Another week, another ride

I hate going a whole week between rides, but this past week was so hot I could not bring myself to get out there. Finally the heat broke on Saturday, and with a pleasantly warm morning, I rode my bike over to the Post Office to pick up a parcel. It’s a short ride, maybe 3 miles round-trip, so I couldn’t be bothered firing up the car for something like that. To no one’s surprise, there are no bike racks outside the Post Office (this is a separate annex where they keep packages requiring signature if you’re not home when they try to deliver). So I did what any self-respecting bicycle lover would do: took it inside the building with me. Yep, I did. No big deal really, it’s just an ugly lobby where you ring the bell and someone comes out of the back to get your stuff. A young family with children in a stroller came in as I was there, and I did get kind of a strange look from the woman. :::shrug:::

Anyway, the weather was so fabulous I decided I really did need to go out for a real ride, so I went home, dropped off the panier and excess stuff, changed and went back out. This time I took a slightly longer route, but opposite of the direction I rode last week. The result was it took me almost exactly one hour. Hmm. Not sure if the change of direction made that much of a difference from last week, when it took me an hour and 15 minutes, or wind at my back or what. Maybe the muscles are quicker at remembering than I gave them credit for. It was a great ride, with a couple of stops for water (still a little klutzy about getting the bottle back in the holder while riding, I dropped it once and had to turn around and go back for it). I also wasn’t nearly as wiped out when I got home. Good to know I’m not quite dead yet.

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Vote for Oil Independence

Oceana.org is proposing a plan to reduce oil consumption, and virtually eliminate off-shore drilling and oil imports from the Persian Gulf by 2035. They are one of three finalists for a $10,000 prize, to be awarded by SACE – Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. You can read all the proposals, watch their presentations, and cast your vote here. You don’t need to live in the Southern U.S. to vote, this will affect us ALL.

Oceana.org                         Banner

It’s time for the United States to have a strong vision to move to a clean energy economy. And we have a plan that can help make that happen.

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is hosting the Clean Energy Gulf Challenge and Oceana is one of three finalists. Oceana Vision 2020 aims to eliminate the need for offshore oil drilling and oil imports from the Persian Gulf while moving towards cleaner energy solutions.

We need your votes to win – make sure to check out our plan and vote by July 13 »

Oceana’s Plan for Cleaner Energy »

Oceana is one of three finalists who have a chance to win $10,000 for our clean energy plan. Vote for us today and for a cleaner energy future.

Vote Today
Please help spread the word – we want to share our plan with as many people as possible. After you vote, forward this email to 5 friends so they can vote, too.

We are excited about our cleaner energy plan and believe it will provide a strong direction for achieving energy independence. So make sure to check it out and vote.

For the oceans,
Simon Mahan
Campaign Analyst
Oceana

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At last

I guess the start of the Tour de France was finally enough inspiration for me to get off my arse and get on the bike. I haven’t been out riding in months, due to a really wet, cold spring up here, followed by a horrendous allergy season. But, with the start of the only sporting event I actually pay attention to I finally felt the need to get back out there myself and put some more miles on the bike.

It was a good day for a ride, not too cool, not too warm, but there was a little more wind than I was anticipating. I have lost a lot of strength and speed from not riding for so long. The course I took today is normally a 55-minute ride for me, but today it took an hour and fifteen minutes. Wow, that’s slow. I admit I didn’t push it too hard, thought I’d give my muscles a chance to remember what was happening. I got out early enough to beat most of the Saturday/holiday recreational traffic, and late enough to miss most of the fishermen who get on the road at the crack of dawn to try to surprise the fish.

People around here are mostly pretty courteous and considerate of cyclists, or at least they are towards me. I do make sure to wave a thank you when they wait before turning to let me go by first. Hopefully it’s helping to improve motorist/cyclist relations.

If only I’d remembered some money and my panniers, I had wanted to stop at a berry farm and get some fresh strawberries or something. Maybe if they’re open next week, and I can actually sit on the saddle again…

Looks like Fabian Cancellara won the prologue today in Rotterdam. I am without cable so I’ll be relying on various Web sites for news of le Tour. Lance finished 4th.

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Good News — Bike Recovered!

A couple months ago Andrew Taylor’s custom Marin Alcatraz was stolen from the Marin van at the Portland Bicycle Show, and yesterday, it was recovered, thanks to Portlander Sam Iesette:

If you been riding long enough, you’ve probably had a bike stolen. It’s the worst feeling to have any kind of ride snatched away from you, but when AT opened up the Marin van to grab his sweet, custom Alcatraz two months ago to prepare for a jump exhibition at the Portland Bicycle Show he was gutted to find it missing.

Perusing Craigslist a couple months after the show, Sam Iesette spotted the listing shown in the Marin blog posting. The bike appears to be exactly as Andrew last saw it, all customization still in place and in tact.

Good work, and well-spotted, Sam! I can’t believe those dumbasses thought no one would notice.

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BP Burning Sea Turtles Alive

From The Raw Story:

A rare and endangered species of sea turtle is being burned alive in BP’s controlled burns of the oil swirling around the Gulf of Mexico, and a boat captain tasked with saving them says the company has blocked rescue efforts.

Mike Ellis, a boat captain involved in a three-week effort to rescue as many sea turtles from unfolding disaster as possible, says BP effectively shut down the operation by preventing boats from coming out to rescue the turtles.

“They ran us out of there and then they shut us down, they would not let us get back in there,” Ellis said in an interview with conservation biologist Catherine Craig.

Read the rest of the story and see video here.

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Burnt chunks of wood for sale

It’s true, you can sell anything on Ebay. Someone is now listing a chunk of the lightning-struck, burned-down “Touchdown Jesus” for sale. I am not making this up. Here’s the listing number: 120584274483.

Touchdown JesusFor those who missed it, this thing was hit by lightning and burned to the ground June 14. Seriously. The heavens opened up and took this monstrosity out. Nice shot. Actually, I laughed out loud when I read it. Talk about irony. And now, there’s a chunk of it (or so says the seller) that was fished out of the pond for sale on Ebay.

I only wonder that they didn’t build a shrine around it and charge admission.

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Frankenforests

From the Associated Press, via Yahoo!:

By MITCH STACY, Associated Press Writer Mitch Stacy, Associated Press Writer Mon Jun 7, 5:40 am ET

TAMPA, Fla. – The commercial paper industry’s plans to plant forests of genetically altered eucalyptus trees in seven Southern states have generated more cries from critics worried that such a large introduction of a bioengineered nonnative plant could throw natural ecosystems out of whack.

ArborGen, a biotechnology venture affiliated with three large paper companies, got U.S. Department of Agriculture approval last month for field trials involving as many as 250,000 trees planted at 29 sites during the next few years. Much smaller lots of the genetically altered trees have been growing in some of the states for years.

I don’t think I like the idea of designer trees. I don’t think this is quite as innocuous as say, hybridizing roses.

The company says plantations of hearty, faster-growing eucalyptus could produce more timber in a smaller area and allow conservation of natural forests.

I think he means “hardy.” But sloppy journalistic practices aside, unsurprisingly, the Sierra Club is weighing in with a decidedly unfavorable opinion:

But critics say that despite the USDA’s assurance that the trees pose no environmental threat, not enough is known about their effect on natural surroundings.

“We have many reservations about it,” said Neil J. Carman, a biologist who serves on the Sierra Club’s genetic engineering committee. “We don’t think the scientific evidence is in yet that says this is a good idea.”

Anne Petermann, executive director of the activist group Global Justice Ecology Project, said eucalyptus trees are invasive, require vast amounts of water that could reduce groundwater levels, and increase the wildfire risk because they are so flammable.

“This is quite a dangerous tree to be mass planting,” Petermann said.

I was living in the San Francisco Bay Area back in 1991 when the Oakland hills went up in flames, killing 25 and injuring at least 150 people. Referred to as the Oakland Firestorm, the hills in that area, actually all over the San Francisco Bay Area, are heavily planted with eucalyptus trees. The sap inside them boiled then exploded as the trees caught fire, sending burning embers in all directions, catching more trees on fire. This account comes from Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco, written by Captain Ronald R. Parker, who was the “Division C” commander, in charge of operations at the Claremont Hotel on October 20, 1991. He is assigned to the Oakland Division of Training.

Eyewitness accounts testify that a sole ember blew into a tree just outside the burn area, and the tree exploded into flame, and the resulting fire was quickly out of control — raging around and over firefighters who were indeed fighting for their lives.

Oakland Firestorm 1991

Photo from Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team, NASA Ames Research Center

Florida is prone to droughts, and fires, as anyone who has lived there in the last ten years can tell you. I don’t think Florida wants to have their own firestorm.

With all the bioengineering going on, you have to wonder what the world will look like in say, three- or four-hundred years.

Posted in Environment, history, suburban living, weirdness | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments