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