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.

Route for this afternoon/evening

Route I will staying at some folks house, folks I met through Warm Showers, hospitality network for touring cyclists.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

For those of you just tuning in--welcome everyone from the Environmental Defense page! I have completed a journey from Mount Rainier, Maryland to Chiapas, Mexico. I am currently on a journey from Mount Rainier, MD to New York City. I am writing from Baltimore, Maryland. In September, I will begin a new journey from Mount Rainier, MD to Natal, RN, Brazil. I will be accompanied by three to-be-determined riders. (Please email me at if you are interested!)

After packing in the morning, I left my house at half past noon. I first went to my Honduran friend's house, where I fixed one of her bikes and we shared some bagels and doughnuts. She showed me the letter from the Immigration Services office saying that her application for temporary status was denied. She believes she is going to be deported, though the letter states there is an option to appeal. My sister used to work in this field, so I am putting the two in touch. Then I headed to the MVA to renew my ID. It took an hour for that process, but meantime I called my mom telling her I would probably make it to Baltimore on the day, and I asked her if she knew anyone I might be able to stay with. Sure enough, she had a contact, the fine folks at the Jonah House, and she put me in touch. It was actually Kathy Boylan of the Dorothy Day House in Washington, DC who made the connection with Liz MacAlister of the Jonah House, but it all worked out for me to stay there tonight. I made forty-two miles on the day.

These are some pics from Baltimore.

Mike and Eda of Jonah House and I.