Friday, April 19, 2013

Going for a swim - Santa Barbara

I was inspired by Mark of Bicycle Dutch's latest post - "Going for a swim" and decided to document my own bicycle trip to the pool in Santa Barbara, California (About 215 miles / 344k north from the San Diego with the gym that has escalators... I could drive there in 3.5 hours).

My trip in town is about 3 miles (or 4.8 km) each way but this trip is a little less. For documentation, I started from the intersection of Bath and Mission, where the street painted bicycle lane ends and quickly becomes an "alternate route." This designation means it is recommended on a map but is unsigned and not painted.

Overall info idea stolen from Mark:
With cycle provisions

  •  On street cycle lane 1.4 miles /  2.24 km - 35mph / 56kmph speed limit
Without cycle provisons

  • 1 mile / 1.6 km (unsigned, unmarked) - 30 mph / 48kmph speed limit

So you can see from above that the bike lane has disappeared, and bicycles must act like cars to make it through the intersection. Street traffic speed limit is 30 mph / 48kmph.

Further up Bath street, past the hospital, there is one of the famous "dog legs" in the Santa Barbara street grid, where you must do a quick left, then right to get back onto Bath Street. This occurs because some guy named Salisbury Haley had crappy survey chains and basically sucked at surveying things.

I like to cycle up Bath to the end at Alamar Ave where I turn right and continue up to De La Vina. Again, it's a non-marked, non-painted route so I'm cycling like a car with the cars. The traffic speed here is also 30mph / 48kph - faster than a regular residential speed due to some seemingly random ordinance  stuff I don't understand.

Luckily, someone must have protested and they put in some Bumps (see later photo)!

The intersection of Alamar Ave and De La Vina is below. I take a wide, wide left,  into the painted and signed bicycle route on De La Vina. Yay.

De La Vina is a hill so it's a slow climb up to State Street. This is fine because it allows me to contemplate how much I hate the coming intersection and to steel up my resolve to run the red light.  I hate breaking rules, I always stop for stop signs but this one particular light...

Yes, I regularly run the red light above.

I do this because the traffic sensors do not detect me. It's insulting, annoying, exasperating and inevitable. My trip is usually at 6:30am so there's no traffic in any direction. The first time I did it, I was stranded at this light for over 5 minutes, stubbornly waiting until I gave up being a good law abiding citizen. Fuck it. You know? How long would you wait with no traffic anywhere?

Anyways. Fix the traffic sensor, City of Santa Barbara. 

After running the red, I'm on State Street with a painted, signed bike lane that runs in and out of the bumpy gutter to allow or not allow parking and make room for bus stops. The speed limit is 35mph / 56kmph.

Watch out for skateboards:

At Hitchcock Way, I can take a left but only as a car in the car lane. I carefully check behind me to cross the two lanes of 35 mph / 56kmph traffic to get into the left turn lane... and the sensor works perfectly! It sees me!! I love it!!!

Next challenge - cycling through a gigantic parking lot.
Okay, it's not a big deal. It's just big. Most people drive. 

Bicycle parking area before my swim.

Bicycle parking area after my swim (the sun has come up).

The sun is fully up now and glaring. My ride home is usually easier. The turn from State Street to De La Vina is well marked although I always wonder at the size difference of the cyclist markings.

De La Vina can be tricky... now it's downhill and you can pick up speed. Be sure to watch for parked cars and jerks like the guy in the photo standing next to his car door in the bike lane. (He's probably not a jerk, I'm just grumpy.)

Careful, careful.

Turn to Alamar Ave and BUMP! Yay.


But be sure not to salmon on Bath (it's one-way after Mission), there's a perfectly good lane one block over.

Enjoy the palm trees.

I have tried other routes but they all include larger hills, faster traffic and worse traffic sensors. Yikes.

1 comment:

  1. It's not fun to stay at the Y-junction.