NCDC 1981-2000 Average Temperatures On Google Maps

I’m taking a road trip through the southwest this winter, and was interested in seeing a map of average temperatures so we would know what we’d be driving through.

When I couldn’t find any easily, I decided to see if I could plot data from the National Climate Data Center [FTP] via the Google Maps API.  I loaded the NCDC flat files from that FTP link into a MySQL database, and then exported it into Google Map objects (php writing out javascript objects). Continue reading NCDC 1981-2000 Average Temperatures On Google Maps

SF to Berkeley Bike Ride.

One of my favorite rides — looking forward to doing this again when my broken wrist is healed. There’s a lot of great parks that line the Bay, and it is fun to see the whole SF Bay area in a day. I often stay closer to the East Bay shore, going through Oyster Bay and Hayward Regional Shorelines. I also tend to think it works better in reverse, since either way you are going into the wind in the afternoon and the winds seem to be lighter on the East Bay side. I recommend bringing a lot of water and food (you’re in the Bay Area, but there are 10-20 mile stretches where there are no drinking fountains or convenience stores) and either a good map or a GPS-enabled phone (perhaps both).

View Berkeley – San Francisco bike ride in a larger map

What is there to see between Dublin and Cork (but not *in* Dublin or Cork)?

I asked this on Quora, and no one answered, so I went ahead and answered my own question after having ridden between the two towns. There’s:

  1. the ruin of Kells Priory  (“one of the largest and most impressive medieval monuments in Ireland”);
  2. the Rock of Cashel if you take the northerly route, or some nice seaside towns (Dungarvan, Youghal) if you go by the coast;
  3. The Irish Steam Preservation Society museum with lots of old steam-powered cars and tractors and such.

What to do when flying with bikes.

Bicycle Touring Pro has a good page with major airline policies laid out. It is from 2008, so perhaps a bit out of date, but a good starting point.

This summer (2012) my wife and I flew with our bicycles from San Francisco to Dublin, rode around Europe for the summer, and flew back from Copenhagen to SF. We used British Airways, and they were complete rock stars about it. Free, no hassles. My bike has Ritchey Breakaway couplers in it, similar to (but better than, IMHO) S&S couplers. But I just left it together because it was more of a hassle to have to deal with the Ritchey case at our destination and the additional disassembly/reassembly. Continue reading What to do when flying with bikes.

What are some good beginner-to-intermediate biking routes in the San Francisco Bay Area?

My answer to this Quora question.

From Berkeley, my favorite rides are:

(1) Up old Tunnel Road (Ashby/13), a winding ~10 mile ride that is a moderate climb most of the way.  You can return to Berkeley either via Claremont Ave, or for a longer ride go up to Grizzly Peak and drop out on Centennial Ave.  Both are steep — make sure your brakes are in good order!

(2) The Bay Trail segment starting from the Berkeley Marina (over the pedestrian bridge, by the Seabreeze Market) heading north to Richmond by the dog park and CostCo.

(3) The Three Bears Loop near Orinda.

The Grizzly Peak Cyclists cue sheet page is incredibly helpful and has lots of rides rated by difficulty and length.  Many are hard, but not all of them.  Check out their ratings system.  If you want other people to ride with, their organized rides are also worth looking into.

Why is cycling much more popular in Europe than the USA?

From a Quora answer I wrote in response to this question:

I spent two months of the summer of 2012 cycling around Europe and thought about this a lot.  Here’s what I have:

(1) Urban Layout.  European cities were designed before the advent of the automobile, so they all are arranged around a central point, usually the church or cathedral.  That means narrower streets that are often unsuitable for cars, more pedestrian zones, and more people living within cycling distance of a city center.
Continue reading Why is cycling much more popular in Europe than the USA?

Yes on 37

Michael Pollan: “[M]any of America’s biggest food and beverage makers — including PepsiCo, Nestlé, Coca-Cola and General Mills — have together ponied up tens of millions of dollars to, in effect, fight transparency about their products.” (Vote Yes on 37, Californians).