Monday, June 19

Bicycle Mystery

In response to my "Goodbye to Old Friends" post, Whareagle made a comment from which I quote:

  • "whareagle said...  Dude - go to "Google Trends" and type in 'cycling', then focus in on the US, then Texas, and set the date to 2004-present. We're F'ed. The US is F'ed in regards to cycling, and Texas is REALLY F'ed.  I'm out of business. I got a call from TWO other Level 1 coaches, asking for work..."

At the time, I advised against panic (I've been known to cite Google Trends myself, such as here and here), even though he was completely correct in his observation of the Google trends.  These are shown in the two graphics below, along with "bicycle" for comparison
US Google Trends for bicycle and cycling. Bicycle now sits at 33% of its Peak

Things Look EVEN WORSE in Texas, Where Bicycle has dropped to 25% of its Peak
Things certainly look dark for those of us that frequently use human-powered two wheeled vehicles for transport. However, things are not always as bleak as they first appear. To check things out a little more thoroughly, I tried a couple of similar, but different search terms, adding "Bicycle" as a topic rather than a search term, and also "bike" as a comparitive search term. THAT shows a rather different story
Searching for the Term "Bike" Suggests Searches are 76% of the Peak
I checked further, Looking at my old post, I decided to see how the term "vampire" has fared over time, since it was more popular than "cyclist" back when I posted here. Well, instead of cyclist and vampire in Texas as I used then, I used bike and vampire in Texas. The results are shown below:

As you may note, the term "bike" is still sitting at 69% of its peak, while interest in "vampire" has dropped to 29% of its peak. My point? I think panic is premature and we'd be wise to not get too thrilled with cycling-related results from Google Trends.
Vampires Seem to be Disappearing from Texas!

Friday, May 26

Spring Locals and Alien Invaders

Rhododendrons are the Quintessential Pacific Northwest Shrub and Flower

The Pacific Northwest has some of the most beautiful plants to be found anywhere. Besides obvious choices such as the rhododendron at the top of this post, even our evergreens have color not often appreciated or commented on.
Until They Turn Into Cones, Pine Flowers are an Attractive Yellow

These are Past Their Peak, When They'd Almost be Pink

However, we also have alien invaders. As you may see below, the lillies in front of the rhodie are not native. Ubiquitous also are things such as Himalayan Blackberries and Scotch Broom. The Scotch Broom adds a lot of color this time of year, as it grows in recently cleared areas. Blackberries also grow in clearings until local plants reclaim them.

Native and Foreign - Lillies in Front of a Rhododendron

Wild Invader - Flowering Scotch Broom in an Empty Lot.
At Least They don't have Stickers Like Blackberries, but They don't have Fruit, Either
Heck, as noted in my previous post, here, we've even got a few palm trees up here...

Sunday, May 21

Losing Another Opportunity in Texas

From time to time, I make a post lamenting how our fellow people needlessly miss opportunities to make communities easier and safer for people not in cars to get around. For example, here, I showed how a brain-damaged developer in Keller put up a fence that prevented kids in the development from walking to a school (in the same development) a couple of hundred feet away and how the locals cut a hole in the school fence to allow kids to walk. A couple of years later, here, I showed how our local city spent a lot of money on a road "improvement" that turned a local street into something hostile to safely and legally operating cyclists, not to mention driveways that cut across the remaining sidwalks. In that post, one thing I noted was the "Cute Path to Nowhere." That path runs in my own development, but it doesn't go anywhere. It simply turns around.

Things seem to be getting closer to home. Right next to my development, someone got approval to put in a "gated" community. Gated communities are an excuse, IMO, to avoid integrating with the local community. People buy there to feel "safer." Well, maybe, or maybe it simply satisfies the urge to "be better." Few gated communities help anybody but themselves. The "Strong Towns" blog has noted this repeatedly. ONE example is noted here.

In this case, I fear the opportunity to connect with a newly building shopping center via foot or bike will soon be lost. The "Cute Path to Nowhere" may become the "Cute Path to Nowhere That COULD have Served All of Us." I brought this up at our HOA meeting a while back, but I didn't sense any urgency on the topic from our HOA board. They seemed more concerned that someone would use this "back route" to enter our HOA neighborhood rather than the far simpler access via city streets. Whatever...

In the top photo, you can see the end of the "Cute Path to Nowhere" at location 1. The photo below is take from location 1 towards the disappearing forest that's getting taken by the gated community.

Photo looking from Location 1 Towards the Disappearing Forest
Locations 2, 3, and 4 show views where the forest has been chopped down, as seen just beyond the end of the "Cute Path to Nowhere"

Photo 2, Showing the End of the New Cul de Sac. Oddly, There's no Fence Here

Photo 3, Looking Northeast Where a Pedestrian Bridge Would be WONDERFUL, but There Won't be One.
Colleyville Parks Said "No"

Photo 4 - Looking East Along the New Subdivision "Back Wall" and the Start of the Fence
Finally, Photos 5 through 7 show just how easy it would to add a crushed gravel path to connect to a MUP (Photo 8) the city REQUIRED the developer to put in.

Photo 5. Looking East Along the New Subdivision Fence
Photo 6. Interestingly, the City Required no Erosion Control.
Note how the Developer Protected the Side Toward the "Back Wall"
While doing Nothing on the other Side of the Stream.
I Suspect Someone Will Regret that Choice

Photo 7. The Eastern End of the "Back Wall" Looking Toward Heritage Avenue
Photo 8 - Looking North Along the MUP that the "Path to Nowhere" Fails to Connect.
New Shopping Mall is Ahead and to the Right. A Short Walk.

Bird's Eye View of the Disappearing Forest
For reference, a "bird's eye view" of the area from Google Maps is shown above.

Monday, May 8

Ashamed of Myself

I admit, I've been under more stress than usual lately. Still, that's no excuse for my behavior this morning. I was riding home from the espresso stand, on a narrow, two lane residential street with a posted 25MPH speed limit. I was riding near the middle of the right hand lane, a lane narrow enough that anybody passing would have to change lanes, regardless of my lane position.

I got passed by a silver Mercedes. The passenger felt it necessary to open HIS window and shout "right side bro" as though that might have made some difference coming from a willfully ignorant pssenger already safely past another road user, on a bike. Who knows where the Mercedes was from, but it probably wasn't local. Certainly, I've never seen it before, nor its offensive passenger.

The shame came afterwards, as I shouted back "F)(* you." As if THAT would have made any difference. I guess I'm hoping my wonderful wife recovers shortly, and that things will settle down...

Saturday, March 25

America Beats the Canadians for the First Time

From Seattle's MyNorthwest, Proof Seattle Beat the Canadians for the Stanley Cup
If we were talking nowadays, it'd be "America Beats the Canadiens."

It was the year 1917. In Europe, the British Empire was part of the Entente battling the Central Powers. Still, we're talking hockey here, not a ware to end all wars. The NHA, predecessor of the NHL took on challengers each year in defense of the Stanley Cup. No American team had ever beaten the Canadians.

Our Brave Seattle Boys, from Wikipedia
Metropolitan Logo
However, 1917 turned out to be different. You see, the Seattle Metropolitans were the challengers that year. Their team was strong, with five future hall of famers. To make a story even shorter, they beat the Montreal Canadians (now Canadiens) in the Stanley Cup final.

Following the loss to the Americans, the NHA disbanded to become today's NHL. Two years later, when Seattle was to play Montreal for the cup, the Spanish Flu led to its cancellation. It would not be until 1928 that another American team, the New York Rangers, would win the Stanley Cup. To this very day, Seattle has never gotten an NHL team, so our 1917 victory over Montreal is likely to be our last for the forseeable future. Who knows if the NHL is still punishing Seattle for beating Montreal?