Apr 27, 2009
If you have not been to downtown Minneapolis at rush hour lately, you are not missing much. This is the grid lock at 7th Street and 4th Ave. Note the cars turning right in the bus stop and the buses staged back to mid-block or further because they can't access the stops, which has been relocated to accommodate the Marq2. This when a bike can actually outperform a car, but road rage is running fairly high downtown these days, too.
Apr 25, 2009
Apr 24, 2009
I became a Facebook "fan" of Transit for Livable Communities recently. I have a friend that's pretty active with this group, and in general I support transit and public transportation so it made sense to became a "fan", I thought. In fact, while I was at it, I also volunteered for a few things on the TLC site as well.
Today when I got home I saw this video link which was posted by TLC on Facebook. I've got to say, it turns me off. If they think this is going to be effective advocacy, this might not be the group for me.
Go ahead - fund the buses. I agree 100%. In fact, I'll be happy to write a letter, send an email, or maybe even speak at a public hearing to support this. But, I will not be very hopeful that goofy community theatre happenings will help to get this done.
Please support House File 1309.
Apr 22, 2009
We had a chance to inspect the fine rides on the floor, including some high-end Kona's, a BMC and a Parlee...
as well a whole row of fancy, sleek Looks.
But the real thing I was seeking was this ultra-high-end Fatback that was shown at the NAHBS event this year. The bike was not for sale, as far we could tell, and no one would hazard at a price if it were for sale.
On April 16, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) staff from the Office of Enforcement gave a presentation on the State of the [Energy] Markets. The presentation is quite interesting, if you follow energy issues, because it provides a little color commentary on what proved to be a very strange year in the natural gas and electrical markets.
Of particular note, the presentation states that market fundamentals alone do not explain the wide flux in natural gas prices seen in 2008. While there are several discrete factors that helped to influence price volatility (decrease in LNG import, a tight gas market, etc.) “…none of the market fundamentals were extreme enough to explain why spot Henry Hub prices reached $13.31/MMBtu by July 3.”
Interestingly, the presentation goes on to say that “…the rise in natural gas prices coincided with a global increase in many commodity prices. This increase in commodity prices occurred as large pools of capital flowed into various financial instruments that essentially turn commodities like natural gas into investment vehicles. Ultimately, we believe that financial fundamentals along with a modest tightening in the supply and demand balance for gas during the first part of the 2008 explains natural gas prices during the year.”
Now, wait just a cotton-picking minute....
Don’t those two statements kind of contradict each other? It seems more likely to me that the coincidence of commodities speculation has more than a little to do with this issue, but FERC only goes as far as to note the coincidental timing, but reverts to believing it’s fundamentals after all.
Why would they take this seemingly contrary position? Because they regulate the energy markets, but they can’t regulate the free market and commodity speculation, that’s why.
Chilling. No pun intended.
After a long flight (and by long, I mean 6 hours in a middel seat) we were treated to beautiful weather on arrival - sunny and highs in the upper 40's, and this forecast is predicted to hold for the rest of the week. The snow is gone and the Mew gulls have returned and are busy setting up housekeeping on the roof-tops downtown. Sunset is 9:30 PM or so and first load of tourists arrived on a north-bound cruise ship in Juneau yesterday.
If I were going to be up here more regularly, I would absolutely ship a bike up for the summer. This is a great city for riding a bike. With a bike, I doubt very much you would need a car at all in summer. In fact, commuting by bike in Anchorage was great - much better than Minneapolis, in retrospect. The route was about 6.5 miles, of which 1/3 was on neighborhood streets, 1/3 on city streets, and 1/3 on a multiple use trail (MUP) that led into downtown. Each leg was generally safe (a few intimidating intersections, but nothing really bad), and portions were quite scenic. Of course, there are areas in Anchorage where you simply can't ride a bike safely - I would say pretty much all of mid-town (the new, office and stripmall part of Anchorage south of downtown) is very bad. Working downtown, that was never a problem for me, however.
* Many people that have not been to Anchorage think it is often cold and dreary (like Seattle or Vancouver) in summer, but Anchorage is sheilded by mountains and is usually very dry and mild in summer.
Apr 19, 2009
We took the bikes along with the good intention of riding the Luce Line Trail. Unfortunately for the bikes, we were distracted by the migrants on Saturday (saw our first Yellow-headed blackbird and what we are 90% sure was a Wilson's snipe as well as the Yellow-rumped warblers, field sparrows and American white pelicans, plus other more mundane sightings). We also had our first ticks of the season - luckily these were the large-easy-to-find kind and not the small- hard-to-find-and-then-you-get-Lyme's-disease kind.
The Luce Line trail starts (or ends, depending on your perspective) in Winsted, about 6 miles south of Lake Howard. The trail is crushed rock but turns to grass(!) on the west side of Winsted. We found the headwaters of the trail, but there were really no markers or parking. This may be coming in a later stage of development, but for know it seems Winsted is keeping quiet about the Luce Line. We planned to ride it this morning, but woke to 42 degree rain, so we bagged that idea and just came home.
I think a "Length of t he Luce Line" ride would be interesting. I have mixed feelings about the rails to trails experience, but to do one start to finish might spice it up a bit. It would be a 68 miler with just the trail portion.
We stayed at a nice (brand new) bed and breakfast called the Dutch Lake Farm Guest House. The place is right on the eponymous Dutch Lake, and has a canoe and walking trail, and a stand-alone guest house that is very comfortable (good places to read, which is a common oversight in many B&B's).
We only took one lousy photo on the trip, and it's not even a good one - Molly's Breezer and my Rawland on the roof of the car at a coffee shop.
Apr 17, 2009
With a nod to HTATBL, I am posting a video for the weekend. This is Deer Tick, originally from Providence, RI. This is the theme song for the Kunstlercast podcast, so I have the snippet a hundred times, but I finally listened to the rest of the album and liked it.
So, here's Deer Tick.
Apr 16, 2009
My spouse asked me the other night what my goals were for bike riding this year. She's more into defining goals than I am, at least in the context of personal life. I can goal-set all day at work, but at home, my goal seems to be to not have goals.
- Commute regularly to work on my bike. I have commuted fairly regularly in the past, but now that I have turned in my parking pass that ups the ante and makes the bike less of a decision compared to my other option now, which is the bus. I thought about making the goal "commute every day on my bike" but I recognize that sometimes I have to wear a suit and tie, and I am kind of a fair weather rider, so I am not going to set the bar there. I have a sub-goal to push this and keep track of how many days I ride rather than ride the bus to keep me honest.
- Make the bike part of my everyday life. We generally think nothing of jumping in the car and running to Target to pick up a few things. I want to get to the point where I think nothing of hopping on the bike and running to Target to pick up a few things. I have the gear to do that; what I need is the time and the motivation. If you think about this one, it's actually a pretty big goal - I would either need to get over feeling like I have to dress for the bike, or wear these clothes more of the time. We'll see how this transpires.
- Ride a Century. I debated this one; I don't really feel like I have the time right now to become a long distance biker, but I would like to take on the challenge of a Century. There are a number of ways to do this (supported rides, group rides, solo) but I have not decided yet what I am going to do, or when I am going to do it. Realistically, I don't have enough miles in my legs right now to survive 100 miles, but maybe mid-summer will be the time...
- Ride More Miles in Wisconsin. Might seem odd, but I grew up there. The roads are fantastic. I miss it. Maybe this means bringing a bike down to the parent's house, maybe this means some weekend trips to Northwestern Wisconsin. We'll see...
- Sell my car. I began considering getting rid of the Mighty Tundra in March when I turned in my parking pass and found I rarely drove it after that. Although this sounds kind of radical, I think it's actually closer than one might think, since my spouse has a car and I can get to work on the bus if need be. No timeframe for this goal. I need to take this step-wise and see how goal number 2 comes along before I decide anything, but it's something to think about.
- Buy a tandem. My spouse and I like to ride our bikes together, but we have some speed differences. I am beginning to think that a tandem might be the solution. I could honk along as fast and hard as I want and she could be right there next to me nonetheless. It's expensive, it's another bike in the garage, it might not get use much, but it's on my mind...
- Regular or very active participation in TCBC or other group rides. I have mixed feelings about the whole roadie scene, so I am a little cool on TCBC, and I am not much of a joiner, so even the social rides, like Hiawatha are a little bit of a challenge. While I have had fun on some TCBC rides, I am not sure that they are for me. I can keep up just fine on the B rides but find the social dynamics to be a bit odd, and I get bored on the C rides except for when we stop for tacos. I like the more casual Hiawatha rides, but it's more for the social aspects than the biking or the workout. I can always add miles or ride harder on the commute, and that's the plan for upping miles and increasing endurance this yet. I plan to do a number Hiawatha rides, but I have yet to decide on TCBC this year.
- Black Dog Time Trials. Yes, it's the Race of Truth, but I did a lot of time trials in my college years and I don't need to do anymore. My Race of Truth is now the ride home from work, and I am entirely fine with that. I don't need the hassle of roofing a bike, driving out to the 'burbs and gutting it out with a bunch of people I don't know. I'd rather ride a route I know and test my time in the privacy of my head.
Apr 14, 2009
Circus Bike - $110
Reply to: email@example.com [Errors when replying to ads?]
Date: 2009-04-14, 5:28PM CDT
Apr 13, 2009
Apr 12, 2009
After taking a sick day on Friday and laying around like a slug on Saturday nursing this cold. we were able to salvage the weekend with some outside recreation today.
Apr 10, 2009
I been making systematic changes to my bike armada over the winter to get rid of bikes that were too specialized and/or that I found I was not riding for whatever reason. This began with Phase 1, which involved selling a Pugsely that I found on CL. The Pug was a lot of fun for short rides or specialized conditions, but too I found I rarely used it and there was an eager buyer, so it's gone to a better home.
Apr 8, 2009
This is scary.
The Anchorage Daily News ran a rather lengthy story earlier today on a comic book that will be coming out in June. The article was long enough that I did not take the time to read it at work (what with being the boss and all), so I sent the link to my email address so I could look it up when I got home.
Apr 5, 2009
Apr 4, 2009
Our society imposes subtle, but real, discrimination on married people that don't have children. We don't have kids. We are not going to have kids. And both my spouse and I are entirely cool with that. Rest assured that we are just fine. No sympathy or intervention required (nor tolerated, for that matter). We love our lives and we are happy, and don't need to add kids to the equation for any reason. That's just where we are - it's not a value statement, so don't get all worked up about it.
I got moving early and was able to get a decent bike ride in this morning before the wintery mess descends upon us yet again one more time. I shook the dust off the road bike, pumped the tires up to 100 and ventured across the river to that mysterious land called St. Paul. I was pleased that I was not quite as woefully out of shape as I thought I was. Take that, Marshal Ave. hill!
Apr 3, 2009
Cannondale announced yesterday that they will be terminating U.S. manufacture of bicycles. I believe this now means that there are no mass-produced bicycles that are still made in the U.S. of A. Most of the major U.S. brands (Specialized, Schwinn, Trek, Cannondale and even Surly) have relied on Asian manufacturing for a long time. There are still high-end builders in the U.S., but I don't believe there are any U.S. companies building bikes-for-the-masses in the U.S. anymore.
Good ran a short piece about a proposed tax on bicycle riders in Oregon. This seems like a shake-down to me. The plan would be to require people to register their bikes for a period of two years at a cost of $54. The argument is that bikes use the roads and should pay for infrastructure.
Apr 1, 2009
|1.||Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (100%)|
|2.||Liberal Quakers (94%)|
|3.||Unitarian Universalism (92%)|
|4.||Orthodox Quaker (79%)|
|5.||Reform Judaism (78%)|
|7.||New Age (67%)|
|8.||Secular Humanism (64%)|
|9.||Baha'i Faith (60%)|
|10.||Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (56%)|
|11.||Seventh Day Adventist (55%)|
|12.||Theravada Buddhism (54%)|
|13.||Orthodox Judaism (53%)|
|14.||New Thought (53%)|
|15.||Mahayana Buddhism (49%)|
|20.||Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (45%)|
|21.||Eastern Orthodox (45%)|
|22.||Roman Catholic (45%)|
|24.||Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (39%)|
|27.||Jehovah's Witness (28%)|
I am skeptical of any on-line quiz, so I am going to keep my spiritual options open, but this has been a bit of eye-opener to me. I like the idea of being a Friend more than being a Presbyterian,(Pagan sounds fun, too), but since I have never even considered these options, what do I know?