Showing posts from February, 2008

Being eaten by the wolf

I have an idea to write a series of articles on Active Transportation for the local newspaper here in Orillia. If they think it's a good idea, I'm proposing to do the following:
a) How we got here - a quick history of why North American cities ended up becoming dependent upon the automobile.
b) What's the problem? - a survey of the various problems associated with cities and automobiles, i.e. the diabetes and obesity problems stemming from inactivity, the loss of farmland due to suburban sprawl, air pollution and climate change, and rising gas prices making automobile dependence risky anyway.
c) What's the solution? - A statement about active transportation providing a sustainable way forward for urban planning.

To this end, I'm going through a bunch of material on these issues, and I'm currently taking a look at a book called Auto Mania. And guess what I found!

I more or less consider automobile dependence to be a con job pulled by Henry Ford and GM and Standard Oi…

Duke's Cycle

Picture and story from the Torontoist.

There has long been a bicycle shop in Toronto called Duke's Cycles. I don't know if I ever bought anything from them, but whenever I was walking along Queen West I'd stop in and drool over their cross bikes.

A massive fire struck Queen Street West in Toronto this morning, and might still be blazing while I type. It would appear that Duke's, along with many other shops, is now gone.

Be well, Duke's - may the road rise up to meet you.

Too much silence can be misleading

It's February in Orillia, which means snow up to your waist, and I've finally done a bit of work on my Cannondale. As you may or may not remember, my Cannondale has had an interesting life since I bought it off my friend Duncan. When I bought it, it was a fairly zippy bike, set up with Shimano 105 components, and it used downtube shifters.
I used it the summer I was biking from downtown Toronto to my job in Oshawa, and promptly put over 4000 kilometers on it. Then I had a crash, ended up snapping off the derailleur hanger, and it became a single-speed. Finally sick of the grimy looking hoods, and the black bar tape, I decided to beautify a little bit.

I bought some Shimano brake levers from Nashbar, and some Specialized Gel Tape from my new hometown bike shop, and set to work redoing the levers and the tape. By the way, if you want to learn how to wrap handlebar tape, you can do yourself a favour and watch this video.
Anyway, above you can see the old look of the hoods (although …

such beautiful sunsets

I've been skimming through a book called Lives Per Gallon by Terry Tamminen. Tamminen is a long time environmental activist in California, and was Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, working with Governor Arnold.

The book is handy because he's collected every piece of "smog will kill you" research ever done, and you can use the book as a bibliography on this topic area.

Here are some other neat notes from the book:

On Military Spending to Protect the Oil Supply

He's studied how much the U.S. devotes to military spending to place troops and technology in oil producing areas, to protect the oil supply. His number, EXCLUDING IRAQ, is between $55 to $100 billion each year. According to one report, the American military is spending $98 million to protect one single pipeline down in Colombia and Venezuela (page 59).

On How to design a planet

He ponders how you would design cities etc if you had the chance to wipe the slate clean and start all over a…