Andy Marske: Meet a B-cyclist

Marske_BcycleMeet Andy Marske, a B-cycle user who works downtown and uses B-cycle to get around quickly, or if he needs to fit in an afternoon exercise break.

How long have you been riding B-cycle, and why did you start using it?

Since it began, I volunteered to help build the bikes [in 2012] and was hooked from there. I ride the bus to work a lot, so unless I have my personal bike, the B-cycles are a great way to supplement my trips around downtown from/to work.

Where do you ride B-cycle to? Favorite place to ride?

I work downtown and use the B-cycles to go from bus to work and work to bus the most. My favorite place to ride would be from 12th and Wyandotte to 13th and Locust and 13th and Locust to Union Station/Crown Center. Sometimes I’ll just get a bike and ride somewhere to clear my head and get away from my desk at lunchtime. The gym in my building closed, so it’s a nice way to get out quick and get some exercise.

Do you own your own bike? If so, why do you still use B-cycle?

Yes, I own two bikes. As mentioned earlier, I use the B-cycles to help get around downtown quickly when I don’t have my personal bike with me.

Have you used bike share in other cities?

Yes, I’ve used Nice Ride in Minneapolis and B-cycle in Denver, Des Moines, and Nashville. I really like the annual membership can be used at any B-cycles around the Country!

What do you think about the Phase Two expansion plan to to bring B-cycle to Midtown, the Plaza, and Waldo?

I think it would be great to expand the system to Midtown, Plaza, Brookside, Waldo, Westport, West and East Bottoms, and beyond. To be honest, it would be nice if the system expanded out from downtown in any direction there’s bike routes, because it should only help grow ridership and bicycle awareness around the metro.

I think the key is to have some kiosks at key midpoint locations, so people wouldn’t have to ride all the way from one area of town to the next. Since there are some substantial hills on some of the routes, intermediate stops would allow people of all skill levels to not feel intimidated to ride from point a to b.

Where would you like to see stations in the future?

Someday I hope there would even be kiosks at Arrowhead and The K (would be a great way to beat the parking fees). Who knows, maybe even expansion into KS (Prairie Village, Mission, Shawnee, etc) because there’s lots of off street trails and places people could go. Maybe even in places like Shawnee Mission Park, Heritage Park, and some of the other large parks with trails? Maybe people without bikes would rent the B-cycles to travel around the parks as well? Just a thought.

 How would the expansion have an impact on KC?

As mentioned above, I believe the expansion would help promote bicycle use in the metro area and make more motorists aware of the people choosing to ride around town instead of drive. It would be really nice to have the kiosks in several other KC areas–Plaza, Midtown, Westport, Brookside, Waldo, etc.–because then people could leave their cars behind, which would help with some of the parking issues several areas of town face.

Controlled Chaos

Lately I find myself wanting to reflect about the meaning of cycling.

I know near to nothing, technically, about the mechanics of cycling. I wish I could tell you how to fix this or that problem. I may be able to assist in changing a tire, but even there I have limited experience. I know nearly nothing about my ride, but I know HOW to ride.

Tomorrow I’ll jump on my bicycle and ride to nowhere with no one telling me to ride, just for the hell of it. Just for the experience of the uncertainty (Will I get a flat? Do I have enough room? Will I make this light? Can I go just a little farther? Is there any way to give this ride a sense of closure?). As I ride and weave and dodge,  all of my thoughts slow. My immediate decisions are more important than the worries and stresses of the day or week and my mind relaxes as my reflexes take over. I ride and slowly the thoughts of the day return one by one, for fear that I may need my senses to advert danger, and I’m able to sift my way through my problems and troubles a little more easily.

So my technical experience is lacking. To some all of this may sound like gibberish, but I hope others may understand what I’m getting at. There is something to cycling which everyone can enjoy whether they know what all of the parts of a bicycle are called or not. It’s the Experience that’s important and Experience is subjective. Keep your eyes and mind open out there.

–Michael

Juxtaposed Cities (Street Art and Graffiti in Chicago and Kansas City)

When I started riding in Chicago I discovered one of my favorite things was riding without a set destination. On my days off I would ride for hours on end stopping here and there when I’d find a spot that caught my eye. I wasn’t very particular. Some spots had wonderful views and others had paint thrown up on a wall in a way that I couldn’t help but stop and look. It was interesting to realize that someone had stopped in that very spot and taken the time to paint or post something that they thought someone else would enjoy. Most of the things I took photos of I enjoyed, while others I took photos of because they were simply an imprint of another person’s existence. Cycling can be a humbling experience for this very reason. Many lives are being lived in any city and from a bicycle you have a front row view.

When I went for my first “free-ride” through Kansas City I soon realized that it wasn’t too different from Chicago. There was still evidence sprawled across the city that people lived here who wanted to communicate to those who wandered with an open eye. I traveled from the Plaza area around the Kansas City Art Institute through downtown to the River Market over to the West Bottoms and back. Along my way I found gorgeous scenery and an abundance of art throughout the city. This is a post showing how, if you look close enough, you can gain a similar experience riding around KC as you can around most other major cities. As I said before I took these photos because I enjoyed the images and I hope you do as well.
(Also this is a way for me to escape the winter weather as all of these photos were taken during far more desirable seasons.)

Chicago…

I am so thankful for the time I was able to spend in Chicago. It was my first opportunity to explore a city and being there with very few friends gave me the motivation to strike up a passionate relationship with my bicycle. A relationship which, though I’ve moved on to my second bike, will never be out done. I have learned to look at the details in a way I had never done before. Now in Kansas City I try to carry on that way of living and it has most definitely paid off.

Kansas City…

I hope to have a more recent photo essay posted in the near future. In all honesty I haven’t been out for an all day “free-ride” since summer. As I said before I’m hoping this blog will give me the motivation to get out more (This weather isn’t making it any easier for sure). I hope ya’ll are doing well as the winter weather moves in and I hope to see you out there on the streets.

Take care!

–Michael

Why You Should Make B-cycle Your Winter Bike

snower_miser-01Old Man Winter has finally arrived in Kansas City, and he’s brought with him a bunch of ice, snow and chilly temperatures. Whether you bike for fun or transportation, biking can definitely become more challenging in the winter, especially if you’re not prepared. Just as some people put on their snow tires on their cars for winter, many cyclists move to their heftier bikes with better brakes and traction when the snow begins to fall. Fortunately, B-cycle bikes will be out all winter long and are a great option when it comes to winter riding. But why?

 1. No maintenance: Decreased temp and increased moisture make for an increased need for regular bike maintenance to keep your bike free of winter grit and grim. Avoid getting your usual commuter bike gummed up or possibly damaged by salted streets and choose B-cycle instead. B-cycle repairs and maintenance are made by a qualified mechanic with regular safety checks on all the bikes.

2. Better stopping power: All B-cycles have drum brakes, which have increased stopping power over traditional rim brakes on most bikes, meaning you’ll be able to stop more quickly in wet, or slippery conditions.

3. Wider tires for increased traction and control on slippery streets: Usually ride a road bike with skinny slick tires? Gain better control when there’s ice or snow on the roads with 1.5″ wide tires.

4. Protection from the elements: Fenders, chain guard and skirt guards mean you won’t get wet and grimy on your ride.

5. Basket space: Baskets have plenty of space to hold hot cocoa or a giant thermos full of coffee!

6. Lights that never die out: Rear and front lights on the bike keep you safe, even when riding early in the morning or in the evening on your daily commute.

6. Close proximity to warm-up spots: Every B-cycle station is within a block of a coffee shop or restaurant where you can take a break and warm up!

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