Saturday, October 31, 2009

Please help Val

You've probably seen him riding around on his Extracycle, with motorboots, cowboy hat, and Snidely Whiplash mustache. Or solving some esoteric bike tech problem at Aaron's. Our own version of Sheldon Brown. Val Kleitz is fighting cancer. Aaron Goss is holding a raffle to raise funds to pay for Val's chemo. Please. Give.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Welcome, Neighbor!

Cycle U is moving into the building at 38th Ave S and Alaska Ave, here in West Seattle -- 3 blocks away from my house.

This is great in that it puts to use one of the complex of buildings formerly occupied by (sometimes larcenous) auto dealerships. I had been wondering what was going to happen to these buildings, and hoping they would not become yet another blight on our neighborhood. (Although, if you argue that an auto dealership is by definition a blight on a neighborhood, then, well, who am I to disagree?)

This is also great because -- it's Cycle U! How cool is that?!

And they say they will have a retail location on site.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Po'Girl BikeWorks Benefit

This came my way. I bought my tickets -- it's Carol & my n ext date night!


Awesome Music in a Great Venue supporting The Best Youth Bike Program in the Country!!!

Mark your calendars! Folk group Po' Girl will be returning to do their second benefit concert for Bike Works! Last year's benefit concert was huge success: the band played to an enthusiastic sold-out crowd, folks loved the musical experience to which they were treated, the musicians loved the audience and the reception they received, all while we raised funds to support Bike Works’ programs! The event is all ages – bring the kids!

Bike Works will be hosting an after-the-show Open House with drinks and snacks (complimentary with concert tickets!!), at our program location just up the block from the concert venue, where guests will have a chance to meet the performers: 3709 S. Ferdinand St., Seattle, WA 98118

Friday - November 13, 2009
Columbia City Theater
Doors open 6:30 PM - Music begins 7:30 PM
Concert followed by Open House at Bike Works
Tickets Available on Brown Paper Tickets for $30.00

ALL PROCEEDS WILL GO TO SUPPORT the Bike Works programs…

Bike Works invests in youth, promotes bicycling as a clean and healthy transportation alternative and form of life-long exercise, and provides affordable bicycle services to the Seattle community ( Bike Works views every bicycle donated, refurbished, and recycled back into the community through its programs as one less bike in the landfill, and potentially one less car on the road.

Po' Girl's music has soulful roots combined with jazz, country, and R&B grooves ( This is framed by their performance on a stunning array of instruments, including the banjo, guitar, clarinet, piano, accordion, gutbucket bass, harmonica, drums, and if that isn't enough...the dobra* well-established, seasoned musicians on its roster, Po' Girl regularly plays to sell-out crowds at top venues and festivals across the U.S. and abroad during their almost constant touring.

Because of an agreement between Po' Girl's booking agent and local venues, the benefit concert can't be promoted publicly over radio or by newspaper. Please pass this email onto your friends or otherwise let others know about the concert!

Hope to see you there!

* Female dobro ;-)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Traffic Justice Summit This Wednesday

This came across my way from Cascade:

Traffic Justice Summit
Wednesday, Oct. 14, 5:30 - 7:30
Seattle City Hall, Bertha Knight Landis Room

Each year in Washington State, nearly 500 pedestrians and bicyclists are killed or critically injured by motor vehicles. Almost none of these drivers are ever held accountable.

In the vast majority of cases, these collisions were found to be the direct consequence of moving violations like speeding, driving while texting, talking on the phone, failing to yield the right of way or just not paying attention. A traffic ticket is the worst the driver can expect if they run you over.

Do you think something is wrong with this picture? We do.

It's time to change the law. Come find out how you can be part of the movement to pass Washington State's Vulnerable User law in January 2010. Hear from your elected officials, prosecuting attorneys, advocates and victims on how this law can help protect vulnerable roadway users.

Have you, as a cyclist or a pedestrian, had a collision with a car? Have you lost a loved one in such a tragic manner? If you'd like to get involved, your help is needed. Your firsthand stories can make all the difference to pass the Vulnerable User Bill. Please, contact us and get involved [more...]

Sponsoring organizations: Feet First, Bicycle Alliance of Washington, Seattle City Council Member Tim Burgess, Seattle City Attorney Tom Carr, Washington State Bicycle Association (WSBA), Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (WAPA), Washington Chiefs of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS), Association of Washington Cities, The Washington Bus. Does your organization wish to support this movement? contact us to get involved


Saturday, October 3, 2009

My Daughter Went To Chile, And All She Got Me Was This Ueber Cool T-Shirt

My Evening With David Byrne

Had an interesting evening with David Byrne & 500 of our closest friends this week.

The format was actually that of a panel discussion -- DB was one of four people -- the other 3 were:

DB tried as much as possible to give equal time to the others. And a lot of the audience's questions were directed to the other 3, very specific questions about policy and plans.

Myself, I would have loved to hear more from DB. He didn't talk about policy issues or planning issues, except for some historical references to the traditions of car-oriented urban planning, and a reference to Jane Jacobs, the woman who turned the tide against the destruction of neighborhoods for the sake of cars in the late 50's to the 70's. (Fascinating woman -- just read reviews of some of her books and of books about her, in New York Review of Books).

Instead, he talked primarily about his experiences, perceptions, and what cycling is to him. I actually found that more interesting than anything else. Policy wonks and planners must, by definition, speak in terms of external outcomes like reductions in CO2 emissions, number of cars on the road, &c. That's all well and good, and I am very appreciative of their hard work -- really, I am. But to me personally (and I'm sure for everyone who was there that night), cycling is rooted at a deeper level -- it is something existential. Even if cars sucked up evil and emitted goodness, I'd still be cycling. Both the physical activity and the effect it has on my well-being, and the way it allows me to experience the world around me. DB spoke about this kind of thing.

There's one observation DB made (can't remember whether he spoke about this or I read it in his book) that stirred a memory. I grew up in Albany, NY. When he wasn't working on Sundays, my father would take me and my brother to the Greek Orthodox church near downtown. (This was by bus -- my father's first car, a used 1959 Plymouth Fury with punch-button transmission, was years in the future). After church, he'd take us down to the Hudson River. When I look at photos of these trips, I remember being terrified, overwhelmed by the structures, the traffic, the noise, the sheer scale of things. These photos show me and my brother standing in a field of weeds, with the Dunn Memorial Bridge in the background.

As hard as it is to believe, at that time, there was no easy access to the Hudson River, the very raison d'etre for Albany. Downtown, Pearl St. (where my mother worked as a seamstress, and my godparents ran a diner), was just a few blocks away, but between downtown and the river were heavily trafficked roads, fences, and rail yards. Even by then, the riverfront was designed for cars, not for people. But my father came from a place where there were few cars, and where access to the water was integral to people's lives. And so, he took us to the river. (It just occurred to me that the first Talking Heads song I ever heard was their cover of Al Green's "Take Me To The River." Hmmm.)

Anyway, I'm just a few pages into DB's book, but I'm very excited about what I'm reading. When I ride to work & back, I get to see our city in ways that I never would by driving, or even taking the bus. I get to see the trucks entering and leaving our port; I know when the salmon are running by the gathering of fishers at the waterfront; I see some of the places the homeless live; I see the longshoremen gathering at the Union Hall for work assignments; I see tugboats nudging barges bound for Alaska down the mouth of the Duwamish.