Friday, June 30, 2006

Bicycle Commuting

Today when I was riding to Sandy to pick up my car and finish the commute to work it was a beautiful morning and as I was riding along watching the gorgeous sunrise I thought how great bicycle commuting is. I saw quite a few other bicycle commuters making the trek into work, school, etc. and as each passed, we exchanged friendly waves of understanding and comraderie. It was a nice feeling. Yesterday when I was sitting waiting for the train at the TRAX station I saw quite a few people cruising around on bikes in Downtown. This may seem like a normal thing in other cities, but Salt Lake still needs to grow up and seeing a handful of cyclists in a 10 minute time span is pretty good. It's nice to see more now than I used to.

Most trips that people make are under a mile or two long which means that at just 14mph you could travel 2 miles in just 8.5 minutes and you get to ride straight to the front at traffic lights. Now think about how long it takes you to pull your car out of the garage, drive through traffic (sometimes the worst part), and then you still have to find a parking space. While the parking space issue might be quickly resolved just outside the city, it can get much more difficult (not to mention expensive) in and around Downtown. The bicycle is the perfect solution for most of these short trips. If you haven't started using a bike for transportation, you should try it, you just might remember those early days of freedom that came from learning how to ride.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Three Foot Law

This post is for all those who drive a car in Utah. Today as I was riding down Wasatch Drive near the University of Utah Campus, coming up to Foothill Drive a lady driving a car started creeping up on me on the left as I coasted down the hill. I noticed that she was pretty close to me, but I have gotten used to that. She continued to pass me and as she got about half way past me she pulled over even closer to me pushing me off into the gutter. I recovered and she had to stop for the line of cars that were also in the left-hand turn lane but I don't even think she saw me and she was the one that passed me!

So, for all those drivers out there, here's what Utah law says about passing someone on a bicycle.

An operator of a motor vehicle may not knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly operate a motor vehicle within three feet of a moving bicycle

And here's the link: Utah Three Foot Law

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Commute

So now that I am working full time down in Orem (an hour south of Salt Lake City where I live) I have to be to work by 7:00 am. There are a couple of problems with this, one is I don't like driving a car to commute, I think it's a waste of a great car. Two, I don't want to waste an hour of my day in the car when I could be riding my bike. Three, I go against the flow of rush hour traffic so the buses and mass transit are infrequent and slow. So, to make the most of a bad situation, I use a combination of my bike, the car, the bus, and the train. On Tuesday and Thursday I work in a cardiovascular physiology lab at the U of U campus (in SLC) at 7:30am. Then at 11:00am, I leave there and make a quick sprint down the hill to the train. I hop on the train and take it to the Sandy City at the South end of the valley where my car is parked. I then drive over the Point of the Mountain to Utah Valley. On Tues/Thur, I usually have to drive all the way to work to get there in time.

On Mon/Wed/Fri, I leave my house around 5:30 am and ride either all the way to Sandy where I get in my car to drive over the Point of the Mountain. Then I park in Utah Valley and ride the rest of the way into work by bike. Sometimes I catch the train about halfway to Sandy if I feel tired. Either way, it's a great way to travel and it cuts my gas mileage, car wear and tear, and commuting cost in half. I ride all public trasportation for free because I'm a student. On the way home, I just travel the route backwards. Here are some pics coming home yesterday afternoon. Welcome to the "City," what views, eh?