Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wild weather.....

Over the last week we've had some wild weather for these parts. Awoke to a few inches of nice snow last week.....

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Eco friendly dudes....

I'm an eco friendly kind of guy.......Ride a bike for transportation, use as little energy as possible, don't produce much trash, don't eat much meat, grow some of our own veggies, and eat local as often as I can.

The so-called leaders of the world who showed up at Copenhagen for this environment summit, or whatever they call it are not acting like friends to the Earth. They flew over there from all over the place in about 140 jets and once they got out of the jet, they jumped in large cars and SUVs and took over 1,200 limos to the conference.

The best form of leadership is to lead by example. An online conference meeting wouldn't have been as dramatic but they could have pointed to it and told us how much energy they're saving and try to lead us and give us new ideas by example. If there were ever a cause for a giant international online meeting....This would be it. They're using as much oil for this meeting as many towns use in a year! There's probably third world countries that don't use as much oil in a year.

Ghandi would have walked, taken a boat and then walked some more. He attempted to lead by example. Ed Begley jr. may have ridden his bike at both ends instead of the limo. This meeting is just an example of a bunch of folks who want us to do as they say and not as they do. At the least, they should have had all these folks ride bikes from the airport to the hotel to the conference. Snipers and murder attempts on high profile leaders may not even be a problem......Everybody looks friendlier on a bike and it'd be hard for a thug to pull the trigger on this friendly convoy of leaders.

Earth to "leaders" .............. Jet-setting is not eco friendly. Just makes you guys look like a bunch of fools and hypocrites!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The dogs get a nice ride...

The dogs have it made. They get to tag along quite a bit.

Friday, June 5, 2009

American Xtracycle dream....

I should clarify my thoughts on Xtracycles. Here's my WHOLE thoughts and worries list.

1) The rising trade and operation costs for an American company that's getting stuff made in Taiwan is making it possible for an American made product to compete in both price and delivery. I'd like to see manufacturing come back to America. Rising transport and foreign labor costs are making this fantasy look more realistic.
My answer - With the closings of all these auto manufacturing plants, it'd be great if somebody sunk money into a large bicycle frame/fork/component manufacturing plant that can make nearly anything you want in the realm of frames, forks, Xtracycles, trailers, racks, handlebars, wheels, etc.....This could be a profitable venture and put people to work. Companies like Surly, Kogswell, Xtracycle, Rivendell, and even biggies like Trek and Kona could contract product to be built there. Way less than one percent of bikes and bike parts sold in America are made in America so there's a large market share to gain. Some major tax breaks for the environmental goodness of manufacturing bicycles would also be helpful!! We could do it!

2) I'm a lil' embarrassed when somebody asks me the cost of my Xtracycle because it's usually someone that doesn't spend a whole lot on bicycles. I'm actually philosophically opposed to spending so much for snap things and snap decks But I already have my own answers for this problem. ;-) The other pieces are worth it but now Xtracycle is making it harder to buy individual components/replacement parts. This is usually a typical problem that comes with growth and/or changes in management. If I'm not mistaken....Both of these have happened recently.
My answer - I'd love to make everyone realize bicycles are an investment and worthy of their money. They replace cars and make us healthier and friendlier folks. Back when the Wright Brothers were building bikes, it was common for people to spend half a year's wages on a bicycle. Some spent more and some spent less but nowadays that'd be equal to people NOT FLINCHING at $15,000 dollar bikes. That sounds great to me!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What GM is wasting our bailout money on.......

I've been against the Guv'ment doling out money to failing companies which, of course, goes against common sense. Now I actually have a large chunk o' fury I'm directing at G.M. in particular.

G.M. and Segway have been working on a new vehicle called the PUMA.
  • This is a very small vehicle that's meant to navigate crowded urban areas.
  • This vehicle has a maximum speed of 35 miles per hour.
  • This vehicle uses very little energy and is meant for shorter jaunts and commutes.
  • This vehicle is very lightweight and efficient.
  • This vehicle has two wheels.

That sounds exactly like a description of the bicycle! This is noooooo bicycle though. The two wheels are on each side.....Segway style. It uses the same gyroscopic balance system that the normal Segway uses. So you've got somebody driving down the street, between two wheels in a vehicle that's almost as useful and a little bit larger than a bicycle.

This thing is absolutely no better than a bicycle or your own two feet! A bicycle can do anything this thing does and will do it better.
  • A bicycle is lighter and can actually be carried around.
  • You can park at least two bicycles in the space of one PUMA.
  • The bicycle gives you exercise.
  • A bicycle is much, much less expensive.
  • Bicycles aren't destroying our U.S. currency and jacking our taxes sky high (GM's bailout money at work).

I see this as G.M. taking a direct shot at pedal power......They're attempting to make something to take bicycles off the road, make people lazier, and put ill-gotten cash in their pockets.........Which shouldn't happen because they should have already gone through bankruptcy proceedings. They can't survive in the auto industry so now they want to pick on smaller industries and tear them down as they build their lumbering, wasteful, and outdated company up. They simply want to get people off bicycles and into their vehicles. At least a bicycle of any sort is less nerdy than this thing and I figure it's a failure in the making.....If it even reaches production.

Bravo jerks!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bicycle powered ice storm damage assessment

In my out-of-shape-ness it's a fairly tough ride out to the farm.....Especially if the weather is bad. We've had a few nice days following the harsh ice storm that came through and this was the first time I've been able to check the damage to our property and travel trailer. This was the most destructive ice storm in anyone's memory. Most people were out of power for at least a week. We feared there was hefty damage on our farm.

We're living in town during winter. This was a pretty lucky thing as I'm sure we'd have been nearly scared to death if we were out at the farm and listening to trees falling everywhere.

Things are now settled down and it was a pleasant ride out there. Once you leave town it's mostly uphill to our place so I always have to remind myself to take it easy and not try to duplicate my ride time of a few years ago for this ride.

Used to be easy to get out there in less than a half an hour on a nice, lugged steel road bike. Now it's nearly 45 minutes on a heavy Xtracycle equipped Electra Townie. That's probably not too bad considering the bike weighs twice as much. I'm nearly thirty pounds heavier as well so I really can't complain about the ride time.

It's mostly a very nice ride. There's a few minutes of very hectic riding but the rest is nice.

Good news is the trailer didn't get wiped out. The awning broke from the weight of all that ice sitting up there but no trees fell on it. Even our access road escaped all but two small trees falling on it.
Twas a good visit made better by the fact that I had a relaxing ride out and back!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Great ride and a fun bridge!

This was a great ride on a beloved bike that's no longer with us. It was about four years ago and I was doing a loop I love. Eastern Kentucky has tons of swinging/suspension bridges (for people, not cars). This is a loop that's about 35 miles and coming back near town I cross this bridge. It's at River, Kentucky and is claimed to be the longest plastic pedestrian bridge in existence. Yes, it's plastic. I trust steel in bicycles but I sure entrusted my life to plastic when crossing this bridge high above cold waters.

'Twas a nice fall day in the Highlands. I set out on a ride with some hard climbing, a dirt section, one long downhill, nice backroads, and two swinging bridge crossings. The bike was a Kogswell F-58. Interesting bits were Nitto Albatross bars flipped upside down, a Shimano Nexus 7 speed internally geared hub, Brooks B-17 saddle, and a Carradice Barley saddlebag. The bike nor the hub complained. It was such a nice ride, my body didn't even complain.

Here's the link to the route.