Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bike Lanes to Nowhere

Ever seen a bike lane to nowhere? When I see one, they tend to make me cringe. They can remind me of wasted money, a project that went awry as well as someone's poorly spent social or political capital. The lanes I'm talking about are like those see here, in the photo below.

This is a photo near the intersection of highway 93 and 123 in Oconee County, just west of the edge of Clemson University. This bike lane is on highway 93. And 93 ends at 123, one of the most unbike-friendly roads in the area. You may recognize it. Eesh - what happened here!?!

Other times, apparent bike lanes to nowhere are silently pleading to be connected to a great route or become a part of some awesome, connected path, like this photo.

This photo is of the bike lane near the church area in downtown Clemson. This bike lane has some connectivity issues, but it's so close to really working! This lane is by itself, not technically connected to anything, but it lies between a residential area, a nearby park and a bustling downtown. This one screams "CONNECT ME WITH SOMETHING!"

Ah, the job of the transportation planner or professional. Trying to create connected routes to get people from point A to Point B, C, D, etc.

If you know of any other bike lanes to nowhere that have great potential, talk to you local planner about ways to get these babies is good, working/connected order. Maybe the plans are laying dusty on the shelf, just waiting for the right moment or momentum. Maybe the planner needs some public support at the next meeting, kind of like what's going on in Anderson right now. (The ANATS meeting passed support for the Anderson East West Greenway with full support!)

Work with local bike supporters, planners and public officials to get those bike lanes and routes connected!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Anderson + Bike Meeting

Just a short post this morning. There will be a 12:30 meeting in Anderson's City Hall today regarding the support of the East West Greenway Extension (aka bike path). Please come out and show your support! The Anderson Complete Streets Committee has worked hard to push this critical bike path to the forefront. Now, we need you to mobilize and come to the ANATS (the Anderson Area Transportation Study) meeting today! The future of bike and pedestrian planning rides on this critical meeting and opportunity.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Riding Groups in the Upstate

Hi All! Looking for a group to ride with or a listing of rides in the Upstate area? A friend of mine a while back got me in touch with a group called CyberSpinners (Thanks Ted!). They are a group of riders that get together on occasion. Their website is a great resource for local, race and reoccurring rides in the area. Rides they list can be anything from a leisure ride around the country to big time races across the state. There are rides that occur every Saturday, Thursday and Sunday in the upstate, in addition to many others. (Image from Cyberspinner's web page.)

 As a newcomer to the area, I thought this was a great online database, and at least a good way to plug into the bike network. You can also subscribe to their listserve by following instructions on the website. In addition to a weekly email updated with rides, they also provide very occasional information on other biking related events. The group is easy on the email inbox, so I'd recommend signing up!

Another group that has just recently formed in Melo Velo Cycling Club. The club will be a USA Cycling sanctioned club and open to anyone - from the novice to the speedy racer. They'll have an active facebook page (posted here when available) where folks can learn about local rides, community events and the jersey design. The organizers of the new club also wanted to invite all cyclists in the area to collaborate to promote cycling and safety to the community. If you'd like to learn more, please leave me a comment below and I can get you hooked up with more information.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Road Debris

In the last two weeks, I've had two flat tires. It could be road debris - the influx of rain can leave the biking lanes and shoulders riddled with sticks, stones and other random things. It could be an improperly inflated tire. I don't know. But, it's been a bit of a bummer. Luckily, both flat tires occurred near or at home. I wasn't left stranded far from home, having to either fix the flat, hop on a bus or call for a ride. (And I'll admit it, I have yet to tackle fixing the second the flat. I just need to get up the courage to tackle it all again.)

So, that kind of leads me to two different trains of thought...

1)  Wherever I'm riding, especially when it comes to long rides OR commuting rides, I really like biking on or near a bus route. In Madison, and in some parts of the Clemson area, I can choose routes that paralleled the bus. Being on a bus route helped me feel safer because I knew that if I got into a difficult situation - bad weather, a major flat or accident, etc. - I could just hop on the bus to get home. As independent as I feel on my bike, I still like to have a reliable set of four wheels to call on when I need it. With a bus nearby, I don't feel like I could get stranded or scared as easily - especially if I'm out riding by myself.

2)  Man, do I wish that the roadways/bike lanes/shoulders would get cleaned up way more often than they do!!! After a rain storm the side of the road is COVERED with sand, road grit, glass, sticks and a bunch of other random stuff that is not good for your bike tire. When I'm commuting on 93 between Central and Clemson, the "bike lane" is really narrow and the road is pretty busy. (Okay, and it's also not really a bike lane). This leaves little room to dodge the road debris. Since I've been riding for a couple of months along this path, I knew it would be a matter of time before one of my tubes would pop.

One summer in graduate school, I commuted from Madison to Middleton everyday for an internship. Part of my commute was also along a busy, not very-well-kept or marked road. Branches, dirt and cracks in the road just added to the stress of riding along heavy traffic. One simple thing communities could do to support or show their love for bike commuters is keeping the bike routes clean and cleared.

In Madison, the bike routes were kept plowed all winter. And sometimes they were cleared before the roadways! I know this is not the norm, but efforts like this really contribute to the bike-friendly and/or bike-ability of an area, allowing bike commuters to truly be bike commuters - always.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Southwest Airlines + SC Upstate + Biking

It's no joke (Happy April Fool's Day!) that Southwest Arilines is featuring the Greenville/Spartanburg community as a destination in their latest edition of in-flight travel magazine. As you may know, Southwest just started offering flights to and from the area at the Greenville/Spartanburg airport in March.

If you read the article, whether it's online or in flight, Southwest does a great job of featuring the different parts of Greenville, Spartanburg and Clemson. In the text of the article, Spartanburg is featured "as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the state." I've also heard that there is supposed to be a fold out map of the bike facilities of the City of Greenville in the middle of the in flight magazine.

It's a nice snapshot of a few of the communities in the Upstate. And, if folks are inspired to travel our way, they'll also see what other great communities contribute to the unique northwest corner of the state.

(Full Disclosure:  I don't know anyone who works for Southwest, I just think it's cool that our community is featured in a National magazine!)