My daughter Eva is currently in Kindergarten and we recently had an event in her classroom where all the kids got to read a book they had created to a group of parents. I really enjoyed Eva’s book and wanted to post it here so that family could see it (and of course for the eventual inclusion on her college applications as a sign of prodigious intellect).
A few years ago when I started biking to work it was primarily due to a desire to improve my fitness. I was working a lot of hours and found it difficult to find time to get to the gym. I figured that a little moderate exercise (like walking) to start and end the day would be a good way to ensure at least a nominal amount of physical activity each day.
I’ve continued to bike since that first trial and now bike for most of my daily tasks – groceries, meetings, work, etc. I’ve been pondering the exercise impact of the biking I do and wanted to do a rough estimate.
This online calculator is pretty handy to ballpark the calories burned biking. There are many others but the few I tried out gave similar results.
For a typical 3 mile ride in the city I burn about 200 calories so a round-trip would yield 400 calories burned. For a daily commute and with 2 weeks off for vacation that’d be an even 100,000 calories in a year.
If you’re looking for a way to get a bit of exercise each day, trying out bike commuting might be worth a try. Bonus: it’s really fun.
CORRECTION: After posting this I received feedback from a couple of people with more knowledge than I that calculators like the one used above overestimate the calories burned biking by quite a bit. Per their estimates, including a tracked ride, the rate per mile for biking should be around 25 calories.
Based on this number, the total for the 3 mile ride, 6 miles round trip would yield a total of 150 calories burned and an annual total of 37,500 (not 100,000).
I’m leaving the original post and this edit in case others have a similar issue regarding online calculators for this purpose.
2016 marks the 5th Annual Ride for the River Park, benefiting the San Diego River Park Foundation (SDRPF). This 2 day, 1 night tour begins at the Pacific Ocean in the neighborhood of Ocean Beach, and follows the path of the San Diego River from the ocean to the headwaters in the mountains near Julian. This is a challenging ride of 70 miles each direction, with about a mile of elevation climb on the first day. At the summit in Julian we’ll enjoy dinner and craft beers at Nickel Beer Company. The return trip on Sunday, October 2 is all downhill – a well deserved easier return trip.
Registration cost is a $30 donation to the River Park Foundation but please feel free to make a larger donation if you’d like! The event organizer and volunteers will provide snacks and water along the way and a support vehicle for carrying small overnight bags and gear. Food and drink are the responsibility of each participant as is accommodation in Julian on Saturday night. Julian is a popular tourist destination so reservations are recommended as soon as possible. There are a variety of hotels and other accommodations and many options on VRBO or Airbnb. There are also nice campgrounds nearby like Heise County Park and Lake Cuyamaca. Please note that the campgrounds are a few miles from Nickel Beer Company where we will end the first day’s ride.
This ride is challenging and is on open roads, some with fast-moving automobile traffic. We welcome participants of all skill levels but please be aware that this will be a difficult ride for those not used to elevation gains or long-distance riding (more than 50 miles). Please note that the average group pace for the first day is 10 mph and 15 mph for the second day. If you’re not comfortable with this pace for a long day’s ride please bring a friend to ride along – we don’t want to leave anyone riding alone.
Notes and Itinerary:
Show up early so we can depart on time – we roll out at 7 AM on Saturday, 10/1/2016
Bring needed gear – sunscreen, helmet (if you want), lights, spare tire tubes, WATER, bicycle, human body, snacks, cash, phone. If you have clothes, camping gear, etc. you can put in support van to take for you.
Book your accommodations in Julian in advance of the event or secure a camping site at Cuyamaca
Great attitude, smiles, be ready for a great time!
Route Map – Click image for dynamic Google Maps version.
Day 1 Stops – Saturday, 10/1/2016
Starbucks Coffee – 10406 Friars Rd, San Diego, CA 92120 (Grantville)
7-11 – 10195 Riverford Rd, Lakeside, CA 92040 (Just before Highway 67)
Thai Time (Lunch Stop) – 2330 Main St, Ramona, CA 92065
Dudley’s Bakery / Santa Ysabel Grocery – 30218 California 78, Santa Ysabel, CA 92070
Nickel Beer Company (Finish Line!) – 1485 Hollow Glen Rd, Julian, CA 92036. All are welcome (non-riders included) to enjoy a pint at Nickel Beer Company from 6-8 PM with a portion of each sale going to the River Park Foundation.
Day 2 Stops – Sunday, 10/2/2015
Breakfast – Location TBD – Alpine, CA 91901
7-11 – 10195 Riverford Rd, Lakeside, CA 92040 (Just before Highway 67)
Mission Trails Visitors Center – 1 Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego, CA 92119
Finish Line – Mike Hess Brewing (Ocean Beach Tasting Room) – 4893 Suite A Voltaire St, San Diego, CA 92107. All are welcome (non-riders included) to enjoy a pint at Mike Hess Brewing at end of ride, estimated arrival time is 3:30 PM on Sunday, Oct 2.
Hope you can join us for this great event and even if you can’t enjoy the ride you can support the work of the SDRPF by learning more and making a tax-deductible donation at: http://sandiegoriver.org/give.html.
Here’s a horoscope for everyone Aquarius, you’re gonna die Capricorn, you’re gonna die Gemini, you’re gonna die twice Leo, you’re gonna die Scorpio, you’re gonna die f**king
Happy birthday (to me)! Amid the well wishes of friends, family, and strangers – and thanks to all for the kind words – a birthday ever makes me contemplate death, what the point of life is, etc. As Chris Rock excellently reminds in his classic “No Sex in the Champagne Room” we’re gonna die. No need to be sad about it, and no need to try to hide from it. Death comes for us all – some earlier than others.
I’ve been very fortunate in many ways in life, most of which were in no way in my control – family, health, luck / fate. Celebrating my birthday makes me feel self conscious and guilty. I have received far more than my fair share, I scarcely need another reason to celebrate. So I try to refocus and remember to be grateful and to think and work for a better world. It’s an effort that will never end – learning, adjusting, striving – and good to take a moment to take a fresh look and re-energize for the next year.
Whether you read this today or at some point in the unknown future I hope you’ll also take a moment to count your blessings and contemplate the larger world and how we can move toward a better future. Humans have had a really good few hundred years and I’m confident we’ll continue to progress and create a better world. Cheers to the work before us today, and to the many (or few) days to come.
Going for a run on a Saturday morning in San Diego is a great joy. This is an undeniably outdoor town and seeing people out enjoying the sunshine and each other while I lumber by brings a smile to my face. The past couple of Saturday mornings I’ve taken a few photos during my runs through Balboa Park and wanted to post them here.
I hope you enjoy your Saturday mornings as well, and sharing and enjoying the beautiful place in which we live.
2016 begins with San Diego looking at some pretty major changes. Downtown San Diego is experiencing a building boom and has community groups pushing for it be a walkable, bikeable city center. Awesome. The San Diego City Council recently unanimously voted to adopt a Climate Action Plan to ensure our city is a leader in moving to renewable energy and reducing emissions. The plan includes a goal to make biking 6% of commuter mode share by 2020 and 18% by 2035 (in select “Transit Priority Areas”). Currently the city is around 1% bicycle mode share. Aim high – great. Last week SANDAG held a meeting for public input regarding a bicycle / pedestrian bridge above Florida Street to connect Hillcrest and North Park. This week SANDAG holds a meeting for public comment regarding Pershing Drive and creating a high quality bike route from North Park to Downtown. Good stuff.
The tough bit about all these goals and plans – and there are many more great projects being proposed – is in making them a reality and backing up words and PowerPoints with actions and improvements on the ground. Roadway and infrastructure projects changes happen over years, if not decades. It is not a fast nor easy process and without consistent oversight and public pressure many, if not most, changes and projects will be scrapped a few years after being proprosed or passed. To see long-term, meaningful progress in making San Diego a world-leader for bicycling is why I support Bike San Diego.
I have found no organization in San Diego that more strongly and consistently is pushing for real, positive change on our roadways than Bike San Diego. If you want representation at public meetings, in meetings with elected officials and community groups, and ongoing leadership on the public stage I think you’ll find the same.
2015 was a tough year for biking in San Diego. The SANDAG Regional Bikeway Projects, announced in September 2013 with $200 million of funding, have yet to paint a single foot of bike lane more than 2 years later. The first project under this program, in Uptown, had the most critical portion – an East-West connection from Mission Hills to North Park – gutted despite many hours of meetings, and input from the communities to be improved. I attended many of the meetings for this project, and for a paired project in North Park, and have since wondered why I spent so much time, stress, and effort to see a unanimous vote against bike lanes by the Uptown Planners group. It has left me pondering if my time would be better spent elsewhere – if the “public outreach meetings” seem intentionally designed to give cover to the pre-ordained outcome as being community supported perhaps attendance is even counter-productive. Across the bay Coronado was widely panned for ludicrous commentary regarding bike lanes (video below).
My solace comes from the growing bicycling community in San Diego, and the support and leadership shown by Bike San Diego. We may have lost University Avenue (for now) but we showed up, spoke up, and connected. At the next set of meetings we’ll be bigger, louder, and more insistent on the outcome of public meetings truly reflecting the content of those meetings. When 70% of meeting testimony is strongly in support of a project the outcome should not be unanimous in the other direction. Such disrepect for the public can stand temporarily but over time will not.
Biking is critical to the future of San Diego, if we desire to be a city succeeding in the future. Look at world-class cities like London, Paris, New York City, Vancouver, Copenhagen, and others – they are embracing biking and walking and reaping immense economic rewards. The backwaters are not those that walk and bike – they are those that are tripling down on freeways and levelling neighborhoods to pave even more. Would San Francisco be more successful if four freeways were rammed through it or was the city right to demolish the freeway that long blighted the famed waterfront on the bay?
San Diego has no excuse to not be a world-leader in biking. We have the best weather in the United States. We stand to benefit economically, socially, and in health from increased levels of biking (and decreased levels of driving). We are a major city and should stop pretending we’re a congolmeration of suburbs with a mall as a city center. We need to get serious about real change on the ground. Bike San Diego will be there every step of the way but can not do it without support.
In 2008, an insane tradition was born in the form of a New Year’s Resolution / Fitness Challenge. Most of you have participated throughout the years, but for any newcomers, here’s a recap of the various challenges:
2008 – 8 minute abs every day
2009 – 1 mile run every day
2010 – The Infamous Push-Up Challenge (1 additional push-up every day)
2011 – Choose your Daily Workout! (20 minutes of running, 15 minutes of jumping rope, or 30 minutes of riding a bicycle)
2012 – The Daily Nutrition Challenge (1 fruit + 1 vegetable + no deep fried foods)
2013 – Choose your Daily Workout! (200 Pushups, 2 Miles Running, 400 Crunches, 4000 Meters Rowing, 600 Jumping Jacks, or 6 Miles Biking)
2014 – 20 minutes of continuous workout each day
2015 – no challenge / lack of interest / the year which shall not be mentioned
With 2016 nearly upon us, there’s still time to assemble a group of like-minded (crazy) fitness junkies. For the 2016 Challenge, I’m proposing a workout that takes us back to the first two years of the challenge. A ‘Return to our Roots’ workout:
Complete an 8 minute ab workout OR Run 1 Mile every day.(A suggested 8 minute ab workout is included via youtube link at bottom, but 8 minutes of planking or a similar core workout are also acceptable. The 1 Mile run is pretty self-explanatory, and can be completed inside, outside, in an airport, in another country, or on a boat.)
Takes less than 10 minutes to complete (assuming you can run a 10 minute mile)
Doesn’t require any gear / gym membership / additional purchases
What’s in it for me?
Besides toning up your core muscles and getting in better running shape, there’s a monetary incentive to the challenge each year. $20 per person goes into the pot, and the ‘last man standing’ wins the money. If there are multiple winners on 12/31/2016 (or sooner, depending on when the final participants drop out), the winners split the pot.
How do I sign up?
Great! I’m glad you asked. To sign up, simply send an email with your ‘verbal commitment.’ Then send in $20 – email for details.
Other important details:
The Challenge begins on January 1, 2016 (aka this FRIDAY).
You have 24 hours (from midnight to midnight) to complete the daily requirement.
This operates on the honor system. If you fail to run/do your abs within 24 hours of the day, you must email the group (or at least the organizer!) to let us know.
Feel free to invite others! Mo’ participants = mo’ money in the pot.
I think that covers the essentials. I know it’s a bit daunting to commit to a whole year of daily workouts, but half of the fun lies in taunting and shit-talking with your friends and family. Besides, even if you successfully complete even 3 months of working out, isn’t that worth the $20 commitment?
Invite your kids, invite your wives.
Go ahead and bookmark this page so you can watch this amazing video daily. Come on gang, you’re almost there!
I was very happy to be included in an invitation to view and explore a new acquisition by the San Diego River Park Foundation just outside of Julian, California on Saturday, December 5. Below are a number of photos of the 374 acres that the Foundation is in the process of buying from the current owners. This acreage surrounds Temescal Creek, a coldwater creek that is part of the San Diego River watershed. This acquisition will ensure the land is preserved for future generations and remains a wildlife corridor preserve for mountain lions, deer, turkey, hawks, and many other animals. Executive Director Rob Hutsel noted that the vision is for this space to be open to the public and to host youth for overnight trips to explore and participate in science-focused lessons in nature.
Each September I organize a weekend bicycle ride, Ride For The River Park, from Ocean Beach to Julian and back to promote and support the idea of a continuous path for the entirety of the San Diego River. 2016 will be the 5th year for the event and if you’d like to join we’d love to have you. My goal is to see this path be a reality by the 10th year of the event – by September of 2021. The idea and the work is not mine, it is that of the River Park Foundation, I simply want to support and spur on the work they are doing. At the event on Saturday, a mile marker post was debuted showing the start / end of the San Diego River Trail. What a beautiful sight to see.
In the same vein of supporting the vision of a full River Trail, 2015 is the first year for which I am donating 1% of my Airbnb income to charitable causes. For this year that money is going to the San Diego River Park Foundation. I got the idea from the 1% For the Planet movement, in which “Members donate at least 1% of sales to nonprofit partners we’ve vetted for participation in the 1% for the Planet network.” I’m just a single person so after further research it doesn’t seem the 1% For the Planet program is a good fit for my giving.
Instead, I’m working with Airbnb for a roll-out to San Diego of their Charity Donation Tool which currently allows hosts in Portland to opt-in to donate a portion of their revenue to a local charity. I’m hopeful that this will soon be an option for hosts in San Diego to automatically and regularly support great local charities like the River Park Foundation. If you’re a host in San Diego and would like to help make this a reality please contact me. In the meantime, I hope you’ll consider a voluntarily donation to the charity of your choice from your Airbnb (or VRBO or other platform) earnings.
The acreage surrounding Temescal Creek features many mature oaks, ravines, and all sorts of native plants thriving. A beautiful, peaceful place to enjoy and savor the natural splendor of San Diego and a reminder that without support it will not endure. It takes the efforts of many to protect and preserve our natural bounty.
I’ve recently been talking about personal finance with a variety of people and following are some broad points that are a good starting point for thinking about finances and developing a game plan. I hope these notes help you to get organized and put a strategy in place to chase down your goals.
Know Your Info
To decide where to go, you have to know where you are now. Put together a list of all your accounts – assets and liabilities. Add the current balance for all the accounts. I highly recommend using Mint to track balances and where money is earned and spent. It’s free and a huge, huge help in managing your finances. This simple exercise is so important and shows you how things stack up. It might not be pretty. It might be gorgeous. Either way, you must know where you stand before you decide where to go.
Take it a step further and look at your income and expenses. For the past month look at what you made and what you spent. If you’re using Mint this process is automated and you can use the built-in budget and tracking tools to see where you spend and start to identify where you want to make changes.
Who wants to spend time paying bills? No one. (Except maybe Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters.) Automate your finances – savings, bills, etc. – and save yourself time spent on recurring non-value activities. Take that time and use it to pursue your goals. Look over last month’s spending and see where you want to trim your budget. Talk to your spouse about an investment you’re interested in. Read a post or two by Mr. Money Mustache and learn something new.
Automating savings tools is especially valuable. Put your 401k on auto-pilot, with an automatic annual increase, or open a Betterment account and contribute $10 a week. You’ll remove the need to consciously choose to contribute and while you’re not paying attention those funds will grow. Weeks, months, years and the power of compounding really starts to add up and you don’t even have to think about it. Another benefit is once the money is invested you won’t be tempted to spend it.
Prioritize by Size
Focus your efforts on the biggest items in your budget whether income or expense. We all have a limited amount of time and you’re better served prioritizing based on size. Does the $4 latte you buy daily matter? Yes. Does your $200,000 mortgage matter more? Yes. Daily habits are important and consciously working to have healthier, better habits is a lifelong process. Don’t beat yourself up about the small things – if you’re consistently working on the big things you’ll come out on top. Taking a look once a year and getting comparison quotes on your insurance or cutting a $100 a month expense is worth more of your time than clipping $2 worth of coupons every week. Again – good practices on small matters do matter but should be lower on the priority list than large matters.
Once you know where you stand and where you money is going to and coming from you can look at your goals and how you can take action to pursue them. Best of luck on your financial journey!
This summer I was fortunate to take a bicycle trip across part of Europe, from Budapest to southern Bavaria (just south of Munich). It was the first time I had taken a trip primarily by bicycle and it was great. Unknown to me before our trip, Europe has created a number of cross-continent bicycle routes, named the EuroVelo routes.
We used EuroVelo Route 6, which goes from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea – most of the route is bicycle only with some portions sharing the road through small villages. We were only on a small portion of this route since our journey was much shorter than the route. Here’s an overview of the whole network, it’s amazing.
The amount of people we encountered while riding was awesome. Groups large and small, single riders, day trippers, and those camping along the way. All enjoying the beautiful Danube River and a peaceful, quiet ride through the countryside and towns both big and small.
One town we stopped in for a night was Tulln, Austria. It was a charming town in central Austria with a well-kept town square. It’s a very old town, first noted in 859, but is making proactive changes to thrive in 21st century and put people first. The center city recently moved to a 20 kph speed limit for their city center. That’s 12.4 mph.
This small town, with cobbled streets and narrow roadways went out of it’s way to actively change in a way that makes people feel safe, valued, and welcome. The EuroVelo system has been created the same way – many people actively choosing to make Europe a place that increasingly values people and is a great place to live. In Tulln, and many of the other places we visited you were far more likely to see people walking, biking, or sitting and enjoying some sun than you were to see cars rushing to and fro. In America it is the opposite nearly everywhere – elementary schools, downtowns, suburbs, office parks. It is this way because we have chosen to build a place that incents and endorses cars above people and community.
The same applies to any community in the world – what it is and what it will become are choices constantly being made. Our roadways, our buildings, our speed limits are all man-made creations. The status quo exists because we continue to choose and support it. Cities like Tulln that are many centuries old have existed through great and terrible periods yet continue to thrive in the 21st century. Economies change, and so do trends – valuing people and creating great places to live and celebrate life are timeless practices.
What happens when you reduce speeds and limit vehicles? You get more people, more money, and a livelier place to live and visit. To Tulln – Prosit!