Wednesday, November 12, 2014

t-t-t-too much time on my hands

 I’m not gonna lie, I’ve got a bit of free time on my hands right now…and considering I’ve been off work for about 2 months, I’m trying to keep my cash outlay low. That said, what I’m about to reveal is not for financial gain, but more of trying to keep my community clean and get a bit of exercise at the same time. Here in Maine we have a bizarre littering problem. Every state has litter, but for some reason, my state feels the need to throw all of their recyclable cans and bottles out the car window. I can’t find the logic behind it (and even more disturbing is the fact that 80% of those cans and bottles are alcohol related). This is strange because we have a bottle deposit law here which means, you paid that .05 cent deposit when you bought the beverage so throwing it out the window is literally throwing away a nickel. (I know for a fact my fellow Mainers need those nickels which makes this all even stranger). Even if all those cans were bought down in New Hampshire (which has vehemently opposed a bottle bill for almost 35 years), there are recycling centers that will take them here (as opposed to places like Michigan and California where machines scan the bar code to make sure you bought the beverage in state. So in an effort to clean up my ‘hood, I’ve been taking 30-45 minute walks this week and bringing along a satchel (and my trusty Deluxe Grabber) to see what I could get. And wow. In just 3 days, I picked up the 2 bags in the photo here. I have a redemption center within a mile of my house so I headed over to see just what I’d get…that’s $5 going right into the #mainerscanbeidiots fund.

PPS: I almost forgot that during yesterday's walk, I found a working iPhone on the ground before I could attempt to figure out how I could find out who it belonged to, someone came up and claimed it. A very Maine thing to happen...but still surreal. 

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Today in Training: Why I ride...

As part of the Climate Ride experience, I have signed up for Advocacy Day once we arrive in DC, (they'll set up meetings with my Congressional reps where we can advocate for action in person!) Part of the training for these meetings involves building our "personal stories": the reason why climate change advocacy is so important to us.

My story involves being literally hit over the head by climate change. Back in 2005 (last weekend of August to be exact) I was attending a forum on simple living in Estes Park, Colorado, at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park. As the group was sitting by a river, taking a break from a short hike, I heard a crack and next thing I knew a watched a 40' pine tree come crashing toward me. It hit me on the head, stabbed me in the leg and broke my finger—in short I was extremely fortunate I wasn't more hurt. Someone wisely took a few photos of the offending tree and we knew in an instant that it was the victim of dreaded pine beetles, a critter that has decimated forests throughout the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains—a critter whose population has exploded due to warming climate trends.  Since I had driven my car to Estes Park, I had to wait all bandaged up in a hotel by the Denver airport for 3 days for a friend to arrive to help drive me back to Los Angeles. As I sat there, I had nothing but time to watch Hurricane Katrina (and it's after effects) demolish New Orleans. I began to realize that climate change was not just a single issue, it is many complex and catastrophic problems that create devastating environmental, health, and social justice issues.

Climate change truly is the most important issue facing humanity. Unlike other causes, you can't buy your way into safety; it is something that affects every single living being. So I ride in hope of bringing awareness to this critical cause!

T-Minus: 12 days  
Fundraising: $2895... thank you all for helping me make my fundraising minimum!

Total training miles ridden: 1669.29
Total books read since started: 31

Friday, September 05, 2014

Today in Training: Staten Island. Why? Because it's there.

Let the river run.
I know what you're thinking... Staten Island, whyfor? Staten Island has that reputation of being NYC's landfill, but actually today's ride was one of the better ones I've had this summer. The ferry is free in both directions, and the riding is smooth and fast (it seemed like I was going down hill for most of the ride). I had originally had a master plan this morning to ferry over, ride around a bit, and then ride back over the Bayonne Bridge through New Jersey... until arriving at the on ramp to find the pedestrian path has been closed for over a year. Instead, I took the ferry back after about a 17 mile loop around the island.
On 2nd thought, the Bayonne Bridge wasn't inspiring much confidence.

T-Minus: 14 days
Fundraising to go: $-45... thank you all for helping me make my fundraising minimum!
Total training miles ridden: 1632.24

Total books read since started: 31

Monday, September 01, 2014

Today in Training: 242nd St->Tarrytown->242nd St, 125th->BPC

View from Washington Irving's Sunnyside house
Happy Labor-free Day! Today was an exercise in training in humidity...(even though it says it's only 63% humidity, that is a big ole falsehood. It feels like Miami in August out there today) 1 mile after I got off the train I was questioning my sanity but I managed to make it up through Yonkers, Hastings on the Hudson, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington and on to Tarrytown (Sleepy Hollow would have to wait for another day) before finding the North County Trail which brought me back to my old friend Elmsford, NY and the South County Trail. Rain held off through the afternoon, so I was able to make it back home slightly less damp than if it were a torrential downpour. Since returning I have eaten the entire 8 oz bag of Cape Cod potato chips. (Still waiting on that sponsorship deal...)

T-Minus: 18 days!!!!!
Fundraising to go: $365... 10 days til fundraising deadline!
Total training miles ridden: 1557.24

Total books read since started: 31

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Today in Training: Jersey City and Liberty State Park

Not sure why I don't cross the river more often to ride in's a quick 1-stop PATH train ride and there are some nice paths. Today I hit up Liberty State Park, which is flat and uncrowded during the week and you really can't beat the views.
T-Minus: 22 days
Fundraising to go: $365
Total training miles ridden: 1452.87

Total books read since started: 31
Looking toward the Freedom Tower/Manhattan

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Today in Training: 242nd St ->Elmsford (???), NY + 125th St -> BPC

Where on earth is Elmsford, NY? I'm still not entirely sure, but it was the terminus of the South County trail in Westchester County so I decided to turn around and head back to the city. Still my favorite trail of the summer (it's about 15 miles end to end)—still cool and shady, not very crowded and smooth like a baby's bottom (frost heaves are my worst nightmare). Glad to get my numbers back up, considering a week ago I was afraid I might not be able to get back on the bike again at all. Less than a month to go and I can't believe how generous everyone has been supporting me. So close to that fundraising goal! Crazier still is the fact I've ridden over 1400 miles since I started training... (that's like riding to Salem, South Dakota for reference)

T-Minus: 26 days Fundraising to go: $365
Total training miles ridden: 1407.95

Total books read since started: 29

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Today in Training: A bird pooped on me.

That is all.

T-Minus: 29 days
Fundraising to go: $425
Total training miles ridden: 1344.04

Total books read since started: 29