Tag Archives: bike parking

It’s getting real in the Whole Foods parking lot

Complaining, whining, moaning, being a jerk. Sure, we all do it. And does it get us anywhere?

YES IT DOES!

First, let’s go back in time to February of this year.

 

Good times there, right? I’ve seen snow piled up on a bike rack before, but this was particularly egregious. Every car parking spot in the lot was cleared. Not a spot of snow to get in the way of people parking their cars. So where to put that snow? Well, let’s just dump it on top of the bike rack. Evidently, fellow Providence bike-twitterer, @papabybike was displeased as well. But instead of just dropping a snarky tweet like me, he went in and talked to the manager about it. After a few other tweets, I hear through the grapevine that this particular Whole Foods was planning to install a new bike rack in April. Well it’s April now, and what do you know? Check it out:

Whole Foods Waterman Providence Bike Rack

Now that is some quality bike parking! Sure, there’s only 4 hoops, but there’s lots of room in between them and it looks like it will easily accommodate 8 bikes parked there at once. In fact, there’s so much room, you could park a cargo bike there!

Cargo bike parked at Whole Foods Waterman

photo credit: @papabybike

Other Providence bike twiterrers were pleased to see the rack as well.

Bike parking at Whole Foods Waterman

photo credit @goldenmeanie

I realize that this blog is full of snark, cynicism and negativity, but I’ll try to suspend that for a moment and just say THANK YOU, to the management of this particular Whole Foods for taking the time to install a bike rack that looks like it was actually designed by people who ride bikes. It may have taken a while, but they got it right.

Now, what do we have to do to get Eastside Marketplace to install a decent bike rack?

Eastside Marketplace Providence Bike Rack

That rack is so bad, the NEXT bike doesn’t even want to lock to it. I mean, I’ve seen better bike parking in a video game that’s based on the idea of stealing cars and running over people with them.

video game bike parking

The Indignity of Bike Parking: Trader Joe’s

I was first introduced to the wonders of Trader Joe’s when I was bachelor living in Boston. And what could be better for the Bostonian bachelor? Cheap eats, ready to easily cook and with a patina of responsible consumerism. Or something, I’m not sure what the vibe in that place is supposed to be – “funky”? “quirky”? “beach-y”? Also, there’s cheap wine.

But I am no longer a bachelor, and I no longer enjoy Trader Joe’s version of a Meal Ready to Eat. But I do still like their trail mixes, which make for an essential work-time snack. Plus, the Rhode Island location is just off of one of our major bike paths – the Washington Secondary Bike Path (also known as the  Cranston Bike Bath, Warwick Bike Path, West Warwick Bike Path and finally, the Coventry Bike Path. [and another thing, where's the Washington Primary Bike Path?])

Here you can see TJ’s and its proximity to the WSBP:

Washington Secondary Bike Path and Trader Joe's

Green curvy line = Washington Secondary Bike Path. A pinpoint = Trader Joe’s

You can see there’s even a little spur heading out to Bald Hill Road. Of course, Bald Hill Road is a bit of a nightmare as far as cycling is concerned.

The beauty that is Bald Hill Road in Warwick, RI

The beauty that is Bald Hill Road in Warwick, RI

Oh my gosh, I think there’s actually someone walking on the sidewalk on the left!

So it’s a big crappy road, whatever, it does have a very wide shoulder, and you’re not on it very long before you get to Trader Joe’s. And what do you find when you get there? Nothing in the way of bike parking. About a year ago, I asked the manager if they were ever going to install any bike parking. He said, “oh yeah, we have a rack on order, it should be here in a couple of months.” All right, that sounds like kind of a long time to wait, but I can understand if it takes a little while to source and install a bike rack, right? Well, I stopped at TJ’s today and I see that the months of waiting got us this:

Bike Rack at Trader Joe's Warwick RI

Bike Rack at Trader Joe’s Warwick RI

I moved the rack a few feet in order to get a better picture. It’s not secured to anything, and it weighs about 25-30 pounds (i.e., about as much as a bicycle). You can buy one of these online for a little over $100. There are very similar models made by a variety of companies, I didn’t look closely enough to see which company made this one, but it looks essentially identical to this one. From the product description:

Parks up to 6 bikes.
Perfect for home and small businesses. Set it up outside or in a garage or basement to park a family of bikes.
Assembles in minutes.
Lightweight yet surprisingly solid. Durable and weatherproof. Welded frame with one-peice and sections. [sic]
Can be anchored in lawns, concrete, or asphalt using Anchors #6257 and #6258 (Sold separately).

See that? “Parks up to 6 bikes.” It doesn’t say anything about locking the bikes to this thing (here’s a hint – you can’t properly lock a bike to it!) “Perfect for home and small business… set it up in a garage…” Yes, exactly. I have one of these in my garage. I use it to store three of my bikes. The anchors are sold separately, and they were evidently just a little too expensive for TJ’s budget.

What Trader Joe’s should have installed was something more like this.

A decent bike rack

A decent bike rack

You can pick these up for $430 (plus $19 for the mounting kit) right here.

Oh, what do you know? I found a few of these, right on the WSBP! Check it out:

WSBP bike rack

WSBP bike rack

First of all, this rack is installed RIGHT NEXT TO A FENCE which means you can’t fit your wheel through the loops. Secondly, it’s installed right next to a parking lot. There is nothing within walking distance. Why would anyone park lock a bike here? There’s nowhere to go once you get off the bike. There are several more of these “wave” bike racks along the WSBP, usually right next to a little park bench. I guess the idea is that you might want to take a rest from riding your bike, so you stop at one of these benches and use the bike rack to lock up your bike while you are 3 feet away from it. This seems to be a trend, in this state at least. A few years ago, I discovered the most useless bike rack in the state in Woonsocket. That one won’t even fit a 700c wheel!

I guess I could lead a cyclists’ boycott of Trader Joe’s, but what would that accomplish? This bike rack makes it pretty clear that cyclists are not wanted in their store. Until I organize a boycott of TJ’s, I’ll just boycott their bullshit bike rack:

I turn my red tire to TJ's bike rack like a baboon turns his red butt to his enemy

I turn my red tire to TJ’s bike rack like a baboon turns his red butt to his enemy

I almost went in to have a discussion with the manager about this so-called bike rack, but I was wearing my “sporty cycling attire” that is, really tight bike shorts and jersey, so I wasn’t feeling that dignified. Maybe next time. IF THERE IS A NEXT TIME! Hear that TJ’s? You can kiss my occasional trail mix money goodbye!

(maybe)

I ended my Bartolomé Day ride with a visit to Fertile Underground for lunch.

Fertile Underground Bicycle Rack

Now that’s a bike rack!

Two bike parking lots

In January, I was back in my home town of Overland Park, KS. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to ride a bike like I had on a previous occasion. However, I was able to drive by my old elementary school – which appears to have the same bike racks that it had in the early 80′s.

That’s a pretty extensive bike parking facility. I don’t think it was completely full when I was young, but there were certainly dozens of bikes there. I frequently rode my bike to school, back in the day. I guess you could say it was my first bike commute – about 3/4 of a mile. Not bad since there was a period of time as and adult when I drove a car for a commute with the same distance. The picture above was taken on a Sunday – so unfortunately, I have no idea how many kids are riding to this particular elementary school these days. I couldn’t tell you the years in which I biked vs. the years in which I walked to school. My guess is that I didn’t start biking until I got my Schwinn Thrasher BMX bike – I believe that was 3rd grade. Why do kids bike to school? It’s a little bit faster than walking, it’s better than the bus because you are completely independent (and it’s better than riding with parents for the same reason), and it’s fun to ride your bike! Why do adults bike to work? Pretty much the same reasons – although sometimes we like to wrap it up in a little bit of economics or environmentalism.

Here’s another bike rack:

(I let Spouse have the only decent spot)

That’s taken a few days after the one (1!) real snow fall we had this winter. The local grocery store took all the snow off of their parking lot and dumped it on the bike rack. If I was a better blogger, I would have written about this when I was feeling more righteous anger. But if I was a better blogger, I’d also have a snappy ending for this post!

Eastside Marketplace and Bottles

My neighborhood boasts something you don’t see too often, an honest-to-goodness independent grocery store, the Eastside Marketplace. Right next door is a very good liquor store, Bottles. Between them is an abomination of a bike rack.

Earlier this week, I visited Bottles to buy a case of wine. That’s right, I can buy a case of wine and transport it by bike. That earns me both smug points and Bourgeois points (and a 10% discount). This time, however, Spouse came along and transported half of the case by backpack. NO MATTER! I have the potential to transport it all and that makes me feel smug and that is all that is important.

When I got to the liquor store, I found a scene similar to this:

This particular bike rack has been deteriorating over the last few years. It’s a crappy design to begin with. The cyclist has the option of hoisting the bike over the rack as most have done (this can scratch the frame and possibly damage the headset), or lock only the wheel (as I did when I took this picture).

I’m okay with doing this for short periods of time because I have locking skewers. I would not recommend this for cyclists with quick-release or bolt-on wheels. You can find this type of rack many places. It’s kind of an old-fashioned idea of what a bike rack should be, and amazingly enough, they are still being built. This one has deteriorated to the point where many of the bars have either fallen off or were removed to facilitate bike theft:

The rack was pretty full when I showed up and I had had enough of this crappy rack! So, I brought my bike into Bottles. The young woman at the front said, “there’s a bike rack right outside there.”

“I’m sorry, but that’s not a real bike rack, I can’t use it – would you mind if I leave my bike up here while I shop?” I replied.

Another clerk chimed in, “Well, I wouldn’t say it’s not a real bike rack, but it does suck. You can leave your bike here if you like.”

Spouse and I picked out our wines (that is to say, Spouse picked 11 bottles and I picked 1 – I’ve never quite developed a wine palate). When I got home, I started drafting an angry email to the manager of Eastside Marketplace. After writing the draft, I decided to sit on it for a day, which is always a good idea when one writes an angry email.

The next day, I received an e-newsletter from Bottles. I’m on their email list, so I’m used to seeing their e-newsletters. Shortly after that, I got a second email from the manager informing me about some sort of special bourbon. I seized on this opportunity, and replied to the manager’s email thusly:

I’m happy to receive your emails and I enjoy shopping at Bottles. I
was very glad when you guys moved into the old Blockbuster space. I
have one small complaint that you may or may not be able to address.
The bike rack outside your store is in horrible disrepair. I couldn’t
properly lock my bike to it last night, so I brought my bike into the
store. Your excellent staff was kind enough to watch it for me while I
shopped. Does Eastside Marketplace own the bike rack, or is there a
landlord for the entire strip who is responsible for it? I would
greatly appreciate it if you could talk to whoever is responsible for
the rack and ask them to replace it. It’s a poorly designed rack, and
now it’s falling apart. Even on a relatively cold night like last
night, there were at least 8 bikes parked there, many parked in a way
that could damage the bike. More and more people are riding bikes for
transportation these days, and businesses that make the investment in
quality bike parking can expect to be well-patronized.

[I went on to request that they carry Southern Tier 422 Pale Wheat Ale, because while I may not have a refined palate for wine, I do know my beers and that shit is awesome.]

A few hours later, I received this response:

The “bike rack” outside is a joke — I completely agree with your comments.  We are partnering with the Steel Yard to have a new bike rack custom made for us this spring.  Stay tuned!

Cheers,

Eric
Bottles
General Manager

I’ll gladly suffer through the winter if they’re going to end up with a Steel Yard rack. [for those unfamiliar with the Steel Yard, you can check out their work here.] But now what can I do with that angry email to Eastside Marketplace? Post it here, of course. Now that I know they are planning to replace that horrible rack, my rage is no longer justified. Instead, I’ll hold onto this until the next time I come upon dilapidated bike rack.

Imagine a customer drove his car to your store to find that he was unable to safely park his car in the parking lot. There weren’t any lines separating the spaces, so cars were parked in an un-orderly fashion, some pressed right against each other, causing them to scrape against each other. The lot was full of potholes that could damage his wheels. There were shopping carts left all over the place that could scratch his car. There were strips of metal in most of the parking spaces that could damage his car when he pulled in, and somehow, these same metal strips made it difficult to properly lock his car. This made the customer worry about his car while he was shopping. He hurried through the store as quickly as possible. The next time he needed groceries, he went somewhere else.

I’m sure that sounds like a parking nightmare. You wouldn’t put up with a parking lot like that, right? You’d have the lot repaved to get rid of the potholes. You’d paint appropriate lines separating the parking spaces. You would remove those metal strips so your customers’ cars don’t get scratched and they can lock their cars properly. In short, you would make sure that your customers don’t even have to think about the condition of your parking lot. They would drive in, park their cars, do their shopping, load up and go home. And your customers don’t have to think about your parking because you have a perfectly acceptable parking lot. There are plenty of well-marked, properly spaced parking spaces. I’ve driven a car to your store many times, and I’ve always found your parking lot to be perfectly maintained. Your staff does an excellent job of keeping the shopping carts under control. You also accommodate those who take the bus to your store by providing seating for those who wait for the bus.

Although I’ve driven to your store many times, I live less than 2 miles away and I prefer to ride my bike for short trips. The bike parking at Eastside Marketplace is equivalent to the nightmare parking lot I described above. The bike rack in front of your store is poorly designed and in a horrible state of disrepair. Although you may see this type of bike rack installed many places, it does not allow cyclists to properly secure a bicycle. This rack is designed to only secure the bike’s wheel to the rack. If a cyclists only locks the wheel to a rack, a thief can easily release the bolts holding the wheel to the frame and take the frame and rear wheel, leaving only the front wheel. Instead, many cyclists put their front wheel over the rack in order to secure both the frame and front wheel. This can scratch the frame and cause damage to some of the bicycle’s components. The best option is to lock a bike to one of the ends of the rack, but those two spots are usually taken. In addition to it’s poor design, the rack is falling apart. Many of the vertical bars have been removed, I assume by someone trying to steal a bike, or perhaps they just fell off.

I don’t know if Eastside Marketplace owns the property, or rents it from another company. However, I am certain that you would never allow your parking lot to deteriorate to a similar condition. I hope that you will consider installing a new bike rack that will allow your customers to properly park their bikes. Please take the time to consult with someone who rides a bike before choosing a new bike rack.

Ah, that’s a thing of beauty, isn’t it? Probably one of the best screeds I’ve ever written, and now I don’t even get to send it. Did you see how I casually mentioned that I’ve driven a car there? That’s to show that I’m not some lunatic who only rides his bike everywhere. Of course, I fail to mention that I drive a car there maybe twice a year nowSpeaking of lunatics, I saw these two parked at the farmers’ market the other day.

That’s the rare, elusive “shopper” version of the Elliptigo. Here’s the sporty version, captured on Blackstone Blvd.

Think I could mount my panniers on that?

Back To The Hospital

I finally had my last appointment with the orthopedist this week. (For those coming to this blog more recently – I was seeing an orthopedist due to breaking my collarbone, which happened when I fell off of my bike.) It had been a long time since I visited the hospital. The last time I went, I took the bus because I was not yet cleared to ride. This time, I took my bike.

The bike parking at Rhode Island Hospital is… lacking. The bars on this railing are unusually deep so I couldn’t reach my lock through the bars and around my frame when the bike was resting on the ground. Instead, I had to lift my bike up a few inches and allow it to rest on the top bar of the railing. It rested on my left (front) shifter. Not ideal, but I’ve done it before.

With a good U-lock locked to a thick metal railing, I should feel pretty secure with how my bike is parked. There is quite a bit of foot traffic at the main entrance to the state’s largest hospital. It seems unlikely that a casual bike thief would be able to do anything to my bike, and it is not in a setting that a dedicated bike thief would touch. And yet, I still didn’t feel completely secure. In an overly security-conscious world, a hospital employee could see this bike as a threat and have it cut off. Seems unlikely, but it’s been known to happen. Perhaps I’m just paranoid. Comes from riding in traffic.

Here’s my latest X-ray:

And here’s what I looked like back in March right after the accident:

As you can see, the yellow pain lightning is gone, and that pesky red arrow finally went away. Along with that, my bones have knitted themselves back together, but now in a different and more exciting shape. How fun!

One more post about bike parking, then I really need to move on.

So… I’ll keep this short and sweet.

I was up at the Seven Stars on Broadway a couple weeks ago. They have two hitching post bike racks at this location, for which I am very grateful. This time of year, they tend to fill up, so I had to park at a street sign a few feet away. I’m not complaining about that though, I’m just happy that they have racks.

But what would this blog be without complaining, right? After all, just like Joe Namath said, “A successful blog is 1% inspiration and 49% perspiration, and 50% kvetching.” So I’ll complain about this poorly-locked bike:

A couple of posts ago, Amanda suggested that I pixilate any future barely locked pictures, for the sake of the children and those reading my blog while goofing around at work. So here goes.

That should at least protect the bicycle’s identity. I can’t really pixelate the “naughty bits” on a barely locked bike, or you couldn’t tell in what manner the bike’s owner improperly locked their bike. That would make it much harder to make fun of them.

As the red arrow points out, this bike is locked by the seatpost. Although it’s not a quick-release seat post, all someone would have to do is undo the hex bolt on the seatpost clamp, lift the seat past the lock, re-insert it, and ride away. This is probably not very likely to happen when the bike is parked right next to a window of a busy coffeeshop (that’s why I was furtively lurking around the corner so no one would catch me taking pictures). But really, the top-tube is right there, mere inches away from the seat post. Couldn’t the cyclist have just locked to that instead?

I guess I should be realistic, it’s not like he was going to leave his bike there for decades, allowing the bike rack to grow around and subsume it like this:

Those trees are dangerous.

*Update! After reading Jef Nickerson’s comment, I can’t believe I didn’t include the picture below, originally part of the post titled: Passive Aggressive Signs: Locking to Trees

Obviously, it’s more like “The young bikes won’t survive a growing tree’s hunger for steel (or aluminum or carbon).”

Bike Parking in Jamestown

Before I get to everyone’s favorite topic, bike parking, I have to own up to the fact that I failed in my attempt to complete the Let’s Go Ride A Bike Summer Games. It was the first bicycle competition I’ve ever competed in, and like most new competitors, it resulted in a big fat DNF! Oh well, maybe next year.

Now back to the bike parking.

I had the opportunity to visit Jamestown recently, one of my favorite parts of our little state. For those of you not up on your Rhode Island geography, Jamestown lies on the island of Conanicut in Narragansett Bay. It’s not far from Newport, which lies on the next island over which is technically called “Rhode Island”, but everyone calls it “Aquidneck Island” in order to avoid confusion with the rest of the state (the official name of which is actually “Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations”). Got it?

Spouse and I usually take our bikes when we visit Jamestown because riding one loop around the island makes for a pleasant 20 mile ride. The island is so small, that it’s easy to ride from any point on the island into the village where all of the shops are. Imagine my delight when I saw this in the village:

An honest-to-goodness hitching-post style bike rack! It seems that at least 6 of these racks were installed in the central part of the village near the restaurants and shops. Unfortunately, there weren’t any bikes actually locked to the racks, at least not while I was walking by. Meanwhile, there were several bikes casually leaning up against a wall outside a restaurant instead:

There’s also a bike rack down by the marina, this one designed to accommodate several bicycles.

I think they put it there to distract people from the giant stone monument commemorating the spot where Roger Clemens shook the hand of Cannonball Adderley. Let’s take a closer look:

Ack! This rack is so poorly designed that there’s no way to lock one’s frame when using a u-lock. That doesn’t stop the ride of the Specialized from locking his bike in such a way that anyone with half a brain could walk off with the whole thing.

That’s a flimsy cable lock, but that’s not really the issue. Most people practicing the art of “barely locked” would just lock the front wheel. This would allow a thief to take off with the frame and rear wheel. This isn’t ideal for a bike thief, but if they have a vehicle nearby, they could easily chuck your bike into the vehicle. However, this particular cyclist is one step dumber than that. In case you can’t tell, the lock is only threaded between the fork and the wheel. All a bike thief would have to do is remove the front wheel (easy to do with the quick-release skewers), lift up the frame, re-attach the wheel, and ride away. I’ve seen worse examples in my collection of pictures of “barely locked” bikes, but not many.

In tomorrow’s post we’ll a bike so barely locked it’s scandalous. Plus a look at bike racks at Texas Wal-Marts – just what everyone has been waiting for.

The End of Smugness

Friends, I have a confession to make. For about 2 months, I had in my possession an automobile.

Here, let me return your jaw to you from it’s place on the floor.

I did not own this car, it was on loan to me from some friends who were traveling overseas. Spouse and I had a few car-intensive errands to run while we did some renovations to our house, so it seemed like a good idea to have the car around. Plus, our friends needed to park their car somewhere, and in Providence, you just can’t leave your car on the street overnight. In the two months we had it, we drove about 1,000 miles. There were home improvement errands, day trips, a trip to the beach, and one overnight trip to upstate New York that made up the plurality of the miles.

About a week before my friends were due to return and reclaim their car, I decided to make a stock-up run to Trader Joe’s – about 10 miles from home. Because I am a car-free smugmonger, I left the car in the driveway and took my bike. Some other friends had recently offered me the use of their bike trailer and I wanted an excuse to try it out. So I hooked up the trailer to my city bike and headed out.

Riding with the trailer was a little easier than I expected. At times, I felt like I was flying down the Washington Secondary Bike Path. I stopped for a while to help out somebody with a flat tire. He wasn’t quite sure how to use the patch kit, something I didn’t really know how to do until about 2 years ago, so I was happy to lend some assistance. Besides, is there anything that can make you feel more smug than being the Good Samaritan?

I left my SPD's at home and went for a retro-grouch look with the Keens. Also, I was a little afraid of losing control and needing to put my foot down in an emergency. This did not happen.

To get to the Target, I have to ride on a wide, fast suburban road for about a mile. It’s never fun, and I thought it would be worse when pulling the trailer. However, I didn’t realize that cars would give me more room and not hassle me when I’m pulling a trailer – probably because they think there’s a kid back there. When I pulled into the Target lot, I saw this:

A $20 bill stuck in a bush! What great luck! I figured it was a little Karmic reward for my Good Samaritanism (to mix religious metaphors). This resulted in a general feeling of increased smugness. Next, however…

The bike rack was blocked by a big construction fence! I was slightly angry, but I was riding on such a wave of smugness that I didn’t really mind so much.

I bought a basketball at the Target, thus using up my $20 bill.

Next stop was Target, which still lacks for a bike rack, as does the EMS next door which actually sells bikes. I felt smug as I locked up to whatever this thing is:


A little more navigation of the big 4-Lane road, and I was back on the bike path. I was definitely moving slower than when the trailer was empty, but it was still easy to pull. Around the Point Street bridge, I passed the stragglers of the Rhode Island 70.3 Triathlon. Evidently a portion of the running course went up Olney Street this year. That’s just mean.

After recovering at home for a bit, I decided to test out my basketball. I pumped it up a little, then took a few shots. The first was a brick, not surprisingly since I hadn’t taken a shot in at least a decade. Soon, however I was landing a few bank shots and even a swish or two. Unfortunately, my basketball net has seen better days. Being stuck outside for years, it’s shrunk at the bottom so the ball will not go through. So, every time I made a shot, I had to jump up and punch out the ball. After making a few close ones, I backed up for a 15 footer. I missed, and the ball headed towards my friends’ car. It bounced once on the pavement and then landed on the windshield – and cracked it.

That’s one way to get rid of a day’s worth of accumulated smugness!

Speaking of accumulated smugness, the dedicated reader(s) of this blog may have noticed that I have not included a check-in on the SmugCalc in a while. This was a spreadsheet I started at the one-year anniversary of being car-free. I used this spreadsheet to track all of the miles I traveled using various forms of transportation (except for planes, that’s where I cheated). I was able to keep going with it for months, even tracking my miles after I broke my collarbone and could not ride my bike for a while (I was racking up transit smugness points instead). Finally, however, it just got boring tracking the miles on the bus. But now I’m back. Starting today, the SmugCalc is in full force. It’s not quite my Carfreeniversary, but August 1 makes for a nice round starting date. I’m at 5.5 SmugMiles so far.

And also speaking of accumulated smugness, the ladies at Let’s Go Ride A Bike are holding their 2nd annual LGRAB Summer Games. I have to do 4 of the following 10 items and blog about them:

  • on vacation? rent a bike and go for a ride!
  • write a letter advocating for bicycling infrastructure (bike lanes, bike rack, etc) to your alderman/council representative, mayor, or a local business.
  • take a picture of something along your commute that says “summer” to you, and explain why
  • commute to work by bike or bike/transit if you don’t already
  • perform a maintenance task on your bike
  • explore a greenway or bike path in your city that you haven’t previously visited
  • test ride a different type of bike than you normally ride (road bike, mountain bike, etc.)
  • read a book about cycling
  • ride your bike somewhere new in your city
  • go on a group ride

These things have to be done between July 21 and August 8. I’m late to the game, but there’s still time for me to slay it! * So even though this post may be titled “The End of Smugness”, this is really just a renewal of smugness.

* by “slay it” I mean complete 4 tasks, blog about them, then get entered in a random drawing to win some prizes.

Barely Locked: Handlebar Style

As a public service to my readers, I’ve created a special series of blog posts  called: Barely Locked, documenting the poorly locked bikes of the world. And just like when I encounter the gentleman’s magazine from which I draw inspiration for the name of this series, I am both excited and repulsed when I see a potential Barely Locked subject. In the end, I just kind of feel sorry for the bike and its rider.

I found today’s subject on my way home from work the other day and it presents a new type of barely locked bike. The types I’ve cataloged previously include:

1. The bike locked to an open ended pole:

Let's call this type "The Pole Dancer"

2. The bike locked to an object that could be easily cut with steak knife or simply untied:

Let's call this "Barely Locked & Feeling Knotty"

3. And of course, locking the wheel to the frame and leaving the bike out in the open.

Some call this "Freelocking," but I prefer "When I think of you, I lock myself"

Today’s subject went for a completely different style:

I’m so flummoxed by this casual locking method that I can’t think of a cutesy pun related to dirty pictures in order to describe it. I mean, it’s like the lock was just casually thrown over the handlebars while the guy was riding around and then he “locked” it to the sign post without removing it from the handlebars. I actually looked around to see if this was part of a bicycle-theft sting operation or something.

The bumper sticker on the sign is a nice touch since this locking method is about as effective as the Nader/LaDuke 2000 Presidential Campaign. Then again, maybe that isn’t such a good analogy.

BTW: I’m happy to see that another bike blogger (this one in Hawaii) also likes to take pictures of poorly locked bikes. Instead of dirty puns, he just calls them FAILS.

Once again, behold the power of my blog

Dear reader(s). I must apologize for the lack of posts in recent weeks. I have been busy with boring things like… work (the blogging bucks have yet to roll in and I am forced to keep my job as an orchard keeper while I wait for a publisher to discover me and offer me a book deal). But the demands of orchard keeping, though they be severe, are not the true reason for my lack of posts. The true reason: I have been on strike.

Although I have been inundated by requests for new material, I have been withholding my much-desired blog posts. I’ve been on strike not in solidarity with Wisconsin public employees, nor in sympathy to the Greeks who will no longer be able to retire at 35. No, my strike has been a result of a more grave injustice. Yes, I was striking in protest of the severe lack of bike parking at my local coffee shop, as detailed in my previous post.

While there are many coffee shops that lack bike parking (not to mention gigantic discount department stores that actually sell bikes), I was particularly perturbed by the fact that this shop passive-aggressively chastised those cyclists who chose to lock their bikes to a nearby tree while the shop failed to provide a suitable alternative. Like any good passive-aggressive chastisement, this took the form of a sign:

Somehow, my readership must have taken it upon themselves to find out the name of this coffee shop and petition the owners for a redress of this grievance. That, or the owners finally got around to installing some bike racks. Spouse surprised me with the good news by emailing me the following picture while I was out tending the trees today:

Two brand-new “hitching-post” style bike racks! Now that the shop has seen the light, I am happy to reveal their identity. So, thank you, Edge Cafe in Wayland Square, Providence Rhode Island for installing these bike racks. I hope that they bring many cycling customers to your doors. And hopefully, that combination of words will show up in your google news alerts and bring you to my blog. If so, let’s talk sponsorship, I’m getting a little tired of tending the trees all day.

Now that there are some real places to lock one’s bike, I am in full support of the anti-tree parking sign. As previously mentioned, I love passive-aggressive chastisement almost as much as I love The Edge Cafe’s delicious breakfast wraps!

(Did I mention I’d like to talk sponsorship?)