Sunday, June 12, 2011


Please watch this film. It is really important, share it with friends and family. If you care about this earth and saving one of the last untouched rain forests, you will like this. Powerful, beautiful and emotional. Enjoy.

Last few days

I feel like I am missing my best friend. My Devinci has been dropped off at my LBS to be boxed for the flight. I won't be riding to work this week. The eve of my last few days of work before the big tour is here. I am done work on Wednesday, and we fly out on Thursday for Whitehorse, Yukon. I can't wait. These last few days will hopefully go really fast and I will be on the plane before I know it. Stay tuned for some of my journal entry's when I get home along with some pictures I will post on Flickr.

It has been a crazy few weeks, compiling the last few odds and sods. We spent half the day on Saturday shopping. I bought a new digital camera. My old one got messed up last summer in Raft Cove. Sand got into some places it shouldn't. This new camera, along with being waterproof, is also shock proof, and dust proof. It should hold up for me. It takes 1080 video, and has a GPS in is, with an altimeter and a barometer. Pretty cool features. I got to play with it most of this weekend and it was really nice. It will take some good shots on the tour.

I am getting another vehicle soon. I am planning on a Honda Element. I like the versatility, the small engine, and the looks. I have been interested in one since they first came out. I am excited about having this machine in the driveway. I will be adding a roof rack for my canoe, and a bike rack. The spray out floor is going to be excellent with the dog, and the seats fold down flat and turn into a bed. I can't imagine that it would be that comfortable, in a pinch it would be fine. 8 liters per 100k is also very appealing. I was looking at a Frontier pickup. It would be a good truck, except I don't want to be putting a bunch of gas in it. I like four cylinders. I am still going to be a full time commuter on my bike. Having my own vehicles may allow me to stretch my commute further into the fall, I can drive when the weather is really bad.

Life is so good for me. I haven't felt this happy and content in a long time. I have amazing, loving, supportive girl friend. My daughter is so great and loves me so much. I am so lucky to get to see her as much as I want. The dog is fun to have around. I have never felt more fit. I have no interest in drinking alcohol for the first time in my life. I did really good at school, and I am really proud of myself. I have made some really good choices, and I have some great support around me. I am a lucky, lucky guy.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

"Cool It"

Last night I watched a documentary called "Cool It". It is about Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish author, academic, and environmental writer. His book "The Skeptical Environmentalist" is a controversial piece in the whole scope of climate change.

Lomborg challenges the idea that throwing big money at the Cap and Trade system for controlling carbon emissions is foolish, and it is a system that will be lousy with corruption. The government giving out carbon credits for votes and political support, big companies finding loop holes to avoid having to use their credits and instead selling them for big profit, and the developing world will never agree to capping there economic growth. This system will not work, make the rich richer, and the trickle down will be higher prices and surcharges on the goods you and I purchase. Lomborg states that spending $250 billion a year to bring carbon emissions down to Kyoto standards will only help cool the planet by .8 degrees Fahrenheit in 100 years. Hardly good bang for the buck. Instead he suggests we pour big dollars into R&D to make alternative energy cheaper, look into geo-engineering as a way to us technology to cool the planet, education in the third world, clean water for all, and malaria protection.

I was really intrigued with this film. I hadn't thought about the scare tactics that are used by those who can profit with the climate change, use. "An Inconvenient Truth" is a prime example.(Al Gore has invested heavily in companies that are involved in technology firms working on more efficient electrical grids. he could become the first carbon billionaire. Its not a bad thing, but the movie he made is helping to make him rich. Its a propaganda film) It is all doom and gloom, trying to scare regular people, while the Big Oil, Big Chemical, Big Coal and the third world happily spew millions of tons of carbon into the air. We will not fix the climate by driving hybrids, using C.F.L. light bulbs, and turning off the lights on Earth Hour. We need to move to a carbon neutral society as a whole to actually make these changes. Their were examples of some very cool alternatives such as using solar energy to create hydrogen to use in fuel cells, growing algae to manufacture oil from, new nuclear power plants that leave much less radioactivity in its by-product and are on par with a coal plant in cost of building, and wave power for electricity.

Lomborg talks about getting the most effective change, for the least money. One of the easiest and cheapest is    to paint surfaces in urban heat islands(this is basically the fact that city's are much hotter than rural areas because of all the black surfaces absorbing heat into the earth) white to reflect the suns rays back into space. Cooler spaces mean less air conditioning, less energy use. The bang for the buck theory falls right in line with cycling, and building infrastructure bicycle transportation easier. He didn't speak of cycling in the film, but there was several shot of him riding his bike around Copenhagen.

There were things that weren't touched on in this movie. He didn't talk about population control, although education in the third world could help this. I think we need to slow the growth of how many bodies are on this planet. Garbage and pollution weren't included either. I guess his focus is on Climate Change rather than some other issues.

I would recommend this film if you are concerned and would like to learn a different way to look at fixing a warming planet. I ordered the book, and I will be reading it on my bike tour.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Merino Wool

I was introduced to Merino Wool by my friend two years ago. She had just came back from a solo cycling tour around New Zealand (sweet as). She had been wearing Icebreaker garments since her first trip to NZ was about 12 years prior to this most recent adventure. (She still has the original piece she purchased on that trip. It is thread bare and has no sleeves anymore, but that is pretty good for that many years of hard wearing.) I was inspired by this trip and my own quest to build up my collection of outdoor gear began. I was curious about merino wool, and I was awe-struck when I felt this wonder material. I had been wearing wool sweaters for years, a grey Stanfield sweater being part of my everyday wear in the cooler months. They are heavy, coarse, itchy, and not very nice looking, plus they take up a pile of space which isn't good for backpacking. I don't find them all that warm either.

The beauty of merino wool, from my opinion, is that it is sustainable. It is harvested from ethically raised sheep in high mountain areas of New Zealand. The sheep are sheared, and let free to grow more fleece. Wool will break down and not last hundreds of years in land fills like polar fleece and other synthetics. Generally the performance sports apparel markets are flooded with there so called "modern" fabrics that are made from plastic. And remember, almost all plastics are made from petroleum. I am a firm believer that there is to much plastic in our lives. Wearing plastic is not that nice. It doesn't breath well(no matter what the manufacturer says), it holds smells, will melt rapidly if touched by embers from a fire, and it is just ethically wrong to the earth. I much prefer wearing something soft, resists odour due to Merino's anti-bacterial qualities, fire resistant, compostable, has a much smaller carbon footprint and isn't a by-product of big oil.

I excitedly acquired my first Icebreaker piece that spring. It was a bit of an impulse purchase at Eco Everything in Tofino. It is a short sleeve 180 GT tee. I wore that all summer, commuting by bike everyday, mountain biking and running after work.  It was amazing. I could wear it for days on end. It didn't stink. It breathed amazingly. I would hang it outside, after being soaked with sweat from the commute home and it was dry in an hour so I could wear it again to mountain bike in. It was light, and warm. I could use it as a base layer under a rain jacket on wet cooler days, or on hot summer days. It kept me warm in the morning on the way to work, and cool in the afternoon on my way home. It was different to me being that it was form fitting. It made me a little self conscious at first, but I got used to it. I was hooked. I have since purchase many more Merino clothes for myself and for my daughter. It is hard to get her to take her Merino pieces off. My favorite article I have now is a Nomad Hoodie from Ibex. It is a thick Merino that is brushed on the inside so it so very soft. It is beautiful. I paid a good chunk of money for it, but it is worth it.

I have been turned into a merino wool fanatic. I have a hard time wearing any other fabrics. From socks to beanie caps, and everywhere in between, Merino is where it is at. It may cost more than most plastic based options or cotton, but the benefits are more than worth the extra cost. My tip is to shop around online and find pieces on clearance or on sale. It can save a great deal of money. R.E.I is a good choice. M.E.C. in Canada also has a small selection of their house branded Merino. It is pretty nice and a reasonable price.

If you are reading this posting, please share with me in the comments section your opinion on Merino wool, why you like it, and when you wear it. Do you have a favorite particular piece? Thank you in advance. CC