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Friday, August 29, 2003


Just a boring housekeeping update. I added a comments function, and a counter that tracks visitor stats. The counter is all the way way way down at the bottom of the page. Just ignore the numbers on there. they mean nothing because they also track my visits, and I am the only one who I know of who is visiting yet, and will probably continue to be the biggest visitor for awhile even if some friends and interested visitors hit on the site every once in a while. I got it though cause I can check into when and from where folks hit my site, and unique visitors, and all kinds of other stuff I don't know about yet. My point is simply, after all this boring vebage, that the number in the counter may reflect my visits more than anything else. The comments feature should rock though. I can't wait for the first bit of reader interaction.

My other point is that I will no longer be typing in "Comments to: franklenblog(at)fastmail(dot)fm" at the end of each post, cause now you can use the comments function. But you will still be able to contact me privately at that fastmail.fm address. I guess I have to add an email link to the side. Yeah thats it. Peace.

Thursday, August 28, 2003


So Front St. is closed down starting today at noon till Monday night as it parallels Riverfront Park for the big Kipona Labor Day Festival. So once again I get to blow by cars in que that are being detoured up to third st. Long lines of cars, and then the fun part is that I get to ride right down the middle of Front St too, and dodge all the festival roadies. The sad thing is that when there are events like this in Riverfront Park, they put up these big signs on the trees that say NO BIKES, NO SKATEBOARDS, NO PETS, AND NO to many other things.

Whatever, I just go along my merry way, and watch all the little Gator motor vehicle wannabes zip on down the paths that I normally ride on. Its one thing to kick me out, but then to let these things zip around? I suppose they are for safety and relations, and helping schlep things around. But do they have to kick all that other stuff out? It is a city park afterall, and its not like there is ever an onslaught on a regular basis of bikes, pets, etc that we would be causing a ruckus! They could only wish for an onslaught of bikes to solve so many parking and traffic issues. They should be inviting bicyclists to showcase this wonderful form of transport that would solve all these drivers issues with waiting in long lines of traffic due to the festival, huh, guess that might make some of them feel a little jealous or angry, huh?

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...Know the laws of the land (and the road more importantly)!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2003


I won't back down unless I perceive a distinct danger. A couple times now I have had someone come up on my left to try and pass where they shouldn't have, and I just held my speed and my ground and THEY had to back off.

One time I was approaching an intersection with a straight lane that I was in, and a left turning lane. A car came flying up on my left to try and pass me but I was holding my place. First of all they aren't even allowed to pass in such a situation (i.e. from the turning lane across a solid lane line into the straight lane of traffic). Second of all they suck!.

Then just today, I was crossing the Market St. Bridge and a similar situation when everyone turning right at the end, or continuing straight, get in the right lane; and everyone continuing straight in the leftlane in prep for a future left, stay in the left lane. Well, I was moving fast keeping up with traffic on the bridge with maybe 1 or 2 at the most car lengths between me and the car in front of me, when up comes a red car along my side, then it slows down quickly, when it sees that I aint going anywhere cept where I am. They were just trying to get one space ahead by passing me, when nobody passes on the left there with intentions of getting back in the right lane, cause the lanes are usually backed up anyway, and usually require waiting out at least 1 maybe 2 light changes. Huh!

Lots of red tomatoes these days. Wish I had the initiative to can this year, but never got around to getting the necessary gear, and it is way to hot to deal with that aftergetting home from work right now. A couple honeydew are on the vine now whoopee! What else, oh yeah my late planting of cilantro and lettuce are doing well, as are the beets. Lots of tiny hot peppers too, some turning red. Yeah. Still waiting on the heirloom Big Rainbow tomatoes.

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Thursday, August 21, 2003


Whenever I have a trip away from the office for work, I usually try to use the one organizational vehicle we own, instead of using my personal car (I always try actually). And since it is located across town at the Wildwood Nature Reserve (parking space courtesy of Audubon PA) I head over their at the end of the day in prep for using the car tomorrow. It is a 30 min ride half on Riverfront Park's trail, the other half divided between roads and through Harrisburg Community College campus. A nice ride overall.

The only bad part is then I am stuck in traffic usually during rush hour on my way back through home. It wasn't too bad today until I got to Chaos Intersection (the I-83 access to Lemoyne). It seems to me that at least once a week, their is an accident here, and this week I had to catch it when I was in a car. Fortunately only one lane was closed, and it was easy to reroute through some side roads, but you would think someone (in planning, other drivers, ???) would learn something by now?

Zucchini Quiche tonight from the garden, got another red tomato, used the first one yesterday in a yummy pasta salad. Wondering about planting garlic this fall. Will we be here to harvest next year?

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Wednesday, August 20, 2003


It seems obvious to me that if someone is dense enough to think that by heckling "Sidewalk!" when they are flying by in their car in the opposite direction is going to get me to ride on the sidewalk, then they certainly are dense enough not to know the law regarding bicycle travel on the roadways. I don't forgive them, I know the rules, but hey I am the one riding the bike, but they have a license to drive a 2 ton hunk of metal down the road next to me, and they should **** well know the rules for that, which includes sharing the road with bicycles.

I don't deserve the pit in my stomach from the negative flight of words, and the hostile actions from other vehicles, when I get home after work. I can deal with it, I know many more in this world are worse off than me, and this certainly helps me empathise with many groups.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2003


So if I haven't mentioned it before, I am now wearing a whistle on a rope round me neck as I ride. I started it, got the idea, when I saw, or thought I saw, someone else riding with one in their mouths. I can't be sure but it looked like it, and I thought it would be a good idea, so I now do it. But, I have refrained from giving any big blows, cause I was figuring out the ettiquette of it, and the law of it, which by the way does not prevent the use of whistles on bikes (only sirens).

Well today I stepped forth with the blow. I was riding over a low hill towards the down slope where an intersection occurs. The lane was wide, but only one car wide. There was not two lanes there (there ARE not two lanes there). But there is room for a bike, especially when traffic is backed up at rush hour. So here I go minding my business cruising by this jam of cars, what else are bikes for? When this new model subaru station wagon with some middle age oblivious couple who probably never thought of anyone riding a bike on the roads completely turns into my lane at a 45 degree angle like they are going to squeeze past the line of cars to make a right at the intersection.

I always pay attention and this moment was no exception, I saw it happening the whole way, enough to slow down enough not to ram into the side of their car, but man did I let fly with a screeching whistle blow. They hit the brakes and their whole car jerked to a stop, and past I went! Sweet! Can't wait to let the next ones have it!

Good news is that tomorrow I pick my first red tomato, bad news is that my melon bit it. Flat as a pancake when I looked today, something violated it and it succumbed hard. Picked a green italian pepper today and cut up with an onion on a frozen pizza, dashes of italian seasoning and nutritional yeast, and some red pepper flakes. Then the last of our year-old wedding cake for dessert with a glass of chocolate silk soymilk.

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Sunday, August 17, 2003


So this weekend Sue and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary. And in preparation for our anniversary brunch this morning I went shopping last night on my bike, up to the shopping center at the end of town. It only takes 4 min. on bike, no excuse not to go when only shopping for a few things. I picked up mozzarella for tomatoe/mozz salad (sorry not our own tomato yet, got one almost red right now, but used two from the West Shore Farmers Market), one mango (mango and cucumber salad, still looking for ways to use fresh cukes), apple strudle bits, a potted Vriesea Christiane (I dont know either other than its got a funky flower I knew Sue would like), a pack of clearance frozen waffles (only 85 cents), some Tofutti to go with our last round of wedding cake frozen since last year (just a little freezer burned). It all fit easily in my backpack, and I was only worried about damaging the flower stalk on the way home.

Then also picked edamame this morning and fresh boiled them, and made a few potato/zuke pancakes with sour cream. I think thats it, but what a great brunch. Cant wait to do it all again next year, when Sue plans the menu!

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Friday, August 15, 2003


So as I work at the little enviro non-profit I do, I have picked up the responsibility of planning the bike/canoe trip (one-day) for the PA statewide Watershed Conference. This can be fun, as long as too many people aren't involved (I'm not a big fan of too many cooks in the kitchen), though I appreciate all the help I can get, especially since I am new in this area.

Which brings me to finding bikes for the trip. Nu-uh, can't do it. No one, I repeat, rents bicycles in the Harrisburg area, not even with the Riverfront Park and City Island routes available, not even with the city encompassing Greenway moving along, not even with all the bike routes through the countryside thanks to the flat land around here. What does that tell you about a place, when you can't find a bicycle to rent. Besides some negatie connotations I won't share here, I think it says we need a bike co-op around here!!

Anyway, I even called up to the Lehigh Gorge area, and the big outfitters there aren't really willing to come all the way down to Swatara State Park with thier fleets. We have some other options in the works right now to see how things go. It may turn into a HIKE/canoe trip instead.

Cool garden news of the day is that we discovered a big ol' (mini-basketball size) Ambrosia melon on the vine, and a couple smaller ones starting. How neat is that. Also uncovered a number of gourds that are growing up big and strong for Sue's craft project. Picking Edamame tonight and steaming to eat along with a homemade potpie I'll make, since I've been craving it, with veggies and tofu!

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Thursday, August 14, 2003


Yesterday was a great day to be riding a bike in Harrisburg on the West Shore. Coming off City Island on to the Market St Bridge, traffic was backed up as far as I could see. So what does a normally road riding biker do, well take advantage of the situation and jump up on the sidewalk. Hey in these situations I have no regret, if all those folks weren't in their cars, we could all be riding on one big sidewalk, and I am not letting their car problems slow me down.

So at the West Shore end of the bridge, traffic is also backed up way upriver of the folks trying to merge, so I cross at the crosswalk and fiddle up the sidewalk (though this is the only spot where I normally hit the sidewalk, you'll know what I mean if you read "Another Man's Commute" down below here). When I get halfway up the hill I see a stalled motorist with an ambulance behind. I dont think anyones hurt, the ambulance just flashing its lights to alert drivers. So I think the backup is over, not!

I make the left to go through Lemoyne and traffic is still backed up, when I get to the next light I see a flatbed hauling a car through and I figure wow, two stalls in one day, but that has to be it. Well no relief for the motorists in sight. Over the next crest, the right hand turning lane is totally closed for repair, a whole section of road concrete gone, and the middle and left turn lanes are closed due to a 2-car rear ender accident. Cops are routing traffic one at a time in two directions through one lane, and I swear those cars way at the back will probably still be there waiting to get through this morning. I just kept smiling and pedaling on down.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2003


So I haven't biked to work for two days now for a number of reasons. Yesterday, I had a dentist appointment right after work across town. So I chose for convenience to take the car, now I could have biked but.......

Today, Sue had a doctor's appointment and so I went along with her, and then she dropped me off at the office afterwords on her way to work. Once again I could have biked, but I chose to accompany Sue and......

......the biggest factor has been the humidity and heat. I get so drained from riding in this weather that it's ok to take a day or two off from pedalling. The humidity is supposed to drop off tomorrow after about a 2 week stagnation, even though the temp is supposed to rise to near 90. But I think the heat without the humidity will be bearable.

And gosh how the garden needs the heat and sun and dryer conditions. I've lost so many squash and gourd leaves to mildew, and plants are falling over in the heavy rains and wind, and soggy ground. Lost a pepper plant the other day, from an overladen tomato branch. I salvaged the one green pepper from it though, and made a pasta salad with it, one of our garden cucumbers, an onion I had on hand, and some tomatoes I got at the West Shore Farmers Market Saturday. I also made up three batches of Pesto this weekend, froze two for the winter. Gots lots more basil, so will be doing more pesto at some time.

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Saturday, August 09, 2003


Thought I'd post and publish this here, since I am having no luck doing so anywhere in my local Harrisburg media.

Another Man’s Commute
By: Frank Raymond Cetera

Pedaling out onto Bridge St in New Cumberland, after warming up on a few side roads, I enter a steady push to the I-83 interchange area. The road here is wide and easy to share with cars and other vehicles. My body is definitely warmed up by now, with any morning chill or stiffness long gone. As the light nears, the right hand lane narrows to accommodate a left-turning lane. I occupy the whole lane for the first time on this commute, as there isn’t enough room for a car and bike side-by-side, and come to a stop at the red.

According to Pennsylvania Law, a bicycle is considered a vehicle and is governed by the same laws. This fact actually benefits bikers, for “cyclists are the most safe when they act and are treated as operators of vehicles” according to John Forester of Effective Cycling. According to Lauren Cooper of Cycle Media, National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration statistics indicate that only 15% of all bike accidents involve collisions with cars. And within that 15%, 9 of 10 accidents involved traffic at driveways, intersections, and bike lanes when bicyclists were not traveling within normal vehicular traffic flow.

Now its time to buckle down and climb the overpass from a standstill at the light. Keep an eye on the entering cars that have to yield from the I-83 ramp. The lane widens again here, so cars are passing as I push over the top and begin descending the other side. Parked cars are up ahead on the right, so I have to signal and merge left into the traffic flow. The next light is green so my speed stays steady and I push a little harder for momentum up the railroad overpass in Lemoyne. A few cars are backed up behind me now, but as I cruise through the right turn lane onto Market St, we get to two lanes again and anyone behind can overtake me once again.

Cyclists have the right to the full traffic lane when it would otherwise be unsafe to ride as close to the right hand side as possible. This includes when passing parked cars and when traveling narrow, or single lane, roads. This can have the effect of delaying motorists for a brief time (the average delay has been estimated at no more than 15-30 seconds), and cyclists should make an attempt to allow cars to pass if they are holding up traffic for more than a reasonable time.

The right hand lane is mine as I top out my gears and keep an eye on the road. Usually hit the red here before the Market St Bridge and today is no different. After the light changes, I start over the bridge and feel the wind that usually accompanies crossing the Susquehanna. Tail wind today though. That’s good cause I like to push steady while in bridge traffic. Cars whip by me on the left, a few a little too close over into my lane. Fortunately, traffic signs at the bridge ends and city island ramps remind the drivers to “Share the Road” with bicyclists. I signal left arm bent, hand up to exit right onto City Island.

Bicycle safety and proper cooperative cycling techniques are not adequately taught either in school or as a part of many driver-training courses. Drivers should be aware of basic hand signals that bicyclists use daily. Using the left hand: straight out to the left signals a left turn, bent up at the elbow indicates a right turn, and held downward indicates slowing down or stopping.

A few stop signs, through the parking lot, and I’m up onto the old Walnut St Bridge with the other pedestrians. From here on out I can relax if I choose, no more major road lengths between this point and the office. I weave through a few folks, then call out “passing left!” to a group three abreast so they’ll provide a lane. I pass the mounted police officer slowly and steadily so as to not spook the horse, then swing a left past the coffee trailer and parallel the mighty Susquehanna through Riverfront Park. A quick cut across Front St and I follow a side street through Second and up to Third where the State Capitol building comes into view. Up onto the sidewalk briefly, then down the building’s gated side alley to park for the day.

Most people balk at the idea of commuting armed with a bevy of excuses. But the benefits far outweigh any barriers. My commute actually shortened from 27 to 20 minutes after I began bicycle commuting. And a free workout that doesn’t require additional time at the end of the day is a big plus too. For beginners, practice your intended route on an off-day, get fenders to protect yourself in wet weather, and work a few minutes in at the workplace for cooling down and changing clothes if necessary.

At the end of the day I am eager to pedal after being in the office for so long. Starting on Third, I swing onto State St. and work my way back down to Riverfront Park. A light drizzle is falling now so I am careful on the slippery metal grid of the Walnut St Bridge. I make my way back onto the Market St Bridge next. Past the signal light on the West Shore, I hop off of the roadway for the only significant sidewalk-riding portion of my commute. I only do so here because this sidewalk is so sparsely used, I’ve only encountered five pedestrians in a few months. But also, because the traffic in both lanes through here at rush hour is very thick, and the lanes are very narrow.

Bicyclists are not prohibited by law from riding on sidewalks except within business districts, though as indicated earlier, it is safer to ride the roadways within the flow of traffic. When on sidewalks however, bicyclists will yield to pedestrians and give an audible signal before passing.

Since I’m already on the sidewalk, I use the crosswalk at the 3rd Street intersection and then wait for the green light to continue on the road again. The road from Lemoyne back to New Cumberland is wide but lots of parked cars dot the right-hand side. I merge a few times with traffic, getting back to the right when I can, but I need to keep my momentum going too, and stopping for a parked car is not in the game plan. A lonely honk from the car trailing me signals some impatience, but isn’t able to speed up my progress. Eventually the right side clears out and traffic can pass me again. As I cruise down Bridge St on the way home I marvel at how much quicker, cheaper, and healthier my bike commute is, and why more people don’t give it a try. Personal choice as it is, I am just thankful for the opportunity myself, and for the cooperation of the other drivers I share the road with.

For more information, read the Pennsylvania Bicycle Driver’s Manual online at PENNDOT’s website (www.dot.state.pa.us). Special thanks to Frank Krygowski and the Bicycling Life website (www.bicyclinglife.com) for permission to adapt this article idea for the local Harrisburg audience.

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Thursday, August 07, 2003


Would describe today. No commuting to or from work to talk of cause I drove, cause I had to go 35 miles to Swatara State Park to scout out a bike trail and Swatara Creek for the PA Watershed COnference Youth Summitt trip I am planning. So my co-leader, Kelly, and myself biked about 5 miles while exploring along the way and pinpointing sites for Env Ed activities. Then we met up with two other fellas who work for DCNR and are going to help with safety for the canoe trip, and we all kayaked down the creek. Took about 2 hours for the trip. Fun and great to get out of the office!

Powdery Mildew attacking my zuch's and melons. Pulled some of the offended leaves and branches, so we'll see what happens. Its been so rainy and humid here, so I imagine thats the cause. Everythign else is good. Lots of tomatoes on the vine, lots, but all green.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2003


The last week has been like riding through wet, warm puddles in the air. The humidity has been in the 70%iles, and the temp mid-high 80's. I water the plants when I get home just by standing over them, and dripping away. Thank god for closeout shopping, where I got a big tank of gatorade concentrate, enough to make 6 gallons of drink, for only $2.99. I am slurping a glass of that after each ride to work in the morning.

I'm not complaining though, cause when I try to ride through the snow, I'll be thinking of August.

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So this morning as I am peacefully crossing an intersection after a stop light, this punk***-kid Fred Durst look-a-like wanna-be yells out at me to "get off the road", as he sits in his sporty car with his chick on hip, who he undoubtedly is mouthing off for the benefit of!

I wish I could have done more, but I couldnt stop at that spot, so I just yelled back "I'm allowed to, read the laws!" He didn't volley anything back, as most drivers don't after they have been tutured one way or another.

I hope this posts, I tried to post something last night, and maybe I'll try to redo it tonight, but it didnt make it to the site, and I lost it after I tried to reload the page. Sucks. I gotta pick some zucchini tonight before they get to the monstrous size that the previous one I picked got to. I wanna make little stuffed zucchini boats, baked with tofu, bread crumbs, cheese and spices! By the way, Sue, my significant other, I haven't mentioned her before have I, took the second loaf of chocolate zucchini cake that I had frozen with her when she visited her family this weekend, and without telling me. Man was I disppointed when I tried to have dessert last night!

By the way, I got that freewhel off after taking it into a shop with a vice. It took em 2 seconds, gotta get me a vice. I replaced the spokes, no easy task to weave em between the other spokes without bending them too much. Now to tighten em up right and reattach everything so the blue baby is in riding gear again.

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