Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nice Day Of Errand Running... No Pics Though.

Well, we had a very nice Monday of errand riding through East Palmdale yesterday, a total of 29 miles logged with our usual 4 stops for stuff. The people on the Eastside are getting used to seeing us out with the trailer in tow it seems. I even had one guy come up to me when I was outside the Stater Bros. (Wanda was taking her turn shopping) and asked if we weren't the couple he had seen 3 miles earlier!! I told him yes, that was us - he was somewhat amazed when I told him what we do and where we came from, 9 miles from where we were right then. We are getting more and more waves and nods of the head, we even saw another guy pulling a kids trailer with his daughter in it right after we headed out for the day! People are getting curious and with the weather eventually turning warmer I hope we see more and more out on bikes and I hope we get to talk to more people about going car lite. Wanda and I consider ourselves as Ambassadors for Utility Biking as we always take care to follow the rules and show people driving by that cyclists aren't always a hassle to deal with on the roads. Both of us look forward to every day that we get out and do our errands by bike instead of car, next week we may even have to brave some rainy weather, Wanda says she's up for that, maybe.

We did 2 rides today, just local ones - one just for some miles around the neighborhood, the other one was our Tuesday ride to the P.O.- Netflix day - we used it as a chance  for Wanda to get more time pulling the dog trailer with her Allant. Our next milestone is still going to Costco when I'm on vacation in the end of April - that will be a 40+ mile day!! Very exciting!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thoughts From The LA County Bike Plan Meeting...

So we had a 'round 1' meeting up here for the LA County Bike Plan tonight, pretty fair turn-out, probably 20 bike specific attendees were interested enough to show up. Round 1 is the information gathering phase and the introduction of the plan to the affected community areas. This plan is all about the unincorporated parts of LA County and connecting existing bike ways to the unincorporated areas where feasible.The panel was as informative as they could be, this is the very beginning phase of this proposed bike plan. Proposals take a long time to turn into anything, this one for example is projected for full adoption by the end of 2011. Full adoption of a proposal means they will then start looking for funding, eh, whatever, it gives us hope out here at any rate. I managed to get the first question in, (go figure - right?) and asked what we all need to know up here - what about the funding? There was no answer for the funding, directly. The panel did say that after the specific things (paths, trails) are identified and implemented into the plan then they look at funding - yeah, oh boy. The Antelope Valley has always been the proverbial step-child of LA County; we get the very last consideration when it comes to any funding - it was that way before when I was a Town Councilman up here and in fact there have been "proposed" upgrades for the AV since the general plan of '75/'76 that have never been implemented. I don't fault the panel of folks going through this bike plan exercise for being somewhat vague about the funding, although it was nice that they did lay out the long ardous process any government related proposal goes through. I do have hope though that if we get enough people up here together and interested in this plan we can become the 'squeaky wheel' and keep the AV on the higher side of the list instead of the bottom, where we usually reside.

The economics of this great country of ours and our state in particular are not necessarily going to get better any time soon. No, the bike lanes won't be built any time soon either, but, meanwhile  we can show people that there is an option to using their car for errands. As we educate more and more people of the benefits of using a bike once they are done with their work day, the more voices we can add to our cause to become the 'squeaky wheel'. Using a bike for everyday errands is very cool, and the health aspects are innumerable, plus it's really really fun!! I know the distances my wife and I ride to do our errands seem overwhelming to many of you, but think about your own errands - I'm sure that there is at least one that could be done by bike rather than car and spring time is the perfect time to try it out!

CNSNews.com - Obama Transportation Secretary: ‘This Is the End of Favoring Motorized Transportation at the Expense of Non-Motorized’

CNSNews.com - Obama Transportation Secretary: ‘This Is the End of Favoring Motorized Transportation at the Expense of Non-Motorized’

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Monday, March 22, 2010

A Good Day - 2 Utility Runs!!

So, a fun 2 rides today - first into town to get groceries and some rock salt, yeah, pretty boring stuff. Wanda had a really good ride on her Allant, she really, really enjoyed it. My '84 MotoCruiser is starting to show her age... the bottom bracket needs to get replaced, it is 26 years old after all - so I may be looking at a replacement bike, we'll see. I love the fact that we are at the point where once I park the car in the driveway on Sunday morning it doesn't move again until I go back to work Tuesday night.It is an amazing feeling to realize that we have reached a less car dependent way of life.This Thursday (25th) we will go to the LA County Bike Plan meeting, now, if we had both our bikes fully equipped with front and rear lights (soon, we are still doing our homework/research on lighting)we'd be riding to the meeting, probably 35 miles worth of riding. Point being, we need more people to get into utility cycling and to leave their cars in the driveway - not everyone has to go 19 miles to the grocery store or 9.5 miles to the Post Office - we do and I look forward to helping/encouraging others that have a shorter distance to do the same!

Here's my bike and trailer outside WalMart this morning:
Then, an hour after we got back from the store run we headed over to the recycling place to take in our first bag of plastic... Wanda got $6.00 of 'mad money'!!
Not by car - by bike!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Newest Family Member!

As promised, here is a pic of Wanda's new errand/around town ride - she was being camera shy, so I had to settle for the bike bare!! LOL!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bike Count Stands At 4!!

So, we brought home Wanda's Trek Allant yesterday and we went out for a run to the P.O. today! She loves it - pics to follow soon. We are planning the next major milestone in going 'car lite' in the end of April - that's a Costco run into Lancaster - a nice 40 or so mile round trip!! Not that we will need a lot of things from there, but, more to the point that doing errands by bike can be done even when living in a rural area.

Next Thursday  night (3/25) we will be attending a planning meeting for the proposed bike lanes up here in the North LA County area, the proposals look good, hopefully it won't just be a 'lip service' type of meeting - notes and thoughts to follow!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New Touring Bike/Commuter/Utility Ride Joins The Family!!

Our goal has always been to reduce our dependence on our car and gradually move into bicycle touring - last week we took a step forward toward both goals by a adding a new bike to our family! We had been doing our homework and decided that the TR-101 fit our needs the best, and she sure does! Here is a pic (outside Subway at our lunch stop) from the first dog food run we took her on - there is about 65 lbs. in the trailer, so the total weight pulled for the first trip was about 105 lbs.:


The bike pulls the trailer really well, no issues at all with that amount of weight, so that's a good thing. Next up will be the addition of rear panniers, can't wait to use those when I get them!!