Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Brian and his mental short list.

Great Ending to National Bike Week

After my chain suck problem on Wednesday, I've had three straight days of great biking. On Thursday and Friday I rode my bike to work (about 8.5 miles one way). Along the way I stopped at the Tomahawk Ridge Community Center on 119th Street (Thursday) and then the Matt Ross Community Center in Historic Downtown OP (Friday) where the city was sponsoring energizing stations. It was great to see other riders there and also to check the sign in sheet to see how many had already stopped by. It's interesting to see what's happening at work this year ... a couple of my employees car pooled this week, another rode the bus and another rode his bike to work. That's a lot of change since last year (when we did nothing), and I hope we all will be able to keep it going.

My trips to work are north-south oriented from where I live. That means crossing over or under I-435 (which means there are a limited number of crossing points). I opted to go up Antioch the first day and Metcalf the second day. Now I'm not crazy enough (yet) to actually ride on either of these streets since they carry about 40,000 vehicles per day so I stayed on the sidewalks (I have to confess that I had to ride in the travel lanes across the bridge just north of 103rd and Metcalf since it is under construction and there is no sidewalk yet ... try that in the morning rush hour to get your heart pumping). I have developed a mental shortlist of things to watch for ... broken glass, people jogging with their ipods and not paying attention, drivers exiting driveways or turning right ... I've also developed a shortlist of irritations like people that plant bushes that encroach into the sidewalk and people that don't keep their trees pruned up high enough so I can ride under them. One other thing of interest has been the continuity of the sidewalk system ... it looks great 95% of the time and then in the blink of an eye there will be a short piece missing. Both days I had to be home rather quickly after work so I rode part way and caught the JO for the remainder. It was only $1.25 to ride on Thursday and free on Friday. I was mildly surprised to actually see 20 other people riding the bus (that's actually a pretty amazing number for the burbs).

This morning my daughter and I rode to have breakfast ... what a beautiful morning ... nothing like a little fresh air to build up your appetite. After chowing down on pancakes, we headed back home with a brief stop along the way to see a friend who had just had surgery and was home recuperating. If next week is anything like this week, I think I will be well on my way to a permanent change in my car only lifestyle.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day.

We will be closed Monday, May 26th in observance of Memorial Day. Have a safe and happy holiday!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Brian and a case of chainsuck.

Dean to the rescue

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I have not been able to ride for two days, but this morning I was ready to go for my first try at a weekday commute to work. I hopped on the trail near our house so I could head over to Fire Station #3 where Overland Park was sponsoring an energizing station for morning bike

commuters. I got about a mile from home when my carrying bag became dislodged from the back of the bike and started dragging on the ground. I stopped and fixed it real quick but when I got back on something else had happened. Apparently during my shifting to come to a stop the chain had become kinked between the front gears and the bike frame. I quickly found there was no easy fix to this problem (at least for me). So I headed back home pushing my bike along the trail (luckily I had not gone too far) so it was only about a 10 to 15 minute walk back home.

On my way back home I was thinking about the whole notion of riding a bike for short trips or to work. Was this an omen of things to come? But then I started thinking about something that had happened with my old Toyota one afternoon. I was about two miles from home when a belt

broke in the engine and similarly, I was out of commission. The difference was that I had to wait for a tow truck (for an hour) and then spend several hundred dollars to get the car fixed. At least I was under my own power right now, got to avoid the cost of a tow, and figured that any repair cost would be minimal.

Once home I called one of the bike experts that I work with (Lisa actually was the one that got me to enter the Go By Bike Challenge) and I described what had happened. She gave me the technical term for it ... it's called 'chain suck'. So later in the day I made a visit to the Trek store. Dean was the person that helped me and it seemed to take him no time at all (having the proper tools sure is a big help ... probably something I'll need to invest in soon ... maybe for Father's

Day, hint, hint). Anyway, Dean also explained that I shouldn't be using the smallest gears on the bike very often since that puts a lot of wear on the chain (so that's my tip for the day for the rest of you novices in case you've read this far). I especially liked it when Dean said 'No charge' for his time! They definitely know how to keep a customer wanting to come back to their store.
Well, I'm all ready now for tomorrow when I'll once again try this commuter bike challenge. For what it's worth, I hear there was a good turnout at the fire station.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Brian keeps on going.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Today we had beautiful weather for Mother's Day. In the evening I had to go to church because I teach Sunday school for the fifth grade class. This made for another perfect opportunity to go by bike so once again I convinced my daughter to tag along with me. I'm thinking if I can instill in her ever more deeply at this early age the importance of taking care of our planet and making smart choices when it comes to life, at least she'll be headed in the right direction.

One thing I have come to realize is that there are not a lot of bike racks near most places I go (other than at schools). Such is the case at our church. I understand a couple of weeks ago they borrowed a bike rack from a nearby school for Earth Day but they didn't really see a need for one other than that one time. With that being the case, we decided to lock our bikes on the handrail where everyone entering and exiting would see them ... kind of a reminder that there is more than one way to go places.

I received a couple of comments from folks at church ... one of the staff members couldn't believe that I rode 2.5 miles to church (wonder what she was implying ... it's not like Dr. Kevorkian is going to be paying me a visit anytime soon!). I made sure she knew all about National Bike Week (she thought I was kidding that we actually have such an event). Later when I was leaving one of my fifth graders saw me with my bike helmet and started asking questions. I told him it was a great way to be healthy and eco-friendly. Who knows, maybe I'll start seeing more people riding in the near future.

I have been trying to promote Bike Week activities at work ... we'll see how it goes this week (which, by the way, is National Transportation Week too).

Friday, May 16, 2008

Brian Shields Post #2

Brian's daughter is now going by bike

Brian with his new bike waiting to ride

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Earlier in the week I decided I needed a haircut. Instead of making a special trip by car, I decided to make a special trip by bike! Saturday morning I convinced my daughter to go with me and take both of our bikes out for a spin. We have some great off-road bike trails in our city, and we were able to go the entire distance without leaving the trail network (other than a short two block stretch to actually get on it in our neighborhood). It was a little muddy in a couple of places due to some recent rains, but it felt great getting out and enjoying the morning sun and light wind that hits your face as you ride. We traveled a little over three miles each way.

I remember when I was younger (OK, much younger) and a bicycle was my only means of commuting (I couldn't get my driver's license until I was 16 years, 1 month and 1 day old ... seriously, who thinks up these laws anyway?). I used to use a bike to go most places since my parents both worked. Sometimes it was a two mile ride to school and other times it was just to meet a friend to play tennis. I remember how sometimes it was nice to just get on my bike and ride with nowhere in particular in mind ... it was just such a relaxing and enjoyable time that I could really clear my head when I was out on the road (just how much head clearing a teenager really needs is debatable, I guess). Anyway, I have survived my first bike trip in almost two decades.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Go By Bike Update #1 Brian

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The big day finally arrived. About two months ago I entered a contest designed to challenge people to take short trips by bike. To my amazement I was one of the lucky few chosen to receive a new Trek bike and see if I was up to the challenge. So today I went to the local Trek store in Kansas City and picked up my new alternative mode of transportation.

The folks at the store were just incredibly nice and very customer oriented. I bought a few 'extras' and they added on the equipment while I waited. The main thing I wanted was some type of carrier on the back in case I needed to haul something (like a sack of groceries from the store or a basketball when I go to the community center nearby).

It's been a long time since I actually owned a bike. When I got married 22 years ago my wife and I bought bikes as our wedding gifts to each other (how romantic, you're probably thinking!). For the day, they were really nice Schwinn 12 speeds (my wife still has hers by the way ... I wonder if that qualifies as an antique yet?). Mine, on the other hand, ended up being stolen one night when we lived in California. So, for the last 18 years it's pretty much been just me using a car for transportation.

I'm looking forward to the first ride. We'll see how easy it is for an old dog to change!

Go By Bike Update #1 Kristen

Well… I have my bike and I am ready to roll!! I had my friend take my picture right outside the front door of my loft – just like my first day of kindergarten with my new outfit – today was with my new bike and all the wonderful accessories Trek has given to me. I am so excited to have nice weather. I moved to the city last October and missed the walk-about town weather. I did make some walking trips, but for the most part weather limited me. So now is my chance to explore the city. This may seem like nothing for most of you … but I have never biked in the city. I have a feeling I will be doing a lot of “drive by shooting” for this blog of other people!! The city is an interesting place!!

I never really seriously “biked” other than when I was a kid, some in college. Going by foot or by car have been my only means of transportation. That said…. if anyone has any tips for a newbie on how to learn gears… I am open!! Is there a “Bikes for Dummies” out at the bookstores?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I just got a reminder from Deb Ridgway, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for KC, that Bike Week is nearly upon us. Click the logo or links below to learn more.

Dust off your bike and walking shoes and start recruiting your friends, family and co-workers for Bike Week 2008! With more than
60 events to choose from, there's sure to be something for everyone. For a full list of events go to http://kcbike.info/bikeweek/calendar.php
  • Car Free Challenge - enter your trips starting May 10 through 16.
  • News conference with Mayor Funkhouser on May 14th.
  • Car Free Weekends on Cliff Drive start May 16th.
  • Bike Buddy Commuter Convoys start on Monday, May 10 for first time bike commuters to pair up with experienced commuters.
  • Refreshments every morning and afternoon on the Trolley Track Trail.
  • Ride of Silence, May 14th.
  • Overland Park - three days of events.
  • Lee's Summit Bike to Work Day - May 13th.
  • Discounts for cyclists at ice cream and coffee shops.

Help us triple the number of registered Car Free Challenge participants! Register
individually or join a team! To join the City's Team choose, "City of Kansas City" in the team list. Go to http://kcbike.info/bikeweek/challenge.php

We'll track your:

      • carbon emissions savings,
      • gas savings,
      • the number of trips you take, and
      • reward you with great prizes!

This year Bike Week organizers have partnered with local bike shops and GreenGuru.com to bring you some outstanding rewards for your efforts. Spread the word, choose to be Car Free and see how many trips you can replace with a biking, walking, bus or carpool trip. The Car Free Challenge runs from May 10 - 16th.

Bike Week is brought to you by the City of Kansas City, Missouri, Mid-America Regional Council and Missouri Bicycle Federation along with numerous community partners.