crankedmag

{ ride a bike… everyday, everywhere }

No Parking Anytime

I think I’ve mentioned this subject before.

I ride through Fremont regularly, one route I take is along N 34th St in front on PCC. This block is essentially a west-bound one way road for cars with a east-bound bike lane. (There are sharrows included for west-bound cyclists). On the east-bound bike lane are signs that, very clearly read “No Parking Anytime”, you can see that here:

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I’ve posted similar pictures here in flickr. It’s a recurring problem, typically moving trucks, but I’ve seen delivery cars and trucks, even police cars (maybe there was an emergency in the neighborhood, I don’t know). Yesterday it happens yet again. So I decide to call the non-emergency parking violation number I was given by a Parking Enforcement officer I met a couple weeks ago. (Joby also mentioned his instructions and experience, found by clicking the above photo).

Before doing so I ask one of the movers to park the truck elsewhere, to which he replies he’s “just doing his job, the building management told us this is where we load in from, the building does not have a loading area.” He also asked that I not be a dick before he continues in the building with his load.

I dial the number and am wading through the phone tree when a lady from the apartment building approaches me and also informs me that this is where they load from, the building has no loading area. I tell her I’m on the phone with the police, to which she replies, “…that’s fine, we know the meter maids in the area.” I think to myself, that’s interesting, I wonder what that means?

When I finally reach the officer on the phone, he takes the information as to what block it is, doesn’t quite grasp the idea of what a bike lane is, and then when I mention it is a moving truck, he states that “sometimes those trucks don’t have anywhere else to park.” The police are making excuses for this I guess. Not only was the truck taking up the bike lane at 5:00pm, but was also taking up a parking space in front of the building which houses a grocery store and other businesses.

Again, all very interesting I’d say. Are there bigger issues in this city? Yes. But, I have to wonder what’s the point of putting in bike lanes, be they green, blue, or whatever, if they’re going to be shoddily done and wholly unenforced? Why is the city bothering to claim it’s Pro-bike if there’s no priority given to cyclists? Why are our taxes going to any bike projects if the city is incapable of implementing them efficiently or even correctly? How about simply paving the streets somewhat smoothly? I’ll manage the routing myself (I do have to mention I have noticed the new signs getting put up, this admittedly is a step in the right direction, especially if I didn’t know where I was going).

An hour or so later, on my way back by, the truck was there, but so were two fire engines, evidently an alarm of some kind errantly went off. No meter maid, or Parking Enforcement officer ever came to ticket, let alone investigate my reported parking violation—I’m not surprised. This isn’t to say I won’t call again the next time I witness it. I’m not making this a vendetta, I’ve got other important things to do, but so does the city; so for the next few weeks I’ll be calling that number non-emergency (206) 625 5011, I believe it is option 8, for reporting parking violations in this strip I’m sure I’ll see again. I know I’m not the only one this annoys, while on the phone yesterday I heard praise from passing cyclists assuming whom I was on the phone with.

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This bike route symbol is nearly disintegrated completely.

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Sustainable Pedros

The other day a Pedros rep came into the shop and dropped off a goodie bag full of stuff. I was interested because he mentioned biodegradable greases and lubes; a subject I’ve been curious about a lot lately. Attempting to be green and enviro-friendly by biking all the time always brings up the question: exactly how “green” is biking? Looking a bit deeper into the bike maintenance realm it’s easy to see many petro-chemicals and such. I’m happy to see somebody working on it, and Pedros is attempting something. And it seems good.

In the bag was a couple bottles of chain lube (CHAINj and Go!I think the word Go! always requires an explanation point behind it, I’m happy they got that right). This CHAINj has a page of it’s own where you can learn some more about this product. There’s more about canola, or rapeseed oil, here at Wikipedia; quite a bit to read about and research there.

There was also a bottle of ProJ—a “Professional Strength Citrus Degreaser”. So far I’ve only used a bit of the ChainJ on the chain on my fixie, and that bike is silenced again. So far, so good! Also in the—fully recyclable—bag was a RxM multi-tool, some tire levers (these I like), and a catalog.


Reusable shopping bag.

How revolutionary all this is, I’m not exactly sure, but it always takes that single step to make serious change. I’m willing to try, much like the article in the catalog states, it is “…worth the effort. That’s what we [Pedros] had in mind for this page – to encourage you to try.” I’m already riding my bike everywhere I go, no car option in sight for me. I’m willing to try the next step, let’s all try why don’t we.

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Unicycles

I recently posted a unicycle on craigslist for sale. It’s one I’ve had sitting in the apartment for a while and have never actually picked up to try out. (Well actually a couple of times, fruitlessly of course). But I’ve had a couple of hits on the ad and thought maybe I should check out what they go for at retail.

I came across this site: unicycle.com and got what I needed. Curiosity got me to check out what an “impossible wheel” is. Wow, is all I can say. And then there’s this youtube video of one being used: appreciate the metal if you must.

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Posted

Yeah. Today was Cantilever Brake Day. Mark your calendars; May 22nd. Maybe it should be Cantilever Brake Week too, it’s been interesting.

Seemed like an eternity of them today.

No, not the threaded style, like this:

But more like this style:


Images from JensonUSA

And definitely not on anything new, more like the older generation with cracked out springs, rusty (or non-existent) centering screws, corroded alignment surfaces on bikes that could easily be filed as DSOT’s. Such is life, at least I can say I’m giving new—safe—life to old bikes, keeping them on the road, keeping their owners riding and hopefully not driving.

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BTWM

So tomorrow’s Seattle Bike to Work Day. Hell yeah! I’m happy about it, it’s a great day, supposed to be great weather for it, and it’s great that there’s any emphasis and public support for such a conceivably mundane activity. I am honestly really happy and glad when I hear people refer to it as a holiday as I have a number of times this week. There have been a few repairs at the shop that the owners urged to have done before Friday, it felt a little bit like the few weeks preceding the STP. The fact that May is considered Bike Month is awesome, I haven’t yet seen any cards at Hallmark but anytime now I expect to see one in my mailbox.

I’m really curious though. Are there any numbers calculated as to how effective this hubbub is at getting people to bike to work on Monday, May 19th, 2008? Or any/every day hereafter? Bike to work, bike to school, bike to play, bike to shop, bike to theater, bike for groceries, bike for peace, bike for coffee, bike for booze, bike anywhere and everywhere!

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Clarification: This is not to say that changing one’s individual actions to benefit themselves and the larger world by riding a bike to work is mundane, but rather that the actual act of riding one’s bike is such an easy and simple activity that it can be described as mundane. And yet as simple as riding a bike to work is—and as one’s transportation—it is wholly affecting in it’s importance and excitement.

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Roxy’s in Fremont

For all you Seattle bikers. There’s a good happy hour that you specifically should know about. From 4:00 or so to 6:00 in the evening, Roxy’s has some good appetizers that are half price. But….

if you ride your bike there, they’ll give you a free appetizer! Fried pickles last night went well with my whiskey.

Their menu is pretty interesting. I don’t eat meat any more, but considering their webpage (pastramisandwich.com) they’ve got some good sandwiches. I know they’ve got salt bagels in the mornings and I like to stop in there for those before I get to work some days.

So check it out, eat and drink up!

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Pedaling Music

Just glancing through one of those Conscious Choice magazines commonly found in coffee shops and came across a cool article about musicians traveling around on tour by bicycle. Check out the full article here.

I love this perspective (emphasis and links mine):

But not the Ginger Ninjas. In April, this folk-ska band from North San Juan, California (fronted by Xtracycle co-founder Kipchoge Spencer) completed a fully pedal-powered tour of 5000 miles from Lake Tahoe to Chiapas, Mexico. The Ninjas’ tour — called Pleasant Revolution — included 80 dates. So did the Rolling Stones’ 2006 Bigger Bang Tour, but the tired supergroup’s tour also included 80 semi trucks, a jet plane and 37,000 barrels of oil — each incinerated, of course. The Ginger Ninjas, who employed a pedal-powered sound system at most shows, estimate they expended a third of a barrel of oil on their journey.

This issue of Conscious Choice also has a great interview with Michael Franti.

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Follow the Green Gravel Road

I don’t want to come off too negative about these new street features, but I am curious and suspicious at the same time. It does appear the DOT is attempting to accommodate cyclists, and honestly, that’s a good thing!

What features am I talking about? There are several throughout the city now. The one I noticed was just after crossing the Fremont Bridge on my way up to Queen Anne. Like it’s supposed to, it immediately caught my eye as I came off the bridge, a column of what looked like astro-turf crossing the street directly next to the crosswalk.

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I saw this green bike lane appear this Friday past and took some photos of it Saturday morning. Already the gravel material they’ve used is separating from the lane; as would be suspected I think. Maybe this is part of the process and I’m just squawking early, but I’ve seen plenty of lane striping and other markings on the streets here in Seattle. Why isn’t that type of paint being used for these new bike symbols and other bike improvements? Those old bike lanes on 34th going into Fremont still have their bike paint holding strong; when were they painted? Probably when that street was paved (and that was a long time ago by the feel of it).

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A disintegrating cyclist off the Fremont Bridge

It’s often said that the grass is always greener, perhaps so are the bike lanes. Portland has some awesome bike lanes, as well as bike boxes, and dedicated bike routes.
It’s cool that Portland recognizes our attempts at improving cycling infrastructure. Seattle needs to take some more cues from our neighbor down there I think. Maybe at least get the name of their paint supplier.


Portland green bike lane. Photo compliments of peng1

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A Marinoni Return

Charles at the shop got his bike back a few weeks ago. We wanted to take a few more photos of it before we made the photo slideshow public. He’s pretty ecstatic; I’ve never seen him work so fast putting a bike together. My estimation would predict that he won’t be allowing too many people test ride it anymore.

Here’s the simple slideshow, yeah!

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Charles, always serious….

Slideshow code compliments of Pictobrowser.

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Kan-tuck!

I received an encouraging bit of news I was forwarded by Jack whom I met at UBI, I’m not sure if he knew or not, but I rarely pick up Bicycling magazine, either way it was a good article to read. Bicycling has rated Louisville Kentucky the most improved city for cycling. I’ve read about some of what they mention in the article, it seems the city government there is pretty into it.

This is encouraging because my wife and I are planning on moving to Louisville. The question of bikeabilty is always a factor when moving to a new city, we’re both adamantly car-free and intend on remaining so. But still, why Louisville? Well, she’s been accepted to a Master’s program at the University of Louisville and frankly, we’re both excited for the change of scenery.



Photo compliments of mrquick

Kentucky, I haven’t hardly a clue of what to expect; it has never been a place I ever considered moving to. The only two things that it meant to me was bourbon—mmmmm, and a remembrance from the movie Last of the Mohicans, just by the way it’s name was mentioned. However, from what I’ve read here and through other internet research, we’re really looking forward to it; it sounds like things might be happening there, and maybe some things are actually getting done.

There’s some time before our departure, but either way, I’ll continue the Cranked blog.

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