Saturday, February 23, 2019

New bike computer enroute

Earlier this year, I had bike-computer issues.  And, apparently it's an ongoing thing.  I reset it back to "zero" at the first of February... the monthly mileage seems to be pretty accurate at about 250, but the total odometer has jumped to well over 6000 miles.  (They both started at zero on 2/1.)  So - time to retire and replace it.

I've always had pretty good results with the Cateye brand (this one has been in use for almost 10 years), so I ordered a new Cateye - the Velo 9.  And - check it out!  From the sales pitch:

BECAUSE YOU CARE: The Velo 9 also tracks calorie and carbon offset.

Think of the amount of computing it must take, to keep track of calorie and carbon offset!  And in the long run, maybe this one will pay for itself, if a Carbon Tax is implemented.  I can report my Carbon Offset to the IRS and pay a couple bucks less.

Take that, all you carbon-burning losers!!!

(I'll replace the computer to start keeping track on March 1st.)

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Late Winter Wonderland!

For awhile, it seemed like we weren't going to get much of a winter in these parts, this year.  January was extraordinarily mild, with some days getting into the low 50s.  (Was Algore right??)  But - winter has returned.

The past couple mornings, the roads have been too gnarly for me to feel good about sharing them with cars... so I took the bus.  And each afternoon it warmed up nicely, providing suitable conditions for bicycling home.  (The buses all have a bike rack on the front.)

I share some photos of some nice winter scenes, snapped the past couple afternoons.  (The Parks Department does a fantastic job of maintaining the Greenbelt - heck, e-scooters could ride on it!  The roads shared with motor traffic... it's hit and miss.  But in the afternoons it's been more slushy than slippery.  Just the same, eternal vigilance!  Any ride where you get to Point B unscathed, is a successful ride.)

The final photo is the best possible "natural phenomenon" I'll enjoy this month - my brand-new granddaughter, Laurel!  (Being held by big sister Bonnie.)  Babies are miraculous!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Burning Man & Greenbelt - threatened!

I will assume you are familiar with the Burning Man phenomenon.  Every year in late August, in the Black Rock Desert northeast of Reno, thousands of people throw off the bonds of convention and gather for a week or 10 days of  "arts and culture."  Attendees are expected - encouraged - to push the boundaries of expression and excess.  It culminates with the "main event" - the burning of an immense wooden statue of a man, surrounded by the gyrating, howling - but peaceful - mob.

I've never been tempted to attend, any more than I've been tempted to attend the annual Sturgis "biker" rally.  Perhaps I suffer from what Yogi Berra explained as follows, when speaking of a popular restaurant: "NOBODY goes there any more - it's too crowded!"  (I tend to shy away from large, chaotic groups.  The Fair or a Bronco Stadium football game is pushing my boundaries; I tend to gravitate AWAY from big crowds.)

The population of the most recent "Burning Man" was in excess of 60,000.

The founders and organizers laid down these principles by which Burning Man will be governed:
    - Radical inclusion
    - Gifting
    - Decommodification
    - Radical self-reliance
    - Radical self-expression
    - Communal effort
    - Civic responsibility
    - Leaving no trace
    - Participation
    - Immediacy
… and they've done their best to stay true to those principles.  (I'm sure it's a challenge, when 60K people, with widely-varying levels of commitment, show up for a week and then go back to their day jobs, or whatever their pastimes.)

However, the spirit of Burning Man is under threat from "poseurs" - jet-setters and "social media influencers" who get limo'ed in for Instagram photos, who live in the turnkey, self-contained 2-bedroom "Moon Village" with "super powerful AC" while making the scene, and then get whisked away in the limo to the private jet that awaits at the nearest airport.

Interesting article about it all HERE.

This year, Marian Goodell, the CEO of the undertaking, expelled the worst offenders and warned others.  She wrote, "Black Rock City requires significant investments of time, energy, and resourcefulness.  Part of what makes Burning Man unique and powerful is that everyone has to work hard to be there..."

In thinking about it, that's a pretty good explanation of some of my recent "Greenbelt feelings."

As traditional self-powered Greenbelt users (pedestrians, cyclists, runners, skaters, etc.) are joined by people on electric-powered bicycles and now "e-scooters"...

There's rarely a traffic problem on the Greenbelt between, say, October and April.  But come those summer months, it gets mighty crowded on a perfect weekend afternoon or warm summer evening.  And apparently going forward, those traditional large crowds will be supplemented by people who "don't have to work hard to be there."  They just twist a throttle or push a button to become part of the mass of humanity.  And the quality of the experience deteriorates for everybody, just as surely as the quality of a nice drive from Eagle to downtown Boise deteriorates... if you're doing it at 7:30 on a weekday morning.

Surely the e-bikers and e-scooterers aren't going overboard on "decommodification," or "radical self-reliance," or "communal effort," or even "participation."  (I can't imagine I'd feel much sense of participation, if I was just rolling thru on a self-propelled vehicle.)

Time will tell.  2019 will be our first summer with full-blown, unlimited e-bikes and e-scooters.  It will also be the first summer with several new attractions (expanded water park in particular).  Our city overlords don't seem to have any reservations about trying to limit crowd sizes - growth is good!  I'm not feeling optimistic about the "Greenbelt experience" going forward, but maybe my worries are totally irrational... we'll see.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Major project along the Boise Greenbelt

Fellow cyclists who traverse our "crown jewel" Greenbelt are aware of a major project that has disrupted travel temporarily, but hopefully for a bigger long-term good.

Several years back, they began an ambitious "whitewater park" project, intended to give kayakers, surfers, etc., a better experience.  But it's been quite pathetic, so far, at least as measured by person-hours of enjoyment.

Here's the adjustable wave as has existed up 'til now:

It's quite the engineering teat - that water barrier can be adjusted up and down.  BUT - only one or maybe two people at a time are benefitting from the downstream "wave," whether it be surfers or boaters.  It's sad to see 10 or 15 people queued up to wait their turn, while 1 or 2 people take a 30-second turn.

But now it's expanding downstream.  A week or so ago, I snapped some photos... it's far enough along that one can imagine the shape it will eventually take.  Particularly impressive are the temporary barriers, both upstream and downstream, to keep the water out of the project.  (The river runs particularly low this time of year, and the water is being diverted around the project using a canal.)  Supposedly it will be completed sometime this summer.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Bustin' that scale!

I was in the basement of my office today; that's where the scale resides.  (In our nice locker/shower room.)  I hopped on that scale - and I'm a Tub of Goo!  I'd gained 9 pounds since a visit to my doctor in mid-October!  (And I'm about 6 pounds heavier than any time I've measured in several years.  No wonder it's become hard to stretch that fanny-pack around my big belly!)

So - I came back upstairs to my office and ate a piece of "king cake" from New Orleans.  (I had to do my part...)

I don't know about anybody else, but for me, winters are pretty brutal, from the weight standpoint.
1) My bicycle miles are typically down considerably from the warmer months.
2) I spend more time indoors anyway, doing more sedentary activities.
3) The holidays are typically resplendent with a delectable assortment of tasty vittles... beginning about Halloween and going thru at least New Years.  (And that's not counting Super Bowl Sunday, Valentines Day, etc.)
4) For whatever reason, I'm also hungrier in the winter than in the summer.  Is that a "Grandson of Caveman" thing or something?  Some sort of instinctual thing... better thicken up that fat layer because it's cold???  (Other people have confirmed that I'm not alone in that.)

Fortunately, I haven't collapsed my bicycle or ruined the wheels or caused the tires to bulge and explode... and warmer weather is just around the corner.  Hopefully the Pedaling Diet will be successful once again, in helping me shed some beef.

(I lugged a 5-pound bag of carrots home from the grocery store yesterday afternoon - it felt heavy!  And I'm packing the equivalent of two of those, when it's just me, over my weight 4 or 5 months ago.  It wouldn't hurt me - health wise - to lose 30 or 40 pounds.  I'd feel much better if I shed half that much.)