Tuesday, June 18, 2013

HE’S ALIVE!

Yes, to paraphrase the movie line “He’s Alive!” It surprises me how time moves so swiftly as I get older. It doesn’t seem like 60+ days since my last post. There have been times that I wanted to sit down and write but found myself waking up from a nap wondering where the time went.

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(Prepping for water transport to the garden)

What surely must be the longest move in history has dominated…

my time as the Navigator and I work toward completing the move out of our home of 18 years to her family home in beautiful Buzzard’s Roost, a bedroom community of the metropolis of Canton, NC. Getting established in the home in which she grew up as been fun and challenging and has provided me with an opportunity to reestablish a garden. Starting with a blank field, we’ve been able to create new beds for vegetables in a layout that I hope will serve us for years to come. All of this has occurred under the watchful supervision of my primary supervisor, Orla.

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(Supervisor Extraordinaire Orla)

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(Orla on watch as straw garden is watered)

Cycling Time…

Unfortunately, my time on two wheels has been severely curtailed after my somewhat successful attempt at 30 in 30 during April. I successfully rode something some distance for the first 24 days of the month and then things went to pieces and have never really been put back together. If this were a Humpty Dumpty story, I’m pretty sure the rotten eggs would be smelling badly at this point.

My cycling time has been consumed with preparations for the Blue Ridge Breakaway on August 17th. I’m pleased we are running well ahead of last year’s registration numbers at this point. Most aspects, due to the high quality of volunteers we have, have run very smoothly thus far and we’ve found ongoing community support for the event. Beyond our control has been significant damage to Thickety Road running from Clyde into Canton by heavy equipment making the road quite dangerous for cyclists and motorists alike. This has caused us to rethink our new Metric Century route and has put a hold on other planning aspects of the overall event. We hope to have this resolved on this coming Friday, June 21st. The changes we are anticipating will NOT effect the initial stages of the new Metric Century route. We fully expect that the 5800’ of climbing in beautiful northern Haywood County will remain as planned.

The N.C. Legislature appears hell bent on moving bike/ped activities not just to a back burner but completely off the stove. The N.C. Senate, in their bill, deleted all state funding for bike/ped projects not underway by 06/30/2013. As of this writing, I’m not sure how the House dealt with the defunding of these activities but initial reports were not positive. The Senate took the position that federal dollars and local community dollars should be spent on these endeavors. Never mind that State matching dollars are often required in order to get federal funding. Of course, these are the same legislators that attached a new tax, err fee, to the registration for hybrid and electric vehicles because “if those people are going to use our roads, they should pay their fair share.” (NC Southport Republican legislator explaining why the need for the new fee.) I wonder how many Prius and other hybrid vehicles it would have taken to damage the road as noted in the link above.

The Blue Ridge Bike plan continues to move toward resolution with an identifiable product expected in the next two or three months. It seems we’ve been meeting on this concept for a long time. The NC DOT state-wide bike plan continues although no one seems to know which direction it will move given the current legislative stand. Maybe some of the legislators will start riding bicycles to get around all of the Monday protesters that show up at the capital to express their disapproval of the legislative action.

It is time to move on as my blood pressure is starting to build thinking of all of these N.C. barriers to cycling infrastructure implementation. Congratulations to the cyclists in New York who have already ridden the new bike share program enough aggregate miles to reach the moon and back and then back to the moon again! Also congratulations to friends Russ Roca and Laura Crawford of the Path Less Pedaled as they continue to build a successful nation-wide consulting business around cyclo-tourism and economic development via being Bicycle Friendly!

Until later (who knows how much later?),

-Zeke

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