Sunday, April 12, 2009

Paradise Loop

Never has there been a more aptly named route for road bike riding.

Training Ride #2 was a terrific success on Saturday, with fearless Ride 350 newcomer Nick Aster leading the charge to - and around - the famed Tiburon loop.

With views like this one even the hurt feels good.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Local. Organic. Bicycle?

Too bad we're not mountain biking 350 miles.

I don't even remember what I was looking for today when I came across this WIRED article about Craig Calfee, a bike shop owner dude in Santa Cruz (where else?) that is making bicycles out of BAMBOO! At $2,700 a pop, the frames are a bit pricey but probably totally worth it. The weight is apparently similar to aluminum, dressed up with titanium and carbon fiber components, but the performance is reportedly out of this world. And the environmental imprint - or lack thereof -would be hard to beat.

Maybe Craig wants to sponsor Ride 350? Bamboo bikes for all!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Proper Attire Required

Fellow 350Riders--
I was very disappointed to see, from my East Coast perch, the photos of your first training ride. Particularly, the propensity towards baggy pants.  (The two all-stars to Taylor's right, please ignore this public service message.)  You're in San Francisco, for goodness sakes.  Shouldn't you all be decked out in spray-on lycra with algae-photobioreflective highlights?  

Tight pants, people!  Prevention (of crotch rot) is the best medicine.  

Take note:
Glasses and walkie optional.  

Training Ride #2

When: Saturday April 11th @ 8:30 am
Where: Velo Rouge Cafe @ 798 Arguello Blvd. SF
Route: SF to Tiburon (aka "Tibs") and back

Monday, April 6, 2009

What to Ride?

This is the question of the day, or in my case, the year. I've been bike shopping, albeit a bit lazily, since sometime around Christmas. I've visited 5 locally-owned bike shops in San Francisco, ridden half a dozen touring bikes, and come out just a bit more educated and sure of the prospects than I was at the beginning.

Every time I throw a leg over my Fuji Club Fuji, my $10 10-speed that is actually a $10 12-speed circa 1979, I have two simultaneous thoughts: 1) God, I love this bike and 2) I need to get a new bike.

I'm thinking I'm going to purchase a new touring bike because I've never undertaken a bicycle adventure like Ride 350 and the experts all tell me that a touring bike is what I want. I trust experts (unless they're economists). While Ride 350 will be supported, I want a bike that will be able to shepherd a hefty load when I get addicted to this type of travel. I'm relatively sure of this outcome. I also get most of my riding done around the streets of San Francisco. They're bike friendly streets to be sure, but they're not without their potholes. So I need a tank. Something that can take a regular beating and keep coming back.

Don't take it personal, carbon fiber, but you and me are cut from different cloth. Sure, you're fast and light and you've got interesting curves, but your sexiness makes you delicate and high-maintenance too. I'm more of an "ain't broke don't fix it" kind of guy, and last time I checked, steel tubing weren't broke.

So a touring bike seems the logical choice. Today the decision is a toss up between the Trek 520 (pictured here), the Bianchi Volpe (the choice of a few close friends), and the Masi Speciale Randonneur (an unknown yet likeable option). I'm learning all about new things, a new language almost, like double-butted chromoly steel, front and rear fender mounts, integrated/cantilever shifters vs. the old bar end work horses, and the benefits of braze-ons. Just yesterday I soaked up the sermon of leather saddle comfort like an Evangelical back from a bachelor party in Las Vegas.

I understand that the bike I will eventually really love is out there. I just have to put in the effort to find it. But that means shopping. And that's where my lack of dedication kicks in. I tell myself that I can't afford to spend the better part of a Saturday cruising the Mission trying on bicycles. I've got better things to do.

But the truth is I'm reluctant to leave the Club Fuji behind. We've had so many good times together, just shopping for a new bike kind of feels like I'm cheating on the old girl. I've often said the beauty of an old bike is that if it happened to get stolen, I'd walk away grief-free. Of course nothing could be further from the truth. And so the quest to find a new bike, and break myself from a solid relationship with the old one, continues on.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

direct from McKibbles - get stoked, people!

On October 24, we will stand together as one planet and call for a fair global climate treaty. United by a common call to action, we'll make it clear: the world needs an international plan that meets the latest science and gets us back to safety.

This movement has just begun, and it needs your help.

Here's the plan: we're asking you, and people in every country on earth, to organize an action in your community on October 24.

There are no limits here--imagine bike rides, rallies, concerts, hikes, festivals, tree-plantings, protests, and more. Imagine your action linking up with thousands of others around the globe. Imagine the world waking up.

If we can pull it off, we'll send a powerful message on October 24: the world needs the climate solutions that science and justice demand.

It's often said that the only thing preventing us from tackling the climate crisis quickly and equitably is a lack of political will. Well, the only thing that can create that political will is a unified global movement--and no one is going to build that movement for us. It's up to regular people all over the world. That's you.

So register an event in your community for October 24, and then enlist the help of your friends. Get together with your co-workers or your local environmental group or human rights campaign, your church or synagogue or mosque or temple; enlist bike riders and local farmers and young people. All over the planet we'll start to organize ourselves.

With your help, there will be an event at every iconic place on the planet on October 24-from America's Great Lakes to Australia's Great Barrier Reef--and also in all the places that matter to you in your daily lives: a beach or park or village green or town hall.

If there was ever a time for you to get involved, it's right now.

There are two reasons this year is so crucial.

The first reason is that the science of climate change is getting darker by the day. The Arctic is melting away with astonishing speed, decades ahead of schedule. Everything on the planet seems to be melting or burning, rising or parched.

And we now now have a number to express our peril: 350.

NASA's James Hansen and a team of other scientists recently published a series of papers showing that we need to cut the amount of carbon in the atmosphere from its current 387 parts per million to below 350 if we wish to "maintain a planet similar to that on which civilization developed."

No one knew that number a year ago-but now it's clear that 350 might well be the most important number for the future of the planet, a north star to guide our efforts as we remake the world. If we can swiftly get the planet on track to get back below 350, we can still avert the worst effects of climate change.

The second reason 2009 is so important is that the political opportunity to influence our governments has never been greater. The world's leaders will meet in Copenhagen this December to craft a new global treaty on cutting carbon emissions.

If that meeting were held now, it would produce a treaty would be woefully inadequate. In fact, it would lock us into a future where we'd never get back to 350 parts per million-where the rise of the sea would accelerate, where rainfall patterns would start to shift and deserts to grow. A future where first the poorest people, and then all of us, and then all the people that come after us, would find the only planet we have damaged and degraded.

October 24 comes six weeks before those crucial UN meetings in Copenhagen. If we all do our job, every nation will know the question they'll be asked when they put forth a plan: will this get the planet back on the path below 350?

This will only work with the help of a global movement-and it's starting to bubble up everywhere. Farmers in Cameroon, students in China, even World Cup skiers have already helped spread the word about 350. Churches have rung their bells 350 times; Buddhist monks have formed a huge 350 with their bodies against the backdrop of Himalayas. 350 translates across every boundary of language and culture. It's clear and direct, cutting through the static and it lays down a firm scientific line.

On October 24, we'll all stand behind 350--a universal symbol of climate safety and of the world we need to create. And at the end of the day, we'll all upload photos from our events to the website and send these pictures around the world. This cascade of images will drive climate change into the public debate--and hold our leaders accountable to a unified global citizenry.

We need your help-the world is a big place and our team is small. Our crew at will do everything we can to support you, providing templates for banners and press releases, resources to spread the word, and tools to help you build a strong local climate action group. And our core team is always just a phone call or e-mail away if you need some support.

This is like a final exam for human beings. Can we muster the courage, the commitment, and the creativity to set this earth on a steady course before it's too late? October 24 will be the joyful, powerful day when we prove it's possible.

Please join us and register your local event today.

Bill McKibben - Author and Activist- USA
Vandana Shiva - Physicist, Activist, Author - India
David Suzuki - Scientist, Author, Activist - Canada
Bianca Jagger - Chair of the World Future Council - UK
Tim Flannery - Scientist, Author, Explorer -Australia
Bittu Sahgal - Co-convener, Climate Challenge India - India
Andrew Simmons - Environmental Advocate, St. Vincent & The Grenadines
Christine Loh - Environmental Advocate and Legislator - Hong Kong