Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Bike Accident

I could've done without the bike accident I had last night. Really, I don't mind a nice boring (safe) ride home.

It was on the way home, about 3 blocks from my house, the bike's front wheel fell into a deep groove in the sidewalk (going downhill fast). My bike spun out into the street, I fell backward's, hitting my helmet and sliding along on my back.

I suffered a severely cracked helmet, tore through my jacket's back, scrapped up both hands, have deep bruise-type pain in my upper back and right hip. I was dazed as i lay there on the sidewalk. As soon as I gathered a few of my wits, I pulled my bike out of the street. I stood up and checked out the damage to my bike. All I could see was a severely bent front wheel. Then I called my wife. Among other questions, she asked where I was. I couldn't answer! I could not for the life of me remember the street names that I have lived by for 20 years. I knew the WAY home and that I was close, but not the street names.

I started walking my bike home and my wife ran down to help. I still felt rather dazed, but getting better. Later on, my wife mentioned that I told her on the phone about a driver who pulled over near where I was lying who asked if I needed help. Weird thing is, I had no recollection of this event! Scary! About an hour later, it came back to me, hazily.

According to what we looked up on the internet, I did not have enough symptoms to warrant an emergency room visit. Short term memory loss is rather common. Still in a good bit of pain today, I decided to stay home and take it easy.

Looking at the EIGHT big cracks through my helmet, it's frightening to think about what would've happened had I not worn it. When I was growing up, no one had helmets. No big deal... right? Well, I'm a believer now!

The offending sidewalk hazard is one I've successfully avoided 50 times or more now. It just took over-confidence and a momentary loss of concentration... From now on, I will slow down a lot to maneuver around this hazard. I'm also glad I had front and rear superbright lights flashing on my bike. I'm sure it helped the driver notice me go down. And had I been really UNlucky and fell INTO the street, the lights would've surely helped to avert a deadly collision.

I got a new helmet this evening, and the bike shop fixed up my bike, so I'm ready to go again tomorrow. Gotta get right back on that horse, ya know...

I'm thinking I might add a helmet mounted light as well. I hear the nice thing about helmet lights is that the light is directed right where I'm looking. I'm going to do some research on that. I don't mind being lit up like it's Xmas. Modern LED lights are bright and energy efficient. I'd rather look like a rolling holiday show than become road kill.

To my fellow bikers: be prepared, wear the helmet, use lights at night, learn your routes and it's hazards in the daytime, and slow down for known hazards, especially at night!

Arrive alive!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I'm 'Normal'

Today, I weighed in at 194.2. According to the BMI charts, this places me, finally, at a 'Normal Weight'!

No longer obese, no longer overweight, I'm Normal. Which means, according to most of my friends here in America, that I'm 'skinny'.

Yup, here in America, overweight is the new normal, normal is skinny, and skinny becomes 'OMG!' Being the contrarian that I am, I'm happy to be 'Normal' in America, that is to say 'skinny' compared to the overweight norm.

In a sense, I feel done now, but I will push on a few more pounds to hit 190, then transition to a maintenance phase.

see: www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html

Friday, September 18, 2009

FOX News, your facts are wrong... (AGAIN!)

We're Number 37!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thoughts On My Bike

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The True Cost of Driving

How much does it REALLY cost you to drive?

Use the True Cost of Driving Online Calculator to find out!

When considering the cost of driving, most people think only about how much they pay for gas. Drivers also pay to buy and maintain a car, including tune-ups, oil and tires, as well as for insurance, registration, and parking. Indirect costs of driving, such as road construction and maintenance, add to drivers’ financial burden through taxes and fees. In addition, there are quality of life costs that drivers and non-drivers alike pay to support automobile transportation. Though challenging to quantify, these added impacts include air pollution, traffic congestion, and health care.

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I input a little basic data, and my cost to drive the mere 1665 miles that I do costs: $2,257.74 !!!


A Bike Rack Request at the Mall

Emailed to White Flint Mall managers:

Greetings,

Today, I decided to bicycle to the mall. It's a beautiful day for it. I arrived and went to the bike rack that is by the Eatery Entrance. It was full with 3 bikes. Maybe I could've squeezed mine in... but hey, I didn't want to damage my or anyone else's bike. So I proceeded to search for another bike rack. I went up and down ramps, round and round the mall (3 times around!) in a vain search for another bike rack.

So I locked my bike to the light pole to the left of P.F. Changs restaurant. I considered that it was sufficiently out of the way of pedestrians, yet beneficially within view of many coming and going shoppers. I then went in to do my shopping at the bookstore. On the 3rd floor, I once decided to look out the window, to check up on my bike. My bike was fine, but what do you know, 2 young women on bikes were just stopping beside my bike. They looked like they were trying to find a bike rack too...

I bought my books, stopped and got a slice of cheesecake to take home, and then discovered a yellow warning slip from security officer #14. It politely requested that I lock up at the bike rack. Not possible. And apparently from the girls I mentioned above, I was not the only one with this problem. I do understand though, that you want both an orderly appearance to parked cars AND bikes. In addition, you don't want bikes parked willy nilly which might obstruct pedestrian and automobile traffic.

As you may surmise, I'd like to request you add more bike racks. Off the top of my head, let's look at some of the advantages from a shopping mall owners perspective.

More bike racks:
1. Give the mall a greener image. (always good these days!)
2. Free up more parking spaces for automobiles.
3. Provides an orderly, safe, inviting place for bikes to lock up.
4. Reduces pollution (which affects everyone, even mall managers!)
5. Keeps bicyclists feeling welcome. Parking warnings like I got may encourage bicycling shoppers to go elsewhere.

That seems like a decent list for off the top of my head.
I hope you seriously consider my request. Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

- Stephen Starling

I'll post any reply I receive...