Saturday, September 20, 2014

My Name is Andrew, and I'm a Strava-holic

When I saw Bike Snob’s challenge to have a Strava-free weekend -- and considered whether it was possible for me to do this -- I began sweating, shaking violently, and vomited at my desk at work. When my coworker Fred saw this, he asked me what was wrong, so I told him. Being a cyclist and Strava user himself, Fred also vomited (but Fred is a total poser -- he rides a hybrid and doesn’t even pay the $60/year fee to be a premium Strava member!).  Once I realized I was exhibiting classic addiction/withdrawal symptoms, I realized I had to try.
            So this morning, on a beautiful fall Saturday in NYC, I rode up to Flushing Meadows Park. Since I wasn’t distracted by dominating my personal bests while hunched head down over my aerobars, I noticed many things about cycling in my city that I had never seen before. Firstly, there are all sorts of people! Other human beings that normally would have been mere annoying blurs in my peripheral vision or obstacles to be nimbly navigated. As I continued into the park, I also noticed other cyclists! These people were making casual laps around the lake, seemingly unconcerned with their KOM times or Suffer Scores, and they actually seemed to be enjoying themselves regardless! My greatest discovery of the day had to be the Kissena Velodrome. A Velodrome, I learned, is sort of like the loops in Central and Prospect Park -- but without all of the obnoxious pedestrians. My urge to do a few laps was defeated when I noticed a children’s event going on. Now I’m not saying that my initial gut impulse to scream “GET OUT OF MY WAY!” at them wasn’t there entirely, however it was squelched by…well, just how darn cute they were! On their miniature track bikes, wearing tiny little jerseys! I started shaking when I wondered if any of them were using Strava to record their laps -- but I was able to take a deep breath and compose myself. Maybe there is hope for the future, after all.

            So thank you, Bike Snob, for challenging me to address my addiction to data collection and the cycling equivalent of being a chronic masturbator. Who knows? Maybe even Fred and me will go for a nice, leisurely ride together soon (but probably not).

Friday, August 29, 2014

Quick/Cost-Effective/Sexy Suggestions for the NYCDOT to Connect Ridgewood/Glendale/Bushwick to the World, Bicycle-Wise

Have I mentioned how smart and quick-witted and good looking you all are recently?

Do me a favor?

It seems like NYC's Department of Transportation is beginning to take bike infrastructure in my neighborhood seriously, as they've recently added bike lanes up Woodward Ave. and down Onderdonk Ave., connecting Ridgewood, Glendale, and parts of Bushwick to Flushing and Metropolitan Aves.

Gorgeous new bike lane into the horizon of Onderdonk Avenue.

(Of course this cab driver was excited for the added parking as well...)

Clearly I geeked out over this, considering the above evidence that I immediately took out my phone and started taking photos of the new bike lanes as if they were my firstborn children. I was delighted to see them added, as formerly unprotected Woodward and Onderdonk were my normal paths into and out of Manhattan and Williamsburg anyway. However, this new infrastructure leads nowhere -- the lanes end up in/begin from Metropolitan and Flushing Aves., and to call those roads industrial deathtraps that are currently not at all conducive to cycling would be an understatement. Large trucks, glass all over the street, potholes, lack of police presence, and NYC's charmingly aggressive drivers...these two roads have the whole shebang. But what they lack in safety they make up for in existing space for easy expansion. There are two simple and relatively inexpensive methods that the DOT could use to plug a serious gap for me and my fellow Ridgewoodians and Glendaleites (and even some Bushwickers), connecting us to the existing infrastructure of Brooklyn and Manhattan, and thusly the rest of planet Earth.

You can help by rattling your digital shields and/or spears by suggesting these same provisions to them online. Follow the instructions below and it will only take you a shake-and-a-half of a lamb's tail!

Please note: Use Chrome or Firefox as your browser when visiting the NYCDOT's website. Certain aspects of the site won't appear if you're using Safari or Internet Explorer. (Seriously, just never use Safari or Internet Explorer in general.)

Suggestion One: Bike Lane Connecting Ridgewood to/from Brooklyn/Manhattan via Flushing Ave.

1. Click here for the NYCDOT's website.
2. Choose "bicycle lanes & programs" from the first dropdown
3. Choose "street or sidewalk" from the second dropdown
4. Select "Queens" for the borough
5. Under "Specific Location" choose "Street Segment"
6. Under "Street" enter "Flushing Avenue," under "First Cross Street" enter "Woodward Avenue," and under "Second Cross Street" enter "Bedford Avenue"
7. Under "Describe Your Concern," feel free to copy/paste the following text, or write your own:


"My suggestion is for an east/west running bike lane along eastern Flushing Ave., connecting the new infrastructure on Woodward/Onderdonk Aves. to the existing infrastructure in west and north Brooklyn, also preferably extending far enough to connect to the existing infrastructure on Flushing Ave. and Bedford Ave. This small addition would plug a major gap in the newly-created infrastructure, allowing Ridgewood, Glendale, and Bushwick residents to cross into Manhattan on an entirely protected route."

8. Under the "Why Are Your Writing" dropdown, choose "Suggestion"
9. Enter your personal info or click "I would like to be anonymous" and you're done!

Suggestion Two: Signage Allowing Cyclists to Use the Sidewalk on Metropolitan Ave. between Woodward Ave. and Grand St.

1. Click here for the NYCDOT's website.
2. Choose "bicycle lanes & programs" from the first dropdown
3. Choose "street or sidewalk" from the second dropdown
4. Select "Queens" for the borough
5. Under "Specific Location" choose "Street Segment"
6. Under "Street" enter "Metropolitan Avenue," under "First Cross Street" enter "Woodward Avenue," and under "Second Cross Street" enter "Grand Street"
7. Under "Describe Your Concern," feel free to copy/paste the following text, or write your own:


"Add signage allowing bikes to ride on the sidewalk beginning on Metropolitan and Woodward Aves. and ending where the infrastructure begins after the bridge at the beginning of Grand Street. The sidewalk in that area is wide and mostly free of pedestrian traffic. This small change would add infrastructure keeping bikes safely off of the road/bridge in an industrial area and give residents of Glendale and Ridgewood more direct access to Williamsburg and LIC than only adding infrastructure on Flushing would."

8. Under the "Why Are Your Writing" dropdown, choose "Suggestion"
9. Enter your personal info or click "I would like to be anonymous" and you're done!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Aeolin Ride

I haven't posted in over four years, but what the hay? People put on inflatey things, called themselves Aeolins, and biked from Prospect Park to Governors Island, and I took photos of it. Many people smiled, which is a thing you just can't take for granted in this world. This has been going on for ten years, apparently. For more info: www.aeolian-ride.info.

 







Woop-woop.