A MinusCar reader sent me this link to Saturday’s Star Tribune containing an article about winter biking in the Twin Cities. The reporter decided to give winter bicycle commuting a try. A couple of the cyclists he consulted with for the article are names I recognize from reading Minneapolis bike blogs. Cool!
(12/19 - Update: Sunday my local daily ran this article. Way to go guys, your 15 minutes has been extended to maybe 20.)
I spent a bunch of time with The Owner this afternoon pre-riding and configuring a route for an upcoming ride. It was cold but, it's was VERY nice to ride recreationally and with a riding buddy for a change.
He and I have been discussing a photo that he says appeared in Popular Science Magazine. The photo and accompanying article suggested that Americans threw away 130,000,000 cell phones last year. Is this number even possible? Regardless, this has led to some interesting discussions and thinking about consumption.
Just now, while performing yet another failed search for that photo I came across what apparently is the cover story from the August issue: “How Earth-Scale Engineering Can Save the Planet.” With a sub-heading of “Maybe we can have our fossil fuels and burn ’em too,” this article doesn’t fit well within my paradigm for a life sustaining planet but nevertheless it shows a new, interesting and encouraging perspective.
Speaking of consumption, this morning I went with The Wife to the newly opened The Secret Kitchen. We spent two hours preparing a months worth of recipes to bring home to our freezer. In September we did something similar at Let’s Dish in Maple Grove, MN. The MinusCar Project likes doing this for two reasons: one, many of the family auto trips occur for the express purpose of fetching an evening meal, and B, it seems likely to me that the use of places like this cuts down significantly on garbage leaving the household. Bulk foods probably mean bulk packaging which probably means less consumption.
Friday I cashed in some bus driver goodwill chips. At the end of the day, as I finished up conversating with a workmate, I realized I had likely missed my prime bus ride home. I thought through the consequences of the miss and decided to at least attempt a catch. I quickly gathered my belongings and headed for the door. I took about 10 steps up the street and saw the bus was just approaching my stop…almost a block away. Rats. No. Wait. It’s stopping. Someone is getting off. So I’m running for it, the driver sees me, recognizes me as a regular, and waits for me. I owe him. If the passenger hadn’t gotten off there, the bus would not have stopped and I would have missed it. Coincidentally, I had my first trip with the driver who got written up for skipping me a few months ago. I don’t expect I have any goodwill points with him.
This summer, when I became interested in the North American Solar Challenge (the solar car race that passed by my employers front door) I set up a Google News Alert for those words. Now, after seeing the continued results I get from that news search, I consider the race as somewhat providential. Here’s an informative review of a new book by Shepherd Bliss, chief scientist for Greenpeace UK, about peak oil. I guess he’s somewhat of a global warming expert too. The most interesting thing to me in the review was his feeling that peak oil would lead the US to burn more coal. In my mind peak oil leads us to switch to renewable energy. Sigh. I won’t read the book, I believe that would be an unhealthy thing for me to do – “after his first 200 somewhat gloomy pages, Leggett turns to 50 more positive pages.”
Finally, I rode to and from work on Tuesday this week. I had re-configured my ride home based on a very poor experience the week before, in the dark, with snow narrowed streets, and heavy quickly moving traffic. This time, everything was perfection. The new roads I used were great. It helped too that it was 30 degrees warmer than last time I rode. The ride still takes too long to do every day but I think it’s now possible two maybe three times a week.