Take a gander at these fun bicycle related links

28 03 2010

Urban Electric Cars

Firstly here is a link to a story on the Australian ABC’s Catalyst programme. It’s definitely worth watching for Dr Jonica’s stack at the end. It’s a story about the MIT City Car and the MIT Green Wheel.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say the MIT City Car is a better type of electric car than other electric cars, because it is not much bigger than a bicycle. I also like the idea that it is going to be rentable, like a bike share scheme, and of course there is nothing to say that there couldn’t be the one scheme with the two hireable vehicles, the pedal bike, and the small footprint electric car. And such a scheme would work best, if all other cars were banned from a city’s streets, and if they were limited in number to a level such that congestion won’t occur and their price was linked to the current demand for hiring them. The bikes would always be cheaper by at least three fold, but when the car price rockets in the peaks, the rentable bikes would still be the same price. Of course private cars would be banned from the streets, but the privately-owned bike would be welcome, and you could spec it out with trailers and electric motors as you saw fit. If the electric cars were then speed limited to 25 km/hr when a bicycle was detected in proximity to the car, the road surface could be shared, and there isn’t a need for separate cycling infrastructure.

Anyway enough about the Catalyst story.

“Dave on a Bike

The Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador is one dog better than the Mexican state of Chihuahua. When I travelled across Newfoundland in 2007 I discovered the joy of listening to the Vinyl Cafe with Stuart McLean. There are free podcasts available on the web and sometimes they’re a little hokey and sentimental, but on the whole I love it, and think it is the world’s best radio show. This week’s story is “Dave on a Bike” and it is hilarious. Get it here at the CBC , (you can also subscribe to the podcasts here) and it is much the same as any of the shows. (If unsure if you want to subscribe, listen here to see if you like his style in this story about the boy who went over Niagara Falls. Definitely it is worth a listen, as is last week’s show, a repeat, sacre bleu, about Winnipeg, and it has great music from the Weakerthans) He has a bit of talk, this week about Gander, Newfoundland. (I’ve been to Gander twice, once landing there to refuel because of headwinds on an Icelandair flight from Reykjavik to Halifax, and the other I went there by choice, and neither time did I go and visit the Gander Airport Lounge, apparently the 8th Wonder of the World) Then it has some nice music and then it has a story about Dave, the owner of the Vinyl Cafe. This week the story is bike related and as I said it is pretty funny.

The Gander Airport lounge is a 1950’s modernist wonder. If you think that means yucky poo architecture, then I recommend a visit to the Oslo City Hall, or even in St John’s, Newfoundland, Confederation House is quite a handsome building. (Update: so many people are getting to my blog looking for info on the Gander Airport, after hearing the Vinyl Cafe Show 🙂 – here’s a link to a picture of the mural)

I went to Newfoundland to look for the Golden Spikes. A Golden Spike, or a GSSP (a global standard section and point), which shows the stratotype where a division in the geological time scale has been placed, is like one of these. This one showing the base of the Ediacaran Period at Enorama Creek in South Australia. Above the line it is Ediacaran rocks (a cap carbonate), less than 635 million years old, and below it are Cryogenian rocks (a tillite), older than approx 635 million years old.

The Ediacaran is when the Ediacaran, sometimes called Vendian, fauna, existed. There are some Ediacaran aged fossils at Mistaken Point, Newfoundland, and I went there, but didn’t find them. Somewhere down on those slabs apparently:

I also went looking for the base of the Cambrian period at Fortune Head at the end of the Burin Peninsula, and apparently the stratotype of the base of the Cambrian is somewhere amongst those rocks, but I didn’t find a little bronze disk. Anyone know if there is one?:

And I went to Green Point over on the west coast to look for the base of the Ordovician. I found similar to the South Australian palaeomagnetic drill core holes and a few graptolite fossils on the Ordovician side of the point, and I’m pretty certain the stratotype is in one of these layers, but which one, I don’t know. I couldn’t find a little bronze disk.

Later in 2007 I went to Atoka, Oklahoma to find the GSSP for the base of the Katian Stage of the Ordovician, and couldn’t find it either. I’m like the world’s most inept geological tourist.

In bicycle news this weekend I rode my bike only as far as the Manakau Pub for lunch and got a flat tyre on the way home. I’ve written about that route before, Manakau is halfway on the ride from Otaki to Waikawa Beach.

Now if there are any rich publishers out there willing to give me enough dosh to fund a trip where I write a book where I try to go and find (and inevitably fail to find) each golden spike in the world, riding between the sites on an electric bike (and my girlfriend wants to come too, and so that will be two electric bikes and 4 or 6 batteries) then please get in touch. A $100,000 advance should cover it. I’d love to ride an e-bike through Newfoundland, England, Italy, China, Texas, Nevada, and the Czech Republic.

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