Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rogue Valley Transit during Dec. 6 snowfall (animated gif)

Riders disembark from Rogue Valley Transit’s Route 10 between Ashland and Medford, Oregon as snow begins accumulating Dec. 6, 2013. Animated gif superimposes snowfall effect.

Here’s a picture of the Rogue Valley Transportation District’s Route 10 in Ashland, Oregon during the Dec. 6 snowfall. Something called “Google + Auto Awesome” added an animated snowfall effect to an image in my photo bucket. (As of 11:30 a.m. Dec. 17, by the way, RVTD reported that it had resumed regular service).

Monday, December 9, 2013

Rogue Valley Transit: Snow affects Routes 10 and 60

Map showing temporary change to Rogue Valley Transit's Route 10 outbound from Medford toward Ashland, Oregon
Image credit: Rogue Valley Transportation District
Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) was not in service on Saturday because of inclement weather and dangerous conditions related to Friday’s snow. On Monday, RVTD made temporary changes to Route 10 between Medford and Ashland.

Monday, December 2, 2013

‘Crunch’ by Leslie Connor

In Crunch by Leslie Connor (Katherine Tegan Books, 2010) a family’s bicycle repair business is the only thing keeping people on the road when gas supplies dry up.

A long-distance truck driver and his wife are stranded several hundred miles from home when gasoline supplies abruptly disappear. Fourteen-year-old Dewey and his siblings must manage the “Marriss Bike Barn” while meeting family responsibilities.

With no cars on the highway, cyclists take to the lanes. Suddenly, everyone is turning to the Marrisses for much-needed bicycle repairs.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Easier to walk when I shelve every day

For years I worked in a job that involved sitting at a desk. I really wanted the kind of job I have now: physically active at a library.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Yes, I ride a bicycle. Yes, I use a cane

Cynthia Parkhill with yarnbombed bicycle
My bicycle gives me mobility
(and it’s yarn-bombed too).
I can relate to the sentiments of Shannon Des Roches Rosa when she says her vehicle’s disabled parking pass is none of disapproving strangers’ business.
“Folks don’t have the passes if they don’t need them, and as they go through an official process of applications and approvals to get that pass, your opinion is irrelevant -- even if you can’t tell what the person’s disability is.”
The situation I encountered this week wasn’t entirely the same, but it involved a stranger’s unsolicited judgement about my supposed disability.

I parked my bicycle Tuesday evening outside the Ashland library and retrieved my cane (which was secured across my back by a really cool, over-the-shoulder, upcycled-T-shirt braided strap).

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Caturday project: Starfire ‘helps’ with Sharrow jacket

Cat with her face shoved into sleeve of T-shirt
Starfire ‘helps’ me work
Assisted by my “helper” Starfire, I upcycled T-shirts into a “Sharrow” Share-the-road bicycle design on a hoodie jacket.

My first step, with a paper template, was to cut out the sharrow pattern. Starfire was highly interested in the proceedings and I had to watch her carefully lest, when batting at the sharrow template, she end up with a pawful of pins.

Jacket back: Share-the-road "Sharrow" design on hoodie jacket
Back view: The finished jacket
As I began assembling pieces for the sharrow design on the back, Starfire burrowed into the discarded T-shirt.

Starfire managed to shove her entire face into the sleeve. She reared up and was surprised by the effect.

Once free from the shirt, she was oh-so-dignified as I continued with my work.

The back of the jacket features an appliqued sharrow design against a floral background. I also attached a floral sharrow motif to one side on the jacket front.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

‘Books on Wheels’: Library bicycle delivery

From the Arizona Daily Star, reprinted at, the Pima County Public Library offers a once-a-month bicycle delivery service for home-bound library patrons.

Books on Wheels is offered in partnership with Pima County Bike Ambassadors. Could a similar program operate in the Bicycle Friendly Community of Ashland, Oregon?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Yarn-bombed bicycle for Fourth of July

Cynthia Parkhill places knit-swatch seat cover on yarn-bombed bicycle
A knit-swatch seat cover for my yarn-bombed bicycle
An ankle injury sidelined me from riding during’s Go By Bike Week in May, but I was able to resume riding in time to participate in the Fourth of July parade.

The Web-sters yarn shop in Ashland, Oregon provided swatches and yarn for crafters to decorate their bikes. A bicycle yarn-bombing party took place Tuesday at Lithia Park in downtown Ashland.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Walkscore ‘neighborhood pages’

With its “neighborhood pages,” announced this week, has assembled “all of our quantitative data about transportation and places with tens of thousands of photos and comments.”

Walkscore badge: 52
Umm ... No.
The move only makes sense and will hopefully compensate for misrepresentations that rely on walking scores alone.

Case in point: our family moved from a rural community to a metropolitan area. If its walking score accounted for a greater proximity of bike trails and public transportation, our new place easily rates a 95, where most daily errands do not require a car.

Instead, Walkscore rated it 52, only “Somewhat walkable.”

Even though our past residence, “very walkable” at 75, was close to a few businesses, a post office and library, it was geographically distant from employment centers. People had to commute by car or rely on public transit that ran every 2.5 hours. Bicycle commuting was not feasible.

In our new community, again supposedly a “52,” we are less than 500 feet from a central bus line that runs every half-hour to 20 minutes. A bicycle path is only a few blocks away and connects us to a central downtown where major roads have dedicated bike lanes and connector streets have “sharrow” shared-roadway markings.

Acquiring a bike score for our community would require city planners to contact Walk Score. As of Dec. 12, bike score data was available for only 25 U.S. cities.

Neighborhood pages, according to, assemble Walk Score ratings and heatmaps for more than 10,000 neighborhoods, Restaurant “ChoiceMaps” for more than 10,000 neighborhoods, Transit Score ratings and transit maps for more than 3,000 neighborhoods, Bike Score ratings for more than 5,000 neighborhoods and photos of almost 2,000 neighborhoods.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Bike to the Co-op Month

Boxed bicycle helmets with "Co-op Rocks" promotional labels
Image source: Ashland Food Co-op on Facebook
In the area of climate-friendly transportation efforts at the Ashland Food Co-op, here’s a great partnership with Cycle Sport: bicycle helmets available for half-price.

As detailed in the co-op’s May/June newsletter, May is Bike to the Co-op Month. Co-op members who display their owner cards can get half-off any bicycle helmet at Cycle Sport, located at 191 Oak St. in Ashland. The offer is good only in May and only once during the month.

And each time co-op members show their helmets at the co-op information desk, they can enter a drawing toward a $50 Cycle Sport gift certificate. The offer ends May 31.

Single-occupant auto use perpetuates the problem with a “jam-packed” co-op parking lot. This owner-member appreciates co-op efforts to promote auto-use alternatives.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Patterns to yarn-bomb a bicycle

Yarnbombed bicycle seat by Emma Wilkinson
Yarn-bombed bicycle seat by Emma Wilkinson on Ravelry
It seemed natural to share a link to six patterns to yarn-bomb a bicycle on The Web-sters Facebook page. The Ashland, Oregon yarn retailer is planning a yarn-bombed bicycle entry in the Fourth-of-July parade.

The patterns were curated by “Ashley” at Lion Brand Yarn. They include a knit bike seat cover in tweed stripes from Lion Brand Yarn, a crochet bike seat cover by Emma Wilkinson, a lace top-tube protector by Christopher Lizama, a knit and crochet bike lock pattern from Tangle Was Here, I ♥ My Bike Lock cozy by The Knit Cafe Toronto and Bicycle U Lock Cover Recipe by Vanessa Tea Designs.

Important dates for the local project include May 22, when yarn bomb kits are available. The participation sign-up deadline is June 17 and a group bike decorating is planned from 4 to 6 p.m. July 2 in Lithia Park.

‘Sharrow’ design: repurposed shirts

"Sharrow" T-shirt assembled from multiple garments

My latest upcycling project has a tie-in to’s Go by Bike Week. I found an Ashland Food Co-op sack filled with T-shirts at my apartment complex giveaway box. The shirts have been assembled into one garment with a “Sharrow” shared-roadway design. The beautiful model is Miss Starfire.

Sharrow template
Sharrow template

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Consumer choices carry environmental weight

The message of two videos viewed this week for my women’s health class is that consumer decisions carry weight. The resulting impacts are entirely up to us.

Ashland, Oregon: Bronze to gold Bicycle Friendly Community

Logo: Bicycle Friendly Community, administered by League of American Bicyclists
League of American Bicyclists
Ashland, Oregon was awarded Gold status on Monday as a renewing Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC). Certainly, one of the highlights of our living here is our greater ability to travel by bike.

The Bicycle Friendly America program, administered by the League of American Bicyclists, collects data in:
  • Engineering: Physical infrastructure and hardware to support cycling
  • Education: Programs that ensure the safety, comfort and convenience of cyclists and fellow road users
  • Encouragement: Incentives, promotions and opportunities that inspire and enable people to ride
  • Enforcement: Equitable laws and programs that ensure motorists and cyclists are held accountable
  • Evaluation: Processes that demonstrate a commitment to measuring results and planning for the future
During the 2013 Spring BFC awards on Monday, Ashland’s status as a BFC was upgraded from Bronze to Gold. According to the League of American Bicyclists, there are 259 BFCs in 47 states.

Social sharing credit goes to

Sidelined during Go by Bike Week

A foot injury has sidelined me during’s Go by Bike Week. In mid-March I fell and injured my foot. Recovery seemed gradual but last weekend I think I re-injured it when dismounting from my bike. So while every week that I travel by bicycle is “Go by Bike Week,” it simply won’t be this week.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ashland, Oregon: Licensed to drive

Go by Bike Week began, for me, with my Oregon driver’s license. At the Oregon DMV this morning, I passed the knowledge test and was issued a temporary ID.

Next step: vehicle registration and plates.

I’m partial to a “Share the Road” nonprofit group license plate from the Oregon DMV. Because even though I thought it necessary to be licensed to drive in Oregon, I hope to rely for most transportation on walking, bike riding and public transit.

Plate proceeds benefit the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Cycle Oregon.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sharrow needlework grid via

In honor of Go by Bike Week, via the knitPro web app from, here is the Sharrow, the shared-roadway bicycle marking, in a grid suitable for needlepoint, knitting or crochet. Credit for the original image goes to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Go by Bike Week: May 13 to 19

Cynthia Parkhill with bicycle, reflective vest and bike helmet
Ready for a trip by bicycle
Go by Bike Week is being observed from May 13 to 19. The goRogueValley coalition invites people in Jackson and Josephine counties to pledge to take trips by bicycle.

One of the highlights of living in Ashland, Oregon is our greater ability to travel by bike.

The Ashland Central Trail begins just a few blocks from our home and we can ride it downtown, coming out within a few blocks of the Ashland Food Co-op.

Ashland actively markets itself as a “bicycle friendly community” and the evidence is everywhere: major streets have bicycle lanes and additional streets feature shared-lane marking.

For longer trips, we can easily ride on Rogue Valley Transit Route 10, which travels between Ashland and Medford. During peak times, the bus runs approximately every 20 minutes. It is very easy for us to travel without using a car.

A variety of activities and promotions are planned next week to encourage going by bike. Cyclists are encouraged to log their trips for a chance to win prizes.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ticket to ride (Rogue Valley Transportation District)

Rogue Valley Transportation District bus pass in handmade ID holder on laniard
My husband and I purchased punch passes to ride Rogue Valley Transportation District buses. The new pass fits as nicely as my Lake Transit rider pass did in a handmade ID holder on laniard.

Our first ride was with a knowledgeable driver aboard RVTD Route 10, who explained finer points of riding area buses and gave us reflector key chain attachments that we can use to signal our drivers.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Thank your driver on Bus Driver Appreciation Day

Logo for March 18: Bus Driver Appreciation Day
If you’re riding the bus on Monday, be sure to thank your driver. March 18 is International Bus Driver Appreciation Day.

The purpose of Bus Driver Appreciation Day is to celebrate the hard work of transit bus drivers and rail operators.

March 18 is the day that bus service is believed to have debuted in Paris in 1662, according to Randy Alfred writing for
“The system started with seven horse-drawn vehicles running along regular routes. Each coach could carry six or eight passengers. Some sources specify three routes; others say there were six, and that one of them was a circular route.
“The Carosses à Cinq Sous, or Five-Penny Coaches, were popular at first, but the novelty soon wore off. The system proved an idea ahead of its time.”
At, riders can print out and personalize one of several thank-you cards and can also spread the word through social media.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Record high for public transportation

According to American Public Transportation Association (APTA) president Michael Melaniphy, Americans took a record 10.5 billion trips on public transit during 2012. It was the second-highest ridership since 1957, according to the APTA.

APTA issued a report today documenting U.S. public transportation ridership.

“What is tremendous is that every mode of public transportation showed an increase in ridership,” Melaniphy said. “Public transit ridership grew in all areas of the country – north, south, east, and west — in small, medium and large communities, with at least 16 public transit systems reporting record ridership.”

This rider of public transit certainly saw an increase in bus ridership in Lake County, Calif. And she’ll have plenty of company in Jackson County, Ore.

During 2011-2012, according to the Lake Transit Authority (LTA) annual report, ridership increased by 68,000. The report was reviewed and accepted during the August 2012 LTA meeting.

Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) reported a gain in bus ridership by 22 percent from April to January compared to the previous year. With regular day service isolated from new evening and Saturday hours that took effect last April, ridership still increased more than 16 percent on average according to RVTD.

Monday, March 4, 2013

‘Bus stoppers’ at Rogue Valley Transportation District stops

In anticipation of riding public transit in Jackson County, Ore., I paid a visit this weekend to the Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) website. Among recent news, RVTD is going to install reflectors, “Bus Stoppers,” at 75 bus stop locations.

Illustration: "Bus Stopper" reflective device
“The Bus Stopper uses the headlights from the approaching bus to reflect a signal to the bus driver,” according to the RVTD. “When a person moves the handle up and down a flashing pattern is communicated to the driver so the driver knows a passenger is waiting. That flashing can be seen up to 1/4 mile away.”

RVTD drivers share a problem that I’ve observed at rural stops in Lake County, Calif. During dark hours, the drivers find it difficult to see passengers waiting at the stops.

According to RVTD, the Bus Stoppers will improve safety and help ensure passengers will be seen by the driver in time for him or her to stop the bus.

RVTD invites riders who would like to request a Bus Stopper for their stops to contact or 541-779-5821. For more infomation about the Bus Stopper, visit

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Last day of work at Lake County Record-Bee

Today was my last day of work at the Lake County Record-Bee. The month’s close marked the end of a professional association that lasted 15 years.