Monday, April 22, 2013

Ride of Silence, 15 May

Acknowledgements to Lily Cohen for doing all the work on this, including making the flyer. Here is is with the LA Bikes endorsement.

Happy Earth Day? Or Not.

It will take a 365 day commitment to manage our planet's resources in a sustainable way. We escaped the grim fate shown in my favorite dystopian movie, shown below.  My wife likes the more recent Richard Burton version, but I recall seeing this version circa 1960 in my grandmother's home in Buffalo, well before my parents fled the inner city to the Land of Suburbia. It was one of those seminal moments for a young kid, giving me a hint that perhaps the world I was about to inherit was less cheerful than grandma's living room.

In an era of billions of people aspiring to higher standards of living on limited resources, and where we have made an unprecedented transfer of fossil carbon back to the atmosphere and ocean in about a century, the future can as likely look like the movie below as it can the cheery version seen at PEEC on Saturday.

Earth Day has to be Earth Year. 1/365.245 won't cut the mustard, as my friend Ian would probably say.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Its Drive Your Car to Sullivan Field Day. Or, They Paved Sullivan Field and Put Up a Parking Lot

No response on my suggestion to ride our commuter bikes to PEEC on Earth Day. Hope some folks did at any rate, but maybe the steady silence was a reaction to celebrating Earth Day on Schicklgruber's birthday. Meanwhile, PEEC and Atomic City Transit advised that folks should park their cars at the free parking at Sullivan Field and take the atomic shuttle to PEEC, because there is very little car parking at the building.

Perhaps rather than reinforcing our lazy nature, i.e., drive your freeway flagship to an Earth Day celebration, PEEC could next year work with the county to provide county-wide M-F (i.e., weekday) bus service on Earth Day and say nothing about providing free parking. After all, the whole idea of Earth Day is to contemplate our increasing burden on the planet, not to contribute to even more of a burden, i.e., celebrating Earth Day by driving there.

I suppose the cynic in me would say such a paradigm as we saw today fits right in with the upcoming Motorist Ride Your Bike to Work Day. (acknowledgments to Ian Cooper, who really came up with that phrase, as far as I know).

The Only Thing Stopping a Bad Guy With a Pressure Cooker is a Good Guy With a Pressure Cooker

Hitting two birds with one stone, our tendency to look for simple solutions to vexing problems, such as an annual one day feelgood time-out from being megapolluters, is pretty universal. As the Senate was gutlessly walking away from any attempts to make background checks more uniform, we once again see that one does not need guns, and certainly not "assault rifles (s.l.)" to commit horrible acts of violence. A pressure cooker, home brew shrapnel, and low tech explosives will do quite well. As we say in the bike world, if there is a problem with the engineering of an automobile, its mainly with the loose nut behind the wheel. Maybe its not just guns and cars that need regulation.

"Whose Garden Was This" written by Tom Paxton, made famous by John Denver

Friday, April 19, 2013

Trails Network - Seeking feedback on the plan

Please engage and provide feedback on this.

Julie Habiger
Los Alamos County
Communications & Public Relations Administrator/
Public Information Officer

Open Space Specialist Craig Martin has posted the draft of the community trails plan to Open Forum on our webpage. He is seeking feedback by a deadline of May 17. There will be a public meeting on the draft plan as well (May 8 at 5:30 p.m. in the Pajarito Rm at Fuller Lodge).

This is an important plan for our community – and some of the Boards may also wish to weigh in on the plan as well. Below is the info and Open Forum link that I just posted to our main County Facebook page (btw, please help us spread the word about our Facebook pages too – many of our divisions like Library and Recreation now have Facebook pages – you will find their listing if you go to the main Facebook page here):

Hikers and bikers - we need your feedback! A Community Trails Plan has just been drafted that evaluates current conditions and layout, with recommendations for specific projects to improve not only individual trails but also the organization of the entire network. It calls out more than 25 specific projects that would enhance the trails network - ranging from simply upgrading signage to more specific maintenance projects (like consolidating the trails in Graduation Canyon). What do you think? Visit Open Forum to read the plan, then leave us your comments! - peak_democracy

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A commuter bike is not a toy. Or, sucks to be you

Given the nice spring weather, last weekend I decided to take the bulky Niterider Trinewt headlight and battery off the Long Haul Trucker so it would be a little more light and lively for my increasingly adventurous rides home from work as the days get longer.  I left both rear strobes and reflector on, though.

Yesterday's forecast was for a storm to move in late in the day, but as of yesterday morning, the forecast was for it to hit pretty late--what I thought I read was close to midnight. So sitting in my office at about 1700 yesterday, I was a little surprised to see it snowing quite heavily. Of course the phone rang twice and it was about 1730 when I could turn off the lights and change to go home.

Leaving the parking lot, the snow was coming down hard but fortunately, not sticking.  Motorists heading home were all running full headlights. I had none. I did remember my bright yellow rain slicker and since the temperatures had dropped, it made sense to put that on over my jersey for both warmth and visibility.  That still meant that at each intersection, it was up to me to make sure that my lower than optimal visibility and lack of proper running gear did not result in a turning and crossing crash.

Bottom line. First, its not always wise to treat a commuter bike as a toy. Leave the essentials on or suffer the consequences. Second, if you do as I did and unwisely remove critical safety equipment, its up to you, not the hapless motorist, to ensure you remain upright. That Trinewt would have been a good thing to be able to switch on last night. Its back on the bike now, thus ensuring no more snow for the rest of the spring, eh?

I have to laugh at myself. Back in my twenties, I rigged a quartz-halogen automobile driving light to a  motorcycle battery for nighttime bicycle riding, as there was no such thing as a high performance bicycle headlight, at least for someone on a graduate student stipend. Compared to that, the Trinewt is an inexpensive feather. Yet I felt compelled to remove it. Sometimes I think I've become a little too much of a middle aged twit.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

NMSU Gets Bicycle-Friendly University Bronze Award

Kudos to the consortium that put this together ("...NMSU Bicycle Friendly University Taskforce, composed of representatives from the Teaching Academy, NMSU Police Department, Recreational Sports, Environmental Health & Safety and NMSU faculty ...").

When we did a weekend getaway to Las Cruces last winter, I noticed that the streets surrounding the campus looked pretty mellow (i.e., none of the insane speeders and lunatics I see in BombTown or Albuquerque) and surrounding communities were linked by fairly bikeable roadways. So the baseline stuff was there. Plus, they got all the important people into the room and around the table.

Anything of this nature going on at UNM? LANL? Los Alamos?

 Article below in the Las Cruces Sun. Just beware of the pop-ups.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Shall we crash the PEEC Earth Day Party?

I was thinking of seeing if those of us who bike commute wanted to descend on the PEEC Earth Day festival while riding commuter bikes on Saturday, just for grins. Nothing planned in advance, but just to show the flag on bike commuting.  Leave a comment if you are interested.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Los Alamos to be hit by 10 km asteroid late in 2014

Or, more precisely, a roundabout. See Carol Clark's article for details. There will be some very unhappy people here.  My main concerns (and I think similar concerns have been expressed by former County Councillor Robert Gibson) are that the County continues to lack a comprehensive master plan for the downtown that integrates transportation and development with a cohesive, objective set of goals (such as limiting sprawl, making Los Alamos less car-dependent, and broadening our economic base beyond LANL). Otherwise, I think the roundabout will be kinda cool. Until and unless, of course, we build more stuff on the East side of town the clogs our traffic.

NMDOT Selects Roundabout Alternative for NM 502–Trinity Drive