Archive for May, 2010
Bike to work day was last Thursday. Since I bike to work all the time anyway, I have to seek out other ways to mark the day. (I suppose I could borrow a car and drive to work, but that would defeat the point.) Last year I took an extremely circuitous route to work in order to visit the festivities at city hall and some of the other “energizer stations” around town. (I’m a sucker for free food and coffee.) This year, I should have volunteered at one of the BTWD events, but I didn’t have my act together enough to sign up, so instead I decided to take advantage of the free ferry rides across the bay to San Francisco. (Okay, I’m a sucker for free anything.)
Many of the people with bikes on the ferry seemed to be people like me, who would normally take BART across the bay at less than half the price, but who were taking advantage of the chance to get a free scenic trip in the fresh air instead.
I rode around the city for a while admiring all the nice new bike infrastructure since the last time I was there just a few weeks ago, such as the on-street bike racks on Valencia Street and the green-painted, separated bike lanes on Market Street. I then stopped by the San Francisco MoMA to look in on some old friends. I only took a few photos there (photos from an earlier trip to SFMoMA are here), and for some reason I was on a windows and bars kick this time:
(Come to think of it, I have felt somewhat imprisoned by circumstances lately…)
If you listen to some of the complaints of Oakland residents, you might get the impression that the Oakland Police Department is either unable or unwilling to pay any attention to property crimes. And given the high levels of violent crime, it is presumably true that the OPD isn’t able to spend a whole lot of time investigating, say, bike thefts.
It’s reassuring, therefore, that the police do respond quickly (at least sometimes) when they have a concrete lead about a stolen bicycle. I just came across the following notice over at the blog Change Your Life. Ride A Bike. (Yes! Good advice!)
MY STOLEN PEUGEOT WAS RECOVERED TODAY IN OAKLAND!
It’s a little the worse for wear and beaten up, but she’s whole, and only missing her leather-padded toe straps and the contents of my panniers and my seat bag (tools, lock, cable, pump, 3 flashing red bike lights, etc.).
Many thanks to Jason, a Cycles of Change APC volunteer, who spotted my unique mixte in Emeryville, trailed the 12-year-old riding it back to his house in Oakland, then called me.
Many thanks also to Oakland PD Officers Charles O’Connor (#8732) and Terry Jones (#8427), who quickly responded to my call and were at the house before I arrived. They checked out the house, recovered my bike, and brought it to me.
Thanks to all of you who kept an eye out for my ride, spread the word, posted about it in blogs, and offered your support through all this. It has meant a great deal and helped keep me going in the search, which took lots of time and effort in my depressed state.
Unfortunately, this story isn’t entirely good for Oakland. There is a widespread belief in Alameda that the crime they have on their side of the estuary is mostly caused by hoodlums from Oakland who cross the water and prey on innocent Alameda residents before crossing to safety back in Oakland, where the Oakland Police will be too overwhelmed by violent to help track them down. That fear of the barbarians at the gate—or across the drawbridge, in this case—might be overly simplistic (as is my portrayal of the Alamedan mindset), but the sad fact is that it probably has a lot of truth to it. So when I learned that the bike recovered in Oakland had been stolen in Alameda, my relief at finding out that the Oakland police promptly and professionally handled a call about a stolen bicycle (a stolen bicycle!) was tempered by disappointment at hearing yet another story about something that was stolen in Alameda and brought to Oakland, just over the water but a world away. Sigh.
It’s nice to see the Oakland Tribune covering the wonderful improvements that are about to be made to the southern end of Lake Merritt, where a dreadful ten-lane thoroughfare is going to be turned into a pedestrian-friendly, bike-friendly area with expanded lakeside parkland. It would have been nice, too, if they hadn’t flubbed the name of my City Councilmember in a photo caption in this morning’s paper:
Her name is Patricia—or usually, just Pat—Kernighan, as any copy editor at the Tribune should know. Nancy is the first name of the other Councilmember whose district includes part of the lake, Nancy Nadel. A minor error, to be sure, which was fixed in the online edition and quickly followed by a published correction, but whenever I see these sloppy mistakes in the Tribune, I always think of a new line that was added to the paper’s front page nameplate at the beginning of this year:
Ah, I see, the Oakland Tribune is now merely “an edition of the San Jose Mercury News.” No wonder they sometimes can’t keep the people on the Oakland City Council straight!