Tag Archives: RIPTA

Tweetdown: @carfreepvd vs. @RIPTA_RI

Many moons ago, I had a negative interaction with a RIPTA bus driver while riding my bike. You can read account #1 and account #2 for the full story. When riding my bike, I am passed by RIPTA buses all the time. I probably share the same space with RIPTA buses a few hundred times in a year, and I very rarely have any sort of negative experience. In fact, I was just praising RIPTA for providing SAG Wagon services to me when I had a pinch-flat. Now that I am injured, RIPTA is my main mode of transportation. I’m really digging the Easter-themed colorway on the April RIPTA pass:

 

the disembodied finger is "disembodied hand 2.0"

I’ll be reporting more on my RIPTA experiences in the next month. In fact, I already kvetched about the lack of signage for the RI Hospital bus stop. And since a blog post wasn’t enough of a complaint, I decided to up my kvetching game with some Web 2.0 action and dropped a wicked tweet-kvetch in RIPTA’s general direction:

Oh SNAP!

To my surprise and delight, @RIPTA_RI responded:

So now I know. Instead of calling the RIPTA customer service line, and following up with an email, the next time I’m harassed on the streets by a RIPTA driver, I’ll just tweet them.

By the way, I’ve greatly increased my tweeting lately. If you aren’t one of the over one dozen people or spam fronts following me on twitter, I suggest you get with the program and follow @carfreepvd !!! Or you could join the almost 100 people following @RIPTA_RI.

Speaking of spam. I expected spam comments when I started this blog, and wordpress does a good job of catching them. But I never expected spam referrals. I’m getting all sorts of .cz addresses showing up as referring to this blog. And it’s totally messing up my stats. I need to know if I’m reaching 20 readers, or 10 readers and 10 spambots. This is very important!

RIPTA is my SAG Wagon

For a definition of SAG Wagon, please refer to the good book of Sheldon Brown, Chapter Sa—So.

A few days before my accident, I had the unfortunate experience of catching a pinch flat from hitting a massive pothole on Canal Street at about 18 MPH. I could feel the hit and thought “oh man, that’s not good.” I looked down at my bike and didn’t see any apparent damage. I could really feel the hit on my front wheel, but when I got to work, my front wheel and tire looked fine, but my rear tire was looking mighty spongy. I took a peek at my bike later in the day to find this:

A completely flat rear tire. I know that I should always have a patch kit, spare tube and pump on me at all times, but I just don’t keep those with my commuter because my ride is so short (I think I’ll changes this practice once I’m back on the saddle). Also, I don’t live in Cambridge where cyclists are lulled into a false sense of security by one of these public bike-repair stations located every three blocks:

(h/t to Jon of Wobbly Music for the link)

Because I no longer live in the Cyclists Republic of Cambridge, I had three options:

A. Walk the bike 1.5 miles home. This could be kind of damaging to the tire and the rim. Also, not particularly fun.

B. Remove the wheel, take it home for repairs and bring it back the next day. This would have required walking a few miles while carrying a wheel, looking like I stole it.

C. Put the whole thing on the Bus and ride home. This would cost $2.00 and save me some trouble and embarrassment.

I chose option C. Although I have been disparaging of RIPTA in the past, I’m glad that they have bike carriers on the front of all of their full-size buses. It certainly came in useful that day.

One Week Down…

….five to seven weeks to go before I can ride a bike again. At least my fall wasn’t quite as embarrassing as this guy (h/t GCPVD)

I went to the orthopedist earlier this week to get the official word on my injuries. There was quite a bit of waiting in which I had the pleasure of listening to the inane (or possibly pain-killer induced) non-sequitur observations of the person next to me. A few choice examples:

You know that couch on The View? That looks really comfortable. Probably expensive though.

You know that Chris Brown? He gets really mad.

I don’t like the new Taurus. It’s too conservatively styled like it’s trying too hard you know what kind of car I don’t like? BMWs. I like light blue beemers though.

Luckily, he was sharing his astute pronouncements with someone else so I was not required to smile and nod like Spouse does when I start talking about folding bikes (by smiling and nodding, I mean grimacing and rolling her eyes).

Finally, I got to see the doctor, who showed me my X-ray:

In case you can’t tell where the break is, I’ll demonstrate my photoshop skillz:

those are lightning bolts of pain

So that’s going to keep me off my bike for quite a while. One bit of good news – I won’t have to keep my arm in a sling the whole time. Soon I’ll be back to blogging two handed!

In the meantime, if I can’t be crabby about biking, what can I write about? How about our public transit system! I’m going to take this bike-free period as an opportunity to fully explore the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority system. First thing to be crabby about: Monthly passes are for calendar months – I can’t buy one for March 20 – April 20. I have to buy one for all of April and buy short-term passes in the meantime. Oh well….

I have one more RIPTA gripe for this post. With the exception of subway systems in a few large cities, American public transit systems are largely impenetrable to the visitor, casual user or temporarily injured “n00b” like me. One won’t find a system map at any stop (except for a central hub), and it’s difficult to know where the next designated stop is located. After my visit to the orthopedistnat RI Hospital, I needed to take the bus back to work. Because I took the bus to RIH, I knew where the bus stop was. However….

There was no sign anywhere indicating that this was a bus stop. Nothing in the lobby, nothing in the circle drive. There’s no indication of what route stops here and where it goes. Just imagine, you’re discharged from the emergency room, still a little woozy from meds, still in pain from your injuries – how are you supposed to know that this is the bus stop? I guess it’s just like missing street signs in New England, if you have to ask, you probably shouldn’t be there.