CURRENT POSTING STATUS weekly monthly irregular none occasionally 1-3 3-5 5-7 weekdays only weekends only anyday

Wednesday, March 31, 2004


A draft work-up of the bcn paper zine is now complete and awaiting printing and distribution at some point over the next few weeks.

bcn began as a way to share my bicycle commuting story, and to motivate myself to get out and pedal to work everyday. Online, readers have visited from all over the globe, but bicycle commuting awareness in south central PA has not blossomed from my point of view. A paper version of bcn is intended to be shared in offices, at homes, and during car pools around south central PA, so that more than just those with internet access, or those who are actively searching for this information, can find it. It is hoped that people will pass it along, leave a copy in a different location than where they found it, and be motivated to take the commuting plunge themselves.

A paper version, unlike this online journal, is not free to produce, and as a result I am open to donations to support this effort. If you would like to support bcn you may make a paypal donation through the button at the top of the left-hand column. The author of bcn is gainfully employed and not seeking to make a profit currently from bcn, but always appreciates a hand in a goodwill effort such as this. All donations will go towards offsetting the printing and distribution costs of bcn. The premiere zine version of bcn will be available this spring, and will be a compilation of online posts. Anyone making a donation of $1.00 or more will receive a print copy via postal mail if a shipping address is provided. Email me to find out how to obtain multiple copies for distribution, especially if you are a local or regional zine distro.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004


Spent 1 hour the other day tearing down the drive train of my Diamondback to get to the bottom bracket. I pulled off the cranks, removed the chain (with the chain tool from my Alien multi), and removed the bottom bracket. And lo and behold, the source of the creaking noise on each down pedal was indeed the bb. The inner spindle was definitely loose within the bb main body, and it being a cartridge type, I was forced to accept the fact I would need a new one.

My LBS didn't have one in stock, so had to put it on order. That was last monday, and they said the order would go out on Tuesday, with an outlook of about 4 days for the new bb to come in. So any day now would work just fine. As I just got my Harrisburg Bicycle Club membership card, I'm looking forward to the 10% discount it entitles me to at Bushey's, maybe I'll pick up a few other things I have been longing for such as a better travel pump, and a new patch kit, or maybe not.

After I had everything off I cleaned off the chain and cranks and gears, cause they were getting pretty rusty from the winter conditions. I hope no permanent damage was done, that will teach me to keep better maintenance throughout the cold and wet seasons. And to top things off, I popped three more spokes on my blue Giant yesterday. You might remember I had this problem when I started riding the Giant way back last year, cause it was so old and unused before I started using it. Well a few more spokes have reached their end, and now I gotta take some time to get them replaced soon. Looks like I'll be using alternate arrangements into work until next week.

Monday, March 29, 2004


Ed Hidden, 32
New Cumberland

D&H Distributing – 2525 N. 7th Street, Harrisburg
Commute – 18 miles
Specialized Allez Comp

I use a Blackburn Rack and Performance Panniers to carry clothes back and forth to work. It’s a little extra weight, but in the summer, I don’t have a backpack resting on my sweaty back and I don’t have to plan ahead to stash clothes at work. (I’m a chronic procrastinator so if I can’t take it with me at the last minute, I probably wouldn’t ride.)

1) Why do you commute? How Long have you been Commuting? I’ve been commuting off and on for about 3 years now. I wouldn’t even have really considered myself a commuter cause my number of actual trips doesn’t add up to a whole lot! Now I live farther away (or it seems farther since it’s up on top of one of the biggest hills on the West Shore).

2) There are many opportunities for improving bicycle commuting resources
in the Harrisburg metro area, what would you like to see?
I’m not a big fan of bike lanes. Most of the times, the regional government seems to think that bicycling and pedestrian traffic should share the same paths. Which is an accident waiting to happen. A vehicle traveling an average of 14mph doesn’t belong in the same lane with 3mph traffic. Wider traffic lanes would nice. Better cared for grates and potholes on the sides of the road would help out as well.

Obviously, a tax credit has been talked about for years for bicycle commuters. I would probably start logging more miles to save some extra cash. Incentives are always nice!

3) Do you believe bicycle commuting would help relieve downtown parking
issues/rush hour traffic issues? Why?
Bicycle commuting would help relieve some downtown issues, but I think you run into a problem of how would you convince enough people to make a difference. The biggest relief would be for the people actually commuting. There is nothing more satisfying then passing a long line of parked cars waiting for their turn at the traffic light.

4) Do you think promoting bicycling could provide a draw for tourists
(and an economic benefit) to Harrisburg (especially with Riverfront Park,
and Harrisburg's Capital Area Greenbelt in development)? Why?
hmmm…. Riverfront is already a popular biking destination for out of town people during the season. What might be better is for shops to get more bicycle friendly to encourage people in/near the city to use a bike for trips.

5) Any other Stories and Tips you would like to share about your
commuting experience?
I have to give you a big thank you for contacting KeystoneBiking with your article. It’s been inspirational for me to “get off my duff” and start riding to work again. Today I started riding to work again. I figure if you can ride year-round, then I can certainly ride now that spring has hit. It was better then my morning coffee!

Monday, March 22, 2004


Today may be the last day of cold this winter, and now spring. Cold that is heavy-handed and makes you think twice about spending time outside. So I decided to revel in it. After all, who knows where I may be next year, and if I am not here, this could be the last cold day I experience. So I sat on the balcony porch, sipped a glass of wine, read a book, and experienced the cold. And after cursing the cold all winter, and hoping for the warmer months, especially through bicycle commuting all winter, I was able to enjoy the cold for itself.

I won't be posting any further this week. I will be presenting two papers I wrote at the Wilson College Conference for Sustainability in Chambersburg this Friday and Saturday, so I will be taking the evenings to prepare as needed. If I don't procrastinate maybe you'll here from me, otherwise, normal postings will resume next week. One paper is on the development of a survey to determine barriers and benefits to perrenial food production in urban and suburban landscapes. The other (which will be a poster presentation) is on the development and design of two sets of trail loops signs at the Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research. One loop about ecological succession and man's role in such, the other loop about sustainable living strategies.

Song of the Day: "Salome" by the Old' 97's. I just got the CD Too Far To Care that this is on, and I must have listened to it ten times at work.

Sunday, March 21, 2004


Want to use your bicycle more, but not too happy with having to park it on the edge of the road, hooked up to street signs or lampposts? Here are two spots to pedal to, that have provided bicycle parking for patrons in town. They should be commended and they should be patronized, while on your bike.

The Midtown Cinema on Reilly St is not only a great place to see a movie, with prices below typical movie theater prices, and a selection of movies you won't find elsewhere in town (Sue and I saw Bubba Ho-Tep recently); but also has a coffee bar and desert selection to make happy any sweet tooth. The atmosphere is friendly and fun, and your bike may never be far out of view, except when your sitting in the dark gazing at the big screen. The Theater has a bike rack on the side of the store, located clearly away from the street and the parking area, so that your bike is clearly out of the way from other vehicles, yet the location near the front of the store, before the vehicle parking starts, and adjacent to the large picture windows of the theater lobby provide an added measure of protection of visibility for your bicycle.

The Broad Street Market is another good choice for picking up some great produce or prepared foods that are fresh and local. Located at 1233 North 3rd Street, this "Historically fresh farmers market since 1860! Three blocks from the Capitol Complex" is a great place to visit for the sights sounds and smells. Bicycle parking is available via secured rack on the edge of the plaza between the two market buildings. One of my favorite vendors sells spices by weight, and in bulk, so you can get just what you need for that new recipe, without spending $4 or $5 dollars for a whole bottle of a new spice you may not use again.

Song of the Day: "Where is The Love" by the Black-Eyed Peas

Thursday, March 18, 2004


I took an opportunity the other day, when it was a little warmer, and before the snowy/icy winter encore strode into town, to snake through town in the morning with the ole digital camera and catch some bike photos when they presented themselves. I don't have these downloaded fully and ready to post but I'll get to it some time in the next few weeks, once I'm able to snap up a few more and make a nice little bikes in Harrisburg portfolio. Perhaps this can be my first photo series, sort of focusing on an important aspect of a sustainable life that gets easily overlooked in everyday life. Bicycles and their riders are out there, granted not in the numbers they should be, nor the numbers that present themselves in other more enlightened? parts of the country, but they should be given some more notice and this is going to be one way to do it.

I think my other series of photos this summer is going to be on urban vegetable gardens. This is a beast that is in even better hiding than the bicycles, for where they are, they can't usually be seen, thus hidden in someone's yard. But once again, an important part of a sustainable life. If only folks could see that people are growing thier own food, that it is possible, that there are people who can be resources for such an enterprise in their own yards, perhaps more food would be grown. Healthy, organic, and bright food, dripping with dew and juices when picked fresh.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004


A trip after work yesterday to my local LBS notified me that my Diamondback has a cartridge style bottom bracket. So on one hand I won't have to deal with a full bottom bracket overhaul which would probably take me an hour plus and require numerous new tools, on the other hand I probably will have to replace the cartridge and thus lose the opportunity to benefit from maintaining what I currently have. I won't know this for sure until I get into removing the bracket, or at least trying to tighten it first now that I have the right tool to do so. I picked up a Pyramid Pro brand cartridge BB tool that fits Shimano and Isis. I hadn't heard of this tool brand before though, but it was what the LBS had in stock, so does anyone know anything about Pyramid Pro?

Today the weather was a full 180 from yesterday, a late winter snowstorm that dumped 3-4 inches of wet snow rain mix on us and made the roads rough for everyone. I drove for sure out of concern for safety as I didn't see one municipal worker or homeowner or business owner cleaning off the roads or sidewalks, I guess everyone just figured it was a quick blow through that would be gone by tomorrow (as it probably will all melt away as the temps are expected to rise again in the next 24 hours).

Monday, March 15, 2004


Once you become accustomed to riding around town, and riding in traffic, things become easier from a commuting point of view. Of course, one must always be aware and on one's toes, as any car driver should be as well. Which is why it is nice to be able to relax when you get to your destination, by being able to quickly and easily park and lock up your bike, by being able to find a bike rack for the purpose, and being confident your bike is safe and out of the way. Unfortunately that is not always an easy thing to do around these parts. I rode cross town once for a meeting at an office building only to find a full parking garage but no bike parking options available. Except of course for the rig your own bike space which we all have to use at some point. After all there can't be a bike rack in front of every building.

However, in front of public buildings is another story. I think we should be able to expect it, and I think by the evidence in this picture it is sorely needed. Take a look at the downtown Harrisburg Dauphin County Library branch and you'll notice three bikes locked up outside along the curb to traffic signs and light posts. It is obvious that bicycles are in use here and someone should make amenities for such. Maybe it's just me, but I prefer to have my bike locked up in a proper rack away from traffic, a rack that I can recognize easily upon my arrival at my destination, as opposed to have to go searching for a stop sign or unused lamp post down the block. What do you think?

Song of the Day: "Burning Photographs" by Ryan Adams

Thursday, March 11, 2004


Another Man's Commute, my article detailing my commute and certain issues surrounding it and bicycle commuting in general, is up at Keystone Biking as a feature article. I am sure as avid readers you ahave all read it before here on bcn (August 9, 2003 post), but you should check out the Keystone Biking site anyway just to say hi and build the community.

As for not so good news, from Central Penn Business Journal Daily March 11, 2004:

West Shore Chamber Doesn't Back Rail Plan

At a meeting this morning, the West Shore Chamber of Commerce weighed in against CorridorOne, the commuter railroad proposed for Central Pennsylvania. "We support the vision of having a regional rail mass-transit system at some point in the future. But we don't support the work that has been done in favor of CorridorOne," said David Bihl, chairman of the West Shore Chamber of Commerce. In the chamber's view, the push for CorridorOne appears to stem more from the availability of government funding than from a demonstrated need, Bihl said. The chamber's decision is disappointing, said John Ward, president of the Modern Transit Partnership and CorridorOne's leading advocate. But it won't derail the system, he said. Chambers in Carlisle, Harrisburg and Lancaster have supported CorridorOne. -- Joel Berg

Of course, to be fair, the Chamber admits to supporting some sort of rail system in the future, but the article doesn't give any more details about that. What I would like to point out is how can you live on the West Shore, surrounded by 3 major roadways, where lives are seemingly lost weekly from traffic accidents, and trips during rush hours can delay you seemingly forever (if you are in a car, wink), and not think there is a demonstrated need? How can you live anywhere in America and not feel a need to reduce the number of cars on the roadways, and provide alternative forms of transportation? Of course the plan stems from available funding, that's what the funding is there for. Obviously, from a bicycle commuter's p.o.v., I don't need to stress how I feel the need for fewer cars on the road which would result from available mass transit, do I?

Wednesday, March 10, 2004


Well, after reading through the Barnette's Manual chapter on bottom brackets, I've decided that mine needs an overhaul. According to the text, for anyone riding regularly and through wet conditions, this should be no less than a yearly maintenance task. Of course this means new tools for me. The manual estimated it to be a 45 minute or so task, meaning closer to one hour for a beginner. So if you consider that would be probably $20-$30 labor at an LBS, I'll only end up spending slightly more for the 3 tools I need (and learn the deal in the process). Those being, I believe, a lockring tool, an adjustable cup spanner, and a fixed cup tool. Anyone knows any more or less let me know.

Supposedly the noise being made by my pedaling is due to looseness somewhere in the bottom bracket, or from dry or out of line bearings. Either way, taking it all apart, cleaning it, re-lubing, and putting it back together are the fail-safe to fixing the problem. Barnette's says that the bottom bracket rarely fails fully as indicated by the grinding noises. And that you'll only know by overhauling the bracket, and tightening associated mechanisms such as the cogs, pedals, cranks, etc. properly. This may take a while as I figure out just what tools, where to get them, and actually get them in my hands. I'll keep you all posted.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004


I posted ages ago about how one of the Tire Flares I bought (from a set of 2 for the front and back wheel) stopped working soon after I started using it. I sent it back for a replacement then heard nothing for too many weeks. Finally I got a response that the customer service department was shorthanded and that they were sorry I wasn't given a proper reply. But they did agree to replace the malfunctioning Tire Flare once they came back into stock (seems the white ones are selling out). Well today it finally came in the mail, and I hereby give kudos to Firetire.com for following through appropriately. Although its not dark anymore these days during my commute, but they will surely come in handy again next year when I am looking for that extra visibility during my night commutes home.

Just to finish a quick post, I am sorely out of commission for a day or two due to a bad bout with a stomach flu, so forgive if posts are lacking in length and reliability this week. I'll try my bestest!

Oh, yeah and I did succeed in planting some bike fuel seed this past weekend as I hoped to. In the ground are snow peas, different head and leaf lettuces, about 6 seed of spinach, all I had left over in an envelope from last year, a few broccoli and cabbage seed as well. Wish them luck this early in the spring! I did cover with row cloth to give the best fighting chance from the colds, and winds. I then scattered some mustard greens and turnip greens seeds in the other two beds to finish off my first gardening day of the new year.

Thursday, March 04, 2004


Cumberland County Extension is once again giving away free seeds for starting your very own bike fuel garden this year. They have annuals, perennials, herbs and vegetables available that were packed for 2003 and donated by a local garden center. All you have to do is stop by the office at 1100 Claremont Rd, Carlisle PA and ask. The office is open Mon-Fri from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm.

I got many of my starter seeds from the extension last year, and I have lots left over to use this year, so I probably won't be making a stop in for more seeds. I did splurge ($11) and bought a few different varieties of seeds and vegetables to try that I wasn't able to get at the extension last year, such as brussel sprouts, and a non-bitter salad greens mix for example. When my order comes in from SuperSeeds.com, I'll fill you in on what I'll be planting. Super Seeds (also known as Pinetree Seeds) is great because they sell garden-sized seed packs. Enough for the home grower and priced accordingly (many packets under $1.00).

And sowing may be as soon as this weekend. The soil in my raised beds is unfrozen a few inches, enough for me to sow seed. So as long as the rains stay away this weekend, I'll be seeding some peas, lettuces, spinach, and broccoli. I might have some other cold weather greens too that could go in now, at least as green manures until I put in my warm weather transplants in May, or cover crops to keep back soil loss from spring winds. The co-planting plan could be to sow seed within the growing greens and as I harvest the greens later in the spring allow the seedlings of the summer plants to come up.

Song of the Day" My Guitar Gently Weeps" by The Beatles

Wednesday, March 03, 2004


Its just enough about me sometimes, don't you think? Let's have a show of numbers to let everyone know that there is more than 1 or 2 bicycle commuters out there. If you are a fellow bicycle commuter in the Harriburg metro area (or generally in South Central PA), share your story. Email me or leave your replies to the following questions in the guestbook or comments section, and I'll use them as a post in the near future.

First name
Last name (optional)
Age (optional)
Home Town
Workplace Employer (optional)
Workplace Location
Round Trip Commute Distance
Description of Bike (optional)

1) Why do you commute? How Long have you been Commuting?
2) There are many opportunities for improving bicycle commuting resources
in the Harrisburg metro area, what would you like to see? (exs. bike
lanes, more signage, monetary incentives, other?)
3) Do you believe bicycle commuting would help relieve downtown parking
issues/rush hour traffic issues? Why?
4) Do you think promoting bicycling could provide a draw for tourists
(and an economic benefit) to Harrisburg (especially with Riverfront Park,
and Harrisburg's Capital Area Greenbelt in development)? Why?
5) Any other Stories and Tips you would like to share about your
commuting experience?

Tuesday, March 02, 2004


As of today:

"Mayor Stephen Reed says potholes are already being repaired, but the city needs your help to fix them all. If you see a pothole, call the Pothole Hotline to notify the city. The hotline number is 255-3050"

So fellow bicycle commuters, don't hesitate to call if you come across any of these beasts along your route. Don't wait for the car drivers to do all the reporting cause it might not get done. Although the way people baby thier cars and worry about money to fix them (possibly from potholes) they probably do a fairly good job of calling the hotline. The difference though, is that when a car hits a pothole, the shocks and suspension take a beating, but if a bicyclist hits a pothole their body as well as their bike can take the beating, both from popping down on that seat and from taking a header over the handlebars. The weather is changing, and its nice to lolly along enjoying the springish breeze and viewing the sites, as opposed to rushing home to get out of the sub-freezing temps, but don't forget to keep an eye on the road and another on the vehicles sharing the road with you.

Monday, March 01, 2004


Keystone Biking bills itself as the "on-line forum for Pennsylvania bicyclists", and although a great goal, its not quite their yet. Available forums, reader submitted stories and articles, video clips from state biking events, and a neat bike geeks section that provides hi-tech resources for bikers, are all full of promise, but need your participation as PA cyclists to flourish. Conspicuously absent is any focus on commuting, though there are a few advocacy articles of a different focus worth checking out. Also welcome would be a commuting/advocacy forum in the forums area. Hey PA cycylists, drop in and check out the site, and give your support for more commuting attention.

I switched in my new crank arm last night, no problem really, but I didn't have a socket with an 8mm hex head so that I could use my new torque wrench for proper tightening. I had an allen key with an 8mm end, but that wouldn't do. So it was a quick trip to Sears to pick up the socket, and then I finished up under the porch light, which was so possible because the temps got up to near 60 yesterday! So I went out for a test ride, and lo, the cranks were louder than they have ever been. I don't think it is the bottom bracket based on what I read, but that there must be some other loose item down there somewhere. I hope to take a look soon. But I am still off the bike due to my shoulder still not back to 100%. I am going to give it the rest of the week with no stressting to determine if I really need to re-visit the Doc or not.

Song of the day: "Farmhouse" by Phish

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