Cycling in May – Wrap Up

Another good month in the saddle. I am continuing to build milage up and and getting a lot more comfortable riding longer distances and times. Had a number of accomplishments to be proud of and am starting to define what I am looking to get out of my riding.

May Results

In May I logged 336.69 miles over 10 days for 33.67 miles averaged per ride. My longest ride was on May 3rd for 75 miles. This is up over April where I also logged 10 riding days for 246 miles or 24.6 miles averaged per ride.

I also biked all the way into work and back home for a total of 47 miles in just under 3 hours of riding time. That was definitely one of the coolest rides all month as I hadn’t ever rode through south phoenix and was unsure of the route. It turns out to be one of the nicer bike friendly parts of town I have been in. No SUV’s creeping in on me and I just enjoyed it a lot. If you haven’t biked to work I highly suggest it, and if you have let me know in the comments.

My last ride of the month was definitely the best I have felt on a bike in many years. It was intended to be a short and sweet routine jaunt but ended up being a great exploration of East Chandler and Gilbert. I even did some Video Blogging, let me know what you think (be gentle =).

Overall my riding is getting stronger each time I go out. I just feel better and more comfortable. I am also focusing more on my form: using my legs and not my upper body to power the pedals, focusing on pushing forward at the top of the stroke and pushing back and the bottom, and keeping my shoulders and hands relaxed.

June Goals

I know that I missed logging a few rides this month and that frustrates me a bit. So the first goal of June is to log everyday regardless of the distance. I am going to start logging my saddle time and distance at the end of each day.

Another goal is to implement a training program. I am reading a few books right now and will have something planned out tonight. This will help me to focus even further and add to more progression. To this end I have decided on the Program 2: To Ride A Better Century from The Complete Book of Long-Distance Cycling. Its a 10 week program which will have me ready to go about Mid August. I am shooting for a 20MPH average with a finish time right around 5 hours.

Long Term Goals

Along with the training program I need to setup some goals to accomplish. My

I am looking at a few events in the fall for pushing my distance rides further but what I really want to do is ride from my home in Chandler, AZ to Tucson, AZ and back. Taking back roads I estimate that to be about 212 miles.

Ignite Phoenix – Lets get this party started!

Meet up with Jeff Moriarty this weekend (if you can reference the name then you know how cool Jeff is already, if not then please look up Sherlock Holmes and eat some soap) to discuss getting Ignite Phoenix started up. The catalyst was a post on twitter regarding yet another tech networking group for finding and funding projects in the area. The general feeling for tech people is that these are more of the same: boring presentations trying to sell us on something we might be interested in but since the presenter is so worried about offending possible funders they cut it down to something that is boring and predictable.

Ignite is an O’reilly concept with the intent of getting the presentations down to a minimum but throwing a bunch together for diversity and unpredictability. Then you let the audience congregate with the ones they like the most and take it from there. The focus is on the culture and if the projects succeed that is great, if not then cool people got together and laughed a lot.

Right now we are looking for venues to hold it at and presenters to present. Give me a shout in the comments there or at the projects website here.

Windy Wednesday Grudge Match

Fought a bitter wind from the West today. Felt like the four horsemen were riding in and I had to show them it wasn’t time yet. Hadn’t really thought of riding out till I jumped in my pool and relaxed a good bit. After treading around for a few minutes I got the bug to ride and since I had just spent some dough on new equipment there was no good reason not to go. So I donned the new Pearl Izumi Bib Shorts, Descent Jersey, and Bell helmet (first cycling clothing purchases in over 10 years!) and rolled on out on my trusty carbon/aluminum steed.

As soon as I hooked the right out of my sub division and headed west the wind was in my face like a long winded argument that you didn’t necessarily want to get into, but once you are you grin cause you know you got it licked. I am not an overly spiritual man but there are things that I like to give meaning to that isn’t necessarily scientifically verifiable, either that or I just like to make shit up. One of these beliefs is that Wind has a personality and sometimes you get the same ones and a lot of the time they change up. Sometimes they change up in the middle of a ride. Todays ride was an angry wind. It was shifting all over; mostly it came from the West but some times a bit North or South just like someone throwing a tantrum: you got a decent idea of where its coming from, but there are a lot of curve balls that you weren’t expecting. My new suit felt like armor and this angry wind was getting cut to shreds as I sliced up Alma School towards Guadalupe and I knew I had it licked.

My methods for choosing a route vary a lot. Today I opted for Extension Road north to Rio Solado Pkwy west into Tempe. I had done this with a Sat group ride a few weeks earlier and it was a good time. I knew that once I turned onto Rio it was going to be a full on grudge match with this angry shifting bastard of a wind but I am good at lying to myself and distracting my mind with thoughts about life and the day I had, etc. When I made the left onto Rio it came on full force and I backed my gears way down to keep the RPM’s high. Its a nice downhill into Tempe so I felt good.

However once I hit the 101 underpass things changed. First of all my friend the sun said hasta for another day and secondly my other friend, mr.downhill, changed to flat land. I championed the cause and gave a futile laugh as this bastard wind thought it had me licked. On I charged through to Mill Ave where I flipped Windy the bird and took a left south through the shops on Mill and over to College for a nice sprint back into Chandler.

From there the ride was a spinfest. I met up with a few other riders and we had fun trying to make each other puke by maxing out at 30mph through the neighborhoods of south Tempe. Got some funny looks from people walking their dogs and a few cars were caught off guard trying to cut in front of us. Got in at about 8pm for a 1 hour 37 minute 27 mile ride.

Here is the map of the route, calling it the Rio 27, very original.

I think I will go for another ride tomorrow, suckas!

Bike to Work Day – A Success

Last Friday, May 17th was National Bike to Work Day and while I woke up to a flat tire and settled for the bus, many others participated. How about you?

Discontent with higher gasoline prices and happiness over the nice weather are credited with the 20-plus percent increase in participation this year. Maybe some of them will keep riding throughout the summer. : Biking Bis – Bicycle Touring and More

Record-setting Bike to Work Day in Seattle area

Canvassing for Obama in Chandler AZ

So I finally got off my lazy butt and got involved with the effort to make change happen in the country that I love. Last Saturday I went to Chandler Arizona and met with a bunch of really enthusiastic Obama Supporters and Canvassed Democratic Voters to sign up for Mail In Balloting. It was one of the more rewarding things I have done in many years and I am ready to do it again.

Some neat Statistics that I overheard:
-80% of voters registered for Mail In Ballots actually vote, compared to 40% or worse for regular registered voters
-When there is a record number of voters actually voting Democrats win the elections.

Here are some pictures, it was a lovely beautiful day:
get out the vote
canvasing chandler
political action women

Please ask the Governor to Veto HB2017!

From the Sierra Club:

Please ask the Governor to Veto HB2017!

Thank legislators who supported Clean Cars and Clean Air.

There is still one more vote to be counted relative to HB2017. That is the Governor’s. While she has been extremely supportive of the Clean Car Rule and very engaged in the Western Climate Initiative, I think it is important to let her know that there are lots of people out there who support a veto of HB2017.

Please take the time in the next couple of days to send Governor Napolitano a quick note asking her to please veto HB2017 Now: greenhouse emissions; regulations; fuel economy. This bill sends the message that Arizona does not want to do its part to clean up the air or reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. That is the wrong message to send.

If it becomes law, HB2017 will undercut “Clean Car” and clean air programs and significantly restrict Arizona’s ability to participate in regional efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions as well as other pollutants.

You can contact the Governor at or go to and type in your message. Call 602-542-4331 or outside the Phoenix area 1-800-253-0883. You can also contact the governor via mail at: The Honorable Janet Napolitano, Governor of Arizona, 1700 West Washington, 9th Floor, Phoenix, Arizona 85007 or by fax at 602-542-1381.

Also, please take the time to thank the following legislators, all of whom voted against HB2017 and all of whom recognize the importance of taking actions to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While the legislature is acting irresponsibly as a body, these individual legislators stood up and did the right thing. I have included their email addresses for your convenience. Please thank Representatives: Ableser, Bradley, Brown, Cajero Bedford, Chad Campbell, Chabin, Farley, Gallardo, Garcia, Hershberger, Lopes, Lopez, Lujan, Miranda, Pancrazi, Prezelski, Schapira, Sinema, Thrasher, Tom, Ulmer, and Young-Wright

Representatives DeSimone and McGuire were absent. Everyone else voted for the bill.

If you would like to contact representatives who supported the bill and express your disappointment or dismay, you can find contact information for all legislators by clicking on HOUSE or paste this website into your browser or you can call (602) 926-4221 or outside the Phoenix area 1-800-352-8404 and just ask to be connected to House members’ offices.

Thank you for taking action on this important issue!

Sandy Bahr

Conservation Outreach Director

Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter

202 E. McDowell Rd, Suite 277

Phoenix, AZ 85004

Phone (602) 253-8633

Fax (602) 258-6533

Want Clean Air? Get out of Phoenix

Besides not being able to get to work and setup a Budget for Arizona the State Legislators also want to repeal what little work they have done this year. Most notably is the Clean Car Program and the ability for Governor Napolitano to participate in the Western Climate Initiative. This is really an offense to all intelligent citizens in the State of Arizona. You are doing yourself and injustice by not calling your legislator and complaining about this. Use this site to find your Legislator and call them immediately to stop HB2017.

From the Sierra Club:

May 12, 2008

For Immediate Release: Contact: Sandy Bahr (602)253-8633

Diane E. Brown (602)318-2779 (c)

Arizona Legislature Seeks to Thwart Clean Air and Clean Cars Efforts

Today, the Arizona legislature passed HB2017 intending to put the Clean Cars Program on hold and also make it impossible for the Governor to effectively participate in the Western Climate Initiative. This effort comes less than a week after the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council voted in favor of the Clean Cars Program citing the legal authority for Arizona to proceed once the federal government acknowledges the right of the states on this issue. In passing the Clean Car Standards, Arizona joins 13 other states, over a third of the U.S. market.

The Clean Cars Program known for limiting health-damaging pollution from automobiles and paving the way for the widespread introduction of technologies such as hybrid-electric and fuel-cell vehicles, direct-injection engines, advanced transmissions, improved air conditioning systems, and other technologies with the potential to reduce pollution, previously received a unanimous recommendation from the Governor’s Climate Change Advisory Group (CCAG). The CCAG was comprised of diverse stakeholders including utility, business, public health, environmental, tribal and other leaders.

Aside from the stakeholder process, over 75 small businesses and organizations from across the state have stated their support for the Clean Cars Program in Arizona. In addition, thousands of Arizonans have written letters, signed postcards and sent emails to urge the advancement of the Clean Cars Program.

“There are only two options for a state: either the federal standard or the clean car standard. The clean car standard results in cleaner air and lower total transportation costs,” stated Jeff Schlegel, Arizona representative for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP). “The federal standard results in dirtier air and higher total transportation costs due to higher fuel use and gas prices. It is time to stop the delay tactics and move the clean car standard forward in Arizona.”

“Republicans for Environmental Protection does not believe that good policy is made when the sole intention is to thwart action by agencies previously given legislative authority to act,” said Tina Beattie, Arizona coordinator for Republicans for Environmental Protection. “We also are concerned greatly by removing Arizona from the Western Climate Initiative as Arizona’s economic interests need to represented within the region.”

“Through their vote to put the Clean Cars Program on hold, the legislature failed to see the warning signs of global warming in our state and ultimately took a wrong turn,” stated Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG). Brown pointed to the auto industry as leading the charge against the Clean Cars Program in Arizona and states across the country and added, “The auto industry needs to shift gears from spending money on lawyers and lobbyists trying to halt clean air improvements to putting cleaner vehicles on the roads to reduce the brown cloud, decrease asthma attacks and provide some relief to consumers at the gas pump.”

“If we leave it to the big utilities and the auto manufacturers, who brought this bill to the legislature, Arizona would just sit on its hands relative to cleaning up our air and reducing the emissions that contribute to global warming,” said Sandy Bahr, Conservation Outreach Director for the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter. “Fortunately, most Arizonans and the governor support a different strategy – our health, our economy, and the future of our children depend on us acting now to address these critical issues.”

Free your Finances – Wesabe one Week in

So I have been using Wesabe for a week now and am really enjoying it. After getting over the initial paranoia of putting my bank info into a 3rd party service its been a veery eye opening experience. The final jump that got me over this part was reading their ‘Data Bill of Rights’, I am firmly based in the philosophy of The Cluetrain Manifesto and The Cathedral and the Bazaar and it seems this group has that focus down very well. Here is a video interview with the founders.

After uploading my bank content I then had to identify my purchases by 1) giving them a name that made sense and 2) tagging them with, well, tags. For #1 I am referring to how your bank gives you these awesomely unuseful names for your purchases, like: MC-Shell-Mazatlan-Hegel-1234Columbine-#$haha which means you used your Debit Card at the Shell down the street for gas. The cool thing is that once you name one purchase from that location all of them are updated! For #2 I am referring to the tag craze that web2.0 has brought upon us all. If you use or flickr then you know what these are and if you don’t its not a big deal. Basically you are putting some general names to your purchases so that Wesabe can group them together for you. So for a gas purchase I am gonna use – gas, car, transport. These tags are also applied to all purchases made at that location. If you want to apply specific tags to individual purchases you can do that for example – game, fellas – for the time you went to a baseball game with your buds and had to get gas.

This part takes some work but the way Wesabe is setup with all its super slick web2.0 scripting makes it really fast and kinda fun. I had some 200 entries updated in just 2-20 minute sessions. Once you have done all of this though you are in business as you will have to update occasionally as you make purchases at different places and maybe for the one time tags, but now you can start analyzing your spending and earnings in a nice and quick fashion. The more you use the tags effectively the better your analysis becomes. So be sure to put food on both restaurant and grocery purchases so that you can see how they lump together and separetly. You can then review all of the regular analysis – daily, weekly, monthly, etc. This is fairly normal budgeting stuff, but I like the format and the video game feel of the site, though the responsiveness can be a bit sluggish at times.

Getting back to the progressive stance of the site there is a recent post from one of their investors talking about the recent addition of a Tips section. This allows you to compare where you are making purchases and where other Wesabe users are making there’s to figure out if you are getting the goods or the shaft. “Great” you say “but there are tons of places to do this.” True and here is what the VC says:

The difference between user contributed reviews and actual user spending data is in some ways obvious and in other ways subtle, but profound. On the obvious side, the first thing Joshua Schachter, the founder of said to me, when I mentioned the idea was “how cool – you can’t spam it”. There are lots of reasons why someone might slant a review, but how many folks would buy more shoes just to promote a shoe store. The subtle distinction is more interesting. Someone could give a fancy, expensive restaurant a five star review after visiting only once. That review will be helpful to some, but others might find it a lot more useful to know that the anonymous reviewer of the five star restaurant ate there only once, but visits the unpretentious Italian place down the street five or six times a month.

and continues…

With the announcement of the new Wesabe Tips tab, the company has enabled consumers to anonymously share spending and satisfaction data, shifting forever the balance of power between merchants and consumers in favor of consumers. By waiting until they could offer the convenience of automatic uploading without compromising their users ownership of their data, they have reinforced their reputation as a trusted partner.

Wesabe also lets you take your data with you at anytime as stated in the Data Bill of Rights listed above. This means they are really interested in the Open Source Model of making things happen. As another blogger points out:

The key for Wesabe, is that they have turned that data over to consumers, and redress the balance of information power that has existed. Banks know everything about consumers, and not vice versa; Banks are paternalistic towards consumers, and that is in large part a result on unequal information and knowledge.

This is very cool stuff. Add to that the long standing Goals and Groups function and you have a very interactive and engaging tool to help people with their finances. Sure there are more powerful tools out there and of course any accountant worth her salt will tell you that Excel is all you need, but I am not a power user nor am I an accountant. I am not a checkbook balancer except in my head so Wesabe is a welcome tool for me and those like me, who are many. Oh and for those Mac users, like me, they got a Widget!

More Reading:
Good article at lifehacker
-comments from co-founder Marc Hedlund, Wesabe
VC talking about wesabe new features
-had link to site below
VC of wesabe talking about tips feature
-Brad Burnham
Wired article from 2006
“Imagine Quicken in a web interface with the tagging powers of Flickr and you’ll pretty much have Wesabe pegged.”
Wesabe faq

Super techy stuff you can do with Wesabe:
Something grabbing the API
Wesabe API with the Mac App Quicksilver

A Blogshop in Chandler of all places!

Just got out of a really fun workshop Stop, Blog and Roll! with Biray. It was a really good intro to the subject and Biray is not only very knowledgeable about the topic but also a great presenter. She definitely has passion for blogging and getting others to do it.

This was fun because its a topic that I know a lot about and its always nice to meet others with that passion. While I still havent completely figured out what Desertstandard is about I have a refreshed energy to keep going.

St Pattys in Chandler

I don’t know about you but my fall-down-drunk days of green beer are retired. Nowadays I am much more interested in outdoor festivals with bands and lots of people. From the sounds of it Chandler is gonna have a pretty good try at it this year with their first annual St Patricks Day Festival.

Its right downtown south of Chandler Blvd on Arizona and starts at 4pm till 11pm. Its being organized by the non-profit Downtown Chandler Community Partnership.