Posts Tagged ‘bike’

So after my bike was stolen from my garage last month, I now have an insurance check to get a new one. But which one? I had a Globe commuter bike that served me well, but it was like a tank when I took it out for long (25-40 mile) rides. Especially when my companions have racing bikes.

Now I am deciding between this:Specialized CrossTrail

And this:

Specialized Hardrock

The first bike is the Specialized CrossTrail. $580. It’s a hybrid with a mtn bike frame, a locking front shock, and medium sized tires that are flat in the middle for easy riding on the road, but knobby on the sides for grippage on the trail.

The second bike is the Specialized Hardrock. $610. This is a straight up mtn bike with large knobby tires, a locking front shock with a larger travel, disc brakes, and slightly better components like derailleurs, shifters etc.

So…which one should I get?

My riding style for the last two years has been primarily inner-city road riding. Lately, I had taken the globe on some light trails. My usual ride would be 3-6 miles around our park and neighborhood streets with the baby in the carrier on the back. One of the parks we ride through has some trails, but they are mostly smooth. Sometimes I have an urge to ride down the steep sides of the hill though, but I obviously can’t because of the baby on the back…and I had a commuter with street tires.

If I got the Crosstrail, I would get a bike that fits my needs perfectly now. But maybe not in the future. It would be easier to keep up with my dad on long road rides, but hard trails would be beyond my reach.

However if I got the Hardrock, I could still ride around the neighborhood, but have potentially more fun going off little jumps and taking some gnarly trails that I used to ride several years ago. Skytop anyone? I think that a mountain bike might fit my idea of outdoor fun a little more than a commuter bike.

So…cyclists out there, what do you say?

Climate change. Does it exist? Yes. Can we do something about it? Maybe. What the world needs now (besides love, as they say) is concerted action. We need to educate people on the true consequences of their actions, and what they can do to reduce their impact on the planet. For a few things you can do individually, check these out:

1) Live close to work & play. I know that for many people, they are settled in to where they are living. But the average American only lives in a house for seven years. So you still may be able to do this at some point in the future. Look at where you live now, and how far you commute. Can you live closer to where you work? Can you get a new job closer to where you live? When my wife and I were buying our first home, we took this into consideration. We decreased her commute time from 30 minutes to 20 minutes, and I was close enough to ride my bike to work most days.

2) Ride a bike. If you are physically able to ride a bike to do short errands, do it. Many car trips in the U.S. are for distance of less than a mile. Have to run down to the drugstore for something small? Take a bike. This alone will reduce your carbon footprint a great deal. Plus it may be quicker. What? you ask incredulously. Yes. My commute was 12 minutes by car and 7 minutes by bike…because of all the traffic. I can always go to the front of the line at a ed light, and speed by cars that are bumper to bumper.

3) Get an energy audit for your home. Many companies that deal in windows, insulation, or heating will offer these for free. A technician will come in and go around your house check for leaks. Not leaks from water in pipes, places where heat is leaking out. They seal off your front door with a big plastic gasket with a fan inside. This creates negative pressure in the house, so any place where heat would have been going out is now coming in. They use a thermal IMG_0251imaging camera to spot areas of cold. (white is hot, black is cold. You can see in the picture that the bottom panel of our back door is very cold, and cold air is seeping in underneath the door.) It was very cool to follow him around and see cold seeping in through the baseboards and around the door to the attic. Then I knew exactly where to seal with caulk or expanding foam. We also got our furnace replaced with a 95% efficient model and insulated all the exterior walls with blown-in cellulose insulation. This cut our utility bills in half! I wrote in more detail about that here.

There are so many other things you can do, so I will say that the biggest one is:

4) Read. Educate yourself on how you can live a better life for yourself, and the environment. You’re doing it right now! There are tons of simple things you can do. There are also things that many people believe will affect the climate a great deal, but actually don’t.

I focused on only one small part of the climate change issue, but there are myriad facets to this. I expect to read posts from other people doing Blog Action Day today about how coastal regions may be affected, our food supply, desertification, water shortages, international policy changes, new advancements in science, and much more. So just try and do your part, and we can make some change for the good of us all.

For more info, go here:

http://www.blogactionday.org/

In a time when most fast food chains are offering healthier options on their menus, Burger King sends a different message. “Stay Fat America.”

I was out doing errands today. My wife has our only car so I was on my bike. It was lunchtime and I was mightily hungry from riding five miles to the bank, post office, etc. So I thought I would grab a quick Whopper Jr. from the drive through. Or as they so charmingly call it, the drive-thru. The car ahead of me pulled ahead so I pulled up and waited. A squawky intercom voice told me to hang on. Then they told me to move to the second window. “But I  haven’t ordered yet.” I replied. “Move up to the second window.” They repeated. Once there, a helpful cashier leaned out and yelled that they can’t serve people on bikes. I would have to come inside to order. “Why?” I asked, my money flapping in the wind, just waiting to be given away. “BK policy” she yelled. At this point, fearing I might do something stupid, I just said “Fine” and rode off in a huff.

When I spoke with the manager of this particular “restaurant” later that day over the phone, he said that the only reason they can’t serve bikes is because of insurance. I asked about serving drivers whose cars aren’t insured. He said that was between them and the state. When I asked him about people who just walk through the drive through, his response was, “coupons.” Clearly the type of manager I would want to have serving me food. I’m glad I ended up not eating there.

Corporate Headquarters assured me that bikes can’t be used in the drive through because of safety concerns but said nothing of insurance. I asked if there had been any previous accidents where a car had hit a cyclist and she denied any such occurrences. If I was on a motorcycle though, it would have been fine. So a machine that goes 200 mph and kills 5,154 people every year is much safer than a bicycle that can get up to 30 mph in the city and kills 698 people a year. Hmm. Especially the high-speed lane of the Burger King Drive-Thru. Gosh, I think I got up to 4 mph going around that corner. I’m such a daredevil.

Apparently Burger King is fine promoting riding bikes in video games though, but not real life. God forbid people should want to get in shape. Stay off that bike America. Stay in your car instead.

So I’m asking you to boycott Burger King and take your money elsewhere. Will you join me? What do you think?