Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Save Gas - Ride a Bike!

Yet another benefit to riding a bike - saving gasoline. There's the obvious reduction in consumption by replacing car miles with bike miles. But don't forget the increase in fuel efficiency when you do drive. How's that? Certain behaviors become inbred when you're personally responsible for outputting the watts needed to move through space.

If the stoplight ahead turns red, stop pedaling. Try to time your arrival so that you can coast through on the green and save momentum. Don't race away from stoplights/signs. It takes a lot of energy to accelerate quickly. Build up speed gradually. Slow down on hills. You're working against gravity, so it costs 4 times as much energy to go up a hill at 20 MPH as it does at 10 MPH.

All this becomes second nature on a bicycle. Strangely enough, it also works just as well in a car.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Mine is a Crazed Life

Today I had to admit to myself there are many facets of my life that are just not sane. Among my other pursuits, I race bicycles. Yesterday, I spent approximately 3.25 hours riding as fast as I could in the rain. Up and down hills, through pastureland. Getting drenched and covered with mud, sand, and cow sh*t (I did mention "pastureland"). Did I also mention I paid $20 for the experience?

So today, I open the garage door to head out on the morning commute. It's raining. Hard. 15 minutes later, I'm drenched. Water is dripping off my helmet, my nose. My socks are waterlogged and making that unpleasant squelching sound. And my first thought is: "Hey, at least it's not cow sh*t".

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Maintaining the Ratio

I made a pledge to ride twice as many miles as I drive this year. Just passed 2,000 miles on the bike and still under 1,000 on the car, so I'm good. Approaching 120,000 vertical feet as well. My quads aren't quite the size of tree trunks yet, but they're noticeably larger than this time last year.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Overlapping Grids

Another nice thing about bicycling is that it gets you outside, in the environment. I feel more attuned to the weather, the change of seasons. Spring is trying to force its way into the Seattle area, though Winter is still winning at this point. The songbirds, however, have a schedule to meet and are doing whatever it is they do.

They sing, sometimes loudly, to each other and the world at large. I assume they're calling for mates, marking out territorial boundaries. They have superimposed a kind of bird grid over our urban environment. Of course, from their perspective, we have imposed a kind of people grid over their avian environment. The two grids can coexist, as long as one of them refrains from filling up the other with noxious gases and chemicals.

Seattle Audubon Society