Friday, July 28, 2017

Congratulations, your actions do matter! Plus Simple Green-ness!

[It started (as many things do around here) with an infographic. ]

On the internet it's a go back and forth thing- Here are the steps YOU can take to save the planet vs. There's not a darn thing YOU as an individual can do to save the planet. Most of the time I'm in camp one - let's roll up our sleeves and get to work saving the planet!  Once in a while, I get too immersed in the news and camp 2 sneaks into my thinking.

And then there's my love of infographics- those friendly pics with graphs that tell you in a glance lots of stuff you need to know. So I am happy to share with you an infographic that Grist was happy to share with me.

(Eventually, you may see someone post the Mesquite Hugger link, but don't hold your breath.)

I really like the Sierra Club link (above). It describes the creation of this study (and infographic). And it is ultimately practical - when people ask what they can do to stop climate climate change, here are some options you can offer them:

Personal choices to reduce your contribution to climate change

Low Impact
Upgrade light bulbs

Moderate Impact
Hang dry clothes
Wash clothes in cold water
Replace typical car with a hybrid

High Impact
Eat a plant based diet
Switch electric-car to car-free
Buy green energy
Avoid one roundtrip transatlantic flight
Live car free
Have one fewer child

Feeling inspired to make any changes? There's a list. It's not an exhaustive list, but the actions are ones that are pretty easily measured and a great place to start.

And while we are on the subject...look at the list and see which ones fall in the live simply category. Are there any on the list that would cost you nothing? Whether you measure that in money or time, which ones just ask you to do something a simpler way?

For me, it all rolls back to that Personal Carbon Reduction thing and Spreading the Word. So I guess it's time to get back to living, writing  and talking about it. (And maybe I should write a little less about shiny things with wheels.) Our actions do, indeed, matter, so let's get out and do something worthwhile.

For me, it's time to hop on the not-so-shiny bike and make something of the day.

May your days be filled with better choices and may we all be richer for it.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Mesquite Hugger Mini-Post - Craigslist E-Bike Ad

Okay, it's not much, but it (somewhat morbidly) tickled me.

May none of you break your arm while enjoying your high-speed green machine!

Electric Euro Cycles We Can't Have #3: OtoCycle

Today's post takes us to Barcelona, Spain (and a lot of other places). [This one is for Flattracker 23.]
Otocycles Site (Be sure to click the logo when you get there.)
OtoCycles is a Spanish e-bike company that produces four models of hand-built e-bikes. They all look like some type of vintage motorcycle - a boardtrack racer, a bobber, a café racer, and a minibike. Prices start around 3000 Euros (about $3500), but that doesn't matter over here because they (so far) have no North American dealers.

Love the OtoK and (especially) the RaceR, not so much on the CrosS and the OtoR
Specs for the RaceR (Very similar to the other three)
One thing with OtoCycle that will appeal to nuestros norteAmericanos is the available option to purchase bigger motors and bigger battery packs. I weigh about 250 and I really feel sorry for any 250-watt bike that gets suckered into hauling my cuerpo gordo around.
The big appeal of the Otocycles for me lies in the past. One of my favorite vintage cycle brands is the made-in-Spain Bultaco. They also have one of the coolest logos ever:
Thumbs up - let's ride!
Many moons ago I was fortunate enough to spend a weekend riding a Bultaco Alpina all over the area around Cloudcroft, New Mexico. While the controls were all backwards for me, the rides were nothing but thumbs up! Since then I have wanted a Bultaco, and my first choice would be the Tralla.

Does anyone see a remblance?
The Oto RaceR looks a whole lot like the Tralla of my dreams - but it does not run on gasoline - a true thumbs up!
So, check them out, drool a bit, and know that they are not available on this side of the Atlantic.
But wait - you know I would not leave you hanging. Here are some similar bikes that are available over here. They're (mostly) out of the Mesquite Hugger price range, but they're sure fun to look at!
Stuff you can have here in the States:
Hand-built, fast, beautiful, expensive (4 models - made in California)
 4 models (one cargo bike!) neat options, very reasonably priced
Ariel was formerly a prestigious British motorcycle builder.
Three models hand-built in Italy, not cheap -  great attention to detail
Italjet evolved from a prestigious Italian motorcycle and scooter builder.

Three models (plus custom build options) hand-built in SoCal, very expensive!
And for those of you who want a nice cruiser bike down closer to the Mesquite Hugger budget...
The Juiced OceanCurrent $1299 shipped!
May you find eco-friendly wheels that fit your budget, your body, y tu moda!
PS. For those of you who want an electric Bultaco that doesn't look like a vintage Bultaco...

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Electric Euro Scooters We Can't Have #2: Motorman

[Yesterday's post was about the electric Schwalbe - a vintage scooter retrofit to be electric.]

The Motorman was a slow burn when I first saw it - it was just too simple, too European, and too expensive. It took me a while to figure out how beautiful that simple part is.

And it's hard to figure out what it is. It sure doesn't look like a scooter. It's not a moped or electric bicycle - it has no pedals. Really, when you get down to it, it's the distillation to the simplest of motorcycles (but most people won't see, hear, or smell the motor.)

The Motorman is the design of Ronald Meijs, a Dutch designer who set out to build a basic and beautiful eco-friendly urban transportation. He took styling inspiration from the American board track racers of 100 years ago.

(Lots of Mesquite Hugger motivation in the first paragraph.)
(Just ignore the last paragraph's coming to America theme.)

Frame, hub motor, wheels, brakes, and a seat. What could be simpler? No pedals. No chain. No gears. No clutch. Easy to clean, Easy to maintain. Easy to charge. Even easy to haul - it's only 99 pounds.

Just plug and charge

Don't let the numbers bother you - you can't buy it over here anyway.

Do I want a Motorman - oh yeah! But not in Euro-spec. I would want it to be a simple motorcycle capable of somewhere around 45 mph, which should be pretty attainable. But then I'd probably want to mess it up by adding things like suspension and a cushy seat.

How about you? Do you find appeal in this stripped down machine? May you find a scoot that avoids that Wired article's first paragraph!

PS. If you want a cool electric moped-ish machine that you can buy here, be sure to check out Monday Motorbikes - straight out of San Francisco!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Electric Euro Scooters We Can't Have #1: Schwalbe

Happy Fossil Free Friday, y'all!

Since selling the truck, I've been riding the bicycle a lot more, but I've also been riding the old gas-powered scooter. And I have to admit, it's been nice - all that riding with traffic at traffic speeds, getting to work in 10 minutes instead of 25 for the bicycle and it's really nice to make that 100 degree ride home without a whole lotta any pedaling!

But there's that whole burn-the-gas-kill-the-planet thing that really puts a damper on the scooter ride. Yep, I've been jonesing for an electric scooter again.

So, yesterday when the Oogle feed brought up a CNET article on Bosch electric drivetrains which featured an electric Schwalbe scooter, I knew it was time for a re-visit.

I was happy to learn in the article that the modern version of the Schwalbe is being built by the very well respected German scooter manufacturer GOVECS. (By the way, you can buy GOVECS scooters here in the States. I got to check them out at Electric Avenue Scooters in Austin and was very impressed!)
The Schwalbe site where Europeans can configure and order one
Vintage + Scooter + Electric = a happy mesquite hugger, and I (long-distance) love this machine! I like the big wire wheels (great for bad Texas roads) and the bar-end blinkers (the better to see you with) and the capacity to haul a second person and a little stuff. It's a new vintage scoot that treads very lightly. Good stuff.

Out of reach in so many ways!
Like many cool and eco-friendly Euro products, this one is not available stateside, but it sure is nice to dream of running about your daily business like those Milky Chance kids but without all that pesky two-stroke smoke. (I may have to let my hair grow back out.)
May you scoot freely without doing much damage!
Is that the Milky Chance guy again in the Fido video?
PS. If you want a cool electric retro scooter that you can buy here, be sure to check out the Fido - straight out of Kalamazoo!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Batteries and Butt-Wiggles! (Two Eco Friendly Trikes)

It all started with Big D's 9th birthday. He's been wanting one of those little folding Razor scooters, so I hopped on the craigslist and did not quite find one, but I did find this:

It was new, still in the box, and not expensive at all. So I took a gamble.

I assembled it in the living room and was very curious about how hard it would be to ride. So I put my feet on it, wiggled my butt a little, and I was off and wiggling.

It's probably a good thing that I was the only one there. I spent the next half hour drift-triking through the house and grinning huge. The dogs kept barking that I had lost my mind. Those people at Razor are genius! A vehicle that runs on butt-wiggle! I am quite smitten and I keep thinking that I need a slightly bigger one for my work commute. I wonder if I'm in shape for 10 miles of round-trip butt wiggling?

This morning I hopped over to TreeHugger to see what e-bikes Derek Markham has been writing about, and there it was, the electrified adult version of the DeltaWing, or at least pretty darned close to it:

You want details?

  • 250 watt
  • 15 mph
  • up to 30 miles
  • $1500ish Kickstarter intro price
If you want more info, check in with Derek over at Treehugger.


I really like the DC-Tri, but I have one small problem with it - no butt-wiggle is required to get it going. Maybe the next-gen version could have something like pedelec built in - the buttelec! (Should I copyright that?)

May you get your butt moving, give up the gas, and save the planet!

A shout out to Derek and Razor! Thanks, y'all!

Some previous Razor fanboy posts:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Big, Low $ Minibike Returns - Super 73 Scout

It's been all over the e-bike news this week. Lithium Cycles re-introduced the Super 73 Scout model.

Totally googular search results
Mesquite Huggery types rejoice - the Scout is much more affordable than the other Super 73 models and it's probably cheaper than you could build it yourself. If you pre-order soon, you can get one for about $1000. So, if you've been holding out for just the right inexpensive oddball e-bike, your time has come.

A Rose Avenue by any other name...
And if you're truly the Mesquite Huggery type, you can pony up a few hundred $ more and end up with more powerful oddball somewhat-cargo-bike version - the Super 73 Scout Rose Avenue edition. This one has more power and range (48 volts and 14.5 Amp-hours), a rear rack, and some lights. It also has a black frame and red wheels, in case you are into that sort of thing.

Easy-to-compare specs
Are there any drawbacks to the Scout version? Well, there are a few. The first one is that you won't get to enjoy it until (practically) next year - they hope to ship in December. If you're in a hurry, you might want to keep looking. (You can order the $3200 2018 Super 73 now and get it in October 2017.) Also, if you plan to do much pedaling (you know - for more range and more exercise) you may be disappointed to find that this model is a single speed. The other Super 73's have 7-speed running gear.
[A 2018 Super 73 note: It looks like Lithium has thrown out the 2016 model's mid-drive motor in favor of a 1000 watt rear hub motor on the 2018 model. Hmm...]

In case you are missing the mid-drive or want to build your own, here are a few options to check out from Luna Cycle:

One truly bad mamma jamma - make sure you have health insurance!
In case you're wanting a somewhat-cargo-bike version
Okay, that's about it for this big minibike post. May you roll green while re-living your childhood dreams!
A few previous Mesquite Hugger posts about big mini-bikes:
Follow-up on the Big Electric MiniBike (12-1-2016) Lots of 2016 Scout info and pics
Back to the Big Electric Mini Bikes (3-18-2017) A little Scout info

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Free WaterSmart Gardening Classes here in the LBK

So, I was getting situated to read and write this morning when I looked over and noticed a postcard on the board next to me. (When I see "free" and "garden" on the same page, my MH senses tingle.)

With all the rain we've had lately, it'd be easy to get blasé water conservation, but a few back-to-back days at triple-digit temps, and we will be downright crispy again. With a little heat and a little breeze, our evaporation rates will skyrocket. We need to be smart with every drop.
Each class lasts from 10am-12pm and is limited to 30 participants. You can sign up and learn more at the web address above. (I'm hoping to attend the August session at the TTU greenhouse - I like succulents and I have looked longingly into the greenhouses as I've admired the Tech horticultural gardens. All is good!
May we all take advantage of opportunities to learn and make West Texas a little less dry.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

A small saturday ramble

Olla Tomatoes

I woke up this morning and lay in bed fretting over the state of the world and our house. I said a prayer. I kissed my wife. I got up. Plugged in the rechargeable lawn mower. Then I grabbed the re-usable cup and pedaled off to the local coffeehouse.

The compost bins are doing well. The plants in the food-is-free planter and the olla planters are doing great. The tomatoes are amazing.

We've made it a week as a single-car household. Work is going well.

I find myself with less and less to write about.

How about you?

May you have a wonderful day!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Fossil Free Friday: E-Bikes &Cargo Bike Updates Summer 2017

Yep, it's summer time and there's a lot of bike activity from some of the Mesquite-Hugger-favorite electric and cargo bike builders. Enjoy!

Just an appetizer image

Juiced Bikes

You got it, there's another (mostly) new Juiced - the CrossCurrent S. This one is the standard CrossCurrent with some nifty upgrades, so now there're three Crosscurrents to drool over. (Me, I'd be happy with the $1100 CrossCurrent Air for my daily commute.)

Karmic Bikes

Koben V2 with fatter tires

Karmic hasn't really put out new bikes - but they do have significantly updated versions of the Koben and Koben S on the way. The Version 2 models see some distinct changes. The most noticeable on the $2000 Koben is fatter tires. The most noticeable on the $2500 Koben S is the Gates belt drive. Much like the CrossCurrents, these two bikes offer a whole lot for the money. I want a Koben S, snagit!

Xtracycle Cargo Bikes

Ross Evans and the crew continue to expand and evolve their cargo bike offerings.

Find the EdgeRunners here

The EdgeRunner Swoop is a new evolution of the EdgeRunner, and I like it! Be sure to check out their $1800 folding cargo bike and their $600 DIY cargo bike!

Yuba Cargo Bikes

Interesting things are happening over at Yuba. With the recent introduction of the front-loader Supermarché you can see cargo-hauling wheels in motion. They've put out a more impressive version of the Spicy Curry (Bosch motor) and just introduced a non-electric (Sweet Curry) version too. I can't help but think that the writing is on the wall for the Yuba Mundo, especially the bottom of the line Mundo V7 Classic that stays high on the MH list of desirable and attainable cargo bikes. (Where else are you gonna find a $1000 bike with a 400 pound hauling capacity?)

Sondors Electric Bikes

Since our most-recent Sondors posts, Sondors hasn't announced any new products, but I have to give them a high five for their email marketing. Check it out!

Find them here and here

Now, if Sondors will put out a more eco-friendly lawnmower for young entrepreneurs like Zechariah and his brother (not pictured), I will give them a high ten! (Maybe someone needs to put out lawn equipment that can swap batteries with an electric bike. Daymak, it sounds like a job for the Beast!)

RadPower Bikes

Nothing really new at RadPower that I know of, but they still have free shipping and now that we are a single-car household, more than ever, I want a $1600 Radwagon, so I had to throw them in the mix.

May you have happy pedaling, happy hauling, and happy giving up the gas!

PS. If I missed any of your favorite updates to electric or cargo bikes, feel free to comment or shoot us an email!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

More New Mexico and One Less Car

Another Trip to New Mexico, and we became a single-car family this week.

This trip was Ruidoso and Roswell for work and a tiny vacation.

Upcycled Alien Art in Roswell

Some little something was happening in Roswell this weekend.

Mule deer behind the hotel

Mountain clouds over the hotel

It doesn't run on electrons, but it was nice to look at!

One of the nicer rooms we've stayed in lately 

Lots of butterflies and moths

Where's the log lady when you need her?

Lots of butterflies

So good to be near running water

What a Lark Roswell can be!

Find it here

I'd love to tell you that our decision to sell our old truck (bought it new in 2003!) was an altruistic eco-statement designed to show the world and all the petroleum producers that we don't need them, but the truth is that it needed a costly repair and we needed to pay down a little debt. Even so, I am glad that we have one less gas burner in the stable, that we won't have to pay for insurance and registration, and we can hug the local mesquites a little tighter. I'll try to keep you posted on how it goes to be car-less in the Lubbock heat.

May you find joy and wonder in all your travels, and may you strive to create a healthier world for all.

PS. If you find yourself in Ruidoso, be sure to stop by the Happy Hiker and say hello to Rich and Anna. It's a cool shop with some great upcycled and sustainable products, and they are just plain fun to talk to!