cooked two or three other big meals too.  I’ll post the recipe for my most recent tomorrow- pierogies with onions and apples.  Actually, that pretty much is the recipe, but I’ll flesh it out a bit for you, I guess.

The most important thing is, I haven’t purchased meat in a couple weeks.  And I still eat it when I eat out, and when other people cook, but I’m not missing it in my own food prep.  You can thank me later, environment!  Just make my plants grow.

New goals:  definitely gardening, this month.  I might also start harassing my apartment complex to working on the truly pitiful recycling options here.  They have three normal garbage bins for the hundreds of people who live in this complex, and they’re hidden in the back.  Now, I’d like them to fix a few things in my apartment before I get annoying, but maybe I can convince them to at least get recycling depositories in each building, or maybe even bins in each apartment!

Gonna dream big.

The One On The Bike, Moaning “Sooooooo Coooooooold”

Positive:  It was so nice this morning, with the sun and the breezes.

Negative: At some point after dark it dropped like 20 degrees and the breeze turned to wind, painful eye-scraping wind.  Gym shorts are irrelevant against cold and wind.  Pants are necessary.

Positive:  The cold sure numbed all those sore bits right up.

So I get a warm shower before I head out to get some more organic wine for that V-day tasting business…


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