Saturday, April 18, 2009

Flagstaff Celebrates Earth Day 2009

Nothing satisfies the weary bike commuter/photographer more than an old fashioned peanut butter and honey sandwich washed down with a nice glass of merlot. Does that sound like an odd combination to you? Hmmm . . . . me neither. I just finished this little treat while sitting on my front porch to create this post while enjoying the remaining afternoon. I spent the better part of the morning downtown first at Absolute Bikes, then at work catching up after yesterday's sick day, and then at Earth Day 2009 on the south lawn of City Hall.

Today couldn't have been a lovelier day for a ride downtown. The skies were the bluest of blue and the still snow covered San Francisco Peaks a startling contrast. Not wanting to work up a sweat, I took my time as the morning was all mine. The Planner Guy had 4 miles to run and was hanging out at the ranch intent on staining the new gate to our front porch.

I arrived at Absolute Bikes and was greeted by the very helpful Kyle who assisted me in finding a new U-lock, my current one being unreasonably difficult to unlock. Bike locks should lock and unlock with ease in case you are running late for an appointment or seeking to avoid suspicious characters lurking nearby the ATM at dusk. Kyle offered up advise on how to maintain a good working u-lock and sought my advise on graduate programs in mental health counseling. I don't recall telling him that I was an art therapist in my previous professional life but it's my experience that somehow people can just tell. Fine when the person wants my thoughts on clinical training, a little annoying when that person (often a perfect stranger) wants to tell me about his or her recovery or want to know the "sickest thing" I've ever heard. Readers who are therapist have no doubt had this same experience. To Kyle I say, great salesmanship and I believe you'll make a really fine therapist one day. I couldn't leave Absolute without getting these shots of bike-themed painting hanging in the store. I've heard of bike/coffee shops but never bike/art galleries. I love the concept. One of the things I always appreciate about Europe is that the culture truly appreciates the importance of beauty and art in everyday life. Even in a worn-in-the-heel section of Lisbon, one can stroll by the open doorway of a residence or wander into a simple cafe and admire walls and floors adorned with lovely decorative tile and appreciate window boxes filled with colorful flowers and leaves of every texture. Once in Louisville, I rode my bike through a quite disheveled downtown housing project, now razed for a HOPE VI mixed income development (the lovely Liberty Green), and saw 3 generations of women planting rose bushes in the front yard. Those women (one was actually a girl who couldn't have been more than 10) cared about the way their home looked. You don't have to have money to find meaning in making your surrounding attractive and welcoming.

On next to work for some catching up. Briefly, it is amazing how much I can accomplish when the phone isn't ringing constantly and new items are not constantly springing forth from the top of my desk when my back is turned.

After finding a stopping place at my desk, I wheeled the Expedition down to the south lawn of City Hall to witness the Earth Day 2009 Festivities. I ran into several friends and coworkers manning different stations and was pleasantly surprised about the turn out, which included quite a mix of attendees. Naturally, a lot of bike lay on the lawn or were tied to post, racks and benches on the lawn and pathways. I was most interested in the bike repair station and the Flagstaff Biking Organizations booth. I don't know why but there is just something so cool about bike repair people, and as you can see women have broken the glass ceiling in this area, too.

The FBO booth was crowded and staffed by Jack,Flagstaff passionate advocate of biking and pedestrian issues. He's pictured here explaining a bike path map to a citizen and in the other shot with Martin, the City's multi modal transportation planner (and really funny, cool gent) and a woman who I don't know but who I am certain must be very terrific since she is with these guys.

I also ran into two of my favorite women and great exemplars of Flagstaff Mountain Cycle Chic,who will definitely be featured in my upcoming spread on Bike to Work Week. Nicole and Stephanie work in sustainability and worked their respective butts off on this event and the Earth Day service projects around the community today. Not only did this year's Earth Day have booths on conservation, recycling, and bikes but it also featured a solar panel exhibit and a booth from local wind turbine manufacturer Southwest Windpower, both examples of sustainable energy solutions that could mean expanded industry and jobs to a state badly hit by downturn in construction and real estate.


Doohickie said...

I've never done that "put your bike on a bus" thing. What I'd like to do (and I know people who have) is ride the bike to the bus stop, the bus to downtown Fort Worth, the train to Dallas, and then tool around Dallas for a while. People I know who've done that ride around White Rock Lake which is a popular ride venue.

I don't know why, but I'm kind of suspicious of public transportation. I always worry I'll get stranded or something.

She Rides a Bike said...

Doohickie: Your concern about being stranded is quite common and I used to have the same fear. One thing I did to overcome this worry was to start with an easy route that went from a stop near my house to a stop across the street from somewhere I wanted to go. It was a route I knew well and was fairly close by so I could walk home if I needed to. Most transit websites, and certainly the one in Dallas/Fort Worth can give you GPS-like directions that tell you where to go, which stop to make your change at, and the circulation timetable. In a larger city, circulation is usually at least every 15 minutes. You really just need to have the correct fare (change,tickets or a multipass) and learn how to signal the driver when you want to get on and off. Some stops are fixed and others you have to signal for. Your city probably has a tutorial set up several times a year and there is likely a public transit advocacy group that will be more than happy to go with you to show you the ropes. Maybe someone you know could do the ride with you? I love public transit. I used to ride the bus in Louisville to work almost daily and loved it. I read, listened to CDs, chatted with strangers, or sat alone with my thoughts. I really don't like driving at all to be quite honest.