Today started off great by setting a record fastest bike commute to the office (65 minutes). The wind was steady from the South, pushing me along at a pace of 25 mph in spots. I was also noticably lighter with no lunch or computer in my backpack. I was happy to have such a nice commute, record warm temperatures and the sun coming up early enough to light most of my ride. Good days are easy to appreciate when reflecting on previous rides where things don't work out so well.
Last week held spotty weather, allowing me to commute three of five days though milage was cut short by various events. I was happy shorten my ride Monday to meet up with my family and brother who happened to be in town. Thursday allowed for a full ride to and from the office but also involved a few close calls. I had two people pull out in front of me within a mile of each other. Lucky for me, I was paying close attention and was able to avoid being crushed by their car tires.
My luck turned real sour upon my return home Friday. I had my pack stuffed with cold weather clothing, lunch box and work clothes to the point of seams bursting. I struggled to get my pack attached to my bike rack and didn't realize the damage done until 10 miles into my commute. It started with a funky noise coming from my rear wheel, no big deal considering my bike always has some hard to pinpoint noise. As it got louder by the minute, I finally pulled over and realized the damaged caused by my overloaded backpack. My bike rack actually bent under the weight resulting in my fenders rubbing the tires. I decided it best to catch the train home and work on repairing the damage where I had full access to my tools. After boarding the train, I looked down only to see that my rear tire was also flat. Ughhhhhhhhhhhh. I haven't had a flat tire in months and now I get one in the midst of another problem. My commute home was ended with a walk from the train station to my house, rolling my noisy and flat tired bike home.
My expression on the train ride home may have been similair to Gracie's upon being busted playing in Moms make-up.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
For the three readers of this blog that live in Salt Lake, I have a question(also applies to those in other cities)? Have you ever been driving around town and suddenly smelled an aroma that resembled burnt toast? I first encountered the smell during my drive to work a few years back, the smell always occured when going from I-15 south to I-215 east. Everytime I sensed the burnt toast smell, I wondered whether there was an underground movement of people purchasing burnt toast in some back alley. I did confirm that I wasn't crazy when a few others noted the same smell at the exact same spot on their commute. After a few years of throwing the burnt toast movement theory around in my head, I finally decided it was time to investigate. It was about a year ago, I smelled the familiar scent during my drive to work and went to find it. It wasnt tough finding the source as I drove through the industrial area just North of my house and right under the overpass where the odor always occurred. The thick smoke led me directly to the source of much wonder, a coffee bean roaster. After my discovery, I have since found many other roasters in the valley by using my nose. There is one that can be smelled while driving along I-80 in salt lake, located just north of I-80 and main street. Another more visible location is the salt lake coffee roasting company at 4th south and 3rd east. Note the plume coming from the top of the building in the picture below. The plume was more visible when I went to get my camera out and had almost disappeared by the time I snapped this picture.
So why all the stink? I'm not sure. Being the coffee drinker that I am, I realize the conundrum of my thoughts. If I lived right next door to one of these roasters, you better beleive I would be complaining about the smoke/smell. When the roasters are first fired up, they violate standard opacity (visible emissions) limits and the smell can be extremely acrid when they first get the process going. I was almost in tears this morning as I rode by the salt lake coffee roasting company and the smoke poured out. Since I only encounter the odor as I ride or drive by, I can tolerate the temporary shock to my senses. Guess I'm just another NIMBY whiner.
Monday, February 2, 2009
There are few days that I truly enjoy my job; last Friday being one of them. It wasn't a great day cause I was working on my favorite emission inventories, stack testing or submitting hazardous waste reports. Last Friday is the day known as Solar Ski day around my office and is almost tradition since its beggining 5 years ago. Solar ski day is the only day of the year that us lowly environmental scientists are treated like engineers (the guys who actually purchase turbines). So full advantage must be taken of the annual event which includes skiing at Deer Valley, lounging in nice accomadations, eating great food and drinking (lots of drinking). For those that haven't skiied Deer Valley, the groomers expand in every direction, leaving many chances to lose your ski partner. Since we always practice safety first here at my company, I requested all my ski partners wear bright colors to ensure no members of the party were left behind. Unfortunately (or fortunately) only one of my ski partners truly lives by our company motto "safety first" as shown below.Thanks to Derek for wearing the safety orange colored jacket. No chance of losing you on the pimp tight groomers of Deer Valley. As for Scott, just cause you grew up in the 80's gives you no right to continue wearing the same ski gear you did back then. But hey, the green suit makes your big airs look that much better.