Sunday, October 29, 2006

Meet my mom, the weekend warrior

Once a week, on Sundays, my mom hops on her Xtracycle, bikes to the Urth cafe on Main Street, meets my sister, father, or me for a pre-market coffee, and then loads up her bike with farmers market goodies.

She's not about to sell her car (granted, its a Prius), or become a hard core bike advocate, BUT she loves her weekly petroleum-free pilgrimage.

Why? Because its FUN, because it keeps her young (at 72, she out-energies me by a long shot), because people see her and think "Hmm, I could do that, whats that funky cargo bike shes riding?" and because she's so damn cute on her bike!!!

Oh, and she's a political animal, adamantly anti-war. So even replacing one car trip a week with human power is a step........

Go get 'em Mary Ann!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ride like a....butterfly

Nice little interview with Tim Harvey, now on the final stretch of his human-powered Odyssey. Thanks to Melissa and Averan from LA Green Living for putting this together:

Zero Emissions Traveler

Though few of us are about to hop on a bike and cruise to, say, Venezuela, our more modest actions can sometimes have ripple effects far beyond our comprehension. Picking up a 6 pack ring, eating vegetarian for a day/week/month, smiling at a stranger in the Tim mentions, it's the idea of the butterfly effect.

We are far more powerful in our infinitely tiny smallness than we realize.

saved by my Xtra!

Of course its on that rare occasion I need my car that the battery dies....

Had day planned to the minute: 8:30 am launch event for Santa Monica's new Green Business Certification Program, dash to farmers market to shop for my cooking class at New Roads, and jet to school in time for the teenage onslaught.

8:15 am: dead battery. Called a few car owners in a panic, struck out. Which totally 'derailleud' my timeline, so thought I'd try switching gears.

Fortunately made it to the Green Biz deal thanks to speedy road bike - an incredible 8:30 am! Made me appreciate again just how many people are interested in trying to green their company practices, to save $, energy, resources, etc. Go Santa Monica.

Timing the rest entailed a bike exchange. Sped home to grab the SUB, load up with kitchen equipment, hightail it to farmers market, and back to school (pant pant) in time, but it all worked out, thanks to the crazy loading capacity of my Xtracycle.

Was so worth it in the end, these kids are awesome, and we cooked up a fierce organic Moroccan feast - spicy vegetable stew, couscous, tomato/lemon-cucumber/onion salad, big fruit platter.....

The perfect cuisine solution to ditch disposables: you can eat with your fingers!

Since it all worked out, guess my only mistake was thinking I needed car in the first place.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Will the real congestion culprit please stand up?

Very cool images. Thanks to Yolanda for the heads up (love the new site girl!) and to Guy Chapman for synthesizing. Following sequence tells the true traffic tale.....


Thirty-five cars, stationary on the road. If they were moving at 30mph, each car would need at least 10m of headway, so this is about as densely packed as cars get.

This is the cargo. Thirty-five individual drivers.


And this is how much space they'd take up in a bus:

Here we have our thirty-five poeple getting on with life, some going into town on the bus, some cycling, some walking, a couple of small cars and a taxi.

Now, who was the problem, again?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

E bike: let's duke it out

Anyone whose ever visited knows what a Treehugger fan I am - whenever I see a bike-related post, I perk up. 'Specially when I see that they generate controversy, like this post about a new, super sleek line of electric bicycles, now at 17 comments - a sure sign of an incendiary topic.

Jacob, we miss you in LA!

Those naysaying the E-bike will argue that it defeats the purpose, "if you're gonna ride, well ride then dammit!"

Those in favor counterargue with, "anything that gets people out of their metal petro-boxes is a good thing."

Wherever you stand on the electric vs. human powered bike issue (must it be an either or?) must agree that this vehicle, from a purely aesthetic standpoint, is pretty slick.

I haven't done the full life cycle analysis (anyone?) but if it gets a few peeps outta their cars, I'm all for it.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

New and naughty lives for old rides

You've ridden, wrenched, and finally thrased her beyond repair, but can't find the heart to banish your retired ride to the landfill - can you still find one more life for your trusy steed?

If you are a designer, mechanic, and cyclist like Andy Gregg, you might turn your bike into a barstool.

Gregg's three combined passions resulted in Bike Furniture Design - sleek, styley pieces made from recycled steel and aluminun bicycle rims, handlebars, and frames. Re-cycling in the truest sense of the word.

Got me wondering about other creative uses for old gear.....there's some cool, and even "racy" stuff out there made from recycled tires.

Like these hip bags,

this belt,

some DIY tips for craftsters on how to make your own recycled tire sandals,

and these sustainable sex toy paddles from "Burning Rubber".

Can't, um, beat that one for creative re-use.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Calgary U-bike program

If cyclo-mutting were as easy as grabbing the nearest striped style-mobile and hitting the pavement, I bet more co-eds would eschew the guzzler......see how the U of Calgary is testing that idea. The University started a free bike-sharing program last year, where students can ride designated bikes around campus, free personal taxis.

The bikes are single speed, yellow and red striped bikes - color intended to dissuade theft. I would SO ride one, how cute is that bike???

Theft prevention or sheer good will are on their side - program has grown from 10 discarded/rejuvenated old bikes, to a working fleet of 30 in one year. A great program, other US schools should emulate this one.

As so often, read about this on Treehugger, love it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

bikeTV: Bike Move

Missed this amazing little film at the C.I.C.L.E event film fest, thankfully discovered through SurviveLA blog. Video documents a residential move done entirely on bikes!!!

I tried to do this once in Santa Cruz, trouble was I didn't have a bike move posse behind me, just me and my Xtracycle. I spent a good 2 days doing trips back and forth, loaded to capacity, but enjoying the coastal view and the quizzical looks.

I caved in when it got to my heavy loveseat....and was frankly getting burned out on the project. Had Bike Move been around, we coulda banged the thing out in an afternoon. Awesome idea, and great little video illustrating the camraderie angle, will for sure bring a smile.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

C.I.C.L.E bration

Yesterday's adventure riding down C.I.C.L.E's Life Can Be So Car Free event (previous post) reinforced the "journey is the destination" idea. Whenever bikes are involved, getting there is at least half the fun.....

First headed to the first west side meeting spot, other girl there had a flat. I've actually never had to actually fix one - despite years of riding, have only had two flats, both of which quickly fixed by a friend.

Two of us started fumbling around, when Yolanda, biker babe extraordinaire arrived on the scene. She had that thing ready to roll in no time......flat?

We rode on to meet up with the next motley crew in Culver City. Some crazy bikes, like this fuzzy number,

and this amazing tall bike......rider has some serious balancing skills.

Heres the Roll With It crew, signing riders up to be bike coaches - a free service that matches less experienced bikers up with a personal escort on their morning commute.

And spotted a handfull of Xtracycles:

There were more but I wasn't very diligent w/ camera, was too distracted checking it all out.

The event itself was a gathering of bike enthusiasts at the LA Historic Park near Chinatown, wide open area from which you can see many urban perspectives. There was lots going on - music, films, sustainable tranport/green living booths, great mingling and people watching with a big crew of friendly, funky, fresh people....but I stopped taking pix here and just enjoyed.

I'm sure more recaps and pix will emerge on other sites throughout LA for a while to come. An awesome first event for C.I.C.L.E - here's to a super fun new annual fiesta.