Friday, April 28, 2006

BIOTA - Blame It On The Altitude !

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BIOTA Water - What's next, bike tires made from Lima Beans ???

I heard an interesting LIME Planet podcast this week during a workday car commute (bad fossil fuels... really bad). They were interviewing David Zutler and his BIOTA brand bottled water. What's the big deal you say - well, their bottles will self compost in 80 days or less, and they're made from corn ! And, these people have a sense of humor. The name BIOTA stands for 'Blame It On The Altitude'(they're in the Rockies)...

I knew this technology was arriving as I had something similar pointed out to me at the natural food store we support... Newman's brand mixed greens salads were in a corn-based plastic container. In fact, our next party is going to be on potato starch plates, cups and serving ware. We plan to bury this in a corner of our yard and dig it up at the next party to check stats - kewl eh ?

Well, BIOTA has a vision to get these products out to market and I get the feeling, based on their inspirations, that this is going to be a company that grows, gives back, and will be successful in staying on the path of sustainable design - sort of the William McDonough's of the water world (WM's an architect who wrote the book Cradle to Cradle, a must read for those who care).

Anywho - check out BIOTA's website on my links. Leave me a message if you've heard of someone else using similar materials in their products. And most importantly, tell others about my blog and let's keep the buzz going !

2005 TDG - McCartney & Kabush on Brasstown Bald

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

This blog welcomes your bicycle commuting comments !

When Kelley and I were traveling down the Brasstown Bald, opposite direction from Jason McCartney and Jeff Kabush (2005 TDG), we witnessed what appeared to be two riders who had collided with a guard rail. One wasn't looking too hot, and the other had a nice big shiny strawberry on his cheek. It made me start thinking about all the times I've slid across pavement, gravel, chunky hillsides, wet fields, etc., and what a sometimes exuberant feeling it is to feel the acceleration of a slide... until the usual tumbling, tearing and sometimes solid thump, occurs.

Please share your comments of the worst commuting encounter you've ever had, whether it was with a motorist, all by yourself, or an encounter with nature or her creatures. I think my scariest was when I was passed very closely by a tanker truck out on Maitland Blvd in Orlando... he pulled his airhorn right when he was up to me. Scared the bejeebies out of me, and also got my adrenaline pumped. I caught him at the light (him not knowing that I was the recent 'Bike to Work' celebrity that beat the 97X van to downtown O-town in a live radio stunt). When I jumped up on the side of his truck to give him a piece of my mind - he just reached down and picked up his 9mm and told me quite bluntly to 'get off my truck'... which I did, quicker than I got up. I can imagine others have had similar bad experiences... let's hear yours !

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Jittery Joe's Cooper

Jittery's Cooper... Posted by Picasa

Tour de Georgia, Sunscreen, Jittery Joe's...

We were fortunate enough to visit the Tour de Georgia for a third year in a row. Very exciting event with lots of spectating and camaraderie. It's exciting to see so many people riding their bikes everywhere in North Georgia. What's more, we noticed a remarkable number of riders when we were en route from start to finish, whom we presume, were just out riding - not particularly because of the Tour.

It was nice seeing Ford Motor Company pick up the sponsorship after Dodge dropped it. It would have been even better had everyone been driving their Hybrid Escapes, had they had a new Hybrid version Focus Wagon or Mazda 5. Maybe next year they'll be that far along. Which made me think about the carbon impact of all the driving. All the team, support and media vehicles... all the people (like us) that drove to the events... and all the extra fuel burned due to bikes on top.

We rode our bikes twice last week in pursuit of carbon offsetting ("Cut40"). Lovey rode the Scooter one day ("Cut10"). Together, it would take us a month of riding three days a week to offset the extra fuel we burned driving from Tampa to Dalton, GA and all around (and back). We did take the step of loading our mountain bikes on a rear carrier, instead of a roof rack. We averaged about 27 mpg in the Subaru Forester, which is only 3 mpg better than I average around town with nothing added. And when we rode the Circle the Bald (Owl Creek was STEEP !) I'd say we were getting about 2 bananas per mile... hard cranking (and thankfulness for 34t cassettes).

Oh Sunscreen... almost forgot. Tons of people standing around in the sun. Waiting at the start, in the middle and finish. I assume that those waiting at key locations (autograph alley and finish line) had to stand there for close to three hours. In the sun. No shade. Very few applying sunscreen from my observations. And if they did, most did not reapply as recommended. Us, we used a big 'in the way' umbrella. Probably the only one being used. And maybe I'm a goof, but we didn't have the discomfort of the parching sun, and we didn't have to slather ourselves in chemicals we can't pronounce (let alone predicting effects).

Now consider this, money was being raised on a ride with Greg LeMond (3 time Tour de France and World Champion, now retired and showing it). The money was for the Georgia Cancer Coalition, which made several speeches during the event. They didn't mention sunscreen once, nor did they talk about nutrition. Seems everyone is interested in finding a cure, though nobody wants to discuss prevention. Seems to me that most of us will wait until something's broke before trying to fix it. For most things, an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure. We'll keep using our umbrella, sunscreen clothing, and eating our vegan diet. It's all about choices...

And about choices, get over to and check out their S.U.B... don't know whether to call it a Sport Utility Bike, or Sensibly Utilized Bike. I've ordered the Lightfoot Electric Drive for mine and should have the 'soon to be reincarnated' Specialized Shark Cruiser, now dubbed "Dorsal", ready in weeks. Lastly, a little digg for my friend Micah Rice of Jittery Joe's Coffee - Great Job Guys... and congratulations to Floyd Landis on his, as Dave puts it 'Trifecta of Racing', including his first TDG win. You can read about Jittery's team and other TDG happening on website. Bye for now ! Oh - Don't forget to Ride to Work !

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Cutting 20 more...

Kelley and I logged three more rides to work since last post. With my rides encompassing 40+ miles round-trip each day, that's considerable savings off my gas consumption. Since this blog began, I've commuted to work, via the long way, to the tune of 160+ miles. Not a bad start...

I think we'll start soliciting the 'Ride to Work' concept of by getting a bumper sticker put together first. How's "Save Money @" sound ? Tell your friends, and please post your commuter experiences. Let's start an electronic Critical Mass! Pass it on...

Save Money @ See you out there... JD

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Thurston & Lovey Howell (aka JD & Kelley)

JD & Kelley Howell Posted by Picasa begins...

It was a cool 65 degrees this morning with light NE winds. My wife Kelley and I were headed to her bus stop and we met up with another cyclist. He was doing it for fitness and we were doing it for that, plus commuting to our jobs. We exchanged greetings, learned he was riding with a morning group out of a local bike shop and then we told him our destination. He commented, I wish more people would ride to work. So, I was inspired.

I have been inspired with the savings that one day's bike commute offers. It can be several hundred dollars a year, which pays for other life amenities or good causes. Trying to always squeeze more out of a dollar, I'm impressed when I look at my credit card statement and see that I only spent $40 for the month on gas because I drove my car five times, maxi-scooter six-eight times, and biked the rest. It really does save 20% - every day you ride.

The environment has been on a lot of peoples minds and palettes recently. We have been more concerned than most because we're longtime subscribers to Grist and Earth News Network. When the hurricanes affected oil supply and then prices started shooting up, I felt it in my wallet and wanted to change my lifestyle at the same time. We struggled with buying a hybrid, but the costs and impacts were dire for our finances. Instead we bought a Suzuki Burgman 400, which I'm happy to report gets an average of 60 mpg, though it's probably not as efficient with byproducts as some of the more complex hybrid cars.

We hope you'll check back with us, email us, share your stories, concerns, worries, and successes - about commuting. And if you can, drop an email and inquire about a Save Money @ t-shirt or riding jersey ( We don't have designs yet, so who knows, maybe you can help. That's about as far as the inspirations have carried us so far. Tell your friends, and most importantly... Save Money - Ride To Work !