Monday, November 28, 2011

Tank 298 - 22 November 2K11 (It's Better than a 7-11, it's a 5-12!)

(not my real face)

I wimped out and refueled on my way home from work last Tuesday. I was about 15 miles from home and the tank had already given me 447.2 miles when I arrived at a "5-Twelve Market" in Stafford. The eccentric pump at this eccentric store deposited 11.412 gallons of gas into the Mighty Corolla, making for mileage of 39.19 mpg for this tank.

So now my average fuel economy for the year is a strong 38.13 miles per gallon. It appears the duct tape on the front lower bumper has improved fuel economy to some degree as well.

Looking at the calendar, I am not going to be driving to work for a full five-day week now until 2012. This should help reduce my driving and spread out refills. Probably I'll refuel twice more this year.

I'm looking forward to next year's goal of "more time on the bike than in the car commuting," but have forgotten (well, "forgotten" is a strong word, since I haven't forgotten, just not paid much attention to it because I'm on schedule) about my goal for this year, which was to ride my bike on at least half of the days of the year.

Considering the goal for the year, I have ridden on one of my bikes 196 times. Nine of those times were "double days," meaning I did two trips in one day that counted, so even subtracting those days from the account, I have ridden my bike 187 days of the year so far. So, mission accomplished with a month to spare!

For the year so far, I've ridden almost 3,537 miles. Around October, I thought it would be cool to reach 4,000 miles for the year, but it's looking like the remaining 463 miles may be a tough chore to finish, as Christmastime is here and there will be more competition in my free time, with all the social activities and such that happen around here. Plus there will be at least one 4-day stretch where I won't be able to ride at all. So in the 29 remaining days, if I can ride on half of them (14 or 15 days), each ride would have to be 30 miles.

Unlikely. Achievable, but unlikely.

I am permitted to ride for three hours per week at work, and typically those rides end up being 45 minutes and about 13 miles each time out.

Still, I'll try to reach 4,000 miles, probably won't make it, and that's okay. It's been a fine year with lots of good rides.

And only one flat tire!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Probably No Gas This Week (If You Know What I Mean)

So it's a short holiday week this week and I'll likely not refuel until perhaps 28 November, one week from now. In the meantime, I can only report that commutes have taken a long time and mileage indicators appear to show less than 40 mpg but not abnormally low.

I've been working on three spreadsheets to track my commuting time and bicycling time in 2012. I have them all on a nice Excel spreadsheet with a little pie chart that automatically updates with the hours commuted vs. hours ridden on the bike. I am trying to figure out the best way to save the chart so it can be uploaded here in an easy way. Maybe the blogger has a chart option I can make and add to the side here or something. There's time to research it and figure it out.

Probably it's just me who's interested in seeing if I can log more time on my bike than in my car commuting next year. But I'll have the data here and it'sll be a nice distraction and interesting to me, anyway.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tank 297 - 13 November 2K11 (These 4-Day weeks are Killing Me!)

I refueled the tank of the Mighty Corolla on Sunday afternoon at the nearby Fas Mart, whose gas pumps have no limit as to how slow they can pump. Maybe they just never change the gas filters in the holding tanks or something. Yet I still go there as it's quite convenient.

So I had gone 419.8 miles and added 10.572 gallons, making for a fuel economy number of 39.71 mpg. My wild hopes and aspirations for a three-peat streak of tanks of over 40 miles per gallon was smashed. But that's okay, as this tank still brought up my average for the year to over 38 mpg. It's shaping up to be the highest mileage year ever for the Corolla, and that's not too bad for a car with over 117,000 miles on it, I think.

So I have driven over 15,000 miles so far in 2011. It's a lot, but last year at this time I had driven 16,994 miles, so I have actually cut back! And nect year is looking to be even better as my office will move about ten miles closer to my house, which will save 20 miles a day, or 80-100 miles a week, or 360 miles a month, or over 4,000 miles over the course of a year. Except we're not moving until probably the end of September, so the impact may not be seen until 2013.

Looking forward to my goal of "riding my bike for more time than I commute in my car," I am up to about 183 hours driving home in my car, and about 215 hours riding my bicycle. But this is just for the drive home, not including my commuting time on my way to the office. It's a safe bet that my commuting time to the office is at least half of that 183 hours. It will be a great challenge to spend more time on the bike than commuting in the car. When the office moves in September, the game will be so on, as my home trips ought to be about 30 minutes shorter and my trips to the office should be about 20 minutes shorter.

Alternatively, I could try to take more vacation and/or sick days to reduce the number of times I go to the office, and ride my bike for "a couple/three hours" on those days. Perhaps this will happen. And also, I have tentatively planned a century ride in May with a friend, and if I can ride a second one later in the season, that'll be a large swing of hours towards the bicycle as well.

I'm looking forward to this effort in 2012.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Objects at Rest Tend to Stay at Rest

This morning, I stopped by the ATM to withdraw some cash. There were two machines there, a sidewalk of maybe 8 feet wide and then the parking lot. A car was stopped right at the curb and was running as I arrived. A fat woman stood at one of the ATMs.

I parked in a parking space and turned off my engine. My walk was perhaps 50 feet to the open ATM.

This scenario really got me angry! There's people everywhere who complain about gas prices being too high, but these same people are the ones who leave their engines running for several minutes as they wait for people or, as in this case, go to the ATM. And this woman's fatness just added to my frustration. She probably (well, I hope that she) is aware that her fatness could cause health problems and makes it hard for her to walk around, but she couldn't make the connection that a little walking would be helpful as exercise.

I was so angry at the whole situation I could barely contain myself.

There I was, 6:30 in the morning. It was dark, a pretty much empty parking lot at the strip mall, only one other person in sight, and she got me all worked up in anger about my shallow conclusions about her and her fat lazy lifestyle.

I am so in the wrong here it's probably not funny.

Maybe she has a medical condition that causes her metabolism to operate slowly. Maybe she just had hip replacement and can't walk more than a few steps. Maybe her ill grandmother or child was waiting in the car and needed the engine running to keep the life support or air conditioning or heat running or something.

Instead, I immediately assume that this woman is fat because she has no self-control over her horrible eating habits, and is too lazy to walk ten extra steps to the ATM, and too stupid to realize that an idling car is using the gasoline that she feels is too expensive at $3.299 a gallon!

The older I get, the more bitter and judgmental I become. It's sad and pathetic and shallow of me and I need to fix this about myself and my attitude.

But fat lazy people, really? Don't they realize how fat and lazy they are? Can't they take little steps, literally, to start improving their situations? Do they really enjoy being fat and lazy?

Oh, I am the worst person of the most hypocritical and vile sort for posting this baseless rant against people I don't know. I need to reassess my priorities and goals in life here, and must learn to accept other people as they are and not be so quick to judge harshly.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In the Middle of a Tank, but I Got This Great Picture.

Mostly I am excited that a sign like this was up in a public park where I was visiting in-laws last weekend in North Carolina. It was near the ground level, although a dog probably couldn't read such a sign.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tank 296 - 2 November 2K11 (A First!)

Refueled on my way home at my most favourite gas pump at my most favourite Fas Mart!

The low fuel light came on as I was driving home, at 433.7 miles, which is the longest distance ever traveled before the light came on, eclipsing my previous record set in 2008 by two miles!

When I refueled, I had gone 461.3 miles, and I squoze in 11.314 gallons of gas, making for a fuel economy of 40.77 miles per gallon for this tank. This is my 14th tank of over 40 mpg, and the very first time I have achieved mileage over 40 on two consecutive tanks of gas!

This tank has also pulled up my average mileage for the year to 38.05 miles per gallon, an all-time high as well. If I can maintain this level, I'll see an improvement of close to 3% better fuel economy this year over last.

Although the jury is still out concerning the effect from the duct tape over the bottom vents in my bumper, it's looking like the duct tape isn't harming my mileage.

Please enjoy this picture of a hipster squirrel I have included with this post.