Friday, December 07, 2007


Tomorrow morning, Saturday, December 8, I am going to jump in the Chesapeake Bay at Annapolis--the annual Polar Bear Plunge to raise funds for the local Chesapeake Climate Action Network. CCAN works for climate protection policy in Maryland, DC and Virginia. They are based in Takoma Park, Maryland, about four miles from where I live in Mount Rainier, Maryland.

About two hundred other activists will plunge into the Bay with me, and another two hundred supporters will hold towels and hot chocolate bayside to hand to plungers when they come out. Elected officials and media will be present tomorrow.

If you would like to contribute to my plunge, visit the plunge page. My name is PJ Park and my email is pauljosephpark at gmail dot com. Thank you for your support of an excellent non-profit making a real difference in climate policy in our region and nation through grassroots organization.

Friday, November 09, 2007


Massive development of solar and wind power. Solar water heaters on everybody's roof. Massive development and deployment of geothermal heating and cooling systems, starting in large buildings. A trend toward super-well-insulated homes and buildings, using cost-effective, widely available material. A trend toward smaller living quarters to reduce the amount of space to be heated and cooled. A trend toward local living, local economies. Living close to where you work, community activities, neighbors are your friends and co-workers. The trendiness of walking, cycling and other human-powered activities. Development of cellulosic ethanol--made from switchgrass and agricultural waste. Prevalence of local, organic farming. A trend toward eating lower on the food chain. Biodiesel made from used vegetable oil. Cars that get 100 mpg. In essence, Energy Efficiency, Energy Conservation, and Renewable Energy.

Energy Efficiency: CFL's, Efficient Refridgerators, Efficient Vehicles, Efficient Washers and Driers, Geothermal Pumps, tankless water heaters, solar water heaters

Energy Conservation: Walking, cycling as transportation, turning off lights and appliances, turning down the thermostat, programmable thermostat, programmable lights, sensors for HVAC systems,

Renewable energy: Wind, Solar, Biodiesel made from waste oil or efficient crops/algae, Ethanol made from cellulose materials/switchgrass, geothermal, sustainable hydropower, Solar water heaters, solar air heaters, local organic crops as human power,

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

PowerShift was Awesome!

PowerShift this past weekend was the beginning of the Clean Energy Revolution! 6,000 youth from across the country converged on College Park and Washington, DC to get inspired, share ideas, and lobby Senators and Representatives on launching our nation's move towards clean, renewable energy and green jobs. It was amazing and inspiring; the energy was very positive, the event was well-run, and our meetings with our Senators and Representatives went off very well. After our rally on the West Lawn of the Capitol, hundreds of youths danced to the music, celebrating the coming together of a hopeful movement, one that will bring prosperity to our economy, our society, and our security. The movement has truly kicked off, and we are committed to seeing our positive vision become reality.

Friday, October 19, 2007

New Climate Bill: America's Climate Security Act (ACSA)

Environmental Defense supports this newly formulated bill, and is working to protect and strengthen it as it makes it to the Senate floor and moves through to passage. It has bi-partisan support; we are at the threshold of a great climate bill finally taking effect! Read more about it here.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Launching Climate Save!

In part to raise funds for continuing the trip, I have launched a new business of selling PowerCost Monitors that allow you to monitor your home's or business's electricity consumption in real time. For example, before you leave the house, you can see how much your house is still consuming even when you are not going to be there! and then you can go around turning off unnecessary appliances reducing your impact on the climate--saving it and some change:) To buy a powercost monitor from me, please email me (pauljosephpark at gmail dot com).

Friday, October 05, 2007

Operation: Climate Vote

This is the Congressional session when we are going to get a vote on serious action to deal with climate change. If you would like to give Congress the nudge it needs to get this ball rolling, you can participate in Environmental Defense's Operation: Climate Vote--sending a letter and perhaps making a phone call to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Send a letter.

Monday, October 01, 2007

If global warming and climate change are as dire a situation as the scientists make them out to be, why aren't we ACTING like it?!!!

Okay, lets be hopeful, wind power, solar power, conservation, energy efficiency, energy efficient appliances, lights, cars, using less, (having fewer babies?), sustainably-harvested bio-fuels, people changing their lifestyles (living closer to work, living in smaller quarters, putting up insulation, getting efficient refridgerators, etc.)--all this is going to add up to fewer emissions, and enough fewer emissions that we will avoid disastrous, catastrophic climate change.

Okay, or we need to do EVERYTHING(?) we can--personal, culturally, socially, politically--on all levels--household, workplace, community, municipal, county, state, regional, federal, international, private and public, with our actions and our dollars, to promote energy conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy--then we will solve this crisis.

Maybe we need mass demonstrations in the streets, which we have had and they are getting bigger. Maybe we need a carbon tax, and then the revenue raised can be used for energy conservation, efficiency and renewables initiatives. Maybe we need cap-and-trade, auctioning off the allowances and use those funds for conservation, efficiency and renewables measures. We gotta do something big, and we have to do it now--we only have one chance. And we need everybody.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Global Warming and Climate Change news coming through my channel: Let's get Political!

Hi all,

In my world, based on the news I read in the Post, on other online news sources, through my contacts, environmental organizations, etc: the world and the US need to act together in concert ASAP; we are in a race against time, against Global Warming. We are behind, and we need to catch up as fast as possible.
In my view, individuals can only do so much. One individual by changing their lifestyle cannot change the world and stop climate change. Coal-fired power plants are not the acts of individuals. Mass agriculture is not the act of individuals. The market must be spoken to; we need to give the market the input that carbon generation is not desirable, and carbon reduction IS desirable. The problem is so systematic, and we need change so fast, only government intervention can dictate to the market what we need to have changed. Thus, we need to be spending the energy that we would be using on trying to change our own lives on telling our representatives how much we need them to support the carbon-reduction strategies we need now.
Step It Up 2007 steps it up again on November 3rd when we are going to have rallies all over the country at locations where movers and shakers in our nation's history are commemorated, and we are inviting politicians of all levels, and asking them to be leaders on this issue. We need large marches demanding change on this singularly important issue. One sky, one chance. CARPE DIEM

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Washington Post has a great section on the climate, including coverage of the Senate proposals, economics of the problem, effects of climate change, and interactive graphics.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007!

Hi All,

We (my family: parents and brothers) are working on a way to get my brother Timmy from home to Anne Arundel Community College and back three days a week. The school is near Anapolis, 25 miles away in Arnold, MD. We have come across a great site that everyone ought to know about and use more often: It is called Car Pool World! Someone contacted me with this site while I was on my bicycle trip. You can post your trip, starting and ending points, departure times, and then you can request drivers or passengers! You can specify how much leeway you wish to allow--how far out of the way you are willing to catch a ride or pick up a passenger. This tool can be of great value in helping us consolidate our traffic, reducing congestion and fuel consumption. Please try it out
! The more people we have using it, easier it will be to find a ride for Timmy (and anyone else looking for one)!

Monday, September 17, 2007

cool site

Project House

A carbon tax would be good; cap and trade much better

We could tax each ton of carbon emissions, and that would create incentive to reduce emissions, would encourage conservation and efficiency. But a couple of characteristics of the challenge make a cap-and-trade system a much better policy choice. One is that each unit of carbon emissions has an equal impact no matter where or how it is created. The other is that each emission reduction is not created equally with regard to how much it costs. Wait, though, I just found out that Chris Dodd's energy plan incorporates both. He supports the Sanders-Boxer cap and trade system, with some of the credits auctioned off, plus a Corporate Carbon Tax. Proceeds from the auction and tax would go to a Corporate Carbon Tax Trust fund that will be used to fast-track renewables and energy-efficient products. Please see his plan here. By the way, this isn't yet an endorsement of Chris Dodd; rather, it is part of my research.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My quote of the day

People keep using gasoline and coal-fired electricity like it does not matter because they are not being held accountable. Normally, polluter pays. Not one cent of the price of gasoline or electricity goes to pay for the damage the CO2 emissions cause.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

If you haven't signed this petition yet, please do.

The four principles of effective global warming legislation.

The Legislation in Congress

(Taken from Environmental Defense's webpage)
Among the bills that could jumpstart the needed emissions cuts are:
In the Senate:

* Lieberman-McCain Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act (CSIA) - S.280
* Sanders-Boxer Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act – S.309

In the House of Representatives:

* Olver-Gilchrest Climate Stewardship Act - H.R.620
* The Waxman Safe Climate Act - H.R.1590

Please sign petition here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Big Legal Victory: On the way to Cleaner Cars!

Environmental Defense helped lead the way to a legal victory declaring that auto companies are liable to be required to produce cars that emit less greenhouse gas. See the article here.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Climate Emergency Fast

Yesterday, I participated in a fast for the climate:

I joined over a thousand climate activists around the country and the world in a fast on the first day the Congress is back in session to demand three things. One, a moratorium on any new coal-fired power plants; two, a freeze on greenhouse-gas emissions and a move to reduce them; and three, a downpayment of $25 billion for energy conservation, efficiency, and renewables development. While I visited an artisan of carbon-free vehicles, Bilenky, other fasters gathered on the Capitol Lawn to present their demands to the Congress. For more on the fast, see US Climate Emergency Council.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Undoit Petition jumped to 815,000 signatories!

Mike Tidwell of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network has said that more than anything, we need to get political to save our climate (see interview with Mother Jones). I started my bike to brazil trip with the idea that what we need most to deal with crisis is national legislation. I collected signatures for the Climate Stewardship Act. When I started, the petition had 619,000 signatories. After a few months, it had 642,000. I moved away from the petition for a while, considering the Safe Climate/Global Warming Pollution Reduction Acts as perhaps better. I have now moved back to the Undoit campaign, and have collected signatures at the BikeBike! Conference, at Little Friends for Peace Camps, on the C and O Canal Trail and the Great Allegheny Passage Trail...and the word has gotten around recently, because the petition is getting close to a million! You can tell anyone to sign on--at We only have one chance to save our climate, and our chance is now. Please read and sign if you have not yet. Add your name to 815,507 names to save our climate!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

P.J. Visits Cumberland, by Amy Shuman

A phone call after supper on August 7 became the highlight of John and Amy Shuman's week. Paul Joseph Park, better known as P.J., was biking through Cumberland to Pittsburgh on the new Allegheny Highlands Trail and was searching for a cool place to rest from the heat. He had camped for 2 days and was delighted that his parents' contact some time ago allowed the connection.

At age 26, P.J. is training to bike to Brazil, all the while spreading global warming solutions by "walking the walk," so to speak, traveling in what he terms an "eco friendly fashion."

Having graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio with a bachelor of arts in Environmental Studies, he searched his heart to discover what his next steps were. "This is the Green Millennium," he explains. "My generation has to be the greenest yet!"

Why Brazil? "I wanted to return to Rio Grande do Norte, where, in 1999, I worked through Amigos de las Americas, a community service agency, similar to what a 'Peace Corps for teen-agers' would be like," he said. He credits his early years in Boy Scouts with giving him the skills to survive in all types of environments and with his love of biking.

He decided that his most important impact might come from helping to promote U.S. legislation that would eventually lead to a worldwide agreement of developing and developed countries for saving the planet "I could have allowed the enormity of it all stop me. It's so big, what can I do?" he thought. Then, through research and contemplation, he happened on The Climate Stewardship Act of 2003 and said, "Everyone needs to know about this!"

Through his website, P.J. shares much of his philosophy and photos of his travels. He is visualizing other bikers joining him for the Brazil trek and sponsorships to assist with supplies.

As P.J. left the Shumans, Amy asked that John's and her love and peace would remain with him and go out to all the world. P.J. got on his bike, turned and smiled, "And I carry it!!"

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Become part of the Solution!

For just a fraction of a cent more per kilowatt hour, you can make sure all of you electric bill goes to a green supplier of power rather than a coal fired power plant! How do I do it? Switch to Green Power! The electrons coming into your house will not be much different; your house draws the electrons that are available on the grid. But different companies pump electrons onto the grid--some by burning global warming coal, some with wind turbines, some by burning reclaimed landfill gas. By switching to green power, your electric bill starts pumping green electrons onto the grid rather than coal-fired ones!

Monday, August 06, 2007

135 miles into the trip

As I write I am in Hancock, Maryland, and a gracious Super 8 Hotel manager is allowing me to use the internet for a few minutes. It has been very difficult to get internet access on this trip so far, partly because I left my laptop behind in the interest of packing light. It is proving to be an item that would have been well worth its weight.

The trip has been wonderful so far; beautiful segments, fun people I've met along the trail. I have many wonderful photos to upload, but that will have to wait until I get more than a few minutes on the internet.

I camped out one night, then the next night I met some Brazilians in Shepherdstown, WV who invited me to spend the night after they found out I speak Portuguese and lived in a town (Natal) very close to where they are from (Joao Pessoa).

Tonight I will camp out again. On the trail, I met some folks from Pittsburgh biking to DC who will be coming back to Pittsburgh for the BikeBike! Conference party on Saturday night! I also met a Boy Scout troop--31 scouts and 29 adults! from near Lowell, MA. One had a flat and I helped him fix it. When I told them I was a Boy Scout, everything changed. They were very happy to see the skills I learned in scouting being put to work for them, and the leaders were thankful for the chance for their scouts to learn how to patch a tire. To all you scouts: It was great meeting you all, I hope you have a great rest of the trip to DC, and keep plugging along the trail to Eagle!

Along my trip to Pittsburgh, I hear that the major climb will be from Cumberland past Frostburg to the Big Savage Tunnel, where you climb 1600 feet in 22 miles. After that, it is a gradual downhill to Pittsburgh! I'm exited:) So stay tuned for a slide show, and more from the C and O Canal Trail and the Great Allegheny Passage Trail.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Biking to Pittsburgh

This Saturday thru Thursday, I will be biking 360 miles from my home in Mt Rainier, to the C and O Canal in Georgetown, to Cumberland, along the Cumberland and Pittsburgh/Great Allegheny Passage Trail to McKeesport, PA, and then onto Free Ride Bike Coop and the BikeBike! Conference in Pittsburgh! It is going to be a beautiful ride.
I hope to raise awareness of the international climate negotiations coming up that Bush is trying to and, an international grass-roots organization, are working together to create a powerful media blitz in the areas where Bush will be meeting, phone call blitzes and other mass actions to demonstrate to widespread international support for immediate climate action. This will overwhelm Bush's special interest efforts. To donate to that cause and have your donation be matched, click here. This really is an international cause and will require international cooperation.

I will be blogging on my ride to Pittsburgh. I will learn more about community and non-profit bike shops and projects, get new ideas on how they run, and make important contacts--including developing relationships with other DC area community bike projects. If you would like to join me for the ride, or come to the conference, please email me at pauljosephpark at

Monday, July 09, 2007

Slideshow of bicycle trip: New York City back to DC

Power Cost Monitor

Do you know how in the Toyota Prius and some other cars, you can see how many miles per gallon you are getting in real time? Prius drivers have told me that this monitor encourages them to play a little game to see how many miles per gallon they can get. They adjust their acceleration and braking patterns--accelerating slower and smoother, going up hills slower, and taking their foot off the accelerator when they see a red light ahead, just coasting up to it. Bicycle riding gives real time feedback as well, though physically instead of digitally. But what about applying the same concept to houses and buildings with regard to electricity usage? All sorts of power monitors are coming out now to help consumers see in real time how much electricity their home is consuming, or how much individual appliances are consuming. Reducing our electricity consumption is the cheapest way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deal with energy demand. Just as in the Prius, being able to see in real time how much our houses are consuming will encourage us to play a game of how few kilowatt hours we can run our houses with, saving money and the climate at the same time. NSTAR power company is offering its customers a deal of $29.95 for the Power Cost Monitor until July 31st ( click here ). To order your Power Cost Monitor in the US if you are not an NSTAR customer, it will cost $139.95 plus $13.95 shipping Fedex 2-day click here. As most customers reduce their monthly bills between 10% and 20%, it will quickly pay itself off. I've done the research, and this is the most economical total home power monitor I've seen. Please let me know if you find a more economical one. To see a comprehensive selection of power meters, see

Friday, July 06, 2007

John Petersen - Energy Monitoring

This is a video of my advisor at Oberlin College talking about energy monitoring, which I think is a very powerful element in the work of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions because of the feedback effect.

Paris to Provide Rentable Bikes Every 900 Feet

By Robert Marquand, The Christian Science Monitor, July 6, 2007. "The French are turning Paris into a bicycle zone, pretty much overnight. Even now, astride small alleys and behind boulangeries, paving stones are being ripped to fit 750 bicycle rent 'stations.' On July 15, a day after the French Revolution anniversary, the city of lights will kick off a 'vélorution' with 10,648 rentable bikes, or vélos. By January, some 1,400 rent stations and 20,600 bikes are scheduled to be in place. In Paris proper, one will never be more than 900 feet from a set of cheap wheels. At least theoretically... The ambitious Paris project is titled Vélib' - wordplay for bicycle freedom... The program is financed by advertising behemoth JC Decaux - in exchange for 1,600 billboards around the city. The concept is computerized and credit card driven. Each station has a large ATM-sized panel that gives instructions in French, German, English, and Chinese. Riders buy in for a day, a week, or a year. The panel issues a card that can be swiped over a small locking pod to release the bike."

Monday, July 02, 2007

Arrived in Philly; Next leg to Abingdon, MD

Today's ride was nice for the most part. A beautiful day for it. Don't know how many miles I've done yet, but I started relatively early this morning after camping out behind a shopping plaza on Route 22. Route 22 was one of the bigger roads on my route, and for the most part was good because of a nice shoulder. But near the point where it went under interstate 287 and then when it intersected state highway 202, it got kinda hairy. I had to find a back route around the 22/202 intersection, cross over 22 down the road and meet up with 202 at a later point. At that point 202 was freshly paved and had a nice shoulder. 202 continued to be nice all the way to Pennsylvania. The 202 bridge into PA says no bikes, but traffic was thin and I passed with no problem. The man at the toll booth said, "You're not supposed to ride out there," but as I'd already crossed, it was a moot point. In PA, 202 became a 2-lane road with hardly a shoulder. It was manageable, though. Just north of where 202 merges with 263, I found a treasure of a treat: the Philly Pretzel Factory that sells three big, hot soft pretzels for a dollar! It's the best deal around, and a great snack for cyclists. I had spicy mustard and horseradish with it, and the pretzels are delicious.

The rest of the ride to Philly was pretty straight forward, except that my chain broke and I fixed it with some spare links I was carrying. It's been a fairly warm and sweaty day. I drank lots of water, rested a few times and had trail mix made by sweetheart Laina. Some kid at the Pizza joint I stopped at came in with a skinned knee from biking, and I gave him some neosporin and a bandaid.

In Philly, I came to the Crown Plaza Hotel, where I came last time, and my friends here put my bike in the storage while I snack and update my blog. Pics from the ride coming. Next I will ride to Abingdon, MD to meet up with Brazilian Tina who would like to go on a little bike ride around Bel Air with me and host me a night. Her husband is a serious biker, but she is just getting into it. She found my website when she was searching online for a riding group in Abingdon. Route to her house: click here

Working out my sleeping situation for tonight... Until next time, PJ

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Next Leg, Nutley to Philly

route A beautiful route through new territory.

First leg of today's route: Manhattan to Nutley, NJ

I will ride from my friends' house in Manhattan to a Brazilian family's house in Nutley, NJ--folks who stopped to talk to me on the highway on the way up. route

Friday, June 29, 2007

Tim Harvey Profile

This is Tim Harvey, who made it around the planet without burning fossil fuels. He biked through some of the same territory we will bike through, and some of his perspective is similar to mine and has bearing on our trip. Particularly, how the world is not necessarily as scary as we are led to believe. What is really cool, also, is that it is possible to row or sail across the Atlantic Ocean.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Choice way of getting to work! The Bike Bus

Thanks to Anne Villacres of the Rainer Riders for posting this video about a cool, new way to get to work, socialize, reduce your carbon emissions, feel safe on the road, and save time and money all at the same time--it's called the Bike Bus. Watch video by clicking on the title of this post.:)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Four Principles for Successful Climate Policy

So, what am biking for most is the effective participation of the United States in the global effort to tackle global warming. Successful US Policy on Global Warming would meet four main criterial, found

New York City, Zoo

My friends from Oberlin, living in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan, and our home-made pest0 pasta and salsa meal.
Bull sea lion at Bronx Zoo.

Peacock design on woman's shirt, at the zoo.

Polar Bear at the zoo--he isn't losing his footing and hunting ice like his fellow polar bears, due to global warming.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Bronx Zoo, Friends

Peacock at the Bronx Zoo.

Male tiger.
Female Tiger walking around.

Sea lions.

Fab from Thailand and Laina from Pleasantville, NY. Both went to Oberlin with me.
Piyush from Bombay, India in lower right; Manhattan cityscape. Piyush went to Oberlin College with me, too.

Solar Panels on your house for Free! This is incredible!

Free solar panels! A guy just emailed me after he read about my trip on the environmental defense blog, and he told me about the company he works for, Citizenre, which has created a method enabling them to put solar panels on the house of anyone who signs up--you just pay the exact same electric rates you would be paying normally, and they take care of the rest! Join the solution, and get your solar panels today! They will send a solar engineer to your house or business, assess the potential, and design the array to produce the greatest amount of power. Your panels will power some or all of your house's needs, and excess will be sold to the grid--all that is taken care of by the company--all you do is sign the paper (a contract with NO obligations), and pay the same rates as your current company offers you now and in the future. The normal working citizen is empowered to be part of the solution, undermining dirty, coal-fired power. Please contact Scott Pelham at to order your system or for more information.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Made it to NYC!

I completed the route I set out for myself, crossing the George Washington Bridge into Manhattan on late Monday afternoon. It took me five days to bike to NYC. The first day, I went 42 miles, the second day 33, the third day 86, the fourth day 40, and the last day 63. That totals 264 miles total, and an average of 53 miles/day. I passed through Balimore, Newark, DE, Philly, Trenton, Princeton, Elizabeth, Newark, NJ, Jersey City, Hoboken, and Manhattan.

Some recent photos:
Downtown Manhattan from Jersey City, with sailboat on Hudson River--this one's a keeper!

Entering Jersey City on Rt. 1.

Downtown Newark, NJ. I found a large neighborhood of Brazilians in Newark. I hope to stop there on the way back, hang out and practice my Portuguese.

Church in Newark, NJ.

Mural in NE Philly.

Mural in NE Philly.

Mural on Frankford Ave in NE Philly.

Church in Philly.

Peace mural in Philly.

Mural in Philly, north of downtown on Broad.

Mural in Philly, downtown.

Making the deal with Janne Nuorti.

The trip was awesome. The ride's last two days were beautiful riding from Philly to Princeton, and Princeton to Manhattan. Heading out of Philly, I absorbed the culture along Frankford Ave/13. I stopped at a Chinese restaurant, practiced a little of the little Chinese I know, and the teenage siblings working there asked me all kinds of questions about my trip. We ate together and exchanged card tricks. They are from southern China, and have lived in northern Philly for ten years. I asked them if they were excited about China's recent economic growth, and the sixteen-year-old boy said that living here in the states, the growth doesn't really affect him personally. I asked him if he plans on going back, and he said he would like to go back to live for a while, but not permanently.

The ride through northern Philly and into NJ was flat and calm along the roads I traveled. It helped that it was Father's Day. At dusk, I arrived at a battlefield historical park just South of Princeton and pulled in to camp. The next morning, I rode through Princeton and ate a bagel breakfast in Kingston. The owners of the Kingston Deli and Cafe are of Korean origin, though one of them knew some Spanish from her middle and high school courses here in the US. She made use of the knowledge she had with the many Mexican and Central American immigrant workers who came in to buy some breakfast. "Quieres una bolsa?" she would say. "Eres bonita," they would say, and she would reply, "O, gracias." They would say, "Cuanto cuesta?" and she would say, "Cinco pesos." They would say, "Pesos o dolares?" "Dolares." Hahaha. I spoke with some folks from Oaxaca who worked in dry cleaning in Trenton. They were happy to hear about my trip to Chiapas.

Later on down the road, just outside of New Brunswick, I felt like a city from Mexico had been transplanted in New Jersey. The name of every business establishment was in Spanish, and Mexicans and other Latinos sat in the parks and along the sidewalks hanging out and congregating just as is common in Mexico. Nearly everyone I saw was Latino.

Once I got to the Hudson River in Jersey City, the influence of New York City was clear. Big, beautiful buildings sprung up, and as I biked along the Hudson, up towards the George Washington Bridge, I could look across the river at Manhattan. It seemed that the entire island was full of high rises.

I am going to visit friends and explore The City.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Documentary on my Trip coming up

A high-definition amateur camera man, Janne Nuorti, is interested in my trip and will be sponsoring the trip and helping me create a high-definition trailer, and acquire a helmet cam. He is from Finland.

Potential Route for tomorrow


Bel Air to Philly

My route today, 86 miles. I do not fully recommend my route today. First some pics, then some discussion.

Painting of Philly skyline.

A signature building in Philly downtown at night.

Honeysuckle flower at a rest stop.

Mural in Newark, Delaware.

Elkton, MD watertower.

Stretch of road on Pulaski Highway on way to Elkton.

My route until Newark, DE was good--Pulaski Highway continued to be a great biking road, only I had to get a ride across the Hatem Bridge, which does not permit bicycles, but offers escorts on weekdays. Today being a weekend, some folks helped me out. The first guy I asked had a small SUV, and he consented to take me across. As we put my bags in the back, a family in a pick-up pulled up, and the dad offered to take the bike. I threw the bike in the back, he secured it, and said he'd meet us on the other side. The guy in my car said it is Father's Day weekend and he wanted to extend the good spirit. Happy Father's Day, Dad! Pulaski to Elkton was more of the same great bike lane. In Elkton, I picked up Elkton Rd, 279, and it had a bike lane as well, and was a very nice ride. In Newark, I rode the bike lane through town. I stopped to check my tire pressure. A couple guys came over to check on me. One of them helped out at the local bike shop, Bike Lane. I told him my bike was fine, but I would like to compare notes on route. As he pulled off to meet me at the shop, I got on my bike and my chain broke. I hailed him over, and we threw the bike in the van for the three blocks to the shop. In the van, I repaired my chain. At the shop, I put the chain back on, and asked the mechanics for a route to New York if the knew any. The route I told them I planned on going went through towns they considered dangerous. I never like to listen to fearful talk because in my experience, those places that people say are dangerous usually turn out to be the most interesting. But they designed a route for me, taking me north to Route 1, where, "You might get killed by a car, but you won't get mugged." In other words, a rich man might kill you with his car, but a poor man won't rob you. The mechanic's priority was avoiding the black drug dealer, more so than the white man's SUV. The route through Marcus Hook and Chester was a straight shot to Philly, and it was along the Delaware River, so it would be flat. But he recommended I go the long way around, and through the hills to avoid the drug dealers, who would probably take my bike, he said.
After I sat down for awhile to rest, and I had something to eat and drink, I decide I thought that avoiding places out of fear of people struck me as ridiculous, so I decided to take the route I originally had set out for myself. However, when I got to the place I needed to turn to follow my route, the road had no shoulder (at least at that first little stretch, and many cars were all lined up to turn onto that road. I reasoned that perhaps the mechanics had other reasons to suggest the route the suggested, including safety with regards to cars. So I turned around and found his route. It started off just as it would continue throughout--hilly. It had a bike lane for a good while, but that soon disappeared. I managed. When I got to Route 1, there was a shoulder. But eventually, Route 1 came to a point where no bicycles were allowed! (at the Media Bypass) This is one reason I do not recommend this route. The other reasons being the hilliness, and the fact that it is very boring--you just go through rich people's territory, and all you see are big, expensive cars and big houses. I would have prefered the flat, straight shot through all the interesting small towns with poor people all over the place, outside--CULTURE. When I finally got to West Philly, and I cruised into town at sunset, I got to see all the black people out on the street, hanging out, congregating, talking, listening to music on their porches, riding bikes, etc. But I did get a good workout with all those hills.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Baltimore to Bel Air

My Realized Route today.
Ingo's house in Bel Air, met through Warm Showers. Ingo and his wife biked from Fort Meyers, Florida to Bel Air, MD in 2000 on a recumbent tandem with a one-wheeled trailer (BOB yak). They have been wonderful hosts--thank you so much!
The road I chose to take out of Baltimore, Pulaski Highway, turned out to have a bike lane! The shoulder was clearly marked. I thank the advocates that established this signage and markings. I recommend Pulaski Highway to all cyclists for its wide, bike lane/bike route-marked shoulders, gentle hills, and straightness.

Heading out of Baltimore, I snapped a shot of this guy's house with a great Baltimore-themed mural painted on the side. Thanks, guy, and nice mural!
Maryland blue-crab is a ubiquitous icon around Baltimore.

Today's journey was good. Thirty-three miles. If I were driving a car that got 22 mpg, I would have used a gallon and a half of gasoline today. That would have cost me $4.50, and I would have emitted 30 lbs of CO2. It costs about 50 cents per mile to drive a car if you include gas, insurance, etc. So that would be about $16.50 I saved. And then to offset the CO2, it costs $4/ton of CO2 offset. I would have emitted 0.015 tons, so that would be like 6 cents to offset that amount of CO2. Which gets me thinking, it would cost about 4 cents to offset the CO2 emissions from burning a gallon of gas.