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Texans and driving June 25, 2008

Posted by concreteguy in sustainability.
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Texans are amazing. I suspect this is probaby true of every other state too. Here’s a story to read:

New poll shows Texans want better roads; don’t want to pay for them

I guess people expect the roads to magically build and maintain themselves. With regard to high gas prices and the cost of commuting, here’s something from near the end of the article:

Only 37 percent said they would consider moving closer to work or school so that the commute would not be so far.

It will be interesting to see if this number changes over the coming years, or if people will just remain stupid.

An offer for the stupid June 24, 2008

Posted by concreteguy in sustainability.
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Here’s an article about the big incentives the car companies/dealerships are offering to try to sell their SUV stock.

http://finance.yahoo.com/loans/article/105271/Car-Makers-Lavish-Incentives-on-SUV-and-Truck-Buyers

In case you haven’t noticed, there are thousands of these monstrocities sitting on the lots, looking for owners. I’d wait — they’ll be even cheaper in a few years, when they’re being sold for scrap metal.

Carlin June 23, 2008

Posted by concreteguy in attitude.
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A few months ago, George Carlin performed in Fort Worth. Knowing that he was getting older, I figured we should go see him while he was still around. We did — he was great — but now he’s dead, which is a bummer.

With the 4th of July coming up, and Carlin know dead, I thought it appropriate to post some video of Carlin talking about various things like  the Bill of Rights, corporate ownership of the country, etc.

Evening ride June 20, 2008

Posted by concreteguy in bikes.
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After doing my normal bike commute today, riding to the store, buying food, grilling food for dinner, eating, buying the people next door a present for their new baby —— I went for a nice evening ride tonight. 6.6 miles. I tried hard to get to exactly 6.66 miles, but just didn’t quite get it exact.

Anyway, just a leisurely ride on the Townie 21. I haven’t been on either of my two multi-geared bikes since getting the single speed mixte a couple of weeks ago. So it was interesting being back on a 21 speed bike. The Townie is actually pretty fast. I wouldn’t want to try a single speed Townie. I think the geometry, which is so relaxed and comfy, would be all wrong for a single speed. But the 21 can really move. Fun ride. And of course, with the upright position you can really see around you and enjoy the ride.

Bike miles thus far in June June 18, 2008

Posted by concreteguy in bikes.
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Well, I’ve ridden 141 miles in June, as of right now. Of that, I’ve ridden to work 5 times. Lost a couple of days of commuting because I got a cold — stayed home on Friday and didn’t ride on Monday. But I’m back at it now.

Anyway, the goal is 250 total miles for June. As “real” cyclist go that isn’t a lot, but I think it is fine.

I may ride the Townie to work tomorrow. I’ve been so into the single speed mixte. Such a simple, quite, smooth ride. But the Townie is super fun. It will be interesting to use gears again on my commute.

Trip to Houston June 8, 2008

Posted by concreteguy in bikes, skateboarding.
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Went to Houston on Friday to pick up a bike I bought from my friend Jason. A killer 1980s steel framed Centurion mixte — made by Samurai warriors in Japan.

On the way down I stopped for gas and got these. Muy delicioso!
Barritas Fresa

Here’s the northbound traffic I was driving past on I-45 — it was like this all the way between Conroe and Houston — 20 miles or so of grid-frickin’-lock. This is why this country, and Houston in particular, are in for some serious petroleum detox in coming years.

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Here are my friend Jason’s cats. I love cats.
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And finally, here is the new bike, at home. It is way fast — amazing for a single speed. Quiet. Ninja quiet.

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I spent about $60 on gasoline to go get the bike. I will make that up very quickly in gas saved using this bike for commuting and errands. It already has a nice rack and quick-release rack basket.

Just another ride June 4, 2008

Posted by concreteguy in bikes.
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I was kind of busy tonight, but since I wasn’t able to get any riding in yesterday or during the day today, I went for a 5.5 mile ride tonight while doing the laundry (or rather, when our machines were doing our laundry).

Again, I went south down Waterview to Spring Valley, over to the west, back up through the neighborhood to Dublin, and then east, before heading north and west home.

Down around Coit Rd and Spring Valley there’s a Fiesta Supermercado, and lots of other hispanic/immigrant oriented businesses. I used to work where the Fiesta is now, back at the old Northwood Hills 4 Theaters — when it was a $1 movie. I worked many midnight movies there one summer. Saw “Destroy All Monsters” at that theater when I was in the 2nd grade. Bill’s Records and Tapes used to be right next door to the theater, and there was an Army/Navy store there too.

That part of town has always been a bit rougher around the edges, and I guess the same is true today. Again — the demographics have changed a bit, but I’d have to say the “grit level” of the area is about the same. Whatever — it is fun to ride around down there and hear the music, and see actual humans walking on actual sidewalks.

A good day of bike riding June 2, 2008

Posted by concreteguy in bikes.
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This is a cross-post from my other blog…

This morning I went for a ride with my friend Matt. A typical ride for us — starting at his house in Dallas, about 2 miles to White Rock Lake, around the lake, and back. Great ride — always fun to ride with Matt. A good, leisurely pace, good conversation, good exercise. It was hot, and I had multiple layers of sunscreen on. As I write this, I still do.

Then about 7:45pm I went out for a ride around the neighborhood here in Richardson. It was really nice outside. I weaved through the neighborhood to the church I “grew up in” and was married in. It is now some kind of Buddhist facility or something — the church built a new building several years ago.

Then I rode across the street to Richardson Heights Shopping Center, former home of Sun Rexall Drug Store — they had the best news stand in town when I was growing up, and I purchased many comics and Skateboarder Magazines there. Lots of candy too. It was one of those stores that had nearly everything. It went out of business some years ago, and is now one of those party supply stores.

The rest of the shopping center is mostly various kinds of specialty ethic stores, eateries, and a grocery. There’s a donut shop and a check cashing place right next door to my old dentist’s office — which is the only business that is still there.

While I’m kind of nostalgic for the way it used to be, the fact is that a lot of those old businesses were probably dying. I’m sure there are those who don’t like seeing “foreign” places in the shopping center, but you know — those businesses appear to be thriving. I rode by them – all nice, clean, and the food looks great. I’m not crazy about the check cashing place being there, but everything else looks great. And they are local businesses — not massive chains — which I like a lot. The shopping center and I suppose the surrounding neighborhoods have reinvented themselves — fortunately in a very good way.

I really wonder in 30 years, will one of the kids who grew up in this area, of immigrant parents, ride a bicycle through that parking lot and think about the time he spent there, and will he or she be glad that the businesses and people here are still prospering. I hope so. I was once one of those immigrant kids. We came here from Louisiana.

From the shopping center I threaded my way through the residential streets. Being on a bike can create a compelling need to explore. There’s a connection to your surroundings that you don’t get in a car, but the increased speed of the bike makes exploration more feasible than when you’re walking. I found streets and neighborhoods right here, in my old stomping grounds, that I’d never seen before — really great little places.

After a while I zipped back over to Waterview, headed north, and after a few turns I was home. Lots of fun.

Richardson is coming back, people. Watch out.

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