Saturday, June 24, 2017

Back on Texas Time (New Mexico photos)

Work had me in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos (New Mexico) this week. I thought I'd share a few pics:


Organic Transit Elf!

Sandia Peak (ABQ)

Santa Fe

I love grackle art!


The Rio Grande Gorge

You know me and old trucks

and microbuses

and stickers

May your journeys bring you mirth, beauty, and a lot more green!

Cisco, Texas on I-20

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

So, what is your [BIKE]? (Not really a bike post)

This week I have found myself with some free time to blog, but I have also found myself with little to say outside of advertising which e-bike, e-car, e-scooter, or e-motorcycle is on sale.

So, I want to get back to one basic idea - Personal Carbon Reduction (PCR), or, for you Bob Sharpe readers - Burn Less Carbon (BLC).

It's the whole idea for this blog - finding ways to stop or lessen our negative impacts on the world we call home. Sometimes Most of the time, that message gets muddled in all the shiny and appealing new stuff featured on MH.

But the basic steps are pretty simple:
  1. Find out where you are doing damage.
  2. Look at ways to reduce or stop that damage (and that fit in your version of a budget)
  3. Get to work.
  4. Encourage others to jump into step 1.
  5. Find another step 1 for yourself.
  6. Lather, rinse, repeat (unless you went the no 'poo route.)

For me, that looks like:
  1. Use personal carbon calculator and learn that I need to quit burning gasoline.
  2. Teleportation, Electric Car, Electric Motorcycle, Bicycle - yes, I already have one!
  3. Air up the tires and join the National Bike Challenge.
  4. Blog incessantly about bikes and electric bikes
  5. Use personal carbon calculator and learn that my food has a big ol' carbon footprint
  6. Meatless Monday, Food-Is-Free Planter, Ollas, Home Composting...
So, what is your [BIKE]?

May you find your [BIKE], conquer your challenge, and shout it from the rooftops encouragingly!

Monday, June 12, 2017

What Sondors has been up to (Electric Bikes)

One thing I've enjoyed watching with Sondors is the hop-up culture that has risen with it.

Take my friend Grizz and his two Sondors. They arrived as single-speed, 350 watt bikes with 36 volt batteries but without LCD screens. He immediately ordered aftermarket controllers and LCD screens and he has been making plans for more powerful motors, 52 volt batteries, and seven-speed running gear. And a lot of Sondors owners follow similar paths.

That's just not the case with most other electric bikes. There are now companies that offer exclusive lines of products dedicated to the Sondors e-bike.

Having grown up around old cars and motorcycles, I recognize it - a new extension of the hot-rod culture. If it keeps people interested in green vehicles, I am all for it. But let's get back to what's been up at Sondors. They've introduced lots of new-ish products lately.

Now they offer all of the upgrades Grizz has been hoping to make - seven-speed bikes, 48 volt batteries, and 500 watt motors in several variations.

The 7-speed versions, the Sondors 7 ($699)  and the Sondors Thin 7 ($599) retain the 36 volt battery and running gear but now offer some upgrade options like larger batteries, front suspension, and LCD screens. Each upgrade will add $100 to the final price.

The Sondors X ($899) is same as the Sondors Original ($499) but it upgrades the running gear to a 48-volt-17.5-amp-hour battery (!) and a 500 watt motor and controller. Optional upgrades include front suspension, an LCD screen, AND 7-speed gearing. A fully loaded Sondors X will cost you $1199 (plus $150 shipping).

Sadly, there is no Sondors Thin X. :-( (If, like me, you want a Thin X, check out the Juiced CrossCurrent Air - $1095 shipped).
[For those of you wondering about the Sondors Fold, check out our previous post to learn more.]
[And for those of you who just can't get excited about electric bikes, you might want to check out the Sondors electric car.]

Hopefully, this will help you satisfy some of your Sondors curiosity.

May you find the perfect fossil-free ride for you, and may it be your ticket to good clean fun, even if you have to hop it up a little!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Fossil Free Friday - Electric Scooters

Since Grizz, Mendi, Fester, the Loi-Yer, Double K, and Melissa are headed to the Texas United Scooter Rally this weekend, it seemed like a great day to throw a few electric scooters up for Fossil Free Friday.

Grizz' red Vespa and the Mesquite Hugger E-Vespa
Earlier this week, Derek Markham posted about a new electric German scooter. (Or should that be "German electric scooter"? Where's Noam when I need him.)

I'm always excited when I run across a new electric scooter so I popped on over and found a pretty standard little scooter that
  • looks a whole lot like a 2006 Yamaha Vino
  • has a 28mph top speed
  • 30 miles of range
  • is available only in Europe. Snagit.
 But, then I remembered that we have a similar scooter available over here. The Genze 2.0.

And the Genze may not be all retro-Yamaha stylish, but it's got a nice list of virtues:
  • It's vastly slightly faster (30mph!)
  • It has the same range - 30 miles
  • No insane Teutonic import tariff -  it's made, or at least assembled, in Ann Arbor Michigan!
  • It has a removable battery pack, too!
  • You can buy one (in Texas) for less than $3000!
  • And, it's a 2-wheeled pickup truck! (You know me and electric pickups.)

(A pretty small pickup truck)

The pickup bed even inspired a weekly contest!

So there you have it - two emission-free electric scooters to help you get off the gas, keep it in the ground, clear the air, and generally make the world a less stinky place.

May you live in a less stinky place that you helped to create!

PS. In case the Genze 2.0 is not your thing, be sure to check out the Fido (my favorite), the Boxx, and the Monday Motorbike. - three very different approaches to electric scooters.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Simplification (Almost) Railroaded by DIY Electric Truck

[Blogger warning: this one's a rambler.]

I fell off the wagon this week. I may need a new 12-stepper.

The summer of 2017, for me, is to be the Summer of Simplification. What that means is LESS by whatever means necessary. I scaled back on the gardening this year. I've been blogging less. I have lots of stuff up for sale. (Let me know if you're in the market for an old Vespa or two, an electric convertible, a half-finished electric truck project, a bicycle or several, my old high-school hot rod, or a whole bunch of Star Wars toys I've had since 1978.) It's a year to clear out the garage, get rid of some debt, and to try to find a way to stress less and live more.

A really big part of the SoS plan is to not acquire or create any new projects. (We all have our vices, and dreaming up and investing in new projects seems to be mine. Completing projects - that's not my vice.)

So, I've quit buying parts, bikes, and how-to manuals. I've quit going to swap meets, flea markets, and garage sales. I spend less time on Instructables. I try to shop only in places that offer food and the absolute necessities. I've even been steering clear of construction dumpsters. I've been really good up until a few days ago...

I was riding home from work on the mountain bike Tuesday and I wanted to add a (very) little terrain to the commute. I rode down a few alleys. And there in the middle of town sitting in the weeds outside of a backyard fence - a little 1939 Dodge pickup. Drool. Slobber. Yearn. Back when I was looking at vehicles to convert to electric, early American pickups made a lot of sense, and snagit, they're so cool!

So I remembered this electrified Dodge truck:

All I'd have to do is steal the motor and transmission out of this unfinished project I have lying around (and should probably sell).

Then I hopped on Craigslist to see if anything similar was for sale. Nope. But I did find this little guy:

The little Courier would make a great electric truck, it's here in town, and it costs about the same as a Sondors electric bike (which is still not in the Mesquite Hugger SoS budget).
While I had $800 1974 Ford conversion candidates on the brain, I went back and checked out the 1974 Econoline:
But I talked myself back out of it pretty quickly and moved on to early International Scouts and then back to the Courier and then back to the old Dodge and back to my original unfinished Mazda project which then brought to mind the unfinished Silver Pigeon scooter projects...
And now, I am worn out, but I'm back on the wagon and trying to get rid of stuff, ride the bike, and get life down to a simpler place.
May you finish what you start and may your wisely-chosen green projects benefit us all.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Distillation: How little do you need?

The sky from this morning's bike ride

A front porch, some coffee, a little quiet, some birds - yep, I'm happily boring!

One of my favorite things to do lately is sit on the porch, drink coffee, and watch the birds.

It's been a stressful couple of years. I often find myself nervous.

But sitting on the porch with dove, grackles, starlings, sparrows, and a rotating cast of others, I don't feel nervous. Normally it's lightness and mirth - at least until a neighborhood cat starts stalking or I find the bottom of the coffee cup.

I don't spend that time fretting about bills and broken things and being needed. I spend that time in my favorite type of prayer - thanks.

Distillation, simplification, minimalism.

What do you have left when you remove the things that distract you?

Where does this all fit into Mesquite Huggerism? Well, there are two well-trodden paths to green - through technology or through simplification. And as much as I'd like a 3-d printed off-grid smart house, a self-driving 150mph silicon-valley speedster, and a fully automated greenhouse, I have to admit that I love time spent on a junky old bicycle and that nothing tastes better than the olla-watered tomatoes we've been growing on our front porch.

So, if you see more posts about the simpler approach, you'll know it came from front porches and sparrows.

May the wheels on your your bike go round and round, simply, quietly, and thankfully.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Texas Vintage EV Dork Alert: an ElCar in Keller!

I know it goes without saying, but my EV-geek heart leapt a little when I ran across this little beast hunkering silently on Dallas Craigslist. The armature in my brain started turning.

That's all, folks!
Okay, so there's not a lot of info to share, but there's a 1975 Zagato ElCar for sale in Keller,Texas for $1200. (And it needs some restoration work.)

Keller, in case you are not familiar with it, is in the DFW Metroplex just a little north of Fort Worth.

One thousand-two hundred dollars. Hmm. That's $399 less than a Radwagon or $105 less than a CrossCurrent AIR. (But both of those have free shipping.) Then again, I'll be headed to DFW soon with a small trailer, and the ElCar would fit on a small trailer. It would probably fit in the back of the pickup.
But it's gonna need batteries - they all need batteries. (Wait a minute, I have batteries that would get it going.) The brakes will need to be re-done - the brakes always need to be re-done. It's gonna need tires. The little guy is gonna need at least a gallon of Turtle Wax and at least three gallons of Elbow Grease.
And then there're all the unknowns - motor, controller, charger, wiring, contactor, potentiometer (throttle), etc.
And insurance and registration and inspection and...

Okay, I'll pass. The next electric vehicle I purchase (if there is such a thing) needs to be plug and play so that I can actually use it as low-carbon transport. Yep, the ElCar would be a restoration hobby, but not immediate (if ever) transportation.
So, okay, which one of you is up for the challenge?
May your green projects lead to greener living.
(But, snagit, that thing is dorkycool!)