Friday, April 22, 2011

Mother Earth hearts Water and Bikes!

Whew! It has been a while!
No better day to 'reincarnate' this blog than Earth Day + Easter weekend!
(I kinda forgot about this bloggie until my sweet Kiwi reminded me and motivated me to play with it again!)

Today is predicted to be a soggy, rainy day so all earth day activities will most likely have to move indoors (most likely because Baltimore often has random winds that sweep away predicted rainy days!), but rain on earth day sounds like the perfect earth day! There are tons of great posts and data on things you can do to be a little more green, but people like evidence so I will here is my personal blurp on how much of a difference a little change can be! Commuting from the city OUT to the suburbs was a killer - it was a 22 mile commute but with traffic took me about 40 minutes (on a good day) each way. Also the fact that I lived in the city and was traveling out to the 'burbs was just ridiculous! So, with the new gig and a 1.5 mile each way I asked for a set of new wheels for Christmas! 'Soho Honeydew' was ordered and arrived just in time - a few days before my new job.

In college I bought a $40 bike off the side of the street that had no gears and was what I would like to call 'vintage' (covered in rust with brakes that would occasionally decide to just 'not work' - requiring me, more often than not, to throw my feet up on the car bumper in front of me as my alternative braking solution) so riding Honeydew was a luxury. Also, (sorry Bostonites - and I know this will be shocking to Baltimoreans) Boston drivers are just SO much meaner than Baltimore drivers!

Here are some of the things I learned right away -
  • Not fun to bike when it is in the 20s - it is doable but utterly painful even with 2 layers of gloves, a snood, and a scarf - stick with 30s and above
  • ALWAYS wear your helmet (preferably adorable so you will actually wear it) - first day I was in Fells Point on cobblestone and my tire got caught in an old railroad track and threw me off sideways - luckily head hitting the road didn't matter because I had my helmet on! (also note I never really thought a helmet was really that important...I know, terrible... but after this random incident I will always wear one!)
  • No need to bike in the rain/snow/precipitation - again, insert additional wipe out stories
  • You will see the city through a completely new perspective. I learned this in Boston and forgot how wonderful it is. You find a smaller more linked city, new streets, sights, smells, scenes. Fabulous!
  • You will find that drivers really do not have your perspective but that is okay - give them a kick in the tire at the stop light and tell them to be nicer! It works.
  • Buses are demons - they will swipe you from the side even after seeing you from blocks away and then zoom away like nothing happened!
  • Gives you an excuse to buy ADORABLE bike accessories!
  • You smile and wave to fellow bikers - and realize there is quite a community out there of bike commuters
Now the hardcore data! With gas prices skyrocketing - here is why you should try biking, even just SOMEtimes, to work! I drive a VW Turbo Beetle who I call 'The Silver Bullet'. She is a little car, and it costs about $40-45/tank with the prices today to fill her up. So, on average -
  • Biking to suburbs - Gas filled 1x/week = $180.00/month
  • 4 months of filling the tank = $720.00
  • Biking + Car occasionally - so far, I have filled my gas tank ONCE (back in March), and currently my gas tank is 1/8 empty.
  • Total savings thus far = $675.00!!!
Note also: I am no athlete - biking up a slight incline (like, 3 degrees) is rough for me. But it's possible, and you get stronger, and you are being green. There is no need to commit to doing it everyday, but I guarantee, once you will want to.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I heart Patterson Park.

Patterson Park made it into Forbes magazine in the "In Depth: America's Best City Parks"! Oh what a long way Our Patterson Park has come from when we moved here back in 2005 - when people would not venture in due to prostitution and drug use (vials all over the ground when walking your dog/s). Great job to all the community members/activists/volunteers who never gave up, and have taken the park back. Hard work pays off.

Harnik says Baltimore's Patterson Park is a great example of a "more modest neighborhood park" that might not get the attention of some of the metropolitan mega-parks, but which nonetheless achieves a nice balance between beauty and usability. Its landmarks include the Pagoda, a Victorian-era observation tower.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Baltimore + Pink Birds


Although this has to do with the HON Cafe flamingo drama, this is just in time for Halloween, and well, ...This picture just made my day!!! Only in Bmore can you find a lawn full of pink flamingos in front of city hall!!! awesome.