Tuesday, June 30, 2009
This is when panniers come in handy. I have a set that strap onto the side of my rear rack that within the last week I have been using to carry some food and my work clothes. This allows me to ride in bicycle shorts and a t-shirt and have a much more enjoyable ride to and from work.
Panniers are extremely useful in other situations as well. Most are the perfect size to allow a grocery bag to fit, making for an easy trip to the local grocery store or the farmers market on a bike and still allowing for a substantial payload.
A reasonably priced set of panniers shouldn't cost more than $50 or so. But, like anything else, the price goes up the more features there are. And, if you are looking for something that is guaranteed to be water-proof in the wettest of environments, its going to cost a lot more than $50.
Here I am using my set of panniers to carry supplies to Missoula's People's Market where I am a vendor selling prints of my photographic work. They come in hand for those little items that are too small to strap down on my flatbed trailer.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Week 12 Stats
Miles biked: 61.91
Gallons Saved: 3.87
CO2 Not Emitted: 24.3 Ibs
Month 3 Totals
Miles Biked: 253.26
Gallons Saved: 15.83
CO2 Not Emitted: 397.62 Ibs
Friday, June 26, 2009
"Even if your a fiscal conservative, which I consider myself to be, you quickly see the benefits of transportation investment. Simply, I became a transit fan because its so much more cost effective than building a highway. Also, it's good for energy, it's good for the environment - and that's why I like it... seeing the cost of one person in a car. The cost for the environment. The cost of energy. You can pretty quickly be convinced that there's got to be a more cost effective way."
-Rep. John Mica, from a PBS interview
WOW, a conservative that actually advocates conservation of our resources, that's a novel concept. I feel like I'm living in the days of Teddy Roosevelt. My cynical side thinks he only expressed this view because he knew non of his fellow Republicans would be paying attention to PBS, but lets hope not.
Glad to have Rep. John Mica on our side, he's the type of Republican we need more of; to replace the fundamentalist types.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Produce at the Missoula Farmers Market
Flowers at the Missoula Farmers Market
A few blocks down from the farmers market is the Missoula People's Market which is an eclectic mix of hand made crafts. There are plenty of vendors selling hand made jewelry, plenty of photographers, and lots of women's clothing and accessories.
As interesting as the markets are to walk through, it is often just as fun to people watch as the crowds wonder between the three markets. And even though Higgins Ave and Broadway are two of the less accommodating streets in downtown Missoula of bicycles, on Saturdays cyclists make up a good portion of the traffic. The women in the photo below is something one doesn't usually see on Broadway; a woman taking the lane, unafraid of vehicle traffic, calmly waiting for the light to turn so she can take a left.
The third and usually final market I hit up is the Clark Fork Market, so named because of its proximity to the Clark Fork River. This is my favorite of the three markets, having a wide variety of pastries and snacks. This is also the only market where one can purchase organic and locally raised beef and bison, and let me tell you its of the highest quality; the bison makes great sloppy joes!
The Clark Fork Market with the historic Wilma Theater in the background
Of course, after all this walking around, I have to make my way back to my bike, which parked all the way at the other end of downtown. Not really a big deal, since it provides me a great opportunity to practice getting some more photos of people. I've been using Saturdays in downtown Missoula to practice my panning technique.
I was surprised to see this women without a helmet, especially if she is, as the baby seat would suggest, a mother.
Two guys enjoying a bit of sun for the short amount of time it was out that morning.
This was my favorite photo of the day, simply for the gang of cycling gardeners that it captures. Saturdays in downtown really show that a community can come together and enjoy a day of leisure without the need to ever turn a key in an ignition.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Warning: Sensitive subject mater
The above scene is a tragedy, and an awful example of what can happen when people in cars don't take people on Bicycles seriously. I saw this yesterday in the local bike shop and everyone watching couldn't believe what they saw. The automatic response was anger at the idiot that was trying to door the bicyclist. Obviously the kid doing the dooring realized he fucked up big time, but remorse for an action is not good enough.
Many motorists still feel that cycling is a joke, and that somehow they have the right to ostracize and harass bikers simply because we are not in a vehicle of equal size and killing power. At a recent group ride in San Jose that my cousin took part in, along with 1500 other bikers, participants were repeatedly spit on and had things thrown at them by motorists. That is the type of behavior that prompts cyclists to be agressive and militiristic in their approach to asserting their rights to the road; if motorists won't respect us and share the road, we'll take our share of the road.
The San Jose Bike Party:
Now for something lighter on the stomach: Spot the Lame video
Two videos I came across the other day, both involving fixed gear tricks, but very different styles. Both are kind of lame, but only one actually displays some crazy skills with a fixed gear.
The first video is pretty amazing to watch, but the music and the setting makes me feel like I'm watching Olympic gymnastics, which I can't stand. The second video seems to have all the elements of a sick video with some crazy tricks; urban setting, fixies, high speeds, and some catchy music. However, all you really see in the teaser is a bunch of kids braking on their fixies and balancing. If I remeber correctly from the time long ago when I learned how to ride a bike, those are the first two things you learn as a child. So, if the tricks in the first video could be combined with the style of the second, fixed gear tricks might be cool.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
My father and I do not agree on many things and often, when we do talk, argue about almost any topic that comes up. That is why I am writing this post, because we had a conversation last week in which we found agreement on a particular subject, and I have been thinking about it ever since.
One of the behavior's that my father can't stand is being told what he should do. This extends to how he should act, what he can spend his money on, and how he can choose to manage his private property. His vision of a Utopian personnel existence is living in seclusion far away from the nearest neighbor.
So during the conversation we somehow wondered onto the subject of environmentalists and how they advocate for a change in our Nation's behavior of consumption. He finds it hypocritical for large environmental nonprofits to be advocating consuming less and restricting CO2 emissions while people at the top level of such organizations fly in private jets to conferences and meetings across the world. His favorite person to rail against is Al Gore, whom in my father's view is a hypocrite for berating people about their behavior while still consuming large amounts of just about everything.
My father's problem with this isn't so much the act of being told what to do and what is good for the environment, but the messenger being someone that doesn't appear to follow their own advice. I fully agree with the statement he was making.
That is why I have committed myself to not driving for an entire year; I am trying to be the change I wish to see. And while my effort might make only the most minuscule dent in the world's problems, if everyone took minuscule steps to adjust their behavior those actions add up quickly. Change starts with personal action.
I think there is a large gap in the way different generations deal with something like global environmental change. People of the generation that started the environmental movement, while being heavily opposed to the "establishment" back in the 60's/70's, quickly became integrated into the mainstream power structure of this country and largely organized nonprofits and wider advocacy groups on an older social model.
Today, that generation heads up many of the nonprofits that call for change in our relation to nature. While many are starting to use the social tools that have been innovated upon in the last decade, the organizations are still built on these older models. And while those that run these organizations can feel better about themselves when flying around the country by purchasing carbon offsets, even that action is somewhat questionable as a lot of carbon offset programs involve the planting of trees which absorb CO2. However, we're talking about the sequestration of carbon over the lifetime of a tree when a person taking a flight from coast-to-coast is creating emissions now (see section 2).
While it is true that certain things just can't be accomplished without face-to-face interactions, there is also a lot more that people can do than just buying carbon offsets and driving hybrids.
A good proportion of my generation - I'm 25 - grew up without really knowing what its like to be deprived of essential goods. In fact we often grew up with an overabundance of everything. A lot of this came from the constant drive of previous generations to provide for their children a better life than what they had as children. For the most part my generation can't provide our future children with more than what we had growing up and instead need to focus, not on providing consumer goods, but a better quality of life and that includes leaving behind an environment that is less poisoned than it is now.
For a generation of people that have grown up in an era of over-consumption, displays of wealth and social status are a cliche. That is why many reality T.V. shows (such as Family Jewels and Real Housewives) are such ironic social commentary; they are supposed to show what the American ideal of hard work leads to, but just end up in a farcical cluster-fuck of depraved bouguoise extravagance. This point is made in a post at GOOD with the example given of a business person giving up their BMW because he was embarrassed by it when meeting with younger professionals.
I'm not saying that my generation holds the ultimate moral high ground when it comes to personal social responsibility; we still over-consume. But the younger generation does understand the power that personal choices have in shaping our reality. Individual baby steps can turn into giant leaps when pooled together.
So, I must thank my father, for teaching me the that a person must take responsibility for their own actions and the value of being honest.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
5 miles an hour doesn't seem like much, but it can be an important factor in changing the way motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists interact with each other on the street. Lowering the speed limit to 30 mph or lower can make a big difference by reducing traffic accidents and providing pedestrians with a higher level of safety.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
In my opinion there is no other product more important than the right pair of shoes. The wrong pair can be clumsy, painful, and even dangerous if they don't grip the pedals easily. I just received a pair of Toms as a gift and they are certainly not the shoes to ride in; flimsy, no support, and soles that slip off the pedals make them very bad for even short and relaxing rides.
The right pair of shoes I have found are Simples. The pair I have offer great support and are extremely comfortable my 30 minute commute. They are made from a considerable amount of recycled material including used water bottles, old inner-tubes, and old car tires. The rest of the materials usually come from certified organic operations.
In terms of utility the bag is great. Light wieght and water resistant, it makes for a good bag that can carry a lot of stuff and be comfortable doing it. The pockets are very limited, and the inside is basically one big space, but that just means less material used and more space to cram things in on your commute.
Monday, June 15, 2009
This is a photo that I posted to my Flickr account well over a month ago on the first Saturday market of the season. It is really the only photo of mine that continues to get views everyday and has just become the most viewed (usually a photo gets heavy traffic right after posting that dies off within a few days). I really don't know what it is about the photo, but maybe it is the subject matter?
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Peter Reed, Groundswell: Constructing the Contemporary Landscape
Miles Biked: 77.2
Gallons Saved: 4.825
CO2 Not Emitted: 30.3 Ibs
Friday, June 12, 2009
Missoula is undergoing a zoning rewrite; a process that has already spanned almost two years and is now at the stage where the Missoula City Council is ready to start weighing in on the topic. The current plan passed out of the planning board unanimously. Organization has begun on both sides of the debate to try and win the first round coming up on June 22nd when the city council will spend most of their time discussing the zoning proposal and listening to public comment.
In a nut shell the new zoning cleans up a set of dysfunctional regulations of cobbled together over many years into a more streamlined document. My understanding is that the current version has been watered down heavily from an original starting point that put significant emphasis on multi-use, transit oriented development, and infill; all things to create a more dense urban-core while slowing the spread of sprawl.
Their are gaps in the current zoning that need to be filled. For example, the current section of Higgins South of the bridge know as the Hip Strip (as one can see by the link, a gathering spot for hipsters both young and old) could not be rebuilt if it where to burn down because it violates the current zoning regulations.
Basically there are a lot of things being said about the zoning, and really no one is going to go fact check these things themselves. A petition is being passed around by the opponents of the rewrite that according to the Missoula Red Tape blog has gotten a lot of traction. In an article on Newwest.net that describes the opposition's approach, Roger Millar of the planning board is quoted, saying that the petition is "factually misleading." The planning board has even gone so far as to write up a document responding to the petition's misleading statements.
The petition doesn't speak fully to the opposition's tactics and I have heard of them using fear - it will destroy the character of neighborhoods and drop property values - the petition even shows a child being towered over by an ADU. My guess is that a lot of incensed people will show up to the meeting angry and opposed to the new zoning without really knowing what they are talking about. From the opposition's point of view, thats good, whats scarier than a bunch of pissed-off voters on an election year?
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Yesterday was a little different. On the commute home (about 30 minutes) it was raining pretty heavily and even with rain gear on I was getting a little soaked. At every street I came to cars yielded the right-of-way, even on the busy streets. On this particular day I was very grateful of their courtesy. They must have felt sorry for the stupid, lone-schlepp on a bike out in the rain.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
I really haven't changed my behavior all that much. Other than foregoing a few trips and not staying downtown as late at night not much has really changed. One thing I have had to think about and plan out is my trip chaining; rather than a lot of little trips for small things throughout the week, I have tried to bundle all errands into one go. Its funny how easy it is to put 20-30 miles in on one day just from going from place to place in town.
In the two months of being car-free I really haven't saved that much money on gas: only a little over $60. But with oil almost back up to $70 per barrel its still one headache I don't have to worry about. I don't foresee any hardships in the next few months with summer here and great cycling weather into the foreseeable future.
Week 8 Stats
Miles Biked: 43
Gallons Saved: 2.68
CO2 Not Emitted: 16.8775 Ibs
Month One Stats
Miles Biked: 269.2
Gallons Saved: 16.825
CO2 Not Emitted: 422.644 Ibs
Month Two Stats
Miles Biked: 170.49
Gallonos Saved: 10.655
CO2 Not Emitted: 267.669 Ibs