Saturday, May 31, 2014

Lubbock Electric Bike for Sale (Not Mine)

An interesting electric bike showed up on the Lubbock Craigslist this week. It's an EVGlobal ebike, often known as the Lee Iaccoca bike. And this one looks really clean. For $400 it is probably a good deal since a comparable ebike kit (minus bicycle) would would cost you at least that much. The EVGlobal bikes were cutting edge several years ago, but theses days the performance and features are pretty middle of the road. I believe they could be had as a 24 volt or a 36 volt in some of the later models. The Heinzman motors in them are known to be very high quality and a little noisy. You won't sneak up on as many cats or pedestrians on this bike, but that may be a very good thing. The motor in my old black Huffy came from an EVGlobal bike.

The bike in the CL ad

The Mesquite Hugger DIY Huffy with a Heinzman motor

If you want to learn more about these bikes, here is a link where you can find owners showing theirs off. One mentions having 15,000 miles on one. http://www.evalbum.com/type/EVGL

I would love to have it, but the garage runneth over and the bank account runneth dry.

May it serve the next owner well!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Mark Your Calendar APOLOGY: Downtown Farmer's Market starts June 7


I read it wrong. The days have all been blurring together lately and I messed it up. I apologize and I sincerely hope none of you end up standing on Buddy Holly Avenue alone and cursing my mesquite-hugging name. 

Get the correct info here: http://lubbockdowntownfarmersmarket.com/

May your fresh veggie patience hold out another week.



Lubbock Local Artist on Kickstarter: Hey Jacob!


One of my favorite local artists now has a Kickstarter campaign going on. I could go on about what a great guy he is and what a great singer he is and blah blah blah... Instead, I will let you check out the Kickstarter campaign for yourself.

Jacob's Kickstarter

May you and your neighbors thrive.

An Earlier Post About Jacob

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Lubbock Local Business: The Downtown Farmers Market Kicks Off NEXT Saturday June 7



Mark your calendar! 
Here is your chance to eat better, cut down on your food's carbon footprint, and support your hard-working neighbors. Be sure to tell Kelle B and the Yellowhouse people hello from the Mesquite Hugger! And make sure you sample some Dutch Cheese - they have great Gouda!


May your hometown thrive!

Local (micro) Wildlife: Look Who Else Likes the Arbor Day Trees

With all the rain lately (WOOHOO!) I moved the little plants indoors to keep them from washing away. I was washing dishes last night and caught a little movement on the crabapple. The little mantis was pretty camera shy, but I did finally get a photo. It was about 1/2 inch long.


May tiny things fill you with wonder.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Needing to Be "In Nature"

Colorado City Lake 16 May 2014

I recently had the good fortune to spend 20 minutes alone sitting by a dying West Texas lake. The lake is only a few feet deep now and has become a haven for many creatures I do not often see. I sat there catching my breath (from a bike ride to get there). I saw four red-eared sliders, at least five species of shorebirds I had never noticed before, and some tiny ducks about the size of pigeons. I eventually did catch my breath. Then I found myself breathing very easily. I felt a number of cares melt away. I am not really a meditator, but I have found myself a few times this week closing my eyes and heading back to that spot.

On the reading list this week is a book called The Urban Bestiary by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. In the book, she explains that in her younger life she craved running off to the wilderness to be around nature. However, like most of us, she figured out that the living is much easier when we live where other people live. And that nature is very present even when you are surrounded by people.

It's raining this morning in Lubbock - Hallelujah! It's springtime. The world is mudluscious and puddlewonderful. (Thanks, e e)

May you have a chance this Memorial Day Weekend to sit somewhere quiet, to breathe easier, and to watch all the life that surrounds you.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Electric Car News: Eggs Are on the Way

I'd drive it happily!

The 2014 Mitsubishi MiEVs are shipping now. I don't think the MiEV is the coolest or most impressive electric car ever, but I do think it is a great car for 90% of us to do 98% of our daily driving on a very small amount of money while making very little negative impact on our world. That's a very wordy way of saying Snagit, I want one! Now, I just wish I could talk Mitsubishi (or Ford, Nissan, Chevy....) to make a small pickup with similar numbers...

If you want numbers to do the math for yourself, here is an article (Thanks, Knippa!!!) that lines it out for you: http://www.torquenews.com/1084/most-affordable-ev-america-mitsubishi-i-miev-arrives-spring

And don't forget the Texas incentive: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/laws/state_summary/TX

EV Grin!

May the numbers be in your favor and may your local Mitubishi dealers stock their shelves!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Electric Scooter News: Fido (I am excited about this one!)



This is a story I have followed for a long time. It started with Soundspeed Scooters in Seattle. They sold and promoted a lot of cool products, but my favorite was their kit to convert a vintage Vespa into a vintage electric Vespa. Back in March of 2011, Soundspeed announced that they were closing up shop, heading east, and working on creating a new scooter - the Fido. Since then there have been little bits of info here and there, but it looked a lot like another great idea that would never make it from prototype to production.  And snagit! that would have been a shame. Every few months I would go back and visit the Fido website, but I would see no news or changes.

But there is hope - I received an newsletter email from Fido this week! Click here to see it.

Let me step back a bit. Part of my excitement comes from the origin of the Fido. Jeb Gast, Fido's creator, was a dealer of electric scooters. He ran into a lot of the hurdles that other dealers of electric scooters have come across. The biggest of those hurdles was having only mediocre to poor scooters available to sell. There have been very few quality electric scooters available so far.

So Jeb decided to go back to the drawing board to create a quality scooter that the average owner could maintain and even repair if need be. He drew on concepts from the early days of scootering. He designed a simple and robust machine with performance aimed at commuting (and recharging) in the real world. (I still get excited thinking about this scoot!)

Jeb, Krystal, and all the gang at Fido, here's to you and your entrepreneurial spirit! Godspeed!

May Fido run free!

fidomotors.com

Lubbock DIY Bicyclists: Mark Your Calendar for June 14th

This ad showed up on Craigslist this week - a swap meet for bicycles at Sun Adventure Sports. I hope to take some old bikes and do some swapping. For those of you wanting to build an electric bike or a cool rat-rod cruiser, this should be a good opportunity. I hope to see you there.


May another man's junk pile be your treasure!

Bonus Link for the Day:
Atomic Zombie! (Interesting bike creations)

Arbor Day Post #4


You may remember from three previous posts (linked below) that my friend Jennifer gave me a handful of tiny trees from the Arbor Day Foundation. She received twelve trees, kept three for herself, and passed nine on to me. I am happy to report that we now have 5 total that are sprouting leaves and seem to be thriving. Jennifer has two crepe myrtles growing, and I have the three in the photo above.

In case you missed the whole saga or want to know a little more about the Arbor Foundation and reasons to plant trees, here are links to the first three posts:

The First Arbor Day Post

The Second Arbor Day Post

The Real Arbor Day Post

May you have life abundantly!

PS. Thank you, Jennifer!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Local Wildlife: White-Winged Dove Kicks Grackle Butt!

We found this little samurai in training in the front yard last night. Don't be fooled, there beats a soldier's heart!

A few weeks ago I was riding home from work on the electric motorcycle - silent vehicles are great  for sneaking up on urban wildlife - and I saw something extraordinary! I saw a white-winged dove getting all Jackie Chan on a male grackle. It was awesome! The bird of peace has apparently had enough! In short order the dove had pounced upon the grackle three times and the grackle went running (flying) for the hills!

I was in awe! I knew I had seen something I would never see again! It may sound stupid, but I find moments like that strangely life affirming. So I did what any life-affirmed person should do, I went and told everyone who would listen. And the people around me looked at me like I was crazy.

The following week it happened again, and this time it was in my backyard. It was early on Saturday morning. I was sitting on the back porch drinking coffee and watching a really obnoxious grackle doing his best impersonation of an air-raid siren while sitting on an elm branch. His choice of song turned out to be a little ironic as a white-winged terror dropped from the sky and started flapping and chest bumping. The grackle fled to another tree. The warrior dove followed and attacked again. The grackle fled and the dove came back and serenely perched on the grackle's original spot.

So I shared the story with my wife a little later in the day. And she said, "Oh yeah, I saw that happen the other day too."

And John had seen another instance of it.

I went to shoot photos of Los Swartzes at the park shortly after that, and we saw it happen outside the arboretum. It's not an isolated incident. It's a movement. I think the dove council has voted that they need an image change, and they started the revolution by going after the bullies. It looks like the artist sometimes known as Prince (and the Revolution) is going to have to rewrite his song - This is what it sounds like - Dove War Cry! 

¡Viva la revolucĂ­on de la paloma!

May the revolution be televised! (I did not find it on youtube yet.)

Bonus link of the day: White-Winged Wikipedia (but no mention of the revolution)

Friday, May 16, 2014

It's Ride to Work Day 2014


I admit it - I am a slacker. I had to take a last minute trip out of town, so I did not ride to work, but I did ride.

May you have a safe and healthy day!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Local Wildlife: Tadpoles (and I stand in the middle of a Playa Lake)

Less than a year ago I rode the bike over to Clapp Park to sit by the water for a little while. I feel better near water. I feel better near water that is teeming with life. On this trip, I happened to scare up a leopard frog, a creature I had never seen in Lubbock before. It was a pleasant shock for me.

It seemed an excellent place to sit for a bit. As I sat there, I noticed a lot of activity in the murky water. Tadpoles. Hundreds of tadpoles!

So, I rushed home, set up an aquarium on the back porch, and rushed back to the park to catch a few. Which proved a little frustrating at first. The tadpoles, creatures not known for their intelligence or their swimming ability, proved to be too smart and too fast for me. But I devised an ingenious plan - to drag my net through the mud - and I caught about a dozen of them.

My overall plan was simple: bring them home, care for them, watch them change into frogs, and take them back to the playa lake. But I have run into two challenges.

Challenge 1: The tadpoles are uncooperative. They seem to have no desire to be frogs. There is not a single sign of frogginess in any of them. Not even a bump where a leg should appear. They are all healthy. They love meal time. They get along well with the other fish I have introduced them to, but there is no inkling of metamorphisis.

Challenge 2: The lake is uncooperative.

I rode the bike over there Monday night. I stood in the deepest part of the pond. And I stayed perfectly dry. Not only had the pond dried up completely, but the parks department had mowed the lake bed.

This is what the lake looks like on the app I am using to track my bike rides.

This is what the lake looks like on Google Earth.

This is what the lake looks like when you are standing in the middle of it. I caught the tadpoles near the telephone pole in the distance.

I guess my wife is right. The tadpoles are smarter than me and they know when they have it good. They get bloodworms and algae wafers on a regular basis. Food, temperature, water quality, predators, and evaporation are dealt with by the goofy bike rider, and at least one them must've read enough Thomas Wolfe to know You Can't Go Home Again.

May you find something to feel better near.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Local Wildlife: The Texas Spiny Lizard, A Bobcat Sighting - and Water

Last year, I posted a tiny gecko who was hanging out on our backyard tree, this time it was a huge Texas spiny lizard that was running around on the outside of my mother's home. He was nice enough to run down into a crack and wait there for a quick photo. Until today's research, I always heard these little guys called "fence swifts," but I like the sound of "Texas spiny lizard" much better. This one was at least eleven inches long.

Here is the Wikipedia entry for the lizard in question. Enjoy!

My second and more surprising sighting came a few hours later as we were headed home. It was about 8:30 pm on Highway 84 just northwest of Snyder. Prowling along the fence was a bobcat. A real, live, pointy-eared, bobbed-tailed bobcat! I have never seen a live one in the real world. Snagit, that was awesome!

Here is the Wikipedia entry for the cat in question.

Please conserve water. Here is today's headline:



May your day hold a wonderful surprise!

PS - for you regular regular readers, I am taking a short blog vacation. I will see you again next week!

Don't forget Ride to Work Day 2014 is this Friday.

As always, thank you for reading!

Friday, May 9, 2014

A very quick post about an upcoming Lubbock bike ride

All of this info came from a Craigslist post yesterday. It seems a very worthy cause.


Date: May 21, 2014
Location: Lubbock, TX
Contact: http://bikewtca.org/
Details: The Ride of Silence, May 21, Sign in @ 6:30, Wheels roll @ 7 PM, Start Location is the parking lot on the NW corner of the Intersection @ Texas Tech Parkway and 19th Street. The route is approximately 11 miles and riders must be able to ride at least 12mph. There will be a police escort to block intersections and maintain a steady pace.

WHERE: Hundreds of locations world wide

Join cyclists worldwide in a silent slow-paced ride (max. 12 mph/20 kph) in honor of those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways.

WHY DOES THIS ORGANIZATION EXIST?

  • To HONOR those who have been injured or killed
  • To RAISE AWARENESS that we are here
  • To ask that we all SHARE THE ROAD
Additional Information
http://www.rideofsilence.org/

May you be safe out there!

An American Built E-Scooter(?)




It's no secret - I love scooters and I really love electric scooters. So, I really want to be excited about this news of a Mahindra electric scooter that appeared on Greencarreports.com today, but I have my doubts. Maybe it is just a matter of perspective.

The good parts:
to be built (assembled?) in Ann Arbor, Michigan
large cargo hauling area
well equipped

The neutral:
30 mile range (not bad for the urban rider, but none too exciting for those of us who get around a bit)
not too ugly

The bad:
30 mph top speed - and this is where the perspective part kicks in. 30mph is a bit of a dead zone here in my suburban town. All residential streets here have a 30 mph posted speed. Median speed on our residential streets is somewhere around 35 mph. All non-residential streets in town have posted speeds from 35-50 mph. Median speeds are more like 42-55 mph. And Lubbock drivers grow quite hostile when confronted by someone who has the nerve to travel at less than the median speed. On a bicycle or electric bicycle, it's not as much of a problem. Bicycles ride beside traffic, not in it. But scooters ride in traffic.

I built an old electric scooter, and I like riding it as much or more than any vehicle I have ever ridden. But it has a top speed of 28 mph. (I was shooting for 35 mph, but my calculations were a bit off, snagit!) When it is parked, it is the belle of the ball! Everyone loves it! When it is travelling down the street at maximum velocity, the drivers behind it grow irate. They honk. They ride up as closely as possible. If they get an opening, they dangerously swerve around it. I love that scooter, but I seldom ride it.

She's lovely when parked ;-)

And then there is the other, probably more important part. Americans don't like scooters in the real world. They like them on TV, in magazines, on romantic greeting cards, in a boat, on a mote, etc. But we are a land of wretched excess, and a 150 lb scooter has no place in the land of the 800 lb Harley and the 7,000 lb Escalade. In photos taken outside the US, you will see swarms of scooters parked everywhere. You do not see those photos taken here.

So, Mahindra, I hope your bike does well here. But I don't think I will be a potential customer, at least not until you offer the 40 mile/40 mph model.

May you smile (rather than curse) when you encounter a 28 mph scooterist.


Vote Lubbock


Local elections happen here in Lubbock tomorrow - May 10.

Please do a little research and vote. (If you choose to be uninformed, please stay home.)

I live in District 3, and I really like the neighborhood. I like being near all of the local businesses on 34th Street, I like being centrally located, and (this may sound crazy) I like my neighbors.

But there are things I do not like. I am seeing an increase in trash, theft, graffiti, and vandalism.

Something I watch for in local elections lately (especially for mayor and City Council) is someone who is just as interested in helping people and conserving natural resources as he/she is in maintaining fiscal responsibility. My wife and I sat down a few weeks ago and started looking at this election. It took very little research to find a candidate who appears to be interested in all three and is hopefully less worried about serving a party agenda. After the three-ring circus created by our mayor and city council over the last few years, we are hoping for better.

So, please figure out what is most important to you and then find the candidate that would represent your beliefs.

And vote.

May we end up with representatives who will represent us well and effectively.

PS. Here is my partial wishlist for Lubbock:
More access to and promotion of renewable energy
Stronger and more effective neighborhood associations  (for cleaner and safer places to live)
More focus on conserving water (Less on green grass)
Expanded recycling capabilities (glass and and more types of plastic)
Better solutions for serving our homeless and marginalized populations
Safer bike and walking lanes

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bike to Work Day 2014: Bring it on, Lubbock!



Notice that I am giving you a week and a day head start so you can be prepared.
  1. Invite your friends
  2. Check the air in your tires
  3. Invite your neighbors
  4. Check your brakes
  5. Invite your family
  6. Plan your route
  7. Invite that weird guy down the street
  8. Exercise your expletive hurling
  9. Invite your postman
  10. Hand-paint a t-shirt with the above crappy logo (bonus points for matching undies!)
  11. Invite your co-workers
  12. Find your lock and key
  13. Invite a locksmith
  14. Pick out a bright outfit to keep you visible
  15. Invite a bright person
  16. Buy batteries for your camera and your lights
  17. Invite a not-so-bright person
  18. Dust off your helmet.
  19. Loan your extra helmet to the bright person, the not-so-bright person, or the weird guy
  20. Invite the person you love the most! (Toni Marie)

May you be prepared for a great ride!

Bonus Classic Rock Video: Queen - Bicycle Race

Bonus Frog Video: Kermit Rides a Bike

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Don't watch this video (if you love your stuff)



Yesterday, GreenPeace USA announced their new executive director - Annie Leonard. And I am excited about this! Annie rocks!

Annie has made several deceptively simple videos that not only point out our current environmental problems, but also offer up solutions. Each time I watch one of her videos, I catch myself striving to live better. (I should watch them more often.) In case you would like to strive to live better, here is the first video in the series: The Story of Stuff.

Congratulations to Annie and to Greenpeace USA!

May their mission help us all to create a better place for us and generations to come.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cargobikes: Maybe it's time for a rethink


Welding, snagit! Welding is a big holdup for me as a builder of eco-friendly things. I was a pretty decent welder as a kid, but I had access to a big shop and a very nice and expensive welder. But that was a few decades ago. In the time since then, I have occasionally relied on the kindness of friends (or strangers who wanted money) for some of my welding needs. But most of my welding needs have actually driven me to think of ways around welding. When building my electric Vespa, I wanted to weld up a swingarm to suit my needs. I eventually (ahem) adapted a small swingarm from an electric dirt bike to suit my needs. I am (ahem) pretty happy with that solution, but it is quite far off in form and function from what I wanted to build.

Cargo bikes have been popping up a lot on this blog lately. As much as I love bicycles, the standard bicycle is mostly just good for transporting one person with minimal stuff. If you want to truly replace a car or truck, you need to find a way to haul extra people or extra stuff. So cargo cycles make great sense.

But cargo cycles are expensive. For Instance, the NTS bikes start somewhere around $3500 and go up into the mid $4K range. And I do not question their worth or their value. But I sure question my ability to pull $4K out of the family budget for a bicycle, especially after I spent that kind of money a few years ago on a motorcycle that has proven to be extremely unreliable and has literally spent more miles in the back of a pickup on the way to the repair shop than it has on the street. (Sigh)

Or, you can build your own cargobike for a lot less money, but you need to be able to weld.

For me, lack of money and lack of welding skills (and a welder) have kept me away from owning or building a cargo bike.

But there may be hope for me after all. An article appeared yesterday on Treehugger.com that featured an open-source, modular, cargo bike. And it's very ugly. But that may be just skin deep. And I could (I hope) build one pretty easily without putting a big damper on the family budget and without the need for a welder. Now, where did I put that chop saw? I hope you find this thing as fascinating as I do.
Learn more here at Low-Tech Magazine


May we all find better ways to haul our stuff without destroying the atmosphere for everyone and everything else.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Random Green Stuff That Popped Up Last Week (But Did Not Inspire a Full MH Post)



For my Vintage Italian Scooter Buddies:

An electric Lambretta popped up on EVAlbum.com. Sweet!

1952 Innocenti Lambretta 125D( Electric)


A Really Cool Article on DIY Gardening Without a Yard also appeared. Cool stuff from Make Magazine.


Snickers and M&M beget Big Green energy in Lamesa, TX - I always did like the green ones! They make Pedigree dog food and Juicy Fruit gum too.


May random stuff come together to make this a great week for you, Dear Reader!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Vintage Electric Car Profile: The Very Tiny Kewet


It's no secret that I like oddball vintage electric cars, especially Citicars. On my list right up with the Citicar, though, is the Citicar's sleeker, younger, Norwegian cousin, the Kewet. A kewet popped up on Ebay this week (a fixer-upper) and I thought maybe it was time to do a little featurette on the tiny 3 person car from way over there. So, here are three links in case you want to expand your knowledge on a non-expansive electric car.


Wikipedia: Kewet

Kewet Pickup

The Only Previous MH Post with a Kewet

May you always find a parking space!

Honey, I want to become a Vermont lawyer! (Green infographic)


So I was checking out an infographic (Thanks, Ecopreneurist!) and look around to realize that I was on a website that was encouraging me to study law so that I could look out for the common man who wants to go green.

From the site:
Your online masters degree in law will allow you to make a difference in the world, especially when it comes to the environment. Not only will you be able to promote conservation and help guide more people and businesses to live more sustainable lives, you’ll be able to hold companies that are damaging the earth accountable for their actions. In our next infographic, however, Vermont Law’s Institute for Energy and the Environment concentrates on what self-sufficient, off the grid living looks like...

See the whole thing here: http://environmentallaw.vermontlaw.edu/resources/infographics/energy-independence-a-guide-to-self-sufficient-living/

It's the first time I have ever given any thought to enrolling in a Vermont Law School, but there was a brief flash there.

May you find your dreams without being blindsided!


In Honor of National Bike Month: Cruisers and Rat Rods

My only real sports accomplishment (ever) came in 1978 when I was ranked 10th in the state of Texas in the NBA - the National BMX Association. I was in love with bicycles before that point and I don't seem to have gotten over it.

But the love has waxed and waned a bit over the years. The most recent renaissance happened about 6 years ago when I spotted a Felt Cruiser. Then I looked at more Felt Cruisers. They are cool. If you live in Lubbock and buy beer at the grocery store, there is a good chance you have seen a Fat Tire Felt Cruiser hanging from the ceiling at one of our Market Streets. When I am buying groceries I always swing by and admire the burgundy beauty with the nice rack on the back. (Wow, that sounded wrong!) And I imagine myself riding in slo-mo down a country lane on a beautiful spring day... Well, you get the picture.

This lucky guy won a Felt New Belgium Fat Tire Cruiser like the one at MS



From the Felt Cuisers (Do an image search and see the amazing variety they have produced.) I web-surfed my way around to a site called RatRodBikes.com where I found some super cool customs that regular Joes and Josies had built. I found rat rods that were in my price range and were eco-friendly.

Courtesy of RatRodBikes.com

Then I ran across the granddaddy of earth-shattering-revelation machines for my DIY brain - a 50mph electric Felt Cruiser on Instructables. I fell in love with electric bikes and I fell in love with Instructables at that moment, and now you are reading my blog entry that shows the birth of a few obsessions for me. (Thank you!)

(Sigh)
On a barely related note, I rode my non-electric bike to work today. I am in less than impressive condition right now. I managed to ride 4.76 miles in slightly over 40 minutes and burnt over 450 calories. (Guess who tried out a new app today.) For me, the National Bike Challenge has begun!

May you experience the joy in something healthy that I find in bicycling!

[Update - In a weird bout of instant karma, I checked my email about an hour after posting this and found that I had won a t-shirt from Felt. I entered their Ride to Hawaii contest about a month ago.

May free stuff fall from your inbox today!]

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Challenge Accepted - Lubbock on a Bike

It starts today!



Learn more about this image here.


For me, it actually started yesterday when I went looking for National Bike to Work Day (May 16th). The search led me to The League of American Bicyclists, which led me to the National Bike Challenge. This lead me to sign my overweight rear-end up for the challenge which starts today (May 1st) and goes through September.

Learn more about this image here.

This is my eco-friendly, weight-losing, planet-saving, free gym membership. Actually, it's an excuse to get off my overweight rear end and do something. It's my excuse to spend less time and money at the gas pump and behind the wheel. It's my excuse not to be traffic.


May you find an excuse and may bicyclists be safe!