To the editor:
Re: "City installs two air pumps on Adanac. Ontario bike routes," Mike Howell, March 13.
I couldn't believe the recent news of another unnecessary expenditure by the city. Bicycle pumps - at $3,000 a puff no less.
I understand the need to make people feel safe by creating designated bicycle paths even though I feel that the cost is too high. I understand the rationale for and against these safety zones and so as a taxpayer I have swallowed the pill. I rarely use them though.
Understand this, I've been peddling my bike around on all kinds of roads since I was a teen, some 49 plus years. First as a kid to hang out with friends and deliver newspapers, then to commute 20 miles each way to work every day (I had a car too) and lastly for sport.
Although I didn't start wearing a helmet until I entered biathlons and triathlons, I've always carried a spare tire, a pump and the tools to make a roadside repair. I've used them for quick, timely repairs even during races. In my case flats and skinny tires go together, especially on city streets that have deteriorated significantly over the past 40 years.
Regardless of the road surface conditions, I consider it an irresponsible act for the city to spend $6,000 of the taxpayers money on two public bike pumps. Take note; reasonable good portable pumps cost $15 to $30. At $20 a pop the 6 G's buys you 300 pumps - wow!
Riders should be responsible for themselves, learn how to care for their tires, on the road as well as at home. Invest in and carry the gear to do the job. If that's really a challenge then the use of a mobile phone (doesn't everyone carry one now?) to call a cab and a credit card to pay (who carries cash anyway?) will get a deflated rider wherever he/she needs to go.
Mind you with the right gear, cheaper than a couple of cabs, riders can take pride in their independence and self-sufficiency.
Lastly, if the city really felt that flat tires need to be blown up by tax dollars then maybe an educational program to 'raise' awareness by encouraging self reliance would have been a far more appropriate use of the money. Really!
Arno Hans Karl Schmidt, Vancouver