Monday, August 25, 2008

Math is delicious!

The next meeting needs to be better attended by cyclists. The word comes straight from the councilman’s aide.

Highland gets the lowest traffic, is the most direct from the Ford Bridge, and actually services the Highland Village; but without some support from the cycling community the community is not going to get the boulevard.

I don’t know why this is getting me so worked up. I just realized that the only people who will notice a difference will be the people getting sidewalks without being assessed for them. The laws related to biking are the same. The Parkway will still be on the Twin City bike map.

The folks from Public Works said there are 3 ways to improve traffic conditions
1. Enforcement
2. Education
3. Engineering

It is clear that enforcement is expensive, as it is not a sunk cost.

Education will inform people, but is not an active solution. People know that speeding is illegal, but how many cars are going the speed limit anywhere in this state.

Which leaves engineering. Engineering works well in conjunction with education. Engineering like putting more bikes on a road.

aw crap

The folks on Highland Parkway want slower traffic. We want slower traffic to bike with.

Kevin Krizek of the University of Minnesota established a way to quantify value in bike lanes. His paper on the matter published in the Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol 72, No 3, Summer 2006. His findings “indicate that bicycle commuters in Minneapolis and St Paul prefer bicycle lanes on existing streets over off street bicycle trails.”

Which means that while the bridle path down summit is very genteel, it will be much less effective. Especially since Summit already is marked with bike lanes.

Since apparently Highland Parkway is also plagued by speeding traffic, traffic calming would be a nice addition.

In the journal Injury Prevention back in 2003 had an interesting piece “Safety in Numbers: more walkers and bicyclists, safer walking and bicycling” by Peter Jacobson. The piece is a historical study of accidents in 47 Danish cities, the UK and California (the author works for the Department of Public Health in California). The article’s references make for interesting reading as well. In the discussion of the findings, motorist behavior defines the number and severity of accidents. With more bikes and pedestrians, across the board at a constant rate of N^0.4 accidents occur. If there are twice as many cyclists there are only 32% more accidents not twice as many. By diverting bike and pedestrian traffic from multiple streets to one street traffic accidents overall will decrease.

If traffic calming is changing driver behavior to prevent accidents, bikes and pedestrians are an effective means to reducing accidents. Without expensive enforcement. And 50 years of research in three countries agrees. Bike routes on streets are most effective and 30 years worth of numbers agree for our metro area.

These are not anecdotes but quantitative science. By the numbers Highland Parkway would be the best place. The community wants calmed traffic, but the city lacks the resources for increased enforcement, education has thus far been ineffective, leaving engineering. This is the best engineering option as:
1. it does not assess the community directly for improvements
2. it improves the safety of the community

We want similar things right? Safe streets and no out of pocket expenses.

Well maybe not the same things as bridle path guy. He wants a pony.

Image copyright Jeff Jaques via

Friday, August 22, 2008

Highland Parkway Bike Blvd Meeting

We plan on attending the meeting at the community center this Monday at 6:30. Same bat place, new bat time!

Since the first meeting we went to, I've been using the parkway in stead of James. I have to say, the parkway is much nicer to ride down.

Also, I set a new record for biking home: 34 minutes. woot

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Elegy; with Ben Kingsley, Dennis Hopper, and Penelope Cruz

I would like to start off by saying: The Edina Landmark Theatre makes me feel young. Why does the cinema make me feel young? Because Shannon and I are usually half the age of the rest of the audience. And that’s weird.

The movie seemed aimed at the aging crowd. Without doing a study in gerontology the average population of the US is aging. And these people like to see movies. And apparently Penelope Cruz’ breasts. This summer has had a lot of movies about people getting old and struggling with the new identity (Actually the movie reads much like the Passenger for the Jack Nicholson fans) but I think Elegy is much better than say The Bucket List.

I liked the movie, not only because of breasts, but because of how Kingsley and Hopper get along in the movie. It reminds me of Wolfy and me.

What sent us driving into the particular part of town we hate driving to? Free tickets. Seriously, taking 62 past 35w we almost got sideswiped and we had our own lane. It’s like people are on crazy pills around there. Absolute white knuckle driving because no-one drives predictably. But this might have something to do with the way the road work there is being done. While excellent work is being done on the new road bed, the redirected traffic has terrible surface to drive on. The pavement is patch worked together, the banking is opposite for all the turns. So of course there are accidents because nothing is smooth or made with the physics of driving in mind.

SO, maybe when we get more time to travel the distance, we will bike there. 50th and France is not that far really.

Would I suggest people see the movie? yes. Would I recommend driving to Edina to see it? no.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A bit cagy

And finally there is water on Frenchie.

Saturday, after work, we went over to Hiawatha Cyclery and picked up water bottle cages and mounting hardware.  For Frenchie we got a bracket that attaches right onto the handlebars, for Si Walter one that attaches where ever you want it.  Shannon now has a cage on the down tube.

So yesterday when we biked the greenway, water was available without stopping.

Also yesterday we set up the tent.

A week ago we bought our first tent.  Till now we have borrowed my sister's dome tent, but it was kinda small.  And a trick to set up in the dark.  So we had been in Thrifty Outfitters and saw a Eureka a frame tent like we had in the boy scouts.

Now back then we all tried to get into the sunrise dome tents because they were bigger and easier to dry out in the morning.  But the Timberline was the fastest set up, and lighter.

I figure a tent that can withstand a troop of boy scouts can withstand us.  And it is huge.  When we set it up behind the apartment it took up a significant corner of the patch of green we have.  Labor day, we will be camping.

Monday, August 11, 2008

St Paul bike boulevard meeting

The people of Highland Parkway have completely broken my brain. The federal government has issued the city of Saint Paul a grant for $250,000 to complete the sidewalks along the parkway, and the only stipulation is that pedestrians and cyclists get right of way.

wait a moment.

lets review the Minnesota Statute on the matter.

Minnesota Statute 169.222 available on the web at:

and it reads:

Subdivision 1. Traffic laws apply. Every person operating a bicycle shall have all of the
rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle by this chapter, except in respect to those provisions in this chapter relating expressly to bicycles and in respect to those provisions of this chapter which by their nature cannot reasonably be applied to bicycles.
Subd. 2. Manner and number riding. No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped, except (1) on a baby seat attached to the bicycle, provided that the baby seat is equipped with a harness to hold the child securely in the seat and that protection is provided against the child's feet hitting the spokes of the wheel or (2) in a seat attached to the bicycle operator.
Subd. 3. Clinging to vehicle. Persons riding upon any bicycle, coaster, roller skates,
toboggan, sled, skateboard, or toy vehicle shall not attach the same or themselves to any street car or vehicle upon a roadway.
Subd. 4. Riding on roadway or shoulder. (a) Every person operating a bicycle upon a
roadway shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except
under any of the following situations:
(1) when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
(2) when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
(3) when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions, including fixed or moving objects,
vehicles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or narrow width lanes, that make it unsafe to
continue along the right-hand curb or edge.
(b) If a bicycle is traveling on a shoulder of a roadway, the bicycle shall travel in the same
direction as adjacent vehicular traffic.
(c) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway or shoulder shall not ride more than two abreast
and shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and, on a laned roadway,
shall ride within a single lane.
(d) A person operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk, or across a roadway or shoulder on a
crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal when
necessary before overtaking and passing any pedestrian. No person shall ride a bicycle upon a
sidewalk within a business district unless permitted by local authorities. Local authorities may
prohibit the operation of bicycles on any sidewalk or crosswalk under their jurisdiction.
(e) An individual operating a bicycle or other vehicle on a bikeway shall leave a safe distance
when overtaking a bicycle or individual proceeding in the same direction on the bikeway, and
shall maintain clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle or individual.
(f) A person lawfully operating a bicycle on a sidewalk, or across a roadway or shoulder
on a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same
Subd. 5. Carrying articles. No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle,
or article which prevents the driver from keeping at least one hand upon the handle bars or from properly operating the brakes of the bicycle.
Subd. 6. Bicycle equipment. (a) No person shall operate a bicycle at nighttime unless
the bicycle or its operator is equipped with a lamp which shall emit a white light visible from
a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red reflector of a type approved by the
Department of Public Safety which is visible from all distances from 100 feet to 600 feet to
the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. No
person may operate a bicycle at any time when there is not sufficient light to render persons and vehicles on the highway clearly discernible at a distance of 500 feet ahead unless the bicycle or its operator is equipped with reflective surfaces that shall be visible during the hours of darkness from 600 feet when viewed in front of lawful lower beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. The reflective surfaces shall include reflective materials on each side of each pedal to indicate their presence from the front or the rear and with a minimum of 20 square inches of reflective material on each side of the bicycle or its operator. Any bicycle equipped with side reflectors as required by regulations for new bicycles prescribed by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission shall be considered to meet the requirements for side reflectorization contained in this subdivision. A bicycle may be equipped with a rear lamp that emits a red flashing signal.
(b) No person shall operate a bicycle unless it is equipped with a brake which will enable the
operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
(c) No person shall operate upon a highway any bicycle equipped with handlebars so raised
that the operator must elevate the hands above the level of the shoulders in order to grasp the
normal steering grip area.
(d) No person shall operate upon a highway any bicycle which is of such a size as to prevent
the operator from stopping the bicycle, supporting it with at least one foot on the highway surface and restarting in a safe manner.
Subd. 7. Sale with reflectors and other equipment. No person shall sell or offer for
sale any new bicycle unless it is equipped with reflectors and other equipment as required by
subdivision 6, clauses (a) and (b) and by the regulations for new bicycles prescribed by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Subd. 8. Turning, lane change. An arm signal to turn right or left shall be given continuously during the last 100 feet traveled by the bicycle before turning, unless the arm is needed to control the bicycle, and shall be given while the bicycle is stopped waiting to turn.
Subd. 9. Bicycle parking. (a) A person may park a bicycle on a sidewalk unless prohibited
or restricted by local authorities. A bicycle parked on a sidewalk shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of pedestrian or other traffic.
(b) A bicycle may be parked on a roadway at any location where parking is allowed if it is
parked in such a manner that it does not obstruct the movement of a legally parked motor vehicle.
Subd. 10. Bicycle events. (a) Bicycle events, parades, contests, or racing on a highway
shall not be unlawful when approved by state or local authorities having jurisdiction over that
highway. Approval shall be granted only under conditions which assure reasonable safety for all
participants, spectators and other highway users, and which prevent unreasonable interference
with traffic flow which would seriously inconvenience other highway users.
(b) By agreement with the approving authority, participants in an approved bicycle highway
event may be exempted from compliance with any traffic laws otherwise applicable thereto,
provided that traffic control is adequate to assure the safety of all highway users.
Subd. 11. Peace officer operating bicycle. The provisions of this section governing operation
of bicycles do not apply to bicycles operated by peace officers while performing their duties.
History: 1978 c 739 s 12; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 255 s 14; 1993 c 326 art 4 s 2; art 7 s
2; 1995 c 72 s 2"
So there are no legal changes. The bikes that had right of way...have right of exchange, the street gets free sidewalks. I think it is awfully clever way that the city found to offset the cost of the sidewalks.

I don’t know about how the rest of the community feels but I think this is a no brainer. And they are convinced that there will suddenly be drifters and assholes wandering around prying at their windows.

Does anyone out there know what sidewalks cost? anyone been recently assessed for new sidewalks? I think this is one hell of a deal.

Also, it would be wicked cool to have a street dedicated to making motorists aware of the rights of cyclists and the fact that their piloting a large piece of tin does not exempt them from observing those rights. I would change my route if there was a safer way.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I am a Caucasian male

More Scandinavian than from the Caucus mountains.  In fact, I lack as much Caucasian blood as someone 3/4 Finn could.  

But on Saturday we went to The Big Libowski, and it really made me want a White Russian.

So here is to the Dude. 

Monday, August 4, 2008


The rear fender doesn't rattle any more!

I made the braces from copper plated plumbing braces, which were not solid copper like the nice people at the hardware store told me they were.  Which made them harder than advertised to drill holes in.

tomorrow will be a quieter ride



I hate cordless drills.  I have never used one that I was happy with.  My Dad has a few of them from various manufacturers and the drill I use when he isn't looking is corded.  It just works better.  Something about getting the same torque from beginning to end.  

I'm suspicious of chuckless systems too, but that is a different matter.

I mention this because I am finally replacing the crappy old brake calipers on the Peugeot.  The new ones have better reach I should keep catching the tires and smooth release so I wont bike around with the brakes gripped.

The back fender has been held steady by a zip tie and I figure this would be a perfect opportunity to brace the fender so it doesn't wiggle and clatter so much.  But my drill is cordless, so I have to wait another four hours for the fucking battery to recharge.