FFARTRIDE 2010–The New Year’s Day Ride: It’s up to YOU!

“There is more to life than increasing its speed,” advocates Gandhi.

This saying by Ghandi may be my motto for 2010. Let’s go on some nice, slow, fun bike rides!

Speaking of which, the First Friday ArtRide is up to YOU! I know some people are in town and would like to go–so SHOW! Head on over around 5:30pm to the Ventura Beach Promenade with lights on your bike for when it gets dark and join the band to ride around town and celebrate the New Year. The Ride usually leaves around 6pm.

We’re in Flagstaff AZ–a major cycling town. We saw these bikes as we walked around town the other night. Almost every ballard has bikes attached to it. We’ve got our bikes with us and as it’s stopped snowing for the moment, we may even get a chance to go for a ride. Maybe we’ll ride on Flagstaff’s First Friday Art Night which is tomorrow also. I ran into a friend of mine from my days in Reno who now lives here and she’s psyched to get them going.

Happy New Year! See you on bikes!

Happy Holidays!

My friend Alan Sailer, an avid cyclist, photographer and Burner, made this mad holiday image using a pellet gun to explode a Christmas ornament filled with cake decorations. You can see the Christmas card he made for us this year here.

He’s got lots more experiments here.

To Do To Save The Earth In 2010: Keep Car, Dump Dog, Have Hens, Ride Bike–huh?

Don’t even think about getting a puppy for Christmas. New research argues that your dog’s carbon footprint is bigger than your SUVs.

Hard to believe, but when you compare all those cans of dog food with what it takes to run your car, it’s not even close–your dog’s carbon footprint is two times that of an SUV–depending on the make and model of your car and your dog, of course.

How could “man’s best friend” be one of the environment’s worst enemies? The book Time to Eat the Dog: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living by New Zealanders Robert and Brenda Vale, specialists in sustainable living at Victoria University of Wellington, includes an analysis of popular brands of pet food and calculated that a medium-sized dog eats around 360 pounds/164 kilos of meat and 200 pounds/95 kilos of cereal a year.

The land required to generate the food for a “medium” sized dog requires 0.84 hectares/2.07 acres — around twice what’s used by a 4×4 driving 10,000 kilometres/6,200 miles a year, including the energy needed to build the car!

The results were confirmed in New Scientist magazine who asked John Barrett at the Stockholm Environment Institute in York, Britain to calculate “eco-pawprints” based on his own data. “Owning a dog really is quite an extravagance, mainly because of the carbon footprint of meat,” said Barrett.

So what about cats and other pets?

According to the Vales, cats have an eco-footprint slightly less than driving a Volkswagen Golf for a year; two hamsters equates  using a plasma television and goldfish burn the energy equivalent to two mobile telephones.

Reha Huttin, president of France’s 30 Million Friends animal rights foundation says the human impact of eliminating pets would be as devastating as getting rid of cars. Huttin, president of France’s 30 Million Friends animal rights foundation argues, “Pets are anti-depressants, they help us cope with stress, they are good for the elderly. I should be allowed to say that I walk instead of using my car and that I don’t eat meat, so why shouldn’t I be allowed to have a little cat to alleviate my loneliness?”

It’s tempting to deny the shocking cost to the environment by keeping pets. Sylvie Comont’s seven cats and two dogs are the environmental equivalent of a small fleet of cars. “Our animals give us so much that I don’t feel like a polluter at all,” she claims. “I think the love we have for our animals and what they contribute to our lives outweighs the environmental considerations.

And then there’s the impact of pet poop plus some pets devastate wildlife, spread disease and pollute waterways, according to the Vales.

So what’s an animal lover to do?

Keeping cats in at night would help. Britain’s 7.7 million cats kill more than 188 million wild animals, averaging 25 birds, mammals and frogs per cat, according to figures in the New Scientist. Cats kept in at night live much longer however.

Walk leashed dogs in a park, not in wild areas. Areas frequented by dogs have decreased biodiversity; their feces make the water unsafe to drink, starving waterways of oxygen and killing aquatic life.

Cat owners should use pine litter which can be put in a garden, not clumping clay which gets flushed down the toilet which ultimately infects sea otters and other animals with toxoplasma gondii, which causes a killer brain disease.

Most importantly, reduce pets’ protein-rich meat intake.

So instead of a getting a German Shepherd or lab, get a smaller dog or animal and feed your pets on leftovers and scraps, such as fish heads so the impact will be lower. Or get a hen which lays edible eggs. Or keep rabbits, ducks or geese which can later be eaten.

Better yet, forget the car and ride your bike!

As much as our son would love a dog from Santa, he wants a bikergo like mine. Now we’ll tell him he’s helping to save the planet this way too.

Oh, and we’re getting chickens this spring. The boy wants a copy of the book reviewed in the video. Maybe Santa will bring him that with a gift certificate for chicks. I wonder how a chicken would like to ride in my bikergo basket?

I found most of my information in this news report.

A Very Merry Solstice to YOU–and lots of bike rides too this winter!

For those of us on the West coast of the Pacific, winter began this morning at 9:47am. Now the days will become longer and the nights shorter oh so slowly! until Mon. June 21, 2010 at 4:28am when the days will shrink and the nights will grow long again.

My favorite aspect of winter is that the nights here are so clear and we can enjoy the bright moon longer. Next winter solstice we will celebrate a full moon and a total lunar eclipse!

According to NASA’s photograph of the day on this year’s winter solstice, this photo pictured, Tutulemma: Solar Eclipse Analemma (by Credit & Copyright: Cenk E. Tezel and Tunç Tezel TWAN) depicts what you would capture if you went outside at exactly the same time every day and took a picture to see how the Sun would appear to move. The explanation of this photo continues:

With great planning and effort, such a series of images can be taken. The figure-8 path the Sun follows over the course of a year is called an analemma. This coming Tuesday, the Winter Solstice day in Earth’s northern hemisphere, the Sun will be at the bottom of the analemma. Analemmas created from different latitudes would appear at least slightly different, as well as analemmas created at a different time each day. With even greater planning and effort, the series can include a total eclipse of the Sun as one of the images. Pictured is such a total solar eclipse analemma or Tutulemma – a term coined by the photographers based on the Turkish word for eclipse. The composite image sequence was recorded from Turkey starting in 2005. The base image for the sequence is from the total phase of a solar eclipse as viewed from Side, Turkey on 2006 March 29. Venus was also visible during totality, toward the lower right.

Last winter solstice, I posted this image which I absolutely LOVEand which has become quite popular in recent weeks sending my stats soaring with lots of people heading over to the site of photographer Danilo Pivato! Here’s the image again along with the explanation from the NASA APOD site:

Tyrrhenian Sea and Solstice Sky
Credit & Copyright: Danilo Pivato

Explanation: Today the Solstice occurs at 0608 Universal Time, the Sun reaching its southernmost declination in planet Earth’s sky. Of course, the December Solstice marks the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere and summer in the south. When viewed from northern latitudes, the Sun will make its lowest arc through the sky along the southern horizon. So in the north, the Solstice day has the shortest length of time between sunrise and sunset and fewest hours of daylight. This striking composite image follows the Sun’s path through the December Solstice day of 2005 in a beautiful blue sky, looking down the Tyrrhenian Sea coast from Santa Severa toward Fiumicino, Italy. The view covers about 115 degrees in 43 separate, well-planned exposures from sunrise to sunset.

So what is NASA’s APOD? It’s the Photograph of the Day–a fabulous image of the heavens to inspire those of us on earth. In January, the top photos of the year are selected and highlighted: APOD presents: Astronomy Pictures of the Year for 2007Su Learn more about APOD here: About APOD.

This year we once again celebrated Winter Solstice with a Santacon Bike Ride. Bikergo Gal (aka ME!) is in the striped tights on the pink bikergo on the far left. More on that soon with lots more pictures by Sheila Piala (who took this one with her iPhone and posted it directly to my facebook wall!)

So have a very merry solstice! Here’s a winter solstice ritual and invocation. Here are winter solstice activities.

Great God of the Sun,
I welcome Your return.
May You shine brightly upon the Goddess;
May You shine brightly upon the Earth,
scattering seeds and fertilizing the land.
All blessings upon You,
Reborn One of the Sun!
Know that you are Blessed.

Rudolph, the non-conforming reindeer, leads the way! Santacon 12/20

Ever think about how Santa was a real jerkoff in the children’s classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer?

Well, take a minute. Consider how Rudolph is unappreciated and laughed at AND there’s a whole island of sad misfit toys!

It has come to my attention that the North Pole has become a hotbed for intolerance over the years. I believe that I have pinpointed the source of this lack of understanding. Santa Claus himself appears to be the catalyst for the effects plaguing this area. Santa, by his example, has made clear that individuals considered “misfits” should be taunted and bullied. Let us look at the list of offenders.

Check out the rest of the above critique of conformity in Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer: http://www.kindertrauma.com/?p=3316

Then join a slew of Santas who appreciate the Rudolphs among us!

You’ll find this Ms. Claus on her pink bikergo Sunday 12/20 at 12:30 along the Ventura Bike Path and San Jon Road then heading south to the Ventura Harbor. Join us on the Carousel at 2pm. Next we’ll head to Aloha and then downtown to Watermark, Good, and maybe Bombay.

We do insist however that if you want to roll with Santa, you gotta dress like Santa–or other denizens of the North Pole (reindeer, elves, bears, Christmas trees, etc). It’s not about conformity, really–it’s about making a really BIG impression! Deck the halls of your bike too–bells, whistles, drums, you name it, sounds good!

You can find yourself a Merry Little Santacon here. Here’s how to make a costume, download carols, and in general prepare for a Santacon. Find a Santa Con near you here.

By the way, I bet Rudolph would have a bikergo. I think he’d like a green one.

PS Thanks to Burning Moms for sharing this link about Rudolph with me last holiday season!

Get Your Santa On & Your Bike Ready for Santacon 2: 12/20 at 12:30

It was a rainy Santacon today in LA but judging from tweets from SF Santa and LA Santa a good time just the same (see tweetpics like this one or http://twitpic.com/ta1qj of elves in Pershing Square LA for evidence!)

Can’t tell how many Midnight Ridazz or other cyclists joined in today’s fun after recovering from last night’s All City Toy Ride, but I’m sure some folks braved more rain–those with fenders on their bikes anyway!

I’m praying for fair weather for next Sunday when Bob Dylan’s latest cd Christmas in the Heart will be the soundtrack for the Ventucky Santacon 12/20 starting at 12:30pm from the San Jon Barranca and the beach bike path. Need a place to park? There’s a lot right there or at the top of San Jon Road in the City of Ventura parking lot (go to the east end by Chrisman) or use the pay lot at the end of California Street.

We Ventucky Santas will roll on our bicycles along the bike path through the State Beach Park and Pierpont to the Ventura Harbor where we’ll be jolly, sing carols, ride the carousel, and all that (bring your songbook and some cash!) From there, we’ll take the beach bike path all the way to downtown for more Santacon cacophonous fun! HINT: do you know how to polka? This might be a good time to learn!

Here’s how to make a costume, download carols, and in general prepare for a Santacon. Find a Santa Con near you here.

Get a Santa suit together by next Sunday 12/20 at 12:30! Reindeer, elves and polar bears are welcome. We’re also hip to 350 action groups and Copenhagen Save Santa activists provided they’re wearing their red “Save Santa” or “Save the North Pole” t-shirts.

Midnight Ridazz All City Toy Ride Dec. 11 plus info on other Santa(con) type activities

Yes Virginia, there will be more Santacons! Tomorrow, Saturday December 12,  dozens of  Santacons will create cacophony around the planet including

Albany, NY
Aspen, CO
Austin, TX
Calgary, AB
Cincinnati, OH
Dublin, Ireland
Ferndale, MI

Houston, TX
Kalamazoo, MI
Los Angeles, CA

London, UK
Nashville, TN
New Haven, CT

New Orleans, LA
New York, NY
Oslo, Norway
Ottawa, ON
Paris, France
Philadelphia, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Rochester, NY
St. Petersburg, FL

Salt Lake City, UT
San Francisco, CA
Seoul, South Korea
Stockholm, Sweden

Vienna, Austria
Washington DC
West Palm Beach, FL

Organizers in LA expect around 500 Santas; SF will have 3 Santacons which will merge and converge over the event with at least 1000 Santas participating. Portland regularly hosts 3,000-5,000 Santas.

In Ventucky, we will hold a second bike riding Santacon Sunday December 20 at 12:30pm–that’s 12/20 at 12:30! We’ll ride from San Jon Road and the beach bike path to the Ventura Harbor for some shenanigans then ride north to downtown for some dancing and more cacophonous activity.

Learn how to prepare for a Santacon here including links to Santacon Carols, how to make a Santa suit, and Santa’s Code of Conduct. Find a Santa Con near you here.

Tonight, bicyclists from all over L.A. County will descend on Downtown L.A. bearing toys to be collected and distributed to kids by a local charity like they do every year in an All City Toy Ride; this year the Midnight Ridazz will be assisted by the East L.A. woman’s shelter in giving out the toys.

Rides begin in EVERY corner of the city and converge at the Olvera St. Gazebo at 10 p.m. where the toys will be collected followed by a short ride around DTLA and a FREE AFTER-PARTY WITH TOY DONATIONS!

Join in the fun!

* SFV Ridazz *
NoHo Park
(Magnolia & Tujunga)
Meet at 8:00 pm – Ride at 8:30pm

* Westside Ridazz *
Helms Bakery parking lot
(On Venice, 1 block East of National)
Meet At 8:00 pm – Ride at 8:30 pm

* East Pasadena/ SGV Ridazz *
Sierra Madre Villa Gold Line Station
(where Halsteed st dead ends)
Meet at 7:00 pm – Ride at 7:30 pm

* Pasadena Ridazz (central) *
Central Park
(Del Mar and Fair Oaks, Pasadena)
meet at 8:00 pm – Ride at 8:30 pm

* NELA Ridazz *
Highland Park Goldline Station
(North Avenue 57 at Marmion Way, 90042)
Meet 8:30pm – Ride at 9:30 pm

* Midcity Ridazz *
Western/ Venice
(1645 S. Western Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90006)
Meet 8:00pm- Ride at 8:45pm

* East Hollywood Ridazz *
Bicycle District
(Melrose/ Heliotrope)
Meet 8:30pm- Ride at 9:00pm

* Long Beach Ridazz *
Lincoln Park
(Pacific/ First St.)
Meet 7:15pm- Ride at 7:45pm

* South Eastside Ridazz *
Florence/ Lakewood Blvd.
Meet 8:00pm- Ride at 8:30pm

* South Central LA Ridazz *
Flower/ Adams
(Church parking lot)
Meet 8:45pm- Ride at 9:20pm

* Glendale Ridazz *
Rally’s on Brand Blvd x San Fernando Rd.
Meet at 8:00 pm, ride at 8:30pm

Find a ride or plan your own at: http://midnightridazz.com

Go for a Ride, Drink Some Wine, Support VCCool TONIGHT

Two great wine events tonight, Thurs. 12/10/09 on the West end of Main Street, Ventura: a wine tasting to celebrate  VCCool’s new 501c3 status from 6-7pm at J’s Tapas 204 E. Main and a wine tasting and buy extravaganza from 6:30-9pm at Jonathan’s at Peirano’s. The food is fabulous, the atmosphere cozy, and both are conveniently located right next to each other and across from the San Buenaventura Mission in downtown.

First up: As the eyes of the World turn towards Copenhagen, Denmark and how our Global Community will address Climate Change, VCCool invites you to share an evening with us here at home. As a non-profit in Ventura that specifically addresses the issue at a local level, VCCool needs your support.

Join in conversation about building a sustainable future together during a lovely evening of wine, food, and friendship. This gathering is a free event with the purpose of raising funds, and nurturing friends and supporters as VCCool celebrates acheiving its 501c3 non-profit status as well as an amazing history of local action. The event also offers a sneak-preview of some exciting plans for 2010 as well. Bring your checkbook and make a powerful stand for climate protection by supporting a  local organization that is working hard on  climate action almost every day of the year.

Next: Get amazing wines at amazing wholesale prices, at the Annual Taste and Buy Event, Thursday December 10th 6:30-9pm at Jonathan’s. Taste over 30 wines from many of the best regions for only $10. RSVP today by calling 805-648-4853!

Be sure to say hi–I’ll be the one passing out Santacon Ride flyers (12/20 at 12:30pm) and Tweed Ride flyers (2/5 at 5:30pm). If it’s not raining, check out my pink bikergo locked up outside. Ask me and I’ll let you take it out for a spin!

Meet Cyclist David Kroodsma–The Hopehagen Ambassador

That’s David Kroodsma’s winning video. He earned the most votes in the video application portion of the contest and then was selected by Arriana Huffington and others to go to the climate summit in Copenhagen; he leaves in a few days!

David Kroodsma seems super dedicated to climate change education, he’s educated formally in the subject–and he’s an avid cyclist! When I saw his application video a few days ago, he got my vote–and maybe yours too.

Congrats, David! Read the complete story about David’s win here and follow his posts about his experiences as a citizen journalist in Copenhagen.

Join Us in Creating a Bike Culture: Here, There, Everywhere!

Join us in creating a bike culture:

1. Encourage & increase bike riding; decrease auto dependency.

2. Lessen our overall impact on the environment.

3. Create safe, direct intra-city bike routes.

4. Increase bike safety.

5. Involve under-served communities.

6. Improve relationships between drivers and bikers through education.

7. Integrate bicycles with public transportation efforts.

8. Provide convenient bicycle facilities that support bike culture.

9. Find funding to implement goals.

10.  Advocate the enforcement and development of bike regulations.

11. Make our community attractive & competitive as a bicycle-friendly place to live.

12. Increase the social fabric of our communities.