Sunday, June 20, 2010

Trails are now cool

Chester Valley Trail, completion date 2012

In Chester County, the Commissioners have been trying for over 20 years to build a trail from West Chester ultimately connecting with the famous Schuylkill River Trail. This trail would enable Chester Countians the ability to bike from West Chester all the way into center city Philadelphia.

In the late 80s and 90s, folks who lived near these proposed trails objected. No one wanted a trail near their home and many believed the trails would bring in criminals. The Chester Valley Trail almost died a near death after 9/11 as the companies near the trail feared terrorists using the trails.

According to the Daily Local News, local trails are now hot, hot. hot. Folks now want these trails near their homes. My county has many trails in the planning stages. Folks in government finally figured out that trails make a county appealing and bring in money. They are now a selling point for a community.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

get a happy horn

I was out biking today with a fella who has a cute squeaky horn on his bike. Every time he gave it a squeeze, it elicited a happy smile from pedestrians and those near us. It not only has a very cute squeak but it seems to help ease the tensions between cyclists and motorists and pedestrians.

Go buy yourself a happy horn and give it a toot! Wait for happy smiles of those who hear it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Public Transportation SUCKS

good luck finding this guy

I live in the suburbs, about 30 miles from center city Philadelphia. I am not out in the boondocks. I want to ride Amtrak to New York. I want to use public transportation. I want to leave my car at home. Sounds like a good idea, right??

Well try getting Amtrak to actually sell you a ticket. I go online and order 2 tickets. I have to make a change, so I call Amtrak. Unbeknownst to me, the agent forgets to mark, MAIL TICKETS. Six days later I call Amtrak as my trip is 2 days away and I have no tickets.

Amtrak is stuck. I am put on hold for several minutes. Finally a customer service person tells me to call the day of travel, a Saturday (like I actually believe someone is going to answer the phone) and tell customer service to call Harrisburg and remind them to print my tickets. Yes, I just said, remind the ticket office to print my tickets.

Now this plan sounds downright flaky. I ask the woman on the phone, how do I get paper tickets before my day of travel? Well I can now drive, yes, DRIVE 20 minutes to the nearest train station that has a train ticket office and see if I can get my tickets there. I can only hope the person at the ticket window has some means to verify that I have already paid for 2 round trip tickets.

Amtrak is a government run agency. God help us. Why does Amtrak have no way for folks to print tickets online? How come there is no way to buy a ticket except from one train station that has very limited hrs? It is never opened on weekends or holidays. You are stuck if you want to get somewhere on Amtrak on a weekend.

Only option is to take a SEPTA train to Philly and then try and coordinate a trip to New York from the Philly station.

I asked the woman on the phone why we cannot print out a bar code and simply take that to the train. She said, well they are working on it but it will be a while before the right equipment can be purchased to make this possible.

Can you imagine an airlines doing this?? Making it near impossible to buy a ticket unless you lived near the airport.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bike Rant to parents with kids on bikes

no, I did not see Obama but I saw a dad just like him above

I was heading out today for a nice bike ride. To get to my ride I have to go through my small hometown. I see waiting at a red light, a father on his bike, and his daughter on her bike.

How nice I think. EXCEPT the dad did not have a helmet. What is the thinking that goes into this decision?? Dad won't fall, only need to protect daughter as she is most likely to fall.

So how safe and protected in his daughter when this dad falls and is knocked unconscious?? What is the daughter going to do now??

I have seen this parent-no helmet/child-helmet combination many times. Once I saw a mother alone on a large bike trail with 2 kids, they had helmets, she did not. I did stop and ask her what her kids would do if she fell and was unconscious?

Come on parents. Put the helmet on and go over some safety with your child. Carry a cell phone and make sure the daughter or child with you knows what to do in an emergency.