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Thread: Setting Goals

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    Senior Member Plantmiester's Avatar
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    Setting Goals

    I wrote a post on my blog a few days ago outlining my summer goals for living car free (over the winter I live in housing on campus, which is pretty much the ideal car free system, I don't even have to leave campus if I don't want to. There's even a bike shop here).

    Anyways, I just wanted to see if this is how many other people have begun the trek towards being car free. Here is my goal breakdown, since I've lived car light last summer and completely car free this winter they are more intense than just "bike to work".

    1. Ride to work, or ride the bus every single day. I will not succomb to driving in regardless of the circumstances. Rain, snow, sleet, +60 degrees celsius, riding to work. The hardest part will be the transportation of large quantities of bike parts, but it's not enough to slow me down.

    2. Errands that require a round trip of less than 10km must be done by bike or bus. This depends mostly on the size of the load. If I'm bringing 10 2x4s back from the lumber yard, this one may be hard to keep. But most of my errands are things like milk and bike tubes, so it should be too hard to keep.

    3. Parties, friends houses, etc. within Calgary city limits should be gotten to by a combination of bike, C-Train, and bus, since the combination of the three makes Calgary significantly smaller than it is by just one.

    4. I will not get angry with drivers who make the road unsafe. Instead I will wave to acknowledge that I noticed their actions, or if they are inclined to stop, I will discuss with them what happened.

    5. Critical mass rides are a must, they are a great place to meet other cyclist activists and get involved. Hopefully this will be a base for more of my advocacy to develop.

    6. Research and discuss ways to transition to a car free city. Knowing your battle is critical, and understanding that we can't just make a city completely car-free in 2 years is impossible is important. Knowing how we can go from car-addicted, to car-light to car free over the span of 30 years is much better.

    7. The only instances where driving is acceptable is when the car is above 75% capacity. I WILL NOT DRIVE ALONE! The Insight must be full, the Volvo must have 4 people in it, and the Jag can't leave the garage. They're my parents cars, not mine, but I think setting these for myself will help greatly.

    What makes it all harder is the fact that my parents have 3 cars for 4 people in the house, so there is almost always a car available. Plus the layout of Calgary makes riding awkward alot of the time... terrible layout for a city.

    So, what about you folks?
    Velocipede, my blog about biking and bikes.

  2. #2
    Peace, Love, Bikes
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    Setting goals is great. My hang up now is getting the bike set up right. Basically get a basket for the front and a good rain/hi viz jacket. That and a good 2nd lock.
    Andrew

    Life On Two Wheels

    Car free, one day at a time...

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    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    You will of course do what you think is best for you, but, IMO, you should just go cold turkey: Don't have any cars just lying around. It might be a bit disconcerting at first, not having a back-up car, but the feeling passes quickly; it's amazing how easy it is to get around without a car if you think ahead a little bit. (Yes, I do rent a car once or twice a year to get out of town, but, compared to having a car, it's very inexpensive.) You might want to look into getting a trailer for hauling loads. (Last summer, I hauled a 100 lb outboard with little trouble, using a Burley trailer.) And avoid Critical Mass like the plague. They don't present a good image of cyclists or the cycling lifestyle at all, and do much more harm than good. In a town the size of Calgary, I'm sure there must be at least one advocacy group with a more constructive approach than CM.

    Good luck with your car-free experiment! I'm sure you'll succeed.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    And avoid Critical Mass like the plague. They don't present a good image of cyclists or the cycling lifestyle at all, and do much more harm than good. In a town the size of Calgary, I'm sure there must be at least one advocacy group with a more constructive approach than CM.
    +1

    And yes, there is a club that does some advocacy stuff while still being a great bunch of people to ride with ... the Elbow Valley Cycle Club. They're mainly a touring club but they do other stuff as well ... and they've just redone their website so it looks really nice.
    http://www.elbowvalleycc.org/

    And there are a heap of other clubs for various aspects of the sport of cycling listed here:
    http://www.albertabicycle.ab.ca/clubs.php


    As for my goals, I hope to ride to work as often as I can when I start my summer job ... which could be anywhere from 1 to 4 times a week.

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    Senior Member Plantmiester's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input.

    Bragi, unfortunately because I'm living with my parents (can you blame a guy just out of first year?) the cars are just inherintly there. I also race a lot, all over the province, so I do need a way to get to races. Hopefully carpools will become available for those to make the impact easier. Thanks for the tip on CM though, they're the only group I'm aware of that is active in regards to progressing bike awareness in Calgary (obviously besides racing groups who end up closing roads). I'll look into the reasons for that.

    Machka, it's good to meet a fellow Calgarian who wants to change things... kinda the wrong economy for it, eh? I'm assuming you ride with RVCC. I race for Synergy Racing, and mostly crit, track and road so I don't see much of you guys. Thanks for the tips, though I know a bunch of the ABA executive personally so that isn't a worry.
    Velocipede, my blog about biking and bikes.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plantmiester View Post
    Machka, it's good to meet a fellow Calgarian who wants to change things... kinda the wrong economy for it, eh? I'm assuming you ride with RVCC. I race for Synergy Racing, and mostly crit, track and road so I don't see much of you guys. Thanks for the tips, though I know a bunch of the ABA executive personally so that isn't a worry.
    Actually I'm from a little further north. But I ride with the Alberta Randonneurs, the EVCC, and the Edmonton Bicycle and Touring Club ... so I end up riding all over the province!

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    Senior Member Plantmiester's Avatar
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    Okay, haha.

    Well we might so you on the roads at some point.
    Velocipede, my blog about biking and bikes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Plantmiester View Post
    Thanks for the tip on CM though, they're the only group I'm aware of that is active in regards to progressing bike awareness in Calgary (obviously besides racing groups who end up closing roads).
    Don't worry about a "group". Calgary will have some kind of city planning authority as part of the government. Find out when the meetings are and go. Listen, try to understand what is going on, and speak up (politely!) if something in the plan is dangerous to pedestrians or cyclists. If you have friends who live in Calgary and walk or bike, encourage them to do the same.

    Demonstrations may feel good, but just showing up for city planning will have a bigger effect.

  9. #9
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torrilin View Post
    Demonstrations may feel good, but just showing up for city planning will have a bigger effect.
    Agreed. I just finished working with the state DOT on the redesign of a particularly snarly intersection between an expressway and a grade-level four-lane, with three nearby intersections with two-lanes and a MUP.

    When I first showed up at a public meeting--after dark, in a snowstorm, on my bike and in full hi-viz--the engineers *recruited me* saying, "We can sit around and draw up plans all day long, but we don't ride bikes. We need you to help tell us what works and what doesn't." Whoa!

    In NYS anyway, they are mandated to redesign with all legal users in mind, but they don't have the intimate knowledge they need. I went in ready to fight for cyclist's rights. I ended up teaching highway engineers how different types of cyclists use the road.

    How much makes it from the new drawings to the ground won't be seen until autumn 2009, but I did my part on that project.

    Edit: As I was writing the post below, this email came in from DOT, bold added:

    Update Route 590/Winton Road Project, P.I.N. 4590.07

    In February 2008 the Project Team met with the Town of Brighton Public
    Safety Committee to discuss their concerns if the Diverging Diamond
    (DDI) alternative were selected. The major concern was the capability
    of the emergency response vehicles to traverse the interchange with the
    new configuration. Lengthy discussions were held and it appears a
    consensus was reached that a pre-emptive signal system, whereby the
    vehicles would have transponders to change the signals to green to allow
    easier flow through the interchange, may address these concerns.

    We held a Public Information Meeting on February 12, 2008 at the Twelve
    Corners Middle School. Many comments were received concerning bicycle
    and pedestrian issues with the DDI alternative. As a result of these
    comments, the Project Team met with representatives of the Rochester
    Bicycling Club. Many suggestions were made and will be considered for
    the DDI alternative.
    Meetings were held with NYSDOT pedestrian experts
    to suggest changes to the DDI design alternative to improve the overall
    pedestrian accommodations.

    The Project Team met with the staff from the Town of Brighton to
    discuss the Senator Keating Boulevard connection to Winton Road and
    other proposed development projects in the area.

    The Project Team is arranging for the collection of traffic data on
    I-590 to complete the analysis of the "weave" between Winton Road and
    I-390. This data should be obtained within the next two weeks. Once
    the analysis is complete, alternatives will be selected and the report
    will be finalized and distributed for public review.
    Last edited by tsl; 04-14-08 at 08:01 AM.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

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    tsl
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    Back on topic--

    One way to track progress on your goals is to join us on BikeJournal.com. There are several challenges going on this year.

    • Commuter Cycling Century--ride to work and back 100 days. I'm at 65 days including today.
    • Car Lite Clumps--accumulate points for car-free days, 1 point for one day, 30 points for a whole week. I'm at 429 points as of the beginning of this week.
    • Car-Free Week Challenge--Tougher than Car Lite Clumps, you get credit only for entire calendar weeks car-free, (as opposed to random seven-day spurts). Public transit allowed (more than 15 seats). Exceptions only for ambulance rides. I'm at 13 weeks through the beginning of the week. (Meaning I missed one week due to accepting one ride to Easter dinner.)
    Last edited by tsl; 04-14-08 at 08:09 AM.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Plantmiester's Avatar
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    Wow, that's exceptional, I'll definitely be checking this place out, seems like an ideal way to really track progress.

    I think one really cool side effect of it would be the ability for the site to track the numbers of cyclists and the amount they commute, generate an idea of where the concentrations are and whatnot.

    Sweet.
    Velocipede, my blog about biking and bikes.

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    Senior Member bikeCarrot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    You will of course do what you think is best for you, but, IMO, you should just go cold turkey: Don't have any cars just lying around. It might be a bit disconcerting at first, not having a back-up car, but the feeling passes quickly; it's amazing how easy it is to get around without a car if you think ahead a little bit. (Yes, I do rent a car once or twice a year to get out of town, but, compared to having a car, it's very inexpensive.) You might want to look into getting a trailer for hauling loads. (Last summer, I hauled a 100 lb outboard with little trouble, using a Burley trailer.) And avoid Critical Mass like the plague. They don't present a good image of cyclists or the cycling lifestyle at all, and do much more harm than good. In a town the size of Calgary, I'm sure there must be at least one advocacy group with a more constructive approach than CM.

    Good luck with your car-free experiment! I'm sure you'll succeed.
    Agreed. I tried to cut-down my car use at first but really wound up driving it more than I planned for one reason or another. Finally I just got rid or it and haven't really missed it!

  13. #13
    Senior Member murphstahoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    And avoid Critical Mass like the plague. They don't present a good image of cyclists or the cycling lifestyle at all, and do much more harm than good. In a town the size of Calgary, I'm sure there must be at least one advocacy group with a more constructive approach than CM.
    I haven't really been a denizen of CM but I get to hear all the fallout, I live in SF where CM is particularly large and has been a sore spot. My experience is that I disagree that CM does more harm than good. There are so many stories that basically go "I used to love CM but now there are too many *******s". My translation - CM brings a lot of people into cycling, many of whom now don't even think much about CM, but whom ride their bikes to work, for errands, etc... The good done by bringing 100's into cycling overwhelms the negative publicity in my opinion - by growing the *actual* critical mass of cyclists. These are the people who now populate said advocacy groups.

    And dammit - it's fun.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by murphstahoe View Post
    I haven't really been a denizen of CM but I get to hear all the fallout, I live in SF where CM is particularly large and has been a sore spot. My experience is that I disagree that CM does more harm than good. There are so many stories that basically go "I used to love CM but now there are too many *******s". My translation - CM brings a lot of people into cycling, many of whom now don't even think much about CM, but whom ride their bikes to work, for errands, etc... The good done by bringing 100's into cycling overwhelms the negative publicity in my opinion - by growing the *actual* critical mass of cyclists. These are the people who now populate said advocacy groups.

    And dammit - it's fun
    .
    +1. CM has done a lot of good for cycling by raising bike awareness and showing new cyclists that you don't have to ride on the sidewalks and always yield your right of way to "motorists". Gains are not made without struggle.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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