You can't use rain as an excuse
June 9, 2008 · Updated 3:49 PM
"For a feeling of looming futility, try sitting down during an afternoon of inclement weather and writing an endorsement for Bike to Work Day.After all, the point of the event is to draw out fair-weather riders, and those who aren't naturally inclined to put foot to pedal. So one might have the vague sense of hopelessness that comes with coasting up to one of Bainbridge Island's numerous hills - all of which invariably seem to be tilted the wrong way - with the fear that one's best efforts may result in a lot of huffing and puffing, but little progress.Then again, this is a community that is turning the corner on transportation issues. We're climbing those hills, and a little rain can't stop us. So here we are, reminding islanders that this Friday is Bike to Work and School Day, an effort to get commuters, shoppers and students out of their single-occupant vehicles and into a more eco-friendly (and healthier) mode of travel.The community wins with cleaner air, quieter neighborhoods, less road congestion and more parking places, event organizer and avid rider Dana Berg observed in a recent correspondence to this office. The biker wins with more money in her (or his) pocket; a smaller, healthier waistline; larger, healthier lungs; and a relaxed, stress-free brain.At Bainbridge High School, as well as Woodward, Sakai and Hyla schools, students and staff members who show up on bicycles Friday morning will receive breakfast goodies and prizes. Ditto for commuters - pedal onto the ferry, and you'll be greeted with treats. And employees and patrons of downtown businesses who ride to Winslow Mall at noon that day will find rewards waiting for them as well. As added incentive, raffle tickets for a new Raleigh bicycle are being sold at Dana's Showhouse.Will you ride? Bike to Work and School Day has generated considerable response over the past few years, particularly from island kids. And as we said, we believe this community is turning the proverbial corner on transportation issues. City planners gave us all a push in the right direction last fall with a workshop on the proposed Non-Motorized Transportation System Plan - aka the Bike/Ped Plan - and the event drew more than 100 participants. Later this month, the fruits of that work will be ready for review. A community meeting is slated 7-9 p.m. May 30 at city hall, where a citizen committee and consultants will present a system map and draft plan with new bike lanes, trails and pedestrian links. When approved, the plan will put specific projects on a timeline and tie them to city funding. Even in advance of the plan, new bike lanes will soon go in on several stretches of Miller Road, to relieve riders imperiled by a nasty uphill grade with no shoulder. We're turning the corner alright, and Friday's Bike to Work and School Day is a harbinger of better days for bicyclists and pedestrians. Consider the week's improving forecast: Monday: rain. Tuesday: rain and wind. Wednesday: rain. Thursday: cloudy with a chance of rain. Friday...Partly cloudy. So, no excuses! Time to oil up the chain, put a little air in the tires and go for it. "