Category Archives: Danville Bicycling

Ditch the car – Ride Instead of Drive.

Sustainable Danville Area Tip of the Month – June 2013

By Cynthia Ruzzi, President Sustainable Danville Area

Let’s face it, I’m not qualifying for the Amgen Tour of California anytime soon, but as the elite professional cyclists effortlessly rode past me on their way to Mt. Diablo, I felt proud of striving for my own bike challenge.  I may not be ready for the Mount Diablo Challenge in October (billed as the East Bay’s best uphill bike ride), but I am working on my pledge to ‘Ride instead of Drive’ for trips less than 4 miles.

According to sponsors of the ‘2 Mile Challenge’, 40% of all trips within the United States are 2 miles or less and 90% of those trips are completed by car.  With 25% of all carbon dioxide emissions coming from cars, it behooves us to be mindful when we need to drive and when we can walk or ride our bikes instead.  In fact, driving releases 20 pounds of carbon dioxide pollution into the air for each gallon of gas we burn.  The EPA states the average car in the US gets 22MPG – obviously they don’t realize how many SUVs we’re still driving around here.  Even using a conservative estimate of the number of adults in our community of 35,000, ditching the car for just one 2 mile trip per week would save us 3,309,090 pounds or 1,654 tons of local CO2 pollution per year. Talk about breathing easier.

Did you know that the US has more bicycle owners per capita than other countries, but ranks near the bottom of the list for using them? In fact, the cost of operating a car per year is over $5,000 – 43% more per than a bike – and it takes the same energy and resources to make 100 bikes as it does one medium car.  Even a Toyota Prius, getting 50 mpg, loaded with four adults, consumes six times the energy per person as the bicyclist, for the same trip (comparing calories of energy burned). And if these aren’t enough reasons to consider using your bike when your trip is 4 miles or less – running an errand in town, meeting a friend for coffee, going to the library, stopping by your kids’ school, etc. – then remember how much fun it was to ride your bike when you were a kid and think of the health benefits.

Benefits for your health:

  • Cycling can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, and just three hours of bicycling per week can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%.
  • A 140-pound cyclist burns 508 calories in an hour.  The average person loses 13 pounds their first year of commuting to work by bike.
  • In 1964, 50% of kids rode to school and the obesity rate was 12%. In 2004, 3% rode to school and the obesity rate was 45%.  And you know which way the statistic has been going since then – right?

Traffic and parking may be the two top complaints in the Danville Area.  Every time you or your kids bike or walk it takes a car off the road and reduces parking congestion.  This year the Town of Danville started adding bicycle parking downtown for the convenience of residents and visitors hopping off the Iron Horse Trail stopping by our restaurants and shops.  Visit our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/sustainabledanville) with the correct number of bike racks in downtown Danville and you could win a prize!

To make sure there’s enough parking for downtown summer festivals and fairs, Sustainable Danville Area is partnering with other non-profits to host temporary bicycle parking at these events.  Monte Vista High School Mountain Biking Club will host the bicycle parking for the upcoming 2013 Danville Fine Arts Faire on June 22nd and June 23rd from 10am – 5pm.  Bike on over to the parking lot shared by Starbucks, Consignit Couture and Pegasus Bikes on Hartz and Prospect Avenue on Saturday or Sunday for a VIP parking spot to the faire.  If your non-profit group would like to host a bike corral for the 2013 Town of Danville July 4th parade, please contact us at sustainabledanville@gmail.com or visit us at http://www.sustainabledanville.com.

In Copenhagen, Denmark, two thirds of residents use a bicycle on a daily basis! There is no limit to the level of biking that’s possible in ideal terrain and temperate weather of the Danville Area!  Imagine how much impact that would have on our health, the environment, and traffic!

Reprinted with permission from Danville Today News

It’s Time for a Picnic

Sustainable Danville Area Tip of the Month – April 2013

By Cynthia Ruzzi, President Sustainable Danville Area

Just two days past Spring Equinox and Mother Nature has spring fever.  The poppies are flourishing along with so many other colorful blooms and even after what has proven to be our driest winter, our hills are green.  The sun is warm and my concentration is so poor; I had to ask for a deadline extension for submitting this month’s tip of the month.  This month’s column has more than just one Sustainable Tip of the Month, but it’s a picnic – a smorgasbord of ‘Where to Find Sustainable Tips’.

For almost three years, we have shared tips on everything from the benefits of biking, local food, sustainable landscaping to home energy diets, eco-travel, raising chickens and eco-friendly art supplies.  These articles are still available to you online from Danville Today News/Alamo Today News and on the Sustainable Danville Area website

Often, I’m asked to describe what sustainable living is and simply it’s ‘making choices that allow our resources to continue to be available for our children and their children’, ‘living as though there’s no Planet B’ and remembering that ‘Planet Earth is the only one with chocolate’.  With this in mind and in honor of Earth Day, celebrated worldwide on April 22nd by hundreds of millions of people in over 184 countries, here are some of our favorite places for information and tips to care for our corner of this wonderful planet.

Gardening:  Hands down the Contra Costa Master Gardeners have it ‘going on’. These trained volunteers are residents of local communities that provide University of California research-based horticultural information to the citizens of California. Besides engaging local lectures, their website is filled with tips for school gardens, edible gardens and drought and native landscaping.

Composting & Recycling:  Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority offers terrific information on where to recycle just about anything.  You’ll also find a calendar for composting workshops, including worm composting too.

PG&E:   Saving energy in your home is not just good for the planet, it’s good for your pocketbook. PG&E has great tools to track your electric and gas usage online and they make it easy to do a self-audit of your home energy to find and prevent energy loss.

Environmental Working Group  This powerhouse site is our ‘go-to’ place for everything from their cosmetic database, the Dirty Dozen list (which recommends the best fruits and vegetables to buy organic to avoid pesticides) and guides on sunscreens, home cleaners and other daily products.

Earth Day EventWant more?  Well then, Picnic on the Green! The Town of Danville, The Danville Library and Sustainable Danville Area present the 3rd Annual Town of Danville Earth Day Event on Saturday, April 20th 12pm – 4pm on the Town Green, in  the Danville Library, at the community center and the Village Theatre Art Gallery.

The Town of Danville Earth Day event is a free, fun and informative way for residents and visitors of all ages to learn about green building, sustainable landscape design, solar power, home energy efficient products, waste reduction, recycling, water conservation, hybrid and electrical vehicles and much more!

Pack your picnic or purchase lunch and snacks al fresco from La Boulange Bakery while enjoying music from local band, Other People’s Money.  Play with our Giant Earth Ball, visit with hybrid/electric car and electric bicycle owners and participate in popular hands-on activities at interactive booths, including:

  •  Get ready to experience nature with Peanuts…Naturally! Fun, creative environmental crafts and activity stations presented by the Charles M. Schulz Museum.
  • Plant a seed to start your summer vegetable garden with The Bounty Garden and Urban Farmers.
  • Explore the Wonderful World of Worms and Composting for Busy People.
  • Make an Earth Day pledge to reduce, re-use or recycle. See how Every Choice Counts and help the Earth Day Tree grow!  Everyone who adds a ‘leaf pledge’ will be entered into an hourly raffle to win a “Get Your Green On” reusable book bag.
  • Afternoon speaker series will help you Green Your Home, Replace your Lawn with Drought Tolerant Plants and Enjoying Local, Organic Foods for a Healthy Planet.
  • Be inspired at Story Time with special tales and eco-friendly ideas to celebrate the Earth all year.
  • Measure your carbon footprint.Discover if solar energy is right for your home?
  • Be dazzled by art from local students at the Earth Day Student Art Show in the Village Theatre Art Gallery. (Students: click here for  details to enter contest before 4/5/13)
  • Try new veggies from Community Supported Agriculture Farms – Full Belly Farms & Doorstep Farmers.

Students from San Ramon Valley High School Environmental Club are hosting free bicycle parking for the event, so please consider two wheels or your feet as parking is limited for the event.  Hope to see you there!

Reprinted with permission from Danville Today News