Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hardly a Commute!

“A cyclist can ride three-and-a-half miles on the calories found in an ear of corn. Bicycles consume less energy per passenger mile than any other form of transport, including walking. A ten-mile commute by bicycle requires 350 calories of energy, the amount in one bowl of rice. The same trip in the average American car uses 18,600 calories, or more than half a gallon of gasoline.”—Marcia D. Lowe, The Bicycle: Vehicle for a Small Planet

Whether we are inclined to accept these assertions or not; it is interesting that each U.S. household had 0.86 bicycles and 1.9 automobiles in 2001. In China, bicycles significantly outnumber automobiles, approximated at 250:1. India has a 30:1 ratio, and South Korea has a 20:1 ratio.

Why, then, in the U.S. does that ratio digress so significantly? Why is it speculated that only one out of forty bicycles is ridden for commuting? Are the rest used for strictly recreation or retired to the garage in disrepair? As a commuting bicyclist we should be thinking of ourselves in the vast minority…but, a healthy, environmentally and economically sensitive minority.

That being said, I thought I would share a video of my hardly a commute to work. It is a two-and-a-half minute video during which you can hum either Ghost Riders in the Sky by The Ventures, We Will Rock You by Queen, The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens, or Remember the Days of the Old Schoolyard by Cat Stevens…as if you were at some nostalgic silent movie. I often switch-up my own humming on my one-song-commute; for example, in inclement weather you might catch me humming Buy for Me the Rain by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band or Wipe Out by The Surfaris.

For you techies, this real-time video was filmed with my son’s Oregon Scientific helmet cam mounted on the handlebars of my trusty winterized Hop Rocker. The raw footage was edited with Solveig Multimedia AVI Trimmer 1.6 Freeware. Forgive me for amusing myself…

If you are really bored, watch the commute home. Oddly, it is a slightly shorter video…must be the prevailing winds!

Power to the Pedal People!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Rodent Conspiracy Continues...

Have you seen this reprobate, good-for-nothing, troublemaker…this, this…this SQUIRREL?

Okay, the story continues…

My biking friends, our safety is at risk! Like the Biking Brady that has started posting license plate numbers of vehicles that have little or no awareness (or respect )for bicycles sharing the road, I am starting a Rodent Registry. This Rodent Registry is an attempt to identify these vermin for what they are…NUTS! I’m certainly convinced that the culprit pictured in this blog is, in fact, the same rascal that at the midday on June 21, 2008, intentionally and deliberately fell…no leapt…onto my helmet (and subsequently positioning itself eye-to-eye with me) to cause malicious cardiovascular distress and emotional duress. (Disinclined Riding Partner, August 14, 2008)

Look closely at this adrenaline-junky, this malevolent, maloccluded, mangy, may-do-harm. Look deeply into his beady eyes and observe the chainring grease still staining his furry little-coat. Don’t be deceived…these varmints are ANIMALS…I tell you!

The Registry will use photographic identification of the offenders, rather than names or numbers. After all, who has time to even catch a license plate number when you are trying to recover from a near-miss collision with a motor vehicle—least of all dodging the acrobatic antics of an agile antagonist. Check out how Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Oregon, Illinois, Utah, Arizona, Florida, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Tennessee, South Carolina and Maine have legislated a three-foot passing clearance. Check out Joe Mizereck's "Three Feet Please" Campaign and view the videos here. How close is too close?

Unlike other registry systems, out-of-state offenders will be featured, just like Brady’s…no motor vehicle licensure, voter’s registration, or mail-forwarding address will compromise the integrity of this registry of reprobates.

Oh…and, don’t get me started on the deer, marmots and gophers…

No animals were harmed in the production of this blog. Unfortunately, they were likened to an unthinking fraction of the human population that is creating a dangerous condition for both cyclists and motorists--by not passing with a reasonable clearance.

Please Share-the-Road, Thank You!

Monday, January 5, 2009

“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”
—Andy Warhol

This 1968 pop-culture statement is often misquoted, perhaps conveniently so since Andrew Warhola (AKA Andy Warhol) deliberately tried to confuse reporters by changing it when he was persistently asked about its particular meaning. However, the statement refers to the transitory (short term and disposable) celebrity status that an object has when the media features it...followed by its subsequent loss of recognition as the public’s interests wane.

Even though the bike lanes, routes and paths in Sioux Falls could fall to this cliché, the community’s commuting and recreational cyclists need to maintain the vision for improving the trail and route system. Influential organizations and individuals have made sustentative recommendations to the design, development and alterations of this system and its detours. It is through committed labor, vigilance and expertise that Sioux Falls is emerging as a safe-cycling community. I extend my sincere appreciation and gratitude to those organizations and individuals for the privileged opportunity to have such a system available for my use—thank you!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Warhol Sharrows?

Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.”
—Grant Peterson