Bike Lane Blitz

IMG_1131Downtown Columbus isn’t exactly a bike-friendly zone.  Don’t get me wrong, the city is trying to encourage bike-riding . . . but it isn’t easy.

The problem is a combination of bad traffic design (from a cycling standpoint, at least) and Columbus drivers.  The downtown area has lots of one-way streets with weird turns and splits, and many drivers who aren’t especially attentive to or considerate of cyclists.  On Third Street, for example, at the point where the street moves from downtown Columbus to German Village, a cyclist chugging along in the far right lane of that one-way street has to move over two lanes to the left to head straight into the Village, at the same time drivers are jockeying to move their cars to the right, to get onto 70 West/71 South, the far right, to turn onto Fulton Street, or to the left, to merge onto 70 East.  Only the hardiest cyclists stick to the road and run the risks.  Instead, they ride their bikes on the sidewalks — which isn’t exactly ideal for the pedestrians among us.

Columbus is trying to change that, by adding painted bike lanes on Third Street and other avenues that show when the lanes changes need to be made.  We’ll see if it works, but I’m skeptical.  The problem isn’t the absence of designated lanes, but the merges and moves that the road designs require.  If drivers are looking back to make sure the roadway is clear, or speeding up to make their merge, they could easily miss a cyclist — and the cyclists know it.  They aren’t going to be keen to move left into a lane that may already be filled with cars or that is the target of other cars trying to make various upcoming turns.

I think we walkers will continue to share the sidewalk with our helmeted friends until the entire Third Street/70/71 design is revamped into something that approximates rationality.

Revisiting

Kish and I have been talking recently about taking a trip.  Travel is always a fun topic of conversation.  We do research, get suggestions from friends, read materials and look at photographs that inevitably cast the potential destinations in the best light possible, and then basically close our eyes and mentally stab a finger at a spinning globe.

The process always makes us recall the really wonderful vacations we have taken in the past — where we’ve gone, and what we’ve done when we were there, and why we enjoyed those places as much as we did.  And that raises a very basic question:  why not just go back to one of those places that you visited, and really enjoyed, before?

stock-photo-9315426-spinning-globeThere are a lot of people who do exactly that.  They go to Las Vegas every year and stay in the same hotel, make the same canoe and camping journey year after year, or take a Caribbean cruise on the same cruise line.  Things may be tweaked a bit to make this year’s version of The Vacation even better than the last one, but it’s basically the same trip.

It’s not hard to understand their reasoning.  For those of us who work for a living, vacation time is limited and therefore precious.  Why take a chance on going to a new place that might not work out when you can go with the tried and true?

Deciding whether to revisit an old destination or try a new one involves a factors that can tell you something about a person.  There is the yin and yang of familiar versus unfamiliar, comfort versus excitement, and stress versus relaxation.  There are risks either way.  A trip to a new place could turn out to be a bomb.  On the other hand, going back to a place where you had a marvelous experience might not quite live up to your memory.

I wouldn’t say that Kish and I are adventurous, exactly, but we do err on the side of the new rather than the old.  We’ve been to some places multiple times — like Paris, or New York City — but they are destinations that are so rich in things to do that there isn’t much duplication, and each trip has had a different feel depending on whether we have gone by ourselves or with the boys, or stayed at a hotel versus a VRBO apartment rental.  Most of the time, though, we reason that it’s a big world with lots of great places to see.  And our forays into new lands and new settings have, for the most part, been great.

Still, there are some places I wouldn’t mind seeing again.  And I think that, one of these days, we’ll go back to some of them, and see if they still have the same magic.