Found on Twitter

a turkey on a bike, pulling a 2 wheeled carriage

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Vacation Week

I enjoy riding around campus when the new freshman class arrives to the residence halls. Both weekend days I pedaled in to the coffee shop and gawked at the tired parents and anxious kids lined up to unload their mini-fridges, fans, and “Hang In There” posters.

With all of the moving around of stuff in our garage, my grocery bag pannier has gone missing, so I carried the laptop in a backpack. I felt like a pack mule!

Backpack and computer

The Backpack That Weighed Me Down

Here are some pictures from this week’s rides:

The former horse pasture

The former horse pasture

Budding Bike Lane

Budding Bike Lane

Almost Ready to Lay Some Concrete

Almost Ready to Lay Some Concrete

Almost Ready to Lay Some Concrete

Almost Ready to Lay Some Concrete

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Not the only Bald Guy Out There

Today is the first day of my week long vacation, and I started things off right with a bike ride to Granville Bridge. Leaving early in the AM helped me beat the heat, but not the humidity.

dust covered bike

The Dustiest Bike in the World

My road bike was a little dusty from being in the garage near a table saw. Luckily, most of the sawdust blew off during the ride. The ride out to the bridge went quickly, with a slightly downhill route and a weak tailwind.

As I stopped on the bridge, I noticed a bald eagle feeding on the riverbank. We have had eagles in this area for over 10 years, and now they are fairly common along the river. Still, I enjoy seeing them in person.

view of low river

The eagle is the little spec in the middle of the shot

After he finished whatever he was eating, he walked about three yards out into the river, which apparently wasn’t more than a few inches deep at that point because of the ongoing drought. He then turned around and kind of hopped back to shore, using his wings to help him move. It wasn’t until he was out of the water that I noticed the rather large fish he had in his talons. Fishing is pretty easy for the birds right now!

view of low river

The Wabash River is Really Low Right Now

normal river level

Compare to this shot from 2008

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The Case of the Disappearing Bike Lanes

West Lafayette isn’t a bad place to ride a bike, but not because of a useful and ubiquitous bike lane system.

For some people, the lack of separate lanes for bikes means they don’t ride – or they use the sidewalks. This is unfortunate, because the city has light traffic on all but a few main thoroughfares, and most auto drivers act properly around those of us on bikes. Still, when bike lanes are removed, safe ridership will drop.

I’ve complained before about the lanes on Salisbury, Lindberg, and northern Grant streets before. Sure, they are painted there, but they are also used for parking, as sidewalks (on Lindberg), and for trash and brush to be picked up. I would rather just take the lane than have to swerve in and out to avoid the many obstacles. For many that I see, the sidewalks once again become the path of choice.

Tree stump blocking bike lane

Stumped
(circa April, 2008)

With the repaving of SR26 through Lafayette and West Lafayette, the result has been that the bike lanes on State, Sheetz, and Wood streets were not repainted. It is hard to say why. Was it a conscious decision by the state or city? Not likely. Instead, were lanes just not considered by the engineers? Probably.

No bike lane on State Street

No Bike Lane

Another option is that the folks that painted the lines just forgot them. That crew did a pretty poor job overall, with copious spray paint sloppily marking where things should go and what my son calls an ‘messy job’ of applying the paint. Take a look at the arrows on Wood St at Grant for an example.

Poorly painted arrows on street

Sloppy Paint Job

These guys also mispainted turn lane lines in both of the intersections where two lanes turn in the same direction. The errant lines at Wood and Chauncey were crudely covered over and corrected, and I hope the same is done at Northwestern and State.

But I digress … what will it take to return the lanes to these near campus streets? Perhaps when the city takes ownership next year, they will rethink bike traffic. I hope so.

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Saturday Morning

Horse

Chances for me to ride have been hard to come by lately, so when I had time, weather, and mood all on my side, I jumped on the bike!

Well, actually I had to find my pump and inflate the tires first.  It has been a few weeks since I last rode.

First Ride on the New Highway

I’ve been eyeing the fresh concrete of the new US 231 bypass for a while.  It is always fun to ride a new road without the bother of motorized traffic, and my route took me to the south end of the bypass near the Branigan bridge.

End of the Line

Only about half a mile is paved so far, so this trip was cut short.  I’ll try again in the few weeks, or maybe attack from the SR26 crossing and head south.

The plan for this highway includes a separate bike lane/trail, but there is no sign of it so far. We’ll see.

Former Eli Lilly Site in the Background

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Another Three in a Row

Both weather and schedule lined up to allow another three days of bike commuting last week.  Low winds, seasonable temps, and light traffic made these rides quite enjoyable.  However, by the ride home on Thursday, I was feeling it a little in my knee.  Think I need to take things a little easier.

View of bike handlerbars

On Friday, I tried for a 4th day in a row when I visited the car wash/oil change place across town.  The goal was to drop off the truck and ride the bike downtown to one of my favorite coffee shops in Lafayette, K.Dee’s Coffee.  However, the crew said the whole thing should only take half an hour, so my bike spent that time leaning against some bushes while my truck got the works.

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Golly, Did I Tell You About the Rain Barrels?

Video of a ride around Lafayette, IN from GreatLafayette.com.  Shaky camera work not for the squeamish.

http://www.greatlafayette.com/2012/05/golly-did-i-tell-you-about-rain-barrels.html

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Quiet Sunday

I am very lucky that many of my rides pass through the campus of Purdue University. The grounds staff do a stellar job of keeping things ship shape.

image

Also, the students, staff, and visitors give great opportunities for people watching.

Today’s ride to Greyhouse Coffee was both scenic and relaxing, topping off a solid week of riding. I was able to fit in three consecutive days of commuting, plus this Sunday ride. My ailing left knee was a little stiff on Thursday, but feeling fine after this morning’s outing.

image

The US231 relocation effort moves forward, with the roadway beginning to take shape.  It is tough to see in the photo below, but the little green spec in the middle is a fellow rider checking out the progress. That may be me next weekend.

image

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On the Road to Nowhere

It has been almost a month since my knee injury. I got back on the bike Friday when my wife misplaced her car key and took my truck to work.  I rode in again today, and the knee pain seems to be gone.

image

Riding home along Harrison Street, I pondered the apparent bike lane being installed on the north side of the street. It parallels the roadway for three blocks, up to the roundabout at the intersection with Martin Jischke Street. Then, it just stops.

image

I can’t think of a good way for a bike lane to be integrated with a roundabout because of the fact that autos don’t normally stop. However, this plan seems to be especially awkward for cyclists. Basically, they are dumped at a crosswalk, where I guess they are expected to dismount and cross as a pedestrian.  Since riding on sidewalks is discouraged, there doesn’t seem to be another option.

image

I don’t like using separated lanes, because of the danger at street and driveway crossings, plus I’m not happy with the second class road user vibe that they impart.

You likely will not see me using this lane.

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Another Post on Bikes in New Orleans

My wife and I were lucky enough to take a quick trip to New Orleans last week.  On our vacation blog I wrote about the bicycles I saw while there.

Remember last year, when I also posted about NOLA cycling?

Bike in a Bar

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