Monday, May 23, 2011

Bicycling from Canada to New York City...Almost

May is Bike Month across America with many cities hosting events. New York City hosts many rides and activities. This is just one New York biking story. The bike pictured above is the bike that took the following journey.

My bicycle trip to New York City from Ottawa, Canada was supposed to start in Ottawa. It didn't. The bicycle trip was my 40th birthday present to myself and as I didn't think I'd be able to get my bicycle over the border I had my son drive me down to Ogdensberg, sans bike.

Since I wasn't bringing my own bike, I needed to find one in New York State. I could have picked one up at Wal-Mart in Watertown but I wanted my bicycle to have character, to have a history. Bike's from Wal-Mart have neither.

What I needed was a second hand bike that had its own character. It didn't have to be 40 years old like me. I didn't want it to be 40 years old like me. As the bike was going to be my best friend until we pedaled into Manhattan together it needed human qualities that only a bike with a history could provide.

There was no bicycle to be found in Pulaski. There were bikers however - not bicycle bikers but real bikers - and over the course of a few beers we mapped out my route to New York City. The next morning I said goodbye to my son, and started walking down the road. I had heard that there was a yard sale "a couple of miles down the road" with lots of bikes. Surely one of them would have the character and strength I needed for my ride into the Big Apple.

Williamstown is where I finally found my bike. I had walked into town just as the late June skies opened up. Fortunately the skies opened as I was passing the one bar in town and so I sought refuge and a cold beverage. The one patron at the bar couldn't believe that I had walked from Pulaski to there.
"That's 25 miles," he said incredulously. I shrugged, mileage didn't matter to me, I was on a quest. I told Mr. Incredulous my story and why I was walking. I had to find that one particular bike. An hour later and the barfly had sold me his 10 year old Huffy for $50. He had stopped riding it after his eighth heart attack two years before. My bicycle trip had officially begun.

As most of the day was behind me I only managed to make it to Rome that night, just as the skies opened again. But it was a good start - I didn't over-exert myself and I got a good night's sleep.
The next couple of days consisted of pedaling up some hill (in my mind it was a mountain) for 20 minutes then racing down the other side of that hill (in my mind it was a mountain) in 20 seconds. There was no time to catch my breath - 20 minutes up a hill, 20 seconds down - repeated ad nauseum.

Beaten from yet another day of little progress - I had expected to average between 14-20 miles per hour and I had been averaging closer to seven owing to the hills (in my mind they were mountains) - I checked into a rundown little motel in the middle of nowhere.

The elderly owner shook his head at me when I told him what I was doing. He wasn't impressed. "A couple of years ago we had this 80-year-old guy on a bike spend the night here. And he was coming from California," he said shaking his head in disdain for me. The old guy wanted to charge me $107 for my room. Until then I had been paying between $30-40 per night on the road.

"There's another motel 20 or so miles down the road," he offered with a wicked smile. We both knew I didn't have another 20 miles of cycling in me and it was now 9PM. I paid his rate and cursed both old men under my breath before falling asleep in my $107 bed which was as comfortable as the backseat of a '78 Camaro.

Fittingly, it was the Fourth of July when I crossed the George Washington Bridge into Manhattan. I quickly found Broadway and started to cycle down America's Main Street towards Greenwich Village and the end of my journey. My body was beaten up after five days of riding over the Adirondacks and the Catskills but I had a grin from ear-to-ear. I was 40 and I had just completed the longest bicycle ride of my life.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

EPA Launches Climate Awards Program

Washington, DC – The Climate Registry (The Registry), the Pew Center on Global Climate Change (Pew Center) and the Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO) announced that they will jointly sponsor a new national awards program with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to recognize exemplary corporate, organizational and individual leadership in response to climate change.

By showcasing voluntary action on climate and energy under a unified banner, EPA, The Registry, Pew Center and ACCO are sending a strong signal that innovative and sustained leadership in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) management will be recognized in the United States.

"The co-sponsorship of this new recognition opportunity reflects EPA’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and recognizing leadership on climate change," said  EPA  Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy. "We are pleased to be partnering with three non-profit organizations that have demonstrated expertise in GHG emissions management."

An event to honor award recipients will be held in early 2012. Specific award categories will include:
  • Sustained Excellence in Public Reporting –Recognizing companies that continually raise the bar in the area of public disclosure of GHG emissions data. This would include regular public reporting and verification of corporate GHG inventories, GHG goal setting and achievement of GHG emissions reductions.
  • Supply Chain Leadership –Recognizing companies that have their own comprehensive GHG inventories and emissions reduction goals and can demonstrate that they are at the leading edge of managing carbon in their supply chain.
  • Organizational Leadership –Recognizing companies that have “mainstreamed” climate change across their operations and can demonstrate that they factor climate change into their business decisions.
  • Individual Leadership –Recognizing individuals exemplifying extraordinary leadership in leading their organizations’ response to climate change and/or affecting the responses of other organizations.
These award categories provide a legacy for EPA’s Climate Leaders program, which provided support to private sector corporations who voluntarily set and achieved greenhouse gas reduction targets, and ACCO’s Climate Leadership Awards, which recognized exemplary leadership by organizations in industry, government, academia and the non-profit community.

“Corporate leadership is essential to advancing climate and energy solutions,” said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. “In growing numbers, companies and their employees are working tirelessly in pursuit of cost-effective solutions that reduce carbon and benefit consumers. Recognizing these great accomplishments serves to motivate and accelerate efforts throughout the business community toward a cleaner, more efficient energy future."

“The Climate Registry is delighted to partner with EPA, the Pew Center and ACCO on this important program, which will build on the work of Climate Leaders as well as our own carbon management program,” said Denise Sheehan, Executive Director of The Climate Registry. “Together we look forward to continuing to provide the tools, resources and recognition that organizations need to take their climate and carbon leadership to the next level.”

"Amongst ACCO’s primary missions is bringing together climate executives from across sectors to collaborate and establish best practices," said Daniel Kreeger, ACCO's Executive Director.  "We look forward to undertaking such a timely and important effort with our partners - The Climate Registry and the Pew Center - who have been on the cutting edge of climate response, and of course EPA, whose Climate Protection Awards inspired ACCO’s 2010 Climate Leadership Awards program and whose Climate Leaders program has been so instrumental in driving climate response."

More information is available online at Additional information on the award categories and nomination process will be made publicly available in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Green Grid Completes Energy Efficiency Recommendations

Portland, OR –  The Green Grid Association together with The Data Center Metrics Coordination Taskforce, delivered its latest recommendations for energy efficiency measurement and reporting earlier this week.

The new report, titled “Recommendations for Measuring and Reporting Overall Data Center Efficiency: Version 2 – Measuring PUE at Data Centers” completes the guidelines for applying the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE™) metric, created and promoted by The Green Grid. The new information includes specific recommendations for how to measure and calculate PUE in mixed-use data center facilities and introduces a condenser water source energy weighting factor.

Alignment on these methodologies across the industry will lead to consistent and repeatable measurement strategies that allow data center operators to monitor and improve the energy efficiency when operating their existing data centers, or when designing new facilities.

For a dedicated data center, the total energy in the PUE equation will include all energy sources at the point of utility handoff to the data center owner or operator. For mixed-use data centers, the total energy will be all energy required to operate the data center, similar to a dedicated data center, and should include cooling, lighting, and support infrastructure for the data center operations.

“The task force has accomplished a tremendous amount of work to help the data center industry have a common understanding of energy efficiency metrics to improve data center efficiencies and reduce energy use,” said Dan Azevedo, Symantec representative and Board member of The Green Grid. “We are looking forward to working with our colleagues on the next steps for the industry, including identifying a roadmap for future efficiency programs such as IT productivity and carbon accounting.”

The task force intends to continue collaborating in the years ahead to ensure that data center resource efficiency and productivity is delivered as consistently as possible across regions. The Green Grid, which encourages worldwide industry collaboration, is actively working on dozens of strategic and tactical projects to improve data center resource efficiency.