Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Making it easier to be Green

Hi.  It's the Green Monster here- a.k.a. Ingolstadt.  In recognition of the upcoming Earth Day, I wanted to take a couple of minutes to talk about being Green... Classic Scwhinn 70's Campus Green is the best shade, of course- but whatever.  What did you say, whippersnapper?  I need to what?  Fine.  That young punk of a Blu Bike says I need to introduce myself.  Ok then.

I was born in the Schwinn Factory in Chicago, IL in December of 1973- mind you that was the same year that Buttercup was born, though he wasn't born in Chicago.  I'm Campus Green, and originally had 5 speeds and weighed 42lbs.  I was given to Buttercup by his Father last year when my sibling Metro Cycle made me an extra bike sitting around his garage.  Buttercup "upgraded" me with a new Shimano Nexus 7 speed internal hub group, 700c wheels, a modern riser bar, and campus pedals.  I lost 8 lbs in the process.  Since that photo I've also gotten a rack, panniers, a modern 1 1/8th stem, and a new saddle.

But enough about me.  I want to talk about some things we're working on to help save money and be more healthy and environmentally friendly.  I figure that every mile the Pudgemaster rides on one of us, that's a penny or two savings in the overall health care system, right?  And it's saving him $0.20/mile in gas.  Given where we live, that's pretty much a bare minimum of $5.00 per trip.  Hell, that doesn't take long to add up, does it?

Things we already have to make it easier?

  • The racks, trunk, and panniers.  I wear a traditional bolted on aluminum rack and panniers.  Blu Bike wears a quick release clamp-on rack when needed.  He has a daypack size pannier set.  We share the trunk bag for the racks.  It's a handy bugger.  Blackie considers himself too fragile with all that carbon for any kind of rack- so it's a rucksack if he needs to take anything anywhere.
  • Lights.  We share 2 Niterider Phazer Max super bright LED headlights, and two different superbright LED red tail flashers (one Blackburn Mars, and one Sette).
  • Fenders.  I came with nice fenders from the factory.  The other boys are sharing a set of clamp on  fenders.
  • And BC just ordered us a dynamo generator.  Boy, have those come a LONG way since I was young.  I originally had a bottle generator that powered incandescent headlight & tail light.  They now make front hub generators that seem like a good idea.  But the one BC just ordered is a chain powered model with a battery and USB connection.  We'll let you know how it works when it gets here.  Check it out:

Things we're looking at adding in the near future?
  • a trailer.  there are all kinds of bicycle trailer models out there from home-built rattletraps to $600 models with electric motors (pretty cool).  We've found one we think we can all use with ease and will be very useful.  It's a single wheel model, it's lightweight, it has a bag that goes with it, and it has a kickstand to help hold it and us steady when it is being loaded or unloaded.  The $250 it costs will take 1250 miles to have it pay for itself, but we're not sure that's really the point- is it?  It's not all just about $$$- some of it is about taking steps to do the right thing.  Here's a photo:

  • another thing we're thinking about is LED flashing gloves from Brite-Strike to offer just one more safety advantage to riding at night.  It's a cool idea- since how is anyone going to know you are signalling in the dark?

So get out there and ride your bike to work, or the store, or the gym, or wherever.  Save yourself some money, be more healthy, make your bike happy, and have fun!!

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