Saturday, January 12, 2008

Why can't i draw right up to what I want to say...

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."

4 comments:

geoffrey said...

"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..."

Its a terrible idea because I agree. Noted carterials should be obligated to have accomodation for bicyclists from community border to community border. The border areas tend to be the most hostile for bicyclists to navigate so design accomodation and special maintenance where necessary needs to be mandated. Hiding bicycle facilities on sidestreets where they can't be found without maps and a guide is useless for all but community natives and undermines the reality that bicycling is indeed a functional form of practical transport.
As for maintaining the drivetrain MEC has a functional $5 tool as well as a higher priced model that bathe the chain and apply brushes to its accumulated gunge. The cheap one seems to work for me.
As for a stand on the cheap a couple of hooks in the wall might do it. There are stands out there for ~$100. One may be in my future yet.

Anonymous said...

"preferred means of transportation". Exactly how is this preferred means of transportation going to be used in the dead of winter OR to drop off children at Daycare?

A viable alternative to automobiles must be a 12 month of the year rain/snow and shine solution. Sorry but cycling isn't that.

Tuco said...

Well, don't get too caught up in terminology, or the idea that "preferred" equals "only means of transportation."

I think what we're going for here is a time when automobiles are only part of the transportation mix (instead of the only option, which has left us with the obesity, diabetes, suburban sprawl, climate change problems). If automobiles make up half the mix, and public transit and active transportation make up the other half, I think most of us in the cycling community will be happy.

And regarding winter cycling:
a) winter riding is only difficult because there is no cycling infrastructure in Canada. If our towns and cities had extensive bike lanes which got plowed, winter riding would be a piece of cake. Winter riding just requires a bit more gear - waterproof pants, a balaclava etc.
b) even if winter riding was impossible, we should still create cycling infrastructure for the 7 or 8 months a year when the roads are clear.

Anonymous said...

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..."

It is not a terrible idea but I think your former petition on tax benefit works better. Making bike lanes is a time consuming project that has to work with the overall city planning. I live in Waterloo, ON. The city has a plan to build more bike lanes but in many places, building bike lanes means widening the street and that could be a big project and demands lots of money. So, without enough people pushing the government to speed it up, it will always go slowly. I think your tax benefit petition will help gather more people to push the government on this front.

Besides the Brits, Americans are trying to pass the law led by Congressman Earl Blumenauer to give tax benefit for bike commuters. It got passed in the House but failed in the Senate. Apparently Canada is behind not only to the Europeans, but also to our neighbor in the south.