The Art of Bike Racks

“The Acorn City” – Raleigh, NC

“The Acorn City” – Raleigh, NC

Some have said that Da Vinci’s sketch books contain drawings of a bicycle.  This may or may not be true but we do know that a bicycle without pedal appeared in 1817.  It enjoyed limited popularity.  In 1870, the first all metal High Wheel Bicycle was introduced and named.   Bicycles have evolved considerably since those days and so have bike racks.

Right from the start, trees, signs, benches, and just about any other immobile objects have been used to secure bicycles.    U racks, wave racks, and bollards remain popular, but many cities are opting for more sophisticated designs.

The Bison in Norman, OK

The Bison in Norman, OK

The “bike station,” is an indoor or outdoor area that houses hundreds of bicycle.  It may also offer lockers, changing rooms, and rental, repair, and sales facilities, such as the one in WashingtonDC. (home.bikestation.com/bikestation-​washingtondc)

The Tomato outside a market Rock Hill, SC

The Tomato outside a market Rock Hill, SC

The Japanese have taken bike storage to a whole other level – below ground.  The bicycle is rolled onto a street level platform that whisks it away until retrieved by its owner. http://youtu.be/yIHrmN_ptJc

Some towns have re-invented the bike rack as street art.  Recently, we learned of the City Center Bike Rack Design competition in which the winning bike rack designs will be placed in City Center Philadelphia.  Other communities have launched or completed similar projects, with some interesting results.

Try it! Go Car Lite!

logoFor the 8th year, Keep Middlesex Moving, (KMM), Middlesex County’s commuter services organization, is joining a worldwide movement to support Car Free Day on September 22, 2013.  Car Free Day started in Iceland, England, and France in 1995 to raise awareness about the negative impacts motor vehicles have on our environment.

KMM will kick off this initiative on September 19, 2013 at Jimmy John’s located at 8 Easton Avenue in the heart of New Brunswick.  WCTC 1410AM’s very own Tommy G will be broadcasting live from Jimmy John’s between 12pm and 3pm.  Prizes will be given away to those who stop by the location during the program run time!

On Car Free Day (9/22/13) or any day during the week of September 15th to September 28th, KMM urges commuters to take the Car Free Pledge and recommends the following alternatives:

 

Use public transportation – a train, a bus, or light rail

Ride a bike or take a walk

Carpool or Vanpool

Bring a brown bag lunch or walk to grab a bite to eat

Work from home

 

Commuters who pledge to go Car Free or Car Lite can register at www.kmm.org.  They will be entered into a drawing to win host of prizes including a $50 gift card from Magyar Bank or a Heldrich Spa Gift Certificate or State Theater New Brunswick Tickets or Rutgers Football Ticket Basket or Fragrance Basket from Firmenich Inc.!   For more information or to register for the event, log on to www.kmm.org .   Deadline for registrations is September 21, 2013.

 

 

 

Pay Attention

Pay-attention1I turned into the street and moved into the right lane.  The light was in my favor and I signaled my intention to turn right.  But, I slammed on my brakes as I made the turn because a bicyclist who ran his red light almost ran into me.  I sat there fuming as he pedaled away totally oblivious to the accident he almost caused.

But there’s more.  A few blocks later, I put on my left turn blinker.  The driver of a car approaching in the opposite direction signaled that he was turning to his left.  Thank goodness I paused a moment before taking the turn.  If I had not, the car left would have crashed into mine because the driver didn’t turn left at all.  He drove straight ahead even as his left turn signal blinked.

If we’re on the road as motorists, pedestrians, or bicyclists, we all have to be careful and watch what we’re doing.  Stop lights are for everybody, those who are driving, walking or bicycling.  Turn signals mean the motorist or bicyclist (who should know hand signals) intends to turn. 

 It’s real simple.  Pay attention. 

The Shore Attitude – Beyond Summer

Beach%20Pic%201The bright sun streaming through your window wakes you up – it’s going to be another hot day on the Jersey Shore. You and your family put on bathing suits, t-shirts and sandals, and walk a couple blocks to that breakfast place for pancakes. Later, you load up the cart for the three block walk to the beach while your eldest rides off on a cruiser bike to meet her friends on the boardwalk. On the walk, you wave hello to your neighbors for the week and stop to chat, while your youngest tugs at your shirt to keep going – the waves are waiting.

Summer vacation is great time to experience the joys of living “car-lite” by walking and biking where you need to go, but why can’t we bring some of that lifestyle and attitude with us when it’s time to return to work and school? Here are some ideas.
Group your walkable errands.

Got places to go near your home or office? Instead of stopping there in your car on your way to/from someplace else, plan ahead and save those errands for an evening or weekend walk. You’ll get things done, and some exercise, too!

Meet the neighbors

While you’re out, take a moment to say hello. Pet the dogs, sniff the flowers, and take a moment to enjoy your neighborhood.

Encourage your children

Show your children how to get around their neighborhood on foot and by bike, then encourage them to make that choice. Don’t just drive them because you can, or because “it’s hottttt,” “it’s colllld,” “it’s raining,” or “I have a backpack.” Make sure they’ve learned and practiced crossing the street and bicycling safely.

Ride slow.

Just because you’re home, doesn’t mean you have to be racing your bike. Where would you ride at a leisurely pace? To the coffee shop? The pool? A friend’s barbecue?

Any clothing is bike clothing.

If you can ride to the beach in a bathing suit and flip-flops, you can ride at home in, well, anything that works for the weather. Wear a helmet, and use lights at night (a front white light and a red rear light).