Exciting development – Norwalk kicked off planning for making the city more bike and walker friendly. Initial meetings have been held – here’s a copy of the presentation. At the top is a link to a survey you can take. At the end is a request for email so you can stay up to date. The key thing is for the planning process to have as much community involvement as possible, the more voices and perspectives taken into account, the better it will reflect all of Norwalk’s interests.
I went for the wired version. They have a well-regarded wireless unit, but at this point I wanted dependability and simplicity. One of Cateye’s calling cards is that speed is taken off the rear wheel and cadence from the left crank, putting the sensors in one line and avoiding having to wire both wheels, which gives a clean appearance. Installing is straightforward. The manual specifies 3mm (about 1/10 of an inch) distances between the magnets and sensors, but there was no way I could make the gaps that small. The nearest I could get was about 10mm. I routed the wire anyway, configured the head (off the bike) and then mounted it on the handlebar. A few turns of the crank confirmed that the sensors picked up the magnets just fine. For my road riding, I care more about cadence than speed, so I’m happy. Some people have written that the cadence display is small, but I haven’t found that to be an issue. The unit does what it’s supposed to do; it’s one-touch control is a nice feature.
Some reviews I came across mentioned that the pannier would be improved with pockets on the outside. I feel Timbuk2 made a good choice by not doing that because it gives the bag a more professional appearance and also because a cleverly placed pocket is accessible through a zipper that is under the covering flap. All in all, I’m very pleased with this bag’s intelligence, and grateful that I no longer have to suffer from backpack sweat.
Norbiker David Marcus started mapping major roads in Norwalk. CLICK TO VIEW MAP. What’s really good about it is that he color codes the routes with detail, like “has shoulder,” “path,” “caution,” “dangerous,” and “recommended.” It’s an early and good start to developing a comprehensive cycling map. David grew up cycling in King County, Washington, a very cycling-friendly area, and knows how to rate roads. Some posts ago I mentioned the Madison, WI map. Here’s a link David provided to the King County map. . It’s another great one.
Bikely provides us with pretty simple ways to map rides. I mapped two routes this evening, both to and from the Norwalk Green to the South Norwalk Train Station.
Norwalk Green to South Norwalk Train Station: Good in the early morning. Part of it runs along East Avenue, a dangerous street. Like many people I ride on the sidewalk for safety reasons. The west side of the street has no cross streets, so the sidewalk is a long stretch. The route goes under 95 instead of over – another danger spot, and comes out on a secondary street. I don’t recommend this route for returning because the traffic is dense.
South Norwalk Train Station to Norwalk Green: I like this route for afternoon returns. You’ll notice that leaving the station it rolls along North Main street to Marshall (or Ann) rather than go down to Water Street and cross the entrance to the Stroffolino Bridge. Here the reason is to avoid the traffic coming from 3 directions that want to go over bridge. At quitting time there’s too much traffic and none of the drivers is thinking about a cyclist.
Business took me on my first trip ever to Wisconsin and Madison. Over the years I’ve read about Madison’s cycling friendliness, it’s ranked 7th by Bicycling Magazine, and now had my first opportunity to see it up close.
The first clue came at the airport at the Madison tourism/information station where their bike map was prominently displayed. No ordinary bike map, this one comes with extensive, detailed and illustrated instructions for riding safely, commuting, registration and laws, pre-ride checklists, parental advice, and links to government resources, bicycle organizations and contacts. If not already, this map and information should be a standard everywhere.
For routes, the map shows bike lanes or paved shoulders, bike paths, and even where the bike path runs on sidewalks. Bike boxes provide an extra margin of safety, these set the traffic back a few feet from the intersection. And bike boulevards are specially marked low volume, low speed, local streets that “take the shared roadway bike facility to a new level.”
Madison appeared to be on the flat side. Although I didn’t get a chance to ride, I saw lots of bikes on porches and locked-up in racks around the city.
After seeing this, I’m going to contact the city to see if we can put together a few basic maps and add signage, as David Marcus suggested in a comment to an earlier blog post.
We can dream.