Category Archives: Transportation

Start your winter cycling routine

Urban Velo blog offers up this inspiring video for anyone (like me) who needs a little kick to get the bike and gear ready for the Winter cycling commute.  If this week has been any indication, bike commutes could very well outnumber trips on the subway.

 

Winter’s Edge

(Via Urban Velo.)

on not participating in the Kent Ave Bike Clown Protest…

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Photo Credit: frizzick on Flickr

From Gowanus Lounge:

The ongoing Wiliamsburg Bike lane wars, which have pitted bicyclists agains the Hasidic community, will take an interesting turn on Wednesday when Bike Clowns show up to protest. This Wed (12/17) from 8:30-10am, clowns will be riding amuck through the streets from the Williamsburg Bridge and following a route South on the new Kent Ave bike lane, and loop thru Williamsburg? Why? To defend their turf!!! It seems a number of people are thinking the new Kent Street bike lanes are there for their own personal double parking needs, and they’re just getting in the way!

I ride Kent Ave fairly frequently, have nearly been run off the road by maniac mini-vans, and forced in traffic by double-parked trucks of business owners who are loading and unloading on Kent.   Still, the thought of dressing up like a clown to protest that ‘treatment’ (which I’d really categorize as indifference) by the predominately Hasidic drivers that work along Kent Ave. has me a bit confused.  I’m sure the message is crystal clear in the minds of the participating cyclists, but from a distance it smells an awful lot like mockery and intimidation, with a healthy dose of disrespect for the community.

Drivers in that area DO need to realize that bicycles are traffic too, that the City made those lanes in a continuing effort to encourage bicycle transportation and start scaling back automobile congestion.  Cyclists in that area need to accept that there are going to be cars.  When those business people go to Community Board meetings to protest the lanes, follow them there and testify that the bike lanes mean a lot.  But clowns?  Not so much.

A ride on the “Nostalgia Train”

IMG_0701 On Sunday, I got the chance to catch the “Nostalgia Train” on its run from Queens Plaza to 2nd Ave along the V line. The trip brought back a flood of memories – not because I ever rode an R-4 subway car in ‘real life’ (too young for that, thanks) but because as a kid, I regularly visited the Transit Museum and its collection of antique cars and buses. As the old subway trundled along the heat and ozone generated from the old motors was really the best part of the experience, considering that nowadays, a ride on the subway is clean, air conditioned, sterile – even the brusque voice of the conductor has been replaced by the pleasant, automated ‘Shining Time Station’ – like voices.

That reminds me, the MTA has also been touring one of their classic buses from the “Jackie Gleason” era, but I can’t seem to find any info on the MTA Website about the tour and I forgot my camera on the day the bus sat outside the Library at Grand Army Plaza.

On the way back to Queens, I ran into a couple of friends and their kids taking the ride to Rockefeller Center.  One of the kids happily assured me “we’re not on a real train.”

The Nostalgia train runs from Queens Plaza to 2nd Ave for two more Sundays, December 20th 21st and 28th.

Bike-crazy

I recently obtained a bike after weeks of trawling Craigslist for one with the right specs (I’m a tall guy and need a large frame, and I wanted a classic, not-too-new and flashy kind of thing).  I was pleased to see after commuting to work on the bike for the first time in months, that the Traffic Department is painting fresh, new bike lanes on all the preferred routes for cyclists (where there isn’t enough room for a lane, icons instruct motorists that the road is to be shared with cyclists).   As the crazy ranting guy on Washington Ave. pointed out to me this morning: “Everyone’s riding a bike, it’s ridiculous!” 

Indeed, as every summer in New York City, we have gone bike crazy and it’s great.

There are plenty of bike transport blogs and resources, some NYC-specific, some not that have been springing up in the last few years, two of my favorite recent discoveries are:

NYC Bike Maps – makes available Google Maps mashups displaying bike routes in all the boroughs, maps of the cycling tour routes. Why don’t the mash-ups give directions from point A to B? 

Well…

Google Maps ‘Bike There’ – Creating a mash-up, unfortunately does not mean that developers can provide us with alternative routes to our destinations.  Google Maps started with driving directions and recently provided a ‘walk there’ feature, prompting many users to wonder if other modes of transport were going to be represented. That’s where the Google Maps ‘Bike There’ petition comes in.  Sign the petition, join the group on Facebook, and recruit your friends to urge Google to create cycling directions on the maps of major U.S. cities. 

Latest favorite bike-related reads:

Shift by Jennifer Bradbury.