Friday, August 17, 2007

The true cost of energy

The loss of rescue workers at the Utah mine reminds me that energy costs more than just money. So many people have died for it, in digging coal, soldiering for oil, or even choosing to pedal instead of drive. Hydroelectric dams have altered the temperature of SC rivers so that native fish can't thrive. France gets 76 percent of its electricity from nuclear reactors. China is building new reactors to meet the evergrowing demand for cheap goods. But energy is not cheap if you count the human cost. That's why it bugs me when people leave their SUVs idling at Starbucks. This country needs to learn to appreciate (value) energy, and rethink its insane energy/transportation policies.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Inspired by bike bloggers of yore. . .

I decided to get on my bike and ride, as Queen implored, after surfing the cyclecybersphere. It was good to get out, and I remembered the feeling of accomplishment and community I somehow get navigating my errands via two wheels.

Pretty soon drivers intrude with their---ugliness? or is it mere carelessness. I often ride on the sidewalk around here because I'm chickenshit and the concrete is typically in horrible condition, resulting in a battering ride for the bigass batteries bouncing about in the bike bag. The effect is accentuated by the hard, skinny hybrid tires someone gave me; I only have installed one, in the rear, but I can feel a difference.

I made a conscious effort to pedal more, which made it feel more like biking of yesteryear (I assembled my e-bike last fall). I have biked these streets for several years, with a few years off in the middle, and they seem familiar.

On the way back from the grocery store, I was reminded how dirty and low one can feel with the utilitarian biking experience, grocery bags dangling from one's Hard Rock. I seem to feel people looking down on me as if I am some kind of omega male, which I may well be.

At a stoplight I recognized my neighbor and waved her on, but she did not seem to recognize me, and turned away, perhaps embarrassed. I guess I look different with the helmet on and a sack of frozen food hanging from the handlebars.

Photo de moi

Photographic evidence that I was here.