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Cycling and civics

So...what you been up to lately? Oh, nothing much. Just trying to buy a new bicycle and organize my neighborhood around safety issues at our intersection.

Of course, those 2 tasks now completely occupy my spare time!

Buying a bike is like buying a car, but without any of the helpful consumer material. Heck, there's more reviews of running shoes than there are bicycles. Although the comparison fits beyond that because bikes and running shoes have in common the feature that you have two choices:

You can walk into your local megastore and select rather dull, low-quality products with the help of a salesperson who was just selling footballs and fishing equipment 10 minutes ago. Or, you can wade into the specialty store category and submit yourself to a wide, oddly-specific, detail-oriented world of comparing parts and uses.

This requires you to care about cranks or mid-sole padding. Neither of which means much unless you've actually ridden a cycle or run more than 10 miles.

I quickly narrowed down the fact that I want a hybrid bike because of my using it for dual purpose fitness/training and recreational attach-a-bike-trailer-and-go-for-a-family-rides. So mountain bikes are out. And I hate the bent-over weird handlebars of a road/competition bike. For now. Though ask me again in a year when I'm trying to triathlons.

When we were at a suburban bike shop earlier this week, they showed me one I really love, but now the trick is finding time to go back and do a test ride without the kids. Then getting it home if I decide I like it.

Then I just have to find time to ride it...given my marathon training, I have a feeling my bike rides are going to be sunrise, deserted city street affairs. Though we have an awesome 30 mile bike trail just a mile west of us...I may have to turn to some cross training.

* * *

Then there's the letter we got in the mail that the business district up the street wants to remove the Right Turn Only restriction at our nearest intersection. Public meeting on Monday with the Transportation Commission if we want to give resident testimony. 

Right now, it's a two-way stop with a busy cross street and a simple two-bar crosswalk (that I requested/demanded). So I've been preparing what I want to say and trying to talk to my neighbors about coming along, e-mailing their comments, and trying to find out what our consensus is. Which seems to be "better crosswalks." 

Keep in mind, this is a 2 year saga of discussions with Public Works, the police officer assigned to our neighborhood, and conversations with the Village Board. Yesterday I had contact with the Village Engineer, a Board member, the staff liaison to the Transportation Committee, and the Communications Director. 

The engineer told me they have some data and studies, so I am holding out judgment until I see that. 

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