Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Useless Bike Lane?

I haven't had much of a chance to ride around my neighborhood, but today I finally had a chance to meander through suburbia, and much to my surprise I found a bike lane on Dittmar Rd. I was excited because I thought it would a less traveled way to get to work, but found myself at 1st street with absolutely no safe way to ride either way. No bike lane, not even a sidewalk. Its the same situation on the other end as well when it crosses Manchaca Rd. Google Maps showed a supposedly shorter way to to my other job, but Ditmar becomes a curvy road with no shoulder. No way am I riding on that street.

It's frustrating because it seems the City of Austin just plunks down bike lanes wherever there is enough room, without considering that a bike lane through a suburban neighborhood that suddenly ends at two of the busiest streets in the area with no provision for cycling is pretty much useless. Manchaca isn't a hopeless case, the wide bus lane makes a provisional bike lane in a pinch, but on the other end its difficult to improvise. I was tired so I didn't go straight on to the South Congress intersection and see if it was better, but the road still looked pretty narrow.

The reality on the ground is so different than what is shown on maps, that I never ride anywhere I have to be without doing a test run first. There is just too much uncertainty with the infrastructure here, and many times have I ended up not being able to get somewhere that I wanted because a bike lane suddenly ended, or a sidewalk suddenly ended. Bike lanes need to go where people want to go, not where the city can plunk them down so they can get some glorified friendly bike city award. Everyone knows that is a joke. I want to get from A to B, and would like a bike network that reflects it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Exercise Routine Involves Stopping at Nordstrom Rack

So I haven't been on my bike in the past couple of days, hence the lack of anything new here. But today I finally had a day off and decided to hop on my bike and see if I could ride to work/slash get some exercise.

It wasn't too bad, it only took forty five minutes and so if I did ride I would have to leave about 20 minutes earlier than usual. I was huffing and puffing on my way back, so I don't know how feasible it would be to do when I've on my feet for hours, but my fatigue may have had more to do with the fact I was hungry and it was a 100 degrees outside.

Which brings me to the main point of this post. Riding in summery weather is quite pleasant. I left my house around ten, and there was a nice breeze going that made riding relatively cool. It had to have been 85 to 90 by then, but I didn't feel it, except when I had to stop at lights. I arrived at my destination somewhat fresh, at least enough to where the salesladies at the Rack didn't turn up their nose at me.

Again, a lot of people assume no one is going to ride a bike in typical Texas summer weather, but I think I've seen more bikes now than when it was cold. I guess because a lot of people are used to the heat, it doesn't bother them as much than when it is freezing. I remember during the winter there were definitely less bikes on the road. Plus, now that school is out I am seeing some kids riding their bikes around, its very nice.

The return journey was not as pleasant, mostly because I was hungry and forgot to bring along water. Thankfully, its a busy road so there were plenty of places to stop, but I kicked myself for that one. It isn't like I don't own three water bottles. Heatstroke in Texas is a big concern!