Bicycling to downtown San Antonio on a summer day

Augusta Street bridge, San Antonio

Augusta Street bridge, San Antonio

My wife and I spent some five hours out and about on our bikes yesterday, heading downtown from our house near Red McCombs Ford outside Loop 410 to the King William district.  Altogether it came to a trip of 22.35 miles, mostly along San Antonio’s old main thoroughfares, San Pedro Avenue and Fredericksburg Road.  We set of around 8:00 AM, when it was only 80 degrees and got back just before 1:00 PM, when it was well over 90. more »

21 May 2010, 9:39pm
Automobiles Bicycles:

Comments Off on How cul-de-sacs make people fatter

How cul-de-sacs make people fatter

walkability maps

Cozy, secluded and deadly. That’s how a new study portrays suburban America’s unassuming cul-de-sacs.


Because people who live in the pods don’t walk and bicycle much, according to research by a University of British Columbia professor. The swirling, disconnected streets don’t allow short trips to a whole lot of places.      

Look at the maps above. They show all paths within one kilometer of a selected spot in each of two Seattle neighborhoods; one constricted by meandering streets and the other splayed open by a connected grid.

People who live in the networked neighborhoods travel 26 percent fewer miles by car than those who ensconce themselves in the spaghetti-and-pod burbs.

And, studies by the author, Lawrence Frank, and others show, people who live in neighborhoods that are more walkable tend to, well, walk more. And bike more. That means, per capita, their body mass indexes are lower and they breathe cleaner air.


28 Mar 2010, 11:30pm
Automobiles Bicycles Commuting Roads Toll roads Transit Travel

Comments Off on 2005 Dodge Caravan 4th anniversary

2005 Dodge Caravan 4th anniversary

This is somewhat obscure but while searching through papers for the upcoming tax adventure, I happened upon the original sales document for my 2005 Dodge Caravan which I purchased exactly four years ago to the day, March 28, 2006.  Since then I have added 69,271 miles to its already high one year total of 28,702 – it was probably a rental that maxed out early – making a grand total, as of today, of 97,973. more »

18 Feb 2010, 11:09am
Automobiles Bicycles History Passenger rail Railroads Roads

Comments Off on San Antonio transportation history talks

San Antonio transportation history talks

Beginning Saturday February 20 at 9:30 AM, I will be be giving a series of four talks on local transportation history at the main public library downtown.   Technology willing, they will be accompanied with PowerPoint slide shows.  Admission is free.  I will have copies of my two local transportation history books available for sale.

Here is the topic schedule:

Saturday February 20, 9:30 – 11;30 AM – Ox, mule and horse drawn transportation.

Saturday February 20, 1:30 – 3:30 PM – Railroads; 1850 to the present

Saturday February 27, 9:30 – 11:30 AM – Public transportation, streetcars, jitneys and buses

Saturday February 27, 1:30 – 3:30 PM – Private transportation, from the bicycle to the present.

My first year as a born again cyclist in San Antonio

bike and TAround four o’clock in the afternoon of Thursday December 31st, zooming alongside the old San Antonio & Aransas Pass railroad tracks on Villamain between Mission San Juan and Mission Espada, in top gear and the wind at my back, I reached my own personal milestone by completing one thousand miles in the first year of owning a bicycle since I left Scotland in 1991.  Today, Jnauary 9th, also around 4:00 PM, on De Zavala Road at Clark High school I reached by personal goal of 1,040 miles.  That, of course, may seem like an obscure number, so let me explain. more »

9 Oct 2009, 10:00am
Bicycles Commuting History Oil and gas prices Safety Transit:

Comments Off on Dude, where’s my bike rebate?

Dude, where’s my bike rebate?

bike kilmarnockI recently acquired, at surprising expense, a bicycle, a seven speed commuter bike with full mudguards and a wire basket that can hold two single gallons of milk. It is even more “green” inasmuch as it has a dynamo for its lights, with a neat little capacitor to keep them lit when stopped at traffic lights, not a good place to be unilluminated. My main goal, at the time of purchase, was to avoid yet another piece of garage art, well intentioned but ignored after the initial enthusiasm wore off.

more »

7 Oct 2009, 11:08am
Bicycles History Oil and gas prices Roads Travel:

Comments Off on Hello from Hugh Hemphill

Hello from Hugh Hemphill

Right off the bat, I’m not from these parts.  I hail, let’s get this out of the way right now so we can forget about it, from Scotland.  And yet I sound like an Englishman.  Go figure.  I’ve been here since 1991, eighteen years, almost two-thirds of my adult life.  I came here at thirty and as I stare fifty right in the face let me tell you that coming to Texas remains one of my better decisions.  I like it here.  A lot.

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