To Protest All Pipelines Boycott Oil Companies at the Gas Pump!

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The success so far, and support of The Sacred Stone Protest Camp has been amazing and awesome! The wisdom, authority (in so many ways), and organization of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and others, has led to a halt in construction of the Dakota Access pipeline for now, which sets a precedent. JUDGE DENIES PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION, BUT OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HALTS CONSTRUCTION AT MISSOURI RIVER CROSSING.

The general premise for this protest is that all pipelines leak and pollute water supplies, and that the Dakota Access Pipeline is going right through their only water supply, so they they don’t want it. Seems reasonable. Dakota Access is planning on running the pipeline under the Missouri River.

This happened in 2011 when the pipeline ruptured under the Yellowstone River, Ruptured Pipeline Spills Oil Into Yellowstone River.

NY Times article “Ruptured Pipeline Spills Oil into Yellowstone River” and photo

In my opinion, because of the times where people are more and more empowered to stand up for what is right, enabled by social media and other movements, and because of so many past wrongs, The Sacred Stone Protest Camp has been successful. So let’s build on that, continue to support those tribes, and reduce our consumption of oil.

For decades major oil companies have been destroying water supplies of indigenous people around the globe, like in The Niger Delta. There are unprecedented rates of cancer among the indigenous tribes in that region from all of the oil development. Here is a NY Times article and quote on what the major oil companies have done to the Niger Delta, Far From Gulf, a Spill Scourge 5 Decades Old, “The Niger Delta, where the wealth underground is out of all proportion with the poverty on the surface, has endured the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez spill every year for 50 years by some estimates.”

There were similar, successful protests recently in the Amazon, http://amazonwatch.org/news/2016/0324-indigenous-women-unite-to-defend-the-amazon-mother-earth-and-climate-justice.

There is water contamination, habitat destruction, old growth forest removal, and more happening all over the globe for oil. We can’t burn oil to go to every protest, but we can stop using their product. We can stop giving them our money to continue this shit. Boycott as a form of protest! Ride your bike, use the bus. Don’t give those oil companies your money. Every time we go to the pump we’re supporting what the oil companies are doing.

We can also support politicians like John Kefalis, who proposes bills for a Front Range commuter rail, and is up for re-election in the fall.

It’s easy for me to use a bike for transportation as a life-long cyclist, fit dude with no kids, and my cross-country bike tour hardened me a little. I know cars are necessary for most. But we’ve been duped, tricked and fooled by the oil and auto industry for a century. See my post about the Great American Streetcar Scandal, What do Roger Ratrailer and gas pricebbit, George Bush Sr and Cuba have in common?, or just google it.

We have to treat oil like the precious resource that it is, and conserve it as much as possible. Just because it’s cheap for us, doesn’t mean we should burn it carelessly. And really, it’s not cheap when you consider all of the subsidies it gets and how much our military protects the transport of oil around the world! (see this post, So many reasons for Conserving Fossil Fuels other than Climate Change)

 

Bike Commuting in the Winter, or Urban Mountain Bike Season

winter commuter

If you can dress to ski in it you can dress to bike in it! I’ve often been asked about riding in the cold, and that’s always been my answer. People pay a lot of money to ski in really cold weather, so biking in it is not too different.

Riding in the winter can be tricky, but I think it’s a fun challenge, just like mountain biking. I was not able to mountain bike or do long road rides for a while because of my job and an over-use injury in my hip. So bike commuting in the winter is now my mountain bike season.

There are similar skills required for both:

  1. You have to take your time around corners,
  2. Power through crusty snow and ice like through rocks,
  3. Stay out of icy ruts, or ride straight until you’re out of it.
  4. Use the front brake less and get your weight over the back wheel on slippery hills.
  5. And you get to pull out you’re gear for it! (A good pair of rain pants that fit over jeans will get used a lot in Colorado.)
  6. Be careful and aware of cars! Both mountain biking and biking in snow or ice can be dangerous, but then cars add an additional danger with bike commuting in the winter.

I know that fat bikes are popular and look fun, but you don’t need a fat bike to commute in snowy conditions.

My nineties era 26″ wheel mountain bike works great for me in snow and ice. The geometry of the bike keeps you upright and over the back wheel, instead of forward like a road frame. Also, it’s lower to the ground than a road bike or 29’er, so I feel more stable, and it’s easier to put a foot down.

Like mountain biking, you really have to pay attention to what you’re riding over, and ride appropriately. In the dead of winter when the ground stays below freezing and snow turns to ice, know there are always slippery spots, especially in the mornings and evenings.

The smooth, clear ice is the most dangerous in my opinion. One slight turn, weight shift or brake and the bike goes out from under you.

crunchy ice
Icy, rutty snow
Ice with ruts
Crunchy but grippy ice

 


 

 

 

 


 

Cold, frozen icy snow in January and February (photos above) is much different than soft, wet snow in the spring (below). The cold, icy snow (above) is harder to turn in and get out of the ruts. But you can ride through the wet, soft spring snow easier and turn out of the ruts easier.

Spring wet snow
Soft, wet, spring snow

Tips from Mountain Biking:

  • Lower your seat for better stability and avoiding falls
  • Lower the air pressure in you tires for better grip, but not too much so that you get a flat
  • Use your front brake less, and never on slippery ice
  • Ride straight out of (icy)ruts
  • Power through (pedal hard!) the crunchy stuff like riding through rocks

Some other tips:

  • Ride in the tire tracks from cars, where the snow is already packed down
  • To avoid cars while navigating icy roads use side streets
  • Keep bike inside at night
  • http://barmitts.com/
  • Dry clean chain often and keep lubed. Chains rust faster in winter weather.
  • BE VISIBLE for cars!
  • Wear good boots and waterproof ski/rain pants.
snowbike
Spring Storm April 2013