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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

From those sidebars from Google (from somewhere or other):

Guy supports rails to trails and is riding across america... blog at

Routes from meadowbrook, annotated.

The first is - it's a "Philo-SIdney" route. Goes by nice horse farms; the mile into Philo is a bit busy so you can go one more mile and then turn left (East?). There's a Casey's in each town. is an eastbound route to St. Joseph, home of the GOlden Mine restaurant (and a Daairy Queen near the interestate). I may be one block too far SOuth in St. oe for the Golden Mine, but I don't think so. will take you through Tolono. This particular route takes you past the Freedom Station in Tolono, tho' you ccan also continue on 1200 (First STreet) South another mile and cutting across town on the South end. Coming North on 900 (Duncan Road), there is at the corner of ... hmmm... 1000? I think... on the right hand side, there's a water pump in the corner of a field which a cyclist's relation is pleased to let us use. is in the same direction but continues to take in the town of Sadorus; when you turn NOrth you'll go by a baseball park on the right (just after crossing the train tracks) that has bathrooms or something close to it. (If I remember right, the water from the fountain is nasty, though.)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Yesterday's blog, which sat unnoticed in a window, unsent (how terribly lonely!)

Commute interest level: 4 (out of 10, utterly arbitrarily chosen). Cyclist very early on kept pace with me (then went straight as I turned on Race). Saw two more cyclists before even getting to campus. It's garbage day - good day to be wearing fluorescent yellow with those big ol' trucks easing out onto Race.
For the first time, there was a car that would have had to slow down for me where there's construction between Neil and Prospect. I ducked over to the sidewalk, and when there was no notice from the driver, I had to smile anyway - out of state tags (Virginia). Midwesterner would have smiled at me :-)
I also decided (when I moved 'way left to make sure Garbage Truck saw me) that I should do a photo essay of Green St. too. That way the idea that "well, of course there are hazards on Windsor. There are hazards everywhere!" can be constructively examined instead of used to dismiss the problems on Windsor (and other paths).

Saturday, July 22, 2006

18 mile saunter with NW winds; route went N. to Old Church (I was leaning towards Curtis myself) then W. to Rising, S. to WIndosr, and back along the path.

Yesterday did a photo essay of the Windsor Road Bike Path. is the unedited glory. Going to edit it now (so you'll not know if it's done or not :-))

Friday, July 21, 2006

Successfully dodged weather again yesterday. One of these days I will inquire of the weather nerds at WILL about the way storms break up before getting to C-U. They don't seem to anticipate or acknowledge it, but I shoulda gotten dumped on yesterday, too.
Much gravelage added to many roads (Bondville, Windsor, Kirby) - quite passable but folks on those silly skinny tires will want to slow it down. I exhausted my little self in 40 miles with the 13mph headwinds (died on the return trip) and the heat and those unskinny tires.
And now that I'm paying attention, yes, most drivers on those two-laners are going all the way over to pass. Perhaps it's myh imagination, or perhaps the State of Things has people feeling more kindly and respectfully towards two-wheelers without motors.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Yesterday's ride:

I went south on Duncan to Windsor. The first half mile is peachy because it's just to Parkland and that one subdivision; minimal traffic. (Wish I could sneak a tiny little bike path over the interstate to Duncan on the other side...) Over the interstate I scope out the sidewalk to my right, since other folks who wouldn't brave the streets have talked about getting to Parkland that way. Seems to my eye that there's about a three inch step, though, to get over the bridge. Will check with camera soon. The next mile is so-so - more traffic, lots of four-way stops. From Sprinfield to Kirby is truly yucky - narrow road, lousy road condition, lots of traffic.
So I get to the light and ease into the middle of the newly formed right lane, 'cause there will be two nice lanes for a little while and then a nice shoulder up to Duncan and Winsor. (What a difference 10 yards makes!) Out of the mirror/corner of my eye I realize there's somebody else in the right lane so I scoot over a tad and hear a quiet "Thank you," from the young male driver (you know, the stereotypes who are supposed to be maniacally destructive) who can make his right turn on red. I nod my best smile as the light turns green.
Sweet cruise to Windsor (see above). Left turn at light. Bike lane's in good shape. Then the transition to off-road. It's 5:00 and there's tons of traffic, so my psyche dictates that I turn into a sidewalk schlepper.
Yup, it's pretty much textbook "what's wrong with bike paths." Some cars want to give me all kinds of rights and room, others don't know I exist, at the many driveways and cross streets. Oops, no choice here, the sidewalk is suddenly CLOSED. Fortunately - but only a coincidence - I can tell from enough distance to get out into the road at a green light and not have to do a dicey merge.
STick to the road 'til Neil, then to that sort of sidewalk thing with the lousy drainage and the glass. Then back to the road at First Street where the lane returns to it... then up to Race, where just before the intersection, the path veers off again. ONly problem: I"m going left at said intersection. It's four lanes all four directoins at the four-way stop - so the added confusion of somebody (pedestrian or cyclist) on a path at rush hour is asking for disaster, so I scope out my rear view and head back into the lane instead,...
... and somebody utterly lays on the horn at me from a distance, apparently incensed at my decision. This makes me slow down on general principle, so I then have the pleasure of being more immersed than necessary into the traffic flow, but since it's one little light cycle I could just slow down until they were all by me. Not sure what I'd have done if the traffic flow had bene more constant - yes I am, I'd have proceeded straight through the intersection and regrouped.
With confusing layouts like that, no wonder drivers are aggravated, though. The whole experience made for good fodder for the advisory commission meeting.

THis morning a lady chatted with me at the bike rack. "I see how you go," she said. ""I would do it. I ride my bike a lot, but it's not safe. Drivers just don't pay attention." One had cut her off, sent her into gravel, which sent her over the handlebars, but the driver didn't even stop as she was cut and bleeding by the side of the road. I came to realize she really meant it - she *would* rather ride her bike to work, and she was a dedicated cyclist, not simply a voicer of good intentions.
She rides a lot, mostly on bike paths, but still has to negotiate busy streets.
How many more are like her?
(And how would she best be served? Would she ride on a path such as Windsor's? ... until a car in a conflict zone clocked her? Or has she gotten car-shy and it would take more than that, separate paths or at least cycling-is-an-acceptable-norm or desensitization).

Oh, and just heard that one of my students' husbands, from Mahomet, was killed in a bicycle accident on Saturday the 15th. No details.

Last night the first Pedestrian & Cycling Advisory Commission met in Urbana. Details soon...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Floods and thunderstorms yesterday, so only commuted one way via bike. (In hindsight, could have stuck around for an hour, worked on my Flash course, and then it was pretty much over... but it didn't have to go that way... except it generally does... except there would have been fewer options an hour later and I was on the blue bike with no lights.

Today really, really, I really mean it :-) I will figure out how to get those routes in spreadsheets and send them. Really. Read my lips ;-)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

No Bad Driving today or yesterday... crappy weather in the morning, but those are the real "Green Miles" - the ones when yea, I really could have taken the car. I've got fenders, though - and 40 miles later, sore legs :-) '68 Schwinn Racers are heavy...
Yesterday 8:15, corner of Neil and Hessel/Stadium: 4 bikes, 4 cars waiting for the E-W green. Upon its turn, a fifth bike cruised up and through. YES, the bikes are out there. The couple at the corner were definitely not students (but also looked somewhat nonplussed... when was their turn? they were gazing at the "walk" signal that I'm not sure ever came...) There's room for education at many levels.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Had a genuinely bad driver incident last night... BFlat 78 in her blue beetle was behind the car that got to the 4-way about the same time I did. The first car went, I proceeded to proceed, and she simply and overtly proce4eded anyway, going about a foot from me (if I'd had keys in my hand, I'd have been tempted to "steady myself"...) I looked her down and she turned her head so she could see me in her peripheral vision but still send that "I don't have to see you, you DO NOT EXIST" message.
The other car waited even until I'd noted her plate, then proceeded through.
Interesting... that's twice in two days, or maybe it was the same day. Different intersection, same bike. Day and night (but night wtih headlight and hokeyspokes - visibility *not* the issue!). And... until that point, this town is so gracious as to be confusing in letting bikes go first at four-ways, even when it really isn't our turn.
AND I saw the person driving DFX ... an older gentleman who looked at me scoldingly as I smiled (this time he was going W on Green Street but well East of Lincoln, where it's only 2 lanes, and I was going East, in the road of course, but without a bike path for him to wildly point at). I am fairly sure he doesnt' know that I know he's that man (but knew who I was... it's the Xtracycle, after all).

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Parade pictures soon! Fourth of July ride fun!

THis Saturday - planning "short, sweet blender" ride. Gotta go send email... post on the site...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

June total: 1018. 982 to go, then, for the 2000-for-2-months goal.

26 today (so far) towards that end, on a NICE saunter. Prob'lyh 11 mph (no computer, don't know, maybe 12). solid 7 folks doing the back on stately bikes with bigger tires and doing the social thing. TOlono to Duncan Rd. to Old Church and back - no boo-boos, no flats, just fun :-) Paused at slab on the way out, cemetery on the way back.

Now to go out to Friar Tuck's and ask them what to do with a blender at aparty :-)

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