Friday, July 29, 2011

More Bikes on the Road

A More Common Sight These days
As I pedal around town I have noticed more bikes parked on porches and by front Steps. More people are riding to work to save on gas, or also on car insurance, tags and maintanance if they no longer own a car. More people are riding bikes simply to get better exercise and to travel farther than walking. The only problem I see is the roads and streets are not keeping up with the increase in bicycle traffic. Us pedalers need more bike paths, lanes and trails and drivers need more education on watching out for bikes. Bikers also are in need of safety on the roads too. I realize with the economy being in bad shape, these badly needed improvements will probably be a long time in comming. I suppose until things get better we all must just try to get along out there, both pedalers and drivers.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Easy Riders

Schwinn Sting Ray Chopper
Back in the 50s , 60s and 70s even the Bicycles had Style just like our Cars did. You could purchase groovy looking rear-view mirrors for the handelbars, some wild designed headlight and tail lights, even neat little license plates! The Schwinn Sting Ray gave that close to riding on a motorcycle look and feel. The Schwinn Sting Ray was built from 1963 to 1980 and came out in various models and designs. Many Sting Ray names are: Chopper, Coaster,Cotton Picker,Deluxe,Fair Lady,Grey Ghost,Junior,Lemon Peeler,Lil' Chik,Lil' Tiger,Orange Krate, Pea Picker, Pixie, Slick Chik, Sparky, Super Deluxe, and the Tornado. You could even get an electric motor kit for the Sting Ray Chopper. I suppose when you are a kid , you wanted your bicycle to resemble a motorcycle because that's what you really wanted. For some reason I wanted a larger more real looking bicycle so I choose the Schwinn Racer. Maybe it's because I didn't grow out of it. I did get into bike racing a little so I bought a Fuji Finest racing bike and my Schwinn Racer started collecting dust. It must have cried a lot hanging on the wall of the garage while I neglected it for my Fuji Dura-Aced equipped beauty. Eventually I moved out of my parents home and the old schwinn racer was sold in the big garage sale along with old clothes, baby buggys, toys and 60s record LPs. There are lots of memories riding that schwinn racer that I must tell about in a later post but this post is about the old bikes and style, their sleek lines, their wide fenders, their imaginative headlight and tail light locations, their seat designs and handelbar configurations. Even the colors of bikes have been used with every shade one can think of. Just think of all the after market products as a result of bicycles. The bells, the horns, saddlebags, baskets, racks, bottle carriers, bike backpacks, fanny packs, helmets,gloves, lights, reflectors, softer seats, mirrors on handlebars and helmets, clothes, whistles, locks, and video cams and brackets plus GPS brackets, you name it, they got it for bikes. This is Jimio saying: "Ride Safe and Ride Fun"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Work Bikes and Trikes

Worksman Utility Front Loader Tricycle
 Is this a Bike or a Trike? It has 3 wheels but most Tricycles I have seen have two rear wheels and one front wheel. This has two front wheels. I'll say it is a Trike. Actually it is a Work Trike with that large front pan over the two front wheels. I suppose he turns it with that bar and both wheels turn on one straight axel. It doesn't look very easy to turn especially if a heavy package was on it. Apparently it has a rear wheel brake inside the hub. I hate to be carrying a safe and going down a steep hill! [or up one for that matter] Have to triple the usual delivery fee. The steering bar looks like it has a bell on it to warn whoever is in the way. I like those heavy-duty springs under the seat. I'm certain it said "American Workbike" on the frame but I cant seem to find it in Google. But here is a nice wiki-link on Work-Bikes and Trikes. In the Good Old Days,before motorized vehicles, people used work bikes and trikes to carry things across the factory or shop floor or across town. Today most Trikes or Bikes carry our kids around, plus those little trailors with the little one or 2 seaters that hookup to your bike. I wonder if you can special order a 3 seat trailor in case you have triplets? This is Jimio saying "Ride Safe-Ride Fun-Ride for Health" P.S. I found the Company and Website. Its "Worksman Cycles" since 1898 built in Ozone Park NY USA

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Be Prepared

New Pedaler I met that Loves to ride the Trails
While pedaling downtown Jackson I ran into [not literally] this bicyclist who happens to ride on the Falling Waters Trail. As you can see she is well prepared to ride. Water  bottles,saddlebags and a front handlebar bag allows for plenty of storage space. Tools that can remove a flat tire and put on a new inner tube can save a long walk. A few First-Aid items can ease the pain and make the ride home more bareable. I'm sure she also has room for some cookies and fruit to munch on while surveying the wonderful scenery. With more energy from eating, you can concentrate better on the Trail and have quicker reaction time to avoid accidents. I see a rear-view mirror on the handlebar and a helmet on her head. Very safety conscience. I dont carry any bags because I am concerned with weight which means I can travel farther without totally collapsing, plus the bags add to wind resistance. People would probably steal my bags while I/m visiting my freindly local party store anyways. I don't have a rear-view mirror because I might need to go through tight spaces and I don't like knowing who is behind me. I'd rather be pleasantly surprised. The only piece of equipment I must have on every ride is my camera. It permanently records a memory seen through the lense of a pedaler and later I try to describe that memory. Here's to a Long Ride down Memory Lane/Path/Trail *Cheers* -Jimio

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pedaling Down Memory Trail

Missy and Mindy on their new Schwinn Sting-Ray Fairlady

Jimio - Gary - Joe posing for Momio
 I suppose we all have memories of riding our bikes around the neighborhood, around town, or around the lake. When I learned how to ride a bike I realized my ability to go farther than walking was greatly enhanced. The next step was learning to drive which was the ultimate in increasing one's territory. Even though my friend Joe's house was only 6 houses down, I still rode my bike there instead of walking. Getting there in 1 minute beats getting there in 4. Plus we were going to go out riding somewhere. Once you have a bike as a kid it becomes a part of you. To go anywhere of any importance required  jumping on your bike be it the gas station for a soda and candy bar or a cruise through the Sub-Division or around Gilletts Lake to see the girls Sunbathing at the County Park. Many of us quit riding bikes after we bought a car and not until we got married and bought bikes for their kids did they buy a new bike and start riding with their kids. I see quite a few parents these days riding with their children. When I was a kid I didn't see that as often. I'm not sure whether it meant parents felt we were safer back in the 60s and 70s so let us ride off alone. I like parents of today riding with their kids not only to protect them and make sure they are safe, but also to just be with them, to interact with them, to show they care about them and to maybe offer funny stories of when they rode bikes as kids! This is Jimio saying Ride Safe-Ride Smart- Ride Nostalgic. P.S. here are 2 nice links of Schwinns

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Time for some Bike Lanes

Sign at Washington and Wisner in Jackson
I know there are not many pedalers out on the streets yet but why wait until there all lots of accidents or congestion before we build Bike Lanes. Sure, this sign says Bike Route but I dont see any bike lanes here that makes this a real bike route. Only reason there is a bike route sign on this street is because it's not as busy as Michigan Ave 1 block over. The one big problem putting in bike lanes is they would need to widen the road or make it only 1 lane for cars. That is ok since Washington Ave is 1-Way already. I'd be happy if cars would just be more watchful of us pedalers since we dont have much protection against 2800 lbs of metal [plastic now] Id be extra happy if pedalers would also but very defensive when riding their bikes just for the fact they can get hurt so easily. Why take a chance against a car? Give them a careful look cause Im sure many cars are not looking at you. Better safe than sorry. Bike Lanes would let drivers see pedalers better but the driver must be watching the road and not distract themselves with cell phones and ipods an such or else us pedalers are still sitting ducks. It takes both sides to be watchful and courteous so lets be careful out there. Remember Hill Street Blues! :-]

Monday, July 18, 2011

Energize Me

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee
I went buy our main coffee shop the other day and saw that the outside Coffee Court was busy. The fantastic weather made this possible. Local coffeehouses have grown lately due to many new flavours and innovative drinks. Live bands also bring in those interested in hearing good music. I think poetry readings are also being held here. These guys are doing so well they opened another place farther west of town but it is drive-through only but at least you can get a fresh cuppa joe on your way home if you live in that area. The first known coffee shop dates back to 1475. Kiva Han was the name of it and was located in Constantinople [now Istanbul]. Around 1529 the idea of cream and sweetners was added to coffee when they appeared in europe. First Coffeehouse in England was in 1652 called "The Turk's Head" Coffeehouse. It seems all coffee was spread from Turkey. The English Coffeehouses first used the idea of "tips". A jar was placed on tables "to ensure prompt service". Brits called their coffeehouses "Penny Universities" due to a cup costing 1 penny. A small coffeehouse owned by Edward Lloyd in 1668 was so popular it later became Lloyds of London Insurance Company. The Tontine coffehouse in NY city [1792] was on the orginal location for the NYSE. In the good old days Coffeehouse were places to socialize and discuss events and to read or write plus entertain with games or music. Many famous Chess Matches were played in coffeehouses. I suspect backgammon and cribbage events are also played in them. Joan Baez and Bob Dylan began their careers in Coffeehouses. Churches used the coffeehouse concept in their outreach missions. Then of course Starbucks turned the coffeehouse into coffee shops which was more like a Coffee Restaurant. But many coffeehouses remind me of the old Mom-N-Pop family Diners with their local flare and downhome service and the customers knowing what was going on all over town [gossip]. I'm sure many coffeehouses allowed smoking besides donuts and danishes. One nice thing about the tops on coffee cups is you dont spill any when pedaling over potholes! Jimio saying ride Safe.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Behind the Scenes

Employees of Daryl's Restaurant taking a break
One nice thing about pedaling on a bike is that it's easy to meet people and chat with them on a casual basis. I saw these two workers taking a break, the guy was eating and the gal was smoking a cigarette. I asked if 40 people worked here and she said more like 70. I told her that's a pretty good sized crew. I thanked them for letting me take their picture, then she went inside and I Pedalled to some other small section of Paradise.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Pox on Potholes

Road Workers
As I was pedaling around town, I noticed these fine men working on our delapidated streets. I caught them just as they were getting ready to go home at 5 pm. What tipped me off to their whereabouts was a huge dustcloud I sighted from 3 blocks away so I scurried on over and observed a huge vehicle with this long roung brush on the front. It was rotating and sweeping all the dirt that had spilt all over the street from digging up old sewer lines. I told them when they are done paving the street to keep a close eye out for killer potholes! This is Jimio saying, "Keep Hydrated - Use Sunblock or Protective Clothing and Don't Overdo It" Going to be 90F all next week.

Friday, July 15, 2011

There's a Bike for Everyone

Bikes for sale Downtown
Our local Pawnshop Dicker-N-Deal sells bicycles of all kinds at reasonable prices. These guys looked in pretty good shape. Better condition than my Betty Lou. A quick Google check I took says that 86% of the bicycles sold in USA are imported from China. In 2007 bicycles sold in USA topped 18.5 million and in 2009 more bicycles were sold than cars in USA, though I can't garuntee the accuracy of these Google posts :-] But as gasoline goes higher and more jobs get lower I'd assume more bicycles will be purchashed to do small errands and tasks. Many families might even sell the extra vehicle they have and resort to only one car to save on gas, maintanance,plates,tabs and insurance. Bicycles are very low maintanance and in many small towns, enforcement of bicycle laws is practically non-existant, though I suspect more rigid standards on bikes will come along due to greater numbers of them getting in the way of cars, at least until proper bike-lanes are built. For now I kinda like being the only pedaler that my eyes can see. No bike traffic to get tangled up with. Not many pedestrians either and that keeps me from crawling around them. Sadly there will come a day when I see tire to tire traffic and hours to pedal a few miles. Until that day arrives, I'm going to enjoy the wide open spaces of few pedalers and even less pedestrians.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pedaling Downtown

Daryl is on the left with a few friends
 As I was riding around town I happened to spot Daryl, the owner of Daryl's Restaurant and a couple of friends. [or co-workers] A lot of people were actually outside today as the temps were very resonable [about 79F] although there was a slight breeze. The wind made it even more comfortable but it did manage to knock over some umbrellas and signs. Even a few napkins got a ride down Michigan Ave. Daryl's Restaurant is pretty nice. Great service, good food but kinda pricey. Went there after Mike [my nephew] graduated from Central Michigan University. Well I'm eating a cold salad of cabbage, onions and cannellini beans with 1000 Island dressing. It's so nice out that I might go riding again after dinner. Later Pedalers. Ride Safe

Monday, July 4, 2011

Hidden in Plain Sight

Falling Waters Tree Frog Keeping Cool
I happened to spot this Gray Treefrog while searching for Monarch caterpillars on milkweed plants. The Gray Treefrog can turn gray, green or brown depending on his surroundings I was sure this little guy would jump just before I got a picture, but he stayed real still. Maybe he thought I didn't see him. These frogs are not endangered and are flourishing all over the lakes, swamps and wetland areas of Michigan. It is the Leopard and Pickerel Frogs that are getting scarce. They seem to be more sensitive to environmental changes. If I find one, I'll definately get a pic. More wild plants and animals to come soon.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Touring for Independence

Get exercise and work on you tan at the same time

These two Pedalers came from Lansing to ride the Falling Waters Trail

Fun for the Entire Family [5 Kids!]
I thought I would ride the Falling Waters Trail on the July 4th Weekend. I went out July 3rd and was not dissapointed. I saw between 30 and 35 Pedalers. They were out there for fun and exercise and so was I. I still can't get over how cool it is everytime I ride in a shaded area. It's almost as if Mother Nature turned on her Air-Conditioner. This was in parts of the trail were thick forest of trees and ferns were. This must be where the smart animals stay. Today I saw some mourning doves,robins and a black capped chickadee. Numerous Chipmonks, 2 Groundhogs and I think a Ferret. It was too long to be a Squirrel and was brown so not a Skunk.  Oh and I saw a Painted Turtle sitting in the middle of the trail so I set him on the side he was heading for. The side with a swamp.  There are lots of Milkweed plants so I checked them for Monarch Caterpillars. I saw none. There were no chew marks in most of the Milkweed leaves I saw, though I did see a little Peeper on one leaf [Froggy will be in next Post] I suppose the Monarch Butterflies are really going down in numbers. When I was a kid I used to catch them all the time and put them in jars and watch them eat the milkweed leaves and then change into a Chrysalis and a few weeks later crawl out a changed bug into a Monarch Butterfly. I didn't see any Dragonflies today, maybe because the creeks were drying up a bit. Last time I was out, the Dragonflies would fly right over my front tire and stay right there as I rode. Sorta teasing me or taunting me. One bug I could do without was the Horseflies that managed to get a few bites in but I did not itch their bites so I felt little pain. I gotta get down the library and check out some Flora and Fawna books to find out the awesome plants I see there. I think I saw juniper berries and I know I saw lots of rasberries, but many other bushes, ferns and plants I was not familiar with. One plant had these huge philodendron type leaves on it or was it Coleus type leaves? Anyway it was groovy. Looked like it belonged in the Dinosaur age. -Jimio says "Happy Pedaling"