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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Davis California

While out west, Quint and I took in a trip to Davis, California. Davis has the highest bike tranportation rate of the nation (25%). We had to check it out. We weren't disappointed.

They had everything needed to encourage people to bike. They had picturesque bike paths:

Where there were highways they built overpaths: and under paths:

Some intersections were so busy the count could be as much as 1000 bicycles PER HOUR! To faciltate all that bike traffic they got creative. Here is a bike roundabout:

And special bike lights:

Bike parking lots were full:

Not detail was over looked. Scattered around town were bike air stations.

It was totally amazing. We went to Sacramento from Davis, riding on a bikeway alongside the interstate the whole way. Living there, it might be possible to never get in a car.
Which makes me wonder why the biking rate isn't higher then 25%. It is very flat out there, almost always sunny weather, doesn't get too cold in winter, and as the Bike director told us, most people live within four miles of town. It is easy to ride bikes to surrounding towns,(Sacramento was only 11 miles away on totaly flat bikeway) and there are trains for furthur commute.
With all the encouragement with facilities and perfect terrain, I would think bike ridership would be up to 75%. I would love to talk to a car driver there and ask why the car? Almost all the reasons that people here give are not valid out there.
Even though the ridership is not as high as the conditions seggest they could be, it was still good to see bike numbers totally unimagined here. I would love to see a 25% ridership here!


Friday, August 15, 2008

Hills of San Francisco

I tried to prepare for the hills of San Fancisco. For those who saw me riding around with big jugs of water in my panniers, I wasn't being crazy. I was trying to get in shape. I would load my bike down and go home by way of Missionary Ridge. Surely there couldn't be anything steeper then Oak Street going up the side of the ridge.

So what did my training get me? This is me on the first hill I came to in San Francisco:

Yep, that is me pushing up the hill. I got into the city, having been met by Quint who had biked down from Portland, Oregon and we had to get something to eat first. We found a wonderful place called the Stinking Rose, where they serve a little bit of food with garlic. I thought it was impossible to eat too much garlic.

But hitting the hill immediately after garlic gouging, I found out different. At this point, I am starting to wonder if I was going to throw up. I didn't. And that was the only hill I pushed up. But that queasy feeling from climbing a hill immediately after eating was repeated frequently through out our stay in San Francisco.

Good food, steep hills and stomach turnover- the three together will always say San Francisco to me!