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#1 Re: Organizations » Local bicycling icon Fred Meredith passed away in April 2019 » 2019-09-08 17:44:23

Thanks for posting this, I didn't know either.  I remember Fred giving me advice when I took a bike commuter work shop from him, YEARS ago ( 1995 or so?). He said " wear black shorts so you can wipe the grease off from changing a tire" and "Don't war racing jerseys, it just pisses car drivers off; better to look like a just another working schmuck."

Advice I took to heart and benefitted from more than once...

#2 Roadway hazards » Take back those 3' with a pool noodle » 2019-05-19 09:39:23

Replies: 1

This article discusses using a pool noodle tied crosswise to the back of your bike to claim the 3’ passing distance cars should (but often don’t) give you. … ket-newtab

The best cycling hack is a pool noodle — Quartz -
The pool noodle may look silly, but since strapping it on our loads, it has made our lives safer every day. (Plus, it’s a fun conversation starter at pitstops, and it also reminds us not to take ...

I’ve use a similar item—a gray foam pipe insulator with reflective tape on it—that only sticks out maybe a foot to the left of my pannier, but it has definitely helped; I note that Austin drivers give me more room than they used to.  But it sags a bit, so I’m going to upgrade to a pool noodle because it stays more horizontal.

#3 Re: Other » Training for cycling instructor--where are the classes and seminars? » 2018-05-17 22:40:46

Thanks, you pointed me to a page on the LAB site I hadn't found through my own navigation.  And now I'm aware of the Cycling Savvy and Center for Cycling Education class curricula.  But the bottom line is, I see no basic classes from any provider currently scheduled in Austin.  That's a change from years past when there seemed to be classes regularly scheduled several times a year.  Maybe the volunteers are are tired out, or maybe there's no demand now for cycling classes, dunno.  Anyway, I appreciate the pointers.

Elizabeth Gray

#4 Other » Training for cycling instructor--where are the classes and seminars? » 2018-05-16 17:43:38

Replies: 8

I was poking around the League of American Cyclist website trying to find info on becoming an instructor.  But I had NO luck:  links to sign up for email lists are dead, I cannot find a single cycling class (now called Smart Cycling, apparently, though when I took it years ago it was Traffic Safety 101) even listed on the calendar, nor any seminars for training of trainers.  Is some other organization handling cycling classes?  The "Connect Locally" search does reveal all the instructors and organizations for the searched area (scroll down) but I don't want to bother someone if the info is available on the web.

Elizabeth Gray

#5 Roadway hazards » 311 service requests for cleaning bike lane debris » 2018-05-16 17:35:37

Replies: 2

I had reason to mark a full year that I have been riding across the gravel-covered, garbage-ridden, leaf-piles-and small-branch-strewn westbound bike lane on the bridge across Shoal Creek at 29th St.  So I used the mobile 311 app to open a service request (I was standing on the bridge, but the address came in 2900 Lamar St.).  In my complaint, I stressed it was a safety issue: deep gravel forces you into the car lane.  After two weeks, no action, so I called 311 and they opened another ticket, tied it to the first one, with comments and a corrected address.  After another week, still no action so I complained to my council member.  Within two days, the bike lane is FINALLY clear.  Until the next overflow of Shoal Creek, I supposed, but at least it's clean for now.

I'm curious what sort of response others have had to similar 311 service requests.

#6 Bike Lanes / Facilities » Cyclists were first advocates for better roads--late-1800s » 2018-02-20 16:13:58

Replies: 2

Recently I visited the Henry Ford Museum near Detroit, Michigan, saw an interesting display with this verbiage, accompanied by a picture of a very busy-looking road in godawful condition, unpaved, muddy, rutted:

Avid bicylists were the earliest and most vocal advocates for better roads.  Their lobbying efforts became a full-fledged movement and led to the creation in 1894 of the first federal roads agency.  As automobiles gained popularity, motorists took up the "good roads" battle cry. 

We are still at it, aren't we.

#7 Re: Equipment (Discussion, For sale) » 20% of electric bike kits through 10/6/17 » 2017-10-02 09:06:52

Even on sale, the e-bike kits listed here are more expensive than the Hill Topper (front wheel) conversion I've used now on two bikes.  I am very happy with it.  From the company Clean Republic.


#8 Re: Other » GoFundMe campaign provides bikes for kids makes me uneasy » 2017-05-23 08:30:34

Good list of real-world methods and strategies on "how to ride safely".  But what is the purpose of "standing on their pedals and bouncing up and down when they're approaching a car creeping out on a side street"?  What does the bouncing communicate to the driver of the car--does it make the bike more visible?

Lit up like a Christmas tree, I agree, but not only for nighttime: I use my front white light during the day after reading about one-too-many cars turning into the path of an oncoming bike.

Also, a minor quibble:  you mentioned "medicated old people plowing into recreational cyclists on a shoulder"--anyone can be medicated, it is not a function of age.

#9 Justice Issues / Collisions » Spoke wire car wheel rims--can these be legal?? » 2016-11-07 19:16:03

Replies: 3

I am seeing more and more of these "spoke wire" wheel rims that stick out from the wheel.  Today a car passed me with rims that stuck out at LEAST 12" on each side.  I was aghast--these rims protruded to the left and right beyond the road lane markings on both sides.  The rims are invisible to the driver of the car, so I have zero confidence he is really aware of the space he is taking up (I say "he" because all my observations have been of people who appear to identify as male).

These things are lethal, lethal.  Can they be legal?  My husband says they are not allowed in Europe.  What can we do?

Elizabeth Gray

sample: … cDCvcnM%3A

#10 Re: Organizations » Should I accept the award from Bike Texas? » 2016-09-21 21:38:22

Of course you should accept it.  No just for past, but for present services: As klunky as this list is, I still read it and find out things that I wouldn't otherwise be aware of.  And other people use it too, because they keep posting--some bikesforsale, sure--but also lots of other items.

And as long as I am at it, I had an interesting conversation with a man who is doing his Master's Thesis at Texas State on motivations of people who ride bikes as a way of life.  His thesis proposal includes a lot of history (remember the bike wars: cyclists who were totally against separate bike lanes vs those who said physical infrastructure was key?), review of bike sociology, if you will. … g-Proposal

#11 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Cyclist Stephen Arthur Guiney, 55, killed on 12/22/15 on Brodie Ln. » 2016-01-04 10:49:15

From someone in APD:

"You can put in a PIR if you’d like to know more specifics, however I believe it is still under investigation so they probably can’t release anything just yet.

He was riding on the shoulder going the wrong way (riding southbound in the northbound lane).

It’s case # 15-3560291 if you’d like to put in a formal request with records."

#12 Justice Issues / Collisions » Challenging mentality of "you can't blame people for making a mistake" » 2015-04-15 16:10:31

Replies: 7

Starting a new thread regarding the recent crash death in Lost Creek.  Someone in a large TX municipal police force (not a cop, but handles crime records) wrote the following about whether the driver would be charged:

"Most likely he’ll receive a Failure to Yield Right of Way citation. 

Unfortunately, that’s often the only thing a driver can be charged with on many fatalities.  We’ve had at least 3 motorcycle fatalities in the past 6 months where it was just that – the car didn’t see the motorcyclist, hit and killed them and was issued a FTYROW citation.  It’s awful, but on the other hand, people make mistakes and law enforcement can’t really charge every person who made a mistake with a  crime.  On a positive note, our vehicular homicide unit has just recently been assigned a DA to help determine if there’s a way to file tougher charges in cases where it is possible.  But in general, that’s only going to be where someone did two things wrong/negligent – ran a red light and had a suspended driver’s license, for example. "

So, if they didn't MEAN to do it, there's a defense of mistake?  Is there any legal precedent where lack of intent is NOT a defense--e.g. careless use of a gun, leaving a child in a car in the summer, hitting someone on a bike...?

#13 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Car kills cyclist Tom Wilkinson, 53, in Lost Creek, 4/1/15 » 2015-04-08 20:37:22

Yes, it was Tom W.  I am assured that "APD will track this" with an investigation...but who knows.

#14 Re: Commuting/Routes » LBL to Walnut Creek South? » 2014-08-02 12:35:29

Riffing on the first route suggested: I suggest Tillery St. as a great n/s alternative to Pleasant Valley--low speed, and crosses under 7th st so eliminates that intersection as a hassle. On my daily work commute, coming from Krieg Fields, I go north on PV, cross Cesar Chavez, take the next right onto 2nd, then left onto Tillery.  Take that up to Lyons and proceed as suggested earlier.
Elizabeth Gray

#15 Bike Lanes / Facilities » Art in public places: almost-useless bike racks @ new West Austin pool » 2014-06-16 09:13:24

Replies: 0

The new "portal" to the West Austin (Enfield and MoPac) pools is really cool looking--except the bike racks are not functional.  I have a normal bike and it didn't fit properly into the front-wheel slot, and it was impossible to lock my bike to the rack with a U-lock.  You would need a cable to lock, and a very long one to grab your back wheel too.  The supposed bike parking is not "functional" like the dedication plaque inset into the ground says.

According to the City's Art in Public Places web site (policies page), "For each AIPP project, a Selection Panel of visual art professionals is established for the purpose of making an artist/artwork recommendation. A selection panel is comprised of 3-5 jurors, depending upon the size and complexity of the individual project."

So I'm assuming a bunch of non-cyclists panelists thought "oh, great, looks really good and it has functionality to boot--bike racks"  But no one reviewed it as far as this unique design actually being worthwhile for bikes.

Am I wrong--did this receive any review from someone knowledgeable about bike parking?  Has anyone in the City tried before to catch these errors before they become permanent art installations?

I know I've seen pictures on the web of other creative designs for bike racks that didn't function well, but it's the first time I've experienced it here in the Austin.

Elizabeth Gray

#16 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Video of Austin cops' arrest of jaywalker goes viral » 2014-04-02 20:55:16

Yep--sudden pedestrian moves into the path of a bike:  I ride at 5:30 am from west Austin through downtown on 5th St.  Nice bike lane with a separation....but recently a running group with a couple dozen people has taken to running in the bike lane.  And forcing me, therefore, into the regular traffic lane, where the cars zoom by at a pretty good pace.  Just the other morning, they were running in the same direction, I had to pass them on the left--in the regular traffic lane--and a runner who was passing some of his running buddies made a move right in front of me.  I had cars to the left of me, a horde of people on my right, and he saw me/heard me JUST in time to interrupt his dodge towards me.  It was very close.  I guess from now on, I'm going to yell "Bike!  Bike!  Bike" as I pass...

#17 Re: Commuting/Routes » Just moved back to East Austin » 2014-03-25 20:41:45

What about the new South Walnut Creek trail? … essed_.pdf  Pick it up at Govalle Park (Airport and Bolm), ride ~5 miles to 183 and Loyola; not sure how far the trail is complete towards Manor yet but total distance will perhaps be 15 miles one way.

#18 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » APD's on the bike lane » 2014-01-09 21:21:04

I was on this very same road this morning, and--once again--there were cars parked on Webberville in the bike lane, at the foot of Samuel Huston (waiting to deposit their kids on the school bus, I guess).  I stopped for the nth time to ask a woman to please just park on the other side of the street where there is both a parking and a bike lane.  She said "a police car just went by and didn't ask me to move."

That is a particularly dangerous place to have to swerve into traffic.  It's at the bottom of a hill, regularly traveled by dump trucks and heavy equipment.

IS there a way to have a constructive dialogue with APD?

#19 Commuting/Routes » Does Ben Wear own a bicycle? » 2014-01-09 20:46:17

Replies: 8

I am fuming over the opinions embedded in the "news story" about changes to the Chesar Chavez merge onto Lake Austin Blvd.  For example, Ben Wear says no cyclists use the new bike/ped-friendly intersection because Johnson Creek Trail is a better route.  Well for crying out loud:  Johnson Creek is north/south, and that intersection is for people going west.

I seem to recall reading one of his columns years ago, that he said he doesn't have a bike.  Anyone know if that is still true?


Elizabeth Gray

#20 Re: Bike Lanes / Facilities » The Walnut Creek Trail System » 2013-11-18 21:25:55

We had a delightful late Sunday afternoon ride, exactly one hour at a leisurely pace, from Jain Lane to East Side Y and back (I think that's the current extent of the Southern Walnut Creek [?] trail).  Lovely passage through woods, creekside, meadows, along the golf course.  Highly recommended!

#21 Re: Other » Do we need more police for hike and bike trails? » 2013-04-11 16:47:32

The point is to use our tax dollars in the most effective way for crime prevention.  Predictive policing, using data to ascertain trends and pro-actively assign officers to specifically address those areas/issues has proven WAY more effective than random patrols.  Ask APD: they've invested lots of money in their COMPSTAT program, because that is what works.

Cops are expensive, and I want to pay for results, performance based.  And as a woman--please allow us to speak for ourselves-- I would much rather have the predictive policing going after the known (after analysis, the unknown becomes visible/obvious) problem than random patrols.

Hiring 24 cops to cruise the trails is expensive, relatively ineffective, and does infringe on my desire not to live in a police state.

#22 Re: Other » Do we need more police for hike and bike trails? » 2013-04-10 18:11:27

Thanks, Michael--They are asking for 100 total and only some of those are for bike trails.  I appreciate the clarification--I knew that but didn't write my post clearly at all.  And, I am going to write my Councilmembers and tell them I don't think these 24 cops are needed for trails.  The paper has not reported any opposition to APD's proposal, and I think it's important for the Council to know that not everyone agrees with this.  I encourage others to share their feelings as well.


#23 Other » Do we need more police for hike and bike trails? » 2013-04-08 17:09:41

Replies: 14

Today's A A-S letter to the editor spurred me to action on this:  why do we need 100 more police just because we are opening the trails at night? 
1.  The letter writer asked, in essence, aren't they patrolling these areas already, especially since they were, until being opened, "deserted" and therefore perhaps more subject to crime?

2.  My knowledge of police strategy is that random patrols have pretty much been discredited as an effective means of crime prevention (see … df#page=73, … sGuide.pdf and many others), which is why so many PDs have adopted COMPSTAT--including AFD!--on the theory that crime and disorder are heavily concentrated, and you can be most effective allocating resources based on crime statistics: where have crimes happened? So do we have any evidence that crime goes up when trails are open at night?  Were there many crimes reported on them before?

4. I don't feel safer with police all over the place!  It actually makes me uncomfortable, like Big Brother is there.  Why not a "Neigborhood Watch" for the trails, instead?  They did it in Utah and the Int. Assoc. of Chiefs of Police said it was a great idea:

So has anyone else had concerns about why we need all these extra police?  This is a LOT of money, takes resources from other things, and comes out of our pockets.


Elizabeth Gray

#24 Re: Justice Issues / Collisions » Gabrielle Nestande DWI hit-&-runs Courtney Griffin on Exposition, 2011 » 2013-02-26 18:34:07

We have a LONG row to hoe regarding pedestrian facilities and political awareness.  Case in point:  I work in a City-owned building at the corner of Ed Bluestein and Techni-Center (the old Tracor buidling, for those who have been around awhile).  There is a traffic light at the intersection, but no bike or pedestrian facilities whatsoever to cross.  Last week, a City employee received a warning from a City of Austin cop that crossing 183 by foot was illegal, and she needed to use the nearest crosswalk (the overpass at MLK; a half-mile away with no sidewalk or even frontage road to reach it!).  We've been told that this is a TXDOT intersection, and we need to wait 3 years until the toll road is extended to this section of 183, then there will be pedestrian facilities.  Cap Metro buses used to cross over to this side, but now there are at least 4 people I see regularly during my commute dodging the cars to cross 183 to the bus stop on the other side. I doubt pedestrian facilities were even considered when the City bought this building 7 years ago.

Elizabeth Gray

#25 Re: Commuting/Routes » New lane on Bluebonnet » 2012-08-21 16:59:56

You feel safer because you ARE safer.  The smallest, least physical barrier (including, incredibly, red plastic beer cups stuck to the road with duct tape) apparently change driver behavior, and they stay OUT of the bike lane.  At least, that's what this article says: … anes/3015/

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