Saturday, April 22, 2017

Celebrate Earth Day, Lubbock!

In case you have not heard about it, there is a Stand up for Science Rally and Health Fair today at the LHUCA from 1-3pm. Lots of cool stuff will be happening: live music, information booths, and there will be three speakers. You can learn a great deal about living healthier, helping the entire planet to live healthier, and about getting involved in supporting those who are working hard at creating a healthier world. Some of my favorite local organizations will be there. Be sure to stop by the Citizen's Climate Lobby table and check out all the cool stuff at the Texas Tech Recycling booth.

May we strive to know what is happening around us and work to create healthier solutions for all.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Mesquite Hugger is going on Vacation

Okay, it's not so much a vacation as it is a sabbatical or hiatus or something like that.

I've reached a point where I need to practice a little minimization on things that require time, so Mesquite Hugger is on suspension for a while.

In the meantime, here are some places for you to go in case you're jonesing for some Mesquite Huggeryish information:

Bike Commuting and Carbon Reduction in Transportation


Electric Bikes

Electric Bike Review
Electric Bike Report
Endless Sphere (forum)

Cargo Bikes

My Solar Electric Cargo Bike

Electric Cars

Gas 2
Green Car Reports
Autoblog Green

General Greenery

Green Moxie

Environmental Activism


Green Project Inspiration


Before I go, please know that I deeply appreciate that you've spent some time reading this blog. I hope that it was both entertaining, enlightening, and inspiring, or that it at very least alleviated a little boredom.

For those of you who have responded to the blog in comments or on social media, thank you thank you thank you! Your comments and participation have been a true blessing to me!

May your green pursuits flourish and may you know peace!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Heart of Lubbock Community Garden Pedal-Powered Pump Update

Last weekend there was a little time to do some upgrades and re-install the pump. It's now (a little) easier to pedal, the pump is more securely mounted, and the belt has stopped slipping.

I am a little concerned about the pump we chose. It's still very hard to turn, especially when it has water in it. I am hoping that it will loosen up with use. If not, everything else is good, so it will just be a matter of finding a better pump and swapping it out.

The bigger sprocket helped a lot. It's one that's normally sold to use with those nasty little gas motors that people mount to bicycles. (It was in our bike boneyard.) It made it necessary to lengthen the chain. Our first attempt at brackets allowed too much movement, so we swapped those for some flat right-angle brackets and stud hangers - much sturdier.

And then there was the slipping belt to fix. We needed to make the bicycle rim into a better pulley to cradle and grip the drive belt. After a few other botched attempts, we came up with the idea to put an inverted belt into the channel to make a place for the original belt. Yep, one of those underwhelming MH eureka moments happened.

Semi-instant pulley!

Well, that's it for now. We'll see if the pump loosens up. Right now it pumps a gallon for every five seconds of pedaling, but a minute will wear a pedaler out. Still, we are getting closer!

May your garden love water you harvested yourself and may all of your pedaling be fruitful.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Fossil Free Friday: Fun Electric Conversions on Ebay and Craigslist

Yep, it's me being lazy again, but there is some fun stuff to check out this week. Enjoy:

Fiero!!!! Ebay

Check it out - a Fiero that runs! (And it's electric!)

All the deets
 BMW Ebay

The 2002 BMW is my favorite BMW
(and this one is electric)

BMW deets

VW Beetles
Slug Bug Red (Ebay)

Slug Bug Orange (Dallas Craigslist)

Isuzu Pickup
Electric Pickup! (Austin Craigslist)

These are not conversions, but I thought you might want to see them:

Zero Motorcycle (Dallas Craigslist)
Green Citicars on Ebay: Tennessee and Alabama
May you find something out there that helps you get off the gas, clean up the air, and grin everywhere you go!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

For Lubbock folks who want to fight climate change

Mark your calendars!

March 29, 6-8pm

Yes, I am excited! The local chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby is having its first meeting of the year. Here is what I wrote about the CCL back in November (before US environmental policies all went to hell in a handbasket):

Citizen's Climate Lobby

I support the CCL because I am a cynic and the CCL offers me a different type of hope. The CCL is a multi-partisan approach to helping us reduce our carbon while supporting the economy and offering (financial) hope to all citizens. Their approach is not one that expects altruism to save our environment. They are offering a sensible approach that is based on a carbon tax and dividend (while making life better for all).

I really hope to see you there!

May we all work together to protect our earth and all those that live upon it.

Fossil Free (Almost) Friday: Back to the Big Electric Mini Bikes

Luna, Super 73, and now Moke - If you're in the market for a Maxi-Mini and have $2000 to $5000 to spend, you are very much in luck these days.

Have you heard about the Moke?

The Moke is the latest of the big minis, and it speaks Spanish. It hails from Barcelona. The Moke is currently finishing up a very successful Indiegogo campaign and they are selling a version for $1990 if you want to pick it up in Spain or $2490 plus shipping if you want it shipped. (There was a $1799 version, but that window has already closed.) After the campaign closes, the price will be 40% more.

The Moke has a rear hub motor and can be had in 250-watt, 500-watt, and 1000-watt versions.

It has a really big seat and some cargo-hauling capabilities.

The Moke seems a really cool machine, but by the time you can get it over here, you're probably better off buying a made-in-California Super 73 (or a Banana -  keep reading.)

After checking the Moke out, I hopped over to the Super 73 site to see if anything new is going on. Sure enough, there were two new, fancier, and more expensive models...

Holy (S)Moke, Batman! That's a $4500 maxi-mini!
(It has an extra battery, lights, and knobby tires.)

But there was also a model missing -  the $1600 Super 73 Scout:

Yep, it was completely gone (or so I thought.)

Learn more about the MIA Scout here: Follow-up on the Big Electric MiniBike
(If you look at the bottom of the Super 73 Adventure page, a little Scout lingers there.)
Not seeing the budget-model Scout broke my heart a little. This is Mesquite Hugger where we love bikes that are attainable for those on a tighter budget. RIP Scout.
What was that about a Banana?
The other Maxi-Mini out there is the Luna Banana.
This is the 1000-watt version
(with lots of upgrade options)

This is the Super Banana 3000-watt Bad Mamma Jamma!
The Zero-watt Luna Banana (pedal-only)

If you're like me, you're probably thinking, Hey Self, I wonder if we could build one ourself for even less money. It's that kind of thinking that keeps me (and Grizz) in all kinds of trouble, so let's trudge on and see what kind of trouble we can get started.

So, I started plugging along on the LunaCycle website and came up with a few lower dollar options.
The lowest dollar option - $1450 plus shipping (which came out to $115 for my house)

The drawbacks to this setup? The battery is only 36 volts (you can upgrade to 48 volts for $80 more) and you will need to pay someone to lace the motor up for you (or wait for Luna to get the $275 1000-watt already laced in a rim version back in stock, which would lower the price $25 too.) 

If you're not a fan of hub motors, you can spend a little more and go mid-drive:

This 48-volt setup would give you pretty similar performance to the other mid-drives we've already looked at.

This 52-volt setup will let you go a little faster, but not quite as far. (By the way, if you're over at Luna, be sure to check out the Rhino, what a cool amount of craziness!)

So, where would I start?

Me, I'm a glutton for punishment. I'd start over at GoKarts USA with this little jewel: 

Okay, not really. If I were in the market, I'd pick up one of these:

They are offering free shipping on the Radwagon of my dreams right now, and I'm afraid I'll look like a dork on a minibike! (Instead of looking like a dork on a cargo bike.)

Regardless of how dorky you look, I hope you find the low-carbon runabout that makes you smile, saves you money, and treads oh-so-much lighter!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Lubbock on a Bike: An electric bike and a 5-day commute

 I love it when a bike comes together!
(You may recognize the components as the same ones from most of my other electric bike builds.)
Last August, on that day when people are nice enough to celebrate the fact that I am older, my lovely wife bought me a folding Prodeco Genesis 500 frame - I have a very cool wife! So, I have spent the time since then gathering parts to turn it back into a bicycle. Last weekend I managed to get it all together, and I rode it to work on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. (Woohoo! Success!) Tuesday I rode the non-electric bike. (Woohoo! More success!)

Yep, it's the same frame as the Prodeco Phantom, but a lot shinier.
Yep, for me, that's two accomplishments: a bike built and a perfect week of bike commuting (or a week of non-gas-powered commute.) By the time I get home I will have ridden 50 miles on the bike for the week and 6 miles on the truck. Okay, so they're not huge accomplishments, but lately there haven't been many, so I choose to celebrate these.
Wednesday Morning - 50th and Utica
Spring Break Sidebar - Nope, I did not hang out topless on a beach this week (not a pretty sight!) but I did get a preview of this summer's bike commuter nirvana - no school traffic made the rides much less hectic and I got to take advantage of a couple of bike routes that take me past schools where the traffic is normally rather manic. And it's been nice!
Thursday Morning Fog - 36th St
Electric Bike Sidebar - for those of you who want details, the e-bike is a 250 watt 36-volt setup with no throttle - it's pedal assist only. Yes, it is completely foldable. No, it's not really powerful enough to haul me and my stuff to work, but I help it out (a lot!) with aggressive pedaling. My average speeds are up about 2 mph over non-electric riding and my commute times are down 4-5 minutes. The bike is a 7-speed, but I use 4th gear most of the time. Once in a while I use third or fifth, but fourth-only would be just fine. I am learning a rhythm for riding this thing. It's a pretty laid-back machine. If you're in a hurry - too bad, Bubba! You pedal and it goes steadily. Windy days are a little easier. Inclines are a little easier. I still get home a little winded, but I recover much more quickly.
Hiding under the stairs two flights up
May you find yourself enjoying a low-carbon commute as much as I have enjoyed this week!