Bike Facility Roast N Toast 2024

When I moved here and started cycling here, Strava didn’t exist, so I used to keep track of (most of) my rides in the old CGI bike log which amazingly still works. In the early aughts, I had to stop biking (mostly), due to an autoimmune condition (reactive arthritis). In the late 2010s, it began to recede; and by about 2018-2019, I had dipped my toe back into bike commuting and then longer recreational rides.

In late 2021, I left that place and started working at Silicon Labs downtown; and at least for the first year, they had a TDM program where I could buy out of parking in the garage, which I immediately did. In the two years I worked there, I averaged 2 days/week in-office and drove three times.

With the exception one possibly long-COVID related 9-month hiccup at that job (in which I took the bus instead), I’ve been riding a lot ever since, and it’s time for you to hear my opinions on the bike facilities that have been inflicted on us since those early aughts.

Buckle up! Tomorrow I attempt to replicate my greatest dumb triumph of my 20s, and then the weather goes to shit and I start filling in after this, and then next week I start the next job downtown and rejoin the normie commuter cycling club.

I’m going to rate each facility separately and maybe link back to the ride(s) in which I typically encountered them. The fundamental principles are that I’m right and everybody else is wrong, but I’ll at least share with you some components of my philosophy now so you can decide how you align.

1. Painted bike lanes are in fact the best possible bike facility on many roadways (roads with a lot of driveways, or roads with no curbs). Putting down a “separated bikeway” on a street like Shoal Creek Boulevard is like those islanders who built fake runways in the hopes they would attract cargo. Most of the increase in cycling we have seen in our area is directly due to the painted bike lanes that certain petulant children (see #3) now view as tantamount to war crimes.

2. All Ages And Abilities is the worst thing we ever planned, because it has resulted in an attempt to make biking on every single street with a facility suitable for 7 year olds, and they have fundamentally different needs than an adult cyclist. (I’ll provide sublatings for each group where appropriate, but suffice to say there are a lot of facilities which were designed for kids that simply can’t be safely ridden at an adult speed. And no, it’s not enough to simply confidently bleat that the adult will take the lane instead; which I will get into more on the facilities in question).

3. Trying to cater to high-anxiety cyclists is an impossible mission. If you provide them a buffered lane, they will insist only poles are acceptable. When you provide the poles, only curbs are tolerable. When you provide the curbs, they will demand every driveway be closed. Once you do that, and the bikeway is full of debris, they will demand it be swept. When you say you don’t have the money, well, we’re not there yet, but we will be.

First up will be the infamous Guadalupe Green Lane, of past infamy here!

The running list: