Coronavirus Cycle Commuting: Survival Tips for Your Trips

For the last few weeks I’ve been biking to a job. This isn’t new, as I’ve been 15 years not a slave to cars. But recently I’ve not had work to go to, so a daily ride to a workplace, and then returning home during the still surreal situation we’re all in, is a bit odd. The global coronavirus pandemic is a huge tragedy that will be with us for a while until there’s a vaccine and maybe longer. One small consolation is that it has reduced traffic and pollution. This is good for bike riders, but there are still plenty of hazards so cyclists should remain vigilant. Here a few challenges I’ve noticed and tips for things you can do to make your ride to work as good and as safe as possible.

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Hey Austinites! Advocate for Protected Bike Lanes on Burnet Road and Congress Avenue

The advocacy and education organization with which I’ve volunteered over the last four years, Bike Austin sent out two recent messages about protected lanes on two major streets. Regular bike lanes are just painted lines on the road. As such, they provide only some protection from cars only if the drivers respect them. (Many do, plenty don’t.) Lanes that use some sort of barrier to separate cars and bikes offer riders protection. For many riders, that is the difference between riding their bike on the street or letting it collect dust in the shed. Because car drivers cannot be trusted, I’m generally for protected lanes, even when they aren’t the most fun or convenient. While they may not be as urgent as other issues, bike lanes can also be a matter of life or death.

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Longhorn Strava Art / Shoal Creek Saturday with Saurabh

Today’s post was going to be about an article in Bicycling magazine. But it turns out it’s a re-run of something from September. Then I was going to re-visit my 2019 stats. But since that post went over like a lead balloon, I shelved that for another time (maybe). Then I figured I could provide reportage on the City of Austin opening a 2-mile stretch of Shoal Creek redesigned bike lanes. But I didn’t make it to the gathering, so what to write about? How about a bike ride I did with a cycling friend on Shoal Creek later in the day? Ya sure, ya betcha!

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Bike Lanes on Cameron & Dessau Roads – City of Austin Listening Session

This past Thursday the City of Austin (Texas) Active Transportation Department had a gathering for interested citizens to come give their input about bike lanes. These roads are really the same, they just change names. After passing one highway, it becomes a six-lane death trap from hell, if you’re on a bicycle. As a cyclist who volunteered numerous times on a committee for just this cause, I was keen to go and see this project finally start to come to life. It’s always interesting to participate in the process of something that could save your own life and that of friends and neighbors. Isn’t that something every bike rider should get behind?

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The Kids Bikes in Stranger Things: Fighting Monsters, Freedom and Fun

I’ve just begun watching Stranger Things, the moody, spooky Netflix sci-fi series about a group of kids searching for one of their own who goes missing. And then the weird stuff transpires. Set in the 80’s, when I was a teen, the show has a very Stephen King vibe to it (there’s even a direct shout out to him). Season 3 is being released on July 4th, Independence Day, fittingly enough. Because like on the show, when you’re a kid, bikes mean the ability to feel free. The wind in your face and hair, and that feeling of almost flying, or floating. Luckily, grown-up kids get to recapture that sensation, too.

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Victory! Protected Bike Lanes on Shoal Creek Boulevard in Austin, Texas

After a several year grassroots campaign by members of Bike Austin and Walk Austin, victory was achieved! The City of Austin (Texas) announced it will construct a two-way protected bicycle lane on the west side of the major bike thoroughfare from 38th Street to Foster Lane. From that point to 183, it will put in one-way bicycle lanes on each side of Shoal Creek Boulevard (SCB). This is an important win for bicyclists of all kinds who use the street, as well as for pedestrians. Because currently it’s a mess of weaving in and out of parked cars, which can be deadly. The details are below.

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Bike to Work Day 2019 Party

Today was Bike to Work Day in Austin as in many cities worldwide. I didn’t make to any of the morning fueling stations or the gathering and speechifying at City Hall. My excuse? I don’t have a job. Well, aside from the job of being A Dude Abikes, and lemme tell ya’, it ain’t easy bein’ me. Or green. Or green me. But I do work my ass off every day, actually, I’m just not getting paid for it! I’m either researching, writing and editing this blog or my book, walking, and doing yoga… every damn day for over 16 months now (the yoga goes back over 64 months). Then there’s biking almost every single day — about 100 miles per week (sometimes less and slower lately with knee pain, but I’m still doing it). Plus I’m looking for work and housing, not to mention volunteering for Bike Austin. I did make it to the after-party like last year, so here’s my recap.

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Study Says Painted Bike Lanes Aren’t Enough; Two Close Calls in Two Days Confirm It

The study, done by Monash University of cyclists in Victoria, Australia, found that painted bike lanes do not deter car drivers from coming too close to bicycles. And people ride their bikes less when they do not feel safe. The answer is clear: bike lanes must be protected in order to create true safety for bike riders.

Here in Austin, Texas, as in many places around the United States, we’re lucky if we even get those white lines. Which we now know do not work well enough. Nearly getting hit by cars while I was in the bike lane twice in the last two makes this a hot topic for me, one that I’m hot under the collar about. Why? Because I spoke to both drivers, and they’re responses were infuriating. Come on inside this post and I’ll tell you about it.

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