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