November 21st, 2020

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Lift-Top Coffee Tables

For my mobility-challenged friends, here are some pieces of adaptive equipment that don't cost a fortune because they're made for ordinary people.

*  A lift-top coffee table.  In its offset position, the lift top creates a roll-under space intended for seated use. 

A drop-leaf kitchen cart or island.  With the drop(s) raised, it has roll-under space, which can be on the long or short side.  If there are two, they're usually on opposite sides, but occasionally you see a model with 3-4 leaves.  

Some of the better items have adjustable height.  Often they have wheels or sliders for easy movement.  You can use these in any room, for a lot more purposes than the intended ones.  If you need knee space, watch for other pieces of furniture that have a drop-leaf or extendable shelf. 

Do you have good handyskills?  If so, consider upcycling an old end table, coffee table, or small dresser to a more useful version.  A drop-leaf is among the simpler features to add.  Another option is to add a top that is wider and/or longer than the base.

If you know someone with mobility issues, especially new issues, something like this can make everyday tasks a lot simpler.  Keep it in mind for gift-giving season.
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Poem: "The Conditions of Your Selfhood"

This poem came out of the November 17, 2020 Bonus Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] mylittleangel and rix_scaedu. It also fills the "sense of body motion" square in my 11-1-20 card for the Sense-Ation Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. It belongs to the Not Quite Kansas series.

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Community Building Tip: Bike-friendly Districts

For my current set of tips, I'm using the list "101 Small Ways You Can Improve Your City.

49. Form a bicycle-friendly district. The city of Long Beach, California didn’t just want to encourage cyclists to frequent local stores and restaurants, it wanted to prove that people on bikes were good for small businesses. The bike-friendly business districts provide amenities for two-wheeled patrons like racks and discounts, and serve as hubs for the city’s growing bike network.

This is a great idea, and much more achievable than trying to upgrade a whole city at the same time.  Create centers of strength and grow from there.  Some good ways to start:

* Create a bike information hub.  Survey area attractions and list them: bike-friendly businesses, bike shops, bike racks, bus stops, showers/locker rooms, bike repair facilities, parks, and so on.  Include maps of bike routes that connect bike facilities, pass popular businesses, provide scenery, etc. with their respective distances.  If you want to get fancy, mark the routes with paint or signs.

* Put up bike racks.  1 car parking space = 10 bike parking spaces.  Use thematic bike racks to advertise businesses, or get custom ones with your town's logo.

* Tell business owners that bikers shop more locally and spend more money shopping than car drivers.  Encourage them to support bikers through things like a discount for customers who biked to the store.

* Provide somewhere for people to shower and change clothes.  This could be a dottie in an existing building, a freestanding showerhouse, a locker room a gym, etc.

* Amenities like a bike wash and repair station are quite small and will fit almost anywhere.  These are good choices for a park or a bike-friendly business.

* Make sure there are drinking fountains that include a bottle filler.  Everyone needs water, not just bikers.

* Start a bike club.  Connected bikers have more influence.

* Get listed as a bike-friendly community.  This will attract more participants and money.

* Once you have established two or more bike-friendly districts in your area, look for ways to connect them.  Can you put a bike lane along a connecting street, widen a sidewalk into a shared-use path, or convert an abandoned railway into a new transit lane?  Most crucially, connect your bike-friendly districts to your mass transit service(s).