Friday, May 30, 2008

Keep adding stones

I did much the same route as mentioned in the post below, but stopped at a couple different places to take some photos.
may30_pond

When I've been on these morning rides south of Orillia, I'm simply reveling in the joy of cycling through forests, past lakes, along country roads, with almost no traffic anywhere near me. It makes it very easy for me to believe that nature deficit disorder (wait for ad to clear and Enter Salon link to show in upper right corner) is a very real problem.

may30_lakeedge

After a bit of a break, I'm doing the Becel Ride for the Heart this weekend. I'll be doing it on the new Trek, and it'll probably be the fifth different bike I've used for this ride.
may30_countryroad

I don't know if there's anything sweeter than being up early in the morning and riding a well tuned bike along a well paved country road. I love it when you're all alone, see a small hill coming up, attack it like you're breaking away from the peloton in the Tour, and after you crest the hill you see a second one and you go "oh crap" and sit back in the saddle and start clicking your chain up to your biggest cog. Yeah, we all suck, but its still fun.

You know what I love most about the Scott McClellan / George Bush story? The response from hard-core Republicans like Karl Rove that (their formerly loyal buddy) McClellan has either a) gone insane, in which case we should pity him, or b) let a left wing blogger/ghost writer use his name to generate more publicity for a book attacking Bush.

The implication? There's no way the former Bush Press Secretary actually thinks that Bush bullied the country into an immoral war. Come On!! he's obviously insane!!! Oh there's no talking to you pinkos... where's my limo... I gotta go blow up more of the third world somewhere...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

As sweet as tupelo honey


At my last job, I was biking about 66km one way to get to work in the morning, passing through the strip malls and strip housing of Scarburbia.

This year, I can either walk straight to work in 20 minutes, or I can suit up and go for a long optional bike ride in the morning. It's pretty sweet. If you live in Orillia, and if you get up early, pack your bag and clip into the pedals on your Jamis, and follow this route out of town into the countryside, you see lots of farmland, four deer, and lots of waterfront.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Brakeman on a hurtlin' fever train

It was pretty cold and windy this morning, doing the 30km round trip out to Hawkestone and back in time for work. Here are a couple photos from the morning ride:
bikenorthclose

On Sunday I rode my Trek on the country roads to the west of Orillia... the Bass Lake Side Road and various Lines (Line 8, 14, 15/16 etc). I love the fact that every direction I go when I leave Orillia, I'm cycling through rolling farmland. It's really pretty gorgeous. The only annoying thing is that, since I don't know the area very well yet, I keep going along nice country roads and all of a sudden hitting gravel where the road is no longer paved. I dinged up the underside of my downtube on Sunday having gravel pinging off the tube. So, I'm off to the drugstore today to pick up some nailpolish to seal the chipped paint.

hawkestone_sign

And here are some stories that can maybe make you believe that we're getting serious about the problems we've created:
The LCBO (chain of wine / liquor stores run by the provincial government) is going to stop offering plastic bags.

London, Ontario, is considering serious restrictions, and possibly an outright ban, on new drive-throughs. Of course, Tim Hortons, McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King and A&W were on hand to fight this effort, which basically puts them pro-asthma and air pollution, and anti-clean air (although McDonald's has done some good things, fast food in general has enough of a moral problem due to factory farming. Do they really want to be on the wrong side of the idling issue the way the big three were on the wrong side of the air pollution issue for decades?)
This is happening at the same time as highschool students in London set up a protest at a Tim Horton's asking people to stop the unnecessary idling that happens in drive-throughs.

And this one isn't really about climate change, but as a cyclist who's worried about the motorists around me not really paying attention to what they're doing, I'm pretty happy with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty considering a ban on cellphone use while driving.


farm1

Friday, May 23, 2008

made it on over to that million dollar bash

I have to admit, I really get a kick out of the Diamond Shreddies ad campaign. Do you guys have this in the States, or is it just up here in Canada (Shreddies are a cereal brand, and a "diamond" shreddie is a normal shreddie turned over a few degrees)?
Apparently the campaign was created by an intern named Hunter Somerville, who nearly didn't hand the proposed idea on to his boss because he thought it was too stupid.


I used to talk about current events (mostly George Bush) a lot, but I guess I haven't had as much time for blogging OR current events recently. However, here are a couple thoughts I've had:

Lowering the gas tax, in the States OR Canada, is stupid. It'll only save consumers peanuts, and it doesn't get to the root of the problem which Kuntsler and Heinberg have been talking about for quite a while now - from here on out, gasoline prices are going to do nothing but go up. If we really wanted to help people, we'd be increasing taxes on gas and throwing all of the money at public transit and active transportation, which are going to be increasingly important as automobile travel becomes more expensive.

And what is active transportation? It's using your bicycle and Google earth to fly around the world.

Stephen Harper, our conservative PM, keeps surprising me (P.S. - don't read into this the idea that I actually like him). A year or so back he introduced an income tax credit given to people who use public transit. Now he's starting to fix the Made in Canada problem.

Up until now, food products which happened to have their finishing touches done in Canada (i.e. the labels put on the cans or something), could be classed Made in Canada, even though the apples/fish fries/mustard actually came from Australia or Singapore or someplace.
Under the new rules, a "product of Canada" label will mean all or virtually all the contents are Canadian in origin.
If the ingredients come from another country, the label would reflect that as well. For example, a label might say "made in Canada with imported ingredients," Mr. Harper said.
"This qualified 'made in Canada' label will let shoppers know they are supporting Canadian jobs and the Canadian economy, but also inform them that not all of the contents necessarily come from Canada," he said.


So, we'll still have to read the packaging carefully for the fine print, but at least the fine print will have the information needed to make a decision.

P.S. - Deathstar picture has nothing to do with this post's subject matter, I just thought it was funny.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I'm drunk & you're probably taking pills


It is mid-May, and I'm STILL not biking very much. I'm so embarrassed. Having a leisurely 20 minute walk to work is a blessing in many ways, but it does tend to make you keep your bikes in the basement.

I have a new plan to get back on my wheels again - instead of trying to get up in the morning, go for a ride, come home & shower etc, then walk to work, I'm just going to go for rides which end at work. Basically I'm going to be recreating my routine from my Toronto to Oshawa commute (though not with the pissed off aggression I mention in that post). Luckily I have much nicer streets and trails to ride than I did in Durham county, like the Oro-Medonte rail trail pictured above.

This morning I got on the Jamis and rode the trail south out of Orillia to a little town called Hawkstone, right on Lake Simcoe. It was a pretty gorgeous way to spend a morning.


Wow - I opened up the (print) Globe and Mail and saw a $10000.00 Cannondale in the business section - that was a surprise. So Cannondale has been bought by a stroller manufacturer, and Specialized is pissed because they think it means that Cannondales will start showing up at Canadian Tire - allowing people to pay much less for a Cannondale bike than they would for a similar Specialized bike? Is that the gist of it?
Despite the fact that I want as many people on bikes as possible, this does scare me a bit... Cannondales should be sold in bike shops, not department stores. Hmmm.... I'm an elitist... who'd a thunk it? At least I know that Canadian Tire won't be selling old Cannondales from the 80's/90's with broken derailleur hangers which have been set up as singlespeeds. Canadian Tire will never be that cool.

Searching for something else, I found a CBC Radio interview between Kevin Sylvester, James H. Kunstler, and the mayor of Mississauga (one of the sprawling suburbs of Toronto). If you go to this page, and then do the Control + "F" search on peak oil you'll find it.
It was pretty good, but will be more interesting if you're only now starting to think about the peak oil issue. If you're read the literature already this is old stuff.

If anyone cares, this is the property that my university was trying to acquire for its campus here in Orillia. There were legal problems though, so we never got it. Such a shame - don't those grounds look PERFECT for a university? Plus, this is also right beside Lake Simcoe, and we would have had a long stretch of lakefront. AND - this property is right on the rail trail.