1975 Schwinn Continental

1975 Schwinn Continental
This is the bike before most of the restoration work - click to view full-size

Thursday, May 31, 2012

An All-Day Ride...

I was on my bike from noon to six PM. First ride of the season.

Man, I haven't done that since high school. The weather was perfect, and it was glorious.

Ride On,


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Kicking Asphalt - Better World Club News

From: "Better World Club" marketing@betterworldclub.com
Date: May 24, 2012 7:34 PM

May 24, 2012


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AAA Watch

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AAA Watch
AAA Oregon/Idaho Takes One More Small Step for Bike-Kind

We're Still Waiting on the Giant Leap

Heck, We're Still Waiting for Real Coverage Beyond Oregon and Southern Idaho

Back in 2009, we
congratulated AAA's Oregon/Idaho office
for following our lead in offering bicycle roadside assistance. They were 6 years late to the party, but hey - at least one region got there eventually. Unfortunately, their bike membership clause looked like it had been hammered out by a team of lawyers who moonlight as accountants. Coverage was limited to Oregon and Southern Idaho, and only Premium members were eligible.

As of May 2012, they're allowing Basic members access to their bike assistance - although coverage is still limited to Oregon and Idaho. Two more AAA regions have technically begun offering bike assistance: AAA Mountain West and AAA South Jersey. The catch? It's only available for student members between 17 and 25.

It looks like that obfuscation team is still earning its keep. In Oregon and Idaho, cyclists under a Basic plan will be transported:

"Back to the station that dispatched transportation service or any point of choice along the direct return route, or to any point of safety within the city of the station providing transportation service, or to any point of safety within a 3-mile radius in Oregon and 10-mile radius in the southern 34 counties of Idaho, of the bicycle breakdown." - Oregon AAA website

Got that? Know which county you're broken down in? Know where your tower is going to be dispatched from? Know what a "point of safety" means to the AAA legal team?

Neither do we.

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In The News
Tornado Warning
by Katey Schultz

I flipped the hazards on and powered on my cell to call Better World Club (the eco-friendly, Oregon-based roadside assistance company that offers the same perks and prices as AAA). While the operator led me through the drill, I couldn't help but notice the shifting world around me: prairie grass thrashed about, rippling in violent waves as wind gusts shook the door panels on the Volvo. Rain fell in sheets, blown sideways by the wind. The sky, which moments before had looked enchanting, suddenly appeared forceful, almost magnetic.
"Are you in a safe place?" the BWC operator asked me.
Looking outside, I had to tell her I wasn't.

Complete Story

Member Alert
We Give Discounts to Transit Users

Do you commute via bus, Metro, MAX, BART, or human-sized pneumatic tube? (If the latter, please contact us with details...we've been waiting for one since the 1850s).

If your membership is up for renewal, send Better World Club a copy of your monthly mass transit ticket (via email, fax, or postal mail) and we'll take 10% off your bill.
Top Story

Wipe Up Your Carbon Footprints With Our New Carbon Calculator

It's a Better Response to Climate Change Than Buying a Bunker in Wyoming

Now We Feel Silly For Hoarding All Those Canned Beans

After a quest that made Frodo's journey to Mordor look like a trip to the grocery store, we have overcome the dark forces of CO 2 to bring you... this. It's an online tool that takes a few facts about your car and turns them into a precise calculation of your total yearly emissions. That might sound more depressing than exciting, but, as they say, the best is yet to come. Our calculator also lets you choose to offset all or part of your harmful emissions, right there on the spot.

How does our offsetting work, you ask? We partner with the Greater New Bedford LFG Utilization Project, which diverts the gas formed by landfill decomposition (a 50/50 mix of methane and CO 2 known as landfill gas or LFG) for use as fuel in four specially-designed generators. The generators provide power to the local electrical grid. This process reduces the amount of LFG in the atmosphere and, at the same time, reduces the use of electricity made from fossil fuels.

Join the Better World Club offices in being carbon neutral. It makes us feel all warm inside. Just like a big pot of bean chili on a cold day.

Complete Story

Read Last Edition's Top Story:

Better World to Reward Ecologically-Friendly Towing Companies

Take Advantage of Your Member Discounts

We provide hundreds of discounts for products, services, hotels and car rentals - many of which are green! Click here to log on and take a look.


Safe Routes to School National Partnership

Better World Club is proud to be part of the movement to increase cyclists and pedestrians' access to federal funding. "Launched in August 2005, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership is a fast-growing network of hundreds of organizations, government agencies and professional groups working to set goals, share best practices, leverage infrastructure and program funding and advance policy change to help agencies that implement Safe Routes to School programs.

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership's mission is to advocate for safe walking and bicycling to and from schools, and in daily life, to improve the health and well-being of America's children and to foster the creation of livable, sustainable communities." – SRSNP website

Looking for coverage for your company's or organization's fleet? Contact us!


Need To Get Out Of Town In A Hurry?

Try Our Snazzy Multi-Purpose Booking Engine

Member Special

May is National Pet Month, and Edgar the Better World Club spokes-pug would like to draw your attention to our variety of discounts on pet insurance. We partner with PetPlan, ASPCA, and VPI Pet Insurance so our members can receive 5-15% off their premiums. Log in to the member section of our website to take advantage of the discount.

Your Car Insurance Can Be Part of a Better World, Too!

Our Green Auto Insurance Includes a Free Carbon Offset. Click here to get a quote.
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Washington Watch
Government Regulation of Coal Attacked Because Coal is "Cheap"

Well, Cheap As Long As You Don't Need Any Help With That Black Lung

In early 2012 the EPA introduced a rule to regulate the CO2 output of new power plants constructed in the United States.

Power plants account for 40% of CO2 emissions in the US. This graph illustrates the large role coal plays in overall power production, as well as the disproportionately large stake it has in carbon emissions.

For the past 10 years coal power has been on the downswing, partly due to decreases in the price of natural gas. Utilities are shutting down coal plants and replacing them with more efficient gas or non-fossil-fuel systems. The proposed limit of 1,000 lbs of carbon per kilowatt hour (kwh) is pertinent mostly to the construction of new coal-powered plants, since on average new natural gas facilities already fall below the limit. There are approximately 25 coal plants in the early stages of development – a relatively small area of concern compared to the 600 or so currently in operation.

Environmentalists are critical of the EPA for not doing more to curb inefficiency in existing coal power plants (many of which emit upwards of 2,000 lbs per kwh), and for allowing a handful of partially-constructed plants to continue development without being subject to the new regulation. Some journalists also point out that the changes the rule purports to require are already taking place for economic reasons. Josh Galperin, a blogger for cleanenergy.org, states that "the age of coal is coming to an end because of market forces, not regulations. What this rule can do is make sure that if market forces change, power companies will not try to revive coal."

That coal was ever a "cheap" option for power generation reflects one basic marketplace flaw: that industry has never properly accounted for its external costs.

While opponents of the EPA's rule cite its potential to damage the economy and destroy jobs, they ignore the effects of coal on the health - and lives - of miners and other workers. Meanwhile, alternative energy companies of all sorts are claiming that they have the potential to create many more jobs - and certainly safer jobs - than coal mining.

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TravelCool Website of the Month

Travel the World's Art Museums Without Leaving Home

Many Americans dream of traveling to Europe to view the rich legacy of Western art. Who wouldn't love to walk the echoing halls of the Ch√Ęteau de Fontainebleau and gaze at Rosso Fiorentino's renowned mural of a distressingly lumpy elephant draped in cherubs?

Unfortunately, being able to afford travel abroad isn't often congruent with our bank accounts. However, the online behemoth Google has taken an interest in art education, and is publishing high-quality digital images from art museums around the world. Not only can you view Fiorentino's mural, but also rock carvings from Australia and woven blankets from South Africa. Check them out here.

Do You Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is?
Gas-Guzzlers Will Pay More at This Boston-Area Parking Lot, Greenies Pay Less
by Danny King

It'll cost you a little more to pahk your cah in this yahd.

That's what one Boston parking lot owner is saying to SUV and other gas-guzzler vehicle drivers planning to use a new parking lot near the city's TD Garden, according to the Boston Herald.

Dinosaur Capital Partners will adjust pricing at its new Green Park & Charge to account for either particularly good or particularly bad fuel economy. Drivers of hybrids and plug-ins will get a 10 percent discount from the $10 hourly rate, while cars that get less than 15 miles per gallon will be charged an extra 10 percent.

Read More

Google's Driverless Cars Now Officially Licensed in Nevada

by Matt Peckham

Nevada's putting a new spin on the idea of "hands-free" driving this week: The state just issued Google its first license for a car that drives itself. According to the Las Vegas Sun, Nevadans can expect to see the ballyhooed driverless vehicles being tested around the state (as, I imagine, can we all in the not distant future, if things go well here). The vehicles utilize intelligent driving software, proximity sensors and GPS data to figure out how to get from one point to another.

Read More

10 Cars You Don't Want During a Gas Crisis

by Alex Taylor III

Gas prices are spiking again - $5 a gallon for regular in Los Angeles - and drivers are predictably up in arms. The obligatory media frenzy is stoking their passions - particularly on local news shows. An easy-to-understand camera-friendly story profiling angry citizens? There's a no-brainer for news directors.

Politicians are certainly doing their part to fan the flames. Obama opponents are blaming the president, and some are even promising to bring back $2.50 a gallon gas. Maybe they'll bring back 15-cent McDonald's hamburgers, too. It won't be long before some public servant speaks up and urges the government to open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to spare Americans from laying out more cash for a scarce and diminishing resource.

Meanwhile, drivers who confused themselves with Saudi princes and indulged their inner gas-guzzler when fuel was cheap are paying the price at the pump with their weighty rides. Here are some of their most notable offenders.

Read More


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