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I've got a better idea

Today's enviro blurb:
V.ENVIRO As style consumers we can demand that our beauty, grooming and fashion products be eco-friendly, organic, sustainable and recycled. (SJMNC)
I've got a better idea; How about we just BUY LESS? It's a much simpler solution, and easier to figure out. Sure, if you HAVE to buy something, buying the "greener" option is better, but it's the consuming drive that's actually burying us.

--Sent from my cell phone--


Sheldon Brown Memorial Ride 3.30.08

The ride will be this coming sunday March 30th (yeah, I know, I know, it's late notice. Hey, that's what the internet is good for right?) starting at 3:00pm. Meet in the parking lot in front of the Java Hut (across the street from the Iron Spring Brewery). There's a map of the route HERE.

I designed the route to be easy and fun and most of all pretty. You can do it on a tall bike, a road bike, a mountain bike, a unicycle, a recumbent, whatever. The ride will go past at least 3 LBS's, so mechanical issues shouldn't be a problem. Those who are fast are welcome to blaze ahead, but those of us riding 126lb Dutch City bikes (that includes the weight of my child) will be running a more sociable pace. When I started planning this ride, I stayed with the idea that this, while a memorial ride, should be festival and celebrate the quirky, prankster human and humane sides of SB. So the more goofy jerseys, one of a kind bikes, fun and funny accessories you bring to this ride the better. If you have a helmet, feel free to adorn it with an eagle, or whatever other totem road score you like (ala Sheldon). I appropriated one of my son's toys and turned it into a Sheldon Helmet memorial.. but come as you are. Don't feel obligated to don the Eagle on your helmet: show you own sense of flair! Also welcome are photos of you with Sheldon, photos of his life and best of all, stories and songs (some of you may not know, but Sheldon was quite fond of singing!)Children are welcome too, though they are the responsibility of their parents/legal guardians!

I will print some cue sheets for those who don't know the route. When I run out, follow those who have one, or print your own!

Some may ask "Why aren't you doing it on April 1st? That was Sheldon's day to make funny jokes about bikes!" Well... lots of folks have families and work and other things that get in the way of a evening ride, and weekends are usually better for a lot of people (me included), so we'll just PRETEND like it's the 1st, ok? If enough people come, we'll do it again on Sheldon's BIRTHDAY (July 14, Bastille Day).

One last thing: for those of you who enjoyed racing, local legend Jacquie Phelan told me she would come on the ride, so if you're feeling really saucy, ride up next to her and challenge her to race. It's been said she never turns one down.. but she rarely loses either.


What's your trash output?

Today's enviro news blurb sent to my phone:
V.ENVIRO Japan aims to reduce the total amount of garbage - produced by both industries and individuals - by 60 percent by 2015. (AP)

Hmm... That sounds pretty awesome. Think the U.S can do as well? I have my doubts...
--Sent from my cell phone--


So what did you "mean" to say?

Today's news text message:
V.USGOV Hillary Rodham Clinton "misspoke" when she asserted last week that as first lady she had landed in war-torn Bosnia under sniper fire.(NMN)
So Hilary, what did you "mean" to say? How the hell could you make this kind of political no-no? This further proves my point that as long as their mouths are open, they're lying (politicians that is).

--Sent from my cell phone--

The Diablo Gets It's Due: Dead Mallard

So I'm riding my son to his preschool this morning traveling down our normal route. Just before the intersection of Diablo and Novato Blvd (Northbound) in the left lane is the freshly strewn remains of a mallard duck. The vivid green/blue plumage of the neck and head contrasted rather starkly against the red and white of bone, flesh and entrails. It was pretty in an abstract kind of way, but it made me sad: Someone killed this little canard. Then I began to puzzle: ducks can fly: what happened that this guy didn't get out of the way? Did he decide to chill in the middle of the street during the night when there was little traffic? Did he not hear the car/truck?

Then I got to thinking further: why is is that we lament the loss of that that is beautiful over that of the mundane? Much of it seems to be in the eye of the beholder. My heart fell when I saw this ducky roadkill: most of the drivers were driving over it like it was a lump of dirt. Part of me wanted to scream at everyone of them "Hey assholes, don't you see the beautiful thing that died in front of your wheels?" Part of me wanted to stop traffic and carefully pull the remains off and bury them. Without a police car or ambulance running interference, this would have been a risky endeavor and I (and my son) might have ended up like the duck. So I rode on, hoping that the duck didn't leave behind a family of little ducks and a mate.

I got to thinking further: Bicyclists don't kill animals with their bikes right? Well, I know there have been some close calls: Kent Peterson and several other who've ridden the Great Divide Race have had some pretty close calls. One of the Fatcyclist's friends (I think it might be Kenny) almost hit a deer. So who would have won/lost these collisions (if there can ever be said to be a winner and loser when a collision happens) if they'd actually happened? Neither is the likely answer. The fact that these "near misses" were just "near misses" might have something to do with the fact that the vehicles being piloted were bicycles. It could be that the riders were particularly adroit. If could be that average bicycle speeds are usually slower than cars (except in urban areas where they are often the same or higher). Just as I was thinking about all this, I turned into Miwok Park for my usual shortcut. I had to slam on the brakes and swerve b/c there was a clueless squirrel who started to dart in front of my tires. He had to have heard me coming, but the squirrels in that park have seen and heard it all so I don't think he took particular note of me. Either way, I almost had to eat my own words. I don't find squirrels particularly BEAUTIFUL, but they are pretty cute. It would have been a shame to crush the little guy.

Stay alert out there... it's a beautiful world and there's lots to see. You'll see more on a bike, I guarantee it.

Oh... and watch out for ducks & squirrels.


Am I destroying my bulbs?

An update to the CFL / LED Conversation. THIS comment at Treehugger made me realize that I may end up burning out my new LED bulbs that are currently on a dimming circuit in my son's room. I was under the impression that when you turned down the dimmer switch you were applying less current to the bulbs which is what I *thought* they need in order to "dim". I guess turning on fewer of the bulbs in the array is the better option, but I know these bulbs weren't wired that way (they would have cost a lot more than they did!). I've seen some DC flashlights that had circuits that were designed this way (Princeton Tech) and I know that LRI (the folks who make the Photon Micro lights) uses Pulse Width Modulation in their Photon Freedom line of lights to "dim" the LED's. In a household application, I'm not sure if this would be distracting (or even possible) to walk around under (I have recessed ceiling cans in most of the rooms in my house). Any electrical engineer types want to chime in here?


The "Magicians" at the EPA

So I get this text message every weekday morning on my cell phone giving me interesting tidbits of "environmental news" This was today's entry:

V.ENVIRO Locomotives, cargo ships, tugboats and passenger ferries will become much cleaner under new air pollution requirements announced by the EPA. (AP)

So the EPA says "you will become cleaner" and it just happens? I'm all for the increased efficiency of large vehicles and municial transportation but what I'm curious about is how this gets paid for... But you can't get all that from 160 characters of text.

--Sent from my cell phone--


Taken in their prime

Yeah, I'm slow. Slow on a bike, slow to post, slow to multi-task without losing my place... yeah, slow. Several folks have been talking about the deaths of Kristy Gough and Matt Peterson. Jacquie did it, and there's an AMAZING article HERE.

Last week Kristy Gough and Matt Peterson lost their lives to a car. They were riding their bicycles, Kristy was training for the Olympics. A sheriff's deputy fell asleep at the wheel (some are blaming bad scheduling plus the time change), went across the yellow and crushed both of them. Kristy's leg was severed. Matt was killed instantly. Another cyclist got hit as well, though he survived. Ugly ugly shite, and everyone's lives are ruined. I read the article in the SF Chronicle and was PISSED. Pissed that these folks lost their life and PISSED at the Chronicle for letting it create fear amongst the public. I quote "Riding a bicycle in the Bay Area is an increasingly deadly pastime". That's the first line of the "Safety" article that accompanied the photo of cyclists standing looking at the memorial on the front page. Great great... let's scare everyone into thinking that bicycling is inherently dangerous. Then call it a "pastime" and marginalize it as a valid transportation source. THEN go on to publish a study to show that bicycling crashes are down but deaths are up. Then DON'T publish a similar study that would show the number of car-car or car-stationary object crashes and deaths for the same period. NO.. let's just make cycling seem more scary. I'm NOT happy with the Chronicle, but then I rarely am. Listen, you are at least a HUNDRED times more likely to die or be seriously maimed in a car crash than you are in a bike crash. Sure, you could be the unlucky person who get's killed like Christy and Matt. More than likely, you'll live a lot longer. The more of us that are out there riding, the safer it gets, so don't submit to fear. As Paul Atreides recited when facing the Gom Jabbar:

"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain."

RIP Kristy Gough & Matt Peterson. May you live on in the minds of those who love you and let your memory serve to inspire us to make the world a safer place for bicyclists.

As the SI article cited in it's own litany against bike accidents: START SEEING BICYCLES!