Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Lunch at Lion’s Tap in Eden Prairie - Focus on one thing and do it really well. Good hamburgers!
Bike Shop Tour - One On One Bicycle Studio, Freewheel Bike, Behind Bars Bicycle Shop
J&B Distributors/Genuine Innovations product presentation – cool, I actually use some of these products…and free pizza!
Velodrome: National Sports Center, Blaine! – We made it for the final event, a 50-lap points race. After missing the first sprint and then missing out on the lead group, it was a pretty dramatic as the eventual winner worked his way back into the race and won the final three sprints to win the race.
Day 2 and 3
24 Hours of Afton –
The Worst – The Me, I wasn’t nearly as good as last year. The Rain, it rained Friday leading up to the race, the course improved as the race went on, but I had first lap and I let that set the tone for my race. The Bike, it turns out running the bike into the garage with a car isn’t such a great thing to do before a race. I rode with a blown air seal on my front suspension, which wasn’t fun.
The Best – The Light, CatEye Triple Shot LED Headlight, LED you’ve come a long way baby. Sold. The Company, this was the sixth year for the team at Afton and it’s always a nice way to get away with these guys. The Finish, the goal for us at this race is to still be running at the end, and we met that goal.
Days Inn Minneapolis – turns out when I booked the motel through Yahoo! Travel I requested a smoking room. The motel wouldn’t do anything for me, Yahoo! wouldn’t do anything for me. Two $60 showers later and I’ve booked my last time using Yahoo! Travel.
24 Hours @ The Stone Arch Bridge – this was a very cool, pretty low-key event. We spent an hour sitting on the Stone Arch Bridge listening to a drone quartet and looking at Minneapolis bicycle culture as it rode by on the bridge.
Hampton Inn Bloomington – non-smoking room, ‘nuff said.
Return home, but lock the keys in the car and change a flat tire just to make the trip home seem adventuresome.
Multi-occupant Auto: 5
Single occupant Auto: 0
My Car Miles: 0
This was another road trip week. This time it was for my sixth annual trip to the 24 Hours of Afton Mountain Bike Race at the Afton Alps Ski Resort near St. Paul, Minnesota. Thursday to Sunday I was out of town and in a car. These counts are for Monday to Wednesday, I didn't do counts during the time I was away.
There was a MinusCar Project positive as four of us piled our gear into a single vehicle for the trip. In years previous this group of four might have meant two or three vehicles on the road. The main reasoning behind the group drive was to save money on gas. The Minus Car Project will take reductions in green house gasses however they come. Thank you high gas prices.
Bicycle Training: 5.25 hours
My Car Miles: 0
This looks good, but the reality is that The Wife's Car was traveling 1500 miles while my car sat lonely at home.
Bicycle Training: 0 hours - I didn't ride on vacation either.
Multi-occupant Auto: 5
Single occupant Auto: 8
My Car Miles: 112
This was another high mile week. The key to minimizing the use of a car is to plan ahead, and 112 miles on the car speaks volumes about how well we planned ahead for the family vacation. Friday, Saturday and Sunday (when we left) had me in the car alone for 6 trips as I gathered up items we'd need and completed tasks before our departure.
Bicycle Training: 3.6 hours
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
My car remains in the shop for seat belt work, and I didn't record the miles for the week before leaving it with them. I'm pretty sure that I won't be overly proud of the numbers for that week.
Scoring for the vacation week unofficailly shows zero miles driven and zero training hours because I didn't ride or drive my car on vacation.
The new bus schedule, routes and rules go into effect Thursday. Life will change. I'd better figure out how I'm getting to work after Thursday.
School starts Monday, which officially ends the MinusCar Project. Is this the end? Probably not.
0 times in years previous I've tried to fit my car and my bike into the garage at the same time.
3 times this year. 3 times this year. 3 times this year.
One of them today.
Unbelievable...and yes it's all the MinusCar Project's fault because I've dropped the habit of parking in the driveway.
Chad at the LBS assures me that a handlebar replacement is the only necessity, which is good because I have a rather important ride soon.
Oh, and more new parts for the roof carrier.
Happy Birthday Chad!
Monday, August 22, 2005
I'm still not sure if he knows about the blog, but this I know for sure, the MinusCar Project approves of high gas prices because that guy may have walked all of four blocks to lunch today.
Here's what we did:
John Deere World Headquarters, Moline, IL
Dinner at The Machine Shed, Davenport, IA
John Hancock Observatory
Dinner in Millenium Park
Wendella Sunset Boat Tour w/ Navy Pier Fireworks from Lake Michigan
Navy Pier: Children's Museum, 150ft Ferris Wheel, Other
Dinner at Hilary's Urban Eatery
Illinois Railway Museum, Union, IL
Dinner with family downtown Greendale
Visit downtown Greendale including Reiman Publications Visitor Center
Lunch at the Solid Gold McDonalds
Milwaukee Irish Fest including performance by The Curtis Crossroads Band (family)
While in Chicago we stayed in The Two Urns Bed and Breakfast in the Wicker Park neighborhood. This provided us easy access to bus and train routes, which allowed us to minimize driving. One day we drove into the city to avoid a three block walk through the B&B's neighborhood at 11pm at night after the Navy Pier fireworks. We paid $27 to park the car for 10 hours and used public transport from there. Another day I drove a mile to a grocery store at night for food for the allergy challenged The Boy 3.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
They go on to mention that Tyler Hamilton, a technology reporter for the Toronto Star blogs alternative energy on Clean Break. I'll be adding this one to my regular visits.
He sent me this fish tale - "Somebody from a passing car threw a fish at me and hit me. It mussed up my shirt, pants, and lunch bag."
I've been unable to verify the size of the fish, and yes, the car got away.
Looks like someone from big oil is poking around getting a feel for what the word on the Internets is. They spent almost half an hour reading. They came here through the Oil Is For Sissy's Blog. I wonder what exactly the assigned task was? I hope they come back...and maybe enlighten me.
Another "nail in the naysayers' coffin" says Betsy Mason of the Contra Costa Times. Newly corrected data adds evidence that global warming is real. I can't help but think of how much "corrected data" sounds like manipulated data.
And finally, the AP's Tim Malloy reports that an electrical engineer in California has modified his Toyota Prius to get 250mpg. The Lincoln Journal Star gets the link because of its headline, "Car culture revived: Tinkerers getting 250 mpg from hybrids." It seems a bit of a stretch to suggest that car culture was already in need of reviving or that one tinkerer with a big battery will revive it.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
8/8 – 8am – Home to Depot – 4 aboard, 1 pickup, 1 drop
8/5 – 4pm – Depot to Home – 1 aboard, 4 pickups, 3 drops
8/4 – 8am – Depot to Work – 8 aboard
8/4 – 8am – Home to Depot – 1 aboard
8/3 – 4pm – Work to LBS – 6 aboard
8/3 – 8am – Depot to Work – 3 aboard
8/3 – 8am – Home to Depot – 1 pickup
8/2 - 12pm - LBS to Work - 13 aboard, 1 pickup, 1 drop
8/2 - 11am - Work to LBS - 8 aboard, 2 drops
8/2 – 8am – Depot to Work – 4 aboard
8/2 – 8am – Home to Depot – 1 aboard, 1 pickup
The Bike – steel framed mountain bike with 2-inch wide slick tires at 60 psi. Mountain bikes are an unconventional choice for riding that far, but I love this bike. I could nap on this bike and it would still get me where I mean to go.
The Worst – there was a particularly busy four-way stop intersection on the edge of the finishing town that also happened to have very poor course markings. I stopped nearby to chat with some people about the lack of markings and watched the variety and creativity of the riders as they for better or worse navigated the required left turn. There were bikes everywhere. Thankfully everybody seems to have made it through without contact. Sadly and surely, from a driver’s perspective, the chaos was unnecessary and unwelcome.
The Irony – mountain bikes on rides like these sometimes elicit strong opinions from other riders. There are the experienced road riders who “know better” than to ride 100 miles on such a bike and they expect you should know better too. There are also the inexperienced riders on their ill-fitting bikes who express a mixture of admiration and pity, being glad and relieved that at least the tires they had tech support fill with air this morning before the tour were skinny. I quickly developed a standard response of “I knew what I was getting into” for those who were willing to express these opinions to me.
So I found it completely and utterly inronical when the man with the wobbly rear wheel (hopefully he broke spokes during the day and was just trying to finish as opposed to having started the ride like that) and the wheels that still tracked in different directions anyway, even if the wobble were to be fixed (could it be a bent frame?) rode up to me at the previously mentioned intersection. After catching his balance (he almost fell over as he stopped, seriously, I even put my arm out to try to catch him) said, “I can’t believe you’d ride that bike on this tour.”
The Conversation – another guy rolled up behind me and the typical small talk ensued. “Hi. My ride is going fine. Yes you’ve seen me on the city bike trail. Yes I ride a lot. Yes I’m riding a mountain bike. No, I haven’t decided if I’m riding the century loop; after the ride I still have to ride to my in-laws. No, I’m not having them pick me up. No, I’m not really into the car thing. No, I haven’t been arrested for DWI.”
...arrested for DWI. Here's why this conversation turns into a good story. I said at the beginning that "suspended license" is a first thought for lots of people when they see someone headed to work on a bicycle.
“I’m concerned about green house gasses. No, I still think the bicycle beats hydrogen and solar powered cars. I’m one of the 14 bus riders in Sioux Falls. I use my bike and the bus to reduce my automobile usage by 350 miles a month. A typical day has me riding on the bike trail home from work.” At this point the guy decides he can’t keep the pace and excuses himself. He said hey to me at the finish line so I figure he doesn’t think I’m totally crazy…just a little crazy.
Monday, August 08, 2005
Multi-occupant Auto: 6
Single occupant Auto: 5
My Car Miles: 200 (that’s not a typo)
It was a week full of poor planning, error and many miles of driving, but everyone survived.
The Boy 7 and his friend attended another camp downtown this week. Monday and Friday were my days to pick up. Both days I biked from work, met the boys, explored downtown for 30 minutes then boarded the bus for home. Both days involved single occupant trips in the car for mobile bus stops. In all the excitement of Monday’s trip home it finally happened…we exited the bus and headed for the nearby car and I walked away from the bus, leaving my bike behind. Thankfully, the driver alerted me. Friday as I waited with my bike at the morning stop I arrived at the realization that I would need a car to get the three of us home. Ride home, get the car, leave the car and ride to work after having long since missed the bus.
After a long hard summer for The Race Bike, Wednesday it was finally intact enough for real use. Early in the summer we replaced the hydraulic disc brake system with a substitute that hopefully will work a little better below 50 degrees. Shortly after that we sent the front suspension away for some factory repair. I used the car for mobile bus stop so that I could ride the repaired bike home and was I woefully unprepared for that. Here is a list of what went wrong: the clipless shoes I brought didn’t match the clipless pedals on the bike, I brought a half pair of gloves, and I purchased Gatorade to fill my bottle but the bike didn’t have a cage to hold the bottle. It’s a wonder I made it home.
The two other trips and 187 of the 200 miles are attached to a very hard day for the MinusCar Project, yet a very normal and happy day for the life of most people. I traveled 90 miles away to Ponca State Park in Nebraska, for some off-road bicycling. This trip required that I fill the car with gas for the first time since May 25th. Of course, it was a fun trip, good company, and very nice riding.
Bicycle Training: 17.5 hours
Like it or not Kyocera has a parking lot in San Diego covered with solar panels. "Kyocera today announced that it will hold a public dedication for its first-ever Solar Grove(TM); an array of 25 "solar trees"(TM) that converts a 186-vehicle parking lot into a 235-kilowatt solar electric generating system..."
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Shopping Central in my mind is like a minefield. In Shopping Central, IF you can find a place marked for pedestrians to cross the street, you’ll also find a countdown timer attached to the light so the elderly know not to bother to try to cross, and the brave peds know exactly when the point of impact is going to be. Although they only rode near it, Shopping Central contains the busiest intersection in the state.
And his son, DDD(2) gets it too, “the next time mom needs groceries, if there isn't to many to get...we should bike to HyVee.”
Nice job guys. Much love.
To bed at midnight and up at 5:30am to get to day 1 of the local MS150 Tour. Waking up like this is good practice for the upcoming 24 hour race, except The Wife doesn’t come to the race and I was sleeping through my alarm until she jostled me awake. Thanks dear. I rode to the ride, rode the ride, and then rode to the in-laws after the ride. Seven hours and 98 miles later I was reunited with my family and it didn’t feel so good in the shower trying to keep my sore spots away from the stinging water.
I skipped day 2 of the MS150 so I could hook up with Uncle Albers, Eggsnbacon, and Rotsap Rekced for a trip to Ponca State Park in Nebraska. It was hot. Early in the ride I broke my chain and unlike the previous broken chain experience I knew where my tools were. In spite of that, any time spent playing in the dirt is still a good time. Rekced and I left the other two in Ponca and came home after maybe just an hour of riding.
Here’s the endless view from the bluff at Ponca. The white spot is a boat.
A not at all happy story about a dad and two boys struggling but surviving after the death of their mother. Along comes dad's brother wearing sheep's clothing. He wants something and is ultimately willing to kill for it. The two brothers must survive to face the evil that is their family.
8/3 - Criss Angel's Mindfreak on A&E
In 1998 Criss Angel and Klay Scott worked together on Angeldust: Musical Conjurings from World of Illusion. It was a soundtrack to accompany Criss Angel's stage production and a VERY good CD. Since then I've seen Criss in the media just often enough to know that he's still performing and aparently making a living. Wednesday his new A&E TV show was featured in the USA Today. I watched. I was entertained. I'll probably watch again.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Interesting, MapQuest reveals the distance from work to meet The Wife and work to the LBS are within .02 miles, in mirror image opposite directions.
I observed a stroller locked to a bus stop bench with a bike lock. Hopefully the passenger realizes strollers are allowed on the bus and the stroller was still in one piece when they returned.
As I walked I thought about tracking statistics for drivers who block sidewalks while exiting parking lots only to reverse back into the parking lot when they realize they’re not going to be able to enter the street before blocking an oncoming pedestrian. By the end of the walk I realized there’d be too many to count. The experience causes me to contemplate which activity I perceive to be more dangerous: cycling on the road or walking on the road (sidewalk). I’m often tempted to climb in and out through the car’s back doors instead of walking around it.
We ate at Long John Silver’s. It’s been a lot of years since I’d done that. I’m amazed that LJS survived Hardee’s. A quick survey at work revealed 90% had never partaken of the LJS deep fried goodness (by goodness I mean not very goodness at all), and 10% may have eaten there maybe once in the last 10 years. Their website reveals in 2002 they became friends with some pretty deep pockets. Deep enough I suppose to carry them through to the next lenten season.
It will be another 10 years before I eat there again.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Transit General Manager Nardini says this, "What we'd like the opportunity to do, through travel training and adjusting their schedule, is to make it just as good or a little better." Maybe a reason why people get grumbly is they're having to rearrange their lives because the Transit General Manager has set for himself such a lofty target.
Here's the part about me: "...the number of riders already is up about 1 percent from last year, which he attributes in part to the addition of bicycle racks on buses this spring. The number of riders per hour stands at 14, a number Nardini said could soon rise to 15..."
I guess this makes me 1 percent.
8/1 – 8am – Depot to Work – 6 aboard
8/1 – 8am – Home to Depot – 2 aboard, 1 pickup
7/29 – 1pm – Depot to Work – 15 aboard, 1 pickup
7/29 – 8am – Depot to Work – 7 aboard, 2 drops
7/29 – 8am – Home to Depot – 1 aboard, 1 pickup
7/28 – 8am – Depot to Work – 8 aboard
7/28 – 8am – Home to Depot – 3 aboard, 1 pickup
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
I understand last night our city council approved the proposed bus route changes; originally scheduled to be in place by August 1 it sounds like the new target is August 25. I haven't seen anything officially documented yet. The changes are being brought about by a new bus transfer station built near shopping central.As a bus rider it feels interesting to have to plan my job arrival and departure around new decisions made by committees and advisory boards. I chose not to be involved in this process mainly because it began long before I started the MinusCar Project, but also because I have other priorities and methods of transport. Unfortunately many of my fellow passengers were equally uninvolved and are much more dependant on bus transport than I am.
Today I spent some time reviewing the proposed changes. Assuming I’m reading the most recent iteration the best thing will be my route moves from 2 miles away to less than a half mile away from my home. This greatly increases the likelihood that the MinusCar Project will successfully continue through winter.
The worst change comes with after work downtown departure times: and are the choices. Leaving work an hour early or and hour late to meet the bus seems a little off to me, however rider statistics (which I’ve posted here) might explain the lack of need for something more regular. I guess if a person misses the they might as well catch a and go shopping by the new transfer station instead of waiting downtown for 90 minutes. It’s also true that a bus arrives near my work around which will be quite reasonable for me to take home; it just won’t allow me to go downtown.
Here's an article about John Deere and their plans to invest $60 million in wind energy projects this year.
And the Cleverchimp mentions the bikescape blog post featuring James Howard Kunstler. Kunstler is no optimist so if you've got a high level of anxiety about the future like I do consider avoiding these links. I listened to and rather liked the bikescape podcast and read this TruthOut article which ends:
"If there is any positive side to stark changes coming our way, it may be in the benefits of close communal relations, of having to really work intimately (and physically) with our neighbors, to be part of an enterprise that really matters and to be fully engaged in meaningful social enactments instead of being merely entertained to avoid boredom. Years from now, when we hear singing at all, we will hear ourselves, and we will sing with our whole hearts."
Today he writes about Gary McKinnon, a British hacker who found his way into unprotected US military computers. This story was new to me. I went the Google route on the guy and read this Guardian article about him.
He is allergic to wheat and dairy so there is very high risk associated with him choosing his own food.
Here's what he made...
...he ate all of it.
In other food news, Mother's Brand cereal from Quaker has Cocoa Bumpers (think Cocoa Puffs) that are wheat and dairy free. It's always nice to have these products added to the market. Recently Kellogg's put wheat in Corn Pops, not only one of his favorites, but also the last Kellogg's Cereal without wheat.
Monday, August 01, 2005
Multi-occupant Auto: 10
Single occupant Auto: 3
My Car Miles: 9
While single occupant auto trips are higher than I'd like, the 9 miles put on my car this week indicates it was probably used exclusively as a mobile bus stop. Usually I like to report the specific need for single occupant trips but I can't remember them.
This week also included a special first of its kind family MinusCar trip to a nearby birthday party.
Bicycle Training: 2.3 hours
After the big crash on Wednesday I put bicycle training on hold. If I were a participant in sports requiring rapid direction changes I might be inclined to visit an orthopede, but I don't so I'm not. The knee feels pretty good, I've continued to be able to use the bicycle as transport which makes me happy.
But what about the hip? A Friday family walk amongst the sculptures in the downtown area revealed to me that I also injured the hip that is connected to the knee. Since Friday the sore hip has been making sleep difficult because it wakes me up and wants me to change positions.
I plan to resume training this week.
Eh, yeah it's funny. I'm not much for Saturday Night Live talent making their way into movies.
7/28 - Deadwood: Season 1: Episodes 1-2 ****
I don't like Westerns, therefore I was prepared to not like this series. Half way through the DVD I was thinking it was good and worth finishing but I probably wouldn't need to continue with the next disc. At the end of the second episode I couldn't believe it was ending. I needed to know what was next. I like Deadwood.
Much has been said about the naughty language in this series and much of what has been said is true. For me, the language wasn't much of a distraction. I remember one section of naughty dialog striking me as unlikely, but other than that I was fully able to engage the story and let the dialog flow.
Deadwood will be back on this list.
(5 star scale)