Friday, March 28, 2008

It's raining McCain

I try not to get too political on this blog, mainly because I don't usually know what I'm talking about. But this was something I just couldn't pass by.

If McCain can't win with this kind of support, I don't know what it would take.

Cookie Monster!

That will be me tomorrow. I'm planning on hitting the Hiawatha ride tomorrow morning fully laden with a basket full of cookies. Let me know if you're not planning on attending, as I'm not sure I'll be able to fit everything in one load. Thanks to the generosity of the HC crew, I might need to hitch up the Burley...

Date: March 20
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Triumph
March mileage: 153
Year to date mileage: 701

Date: March 21
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Triumph
March mileage: 171
Year to date mileage: 719

Date: March 22
Mileage: 21
Ride type/Bike: Hiawatha/Triumph
March mileage: 192
Year to date mileage: 740

Date: March 24
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Triumph
March mileage: 210
Year to date mileage: 758

Date: March 25
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Triumph
March mileage: 228
Year to date mileage: 776

Date: March 26
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Triumph
March mileage: 246
Year to date mileage: 794

Date: March 27
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Triumph
March mileage: 264
Year to date mileage: 812

Date: March 28
Mileage: 20
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Triumph
March mileage: 284
Year to date mileage: 832

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A weeklong photo summary

dark bike sign
Last weekend we changed from CST to DST. This changed my morning commute from riding in with the sunrise to riding in the pitch black. This sign is lit by both my camera flash and my 10w headlight.
cargo bike
Tuesday I scored a deal on a new rear wheel from the local craigslist. Since I was biking I needed to haul it home via bike. I'm really loving this rear basket. I didn't have any bungee cords but the nylon webbing from my messenger bag made a handy substitute.
bike to school
Friday I worked from home. I took the opportunity to escort my girls to school via bicycle. The previous day they had dinked around enough in the AM that they missed the bus. Their mean old mom made them walk (with her) to school rather than bailing them out via car. They were not happy. So by comparison, biking to school was great. For the record, it's a mile from our house to the school Oh, the cruelty!
bike to school
Just like the Three Speed Tour, there's no shame in walking hills when riding your bike to school.
I rode back to school at noon with mean old mom to see the girls recite poetry with the rest of their class.
bike to school
This may be one of the most under-utilized bike racks ever. Even when it's gorgeous in the spring and fall there are never any bikes there.
fort snelling station sunrise
Because it was Saturday I got to go in to work later than usual. The one good thing about this day was I got to see a nice sunrise while waiting for the train.

Date: March 11
Mileage: 21
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Triumph
March mileage: 75
Year to date mileage: 623

Date: March 12
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Triumph
March mileage: 93
Year to date mileage: 641

Date: March 13
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Triumph
March mileage: 111
Year to date mileage: 659

Date: March 14
Mileage: 6
Ride type/Bike: School Escort/Triumph
March mileage: 117
Year to date mileage: 665

Date: March 15
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Triumph
March mileage: 135
Year to date mileage: 683

Monday, March 10, 2008

Everything I do, I do it for you

Today was officially it. The first true signs of spring. It's some magical combination of air temp, which hovered around the freezing mark, combined with a bright sunshiny day. Sure, we've had warmer days here this winter, but today is different. And everybody knows it. It's nothing I can objectively point to and say "That's why" but it's there. And the dog walkers who meandered all across the path knew. I hadn't had to dodge a distracted dog walker since probably November. The 3 guys running in shorts when it's clearly too cold for shorts, knew. This winter has expired. We're just waiting for somebody to notice that it's starting to smell and huck it into the trash.

I have an unshakable urge to take the studded tires off and remind myself what riding feels like. But to do this would be an affront to the weather gods. As punishment, they would send an 18 inch snowstorm down upon the MSP metro area. So I'm going to keep grinding out the studs on the (mainly) dry pavement. At least until the weekend. You're welcome.

Date: March 5
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Triumph
March mileage: 18
Year to date mileage: 566

Date: March 7
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Triumph
March mileage: 36
Year to date mileage: 584

Date: March 10
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Triumph
March mileage: 54
Year to date mileage: 602

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Hoodoo, who do you think you're fooling?

Last spring I wrote a little something about E85 on ye olde blog.  Now I realize this is a bike related blog and one of the more tangible benefits of commuting to work via bike is that I don't have to buy nearly as much gas as the average schmoe.  I drive a big tank of a station wagon that I can haul kids, dogs and building supplies in.  But I can't remember the last time I put gas in it.  But I consider this a secondary motivation.  In reality, I just like riding my bike.  Perhaps it's the daily challenge of doing something that requires forethought and adapting to the ever changing world outside instead of encapsulating myself in a series of boxes (home to car to work to car to home, lather rinse repeat) that makes me enjoy it.  I don't really know why I like it.  I don't really care.
Now, back to ethanol.  Because saving the planet isn't my primary objective for biking, I don't have a lot of strong feelings about alternative fuels and hybrid cars and whatnot.  Unless it's stupid.  And ethanol is looking more and more stupid.  And the interesting thing is that more and more people are realizing it.  In March of 2007 Jon Birger wrote the following for Fortune magazine:
[In the summer of 2006] when corn was $2 a bushel and oil was $70 a barrel, ethanol plants were minting money. They averaged $1.06 in profit for every gallon of ethanol sold, according to Credit Suisse. Today, with oil at $60 and corn at $4, ethanol producers typically net an average of only 3 cents...

If corn spikes to $5 -- a real possibility, says A.G. Edwards commodities analyst Dan Vaught -- or oil declines to $50, ethanol's once-fantastic margins would turn negative. That possibility is creating tensions between ethanol producers and corn growers, two groups whose lobbyists are normally attached at the hip.

And here we are in spring of 2008 with corn over $5.25 a bushel.  If these prices are sustained, or increase, ethanol producers will lose money.  And they know it.  Earlier this week Cargill abandoned their plan to build a new ethanol plant in Kansas.  And in Canton, Illinois an unfinished ethanol plant was just sold in bankrupcy court.  Gee, didn't Congress just mandate that we use 36 billions gallons of biofuel by 2022?  Who's going to be able to afford to refine it?

Date: February 27
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Triumph
February mileage: 209
Year to date mileage: 518

Date: February 28
Mileage: 12
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Triumph
February mileage: 221
Year to date mileage: 530

Date: February 29
Mileage: 18
Ride type/Bike: Commute/Triumph
February mileage: 239
Year to date mileage: 548

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