Saturday, April 25, 2009

How amazing friends inspire me...

My very good friend, Lola, will be honored at Bike Show 2009 for being an extraordinary cyclist in the DC metro region. Having a friend like Lola has helped me to become a better person. Not only does she inspire others to be "ordinary" cyclists, she has also inspired me to be more compassionate to the Earth and others sharing life on the Earth. She has a powerful competitive drive that has pushed me to pedal harder and faster. We cheer each other on and congratulate each other on the others success. We both understand that competition can be healthy, fun and supportive. And one day I might be on her tail forcing her to jump into high gear and the next she might be doing the same to me. I witness Lola's accomplishments and strive to make accomplishments too.

Lola has made me a better person, a better friend and a better citizen of Earth.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Urban garden/organic vegetable gardening classes in DC

The lovely Bea Trickett posted the following:
Just wanted to let you know about an organic vegetable gardening class sponsored by the America the Beautiful Fund. It starts in May and lasts through Sept. For more info, see the website and blog for details.

This is the garden's inaugural year- the coordinators are hoping for a good crew of volunteers and interns and a good inaugural class. They're trying to broadcast news of this class/garden to as many as possible.

So please spread the word!

The price is $650/2 people or $325/person (which shares 1 plot) . . . or $550 for one person (1 plot).=A0 The price includes a 12 x 12 foot plot, access to supplies/equipment, seeds, seedling, help from staff and volunteers, and instruction every other week from May through Sept. . . and, of course, the bounty of your garden! You just need to commit to the class, tend your garden 3 hours every week, and pay for the class.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Colbert Report: Tip of the Hat goes to MACA

Forward to just after 2:00 minutes for Stephen Colbert's salute to Mid Atlantic CropLife Assocation's use of genetically engineered soybeans and its affects on water and fish.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Tip/Wag - Texas Secession & MACA
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorGay Marriage Commercial

Read the post about the letter to the Obamas on Food & Water Watch's blog

I love this segment because Colbert references food production with water shed pollution and fish contamination. The organization I work for, Food & Water Watch, focuses on the consumer advocacy aspect of these three very interrelated facets of our lives. Our mission is to fight the corporate control of our food and water resources and to encourage consumers to make wise choices about what they consume. The best practice is to eat local, sustainable and organic. Don't use pesticides, don't drink bottled water and only eat seafood that is clean, green and safe.

Industrial farming, which has been a booming industry since the creation of policies that subsidize large scale agribusiness, does more damage to the Earth than all forms of transportation added together. A lot of the grains "grown" with the aid of heavy chemicals are fed to animals that humans consume. These pesticides and any of the antibiotics fed to livestock (often to combat disease caused by eating the unnatural grains) end up in our water stream and on our dinner (and breakfast and lunch and snack) plates.

Our water is becoming more and more polluted. Water is the source of life and yet humans continue to overconsume and pollute our precious freshwater systems. The run-off from large scale crops and animal feedlots is polluting our water with pesticides AND antibiotics. People's biggest concern about tap water lately is the ingestion of hormones, drugs and antibiotics. Well, for one thing, the bottled water probably has traces, too. And for another, if we weren't growing such unnatural large scale crops, much of it primarily to feed animals to feed us, then we wouldn't have so much of the nasty stuff getting into our water. And, as Colbert points out, into our fish.

Do people understand how easily fish ingest all of the nasty chemicals in the water supply? And the fatty tissue just kind of holds it there. And many of the chemicals used in industrial farming are toxic to natural bacterias and algae and plankton that live in the water systems and are part of the whole environment. These natural micro-organisms play an important role in the vitality of life and the circle of life. The fish we eat depend on smaller fish which depend on the existence of the micro-organisms. If we kill everything at the smallest level, then we're gonna be putting more and more organisms in a difficult place.

Food chain? No. Humans are not intended to be at the TOP of the food chain. Rather, we are a part of the circle of life.

Another major chemical to be concerned with is triclosan, aka, "antibacterial soap". This stuff is nasty and has been showing up in all the wrong places. "Sometimes I worry about zombies"... Well, actually, sometimes I worry about superbacteria. Bacteria that has evolved to withstand destruction by triclosan cannot be stopped. And what the heck is it doing to our insides! Triclosan doesn't break down and it has shown up in blood, urine and breast milk of people across the globe. Yuck! Why are we trying to kill all this bacteria that is natural and only makes our immune systems stronger? Pledge to stop using soaps and products that contain triclosan.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Sol's map: Draft

View Rapha Ride in a larger map

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

An Excerpt

From The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth, David Bollier:

Not many Americans realize that they collectively own one third of the surface area of the country and billions of acres of the outer continental shelf. The resources are extensive and valuable: huge supplies of oil, coal, natural gas, uranium, copper, gold, silver, timber, grasslands, water and geothermal energy. The nation’s public lands also consist of vast tracts of wilderness forests, unspoiled coastline, sweeping prairies, the awe inspiring Rocky mountains, and dozens of beautiful rivers and lakes. Public lands represent an unparalleled commons for the American people, held in trust by the US Government.

As steward of these public resources, the government’s job is to manage these resources and lands responsibly for the long term. The sad truth is that government stewardship of this natural wealth represents on of the great scandals of the twentieth century. While the details vary from one resource to another the general history is one of antiquated laws, poor enforcement, slipshod administration, environmental indifference and capitulation to industry’s most aggressive demands. Through sweetheart deals pushed through Congress and federal agencies, corporations have gained discount access to huge quantities of publicly owned resources while wreaking environmental havoc. The true scale of economic malfeasance and scope of ecological harm are truly staggering.

Every few years, another unsavory episode of public lands abuse finds its way into the mainstream press. Almost invariably, however, reform efforts are slowed down or stopped as politicians ‘owned’ by the affected industries flex their muscle in quiet backroom ways.

Time after time a compliant congress and captive federal agencies agree to throw open public lands to commercial exploitation on some of the cheapest terms imaginable.

If the Republicans had fulfilled their promise to run the government like a business, and the democrats had fulfilled their promise to end corporate welfare, the American people would have reaped untold billions in new revenues. Instead, not only has the Government too often failed to perform its fiduciary responsibilities to the American people, but its slack management of public lands has often resulted in new environmental abuses, intensified pressures on threatened species and communities, aggravated and created public heath problems, and worsened concentrations of public power.

The sorry history of public lands management is not just about venal political leaders, inept bureaucracies and a cultural compulsion to exploit natural resources (though it is that). At a more fundamental level it is about the rise of corporate capitalism in the late 1800s, supplanting Adam Smith’s free market capitalism – which in turn has neutralized the accountability mechanisms otherwise exercised by citizens and consumers. As described by forestry scholar Richard W. Behan in his book Plundered Promise, in such a political economy it is only natural that public lands would be managed for maximum short-term private gain. The resulting overdevelopment - over cut forests, over-dammed rivers, over grazed rangelands – is an institutional symptom of excessively powerful corporations and a predatory political system. [1]

[1] From David Bollier, Silent Theft, The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth. Routledge, 2002.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Press Release: SoCal High School Gets Velodrome & Track Racing Program


Contact: Matt Fritzinger,, (510) 653-2453,

Cedar Glen, CA – Last night, with a 7-2 vote, the school board of Mountain Top High School approved the construction of the first ever high school velodrome and scholastic track program in America. The decision serves as a historic milestone in the main-streaming of competitive cycling in secondary schools across the state of California. While high school mountain biking has been picking up steam since 2001 with the formation of the NorCal High School Mountain Bike Racing League, track racing looks to be the next alternative for high schoolers eager for sports that suit their short attention spans.

"Mountain biking is an endurance sport and except for the occasional sprint finish, it favors athletes with slow-twitch muscles leaving young cyclists with the genetic gift of more fast-twitch muscles feeling devalued. I'm very pleased to see this new discipline brought into the schools," commented Matt Fritzinger, director of the Northern California mountain biking program.

In what may draw some criticism, the velodrome will replace the astro-turf field and football program. MTHS’s Head football Coach, Don Boggs commented "I'm keeping an open mind here. After two losing seasons, I don't get much say around here anyway. I'm also very impressed with the way cycling is addressing the problem of performance enhancing drugs." Unlike professional football, which penalizes wealthy players with meager fines and has led to a vast abuse of steroids at the high school level, professional and amateur bike racers face 2-4 year bans from the sport.

School Superintendant, Jim Swift, said “I advocated for this as soon as I saw the cost-benefit analysis. A velodrome is going to cost $1.8 trillion whereas a stadium retrofit and new astroturf was going to cost us $1.9 trillion. That may seem like a small difference, but that's actually $100 billion dollars. We can buy quite a few books and computers for that much money.”

Additionally, it appears that track racing will become a natural complement to the recently inaugurated Socal Interscholastic Cycling League that only includes mountain biking currently. Board president Quintin Easton commented, “I’m stoked -– we put the generic term 'cycling' in the League name because we planned to incorporate various disciplines into the League. This velodrome is a dream come true!”

About the Southern California Interscholastic Cycling League
The SoCal Interscholastic Cycling League was organized to provide a well-defined race season for junior racers and to promote the formation of teams at public and private high schools. With the cooperation of local race promoters and our sponsors, the League organizes a first class series of races designed for high school aged riders. The League is working to make high school racing the easiest way for juniors to get involved in the challenging and exciting world of competitive cycling. The SoCal League was founded with a generous grant from the Easton Sports Development Foundation II (ESDF II) and is supported by other generous sponsors such as founding national sponsor Specialized Bicycle Components, results cranked out by Shimano, Bike Magazine, CLIF Bar, Crank Brothers, Hincapie Sportswear, Tifosi, Trek, and WTB. For more information on the League, contact Quintin Easton at and 949.285.0316 Website:

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