Life By Bicycle @ Wordpress

Bicycling & Alternative Transportation Collection.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Alternative Transportation - To save gas and money

In existence today, in this economy, we in the United States are dealing with, where gas prices have broken records. Good or bad is up for interpretation but let us consider this, that with the increase in gas prices there has been further research in other options, in alternatives to driving the gas guzzling car that seemed so wonderful at the time when gas was almost affordable, and was promoted in that way. Then things changed, the cycle came full circle and the price of petroleum was inflated far beyond affordability, and then what? People drive less because it costs less, car trips are canceled because it would be to expensive to cover the mileage. The inflated price of gas flew through the transportation ideas of today, planes, buses and cars. Suddenly it became more difficult to use any of the favorite modes of point to point travel. The focus changed it was now on Alternatives to Transportation ...

Alternative Transportation is Explored here.

Read More ... There are ways to break from the cage.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

92 Years old and Riding a 50 Year Old Schwinn

92 years old and riding a 50 year old Schwinn
After this mornings walk I check up on a bicycling advocacy group there was a great story about an individual at 92 years old who still rides a bike and enjoys life with humor and experience. It is a great story and it can be found at:

More Information can be found: Bicycling with Avidcyclist_Ray

And the Storie Shall Continue.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Life without a car and on two wheels

Life without a car and via Human Powered Vehicle.

Gas prices so high, insurance through the roof all the while paying off a car at it's retail value, even though once you drive it off the dealers lot the car loses value and yet you are paying it off at the price of a new vehicle. Just gonna have to work extra, sweat equity while trying to keep pace in a failing economy, sound familiar?

For most individuals who have followed that route have started a vicious cycle, one in which like the rat race also known as a job, is difficult to change. It can be changed by taking some steps in the right direction, it will most certainly be a difficult challenge. Every challenge can be overcome with consistent effort.

One of the simplest steps is to first take the time to look at the full picture examining your budget closely to realize where your money is going. It is likely you will see that a majority of money you make is directed towards this machine, this car, that you probably use to much. Now consider the approximate distances to some of your favorite grocery stores, the places you travel on a regular basis even if only a few blocks away. You know the ones, where you have a great rapport with each of the cashiers, that started with a hello in talking with strangers who in time became friends. Look at these stores, it is likely you find yourself there often, being in close proximity to the place you call home. The same ones that are also along the route you follow nearly every day in the wonderful world of the job. Looking at that, would you agree they are within walking distance, possibly riding distance? These places have a great location, you like it because it is near your home, they also seem to have the products you like and just easier to stop by on the way home from work.

Okay then lets take a moment, you know society today is one of obesity, due to lack of exercise, things are convenient, nearby usually only a few blocks from your home right? Beyond just the lack of exercise there are many reasons why society is becoming overweight. The reason, is pretty straight forward, things are so easy to get to, jump in the car and drive over, get the stuff you need and drive back, the only exercise Accelerator to Brake and back again. Convenience has become a standard part of life in today's society, so to make a difference we each need to do something different and that is really what this article is about as you will see later.

Lets go back now, those storefronts you like, the ones where you know just about everyone on a first name basis, they are usually within a few blocks from your home particularly in the city, suburbia may be a different story. Though the building were built in that particular location for the convenience of the people in that neighborhood. Even the newer housing developments I see around town, one in particular is a great example. In the area that is called creek bridge there is an apartment complex that is across the street from Safeway, and other convenient places to shop and buy all those basic necessities that are an integral part of existence today.

The constant pattern is similar throughout most residential areas, most things are a very short distance from home, walking distance most of them. For those that may be farther away, then jump on a bike and you get there without the cost of gas, you breathe fresh air and you get what you need. The benefits are numerous, whether walking or biking. Being that the case then why not try this, take a walk over to the closest grocery store, pickup something small and walk back. In putting one foot in front of the other, you just saved some gas, and put a bit more money in your pocket besides saving some wear and tear on that gas burning machine. Pretty simple right? We learned to walk at a very young age, and once that ability was found we wanted to walk everywhere, get into trouble in just be a kid. Certainly you remember that, I definitely do, as a child when you became aware of one more ability you wanted to go everywhere and do everything the same way. When you teach a baby to walk you take it a step at a time, when you start the journey towards change the same idea follows suit don't you agree? That short walk was easy, simple, and to top it off you end up with a treat for when you get home easy right? It may not make a big dent in that budget of yours but in beginning that journey you can gain some short term benefits as well as long term in continuing that same one foot in front of the other ideal, right? Of course it does and in that short jaunt to the store and back the action you took is a first step and it is just that. In doing the same consistently, you are establishing a great habit, one which will afford you further benefits through consistency. To understand that in that exercise in that walk, you just extended your life just a bit, you did not have to deal with other cars, or watch in horror as that needle goes from Full to Empty far to quickly. To dread that gas bill, that will be so high, that further cuts into your budget besides stress in and of itself can lessen life expectancy. Instead in that simple action, putting one foot in front of the other you do not have to deal with most of that.

Through that consistent effort you are making strides in the right direction of improving the environment we live in, as well as the environment your children will grow up in. Beyond that point generations later, what we do today will even affect them. To improve this great action habit, take the next step, why not pick up some environmentally friendly grocery bags. You know the ones, they usually sell for something like Ninety Nine Cents, usually made of burlap with some stability improvements, they make great grocery bags. Instead of asking for the plastic ones, that under load can break, besides they are not so good for the environment. I am sure each of us come up with quite a collection of those plastic bags, no one really needs the extra mess right? Instead pickup a couple of those environmentally friendly bags and reuse time and again. They last longer, they are stronger then plastic and can be easily folded to fit in your hand on the walk up, or carry a back pack, dependent on what you are buying there are many options. The best is the reusable bag, or a cloth backpack, something you bring from home. To make them even more appealing most can be washed just as any laundry would be, so if something spills in the bag you run it through the washer or just clean it out with some paper towels and you are set for the next walk. Besides even if you accidentally drop one of those bags they are better about decomposing following a better environmental policy. I could go on, as just as with walking, biking, or using alternate transport, has it's own interesting list of the many benefits. A few I will mention in following such a simple action habit, you can breathe fresh air, instead of using the air conditioner in a car which basically uses recycled air, besides burning fuel just as it is used.

In walking, at your own pace, you have an opportunity to relax, to enjoy the sunlight without the stress that driving a car in today's society becomes, anger, road rage, you know the stuff. To even go beyond that, in walking there is less risk, of someones impatience to get out of hand to try and force the cars to speed up, for some reason wanting to be the first at the stop light, in hurrying up then waiting. To get out of the steel cage, accelerator to brake and back again, road rage, the rushed idea of things because you are in a car. In that walking, you use more muscles, breathe the fresh air and increase your life by being healthy and exercising consistently everyday. Establishing a great habit on the healthy route to a better future for you and for the generations to come.

Let us now take this experience to a new and exciting level, consider once more the state of the world today, this civilization, where it is generally accepted as a necessity to work two jobs, life on caffeine, at a faster pace then it has ever been before. As technology improves, it is expected to increase efficiency with everything we do, speeding along. The advent of the new mobile workspace, the mobile cubicle, with smart phones available to the common person. Everything mobile, a world that is at such a pace that you can no longer really sit in an office and work. Your employer figuring you should be able to be communicated no matter where you are or what you are doing to a point that the distinction between work and home becomes blurred to a point of confusion. A leash holding you back, not being able to just take that time away that is so important to a balanced existence you understand what I am saying? Let's stretch the mind just a bit, surely it is difficult in today's workplace, mobile workers dependent on the job. It is surely a part of life today, though fill that glass half full, a mobile workspace can be a great benefit, and since jobs go where you go, how about getting there a bit quicker?

A paradigm shift it surely is, flexibility increased two fold, a community wifi becoming more and more of a reality, not the kind of check that bounces, but one that can offer you a new opportunity. To ride a bike, to get where you need to go or to just take the work you need to do with you on a laptop, or palmtop whatever the case may be. Adding a new aspect to the option that a bike provides, with solar panels on the back of this bike, you can power your laptop, phone or what have you enough to get things done with a pleasant variation. A commuter bike, can be fixed up quite nicely to offer you that opportunity this new mobile world has become. To improve upon this vision, consider what the car costs, then look at the situation as it stands with the walking you have been doing, or the alternate transport you have been exploring suddenly there is more money to work with, that money can be used to take the next step in getting a bike, preparing it for your commute along with whatever equipment may be needed, though that in itself is a separate article which will be explored later. It is going to start with finding the bike used or new, whatever direction you choose to go with it. Let us begin in exploring each, with it's pros and cons.

First I will start with a new bike, because in my own opinion it is better to get the right bike, that is properly fitted to insure a pleasant first couple of weeks for the new cycle commuter. Thereby offering some pleasant experiences on a bike that is meant for the rider not meant for the market at large as we each are different so should the bike be your own. With a new bike, you will have a proper fit, the kind of bike you were looking for, and besides the additional benefits of getting to know your Local Bike Shop, which it is likely where you will spend more time in personalization. In beginning the shopping for your new bike, I would suggest a few things that will make you an informed consumer as opposed to just a walk in who knows little and can be easily persuaded to get something more expensive or that is not really what you are looking for. Going back to this mobile workspace again, I would offer a few simple recommendations. Even before you leave for the shop, do some shopping around online, get an idea of what you are looking for considering what your commute is likely to be whether primarily road, or some dirt, back roads and what have you. There are numerous places to find this information, some of my favorites: Further information and exploration of a bicycle as a primary mode of transportation and errand running. which is a great forum to explore with good people willing to offer unbiased views on cycling and all aspects of it. speaks more about the possibilities of using a bike as a primary transport along with Alternative Power more of the basics in preparing and maintaining a bike and many others not listed yet.

Take the time to read up on some of the information, there is much knowledge to gain through each of the previously mentioned sites. It is not necessary to read through it all just to give you an idea about things, when I started as a new cycle commuter, I was confused and lost as I am sure we each can be when doing something new and different. In taking the time to read some of this information it helped me be better prepared for what I was looking for and offered a bit of insight on some of the simpler options in keeping this bike on the road. It was also found through these sites, a bike that is properly fitted is truly the right back, so there is no pain and ease of pedaling. If a bike is to small and uncomfortable it is likely it will find a place in the garage and not leave because it is just not comfortable. Those early weeks can make or break the possibilitie, the hope is that each will explore these options in preparing for your first purchase in following those first steps in the right direction.

I am sure for each of you who are reading this or exploring the possibilities of becoming a cycle commuter, it will be tempting to buy a cheap bike because the price seems right. Really though, if you remember that a bike that is to small will end up in a garage and never be seen again and will be forgotten about it makes little sense as the investment offers little or no return. If instead you take the time in becoming informed I am sure you will find it to be far more pleasant then trying to fit something that just will not do it. Also consider that a cheap bike, particularly a bike you may find at Walmart or similar companies will be far more inferior and since the builders are paid on how many bikes they produce in one day, quality drops, and proper testing does not take place. As a result, there can be accidents or something failing that will need to be replaced to make that worth it. I had an experience in the first bike I bought from, Target if I recall, the price was only sixty dollars or so before taxes. Being uninformed, I went ahead and purchased it. Seemed fine when I took it out and rode it home, which being in the Valley was pretty simple as most roads are flat. It was when I took it out to Monterey, where there are more hills and more areas to test the capability of the bike that I found out why it was so cheap. As I climbed, I believe it was Franklin in Monterey, being a pretty good grade suddenely as I am climbing the front drive train popped off the bike rendering tbe bike useless albeit very dangerous. I was fortunate though since I was not to far up the hill when it happened and had a co worker who gave me a ride home it worked well.

The saying goes "You get what you pay for." and that holds very true in purchasing a bike as well. Just as the previous story tells it, I went with a cheap bike and uninformed and the end result was a failure on the bike that fortunately was not at the worst location. The point being is you need to be careful about what you purchase and what you do with it. Which continues onto the next point, the difference in interpretation. When you are dealing with a used bicycle you have a new experience. More issues to deal with then with a new bike, because a used bike is just that, used. When you find a used bike the first thing you should do is bring it over to your local bike shop and have them take a good look at it. Better to have a trained eye or hand, then to just jump on and start pedaling. It can work either way, the challenge is simply to make sure this great buy that may of been a used bike will still be manageable. Though when you deal with it, and the possible mechanical failures of a bike that was not well taken care of. So the initial savings may only be short term. Which is why it is best to have the Local Bike Shop take a good look at it and do a complete overhaul to make sure this bike will run well for your purpose and will not put you at risk because of jury rigged options. Looking through a car lot you can find a similarity in when you are looking at a used bike, there are going to be some lemons. These lemons may just be the thing that puts you over the top as far as expense goes. That is one risk you would not have to associate with a new bike. Though as time progresses even a new bike will need repairs but it will take some time when you pickup a new bike. Though I would interject, that when you buy a new bike, it may take a couple of weeks through standard stretching and simple wear and tear to get some simple adjustments to keep that new bike rolling smooth.

When you start exploring the options on used bicycles remember that it is necessary to get a used bike checked out by a certified mechanic at your local bike shop long before it's first ride. It is important to make sure a used bike is close to the right size and the components are operational and ready for a ride...

Further Exploration - More Coming Soon

Feedback Is Appreciated, Leave it in the comments.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Story Today - Advocacy Now

As I was doing some research for an up and coming ride to the bay area, I found out some rather disturbing information, on some of the reasons the alternative transport infrastructure has fallen back from the Automobile majority.

Read More ...