Monday, November 16, 2009
What is it with me and bicycle helmets? Last spring I left a $10 promo (my employer was doing its community service thing) on the bus; of course it wasn't turned in. Then a $35 REI sale helmet was stolen when I left it hanging from my handlebars (inside a parking garage just a few yards from the attendant). And last week I left a $30 Target helmet on my handlebars after I put it up on my bike rack. I'm sure that lasted 2, may be 3 blocks. So I'm back with my yellow bucket. At least someone is going to have an easy time figuring out a Christmas present for me.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Took a different bus route today, express to the University District. I could see 9 people from my seat. Eight were clearly students. Of that eight, 3 were studying, one reading a small book making passages or making margin notes in what looked like a Gideon bible; 5 had earbuds, including each of the three studying; one was sleeping; and one was just staring ahead with no book or ipod or sleep (though for a while she was looking at her cell phone (presumable text messages). On the bus I read; on the bike I listen to podcasts or books. I should do music once in a while.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Today was probably the last game day this year--days when my commuting crosses paths with professional baseball/football/soccer games since the respective stadia are all on my bus route. Mostly I'm annoyed because it means standing room only, slow boarding (fans never know the fare so have to dig through their pockets and packs for that last quarter), and heavy traffic.
But a Sunday game day also attracts more interesting passengers than the usual boring commuters (like me). Today for example, across from me is a 40-something, with his hair pulled back in a ponytail, and with a 4-6 month old packed into a snugli. At his feet a bottle half filled with milk is tucked into a bag. Next to him is a teen with a black soccer ball. To my right a college age Seahawk fan playing monopoly on his iphone, and to his right a middle-aged bachelor type going to a vintage toy fair in Lake City, which means he's spending 3-4 hours on the bus today. And to think, some people would rather drive.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Seattle mayoral candidate and cyclist Mike McGinn now leads by about 85,300 to 83,000. Some 50,000 ballots have yet to be counted, but are unlikely to change the final results. Shunned by the city's business and labor elite, he is beholden to no one, 'cept maybe the Cascade Bicycle Club and the editorial staff of the Stranger.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
In 1994 Portland salvaged a bunch of bikes, painted them yellow and stationed them throughout downtown. The idea was that pedestrians could borrow a bike, leave it at their destination for someone else to use and so on. Repairmen were hired but couldn't keep up with vandalism. The used bikes had no real value, but too many disappeared, and the program was abandoned. Earlier or contemporary programs in Amsterdam and other cities met the same fate. More recently (click on title) an advertising company in Paris spent $140 million to set up a bike rental program (one euro daily). The $3000 bikes (heavy duty, special locking systems) soon disappeared or were wrecked--but the program continues. Portland recently put on hold plans for a similar rental program, but others appear to be thriving in several European cities (the ClearChannel system has 12,000 "Smartbikes" in several European cities with Washington D.C set to join). An idea whose time has finally come? Will high tech fixes (Smartbikes maintain constant electronic contact with base operations) overcome urban dysfunction? Stay tuned.