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.