Welcome to EcoVelo

Background
This new website is a natural next step forward for me, both in personal terms and in relation to my last project, The Recumbent Blog. The Recumbent Blog had a good 3+ year run with nearly 800 posts. Before it went into stasis, it was logging approximately 200,000 page views per month and was established as one of the more popular recumbent-specific sites on the web. That was all well and good, but when my interests evolved away from recreational cycling toward transportational and utility cycling, my motivation to stay on topic diminished. When I realized a major portion of my output was no longer related specifically to recumbents, I made the decision to shut down the site and move on (no worries ‘bent riders, it will remain on the web indefinitely as a resource for the ‘bent community at its old address, www.recumbentblog.com).

Bicycles for Transportation
As we’re all aware, bikes are terribly under-utilized for transportation here in the U.S. We enthusiasts often exacerbate the problem by treating bicycles as objets d’art, to be admired for their beauty and cleverness, while simultaneously using them only as sporting goods, in a manner no different than we’d use a snowboard or tennis racket. No doubt, bicycles are beautiful things, and cycling is a wonderful sport, but our severely limited view of bicycles does this most powerful and versatile tool a terrible disservice. In these times of global warming, declining oil reserves, and an exploding world population, those of us with the means need to take whatever steps we can to improve the situation, one of which is to seriously consider alternatives to fossil-fuel-based personal transport. Given the right circumstances and sufficient motivation (>$4 a gallon gas maybe?), I believe bicycles can be an important part of the solution for many people.

Why This Site?
EcoVelo is the public expression of my personal commitment to reduce my impact on the environment by employing bicycles as my primary mode of transport. By sharing what I learn from this endeavor, while also providing an aesthetically pleasing experience that celebrates the beauty of the bicycle and the joys of everyday bike riding, I hope to inspire others to make a similar commitment.

For my long time readers who followed me from The Recumbent Blog, welcome back. And for my first time visitors, I’m glad you found me; thanks for stopping by. As with any website or blog, this is a living document that, given sufficient nurturing, will grow and improve over time. As it does, I hope it meets or exceeds your expectations and proves to be useful, if not inspiring.

—Alan

Note: The small selection of posts falling below this “first” post were mostly republished from The Recumbent Blog to “prime the pump”, so to speak, and provide a departure point for new content and discussion.

24 Responses to “Welcome to EcoVelo”

  • Kevin says:

    Hey, Alan,

    I’m glad you’re up and running! I’m looking forward to where you’re going with this.

    Kevin

  • Lloyd Bishop says:

    Well, I’m recumbent all the way. Hope it goes your way.

    Notice you don’t have Lightning in the recumbent list.

    Regards,
    Lloyd

  • Thomas Barone says:

    Alan,

    I was pleasently surprised this morning to have your new adventure in my e-mail slot. I’m as anxious as ever to join you on your journey . I have miss the blog in the short time you were in transition .
    I wish you more sucess than you could ever immagine , i’ll be following along in your draft!

    Tom

  • Nate Briggs says:

    Alan:
    Another beautiful site, as expected.
    You’re definitely on the side of the angels with this effort – and I certainly wish you well.
    Here’s one of the problems we’re up against: the bicycle in the context of a device for Exercise – and the association of Exercise with pain.
    I somehow ended up with a free subscription to BICYCLING magazine … and there’s pain on every page.
    It’s the equivalent of trying to attract flies with vinegar.
    My main experience of riding has been Joy – and a sensual banquet that I’ve never found in any other activity.
    Public transportation is often mentioned as the “only” other option other than cars – but it’s not really practical for most people. And it’s often demeaning.
    Bicycles need to be rebranded: out of the “spandex and sweat” mindset – and into the “satisfaction and freedom” mindset.
    Later…..

    Nate (SLC)

  • Barbara Kilts says:

    Just yesterday, I picked up the latest copy of Momentum magazine, and now today the launch of your new blog. The world of transportation cycling has the most appealing and readable media now. These will help spread the word to a wider audience then the traditional sport oreinted mags. I hope you’re flooded with visits!

    Barbara

  • Perry says:

    DAMN! I wanted to post the first comment on your new blog. Anyway, the site looks great. RSS feed is updated and awaiting your posts.

  • kevin E says:

    Damn, Perry beat me to it as well! Thanks for the new site looking forward to it. I have been carless for over five years now. Okay, I live in Portland where it is easy to do.
    kev

  • Alan says:

    All,

    Thanks so much for the very kind words! I’m eager to dig in and get the conversations going!

    Best regards,
    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Nate

    Bicycles need to be rebranded: out of the “spandex and sweat” mindset – and into the “satisfaction and freedom” mindset.

    Hi Nate,

    I agree 100%, and I think the change is coming. Hopefully we can do our small part to usher it along.

    Best,
    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Barbara

    Thanks so much Barbara. I’m a huge fan of Momentum. I’m guessing you’ve seen their online presence:

    http://www.momentumplanet.com

    If you like Momentum, you might enjoy A to B as well:

    http://www.exacteditions.com/shop/392/428

    It can be purchased as an online magazine through Exact Editions. It’s a great way to view the magazine and it forgoes the shipping and paper!

    All the best,
    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Perry

    DAMN! I wanted to post the first comment on your new blog. Anyway, the site looks great. RSS feed is updated and awaiting your posts.

    Sorry Perry! I should’ve called you.. ;-)

    Thanks so much..
    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Kevin

    I have been carless for over five years now.

    Congrats Kevin – great for you!

    We’re not 100% carless, but we’ve taken a pretty major step in that direction by reducing our in-car miles by approximately 75-80%. So far it’s not been so difficult; it’s mostly a matter of having the proper mindset combined with a bit of forethought and flexibility. We still have a few equipment details to work through (I love that stuff anyway), but so far it’s been a surprisingly smooth transition with just a few minor missteps.

    Best regards,
    Alan

  • Jack says:

    Love the new digs, Alan. I will visit often!

  • Roger says:

    Alan,

    Thanks for bringing me along for the ride on the new journey. I believe in using human power for commuting, most Americans just don’t seem to think about how much energy they consume. I always thought it funny when I’d see most of the riders at the 6 PM group ride brought their bikes there in cars and trucks when I got there from work on my bike after having ridden to work that morning.

  • Norm says:

    As expected your new site looks so professional. I really like the fact that the first post is on veganism. Of course transportation leaves a huge footprint on the earth but a diet change to being a vegan is often ignored. I have been a vegan for 17+ years and avid cyclist for most of my adult life. I ride a GGR whenever I can and hate having to take my car. Every car trip is planned so that any extra trip is avoided but unfortunately I live a long ways from my job (which is almost at an end). So thanks Alan forthe new site. It will become my first port of call whenever I surf because I enjoy your take on the important things in life.
    Norm Campo
    Royston,Vancouver Island, BC Canada

  • Alan says:

    Thanks so much Norm. I too have taken to carefully planning our sometimes necessary car trips. Our toughest challenge has been brining our three teenagers around to this way of thinking. We purchased them unlimited city bus passes for the summer, now we have to figure out how to get them to use them… LOL.

    Regards,
    Alan

  • Alexander López says:

    Congratulations for this new Blog! I’m from Caracas, Venezuela; and in this country fuel is so cheap it’s ridiculous. People use the car to buy groceries just one block away. I do want to use my bicycle more often, but living in a very hilly terrain it is difficult to use it as a 70 km/day commuter.

    I use my bike for running errands around home, and I tell you, it’s hard to cope with the honking and insulting people, but fortunately they are minority. Most drivers just wait until they can pass me.

    Nonetheless, there is a small but strong bike users wo are not afraid to take on the road by cycle around here. Cycling in the hills is rough due to the increased effort and narrow roads, but being visible and riding predictably (and doing clear hand signals) can make a big difference.

  • bob emmerich says:

    We visit old friends in new ways. I will miss the Recumblent Blog but I will look forward to visiting ecovelo because my friend, Alan, will be there.

    Bob

  • Jiri Ledahudec says:

    Alan, it is a great decision to minimize car usage – congratulations! I enjoed your last blog, and I will keep coming to the new site as well. But please allow me a comment: You are really passionate about stylish bicycles. I actually consider all your bicycles VERY STYLISH. I do not know any daily commuter who would pick such a bike. They are beautiful, but not practical. You can’t leave them outside of a shop or a pub in the rain. In most European countries you would be afraid to leave them in front of a railway station. You would hesitate to chain them to a lamp because you could damage that nice surface. A second hand bike, perhaps rusty (but still safe!) would do the job much better. Have you ever seen bikes on the streets of Amsterdam or Oxford? Additionally, such a second hand bike is even more environmentally friendly. It was not manufactured just for you, it was not transported accross the ocean just for you… So please enjoy your nice bikes, please keep writing about them (and I will keep reading) – but in my opinion they are not typical “ecovelos”.

    Regards,
    Jiri, Prague

  • Alan says:

    Hi Jiri,

    Your point is well taken, but I think much depends upon where a person lives, and how they use their bikes. In my particular case, the fact that my bikes are “stylish” has not gotten in the way of using them as replacements for my automobile. I am, in fact, a daily commuter, and I find my bikes perfectly practical for my situation, and here’s why:

    For my multi-modal forays into the big city, I take the Brompton. I’ve yet to find a need to lock it since it comes inside with me wherever I go. As a matter of fact, I don’t carry a lock with it – that way I’m not tempted to get lazy and lock it up outside. Doing so is out of the question; I’m sure it would disappear in no time.

    For our errands and grocery shopping trips in the suburbs, we mostly ride together on the Pashleys or the ‘bents. When we do, typically one person sits outside with the bikes. If one of us does run an errand alone, we have a good lock that we supplement with an accessory cable lock. Here in the suburbs, we feel this is sufficient for the relatively short times we’re typically away from the bike. Of course, in an area more prone to bike theft, this might not be an option.

    So, in our case, it is possible to have the best of both worlds: practical and highly functional bikes that are also stylish, attractive, and fun to ride. I can certainly imagine conditions where our approach wouldn’t work, and where an inexpensive, “beater” bike would be much more appropriate ( don’t get me wrong – I have absolutely nothing against rusty old bikes – I have one in the garage as we speak). But since we’re able to have our cake and eat it to (that being beautiful and practical bikes), we do just that!

    Best regards,
    Alan

    PS – Hopefully, our bikes will get many years of use and turn into “rusty old bikes” someday. :-)

  • KevinH says:

    Alan,
    You caught me by surprise, but I understand your direction. In truth, I’ve been thinking more about my commuting habits of late. Not just because of cost and material commitment, but for my health as well. I’m glad you kept the Recumbent Blog available and I look forward to your insights into this new adventure. Good wishes.
    KevinH

  • Slo joe Recumbo says:

    Hi Alan,

    Simply: Thank You

  • Brenda Borron says:

    As of June 1, under BCAA’s new provincewide Bike Assist program, cyclists in British Columbia can get the same services as motorists when they run into trouble on the road. A phone call will bring a BCAA mechanic with the tools and training to fix common bike bust-ups, from a flat ire to a broken chain. If the problem is more serious, the mechanic will throw the bike onto the truck’s bike rack and bring it, and its rider, home or to a bike shop.
    The new bike benefits are free for BCAA members, but there are a few catches. Assistance is only for people waylaid by mechanical problems, not for those stranded by fatigue or unwillingness to bike in a rainstorm. Callers also need to be accessible by road.

    The above was excerpted from an article in the Times Colonist of May 15th. Apparently BCAA, CAA and AAA have all flirted with the idea of bike assistance before, offering it during Bike-to-Work weeks or other special events. Now, with the increase in commuterr cycling, BCAA have made it a permanent benefit for their members. I would be interested to know if AAA also offer this benefit.
    Brenda B.

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