23 June 2010

the bike house

Last Saturday, Mara and I went to The Bike House, a community bike shop in Petworth (DC), just a few blocks from our apartment. Open since June 2009, I had been trying to check it out for several months.

The Bike House is located in the back of Qualia Coffee, a coffee shop at 3917 Georgia Avenue, NW. You enter through the alley off Randolph Street. They offer diy bike repair and also have volunteers who can do or walk you through more complicated repairs.

Mara wanted help taking her training wheels off and I needed help figuring out why my kickstand didn't work.

Mara was given a two-headed wrench to take the bolt off with. With some help, the training wheels were off and she thought of different things that she could now do with the training wheels--here they're earrings!

After one of the volunteers found a shorter kickstand for me and replaced it, we gave the suggested $5 donation and were on our way. I hope to return this Saturday and start to learn the mechanics of a bicycle from one of the volunteers.

oh, didn't i tell you: in addition to being a champion cyclist, I also want to be a bicycle mechanic.

for more photos of mara & me @thebikehouse, check out jameel's photo album.

22 June 2010

petworth (farmers) market opens friday 25 june

The Petworth Market opens this Friday 25 June, 3pm-7pm. There will be a produce vendor, a bakery, entertainment and much more.

View Larger Map

come & meet your neighbors & take some food 2 go!

1st petworth free store a big success!

The free store was everything I hoped it would be. It was a perfectly gorgeous hot day. And at least a dozen people dropped off items to donate. And many of them took something that they wanted. And dozens more dropped by and took things that they wanted. it was great!

Mara and I distributed flyers to our neighbors. And I posted to several listservs, including Prince of Petworth. I knew that if it was posted there, the people would come. And they did!

The donated items included:

twin bike trailer
sewing machines
children's bikes
filing cabinet
rolling cart
coffee machine
photo frame
peruvian rug
throw rug
women's clothes
children's clothes
women's shoes
tv w/ cart
weed wacker
punchbowl set
air filtration machine
handmade diaper bag
infant bathtub

At noon, the only thing left was a box of cups, other knick knacks and a comforter. An AMVETS truck picked up the box, so by 12:30 we were done. A neighbor, who was having a community sale nearby, had contacted me a few days earlier and offered to contact AMVETS about doing a pickup at my house before hers. perfect!

I will do another one in a month or so. Several people have expressed interest in helping me with the second one so I anticipate it being even bigger.

11 June 2010

1st petworth free store update

The 1st Petworth Free store preparation is going well. I have posted flyers at the Petworth Library, at Qualia and Mara (in a ballerina dress, of course) and I delivered flyers to our neighbors last night.

Also, the Prince of Petworth blogged about it! And from that, so far, I have a promise of a small file cabinet and a microwave.

And my posting on the Petworth Parents listserv yielded a truck that's going to come and pick up the remaining items. (thanks, Carrie!) So I don't need volunteers for that anymore.

Today, I will print out more flyers and distribute them to the apartment buildings on the corner.

Early Saturday, Mara and I will post flyers on Georgia Avenue to entice the passersby looking for a yard sale.

I plan to have everything out of my apartment and on the front yard by 8:30am.

And we may bake vegan chocolate chip cookies.

i'm so excited!

feel free to share

10 June 2010

smartbike take 2

I did smartbike today! I checked online to make sure that where I wanted to pick up had bikes and where I wanted to drop off had spaces. I caught the subway this time, helmet in hand, to 7th & T. I swiped my card and I was told to take bike #3. It was very easy to remove the bike. (Click here for photos of the full station.) Number 3 referred to its spot in the station not the number that each bike is given for tracking. See how beautiful it is:

I adjusted the seat and was on my way a few blocks to 14th & U streets, NW. I was surprised that I liked the uprightness of the bike. I rode on the street and on the sidewalk. The fast cars on U Street made me nervous and the bumps in the street made me jump.

(I saw at least 2 other smartbikers!)

When I went to return the bike, I wasn't sure what to do. So I swiped the card and was told, "You know you already have a bike out, why in the hell are you trying to get another one!"

Turns out that you simply have to return the bike to an empty slot.

Now I know!

biking (& rollerblading) in mississippi

Alicia posted on the vegans of color blog a PBS report about efforts to grow fruits and vegetables by residents in rural Mississippi. These efforts are in response to the existence of 'food deserts'--the lack of local, healthy and inexpensive foods within 1 mile of a significant housing density.

There's plenty to applaud & critique in the piece but what I'm most intrigued about is the lack of comment on the widespread biking and rollerblading among children and adults of ALL sizes.

amazing, right?!

08 June 2010

marya's cycling lesson #1:

obtain a bike that is so light that i can easily carry it up/down the stairs in my apartment building.

[back story: the bike i am using now is too heavy for me to easily lift. Yes, lesson #1 could have been to build more upper body strength but obtaining a lighter bike, especially for my long distance cycling, is a much better idea.]

photo credit: usdot highway sign bicycle symbol @wiki

07 June 2010

i went bike riding today!

¡por fin!

My sister, Tracye, loaned me her bike. muchísimas gracias, Tracye. It had 2 flat tires so I walked it over to 13th Street between Park Road and Columbia Road (DC) to a house that offers free air for bicycles. (I also use it for my jogging stroller.)

The front tire filled up easily. The back tire was more stubborn but it eventually relented to the pressure (!).

I was a little nervous about how well I would ride since it had been so long. But I got on right away. I felt a little stiff, especially my neck, but only a little more so than when I walk.

After a few minutes, I was hooked again. And my dreams of being a long distance cyclist have returned to the fore.

06 June 2010

phone charging while biking

talk about multitasking! You can charge your mobile phone while you bike.

Your phone attaches at the mid-point of your handlebars to what is essentially a big rubberband. (yes, it's supposed to be safe.)

The bike charger works with the bottle (or sidewall) dynamo (if you look closely at the front tire in the 1st photo you'll see it, too), a small electric generator, to convert your energy into electricity that charges your phone. In between the phone and the bottle dynamo is a small circuit box, w/ a 2mm jack, that provides a smooth current.

So how long would you need to ride to completely charge a phone that is in the red zone? According to Wired, "pedal at 6 mph for just 10 minutes, and you’ll get almost half an hour of talk time or a stunning 37 hours of standby. The minimum speed required to charge a phone is 4 mph, or walking speed, so even a modestly jaunty commute should be enough to keep your cell going for a whole day."

Nokia will first market the charger in Kenya for $18. By the end of 2010, it will be available worldwide. A few comments on the Wired article suggest that $18 is pretty steep for most in Kenya.

Just as I was wrapping up this post, I found this BBC article from July 2009 about 2 electrical engineering students @Nairobi University, Jeremiah Murimi & Pascal Katana, who have developed a dynamo-powered smart charger to help individuals in remote areas generate their own electricity while biking.

Half of Kenya's 38.5M population owns a cell phone.
Many of them travel great distances (by bike?!) to have their phones charged with car batteries or solar panels at shops that charge $2.

Bicycles in Kenya are already sold with bottle dynamos in order to have lights on their bikes. According to Murimi & Katana, "the dynamo lead can be switched to plug into the charger instead."

The students charge $4.50 for their device. A marked difference from Nokia. And it takes about an hour of riding to fully charge phones, which is the same amount of time using other charging sources.

Is it possible that Murimi & Katana partnered with Nokia to market these devices initially in Kenya because Nokia read the BBC article about how this technology was available elsewhere but not in Kenya where it was sorely needed?

An NGO ordered 15 to test them in rural areas. If the answer to the above question is no, perhaps the locally-produced charger will provide some stiff competition.

photo credits:

1. bicycle
2. bottle dynamo wiki
3. bottle dynamo
4. smart charger

related post on electricity-generating exercise bike

05 June 2010

1st petworth free store on saturday 12 june!

I am hosting the 1st Petworth Free Store on Saturday 12 June, 9am-noon, at 907 Quincy Street, NW WDC 20011: 1 block from Georgia Avenue/Petworth Metro station, 62, 64, 70 & H8 bus lines. It's like a yard sale but everything is free! Take what you want/need. Donations accepted on Saturday 12 June between 8:30am and 10:30am.

For more info, email Marya at chocolateyarugula(at)gmail(dot)com or call 202.372.5804.

Volunteers needed:

1. w/ access to wheels to transport remaining items to the Georgia Avenue thrift store (6101 Georgia Avenue, NW) at 12:30pm

2. to put up signs near the Georgia Avenue/Petworth metro and around the neighborhood; feel free to email me for a printable sign or make your own

3. to loan/donate clothes racks for hanging clothes

4. to loan/donate hangers for hanging clothes

5. to loan/donate boxes to place items on

6. to help at the free store sometime between 8:30am and 12:30pm. please email or call re the times you are available.

Marya at chocolateyarugula(at)gmail(dot)com or 202.372.5804

Please pass this on to your dc friends!

04 June 2010

♫ free is in the air, dah dah dah dah dah ♫

I saw this sign while walking up 14th Street NW (DC) on my way to Sticky Fingers.

The Greater First Baptist Church, at 13th & Fairmont, NW, (2701 13th Street) will have a free store (!) full of spring and summer clothes for children. Tomorrow, Saturday 5 June, 10am-2pm.

(you know) i love it! and that ♫ i'll be there ♫.

smartbike take 1

Yesterday, I was ready to take my first smartbike trip.

water bottle✓
iphone 2 take photos✓

I hopped on the 79 express bus down Georgia Avenue (DC) to 7th & T, the exact intersection for 1 of 10 smartbike stations.

First, I took photos:

Then I swiped my card and the word "blocked" yelled back. bummer!

I called the toll free number and was told that someone would get back to me either within 10-15 minutes or a little later.

So I chilled and had a wonderful conversation with a young brother in the shade.

After 15 minutes, no call. So I took a walk.

A few hours later, a call. It turns out that the # on my card didn't match the # in their database. click, click. I should now be all set.

stay tuned for smartbike take 2.

03 June 2010

cfp: beyond human: from animality 2 transhumanism

The editors of Beyond Human: From Animality to Transhumanism are currently soliciting 1 additional chapter contribution for Section II (‘Representing Animality’). The essays in this section explore human endeavours that seek to imagine what it means to be an animal from a range of perspectives. We are particularly interested in submissions that examine representations of animality in contemporary popular culture although proposals that deal with some other aspect of the representation of animality will be considered.

The essays included in Beyond Human: From Animality to Transhumanism are theoretically informed by a range of thinkers from the continental and analytical traditions of philosophy and critical theory. The collection seeks to investigate and discuss the various questions raised by contemporary understandings of the animal/human interface, on the one hand, and the emergence of human/ post- or trans-human interface on the other. The volume deals with various ontological, ethical, aesthetic and socio-cultural debates which are grouped across four sections. The first section of the book explores human/animal boundaries and definitions, the second section focuses on representations of animality, the third section is concerned with human/animal encounters whilst the fourth section brings together essays that explore how the machine and the ‘inhuman’ intervene in our understanding of ‘the human animal’.

Beyond Human: From Animality to Transhumanism will be published in 2011. Interested authors should note that the 6000 word chapter will be required by the end of October 2010. Please submit a 250 word abstract and an author biography to 1 of the editors listed below by 28 June 2010.

Dr. Claire Molloy
University of Brighton


Dr. Steven Shakespeare
Liverpool Hope University

02 June 2010

united nations sustainability panel 4 veganism

The United Nations international panel of sustainable resource management, under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in a report released today, is encouraging a switch to veganism to save the planet. The panel is charged with determining the global measures necessary to drastically reduce our impacts on the earth. The report was released in anticipation of the UN's World Environment Day on Saturday 5 June 2010.

According to the report, "Agriculture, particularly meat and dairy products, accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use and 19% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions." These statistics are directly related to our numerous global challenges: "climate change, habitat change, wasteful use of nitrogen and phosphorus in fertilisers, over-exploitation of fisheries, forests and other resources, invasive species, unsafe drinking water and sanitation, lead exposure, urban air pollution and occupational exposure to particulate matter."

The population is expected to increase to 9.1 billion by 2050. Current world population is 6.6 billion. The panel submits that 9+ billion people eating the way U.S. residents currently eat is completely unsustainable.

So, if this is true, how many of you would be willing to stop eating (and drinking from) animals?

01 June 2010

happy 1st day of june!

& congratulations to Taylor, my youngest niece, who graduates from high school today.