Summer Hiatus

Although I worked July 4th, I still escaped to celebrate our Independence in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Although I worked July 4th, I still escaped to celebrate our Independence in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Hello all,

It is summer. It is the Pacific Northwest. What more do you need to know?

Today I updated the website and gave it some fresh new words about my most familiar blogger – me. It is about time, as several life changes have occurred since I created the original pages. The blog has been in hiatus since March for several reasons, the least of which is summer. I do not believe that committing an extensive amount of time to blogging is currently worthwhile for me, and it does take a surprising amount of time to constantly create new material. I still hope to write the occasional post but follow my twitter @KevinBLugo for quick thoughts and see what issues are catching my eye.

Until next time,

Kevin

Sunday Funday: A Little Comedic Reprieve

You’ve probably heard it before: “The job search is the hardest job you will ever have.” Well, I don’t think I believe that but the job search sure can be frustrating. As a small reprieve after spending a Saturday morning applying to a job or two I jokingly told someone I should give myself a new title: Job Application Specialist. Maybe I could add it to my resume. From their I made a short, comedic job description. Once I started free-writing I could not stop – I wrote a complete satirical job application. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

An Underemployed Graduate
555.555.5555 | whysomany5s@555.com | tiredofapplications.wordpress.com
Goal: To get a job, stop destroying my life savings, and cut down on the amount of time
spent drowning my sorrows in cheap wine and crappy homemade comfort food.tumblr_nanwgnEYLu1s0my1wo1_500

Also a good reprieve: a ridiculous call from your mother because she was screaming while a bat flew in circles around her head showing her its teeth. “It was flying around in circles and I was getting dizzy and almost fell over myself.” Love ya mom. 20150207_121601_2

Respectfully Sir, My Life Matters

It’s not a war on cars. It is a war for my life. It is a war for his life, her life, and their lives. It is a fight to make streets safer for everyone, not just cyclists. It is campaign to choose safety over speed. Slow Down for Life.

Ask yourself this:

How often do you go home at the end of the day and discuss how your life has been put in danger? 

Chances are the answer to that question will depend on your main mode of transportation. People in several thousand pound metal bubbles probably don’t think about it all that much. After all, being hit while driving a car can be quite painless, especially in settings where speed limits tend to be low. But that is not the case for pedestrians and cyclists. When you are not in a car you don’t have that extra protection keeping you safe in the event of a crash. You are vulnerable In fact, in the state of Washington you pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable travelers are legally classified as a vulnerable user. And vulnerable you are – just look at your chances of survival if hit by a vehicle moving at speed:

An graphic from one of SDOT's presentations on the Rainier Ave Safety Project. SDOT commonly uses this graphic to convey the importance of slowing vehicles.

A graphic from one of SDOT’s presentations on the Rainier Ave Safety Project. SDOT commonly uses this graphic to convey the importance of slowing vehicles.

Now, before you think “he is just a whining cyclist” remember that I ride everyday, walk quite a bit, and currently drive commercially as a courier for a blood center. Before that I drove for a food bank. Before that I switched off biking and driving on a cross-country trek. And dispersed in there I drive when I need to. As I said before, I do not consider myself a cyclist. I am simply an urbanite, and my bike is the most sensible mode of transportation for my daily needs. This is not about cyclists. This is about life.

So let me ask again:

How often do you go home at the end of the day and discuss how your life has been put in danger?

Do you know what my answer is?

Every day. Every single day I speak with another person who walks or bikes and we share our struggle to gain respect and stay safe on the road. Why must we do this? Why do our lives not matter? When will I be able to go home and not worry that my life is at risk because I am trying to live a healthy, sustainable lifestyle?

Case in point: Yesterday I rode home from work along Lake Washington Boulevard southbound from the southern edge of the Arboretum to Colman Park just south of I-90. For the most part I was respected, and people passed me safely. But as I was passing Leschi Park that all changed when two vehicles came up behind me. The first passed safely; the second came far too close. As his passenger door came level with me he began cutting back over, pulling his right rear within a foot of me. Instinctively I reached out and banged the side of his car yelling “HELLO, I AM HERE!” I know banging on people’s cars does not make them happy – car brain usually makes them unreasonably angry. But I will protect myself.

Unfortunately, in this case car brain had completely devoured the man’s mind to the point where his sympathy for the life of another human being disappeared. He not only slammed on his brakes and veered in from of me, causing me to swerve into the grass, but also continued to aggressively swerve, accelerate, and brake to keep me off-road until he was able to pin me at the next cross street. Thankfully, the shoulder turned smoothly into grass without curb or ditch – any obstacle surely would have thrown me on my face. As I come to a stop he rolls down his window.

“Don’t you hit my fucking truck you little asshole! Why the fuck did you hit my truck?”

Naturally, no amount of explanation calmed him or made him realize the dangerous position he put me in. My pleas for respect under limited and shrinking road space, feeling trapped between his truck and the grass, and being forced to ride over a very bad patch of pavement fell on deaf ears. He finished with a threat to flatten my face with his fist (as if he had not already tried this with his truck) and sped off throwing exhaust and gravel in my face.

Fortunately, the ordeal left me only angered but not injured. Later that night at Rainier Valley Greenways 18 community members sat together and discussed precisely what I want drivers to understand: we feel endangered and our lives matter. Please, choose safety over speed. Slow down for life.


Vision Zero in Nevada

This video from Vision Zero Nevada has been floating around cyberspace and I appreciate the transformation a little perspective adds as the questions change. See national traffic data, the international Vision Zero campaign, and Vision Zero Seattle (it’s coming!).

Slow Down for Life.

P.S.

Unfortunately, I was not planning on riding that day and so did not have my camera that I have been using to document all of my rides. If I was recording his face would be plastered all over the internet right now and his dangerous actions would contribute to my future video highlighting my biking experience. I will be more vigilant with recording and next time the aggressive driver won’t be so lucky.

Sunday Funday: Bikepacking Wanderlust

Wanderlust is a word that can often describe me. There is something about adventure and exploration that heightens my senses and makes me feel alive! At the start of 2009 I had never been out of the country and, not counting drive-through trips, only visited 10 states. All the states were in the Eastern US and most in the Northeast. Fast forward to the start of 2015 and I have traveled to 22 states and 9 foreign countries. Not bad, eh? Study abroad and a cross-country bike trip will do that. In appreciation of my wanderlust, I want to share and article about some of the incredible journeys people have taken while backpacking. One man actually biked to the South Pole! One day I will do some crazy trips like these…

 

And in case you were curious, here is where my travels have taken me (asterisks where I lived):

States as of 2009 States as of 2015 Countries as of 2015
Delware Idaho Canada
Florida Illinois Denmark*
Maryland Indiana Dominican Republic
Massachussetts Maine France
New Jersey Michigan Germany
New York Minnesota Italy
North Carolina Oregon Netherlands
Ohio South Dakota Spain
Pennsylvania* Washington* UK
Puerto Rico Wisconsin
Virginia Wyoming

Reality Check: Holidays are Over

Wow, what a time! Since finishing my job with a food bank back in early November I have been taking advantage of being (mostly) unemployed. Looking for jobs, volunteering, and working on some things I had neglected were on my to-do list but I also planned to really enjoy my time. And enjoy it I did. From a long Thanksgiving at home to a wonderful Christmas in Vancouver, WA – I could not be more happy with the last two months. Unfortunately, the new year brings with it reality and, as much as I would love to stay unemployed and be a full-time traveling volunteer/adventurer, my wallet reminds me that savings don’t last forever. Since my adventures  meant limiting social media and a blog hiatus, I want to share a few of my adventures:

Thanksgiving Reflection: Thankful for Bikes

The irony of using my car to power a pump to inflate my bike's tire is not lost on me. Unfortunately, the drivetrain was not rideable.

The irony of using car power to inflate my bike’s tire is not lost on me. Unfortunately, the drivetrain was not rideable.

I am thankful for bikes. Corny, right? I spent the last two weeks visiting family and friends in a less than bike-friendly part of Pennsylvania. I will not lie – I loved the convenience of having a car. I did not worry about the snow. I did not worry about the cold. I did not worry about planning a safe, flat route. I just hopped in and drove off. What convenience! And I never arrived sweaty, frozen, or soaked. Now that is luxury. But I missed my bike, and so did my body. Continue reading

I am Not a Cyclist. I am an Urbanite.

…no really, it is true. My blog has been dark lately – more on that later. For now I want to share this thought I have been mulling over for a week or so:

I am not a cyclist. I am an urbanite.

As kid biking was free entertainment.

As a teen cars meant freedom.

As a student my feet took me everywhere I needed to go.

As a traveler linking modes was key to mobility.

As a Copenhagenite bikes were just part of life.

As an adventurer bikes were exciting.

As an urbanite bikes are functional.

No, I am not a cyclist. I am an urbanite.

Now let’s ride bikes!