What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

15 March 2012

Closing Streets

Jack from BikeTexas, telling a cyclist
what kind of work we do.
A couple of weeks ago, Chad and I went with BikeTexas to Síclovía in San Antonio. For a few hours on a Sunday afternoon, a major street through downtown San Antonio was closed to motor traffic and open to walkers, skaters, skateboarders, runners, cyclists, dogwalkers... you name it, people were out doing it. There were people near us playing something ping-pong-ish in the road. Children deployed their sidewalk chalk. UT San Antonio Pharmacy students had a hula-hoop and jump rope station.

The parade at Síclovía.
Taking advantage of the closed streets.
That yellow thing in the corner
is Jack's (above) cargo bike.
BikeTexas was "renting" out bikes-- they were free for people to take and use, so long as they left us with some credit card information in case they and the bikes didn't come back again. (They all did.) Chad helped with the bikes, at his first BikeTexas event, while I was at the membership/petition-signing booth. I'm not very good at the spiel, by the way, but I did get credit for one guy becoming a member. (The abbreviated spiel: A lot of BikeTexas' funding comes from the dues people and organizations pay for us to do bicycle advocacy on their behalf. We need members!)

GE's logo thing.
A robot at the GE booth.
I'm not sure what it does,
because it was standing
still the whole time.
Also in the closed-streets department: A bunch of streets in downtown Austin are closed this week for South by Southwest. Ordinarily, a closed street brings me delight, since I can walk across it without fearing for my life. Not so during SXSW: The closed streets are clogged with pedestrians, bicycles, pedicabbers, and food vendors, so getting around is not as easy as it sounds. Yesterday, the whole of BikeTexas rode from our office across downtown for a GE Mobile Fridge (I think that's what they were calling it) event. They were making some non-conventional bike racks, which as I understand it will eventually be deployed around Austin.

At the GE event. These are a couple of the bike racks;
in the background is the workshop where things were
Everyone who works for BikeTexas always wears a helmet while riding, in a "set a good example" kind of way. So there was quite a train of helmeted riders trying to cross town yesterday, and we mixed in with a bunch of other cyclists on the way, some with helmets, some not. So many helmeted riders in one place are such an unusual sight that a pedicabber behind me said, "Wow, everybody's wearing helmets; that's awesome. All except for that [deleted]. He's gonna get killed."

And finally, a closed-street event that isn't a marathon or SXSW is coming to Austin: We're getting our very own Viva Streets. What's more, it's the weekend of graduation. That means I get to drag my entire family downtown to see what all the fuss is about, plus they'll get to meet all the lovely people I work with at BikeTexas. And, of course, it means I'll get to enjoy the festival without having to stand at a booth. Yay!

The Viva Streets route through Austin. Are you going to be in town
May 20th? I know a fun place you can go! Source.
Have you ever been to a street-closing event? A massive music/film/whatever festival? Something else really fun that I'd love to know about?

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