5 reasons to bike to work on May 15th

bike-to-work-day-2009For those of you who don’t know, Friday May 15th is National “Bike To Work Day.”  Unfortunately most people won’t ever consider riding a bike to work, which truly is a shame.  So, as a bike commuter for the last three years, I thought that I’d share some of the reasons and benefits of my choice.

If you’re like me you spend the better part of 10 hours a day sitting in front of a computer.  Granted your fingers may be more chiseled than a 19 year old Schwarzenegger the rest of your body basically does nothing all day long.   Add to that a diet of sausage pizza, Chinese takeout, doner kababs, breakfast burritos, donuts, ice cream and the rest… and well you’re not exactly living healthy.  

Each day I ride approximately 3 miles to and from work.  My bike ride to work is downhill and is quite easy whereas my bike ride home is uphill and usually accounts for about a 20 minute  battle.  At first my legs would get sore, now I can race the entire hill.  I feel great when I get home and I physically can notice the difference.  

The kicker in this scenario is that once you get to work on your bike you must return home on your bike so you’re forced to exercise.  By the time I get home, I’m not tire! I feel great and am generally very productive due to a surge in energy.

We all know that when you don’t drive you save gas but there’s also another environmentally friendly result of riding your bike to work and it works exponentially.  When you remove your car from the roads there is one less car congesting the roads.  One car probably won’t make a difference but multiply that by 1000 or even 10,000 and all of a sudden the roads are much less congested.  Less congestion results in less time on the road which ultimately burns less fuel.

This concept is typically not apparent to most people but one of the most energy inefficient activities is traffic.  Thousands of cars waiting, burning oil and not getting to point B.

Vehicle Depreciation
Cars aren’t cheap and everyone always says that they “loose 20% the day they drive off the lot.”  Not only that every year your car depreciates in value.  Think about it, would you pay more for a 2006 car with 20,000 miles or 200,000 miles.  Basically, as you run up the odometer on your car it looses value and biking to work keeps your mileage low, way low.

When I moved to San Diego 3 years ago I had 28,000 miles on my car.  At the time I thought… not to bad for a 2 year old car.  Well, I went to get my oil changed yesterday(5/10/09) and my mileage checked in at 32,221.  So, in three years I have put just over 4,000 miles on my car.  Consider this now, my girlfriend who’s car is two years newer than mine has over 64,000 miles on it and she didn’t drive from Cincinnati to San Diego three times (almost 7,000 miles).

Insurance Savings
This is another very overlooked area of savings when people look to alternative methods for commuting to work.  Granted that getting rid of your car would save you the most money, it is usually not an option for most people.  So, since you’ve decided to keep your car for emergencies and road trips why not get some more savings for your good-willed effort of riding your bike to work.  Call up your insurance and tell them “I’m a good citizen, I’m riding my bike to work.  Can you change my vehicle to a recreational vehicle?”  Also let them know that you now will be driving less than 10,000 miles per year.  This should save you anywhere from 15% to 40% on your insurance.  For instance my insurance dropped from $105/month to $72/month.

Enjoyment of Riding your bike
How many times during your commute to work do you get cut-off, stuck in traffic or  get yelled by another driver?  I’m not a pleasant driver and I constantly was frustrated with my 15 minute commute to work.  I’d always try to rush to get there faster and I would never sit back and relax.  Now that I ride my bike to work I am much more relaxed.  My bike ride goes past Balboa Park, down into the city and through our Little Italy district.  It’s very peaceful and quite calming.  I no longer have the stress associated with driving and it’s really nice.  Not only that, I occasionally take different routes just to see different things.  


So there you have it, 5 reason why riding your bike to work can give you peace of mind and save you money.  Give it a shot, I think you’ll enjoy it!

Damien Howley


California’s stimulus killer

Well we’ve done it again, took a long term federal plan and ripped it to shreds by the States short term actions.  What am I referring to you may ask?  I’m referring to the  recent changes in taxes throughout California and many other states across the country.

Just two days ago a series of new taxes began in California.  The new taxes include things like increased sales tax, increased gas tax, increased sin taxes and others.  Well what is the problem with that you may ask?  The state is broke and the economy is crashing and the only solution to this entire mess is to get more money from the california tax payers. Great huh!

So what happens now?  In the short term it makes sense; if everyone used to pay X dollars for an item now they pay X plus an additional 2.5% thus giving the state more money.  Wow what an easy concept!  However, in time this increase in tax will ultimately lead to an change in the average livestyle consumption throughout California.  Thus the real equation is not what I stated previously, instead it is; if everyone used to buy X amount of items they now by X minus 2.5%.

So if you used to buy 100 widgets per month now you only buy 97.5.  Wait, I thought the economy need stimulating?  How can the economy be stimulated if consumers are buying less?  This doesn’t make sense.  The worse news is that California didn’t have the highest sales tax increase.  For instance Illinois apparantly doubled their sales tax to somehwere around 15% (please comment if you know the real numbers).

The question I now have is “where does this stop?”  If the government is pumping billions of dollars into the economy and then taxing billions of dollars out of the economy are we any better of?  That’s not even considering the affects of deflation.

This just doesn’t make sense to me but I am not an economist, so I just hope that somewhere out there someone has considered this scenario more than I have.



Our new apartment

Melody and I moved apartments about 2 weeks ago and after a lot of hard work we’ve finally got the place looking good. It was very hard combining two apartments into one but I suppose we able to get rid of some unnecessary stuff. We also bought some new furniture and we have a spare bedroom for visitors.

The new apartment is huge, almost 1300 square feet and we have a balcony with a gorgeous view.  We have a small glimpse of the ocean and San Diego Bay, a nice view of Cabrillo State park and Point Loma.  Also we’re not disturbed by the planes, trains and fire sirens anymore.

We have ran into one problem, the lady below us is old and cranky.  Before we moved in the landlord installed all new hardwood floors throughout the place and I suppose our neighbor below doesn’t like the sound of us walking around.  I personally believe the hardwood floors are worth it!

Here are some of the pictures I took this past weekend:

Map of my move



IE6 Hack – replacing clear:both;

I’ve been excessively frustrated with IE6 for a long time now and despite my growing anger I’m still forced to work with this terrible software day in and day out.  Yesterday I was working for about 6 hours on IE6 fixes and I came across a quite handy hack.

You have a <div> wrapped around 3 elements that are all floated left like so:

<div id=”wrapper” style=”margin-bottom:15px;”>
<div style=”float:left;” id=”A”>A</div>
<div style=”float:left;” id=”B”>B</div>
<div style=”float:left;” id=”C”>C</div>

Given the above scenario in any browser the wrapper div (#wrapper) would not assume any height.  In more recent browsers the fix for this scenario would involve a choice of two approaches:

  1. Adding an element after #C that has style=”clear:both;”
  2. Adding style=”overflow:hidden;” to #wrapper

Although the first approach is 100% reliable I hate the additional markup.  I find that when I add <div style=”clear:both;”></div> in one place it ends up all over my site.  So I always use the second approach, <div id=”wrapper” style=”overflow:hidden”>.  It allows for clean markup which doesn’t clutter your editing experience and it shifts the responsibility of the visual layout to the CSS.

Well to not surprise the user of overflow:hidden; doesn’t have this affect in IE6 and it doesn’t work with overflow-x:hidden; or overflow-y:hidden;.  You can’t set a min height (at least not a reliable one) and height:auto; will also always display a heightless #wrapper.

The solution, set the height (in IE6 only) to 100% and set the overflow to hidden like so.

<!–[if IE 6]>
div#wrapper {

Thanks for reading


Candidates for “most likely to not respond to a question / instant message / phone call / tweet”

  1. Bobby Fisher
  2. Tupac – post 1996
  3. Osama Bin Liden (2002+)
  4. Guerric Sloan (1983+)
  5. God
  6. Mr. Ed (the horse)
  7. The wall (as in “it’s like talking to a wall”)
  8. Cavemen
  9. Aliens
  10. A Buddhist monk in the middle of a 100 year vow of silence



Weekend trip to Tahoe

This past weekend Melody and I took a trip to Lake Tahoe for the first time.  We met up with my friend Greg and his girlfriend Leah and stayed in Squaw Valley.  It was truly beautiful and the slopes were amazing.  I snowboarded for about 6 years when I was younger and even though it was a lot of fun the slopes in Cleveland Ohio (Brandywine) were excessively subpar in comparison.  We arrived in Reno late Friday night and went directly to The Dubliner where we enjoyed live music and some beers.  The next morning/afternoon we headed out to the hills and got a half day pass.  Melody and I rented the ski-blades which are really short skis.  They were very easy to learn although I would definitely recommend using ski poles as we had a hard time maneuvering to and from the ski lifts.  I took a bunch of pictures which I put on flickr.  Here’s a preview.

We stayed with Greg’s aunt and uncle (Dr. John and Carol) who were very nice.  On Saturday night they had a group of friends over for drinks and dinner which was great.  I really enjoyed my weekend, however, next time my trip is going to be much longer.  I’d really like to see more of the area.


Places I traveled to in 2008

About a week ago I wrote a post called “A San Diego winter day” which talked about a sailing trip to Mission Bay.  I started the blog post of with thoughts about San Diego and how I absolutely love living here.  I also added some pictures from my sailing trip that day which showed just how beautiful it was.  Over the weekend I received a comment on my San Diego blog post questioning how I could enjoy living in San Diego so much if I have never traveled.  On my walk to work today I was thinking about whether I have traveled enough to offer such and adoring opinion of this city and as a result I’ve decided to compose a list of places I traveled to in 2008.

  • United States
    • California
      • San Diego
      • Los Angeles
      • Hermosa Beach
      • Manhattan Beach
      • Hollywood
      • San Juan Capistrano
      • San Francisco
      • San Jose
      • Julian
      • Santa Clara
      • Sunnyvale
      • Mammoth Mountain
      • Yosemite National Park
    • Illinois
      • Chicago
      • Hinsdale
    • Ohio
      • Oxford
    • Texas
      • Houston
      • Austin
    • Oregon
      • Portland
    • Nevada
      • Las Vegas
  • Canada
    • Toronto
  • Mexico
    • Tijuana
    • Rosorito
    • Cabo San Lucas
    • Mazatlan
    • Puerto Vallerta
  • France
    • Paris

I only listed the destinations that I stayed overnight or longer and I’m sure that I’ll think of more.  That’s not a bad list for one year and I think that means that I have actually traveled enough to confidently say I like San Diego the most.  I’ve also circled around the US twice in my car and lived in 5 major cites (Cleveland, Cincinatti, Atlanta, Chicago and San Diego).  Oh and I’ve rafted the Mississipi (not all of it) in a man made wooden raft and I saw quite a lot there too.