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  • Bill's 70th ride

    I am still trying to get over this ride we did almost a month ago.  The plan was to do a 72 mile ride loop starting from Marty’s Cycles in Medford.  The route was to go out through White City, take Avenue G over to Table Rock Road, out Table Rock Road to Meadows Road and into the East Evans Creek Valley.  The return trip would take us down East Evans Creek from Wimer, North River Road from Rogue River to Gold Hill, and Old Stage into Jacksonville before returning to Medford via Pioneer, Dark Hollow, and South Stage Road.  It was a very brisk start at 10:30 when the temperature was at a cool 34 degrees.  We all had adequate clothing on for the ride though so it was pretty uneventful out through White City.  We traversed between the Table Rocks switching off turns in the lead as we went.  We had a pretty stable pace at 19-21 MPH and fortunately there wasn’t much wind.  We ride together as a group pretty regularly and we tried to not get to aggressive as we knew how many miles we had ahead of us.  It actually warmed slightly as we went up Meadows Road or at least it appeared to as we were working a little harder on the ascent.  We stopped at the top of Meadows for a short break before we descended into the East Evans Creek Valley.  It is usually cooler going through the canyon as we knew from experience.  As we dropped into the valley, I saw an ominous series of low clouds on the hills above us.  I pointed this out to several of the other.  Within 5 minutes, the rain started slowly but continued to increase as we rode toward Wimer.  The rooster tails we were throwing up all the way to Wimer ensured that we were soaked as well as having a mud strip up our faces upon our arrival.  We agreed to a quick restroom stop and then to get going before we got to cold.  My shoes by now were wet enough to enable me to feel my socks squish around inside and I could ring water out of my gloves.  The rest of my clothes were equally drenched.  Misery loves company so I was glad to see my compatriots were suffering the same fate as me.  I wanted to get some of the miles left out of the way sooner so when it was my turn on the front, I took a long pull and put the hammer down.  We were finally almost to Rogue River when I came off the front and let someone else suffer.  I did now though have to eat some extra water now that I wasn’t on the front of the pack.  I knew we had a little over 20 miles left to go once we got to Rogue River.  To totally flounder our spirits, a semi truck and trailer passed us just before our arrival in Rogue River and completely drenched us.  Fortunately, smarter and literally cooler heads prevailed when Bill ask if we could stop to warm up a little.  Thank goodness flashed through my head at this as I couldn’t feel my fingers from the second knuckle down.  Bill said both of his hands were so cold that he couldn’t operate his brakes or his electronic shifters. The temperature was by now hovering at 38 degrees and it was a great time to be totally soaked.  We stopped at the Chevron station in downtown Rogue River to warm up and to get some coffee. We must have looked like a motely crew as we stood inside near the coffee machine.  We were mud splattered all over our body and faces as we stood dripping inside trying to drink our coffee.  I was so cold after being inside over 10 minutes that I still couldn’t hold my coffee.  I was shivering so hard that each time I picked up my cup, I would slop hot coffee over my hands.  The rain still hadn’t let up any so we debated our dilemma for a little more.  Again, saner minds prevailed.  We decided to use the infamous wife card, call for a pickup and opt not to do the rest of the miles.  Our wives came with large trucks to rescue us from our own self inflicted pain. I can honestly say that this will be a birthday to remember for Bill.  I am sure he looks forward to many more birthdays but with much more warmth and a whole lot less rain.

    Bill’s 70th wet ride


  • What is "All Ages and Abilities"

    What is meant by “all ages and abilities?” That question is concisely answered in the Federal Highway Administration’s document entitled Small Town and Rural Multimodal Networks. “All ages means that children as young as eight can walk and bike independently from their parents. It means that older adults can get around comfortably without a car. Facility needs vary by age, and there is no “one size fits all” solution. All abilities means that people using mobility devices or people with limited vision are not faced with barriers.” (page 1-8)

    The document also defines “networks” as “interconnected pedestrian and/or bicycle transportation facilities that allow people of all ages and abilities to safely and conveniently get where they want to go. They provide equitable access for all people.” (ibid, page 1-11) The document provides a basis for evaluating the effectiveness of networks using the following:

    COHESION – How connected is the network in terms of its concentration of destinations and routes?

    DIRECTNESS – Does the network provide direct and convenient access to destinations?

    ACCESSIBILITY – How well does the network accommodate travel for all users, regardless of age , income level, or ability?

    ALTERNATIVES – Are there a number of different route choices available within the network?

    SAFETY AND SECURITY – Does the network provide routes that minimize risk of injury, danger, and crime?

    COMFORT – Does the network appeal to a broad range of age and ability levels and is consideration given to user amenities?

    There aren’t any bicycle networks in Southern Oregon (including Ashland) that reasonably satisfy all of these measures. All fail to provide “accessibility,” “safety and security,” and “comfort” for all ages and abilities. That is because local bicycle networks rely largely, if not exclusively, on bike lanes on major roads and highways. Local, regional and State transportation agencies need to do more to ensure that the bicycle network is useful by more than the 1 percent of people who are “strong and fearless.”

    The bicycle mode, where it is designed to meet the needs of “all ages and abilities,” can account for between 10 and 30 percent of all travel. That means less congestion, pollution, and expense for the purchase of gasoline. It would also contribute to a more active and healthy community. Importantly and I’m guessing, fewer roads would need capacity upgrades saving 100’s of millions of dollars over a 20 year period.


  • Narrow "Bike Lanes" in Medford

    The image below was taken on West Main Street, west of Columbus in Medford. The bike lane is roughly two and one-half feet wide  (measured from the outside edge of the gutter to the center of the lane stripe). Each mark on the measuring stick is equal to one foot. 

    With bike lanes like these, it is no wonder that only  six percent of the roughly 1,000 Medford residents who were surveyed, as a part of the City’s Transportation Plan Update, said “I am confident and secure with riding my bicycle on the streets and have few concerns about safety.” I’ll bet that those City residents don’t ride on West Main. The entirety of the Transportation System Plan Update, Community Survey is available HERE.


  • Kids and What's Safe

    The Sunday Medford Mail Tribune included an article entitled “Kids and the Wilderness, The Outdoors is Saving Their Lives” which drew heavily on a post by Michael Lanza with the catchy title “Why I endanger my kids in the wilderness (even though it scares the shit out of me).” In response to a question “How do you deal with the competing ideas of trying to introduce your kids to your lifestyle and knowing that they could be hurt?” Lanza responded “when my kids were little, I honestly felt more anxious biking around town with them – where inattentive or inconsiderate motorists posed a treat I couldn’t control – than I did tying them into a top-rope” while rock climbing.”

    Lanza’s insights help to explain  why bike facilities should be designed and constructed “for all ages and abilities.” The National Association of City Transportation Officials are on to something.


  • Bicycling Pays its Way!

    “A common political argument is that bike and transit riders should “pay their own way.” A study in Vancouver however suggested that for every dollar we individually spend on walking, society pays just 1 cent. For biking, it’s eight cents, and for bus-riding, $1.50. But for every personal dollar spent driving, society pays a whopping $9.20! Such math makes clear where the big subsidies are, without even starting to count the broader environmental, economic, spatial and quality-of-life consequences of our movement choices. The less people need to drive in our cities, the less we all pay, in more ways than one.”

    Read more at: http://www.metronews.ca/views/opinion/2017/01/03/math-myth-busting-our-worst-urban-planning-misconceptions.html


    Thanks to Rees Jones who receives the “alert reader” award.