Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cyclists Needed for PSA @ The Depot Wed. 5:30

The Bike Nazi just reposted the following bulletin from the Nampa Bicycle & Pedestrian Citizens Advisory Group. Cyclists are needed to assist Kristin Armstrong with the production of a cycling PSA:

BULLETIN! Boise-area cyclists needed!
from The Bike Nazi

Wednesday June 24 at 5:30 p.m.
Please be at the Boise Depot.

Our Cycling communities [sic] best voice, Kristin Armstrong, will be filming a PSA about Cycling Safety on Idaho Roads.

She Needs as MANY Co-starring Cyclists as we can get to be there to help make the point that Cyclists are just members of the community. Carpenters, students, doctors, neighbors taxpayers, moms, kids, coaches etc. This means you. And pass this email on.

If you ride on Idaho roads we want you there.

Creating this PSA is one step in the solution to the tragedies that cycling families are dealing with. A Bike safety silent ride and Rally is being planned for July 6.

You can be there in Cycling clothes with your bike. Or you can come straight from your Job in your work clothes.

You can wear Fancy Team Spandex or Baggy Commuter Pants or anything else.

You can have a 30 year old 3 speed or the newest swanky Carbon Fiber Rig or other human powered rig

If you are a Cyclist Please We want you at the Depot at 5:45 On Wednesday June 24. Bring a friend.

Get there safely, ride responsibly, drive carefully.

And thank CableOne for donating the production of the PSA

Cycling clothes? Sigh. At least they acknowledge that real people ride bicycles. It's nice to see some in Boise considering cycling a real transportation option. Look for me in my street clothes. If I see you I'll buy us beer afterward as a thank you and to serve as a shot of courage to lubricate your ride home.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Building Cycle Culture

My primary mode of transportation is bicycle. I have cycled in most of Boise and in my experience, like housing values, motorists' treatment of cyclists varies widely across the city.

In some areas of town motorists are polite to a fault as I have nearly wrecked into the back of cars that I am following as they lock up their brakes rather than make a right that they fear may cross my path, even though I've moved to the center of their vehicle once they signaled.

Other areas of town drivers are downright aggressive. I've been intentionally run off the road more than once. I've found the area around the mall to be particularly combative. I'm not sure it's specifically directed at cyclists as motorists seem to be more aggressive period in this area, but unfortunately it is the cyclists who have everything to lose in these conflicts.

Boise is a very bicycle-friendly town but in some places (Cole Rd would be one example) we need separate bicycle infrastructure that insulates bicycles from automobile traffic. The last month has illustrated that brain buckets and laws are the bicycle security theater equivalent of my shampoo bottle being confiscated at the airport.

Separate bicycle infrastructure is vital to the success of the bicycle as a safe transportation option in the Treasure Valley.

Friday, June 05, 2009

I'll Expect my Flat Next Week

In a scientific study The Angry Cyclist has established a strong correlation between flats and birds. I know the statistics and yet I can't help myself.

I knew something was going to happen even before he pulled up alongside of me. Somehow you always do... what is that instinct and wouldn't you think we would have found a better name for it than sixth sense?

Then I heard him. Tires slapping asphault, diesel clanging. Finally he entered my peripheral vision waaay too close. Big and white. It was a Ford Super Duty Diesel, lifted, with oversized mud tires. One foot off my shoulder and riding on the white line. Nice. Now what the heck is he going to do... I have a curb on my right and he's close enough I could freshen up my shave with the knobs of his tires.

Then he just glides past me. I'm confused. I trust my instincts more than the reality before me. Oh but he's not down the road yet... I remember the jackass in the Dodge Charger that slid in front of some cyclists downtown recently and locked up the brakes. But he doesn't pass me, instead he slows just a little. It doesn't match the flow of traffic and I consider locking up the brakes myself just to get him past me. As I think this, he starts to pull away again and just as I come even with his tailpipe (which incidentally is at head level) he guns it. Blue-black smoke envelopes me.
Ass-hat. Breaking out of the sulphuric cloud I can't stop myself and throw a standing full extension bird his way.

Smoke em if you have em
Giving mother nature the middle finger
My experience was much like this photograph only without the drag strip to provide justification. Browsing the diesel forums to come up with an illustration of my experience I was enlighted to learn that "smoking out" cyclists, pedestrians and convertibles is a popular, glorified past-time amongst diesel enthusiasts.

My favorite post, "Smoke em out! So is diesel smoke good or bad?" Really? I'm working on this... so your super power is producing diesel smoke? How do you use it for good?
  • Dramatic entrances at backyard wresting events?
  • Covering up the smell of a really bad fart?
  • Helping the President make a quick getaway ala Spy Hunter/James Bond?

Really, "is diesel smoke good or bad?" That's like asking if torture is good or bad. Oh, right. Never mind.

I'll expect my flat next week.