Sunday, January 3, 2016

Horace Dobbins' Dream Coming True Again

When I think of great Americans, my thoughts veer to the obvious: Thomas Jefferson (- the slave thing); Florence Nightingale; Thomas Edison (-the weird habits thing); Gloria Steinem; and Steve Jobs (- the mean aspects).  And I add to that list Horace Dobbins, who built the first bicycle highway between Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles in 1897.  If he is looking down from above, he has been smiling to see Boris Johnson's planned bicycle highway in London, and Germany's new Autobahn for bicycles, to name a couple.  I think it would really please him if another bicycle highway could connect Pasadena to downtown again, the LA River path being an obvious place to set it up.  What would happen to motorists who could see bicycles whizzing past them while they sit in traffic?  As they saw the Metro speed by them on the Dulles Toll Road, they moved to mass transit in droves.  A similar thing could happen if they saw bicycles float by them.  If you build it, they will come. #startthecyclingrevolution
Apparently no single map does a good job of showing all the possible bike paths, lanes and routes in the Washington, DC area.  This may be ripe for a crowd-sourced effort that includes data posted by all of us.  I would add to the map locations where you can safely change or buy a tube, fill your water bottle, and use the bathroom (sitting down, I mean fellas).  Anyone have an algorithm for that?
That puckish little capitalist model, Citibike, just posted its 10 millionth ride.  And so goes the failure that wasn't what Dorothy Rabinowitz claimed.  Citibike did not herald a dyspotian NYC (any more that the the one that already exists).  It did seem to symbolize a Manhattan of greater accessibility, which can frighten those who cling to their identity by means of exclusion.  So go #Citibike, go!  May many more designated lanes follow.

A corporate event planner, tired of setting up trust seminars and haggling over the cost of rubber chicken, took a cross-country trip on a Citibike share bike.  It was a little more than evocative of Forrest Gump.   The adventure was a far better way to work out a mid-life crisis (or early millennial life crisis) than buying a red sports car and trying to wear clothes that no longer flatter you.  Although if you rode a bike across the country, you could probably begin to wear those clothes again without pushing the boundaries of decency and taste.  #jeffreytanenhaus

#California has now enacted what might seem like a peculiar law to many, but will resonate as sensible to anyone who has ever sat on a hairpin turn on the Pacific Coast Highway north of Stinson Beach in a car or a bicycle.  If more than five cars are stacked up behind a bicycle, the cyclist must pull into the next exit and allow the cars to pass.  I wonder if anyone who takes those long rides near Mendocino has an opinion about this law?  Could it help the image of cyclists, or create another way for cars to bully riders?

So if I see you in the bike lane, or on the bike highway, and you are real person, or a happy, ghostly vision of Horace Dobbins himself, let's be smug,
Elisa P.

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