Friday, April 14, 2006

Friday Musette

Barry Bonds

Porfessional cyclists have paved the way for the ubiquitious I-never-knowingly-used-steroids defense that Barry Bonds has trotted out. Do you think if I were stopped by the cops with an open bottle of whiskey in car and a joint in the ashtray, I could claim that I'd never knowingly gone drinking and driving, and "Honest, officer, I thought it was an unfiltered cigarette that just tasted funny!"

Busy bees

On Monday, I'll drive my daughter out to Edmond for her freshman orientation at the University of Central Oklahoha. Anyone with a child about to graduate from high school is familiar with the procedure. I'm VERY tempted to take Mary along and let it be a mother/daughter event. Only one parent is allowed to accompany the new student. I'd also take a bike along, of course, so I could duck the whole thing.

As we reach the end of the school year, the social whirl ratchets upward. There are banquets and concerts to attend. The award ceremonies started a few weeks ago. For a parent, this is much like having bees in your head. The constant buzzing and incessant motion is maddening! We look forward to graduation - and a brief respite before college begins.

Last night I had to jet home for the FFA banquet. Hot Ag chicks and grilled steak! I was happy with a big plate of food. Jordan was happy too, flirting with all the girls! But in order to be there on time, I had to do a near time trial pace. The tail wind helped and it took only about 25 minutes to get home.

I was cooked, but I felt OK until after the banquet. My legs started to cramp as I sat at the table, so I got some water and walked around until the family was ready to leave.

Later, Mary and I watched CSI - her favorite show - sitting on the living room couch. I had a bit of difficulty getting up. My legs felt like wooden posts!

I hobbled out to the kitchen for the poor man's muscle relaxant - a shot of bourbon and a cold bottle of Sam Adam's. Shortly after, I was fast asleep.

Ride to Work

I've met Brian Rice on the road twice this week. He commutes at about the same time and rides the same route. It's pleasant to have a conversation, especially on a morning like this one, riding into a moderate headwind.

I saw him half a mile ahead, so of course I had to catch up! But at least I didn't overdo it, like yesterday, and I stayed in a gear I could spin comfortably. He was delayed by a traffic light, and that helped enormously.

Tulsa Advocacy News

This isn't strictly news. It's more like background information.

Urban Development had a bicycling map of their plan for the Brady village area. It included sidewalk 'bikeways' as well as bikelanes. One of the streets is too narrow for 2 bikelanes, so the plan called for just one through that section. Can anyone see how this would attract wrong-way riders?

Fortunately, the plan is an old one that has apparently been discarded. Let's be thankful.

But it illustrates one of the biggest problems we face in promoting bicycling. There are numerous agencies, departments, and governments that are capable of designing and constructing bicycle facilities independently of each other. There's no overall plan. There's no requirement to have plans reviewed by actual cyclists. Would we design
a highway like that? Would we expect someone with little or no knowledge of motor vehicles to design such a highway?

The INCOG bicycling subcommittee is making headway. In Tulsa, each of the following has some say in facilities design: Public Works, Tulsa Parks, Urban Development, INCOG, River Park Authority, ODOT, FEMA, Tulsa County Parks and Recreation Department, and the sovereign governments of the various Indian tribes. That's probably not all the players, but it illustrates the complexity.

One problem is that an agency can develop and implement plans without INCOG's review, if there is no federal funding attached. INCOG performs a due diligence function, seeing that federal funds are actually spent on the proposals and not diverted elsewhere. ACOG has a similar function in central Oklahoma, I believe.

The point is that tax dollars, your money, can be spent on facilities that offer no real benefit to cyclists. A hodge-podge of different plans that aren't consistent only adds confusion for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

The subcommittee tries to amend any ill-conceived plans we hear about, but it's not always possible. That's why we need to hear from area cyclists - the ones who will be most impacted by badly designed facilities. If you live in the INCOG service area and you hear of a bicycle facility, route, trail, lane or any other bikeway, please let us know.


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