Showing posts from April, 2008

May you live in interesting times

Well, Gary Duke just can't get a break. After his (classic!) bike store was utterly destroyed in the big fire in downtown Toronto this winter, he is now being charged $48 000 to finish the demolition.
It ain't easy being a cyclist.

Careful readers know that I moved from Toronto to Orillia this past autumn. When I lived in Toronto, and was riding a lot with theToronto Bike Network, I used to bike about 15 km north on Yonge (i.e. yucky city cycling) just to get to Finch station, where I met the other TBN guys, and then we would ride another 15km or so just to get out of the damned city and hit a country road.

Now, in Orillia, I have a little 1.5km pedal down a street and across a bridge, and it's country roads as far as the eye can see. The only drawback is that a good chunk of them aren't paved, so until I know my way around I might do my exploring on my cross bike and leave the new Trek for when I ride with the bike shop guys.

When I was younger, and writing a lot of ficti…

despite not being a "lance" guy...

I finished the series of active transportation articles that I've been mentioning off and on, and they're posted at Orillia Gets Active if anyone wants to check them out.

Article 1 covers how North America came to be an automobile dependent society
Article 2 explores the problems that auto-dependence has caused
Article 3 talks about why active transportation is a sustainable way forward for city planners in a (soon to be) $1.50 / litre of gas world.

In other news...

I bought a new bike.
Maybe a year and a half ago I sold my 2004 Cervelo Soloist (aluminum with Ultegra) thinking that my duathlon days were over, and that I could just use my cross bike for the long Sunday rides I anticipated doing.
However, several things ganged up on me & convinced me that I still needed a real road bike:
a) as mentioned before, I'm a cycling shopaholic.
b) This spring, both my brother and a co-worker have been bike shopping, and I've been looking at bikes left, right and center in efforts to …

Tying a few pieces together

I just stumbled across a New York Times science & environment blog called Dot Earth, and read this passage in their "About Us" section:
By 2050 or so, the world population is expected to reach nine billion, essentially adding two Chinas to the number of people alive today. Those billions will be seeking food, water and other resources on a planet where, scientists say, humans are already shaping climate and the web of life.

Coincidentally, I recently reread Ronald Wright's A Short History of Progress, which I wrote about a while back in my tough lessons from Easter Island post.
In "A Short History", Wright has two passages which came back to me as soon as I read the above Dot Earth passage:

a) On page 124 he quotes British scientist Martin Rees as saying "The odds are no better than 50 / 50 that our present civilization... will survive to the end of the present century... unless all nations adopt low-risk and sustainable policies based on present technolog…

Where are we?

Below is the 2nd article of the three which should soon(ish) be in my local newspaper. Any criticism, fact-correcting would be totally welcome. After looking at why North America became automobile dependent, this article looks at the consequences of automobile dependence.

P.S. - frequent readers of this blog may notice that I've borrowed from myself a few times here. Oh well, as long as you aren't John Fogerty, that's okay isn't it? : )

In a previous article, I argued that North American cities became dependent on the automobile not because it was a good idea, but because the automobile lobby did two very effective things: a) they convinced governments to redesign public space to be pro-automobile and anti-public transit, making people NEED cars whether they liked it or not, and they used advertising to convince people who didn't need a car, WANT a car: To be without an automobile was increasingly a form of public nakedness in which a man, …