Wednesday, September 1, 2010

As The Seasons Turn

It's been a while since I've posted anything. Maybe it's giving up on coffee, which seems to have reduced my overall background anxiety level; maybe it's because I've started to see a naturopath and she's started me on some supplements which target stress; or maybe it's also the approach of fall signaled by the shortening days, something Jack notices in the morning when he gets up (Jack tends to get up early like a lot of old guys). There's a going-inward feeling to fall that calms me.

Whatever the reasons are, I've been feeling a calming in my mood and an increase in energy. I like it. But haven't been driven to write anything.

I read this morning in the Bike Around Bend blog that the League of American Bicyclists (former name: League of American Wheelmen -- I guess "wheelpeople" was adjudged too clumsy, but I like the archaic term "wheelmen" better) has upgraded Bend from "Bronze" to "Silver" category. As the blog says,
The League ranks cities across the U.S. for their bike friendliness based on five criteria: engineering, education, enforcement, encouragement, evaluation and planning. For 2010, Bend has been designated as a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC). That’s an improvement from our initial Bronze designation.
People are often surprised when I tell them that I don't consider San Diego to be particularly bicycle-friendly. I think that the popular images of riding along the coastline suggests that a turn inland will provide an equally nice riding experience.

It ain't so. The automobile has always been the heart of SoCal's transportation experience, with pedestrians coming second and cyclists behind them. Riding around the area it's easy to see that the engineers seldom give any thought to bicyclists: intersections are unsafe, bike lanes vanish abruptly, tossing cyclists out into the typically hurried traffic, and motorists seldom give much consideration to the safety of the two-wheeled citizens sharing the pavement with them. There are many places where there you can't get there from here without riding in fast, dense traffic.

It was interesting to see that the only town in San Diego county that even made the list is Oceanside, a ratty little* coastal community just off the Pendleton Marine base, which came in at the Bronze level.

The full list is here.

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* "Little" in SoCal terms. Oceanside has over 100,000 residents but if you didn't see the "Welcome to Oceanside" signs you'd never know you had crossed from one city into another. The cities abut each other where they are close, sprawl endlessly when there is room to sprawl.

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