Category: cycling

The story of “Bicycle Stories”

“Bicycle Stories: What the bicycle means to me, my family, my community, my planet” is a documentary film produced by the students of International High School at Union Square. They want to present it at the Youth Bike Summit in Seattle in February 2015. And they need your help.

Bicycle Stories -- bicycle program at International High School at Union Square
Bicycle Stories — bicycle program at International High School at Union Square

Meredith Klein is a teacher at the International High School at Union Square — a small Title 1 public school in Manhattan for recent immigrants. An avid cyclist, Meredith founded a bicycle program at the school four years ago, and runs it to this day. The program teaches students to ride, fix, and maintain bikes, convinced that “students who learn to ride for the first time experience autonomy in a new city, or from expectations placed on them by their families or home culture.”

This excerpt from a student’s college essay is a powerful testament to the program’s success:

I feel that is possible anything to finish if I try more and get the opportunity and support. In my opinion no one born smart, everything depends on how much effort we put into action. According to this experience, riding a bike is one of my most influential events in my life.

The students made a documentary about their experiences with the bicycle program, and want to present it at the 2015 Youth Bike Summit. They lack funds for their trip, and they are asking for donations. It is shocking how little they ask for ($5,185 total, $239 already raised as I write this).

Help if you can. Donate here.

How to be cool

People often ask me: “A.T., how can I be more like you?”.[1] Easy! Be smart, charming, and funny. Have a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor. Most importantly, BUY A GEOHIPSTER T-SHIRT and wear it everywhere!

How to be cool -- wear a GeoHipster t-shirt everywhere
How to be cool — wear a GeoHipster t-shirt everywhere

So there, the secret’s out. You’ve got no excuse.


_


[1] No one, ever, actually

Modular bike routes

[UPDATE June 14, 2014] I created a composite map of all five modules (loops). All loops are displayed with the same line symbol (red semi-transparent). Since some route segments are part of more than one loop, some segments appear darker than others. I hope this makes sense.

All routes begin and end at “The Base” — the three flagpoles in Johnson Park (blue point marker). Click on the map below for a higher-resolution image. I will add route descriptions soon.

All five loops bike route module map Start-Finish point
All five loops bike route module map Start-Finish point

Some tech info for the geonerds: I collected the route data using my Google Nexus 4 phone and the Google My Tracks app (thanks to Terry Stigers for the app recommendation). The app’s KMZ files proved to be somewhat unyielding to work with (thanks to Randal Hale for helping with that), so I ended up exporting the data as GPX (another Terry Stigers suggestion).

Next I used QGIS 2.2.0-Valmiera (64-bit) with the OpenLayers plugin to display the “tracks” segments of my GPX files over a Google Physical layer base map.

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[UPDATE June 08, 2014] Another bike route module has been mapped. Johnson Park (Loop 5) is 4.88 miles long, and begins and ends at “The Base” — the three flagpoles in Johnson Park. Map below, interactive Google Maps Map here.

In the next few days I will publish a composite map of all five modules along with general description of each.

Johnson Park (Loop 5) bike route module map
Johnson Park (Loop 5) bike route module map

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[UPDATE June 01, 2014] Another bike route module has been mapped. Rutgers Busch – Golf Course (Loop 4) is 5.84 miles long, and begins and ends at “The Base” — the three flagpoles in Johnson Park. Map below, interactive Google Maps Map here. More modules, detailed route descriptions, and a composite map to follow in the next few days.

Rutgers Busch - Golf Course (Loop 4) bike route module map
Rutgers Busch – Golf Course (Loop 4) bike route module map

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[UPDATE May 31, 2014] Another bike route module has been mapped. Rutgers Busch (Loop 3) is 3.86 miles long, and begins and ends at “The Base” — the three flagpoles in Johnson Park. Map below, interactive Google Maps Map here. More modules, detailed route descriptions, and a composite map to follow in the next few days.

Rutgers Busch (Loop 3) bike route module map
Rutgers Busch (Loop 3) bike route module map

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[UPDATE May 26, 2014] Another bike route module has been mapped. Rutgers Golf Course (Loop 2) is 4.11 miles long, and begins and ends at “The Base” — the three flagpoles in Johnson Park. Map below, interactive Google Maps Map here. More modules, detailed route descriptions, and a composite map to follow in the next few days.

Rutgers Golf Course (Loop 2) bike route module map
Rutgers Golf Course (Loop 2) bike route module map

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Inspired by Anita Graser, who designs modular software and cooks modular meals, I decided to design a modular bike route and share it with my fellow cyclists in the New Brunswick/Highland Park area. The idea is to compile a number of short bike routes that begin and end at the same point, which will allow cyclists to combine different modules into a composite ride of their choice.

I just completed the first module — Rutgers Livingston (Loop 1). The route is 6.02 miles long, and begins and ends at “The Base” — the three flagpoles in Johnson Park. Map below, interactive Google Maps map is here. More modules, detailed route descriptions, and a composite map to follow in the next few days.

Rutgers Livingston (Loop 1) bike route module map
Rutgers Livingston (Loop 1) bike route module map

 

Austin-Healey Sprite spotted in the wild

I spotted this beauty during a recent bike ride in a local New Jersey park. The Austin-Healey Sprite (aka Bugeye) was introduced by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) in 1958. This car is my contemporary, give or take a few years. Wow.

Austin-Healy Sprite aka Bugeye British Motor Corporation sports car 1958
Austin-Healy Sprite aka Bugeye British Motor Corporation (BMC) sports car 1958

Engineering, yo!

There is probably a very legitimate reason for this manhole to stick out like that in Johnson Park (Middlesex County, New Jersey, location on Google Maps). Still, it doesn’t make engineers look too good in my book.

In deed

My friend Jon Verpent is not your typical 29-year-old. For one thing, he looks much younger (this is a compliment, Jon). But let me tell you about the other.

Unlike your typical 29-year-old who might want to celebrate their 30th birthday by, say, trying 30 different beers, Jon set out to complete 30 good deeds. Instead of giving something to himself, Jon decided to celebrate by giving something of himself.

So next time someone tells you that today’s young people only think about themselves, you can say “Not all of them.”

Read about Jon’s deeds on his blog 30 Deeds. Jon and his deeds have been written about by various media outlets, including today’s Star-Ledger — New Jersey’s largest newspaper. I enjoyed being part of Deed 12 — Cycle for Survival.

Jon Verpent at Deed 18 : Habitat for Humanity
Jon Verpent at Deed 18 : Habitat for Humanity