Wednesday, January 10, 2018

insomnia (part II)

I get seasick. I get carsick. I get sick from rollercoasters. I get sick on buses. I get sick on trains. I get sick on subways. This may be a contributing factor to why I love human-powered transportation so much! Bicycling never makes me sick.

This semester was so stressful! (see previous posts eLearning then Checking in) I was so self-involved trying to be extrordinary that I forgot it's more important to keep it simple. In 2018, I hope to leave at least 6 hours each day for empty space and see what happens (how the time gets filled in). Last semester, I was scheduled so tightly that I really had no time that wasn't already spoken for.  It was actually quite ridiculous. Anyway, that's a long way of making an excuse for how I would come home at 11pm (after night lab) and then have to teach at 8am the next morning. So I would dissolve Alka Seltzer Plus Night Cold & Flu in 4 oz of water and crash out. It would help me sleep no matter what.

Then, on dear husband's birthday (see previous post behind the curtain) we boarded the Catalina Express and spent the weekend out driving around in a golf cart and in cars throughout Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange counties. My mother-in-law gave me Dramamine so that I wouldn't get motion-sick. I took the maximum recommended dose in the morning, and then took another dose 6 hours later. I felt just like I had drank an entire bottle of red wine. But also, I felt a similar feeling the next day as I felt when I had taken the Alka-Seltzer Plus Night Cold & Flu, which made me wonder about the active ingredients in each.

Antihistamines and the endogenous ligand
Doxepin at low doses used to treat insomnia due to its binding to the histamine H1 receptor. Meclizine is sold under the name Dramamine II (Less Drowsy Formulation). Doxylamine is a first-generation antihistamine, part of the formulation NyQuil. Chlorphenamine is part of Kirkland Signature Day/Night Time Cold Multisymptom Relief Rapid Release Gelcaps (from Costco). Dimenhydrinate (a combination of diphenhydramine and 8-chlorotheophylline) is Dramamine I. Diphenhydramine alone is sold under the trade name Benadryl among others. In college, after the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, I had a hard time sleeping. The student health center recommended Benadryl as a sleep-aid.

Dale discovered histamine,1910
Antihistamines, including diphenhydramine, were introduced in the 1940s. Dale isolated histamine and discovered its role in nerve signal transduction. Bouvet together with his student Anne-Marie Staub synthesized and tested the first antihistamines. These compounds were too toxic; not until 1942 were the first medically useful antihistamines developed by Bernard Halpern.

I have written about the histamine H2 receptor in a previous post. There are histamine H3 and H4 receptors also, but this post is going to stay on the topic of compounds that block the histamine H1 receptor.

Bouvet discovered antihistamine, 1937
Second-generation antihistamines cross the blood–brain barrier to a much lower degree than the first-generation antihistamines. Their main benefit is they primarily affect peripheral histamine receptors and therefore are less sedating.  These are newer drugs, but this post will continue to focus on the first-generation antihistamines, which are available over-the-counter at an affordable cost.

An advantage to the use of antihistamines for treatment of insomnia is that tolerance does not occur during regular use. A disadvantage to the use of antihistamines for treatment of insomnia is impairment of alertness, cognition, learning and memory. Overdose is possible, leading to death via respiratory depression. Diphenhydramine overdoses (0.5-1 g) whether accidental, suicide or homicide, are a common event in the United States. Therefore, poison control centers have guidelines for triage and management for antihistamine toxicity after overdose.

This research and writing has inspired me to devote my next chemistry-related post to drugs that are stimulants of the xanthine class. Dimenhydrinate, for example, is a combination of diphenhydramine and 8-chlorotheophylline. The stimulant counteracts the calming effects of the antihistamine.

Anne-Marie Staub wins Ehrlich Prize, 1969
References

Church, M. K. and Church, D. S. Pharmacology of Antihistamines, Indian Journal of Dermatology, Volume 58, Issue 3, 2013, Pages 219–224.

Mahdy, Amr M. and Webster, N. R. Histamine and antihistamines, Anaesthesia & Intensive Care Medicine, Volume 12, Issue 7, 2011, Pages 324 - 329.

Mitchell, H. A. and Weinshenker, D. Good night and good luck: norepinephrine in sleep pharmacology, Biochemical Pharmacology,Volume 79, Issue 6, 2010, Pages 801-809.

Simons, F. E. R. and Simons, K. J. Histamine and H1-antihistamines: Celebrating a century of progress, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Volume 128, Issue 6, 2011, Pages 1139-1150.

Stojković, N., Cekić, S., Ristov, M., et al. Histamine and Antihistamines / Histamin i antihistamini. Acta Facultatis Medicae Naissensis, Volume 32, Issue 1, 2015, pp. 7-22.

Yanai, K; Yoshikawa, T.; Yanai, A.; Nakamura, T; Iida, T.; Leurs, R and Tashiro, M. The clinical pharmacology of non-sedating antihistamines, Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Volume 178, 2017, Pages 148-156.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

insomnia (part I)

Valium launched in 1963. Ativan opened for US sales in 1977. Klonopin opened for US sales in 1975. Rohypnol launched in 1974, but was never marketed in the US. Xanax launched in 1981. 

In the mid-1950s, chemists at Hoffman-LaRoche intended to discover new tranquilizers. Valium was among the first pharmacological and commercial successes. By 1980s, it was known that this class of molecules resulted in chemical dependence (addiction). However, use of these compounds for short-term relief from anxiety have not significantly dropped. Dependence and tolerance, coupled with dosage escalation and withdrawal symptoms, may appear after as little as 3 weeks.


Benzodiazepines work by binding to the GABAA receptor, at a site adjacent to the binding sites for GABA. The native ligand, GABA, inhibits nerve action by flooding the cell with chloride ions so that the nerve cannot "fire." Binding of benzodiazepines opens the ion channel even more, letting in more chloride ions, assisting in hyperpolarization, shutting the neuron "off." This is why benzodiazepines have the effect of a general nervous system depressant, muscle relaxant, and interfere with the formation of memories.

Treatment of insomnia can be achieved using benzodiazepines, however there are significant adverse-effects. Benzodiazepines are controlled substances and can lead to cognitive impairment, falls/fractures, delirium/dementia, anterograde amnesia, altered sleep activities (e.g., sleep-eating, sleepdriving, sleep-walking), and carryover sedation. Lack of memory formation is a contributing factor for Rohypnol's use as a date rape drug.

Long term use can result in permanent changes in the quantity of GABAA receptors and/or the configuration of GABAA receptors. This may be why rebound anxiety or rebound insomnia is a common withdrawal symptom. Overdose is possible, resulting in death by cessation of breathing. Benzodiazepines may cause or worsen depression. Upon cessation, seizures similar to delirium tremens are observed.

This class of drugs is still in use to alleviate pre-surgical nervousness, as they are fast-acting and potent. All are available as generic versions, but all require a prescription.

References
Wietholter, J. P. and Coetzee, R. "FDA-Approved Nonbenzodiazepine Receptor Agonists for the Management of Insomnia." US Pharm. 2017;42(1):29-32.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

behind the curtain

This month was an adventure! We headed to Catalina Island for dear husband's birthday, then to Northern California for Christmas.

Catalina Island was full of Smart Cars. This came as a surprise. Upon returning home, I found that a smart car classifies as an "autoette." There are only 1,000 parking spaces in Avalon, so there is a long waiting list to import a car (if you move there, expect to wait 14 years or so). Since the island is space-limited, the Smart Car is very popular. Given that Catalina is known for its eco-mindedness, it is a surprise to me that electric cars are not mandated. The noise of the golf carts alone really disturbed the peaceful retreat atmosphere, not to mention to pollution left behind.

what seems like paradise
The birthday adventure included driving 300 miles in automobiles, 80 miles on a ferry, and 12 miles in a golf cart. Tickets on the Catalina Express are $37.75, unless it's your birthday (which is free).  Best case, gas is $3/gal and we get 40 mpg, so that cost $22.50 in gas (7.5 gal).  Worst case, gas is $4/gal and the inlaws' car gets 20 mpg, so that cost $60 in gas (15 gal).  The boat burned 160 gal of diesel fuel. For the golf carts, estimates range between 10-30 mpg, using a price of $4/gal that would mean we spent $2.40 on gas, but $90 for a 2 hour rental period.

3584 lbs carbon dioxide from the boat
    44 lbs CO2-equivalent GHG emissions from the steak dinner
    30 lbs carbon dioxide from the car
    12 lbs carbon dioxide from the golf cart
3670 lbs carbon dioxide from the weekend (1.66 metric tons)

Weather Disasters are costing us Billions... and devastating events are increasing in frequency!
A carbon offset is a credit that is purchased to negate carbon emissions. One carbon credit is equal to 1 metric ton of carbon emissions. It costs $10 per ton to purchase carbon offset from the Arbor Day Foundation.  I'm thinking about all this because at Thanksgiving, my dear sister-in-law told her recurring story/joke that our low-car lifestyle offsets their carbon-hungry lifestyle.  All the bicycling we do is negated by their dry-cleaning.  And they laugh about this.

$150.00 in ferry tickets (for 4 people)
$300.00 in beef (for 8 people)
$ 60.00 in gas for the car & golf cart (for 4 people)
$ 90.00 in rental fee (for 4 people)
$600.00 total cost

Not only that, but we ate steak for dinner.  It's interesting how eating that steak seems so luxurious.  Well, that's because of what it takes to produce the meat. It was disgusting driving up to Nor Cal and seeing (smelling) feedlots. I'm not sure, but I think it was Harris Ranch, which supplies I-N-Out Burger among others. The smell was so bad, and stretched for miles, I almost vomited. If you're considering a New Year's Resolution, consider that substituting one beef-based meal a week for beans, you can avoid releasing 331 kilograms (730 pounds) of carbon dioxide every year. One quarter-pound of beef results in 5.5 pounds of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

behind the curtain you find this
One mature tree absorbs carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 pounds per year.  This means it would take 76 trees a whole year to consume the carbon dioxide we generated in one weekend.  I'm concerned about this in light of stories I'm hearing about Nebraska farmers cutting down mature trees to plant a few more rows of crops. This is alarming coming from the birthplace of Arbor Day.  So if you want to do me a birthday present, purchase carbon credits and let's stay home and go for a walk.  And I've purchased a pressure-cooker to cook my beans in 1/3 of the time.

While in Riverside, we stopped at our old favorite Winco Foods to buy bulk grains and dried beans.  Then we stopped at IKEA Burbank to get some reusable storage containers for said grains and beans.  Then we visited the $10 Bookstore to find a used cookbook that is all about using whole grains.

$100 at IKEA
$177 at Winco
$  27 at Best Buy (rice cooker)
$  20 at Bed Bath & Beyond (pressure cooker)
$    6 at Bookstore (whole grains cookbook)
$330 for home-cooking

I really hope 2018 is a year of home-cooking and bike riding and car-free travel. Let's make it happen. FYI the 2nd Annual Women's March in Los Angeles is happening on Saturday, January 20, 2018.  Let's remind Donald Trump that we disagree with him.

TRUMP: We’re going to win another four years for a lot of reasons...they basically have to let me win. 


Link to New York Times Interactive

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Salty & Sweet Car-Free Travel


We had a fantastic car-free November. Metrolink saved us from sitting in freeway gridlock, and welcomed our bicycles and our dog on board.

Sweet Santa Ana


Our packing list was kept simple: We brought lots of lights for our bicycles, three headlights and three taillights each bicycle.  We had 2 rear panniers each bicycle and 2 front panniers for one bike and 1 dog carrier for the other bike. 
Instead of a purse, I brought my camera bag. I brought two hair bows, which ended up being used as a belt and neckerchief. I had a half-shirt that I wore underneath the dresses. I wore an extra dress and yoga pants on the way down there. I felt like a few things were missing, but we made it despite.

Thanksgiving day, we biked to family's house using the Peters Canyon Trail and the San Diego Creek Trail (10.5 miles mainly on the Mountains to the Sea Trail & Bikeway). It was a bit warm, and the ride felt long, but by the time we arrived we were so relaxed and ready to enjoy catching up with family.

Black Friday we walked to have brunch at the "Yellow Basket" at the corner of Main & Dyer while scoping out the bus and bicycle traffic. We decided to stay inside during the remaining daylight and take OCTA buses to access downtown Santa Ana.

Route 55 took us from Halladay & Dyer to First & Main. The bus fare was $2 per person, if we had planned on being on buses all day, we could have purchased a day pass for $5 per person. We walked West to Broadway and then North to 2nd St and discovered a Promenade (which is where we spotted the map & directory below). We saw Grand Central Art Center, which was not open, but we peeked in the windows. There was a fountain and a few trees were decorated with lights.

There was a cute roundabout at 3rd and Bush street, which isn't even visible on Google Maps Satellite View yet. The upgrade was paid for by Active Transportation (ATP) funds from the State of California.  I definitely felt safe walking there, there were very bright streetlights that had a vintage look and the few cars that were entering/exiting the parking lot were traveling very slowly. There were secure bicycle parking facilities called Bike Huts, which require monthly or yearly membership, probably installed to support residents of the lofts in the downtown area.

We walked East through the alley between 3rd and 4th streets past some gorgeous murals towards the Yost Theater. We encountered another fabulous Promenade called "Fiesta Plaza."

We gave in to temptation to do some shopping and entered R&R Western Wear 'Casa Del Sombrero.' There were the blingingest shirts, belts, boots, and hats that you can imagine! We picked up one belt and 6 colorful bandanas. According to Yelp, R&R has been in Santa Ana for 58+ years! It felt great to support a small business instead of heading towards The District at Tustin Legacy, which we assumed would be packed with people (and speeding cars).  It felt great to do some walking and not have to worry about driving/parking our car, which we couldn't have done anyway since we didn't bring it.

Exiting R&R Western Wear on the North we walked to the corner of 4th and French St to take some pictures with the large decorated Christmas tree at Plaza Calle Quatro. The appearance of some gentrification along 4th Street became evident as we passed Wursthaus and mLovewell and were chased by some people from the Santa Ana Restoration Church asking for cash donations.

We passed The Frida Cinema and ducked into the 4th Street Market to take advantage of the public restrooms and free smells. The market had a cool space on its North side that had what looked like a kid's play area, a DJ and a bunch of picnic tables. I wanted to go in and play with the oversized Jenga blocks and Connect 4, but it was getting late and we had Thanksgiving leftovers to eat back in our hotel room.

There were so many awesome shops, restaurants and cultural venues in Downtown Santa Ana that I could have stayed longer, but we decided to end our walking tour there and took the OCTA 53 bus back to Main & Dyer (the Yellow Hat). I would love to return to Santa Ana on the night of an Art Walk (First Saturday of each month from 6pm-10pm) or the morning of a Farmer's Market (Sundays 10am-2pm on 2nd St Promenade).

This walking adventure was inspired by Jonathan Gold's LA Times supplement on the 101 best restaurants in LA. As I was thumbing through the glossy food photos, a phrase caught my eye, "newish restaurant row in downtown Santa Ana" and it must have stuck in my mind because when we extended our Thanksgiving Trip by an extra day, I knew I wanted to explore the area.

We biked from our house to the Northridge Metrolink station along Reseda Blvd and Parthenia St (2.2 miles). We took Train 116 to LA Union Station at 2:52pm. We took Train 686 to Tustin, arriving after the sunset at 4:49pm. We biked along Edinger Ave to Kensington Park Dr to Valencia Ave to Tustin Ranch Rd to Barranca Pkwy which turns into Dyer Rd (4.2 miles). There were bike lanes most of the way. 

Coming home we took Train 663 from Tustin to LA Union Station at 12:25pm. We took Train 265 to Sylmar/San Fernando arriving at 2:46pm. We biked along Hubbard St to Laurel Canyon Blvd to Rinaldi to White Oak to Devonshire to Reseda (8.3 miles). If there were weekend trains on the Ventura County Line, we could have biked fewer miles. Parthenia and Hubbard are not great for cycling, they could be improved with bike lanes.


Salty Santa Barbara


Contrasting the Santa Ana trip with our other November travel adventure, where we visited my sister at UC Santa Barbara on Veteran's Day, downtown Santa Ana is humble in comparison to downtown Santa Barbara.  In both cases we stayed at La Quinta Inn & Suites, due to their welcoming pet policy.


We took our car with us to Santa Barbara because it's not yet possible to take dogs on Amtrak and Metrolink only goes as far North as Ventura. It would be possible (in theory) to bike from Ventura up to Santa Barbara (32 miles) but since our 10 mile bike ride was more grueling than enjoyable, I don't see us biking our dog and loaded bicycles against the ocean headwind anytime soon.

In Santa Barbara, we walked from our hotel to Cantwell's Market & Deli for provisions. We took a short dog walk along State St from Arrellaga St to Anapamu St. In a future visit, I would definitely explore more of State St on foot or on bikes.  The hotel had free bike rental, which we didn't use. We did a longer walk to the Mission Santa Barbara, about 1 mile from our hotel.  It was a great feeling to climb that hill and look out over the ocean imagining what it was like for early California settlers.

We did an epic walk from my sister's hotel to the UCSB campus.  We headed South on Storke Rd and then East on El Colegio to a bike path along Ocean Rd. We passed Pardall Tunnel on the way to a scenic overlook at Ocean Rd and Del Playa Dr. We ate at Dumpling King, avoiding large chain restaurants nearby. Making our way back to the Courtyard by Marriott on Storke Road it was about a 4 mile round trip walk.

I had never fully appreciated the "party school" reputation of UCSB until that moment. This walk was on Friday night, under cover of darkness. We saw students coming up from the beaches with surfboards and students playing beer pong on the lawns of Camino Pescadero. There were bicycles outfitted with cages navigated by older men for collecting the beer cans and bottles left behind by party-goers. There were many students walking from house to house, and others cruising through the neighborhoods on bicycles. A few young people drove through in cars, but they were severely in the minority. For how can one find the party by following the music when car engines interfere?

Another fabulous walk was had the following morning. We tried to rent free bikes from her hotel, but they had only 2 and couldn't locate them at 6am when we wanted to borrow them. My sister and I walked North on Storke towards The French Press, which unfortunately did not open until 7am on Saturdays. We headed West on Hollister Ave and then South on Santa Felicia Dr.


Just past Best Buy, we smelled something wonderful. We thought it was coming from Costco, but as we got closer to the big-box retailer, the smell went away. We turned Northeast and followed our noses to Anna's Bakery which opens at 6am seven days a week. We got coffee, doughnuts and breakfast burritos, all of which were heavenly and fresh. They had outdoor seating and a steady stream of locals came through for their morning fix.

We passed through Girsh Park on the way back to the hotel. Also noteworthy was "Ice in Paradise" a skating rink. Although it would have been great to explore Santa Barbara by bicycle, we sure did see lots of sights on our walks.

If we went back to Santa Barbara, I would know that there are buses that we could have taken from downtown (State St) to the UCSB campus. If Amtrak allowed dogs, or if we were willing to bike 32 miles and travel only on weekdays, we could have done that trip car-free.


In conclusion


It was great to spend time in cities (Santa Barbara, Santa Ana) that have invested in bike lanes and improvements to make pedestrians feel welcome. These cities are walkable and bikeable, as evidenced by the many cyclists and pedestrians we saw during the day AND at night. It was great to be a tourist in these cities and spend some of my hard-earned money on these unforgettable experiences at small businesses. The sights and smells from the plants and sea air are giving me the energy to keep going and finish this semester strong!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Checking in

Thinking about hotels, hospitality, reception...places you want to stay for awhile.  Actually, I just wanted to post a blog before October is over!

This semester is really kicking my teeth in.  I'm sitting here looking at my to-do list and it's long and complicated.  There aren't any short & easy tasks!

I am making progress in many directions.  From my last post, I was writing about starting a garden.  Many of the plants are infected/infested and I'm not sure if any of them will survive.  I could treat them with horticultural oil, but it's not recommended for use above 100 deg F and believe it or not, we're still experiencing triple digit weather!


Because being extraordinary is exhausting!

And it's National Chemistry Week! #ChemistryRocks
We had a great time at CicLAvia http://www.ciclavia.org/ciclavia_hola17 on October 8th.  The next CicLAvia is coming up on December 10th along Wilshire Blvd.


It's always great to see streets filled with people and bicycles.  It's so quiet that you hear the chatter of human beings socializing and engaging in active transportation (happy) instead of the hum of engines and the rattle of automobiles (angry).

We're looking forward to seeing my sister on Veteran's Day weekend (less than 3 weeks)!  We're heading up to Santa Barbara, can't wait.

TAGS: American Chemical Society, career, chemistry, CicLAvia, community, cycling, distance, diversity, education, fall, family, goals, green, heat, hormones, Pasadena, Northridge, money, motivation, plants, statistics, science, Santa Barbara, teamwork, technology, teaching, travel, weight gain, Walk Bike Glendale, winning, women, writing, yoga,

Saturday, September 23, 2017

eLearning

I can't believe that soooo much time has passed since my last post. What went down was the eLearning Institute in July and then August...


A post shared by Kayla Kaiser (@hamerk02) on


Last weekend, I ended up clearing off the kitchen table and doing 7 loads of laundry, some of which went back to the impromptu drive to Nebraska to view the eclipse in its totality.

Photos of the eclipse don't really do it justice.  I made a painting that expressed more of what it felt like to actually be there and experience it in person.

Eclipse, baby!
It felt like the arms of the sun were reaching down and hugging me.  I'm on Earth standing down at the bottom of the rainbow.  In awe.

I painted that at the Reseda Blvd Summer Series... which came right after the eclipse.


It was a challenge to load those cube parts into the panniers of my mountain bike and ride it down there, then put it together in triple-digit heat. But after the sun went down, and my lights came on, things really got cool!  I didn't sell any of my artwork, but I did create 3 new pieces, so it was definitely a good event.  I really enjoyed the live music and all the positive energy from people walking by.  Other artists were inspired by my cubicle.

Green mandala

Climate change
We saw a couple of movies: An Inconvenient Sequel, which probably influenced the painting above.

'All Saints' was about a church community coming together, turning the land around their building into a profitable farm. Very apropos considering I'm getting involved with the Seed Library of Los Angeles and raising a new generation from seed.

Rosa Bianca eggplant
Zucchini grey
These aren't pictures from my garden, but those are seeds I borrowed from the SLOLA and have actually germinated.  They're in the nursery right now awaiting transplantation outdoors.


During the eLearning Institute, in July, I made the following "welcome video" for CHEM 100, then found out I was not only NOT teaching that class, but I was also moving my office.  So I guess the video can serve as a historical recording of what I was thinking and feeling in July in regards to where I thought I would be in September.  But where I'm at in September turns out to be pretty far away from where I thought I would be.  But I'm improving at letting go of my expectations and serving in whatever capacity I can.


I'm grateful to be part of a community of teachers and learners at CSUN and Pasadena City College. I'm working pretty hard this semester.  I just submitted our eLearning Project Prospectus, so I'm feeling some sense of closure on that commitment.  Monday, I'll be going into two other professors' classrooms to introduce our eLearning Project and ask for their participation (since I'm not teaching CHEM 100 this semester).  This will continue all semester and then we'll look at the data.

I'm teaching "SCI 100: Science for Life" as part of a cohort of professors. We had a great meeting yesterday to discuss commonalities among our courses and ways that we can emphasize what each other are teaching. I'm honored to be a part of this group of teachers and administrators who are focused on student success for first-generation college students that are a part of the Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP).

I'm making "Problem-Based Learning" (PBL) modules for my students at PCC based on conversations with Katie Rodriguez (Natural Sciences) and faculty from Dental Hygiene, Nursing, Physiology, Anatomy, and Nutrition. It's exhausting writing so much new content, but I do believe that students will benefit from the connections made between the course content and applications in their intended careers.

I had a great time connecting with faculty at the California Community College Success Network (3CSN) event "Creating Equitable Learning Environments through Growth Mindset & Interdisciplinary Apprenticeship." I learned about unstuffing the curriculum to create space for meaningful student growth. We discussed encouraging resilience in math teaching through offering assignment revisions.  Using this approach at Fullerton College, the percentage of students who submitted assignments increased from 20% to 80%.

WHY BE AN ORDINARY PROFESSOR WHEN YOU CAN BE EXTRAORDINARY? WHAT'S STOPPING YOU?


My mantra for this semester. eLearning = extraordinary learning.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Metro Bikeshare arrives in Pasadena

I have to write about my experience with Metro's bikeshare. I was totally pumped to try out the new docking station right in front of Pasadena City College, since I'll be teaching there again in the fall.  Here's what happened...

(1) I bought a 1 month pass online using a TAP card I already had.  A day later, I saw all the codes for one month free and felt like an idiot for paying.  ooops!

(2) It was easy to walk up to the kiosk, which sent a code to my phone, and borrow a bike.

(3) The bike was so heavy, the first thing I did was drop it.  ooops!

(4) I didn't realize the front basket was hinged.  It looked REALLY small and my bookbag didn't fit and I thought "Why did they equip these with such a pathetically small basket?"  Only upon returning the bike did I realize that I could've expanded the basket and fit my entire bag in there.  ooops!

(5) After I started pedaling, I had to stop twice to adjust the seat height.  I ended up leaving it at a 7, even though that was a wee bit too high for me.  The bike was SLOW and I wanted as much leverage as I could get. And I stopped in the middle of Del Mar Blvd to adjust the seat.  ooops!

(6) Then I realized that I had no idea where I was going.  I had no plan.  I didn't know where the bicycle network was.  I was rolling on a bike that wasn't mine through city streets with moving traffic and the bike was SLOW, did I mention that?  I wasn't lost, it just wasn't easy to locate preferred bicycle routes so I made a loop on streets with no bicycle infrastructure.  ooops!

HERE is where you can find/return Metro Bikeshare bikes
(7) Along Del Mar Blvd, some cars/trucks/vans didn't want to give me 3 feet.  Scary!  And even more scary to be on an unfamiliar and SLOW bike.  It's really hard to keep up with the speed of traffic.  Honestly I felt the safest on Walnut when I was taking the lane.  I guess it's OK that the bike is slow since I wasn't wearing a helmet, but a car could still have hit me going fast and I could have died.  ooops!



(8) Before arriving to Bikeshare, I read "Generally speaking, there are relatively few bike lanes on the busy arterial streets in Pasadena but there are some pretty mellow residential streets that are great for riding. If using Google Maps to navigate, you may enjoy taking a route that is a little longer but uses quieter residential streets." So I took one. But El Molino was as terrifying or possibly more so than the arterial because there was not enough space for cars to pass safely.   ooops!

(9) I was looking for stations to return the bike, but I didn't see any until I was back where I started. https://bikeshare.metro.net/stations/  Maybe a person has to get used to the network and where the stations are, and this familiarity will come with time, but I couldn't return that bike soon enough.  I was looking everywhere for a docking station.   ooops!

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(10) I'm confused... As for some ideas about how to use Metro Bike in Pasadena and where to ride: •Gold Line Allen Station to Pasadena City College — If you don’t want to ride on busy Allen, take the bike lane on Maple to Sierra Bonita to campus.
I don't see a bikeshare station at Gold Line/Allen, but I do see one at Gold Line/Lake.   ooops!

I'm not saying you should't try Metro Bikeshare for yourself... definitely try it.  But I do feel like Bikeshare is better suited to a bike path (Waterfront), like down by the beach.  When you don't have the infrastructure on your streets, it's just unsafe.  Maybe the map on The Source's website could be somehow attached to the bicycle or posted on the kiosk so that people can more easily locate a safe bike route.

It's kind of crazy to me that Metro is suggesting you use Google Maps to navigate when there's no place to put your phone.  Maybe if the bike had a built-in smartphone cradle, that would make sense.  It's hard enough to manage navigating an unfamiliar bike in an unfamiliar place.  Add to that navigating from a phone that you have to hold in your hand... that's a recipe for an accident.


Since I have a month pass, I'll try it again (maybe Downtown LA).  What I've been saying since the beginning of Bikeshare's launch is that it's safer to take your own bike.  It's cheaper too.  $20 x 5 will get you your own bike.  $20 x 30 will get you a pretty good bike.  I find it hard to see how bikeshare fills a gaping hole in the transit network.  And I fear that when/if Metro offers bikeshare ubiquitously they will try to ban bikes on trains.