Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Planning Hatches

The MinusCar Project was in full effect last week.

Bike miles - 81.9
Car miles - 26
Week's average high temperature - 36F

Wednesday was a particularly good day. 30 miles.

Meeting #1 - Metropolitan Planning Organization Citizen Advisory Committee - all in favor, "I". I learned about The City's pavement management program and watched a very familiar video about the new city bicycle facilities.

Meeting #2 - Museum of Visual Materials - are we still friends? Is Bike To Work Day 2009 still on your calendar? Can we start meeting in January? Affirmative. I can almost taste the pancakes.

Meeting #3 - well I ain't riding downtown at dinner time without stopping at Mama's Ladas and enjoying some of Mama's Ladas. It was a meeting with destiny.

Meeting #4 - Metropolitan Planning Organization Bicycle Planning Meeting - I'm not sure what's more important, developing a plan to connect all the nearby communities via on-street and off-street bicycle facilities or sitting in a room for a couple hours with planning administrators from all the nearby communities plus federal and state highway admins.

Friday - time off work for good behavior. Took the long route to the less than local multiplex and enjoyed a portion of Quantum of Solace before work decided my behavior hasn't really been all that good.

Saturday #1 - non bicycle related meeting that featured two riders even though there was an inch of fresh snow on the ground. I call the other rider The Dad, and I enjoyed accompanying him back home.

Saturday #2 - rolled into the annual lighting of The Falls event with three other well lit riders. Woot!

Sunday - how about some urban singletrack? Met with 10 guys tired of driving 40 minutes to ride on a poor crushed asphalt excuse for off-road dirt.

Get that? Reduce driving miles? Have a place to ride that's fun? Add value to the local cycling community? Plan stuff? Sounds like a job for - The MinusCar Project. I'm in. Engage. A plan is hatching.

If I don't see you before Thanksgiving I won't see you till December.

Ride your bike, drink some coffee, then ride your other bike.

Monday, November 24, 2008

“Let Families Decide"

…is the organized mantra for those opposed to the most recent South Dakota legislative solution to reduce or eliminate abortions.

This morning I was cut off by a fellow citizen. As I waited behind them at the red light queue, after briefly attempting to occupy the same space on the roadway, I took the opportunity to enjoy and ponder their vast array of informative bumper stickers. Apparently I share many of their political preferences. I terribly regret not getting a cell phone photo of the car for you dear reader.

I would like to point out however, that we seem to have sharply differing views on the need to clear frost from vehicle windows.

I suppose I just can’t fully understand the situation given that I simply blink and my windows become frost free. They were probably late for work and getting to that red light ahead of me may have seemed really important just moments prior.

As they pushed me out of my lane I keenly observed the completely frost blinded passenger side windows and understood I was out of sight and (probably) out of (my) mind. As I waited behind them and peered through the Venetian blind effect of the just recently activated rear window defrost I realized this truth…

I strongly support your right to choose for yourself how you clear frost from your windows – but at the same time I strongly urge you to please give your decision the thoughtfulness and gravity a life and death decision deserves.

I'm just saying.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

SatTEDday: Further Proof...

I found a TED Talk that offers further proof that minus is indeed the new plus.

In this "The paradox of choice" talk Psychologist Barry Schwartz argues the reality that more choice leads to less happiness. If you're like me you'll be shocked by the inner dissonance this grand statement brings - "the key to happiness is lower expectations."

The paradox is fascinating. One whose time has come. If you've got 20 minutes -

If you only have 6 minutes - The Boys really like this one (and I do to) -

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Two More Working Days Till Monday

1. I think it's funny - every four years the news stories report the losing party in the presidential election is so far gone there's no hope for it to recover.

This is Sunday's news shows in 4 minutes. I can summarize that in eleven words.

How much trouble is the GOP in? None. Some. A lot.

2. The car culture is closer to dying than most anybody would have believed or imagined just one month ago. It's probably not going to go before the government wastes billions of my dollars trying to save it. Do I think we should let the big three go down? No, not without something to step in and take its place. There isn't something to take it's place. Why not?


There's still 67 days till inauguration. That should be enough time for this administration to piece together one single national automobile manufacturer. Let's call it ThePeoplesWagon - or something like that.

3. There have been a few articles decrying the possibility that our current economic downturn will have a very detrimental effect on efforts to mitigate climate change. I think they're wrong.

I think it's fallacious to think the best way to effect climate change is to spend more to consume more to use more energy to cut down on carbon emissions. Even if it is more fun that way. I think it's more likely that spending less, consuming less and using less energy is a more realistic solution. More painful. More realistic.

Ironically my vision of a climate change solution looks a lot like what some of the actual effects of climate change will bring - which I suppose is a strong argument against doing anything except...

...ironically the reality of the world today looks a lot like what some of the actual effects of climate change will bring...

...which I think means we actually are doing something, which I think proves my belief...


Lucky I don't have to run for office on this logic.

4. The Fat Cyclist is going to try to win the LiveStrong Challenge this year. He will form Team Fat Cyclist: Fighting For Susan and dollars donated to the LAF through his team will be credited to the team.

I'm going to participate. If you're reading this you should to. It all begins 12/1 - here's his preliminary descriptive post.

5. Kip Winger released a new album this fall.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

PSA: Local Bike Facilities

The City made a PSA about their new bicycle facilities. I recognize a few of the people in the video.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Today's C & D Brought To You... the letters B & G.

Sometimes I think we should just rename the ride to The Biscuits and Gravy Ride. Two hearty rollers joined me today. Between the two of them there were a whopping 5 g's and 2 b's in their names.

How could we not got for Michelle's B's and G's.

But we didn't go directly there. First we went north into the 16 degree windchill. We briefly toured Veteran's Memorial Park. Here The Mayor reads of one soldier's Medal of Honor deserving story of extreme bravery.

A little west and south and we discovered Michelle's hadn't moved from where it was two weeks ago, and the biscuits and gravy hadn't changed either.

Back into the cold we utilised the MUP as the group (such as it was) disintegrated and I found my way to Caribou for an actual doughnut and a newspaper whilst I awaited the arrival of The Family to begin the day's activities.

Today's route:

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Make Like Pedestrian

Yesterday I walked to my favorite place for lunch and continued my reading way through "Traffic" by Tom Vanderbilt. He's blogger-iffic.

Today's topic was about driver inattentiveness. He wrote a bit about the "count the number of passes made by the black jerseyed team" video. If you haven't seen the video - why? You can Tube it here.

He also presented a demonstration that goes something like this. Think about the route you took to work this morning. There, did you notice? It's highly likely that when you began to remember your route to work this morning you looked away from these words. If you didn't, you're apparently exceptional.

MinusCar readers are, obviously exceptional. I am not exceptional, I did look away. Humans tend to divert attention when asked to remember something. Indeed eye movement appears to aid in memory recall. Imagine talking on the cell phone and being asked to remember something. Could it be this is one of the ways that cyclists seemingly appear out of nowhere?

It's great fun reading about this stuff and then immediately getting to observe similar behaviour. The walk to and from my dining destination includes negotiating two street crossings of a 50,000 vehicle per day intersection.

As I performed crossing #1 I received the all important eye contact from a right on red turning driver. Curiously she immediately looked away (red flag!) but remembered me long enough to not turn while I crossed in front of her.

As I waited on the curb and red light to make crossing #2 I enjoyed watching her itch, I say itch to make that right on red. Through traffic just wouldn't give her the gap she needed. She made another go/stop attempt as the signal switched to allow left only turns, but she wasn't quite quick enough to made that gap either.

Yes dear reader, I knew what was coming. I saw it on a Mannix rerun once.

Her light turned green as my walk signal came on. I stepped off the curb as she stepped on the gas pedal and for just a moment before I yielded we argued over the same piece of pavement.

(I've never watched Mannix.)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Fill 'er Up x6

I claim last year I filled up The MinusCar 7 times. I suppose the truth is I didn't really count all that carefully, but really, it's not like I make this stuff up. Here I am, 59 or so days left of 2008. Snow's coming, maybe as early as this weekend's coffee & doughnut run.

I've filled up 6 times this year.

Looks like I go roughly 40 days between fills, except for the summer's 62 day streak. I'm 59 days into my current almost empty tank. Once I do fill I'll need one more above average performance, only this time the weather doesn't figure to be so kind.

Makes me wish I could redo the month of February. I'm almost positive that big car mileage month was a matter of the cold driving down motivation.