I know this has nothing to do with cycling or commuting but I have been mesmerized by the video of this for the last hour.
Te Papa in New Zealand has a Colossal Squid that was accidentally caught by fisherman off the kiwi coast. Since catching these squids is so rare they are taking today to so some reasearch on it and they are showing it all live on webcam.
Luckily I got most of my work done this morning so I am able to catch a lot of this action.
ps: I promise to have more posts up soon. The wife's birthday was this weekend and so I've been busy with that, but I do have a bunch of stuff I want to comment on.
I know this has nothing to do with cycling or commuting but I have been mesmerized by the video of this for the last hour.
Great post about Earth Day over at Bike Nazi. The key part is his letter to the people of earth at the end.
Dear brothers and sisters:
Happy Earth Day!
If you've been paying attention, you realize that some folks who should know are very concerned about the health of our planet, and claim that human activity is causing climate change on a global scale.
We must recognize that legitimate science is constantly evolving as new discoveries are realized. However, we cannot dismiss the theory that we may indeed be contributing to global climate change. If it's true, it is a serious issue.
Regardless of whether we are changing the climate, we all can and should try to minimize our impact on the environment. The environmentalists describe it as living a "small-carbon-footprint" lifestyle. Long before "small footprint" became fashionable, I learned the concept of "leave no trace" in Boy Scouts. The best lifestyle is the one which impacts our environment the very least. (You can choose to disagree, but you would be wrong, at least from an environmental standpoint.)
If you're serious about it, every day should be "Earth Day" for you. (And every hour should be "Earth Hour.") Don't just profess "awareness" - talk is cheap! Commit to yourself to waste less. Send less stuff to the landfill. Use less power and water. Make
fewer trips in your motor vehicle. Evidence suggests the single most significant thing you can do to reduce your impact is to drive less. Seriously! (A bonus is that in most cases, a "low impact" lifestyle is also a less-expensive lifestyle.)
I realize that the vast majority of you can't even comprehend what I'm talking about. You don't have power or heat or motor vehicles. You don't send anything to the landfill. You depend on everything you can gather for mere survival. This message isn't for you. But if you're fortunate enough to have a dwelling place with heat and power, and a private motor vehicle, or several, this challenge is for you.
If your level-of-commitment is to wear a flannel shirt and Birkenstocks, and drive a Volvo (or even a Prius), and subscribe to Outside Magazine, and eat organic produce, and wring your hands and preach to the rest of us, please just SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!!!
Thanks, and have a groovy Earth
Last Saturday I did something I hadn't done before. I know this will come as a surprise, but it was biking to the store. Despite all my preaching about commuting by bicycle and how I dislike cars, I had never ridden to a store that was not within 2 miles of my residence. Sure, I had ridden to restaurants and attractions that were farther than that; and I ride or bus at least 4 times a week to work. But I hadn't been able to get over the last hurdle that would make not owning a car even possible, getting to and from a big box store in Mission Valley.
I didn't actually do that this weekend. What I did is prove that I could.
I happen to be into home brewing. I've been brewing for a few years. I enjoy the beer I make (actually more than most commercial beers) and I enjoy the process of making it. When my little brother turned 21 this year, I got him set up to brew as well. This included giving him my brew kettle (a very large pot) because I was going to replace mine. Needless to say, I haven't yet and if I was going to brew I was going to need to borrow 'his.' So that meant a trip up to his house.
His house is just a mile or so south of UCSD, while I live a mile or so west of SDSU. Usually it is about a 20 minute drive to his place, but like I mentioned, I'm not real big on driving right now. So I headed out to the trolley on my bike (stupidly forgetting my water bottle) and learned about public tranportation on the weekends. First, the trains and busses don't come as often and all the routes aren't running, which I expected. The trolley, which I didn't expect but do understand, runs with less cars (2-3 instead of 4). What I didn't expect was the large amount of people on the trolley. I'm talking about having to discuss with people where you are going so that while the trolley is moving you could shift people around towards the door crowded.
Anyway, got to my stop, got down to my bus and rode the bus up to his place. Sat and talked with him for a bit, met the new kittens, picked up the large pot and headed out. Things I learned there were, that I can fit the pot on my rack and that a 22 oz. beer bottle fits perfectly in my bottle cage. (He had made a beer that I hadn't tried yet and I needed to get it home.)
From there I bussed over to the home brew store to get my ingredients. Put them inside the pot and rode back over to the trolley. At this point with nine pounds of syrup in the pot the ride started to get a little rough. Fortunately, there is only about 4 blocks of riding between the store and my place (not counting trolley and bus rides).
All in all it was a great trip and I am confident that I can get to and from Costco or Target when I need to without driving.
What are your big hurdles to riding everywhere you go?
For Earth Day, I give you a bunch of stories about public transportation:
WCAX TV (Vermont)
Business Wire India
The Daily Cardinal (UW Madison)
Contra Costa Times
And a story from the Morgan Hill Times about the city's new online carbon calculator. (You can check it out here). According to the calculator (and my best guesses for the answers). My wife and I have a footprint of about 4.5 tons per year. Not too bad, but could be better.
Post your amounts in the comments below.
- Free Clif bars (seriously, I ate like 5)
- Talked to a ranger from Cuyamaca State Park. She said they are almost done rebuilding the bathrooms at my favorite campsite (Paso Picacho Group Camps) after the Cedar Fire in 2004. They still have some trees they need to cut down (they are a danger to fall on people) before they open up. Depending on funding the camps could be open at the end of this summer, but almost certainly by next spring
- The fantastic bike valet job done by the San Diego County Bike Coalition. They make it so easy to go and not worry about locking up your bike.
- Got some info about the California Native Plant Society and the Food Not Lawns group. Both groups are things I've been looking into myself.
- A-16 had a list of local weekend backpacking treks with elevation and difficulty. Pretty stocked about that one. (Especially since the wife gets sad every time she sees her backpack that she has never used even though she bought it a year ago.)
- Did I mention free Clif bars? Cause I brought 2 home with me.
- The 5(!!!) different anti-abortion booths. The ones with the giant pictures of aborted fetuses. While I disagree with them, I agree with their right to freedom of speech, however, have some candor. This was a family event and it was event for Earth Day, not a pro-choice rally. Bad form.
Always good to see the US park service (I believe) out in force. The kids really got a kick out of the stuffed cats (most of which had been seized by US Customs from people trying to bring them back in from other countries).
This is the Bamboo Van down in the Eco-autos part of the fair. This van is a little disingenious however, it is simply a Chevy van covered with pieces of bamboo. It does extoll the virtues of bamboo for many uses however, so that is redeeming. I was just looking forward to seeing how the van could be made completely from bamboo.
Lots and lots of dogs there today. Seriously, tons of them. These were the biggest.
I was stunned at the number of people attending. I'm sure the website from the last post will have a total count or estimate at some point, but the place was packed and between in the incredible number of bikes at the bike valet (courtesy of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition) and the crazy amount of traffic on the roads around the park I'd say there were quite a few people present.
Go ahead, ask the puppet. Not sure what this was for, but the whole crew got a good laugh out of it.
The sign there reads (and I couldn't make this up) Gothic Volunteer Alliance of San Diego. So for all the goths out there that read this blog. You should join up and allow your, ummm, sadness and pain to help you make San Diego a better place.
First off a story that surprised me: The Oregonian reports that the Oregon governor will celebrate Earth Day by walking to work. Yes, all the way. All 1.8 miles. Holy cow, way to make a statement Gov. Kulongoski!
New York's Police Museum is hosting a Bike Safety Day on May 17th. If you are in New York, should be a good time. Reported by NYC Official City Guide.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that the public busses are getting overly full due to rising gas prices. The best part is that the legislature just ended session after rejecting the governor's budget proposal which included $13.3 million for new busses.
I’ve been mulling over the idea of pedelec bikes for the last few days. For those of you that don’t recall, pedelec bikes are bicycles with electric assist motors. You still have to pedal, just not as hard or as much. I posted this in a news roundup and there is another story now on engadget.com.
My initial reaction was: “NO! Nononononono. No. No. That is not the point of cycle commuting!” Being electric means they are still using electricity. And seeing as most electricity still comes from coal or oil that means that the pedelecs still pollute, indirectly. Futhermore, the second best part of cycle commuting is the health benefits, which you lose most of on a pedelec. Really though, the last thing I need is to have to deal with pedelecs trying to run me off the road as well as autos.
After awhile though, I started to like the idea. All I needed to do was realize that this product wasn’t for me. I don’t need to go get an electric bike, I can still ride my analog one. What this will do is get more people out on bikes. Will it use electricity? Sure, but these users would be in cars anyway and the bike, even if electric is far better for the environment (and traffic).
The pedelecs offer health benefits too. Just getting people out into the fresh air will be good for them. Even pedaling a little is better than pushing a gas pedal. Most importantly it will help build community. One of the best things about cycle commuting is talking to other people on bikes (something that rarely happens in cars). Studies have shown that people are happier and healthier if they are part of a community.
All in all, I think electric bikes are going to be a good thing. It will get more people out on bikes. Which is what we all want, isn’t it?
Via Cyclotherapy Blog:
Carlton Reid, the founder of BikeBiz, an online bicycle industry magazine, has put together a great video that goes over the names of all the parts on a bicycle. Set to bike sounds, put together by composer Greg Johnston, the video shows each part of a bike from multiple angles and gives you the name. Reid says that he hopes the video "explains some bike jargon to newbies to cycling."
I tried to embed the video in this blog for your ease of use, but it somehow caused my browser to crash both times. So click on the link to the Cyclotherapy Blog at the top of this post to see this fantastic video.
The high price of oil is a serious economic downer with regressive implications
for the poor and working class, all the world over, but it's also the best
incentive we've got for forcing conservation, improvements in energy efficiency,
and investment in alternate energy technologies. And that's how you prepare for
the age of peak oil, not to mention attempt avoiding the disruptions threatened
by climate change.
It struck me as exactly how I feel about oil, driving and innovations. I know it is gonna hurt, but I cannot see making it hurt more in the future by making it hurt less now. It makes much more sense to tackle the root of the problem so that at some point in the future there won't be any pain at all.
Not much today. Here is a story about a city's plan to teach cyclists to lock their bikes (to keep them from being stolen) by locking them up themselves. Somehow I doubt they also drive around putting boots on people's autos to help keep them from being stolen.
And for the most despicable story of the...well as long as I've been blogging. Two reports (here and here) about a cyclist getting hit by joyriders (the car was found later a few blocks away on fire). The despicable part is that drivers on the road simply drove around him and likely in one case over him (breaking his legs) ignoring the fact that he was dying. By the time a pedestrian noticed and called for help, he was dead.
This is why I hate cars! Inside a car you feel insulated from society and your fellow man. It is very easy in a car to blow past people lying in the road or even just people with a flat on the side of the road (I'll admit that I'm guilty of this too). On a bike, I've never passed someone who might be in trouble without stopping to see if they need help. And every time I've been stopped on the side of the road fixing a flat, no cyclist has passed me without offering help.
Today's first story is a great article from worldchanging.com about how suburban housing isn't as cheap as you think. They link to a map by the Housing and Transit Affordability Index that graphically shows what housing costs when you figure in a daily commute to the main part of town. Turns out living in the McMansion in the burbs costs a lot more than living the city.
Then 2 great stories about communities supporting bicycling and public transport. First a new free rent a bike program on the campus of Ohio State University available to students, faculty and staff. Story by way of The Lantern of Ohio State University. Secondly is a story about the Capital District Transportation Authority of Albany, New York giving away 5000 free transportation passes that can be used on April 22nd. The Times-Union also mentions that the passes can then be planted because they are imbedded with wild flower seeds.
Next, The Minnesota Daily reports on the acquittal of Augustin Ganley on charges of assaulting a police officer. Ganley was participating in a Critical Mass ride and was one of 19 people arrested. The officer accused him of yelling at him and then throwing a punch. Many riders had cell phone cameras that were taking video of the event which proved pivotal to the defense.
And finally we give you this, a story about a unicycle being stolen from the circus.
Got my bike out of the shop this weekend. I love how it rides right out of the shop, so smooth and quick braking. The wife and I rode what will become her route to work so that she could get a feel for it, find out how long it takes, etc. Pretty good ride, similar to the route I took last year when I was working in the same area. Stopped at Jamba Juice before turning and coming back and generaly just enjoyed the sunshine and company.
We also stopped at Home Depot and picked up some seeds for our container garden. So far we have a standard tomato plant some sage seeds planted and some strawberry seeds planted. We picked up some basil, thyme and cherry tomato seeds. The basil we’ll be planting in shifts so that we have some all summer long. The cherry tomatos we’re going to plant in a hanging container and have the vines and tomatoes hang from the pot instead of needing to cage them.
Got to ride to work again today, felt pretty good, although I was still a little saddle sore from yesterday’s ride. Made much better time than I expected too, so that’s fun. Also, I might have convinced the new guy at work to give our transit system a try.
There has been a lot of talk recently about how media is covering the recent auto and bicycle collisions.
Tuscon Bike Lawyer talks about it on their blog often. A few other blogs talked about it recently.
To prove their point, I found the following two articles on the same tragic accident in Concord, NH:
WMUR leads their story with:
CONCORD, N.H. -- Concord police said a 6-year-old boy died after being struck by
a pickup truck at Meadow Brook Apartments on Sunday.
While the Union Leader leads with:
CONCORD – A 6-year-old died yesterday after the bicycle he was riding collided
with a pickup truck.
Do you see the difference? Here I'll show you:
CONCORD, N.H. -- Concord police said a 6-year-old boy died after being
struck by a pickup truck at Meadow Brook Apartments on Sunday.
CONCORD – A 6-year-old died yesterday after the bicycle he was riding
collided with a pickup truck.
I'm sure the bicycle really was just tired of being ridden around by a little boy, its lifelong dreams of racing the Tour de France slowly fading away and decided to end it all.