Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hey, how about a photography post!

Image courtesy of Paulo Brandão via flickr

I did want to work in photography to this blog more than I have, and while it has happened to a degree when talking about food or certain infrastructure, my photography, or the photography of others, has not come up too often.

So it was with great excitment that I saw this post over at Treehugger on HDR (high dynamic range) photography
HDR from Wikipedia
...high dynamic range imaging (HDRI or just HDR) is a set of techniques that allow a greater dynamic range of luminances between the lightest and darkest areas of an image than standard digital imaging techniques or photographic methods. This wider dynamic range allows HDR images to more accurately represent the wide range of intensity levels found in real scenes, ranging from direct sunlight to faint starlight
I had heard about HDR before, and I am sure I saw some examples, but I had mostly forgotten what it truly looked like and the amazing beauty of it.

The pictures in this slideshow are of natural settings and not man made, unlike the photography that graces the start of this post. It is almost another world like in its quality and colors, I wish I had the equipment and the knowledge to do something like this!

So please follow the link over to the slideshow at on HDR photography and be amazed!

Note, each image has a an artist on flickr that you can link to and see more of their work, look in the lower right for the link. I highly encourage this, as their work is gorgeous!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A cost of a new bike

As I mentioned here back in January, (or I thought I did) I bought a new Breezer Uptown 8 as my general commuting bike (in all but the worst weather, because I cant bear to get her dirty yet)

Now I knew this when I got it but didn’t think it completely through I guess. I have a Toppeak track rack+bag system for my older Giant bike that I use every day. Now this bag is pretty great, I love how it locks and slides into the rack and everything, but the Breezer comes with a spring rack that has the built in dynamo powered rear light meaning that my go-to commuter bag for everything from change of clothes, to food, to knitting, can not fit without some modification.

This is sad, giving me options to get a new rack to put on, switch the racks around (best solution really) or what I have now, old punctured inner-tubes tied on one side and locked to a carbineer on the other (for quick release!). This is not the most elegant design, and I won’t be winning any cycle chic points for it. The bag is not quite steady in this setup either, but it should be ok for most of the time I think.

I took a picture of the Breezer as it was just out of the box (that the kind folks at Harris Cyclery packed for me) and tomorrow I will take one, once its on campus, because yes! Tomorrow I ride my new baby into campus, and ride home in the dark with my nice dynamo headlight!

Its kind of exciting to have a new bike, hopefully I have it adjusted properly, in terms of seat height and handlebars.

Only problem seems to be my rear dynamo light... It has connectivity from the front, tested with my voltmeter, but I can get no resistance from the light nor can I get it to light up. Its LED so not sure why, but might be the capacitor that keeps it lit even when stopped, died...

Other than that, I am very excited :D

(Except for the fact that its going to be raining tomorrow and that means I am not going to bring it in, so it won’t make it to campus until Wednesday or Thursday this week, booo)

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Friday Break

A note before you see this video, it is from a site with non work safe material, however this video is quite work safe. It is a prank involving an underground tunnel and a the entire junior class at this high school (where ever it is). I will let the video do the talking (or walking as it were) though...

There is sound but its not needed to appreciate the video.

As an end note, yes it disrupted traffic quite a bit, yes it caused cars and buses to idle more than needed, and I am sure caused delays for many people, but I still think it is quite brilliant of a prank, and very inventive. I am a pedestrian, I am traffic.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dear Anonymous

Dear couple out ridding their tandem yesterday along route 9 toward town,

Thanks for getting out to enjoy the nice weather, I smiled when I saw you ride by as I readjusted my clothing to be more appropriate to the niceness of the weather. I have seen your bike parked before, next to a house, I forget where, and always wondered if it was used or just went on trips. Next time though, don't demean yourself by riding in the ditch next to a 6in concrete curb on a 4 lane 35mph road. There is plenty of room for everybody if you take the lane, and its a heck of a lot safer too!

Thanks for getting out on your bike! I hope to see you often.

that crazy guy with the reflective vest and multiple blinking lights.

Campus Survey

Well as I mentioned here, I have funding for the first part of my bike rack implementation program, I am waiting on the head of facilities to get back from surgery and then finalizing with him and ordering will happen. The plan is to have the racks and be able to install them around Earth Day, which gives about 4 weeks. The first step to that though, is finding the places that cyclists find most lacking in current parking. I am in the process of creating a survey with the head of Human Resources on campus that would do just that, and a little bit more. I am aiming this at students as well as teacher/staff and want to know how they ride their bike (or if they do). What reasons they may not or don’t even bring a bike to campus, where parking is inadequate, and finally bike sharing.

A couple years back a bike share system was started as a senior project, it was well intentioned, but fell victim to the "tragedy of the commons." The bikes were free for anybody, basic recycled models and could be used at any time anywhere. Very soon, they were found trashed all over town, in the river, in the lake, messed up, destroyed and its usefulness never came true.

So with that in mind my proposal, which I don't think I will be able to implement before I leave, but hopefully can get others interested in, involves personal ownership with payments of a non refundable, and refundable deposits and participants are given a bike to take care of for a term or year. This is a question for both students and staff as I feel there is demand for bikes on campus for commuters that may travel to and from campus by car due to their living distance.

I also mention the bike-commuting stipend from the federal government, for staff and teachers, and if they knew about it or would offering this program make them more willing to commute by bike.

I am moving ahead with this and I have received support on all fronts for this so far, this is a good use of time while I wait to finalize the racks and get them to campus.

There will be more on this, including the finalized questions, shortly as I hope to have everything finalized by Monday.

Monday, March 22, 2010


I am back from a week in northern Spain, mostly in the city of Santander with my lovely girlfriend. I took note of some infrastrucutre as well as cycling, as I could see it, while in the city and will be making some posts in regard to that.

in the meantime I will leave you with this note on the new health care bill from streetsblog

...but the meat of the upper chamber's health proposal is set to become law by week's end.

Once that occurs, a new pool of federal "Community Transformation" grants would be established, with local governments and nonprofit groups eligible for a share of the funding...the grants would go towards projects that support public health, including "activities to prevent chronic diseases" and "the infrastructure to support active living.

I am not here to debate the bill, but this part of it is certainly going to be good for many communities that are working hard to change the way things are in regards to transportation and the movement of people. I am sure they will have a complete update on what the new bill means specifically for transportation. It sounds pretty good though.

Streetsblog article link

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Transportation For America » U.S. Transportation Department makes good on promise to ensure our streets are made safer

Transportation For America » U.S. Transportation Department makes good on promise to ensure our streets are made safer

I wanted to note this, and mention how important this decision is. This is a first step in undoing the last 100 years of failed transport policy and its a big one. This is very exciting for many many reasons and these next years hopefully will prove to be very exciting in terms of livable streets, these last 2 years certainly have been.

in other news I am in northern Spain until Sunday and continue to update once I get home :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Getting Involved

I can't say enough about Street Films. they continually bring to light the most pertinent information on cycling as transportation. I'll admit to being one of the dedicated cycling commuters out there who knew nothing of the Bike Summit before the film.

I've tried to get involved locally, but there is simply nothing to get involved with, no one cares about cycling except as a recreational activity. That leaves me with being the one to start the ball rolling and I simply don't know if their would be any response. I think a good way to start would be to attend The National Bike Summit next year and see what ideas I can garner to get the public interested in biking.

For now enjoy the film.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The True Riding (Cycling!!!) Lawnmower

Well no, that picture is not quite what this invention is, although the picture is quite fun. I came across this article the other day, from’s Monday roundup. Due to time constraints and energy, I didn't get a chance to do a write-up on it earlier in the week.

This is from a local NH inventor and looks promising. Bikes can sure be used for a lot of things but this is quite unique, pictures are scarce but there is one the article link you should check out!

The article is from the Boston Herald and quotes the guy as looking for offers as he believes it can be built at a very reasonable price, but only if its built in the US. I am glad some people are really starting to look at the true costs of a product they want to bring to market and not just go the fast easy money route of having it made in China.

Its a two page read but very interesting!

Here is an old (2007!) article from Treehugger on bike-powered lawnmowers. Most of these are retrofits onto a current frame or design which certainly works but many do not seem comfortable. This recumbent design looks and sounds a whole lot better for sure.

Boston Herald article link

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Google "Bike-There" is live!!

{Update} Please see as well as Streetsblog for more in-depth interviews with some of the folks at Google behind the launch.

This is a day I have been waiting for, at least about 2 years since I first heard murmurs of the petition for the feature. The launch of the Bike-There feature as a layer on Google maps(zoom in to any part of the country to see the included trails).

For many people it may not seem like a big deal but if you are in New York or any of the other specific cities with a complete setup, and want to get on a bike but only want to go on say, separated routes, now you can find a way!

This opens the options for so many things, combining safe rides with transit links, and this feature combined with bike parking might be the next step.
If you know where you are going has bike racks outside, you see there is a separated path the entire way, then maybe you will replace that car trip with a bike, and that’s the step that’s most important

so lots of folks covering this, but I got the first hint this morning from my Ecology professor and then Ecovelo put the post on their Facebook feed.

Read the blog that has been pushing for this option for years and who is behind the large petition to get this program across the country, Here
ecovelo link
google maps link to nyc with bike layer on

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Seeing in the rain, not quite like singing in the rain

thanks to Ed Yourdon via Flickr

This comes from the folks over at

the question:
I commute about 3 miles to work (and back, obviously) 5-6 days a week, and I wear glasses. This becomes an issue when it’s raining, and was wondering what other glasses-wearing riders do about it. I asked the gentleman at my local bike shop, and he didn’t really have any useful suggestions — so I turn to you! I know they have prescription goggles, but I was really hoping for a slightly less expensive alternative — something I can wear over my glasses, perhaps? Please help!

This is actually a question I had for a good long time, and still often have. This was posed to the BikePortland community and garnered over 50 responses. If you ever have an issue ridding in the rain, head on over and check out some of the recommendations. This is especially true if you wear glasses. Fogging also came up, with some answers but that depends more on what your glasses are made of and the type of chemicals you could use that would not eat them up.

I would pay good money for a small battery powered windshield wiper for my glasses... somebody should invent that quick...

One of my friends who works at my Co-Op had a friend who basically cut up a bit of a windshield wiper (the rubber part) and then glued/affixed that to the thumb of his riding gloves. This enabled him when it was really raining, to effectively wipe the water off as he went. To great success. However the flaw of that of course is you have to take your hands off and your vision is partially obscured for a few seconds, when in the rain those few seconds of loss of site and control could cause problems. The design is good, and it works and I am thinking of doing something similar.

Do you have something that works for you?

link to the original post, Here.

Night riding

Yes there is something calming about riding at night, especially late, when its quiet and its just you on the roads (or path). However there is nothing calming about night riding after a very long day and with a 10mph head wind blowing reallly cold air at you even while the temperature is still above freezing (technically a heat wave!!)

In fact, its kinda stressful for me to be doing that, especially at 11pm.

I wish I lived in town again sometimes...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pictures at last!

Well as promised, a day or so late but here nonetheless. These are pictures of the wonderful goodies produced in my kitchen Sunday night. The food I linked to in this post, Multi-modal food transfers. I Will try to bring the camera into the butter making process next time and get some pictures of the process, but I don't know. It will take some work to do that and involve me not making butter at 10pm. The first picture is the butter made from 32oz of heavy Organic Valley cream (sold at the north country co-op) and the second is the buttermilk pancakes I made from scratch, with a little OV milk in the background.


I made this in two batches due to the amount of cream I used, and the limits of my containers.

a wonderful dinner was made with honey and a bit of that butter!!

1000 hits and a link

Well this little ol blog hit 1000 visits today. I must say that’s no small feat, and while we may not be as popular as Ecovelo, I actually have a life that unfortunately means a great deal of work is put into things that are not related to this blog. I consider this a success though for sure, and it’s been good :)

I wonder if I can hit 2000 before the end of July...

Thanks :)

And now that link

Raise My Taxes, Please! Financing High Quality Public Transit Service Saves Me Money Overall | Planetizen Planetizen blog makes the case of raising taxes to finance good public transportation and the actual savings it can mean for each and every person served by said system. I agree that we should raise taxes and peg them to specific things, at least a percentage of the raise. The general fund is great but many politicians have proven that they cannot handle that type of responsibility. We save money when transportation is done right and we can get out of our cars. Or even when we switch to cycling everywhere! This is not the big bad government taking your cars, this is the government doing what its suppose to do, providing a service for all the public that is in everybody’s best interest in a lot of ways, and one major one is the thousands that could be saved when you switch to a good system. Many people have a knee jerk reaction to hating taxes in all forms, without taxes there would be no roads, no fire, no military, no public library, no schools... Without taxes, we would not truly live in a society. Done right they can make our life better and I for one welcome that.

It’s worth a read!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Fixing the Great Mistake

I came across this little film from the wonderful Street Films. It talks quite a bit about the problem without getting much into the solution. As it is supposed to be part of a series, I assume that Street Films will do their usual wonderful job of following with lots of good information.