Friday, July 11, 2008

Cycling has saved my life!!

Image found here.

Well, not really, or not yet. But I do feel at times as though I've gotten religion. Did you know, for example, that of major metropolitan areas, Wichita ranks third from the bottom in the percentage of people who bike-commute? The city also, coincidentally, has one of the lowest average commute times in the U.S. (16.5 minutes), which tells you that the city is (still) pretty compact, doesn't have a lot of traffic AND, thus, would be ideal for bike-commuting if it had, you know, a few dedicated bike lanes.

Still, you'll probably breathe a huge sigh of relief to learn that it's not my intention to fill up this space with cycling posts, especially ones focusing on Wichita-specific matters.

So, um, I've started up another blog for that: the unimaginatively-titled Cycling in Wichita. Over there, you'll find lots of talk about local stuff, links to cycling-advocacy groups, cycling clubs, blogs, NGOs dedicated to getting bikes to people in impoverished countries, and the very cool Veloroutes, which uses Google Maps to let you map out routes; calculates distances, times and speeds; and even calculates changes in elevation and grade. You'll see an occasional cross-post from over there pop up here, but in general those of you who prefer good old Blog Meridian to remain secular in tone will, for the most part, avoid being evangelized.

Anyway. If you're at all curious, I hope you'll pay the occasional visit over there.


emawkc said...

On a tangent... I would mention that the two American teams (an unprecedented number) in the Tour de France this year are having a great first week.

Team Columbia is in second place in the team category, and both Columbia and Garmin-Chipotle have men in the top 10 in the individual category (Kim Kirchen for Team Columbia is leading the race, Thomas Lovkvist also of Team Columbia is in 10th, and Christian Vandevelde and David Millar of Garmin-Chipotle are in fourth and seventh place respectively).

They still have miles to go before they sleep, but overall a very strong showing from the American teams.

R. Sherman said...

I am reminded of some years back, pre-offspring, when the EMBLOS and I did more recreational cycling. One Saturday, we were way out in the SE Missouri Ozarks and stopped to get gas. I was wearing bike pants and jersey and went inside to pay among all the hog farmers and locals.

"Nice pants," said one particularly grizzled rancher, standing there in his Skoal Longcut stained Tony Lamas.


Good luck on your missionary efforts.


R. Sherman said...

I forgot to mention. If your of a mind, you should come in our direction and check out the Katy Trail State Park, a rails to trails initiative which runs up the Missouri River. Easy cycling, scenery, picturesque towns and B&Bs.

Definitely worth a visit.


zunguzungu said...

Amen, brother!

Lucas said...

i see that KC ranks dead last (or dead first...) at 0.0%! way to go guys! Thats just because all these hipsters that ride around here stinking up the coffee shops are mostly unemployed, otherwise that'd be upwards of like %15....

Russell Arben Fox said...

John, evangelize all you want! I'm a devotee of this particular religion myself. I'd love to see some more bike lanes sprout up in would certainly make my daily crossing of Tyler a lot easier...

John B. said...

Thanks, all. Randall, that story is priceless; if I'd been with you, I would have had to laugh. And thanks for the tip on the Katy Trail; I've mused a bit about touring--the Flint Hills, east of Wichita, are tailor-made for that sort of thing. But I need to get in better shape, and I'd need another, lighter bike for that.

Lucas, the blog where I found the census data talks about how only work commutes were considered in the survey; left out were all those other trips cyclists make. Also, he noted that ethnic minorities and lower-income people, who rely on bikes for getting around much more than do whites and people higher up on the economic ladder, tend to be underrepresented in such surveys. All that's a long-winded way of saying that, despite KC's ranking, I've bumped into some good bike-commuter blogs from there, one of whose writers says that from week to week he's seen a steady increase in bike-commuters. I know that's been the case here in Wichita just in the couple of weeks that I've been riding. Perhaps Russell can attest to this from his west-side perspective?

Thanks for affirming me in my faith.