Pedal Powered Real Estate

I bet there’s a market for this in South Minneapolis:

House hunting for the health conscious

A real estate brokerage company in Colorado has branded itself around the idea of using bicycles to tour homes for sale. Pedal To Properties, based in Boulder, was founded in an effort to “combine health and home,” according to the company’s Web site.

Biking is a much better way to get a feel for a neighborhood than driving. A biking agent could surely build a business around hooking up the Minneapolis biking community with homes in bike-friendly neighborhoods.

The 2-Mile Bike Commute Challenge

The Other Mike found a story on Biking Bis where they explained that 40% of commuting is done within 2 miles of home. With that in mind, why not try using something other than a car for such short trips?

Before committing to it, I decided to figure out what 2-miles from my house looks like on a map, and here that is:

2-Mile Radius

After making my map on, I realized that it’s easier to do on the 2 Mile Challenge website.

Here’s what I’m seeing:

– Groceries: I can bike to Cub, Rainbow, and the Seward Coop. Lunds in Highland is just past 2 miles.

– Dining: There are at least 50 restaurants within 2-miles of my house.

– Desert: There are at least 4 ice cream shops, including 2 Dairy Queens, Izzy’s, and that place on Franklin in Seward.

– Caffeine: There are probably a dozen coffee shops in this 2-mile radius.

– Hardware Stores: There are stores on Lake, Franklin, Minnehaha (pretty sure that’s still there), Grand Ave, and a Menard’s on University Ave.

And this falls within a no sweat, no special clothes, just roll distance. That’s workable.

What’s up with all the Bicycle Accidents?

The Minnesota Lawyer Blog has a recap of recent bicycle accidents leading to injuries or death that have been in the news lately:

Getting a handle on bicycle cases

The negligence cases sometimes lead to lawsuits, of course. Minnesota Lawyer has reported this year on a $47,000 settlement procured by a bicyclist whose jaw was fractured and a bicyclist who procured a $45,000 settlement for a shoulder injury.

It should not be surprising that there are even some lawyers who fancy themselves specialists on these kind of cases. Minnesota Lawyer had an article last December about a California lawyer whose practice centers on bicycle cases.

At times, I’m frankly surprised there aren’t more accidents based on the large number of bikers I see blowing stop-signs at night in dark clothing. That’s a recipe for disaster.

On the flipside, it’s not uncommon to see cars on West River Road randomly hit a curb after drifting while sending a text message. There is little room for error on the shoulderless road, and that’s before road riders join the mix.

Occasionally I hear some strange whining out of the right-wing mega-commuter crowd about how bike trails are a waste of money. Think of it this way: if you coughed up for better bike commuting trails, you’d solve two problems at once: you’d get more bikes off the roads so you car will fit comfortably in the lane, and you’d probably also get a few of those rusted out liberal hippie cars held together by bumper stickers out of your way too.

Adam Finley: Biker Killed in Minneapolis Bike – Bus Accident

The StarTribune is reporting that the biker who died near Lake Calhoun earlier this week when he was hit by a bus is an Uptown resident named Adam Finley.

He didn’t have any ID on him, but he was carrying his iPod, which was used to identify him with the help of Apple.

I found his MySpace page where he mentions working as a blogger for TV Squad, running a personal blog and podcast called Raise Your Children My Way, Damn It, and posting some creative videos on YouTube.

Minneapolis Crime of the Week: Police Stop Bicyclist

When I first started reading this, I thought it was a report about a speeding bicyclist. That seemed rather strange. However, there was more to it:

300 blk 6th St S: Officers observed bicyclist riding at high speed; attempted to stop him; suspect fled from officers; when officers apprehended suspect, he admitted bicycle was stolen (bicycle worth approximately $1200.): Arrested/FELONY THEFT/FLEEING OFFICER

I get the impression that the suspect wasn’t wearing attire you’d normally find on someone speeding on a $1200 bike.

Midtown Greenway’s Hiawatha Suspension Bridge

Midtown Greenway’s, originally uploaded by edkohler.

The suspension beam is in place for the Midtown Greenway bike trail’s crossing of Hiawatha Ave and the LRT.

The bridge is unique to Minnesota with a one-beam suspension style.

Some have criticized the bridge for it’s price. The Other Mike and I calculated that this bridge costs the equivalent of 6 minutes of Bush’s war in Iraq.

Paris’ Shared Bike Program. Would it Work Here?

The Minneapolis Issues List has an interesting thread going about shared bike programs in Paris and Copenhagen.

Basically, they have an hour-car style model using a bus-pass type card to gain access and pay for the bikes at a rate of approx. $1.38/day.

The Copenhagen plan mentioned sounds interesting too: charge a deposit for use, but give it back when you (or someone else) returns the bike.

Both seem to solve the issue with having purely free bikes like St. Paul tried around 15 years ago near Macalester. With no liability, the bikes were trashed and/or disappeared, making the program a failure. It looks like the newer approaches have more potential.

Update on Proposed Bike Bridge Over Mississippi

Friends of the Mississippi River has an article on the proposed bridge over the Mississippi River gorge at approximately 27th St E near the current railroad bridge.

As I understand it, the owners of the railroad bridge are not interested in sharing the bridge with pedestrians. There is certainly room on the bridge for both trains and pedestrians, and a bridge that supports a train can surely support a lot of people on bikes.

So, the county, with federal dollars, is considering building a bridge next to the railroad bridge. When I first heard about this at a Longfellow Community meeting in the winter, the proposed cost was in the $10 million range. FMR cites a $12 price tag in their article.

The proposed bridge would be a suspension bridge spanning the gorge with no entry into the river. Apparently, this is done to prevent having to make “barge proof” poles.

Personally, I think the bridge would do a great job improving the network of trails in the Twin Cities. Over time, this bridge would connect the Midtown Greenway to proposed trails in St. Paul that would run down Ayd Mill Road, connecting to the 35E bridge toward the Southern Burbs and with the Gateway Trail that heads out through Maplewood, North St. Paul and Stillwater.

FMR lays out their case for opposing the bridge here. They make a good case. Some points are kind of weak, such as comparing the cost of the bridge with the cost of paving the rest of the trail. Of course the bridge will be a lot more money. That’s the nature of bridges. Personally, I’d like to see someone figure out a way to use the current railroad bridge since it would probably be cheaper, is already aligned with the trail, and avoids building additional structures in the gorge.

1996 Tour de France’s Tainted Podium

Biking Bis’ analysis says you have to go down to at least 5th place to find a clean rider in 1996 Tour de France:

Who gets 1996 Tour de France title?

So who would be worthy to receive it? We might have to go pretty far down the list of finishers to find someone.

No. 2 that year was Jan Ullrich. No way. With 7 Telekom teammates already admitting to taking banned performance boosters, and doctors saying they readily dispensed them, is anyone serious about giving Ullrich the title?

That’s pathetic.