Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 10th, 2012 at 9:00 am
Hi folks. If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t chimed in on local bike news or why the volume of posts has been lighter than usual, it’s because I’ve been on vacation since May 1st. The family and I are just now headed back to Portland after 10 days in Siesta Key, Florida.
Thankfully, some great reader stories and other solid contributions have come in while I’ve been away. It’s been nice to get a break from the daily bike news beat; but I’m looking forward to getting back into the BikePortland groove. I’ll be back in my office on Friday and I hope to be fully functional by Monday.
Before I leave Florida (sniff, sniff), I want to share a few images of biking in and around Siesta Key that I’ve snapped on my phone (I didn’t bring my big camera because it reminds me of work).
This is a gorgeous part of the world, with tons of wildlife and some of the best beaches anywhere. With such warm and sunny weather, there are quite a few people riding bikes around. The majority are tourists and locals on beach cruisers; but there are definitely some roadies in spandex as well. One thing I love about the people on bikes down here is that many of them are seniors! And they look great!
Away from the beach areas, there really isn’t any quality bike access. Unfortunately, most of Sarasota and neighboring cities are marked by an unending sprawl of high-speed, seven-lane arterial streets with big box stores and strip malls. There are bike lanes on some streets, but they are much too narrow and much too close to major car traffic for anyone to actually use.
Driving on these streets makes me a bit depressed about what we’ve let happen in America. As I pondered the planning and road designs that have made travel by car the only viable option in much of Sarasota, I saw a headline in USA Today that read, 42% likely to be obese by 2030. Never before has the connection between urban planning and health trends been so clear to me.
On a lighter note, check out some fun photos below… And thanks again for all the great commenting and contributions while I was away..
Biking in Florida…
Bridge access (this was highly disrespectful, with people on bikes and on foot, squeezing by each other while people in cars zoomed by with two wide lanes):
Family biking (not my family):
Road hazards (near Myakka State Park):
Biking in Myakka State Park (a fantastic wildlife preserve where gators roam free):
Biking in Durante Park (on Longboat Key):
Collegiate cycling (by the way, this is a local joke: there is no Siesta Key University):
Bike art and humor (as seen on the roof of New Pass Grill in Sarasota):
Sunset on Sarasota Bay (near Ringling Museum):
Sunset on Siesta Key Beach:
A Siesta Key local (this guy lived on the street and pulled a trailer full of fishing equipment which he’d rent out to tourists for a few bucks):
A Siesta Key multi-use path:
A Siesta Key bike lane:
A Siesta Key cycle track (not really, it’s a sidewalk at same grade as bike lane):
Siesta Key bike parking (OK, it’s motorcycle parking, but I couldn’t resist):
Nice to see crosswalk laws made visible at many crossings:
I took this one for PBOT Signals Division Manager Peter Koonce:
And here’s a typical roadway in Sarasota 🙁 :
Downtown Sarasota (in the historic district) isn’t all that bad. Here’s the bike parking across the street from Whole Foods:
And I even saw a freak bike!…
And it was good to see some human-powered transportation at work:
A few more locals:
And a tourist (self-portrait):
Hope all is well in Portland. See you on the streets at Sunday Parkways.