Wednesday, May 27, 2009

In Missoula the Bike Shops Keep Multiplying

Yesterday I made a trip over to campus for a job interview and had to make a quick stop at the Ace Hardware just across from campus and over the foot bridge. On the way there I was surprised to see a new bike shop called Big Sky Bikes (I don't know if they have any affiliation with Big Sky Bicycles & Fitness) I had meant to stop in after the interview was over but spaced it out.

I don't know how knew the shop is, but its nice to see a building that was vacant for some time be useful again; its where World of Wings was located. Missoula has always been bike friendly and this has meant a vibrant community of cyclists and the infrastructure to support it. Our town of about 60,000 souls already supported. Off the top of my head I can think of 4 bike shops with each one catering to a slightly different clientele, and I'm sure that I missed one. Now within a few months two more have opened up. Just one more sign bicycles are becoming a more mainstream option for everyday life.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

View No Cars

Imagine no longer! This amazingly well done video shows what streets might actually be like without cars, how serene. Found at the Do The Right Thing blog and originally posted by Yanek at Bicyclog. I just felt that I needed to pass this along, enjoy.

IMAGINE from yanek on Vimeo.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Weekly Statistics

Week 7 Stats.

Miles Biked: 40.47
Gallons Saved: 2.59
CO2 not emitted: 15.88 Ibs

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bicycle vs. Bus

More than a month and a half into going car-free and I have yet to hop on one of Missoula's buses. Its not like taking the bus anywhere would be extremely difficult, as there is a stop on my street two blocks down from where I live.

I think I still have a mental block about the convenience of bus service. Anytime I want I can hit the road on my bike and get to anywhere in Missoula about as fast as a car (sometimes its actually faster). That freedom to come-and-go as I please is still an issue that I seem unable to get over at this point; which is ironic because this is one of the main arguments that opponenets of mass transit use when defending single occupancy vehicle travel.

I love the freedom of a bike and the joy of experiencing the weather, hearing the birds, and anything in general that I might pass. I know that at some point I need to get on the bus here in Missoula, especially come winter when the snow hits, but for now I'll continue to enjoy the spring on my bike.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Just a Small Observation

Its been six weeks since I've given up driving, and one thing this has meant is that I haven't listened to the radio in just as long. The car was the only place I really listened to radio, and now that I don't listen anymore I have no idea about what songs are new and "hot." I've never been the kind of person that listens to the kind of music that makes the top 40, and over the course of the last few years I've almost exclusively found new music by searching Itunes for bands I might like. But now I'm completely disconected to the newest hit songs, oh what a horrible fate!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Top Gear Antics - Trains, Planes, and Automobiles

One of my favorite shows on television is BBC's Top Gear; just because I've given up my car doesn't mean that I have to give up my appreciation for the engineering and design of automobiles. Something that the show features from time to time are races between varying forms of transportation. Last nights episode had the British trio race from one side of the Japanese island to the East side of Tokyo Bay with one of the host driving a new Nissan GT-R and the other two taking mass transit. The cars route was far easier and more direct with 130 miles less distance to cover and no speeding restrictions on his part. The mass transit duo took Japan's high speed train, followed by a bus, bike, ferry, and finally a tram ride (talk about a multi-modal journey). With all the extra time that switching transportation modes entails, the GT-R won the race by only three minutes.

While the car may have won (a sports car at that, if it had been a regular vehicle that most people can afford the mass transit guys would have won) this just shows that mass transit is competitive with vehicle travel and beats it by far if one is to consider the cost, both private and public) of the two transportation options.

I recall another such challenge the show put on between transportation options, this time through the heart of London during rush hour. The modes chosen were more numerous, including car, bicycle, bus, and by boat. Of course the car came in last. And finally to illustrate my point, another such race was between a car and a marathon runner over the course of the London marathon; the runner beat the car by more than twenty minutes.

Whats great about all this is the irony of a car being beaten consistently while featured on a show dedicated to cars. If three British car fanatics can honestly admit that in many situations mass transit is an easier and more efficient way to travel, why is it so hard for us Americans to accept?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday's Quote and Weekly Stats

Linking the world of objects are transportation and distribution systems, communications networks, schedules, production lines and other such measures of activity that makes American life as efficient and accessible as possible. Speed and availability collapse the physicality between space and distance, making the remote seem near and lending to the individual a sense of participation within national and global processes. Consequently, the American landscape is perhaps less a scenic and spatial phenomenom than it is a highly active and temporal medium, an economy, the construction of which is fluid, mobile, and transient.

-James Corner, Designs on the Land: Exploring America From the Air


Miles biked: 49.22
Gallons saved: 3.07
CO2 not emitted: 19.319 Ibs

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Weekly Stats and Sunday's Quote

Week 5 Stats

Miles Biked: 37.8
Gallons saved: 2.36
CO2 not emitted: 14.8 Ibs

Quote of the Day

...We must remember that suburbs are an urban, not rural, form. This reality clashes with the suburban leitmotif: fleeing the city to live in the countryside. However, few US suburbs still offer even the illusion of country life, and they depend on central cities for work, health care, and culture.

-J.H. Crawford, Carfree Cities

Monday, May 4, 2009

Missoula's First Bicycle Corral

So a few readers have asked that I post a picture of Missoula's new Bike Corral. The link will lead you to a StreetsFilm explaining what a Bike Corral is and its benefits.

I personally think this is a great idea. The block downtown where this has been put in is one of the hardest spots in Missoula to find a spot to chain up your bike (other than campus). The Break Espresso, Taco Del Sol, and Wordens are all within a block and are popular destinations for the kind of people that mostly bike.

This also solves the problem of riding on the sidewalk to get to the bike parking. With cars usually parked all along the street, I would usually ride up on to the sidewalk at intersections to find a spot. With the Corral, you can just hop off in the street.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday's Quote and Weekly Statistics

Weekly Stats

Miles biked: 98.83
Gallons saved: 6.17
CO@ not Emitted: 38.79

Sunday's Quote

A beautiful and delightful city environment is an oddity, some would say an impossibility. Not one American city larger than a village is of consistently fine quality, although a few towns have some pleasent fragments. It is hardly suprising, then, that mosy Americans have little idea of what it can mean to live in such an environment. They are clear enough about the ugliness of the world they live in, and they are quite vocal about the dirt, the smoke, the heat, and the congestion, the chaos and yet the monotoney of it. But they are hardly aware of the potential value of harmonious surroudings...

Keven Lynch, The Image of the City
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