Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Cycling Through Some Thoughts - Nov 1 Update

A few cycling items have caught my eye of late ...

Old St. James Rail Bridge

First of all, just in time for ......ummmm, winter (?) ...... the City of Winnipeg has started painting out designated bike lanes on some streets in the downtown. I saw one over the weekend on Hargrave and the FreeP picked up the story today Designated bike lanes added downtown.

It sounds a little fancier than it really is. The bike "lanes" are that portion of the curb lane that parked cars open their driver's side door into - you know, where bikes usually travel anyway ? It's sort of like painting "Stand Here" on sidewalks adjacent to bus stop poles. Still, the visibility and recognition is nice in a city where cycling issues seem woefully behind the times.

A second item is that a couple of colleges in the States, (U of New England and Ripon College in Wisconsin) have begun issuing free, personalized, good quality bikes to all freshmen. It's in a bid to save congestion and the need to invest in more traffic and parking related infrastructure on campus. According to the article on CoolTown Studios, Free personalized bikes for university freshmen, the per-centage of freshmen bringing cars to school has dropped from 75% to 25% from last year. Interesting project for universities of businesses here to look at. (Also see the UNE article

Free bikes, Zipcars greet incoming freshmen at UNE for more info on the program).

Police Dept Bicycle Corps c 1912

Now to my summer of cycling..... As you may know from a previous entry I have normally lived in areas of downtown where walking was the easiest form of transportation. My new digs put me outside of that 'walk comfort zone' so I decided that it was time to try out a bike.

My sister lent me an old one of hers and after a $60 tune-up and affixing my nifty retro licence plate I was on the go !

Winnipeg Bike Plate

I am happy to say, three months later, that my bike and me are still intact. I really enjoyed being a cyclist, especially on Saturday afternoons where I'd hop on with my camera and be gone for hours at a time. I'm going to keep it up for a while longer but likely won't be one of those nutty folks riding in the snow ;-)

Update: On Saturday I decided to go check out the bike lanes on bike. It appears that the traffic lanes have each been narrowed to create additional space for the bike lane so you're not right right up against the parked car doors. Not bad, though I noticed that many of the bike symbols had already worn off after just 2 weeks or so of relatively dry, warm weather.

Bike Lane - Hargrave Street

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