I am getting close to finishing my manuscript that I hope to turn into a book about my cross country bike tour last year. I the course of writing, I've been doing some research, largely on points of historical or geographical interest in the places I went through, but I am also enough of a geek that I want to include some math & science. So here is what I have to share:
A 175lb cyclist (my weight when I started the trip) burns about 515 calories an hour or 34 cal/mile. Since speed effects wind resistance on a bell curve on top of the the increased effort required, that cyclist going 25 miles an hour burns three times as much, or about 100cal/mile.
I was first trying to get a rough estimate of how many calories I burned on the tour, but it is hard to pin down an exact number. At times, I was cranking 6mph up a 7% incline, so clearly burning more, then I would hit the back of the hill and go 35mph without pedaling. Overall, I averaged a little over 13mph for the trip, dividing the 4605 miles I rode by the 350 hours I spent in the saddle. The above figure also doesn't include the 75-100 pounds of gear on the bike, and the additional calories I burned lugging it. But, just to estimate a minimum number, I am going with the 515 calories per hour. At that rate I cycled away at least 180,000 calories.
I was pretty satisfied with that figure until this morning, doing something completely unrelated, I came across a statistic that I will now work into my book: A gallon of gas contains the equivalent of 31,000 calories. So, using the 15mph numbers , I used 5.8 gallons of gas to cross the country, which means an efficiency of just under 800 miles per gallon.
I will buy a car once there is one that is at least 1/4 as efficient as me on my bike.
To take this one step further, let's say that I did drive instead of bike. I imagine I would take a car that is considered more fuel efficient, for convenience sake, let's say 30mpg. That would mean it would take me 152.5 gallons to go 4605 miles. At last summer's average of $3.75 a gallon, that's $575 just in fuel costs. Now certainly, I spent at least that much eating, but I would have to eat every day anyway.
In conclusion, I'm going for a bike ride.
Once again, cool and rainy, which makes for a not great bike commute. Dammit May, be more May-like!
So, in a little over a week, I am going to be moving to Long Island City, Queens. I am not looking forward to living in queens, but some friends of mine are going to be in vermont for june and july, and it is a convenient sublet. But this is the furthest from Prospect Park that I will have lived in NYC, and that makes me sad. I am, however, going to be getting a PO box in Greenpoint, so at least I can still have a Brooklyn address.
The clock counting down on my relationship is certainly adding stress to this week, on top of the fact that, once again, I am working six days this week. As much as I like working in the restaurant industry, the concept of weekends and being able to participate in events that happen on saturday and sunday is getting more and more appealing.
But now, I have to run a ridiculous errand for my brother. Back to complain more later.
I lost a friend today. In the middle of service tonight, my peppermill broke. The peppermill has served me well, surviving the last three professional kitchens I've worked in. It was a Unicorn Magnum Ultra, a 8 1/2" long black shaft of plastic that is as suggestive of a sex toy as its name.
Mechanically, my peppermill was better than any other cook's and vastly superior to the house mills. As such, other cooks and the chefs would use it all the time. They asked, usually, but in the prep kitchen in particular, it constantly being used. One of chefs, Preston, has the 5" model, which is the second best, but I prefer the additional leverage and capacity of the longer shaft. It gave the most wonderfully consistent grind, both in terms of size and volume. I knew exactly how much pepper would come out. Whether I wanted a sparse dusting over a fried egg or was really cranking it to flavor 16 quarts of sauce, this mill was better at giving what I wanted than any other I've ever met.
And it fit perfectly in my hand.
The four pieces lay in front of me. What broke was one part I had never really considered before. It is the part where the retaining arm that holds the grinder and drive shaft into place is screwed into the molded plastic shaft. I guess that is spot of weakness between the plastic and the metal. Examining the grinder, after several kitchens and years of heavy use, the grinding mechanism is only starting to show signs of wear. This mill could have been mine for years to come.
I've had a very stressful last three weeks, not least of all because I've 160 hours in that time and have been sick since my lone day off last week. I'm trying to keep what control I can over the wheels of change in the rest of my life, and have had four days off in April in which to figure a lot of this out.. My partner and I are walking, hand in hand, into the end of our relationship, which now counts in weeks. My decision to leave New York after summer means, in part, leaving behind a cast of friends and accomplices, as well as the park that I love best.
Why, universe? Why did you have to take my peppermill from me?
Starting next month, my bank, Chase, is going to start charging $12 a month for the free checking account that I opened with Washington Mutual back in 2004. When Chase took over WaMu, I stayed a customer because it is a convenient bank to have in NYC. I pass five branches on my commute from home to work. There are a couple ways to get the fee waved, keeping a minimum balance or a monthly direct deposit of greater than a given amount. Regardless of whether I meet these requirements or not, on principle, I don't want to stay with a bank that has gotten huge federal subsidies, has been ratcheting up fees for the last several years, and now wants to charge me $144 a year for the free account I opened as a customer of another bank.
So, what is a good bank or credit union to switch to?
I suppose this would be more for my New York area friends, as a credit union that only has branches in Madison, Baraboo and Beaver Dam won't be as convenient.
I'm asking this here because I think I would get a better answer than the FB crowd.
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I am now in year six of living in Brooklyn. There are things that I love about Brooklyn: the endless merges and clashes of cultures, all the free entertainment that is available in the city year round, and Prospect Park.
The bike lane system gets stronger every year, but not all motorists acknowledge our space. Some get violently angry at the thought of having to share a road with a bike.
I get into a lot of arguments with people who don't know how to use a road. Cyclists going the wrong direction down a one way road when 12 seconds away on the next block over is a street with a bike lane going the way they want. Or worse, riding on the sidewalk. Pedestrians who don't even look where their next step is going to take them. And drivers. Drivers drivers drivers. Keep an extra foot away if the plate says new jersey.
My current job, as a line cook, pays what I was making in chapel hill. The cost of living here is considerably higher, plus I have a culinary school loan that's not going anywhere any time soon. A workday is 11 hours, give or take, and I generally get home somewhere between 1:30 and 2am. It's hard to get to sleep before 3. I know that, with the experience I have, I could get a better job that pays the same or more basically anywhere else on the planet.
For my commute to work I can choose between riding my bike or taking the subway. The convenience the subway offers is that my local train, the F, stops two blocks from work. 40 minutes or so there, could be up to an hour and a half at night. I do get a lot of reading done this way. Downside, $4.50 a day to get to work.
By bike, my commute is typically 35 minutes there and 30 minutes home. The difference is having to ride down Jay St and pass through Chinatown in the afternoon. Much faster through there at night. Plus, I love riding my bike. I try to do so every day. I've really had enough of the stress that being in Brooklyn and Manhattan traffic a dozen times a week puts on me. I still prefer ride my bike than take the train generally, but man, have I had enough of the attitude.
I miss being in a place where I could quickly and easily get out of town and take a nice long ride. To get to Nyack, the town up the Hudson that is popular with NYC cyclists, I first have to cross then ride up the length of Manhattan. Some of the pleasure is drained because of that. And it's been a long time since I've taken my mountain bike on a real forest trail. I miss that. I like to ride where cars aren't and it takes a while to get there from here. Other than the park, of course, but 60 miles of laps of the park is not appealing.
I'm tired tired tired of how much rent is here and what I could be living in for the same amount of money in a lot of other places. I miss having a kitchen table. And a backyard. And closets.
Social interaction is much more expensive here as well. A few weeks ago, after the show for the girlfriend's trapeze class, that they had decided to meet up at a bar near the school. The draught Goose Island was $8. Perhaps they consider beer from Chicago to be an import. The shot of Patrón I bought Emily was $15. This made me angry as I, having been a liquor manager for a busy restaurant, know how much a the supplier charges for a bottle of Patrón. Now sure, we left there and went to a less expensive bar, but overall, this is a very expensive place to eat and drink.
The major reason I expect to stay here for a while is my relationship. Emily works on a research grant that has a year and a half left to it. It's a good job, she makes about twice what I do, and she's been told that the job is hers until the grant runs out. The job is here, so this is where she's going to stay. She is willing to move with me, once the job is done, but there's still quite a bit of time left on that clock.
Ok, time to get ready to go to work.
Hi, everyone. Remember several years ago when I used to post half a dozen times a day and everyone loved me? No, me either, but I do know that I've only made four posts this year and it's october.
Well, I'm working as a cook again and there are several of you whom I miss dearly and perhaps I will take this opportunity to make you all a bigger part of my life again.
Also, let it be known that living in New York is really starting to grate on me. I honestly don't know how much longer I can put up with it.