• Home
  • Health & Environment


Health officials once again downplay the benefit of exercise and bicycling

Disclaimer: I am not in the medical profession but my comments are based on my observations from helping people get back on the bike the first time since childhood.

The following is a reaction to Translating Calorie Counts into Exercise Equivalents Leads to Healthier Choices in Scientific American.
So how long does it take to burn 250 calories by bike, 73 minutes or 17 minutes? Which is it?

Let's face it, if you could do a high intensity "burn" of calories you would be out their running and not reading this blog. But here you are thinking about riding a bike... I hate to break it to you but when you first start out all you can really do intensity wise is what you have been "training" for up to this point, which is probably just walking level of excretion, which would probably take over two hours to burn off 250 calories. But on the other extreme a fit cyclist could probably burn that off in 17 minutes (more on how I got that number in the Read More.) The problem of course how do you get form where you are to the other end?

This is where the power of the bicycle comes in

Distance: Do to the mechanical advantage of the bicycle you can go two to four times the distance with the same excretion as just using your legs alone. This makes for an opportunity to integrate bicycling into your daily routine by using it for transportation for trips 5 miles or less (for starters.) Doing shopping trips or biking to work are amazing ways to work in some exercise into a hectic schedule as just the time difference between biking and driving is the "negative" and the more you bike the smaller that difference gets. So basically for 15 minutes extra you can get in a good half hour of exercise. (Your experience may vary.)

Speed: Let's face it going fast is fun, going fast under your own power is even more fun. The people I have observed who successively used bicycling to control their weight have tapped into this aspect, whether consciously or not. I don't care who you are, when you are cycling and there is a head wind or a an uphill you are motivated to try a little bit harder to maintain speed. That push helps to get you a bit closer to burning 250 calories in 17 minutes. And just to keep things fun, for every uphill we have also installed a downhill and we even throw in a free tailwind every now and then to keep things fun.

Fun and adaptive for your (lack of) fitness level: This is the major thing I think most people miss out on, if it is fun you are more likely to do it more often and if your exercise of choice can "dial it down" a notch or two when you had a bit much is important, as time moving is the most important factor for health and the "intensity level" will get there when it gets there (and it will improve as long as you stick with it.) I will also note that I think having more then three gears is important to take advantage of what I am talking about as well as having the seat at the proper height (please see a bike shop to make sure, as most seats are too low which makes bicycling a lot harder then what it should be. And all you end up doing is hurting your knees rather then getting any sort of strength training.) When you are doing bicycling right you have the option of making it easier then walking. That is the power of the bicycle, as it can be easier then walking, harder then running and everything in between. You are in control of what you want to get out of it and the bicycle can grow with you as your fitness improves while never really losing the fun factor as the more you improve the more of the world you will want to see by bicycle.

Lose the ego

I have seen some people try cycling just to get thoroughly disgusted on how hard/slow it is to go up hill. Lose the ego, seriously. Any time cycling gets too rough down shift and go slower, no one is forcing you to speed up the hill. If you see a kid passing you on a tricycle just smile and say "Isn't that cute." and just do a pace that you can maintain. You need to trust that over time that will improve but only if you stick with it. If you make it harder then what it needs to be in the beginning you are not going to stick with it.

It helps to have this image

Your muscles are a lot like balloons, they need to be pre-stretched in order to blow them up easily. This pre-stretching happens automatically in the beginning (hills and wind, just to mention a couple of short random events that help this "stretching") but as you find yourself plateauing you'll need to add random pushes and challenges to make room for growth of muscles and to get a more calorie burn per minute.

Continue Reading

  • Currently 0.00/5
Rating: 0.00/5 (0 votes cast)

Kids sue government over climate change


As the U.S. delegation drags its feet at the climate talks in Durban, South Africa, this week, a pack of kids back home is trying to force the old folks into action, the American way: They're suing the bastards.
"The generations before us ... just kind of thought of the world as limitless," said Glori Dei Filippone, 13, a plaintiff in the case who hails from Des Moines, Iowa. "My generation and the one after it are going to have to work hard to fix this mess."
The lawsuits are based on a legal theory developed by University of Oregon law professor Mary Wood called "atmospheric trust litigation." The theory "rests on the premise that all governments hold natural resources in trust for their citizens and bear the fiduciary obligation to protect such resources for future generations," according to Wood's web page.

Continue Reading

  • Currently 0.00/5
Rating: 0.00/5 (0 votes cast)

How Eco-friendly is our city? (Baltimore Green map.)

Can the choices you make in daily life - how to get from place to place, where to shop, learn, relax and have fun, what to consume, when to reuse or recycle - make a difference? Absolutely.
Baltimore Green Map will help you to find eco-opportunities in your neighborhood and around our region. Using the international Green Map® System Icons, we map Baltimore's ecological and cultural resources and our city's progress toward becoming a healthy, sustainable* urban environment.

Baltimore Green Map is an ever-evolving project, including online maps, print maps, events and activities. Now you can even check out local green resources on the fly with the new mobile app.

<a href="http://www.baltogreenmap.org/v1/index.html">http://www.baltogreenmap.org/v1/index.html</a>;
  • Currently 0.00/5
Rating: 0.00/5 (0 votes cast)

"The door to 2 degrees will be closed forever" - by current transportation plans

by Mason Inman of The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University

The infrastructure built over the next five years could “lock in” enough emissions to push the world past its target for limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest annual update of energy trends, World Energy Outlook.

The Agency is “increasingly pessimistic” about the prospect for dealing with climate change, said deputy executive director Richard Jones.
<a href="http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2011/11/10/only-five-years-left-to-make-transition-to-low-carbon-infrastructure/">http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2011/11/10/only-five-years-left-to-make-transition-to-low-carbon-infrastructure/</a>;
  • Currently 0.00/5
Rating: 0.00/5 (0 votes cast)

When It Comes to Clean Air, Must We Choose Jobs Over Health?

Environmental Commentary by Karen Hosler

Why are power plants worth more than the health of 140,000 Maryland children afflicted with asthma? What about pregnant women eating mercury-tainted fish from the Chesapeake Bay? How could their risk be scored so low compared to a utility plant’s profit?

And what of the boaters, watermen, crab house owners and all the others whose livelihoods depend on a healthy Chesapeake? Why should their interests come behind the mostly out-of-state industries that don’t want to meet tougher federal clean air regulations?

The answer we are given is jobs, jobs, jobs: good-paying, steady employment that has become the Holy Grail of our recession-ridden times.

Congress says the economy is so weak and the climate for such jobs so poor that clean air and clean water regulations are simply not affordable.

“As much as we want clean air, we would like jobs,” Rep. John Shimkus, a Republican from Illinois, told the House last week. “We have the cleanest environment that anyone has seen in decades in this country…The debate now is: How clean is clean? What is the cost benefit analysis and what is the effect on jobs if we get to a limit that you don’t find naturally?”

A few hours after he spoke, the House voted 249 to 169, led mostly by Mr. Shimkus’ fellow Republicans, to effectively block two Environmental Protection Agency rules: one that would reduce power plant emissions generally, and a second that would protect downwind states in the East from pollution blowing in from their Midwest neighbors—like Rep. Shimkus’ Illinois.

Continue Reading

  • Currently 0.00/5
Rating: 0.00/5 (0 votes cast)

Rec and Parks water bill ... or your tax dollars at work

[B' Spokes: Just a sampling of some of the crazy erroneous water bills going on around Baltimore. I thought some might like to know ]
UPDATE: <a href="http://www.foxbaltimore.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/wbff_vid_9648.shtml">http://www.foxbaltimore.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/wbff_vid_9648.shtml</a>;

It is an error caused by an estimate followed by an actual read that was smaller then the estimate and &quot;that just confused the system.&quot;

[B' Spokes: Perhaps these are the same programmers behind Baltimore's &quot;computerized&quot; traffic lights. That's another system that gets confused.]

ADDED: News coverage: <a href="http://www.foxbaltimore.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/wbff_vid_9632.shtml">http://www.foxbaltimore.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/wbff_vid_9632.shtml</a>;

via Linda Stewart

‎$490,000.00 erroneous water bill paid for with your tax dollars, property known as LIGHT ST MEDIAN 3 FT - Account # 09291285006 - the bill gets mailed to the department of Parks and Recs. How many parks could use this money??

You can look up this water bill using the city's web site: <a href="http://cityservices.baltimorecity.gov/water/">http://cityservices.baltimorecity.gov/water/</a>;

05/16/07 08/02/07 $1,236.71
08/02/07 11/01/07 $1,236.71
11/01/07 01/28/08 $1,236.71
01/28/08 05/06/08 $10,156.20 **
05/06/08 08/08/08 $1,273.30
08/08/08 11/06/08 $296,945.87 ***
11/06/08 02/18/09 $1,286.24
02/18/09 05/12/09 $2,169.41
05/12/09 07/30/09 $1,366.84
07/30/09 11/18/09 $1,401.91
11/18/09 03/01/10 $1,401.91
03/01/10 05/24/10 $1,401.91
05/24/10 08/05/10 $2,962.41
08/05/10 04/11/11 $5,080.06
04/11/11 06/23/11 $492,425.61 ***

This property was also overbilled $295,000.00 back in Nov 08, they only received a credit after Steve Levine from Fox 45 called the Department of rec to question this bill.
  • Currently 0.00/5
Rating: 0.00/5 (0 votes cast)