Tag Archives: green transportation

I’ll Need a Bigger Helmet: Biking in Boulder

This will be a quick one, mainly because we had long days and have an early day tomorrow, but also because I don’t have much to say about this, or perhaps I actually do and want to prevent an all out rant.

Essentially, again today on the way home from work I almost got hit by a car… in the sidewalk. I’m a responsible bike rider and good on my bike. I ride it at least 4 days a week, typically more. Some days I only ride it 2-3 miles to and from work but some days, doing multiple jobs, I can ride up to 12 miles a day. These are all commuting miles, on a mix of flat and graded terrain, typically sidewalks and roads. I have an old Trek mountain bike that has been transformed into a commuter bike and I custom fit it to meet my needs.

 
It has a 17″ frame, and some extra grooved tires for the snow. It has trigger gear shift capabilities that work relatively well and old but reliable brakes. It has a loud bell, a retractable steel grocery basket that fits onto the mountain rack on back, that I use as a makeshift splash guard. I have a decently comfortable seat that is locked to the frame with a wire lock. I keep my heavy duty u-lock attached to the frame and I use a large thick black bell dome helmet. I have all my reflectors in place, plus a flashing or steady rear led red light in addition to my steady or flashing led headlights.
 
Even with my ability and all these flashing lights, I almost always get hit day or night and it happens in the crosswalks! I come from an area where drivers have a tendency to lack patience and manners, but they are extremely efficient in terms of keeping traffic moving but also very aware of the stop signs, lines, lights and pedestrians.
Many of the drivers in Boulder are the opposite and it’s been tough to get used to it, but that’s not the issue. The issue comes with how bike friendly the actual city of Boulder is! There are crosswalks for pedestrians and bikers that have flashing lights and announce to slow down and stop, and there are bike lanes everywhere.
Bike are people too!
So every day I happen to be riding in the bike lane, or on the sidewalk if there aren’t any and someone almost hits me in that safe area! It’s because many of the drivers here happen to think that the stop line is for your back tire or the back of your car! Then they usually try to make some apologetic gesture, knowing that if they hit me, they would be in a big trouble, legally. So please, be considerate of pedestrians, be efficient but aware, and recognize the fact that your automobile is a powerful weapon if not handled properly.

Let’s keep our streets and sidewalks safe for everyone! Biking is a physically and mentally rewarding activity and although I may not like the snobby cyclists that wear racing gear and use $5,000 bikes to commute, I enjoy biking to work everyday. It is great for the environment, which I care much about, and it’s a decent leg workout if done correctly. Plus, it always wakes me up before I get to work on the early cold days. I love riding through the snow in the mornings here when the powder is untouched.

Oh well, enough of that, thanks for reading and remember to use green and alternative transportation!

Family Addition: Two “New” Bikes

With Alana getting a full time job in Longmont, which is roughly 15 miles away from our home, and us only having one car, it looked like I would have to find an alternate form of transportation. With my job being only about a mile(?) from our home, there were a few choices.

Obviously, we could buy another car but that isn’t exactly in the budget, although it might have to be in the winter. The bus takes too long and is too risky for a mile commute. Walking is an option but is still a bit of a waste of time. And I only have my motorcycle permit, not my license… plus they’re expensive too. So it seemed like a good old bicycle (so rare in Boulder!) was the best choice. Unfortunately, on our cross country trip… my Schwinn Frontier, the bike love of my life thus far, is stuck with my sister in Pennsylvania because of a broken bike rack. Obviously, there was only one thing I could do… Craigslist!

The Classic Schwinn Headbadge

Schwinn!

So to make a not-so-long-but-boring-story nice and short, I bought two bikes in the last week. The first one I bought on the way to work Monday so I wouldn’t have to walk, and the second I bought on Tuesday night because it was a much better bike.

MagnaNickname: Not Given Yet – This is one of the worst bike brands in the U.S. It’s very used with lots of wear and tear, as well as a flimsy kickstand and unstable gears. But is was only $60 cash and it was being sold a block away. The bike is $125-150 ish new from Target, so it’s really not a horrible deal, just an awful bike. But it got me to work two days.

TrekNickname: Packhorse– I paid $120 cash for this one and it was well worth it. Trek is arguably the most reliable bike brand around (and still reasonably priced). This one has lots of miles and character to it but it still rides better. It’s got Shimano gears and brakes, along with a mountain rack/splash guard, and a retractable metal grocery bin. The front suspension makes for a very smooth ride and although it doesn’t have a kickstand and the brakes are very squeaky, it has a cute little bell.

Today, Amazon via UPS will deliver my new helmet, light, and two bike locks ( a u-lock and a cable lock). Bikes are very popular in Boulder and although mine are not going to be stolen first, I don’t want to risk it. I also think you’re not being intelligent if you ride with a high risk of injury and do not wear a helmet. The lights are a law after dark in Boulder and ten dollars is much better than hundreds in tickets.

Oh well, I’m getting between 2-8 miles a day commuting from different jobs so it’s been nice but my knees are hurting. I’m not cycling expert but I think it’s either because I have bad knees or because I’m not high enough on the bike. The frame is a little small for me, a 17.5, but I put the seat far enough up to create about a 30 degree angle when my legs are fully extended towards the ground. Adam, any advice?

Thanks everyone and support green transportation!