Tag Archives: Use

Will E-Bikes Be the New ‘Commuter Cool‘?

Posted by TheLCstergoinggreen

Keith and Mary Felch have cut their driving in half by using e-bikes.

Keith and Mary Felch have cut their driving in half by using e-bikes.

CNN —Keith Felch is admittedly a big guy, but more than a few super-fit cyclists in Southern California have been left wondering how that dude just went flying by. And then his wife, Mary, comes motoring past.

They stare, like how can a girl go past me,” she says, laughing. It takes the other riders a few seconds but then they figure it out.

They have electric motors.

The Felches, who live in Aliso Viejo, California, used to drive everywhere, except when they used their bikes for recreation.

That changed when they got their new e-bikes, made by a company called Optibike. Now, they ride to go shopping and to go to breakfast — but mostly they ride to work.

Keith Felch says the couple has cut 50 percent of their car-use since they started electric biking.

And there are other benefits. Keith Felch dropped 30 pounds and his blood pressure fell 10 points in the first six months he owned the bike, he says.

The Felches don’t exactly classify themselves as “environmentalists,” although Mary said it is important to have a positive effect on the planet.

I learned that the worst amount of smog that you put out [in an automobile] is in the first mile, so if we can make even some of those shorter trips on our bicycles, it makes a big difference,” she says.

What’s an ‘e-bike’?

E-bikes run on 1 horsepower motors, or good old-fashioned pedal-power.

E-bikes run on 1 horsepower motors, or good old-fashioned pedal-power.

By law, electric bikes must have no more than 1 horsepower and go no faster than 20 mph (on motor power alone).

Basically they are much like traditional bicycles with small motors that power the bike or assist a rider with pedaling. Many have gears like a regular bike.

It’s just adding the throttle aspect, other than that it handles like a regular bicycle,” Keith Felch said. He says he uses the throttle all the time, choosing one of two modes — eco [half power] or fast [full power].

He says he once tried a regular bike for his 4 ½-mile ride to one of his music studios where he teaches jazz improvisation.

But the hills nearly got him. He calls his electric bike a “hill eraser.”

It also makes the ride to his farthest studio — 22 miles away — seem much closer. He says he gets about 35 miles on his primary battery and has an additional one for long rides.

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More Going Green from GeoT

This story has personal significance to me

Watsonville solar project to power thousands of homes

WATSONVILLE — A plan to install solar panels at the city dump to provide enough power for 4,700 homes (10% of the city population) is moving forward with the blessing of the City Council.

Solar Panels in Watsonville, CA

Solar Panels in Watsonville, CA

Construction of more than 6,500 panels could start at the end of March and be generating 2.3 megawatts of power before the end of 2010, according to Steve Schumer of San Jose-based Cupertino Electric Inc.

The city would lease the land to Cupertino Electric at a price yet to be negotiated. The council, which approved the project Tuesday in a 6-0 vote with Councilman Greg Caput absent, must still approve the lease agreement.

Schumer said a third party, whose name he declined to disclose, has signed a letter of intent to buy the electricity if the price is right.

“We’re close,” Schumer said.

The city also is working with Cupertino Electric to install solar panels at the Watsonville Municipal Airport to produce another megawatt of power. Don French, general manager of the airport, said the deal will go before the City Council after engineering studies are completed. He supports the project.

“I like the idea of solar panels, and if the airport can make a few bucks, I’m all for it,” French said.

A third project in the works would put solar panels on rooftops of city buildings.

Full Story Here:



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The Outrage Pandemic by Jeffrey Feldman

Op-ed by Jeffrey Feldman

Author Jeffrey Feldman

Author Jeffrey Feldman

HP/Jeffrey Feldman—Forget the Swine Flu. America is suffering from an outrage pandemic.

Like everybody else in America, I was surprised when the Nobel committee awarded the 2009 Peace Prize to Barack Obama. I was pleased, but surprised. Apparently, just about the only living creature not surprised was Bo the First Dog. But the outrage that flowed from every corner of the political conversation was far more depressing than learning about the award was surprising.

When did American optimism succumb to this constant outrage?

Less than a year ago, tens of millions of Americans descended on Washington, DC, just so they could say, “I was there,” on the day Barack Obama became President. Nine months later, a majority of Americans seem convinced that this same man–who once inspired them so deeply–has personally slighted them.

The right-wing is certainly responsible in part for the spread of the outrage pandemic.

The right has reached a level of outrage at Barack Obama that already exceeds what the left mustered after eight years of George W. Bush. The result is that right-wing politics in America now follows one general argument: If Obama wants it, then it is so bad it must be stopped or it will destroy America.

The insanity in this approach became clear in the health care reform debate where we have heard Republicans on Medicare say crazy things like, “I’d rather die than see this country adopt government-run health insurance” (e.g., I would rather die than have the kind of government health insurance that I currently have, which keeps me from dying).

When people shake their fists in protest at the very things they say they will die to defend, the result is far worse than a nation divided along political lines. It is a form of national schizophrenia.

While the outrage pandemic may have reached critical levels on the right, the left has done its part in the past nine months, too.

Try talking to anyone in the left-wing, nowadays, and it seems everyone has a bone to pick with Barack Obama. Whatever Barack Obama does, more and more people on the left are outraged by him. First it was the bank bailout program, then the auto-industry rescue, then the health care bill. Then it was not moving fast enough on closing Gitmo, then the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, then withdrawal from Iraq. Now the left is outraged at Obama’s Afghan policy and his view on cap and trade and home mortgage relief and marriage equality and the prosecution of past administration officials.

Is there anyone left on the left who is not outraged at Barack Obama for something? If they’re out there, I never come across them.

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Outright Barbarous: How the Violent Language of the Right Poisons American Democracy by Jeffrey Feldman

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framingthedebatebookcover Framing the Debate: Famous Presidential Speeches and How Progressives Can Use Them to Change the Conversation (And Win Elections)
by Jeffrey Feldman

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Filed under Change, Democrats, Editorial, Opinions, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans