Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lance Armstrong's New Shop Encourages Bike Commuting

Via: Austinist

As the growth of downtown continues to explode, so does the need for commuter-friendly transportation alternatives — enter the bike. Granted, it's nothing new, save for Lance Armstrong's recent unveiling of plans for a commuter biker shop.

According to Armstrong, "This city is exploding downtown. Are all these people in high rises going to drive everywhere? We have to promote (bike) commuting."

Mellow Johnny's, based on the nickname Armstrong earned while wearing the yellow jersey, will serve as a bike shop, commuting center, training facility and cafe. Showers and a locker room will provide commuters a chance to clean up, store their bikes at the shop, and catch a ride on a pedicab or walk the rest of the way to work.

Located near La Zona Rosa, the 18,000-sq-ft building—painted in yellow and black, of course—plans to open in May. While this can easily be characterized as just another bike shop, partner Bart Knaggs is quick to articulate the macro-level vision:

"There's a bigger ambition we're going to go for here. It's not like there's not a good bike shop in town. We want to add something to the community that will catalyze interest around riding bikes, about being bike friendly and folding it into life in Austin," Knaggs said.

Will this serve as yet another destination for the diehard gearheads of the city? Or will it really serve as a user-friendly gateway for rookie riders? Based on the "Armstrong effect," there's a decent chance this could be the turning point in making Austin a true bike commuter city.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love Is All Around Us!

As a recovering Valentine's Day cynic, I can now appreciate that it is a time to be grateful for the love that surrounds us all. From significant others, to family, to friends, each relationship occupies a special place in our hearts. On a day that can so easily be dismissed through hallmark mementos, perhaps the best gift is expression to those so dear to us. As a wise friend so eloquently puts it:

happy valentine's day to you.
may something simple remind you
of love all around
in the cracks
in between and
today. and
i'm grateful for all
each of you have
over the days, years & mountains
to fill up that
wild woman place inside.

~swami tina

Big heart to you all!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Austin Among Top Ten Greenest Cities

Via: Austinist

As the trendiness of "going green" evolves more into an issue of long term sustainability, Austin continues to thrive when it comes to merging civic leadership, local business, and tactical implementation for more sustainable living. Popular Science recently released a list of the top 50 greenest cities and Austin rounded out the top 10. Other Texas cities making the top 50 include Fort Worth, Amarillo, and Laredo.

Different from other top "green lists" out there on which Austin also ranks, this list uses hard core survey data of key constituencies. Taking into account Electricity, Transportation, Green Living, and Recycling/Green Perspective, the study used raw data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Geographic Society’s Green Guide. The collected data and government statistics included over 100,000 people in more than 30 categories with cities earning between 1-10 points. Here is how Austin shaped up:

Electricity: 6.0; Transportation: 5.9; Green Living: 3.3; Recycling/Green Perspective: 4.9

The electricity ranking should come as no surprise based on Austin's commitment to renewable sources such as wind, solar, and local incentives for consumers. However the green living ranking which is based primarily on USGBC certifications did seem a bit surprising. And obviously, they did not take into account Austin's upcoming new recycling program. While top 10 green honors are really nothing new for Austin, this recent ranking provides a thorough analysis and some good sustainability clout to stand behind.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Love Yourself!

Occasionally I move off the sustainability path and am sparked with some inspiration of things that stick to the basics of standing strong in our own skin. In a world with so many expectations, changes, and catalysts of "shoulds" it is more important than ever to claim our personal ground reminding us what is truly important in life. While I may be just a glorified Auntie, the messaging of the Dove Campaign for Beauty stresses the importance of finding the beauty within. Check out the clip below, share it with the women in your life, and love who you are!