Everyday bicyclists await locally-grown strawberries

Land under the power lines in Orange County is among the last vestiges of agriculture in the county named for a fruit.

Land under the power lines in Orange County is among the last vestiges of agriculture in the county named for a fruit.

Anticipation for locally-grown strawberries has sprouted in the mind of the Veggie Biker.

The sprouts have been inserted into the slots in the plastic row covers. It keeps the dirt of the berries, cutting down on the preparation for market.

The sprouts have been inserted into the slots in the plastic row covers. It keeps the berries out of the mud, cutting down on the market preparation labor.

The Gamboa Berry Farm planted seedlings this week in its field on Stanton, north of La Palma, in Buena Park. There was no one around on my earlier-than-usual bicycle commute to ask how long we have to wait for a sweet bite of a ripe berry.

UCI Transportation Forum explores bicycling politics

activetransportationlog

Like-minded people are gathering to chart Orange County’s embrace of walking and biking. And you’re invited, if you RSVP.

activetransportahocogoPoliticians, city planners, traffic engineers and bicycle and pedestrian activists are scheduled to introduce themselves to each other at the Alliance for a Healthy Orange County Active Transportation Forum Oct. 18.

The professionals and activists are doing more than shaking hands at the gathering, subtitled, “Complete Streets and Active Living for Orange County!” The flyer reads organizers intend the forum to “identify challenges and opportunities, share best practices and develop priorities for Active Transportation as a region.”

The all-day Friday forum is being held at the University of California Irvine University Club from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There is a free lunch if you give the required RSVP.

Veggie Biking has registered to attend and intends to report the conference live on @veggiebiking.

Below is the agenda:

9:00 a.m. Registration 

beju_ucipublichealthnoseal2_110:00 a.m. – 10:10 a.m. Opening Remarks, Oladele A. Ogunseitan, PhD, MPH, Professor of Public Health, UC Irvine 

10:10 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Welcome, Barry Ross, Chairman, Alliance for a Healthy Orange County (AHOC) 

10:15 a.m. – 10:25 a.m. Active Transportation Recognition Awards 

10:25 a.m. – 11: 25 a.m. Panel 1: Why Complete Streets 

This panel will showcase recent research on complete streets, best practices and identify the opportunities and challenges today and in the future at the local and regional level.

beju_srts_4Panelist: Rye Baerg, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, America Bracho, Latino Health Access, Rock Miller, Stantec

Moderator: Leah Ersoylu, Ersoylu consulting

11:25 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Keynote Speaker: Charles Gandy, Livable Communities Inc., is a nationally recognized consulting firm focused on community design, trail planning and design, bicycle and pedestrian advocacy, and creating charismatic, vibrant and economically successful communities.

11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Networking Lunch 

12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. What is the future of Complete Streets and the pathways to implementation? 

This panel session, will discuss areas of common ground for implementation for all modes of transportation that are safer, more livable and sustainable for all users. The panelist will also provide input on who must lead the charge in redefining the function of streets. Lastly, the panelist will discuss support in developing and adopting new guidelines to support complete streets.

Panelist: Hasan Ikhrata, Southern California Association of Governments, Ryan Chamberlain, California Department of Transportation, District 12, Charlie Larwood, Orange County Transportation Authority, Moderator: Victor Becerra, UCI’s Community Health Action Network for Growth through Equity and Sustainability (CHANGES)

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Break- Out Sessions 

1. Advocacy at the grassroots level with Community Members and Elected Officials 

Panelist: Frank Peters, Newport Beach Advocate, Ava Steaffens, Kidworks

Moderator: Sergio Contreras, United Way of Orange County and Councilmember, Westminster

2. Connecting the dots with Engineers and Planners for Complete Streets 

Panelist: William Galvez, Acting Public Works Director, City of Santa Ana, Pam Galera, Planner, City of Anaheim

Moderator: Brenda Miller, PEDal

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2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Funding and the Political and Public Process for Complete Streets 

This session will discuss the challenges and how to build public and political support for Complete Streets. Additionally, this session will provide information on new funding sources like Cap and Trade and financing strategies to pay for new infrastructure and programs.

Panelist: Councilmember Tony Petros, City of Newport Beach, Councilmember Gail Eastman, City of Anaheim, Jennifer Klausner, LA Bicycle Coalition Moderator: Pauline Chow, Safe Routes to School National Partnership

3:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Closing Remarks- Vision for Active Transportation in Orange County 

beju_stjoe_4Other sponsors of the event include: St. Joseph Health Community Partnership and The California Endowment.

Austin’s Scare for the Cure offers PG-13 frights

Scare for the Cure

Scare for the Cure

Press Release provided by Stephen Mercer, Austin Scare for a Cure

Austin always offers something seasonal for the visiting veggie biker to experience. For Halloween, it is the Scare for a Cure interactive haunted house.

The Veggie Biker has followed this from a distance for several years, listening to tales of saving old buildings for their ghost town and creating scary scenarios. He even accompanied two of the Scare for the Cure volunteers to research Neil Patrick Harris’ haunted mansion in Hollywood last year. They think Scare for a Cure can do it better.

Here’s the official word:

SCARE for a CURE presents Fairy Tale Nightmare???, “Murder at Ghost Town??? and “The Boneyard???

What’s new this year?  This year not only will SCARE for a CURE have our hour long haunted adventure “Fairy Tale Nightmare???, but we’ve added two new events!  “Murder at Ghost Town???, a murder mystery and the “The Boneyard??? fit only for the bravest of souls. 

 ftn-sm

What happens when there are not more happy endings?  It’s all gone horribly, horribly wrong in Fairyland.  You may be the last hope.  Or you may become twisted like all the rest.  Forget what you think you know about Fairy Tales.  Ours are far more grimm than you can imagine! 

murder-sm The year is 1883, and the small town of J. Lorraine, Texas is burning.  Or at least many of the folks who live there are.  Someone committed an unspeakable act of cruelty and murder.  The culprit was never caught and the dead cannot rest until someone solves the crime.  Help the residents of GHOST TOWN find final peace – SOLVE the mystery of the Murder at Ghost Tow

boneyard-smStep in the mouth of madness with The Boneyard, an all-new high SCARE attraction that will have you running for your lives.  Try to find your way out of a twisted pit of the most terrifying monstrosities imaginable! Navigate the cursed junkyard with your worst nightmares nipping at your heels. 

Run entirely by volunteers, SCARE for a CURE has become one of the most popular attractions in Austin, Texas during the Halloween season. But don’t be fooled by the name, while SCARE is definitely passionate about the creation of its unique haunt experiences, the emphasis is really on the word CARE. Each year well over three hundred volunteers come together with a passion to share their talent and make a difference in their community. Last year SCARE donated $20,000 to the Breast Cancer Resource Centers of Texas, and a percentage of our 2013 proceeds from the interactive haunted adventure will again benefit the BCRC.
Contact:Norma Crippen, Co-Founder/Marketing Director, SCARE for CURE, 512-669-2581www.scareforacure.org

Strawberry planting cycle begins in Orange County

The strawberry fields of Orange County are taking shape. By February the Veggie Biker will be able to buy just-picked baskets of berries to take to campus for lunch.

The strawberry fields of Orange County are taking shape. By February the Veggie Biker will be able to buy just-picked baskets of berries to take to campus for lunch.

Strawberry season is coming.

In two weeks, the dusty, vacant strawberry field on Stanton, north of La Palma in Buena Park has been irrigated, shaped, treated with pesticides and herbicides, and covered in plastic. Next workers will poke small plants through holes the plastic . By February, the Gamboa Berry Farm should be selling boxes and boxes of strawberries, fresh-picked that morning as you bicycle past.

Future Fullerton Bikeshare memberships available

2013_8_Rideshare_BikeLink_MembershipW

OCTA has announced a new bike sharing program for Fullerton.

Basically, you rent a bike, ride it to the next rental station, and leave it. It has been proven effective in such large cities as Denver and Washington, D.C.

The are many questions that are not answered in this poster or the website. Here are some of the answers from OCTA BikeLink and other sources you need to understand the potential value of BikeLink in your life.

  1. There are said to be 10 stations initially planned in Fullerton: Fullerton Train Station, Fullerton City Hall Complex, Cal State Fullerton,  Fullerton College and College Plaza Shopping Center. But that’s only five stations on the list; and the map only shows eight stations.
  2. During the two-year pilot program, BikeLink bikes will operate only within the city of Fullerton.
  3. Meanwhile, Bike Nation, a Tustin-based company, which is the company it appears is installing the bikes in Fullerton (it is never stated clearly), has installed 10 kiosks and 100 bikes in Anaheim. Initial reviews from Veggie Biking audience members say that system is less than satisfactory.
  4. BikeNation’s 4,000-bike Los Angeles bike sharing program is reported by the Los Angeles Times to be on hold until a financial backer or an advertising program can be found to augment the program’s, rental fees.
  5. There is no mention of reciprocity between the Fullerton and Anaheim systems. So you cannot, it appears, take bikes from one city to the other, a natural thing for college students to do.
  6. You can buy a one-day or seven-day Fullerton Bikelink Access Pass* from any OCTA BikeLink station. It appears you must use a credit card for this, as a $100 refundable deposit is placed on the card every time you rent a bike. Can you charge a trip using your smartphone as in Washington, D.C., or do you have to use the Kiosk?
  7. A BikeLink Access Pass ranges from $5 for a one-day Pass to $12 for a seven-day pass.
  8. The first 30 minutes of riding on every trip is free.
  9. If your trip is longer than 30 minutes you will be charged overtime fees (see pricing).
  10. Or you can buy an annual pass which gives you an annual membership card with which you can simply tap the kiosk and remove a bicycle.
  11. Annual memberships are available for purchase online.
  12. If there are no empty docks, go to the kiosk, swipe your credit card and you will receive a 15-minute credit. You will then be directed to the nearest station with empty docks. (Do you get a free bus pass to get back to where you wanted to be?)
  13. You can check the BikeLink station map online prior to your ride for real-time information such as available docks and bikes.
  14. However, there is no mention of using the smartphone Spotcycle app which gives information for over 40 cities world wide, including Long Beach.
  15. The bicycles have easy adjusting seat posts with calibration marks to ensure the right seat height for you every ride. The bicycles also have step-thru frames for ease of use and low center of gravity.
  16. The BikeLink bicycle utilizes airless tires and chainless shaft-driven drivetrain.
  17. All the bicycles have baskets in the front for your personal belongings.
  18. DO NOT ABANDON YOUR CHECKED-OUT BICYCLE IF IT DOESN’T WORK!, warns OCTA. It remains your responsibility until properly returned. Return and lock it at the dock and push the red mechanics button on the dock.You can return the bike at any of the stations located in the city of Fullerton. Simply put the bike into any available dock, wait for the green light to blink to make sure it locks and you are done until your next ride. (Is there a pick-up service such as the bike rental shops provide?)
  19. Call the OCTA Bikelink 24-hour Customer Service Center at 800.980.7942 if you have any questions.

OCTA asks you share this information a friend or associate. If you want questions answered in person, you can bike to the Orange County Transportation Authority, 550 S. Main St., Orange, CA, 92863-1584.

Bicycle Washington, D.C., for $7 a day

 

Distances are short in Wash., D.C. There is no reason any trip should take more than a half hour, meaning you will never actually pay more than $7 for 24-hours of touring the capital city.

Distances are short in Wash., D.C. There is no reason any trip should take more than a half hour, meaning you will never actually pay more than $7 for 24-hours of touring the capital city.

Original reporting by Robert R. Mercer, Veggiebiking.com, Copyright 2013

You can bicycle all over Washington, D.C. for 24 hours for just $7.

Really, if you plan your visit correctly, you can do this.

The Veggie Biker used to walk all over D.C. in “Tijuana Slicks” in a younger life before the subway was built. It was a very walkable town.

The Bikeshare rentals are in excellent mechanical shape and the three-speed shift can easily gear down to climb Capitol Hill.

The Bikeshare rentals are in excellent mechanical shape and the three-speed shift can easily gear down to climb Capitol Hill.

But it is an even better bicycle town using Capital Bikeshare. Pair your Bikeshare rental with the Metro, and you can be anywhere quickly and effortlessly. D.C. is basically flat, except for Capitol Hill, and, really, is congress really worth the exertion right now?

Reagan National Airport is still the best place to fly into. Just jump on the Metrorail and you’re anywhere in the district in half an hour. You can pay per trail or bus trip, or get a pass for the length of your visit. The pass includes riding the Metrobuses. However, thanks to the bikes, the Veggie Biker only needed the Metro to get from and back to the airport.

Capital Bikeshare places its racks at every subway station and next to most tourist attractions.  Eighty total racks. This is where the $7-a-day strategy comes in. And Bikeshare wants you to go cheap, too. First half hour is free. Second half hour a buck and a half. Third half hour three bucks.

Bikeshare racks are found at every Metrorail station, including this one at Dupont Circle. And the Metrobus adds even more ways of getting around the district.

Bikeshare racks are found at every Metrorail station, including this one at Dupont Circle. And the Metrobus adds even more ways of getting around the district.

First, you have to join Capital Bikeshare for the day for $7. You can do this at a bike kiosk or using your smartphone. The Veggie guy put a credit card into the kiosk, validated the card using his zip code, and then chose to have a printed access code spit out. You can go paperless if you can remember five digits for five minutes. After five minutes, the code expires.

If you take longer than five minutes, you have to reinsert your credit card and get a new code, the Veggie Biker learned. They have great telephone customer service.

The Bikeshare kiosk only asks you insert a credit card, validate your card, print out a number, and grab a bike.

The Bikeshare kiosk only asks you insert a credit card, validate your card, print out a number, and grab a bike.

Bikeshare emphasizes sharing your bike. If you are not riding it, someone else should be using it. The first half hour of any ride is free. So, do what the hard-core commuters do. Get off the train, grab a bike. Ride to your destination in less than half an hour. Then park it in the bike rack. That stops the clock.

For example, after visiting Mr. Lincoln and paying respect to the  names on the Vietnam Wall, go back to the bike rack and get a new bike. Ride to the White House, etc.

It is possible there will be no bikes in a rack–not likely, but possible. You can insure you have a bike waiting by using your smartphone to reserve a bike at a particular location.

Or…

You can use the smartphone Spotcycle app to see where bikes are currently parked. Well, my Washington-commuter friend could. BUT the app for my  SAMSUNG GALAXY S®4 didn’t really work until I was at the Reagan departure gate. The app also gives you the same information for over 40 cities around the world, including Long Beach, CA., and Denver, CO.

The Bikeshare key is for commuters who buy monthly memberships. Just wave it and ride away.

The Bikeshare key is for commuters who buy monthly memberships. Just wave it and ride away.

Of course, if you live or work in the district, you will get a monthly pass with the neat little “key” that you wave over the kiosk panel and you are outta there. The Veggie guy’s friend bicycled from 14th Street to 7th Street for lunch. When lunch was over, he walked to the nearest kiosk, waved his key, and rode back to work. He does not exceed his monthly membership because he keeps rides under 30 minutes.

There is also a three-day pass for tourists and a daily key for those who ride infrequently.

Complaints: One Bikeshare seat needed adjusting, something the rider can’t do. Solution. Got a new bike. No charge.

Bring your own helmet. They can be bought for $17, but you have to find the shops. You might throw in a really good U-lock just in case you must stop where there is no rack. Bike thieves work hard in the district, it is said.

And D.C. traffic signs continue to be confusing. There are separate lights for people, bikes and cars in some places. One-way streets!. Actual traffic regulations are hard to find. Can you ride on the sidewalks? Can you ride in Lafayette Park? Native bikers I asked, replied, “No one ever gets a ticket.”

But Capital Bikeshare is definitely the ticket-to-ride you want to get.

Local district bicycling laws are hard to determine, but these icons on the bike handle bars certainly help the neophyte jump on and avoid to much trouble in the crowded, but polite streets of D.C.

Local district bicycling laws are hard to determine, but these icons on the bike handle bars certainly help the neophyte jump on and avoid to much trouble in the crowded, but polite streets of D.C.

 

My Commute: In Milwaukee, every sign post is a bike rack

 

Josh and his George's Big Dog Stand.

Customer parking is not a problem for Josh, who sets up his George’s Big Dogs hotdog and bratwurst stand four days a week outside Milwaukee’s National Hardware. The amateur kickball team member offers a grilled dog and toasted bun on his gas grill. Of course, he has three kinds of mustard and sauer kraut. His stand is next to two sign posts where customers lock up to grab lunch and shop in the hardware.

Almost every sign post in downtown Milwaukee has a bicycle locked to it.

Sign post bike rack close up

If every sign post is going to be a bike rack, Milwaukee decided they should be good bike racks.

Seriously! So the city embraced the obvious and has made many downtown sign poles bike racks.

National Hardware

National Hardware provides the Veggie Biker with all sorts of devices for adapting cameras to bicycles. One can find all the pieces to construct an apartment bicycle rack.

Men in coats and ties pedal down the streets and pull up to the nearest sign post, lock up, and go inside businesses. Of course, downtown is full of students from Marquette University, Wisconsin University and the School of Engineering commuting effortlessly up the hills and across the river bridges.

Of course, some poles seem to have bicycles permanently attached. There are bicycles that appear not to have been moved in months. Others, slowly disappear over time as parts are stripped away. However, the Veggie Biker observed the U-Lock and a cable meant never having to worry when you find your very own sign-post bike rack.

Abandoned bike

This forgotten bike has to be pivoted around the sign post each week by the person mowing the parkway. The basket if filled with empty cans and coffee cups.