Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Little Rink Contest Winner

Congratulations to Chrissy Collins, chrissycollins@…, who won the pair of tickets to The Little Rink in my recent giveaway. Thank you to all 13 of you who entered! The winner has been emailed. If I don’t hear back by Monday, I’ll choose a new winner.

My kids have been nagging me to bring them over to The Little Rink again. So maybe I’ll see you all there!

I put my bike on the bus

Any real “bike people” reading this blog may laugh at me, but before today I had never put my bike on those racks on the front of an Alameda County Transit bus. To be honest, I was scared to because I had no idea how.

But today, I was faced with the challenge of picking up Toth at 12:30 in central Alameda, then getting the girls at 1:15 in downtown Oakland. I was planning to take buses the whole way, but then I got distracted and by the time I left the house, it was actually too late to take the bus to get Toth on time, so I had to ride my bike. Toth’s bike was locked up near his Lego camp, since he had ridden there with his dad that morning. We wanted to take the free Estuary Crossing Shuttle, but apparently it doesn’t run between noon and 3 p.m., so we took the 51A to downtown Oakland. And when that bus pulled up, I lifted Toth’s little bike into the bus, waved him on, and then told the driver I had to put my bike on the front. I had to pop my head into the bus two times to ask for clarification on how to lock my bike into place.

When we got off the bus, I learned that if your bike is the last one left on the rack, you are supposed to fold the rack back up against the bus front.

Now I am a bike/bus pro!

Alameda Giveaway: Tickets to The Little Ice Rink

Pebbles (right) and a friend get interviewed on camera and show off a snowball they collected from the ice.

One reason we are able to live without a car is that practically anything we would ever want to do is within a short bike ride’s distance from our home on the island of Alameda. Bowling, beach, movie theater, shopping of all kinds? A mile or less.

Ice skating? For most of the year, that’s a 45- minute trip to downtown Oakland, via bike/BART or bus. But from now through late January, we can ice skate right here on the island, at The Little Ice Rink, set up in the parking lot of South Shore Center. What’s better than walking to the ice rink? Skating in short sleeves, of course. Gotta love California. Continue reading

Love means never having to leave the island

We actually have a rental car for the weekend,* but we won’t need to use it this evening. Instead, we’ll walk over to South Shore Center to attend a special media-and-friends Grand Opening of the Little Ice Rink at South Shore Center.

Every year that we have lived in Alameda, the opening of this rink has been a big deal to the kids. To me, it’s a hoot to be able to enjoy winter sports without bundling up — see the dad in the picture wearing shorts? It should be about 60 degrees as the sun goes down on the rink this evening.

Living so close to South Shore Center is one of the main things that makes our car-free life possible. Weeks go by when I never leave the island of Alameda — and during the months where we can even ice skate without leaving the island, I love it even more.

Disclosure: This post is about a free event to which I was invited. All views expressed are my own.

* I had to rent a car for work yesterday and it turned out to be cheaper to keep it longer than to just keep it one day!

SF, Alameda do the right thing for transportation

I’m a Democrat, so there was a lot to be unhappy about when the election results started coming in last night. But as a cyclist, pedestrian and transit rider, there were a few things to be happy about too.

San Francisco had three props on the ballot that were more or less a referendum on transit: Prop A was a bond for more transit funding and bike lanes, Prop B to increase the Muni budget, and Prop L to encourage MORE DRIVING in the city. I’m relieved to see that it looks like SF voters are passing A and B and rejecting L, that is, voting for a future with fewer cars clogging city streets.

Here in Alameda county, it looks like we’re passing BB, a sales tax measure to improve transit, bike lanes and pedestrian conditions (and some highway construction too). You can bet that Car-Free Dad and I voted for that one!

Stop the Child Murder: How the Dutch Got There

I recently learned that the Netherlands has 21,000 miles of bike paths — in a country that covers only 13,000 square miles. Because many of these paths take more direct routes than the roads cars drive on, it’s now 10 percent faster to get to Dutch urban destinations by bike than by car.

You might think that the Dutch are just more sensible than Americans, and that we could never achieve their level of bike-friendly infrastructure. The truth is much more interesting. After World War II, cycling declined in the Netherlands just like in the rest of the Western world, and with the increase in auto traffic came a surge in road deaths. Hundreds of the victims were children. Continue reading