Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Helping the revolution (just a little)

Pretty simple. A bike rack, my trusty Outlook, and a couple of two-wheeled fuel-burners to keep my bike company. It's looked like this for the past two months.

That bike rack wasn't always there. When I first started bike commuting, I would -- with Security's permission -- cable-lock my bike to a wrought-iron fence next to the guard/valet hut. There was about a 6' wide gap between that fence and the parking space next to it, so I had plenty of room to park, and people had plenty of room to open their doors. I guess someone complained about my bike, though. I guess they thought that one day I'd scrape their paint trying to squeeze in or leave. They surely weren't complaining about me taking a whole spot with my bike, because I wasn't taking any parking spots.

A few weeks after I started bike commuting, the rack showed up, taking one of almost 20 motorcycle parking spaces. This time of year, that's not a problem. I'm hoping there's no animosity once the weather warms up and the motorcycles come out to play.

That's the thing about Kansas City. If I lived down here, especially alone (I'm married), I wouldn't need a car for much of anything. Even so, Kansas City, MO is not terribly bike friendly. Grocery stores are a few and far between -- Downtown KC is still sorely lacking in infrastructure. Bike-specific parking is non-existant. Aside from this bike rack and the lockdown posts in front of the Central Library shown in a previous post, I've seen no other place that was actually designed for bicycle parking. I usually end up cabling the bike to a tree or a light post if I need to go anywhere else.

Anyhow, because of me, there's one more bike-friendly parking spot here downtown. Even if it's inside a parking garage in some faceless building downtown. Hopefully, come spring-time, I see a few more human-powered two-wheelers parked with my bike.

As far as today's morning ride went, I don't know what the deal was, but I never really woke up. The whole ride to the bus was simply tedious and painful. I didn't eat breakfast before I left, but I had a late supper, plenty of water this morning, and got 7 hours of sleep. Three miles shouldn't have been so hard. I caught a pretty early bus, so I goofed off on my bike downtown a bit. I put about 2 more miles in "on the way" to work from the bus stop. Those miles weren't bad at all. No clue why I was so slow and tired on my way to the bus just 40 minutes earlier.


Jeff said...

Locking up Downtown sucks. I usually look for a gas meter.

KC is nearing the end of a several-year process to rewrite their zoning and codes policies and bike parking is included. Once approved, developers will be required to install bike parking right along with automobile parking. What you have in your garage will, eventually, become more common. Yay!

However, the number of bike spaces is tied to the number of car spaces. And in the DT Loop development is exempt from parking requirements. Parking requirements were recently reduced in the Crossroads. And, the proposed parking requirements will be reduced along the MAX route. As I understand things to be now, that would also reduce the bike parking requirements in those areas.

The changes are still being worked up, so send a note to if you have some feedback.

Eric has some more info over at


Noah said...

Thanks for the info!

As it stands, I'm really longing for a job back in central Johnson County (closer to where I live) so that I can do my commute 100% by bike, every weekday. As it stands, my daily commute by bike would be a 60 mile round trip, so my minimum commute is six miles per day, just to and from "The JO". I usually change it up a bit, or ride around KC to get some extra miles in every day.

That said, I'm no stranger to the woes of parking downtown, either. I spent the first few weeks driving my car the whole way. If bike parking is tied to the number of auto parking spots, the cyclists are not going to be much better off than they are now.

Eric Rogers said...

When I worked Downtown I was fortunate enough to be able to take my bike into the office.

If the parking rules get approved as proposed those garages will eventually have bike parking space equal to two car parking spaces - or about 10-15 bike spaces.

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