5.31.2007

It's not plagiarism, it's research!

Bicycle wins in biker vs. car errand race

Published April 26, 2007 by The Gainesville Sun
By Andrew Tan
Brent Christensen was stopped at a light at rush hour on NW 13th Street and NW 5th Avenue when he saw him.

Ed Poppell, vice president of business affairs at the University of Florida, was leaving Mr. Goodbike on his Kona mountain bike, meaning he was ahead of Christensen, president of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce.

The two were involved in an "errand" race that pitted car against bike.

The car took 20 minutes to run a set of prescribed errands, while the bike took 10 minutes.

The race began at Tigert Hall on the UF campus and involved stops at Mr. Goodbike, Deja Brew, FIA Clothing and the Wine & Cheese Gallery.

Christensen said he wanted the light to change, but it didn't.

"It was maddening watching him leave," he said.

The errand race was part of "Walking the Talk/Closing the Gap: Transforming Environmental Values into Sustainable Practices," a series of events held by the UF office of sustainability, department of religion and department of political science.

Dedee DeLongpré, director of the office of sustainability, said the goal is to make people with environmental values begin acting environmentally. DeLongpré said the errand race tied together three important ideas: alternative transportation, shopping locally and supporting local agriculture.

DeLongpré said the importance of shopping locally and supporting local agriculture is helping reduce the amount of shipping in the United States.

"Everything is interconnected," she said.

Poppell said he was helped in the race because he didn't have to worry about parking, like Christensen did, and he was able to use more roads that didn't have traffic lights or stop signs.

Christensen said the little things hurt. The time it takes to leave the car, lock the car, put on the seat belt, they all added up, he said.

Christensen, who used a Flexcar Civic hybrid, said he knew it would be a challenge trying to beat a bicycle during rush hour.

"It was fun to try anyway," he said.


5.27.2007

Reasons to Ride

Thanks to Snakebite for finding this one.

5.22.2007

Weirdness

I have been working in downtown Nagoya for the last couple months on Sundays. It is a nice job teaching motivated adult students who are interested in overseas travel and possibly study.

It is a bit of an annoyance to have to get up early on a Sunday to head downtown, but the job itself is rather enjoyable.

I have been riding my bike to Hozumi Station for the half hour trip into Nagoya and then a few minutes on the Higashiyama Subway to Sakae, the downtown, ritzy shopping district in Nagoya, where my job is located.

Sakae Station is a very busy subway station with all the shopping and restaurants near there. One of the newest restaurants is a big Tully's Coffee, just a block away from the Starbucks. Kelly prefers Tully's so I have been picking up a bag of beans every couple weeks. Last week, I noticed that they were selling English Toffee Cookies for only 170 yen. I bought one.

I was munching on it on my way to the subway and ended up in the line to buy a ticket with a half-eaten cookie.

It was then that I felt a tap on my arm. I turned to look, expecting to find someone telling me off for eating in public. Instead I saw a very frail looking and quite possibly homeless man gesturing at my half-eaten cookie. I took a bite, not entirely understanding his intent. Then he pointed at the cookie, pointed at himself, and told me that he wanted my cookie.

I know that the recommendation is that people not give stuff to panhandlers and that thought flashed through my mind rather boldly...not to mention that this was a darn good cookie!

The other thought that overpowered that thought that this guy was obviously hungry and for him to have the cojones to actually ask for my cookie, I felt needed to be recognized.

I gave him my cookie.

5.18.2007

Sometimes you just gotta dance!

5.16.2007

Do you eat organic food?

Organic food is huge business. But how organic is the food that you are buying? What does organic mean?

I just read an article from Fresh! Fitness that addresses the issue of organic food.

Compare what they say with Sans` recent post on gardening.

Our garden right now consists of a little baby tomato plant that Selah brought home from school. We will see how we do with it in the next couple months.

5.15.2007

Reasons to Ride...

Monday morning...the dreaded return to work after the weekend. I was quite looking forward to it, primarily because of the ride.

I was almost at work when I caught up to a friend of mine on her way to her school. She normally rides with her hubby, but he was at home because he had to work on the Saturday previous. We said our hellos and `have a good day` and were on our way.

I was released from work a little early for some still unknown reason and caught up to her again. This time we had a little more time and so stopped to chat for a while. They are returning to the States a few days after we head home this summer and are in the midst of the same questions and frustrations that we are experiencing. It was good to be able to stop and chat as we hadn`t been able to get together as families for a while.

It wasn`t until after I got home that it dawned on me that it would have been close to impossible to have been able to chat with a friend had even one of us been driving a car. Our interaction would have been reduced to a very quick wave...if we had even noticed each other.

Cycling is good for communities.

Bad Blogger!

I hear that if I want people to read my blog that I need to post stuff.

We are starting to ramp up our moving plans. It seems a little crazy to think that we will be flying home in just over 2 months. There is so much that needs to happen between now and then. We have someone very interested in buying our car (which has been parked since April 1 save a few trips that would have cost more by train).

I have finally sent applications for teaching jobs in Kamloops. I had been waiting for my BC Certification to be completed, but that is likely another month away and I want to get my name in front of the powers that be as soon as possible. There are no advertised positions available with the Kamloops board yet, but the St. Ann's Secondary is looking for a PE teacher...will keep you posted.

The Car Free thing has been going well. I have found a great route to my most distant school that allows me to put the hammer down and clear my mind.

Kudos to the Canadian Men's Hockey team for showing the rest of the world who is boss. I suppose at least some of my remaining interest should go towards the Sens who appear to be headed to the big show. At least Vancouver made it farther than Calgary....

Last week, Selah came home with news that she needs glasses. Knowing Kelly's visual history, we thought it reasonable that Selah's eyes could be starting to change. I figured that it would be better to wait a while to give her eyes some time to stabilise before getting glasses, but once I did a little research on th internets I discovered that such things are better treated early before they become permanent.

So, off to the same shop where we got Mixons specs. We knew that it was open until 7:30 pm. Except that it was closed when we got there at 6 pm. On our way home, Selah was quite distressed because her teacher told her to get glasses, so we stopped at another little shop for a test. They had a very poor selection of kids glasses that seemed ridiculously over-priced. It seemed a little weird that the prescription that this guy came up with for her was for far-sightedness, the opposite of Kelly.

After some cajoling and coercing, I finally got Selah out of there with the promise that we would go back to the other store with more selection the next day.

Next day rolls around and Kelly gets a phone call from Keiko, our personal translator, who is phoning for the school nurse. Turns out they did a little vision test for Selah at school that morning and everything was normal. We are not sure if her eyes were just bothering her or some unknown reason or if she really wanted glasses. Regardless, its a good thing we didn't buy the stupidly expensive ones from the little shop across from Asahi University.

5.06.2007

Observations

I noticed two interesting news items in the last few weeks. Unfortunately I didn't keep track of where I read them or how you can do the same, although I think many of you heard.

First was that Canadians bought more new cars last year than ever before, that they spent more money for a new car than ever before, and that the cars that they bought were more likely to be gas guzzling trucks, SUVs, mini-vans and the like than ever before. Good news eh? The Canadian economy is cruising right along.

The second was the shrieking outcry when gas prices took a little jump not too long ago. Average price of gas in Canada was about $1.10 a litre. I haven't paid that little for almost two years.

If gas prices are going to be a problem, and there is little reason for them to go down significantly, then it would make sense to buy small, fuel efficient cars, not large, inefficient cars. And if you buy a large, inefficient car or truck, expect to pay lots of money on gas.

And if fuel efficiency is what you are after, don't buy a car. Anything that weighs more than that which it is transporting cannot possibly be considered fuel efficient.

On a slightly different note. My vehicle needs new brake pads. I bought them yesterday. They cost me $8 for all four pads. I will install them next weekend.