Statistics

Earlier in the week, I became a statistic.  On Tuesday night, my bike was stolen from it’s locked position at a light pole in front of 620 South Third Street in Louisville, KY.  Dutifully, I filed a police report, but I know how it works.  The bike was probably parceled into parts moments after being stolen and is now probably fitted onto several different bikes.  What’s aggravating about the situation is not that it was stolen, because after all it’s just stuff.  At least I wasn’t on the bike when they were stealing it.  No, what’s aggravating is that I did everything I could do to make sure that bike was not stolen, but in the end…there’s no way to prevent that really, short of not riding it, which defeats the purpose.  Even more painful is the fact that as I was locking it up, I had this nasty hunch crawling around in my head that told me the bike would be stolen.

In other statistics, I’d like to point to the NYC Report on Cycling which covers all manner of bike statistics for 1996-2005.  Recently, it has come to my attention that members of my family (the female contingent) have expressed concern over my riding at night.  I maintain that it’s just as safe, if not safer, to ride at night than it is during the day.  However, let me also say that none of this makes any difference because currently, due to previous statistical analysis, i.e. my bike was STOLEN, I’m not riding anywhere.  Still, to prove my point:

  • Over the last 30 days, 88% of my bike riding was in the daytime, or before 8 p.m.
  • 38% of cycling deaths (according to the report) occured during the hours of 3 p.m. – 8 p.m. which arguably, at this latitude, is still within the daytime. 
  • The percentage of crashes between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and the percentage between 8 p.m. and midnight were 19% and 20%, respectively, which, for my purposes, is statistically even
  • “Among the fatalities with documented helmet use, 97% were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.”  Being the safe, conscientious rider that I am, I wear a helmet 100% of the time.  This is due, in no small part, to previous discussions with the female family contingent.
  • 38% of bicycle-related crash factors involved disregarding traffic controls.  I always have obeyed every traffic device even sometimes to the detriment of my own cause.  You see, bikes don’t trigger traffic lights (at least not at any lights I’ve been stopped at in Louisville), so unless there’s a car in the lane with you, you can sit there forever on your bike and watch traffic.  There are times I’d love to ignore the traffic signals, but that would be unsafe and improper.
  • Cyclist injuries have dropped 35% between the late 90s and the early part of this century.  This is most likely due to increased awareness of cyclists (if we don’t ride, how will you know to look for us?) and better equipment. As well, cyclist injuries only accounted for 8% of non-fatal transportation injuries which is the lowest total other than…gasp…motorcyclists at 2%.
  • The vast majority of cycling deaths occurred outside bicycle lanes.  So, if you’d like to worry less, contact your metro councilperson and ask them to consider (for the safety of your loved ones) putting more money into bike lanes and less money into bridges that will never get built.
  • 53% of fatal crashes occurred on arterial highways (four-lane roads).  Most of my riding occurred on back streets and local roads.  As a matter of fact, save for the stretch of Eastern Parkway between Crittenden Drive and Goss Avenue, a mere 1.45 miles of road, all of my riding was done on roads of less than four lanes.

Now, New York City is unique for a variety of reasons, particularly when it comes to cyclists.  That city has four times the national average of people who commute to work via bicycle.  Still, I would maintain that these statistics, which I believe you’ll find overwhelmingly support my desire to cycle when and where I would like, are directly transferable to our fair city.

See you in the funny papers!

UPDATE: Apparently, the discussion among my female family members was regarding my personal safety by being downtown on my bike, and not about bike safety.  My mother claims that I shouldn’t be riding downtown at night because people get shot.  To which I replied, I’m just as likely to get shot in my own neighborhood as I am downtown at 3rd and Chestnut.  Her response is that things are different these days; that it was safer when I was younger.  Well, some statistical digging (Damn, I’m glad I finished college!  I’ll win a lot more arguments this way.) has shown that actually the murder rate in our fair state has decreased since I was younger, while the theft rate has increased.    I also want to point to SpotCrime which details crime in our fair city.  Look up any address/crime you like.

Take me out to the ballgame

Russ Smith writes an article about his trips to 17 major league ballparks that I found over on The Hardball Times which is an absolute overkill for fans of baseball like myself.  Like Smith, I have been on a continued quest over the past few years to visit every major league ballpark.  Some days it seems like they’re tearing them down faster than I can get to them.  Unfortunately, this means that many of the venerated houses of our national pastime have disappeared before I can enjoy their cramped splendor.  Nowadays, if you don’t have a video board at every sightline and a concessionaire who caters to every possible diet, then your ballpark is practically obsolete.  My father, whom I coax into these outings (though, I suspect he enjoys them as much as I do, regardless of midnight drives through Iowa), and I are pretty much purists.  We enjoy hot dogs and peanuts and while we enjoy the convenience of a yacht-sized scoreboard, we could also keep score with a pencil and a scorecard.  We stand for the National Anthem and for the 7th-inning stretch.  So, I look forward to more trips to more parks with him…and, maybe my daughter will want to come when she’s older.

In honor of Spring, I’d like to take a trip down memory lane to my very first major league game.  I was 20 years old and on my first work-related conference in Chicago.  There were 5 of us, and I, being the only guy, decided to skip the dreaded shopping and focus on the bright afternoon sipping beer within the Friendly Confines (that’s Wrigley Field, for those of you who don’t know).  It was a matchup between the beloved Cubbies and the Pittsburgh Pirates, I’m sure a highly touted contest as both were more than likely in the midst of a dreadful season…and a quick check of Baseball-Reference shows that, indeed, both teams were doomed to finish under .500.  Still, I was there and I was excited.

I stepped up to the window and asked the man there, “If this was your only game, what seats would you get?”  Ever the upseller, he said he’d get the best seats he could buy.  Knowing my wallet couldn’t swallow this and allowing for the fact that I was being taken for a rube, I calmly settled for some mid-range seats back behind home plate under the grandstand.  I sensed every moment as I entered beneath the iconic Wrigley Field sign, from the smells of hot dogs and beer to the sounds of batting practice and vendors.  I wandered along the concourse beneath the banners of Cub greats as I found my seat.  I stopped for a hot dog with mustard, onions, and relish (the prototypical baseball snack in my opinion) and a large Pepsi (being too young for a beer at this point) and settled in to watch the game.  

Unfortunately, at this point, I don’t remember anything else.  I don’t remember who won.  I don’t remember any of the players, some of whom have gone on to have wonderful careers.  I don’t even remember hearing Harry Caray slur through “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”  I do remember having a wonderful afternoon and the sun was shining…so it wasn’t a bad first visit.

Many trips to many ballparks have followed and I’m certain that there will be many more to come.  Hopefully, some I will remember better than this one.  But you never forget the first time.

See you in the funny papers!

Sports for those who don’t care…

My friend James has put together a bracket for people who have no interest in sports.  This is for all of you who are currently in a state of shock and terror at the deluge of sport events on television.  I’ve already filled out my bracket and it’s available for your viewing pleasure:

Bickers Bracketology 2009

Feel free to debate, whine, pontificate, or otherwise indulge in lofty conversation about your own choices for this bracket.  I’m hoping to do a little breakdown of each of my picks later.

See you in the funny papers!

Blarney

As nothing seems to be going my way at work today (computer’s frazzled, paperwork snafu), I thought I’d try my hand at an update to this blog.  It seems that I only post rarely these days, so now would be a good time in my estimation.  This will be one of those link-ta-fied posts that’s sort of like an Easter Egg hunt.  All links are safe for work.

  • Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  May your pints be full and your lasses be fair and hearty.  Not an actual Irish blessing that I know of, but a decent one that I just made up on the spot.
  • Voces Novae began rehearsals for their final concert last night.  A collection of songs based on Robert Frost and Walt Whitman poems.  Among my leading favorites are “O Captain, My Captain!” and “The Pasture.”
  • Spring is a mere 3 days away, officially.  However, I like to get an early start on things, so I took the bike to choir practice last night.  Beautiful ride, and there’s something about riding at night that is peaceful and calm, even on the more traffic-laden streets.
  • Speaking of traffic, there’s a new German study out that proposes a link between traffic and heart attacks.  An interesting theory and not altogether bizarre in nature.  I know that sitting in traffic makes my blood pressure go up.
  • I’m entered in the Rodes City Run 10K for this weekend and I’m anticipating an outstanding run.  I’d love to run it under 1:10, but we’ll see how it goes.  I’m happy just to be running.
  • Bathroom renovation continues.  I’ve got paint on the walls and I hope to finish up either tonight or tomorrow, depending on how things progress.  
  • The baby’s room is another story.  We do have paint colors now, but all the trim will have to be sanded before continuing and that will have to wait until the bathroom is done.  Still, the countdown has reached 7 weeks to go and time’s a-wasting.
  • I’m dying to tell you what the baby’s name is, but we’ve kept it a secret this long, I’d hate to spoil it for you.  Folks seem to have had an entertaining time guessing though.  Feel free to continue to guess though.  Nobody has guessed it thus far, but many have come very close.
  • How about those Louisville Cardinals?!  Number one seed overall…pretty impressive!  I’ve made my picks on at least three different brackets, knowing full well that I don’t know squat about basketball.  If only they had a bracket for baseball.  Anyway, I would like to say that I foresaw this early on.  I made predictions about this team being this good years ago, so maybe I know a little.

Okay, well, I guess I should go back to work now.  Maybe my computer has decided that it wants to work and possibly I can give some of this paperwork to somebody else.  

See you in the funny papers!

Running Update

I promised you a running update and here it is.  Over the weekend, I finished the first leg of the Louisville Triple Crown of Running, the Anthem 5K, with an official time of 31:03 which I was pretty happy with.  I would’ve loved to have been under 30 minutes, but it was just not in the cards for me.  Now, I’m looking forward to the second leg, the Rodes 10K, which will be in 2 weeks.  Plus, the weather seems to be getting better which bodes well for my conditioning.

 #20

As you can see from the image, I’m west of St. Louis at this point.  I can’t believe that it has been since January that I posted an update.  Shame on me!  Still…I’ve gone quite a distance in that time.  And, I’m very excited about the possibilities of finishing this up by the goal date of June 3.  What you may not be able to see from the image is that I’m very near Meramec State Park.  The park is a monument to the ingenuity of the Civilian Conservation Corps who constructed most of its trails, shelters, and other facilities.  The park also boasts Fisher Cave as a major attraction.

You might also notice from the elevation chart that I’m beginning to climb out of the Mississippi River Valley which is exciting.  I mean, it’s exciting mentally…physically, I’m not climbing out of anything.  As a matter of fact, most of these miles have been run on flat ground anyway.  

See you in the funny papers!

Whether the weather…

Oh, intertubes, how I do love the Spring!  Sure, I know that, technically, it’s not quite Spring yet, but the fact that we opened the windows last night and the temperatures will hit the mid-70s this weekend is good news for me.  I abhorred the depressing skies and bitter chill of February, but March…even with erratic weather patterns and savage wind conditions possible…March is just a better time of year.  

Speaking of erratic, here are some RANDOM THOUGHTS

  • I’m running the Anthem 5K on Saturday morning as part of the Louisville Triple Crown of Running.  Anticipating a great run with start temps in the mid-50s.  
  • My Boston Red Sox are having a horrible Spring in the win/loss columns, but at least there doesn’t seem to be any controversy.
  • I’m thankful that I still have a job with unemployment reaching 8.1% today.
  • Regardless of what happens in California, Proposition 8 is improper because it denies people, humans, the privilege of marriage.  That’s what it boils down to.  And, the Constitution, the supreme law of the land, gives us that right.  Don’t believe me…check out Amendment 14
  • The baby is coming in 9 weeks, give or take.  Not much time left to guess the name.

That about covers it for now.  A running update will hopefully follow on Monday.  I know it’s been a while.  Check out the movies page for the latest viewings.

See you in the funny papers!