Sunday, June 26, 2005

Bicycling as a Collective Activity

I just finished a Sunday ride -- Kevin Timon's last as the Joffreys Sunday Ride leader. This is a low speed chat ride, Lowry Park (the Tampa zoo) to Channelside (where the cruise ships dock) at 12 -14 mph. Kevin has been leading the ride for 13 years, and is leaving because of Freewheelers club mismanagement -- they didn't bother to check with him about his plans, and now he's gone. We'll miss Kevin, a most excellent ride leader.

This highlights the collective nature of cycling -- it's safer, more fun and in all ways better to ride as a group. Groups ride faster (drafting), safer (they're more visible) and share resources better (there's at least a extra inner tube and tire pump in every group). So what's the secret to a successful group? I believe it is organization and planning and honesty about intentions -- Kevin's leaving is a text book illustration of lack of organization by the club, and lack of coordination in dealing with the ride leaders. There is a lesson here in management or mismanagement.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Into the 21st Century Saving the World

Well -- the Undying Honda was finally replaced; with a shiny new Super White 2005 Toyota Prius. I've been considering the Prius, looked at the Honda Civic Hybrid, etc., and went with the Toyota. Reasons were: higher mileage, 60/52 v. 48/48; hatchback that will hold a bicycle (or two) v. a microtrunk that's lost 10 cubic feet to the new battery; and a truly vicious torque steer because of the two small electric motors on the front wheels. The Prius has a bottom up design and the Honda seems more cobbled up. So far the mileage is around 45 mpg, approximatley twice that of the old Honda, and I'm planning a drive from Tampa to Little Rock just to show off.