Sunday, January 31, 2016

Lubbock on a Bike - Why I Ride

The bike is one of my two big pushes for this year. The Lubbock mayoral race is heating up, and a safer town for biking is an issue I want to push, so let's discuss why.

I am forty-seven years old and I am obese - machines, mirrors, and doctors tell me so. I also have high blood pressure - again with the machines and doctors. I am obese and have high blood pressure because I have made a lifetime of lazy choices in food and transportation. In an effort to reverse these problems, I started commuting to work on a bike.

I have lost (some) weight and my blood pressure is improving, and some other things have improved too. I am happier. I like my town better. I have less anger. I have more energy. I am even eating better.

But lately I have backslid. I have gained a little weight. I have less energy. I like people less. I have even gotten depressed. Me and cookies? We're tight again.

What happened? At the beginning of December I parked the bike. I allowed cold weather and holiday traffic to temporarily discourage me from riding. After the holidays a big snowstorm hit and cold weather prevailed. The bike gathered dust in the garage.

Life is better when I ride.

On a bigger scale...
...the bicycle has bigger virtues. Most of those virtues involve treading lightly. The opposite of treading lightly is having each of us hopping in a 4,000 pound gas-powered vehicle every time we have a small errand to run. The same lazy choices that made me fat and unhealthy have led us (collectively) to even bigger problems. Each time we choose a car over a bike we choose to damage the air we breathe and we actively promote the destruction of soil, water, and the ability for life to thrive. We have reached a point where we understand the damage we are doing, but we choose the short-term comfort of easy (and poor) choices. Petroleum consumption also encourages us to be unethical in our acquisition of more oil. We love cheap oil no matter who we buy it from or how much damage it does. Those of us who live near the oilfields see the unemployment we create by buying cheap middle-eastern oil. It is a vicious cycle that leads us all to wonder why our society is going to hell in a handbasket. Everybody grows more hopeless, then we jump in our cars, drive terribly, and make each other madder and more hopeless. (Personally, I would rather see us pursue homegrown renewable solar, wind, etc.)

A simple question - are you happier or less happy after your drive to work, school, etc.?

[I blog (Yes, I know, this is a Why I Ride post...) to keep myself on track for making healthier choices, both for myself and everyone around me. What I'd really love, as a human and a blogger, is a revolution of healthier choices for all.]

Why I ride? The decision to ride is a series of small but impactful choices: a less damaging commute, a happier life, better health, and a simple way to make life better for all. (By the way, I also like how much money I save by riding, but that's a topic for another post.)

May you find a way to make your own healthier choices, and may we see more people on a bike.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Keeping it real(istic) - Mesquite Hugging Plan for Spring and Summer

This is one of those pie-in-the-sky versus reality posts where I lay out the plan for spring/summer.

Vehicles, Stuff Purging, Garden, Compost, Local Politics, National Politics (Those last three may be a bit redundant.) These will be the focus.

Find it here

Carbon-Free Transport -I rode the (electric) bike to work two days this week. None too impressive, but much more so than most recent weeks. And it felt really good to be back on the bike. My body hurts from the exercise and I am glad. It is a start. (Spencer - the National Bike Challenge - Bring it on!)

On the bicycle front, yes, I have been drooling over cargo bikes, but I think I will pursue fixing up my tiny bike armada to cover most needs. Two main transportation bikes - the Motobecane mountain bike can transform into more of a commuter with light cargo capacity, the old Bridgestone can turn into a workhorse electric bike with heavier cargo capacity and the ability to pull a trailer.

(Speaking of cargo bikes - two big emails this week:
The Xtracycle Leap is now available for pre-order at $600 for the basic kit. has a deal where you can register to to win $500 off of either of their two bikes.
The Mesquite Hugger looked at his budget and decided to keep riding his old bikes with small upgrades.)

ElectroPigeon 1 is most likely on hold for this spring and summer - too many other big projects demanding my attention.

The Pigeon Dream may have to wait 

Electric Car acquisition - not yet. Come on cycle weather! (Unless I find that mythical Upgrade to Electric grant or person who wants me to haul off their electric car. Anyone?)

Speaking of acquisition, I hope to do the opposite - it's time to get rid of stuff. Anyone needing a Lambretta, a Vespa, a Voloci (electric cycle), a half-completed electric Mazda pickup, or lots of other unwanted stuff - let me know. It's time to make some breathing room. I am open to bartering more than trades. I am tired of being owned by stuff!

Gardening - Stepping this one up in a big way. The overall goal is to put a significant amount of home-grown food on the table and to offer a healthy place for local bees to get their grub on. I will continue the olla gardening and the Food is Free project and I hope to build a dome greenhouse in the backyard utilizing pallet lumber and dome connectors.


Composting - Okay, it's a bit oxymoronic, but I am lazy and I like to build stuff, and the world offers a never-ending supply of compostable material. (And mice really appreciate the wooden compost box I am using.) So, I want to build a barrel-based compost tumbler. I learned last year that being a decent composter makes one a more successful gardener.

Politics - Locally I hope to campaign and work for better biking and pedestrian improvements. Nationally, it is time to get more involved with the Citizens Climate Lobby.
How about you? Any plans to green your routine? To cut the carbon? To de-stuff-ify?
May your plans lead to actions and may your actions lead to a better life.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Wanting Green Stuff - with Polar Bear Bonus Material

It's that balance. (I think I am blessed to be broke these days.)

I keep finding myself wanting stuff to make my daily steps more eco-friendly. There are bigs and littles.

 [Bigs] Topping the Bigs List - a cargo bike.
I want to do my best to give up (gasoline) driving a car as much as possible. A bike that serves my commuting and hauling needs could go a long way in making that goal attainable. ($1800ish for a Radwagon, maybe better when Mr. Evans announces pricing on the Leap) Kylie the WunderMutt is holding out for a cargo bike too.

[Littles] But I don't really need a cargo bike.
In many cases, the greenest option is the one you already have. I am two tires, a front basket, and some panniers away from a bike that will haul moderate loads, and I have a bike trailer to haul bigger stuff (and Kylie). I could even build everything but the tires. (maybe $40-$150 and four hours of work)

[Bigs] Second on the Bigs List: an Electric Car.
I have finally backed away from wanting a MiEV (mostly) and have been drooling over used Leafs. ($10,000 will buy you a very nice, low-mileage Leaf these days.) It would be linguistically cool to say I drive a Leap and Leaf! Nissan's none-too-pretty but has-a-great-personality electric car could keep me moving in all weather and I could take people with me! But $10K is just not do-able right now, and it would not haul much stuff. As for a more classic approach, I ooh and ah over Citicars but the little doorstop is just not that practical as an eco-friendly people mover.

[Littles] Rain gear and all weather tires for the bike could go a long way toward lessening my "need" for an electric car. And maybe some testosterone supplements to encourage me to aggressively confront the West Texas weather. (It may be time to toughen up, Coffee Cup - it's hard to call oneself "Buttercup".) I may also need some industrial strength deodorant. (What's the going rate for tires and testosterone?)

Find it here.

[Bigs] Go solar.
Yep, it's a big ticket item, but anyone who is obsessed with personal carbon reduction is going to struggle with powering the home with coal and natural gas, and those are currently our only options with Lubbock Power and Light and Water. Just think how clean and green the Leaf would be running on solar power.

More information here.
[Littles] A Home Energy Audit and follow-up repairs.
The next best thing to producing renewable energy is to burn considerably less dirty energy. A lot of energy escapes our house through windows, doors, and the odd hole in the ceiling. There're some less than-energy-efficient appliances lurking in our home too. There're even some bad energy habits that linger. A little focus in this area could reap big energy benefits (and save a little money to boot.)

Yes, I know. It's a stretch. (Find it here.)
[More of Middle] A Greenhouse.
If you have been reading along this week, you've probably already seen the shower door plan and the geodesic dome plan. A greenhouse can be built very inexpensively, but the time involved in building and maintaining and the money spent planting and nurturing - those can be daunting. On the other hand, it's hard to beat this level of locavorism for nutrition and personal carbon reduction.
Hi, Annie!
Yep, I keep struggling with wanting stuff. I guess I better go back and watch the Story of Stuff again.
May the stuff you do (and don't) buy lead us all to a healthier place! 

Monday, January 25, 2016

DIY Tiny Biosphere

Do you ever stumble your way into somewhere else?

I have been looking lately ways to build convertible greenhouses and dome greenhouses and other garden structures. Sure, I have plenty to do, but spring looms. So, how did I find myself looking at a Make article on making your own mason jar biosphere? I blame it on the ghost shrimp.
Ghost Shrimp Care, Feeding, and Breeding (It gets a little personal sometimes.)
You see, crustaceans fascinate me. If you have ever watched a crawdad having lunch, you might feel the same. Part of it is just the alien-ness of crustaceans - once you get past the two eyes and a mouth thing, they just don't look much like us.

Ghost shrimp have that crustacean appeal - not only are they radically different, but you can see through them. (I am very thankful not to have that attribute, but it might make for healthier eating habits - "You've been eating Snickers again?!!!!")

So, for those of you dreaming of a greenhouse or aquaponics system but keep telling yourself that you don't have the time, money, space, chutzpah, or whatever, this may be the project for you.
May the scope of your DIY project be just right, and may your shrimp, snails, and plants thrive!

Friday, January 22, 2016

How does your garden grow in a dome?

I know. I know. It was just a few days ago that I was posting a shower-door greenhouse design. But then something possibly cooler popped up - an easy, cheap, and recycled geodesic dome frame. The same me that loves Earthships and and container houses has also been a dome fan for most of my life. Buckminster Fuller is the man!

Checking out cheap greenhouse plans, I encountered an ad for So I went to the site. I checked out their videos. I checked out their prices. I started scheming and dreaming. But I balked a bit.The connectors are very reasonable, but the lumber...

 I am thinking a Medium (and maybe a Small to serve as my fortress of solitude/birdwatching blind)
There are two problems with the lumber. First, and most important, is that we need trees more than we need boards. We need trees to absorb and sequester carbon. Trees are massively important in sustaining life on Earth. Want to clean the air? Plant more trees. Want to have a shot at slowing or reversing climate change? Plant more trees. Want to be part of the problem? Keep cutting trees down or encouraging others to cut them down. Second, I constantly skirt the fine line between cheap and broke. So, I let my enthusiasm for building a dome greenhouse waiver a bit.

Even so, I sent links to Knippa, Grizz, and my lovely wife to share the cool idea. Last night before dinner, my wife mentioned something that made the dome much more do-able - she has access to some reclaimed pallet lumber - 42 inch sections of 2x4. And they are pretty much free. There went my lumber issues! I love it when a plan comes together.

Ain't that cool?

So, now we have the frame figured out. Where am I going to find a recycle/salvage solution for the covering? (If you have any suggestions, please let me know.) And how do I want to make the door? Can I squeeze an aquaponics setup in there? Will it make my tomatoes look fat and my gardening dreams come true?

May your green thumb be doubly so and your leaves be monstrous!

Cargo Bikes Again? Going Low $

Ross Evans sent me a teaser email this week. (Ross, you're killing me!) Ross is a cargo bike pioneer and the guy who designed the Xtracycle FreeRadical - a high quality kit that allowed you to turn your favorite bike into a cargo bike very easily and inexpensively. He is  a legend in the cargo bike world.
As I learned about and started wanting a cargo bike, I decided that a FreeRadical was the way to go. So I went to the Xtracycle website and learned that they were no longer selling the FreeRadical, snagit! They were designing a replacement kit (the Leap) that would come to market soon. Practicing patience...
Here is Ross' email:
I keep watching my inbox. The Leap is very high on my list of desirable cargo bike options (with the Yuba Mundo and the Radwagon.)

 In the meantime, I have been checking out other lower-cost options for those of us wanting a cargo bike. I have found some interesting stuff in the under $1000 category. Let's start with a longtail. (Yes, the longtails are my faves.) The least expensive full-framed longtail I have run across is the Sun Atlas. I will let the Amazon ad do the talking.

Strangely enough, this model may have been discontinued. You can find it on Amazon, but the version on the Sun website is smaller (and much less expensive.) While you are there, check out their Atlas trikes. There is some cool stuff lurking in the three-wheel section.
Speaking of trikes, this may be your least expensive option for scoring a cargo bike. Check out this Schwinn trike from Amazon that costs little more than the shipping on the longtail above. My grandmother had one of these - we had great fun trying to figure out how many neighborhood kids would fit. Definitely worth a look for people on a budget (and for people who are scared of tipping over.)
Next up is the Virtue Truck. Virtue is a San Diego-based bike company with some very cool bikes at very reasonable prices. They have two other (very tempting) cargo bikes that fall just above our $1000 cutoff price, but they are definitely worth a look. (Search for the SchoolBus and the Gondoliere.)

We've featured the nimble on MH before. If you have the right situation, this thing is high quality and low dollar at $149 (but the wheels are tiny.)
Nimble Scooters (Check out the Urban)
 The final bike is from another American bike company, Republic Bikes out of Florida. The bike is the Socrates Cargo Bike. I love the look of the Socrates and I have to admit that I have entirely too much fun every time I visit their site - you can try out every possible color variation and combo before deciding on your particular brand of eccentricity. If I had a business that offered bicycle deliveries, I would get a fleet of Republics to do the job and advertise. If you get all crazy and order one, be sure to get the three-speed option - multi gears make a big difference when you are hauling lots of stuff. When you visit their site, be sure to check out the cool and inexpensive Plato Bike and the bike Republic built for the Google headquarters.
There you have it, folks - lots of droolworthy cargo bikes at prices that won't break the bank. If you have (or buy) one of these or know of others that aren't listed here, please share.
May your stuff get hauled greenly and may your health and joy grow with each ride.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Where we almost went - and may still go


Yesterday's post was somewhat recycled. While there are over six hundred published MH posts, there are more than fifty that are unfinished and may never seen the light of day. These are working titles for most of the blog posts that never made it to the Publish screen. Some are well thought out (by MH standards) and some are a few words, a photo, or a link. Yesterday's post was about 2/3 complete, so I finished it up and set it out there. Here are some more:
  • *The Motorcycle Fallacy ($)
  • The Dwindling Middle Class: Mesquite Hugger's Outlaw Status
  • Low Hanging Fruit - Conservation at Home
  • Challenge to Change
  • *DIY Greenhouses
  • How do I want to change this year?
  • La Fea y la Bonita - One Guy, Two e-Bikes
  • Bird Life Betterment
  • The Carbon-Munching Garden 2015 Wrap Up
  • We Lost My Older Brother One Year Ago Today
  • Another DIY Bike Trailer
  • Middle Class Near the Oilfield
  • *To Be a Car-Friendly Cyclist
  • National Drive Electric Week Shorts
  • *How much do you pay for cool?
  • Green Consumerism (It's Tricky)
  • Introverted Sidebar: Do You or Would You Write?
  • A simpleton's wishlist
  • Rain Chain
  • *Solar Car
  • dog poop (compost the crap out of it)
  • Eco-Consumerism Conundrum
  • Crows vs Ravens vs Grackles
  • The Earn-A-Bike Co-Op
  • Dome House
  • Bike Angel
  • *Mesquite Hugger Math
  • Route 66
  • Cargo Bike Family
  • Petroleum-Free Transport - How it started for me
  • How well can you afford to eat?
If you see an asterisk beside a title, there is a very good chance that post will eventually be finished. The others, well, let's just say they are composting. If there are any you'd like to see resurrected, let me know.

May your published list greatly outnumber your incompletes. Have a great day, and thank you for reading!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

When possibility and reality collide

Possibility. I have a small problem with it.

When my eyes see this:
My brain sees this:
 The problem is this. The next photo is the van I bought for myself on my 40th birthday. It needed a clutch, a battery, and tires when I bought it. I planned to do all of that, paint it, re-do the interior, and make it very roadworthy. I even entertained ideas of making it a plug-in electric van with a roof-mounted solar rack and a bumper-mounted veggie-oil generator to charge the batteries on road trips. I even dreamed of driving it to exotic places - like Waxahachie!

Here is what it looked like when I sold it five years later:
In five years, it got a clutch, a battery, a heater core, a radiator, new wheel cylinders, electronic ignition, seatbelts, and tires. The longest trip it ever successfully took was to Slaton, Texas. (About 15 miles away.) The longest unsuccessful trip it ever took was to Levelland, Texas. About halfway there the radiator exploded. (I am surprised that Spencer still talks to me after that trip.) It came back home on a trailer.
You can probably see where I am going with this. If not, buckle up.
It's possibility that gets me. Craigslist and Ebay and swap meets, these things get me every time. Drivng through small Texas towns filled will cool and rusty junk - oh, the temptation. Retro, vintage, resto-mod. It's why I love hippie vans, rat rods, Citicars, Italian scooters, and fat-tired bikes. It's even why I'm drawn to tiny houses.
But these days, I find myself drawn to the Nissan Leaf and the Radwagon - things that have the possibility of instant motion and usefulness, things that deliver me quickly and efficiently to my eco friendly goals and things that offer more peace than a dust-covered project ever will. These days I want ready and dependable. I will leave cool to the cool people who have the desire and the time.
Is this progress or digression? I am honestly not sure, but I want to roll green - not wrench greasy. Is that so wrong?
May your reality be better than the possibility you're not choosing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Brainstorming the Greenhouse - Veggie Shower-O-Rama!

I feel an Instructable coming on. (This time it's Knippa and the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store that are to blame.)

Knippa is my hero lately. He took a corner of the garage, used a whole bunch of salvaged materials, and built himself a scooter workshop worthy of admiration and envy. He does that kind of thing a lot.

(Just showing off my wicked Powerpoint skills!)
Grizz and I were over at Keith's place checking out the shop (and stealing some salvaged lumber) and I noticed a pair of glass shower doors leaning against the wall. On the day before, I had visited the Habitat Re-Store and noticed a number of glass shower doors for sale. The overactive brain started its slow burn...

Hinges make everything better!

You see, I have been jonesing to build a greenhouse. Watching all of our Food-Is-Free Project garden plants wither and die this fall made me want a greenhouse to extend the growing season. The greenhouse could also be helpful in reducing evaporation in our oh-so-dry climate. It could be built from mostly or completely salvaged/recycled materials. If I paint it blue, I could find out which of my friends are Doctor Who fans. Shower doors have tempered glass and have frames that help with mounting hardware.

Will I build a greenhouse this spring? The odds are probably not in my favor, but I have taken the first step - I have a plan.

Are you looking for similar inspiration? Then check out this page from Inspiration Green. (I like the one with the red sliding door!)

May your winter daydreams be your spring reality! As Keith likes to say, "Eat locally, Mesquite Hugger!"

Monday, January 11, 2016

Cargo Bikes and Dogs? Yes!

Years ago I had a vision of me in my later years. I had an archetype to live up to. I have known several guys in their 60s-70s who were/are supremely cool characters. They had been around enough to garner some wisdom and patience, even some generosity. If you had a project in mind, they were always helpful with the how portion and occasionally with the why you shouldn't portion. They tended to be wise in matters spiritual, financial, and ethical. They helped to define the MIWB concept for me.

Strangely enough, they all drove older pickups and usually had a very trusty dog nearby. (Small sidebar: dogs were not fashion accessories for these guys - they were trusted and loyal friends. Generally speaking, I like dogs much better than people.) My vision of future me cruised around in an old sweptline Dodge or an Econoline pickup, and my dog rode in the cab - never in the bed.

But times have changed. I am trying my darnedest to give up the gasoline, to have a lighter footprint, and to be healthy enough to actually make it to old-guy-ness. So there goes the cool old truck, and I am going to need a really tiny dog if I keep riding a standard bicycle. (I tend to like my dog friends more in the medium to large range.) I am not ready to cruise around with a teacup poodlehuahua in a papoose, so I am thinking I need a cargo bike.

(See, I did make it around to cargo bikes eventually.)

I have been subscribing to emails and tweets from many electric bike companies, and the Rad Power people have generously emailed me on a regular basis. This week, they are even speaking my language. They seem to know that I have been jonesing for a RadWagon (drool) and they seem to have picked up on my love of dogs. So they sent me a customer-made video of a guy and his dog who took a camping trip on their new electric cargo bike. (Sigh)

Kylie and I prefer flannel, but we do love a sammich!
In reality, it's not the most exciting bike video on youtube, but for a guy who spent his Sunday afternoon installing a new-ish toilet in an old house, the bike-and-dog trip looks like a much better way to live. And Kylie (my velcro wundermutt) has had a faraway look in her eye lately.

See that faraway look?

Yep, the old guy I wanna be definitely needs a cargo bike. (The middle-aged guy I wanna be would like a cargo bike now so that it can look old like me when I do.)

May your vision of future you be a supremely cool character who rides green, has great adventures, and does his/her/its part to save the world for future generations of dogs and people.

Speaking of dogs and people, we really need to come up with the dinero for two RadWagons. My lovely wife and her less-velcro wundermutt Mattie have had that faraway look too. (My wife does not prefer flannel, but a good PB&J usually brings a smile.)

Mattie (and Kylie) enjoying the good life!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Crowdfunding a Katharine Hayhoe Project? I am in!

Global Weirding. I like it already.

To start, let's talk about Dr. H. There's a good chance you have not heard of her unless you're an eco-geek or an undergrad. She is a climate scientist at (Lubbock's very own) Texas Tech University, and she has gained international fame and respect for her contributions to her field and for her ability to communicate complex issues in very relatable terms. (If you want a better understanding of this ability, hop on youtube or Netflix and watch episode 1 of Years of Living Dangerously. As an added bonus, you can see that army dude from Iron Man as well as Han Solo/Indiana Jones in the same episode.)


Needless to say, this blogger is a big fan of Dr. Hayhoe's work (and we have to support our hometown heroes), so...
...please watch the video, check out the campaign page, and consider funding this project to foster common-ground communication in our deeply divided society.

Text from the campaign page:
In this series, we're going to tackle all the climate change issues you’ve heard, head-on. How do we know this thing is even real? Why do scientists say it's humans, and not natural cycles like it¹s been every other time? Is climate change causing the crazy weather we see today? Does fixing climate mean we have to shut down the economy? Why are the Pope and the National Association of Evangelicals piling on? And why do we climate scientists get so much hate mail? Money and politics, God and global warming, every topic we avoid in polite conversation—we're going there.

May better communication lead to action and hope. 

A More Beastly Beast - How Did I Miss This?

I have to give it up for Daymak, they keep me on my toes. They keep offering up new stuff and it's very appealing stuff. I have a hard time keeping up with them. Unlike those !@#$% stooges at TransCanada (Ugh!), these are some Canadians who are trying to offer something positive to the world.

This time, it's a bigger, badder Beast - this one is two-wheel drive and runs 30mph! And it's only $300 more than the Beast Ultimate. If the normal Beast was just too citified for your taste, this is the Beast for you - the Beast D!

So, let's look at specs:
  • 2WD (You can hang with mountain goats who hang out on 36 degree slopes!)
  • removable 60 volt 20 amp-hour lithium battery (with a solar panel built in)
  • 2 - 500 watt hub motors
  • 2 USB ports for your electronics
  • It weighs only four pounds more than your favorite blogger
To be honest, I am not in the market for a Beast, but my less practical rugged manly side sure wants one. I want to be able to say things like, "I am going to hop on my eco-friendly Beast and run over your TransCanadian a##, b*****s!" and other macho Captain Planet kind of stuff. I want to be able to get away from it all and know that my transport is sitting in the sun charging itself while I'm off doing manly things like writing poetry and looking at birds through a monocular. When I see a muddy alley, I want to think Hell yeah! Let's see what the neighbors are throwing away! Yes, I want a 2wd 31mph Beast. Now where did I leave that $4300 I had lying around?
May your Rambo fantasies feature a beast and some quest or another to save our battered world.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Communal Electric Scooters - Gogoro and Scoot Network

I have admired the Gogoro from afar, but I have resisted writing about it here. I love the idea. I love the design. I love the scale. I love the low-carbon mission.

But I have figured it's an idea that would stay on the other side of the world.

Until now. There may be hope for electric scooter fans in the US (all ten of us).

The deal with the Gogoro is that it's not just a cool scooter - it's a cool scooter that comes with its own infrastructure that keeps you from worrying about range anxiety or charge times. The creators of the Gogoro focused on swappable batteries and battery swapping stations - the whole package. Yep, you scoot around until you're low on electrons. Then you pull over to a battery swapping station. You swap out two small-ish battery packs. Then you hop back on and scoot away fully charged.

It's a cool idea, but you need several scooters and several battery stations to make the whole thing viable. And this is America where we don't much care for scooters and electric vehicles aren't faring that well either.

Gogoro article from Fortune

If you read through the article you learn that (a) the Gogoro is going like gangbusters in Taiwan, (b) that they are headed to Amsterdam next, and (c) then they are looking at the States. You also learn that (d) they had a presence this year at the CES (Consumer Electronics show) in Vegas, (e) they would like for you to nominate US cities that would be great candidates for a Gogoro network, and (I am really jazzed about letter "f") they are looking at selling Gogoro scooters with chargers for people who do not live in a place where there is a network. Yep, there is a lot of exciting news there. Gogoro fans rejoice!

As a DIY sidebar, I have this goofy dream of being able to build my own vintage scooter that take advantage of the Gogoro battery swapping network. My (unfinished project) ElectroPigeon and I could very happily hop on that scootwagon.

So, North Americans, if all of this scooter network infrastructure talk has you drooling and dreaming and such, you are (sort of) in luck. On this side of the planet (San Francisco), there is a setup that's vaguely similar. Really, it's more of a bike share program that features electric scooters, but it's still pretty cool.

Yep, you can pretty easily find yourself scooting around the city by the bay on a bright red electric scooter. I wonder if they have locations near the City Lights Bookstore (one of my lifetime dream destinations)...
May you find yourself electrically scooting about a beautiful place (or your dingy home town) and enjoying the ride sooner rather than later.
PS for those of you who read yesterday's post:
Here is what greeted me when I logged in this morning (and it felt much better than watching an odometer roll over on a car):
PPS for Knippa - Can we set up the Lubbock Gogoro battery swap station outside your oh-so-cool scooter workshop?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

MH 2016 and a Big Old Smudge of Vanity


I realized at 9 o'clock this morning that my button-down collar was not buttoned down. I have lots of those moments where I realize that something is unbuttoned, unshaven, not tucked in, or smeared with something gross and has been that way for hours. I need to mirror check myself constantly (but I don't.)

On the other hand, each time I log into my computer I zoom to the Mesquite Hugger blog stats to see how many people are clicking on. We all have our vanities, and this blog is my biggest. [My ego cries out, "Please read my blog - my self-esteem depends on it! I need the validation!"]

More to the point, I have this vanity because I love writing this blog. On the days when I don't blog, I still write. I have since 1989. I love to write. While there is a lot of vanity in it, there is also a lot of searching for a better path or a better understanding. I hope each of you has a way in which you can check yourself before you....get yourself in a nasty collision.

In the next twenty-four hours, Mesquite Hugger will receive its 25,000th page view. Thank you!

So where do we go from here?

As spring looms, the two biggest focuses will be bicycles and gardening. Both play readily into the quest for Personal Carbon Reduction, for being healthy, and for saving money. They also fall squarely in the middle of the MIWB (man I want to be) theme that is my brain's elevator music.

Bicycle themes:
Hauling cargo
Electric versus pedal-only
Car replacement
Bike lanes and safety
Any cool DIY thing, Instructable, or crowdfunding thing

Gardening themes:
More Ollas!!!
My new plan to build a convertible - a raised bed, self-watering garden that turns into a greenhouse in spring and fall!
Larger quantities
Composting and (maybe) another attempt at vermicomposting
Another run at small-scale aquaponics

Other stuff that will definitely pop up on MH:
electric cars for common folk (and ways to charge them)
vintage electric cars
getting off the gas (and diesel and coal and so much more)
solar power
recycling, upcycling, and conservation
pet adoption
alternative housing (tiny houses, earthships, shipping containers...)
wildlife conservation and appreciation
less stuff - more life
(hopefully) electric Pigeon progress

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May you be blessed with joy, health, and optimism in 2016, Dear Reader!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Lubbock Poor Boy Electric Almost Cargo Bike Plan

I've not progressed much since high school. Some might even say that I have regressed, but not me. I used to sit in class struggling to keep the old brain engaged. It wandered off a lot. You could see it in my notes - drawings of things with wheels. I drew Lamborghinis, muscle cars, and occasional VW Beetles.
These days I sketch less. I still draw things with wheels, but they are greener and cheaper. My artistic skills definitely haven't improved. This drawing is from late December:
A sketch of the plan
Pretty basic stuff -  mountain bike frame, rear rack, front basket, front hub motor, bottle battery, and a connection point for a one-wheeled trailer. This is my current vision of the carbon-neutral family truckster. While it's no Yuba/Xtracycle/Radwagon (of my dreams), it is the dream bike of my budget. I think I have all the pieces except for suitable tires, a front basket, and the time to get it together. I also need to make some panniers or saddlebags or whatever, but I have most everything else.

(Coincidentally, my mother has a new decoration on her end table and it bears a strong resemblance to my sketchbike.)
So, that's the new year's electric bike plan. I hope to share pics relatively soon.
As for the non-electric pedal bikes...
The Motobecane
...the old Motobecane mountain-bike-turned-commuter will get a small rack and better all-weather tires...
The front wheel wobbles a bit.
...and the mountain-bike-turned-bmx will hopefully get an unbent front rim.
Why all of this mid-winter bicycle scheming?
Well, it's time to get back on the bike and to do what I can to lighten the damage I do in my commute. It's time to get healthier. It's time to save some money. It's time to take a step closer to the man I strive to be.
Three upcycled-garage-sale-bikes - will they be enough to keep one fat boy from burning much gasoline in 2016? Will they keep me burning fat? I will keep you posted after all of this snow melts.
May your plans for a better, healthier 2016 - be they great or small - flourish!