Friday, July 3, 2015

Just to recap, some of the irons in my fire

Just to recap...

My goal in life is to make it possible *not* to drive. To that end, I am involved with all of the following: 

1) I regularly commute 11 miles each direction by bicycle, 12 months a year, in a four-season climate, anytime conditions warrant. I do this to show others that it can be done, then I share my experiences on social media. Learn from my experience and try it yourself.

2) I regularly commute by public transit, and document my experiences and ideas for others to use. I've been doing this for 25 years, saving me tens of thousands of dollars in the process. Learn from the information I share, so that you can, too.

3) I video my bike rides, using front and rear cameras. This shows other cyclists how to ride in mixed traffic, and documents the ways inconsiderate motorists make cycling difficult or dangerous. Learn from what I share, and do not be one of those people.

4) I lead bike rides, and participate in others, which demonstrate how to ride in traffic legally and safely. Some of these rides, in turn, help raise money for or awareness of worthy causes. As Elbert Hubbard wrote, if you would make people better, set an example.

5) My participation on the Ross Township bike-ped committee helps identify ways to make it easier to get around on foot or bike in neighboring Ross. (Though I live in McCandless, most of my daily journey is in Ross.)

6) As president of the Allegheny County Transit Council, I enhance citizen input to the staff, management, and board of directors of Pittsburgh's metro transit system. If you ride transit and wish to help, please talk to me.

7) My participation on the Amtrak Bicycle Task Force will make it possible for cyclists to take their bikes on passenger trains across the U.S. without having to take them apart first. The first such routes will be available in July. It all started by me asking Amtrak if it was possible, and was told no. Twice. But I kept asking.

8) I actively participate on the Bike-Pgh message board, sharing information about improving the riding experience for anyone cycling in Pittsburgh. Everything I learn about biking, I share there.

9) Since I also regularly ride a motorcycle, I am keenly aware of the same safety and visibility issues as faced by pedalcyclists, as well as difficulties parking as a commuter. If m/c parking was more plentiful, there would be less need for car parking, and less traffic congestion.

10) Through my participation in Toastmasters, I am practicing how to be a better speaker, leader, and communicator so that I can do all of the above more effectively.

11) Finally, since I do drive occasionally, I understand the needs drivers have of avoiding congestion, finding easy parking, and encountering cyclists on the road.

Because I use all of these travel modes and maintain all these vehicles, I am keenly aware of the comparative costs to getting around by car, bike, bus, motorcycle and on foot. No form of travel is without expense. Whether money, time, comfort, safety, luggage, or the nature of what has to be carried, I experience it all, and can speak with an informed voice about it.

I am convinced that people drive because they don't know how to do anything else, or are afraid to try. Many times, those fears are founded, and it is here that I do the most work. Taken as a whole, I am focused on removing barriers to alternatives to driving, wherever and whenever possible.


  1. Taking a step back and surveying some of what I'm doing with my life right now.