One for Obama

I got in line this morning shortly after 6am, waited about 30 minutes, and cast my vote for Obama. Not too shabby for what’s expected to be a huge turnout.
No matter who you support, get out and vote today.

Low Car Diet Begins

This morning, I went downtown for the start of the Zipcar Low-Car Diet program. For the next month, I have to keep my Honda Civic parked and try not to drive it. For some of the participants, they’re trying to avoid using any car at all, using only Zipcar and public transportation.
I threw myself right into the thick of it, taking the train downtown for the kickoff event. Then after the event was over, I had to figure out how to get to work. I took the train to the West Falls Church Metro, and just narrowly missed catching the shuttle to where I work. Instead, I hopped on the 3T bus and ended up walking about a mile to my office. It was warmer than I would have liked, but I succeeded. On the way home, I just have to walk .25 miles to catch the bus, then walk about 1.5 miles the rest of the way home. The best part so far is that I just started a new book this morning, and I’m 86 pages into it already.
Oh yeah, and if you click on the Zipcar link above, you can find me under the Washington, DC participant list. Mine is the third picture, the giant eyeball. They’re supposed to update those pages when we send them emails about our progress. Mine should be interesting this week, since I have to pick up Lisa and the kids from the airport tonight. Unfortunately, the Toyota Matrix Zipcar isn’t available when I need to pick them up, so we’ll have to take Metro instead. Ellie will be thrilled: airplane AND train both in the same day!

One Lucky Guy

A couple of weeks ago while browsing the Fatwallet forums, I stumbled across what seemed like a sweet deal: Sign up for the Zipcar “Car-Free Diet” plan. You agree to keep your car keys in your junk drawer for just one month, from July 21st through August 15th. In return, you get a loaded public transit pass, a free 1-year Zipcar membership, some driving time and more goodies that we’ll tell you about a little later.
Seemed like a no-brainer, so I signed up and waited. And waited. Turned out, they only took 30 people from each area, not everyone who signed up. But, lo and behold, I was one of the chosen 30! Schweet! So on July 21st, I’ll be downtown for the ceremonial key-relinquishing (they give them back, but I don’t anticipate needing them). Coincidentally, that night, Lisa and the kids will be flying home from Detroit. Luckily, they are arriving at National airport, so we can take the Metro back. I could also potentially pick them up in one of the Zipcars, but the kids do love the train.
As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve done damn well riding my bike to work pretty much every day, so I don’t think it’ll be a big deal to keep doing so. The fun part will be the stuff I send in to them to document my experience. I’m planning on taking pictures of the receipt from my last gas fillup (June 26), my odometer which shouldn’t move, and maybe some video of my ride to/from work, especially the part where I pass over the packed Beltway while on the trail. It should be a lot of fun.

I feel obliged to mention that yesterday, a young woman riding her bicycle was struck and killed by a garbage truck in DC. The driver apparently never saw her. There is also apparently a bike lane on this road, but it’s not clear whether she was riding in the bike lane or not. Either way, it’s certainly a wakeup call to everyone to pay attention when riding, driving, or walking. My heart goes out to her family. Ride safe out there everyone.

Obama the Bike Geek?

obama-bike.jpg

Politics really piss (pisses? what’s the conjugation there?) me off sometimes. This picture of Barack Obama taking his kids for a bike ride has been roundly mocked as “nerdy” or “geeky.” The reasons given: the helmet and the tucked in polo. What the hell is the guy supposed to do? If he wasn’t wearing a helmet, he’d get absolutely blasted. No one looks good in a bike helmet. (Side note: it seems odd that he only has one strap going under his chin. All bike helmets I’ve seen have a triangle shape coming down from the helmet, meeting under the earlobe, then a single strap from there under the chin. Strange.) I suppose you could argue his fashion sense for tucking in a polo, especially into jeans, but damn people, I wear a freakin tucked in polo nearly every day at work. It’d look pretty sloppy if it wasn’t tucked in.
It’s unbelievable to me that this kind of shit is what people are focused on while the dollar is tanking, gas prices are through the roof, and soldiers are dying in Iraq. But please, let’s go ahead and criticize the man for wearing a fucking helmet and tucking in his shirt instead of focusing on the issues.

Bike geek side note: some people have noticed that the bike didn’t seem to fit him particularly well. I’m not totally sure on that, but I’m not an expert. In one of the pictures, his leg does seem to be almost fully extended at the bottom of the pedal stroke, so he might raise the seat only slightly. More likely, he probably just needed a slightly taller frame, and he would have been good to go.

Update: And yes, I am White and Nerdy.