Don't Buy This Jacket

I adore Patagonia. This company not only knows its brand and stands by its ethics, they scream it out loud for the world to hear. They make an impact and don't care about the cost - literally. Here's an excerpt from the below full-page ad which appeared in the Black Friday installment of The New York Times:

[This jacket] required 135 liters of water, enough to meet the daily needs (three glasses a day) of 45 people. Its journey from its origin as 60% recycled polyester to our Reno warehouse generated nearly 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, 24 times the weight of the finished product. This jacket left behind, on its way to Reno, two-thirds its weight in waste. And this is a 60% recycled polyester jacket, knit and sewn to a high standard; it is exceptionally durable, so you won’t have to replace it as often. And when it comes to the end of its useful life we’ll take it back to recycle into a product of equal value. But, as is true of all the things we can make and you can buy, this jacket comes with an environmental cost higher than its price.

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Take a minute and read the rest of the ad's text here.

Via Visual Armory

4 on a Quarter

While recently taking a walk on Park Ave. with my best girl Wendy, I saw two of the coolest (and weirdest) looking bikes I'd ever seen. They were really long (but not tandem-style), and one had a pimped-out setup that looked ideal for groceries (essentially a huge tupperware bin with a bench built into it) attached to the back, and the other had a high-tech child seat and storage area attached to it. I gawked for a few seconds, then looked to my left where I saw a friendly-looking couple, their two rosy-cheeked kids, and their adorable dog. Naturally, I started a conversation with them about how badass their bikes were, which turned into them telling me about a unique challenge they've committed to. They have been documenting this "adventure in car-light living from the land of urban sprawl" in their blog - 4 on a Quarter. IMG_2267 PC: Keri Caffery

Jesse and Angie Ross (and their two and five year old daughters) are attempting to live on just 25% of the national average for car miles (4,000 miles). And let me tell ya folks, in the city of Orlando, that's a HUGE commitment. The majority of roads here, especially main roads, are not bike-friendly and very few have bike lanes. Like most mid to large sized cities in the US, drivers and cyclists have yet to find a harmonic balance.

I absolutely admire what the Ross family is doing, and their balls inspire me (perhaps I should use a word like "courage" or "initiative" or even "guts"? Nahhh!). But in all seriousness, when I moved to Orlando and almost immediately started The Downtown Orlando Bike Club (lovingly referred to as DOBC, which is currently in hibernation), I preached that drivers will never respect cyclists until cyclists respect drivers. And though most cyclists I know DO, some do not. Supporting things like 'corking' traffic (made popular by Critical Mass) - those are the kinds of things that piss drivers off most. They think "if we can't do that why can they?" Talking about this reminds me of a story I heard on NPR that almost made me cry...here. That's one of the reasons that I try to follow the laws of the road while on my bike. When the light is red, I stop (or at least yield if it's not busy). And it sucks because I've been assaulted numerous times by vehicles while on my bike, and those experiences really make me want to say EFF THIS, but I can't. For example, a friend and I once had an SUV pull up two feet behind us, rev their engine, and flash their brights and honk at us. I could smell their Ed Hardy cologne permeating from their disgusting car and imagined them fist-pumping the air while listening to their crap techno music (though I never turned around to actually confirm my suspicions). They thought this was necessary even though there were three OPEN lanes around us. It was horrifying and pissed us off to no end, and I remember having the urge to hock a loogie on their car, but I chose to take the high road. Because if I wouldn't have, I'd just become part of the problem - the vicious cycle, if you will.

End rant. Back to Angie & Jesse! Their journey is great. Here are some photos of things I bet you never thought a family could do by bike:

Groceries!

bikegroceries

Trick-or-treating!

bikehalloween

Taking the Christmas tree home! xmasbike

They've got the right idea.

IMG_2272 PC: Keri Caffery

Follow their adventures: http://fouronaquarter.com

Read the great Op-Ed piece Angie wrote for the Orlando Sentinel about their decision to go car-light here.