Idea: Bike-Friendly Residences

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mac
Participant
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I have an idea: Bike Pittsburgh large logo signs for residences that are “bike friendly” – enabling stranded, wrecked, or just exhausted cyclists to feel comfortable knocking on a door to get a tube, patch kit, 12mm wrench, or glass of water from a fellow cyclist.

I know (as well as anyone) that cost is always an issue. My idea is to begin with something uniform, recognizable, and appealing enough that we could put it up on our mailbox or under the front porch light. Personally, I think the the BIKE PGH! yellow bubble is cool, and would make a great graphic. Print ’em up the size of a frisbee on vinyl and have a little mounting holes to attach. They could be very comforting if you caught a flat at sundown in the pouring rain and just needed a porch to change your tire on.

Call them “BikePorch” or “Bike Aid” signs or something like that.


jillianfinn
Participant
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Just saw this post. I live on a busy road in Brighton Heights, and would be willing to leave a tool kit on my porch for a cyclist in need to use to change a tire, etc. I can’t promise that I’ll always open the door, but the kit will be there as long as someone doesn’t walk off with it. Just let me know if the signs/stickers are available, and I’ll put one in my yard.


lulu
Participant
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The database is a good idea. This has already happened for a long time in the motorcycle world, and it’s simple and works really well.


RickyTickyTac
Participant
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There is a similar thing for owners of old Volkswagen buses. Their version is a big book with the name, address, and phone number of everybody registered. Once when I was a kid our old bus broke down while on a family road trip in South Carolina, and we found a guy from a few miles away in the book. He made us dinner, lent a garage, a bunch of tools, and took a day off of work to help us get our bus running again.

Anyway what I’m trying to say is this is a good idea.


Nick D
Participant
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Erok, what happened with those die-cut BikePGH stickers I made last year?


Erica
Participant
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I took the “Every time I see and adult on a bicycle, I have hope for the human race” card from a bike fest poster and put it on the outside of my front door. I would house some people or help them out if they needed. I like this idea.


robjdlc
Participant
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I’ve thought about posting a metal box with some tools cabled to it outside of my apartment.


dwillen
Participant
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Anyone wants to haul their broken bike up a bunch of hills, they are welcome to use my pile of tools. If you cuss at your broken bike long enough, I’ll probably feel bad enough to give you some free beer too.


edmonds59
Participant
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Ok, so, I’ve been called a neo-luddite before, so maybe I don’t know wtf I am talking, but couldn’t there be something Twitter based or the like? That way it would be live and if someone needed assistance they could contact someone who could help at that time.

I could even see posting a Twitter address on the GAP trail so people coming in from out of town could contact the community instantly with questions or for help.

Seeing as how this thread started 3 years ago and Twitter didn’t exist…


robjdlc
Participant
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Could start a #brokencyclistpgh hashtag on twitter, that would be about it. A google map with pins where help is available might make more sense.


msprout
Participant
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Any android / iphone devs out there? might be cool to make a quick, dirty little web app that would list the locations of Cycle Samaritans.


Nick D
Participant
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I think simple window/door stickers would be simpler solution. I would happily provide stickers to those interested.


robjdlc
Participant
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Only problem I see with stickers is that you have to look around to try to find one. Say someone breaks down on Penn, little do they know I’m one block away with anything they would need, and the chances of them happening to wander down my street are slim to none.

Might be good for businesses, though.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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Maybe there is some sharp bike shop manager out there who would see the value in having a bike set up with gear, tool, tubes, etc., to ride out from the shop and assist broken-down cyclists? A sort of AAA for bikes?


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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My house is a tad out of the way, but my vacant lot is right on the corner with Perrymont, 200 yards off PerryHwy. I’m more likely to do something like leave a jug of water and a plastic toolbox with cups, pump, a few wrenches, etc., under an overturned plastic chair in the lot. Suitably un-eye-catching for unknowing passers-by and neighbors, but otherwise readily accessible.


mattre
Participant
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I, too, live on a busy road in Brighton Heights. Dozens of cyclists pass by every day, and there’s usually someone around at our home. We’d be quite happy to be part of a “cyclist samaritan” network, whether it’s a sticker on the house, an entry in a database, or whatever.

Scott, Erok, Lolly…how do we make this happen?


Erica
Participant
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I’m thinking that we should first make a database, then the people on it should have stickers, signs, something brightly colored and easily recognizable. Then there should be something simple, like a blog entry, that links to the database of bike-friendly residences/businesses, and a picture of the sticker/sign, so that people know what to look for.

As far as getting the word out to people who might use it in the future, things like twitter or facebook would work, or even stumbleupon. “like” the page using stumble and tag it things like “bicycling,” “safety,” “repair,” “help” etc.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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Hmm. If i’m out on the bike and something craps-out, if there’s not a house with a sticker or whatever on it right there, then that’s not much help to me. A friendly house might be a block away – but that might as well be a million miles.


netviln
Participant
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I think for this to be effective, it should probably be somethign more like couchsurfing or hotshower. Some nationally searchable website with user feedback. It would be nice to have it for other cities while you are touring as well which is why I think a national site would be easier.

Obviously this is a lot more complicated than just a list of peeps in the burgh, but I think its a lot more usefull too


Erica
Participant
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maybe a little book? or dots on the next bike map?


edmonds59
Participant
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Uh, couldn’t this maybe just be as simple as a list of contacts, like an “emergency assistance” button on the BikePgh site – “Cycle Samaritans”? With name, general location (no addresses!), and phone number. The BikePgh! site seems to work just fine with smart phones, so if there were signs on trails, even people coming from out of town could get on and find some help if needed.


Erica
Participant
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a paper list would be the best, i think.


dwillen
Participant
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I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not putting my home address in a searchable database. Sounds like a handy directory for high-end bike theft. I don’t even put my actual address in my GPS unit as “home” because if it were ever stolen from my car, the thief would know where to go rob next, while I’m filing the police report.

A listing by neighborhood with an email that forwards to someone’s SMS would be an appropriate level of abstraction.

Unfortunately, a paper list would be out of date as soon as you print it.


Erica
Participant
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I don’t know what SMS is, or how to use it.

My phone makes phone calls and texts, but I can’t access anything else.


cburch
Participant
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sms=text message


Erica
Participant
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okay. That makes more sense now, and seems more doable.

I actually thought it was a smartphone thing.


ieverhart
Participant
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I don’t even put my actual address in my GPS unit as “home” because if it were ever stolen from my car, the thief would know where to go rob next, while I’m filing the police report.

Do your registration and insurance documents also have your address on them? Have any mail in the back seat? Pre-programming the GPS may save a thief a few seconds but your address is probably in the car somewhere already.


dwillen
Participant
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Pretty sure the insurance card does not have my home address on it. Not sure about the registration – so you could be correct. Also, “my car” in many cases is a zipcar.

Someone as paranoid as I am would never keep mail in plain sight in the backseat. You could read addresses and account numbers without even opening the car.

In my scenario, the thieves are not thoroughly digging through every scrap of paper in my car hoping to find a valid address, they are smashing a window and grabbing a $200 electronic device, only later learning that it leads them right to my house.


bikefind
Participant
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I’m wondering about the differing things we may have to offer. RubberFactory talked about being willing to put people up (which is awesome) for example, which I most likely wouldn’t be able to do. That made me think that there could be confusion (not just on this issue) if not everyone on a list (or point on a map) is offering the same thing.

I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, I think it’s a fantastic idea – I’m just pondering details and throwing my thoughts out there. Maybe there’s some creative way to clarify this kind of stuff.

It sounds like some people are up for hanging out with the brokenbike rider while they use your tools, even helping out. Others are looking at making tools avail even when they’re not home.

I’m also wondering what I should think of as a minimum (with regard to what I have to offer) for me to go onto the list. I’ve got a stand, air pump, generally enough to spare out of a patch kit. New tubes, although the ones I have are for my bikes, and who knows if they’re the sizes someone else’s bike would need. Growing set of tools: wrenches, allen keys, third hand, etc.

And what about mechanical skills? There are things I can do and other things I’d not be super confident about. It’d be great if there were a way to let people know whether they’ll just find tool access when they get here, or someone to help them with various levels of stuff.

color coding?


Erica
Participant
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I was just thinking that, color coding.

Maybe different symbols, even.

like:

if you can offer housing to those touring

if you offer tools

if you can offer a meal.

if there’s a list somewhere, maybe next to the names, put the symbol (or just words, but I like symbols because I think they’re neat).

Say if we make signs/stickers, we can get the house/toolkit/etc images separately and add them the the signs manually

I don’t know, I just like the idea of people having a home anywhere they go.


lolly
Participant
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I think this sounds like a cool idea. the sticker idea seems like it would be pretty simple, especially if the stickers already exist.


dwillen
Participant
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Much of this already overlaps with the previously mentioned warmshowers.org (or even couchsurfing.org ) If you want to offer a place for a touring cyclist to stay, check out warmshowers. It is already established, well-used, and global. I don’t mean to discourage any efforts, it just seems like a lot of time might go into something that already exists.

I thought this was more of a local “I got a flat in lawrenceville, but live in south hills, uh oh!” type of a thing.


netviln
Participant
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What about somethign like geocacheing for tools..


lolly
Participant
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yeah i think there are already plenty of places to stay and we don’t need to be redundant.

i think a sticker with the bike pittsburgh logo, maybe with a pump or something in the window would be easiest and useful for people who need a quick bike fix.


Nick D
Participant
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Although window stickers may not help if you are somewhere unfamiliar, I think you would start to notice them along your regular routes.


reddan
Keymaster
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I like the business angle. Perhaps, if we could convince someone like Trek or REI to provide basic kits at cost, we could bribe coffee shops and restaurants and whatnot to purchase ’em and keep them handy. Maybe nice attention-getting stickers for their doors and an entry in some online “bike-friendly business” listing…


lolly
Participant
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Lou’s working on a bicycle friendly business project. I’ll tell him about this idea.


bikefind
Participant
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When I think coffee shop, I think “place where they want to use the sidewalk in front for tables full of customers, and not having people fixing their bikes there”* – maybe a bad fit for higher end restaurants too, even if they don’t do the sidewalk table thing. Dive bars maybe. I can definitely envision people fixing a flat in front of the Squirrel Cage with nobody feeling like their style was getting cramped. Plus they’re usually open later. You’d need some other businesses to cover people riding early though. Bakeries?

*With the possible exception of Tazza d’Oro


edmonds59
Participant
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Sheetz’s.


reddan
Keymaster
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^^^Wot ‘e said.

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