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Monday, June 09, 2008

Tacoma: Reporter pedals for Bike to Work Month

Arts writer Rosemary Ponnekanti pedals on way to assignment.
From the News Tribune (Tacoma, WA), 06.09.08:

The Bicycle Diaries: Reporter took the pedal challenge during May
Arts reporter Rosemary Ponnekanti took on the City of Tacoma’s Bike to Work month challenge during May--and lived to tell about it.

May was the City of Tacoma’s Bike to Work Month, so I decided to step up to the plate (or rather, the pedal). Yes, I rode my bike to work at The News Tribune for the whole month...And hey, it was fun! Car doors, yes; sweat, yes; rain, yes – but on the whole, this relapsed cyclist is now inspired to get back on the bike. Here’s the story of my personal Bike to Work month...


Cool Moment You Don’t Get in a Car No. 1: Smelling the lilac blooming next to the road as you pass. In the rain, of course.


Well, the end of my personal Bike to Work Month. Now what? I’m totally convinced that cycling is the way to go to work: fresh air, exercise, no gas expense, being at one with the universe...I’m now fully initiated into Northwest cycling, and can open pit zips in my jacket, dodge raindrops and drink coffee while cycling. (Actually, I’m making it up about the coffee. But I wish I wasn’t.)

Here’s my wish list for Tacoma, with ideas stolen from bike-friendly cities elsewhere.

1. Bike lanes that link to each other, and represent real commuting routes. (Amsterdam)
2. Bike racks outside all major businesses and public spaces. (Amsterdam)
3. Stands of free “borrow-a-bikes” around the city. (Paris, Barcelona)
4. Tough fines for drivers who sideswipe around corners. (Amsterdam)
5. A waterfront bike path, linking downtown, parks and beaches. (Melbourne) (Read more.)
The coverage continues for Bike to Work Month. This first-person account of bicycle commuting isn't particularly remarkable (and it will be a good day when a person bicycling to work isn't "remarkable".) Except for the writer's conclusion for what Tacoma needs to become more bicycle friendly: lanes, racks, paths. Not a hint of a demand from this novice bike commuter for bicyclist education.

Image: News Tribune (Tacoma, WA). Arts writer Rosemary Ponnekanti pedals on way to assignment.
Visit: Bicycle Alliance of Washington
Visit: Washington state bike commuter profiled, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Cold-weather cycling in Washington, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site


Anonymous said...

Maybe she feels her experience is education enough...still a step in the right direction when media coverage is positive.

SiouxGeonz said...

It's still novel and magic to her. Give it a little time... she doesn't know what she doesn't know.

Trek's doing a "go by bike" promo getting people to do that too and there's a strikingly similar ring.

go by bike

Most of 'em are stoked... which is good (compared to the reporter who tried to go without a car for a day and whined about the whole thing and concluded that she just loved her car). Hope none of 'em get creamed.

Anonymous said...

Good for her! (And if she lived & biked in the Netherlands for a couple of years, then she's not really a newbie, just to biking around here.)

I lived in Tacoma for 10 years, although that was before I biked. That 3rd picture: I lived 2 blocks away for a while. And the hill she talks about is quite formidable.

When I first met my husband, we both lived in apartments near the top of the hill, and worked downtown. He biked EVERYWHERE; neither of us drove; I walked or took the bus. It always blew me away watching him haul up the hill.

South 19th is gnarly, too. I can't imagine having that as my main commute road. It's worth noting that her description of her worst route, that the worst bits are all in some quite sketchy neighborhoods. As with lots of other infrastructure, class means something.