2/29/08

Support "Bike There" for Google Maps

Biking Bis blog has a story about efforts to get Google to add bike trails and safe bike routing to Google Maps.

Edit: The previous link was incorrect. Click here for the correct link.


This would be great addition to Google Maps in exactly the same way that Google Transit was(see my previous post here: http://tomorrowmorningsweather.blogspot.com/2008/02/google-transit-helps-with-finding.html#links).

As far as I can tell, it would be as simple as adding the bike only path ways and tagging them as such (so that they don't turn up in driving directions). The next part would be a little harder which would be giving suggestions on the safest bike routes (based on roads with bike lanes, posted bike routes, etc.). Seems easy enough to me, but then I'm not really smart enough to be working at Google, so what do I know?

Anyway, head on over to Biking Bis for a link to the petition so you can sign it.

2/27/08

Back at it

Sorry for the long drought in posts, but I’m back. Back on my bike, back to work, back to posting.

Had the opportunity to take Monday off work so I spent the day getting my bike back from the shop and taking it for a ride. I did about a 20 mile trek home from REI, out to Mission Bay and back. Then when DW (dear wife) got home we went on another 7 mile loop.

As it turns out, I am not in as good of bike shape as I had thought. These two relatively short trips have left me saddle-sore with sore hamstrings to boot. I’m hoping to get a good 12-15 mile ride in on my way home today, but if not I’ll have to get up early tomorrow to do a 8-10 mile ride.

I’m trying to get my weekly mileage up around 60 plus any weekend riding I can get in. I’m currently doing between 42 and 50 and not riding on the weekends. My goal is to do my first century by the end of this year. (I’m shooting for September, look for info on that in the future.)

My big news, however, is the purchase of my first pair of cycling shoes. I was fortunate that the pair I liked was on clearance so I only paid $35. The pedals that came with my bike are combo platform/cleat so I did not have to buy new pedals either. I went with mountain bike style shoes that recess the cleat so that the shoe is both comfortable to walk in and the cleat gets less wear and tear from walking.

Riding in these shoes, there is a noticeable difference in power transfer and stability. Also, cycling shoes help prevent injury that can be caused by shoes not designed for cycling. All in all, I highly suggest investing in cycling shoes.

And remember to always wear your helmet.

Quick News Note:

You can now subscribe to a blog feed of Tomorrow Morning's Weather. Click on the Subscribe button in the right hand navigation bar.

2/22/08

Rain Day

Wet one today in San Diego. I am pleasantly surprised at how well SD transit did today in the rain (at least as far as my commute was concerned). Both the busses I used were pretty much on time. Also, I got to break out my Driza-Bone australian rain coat, which is rare in SD.

I am a little disappointed about my bike being in the shop still. I haven't ever ridden in a heavy rain and I'm interested in how my gear will hold up and what equipment I need to get to make it comfortable. I'm sure we'll get at least one more decent storm this year, so I guess I'll try it out then.

Also, to add to the money I'm saving by not driving, I never bought windshield wipers this year, so that is another $15 in the bank.

2/21/08

Google Transit Helps with Finding Public Transportation Routes

This news isn't really new, but it might be responsible for keeping me out of my car most of the last few weeks. Google Transit (http://www.google.com/transit or you can just access it through Google Maps) was a project that came out of Google Labs at the end of 2005. Here is their blog post about it:
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2005/12/public-transit-via-google.html
In October 2007 it graduated from Google Labs to a full fledged Google service and was integrated with Google Maps. Blog Post:
http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2007/10/google-transit-graduates-from-labs.html

Google Transit is great because it allows you to get directions in Google Maps just like driving directions, but instead it tells you which busses or light rail to take (in some cases it will even tell you how much you would save over driving). You can choose a start time or an arrival time and which day you want to travel. It then gives you 3 different options of routes and times. It also accounts for walking times to and from the transit stops (although I've found that I walk faster than their estimation).

This service is not currently available everywhere. To see if your community is covered check the Google Transit page. If you are not covered by this service yet, I suggest badgering your local transit authority to put together the files needed. Send them a well reasoned letter explaining how this would be good for the community along with this link:
http://code.google.com/transit/spec/transit_feed_specification.html
Or, better yet, write a form letter and distribute it so that your trasit authority gets many letters asking them to join Google Transit. Remember the easier it is to use, the more likely one is to use it.

2/20/08

State Pushing for Low Carbon Planning

To be filed under: Great idea, hope something comes of it.

California Attorney General Edmund Brown Jr. is hosting a conference to teach how to use city planning to reduce carbon emissions.

Link: http://www.californiachronicle.com/articles/52916

This is great news, but also, like the saying goes, "you can lead a horse to water..." I hope that these city and county planners are able to use this information to make their areas more environmentally friendly. I also hope that a special emphasis is being put on promoting cycling, which as I have said before and will continue to say, solves many local problems especially smog and traffic congestion.

2/19/08

Bad news

Almost like clockwork, the day I start a biking blog is the day that I need to take my bike into the shop. Somehow the cones in my front hub came loose and I think I lost a ball bearing or two. The tire was all over the place today. Unfortunately, I'm too busy to try tearing the thing apart, cleaning it and re-greasing it myself. On the positive side however, the repair is only $20. Of course it won't be ready until Sunday night so I'll have to rethink my commute.


Tomorrow I'm going to try skateboarding to the bus stop and taking the bus to the trolley. It is going to take longer than cycling, but I feel good about not driving my car. Besides, for the first time I'll be able to sit on the trolley and maybe get some reading done.

I took my bike in to the shop at REI where it was purchased. I haven't taken it to any other shops, but the guys there to pretty good work and they are quick with ideas on how to not have my bike in the shop all the time. (I got a great tip for putting bikes on city buses that I'll test out and post later.)

Holiday Commuting

Like many other unfortunate souls out there, I do not get President's day off of work. Actually I only get 4 holidays, Independence Day, Thankgiving, Xmas and New Years Day. The one good thing about working on holidays is the commute. On holidays, the traffic level is incredibly low and the public transit systems are mostly empty.

In my morning commute I cross through an intersection that is always clogged with traffic heading to the Navy Hospital in Balboa Park. (This intersection is also at the bottom of a steep hill). Shortly after the intersection are two on ramps to the interstate (one to 5 south and the other to 5 north). Needless to say this .5 mile stretch of roadway is the most dangerous part of my commute which can lead to stress and excessive acceleration and deceleration (which wastes energy). Due to the holiday there was no traffic in the intersection and for the first time ever, I hit a green light at the bottom of the hill and did not have to come to a complete stop.

So my suggestion to those of you fortunate enough to get these random holidays off is to skip sleeping in and get out on your bike during the morning. It will not only make the start of your day great, it will also make us poor saps on our way to work feel better knowing that you didn't get to sleep in.

First Post

To start, I think I will give the origins of this blog and explain the blog's name:

As I rode home from work yesterday I was thinking about how easily my body could tell the difference between 47 degrees and 42 degrees. Only five degrees of difference but somewhere between them was the line between the lower end of comfortable riding and the top end of blisteringly cold. (Please understand that I have lived in San Diego my whole life. So while 40 degrees might be paradise to those of you in Minnesota or anywhere in the Midwest or Northeast, it is considered quite cold here.) I began to chastise myself for never checking the weather before I head out the door in the morning. I wanted there to be a site that would easily give me the local weather for that morning and afternoon/evening part of my commute.

This is not that site.

Instead I realized that I have many thoughts to share about cycle commuting and even more still to learn, thus the Tomorrow Morning's Weather blog was formed.

In it I hope to share what I've learned about commuting via bicycle (and public transportation) and hopefully you will do the same via the comments section.