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Let’s Have Brunch On Our Bridges, Part II

26 Feb

Let’s Have Brunch On Our Bridges, Part I is from 2010, but it’s Sunday and I’m thinking about brunch again so I remembered this idea.

Say, Pittsburgh and other cities with (nice) bridges…

Wouldn’t it be great if we could have brunch on our bridges once in awhile? This time lapse video shows how they do it for the Portland Bridge Festival.


Brunch On the brige

Originally uploaded by Aaron I. Rogosin

Mmmm, Pittsburgh, you are delicious. There are so many great bridges to choose from here, so many beautiful things to see around the city which we just can’t appreciate when driving 25-75 mph over a bridge. You need to (be able to) stop and sit and eat brunch with your neighbors in order to be able to take it in.

I took these pictures last week while a friend was driving. They’re okay, but they leave me dying to stop and see more!

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Riding or walking makes it possible to take in the sumptuous view more thoroughly, but the opportunity to sit and relax and talk to people and eat and absorb the city over one of our three rivers isn’t a regular experience of people here.

I think it should be.

This fits in to what I was thinking at 2 o clock in the morning several years ago when I came up with the awkward name of this blog “Re-imagine an Urban Paradise.” After all, what is could be more of an urban paradise than a temporary retreat on one of the bridges, over the rivers? Feeling the gorgeous summer breeze while having the opportunity to have brunch in a magical space?

What Else is Possible?

  • Repurposing a bridge permanently!
  • Let’s turn a bridge into a public park.
  • And extend the public market onto one of the bridges, with outdoor cafes (without door cafes?).
  • Let’s have all age dance parties every night during warm weather on one side of the bridge.
  • And show movies over the river!
  • Let’s have music and art performances.
  • Let’s have some grass and trees and flowers!
I think at least half of the space should always always comfortable public gathering space that is free and has clean and attractive drinking and bathroom facilities.

What Would You Like to See?

If you could have it your way, what would you do with the space? Imagine any bridge in any city. Then re-imagine it. Suddenly it’s not just for transportation anymore. What else could it be?

Vacant Lot Transformation for Green Jobs and Neighbhoodhood Revitalization

21 Apr

I just found this little blue-print I drew up for a vacant lot by one of my houses in Pittsburgh. I never had the chance to put this into place, but it would be wonderful to have more non-consumerist places to spend time between home and work.

Break it Down!

There’s tons of space in Pittsburgh and tons of bricks from demolitions so it would be pretty great to build a rainy or very sunny day pavilion as you see in the top left corner.

The top right corner would hold the Constance Street community bread / pizza oven and would also benefit from spare bricks.

Going down the top center are several long picnic tables.

Trees are much needed on this highway-side of Pittsburgh’s Northside so some nice fruit and shade trees in the middle of a block will sooth the residents and be beautiful and delicious. Sporadic dots both labeled and unlabeled represent trees.

The bottom center of the lot includes plans for some weird seating to be designed by one or several of Pittsburgh’s many amazing artists.

And at the very bottom, a lovely long row of soil-cleansing, sun-worshiping, smile-making sunflowers!

Let’s Make Green Jobs Fixing Our Communities

We have so much public land that’s being wasted as over-grown and trash-filled lots. At the same time, we have so many under and unemployed people. Let’s find a way to create and fund jobs that would enhance our communities, like rehabilitating abandoned lots, while putting under-worked Americans back in the workforce.

I’m underemployed myself and I’d jump at the chance to have a part-time job cleaning up and beautifying my neighborhood.

Give Me Work and Give Me Beauty

We want bread but we want roses too!

Love to and From San Francisco

19 Apr

105 years after the legendary earthquake that shook San Francisco to the ground, I lived through my first San Francisco earthquake. I didn’t even feel it, but I was there when it happened.

You probably don’t know, but I skipped out of Pittsburgh last month and now I’m living and working in the Bay Area. To celebrate San Francisco, I will share some of my favorite scenes so far:

My first sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge:

My bicycle on a greenway:

Bikes are everywhere. These are bikes that people use to ride to work, friend’s houses, grocery stores, coffee shops. I love it.

And I enjoy this amazing tree outside my window that provides incredible shade and a home for many wonderful birds.

This temporary street furniture suited me just fine! I got to a friend’s house way before they did recently and found this lovely table and chair set up so I just made myself comfortable and got to work. When I was done, some lucky person in need of a new table and chair moved it to their place.

I’ll probably furnish my new place in much of the same way.

I’m fond of this one-man band set-up of a charming fellow I met on Market St.

I’m still the newest lady in San Francisco so every single thing is new and amazing to me. Send me all of your recommendations so I may take them seriously!

What are your favorite places?

to eat? to drink? buy books? read books? to frolic? to ride your bike? to hide from the world?

Bicycle Love Story Redux

4 Apr

I got this idea in a cafe in Pittsburgh last year and received several great submissions of Bicycle Love Stories. Read on for more information and send me your story and a photo if you’d like yours to be featured. I’ll repost a few of the stories from last year this week because they were so lovely.

If you can’t wait, here’s the way to find them: Bicycle Love Stories.

Tell Your Bicycle Love Story

I am looking for your stories.

And your friend’s stories, too. Please tell your friends who like words and like bikes.

I am looking to bring a personal perspective to people who ride bikes for transportation, exercise, or health, as a way to people watch.  Maybe you’re motivated by environmental, economical, ethical reasons. Maybe not.

I love bikes, I love being able to get where I want, when I want, and as fast or slow as I want. I relish the independence my bicycle affords me, and the ability to get in shape while getting around almost for free. I love that I never worry about gas prices, that I don’t have car or insurance payments, and that it’s always easy to meet new people while riding bikes.

I like making friends at stop lights.

I want to know what motivates and excites other people because I want to see more people on bikes in all of our cities. Because it is contagious and makes riding safer and more fun for everyone of all ages and abilities to ride when the numbers of bike riders increase.

Because bike traffic jams are fun.

For Even More Details…

Submission Details:

I want to hear how biking has changed your life.

I’m looking for joyful, swoony, excited non-fiction (now) stories celebrating bicycles and their impact on your life, family, or community.

If you can tell your story in  300-600 words, that’s best, but shorter or longer pieces are possible too. Please include at least one relevant photograph, a short bio (about two sentences, maybe longer), and a link to your website if you have one. I will include at least one new story/article/post weekly, and but I would love to include more if I receive a number of quality stories.

If you are interested in contributing something longer, or something else entirely, please let me know and we can discuss it.

Email submissions to: moregardenslesscars@gmail.com

Future topics will vary. Suggestions are welcome.

Pittsburgh, You Are Beautiful!

8 Feb

I am sad for my city that the Pittsburgh Steelers did not win the Super Bowl. Pittsburghers would have been so joyful for years to come if the Steelers had won the Super Bowl for the 7th time.

I watched and partied with everyone else but since we can’t celebrate the Steelers win, I want to celebrate the city of Pittsburgh by showing some pictures I really like of this city.

Pittsburgh, You Are Beautiful!

I’m kind of between cameras, so most were taken by photographers on Flickr who have listed their photos under Creative Commons. Thanks for sharing!

This is Heinz Field, home of the Steelers, taken by Flickr user brunkfordbraun.

This photo below is by my friend Dave.  Despite the criss-crossing highways and jail in the background, I think this is a beautiful photograph and scene. I love Pittsburgh’s steps! (More about Pittsburgh’s steps here). And I love the greenery! Pittsburgh, you’re beautiful!

This photo was taken on the Smithfield Bridge, one of about 446 bridges in Pittsburgh,  over the Monongahela River, one of exactly three rivers in Pittsburgh. This gorgeous photo is by Flickr user michaelrighi.

This incredible shot is the inside of the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh. Photo by Flickr user Talke Photography.

The photo below is of the 16th St Bridge, one I used to cross daily over the Allegheny River to go to work or the markets in the Strip District. I like this photo by simple pleasure. If you’re interested in reading an idea I have for the Strip District, check out How to Create a Shopping Paradise for Pedestrians: Carfree Saturdays in the Strip District.

These motivational steps in Bloomfield were photographed by macwagen.

I took the photo below of Allegheny Cemetery. This was at noon on a Friday. The sky was so strange!

Something else beautiful:

That 500 people turn out, in the middle of the day on a Wednesday, for the opening of a new bridge just for bicycles and pedestrians. Also beautiful, that Pittsburgh is building bridges for bicycles and pedestrians. Photo by Kordite.

If you’d like to see Pittsburgh in live action, I think the city looks fantastic in this video by Streetfilms, one of my very favorite organizations. I helped put it together for my job at Bike Pittsburgh and a friend recently suggested that I may have killed the internet by over-posting the video. Yikes, so tacky! But the city really does look GLORIOUS here, it’s impossible not to keep looking at!

Readings on Winter, Snow, Getting Stuck, and the Importance of Options

2 Feb

For those of you who are following the three whole posts I’ve written since November and for those who have commented even when things seem dead on this side of things, thank you! I’m clearly terrible at getting back into the swing of things. So I am going to give it a try posting with a regular schedule.

You can expect posts from me on Mondays (starting next Monday probably). I am always, always writing, but rarely posting to my blog lately so a writing plan will help me formalize my writing into a post, though I might post the occasional link or list of links. We’ll see how that goes. Please subscribe on the right hand side of this page and you can read each new post without even coming to the site.

So in the meantime, I’d like to recommend some links that I’ve enjoyed recently for your reading pleasure or dinner party banter preparation.

Readings on Winter, Snow, Getting Stuck, and the Importance of Options

I really enjoyed Erik Weber’s piece yesterday in Greater Greater Washington about the different realities of a crippling snowstorm when you depend on a car to get to the suburbs (you get stuck, sometimes up to 13 hours as happened to many in the DC area) or you live in the city where you have the options of car, bus, train, bike, walking, and in some cases, even skiing to get around.

This excerpt is long but I think important and fits in quite well with topics I have addressed all over this blog: that dependence on cars — or any one type of transportation — is extremely limiting. What we need here in the U.S. and everywhere is the ability and availability for people to choose how they want to get around and be able to do that safely.

Cars give people mobility. But what’s more important is accessibility. Sometimes these are the same: if I live 10 miles from a grocery, and I own a car, I have access to the grocery.

But if my car breaks down, it snows a foot and a half, or I’m suddenly unable to drive for another reason, I no longer have access to that grocery. Because I’ve relied on a single means of mobility, when it is no longer available, both my mobility and accessibility are severely diminished.

Many people often argue that smart growth proponents (like me) are trying to force people of their cars in favor of biking, walking and transit. But, to me, growing smarter really is just providing more legitimate options. I don’t necessarily want to live in a place where you can’t have a car. Nor do I want to force other people to do so.

I do, though, want to live in a place where you don’t need a car, a place where, when driving is no longer an option, we are not imprisoned by our built environment.

Me too. What about you? Has snow made getting around harder? What’s your experience?

On transit

This is a link that I’ve been meaning to draw attention to for awhile.

This is a post from August that was recommended by a reader from a blog called “A Midwest Story.” It’s an analysis of public transportation perception in the U.S. and abroad, there are three posts before this one that address different facets of public transportation.

The American perspective:

The fact that American riders are poorer indicates that in U.S. public transportation services are focused on people that are unable to drive a car – because they cannot afford one or because they are to young or to poor. Now, if we eliminate the riders under 18, and we consider the  the other market segments – the poor and the disabled – in correlation with American culture , the conclusion is striking. In the U.S. public transit is considered by the public as well as their representatives as an alternative for the society’s destitute no different than public assistance services such as welfare and food stamps.

And the German perspective:

Unlike their American counterparts, Germans are more likely to use public transit indifferent of income or car ownership and, to a much larger extent, as a viable alternative for commuters. The way that politicians and their constituents regard public transportation is also different. At the local level, it is an alternative which lowers congestion in urban area and the  pollution damage to historical buildings. At the state and federal level it is a green, sustainable alternative. And for riders it is, beyond being the  only option for the poor and disabled, a comfortable alternative to spending empty hours commuting by car

What do you think?

On Fear

Check out Elly Blue’s post on Grist on fear and bicycles.

Many people don’t bike out of fear — with the most significant terrifying factor, of course, being cars. As many as 60 percent of people in U.S. cities would like to ride a bicycle if it weren’t for traffic-related concerns.

Yet..

Bicycling […] is astoundingly, incontrovertibly good for you. A 2009 review of the scientific literature found that the slight increase in risk from bicycle crashes is more than offset by the vast improvements in overall health and lifespan when you ride a bicycle for transportation. In fact, the health benefits of bicycling are nine times greater than the safety gains from driving instead.

And…

The real thing that’s killing us is that we continue to create places that impose barriers to actually being able to move your body. High-speed streets without sidewalks or crossings. Walkable neighborhoods where there is literally nowhere to go. Gyms accessible primarily by car.

Suggested Reading by Bike Pittsburgh

Some things I’m reading at work:

The Post-Gazette continues blaming pedestrians for the increase in pedestrian fatalities, but is this just more of the same “windshield perspective?”

Is bike-sharing a possibility in Pittsburgh?

Want to see some of the steepest streets in the world? Check out Rick Sebak’s video of the annual Pittsburgh bike race, the Dirty Dozen.

Grist goes over the six reasons free parking is the dumbest thing you’re subsidizing and StreetsBlog shows how European parking policies are leaving the US behind.

Sec. of Transportation Ray LaHood touts how bike infrastructure creates more direct jobs, more indirect jobs, and more induced jobs per dollar than either road upgrades or road resurfacing with national bike advocates

New Streetfilms About Pittsburgh Out Today!

20 Dec

Streetfilms just released their newest film about Pittsburgh! I worked for a while trying to convince Clarence Eckerson, Jr to come see how beautiful Pittsburgh is and to see the exciting and vibrant livable streets movement here.

If you’re not familiar with the work of Streetfilms, now is the time to start. They’ve made nearly 340 short films about livable streets around the world. It’s part of a genre I’ve been calling “Infrastructure Porn”.

Clarence came to Pittsburgh to film the video in November and today released his 7 minute snapshot of the city. It’s certainly worth a watch. Check out my post from last month about some of the excellent work of Streetfilms:

The Case for Separated Bike Lanes: Streetfilms is Coming to Pittsburgh

I can’t embed the Pittsburgh now, but take a look at it, the city looks spectacular!

Check it out here! And let me know what you think!

(I’m in it, and I had the opportunity to use the word “swoony”!)

 

Thank You Pittsburgh For Banning Marcellus Shale Drilling

17 Nov

This is great news for current and future residents of Pittsburgh whose elected officials listened to residents and voted unanimously to ban drilling within city limits! 9 for the ban, 0 against!

This is (finally!) a victory for people over corporate interests and profits.

I am so proud of all the people here who worked tirelessly to educate and mobilize their friends and neighbors and to hold their elected officials accountable. This is so inspiring for community activists everywhere.

To those who attended public hearings despite state and industry intimidation, went to protests, signed petitions, wrote letters to the editor, attended community meetings, went to public viewings of Gasland; to Josh Fox for making the film that exposed so many of the problems with fracking, and to the business owners that hosted meetings and Gasland viewings:

Thank you so much.

As you know…

Photo by Marcellus Protest

Thank you to Councilmember Doug Shields for sponsoring the bill banning the drilling, for putting the health of people and our natural resources ahead of money, for prioritizing people over profits.

Thank you to Council President Darlene Harris for supporting the ban and rebutting gas industry claims that the ban would cost jobs: “There’s going to be a lot of jobs for funeral homes and hospitals,” Mrs. Harris said, referring to health concerns associated with gas production. “That’s where the jobs are. Is it worth it?”

The people of Pittsburgh have said no, it’s not worth it, and the City Council listened and voted with the health of the people and the region in mind.

Thank you to all the Councilmembers who voted unanimously to oppose drilling within Pittsburgh.

Section 27. Natural Resources and the Public Estate The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvanias public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, however, is unconvinced and non-committal and might consider vetoing the ban, but I urge him to side with the people on this issue and not be swayed by the lure of a temporary influx of cash.

We don’t want jobs destroying our environment, compromising our soil, blackening our air and lungs, and contaminating our drinking water.

We want investment in jobs that build up the community, that nurture and educate children, that beautify our lovely city, that bring people together, that make the most of our natural resources, rather than trashing them for short-term financial gain.

Mayor Ravenstahl, do not veto this bill.

Support this ban and support the people of Pittsburgh.

This story has gone global and it demonstrates that ordinary citizens do have the ability to stand up to wealthy private interests.

How to work towards a drilling ban in your own town?

Check out Marcellus Protest

Here are some tips from Pittsburgh organizer Gloria Forouzan

Background and analysis of Marcellus Shale industry by the Real News Network

Watch Gasland and share your story

Write letters to the editor

Talk to your neighbors

Educate yourself

Pennsylvania Will Be the Only State in the Country Not to Tax Marcellus Shale Drilling Companies

11 Nov

Although drilling in the Marcellus Shale is expected to generate revenue in the trillions, Pennsylvania’s Governor elect Tom Corbett pledges not to tax the companies who are extracting this gas at great profitability, saying “A tax right now I don’t believe is appropriate”. He also concludes that taxing would “chase these companies away.”

Personally, I say, okay. If they are unwilling to pay the state and the people of Pennsylvania for the resources that they take and profit from — they shouldn’t be here.

One thing is certain, Pennsylvanians need the money.

The city of Pittsburgh is in a constant state of budget crisis, public transportation is being slashed by 35%, the pension fund is not funded and social services in every realm are being eliminated. The state capital of Harrisburg is on the verge of bankruptcy and the city of 50,000 is $280 million in debt (NY Times).

Leslie Haines, Editor of Oil and Gas Investor, stupidly asserts that “If they [Pennsylvania] do too much of a tax, people will go back to Texas, or they’ll go to Colorado and Wyoming or they’ll go to Alberta, wherever.”

But that is simply not true. They can’t leave — there is too much natural gas sitting under Pennsylvania for drillers to pass up.

I encourage you to watch these two videos produced by the Real News Network.

Pennsylvania to become “Gasland”?

Free Gas in Pennsylvania?

It’s pretty shocking and informative.

Do you want this in your backyard?

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Pennsylvania regulators said they’re halting all gas drilling activities by the company whose natural gas well spewed out explosive gas and polluted water for 16 hours on Thursday night and Friday morning in Clearfield County.

What can I do?

Check out a previous post for tips on what you can do.

Check out the events calendar organized by residents in Pennsylvania.

What do you think?

The Case for Separated Bike Lanes: Streetfilms is Coming to Pittsburgh

9 Nov

I want to share a couple of their videos with you so you can see how quickly positive changes can be made when there is political will.

Streetfilms made a video three years ago called the “Case for Separated Bike Lanes” which depicts the dangerous and chaotic nature of New York’s city streets and showcasing the successful implementation of beautiful, safe, green, and accessible bike infrastructure. Sounds boring, right?

Take a look at this video, compare the view of New York streets to that of other cities seen in the video: Paris, Boulder, CO, Copenhagen, and others. These cities have made creating safe space for bicycles a priority just as we are accustomed to having safe places to walk: sidewalks.

No one would imagine motor vehicles and walkers sharing the same space and similarly it makes no sense for bicyclists to share the same space with either walkers or motorized vehicles.

Notice how cars and trucks were constantly taking over the space allotted for bicycles? How a little paint on the road made no difference and provided no safe space to travel by bicycle — but how a curb, a concrete barrier, a buffered zone, a row of trees made a world of difference!

NOW, look at the amazing change just three short years later. New York is a biking mecca. Kids can ride safely, parents can ride with their kids, people can commute to work without risking their lives.

Pedestrians, then bikes, then parked vehicles, then motorized vehicles motorizing.

Photo by Neal Patel of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

All we need is a little determination to make bicycling, the incredibly cheap and healthy mode of transportation accessible to all.

We can do it here in Pittsburgh and we can do it everywhere.

We should do it here in Pittsburgh, and we should do it everywhere.

Because we need safe and accessible transportation choices for all.


No Fracking Way! Pittsburgh Protests Exploitation of Marcellus Shale

5 Nov

The town of Dimock, Pennsylvania is a sickening example of what happens when we allow corporate profits to take precedence over human need. Cabot Drilling of Houston is accused of poisoning the drinking water resulting in high levels of methane, iron and aluminum.

“In the last year Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection has determined that Cabot was responsible for several spills of diesel fuel and drilling mud and for an 8,000-gallon leak of hydraulic fracturing fluids being prepared by a contractor, Halliburton, that seeped into a fresh water stream in September”.

(See ProPublica for more information on the town of Dimock)

But on Wednesday, November 3, people from around the country gathered in Pittsburgh on to speak out against the destruction of our water, our air, and our land for cheap natural gas and for the profit of a few at the expense of many.

This is a great post from the blog It’s Getting Hot In Here: Dispatches from the Youth Climate Movement.

The following is from the Pittsburgh Student Environmental Coalition, who helped organize the rally.

“Thank you Pittsburgh! Thanks to you the rally was a HUGE success. An incredibly passionate and diverse group came out today, young and old, urban and rural, coming from states as far as California and as close as Ohio. We all came together to protect our constitutional right to clean air, pure water, and a healthy environment and to protest the exploitation of our environment and ourselves by the gas companies.

Photograph by Gloria Forouzan

If you weren’t able to make it today then stay tuned because this is only the beginning.

There is much work still to be done and yesterday’s election certainly didn’t make things easier, but this an issue that affects everyone, regardless of age, ethnicity, income, or political affiliation and we at PSEC strongly believe that it’s an issue worth fighting for. In the words of Margaret Meade, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

View more pictures at PSEC’s Picasa page.

From the Post-Gazette:

One of the speakers included drilling ban supporter and city councilman Doug Shields.

“This is about our health. This is about our children. This is about our air. This is about our clean water. This is about public safety. It’s time for us to give our voices to this,” he said.

Like clean drinking water?

More resources:


Next meeting 6:30pm, Friday, Nov. 12

Marcellus Shale Protest

The Onondaga Nation’s Educational Packet on Pennsylvania’s Hydro-fracking. by Lindsay Spear.

Common Dreams: ”Pennsylvania has a total of 46,055 square miles.   Approximately  75% of our state – 34,000 square miles –  sits on Marcellus Shale.  Within the next 10 years, the gas industry plans to cover this area with up to 100,000 Marcellus wells.  That’s 2 – 3 wells per every square mile in our state,”  said Debbie Borowiec, a resident of Westmoreland County, PA.  “We should be switching to clean, safe, renewable energy sources, not destroying our state for gas.”

What a Fantastic Morning! Walking, Yoga, Local Businesses, Delicious Foods

26 Oct

I woke at 5:30am and before 9 am, I had walked two miles, attended two yoga classes, and patronized four local businesses!

It’s getting better.

I started the day by walking to Yoga Hive, a new yoga studio recently opened by Kimberly Musial. Since they just opened, they have a special rate and you can try it out for $10 for two weeks. Just ten dollars — for unlimited classes!

This photo is not me. Taken by flickr user Shunpikie

So after a lovely first sweaty class, I stayed for the “Guided Meditation” which was so soothing and effective at quieting my constantly rushing mind that I think I may have fallen asleep. It was an incredibly restful feeling and left me feeling like I didn’t have a care in the world. I was even able to block out the car sounds outside on Penn Ave — a feat that is nearly impossible for me.

After yoga, I grabbed the newspaper from a convenience store, a cup of coffee from Voluto to sip while reading the Post-Gazette. My stroll home was lovely, too, and I stopped at People’s Grocery for an onion to assemble my future magnificent breakfast.

The Breakfast Brigade: Bagels, Mushrooms, Habaneros, Oh My!

I have a swell breakfast routine and it involves listening to NPR while whipping up a fairly elaborate bagel based meal and then reading the newspaper while eating.

Here’s my incredibly addictive breakfast:

  • An everything bagel (or two), sliced, toasted.
  • Cream cheese (onion and chives!)
  • Sliced onion
  • Thin slices of apple
  • A delicious cheese (I usually use Havarti with Dill or some cheddar)
  • Habanero (if you like it, I can’t have a meal without one)
  • Cilantro (if you like it, if you’ve got it, I love it)
  • Sauteed mushroom (these last two if you want to get really fancy, I do)
  • Sauteed spinach

After you’ve toasted the bagel, cover it with cream cheese.

Slice the apple paper thin and place 2-3 slices all over the bottom half of the bagel. This will cover the hole of the bagel and allow you to cover it with even more food.

Just a small part of my habanero stash that I saved for my move from DC to Pittsburgh last year

Throw some onion on top of that for crunch and flavor.

Add mushrooms and spinach.

Cover all of the food with thin slices of your extra cheese to melt. Put the bagel back in the toaster oven or broiler and melt the cheese.

Add cilantro and minced habanero to the top and then cover with the other half of the bagel.

Slice in half and savor the massive six inch high bagel. I wish I had a picture to show you but I get so excited about my bagel that I eat too fast!

Now I’m walking to work because sometimes I like to move even more slowly than my bicycle.

Have a great day!

I Really Hope We Get New Bike Lanes in Pittsburgh This Week

22 Oct

How about it, Mayor Ravenstahl?

Wouldn’t it be lovely to provide safe transportation options for all road users?

Wouldn’t it be nice to have safer bicycle facilities as we rapidly lose public transportation?

Please, sir, could we have some bike lanes?

 

This is a good time to emulate Washington, DC's innovations. Photo by James D. Schwartz

According to officials in the city government, Pittsburghers are set to have TWELVE new miles of bike lanes laid on city streets by the end of painting season which is rapidly approaching!

“There are about five miles that are ready to go, with another seven miles that are in design and are expected to be installed by the end of the painting season, according to Stephen Patchan, the City’s Bike/Ped Coordinator.”

“In the current recession, money is tight for both people and cities.  Making it easy and safe for people to transport themselves using the least amount of taxpayer support should be prioritized.  The amount of money it takes to provide infrastructure for bicycles is dirt-cheap compared to providing infrastructure for cars.”

For more information on “How a Bike Lane is Born” in Pittsburgh, check out this excellent post from Bike Pittsburgh.

Hey, Get Off My Road, Free-loader!

If you think bicyclists using the roads are coasting along using the roads that drivers single-handedly pay for … you’re wrong. Check out this through breakdown on the cost comparison between those who only drive, those who drive and bike, and those who only bike.

And next time, thank a bike rider for subsidizing car parking, for paying for the roads, for being “one less car” contributing to the morning or evening rush, for not ruining the air quality we all share, and for reducing their own demands on our fragile health care system.

According to the recently published article by Elly Blue: The average driver travels 10,000 miles in town each year and contributes $324 in taxes and direct fees. The cost to the public, including direct costs and externalities, is a whopping $3,360.

On the opposite pole, someone who exclusively bikes may go 3,000 miles in a year, contribute $300 annually in taxes, and costs the public only $36, making for a profit of $264. To balance the road budget, we need 12 people commuting by bicycle for each person who commutes by car.

Fri: Oct 15: Introducing the Bridesmaid Dress Ride- A Leisurely Stroll, on Bicycles, in Dresses

5 Oct

This post originally appeared on the Bike Pittsburgh blog. You should come to this ride if you are anywhere near Pittsburgh. Even if you’re not, there is plenty of time to get here. It’s not until October 15. Invite a friend and join us for bicycle fun! Shameless plug: If you like bicycles, cities, fun, and safe transportation choices for all, you should become a member of Bike Pittsburgh.

Closets, basements, storage facilities and thrift stores are filled with unwanted and unloved single-use bridesmaid dresses (and sometimes bicycles), too.

Credit for the photo in the flier goes to the ladies of the excellent blog Let’s Go Ride a Bike. Check it out when you’re done here.

On October 15, well dressed ladies and gentleman of Pittsburgh are going to change that for the Bridesmaid Dress Ride

Join us on the street!

This ride is all about fun and creativity. It will not be any faster than the newest / slowest rider is able to maintain at an enjoyable and un-intimidating pace. If you’re used to going fast all the time, this will be a nice time to ride your bike in a different manner (and in a bridesmaid dress!)

Meet at 6pm at the Bike Pittsburgh office (3410 Penn Ave. Pittsburgh, PA) for dress preparation, camaraderie, laughter, and a brief demonstration on the various techniques for riding a bicycle in a dress.

This bicycle ride is part of the Car Free Fridays celebration of Lawrenceville so stick around after the ride to explore the arty happenings with your new friends.

The Seven Lofty Goals of the Bridesmaid Dress Ride

  1. Have fun
  2. Meet new people
  3. Wear that dress one more time
  4. Reduce the financial waste of the dress. (If you spent $200 on a dress to wear it only once than it cost $200 per use and that is just too much for one day. If you wear it to the Bridesmaid Dress Ride then it’s just $100 per use!)
  5. Demonstrate that it is possible to ride fancy clothes on a bike
  6. Look fabulous / ridiculous
  7. Encourage people to become more comfortable riding in the city

New or new-ish to riding in the city? New or new-ish to group rides? Just follow the following handy tips and we’ll have a great time together!

Seven Recommended Rules of the Ride

  1. Stay in the right lane
  2. Leave nothing and no one behind
  3. Stop at red lights
  4. Ride straight and predictably
  5. Roll past conflict
  6. Communicate with other riders
  7. Have fun

This is not a ladies-exclusive ride. Gentleman will be warmly welcomed, particularly those that embrace the spirit of the ride and wear a dress (other formal wear is acceptable)! Bring a friend or two.

Facts to Remember:

When: October 15, 6-8pm

Where: Meet at the Bike Pittsburgh office, 3410 Penn Ave (corner of Butler and Penn)

What: Wear a bridesmaid dress on your bicycle

Rain: The Bridesmaid Dress Ride is Mist or Shine. Who wants to get fancy and ride in the rain?

Rain date: October 22, 6pm; Rain date’s rain date: October 23, 2pm

My Beautiful New Bicycle’s Internet Debut

5 Oct

Now my bicycle is just over a month old and ready for her internet debut! Photos by the inimitable Elly Blue.

What Kind of Bike is That!

People ask me all the time, usually with an exclamation instead of a question mark. It’s the “Live 2” by Globe which is a new brand made by Specialized and tailored to people who ride for transportation.

This bike is not for racing, but it is perfect for life. That’s what I need anyway. I need to go to work, to the grocery store, to outreach events for my job, and I need to carry a bunch of stuff with me because I don’t drive Ever and this is my way to get around.

Hauling Supplies to Bikestravaganza!

See the giant silver circle in the middle of the back wheel? That’s my fancy 8-speed internal hub. That means that all of gears and everything I need to keep moving is contained INSIDE! Maybe, like me at first, you’d think, who cares about that?

I am telling you that it might be one of the greatest inventions since the bicycle

This means that you don’t have any messy greasy gears on the outside and your gears won’t get mucked up in the rain or snow. So if you depend on your bicycle to get you places even when the weather is undesirable, this is the ticket. (Not the only ticket, but the only one for me!)

The other incredibly wonderful part is that you can shift anytime. You don’t have to be moving! If you’re stopped at a stop light in a hard gear, you can switch back to a much easier gear for starting again when the light turns green.

I’m not kidding, friends, this has revolutionized my bicycle riding experience.

The fenders and the rack are integrated into the bicycle frame and so it’s possible to ride in the rain without getting muddy and while easily carrying tons of stuff.

This is my favorite of the five bikes I’ve owned since I made the bicycle my main form of transportation in 2006.

PS: Before bicycles I used public transportation and my feet because I lived in DC and Chicago and made my home in places with stellar public transit so I would never have to own a car. It was a great time and having the resources of public transit is essential to any city that wants to thrive and not be choked by motor vehicle traffic, air, and noise pollution.

But now I’m happy to make my own schedule and get there as fast or slow as I like.

Usually it’s pretty slow because I’m a meandering kind of gal and I like to take my time. Doesn’t mean that my time is less important than motor vehicle users, I just make my plans accordingly. And since I like my transportation, I don’t mind spending time riding slowly through the city getting where I need or want to go.

I love you bicycle!

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