Monthly Archives: January 2012

Statement of Support – Annapolis Bicycle Master Plan

Annapolis City Council Meeting, January, 9 2012

Mr. Mayor and Council Members, thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Annapolis Bicycle Master Plan.

Auto-based transportation certainly has its place in our city and provides many benefits. However, auto dependence has many negative consequences, such as pollution, sprawling development patterns, unattractive urban development and can be disenfranchising to the young, old and less well off who cannot drive.

As such, I am a strong believer in the concept of non-auto dependent walkable/bikeable urban environments, one of the things I love about living in West Annapolis. Given the relatively compact nature of Annapolis, I believe the Bicycle Master Plan can have a significant impact on improving the rideability (AND walkability) of many areas around Annapolis that are currently very inhospitable except to cars. There is no reason one should not be able to ride a bike safely anywhere in the city. I ride bicycles around Annapolis as both a “spandex cyclist” and as part of my everyday life in street clothes (I rode down here tonight so I didn’t have to deal with finding a parking spot) and have experienced first hand the difficulty of getting around the city safely. From this experience, I have seen that there are many simple, inexpensive projects that can be implemented that would greatly enhance bikeability, such as providing bike/pedestrian only connections between non-through streets. In addition, as a parent of teenage children who are not old enough to drive, I wish there were safer options for them to get around the city providing them personal independence and social interaction with their peers without the need to be chauffeured around in a car.

The Bicycle Master Plan provides a broad spectrum of solutions for solving these problems, some relatively easy and some requiring infrastructure investment. Non-construction initiatives are also inexpensive and will help citizens understand the benefits of bicycles as transportation, which benefits everyone in the community. By approving the plan in its entirety, the city will have both an established strategic framework to guide future development and a list of projects which can be implemented piecemeal. These projects can be done as appropriate with available funding, as adjuncts to other infrastructure projects and as public opinion warms towards bicycling as a transportation mode in our ever increasing energy cost world.

WTF, Cleveland?

Over the last year I have come to the realization that I will never amount to much as a competitive cyclist from a Palmares standpoint, meaning I’m never going to win races or even place in races, and thus my Palmares (“List of accomplishments”) will never get beyond my first race – 1st place in the Greenbelt C race in 2008. The reasons for this are many, take your pick: too distracted to train enough, didn’t pick my parents well enough, worried about injury or many more, yada, yada, yada.

So what’s left? This realization doesn’t mean I won’t keep riding or racing competitively within the above boundary conditions because I love the competitive nature of riding with a group, especially the ABRT people and I will try as best I can to help other team mates in races. But, I have to reevaluate what kind of riding I am going to do to fill the “it feels good to win” itch. The issue is how I define “winning”.

Last year I rode an endurance ride that went from Boston to Windsor VT, 148 miles in a day as part of the Harpoon Brewery to Brewery Ride. Harpoon has a brewery in both places and you ride from one to the other, drink some beer and take a bus back to Boston. It was challenging and very rewarding from a personal accomplishment standpoint, especially since I really didn’t train much for it due to a leg injury. This got me thinking that endurance events are the vehicle that can scratch that itch.

So WTF, Cleveland? I love maps and I enjoy messing with Google Maps, especially the bike route feature. I started looking at off road bike routes and how far one could go on them from this area – there are all of the local trails/routes as well as the C&O and the Great Allegheny Passage all the way to Pittsburgh. Spurred on by former ABRT rider and friend James Prickett’s solo trip to Pittsburgh and back in 2007 (see awesome photo gallery), the fact that I haven’t seen friends in Cleveland for some time, and having recently looked at some maps south of the Cleveland flats, I let Google plot a route from Annapolis to Cleveland. It was pretty good as is, but with some strategic massaging, I got most of it to be off road trails and tow paths. Here’s the route, you can click on it to better explore it:

//ridewithgps.com/routes/10778266/embed

540 Miles. So the planning begins: when, how, what…