Monday, August 31, 2009

MFM Day 2: Racing vs. Time

August 31st, 2009, MFM Day 2

Like most working schlubs, I've got an hour for lunch everyday. Today I decided to run a couple of errands at lunch: go to the bank, stop by the running store, have lunch at home. It would have been a tough task to get all of it done in an hour with the aid of a car. On a bike though, it. would. be.

A Race Against Time...

Song of the Day: Missing Persons, Racing Against Time.mp3

(I literally had this totally obscure Missing Persons (!) song stuck in my head during my lunch time adventure. Unless you're a huge Terry Bozzio fan like me, you've probably never even heard this song before, so , uh, enjoy?)

11:35 am.
Leave the office. I'm about 3.5 miles from Foot of the Rockies, where I have to enter a race today. I save $5 if I register today. I could have done this on-line and paid $3 more, but yes I'm that frugal. Besides if I did it on line, it would be just another day. Now, it's an impossible adventure. But not pointless; we're going to see if a man on a bike can run a few errands as quickly as someone in a car. Did I mention I'm on the single -speed cruiser? This is not the right bike for this adventure. One gear. It's very difficult to pedal this thing faster than about 14 or 15 mph. Should have taken the road bike.

11:45 am.
Stop by the bank, get some cash. Time is ticking.

11:55 am.
Arrive at the running store. Had to take the sidewalk alongside College Ave. It was very scary but necessary.

12:01 pm.
Leave Foot of the Rockies. I'm about 5 miles from home via College. College is to be avoided on a bike at all costs, but any other route would waste time, so I race along the sidewalk alongside College. Chain restaurants fly by; Appelbee's (neighborhood grill!). Olive Garden (family style Italian!). Ruby Tuesday's (food Mick Jagger likes!). Chili's (spicy but not too spicy!). Zoom. The sidewalk peters out at the mall. Cut across the mall parking lot (keep your head on a swivel!) to Stover. Ahh Stover. This is a bike friendly street. Bikers know the Fort differently than drivers. Stover is my College on a bike.

12:25 pm.
Arrive at home. In now have 5 minutes to eat lunch, pack my yoga stuff, and get back to work. The crushing impossibility of it all finally hits me. Would have been better off in a car today! NOOOOOOOO. Should have either done fewer errands and picked another time. Cram PB&J sandwich in mouth, pet dog and give biscuit to the same, remove race stuff from backpack, stuff towel and shorts into back back, strap yoga mat to backpack straps, and (12:41 pm) blast out the door. 2 miles from work. I'm already late but I may as well make a show of trying! (12:53 pm) arrive back at office. about 20 minutes overdue. I can make up the time by staying late, but I must admit it is a MFM failure; being motor free negatively impacted my working day. But it was a fun adventure so I can't consider it all bad. And I got about 10.5 miles of riding in, not too shabby!

Lesson learned; it would be hard to be motor free if you had a strict work environment where you couldn't make up some extra time taken at lunch. I feel fortunate there.

Today I'm heading to a city council meeting after work. There have been at least 2 cyclists killed by motorists in the Fort in the past year or so, and we need to raise awareness and see what we can do to make the city safer for cyclists and motorists. Join me there if you like!

Date: Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Time: 5:45pm - 6:45pm
Location: City Council Chambers
Street: 300 Laporte Ave.
City/Town: Fort Collins, CO

And we're going to see a concert at the Aggie tonight!

(not these guys)

That's more like it...

Motor Free Day 1

Sunday August 30th, MFM Day 1

Really it was quite uneventful, but since it was the first motor free day, I feel it deserves a post on the old blog.

The only bike trip of note was a (approx.) 3 mile trip across town to Blake and Emma's house for a cookout in the evening. C_ and I realized that we only have enough functioning bike lights for one bike, so I put the white headlight on my bike and we put the red tail light on hers, and we caravaned across town using the two-bikes-one-light method. Note to self, go to the bike store and get more lights today! The way home was dark as well, so I got my first of many night rides in today.

Probably the most amusing thing is that somehow we got "Sister Christian" by Night Ranger stuck in our heads, except we substituted the lyric "motorin'" with "motorless"

Song of the Day:

We're motorless,
What's your price for flight?
And Finding Mr. Right?
You'll be all right, tonight.

What the heck does that mean anyway?

Today I'll bike to work and home for lunch, and bike to yoga after work, and then stop by the store on the way home from yoga to pick something up for dinner. Incidentally I now feel like I should be living a more exciting life because I'm blogging about it. The guys from Night Ranger seem to be living an exciting life. Just look at their picture! What's their secret?

And why did all the 80s keyboard players dress up like doctors or scientists?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Motor Free Month begins tomorrow!

And it's really not "motor free" by the most strict definition, nor is it confined to a month exactly, but "MFM" has a nice ring to it so I'm sticking with it. Certainly catchier than "no driving or riding in engine-powered transport for the duration of 5 weeks."

Motor Free can mean many things. What do you define as a motor, anyway? Heck a bicycle itself could be considered motor powered. Yikes. Now the main focus of my MFM is on human-powered transportation, so, no driving or riding in any vehicles that are motor-powered. i.e. no cars, motorcycles, scooters, buses, trains, planes, or automobiles. Wait I already said cars. That goes for both driving and riding, as mentioned. And hybrids and electric trams are great and all, but I'm banning them as well. Not that we have any electric trams in Ft. Collins. but if we did, well, ban city, baby. The avoidance of elevators and escalators is highly encouraged, but it is understood that it may not be possible to avoid.

Also, MFM will include the whole of September 2009, but I will start on August 30th, and plan on continuing through October 3rd, making it 5 full weeks of Motor Free life.

So MFM is both less and more than advertised. I think it balances out.

I must mention that my lifestyle contains several built-in advantages that will allow me to live motor-free more easily than others. These advantages include:

2 mile work commute. But I must admit that the 2 mile commute was and is a factor on my current employment situation. I sought out a job that was close to home. I wasn't always that way!

9-5 while collar cubicle job. I don't have to travel for work. In fact, I sit in a cubicle and write software, it's all rather boring now that I'm writing it down here, but it has advantages when considering a motor-free existence. No trips across town, or across the country. No strange work hours requiring me to be out at all hours.

No Children. Children have special transport needs. What if they get sick? Have sports or other activities? Maybe they don't share your enthusiasm for living motor-free? Could make things difficult.

Close to shopping. I live in the city, and I'm walking distance to a grocery store, and I live less than 2 miles from many dozens of shops and restaurants. It would be tough to live motor-free in the country.

Good Weather. I dare say Ft. Collins has lovely weather, particularly this time of year. Not too hot, not much rain. I'll also point out that September is a better month to go motor free than is, say Janurary. Yes that is on purpose. I don't think I'd survive a motor free Janurary! Also how would I get to Copper Mountain?

Also I'm delighted to see a news article about a German city that was designed from the ground up for auto-free living. Cracking good, Germans!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Motor-Free in 5 days (MFM-5)

The Motor Free Month starts officially next Tuesday, September 1st. It actually may start as soon as Sunday August 30th, but I'm reserving the right for one final trip through the McDonald's Drive through in the full-size truck. Just to feel, you know, red-blooded American one last time before embarking on this motor free adventure.

I have several activities lined up for September that will tax the viability of living motor free. These I will now list:

September 5th, the New Belgium Tour De Fat. This won't tax anything as it's a celebration of all things motor-free. but it's noteworthy nonetheless.

September 6th, planning a golf outing to a local course. Could be interesting hauling the clubs and bag across town on the bike. A trailer would come in handy here, I'll try to avoid something so practical (and expensive!!!) though.

September 7th, probably a hike at Greyrock trail. The trailhead is about 15 miles from home.

September 12, a CSU football game! How to tailgate without a tailgate?
Sepberber 13, a trip to Longmont to see the 'rents. 30 miles one way. Unless I can convince them to come to the Fort instead?

September 20, a half marathon race in town.

September 25-27. The Great American Beer Festival. In Denver. Will have to cycle down to Denver from the Fort, I suppose, if I want to enjoy samples of tasty fermented goodness.

Not to mention the usual daily activities including work, shopping, visiting friends, group runs, etc.