Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Two Weeks More...

I learned that my Lithium Ion battery is the holdup to assembling my Electri-Xtracycle project. It seems the battery manufacturer in Taiwan is concerned with these new devices overheating during the charging cycle. He thinks he's concerned...? I'd be asleep in my wood construction house, less than ten feet away. The concept of adding a halon fire system in my bike parking section of the garage doesn't fit into our Dave Ramsey Money Makeover.

I'm very hopeful that I'll have parts and pieces in my fat little hands soon. My ride to work on Monday proved to be exhausting since I did the extended ride with Lovey. I learned from a co-worker today that I may be making more like a 50-mile roundtrip. The odometer on my bike hasn't been operating in quite some time, so I don't have an accurate gauge on the miles. I'm going to try and do that tonight via the Burgman 400, which I and the Mrs. shared on a wonderful 'scooter pool' today. Me, driving her to Tampa, then picking her up at the bus stop after work.

I hope those that read our blog will be inspired to attempt a bike to work day at least once a week. If you saw a sign at a gas station with prices 20% lower, you'd probably pull in even if you were only down a quarter of a tank. Yet, riding to work one day a week cuts your consumption, costs, and emissions by a full 20%. Plus, by doing so you fuel the momentum that is to come. That's the critical mass we need to get our metro planners to add more bike lanes, storage, trails, greenways, etc. Get us back to our roots as commuters. Bring us closer to nature, a slower pace, and being part of a positive movement that also remedies the mind & body. As for me and mine we'll see you out there... on our bikes, of course - JD, Kelley, Jannelle, Jaqueline Howell

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

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Monte Wasteful ?

The British Government is taking aim at 'Standby Mode' on TV's and other appliances as evil devices that waste tons of energy. They want it to go away. When I read other people's responses I was amazed to notice that nobody is doing what we've done, which is effectively turned them off.

We connected our computer station to a UPS with surge protection. When we're done with the computer, everything gets turned off with one switch... bingo, no waste. When we're done with either 'telly', bingo... off goes the plugstrip. It's so simple, yet I'm hearing that it's an impossibility - not worth considering.

When I wake up in the middle of the night, worrying about my never-ending fatalism, I walk through my house without need for a nightlight or other to see my path. Why, because there are 40 LEDs lit up from surge-protected outlets, the stove and nuclearwave, plug strips, electronics, wall switches, etc. So, in the future when I'm given a choice, I'll be looking for ways to satisfy my British alliances and do things totally in the toe-jamming darkness. Way to go Parliament !!!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Just Ask Umbra (Fisk)...

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Umbra Fisk, Commentator and Commuter...

Today Umbra Fisk (Grist fame) wrote about a letter she received whether it's better to Bicycle Commute, considering alternatives and the air around you. Several readers posted grave concerns, some flippant. Here's what I wrote about our commute(s)...

Recently, my wife and I were featured in the Newsweek article 'Going Green' by Jerry Adler. I was reminded again this morning on our ride - why we do it. It was after 5 a.m. and after I waved goodbye to her at her bus stop. She does a hybrid commute because she works 25 miles away. I ride opposite my work to be with her, because I'm more comfortable knowing she made it okay to her bus, and because I get an extra 9 miles out of it - totalling about 22 miles each way (it's flat here in Tampa Bay).

As I rolled onto the Bayside Bridge near Clearwater, I sat for a moment as hundreds of cars and trucks zoomed by, and I watched the sun - slowly rising, glowing a warm orange color, and its continual change of color and intensity as it raised up from the horizon. Then I looked around and saw dolphins surfacing, seagulls and terns chasing each other to a fish, and oodles of pelicans following each other in a line above the thermals created by the bridge. And as I neared the end of the bridge this morning I was challenged by 8 pelicans, gliding peacefully in my direction, whom I had to sprint to stay up with. My lungs were heaving in particulate, I'm certain... but, my happiness was overflowing.

Ask yourself this lengthy question. Would you rather experience a life of happiness, filled with moments of wonder, excitement, exhiliration, and yes - perhaps even danger? Or, would you prefer to sit slightly more safely in a Mobile Emissions Source, listening to yack radio, getting cut off by a Stupendously Underutilized Vehicle (SUV), and never remembering a minute of your commute?

Above my desk I have a saying from an unknown author that reads, "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body... but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming... Wow, what a ride !!!" With that, I'll see you out there. And if you get a chance, bookmark our blog to see what we're up to these days at Cut20.blogspot.com. - JD