24 May 2011

Bike-commute day 29—to gym and home

Hawthorn Hill to Runnymeade
Last Thursday evening, as a prelude to the Miami Valley Cycling Summit, I saw a screening of the documentary Veer at the Neon Movies.The movie takes us through cycling activities in three seasons in Portland, Oregon. Not only events like the ZooBomb [video parts 1, 2, 3] and performance groups like the Sprockettes, but also advocacy for safer cycling laws, managing a reclaimed bicycle exchange, and cycling education programs for kids in the 3rd through 6th grades.

Stoney Hollow
The Dayton area could use similar programs, which can raise awareness of cycling as a means of socializing, of entertainment, and of enhanced safety and access to alternative transportation.

In fact, we already have the beginnings of a reclaimed bicycle exchange at the Life Enrichment Center. This organization refurbishes bikes, paints them bright yellow, and places them for free use in the downtown area. As each yellow bike becomes disabled, a sticker on the bike has contact information for performing any needed repairs.

Walnut Hill to Wyoming
The Complete Streets Initiative is also being developed to reach the public schools with cycling information, as part of the Safe Routes to School program. As of 2009, the Dayton has used 20% of a $583,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation to focus on five schools (Cleveland, Edison, Kiser, Ruskin, and Fairview). The funds built infrastructure for improved safety around the schools: lighting, high-visibility crosswalk striping and signage, bicycle racks, and sidewalk and curb repair. Some of the funds provide safety education and police overtime costs during back-to-school and high-traffic periods.

So, two of the directions have answers or plans in the works. I've been scouring Google Maps in the last few evenings, looking for the areas in the city that have a high point near a low point. The three map segments here are the first results. The red dot indicates the "mountain" and the blue dot the "depression." Over many years of cycling in the Dayton area, I've ridden the Stoney Hollow and Walnut Hill paths.
  • The Stoney Hollow route drops 188 feet over 2.1 miles. I remember it as a shaded, cool area that has extremely limited auto use.
  • The Walnut Hill route drops 177 feet over 1.0 miles. It would require road closure and police presence to allow any group ride.
  • The Hawthorn Hill route drops 136 feet over 0.64 miles. It would also require police presence and street closures.
A performance group similar to the Sprockettes is a long way off. I've imagined that the Dayton version could be a mixed group of men and women, perhaps in gender-fuck costume on minibikes. But the biggest drawback is finding cyclists with a let's-have-fun-with-it mindset and bikes ready for rough use. Perhaps a choreographer would help the group with imaginative incorporation of the bikes with the dance moves. This direction seems pretty far removed from my abilities and interests. —Sorry to bow out at the very beginning.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 76 to 79°F at 17:20
Precipitation: none
Winds: 5 mph from the southwest
Clothing: Skinsuit; ankle socks. Open-finger gloves.
Bike: Trek 850
Time: 01:02:56 for 15.51 miles
Heart rate: 125 bpm average, 140 bpm maximum
Bikeway users: 16 cyclists, 16 pedestrians, 4 dogs
Here is a playback of the ride. 13th Garmin day.

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