I was in Fall River, MA to get my throat checked out and hung around for the South Coast Bikeway meeting. The main speaker was Steven E. Miller of LivableStreets and he gave a wonderful and inspiring presentation. His slideshow made so much sense and showed how easy and beneficial it is to make our cities and towns livable and so much more enjoyable when we build our transportation infrastructure putting pedestrians and bicycles first while also providing more than adequate space for motor vehicles.
There was a near full house at the Fall River Government Center meeting room on this cold February evening. One guy brought his bike to this mainly bike symposium which is a testament of how far Fall River still has to progress to make her a truly livable city. It’s a work in progress and Fall River is making progress.
I have family in Jacksonville, Fl. and also in Austin Texas. Next year around this time I plan to fly to Jacksonville and from there ride my bike to Austin.
p.s. My throat is in bad shape. Not dangerous, but bad. No alcohol, coffee etc etc etc for two months, minimum. So much for my Dunkin Donuts Perks Card
It has been quite a while since the road bike got some use. The temperature today again hovered around 50F which is more than good enough for a road ride. After being a member of Strava for a few years, I posted my first ride today. I am also a member of Garmin connect, ride with GPS and Map My Ride. I still don’t know where I will end up, but I have some good rides posed on Garmin, GPS and Map My Ride that friends and local readers of my bike blogs use as references.
Around the midpoint of this ride a fellow biker pulled up alongside and struck up a conversation. His timing couldn’t have been worse for me because it was at the base of what we call Lance’s Hill. It’s know as that because it resembles a pretty famous picture taken from a distance with a telephoto lens of Lance climbing a hill on farmland. It’s not usually a difficult climb except that today was my first day on the road bike in months. Mark was his name and he was younger and a stronger rider. He rode this hill easily while even though I kept up, it was a struggle. This happened a couple of times and if I lagged behind, Mark would slow and wait for me so we could talk some. Our kits would be a dead give away for any who saw us. Mark was in full kit of shirt, shorts, leggings and helmet. I was in my commuting outfit, with a medium weight polar fleece and a stocking cap.
It looks like two days of riding this week with a couple of inches of snow on Wednesday to again send me into the gym on the stationary bike. But….we can all see the light waaaaaay off at the end of the tunnel. Way off.
Crossing the River Rd. Bridge in Mattapoisett, Ma.
Rochester Ma ice cream shop, closed for the season.
It has been a difficult few weeks, but a day of heavy rain and two days of mild weather cleared the paths and roadways enough for people to get out and use them again. They were out in numbers on the bike path today and I’m sure the streets got their share of roadies. Tomorrow will be another nice day which will find me on the East Bay Bike Path (EBBP), in Providence, R.I. The biking felt good and there is no doubt that the past two weeks on the stationary bike made that possible. As long as there is no snow, the miles will begin to add up very quickly.
Here are a couple of shot from today’s ride.
Residents have been advocating that the town of Fairhaven, Ma clear the MUP (Multi Use Path), or as it’s more commonly know, the bike path, for three years now. More and more residents have started to make noise about this issue. It seems that because people consider this a recreational path there is no need to keep it accessible to the public. The Phoenix Bike Trail, a rail to trail project, has been around for over 10 years. It has been plowed of snow in the past by the town Department of Public Works (DPW), a selectman, a town policeman and a private citizen on a riding lawn mower with a plow attached. The last three are a testament to the popularity and necessity of this route.
The main grip is that this MUP is the only alternate route to the busy and shoulder-less, US Route 6, part of IKE’s Grand Army Highway System, for those residents on the east side of town. For days and sometimes weeks after a snow storm, town residents are forced to walk this busy and fast highway. Most walk with the flow of traffic which means they have their backs to the oncoming traffic.
The Fairhaven DPW consistently uses the bike trail as a shortcut to the town yard. Trucks equipped with snow plows use this shortcut but are not allowed to drop the plow and clear some of the snow. The latest excuse is that the plows will tear up the pavement. Even the most casual observer knows that during the first pass of snow clearing, nothing comes in contact with the blacktop. The first pass always leaves an inch or two of snow. It takes multiple passes and also salt/sand to get any road down to the pavement. None of that is necessary in this case. All of the path faces south, and all of the path in the winter gets a full day of sun as the trees are bare of leaves. Getting the snow down to an inch or two, one pass of a plow, would be more than enough of an aid to the natural melting and clearing of the path. One day of sunshine would make the MUP passable and prevent people from taking the risk of walking on a state highway. Most of all twelve year olds would not be forced to ride their bikes on this dangerous, shoulder-less high speed road.
Just when things are beginning to clear on the alternated routes through town, we are getting blasted with another major snow storm. It’ wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that the elected members of the DPW will not allow that department to clear the MUP during the winter. Spring, summer and fall the town sends trucks and tractors of all sized to maintain the path. In the winter however, those same pieces of equipment are too big for the path to handle. The excuses for not plowing? Choose one below and if that doesn’t stick, Choose another
The Plow is too big.
The Path is too thin.
We tried it and the backhoe tipped over
The plow will tear up the grass on the side.
It’s for the cross country skiers in the winter
We don’t have the proper equipment
The town can’t afford it
Town Finance committee won’t fund a special piece of equipment so nya nya
The good news is that after the storm, the temperatures will gradually rise to the high 40’s over the course of a few days and all the new stuff will be gone by next weekend.
It began snowing pretty heavy and we decide to cancel our dinner date with friends. I cooked up some leftovers but not before taking two of my buddies for a walk on the MUP.
Baxter our 11 year old lab
Lucy our 7 year old Welsh Terrier
The almost clear path is no longer
Lucy often help me bring Baxer home
I couldn’t wait to hear from any of my usual riding partners on what to do this summer. I have done the NYC Five Borough ride many times and usually sign up on the opening day of registration because it fills up quickly. This year I waited almost a week before deciding to take the plunge. Two friends from town registered this past Monday and I was really surprised they got to to that. Yesterday I got an e-mail from PTNY and along with the instructions for ride packet pickup, they have closed the registration. 32,000 of us signed up.
My summer tour, which is also sold out is destined to be quite a hoot. I have wanted to ride the Great Allegheny Passage, a trail connecting Cumberland, MD. to Pittsburgh for a few years but the logistics always made me choose another place to ride. Most times my tours are unsupported with a friend or two. This year I am going fully supported on a week long tour that encompasses three states. The ride starts in Weirton, W.Va. at the western terminus of the Panhandle Trail, crossing the border into Pennsylvania and connecting to the Montour Trail. From the Montour Trail the ride will connect to perhaps the most famous rail-trail in the world – The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP), for the journey southeast to Cumberland, Md. – See more at: http://wilderness-voyageurs.com/rails-to-trails-conservancy-greenway-sojourn-reservation-2014.html#sthash.6JtfNiBx.dpuf