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Cycling Adds Redundancy To A Transportation Network

Written by Boston Biker on Feb 18

I sometimes have odd thoughts on my ride into work.  Today’s were mostly around how nice the sun was, and how great it was to be riding, but as I locked up my bike (after an effortless commute), I realized something.  Bicycles add a lot of redundancy to a transportation network.

These thoughts were peculating in my mind because nearly every person at my job has complained about their commutes lately.  Be it by bus, by T, by car, or walking (the only people not complaining are the ones riding bikes…hmmm.)  Seems that if you dump enough snow on a city that has a lack of redundant transportation options and everything comes crashing down.

If the T is delayed, and the bus can’t run, and your car is stuck in a snow bank, you basically have the option of walking, or taking your bike.  While walking is a fine and useful form of transport, if you want to get some place really fast you will take the bike. Plus no one shovels the sidewalks.

The amount of infrastructure it takes to keep bikes “running” is relatively small, you don’t need to even plow the entire street, just a slim strip down the middle.  In a perfect world without on-street parking, you could have the roads clear enough for bikes in a relatively short period of time.  (as one commentator said “I still don’t understand why my tax dollars go to subsidize a nice paved parking spot in front of every car driver’s house. If people don’t have enough space on their own property to store all of their possessions, maybe they should just get rid of some of them?”)

Currently Boston has very low bicycle ridership, below 10% on even the best days.  But if we could get 15-30% of our population riding regularly (and making sure we put forth the minimum amount of effort needed to keep the infrastructure clear for them in the winter), we could dramatically reduce the burden on our public transportation infrastructure.  This would free up space for more people to take the bus, or the train, or even for folks that absolutely needed to drive (especially folks like fire/ambulance service).  These numbers are not as crazy as they might seem, as many places around the world have experienced this level of ridership (even in snowy places).

Increased redundancy means we are better able to handle extreme weather events (like say 6 feet of snow in a month), would have decreased levels of air pollution, less use of fossil fuels, and a whole host of other economic and health benefits.

The amount of money it would take to build and maintain a vibrant bicycle infrastructure would be peanuts compared to what we currently spend to just pay the interest on the dept the MBTA has.  This problem is well within our grasp, using technology that has already been demonstrated successful by other cities.

Or we can just keep doing the same thing, and having the same problems.  The choice is ours.

 


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Relevant Repost: Types Of Snow

Written by Boston Biker on Feb 04

From way back in Feb of Aught 14:

 

This winter I have felt like a native of the northern reaches, developing dozens of words for snow. Here are a few:

Play-dough: When the snow has been thoroughly mixed with road salt, but its just too damn cold to melt, you get play-dough snow.  Has the feel of clay, and squirts out from between your front fork like a play-dough fun factory.

Rump Braille: When the snow hardens to the ground in little archipelagos of solid ice.  These seem to form when the snow has been packed down by cars, and then it warms up real fast and rivulets of water run through the snow only to freeze again real fast,  leaving little islands of solid ice.  So named because of the feeling on your ass as you roll over them.   If only I could read their secret language.

Solid Water: A type of snow that for all intents looks totally solid, until you hit it with your front wheel and it explodes into water.  MAGIC!  I would imagine that there are just enough ice crystals in the slush to keep it solid until impact.  This snow can be cause brown shorts, as you think you are about to hit a giant ice ball and crash only to have it splatter harmlessly all over the road.

The Good Stuff: Crunchy for traction, but light and fluffy enough not to stick to your bike.  This is the snow we all dream about riding on.  Makes a satisfying “Crrrrssshhhh” as you ride on it.

Road Boogers: Much like ancient boulders left behind when the glaciers retreated, these mounds of snow are left after the plow comes through.  Ranging in size from “golf ball” to “holy shit I’m going to die!”  These clumps are usually not attached to the road, and therefor wander about as cars and pedestrians paw at them.  Avoid the big ones and you should be ok.

Salt Lick: Not snow at all, but looks like snow.  Its when the plow trucks lay down so much salt that it appears in heaps like snow on the ground.  Usually solid, but sometimes like a big pile of sand.  Avoid.

Trails of our Ancestors: When you ride on snow that many other cyclists have already ridden over.  You can see the tracks of all the wheels that have come before you, giving you a sense of security knowing its a good route, as well as letting you know that you are not the only one braving the storm.  Gives you sense of camaraderie even if no one else is around.

These are but a few of the many names that could be applied to biking snow.  What are some you have thought of?


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Last Winter Riding Pic!

Written by Boston Biker on Feb 04

Hurray, got one more entry for the winter rider contest, I am sadly out of books, so if you want to send in any more pics, I will be happy to post it, but can’t offer any books.

commute

Looking good Brian!


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Another Winter Rider!

Written by Boston Biker on Jan 20

doug

Doug looking great in safety yellow!  Also is that a built in headlamp?!

Still have two books left, get yours!


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Mini-Contest Still On!

Written by Boston Biker on Jan 16

I still have a handful of books to give away, send me a picture of you in your full winter riding gear and get free stuff!


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Site Updated

Written by Boston Biker on Jan 16

Just updated the code base, you shouldn’t notice anything except the site running a little better.

Let me know if I broke anything.


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First Mini-Contest Entry!

Written by Boston Biker on Jan 07

The first Mini-Contest entry has arrived!

WinterGear

 

Looking winter ready!

 

Thanks Peter, your free book will be on the way soon.  If you want a free cycling book I still have 5 left!


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Look What I Got! New Bikey Face Book!

Written by Boston Biker on Dec 30

20141230_112526

20141230_112545

 

Someone got me the Bikey Face Book for Baby Jesus capitalism day!!!  Get your own here!

Its so well done, and funny, and the perfect book for anyone looking to get started with cycling, or anyone who appreciates humor and nice artwork.


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The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • City Of Boston Bikes Program Update February 26, 2015
      TweetLots of good stuff in here: ——————– Boston Bike Week Festival & Bike Fridays From April-August, on one Friday a month we’ll host a party on City Hall Plaza for cyclists. In May we’ll hold a special Boston Bike Week … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • I Feel Like I Need One Of These, Fake Bamboo Cars For Bikes February 26, 2015
      TweetJust because you can slide past me with an inch or two to spare, while you race forward to get to that next red light, doesn’t mean you should. Maybe if we all drove around with these car’s would afford … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • London Approves City Wide Bike Super Highway February 26, 2015
      TweetThis is exactly what Boston needs. From the web Catering to some of the 170,000 cyclists that ride across London every day, this segregated bicycle lane will stretch from west to east, pass through the heart of the city and … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Power To The Pedals Screening February 25, 2015
      TweetWenzday and the folks at Metro Pedal power are awesome, check out this great movie about their efforts to revolutionize the way goods are delivered in big cities. Power to the Pedals: Wenzday Jane and the Culture of Change Trailer … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • This…This Is Awesome, 40 ft Snow Tunnel Built By Cyclists February 25, 2015
      Tweet From Youtube: The MBTA blocked access to a bike path with a giant snowbank when they plowed the parking lot at Wellington Station. We decided to do something about it! more awesome back story here. This is a great … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Cycling Adds Redundancy To A Transportation Network February 18, 2015
      TweetI sometimes have odd thoughts on my ride into work.  Today’s were mostly around how nice the sun was, and how great it was to be riding, but as I locked up my bike (after an effortless commute), I realized … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Protected Bike Lanes Coming To Comm. Ave. Redesign! February 12, 2015
      TweetCurrently the world is drowning in snow, but this is huge news!! From Livable Streets. ———- We did it!    Example of a protected bike lane. After years of advocating for a balanced redesign plan for Commonwealth Avenue,the city has now … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Bikes Not Bombs Winter Update February 12, 2015
      TweetLots going on over at BNB, check it out below! ———————————– Youth Programs Accepting Applications The next session of Earn-A-Bike will be March 23rd – April 30th, Mondays through Thursdays from 4:00m-7:00pm. The program is open to youth ages 12-18 … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Hello world! February 10, 2015
      Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging! Continue reading →
      thecommunityspoke
    • Hello world! February 10, 2015
      Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging! Continue reading →
      thecommunityspoke