Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bikes and the City

When I saw one of these bike racks at City Hall without a bike in it, I didn't know what it was. Then I turned a corner and saw this and my mental CFL went on. Somebody's commuting to work the environmentally correct way.

Pasadena's into bikes. There's a bicycling Master Plan, there was Bike Week in May, people are always biking around the Rose Bowl and there are countless bike trails in the San Gabriel Valley. Yet I hear a lot of talk about accidents and the dangers of biking. I'd love to get a bike and I admire bicyclists, but I'm chicken to ride in the street. What do you think?

36 comments:

Tash said...

I'm 1st!!! - always fun to beat your other fans.
love the image - where is the staircase (I'm going back to read the post now).

Shell Sherree said...

Go, Tash. :)

I have to admit, the ballustrade on the staircase caught my eye first! Brisbane's big on encouraging bicycles too - we have over 500kms of bikeways but I wouldn't even tackle the bike paths let alone the streets. I shall stand in the chicken queue with you, Petrea.

Antjas said...

Go for it! Biking and cross country skiing are two great ways to get off your normal beaten path and see whole new worlds you never knew existed. Of course, you can't x-country ski in Pasadena. A word of caution. Watch out for those little old ladies from you-know-where who almost put an end to my biking days when I used to ride around Pasadena and the Rose Bowl.

annebanan said...

You could do what I did when I did a lot more biking: wear bright-colored clothes and stay away from busy streets, if possible. Add a helmet, however geeky, too.

You and I went to college together at Illinois - do you remember how much bike traffic there was everywhere all over campus? Sadly, that has changed now. I sat waiting for a bus the other day along Wright Street and saw ONE bike on the bike path in the 20 minutes I was there. You used to have to look both ways before you crossed those paths.

And here's another interesting bike-related tidbit: my daughter (21) and her friends have recently begun raiding their parents' attics and garages for the old "classic" 10-speed racer bikes they might find there, taking them to this "hippie" bike-repair guy in Urbana, and using them to cruise around town. I thought this was quite amusing. My daughter wants my old C.Itoh 10-speed, which is hanging from the garage rafters and to which I have an unreasoning level of sentimental attachment. But it's too tall for her.

Anne

Susan C said...

Gee, doesn't anyone sleep around here?

I love all the beautiful curves in this shot.

Katie said...

I'm with Susan - love the curves in this photo! I especially love the curly Q lamp. I don't have a bike in Berkeley (which is very un-Berkeley of me), but the roads are narrow and the hills in my neighborhood are too steep and the thought of biking around here scares me. I miss the amazing bike trails in Minnesota.

Petrea said...

I'd have loved to have backed up further to get in the whole stairway but I was already against the wall.

We're inside City Hall, Tash, where there are a number of these small bike racks.

It's a lovely building, Shell, full of details.

Antjas, how long ago did you leave? It's not so much the little old ladies I fear as the sheer volume of traffic.

Hi Annebanan! Yes, the bike traffic was amazing lo, way back those many years ago! (Could you have said your daughter was 11?)

I could use more sleep, Susan.

Katie, I think the city officials would like more of us to ride bikes. I would, too. It's better for the environment, the pocketbook, the body, everything. But I'm not convinced I'd live through one day of it.

Christopher said...

Try the streets north of the Huntington Gardens. Wide, safe and great architecture.

ben wideman said...

My only beef with these racks is that you have to ask where to park your bike if you have never been to city hall before. I circled the outside of the building twice before finally just illegally locking to a road sign.

But as far as getting on a bicycle, you really just need to jump in head first to realize how easy it can be. Sure, it isn't for everyone, but an adventurous soul like yours will love it I'm sure :)

Jean Spitzer said...

I think north-south routes are generally okay, but it's hard to find safe east-west roads through Pasadena. Just riding for fun and not commuting, you can find terrific places to bike. Oh, for one of those dedicated bikeways.

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Nice captured image !! Really loved this one..Great,,,Unseen Rajasthan

maria said...

i ride with my son - although i make it a point to ride between 9-3. most of "rush hour" traffic is over during these times. i also just got a bike rack for my car and go to the park and trails - it lots o' fun.

Clifford Beshers said...

I've just started commuting by bicycle again. It does take getting used to, but after a month, I'm feeling much more confident. Added strength helps, but also just familiarity with the routes, potholes, where cars tend to push the rules, etc. I don't have any idle thugs taking a crack at me, which I used to worry about riding through Spanish Harlem in NYC (but which never actually came to pass, all the interactions with people were actually quite fun.)

(My verification word is ookgu. I am the egg man...)

HearkenCreative said...

Petrea: Biking in Pasadena is no more or less dangerous than anywhere else, if you approach it cautiously and with a level head. And with a helmet — my first one saved my life, so I bought an even better one. I love cycling: the air on my face, the ability to slow down and enjoy neighborhoods instead of screaming through them completely removed, and obviously the exercise and cost/energy/environment benefits. My one bike accident in Pasadena was not with a car, but with a poorly-maintained street. So now I 1) take less-crowded streets, and 2) watch the road carefully for debris and potholes.

By the way, did you see the new bike racks (shaped like actual bikes) hidden behind the chain link fence at the Gold Line Station/Lake Avenue Overpass? The area is still under construction, but those are spiffy...

I like the light in this photo; I love how, in well-designed buildings, time-of-day affects how the light plays and falls inside the building. Pretty cool.

Vanda said...

I think the bike rack should be the same ornamental wrought iron as the rail.

Petrea said...

I ought to just do it, huh? It would make sense for getting around town to do almost anything (except perhaps grocery shopping). I'll be the bike rider dressed like a football player.

Dina said...

Thanks for turning on my mental CFL. I had to go to your link to find out what it stands for.
IMHO you are a smart chicken not to ride in the street. Here in Jerusalem more people ride on the sidewalk than on the street.
If not for my helmet I could have died when a woman suddenly left her lane and knocked me and my small motorcycle over (near Tel Aviv).

Be careful, Petrea.

Margaret said...

One of the main reasons you should bike is because there are so many cool looking retro bikes these days. We just got my daughter a sky blue Townie. Very cool. I'm totally jealous.

maria said...

oh Mz. P - I think you will be great on a bike - take it from me who is soooo not graceful on the bike. i shared a bike with my brother when i was a kid, stopped riding for about 35 years and had to get back on it because of my son. just be sure to wear a helmet and jeans with a long sleeve shirt.

Pascal Jim said...

Hearken Creative writes of the new bike racks on Lake at the Gold Line Station.
Hope this is a new installation, friends have had two or three bike stolen previously...Big Lock Time....

JM said...

This is just beautiful! So clean! Love it!

Petrea, I think you already know what's going on regarding our missing fellow CDP blogger, but please visit my page. Thank you.

pasadenapio said...

Just start slowly, Petrea, and go on from there. Borrow your neighbor girl's new bike with those spiffy wheels!

J+P said...

This is The Husband typing …

I'm all for saving energy & being in with the hip crowd. But the laws of physics are unaware of how much I love my wife, of how vulnerable she is—being of my same species—and how short is our time together on this world.

If I have a vote in this, I vote for "no biking by either of us on public streets." Other people can save that energy; we'll compensate with our own efforts. It takes just one yahoo in his Toyota to remove a human from the world. I'll do everything I can to make sure she is not my human.

toast said...

Wow, an indoor bike rack! The key to safe biking in the streets is to not be nervous -- know that you have every right to be on the streets as the cars do. By the same token, also obey the same laws that cars do by stopping at stop signs and lights, signaling to change lanes, and yielding to pedestrians. I wish more cities were bike-friendly, but in some places, it's just impossible. :/

-K- said...

Maybe I'm still half-asleep but I'm stumped as to what your mental CLF is.

I like bicyclists but I do not like cyclists.

Ms M said...

What a coincidence that you are writing about biking. Here in Boise, we have been having major discussions about bikes vs. cars. In the past 2 months, three experienced bicyclists have been killed in accidents with vehicles.

The suggestions of wearing a helmet & "day-glo" colored clothing, riding on less traveled streets or on bike paths (sometimes sidewalks), following the traffic laws, etc. are all excellent and important.
It's much less stressful to ride on a bike path or greenbelt where you don't have to deal with drivers of large vehicles who are aggressive or are not paying attention.

BTW, I love the staircase in this shot!

Trish said...

Compact Fluorescent Lamp (some call it light).

I have to agree with the spousal unit. I stopped riding on the roads YEARS ago after nearly being killed several times over. Helmet and all I nearly got creamed(if you're GOING to ride, do as a racing friend used to say---only spend as much on the helmet as you think your head is worth). A nice Sunday ride in Lacy Park, or around CalTech or in a safe neighborhood, ok...but with txting while driving...it's not safe out there, unless you're aiming to be a an organ donor.

Clifford Beshers said...

"The Husband" does have a valid point, I'm sorry to say. I know a serious cyclist (20 miles to work and back *every day*, with races on weekends...) who said that out of all the activities he's done (skiing, SCUBA, sky diving, rock climbing) cycling to work is statistically the most dangerous, by far.

Still, I for one am glad to be leaving my car in the garage most days.

Cafe Pasadena said...

You d i d n ' t beat anybody, nT. Certainly not on that single-speeder. But, it was fun for us to let you win!

Tomate Farcie said...

Nice shot!

I hear ya. I have a bike, too, and it's not impossible for me to commute to work, but downtown SF is a bit dangerous and I'm a bit out of shape with not-so-fast reflexes anymore... and there is the problem of what to do with the bike once you get to work. Too many bikes are stolen, so I won't bother bringing my bike unless I know for sure where I'm going to park it. Most places downtown have no place for bikes. So they can say whatever they want about the planet, etc., right now it's still easier to commute some other way.

By the way, thanks for your visit and comment. I will have to update that post with more subway pictures. I took many pictures in Paris but the decent ones I feel comfortable broadcasting are few and far between!

Virginia said...

I'm with K., I think biking is great if you don't mind getting run over in trafficHa The cyclists around here don't mind at all tying up traffic in 5:00 rush hour while they ride in packs all decked out in their "biker garb". Well I bet I'm managed to enrage a fair number of your readers with that rant! ha Sorry about that.

Now for your photograph. It's gorgeous. The bike against that grand staircase if just great. The light is beautiful.
v

HearkenCreative said...

Wow, there are some strong opinions on bikes — one way or the other. I'm ambivalent: I love riding, but I understand people's fear of bad drivers, and I understand driver's distaste for bad/discourteous riders. Accidents happen all the time (like this one), and it truly does scare me.

So ride or don't: it's the enjoyment of life that is most important. And, if you are a cyclist or a driver, please be courteous and sober and safe!

Now back to the beautiful photography!

Petrea said...

For recreation in protected areas it's probably fine. But I keep hoping it'll become safer as a mode of transportation. No matter what mode of transportation we choose we take chances, but on the city streets I have more armor when I'm in a car. Just in case I come up against the careless drunks of this world (see Hearken's link).

Clifford Beshers said...

Perhaps you should consider a pair of these:

http://www.chariotskates.com/videos.html

Anak Dokan said...

In Jakarta, there's a community called 'Bike to Work'. It members everyday ride bicycle to work. It might be good for health. But for it's too scary, especially with crowded traffic like in Jakarta.

Petrea said...

Clifford, I already look weird enough.

Hi Anak, I can't imagine riding on such crowded streets as what I've heard and seen of Jakarta. Those Bike to Work people must be very brave!