Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sea Otter Classic - "Climate Neutral"

I still like the good news better.

When I look at all the vehicles following the big races, and all the miles driven during multi-day tours I end up thinking about the disconnect.

My favorite way to think about the North American Solar Car Challenge that rolled through my town last summer is the image of a solar car being led by an SUV and followed by two SUV's.

So it comes as very happy news that the big spring race in California known as the Sea Otter Classic is partnering with Clif Bar to make this year's edition "Climate Neutral." From - "All told, Clif Bar and Sea Otter will offset nearly 748 tons of carbon dioxide."

I've offset my own CO2 emissions in the same way by purchasing tags here.


3/30 10pm - maybe 3am is a bit early in the day to be reading news. I'm pretty sure was reporting this story, but here 19 hours later the story is gone. Poof...or should I say evaporated?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Long Walk

I’m amazed at how little I actually read.

There’s an article in the current issue of Minneapolis’ The Rake Magazine by Jennifer Vogel titled “The Long Walk.” It’s about her experience of spending a “year on foot in Minneapolis.”

It’s pretty heavy (and pretty excellent) on urban planning and shoulda, woulda, coulda’s surrounding the development of downtown Minneapolis over the past 20 years. I was hoping for more experiential stories and anecdotes than I found. That’s not to say it was completely without.

The experiential part that most resonates with me is how alone she feels as she walks during the winter. It’s almost an exact fit with the opening lines from the movie “Crash.” My most common walk for lunch is a round trip of about ¾ mile. I come in spitting distance of probably 1,000 people. I’d have to actually get run over by one of them to actually have human contact with any of them.

Juggle Me This II

This guy juggles pretty well too. It's described as a parody of the Chris Bliss act I posted previously but if you go look, there's really nothing funny about it. It's seriously good.

Juggle Me This

This guy can juggle pretty well.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Happy St Patty's Day, Bike Day

Missing: muse

After riding a geared bike for a number of days, THIS day started with a very long and slow ride to work. Long because recent snowfall has again closed my preferred route to work. Slow because I rode the single speed which takes about 6mph off my average speed. Alas, it still has studded tires, and winter wants everyone to know that it isn’t finished yet.

I left work a little early and headed downtown to join about 15 other cyclists in the annual parade ‘o the day. Three of the participants were under 9 years old (a 4 year old rode it on training wheels). Two participants took their first ever tandem ride. They’re experts now after all that starting and stopping.

Post parade I hooked up with The Owner for a traditional plate full of enchiladas. The Uncle should know that I had a broccoli/cheese ‘lada in his honor.

The sun set as I returned home.

I verified the impassibility of my favored route to work by marching a couple hundred yards through snow.

Toward the end of the ride I found myself in a position to get run over by a mother of a friend/classmate of The Boy 8. As she approached an intersection she looked my direction and didn’t see me. As she rolled to a stop she was looking the other direction, at this point I had the back of her head lit with my helmet light. As she started to depart her stop sign she made one final look to her left and found herself in pretty close quarters with me and my light. How would that be? Getting run over by someone I know.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Report: March 6-12

Trips -
MinusCar: 8
Multi-occupant Auto: 8
Single occupant Auto: 4

This was a pretty good week. Not great, but good. It started off really well; I was riding the long way to work and the long way from work. By the weekend I became more auto dependent.

One day this week while I was walking to fetch some lunch I was reflecting on The MinusCar Project and these “trip” numbers that I post every week. I’ve been pretty disappointed with my attitude and the results for a number of weeks now. I’m very anxious to get beyond winter and start getting some real miles in.

On this walk to lunch I came to the realization that I (and my team) have been regularly participating in a MinusCar thing without fully realizing it. This particular day I was going on a KFC Snacker run for 5 teammates and it occurred to me how nice it would be if I could count this trip as 5 MinusCar trips. My favorite part of this is that it is a regular occurrence within the team that one person will fetch lunch for one or two others.

My Car Miles: 25
My Bike Miles/Hours: 78.5/5.4

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Report: February 27-March 5

Trips -
MinusCar: 6
Multi-occupant Auto: 8
Single occupant Auto: 6

It’s warming up a little and getting easier to do some extra trips by bike. I rode to work four days this week. Half of my single occupant trips were on the day I didn’t ride.

My Car Miles: 47
My Bike Miles/Hours: 71.6/5.2

I rode to work four days this week. One of the days I made three stops on the way home including the craft store and grocery store for den meeting supplies. I’m starting to think about the day I can get The Boys back to riding bikes and trailers.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Friday, March 03, 2006

Report: February 20-26

Trips -
MinusCar: 9
Multi-occupant Auto: 7
Single occupant Auto: 2

It seems like I’ve been looking for results like these for a long time. Trips without a car equal to the number of times I sat in a car.

My Car Miles: 19
My Bike Miles/Hours: 44.5/3.4

And twice as many miles on my bike as on my car.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

What Are You Giving Up for Lent?

Today is Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent. Lent is popularly known as a time to give up something. It’s popular to give up candy or red meat for Lent.

It’s never popular to give up motorized transport. This week’s Sojo-mail has two significant articles. “Biking as a Lenten Practice” asserts the idea of giving up something that will help an individual focus on oil, energy and the war in Iraq. “Demotorizing My Soul” is less about Lent and more about linking the joys of cycling with the spiritual.

In the latter Will Braun is right on, nailing me from the opening line – “We’re not meant to go that fast. It’s just too hard on the spirit.”

But it’s the closing that landed like a bombshell and put words and explanation to what The MinusCar Project is about.
"The moral of the story is adventure. It's not that I became a novice practitioner of mobility ethics, but that the whole notion of spirited lifestyle change took the form of adventure. I was eager to embark not only on the next overly-ambitious trip but on other lifestyle experiments.

Such as the changes yet to come. The further ruralization of my life. The reduction of stuff. The reduction of computer-dependence. Closer contact with the poor. And a few others I'm too shy to mention. I'm not sure how or when these transformations are going to happen, but I look forward to the ride."
Riding a bike isn’t about fixing the war in Iraq. It can’t be about fixing Global Warming. Riding a bike and The MinusCar Project is about fixing me. Anybody who changes their behavior because of something they read or see here is icing on the cake. The most important change is the change that happens to me.

The MinusCar Project leads me to ask questions; what is enough? Is 169 gallons of water per day enough for a household? Is the 1kW of electricity that will light all the bulbs inside my home better used in Africa where it will light all the bulbs in 70 homes?

The MinusCar Project takes me on adventures. Most recently the fighting of a house bill; and future ones too, like the summer plan to build a wind turbine and too share the experience with friends.

So go ahead. Give something up for Lent. Give up your motorized transport – maybe for just one day. Sit on a bike seat or sit on a bus, or even walk somewhere you'd normally drive (thanks for the encouragement MH!). And while you're not all consumed by the taillights of the car in front of you consider the question – what is enough?

PS – I was thinking about The MinusComputer-Dependence Project, but then I realized I wouldn’t be able to blog about it.