Whose sidewalk is it anyway?

Source: heartlandluxuryhomes.com

Source: heartlandluxuryhomes.com

Recently, I have noticed two things about public sidewalks that seem to be amiss. The first is, why do property owners or businesses and their private landscapers insist on installing their sprinkler systems within the public right-of-way to water the green strip between the sidewalk and the curb? Walkers, joggers, and young cyclists are occasionally treated to unexpected or unappreciated showers when these things activate at their appointed times. Furthermore, far too often, this precious resource is wasted by watering the concrete sidewalk or asphalt driveway/street as the spray nozzles often seem to be aimed in the wrong direction.

Source: waterprogram@tamu.edu

Source: waterprogram.tamu.edu

Secondly, why are invisible fences allowed to be installed right up to the edge of the sidewalk? This allows aggressive dogs to run right up to those walking/jogging/pedaling by and scare the living daylights out of them. Except possibly during “doggy-in-training” periods, most people have no idea whether there is an invisible fence in place, whether it will even stop the dog, or whether the dog can reach you anyhow.

I love dogs just as much as the next person, but a minimum five foot setback from the edge of the sidewalk seems like a reasonable compromise versus being frightened for your personal safety when you pass the home of an angry dog. If anyone knows of a community or communities that has such an ordinance, please feel free to pass the information along. It would be most appreciated.

How federal surface transportation funding should be allocated

While my preference would be for 0% go to new roads/bridges the pragmatist in me realizes this breakdown is slightly more plausible, albeit from a bicycling advocates viewpoint. :)

  • Mass transit (bus, BRT, light rail, commuter rail) = 20%
  • Intercity rail/bus = 20%
  • Non-motorized (bicycling and walking) = 20%
  • Road and bridge repair and maintenance = 30%
  • New roads or bridges = 10%

A new era to begin!

As many readers of Panethos have probably noticed, a number of recent blog posts have dealt with bicycling issues. As my love for bike riding has grown, so has my interest in stories related to topics surrounding the bicycling culture. As a result, I happy to announce have started a separate spin-off blog on WordPress.com entitled “Bicycle Trax.” I hope it will delve into anything and everything about bicycles and the bicycle culture. Bicycle-related posts from Panethos will be copied/transferred there for continuity and as a database.

This does NOT mean an end to Panethos, but it will likely mean less frequent posts cluttering your mailbox. I’ll just have to play it by ear and see how it goes.

If you enjoy reading my bicycling-related posts, please consider signing up to receive “Bicycle Trax.” I hope to see you there and look forward to continued communications via Panethos. Let’s have some fun!



A heartbreaking image from Ukraine

Source: Reuters

Source: Reuters

It is said that pictures can tell a 1,000 words. The photograph of this bewildered bicyclist above from Ukraine does that and much more – it depicts what should be the joy of cycling set against a backdrop of death, chaos, and utter destruction. This gentlemen should be riding his bicycle for fun, fitness, and recreation. Instead, politics, greed, animosity, and violence have brought Ukraine to the precipice.

Please pray and hope that Ukraine can be brought back from the brink of Civil War, that political leaders both inside and outside of Ukraine will find common ground, that negotiators will forge solutions, that people will build the bonds of love, and that lasting peace can reign.

In the poignant words of Guns n’ Roses, “what’s so civil ’bout war anyway?”

{What we’ve got here is failure to communicate
Some men, you just can’t reach
So, you get what we had here last week
Which is the way he wants it, well, he gets it
An’ I don’t like it any more than you men}

Look at your young men fighting
Look at your women crying
Look at your young men dying
The way they’ve always done before

Look at the hate we’re breeding
Look at the fear we’re feeding
Look at the lives we’re leading
The way we’ve always done before

My hands are tied
The billions shift from side to side
And the wars go on with brainwashed pride
For the love of God and our human rights

And all these things are swept aside
By bloody hands time can’t deny
And are washed away by your genocide
And history hides the lies of our civil wars

D’you wear a black armband when they shot the man
Who said, “Peace could last forever”?
And in my first memories, they shot Kennedy
I went numb when I learned to see

So I never fell for Vietnam
We got the wall of D.C. to remind us all
That you can’t trust freedom when it’s not in your hands
When everybody’s fightin’ for their promised land

And I don’t need your civil war
It feeds the rich, while it buries the poor
You’re power hungry, sellin’ soldiers
In a human grocery store, ain’t that fresh?
I don’t need your civil war

Look at the shoes you’re filling
Look at the blood we’re spilling
Look at the world we’re killing
The way we’ve always done before

Look in the doubt we’ve wallowed
Look at the leaders we’ve followed
Look at the lies we’ve swallowed
And I don’t want to hear no more

My hands are tied
For all I’ve seen has changed my mind
But still the wars go on and the years go by
With no love of God or human rights

‘Cause all these dreams are swept aside
By bloody hands of the hypnotized
Who carry the cross of homicide
And history bears the scars of our civil wars

{We practice selective annihilation
Of mayors and government officials
For example to create a vacuum
Then we fill that vacuum
As popular war advances, peace is closer}

I don’t need your civil war
It feeds the rich while it buries the poor
You’re power hungry, sellin’ soldiers
In a human grocery store, ain’t that fresh?
I don’t need your civil war

I don’t need your civil war
I don’t need your civil war
You’re power hungry, sellin’ soldiers
In a human grocery store, ain’t that fresh?
I don’t need your civil war

I don’t need one more war
I don’t need one more war

What’s so civil ’bout war anyway?

SOURCE: Guns ‘N Roses – Civil War Lyrics | MetroLyrics

States that most (or least) like bikes

Source: bikeleague.org/content/ranking

Source: bikeleague.org/content/ranking

The lists (above and below) show the League of American Bicyclist’s 2014 state rankings for bike friendliness. Congrats to those states that made the top 10, which are shown in bold. Those states ranked near, but not in the top 10 have something to aspire to, while those in the in positions 26 through 50 have their work cut out for them.

You can review each state’s 2014 report card on the League’s website.

1. Washington

2. Minnesota

3. Wisconsin

4. Delaware

5. Oregon

6. Colorado

7. Maryland

8. Utah

9. California

10. Massachusetts

11. Illinois

12. New Jersey

13. Maine

14. Michigan

15. Arizona

16. Ohio

17. Vermont

18. Virginia

19. Pennsylvania

20. Idaho

21. Connecticut

22. Tennessee

23. North Carolina

24. New Hampshire

25. Iowa

26. Georgia

27. Rhode Island

28. Florida

29. New York

30. Nevada

31. Mississippi

32. Louisiana

33. Texas

34. Missouri

35. North Dakota

36. Wyoming

37. Indiana

38. Arkansas

39. South Dakota

40. Hawaii

41. New Mexico

42. Oklahoma

43. Alaska

44. West Virginia

45. Nebraska

46. Kansas

47. South Carolina

48. Kentucky

49. Montana

50. Alabama

Here’s a link to a fascinating chart that shows ranking for each years since 2008.

A vision of velo purgatory

0501140949 (2)I recently stopped by the Michigan State University (MSU) Surplus Store and had to take a couple of photos (above and below) of the many forlorn bicycles that are caught in what appears to be best described as “quasi-velo purgatory” – somewhere in between new ownership nirvana and being recycled for scrap metal and parts. With more than 25,000 bicycles tooling about campus in a given school year, many are unceremoniously  abandoned by their owners only to be gathered and garnered by the school for resale and/or recycling. It is actually quite a sad sight to see, as some of these rusting metallic skeletons were once quite nice steeds.

So, if you are looking for an inexpensive second bike, a unique gift idea, pieces and parts, or a fixer-upper, consider stopping by the MSU Surplus Store (or at a college campus surplus store near you) and nurture a forlorn velo back from perdition to its once proud cycle-riding glory.

Fyi –  One of my next posts will be of images showing the variety of bike head badges and decals that were observed while at the MSU Surplus Store.  Stay tuned!

0501140949a (3)

Celebrate the “love of bicycling” in May

Source: bikeleague.org

Source: bikeleague.org

There are many bicycling events coming up in the Month of May, as it is National Bike Month here in the United States. These include:

In addition, there are many state and local activities each week throughout the month. One of the most important here in Michigan is the Lucinda Means Advocacy Day at the State Capitol on Wednesday, May 21st.

I have personally participated in three of the national events listed above and have found them very rewarding. In particular, the Ride of Silence is one of the most emotional and solemn activities one could ever participate in. We must never forget that May is the time to honor those cyclists who have been killed or injured in accidents with motor vehicles.

If you are an avid cyclist, bicycle commuter, recreational cyclist, cycling advocate, or just like to putz around the neighborhood on your bike, May is the certainly month to celebrate the love of bicycling.

Bike badges photo essay



Above and below a the various bike badges that were observed this morning over a two-hour period during the local bicycle-recycle and donation event. Quite a varied selection, I might say.

Personally, of the bicycle badges seen today I like the Raleigh badge (above) and the Nishiki badge (below) the most. Gotta say that I am disappointed by those brands that have moved to cheaper affixed badges – no artistry, no class, and no style in them.

Enjoy the photo essay!













unsure - J.C. Higgins on the side of this Cruiser

J.C. Higgins cruiser – front badge

J.C. Higgins cruiser

J.C. Higgins cruiser – side badge

















Free Spirit

Free Spirit





Randor Design

Randor Design



Raleigh Racing

Raleigh Racing


Book review of “Pedaling Revolution”



I have just wrapped up reading the fine book, Pedaling Revolution, by author Jeff Mapes. The subtitle of How Cyclists are Changing American Cities best describes the premise of his book, as Mr. Mapes thoughtfully explores the promises and pitfalls cycling advocacy in America. As an avid cycling proponent myself, I can certainly relate to many of the issues he describes. Even though the book was published approximately five years ago, it is largely up to date on the state of affairs in cycling and presents an interesting history of cycling and the bike culture; cycling advocacy in Europe (Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and London); cycling advocacy efforts in the United States; as well as specific advocacy efforts in iconic cycling cities like Davis, Madison, Portland, New York City, Boulder, Eugene, and Chicago.

I greatly enjoyed reading Pedaling Revolution and it will certainly be an important part of my bicycling advocate library. Here are a few dandy quotes gleaned from the book for your enjoyment:

  • “…very little is said about the huge subsides received by motorists that far outweigh any freebies received by cyclists. The largest is free–or cheap—parking.” (page 19)
  • “For all the ire directed at urban cyclists, most people do have a fondness for bikes themselves.” (page 20)
  • “We were, it seems, the last generation of children who headed out into the neighborhood with no more guidance than to be home by dinner.” (page 31)
  • “…just as war is too important to be left to generals, so highways are too important to be left to highway engineers.” (page 48)
  • “…suburban sit-coms like ‘The Brady Bunch’ were replaced by shows like ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Friends,’ which celebrated city living.” (page 50)
  • “If you’re the kind of cyclist used to riding in American cities, it doesn’t take long for Amsterdam’s bike magic to wash over you. Here you feel like part of the majority, not an oddball.” ( page 63)
  • “Amsterdam had to be the quietest big city I’d ever visited.” ( page 76)
  • “Critical Mass is kind of an anarchical ride for all.” (page 104)
  • “One of the spiels I give is about slowing down. We think we have to cram our lives full, 24-7, but there’s something about giving yourself some extra time. I realized that nobody would think it remarkable if he went to a gym for forty-five minutes every morning and then rushed downtown in a car. Yet doing an eighteen-mile commute through suburbia is weird.” (page 113)
  • “Somehow, in Portland at least, bicyclists have become part of that great American melting pot.” (page 168)
  • “Sometimes we have to use cars, but that does not mean they have to dominate our lives. Instead it should be dominated by human interactions…” (page 179)
  • In America, we spend more on dental research than traffic safety research.” (page 208)

The last quote is quite shocking and should stand as a clear wake-up call that our priorities are bass ackwards.

  • “Unfortunately, walking to the far end of a shopping center is about as much exercise as too many people are getting in modern America, which seems to be on an extended “Super Size Me” experiment.” (page 229)
  • “She has decidely moved from the sedentary majority to the active minority.” (page 241)
  • “…sometimes I feel like the hardest part about using my bike to get around town is the comments I get from people who think I’m just plain weird for doing so.” (page 244)

Amen to that last quote, brother.

Two less cars!

0419141724aOne of my favorite bicycle advocacy catch phrases is “One less car!” In celebration of this worthy and sustainable effort, Kathy and I spent yesterday (Saturday) accomplishing all our errands on our bicycles. Between us, we totaled more than 27 miles of travel on our bicycles, riding to places like the florist, Kohl’s, the bank, my apartment, her house, Douglas J, the Trek store, and other businesses in the area.

Source: pioneerpress.com

Source: pioneerpress.com

All in all, it was a very rewarding experience that we intend to duplicate over and over again, thus removing our two cars from the local roadways on those days where we ride about town instead of driving. Combined with our regular bike commuting to/from work, we are hoping to eventually limit our car usage solely to longer trips, inclement weather (particularly in winter) or travel-related purposes.

Source: zazzle.com

Source: zazzle.com

Considering 50 percent of all trips are three miles or less in length, just imagine the positive impacts that could occur if each and every one of us dedicated just one day per week or one day per month to run all our errands by bicycle…or by transit…or by foot. Such an act would lower our individual and collective carbon footprint, improve our health, reduce congestion, demonstrate sustainability to others, and serve as a positive reminder that not all transportation must be done by the almighty automobile. Will you join us?