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Home » Archives » October 2007 » It Costs Us More Than Just Money

Tuesday, October 30th
It Costs Us More Than Just Money
In our culture's endless quest for more excuses to sit in traffic jams, Canada's tar sands have been touted as the next big source of cheap oil...but there are uncounted costs in the equation, as a read-through of this article in the UK Guardian shows. We quote:
The extraction of the oil requires heat, and thus the burning of vast amounts of natural gas - effectively one barrel of gas to extract two of crude - and some estimate that Fort McMurray and the Athabasca oil sands will soon be Canada's biggest contributor to global warming; nearly as much as the whole of Denmark. This in an area that has already seen, according to David Schindler, professor of ecology at the University of Alberta, two degrees of warming in the past 40 years.

The oil sands excavations are changing the surface of the planet. The black mines can now be seen from space. In 10 years, estimates Schindler, they are "going to look like one huge open pit" the size of Florida. Acid rain is already killing trees and damaging foliage. The oil companies counter that they are replanting - grass for bison, 4.5m trees by Syncrude alone - but the muskeg (1,000-year-old peat bog and wooded fen, which traps snow melt and prevents flash floods, and is home to endangered woodland caribou) is irreplaceable.

Two barrels of water are required to extract one barrel of oil; every day as much water is taken from the Athabasca river as would serve a city of a million people.

To read the entire well-written article, which also the social costs of the extractions to the local economy, go to: Mud, Sweat, and Tears

Now get on your bikes and ride!

Richard Risemberg on Tue, 30 Oct 2007 07:01:54 -0800 [link]  

Monday, October 29th
The James Black Hat Is in Town!
Well, the James Black Hat is actually here and on sale on the Bicycle Fixation website now.

It's available in black gabardine and olive hemp, and in medium and large. The medium fits up to about a size 7 (it's a smidgin tight on my 7¼ head), the large from a 6½ on up. We have very few of the olive hemps, very few of the larges, for right now, but will make more of each in the next run.

Don't have all the pictures I'd like, as the models won't be available for a week, but I nagged camera-shy Gina into posing, so you can see what they look like.

Features, thanks to our cyclist/architect James Black, a bit of extra loft--it is not a skullcap, but has room for hair, even thick curly hair, even a short Afro. The bit of loft also means you can:
  1. Keep warmer in winter and cooler in summer than with a beanie,
  2. Have long or thick hair, and
  3. Pull it down over your ears when it's cold (unless you have REALLY thick hair)
Still fits under a helmet if you wear helmets. Great for you far- north cyclists!

Changes from James's design (which you will have seen a few months ago) include a shortened brim (so you can use it with drop bars) and a stiffener made of two layers of heavy hemp canvas instead of the normal cardboard (so you can fold it and even wash it).

The brim folds up cycling-cap style, though it takes a wee bit more fussing than with a Campy hat.

Go to: The James Black Hat

Richard Risemberg on Mon, 29 Oct 2007 15:49:45 -0800 [link]  

Thursday, October 25th
Coming Up Next
Just wanted to give everyone a heads-up: we will be sewing up a new batch of the Classic Wool Knickers in a week or so, and should have them on hand by the middle of November if not sooner. This is a good time to check your inventories and make sure you have enough for the coming cooler weather and the holidays.

Other news:
The James Black hat is in our hands now, and should be on our website within a week. It's available in medium or large, has room for hair, and has a fold-up brim stiffened with hemp canvas, making it washable (handwash or dryclean). Black wool gabardine with a very very few in olive hemp. Keep an eye on our website or blog.

The over-the-knee knicker socks are still being knitted by The Sock Guy, but they are in production at last. We hope to have news of pricing and availability soon. They will be available in S/M and L/XL in dark charcoal, and S/M in olive. There should be plenty of stock.

We are testing the Hemp Touring Short, which we plan to release in early spring. So far so good--the most comfortable short we've worn, period. Room for Andiamos or regular bike shorts underneath, as with all our pants products. Color will be charcoal. This is a hemp twill, different from the Hemp City Knickers, tougher but with a good drape. Will probably have a small external cell phone (or wrench or knife or money clip) pocket.
Things we hope to offer next year:
Our sunskin/baselayer all-weather merino jersey.

Our dress jersey

Possibly a seersucker riding shirt with a bicycle-specific cut and a zipper instead of buttons.
All good stuff to make your bicycling better....

Stay tuned!

Richard Risemberg on Thu, 25 Oct 2007 16:15:58 -0800 [link]  

Wednesday, October 24th
Great Bike Rack Hunt Reminder
Just a noteto you Blogosherians to remind you that there's barely a week left to send in your photos of the best or worst your town has to offer in bicycle parking. We'll be awarding prizes of knickers or hats to those of you who submit pictures in accordance with the following:To learn more about the contest, our judges, how to submit, and hwat makes a great bike rack, go to The Bicycle Fixation Great Bike Rack Hunt Contest

Richard Risemberg on Wed, 24 Oct 2007 09:34:32 -0800 [link]  

Thursday, October 18th
Peachtree Boulevard Project
LA is tough to ride in, but we've heard a lot about the miseries of cycling in Atlanta too, which has the reputation of being something of a southern-fried Los it was heartening to hear of a major makeover of one of Atlanta's signature boulevards to make it more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.

Surely enlightenment is spreading if this can happen...they even took away a car lane to make room! Read more about it at "Peachtree Boulevard" Project Makes Walking Easy.

Go figure....

Richard Risemberg on Thu, 18 Oct 2007 17:58:52 -0800 [link]  

Thursday, October 11th
Coming Soon: the Slow Cities Movement
Starting in Italy, as did the Slow Food movement, comes a concept that sadly is radical these days: that cities should be for living, living well, and living without wasting our physical and social resources on needless, obsessive hurry. No exploitation, neither of our fellows or our planet, and time allowed to enjoy both while making a living.

Just the reasons you ride, no?

A quote from a blurb about the movement on
You have heard of slow food; get ready for slow cities. It is an outgrowth of the slow food movement and like it, started in Italy. According to Der Spiegel, "Slow City" advocates argue that small cities should preserve their traditional structures by observing strict rules: cars should be banned from city centers; people should eat only local products and use sustainable energy. In these cities, there's not much point in looking for a supermarket chain or McDonald's.
Read the entire article: Slow Cities Spreading Fast.

Richard Risemberg on Thu, 11 Oct 2007 07:23:44 -0800 [link]  

Thursday, October 4th
Hold on to Your Hats!
...Which are almost available. Yes, the James Black Hat began production today, with the cutting of the cloth. The hemp canvas we'll use for the stiffener has arrived, and we're rolling!

Keep an eye on this site for news.

Richard Risemberg on Thu, 04 Oct 2007 17:15:19 -0800 [link]  

Monday, October 1st
The Bicycle Fixation Great Bike Rack Hunt Is On!
Riding a bicycle for transportation inevitably means having to park your bike while you shop, dine, visit, work, or play, and in this car-addled world, especially in the US, that often means a parking meter, signpost, fence, or tree serves as your parking structure.

More and more cities and businesses worldwide, however, are making an effort to accommodate those of us who travel using the world's most efficient machine, and some of the resulting facilities are wonderful...while many are not.

In order to explore what's out there for keeping our beloved velos safe while they await our return, we have decided to hold the Bicycle Fixation Great Bike Rack Contest. We are asking you, our readers, to go out into your city and photograph what you think is the finest bike parking rack you can find (as well as the worst!) These must be intentional bike racks, installed specifically for bicycle parking.

If you think you've seen the best (or worst) in bike rack design and placement, read through the details below, take your picture, and follow the submission directions at the URL below. Pictures will be judged by a panel of experts in urban design, architecture, and bicycle transportation, and by popular vote of our readership, and three winners will be rewarded with Bicycle Fixation products!

Enter the Bicycle Fixation Great Bike Rack Contest!

Richard Risemberg on Mon, 01 Oct 2007 16:02:03 -0800 [link]  

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