Monday, October 24, 2005


On Saturday I visited the Toolworks drop-in workshop and learned how to remove my bike's bottom bracket. Or rather we tried to remove the bottom bracket but were thwarted by the cold-weld effect of ten years of riding in Vancouver and Toronto year-round.

My scheduled maintenance activities are.. let's see... nothing. If something breaks on my bike, or the tires are completely flat, I will grudgingly get out my tools and patch the problem. That's why it's great to have a local resource for bike repair.

Toolworks is run by the Community Bicycle Network and is a program where you can drop in and use a full set of bike tools for $5/hr or get access to tools and mechanical advice for $10/hr. A number of bike maintenance activities require specialized tools. E.g. crank removal, brake cable adjustment, enormous adjustable wrenches for extra torque.

I stopped off at a nearby bike shop and got a replacement bracket and will try again in 2 weeks. It was fun to hang out with people who ride in Toronto a lot and work on our bikes together.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

89.9 <-- This is Not a Government Plot

One of my right wing acquaintances, a gentleman we'll call RW, keeps fuming about the government and how his gas costs keep going up.

Look RW, the current gas prices are the result of free markets. You love free markets. Pay your 90 cents a litre and stop complaining dude. Check out the prices for gasoline in Europe

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Hundred Mile Diet

The hundred mile diet picks up steam. Series of stories at the Tyee. Basically the idea is to eat foods grown within 160km of your home to reduce fossil fuel use. Today's Globe has a story on the concept.

I prefer to think of food in a more continuous curve of fossil fuel consumption. E.g. Kiwi fruit=very high fossil fuel consumption. Grain from Alberta medium fuel consumption. Locally grown apples, very low fuel consumption. I have been trying to get the Spouse off Kiwi fruit. Buying fruit from the other side of the planet is just plain madness in this day and age.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Tsunamis and Mangroves

Now that the terrible images from the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 have faded, it's time to consider ways to alleviate the devastation when future tidal waves strike. Perhaps cutting down mangroves at an accelerating rate is not the best long-term policy. Girlscientist has an excellent summary of the environmental issues surrounding the tsunami last year.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Sprawl moves to Simcoe County

Looks like Simcoe county is shaping up to be the next battleground in urban sprawl issues. The Neptis Foundation is looking into proposed developments in this area, one of which is for 100,000 people.

Why build way out in Simcoe County? Are these retirement villages we're talking about? Or more commuter sprawl. Since the province will end up footing the bill for highways to support this kind of development, they need to look it more closely.

This may be the leapfrog effect that environmentalists warned about when the McGuinty government proposed the greenbelt plan - development jumping over the Oak Ridges Moraine and moving farther out. Same bad planning, different place