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Tag Archive: Green

So why aren’t more people doing it?

On Monday I read this article (and what an appropriate post for Green Tuesday):

Bicycle Commuting is green, healthy and cheap — so why don’t more people do it?

It’s May, which means it’s Bicycle Month. Cities and cycling clubs around the country are promoting bicycle riding by sponsoring group rides and bike commuter events , culminating around Bike to Work Day on May 21. But the presence on the American calendar of a designated month to encourage bicycle transportation underscores the fact that most people in this nation get around by driving cars, not by riding bikes.

Public transit and bicycle commuting are gaining ridership, but it is estimated that only 0.05 percent of Americans use a bike as their primary means of transportation — even though 40 percent of our daily trips and errands require less than 2 miles of travel, according to the National Household Transportation Survey. Continue reading full article

In March I had the pleasure of meeting Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, and Chris Phelan, founder of the Ride of Silence, at the Michigan Bicycle Summit.
andy clarke and chris phelan
Both men had valuable insights about safe riding to share with the group.

What’s your response to get more people on bikes? I think the answer is that more and more people ARE riding bikes, commuting by bike and rediscovering the joy and functionality of the bicycle! THe League of American Bicyclists’ report on Bicycle Commuting Trends shows the increase since 2000. But, I also think that the infrastructure – and road sharing – has lots of catching up to do to truly make the roads “complete streets” and safe for all users… so that every month and every day is bike to work day!

Green Tuesday: Clever Campaign To Get People To Go (on a) Green

KHS Bicycles does it again with a clever campaign to get people on bikes. First it was “Gas Sucks Ride a Bike.” Now they have this…

khs green
Click Here to see the KHS Green.

They even used an excerpt from Moe’s review of the Green...

“Are you a person that wants to start bike commuting?…The KHS Green is the bikefor you!!!” bikecommuters.com

Green Tuesday: Path to Freedom and Totally Tubular

There were two ‘Green’ companies at the 2008 Urban Bicycle Commuter Expo that caught our attention. The first one is Totally Tubular.

Like RL mentioned,

They take old tires and tubes and make them into something useful such as wallets, purses and bags. The items they had were priced reasonably well, all ranged from $5 to $20. But I think the bigger bags were a bit more. I asked them if they used those industrial sized sewing machines and they said yes. It took them a long time to get down the process of making bags because they kept breaking needles trying to sew tires and tubes. I also asked how they got rid of the rubber smell…ready for this……washing machine.

The other company is called Path to Freedom. The following is an excerpt of Path to Freedom’s mission statement:

Path to Freedom strives to inspire individuals to “think globally, act locally” by motivating them to live a simpler and more fulfilling life on the path to eco-stewardiship.

The above picture is of a Solar Oven, the Path to Freedom people were cooking up some Pizzas and cookies while we were at the show. I’m looking into buying their environmentally friendly stainless steel water bottle. Check out their site (http://pathtofreedom.com/) for more info.

Green Tuesday: Well, almost

If I can finish this post in 45 minutes or less, then technically it will still meet the deadline to legitimately be “Tuesday,” well at least here in Arizona.

I went to Nashville, Tenn., this past weekend and just got back home this evening. And while there is nothing “green” about flying across the country, allow me to share part of the weekend festivities.

My best bud and old college roommate, Will, met me in Nashville since I haven’t seen him since last September. I wanted to show him around Nashville, particularly downtown, so we decided to cruise the streets on our bikes. It was a great way to see the city at our own pace, enjoy the cold Tennessee air, and not have to set foot in a car.

Downtown Nashville is not a particularly large area, but there are tons of venues for live music. Nashville is proclaimed to be the country music capitol of the World, after all. The city is steeped in music culture, especially country and bluegrass. We stopped at the Gruhn guitar shop, which serves as THE go-to place for many of country music’s and Nashville’s finest musicians. The next time you are in need of a $15,000 Gibson banjo, check out Gruhn.

The city has lots of these guitars placed all over, but this is the only one we were able to find.

We climbed the steps of the State Capitol building and got a pretty sweet view of the downtown area.

The Ryman Auditorium is one of the top music venues in the country, especially for country music. The Temptations and the Four Tops are playing there soon apparently…

I love bluegrass music, which is popular in Nashville, but have never been a big fan of country. However, the feel of a downtown environment that is rich with the community of music is a really cool thing – you can hang out downtown any day of the week and hear free music from some really talented people just playing on the street.

For the observant ones amongst you, you might notice that Will was riding a Specialized Langster London. These bikes have been quite rejected by the cycling community because of their big-brand capitalization of a more independent style. In my eyes, if it gets someone on a bike and out of their car, then that is green enough for me.

So just because you are traveling doesn’t mean you have to stay out of the saddle. I was fortunate enough to stay with someone that had a bike I could ride – but many Local Bike Shops will rent out bikes for your touring pleasures. In larger cities, you can also find bike touring companies that will rent bikes for your touring pleasures. The car is not the only way…

Green Tuesday: the grass is greener

This week’s Green Tuesday post is really a simple reflection on urban design…

When I first started cycling for recreation, I felt my urban utopia would be a place with miles of smooth-as-glass roadway for my cycling pleasure – the ultimate and never-ending century ride if you will. In Phoenix, I certainly have miles of roadway, but it is cracked, overcrowded, and leads to nowhere except the next Starbuck’s. Having a comfortable surface to ride a bike on is nice, but too often I feel I get spoiled when I have smooth and safe roadways – that is certainly not the overall reality of American urban infrastructure.

The cycling community is faced with a paradox – we want safe thoroughfares, but so long as we have to share them with cars, safety will be minimal. However, the cycling community does not exert enough influence (read: $$$) to have cycling/pedestrian-specific infrastructure built into our cities. It seems any time you hear a city touting some new cycling infrastructure, it is a few miles of narrow pathway through a park or affluent area of town – nothing that is ultimately useful for utilitarian purposes. Sure it stands to offer moments of happiness and recreation to the American family, but that happiness is gone as soon as one gets back into their automobile and sits through hellish traffic.

American cities are not designed to support infrastructure apart from automobiles. We spread our cities out farther and farther because our stores and homes need more and more room. Phoenix is currently considering a proposal to develop state park lands in order to build ANOTHER freeway to help alleviate traffic problems. That makes me sick.

We keep trying to put layer after layer of band-aids/duct tape over our gaping wounds of urban infrastructure, when we could solve the problem by enduring a brief moment of pain and ripping all the old junk off and stitching the wound! We need to revive our urban environments that already exist and push for more centralized and sustainable communities. And that is why I love Richard Register and the Ecocity Builders.

We are a non-profit organization dedicated to reshaping cities, towns and villages for long term health of human and natural systems. Our goals include returning healthy biodiversity to the heart of our cities, agriculture to gardens and the streets, and convenience and pleasure to walking, bicycling and transit. We visualize a future in which waterways in neighborhood environments and prosperous downtown centers are opened for curious children, fish, frogs and dragonflies. We work to build thriving neighborhood centers while reversing sprawl development, to build whole cities based on human needs and “access by proximity? rather than cities built in the current pattern of automobile driven excess, wasteful consumption and the destruction of the biosphere. [text and photos from ecocitybuilders.org]

And there are other people that think the time is right to rip off the band-aid. From Alex Steffen’s essay “My other car is a bright green city:”

Generally, we think of cars as things which are quickly replaced in our society, and buildings as things which rarely change. But that will not be the case over the next few decades. Because of population growth, the on-going development churn in cities (buildings remodeled or replaced, etc.), infrastructure projects and changing tastes, we’ll be rebuilding half our built environment between now and 2030. Done right, that new construction could enable a complete overhaul of the American city.

While I don’t know the exact method of accomplishing a task like this, I trust that the more people are aware of the possibilities, the better off we are.

Besides, now that I think about it, I would much rather ride my bike to work on a decently maintained dirt (or even grass) pathway through a naturally landscaped pathway, enjoying all the fruits of nature, instead of sharing 3 lanes of traffic with speeding SUVs whose drivers are sipping a grande double mocha frappacino latte while talking on their cell phone and looking for a Target.

Safe riding to everyone – it can be a nasty place out there. But does it have to be?…

[Author’s note: one of my favorite blogs covered the very same essay this morning and has a very interesting list of thoughts/reactions – check it out on the No Impact Man blog]