The whining I do on my blog results in positive change for cyclists across America

Well, isn’t that a mouthful of a blog post title? We’ll get to that in a second.

In my previous post, I complained about this Specialized parked in Jamestown and that it was one of the worst cases of “barely locked” that I’d seen:

That’s a flimsy cable lock threaded between the fork and the wheel, which would allow a thief to simply remove the wheel, lift up the frame, re-attach the wheel and then ride away. I thought this was one of the worst examples of barely locked until I returned to Providence to find this:

This qualifies for both the “Topless pole-dancing” and the “When I think of you, I lock to myself” types of barely locked bike (see this previous post for my complete “barely locked” taxonomy). I dunno, if one uses two types of ineffective locking techniques at once, does that turn it into an effective locking technique?

I’ve got to take a closer look – ENHANCE!

Yep, that’s pretty stupid.

Now, back to our headline. Before I got dropped from the peloton of the Let’s Go Ride A Bike Summer Games, I completed one of the four events by writing a letter to a local business to cajole them into installing a bike rack. As you probably know, there are few things I love more than getting all hoity-toity with a business owner and insisting that they install some bike racks. Since my cajoling has been successful with two local businesses so far, I decided to set my sights a little higher – like the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart. You can read my polite (but firm) letter here. And while Wal-Mart has not responded directly per se, they did respond in their own round-about corporate way… by installing bike racks at Wal-Marts in Texas. In fact, so powerful was the prose of my letter, that Wal-Mart went back in time to install these bike racks. Impressive, eh?

Steve A, head of the CarfreePVD branch office in Dallas (aka the completely unrelated and vastly superior to this blog, DFW Point-to-Point) sent me these pictures

Everything's bigger in Texas - including the dead space around the bike racks

I like this bike racks location, back by the auto lube department. It’s also nice that there is a cigarette butt station right next to the rack. I should pay another visit to the Providence Wal-Mart to see if there are cigarette butt disposal units parked out front. And if I see them, I can feel even more self-righteous because Wal-mart would pay to have a place for people to put out their cancer sticks, but not a place for people to park their bikes. Ah, I love that self-righteous feeling, it’s better than smugness.

Big thanks to Steve for sending me the pictures. Kidding aside, it’s interesting to see that a giant company like Wal-Mart will install bike racks for some stores, but not for others. I’m sure they have parking lots, disabled parking, and even wheel-chair specific spots at almost every store. I realize that mode share for cycling is very low in the US (what, 2% nationwide?), but I wonder what percentage of trips are taken by cars with disabled parking tags. And then I wonder what percentage of trips are taken by cars that have actual disabled people in them!

More hot barely locked pics tomorrow! (or whenever I write the next post.)

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