Off the grid in a Texas desert you still need clean cloths. With no one around, “does anyone know that I smell good”
Former Manhattanite leaves East Coast and is happy he did. Without going to this extreme how would a little lifestyle change work in our lives? Can leaving the car keys at home and hopping on the beater bike be an effort worth pursuing? When we see our neighbors as we ride by them just maybe they will get the idea they can do simple stuff like biking. You know what biking will do for the places you ride through? First, biking is calming, the more bikes the greater calm. Second, the cityscape or wherever you ride is more beautiful because you are in it. Third, everyone of your senses are working at capacity as they were meant to. Lastly, something inside you, whatever you want to call it, the voice, speaks to us that the change in our life is in our control now.
How is it that during the past decade false energy markets continue unabated? The core of the matter is government energy policy which hypes unsustainable renewable energy schemes. Government mandated ethanol hands out billions of dollars in subsidies to such a false energy market. While the ethanol business went bust in 2008, the food commodity corn price increased negatively affecting global populations. Ethanol decreases mpg and increases gasoline consumption, but government energy policy has increase the mandate to 15% blend.
Should we care that energy policy is a prop for oil consumption and single occupancy automobile use? I think yes and no. Awakening to an awareness of our own consumption of energy is a start. Remember, we are consumers that generally believe we share energy as long as we have our share. But, lets face it the race is to capture energy. Powerful China for better than two decades has fueled their standards of living and the rest of us with cheap energy, cheap labor and rapid industrialization. Worldwide energy capture is less about the American dream imploding than to fuel world trade in emerging societies. As standards rise in those cultures the standards decline in ours. The positive aspect in our time is that we feel something for humanity in gratitude or guilt or empathy or anger. The choice is always ours.
What do we get by capturing energy and what is the exchange? Government subsidies for hybrid and electric automobiles? Cheap imported automobiles from China? Will the worldwide demand for oil create a second class America that leaves us stranded? Are we obliged to police the world so we continue to capture our share? What price is too high, after all we are a country of 300 million people hungry for oil?
Capturing energy is as simple as a swipe of the credit card. The exchange is fairly simple, our work days are spent paying for unfettered mobility. As technology changes the clean electric car has become a promised reality. In a few years inexpensive Chinese auto imports are due to flood the shaky American auto market. Our reliance for good government and fair priced imported goods is no more than blind trust. Not seeing what hit us will make us second class citizens unless we are personally accountable for our individual energy use.
Only one percent of Americans ride a bike for transportation and those are the people I’m reaching out to. The other 99 percent are who the one percent need to reach. Our energy, the environment and economic situations are based on exchange and for us to give back by using less is the gift we give to our children. Feed your car less and ride your bike more.
Someones Transportation to the Mall
Bought New Rarely Used. Minnesota Nice
It’s that time of year when the memory of a new bike under the tree brightens the young at heart. For me my first bike came at Christmas in a warm far off place, Hawaii. It was a Murray that was not entirely mine since the bike had a removable top tube which was intended to be a girls bike combo. Could this have been a worse idea at Christmas? Share a gift with your sister? Come on. Reality was she rode this bike a couple times, brothers can be cruel, but what about parents? What about the bike industry too? This “convertible bar” was how I think I remember it being advertised, was the first “hybrid”. Just think one bike that does it all for little boys and little girls alike. Parents could economize and whatever sex the next kid was they were ready with a bike. With the popularity of step through frames let’s hope the modern bike industry doesn’t revive this for the sake of the life trauma it inflicts on all parties. The stigma of riding a “girls’ bike is disappearing in the USA. I happily can say I ride a Schwinn 3 speed step- through. Just re-frame the message to step-through and off we go. If it was so easy to do with girl’s bikes then how to re-frame a Wal-Mart bike. See inherently that is the 6 billion dollar question. Who will thrive and survive in the mass market? What will that re-framing message be?
I was at Wal-Mart and Target yesterday. For the money my bet would be that Wal-Mart will continue to sell adult bicycles in the foreseeable future. Target will be out of the adult bike business within 5 years. This is no surprise. The demographics are very different for both stores. Target is upscale and Wal-Mart is price driven. Both sell adult bikes far below independent bike retailers bottom tier. There are two mass market distributors that control sales to Wal-Mart, Target, Toys R Us, K-Mart etc. The largest distributor is Pacific Cycle Inc. owned by Doral corporation and the smaller distributor Dynacraftbike. It appears that DynaCraft sees the lack of relevance in supplying adult bicycles and will focus on child bikes. The reasons for this could be the falling ridership of adults in the USA or the business cycle is too extended into the future to introduce a replacement bicycle for the “cheap Mountain Bike”. If DynaCraft wants to keep in the game they will need to step up to a viable adult product. Mountain bikes are dinosaurs and Pacific sees this too. The adult products on display at Wal-Mart included some heavy but dependable cruisers. If you are looking for a cheap grocery getter, the parts are simple, the repairs are simple and on flat ground these are fun. Stay focused when buying. A 3 piece crank may not be the best purchase if the bike with the one piece crank comes with fenders. Oh, by the way another distributor not to count out is Huffy® Bicycles. So if and when Dynacraft pulls out of adult bikes the best way to re-frame “cheap” Wal-Mart bikes might be the “KISS” bike. Yes, KISS stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. There is a reason that single speed coaster brake bikes exist long after multi-geared bikes go into the dumpster. The adult single speed cruiser is no different than the kids single speed bike. We know this, the manufactures know this. KISS your first bike and in the future when thinking about bargains and economy don’t sell yourself short. The world of bikes exist outside of the Wal-Mart bike so go discover it for yourself.
- New Orleans Balcony
While in New Orleans the first weekend of December besides taking pictures and spending time with my family in the French Quarter and the Faubourg Marigny, we also walked all day and all night. If we had more time I undoubtably would want to rent a bike from Confederacy of Cruisers and take a tour of the city. Remember New Orleans is far from safe and there are areas still in a shambles which house some shady characters. My experience and what you see on the movie clip is the richness of the life and architecture of the old city. Sure some places need paint and if you are not familiar with hurricane shutters it does look like houses are boarded up, not so. If you have not visited New Orleans the best time to go is October through May. Stay outside the French Quarter for best room rates. For every one guest who rooms in the French Quarter there are 10 that stay outside of it. Cafe Du Monde is a must for Coffee and Beignets. Fried dough never tasted so good. The heaping powdered sugar looks inviting but refrain from inhaling the stuff. Cash only. Menu affixed to napkin holder. You can’t help making a mess of your table so go ahead and make a mess. New Orleans is like Key West in some ways or San Francisco or Amsterdam. People are genuinely friendly and take the time to tell you about themselves. The passerby who tipped us to dinner at Olivier’s and the rabbit she loved, that I had for my meal. The sign painter in front of the Music Factory Store who wanted to introduce us to the owner. The bartender that told us all about Drive Through Daiquiri stores. Yes, it does not make sense. There is a life blood in New Orleans running through it, an identity that I barely scratched the surface.