Film: Snowpiercer

My previous spring challenges include “May – Bike to Work Month” and “April – 30 Days of Biking”. Since I started biking daily in mid March this year, neither of these appealed. But here comes David Suzuki with the 30×30 Challenge.

Can I be in nature for thirty minutes every day for thirty consecutive days? Let’s find out!

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Film: Paddington

We had a great time on the CHEO ride this year. For the first time since the fall I put on my lycra pants and clippy shoes and got on the “fast” bike. We left the house just before 8 and breezed to the War Museum to meet up with the slowpoke part of Team Awesome (slowpoke because we were only doing the 35km).

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Now that the weight of parenthood has evened us out, we were even able to keep up with Dan. He almost made a successful getaway at the start but after that we knew to stay close in the group. Like this:

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It was the perfect cycling day and with few short stops we covered the 35k in an hour and a half. We have been doing this event for a while but I still get giddy riding through Ottawa with traffic blocked off to not bother us. It is the best!

We pulled into our driveway 6 hours after we’ve left with exactly 80km on the odometer. What a good start of the season!

A big thank you to all my sponsors! Cakes will be coming soon – or late if you are on the other side of the Pond.

Cycle for CHEO 2015

We are very excited for this year’s CHEO ride – the weather, of course, is going to be amazing!

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Alas, our kids are at the age where logistics are not favourable for the longer rides. Trevor would have to stay on his own bike for the whole trip though he has only completed less than half the distance before. Owen and Markus would have to refrain from knocking each other and/or me off the bike for the two hours or more. Fortunately, nona is here to step in and the four of them are going to have great time at home while Chris and I participate in the event. We considered doing the longer 70k course, but decided to avoid the hassle of trying to find parking downtown. We are biking to the War Museum from home and then doing the 35k with family laden section of the Team Awesome. We should be covering just under 80K. Exciting!!!

Of course, I am fundraising. I feel awkward just asking people for money, so I like to put together some thank you gifts. I was a bit of a lazy reader so I only have two books to give away for donations of $20 or more. “Thousand Years of Solitude” and “My Uncle Napoleon” are both very enjoyable reads. For those of you with sweet tooth, $20 or more can also get you a plate of delicious cake of your choice, just make sure to e-mail me with your preference.

Follow here to donate!

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Please, don’t be shy, you know we love to bake cakes around here!

Film: The one I love

We managed to get through the winter with only the van.

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Here are some thoughts about it:

I was surprised at how well the 93 bus worked for me. The bus service in Ottawa, and particularly Kanata, is a bit of a joke. However, 93 is hip and happening every 10 minutes or less in rush hour.

After about 15 years of mostly car commuting, there were some things to readjust. Dressing in layers is a thing again! I own warm clothes now. I didn’t get to it this year, but I am going to get contact lenses. I suppose this was not a big deal in my teenage years, but now that I am older, I like to wrap my whole face with the scarf which leaves my glasses completely fogged up.

Amazingly enough the kids did not complain about the cold on our walks to the bus/daycare.

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We did bike in January and February, but only minimally. By March the March Road bike lanes were cleared and I got back into biking to work on regular basis. Chris started his multi-modal commute a few weeks earlier than me.

Taking care of the winter bike is a pain. Last thing I want to do at -30C is hang out in the garage with a bucket of water going through the motions of cleaning the bike so I did not do it. By the time March rolled around, I brought the bike into the hallway and washed it there. I must say I am jealous of Chris’ bike…

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Film: Felix and Moira

I did’t know what to talk about on the blog so Chris suggested I do a cost analysis for our minivan. I can do that!

Trip Frequency Km per year Alternative
Skiing 130km 15 times per year 1,950 km car share
Spinning, hockey and fitness classes 30km twice per week 3,120 km Car pool and car share
Grocery shopping 10km once per week 520 km Bike, car share
General shopping 40km once per month 480 km Bus, bike, car share
Visiting (Montreal etc…) 400km once every two months plus 40km per month 2,640 km Car share
Vacations 1200km once per year and 600km three times per year 4,800 km car share, car rental
Kids activities in bad weather 5km once per week for 20 weeks 100 km Snowsuits!
Total 13,710 km

With this mileage, and not including the cost of the van itself, the yearly price tag for operating our van, including gas, insurance and maintenance is $5,300. The same trips with VRTUCAR car share would set us back about $6,000. Apart from the cost, the closest depot is in Britannia which would be quite a trip to make twice a week.

Overall, with our current trip frequency, and the fact that every once in a while we do use a van in a way we just could not use a car (like talking the whole family and all our bikes somewhere) car share is not attractive at all.

On the other hand, getting rid of the second car and switching both of our work commutes to bike/bus combination saves us well over $1,000 per year amongst all other benefits.

Film: Lunchbox

If you have known me for a while you might remember that I was involved with “Women in Engineering” initiative back in University. Every year we would invite high school girls to check out the ECS faculty and tell them what a great thing it is to be an engineer. It has been fifteen years since and I thought this would be a good time to reflect on how far we have come.

For me, engineering has worked out very well. I don’t think I would want to, or even could, ever do anything else. Yet, looking at statistics of enrollment in engineering programs, it looks like the initiative I was involved had very short lived success. Not only did the women’s enrollment not rise since my halcyon days, but the numbers dropped slightly and then stagnated.


www.onvie.ca

When I was at University, I thought it was only a matter of time until women are about as likely to pursue a career in science or engineering as men. Now, I am not sure if that will ever happen.

Happy early Women’s Day anyway!