Thursday, July 17, 2008

Quick notes

I'm in the middle of some writing that suddenly got "hot" and which may cause me to be away from "here" for a day or two. But I did want to note a couple of things from yesterday before I forgot them.

Yesterday, while Googling about, I bumped into a site called Find a Safe Ride in Wichita. It's a Google Maps application that allows registrants to locate and briefly describe potential hazards for cyclists. As it turns out, Wichita is one of ten cities served by The Right Ride (one of the others is Kansas City). When I learned that Chris Braiotta, the site's creator, lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, I e-mailed him to ask the obvious question. His reply:
it's simply because someone asked. I created the site just for Boston at first, but then the requests started rolling in for other cities. I think Wichita came along in April when a Army sargeant [sic] stationed there asked for it, and in addition to being happy to help out I didn't want him to shoot me.
So he's not entirely altruistic. But no matter: I hope Wichitans will find their way there and have a look around. I should note, though, that though I'm supposedly registered, I've not been able to log in this morning. When that changes, I'll note that here.

Cycle Chat #2: Yesterday while returning from my morning walk with my dog Scruffy, we met Eric, a resident in the complex where I live, who was wheeling a Schwinn hybrid out of his apartment as we walked past. We chatted very briefly, as he was headed to work. He said he has been bike-commuting for about two and a half years; he has a commute of about nine miles in all (I'm sorry to say I don't remember now where he works). It's a choice that he's pleased to have made and stuck with.

Along these lines, I've seen a couple of other bikes in the complex with panniers and other commuting accoutrements, and yesterday during my evening walk with Scruffy we saw about a half-dozen such folks heading home. We're out there. We are not yet legion for we are not many. But that's changing.

Finally: yesterday during the morning rush hour I rode the route to work that I posted about here. This time, McConnell's west gate was open and so I rode onto the base to the building where my office is--from my apartment to there, a distance of not quite 10.5 miles. When I talked with my colleague Larry (the subject of the first Cycle Chat) back on Tuesday, he said he thought Mt. Vernon would be much busier at that time of day, but that turned out not to be the case: if there was more traffic, it was only a marginal increase. On the ride back home, though, I had to wait for two trains, and a street crew had dug a trench across the street a couple of blocks west of Broadway to lay some pipe. Moreover, I should also note that in that same couple-of-blocks stretch to the west of Broadway, the asphalt has begun to wear away, exposing the original brick paving beneath the streets are originally brick, and whenever they have utility work to do there, the city simply patches over the bricks with asphalt. It's, um, bumpy through there. But the advantages of that route remain so high that I'm willing to put up with them. The bike, of course, might have another opinion on this matter; we'll see how it goes.

No comments: