Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fireworks to light up the night sky

Today would not be a good day for bicycling in Hawaii. We are one of the few places in the USA where New Years Eve is celebrate by a plethora of fireworks--both legal (with permit) and illegal (aerials and bomb like devices).
Hopefully the trade winds will return tomorrow, blow away the smoke, and I can get back to the serious business of riding my bike for both exercise and pleasure. M

Monday, December 28, 2009

President Obama visits Hawaii

Never a dull moment here in the islands. The Obama family is spending a well earned vacation in Hawaii. Noted that the girls were presented with bicycles to ride while they are here. I guess their Dad prefers golf.
Also, it was reported that Lance Armstrong and his family are here, and he is training on the Big Island. The weather is perfect for both families and we heartily welcome them to our state.
I took advantage of the good weather to ride around the neighborhood yesterday, and plan to take advantage of the holiday weekend to do more bicycling.
To all, Hau'oli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year) and much success in 2010.
Aloha, Marilyn

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Thirty-foot waves on the North Shore today! Guess I'll have to forego surfing. However, I got on my bike and we took some pictures in the yard. Hope everyone is enjoying Christmas Day. Be safe. Aloha, M

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bikes in the workplace and other stuff.....

I read an interesting article called "It's Time To Recycle Cycling" by Neal R. Pierce in the Washington Post of December 18, 2009 about the new interest in cycling among people like
Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation. Found out there is a Congressional Bike Caucus and the co-chair is a legislator from Oregon, Rep. Earl Blumenaur. Check out the article. This is good news because the upcoming reauthorization of the transportation bill may contain more funds for bicycle lanes etc..
While on a tour of the Tesoro Refinery in Kapolei, Oahu, on Tuesday, I noted the workers going from station to station on their bicycles. What a great way to get exercise and save energy at the same time. Using bikes in the workplace is not a new idea, but I think it is gleaning more serious consideration from the powers that be.
Beautiful day here and great for riding my bike. The road is dry, it is sunny and just a little cool. To all, a very Happy Holiday Season. May Peace , Joy and safe bicycling fill your New Year.
Aloha, Marilyn

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lucky you live Hawaii!

Today is a glorious winter day with blue skies and the temperature hovering around 75. It will warm up to about 83 later in the day with soft trade winds to cool beachgoers.
My bicycle license arrived in the mail yesterday, and this morning my son John and I attached it to the red bike.
The license is permanent and does not need to be renewed. The bike shop in Aiea helped me with the application when I picked up my bike last month.
John and his new wife Ali are kind of jealous of my bike--needless to say, it is beautiful and easy to ride. The Christmas season is so hectic it is a little hard to find the time, but so rewarding when I do. Stay safe and do good this season.
Aloha, M

P.S. "lucky you live Hawaii" is what the locals love to remind themselves about despite tough times.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bicyclists are not pedestrians

The high rate of pedestrian deaths in Hawaii is being targeted by the Honolulu Police Department, and rightly so as many fail to obey our crosswalk law. Bicyclists have to obey the law as well. Please remember to use a bell or horn to warn walkers you are behind them. It is illegal to ride on the sidewalks. Common courtesy requires a least a warning to the pedestrian who cannot hear the approach of a bicycle. Courtesy will do a lot to change public perceptions of bicyclists. M

Monday, December 14, 2009

The future of bike lanes

I read a fascinating article about bike lanes in the New York Times Magazine this weekend.

Here's what the article says:

Bicycle Highways

The bicycle highway — no red lights, no cars — is every cyclist's fantasy. There are now signs that infrastructure is catching up with the dream. In October 2008, an association of U.S. state-highway officials approved the concept of a national Bicycle Routes Corridor Plan — the first step in potential American bike Interstates. But this amounts to little more than a go-ahead for states to put bike-route signs on existing roads.

Copenhagen, however, began last month to create the real thing: a system of as many as 15 extra-wide, segregated bike routes connecting the suburbs to the center of the city. These are not bucolic touring paths; Copenhagen's bike highways are meant to move traffic. Nearly 40 percent of Copenhagen rides a bike to work. On Norrebrogade, a two-mile street in the center of the city, 36,000 cyclists clog the bike lane every day.

The Bicycle Office of Copenhagen's design calls for service stations (with air pumps and tools for simple repairs) and plans to employ so-called intelligent transportation systems — not unlike the technology that makes the E-ZPass possible. Using handlebar-mounted RFID or GPS technology, for example, commuters could detect other riders on the routes, helping them to assemble into pelotons or "bike buses." These groups could in turn emit signals that trip traffic lights in their favor, resulting in a "green wave" of bicycle momentum.

But Jan Gehl, the Danish architect and infrastructure consultant, warns that as appealing as the bike highway seems, it is not the first step in creating a bicycle culture.

The bicycle highway is needed, he stresses, only after a city is comfortable for bike riders, as Copenhagen is. He considers the hundreds of kilometers of protected bike lanes in central Copenhagen to be a kind of bicycle oasis. "Some cities will go for the bicycle highways and let people fend for themselves once they reach the city," he says. "You get off the highway, and then you're in the desert. In Copenhagen we have first irrigated the desert, then built the highways." WM. FERGUSON

Click here for the original article.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Home from San Diego

I arrived home from San Diego this afternoon. The first two days of my trip were beautiful and I walked around the marina area to see the sights and check out bicyclists. I was surprised and happy to meet up with Shao Ming, a young man from China who is making his second bicycle trip around the USA(he also has biked all around Europe). We had a nice conversation and I purchased one of his paintings which was of the Art Museum in Santa Barbara--a perfect Christmas gift for my son John.

The marina was a perfect place to ride a bike and I was sorry I did not have my red bike with me. The weather turned cold and rainy for the next three days and needless to say I am happy to be back in Hawaii.

Here are some pictures of me and Shao Ming.

Aloha, Marilyn

Monday, December 7, 2009

Maybe tomorrow for the Eddie Aikau?

The news tonight reports that 40 to 50 foot waves are coming in at Waimea Bay. There is a "ninety percent" chance that tomorrow will be the day for the surf competition in memory of the beloved Eddie Aikau.
The roads to the North Shore are full with hundreds who want to see the thunderous waves coming in. So far not much damage has been done, but much of the beach has been lost in some areas.
Last night I was co-emcee for the High School Christmas Concert. When I was introduced, they mentioned I may be seen around town on my red bike!
However, tomorrow I am off to
San Diego for a conference and will return to Hawaii on Sunday. If I can get some computer access there, I will report on the bike paths and bicyclists I see. When I return, hoping Christmas Holiday time will give me a little more leisure time to ride my beautiful bike.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Surf is up--really up!

Yesterday I was in The Mililani Christmas Parade. I really wanted to ride my bike in the parade, but there was no bike contingent. I spoke with the parade organizer and he was enthusiastic about having one next year. I will try to find some bicyclists who are interested for the next parade. I also found out that they are going to move a bike rack outside of the supermarket as I requested. That makes a lot of sense and will be much more convenient for those who want to use their bikes for shopping.

It is beautiful today and the big news is that "Oahu is bracing for monster surf". I would love to be able to feel experienced enough to ride out to the North Shore to look at what is forecast as 40-50 foot waves starting tomorrow, but someday I will be able to accomplish that ride. Meanwhile, I am grateful for the good weather and the close proximity of some smooth road and sidewalk to ride on in Mililani--and for the beautiful bike I am riding.

This is a very busy time of the year for all of us, but those breaks for exercise are a good thing and help me to appreciate our beautiful weather and the scenery which constantly surrounds us. The big surf actually could be hazardous to those who live near the water, and it has not been this big in years. It's height is related to an offshore storm which we don't see--only the ocean tells us it has happened. The Eddie Aikau surf competition may take place this year if the waves are big enough and organized enough.

Do good this season, Marilyn

Thursday, December 3, 2009

at brooklyn museum

at prospect park

back to paradise

I hope I am not repeating myself--I just created a post and it disappeared somewhere in cyberspace.
Sunday was a lovely day in Brooklyn and we walked through Prospect Park where there were swarms of bicyclists riding really fast and enjoying the beautiful weather. We had to wait a few minutes just to cross the street by the bike path.
There were also many bikes tethered to the railing outside of the Brooklyn Museum and at several locations along Eastern Parkway.
At 5am on Wednesday, I left the apartment for the 12 hour flight from Laguardia to Honolulu. I am kind of used to the long flight as I've done it many, many times. When we landed I was so happy to see the green trees and grass and feel the balmy breezes of home. I was pretty tired though.
Today, I had a lot of meetings and hoped to ride a bit when I got home, but a big black rain cloud changed my plans. However, the beautiful red bike was safe and sound under it's two covers, both of which don't fit very well. If anyone knows where to get a nice bike cover, let me know. The weather report for tomorrow and the weekend is good, so I will ride my bike to the bike shop and try to get the mirror installed, and then practice my skills again.
After seeing how New York City can have so many bike paths, my goal is to get some here in Mililani so children and adults will have a safe lane to ride. I envision one the length of Meheula Parkway, our main Street.
In meetings, today, we talked about how important it is to keep physically active--I am grateful to have a chance to ride this bike and keep an active lifestyle.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bike Lanes in Brooklyn and NYC

Here is a pix of a beautiful bike lane on a Sunday morning in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Normally this street would be very busy. I discovered that both Brooklyn and Manhattan have lots of bike lanes. Why can't we do this in Hawaii??????
Also, being proposed is a series of dedicated bike lanes separated by a curb, making them safer. There is a web site which has all the NYC bike paths mapped for the new rider and all others.
A system whereby bikes would be available at the exit of subway stations where people would be able to rent a bike to go a distance and leave it at the next station. This is similar to what they do in Chicago with rental cars. All these good ideas would work in Hawaii--we just need the will to do it.
Aloha, from 40 degree Brooklyn. Will return to paradise on Wednesday, Marilyn

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Here I am in Brooklyn.  The weather is not up to my usual standards,  but good for walking about and shopping,  especially in preparation for tomorrow's meal.
Despite the 50 degree weather,  the traffic and the slight drizzle,  many people here are riding their bikes.  I guess I will have to stop complaining about the traffic and weather in my little town of Mililani.
I am surprised to see that despite the absence of bike racks,  people have their bikes locked up to street signs,  trees and other convenient poles.  
At the entrance to Prospect park,  I saw two people biking with roller skates on their feet.  I assume they were going further into the park to skate. They have ice-skating there in winter,  but I don't think it is cold enough yet. 
 I picked my grandaughters up from school yesterday and there were some parents waiting outside with bikes.  I told the girls that when they come to Hawaii,  Grandma will give them a ride on her bike.(quizzical  looks).
The girls attend a public school, PS 10, in Park Slope.  I noted the school has some bicycles they apparently use as part of PE classes.  The school is old, but has a wonderful warm feeling when you enter.  Everyone is very friendly.
If the weather improves,  I may go to the park with the girls so they can ride a bit. Again, have a happy holiday and be safe.

Aloha, Marilyn

Friday, November 20, 2009

the weekend is here

The weekend is finally here and the weather is sunny and beautiful. I will have a chance to ride my bike on both Saturdayand Sunday, and continue to improve my confidence. On Sunday, I will ride over to the Farmers Market and bring home my purchases in my bike basket. I will really feel clever doing that.
On Sunday evening, I will leave town and fly to Brooklyn to spend Thanksgiving with my sons, and their families. They live close to the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Botanical garden--a great place to visit.
Actually, people who live in the City do a lot of walking and riding. I will be observing them a lot more closely now, and escorting my grandaughters and their bikes for a ride in Prospect Park which is just up the street from their home.
My next two entries will be from Brooklyn. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Aloha, Marilyn

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

riding the bike, finally

The rain and wind has subsided a bit and the roads are more safe for riding this week. I met with my friend David in the Mililani High School parking lot and he gave me some pointers on adjusting the brake speeds--I think it is a case of trial and error, but it is nice to have an expert's input. He said I looked quite sporty in my helmet, but I think that is one part of the biking that I don't particularly like--however, I WILL wear my helmet.
Some of my neighbors looked on approvingly as I rode down the stree(don't know what they said after I left) ,but what a nice feeling to have this new mode of exercise.
Yesterday, I expanded my route to the large block around the high school. The roads are smooth in that area and there was less traffic than I expected. Visited the bicycle shop in Mililani where the man was quite friendly and said he would help me put on the mirror I purchased but couldn't install. There is a bike rack outside his shop and it is not too far from the market, so I could park there to do some grocery shopping in the future.

Aloha, Marilyn

Friday, November 13, 2009

the first week

Noone will believe me when I tell you the weather in Hawaii was terrible this week. Those of you who live in temperate climates have to understand that our temperature hovers around 75-85 fahrenheit year round and the rain in my neighborhood usually falls at night.
However, it was not a good week for me to begin racing around the neighborhood. The streets were wet a lot and at times, there was lightning and thunder. (rare in Hawaii) I stayed mostly on our street (a cul-de-sac) and played around with the gears on the bike. Tried to install the small mirror I purchased but found it too large for the handlebar.
I had lots of time to read THE MANUAL---and frankly found some of the warnings a little scary.
It was good to find out more though, and on Sunday have a date with my friend David for some pointers and a chance to ride in a more wide open area where I can feel fairly safe.
Having this experience has made me more aware of the huge increase in traffic we have had here in Mililani, and made me acutely aware of every person I see riding a bike.
Last evening while turning into a main street near my home from the freeway exit, a boy on a bike was narrowly missed by another car. He was riding across a crosswalk against the light and talking on a cell phone with one hand on the handlebars. I wonder if our cell phone law applies to bikes? I think not.
There is a bike shop here in Mililani, (not a specialized shop) and I am going over there to see if they have the right kind of mirror. There are some bike racks I have discovered in the Town Center, but they are far from where I usually want to shop. My bike would be a tempting prize for someone so don't want to leave it too far out of sight.
One good thing here is that buses have a bike rack on the front, so if I wanted to ride in town, I could leave the car at home and put the bike on the bus. It seems to be used frequently.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I borrowed Sam's newly repaired station wagon and after a busy day made my way to the Bike Shop in Aiea. Aiea is not that far from Mililani but would be a difficult path to travel after dark and over very busy roads on a bike.
The shop was easy to find and had a huge sign outside. I found out that Wesley had been there about five minutes before I arrived. So sorry I missed him, but hope we do meet soon. The people in the Bike Shop could not have been nicer.
They explained most of the finer points of the red bike, including how to remove the wheels, but I was hoping to get it into the car without doing that later.
I shopped for a helmet, a tailight and a lock and was amazed at all the accessories available these days for bicycling--"Sachi" the salesperson was very helpful and installed the lite and the post for the lock. I still must look for a small mirror and a bike cover--when something is this new and so beautiful, it must be cared for well.
Sachi helped me manuver the bike through the dark parking lot and it fit beautifully into the back of the station wagon.
I arrived home well after dark and asked Sam to come out to see what was in the car. He was surprised and pleased that I was going to be part of the project. (Actually, I had thought he might not be pleased, or might be concerned, but he was fine. One more thing not to worry about!)
Since I haven't yet cleaned out the garage closet, I brought the bike into the back yard and covered it over carefully with some of my nicest bedsheets.
Unfortunately, the weather is very rainy this week , so my plan for a long ride has been interrupted. However, I am really excited about the possibilities. Oh, the Bike Shop took care of the license application and I should receive it soon from the city. Will send a picture soon.

Aloha, Marilyn

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Well, after all my worrying about the registration/licensure of my bike, I find that the bike shop will assist me with it.
Sam's car (a station wagon) has been in the garage, so have not been able to pick up the bike yet, but will have it by the weekend. This has been a really rainy week here, and in addition had to go to the Big Island on business, so I am really looking forward to a sunny weekend.
Now that the license issue is out of the way, I realize that a bicycle cannot simply be left out in the garage for all to see. So..oo I will take this opportunity to clean out the closet in our garage, and make it into a safe place for the red bike. The excess stuff in the garage will be welcome at the Salvation Army Shop, and perhaps be useful to some families.
I observed that few bicycles were being used at the University of Hawaii at Hilo while I was there yesterday. Maybe I was there at the wrong time, but I thought it strange, as the campus has lots of open space and the town is small.
I have started to look for bike racks everywhere I go. Am surprised they are not as common as they should be.
Have told a number of friends and colleagues that I will be spending time riding my bicycle. They all seem slightly amused, however, my plan is to recruit some of them as companions on my bike rides. More on that later.

Aloha, Marilyn

Monday, November 2, 2009

Well, today is the first of November, the day I have been looking forward to for quite a while. I am not riding yet, but have made a lot of observations over the past few months related to this experience.
First, I was hoping to ride my bike to the supermarket in my hometown of Mililani, but discovered there are no bikeracks there. That is a situation that needs to be remedied. I will still shop, but will have to find a safe place to leave my bike while in the store.
Earlier this year, my husband and I visited both Warsaw and Krakow in Poland. I was amazed at the well marked bike lanes they have. (will include a picture in a later post). Other cities in Europe have them as well, especially countries like Sweden and Germany. It seems we are very far behind in this respect in Hawaii, and I would imagine in the rest of the US as well.
Last week, we attended our son's wedding in Santa Barbara. Now, there is a town where bicycles are everywhere. On the way back we stopped over in Los Angeles--there, car is king and most parts I saw were not bike friendly.
I am concerned about safety while riding , so am looking for a helmet that fits and is colorful. I will look around as it seems comfort is more important than attractiveness in this case. Good thing my hair is short.
Friends tell me I must get my bicycle licensed--they seem to think it is a mysterious process, so am interested in finding out how the bureaucracy has made such a seemingly simple thing complicated.
Last, I found there is another bike blogger here in Hawaii. We may go riding together one day and am interested in finding more people here who are inerested in making this Island a safer place to ride.
Aloha, Marilyn