Thursday, May 13, 2010

bike to work day-- musettes and maps

in the bay area there is this day every year called "bike to work day"-- cities and organizations all work together to have a day to promoting bicycling as a form of transportation and health. part of bike to work day is visiting an "energizer station" on your way to work, where you can get some goodies, sign petitions relating to bicycle advocacy, and pick up a really cool bag with goodies in it. there are lots of other bicycling related activities that center around this day. all in all, it is an excellent program that has been going on for 17 years and keeps getting bigger each year.

i like bike to work day cause you can get some pastries and a fun grab bag just for riding your bike! i wish every day included free pastries and grab bags.

that is, for people who get up early. or, on time.

i was kind of procrastinating this morning, so by the time i got to the closest "energizer" station, all i just got a pastry and coffee, no bag.

this made me sad, but it was my own fault.

i had a master plan for bike to work day. i was going to get up EARLY so i could hit 5 (yeah, 5) stations on my way to work. that was, 5 stations on my *normal* route. that would have meant 5 pastries. and, if i went a few blocks out of my way, i probably could have hit 9 stations total. but 9 pastries is too much, so i figured the 5 would do.

but then i procrastinated this morning.

so 5 pastries was really 1.

after hitting the first station, i went to BART... cause i was too late to bike all the way in...and i saw another energizer station, so i stopped by cause i saw he had one bag left! so i got the last bag- yay! (but he had no pastries)

when he gave me the bag, it was a BIG canvass grocery bag. i asked him why they don't give out the small musette bags any longer, and i got all nostalgic about them. and he said to me: "you mean the one's real bike racers use." and i thought: i don't use a musette bag bike racing, so i must not be a real bike racer. oh well. regardless, he didn't know why they switched to the big canvas bags.

so now comes the point of my post that hopefully some higher ups will read.......


so three years ago the bike to work bags were awesome! they were small musette bags. now, i realize people probably think: what the hell are commuters carrying around musette bags for-- they aren't giving any feeds or anything...

but on the contrary, the musette bag is perfect for the commuter that doesn't want to carry around a big backpack or messenger bag, and just want something tiny that can fit the lock. musette bags are perfect size for a u-lock. they sit nicely on your backside and don't get all tangled with your handle bars, unlike big canvas bags.

the last musette bag i got was 2006-- the orange/red one in the middle. that one in 2007, i was given a full size canvas bag. as i was in 2008, 2009, and [sigh] in 2010. now, i'm not knockin' free canvas bags. i love my BTWD bags- it is such a fun day! but big canvas bags are great for when you drive to the grocery store to get groceries. but they are not a very handy thing to bike with. so, BTWD folks-- please bring back the musette bag! mine is really, really nasty. i wash it, but it is just permanently stained and i am fearful my boyfriend is going to throw it away when i am not paying attention one day cause he thinks it is so gross. anyway, love the bags, but i love the small ones the best!

included in the bag was a new oakland bike map. i was a bit confused, as there are lots of oakland bike maps... but i did a bit of research and learned some things, so i will share what i learned and my thoughts on it.

[begin public service announcement]

the bike map included in the bag was one from this is public works department from the city of oakland. i was glad to heard the city of oakland has put out a bike map (west and east).

in my opinion, it is good that the city is taking responsibility for publishing bike maps and not relying solely on non-profit organizations in the city & county. this is good for overall city-planning and inclusion of bicycling in city planning.

other organizations that have created some excellent bike maps in the city:

  1. walk oakland bike oakland -- they make (in my opinion) the best bike map of oakland. it has detailed information on the grade of every single street. it is an excellent city map, not just for biking or walking, but just navigating the city in general. you can get one in print by joining WOBO here. they are a pretty cool new organization, that has done a lot in the city regarding increasing bike lanes. there new project is getting a bike line all the way down broadway blvd. the WOBO map was funded by the State of California Office of Traffic Safety, total costs came to $48,000 including staff time, street grade surveys, map design, and map printing. The project took 6 months from concept to printing.
  2. the east bay bicycle coalition maps are the old standard for bicycle maps. they have two maps: east of the hills (not available online) & west of hills.
  • east of the hills covers covers central and eastern Contra Costa County, including Concord, Walnut Creek, Pittsburg, Antioch; plus eastern Alameda County's Tri-Valley (Livermore, Dublin, and Pleasanton areas).
  • west of the hills covers western Alameda and Contra Costa counties, including the Richmond, Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward, and Fremont areas.
These maps are huge in scope and great because they aren't city specific and can really provide cyclists who are going on very long rides ideas for routes. They also include trails in the east bay regional parks.

But they are not cheap to make. Apparently in the last revision of the West of the Bay map, the EBBC spent $59,000 to update it. This is a huge chunk of change for a primarily advocacy organization to spending on making a map service for residents...which is why I was very glad to see the City of Oakland take on that responsibility, with a smaller map that was created city-wide. Would be great for the counties to contract with EBBC to do the map project, as this is a citizen's resource.

But, what the hell am I hoping for in these budget pressed times of county governance?

Anyway, if you don't live in the east bay here, here is a list of lots of maps in the bay area on thanks 511.

[end public service announcement]

what can i say? I LOVE MAPS!

alright, well, happy bike to work day! hope you all had a grand time biking home!


Garrett Lau said...

All three of the bags in your photo look to be the same size. I don't think I've ever seen a smaller BTWD bag. I looked for all my old BTWD bags, but I could only find 2002, 2008, and 2009. They are all the same size. I might have refused the bags from 2003-2007 because they are so hard to ride with.

Greg said...

Huh? There are single-strap smaller bags and double-strap larger bags. Any given station seems to get one OR the other. Hit me up if you want one of the smaller 2010 bags.

beth said...

greg-- really!?! that makes me so happy! i do want a smaller 2010 bag. here is my email-- bethbikes @