After helping organize that petition last year which asked the Canadian federal government to promote cycling as a preferred means of transportation, I'm feeling a bit political again and have a couple things I'm working on:
a) I'm thinking about writing a new petition, this one aimed at the provincial Ontario government, asking the province to pressure all towns/cities over a certain population (maybe 20 000?) to have arterial north/south and east/west bike lanes.
Any thoughts on that? "It's a terrible idea because..." or "It'll never work due to..."
b) If you're on Facebook, feel free to join a new group on there titled the Orillia Coalition for Active Transportation (even if you're not an Orillian). Aside from pressuring local politicians to be aware of active transportation benefits and issues, I hope the group will generally foster some discussion on this topic.
After riding my trainer this morning, I did a quick cleaning of the drive-train, and thought I'd share a few tips. First of all, it is SOOO much easier doing anything with your bike if you have either a bike stand (which I don't have, they're expensive), or a trainer. Whenever you just lean your bike against a wall and try to clean it or work on it, you end up sticking your foot under the back tire trying to keep it from rolling back and forth as you work. It's so much easier to have the bike locked in place, especially so that you can change the gears without having to lift the bike up in the air to allow the chain to move up and down the cogs.
Anyway, my first quick tip? Put your bio-cleaner into an old windex bottle so that you can spray it onto the parts.
Second tip? Rags rock! Old underwear, socks, and some pants, especially jeans, are great for rags. I use every scrap of jeans that I can - even tearing the pockets off. The only trick with rags from old clothing is that when you tear them into pieces, you get stringy threads hanging around, which you need to be careful about not letting get entwined into your cassette or your derailleur.
Here's some quick news:
~ In Canada, where our conservative government continues to embarrass us at things like the Bali talks on Climate Change, and continually tells us that some sort of carbon tax would throw us into recession, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy has said that a carbon tax is exactly what the country needs. The NRTEE is made up of leaders from business, labour, universities, environmental organizations, Aboriginal communities and municipalities.
"Market-based policies that put a price on carbon to send an economy-wide signal on emissions are the most effective way to achieve deep, long-term greenhouse gas emissions reductions of the scale being considered," round table Chairman Glen Murray told a news conference.
"An early and clear price signal is needed to influence the investment decisions by industry in the technology and innovation required to achieve deep reductions."
A carbon tax would penalize the burning of fossil fuels such as oil and gas and could target industry or consumers.
~ One of the largest Canadian banks, CIBC, has come out with a report saying that they expect to see oil at $150 / barrel in about five years, meaning gasoline in Canada soon being $1.50 / litre, and in the states at $4.50 / gallon.
Nowhere is the phrase "peak oil" used, but that is exactly the underlying rationale:
Oil depletion from existing fields is outpacing new supply, argues the chief economist of CIBC World Markets, and what supply the International Energy Agency and other tracking bodies are optimistically counting on involves complex and costly "mega-projects" that are likely to see major delays.
And this, according to a CIBC report released yesterday, doesn't even account for the unpredictable: escalating geopolitical tensions and extreme weather events.
"What we don't appreciate is that the oil-sands delays (we've seen) are not a unique story. It's happening in the very fields where the world is expecting to get its future supply," Rubin told the Toronto Star.
"Don't think of today's prices as a spike. Don't think of them as a temporary aberration. Think of them as the beginning of a new era."