Thursday, October 28, 2010

Back On Top...So To Speak

Last week, as I was biking back to Hockinson from work while feeling smug in my fitness-level on the bike (not saying I deserved to feel smug, only that I did), from out of nowhere another biker blew past me.

He was a smaller man on a smaller bike. And he appeared to be more flexible, as he was able to maintain the crouched racing position favored by professional bike racers.

So, I did what any male across the globe would do, I tried to keep up with him.

Alas, it wasn't to be. He made it through a light that turned red before I got there. And though after the light turned back to green I huffed and puffed, trying to catch him, he remained an elusive yellow dot in the distance.
He was quite likely in better shape (i.e. cardiovascular health) than me, but I also feel his literal shape played a large role. He presented a strikingly reduced frontal profile as compared to my own.

This raises two important questions:
1. Why does the simple fact of being passed suddenly motivate me to try harder?
2. Why should small, flexible guys have the advantage in wind-resistance?

I think I know the answer to question one, and if I don't it's going to require a psychiatrist to unravel.

Question 2 is not so ambiguous.
The answer: they shouldn't!

I'm not particularly small and I'm exceptionally not flexible, but I can simulate both conditions by getting in a streamlined recumbent velomobile.

When I do, who will motivate me to try harder? Probably anyone passing me in a Prius. Hybrid power? I've got your hybrid power.

But that's a topic for next time.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Clean Air

Moving to the country, I had hoped to escape air pollution and hopefully keep my lungs healthier. Notwithstanding some folks around here that burn their plastic garbage I have pretty well achieved that objective.

With my velomobile I'll become part of the solution.


I noticed some blue and lavendar tones in sap oozing from this fir stump, so I took a picture, shifted the result to blue to counterbalance the strong red and orange dominant colors, then increased the saturation to make the present colors more apparent.
You may notice in the top left quadrant there is a patch of wood that is dry. It is relatively colorless.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Yellow Rocket Under Construction

I've just sent in confirmation to that I'd like to purchase one of their Quest Velomobiles.

This is a moment of great significance in my life. As such, I'll spend some time writing about it over the coming weeks and months.

To begin, I'll expend a few lines on the energy independence I expect the Quest will facilitate.

The efficient design of the Quest means that I can travel at about1-3% the energy expenditure of a family sedan like the one I commute in today. This means that I'm far more able to power the vehicle with locally obtained power sources, such as potatoes and wheat.

When I do require assistance from lithium batteries, I'll draw the minimum amount required to get me from point A to point B, leaving more lithium available for other important uses.

Another hope of mine is that by commuting in a Quest, I'll raise the awareness of the technology in this part of the world and perhaps encourage a few other people to try it.

While we're on the topic of raising awareness, I'd like to take a moment to recognize those that raised my awareness to this possibility.
My brother, father, uncle and friends who have been commuting by bike for years and demonstrated the reality that it is not only feasible, but leaves you fit and much healthier than I have become while commuting by car.

And to the non-biking contingent of my core readership I also owe thanks, as you all contributed to my world view and have enabled me to pursue this goal, despite the relative eccentricity of it.

I appreciate all of your support.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Garlic Planting Time, The Sequel

My order of seed-bulbs came in today. Heidi ordered them for me for Father's Day. I received 8 oz each of Kazakhstan, Spanish Roja and Mt. St. Helens.

The Kazakhstan is an older variety that comes from the area that is geographically near the origins of garlic.

Spanish Roja is touted in my book (Growing Great Garlic) as being the best tasting garlic.

And Mt. St. Helens is a local favorite, said to be as explosively fiery as its namesake.

So, I have some truly fine choices to anticipate next summer.

Be sure to get yourself some garlic in the ground by Halloween! I don't know if it will protect you from the undead, but come July 4th, the garlic could be the life of the barbeque.