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Fashion Friday: Bike Share Lets Leah Skirt the Issue

When your standard commute bike is a diamond-frame road bike, your standard work uniform gravitates toward dress pants. In a skirt, it’s hard for Leah to throw a leg over the top tube with grace and modesty. Now that step-through Bay Area Bike Share bikes have come to San Jose, Leah’s dress options have opened right up.

Leah Portrait

Leah is the Director of SPUR San Jose, an independent civic planning organization focused on urban issues.

About Fashion Friday: Inspired by a 2011 Bike to Work Day challenge sponsored by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, this series highlights the broad range of “dress for the destination” bicycling fashions.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2013 in Cycle Fashions

 

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Three Bikes for Three Courses: A Bike Share Date

It’s been three weeks since Bay Area Bike Share launched and given the number of blog posts I’ve written (six) and photos I’ve taken (hundreds) and public speaking I’ve done (ok, only once) it feels like a lot longer. It does feel weird to be promoting bike share since without a station near my home or work, I don’t have many natural opportunities to use it. And Dick hadn’t even tried it yet since he missed out on the trip to San Francisco.

It was time to get creative with a Bike Date Friday hopping around downtown San Jose on bike share.

1st Street Bus Lane

As usual, Dick came down on Caltrain and I met him at the station. But this time we locked up our bikes and checked out our first pair of bike share bikes. First course: cocktails at Cafe Stritch on South First Street. Cafe Stritch is a rare place that feels comfortable for both 20-somethings and their parents, so we fit right in. The cocktails straddled old-school and modern, just like their patrons. A good choice for our first course.

Cafe Stritch

From Cafe Stritch it was a short bike share hop up First Street, then across to the comfy bike lanes on Almaden Boulevard where we redocked the bike pair #2 at Santa Clara Street. It took Dick a few tries to get it right.

Push Hard at Almaden Station

Our dinner destination was The Farmers Union, a new place specializing in hearty American favorites reinterpreted for a new generation in an upscale sports bar setting. We chose an oversized booth with minimal big screen intrusion and a view of the parade of people walking and biking on San Pedro Street.

I enjoyed my Roast Chicken with Mac and Cheese and Dick enjoyed his Bangers and Mash. But it was the Poutine that has me craving a trip back. Hmm, how long would it take to ride there for lunch?

Poutine at Farmers Union

With all the Poutine and Mac and Cheese, I had very little room left for dessert, but we had another course to go. No bike this time, just a short walk down to the ever-popular San Pedro Square Market.

San Pedro Square

We grabbed dessert from Chocatoo and managed to find a quiet table on the sidewalk that was perfect for people watching. There were plenty of people out and about on the warm night. Then it was back to our fourth bike share station to grab our third pair of bikes for the trip back to Caltrain. So much fun, we added an extra loop out to City Hall and the wide bike lanes on Fourth Street. As usual, a great finish a lovely night out.

When you go out, are you a hot spot hopper or do you prefer to settle into one place? Would bike share help connect your favorite spots in your city or are they all clustered in one district?

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About our route: We covered about four miles in three bike share legs and one walking section (orange). With bike share we were able to not only easily travel from Caltrain to downtown, we were also able to easily connect the South First and San Pedro Street entertainment districts. A win all around.

Route Map

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2013 in Bike Date

 

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Bike Share: Solving the Last Mile Problem

Inter-city transit commutes are rarely fast or efficient when one of the cities suffers from less-than-reliable public transportation and the other suffers from suburban sprawl. That was Alex’s challenge.

Alex lives in San Francisco and works 50 miles away in downtown San Jose. I first met her and her lovely city bike in the bike car on Caltrain. Her commute started with a short bike ride to the train station, then a speedy hour on the bullet train, and ended with a quick one mile bike ride from San Jose’s Diridon station to her office downtown. At around 90 minutes, it wasn’t a bad commute considering the distance.

But when a conductor hassled her about her bike’s wire front basket not meeting Caltrain guidelines, she was forced to park her bike in San Francisco and take the shuttle bus down in San Jose. That is, assuming her train was on time so she didn’t miss the shuttle. But now, Bay Area Bike Share has her rolling in San Jose again.

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I ran into Alex and her co-worker Dennis this morning as they were undocking bikes outside Diridon station. It was Alex’s third commute day since the system opened and she was thrilled. No more worries of missing the shuttle, no more risk of overcrowding on the bike car, and no more dodging nit-picky conductors.

Dennis was pleased too. Also a resident of San Francisco, he works in their San Jose office only occasionally, but now he knows that there’s a bike available so he can zip over to the office and back again in the evening.

For both Alex and Dennis, bike share gives them convenience and options. For Caltrain, it means more riders without adding more bikes aboard. For the Bay Area, it means more people getting to work without increasing car congestion and the air pollution that comes with it. That’s why the Bay Area Quality Management District invested in the Bay Area Bike Share pilot, after all. Glad to see it’s working here in San Jose.

Do you have “last mile” issues with using transit? If there were a bike share bike available, would you take it to work, school, entertainment or to do errands?

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Posted by on September 4, 2013 in Around Town

 

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Fashion Weekend Edition: San Francisco Bay Blues

Deep strong teal. Heavenly celeste blue-green. Water colors suit San Francisco, a city surrounded by water on three sides. A 3/4 length pleated skirt trench coat in teal protects against the fog rolling off chilly Pacific waters and complements the seafoam Bay Area Bike Share bikes. That’s how this summer rolls in San Francisco.

Portrait

About Fashion Friday: Inspired by a 2011 Bike to Work Day challenge sponsored by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, this series highlights the broad range of “dress for the destination” bicycling fashions.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2013 in Cycle Fashions

 

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