Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Road Report #1

I've been meaning to start filing a weekly road report, of roads around Boston that are either really great for cycling (or walking or driving) or else really suck.  I'm guessing most of them will be about ones that really suck, but I'll try not to get too negative.

Our first candidate:

The downramp in Charlesgate (right near the Fens) that leads down to Commonwealth Avenue. 

I'm using this ramp pretty often this summer, whenever I need to get to Cambridge (I have a fun theatre gig at MIT) or Beacon Hill.  I'm a big believer in avoiding biking on sidewalks as much as possible.  And this sidewalk is very narrow and sometimes has people walking on it.

However, driving on the road presents a very difficult challenge, because on the right hand side of the ramp are a series of divots in the concrete that run perpendicular to the road, and are a couple inches deep.

This isn't the greatest photo, but they're deeper than they look, and there is a series of three, so you can't just hop over one, because if you try, you land on another one.  They're deep enough and sharp enough to rattle your teeth, and certainly readjust (mal-adjust) several mechanisms on your bike.

For now the solution is either to try to survive them and hope not to pop a tire or crash into the cars next to me, drive in the lane (but this is impossible, because the cars drive way too fast down the ramp and don't leave any room), or ride on the sidewalk.

I'm not sure who is actually responsible for this road.  I suspect it might actually be the state, rather than the city.  If anyone has any good suggestions for who to call, please let me know. This is definitely hazardous spot, but one that's hard to avoid, because it helps me get across the Turnpike.

Here's where it is on the map, in case you're interested:

View Larger Map

Monday, July 26, 2010

Weekly Tally #6: How I Got Around Last Week

Here's the quick stats for last week:

walking:  15.6 miles
biking:   76.2 miles
car (zipcar): 10 miles

We needed zipcar to get to a party in Medford, because it would have taken forever to get there by T, and it was too far too go with my son.  This might be the most I've biked in a single week.  I can definitely feel my legs getting much stronger as the summer progresses.

If I ever get a tattoo...

If I ever get a tattoo (not that I'm planning on it), maybe I'll get one like my friend Jeff has:

The text reads, (translated), "In the city, two wheels is best."  But it sounds cooler in Latin.  (What doesn't?)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

bike city: Copenhagen

I happened to stumble upon an interesting bike advocacy site:  peopleforbikes.org, and on their blog, they've got a great post about Velo-City 2010, the world's largest bike advocacy and planning conference, which took place in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Talk about an amazing city for riding bikes.  Definitely check out the blog post.  I love their system of sidewalk/bike lanes/car lanes.  And talk about strong goals--their goal is to have 50% of all travel in the city done by bike.  I sure would love to see Boston move farther in that direction.  And now I want to visit Copenhagen in a serious way.

There's also this cool video about Copenhagen and bikes:

Weekly Tally #5: How I Got Around Last Week

I kept track again this week.  No zipcar this week, though we did a get a ride from a friend.  The heat (yet again) made getting around awfully hot some days.  No T rides at all this week.  Lots of bike miles (more than 50).

In the past five weeks, since I've been keeping track, I've ridden the bike more than 200 miles, which is more than I would have expected.

So, last week, here's how I got around:

walking:  3 miles  
bike:  6.6 miles

walking: 2 miles
bike:  8 miles 

walking:  2.75 mile
bike:  4 miles

walking: 2 miles
bike:  11.6 miles

walking:  2 miles
bike:  11 miles

walking: 3 miles
bike:  5.6 miles

walking:  3.2 miles 
bike:  1.6 miles
car:  10 miles (our friend Joe gave us a ride to a picnic)

walking:  ~18 miles
bike:  50.8 miles
T: 0 miles
Car:  10 miles

Monday, July 12, 2010

Weekly Tally #4: How I Got Around Last Week

I kept track again this week.  We rented a zipcar on Thursday to pick up Noah from the beach and run errands.

So, last week, here's how I got around:

walking:  2 miles  
bike:  4 miles

walking: 2 miles
bike:  11.2 miles  (SUPER hot outside on this day.  I was pretty wiped out.)

walking:  4 mile
bike:  0 miles
boat:  35 miles (Tracy and I took the ferry from Boston to Salem.  It's about a 50-minute ride.  $20 round trip.  I love being able to get around by boat, and it was the perfect way to travel on a very hot day.)
T:  8 miles

walking: 3 miles
bike:  2 miles
zipcar:  180 miles

walking:  3.5 miles
bike:  4.5 miles

walking: 2 miles
bike:  6.8 miles

walking:  2 miles 
bike:  4 miles

walking:  18.5 miles
bike:  32.5 miles
T: 8 miles
Car:  180 miles
Boat:  35 miles

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bike sharing in Boston gets $3m federal grant - The Boston Globe

Looks like Boston really will end up getting bike sharing. I'm thrilled--not because we're likely to use the rental bikes (we already own our bikes), but because it puts more cyclists on the roads and will cause Boston to pay more attention to bike lanes and traffic patterns that include bicycles.

Bike sharing in Boston gets $3m federal grant - The Boston Globe

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Weekly Tally #3: How I Got Around Last Week

I kept track again this week.  We rented a zipcar on Sunday to take the kids down to the beach to stay with Grandma (Tracy and I get some time to ourselves!).

So, last week, here's how I got around:

walking:  2 miles  
bike:  9 miles

walking: 1 mile
bike:  15 miles  (I was kinda tired after this day of multiple trips)

walking:  1 mile
bike:  5 miles

walking: 2 miles
bike:  4 miles

walking:  4 miles
bike:  5.2 miles

walking: 2 miles
bike:  2 miles

walking:  2 miles 
bike:  0 miles
car (zipcar):  200 miles

walking:  14 miles
bike:  40.2 miles
T: 0 miles
Car:  200 miles

This week, it seems like the trick is going to be surviving the heat.  Walking and biking mile after mile get a little tougher in the 90 degree temps.

Monday, July 5, 2010

there is a bike train from Boston to Newburyport

A recent Boston Globe article says that there's a special bike coach that riders can take from Boston up to Cape Ann, to do a little coastal riding, checking out the beaches and shore up near Rockport and Ipswich.  I'm going to have to check it out later this summer.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Chinese Zodiac Dragon Tattoo

Dragon Tattoo Chinese zodiac.
By Me !!!!!

Different cultures. And a different zodiac sign. In general, however, only 12 names and zodiac sign.

In Asia, there are two different. Astrology Zodiac same system that the world's second most populous country is. India and China. Both have different zodiac symbols.

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From your birth year is not difficult. To find your Chinese zodiac sign. But always see lunar calendar. China prior to any decision. If you were born in the period since. Early in January or February and then the western calendar year of your birth. May vary according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

The twelve animals represented. The twelve zodiac symbols. For the tattoo zodiac. Chinese astrology, you can choose animals that are drawing your tattoo or you may choose China's animal characters are drafting your

12 animals in the Chinese zodiac is the Rat, Bull, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig all the best tattoo designs Tattoo artists can draw designs are very creative and animal shapes.

But that may be cheaper and easier. Best sketches and exciting tattoo symbol of these animals in Chinese

Find a good tattoo sketches Chinese zodiac is not the best paid or free gallery of tattoo designs have little space for Chinese tattoo designs. Not a traditional tattoo shop. Good sources of the Chinese zodiac tattoo.

Chinese Tribal Dragon Tattoo

Chinese Tattoos - Meaning of Chinese Tribal Dragon Tattoos.
By Me !!!!!

Chinese tattoos are popular. Always significant. Phase One of them, Dan. Of criminals and mafia Now it seems even Hollywood celebrities seem to have caught the mystery and charm of the Far East. While not deny that one. Classic Chinese popular locations can easily access either one. Be often subtle meanings or not.

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Hope that those who were tattooed to their research and consultation with native Chinese speaker about the meaning before being inked, some say China is not fortuitous body tattooed with Chinese symbols which when translated into meaning.

Most Chinese tattoo should be. Ideas such as love and the quality or strength. Please note that the concept of point Intends to speak English and the level of "peace, love and happiness" is. They can understand.

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Dragon China

For centuries the Chinese dragon. Symbol of power and mystery. Shown in numerous legends. East and West, dragon has provoked people to fear and worship it. In medieval Europe, it is a cruel evil, with light breathing - maliciously and ferociousness. It struck fear in all. But in Asia will be the same across the mighty dragon animal The legendary long celebration for the great wisdom and compassion. Chinese dragon with the symbol. Each of the cultural identity of the Far East.

In fact, Chinese people around. The world is known affectionately as the "lungs Chuan de ren" or children "dragons" have several different Chinese dragon Horned Dragon considered mightiest Blue Dragon supports the heavens and protects the Gods rule Earth Dragon of earth spirit Dragon control Treasure Dragon wind and rain to keep the precious metals and gems.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Numbers Are In

It's now been more than a year since we got rid of our car.  Last weekend, Tracy added up our transportation costs for the past year, as well as for the year prior, so we can see how much money we saved by getting rid of our car.  (If at all.)

Keep in mind that it's not like we never drive a car--we use zipcar and other rental cars when we need them.  And that costs money.  As does bike repair and T passes.

So here are the totals:

In our last year with the car, 2008-2009, here's what we spent on transportation:

T-pass/subway:  $520.30
Gas:  $1,293.69
Insurance: $829.35
Car repair:  $1,839.35
Tolls/parking:  $484.95
Monthly parking:  $720.00

TOTAL:  $5,687.64

So last year, without a car, here's what we spent:
Bicycles (repair, class, supplies, and new (used) bikes for both kids):  $896.10
Car rental (not zipcar):  $939.17
Walking:  $42.48  (shoe inserts, but not shoes)
T/Subway:  $558.72
Zipcar:  $1,033.95

TOTAL:  $3,470.42

So, by getting rid of our car, last year we saved:  $2,217.22  (or about $184.77 per month).  Last year, when we were getting started on this, we'd estimated that we'd save about $170 in cash every month

Some things to keep in mind: 
  • the car costs from the last year with the car did not include the purchase cost of the car (it was paid off a long time ago).  If you spread out the cost of buying the car over all the years we owned it, that was about $150/ month (I figured this out last year.)
  • our bike costs might go down a bit in the next year because this year each of the kids got a new (used) bike via Craig's List, we bought a trailer, and I learned how to do basic repairs on the bikes, so even though there will still be some shop visits, they should be fewer.
  • We spent more on zipcar and rental cars than we'd planned, but I think we were pretty satisfied with how it worked out.  We got to visit family when we needed to and took field trips that we wanted.
  • Not only did we save money, we also put a lot less emissions into the air.  And we got a lot of great exercise and fresh air.
  • In our daily lives, because we live in a very walkable, urban area, not having a car didn't end up costing a lot more time.  Grocery shopping by bike doesn't take a lot longer than by car, and other errands, by the time you get in the car, find a parking space, park the car, get out of the car, aren't a lot faster by car than on foot or bike.  This wouldn't be the case if we lived in the suburbs or country.
So it's been a big success so far--we're saving money, getting fit, and doing a small (tiny) bit for the environment.  I'd say we're in no hurry to go out and buy a car.