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  1. #1
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Scenes from my regular daily (almost) ride/water our most precious resource

    I generally try to do a daily 20-25 mile ride - in addition to using my bike for errands and the like. I have several routes along our well-maintained and generally little-used trails.

    Additionally, in our semi-desert climate, water is precious. Our wells for over 100,000 people are dropping at the rate of an inch per day - or 30 feet per year. One of the pictures along my route will show you one attempt at moving to a renewable water resource.

    A resting place on the trail. That is my newly refurbished and refitted 1999 Lemond BA. I can go about 100 miles without ever encountering a car.



    I love these small blue flowers that line the trails.



    Another rare cyclist:



    This is a dam on our small Cherry Creek where the supposed red barn (really a pump station) pumps water several miles to a huge (but empty) reservoir just constructed to store ground water in the area, and, hopefully, some day, water from the Flaming Gorge 100's of miles away in Wyoming. This is the first time I have seen the dam operating - I served on a Community Board for our water district and got to tour this and other facilities.



    Some other bicyclists discussing buying a tandem. The trail turns to gravel for one mile, then continues as cement on for many miles to Castlewood Canyon State Park.



    I once asked what this building was used for - it has been sitting there for many years - and they told me it was where they keep the trolls for the bridges!!



    One of our many bridges over the creek. Every once in a while I see a troll, so I guess they were right.

    Last edited by DnvrFox; 05-29-10 at 05:56 PM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  2. #2
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    DF, Thanks for the nice ride report and pics.
    Water is indeed a problem. I have fond memories of my college room mate who at that young age was sensitive to water issues. Those discussions have always been a factor in my decisions as to where to live. The front range is in a very precarious spot as far as water goes, with a population expanding beyond the ability to supply it with water. In CO I would consider Frasier - it's basically gets all the snow melt filling up the valley and not a lot of population. Here in the Adirondacks we have great water as well. It just doesn't make sense to live in a desert.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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  3. #3
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Well, then, I guess no one should live east of the Mississippi River - with some exceptions, of course. Las Vegas, LA, San Diego - all should be empty.

    One of the answers is better use of water and conversation of water. Our HOA's all require bluegrass lawns - DUMB!! And our cities go along with this. The City of Denver is well situated with their mountain reservoir system.

    There is not a shortage of water (given proper usages) - there is a shortage of water where people live, and that leads to the great canal projects - i.e., N CA to LA, the Owens Valley Project, and western slope water in Denver, 100's of miles away.

    We no doubt will get the problem solved - but it is going to be expensive.

    And then, of course, there is the ocean - filled with water. I think the technology for removing salt from water is only just beginning.

    As far as Fraser - BRRRR!!! No thanks. There is a reason there is so much snow there and very few people live there.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

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    As Mr. Fox sez, Its really,really cold in Frazer, It used to be, usually the coldest in the nation , before they closed the weather station...(to keep from getting a bad rep,,,)...But the water there is largely owned by the city and county of Denver,(western water law stuff)..Bud

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    Nice report, Denver. Great looking route.

    We depend on a large surface impoundment for water in northwest AR. To get good water from a well in these parts requires somewhere around 3,000 to 5,000 feet, if I remember correctly.

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    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    With less than 15" of moisture per year - that won't work for us!!
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

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    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    And then, of course, there is the ocean - filled with water. I think the technology for removing salt from water is only just beginning.
    Desalination is a very energy intensive process. The Saudis do it - it usually is accompanied with a large gas turbine power plant - co-generation.
    As far as abandoning large populated arid environments, it will happen. IMHO these overpopulated deserts areas are unsustainable no matter how attractive they may be.

    I never found Fraser to be overly frigid - I actually like the winter there. It beats the very cold and damp weather we get in Upstate NY.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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  8. #8
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
    Desalination is a very energy intensive process. The Saudis do it - it usually is accompanied with a large gas turbine power plant - co-generation.
    That is the current technology. We haven't even begun to explore other possible technologies, including vast ocean/solar opportunities.

    Have fun when you move back to Fraser!!

    And, you aren't going to get rid of LA very easily.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

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    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    Well, then, I guess no one should live east of the Mississippi River - with some exceptions, of course. Las Vegas, LA, San Diego - all should be empty.

    One of the answers is better use of water and conversation of water. Our HOA's all require bluegrass lawns - DUMB!! And our cities go along with this. The City of Denver is well situated with their mountain reservoir system.

    There is not a shortage of water (given proper usages) - there is a shortage of water where people live, and that leads to the great canal projects - i.e., N CA to LA, the Owens Valley Project, and western slope water in Denver, 100's of miles away.

    We no doubt will get the problem solved - but it is going to be expensive.

    And then, of course, there is the ocean - filled with water. I think the technology for removing salt from water is only just beginning.

    As far as Fraser - BRRRR!!! No thanks. There is a reason there is so much snow there and very few people live there.
    I think you mean WEST of the Mississippi. HOA's like grass because they are usually designed around the personal motor vehicle, houses are sited near the back of the lot, to give long driveways, so there is sufficient parking for each resident to have their own car. So what do you do with the rest of the property, beside the driveway, well you plant lawn grass, that needs tons of water, chemical treatment and maintenance with huge gasoline powered, noisy and polluting machines. This way all of the properties in the HOA wear the same uniform.

    If the car had not been invented and the bicycle had stayed as the method of travel for most people, then houses would be at the front of the lot, maybe only back a metre or so from the street, sufficient for front stairs and possibly basement window wells, and small flower beds. This means most of the property is at the back of the house, and nobody really cares what you plant there, so it would be possible to put in some walkways and use native ground cover, rather then lawn grass. Native ground cover is usually adapted to the water conditions of the region, there are ground covers that can be used in deserts. Garages would still exist, with simply street level slightly wider then normal doors, with a bicycle rack inside, and probably a work bench and stand at the back to allow for bicycle repairs.

    Removing the salt from ocean water is easy, you just replicate the process nature does, you take salt water, heat it to encourage evaporation possibly even to the boiling point, then draw off the vapour and steam, cool it to turn it back into water again, but without the salt. The problem is that it's an energy intensive process, and energy demands are high enough already.

  10. #10
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    There are other processes currently in use to remove salt from sea water than boiling.

    "In the last decade, membrane processes have developed very quickly, and most new facilities use reverse osmosis technology.[citation needed] Membrane processes use semi-permeable membranes and pressure to separate salts from water.[citation needed] Reverse osmosis plant membrane systems typically use less energy than thermal distillation, which has led to a reduction in overall desalination costs over the past decade. Desalination remains energy intensive, however, and future costs will continue to depend on the price of both energy and desalination technology.

    We haven't even started on possible technologies.

    Imagine vast solar plants in shallow water using solar energy on-site, for example.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

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    Nice pics Dnvr. I can't imagine what it must be like to ride mile after mile on concrete bike trails. Thanks for posting them and sending my mind on an imaginary journey.

    As far as the water discussion goes, we always advised our children to stay in the Great Lakes Basin. Of course the first one out of the nest went straight to L.A.!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    I think you mean WEST of the Mississippi. HOA's like grass because they are usually designed around the personal motor vehicle, houses are sited near the back of the lot, to give long driveways, so there is sufficient parking for each resident to have their own car. So what do you do with the rest of the property, beside the driveway, well you plant lawn grass, that needs tons of water, chemical treatment and maintenance with huge gasoline powered, noisy and polluting machines. This way all of the properties in the HOA wear the same uniform.

    If the car had not been invented and the bicycle had stayed as the method of travel for most people, then houses would be at the front of the lot, maybe only back a metre or so from the street, sufficient for front stairs and possibly basement window wells, and small flower beds. This means most of the property is at the back of the house, and nobody really cares what you plant there, so it would be possible to put in some walkways and use native ground cover, rather then lawn grass. Native ground cover is usually adapted to the water conditions of the region, there are ground covers that can be used in deserts. Garages would still exist, with simply street level slightly wider then normal doors, with a bicycle rack inside, and probably a work bench and stand at the back to allow for bicycle repairs.

    Removing the salt from ocean water is easy, you just replicate the process nature does, you take salt water, heat it to encourage evaporation possibly even to the boiling point, then draw off the vapour and steam, cool it to turn it back into water again, but without the salt. The problem is that it's an energy intensive process, and energy demands are high enough already.
    I thought we went from Horse and wagon to car? I don't remember bicycles ever being the majority form of transportation. Now if we didn't have cars and we went back to Horses bicycle riding on the same roadways would get real interesting. A whole new kind of mud to try and avoid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    There are other processes currently in use to remove salt from sea water than boiling.

    "In the last decade, membrane processes have developed very quickly, and most new facilities use reverse osmosis technology.[citation needed] Membrane processes use semi-permeable membranes and pressure to separate salts from water.[citation needed] Reverse osmosis plant membrane systems typically use less energy than thermal distillation, which has led to a reduction in overall desalination costs over the past decade. Desalination remains energy intensive, however, and future costs will continue to depend on the price of both energy and desalination technology.

    We haven't even started on possible technologies.

    Imagine vast solar plants in shallow water using solar energy on-site, for example.
    Almost 20 years ago I bought my sister and her boyfriend a reverse osmosis unit for a trip they had planned on their sail boat. The unit would supply the water for the whole trip for a year. At least it could for two people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    I thought we went from Horse and wagon to car? I don't remember bicycles ever being the majority form of transportation. Now if we didn't have cars and we went back to Horses bicycle riding on the same roadways would get real interesting. A whole new kind of mud to try and avoid.
    That certainly would be a good argument for running with fenders.

    As I recall from my reading.... In the late 1800's and early 1900's roads were built in cities of the NE US for bicycle traffic and to allow better clean-up of horse droppings. Bicycle speed limits were enacted, posted and enforced by police on bicycles. Most folks couldn't afford an automobile until after Henry Ford's assembly line style of production made cars more affordable. I assume our friends and neighbors to the north experienced the same transition. Many old photos' that I've seen support this info that I seem to recall reading, as does Wikipedia "Bicycles and horse buggies were the two mainstays of private transportation just prior to the automobile, and the grading of smooth roads in the late 19th century was stimulated by the widespread advertising, production, and use of these devices."
    Last edited by cranky old dude; 05-30-10 at 01:23 AM.

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    Senior Member Wildwood's Avatar
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    Water rights have long been an issue in much of the west.
    Political solutions will be found regardless of the consequences to less populated areas.

    Save Mono Lake!

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    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    I thought we went from Horse and wagon to car? I don't remember bicycles ever being the majority form of transportation. Now if we didn't have cars and we went back to Horses bicycle riding on the same roadways would get real interesting. A whole new kind of mud to try and avoid.
    The horse was not actually the common mans method of travel, horses were expensive, you needed food, lodging, veterinary care, all would be expensive in a more urban setting, making horses more of a commercial transportation idea. People walked everywhere, horse drawn cabs were a possibility, but again quite expensive. The bicycle and the train which both came along in the 19th century opened up the cities for transportation. This all got ruined when that idiot Henry Ford came along and built cheap cars, then people got lazy, they stopped bicycling and they stopped walking, which is why the average person is now fat and old before his time.

  17. #17
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
    Water rights have long been an issue in much of the west.
    Political solutions will be found regardless of the consequences to less populated areas.

    Save Mono Lake!
    We have special "Water Rights Courts" in CO specifically to handle water rights disputes. Any other states have these?
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  18. #18
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    Nice report Dnvr. I like to ride trails too. We have a lot of paved trails in the DC area but no way you could go ten miles (let alone 100) without seeing a car.
    Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cranky old dude View Post
    That certainly would be a good argument for running with fenders.

    As I recall from my reading.... In the late 1800's and early 1900's roads were built in cities of the NE US for bicycle traffic and to allow better clean-up of horse droppings. Bicycle speed limits were enacted, posted and enforced by police on bicycles. Most folks couldn't afford an automobile until after Henry Ford's assembly line style of production made cars more affordable. I assume our friends and neighbors to the north experienced the same transition. Many old photos' that I've seen support this info that I seem to recall reading, as does Wikipedia "Bicycles and horse buggies were the two mainstays of private transportation just prior to the automobile, and the grading of smooth roads in the late 19th century was stimulated by the widespread advertising, production, and use of these devices."
    I understand trains and I understand horse and buggy or wagon but I don't believe transportation was limited to the cities. I thought people moved from state to state and used trains and wagons to transport people in mass or goods from one place to another. Interstate bicycles seemed few and far between. I don't think we even had bike busses, bike beer wagons. Bicycles in the US seemed more like inline skates today. Now in Asia and parts of europe you might have a point. But bicycle transportation's day in the sun was rather short lived with the coming of the steam and then ICE engine. Shoot the two most famous bike mechanics in the US aren't famous for bikes, they are famous for ICE powered flight.

    As far as the western area having a sustainable lifestyle if I remember my anthropology correctly human civilazation developed far closer to the equator and the Latitudes of LA and Phoenix than the frozen north.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
    I understand trains and I understand horse and buggy or wagon but I don't believe transportation was limited to the cities. I thought people moved from state to state and used trains and wagons to transport people in mass or goods from one place to another. Interstate bicycles seemed few and far between. I don't think we even had bike busses, bike beer wagons. Bicycles in the US seemed more like inline skates today. Now in Asia and parts of europe you might have a point. But bicycle transportation's day in the sun was rather short lived with the coming of the steam and then ICE engine. Shoot the two most famous bike mechanics in the US aren't famous for bikes, they are famous for ICE powered flight.

    As far as the western area having a sustainable lifestyle if I remember my anthropology correctly human civilazation developed far closer to the equator and the Latitudes of LA and Phoenix than the frozen north.
    Intercity transportation, would not have been done using bicycles, that would have required either a horse and buggy, there were stage coaches for hire, before the railways. If you lived in a rural area, you either farmed or trapped, farming would be a commercial venture, and probably required a horse and wagon of some kind, probably larger then a buggy in most cases. Farmers would have space for horses and the space to grow feed grains for horses, and farmers knew how to do simple veterinary procedures themselves. It's cities and towns that would have had problems with horses, few homes would have had their own stables, so they would need to rent stable space, they would need to buy feed, and the horse stables could be miles from your residence. The bicycle became the city vehicle, up until Henry Ford ruined things. Although Ford's influence had a lot harder time growing traction outside of the Americas, because the automobile had the same problem as the horse, it was expensive to buy, you needed storage space, which could be far from your home, you needed expensive fuel and expensive mechanics to maintain it.

    The problem with the South Western United States is that it's mostly desert and man is not a desert animal, he needs water. When he wants half an acre of lush green grass surrounding his McMansion, to make it look like an English garden (as is often found in English Estates, a land where water is in abundance), using non-native plants that also need huge amounts of water, then it becomes unsustainable. You end up using vast amounts of energy, something else that is in a quickly shortening supply, to move water from where it is abundant to where it isn't.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    Intercity transportation, would not have been done using bicycles, that would have required either a horse and buggy, there were stage coaches for hire, before the railways. If you lived in a rural area, you either farmed or trapped, farming would be a commercial venture, and probably required a horse and wagon of some kind, probably larger then a buggy in most cases. Farmers would have space for horses and the space to grow feed grains for horses, and farmers knew how to do simple veterinary procedures themselves. It's cities and towns that would have had problems with horses, few homes would have had their own stables, so they would need to rent stable space, they would need to buy feed, and the horse stables could be miles from your residence. The bicycle became the city vehicle, up until Henry Ford ruined things. Although Ford's influence had a lot harder time growing traction outside of the Americas, because the automobile had the same problem as the horse, it was expensive to buy, you needed storage space, which could be far from your home, you needed expensive fuel and expensive mechanics to maintain it.

    The problem with the South Western United States is that it's mostly desert and man is not a desert animal, he needs water. When he wants half an acre of lush green grass surrounding his McMansion, to make it look like an English garden (as is often found in English Estates, a land where water is in abundance), using non-native plants that also need huge amounts of water, then it becomes unsustainable. You end up using vast amounts of energy, something else that is in a quickly shortening supply, to move water from where it is abundant to where it isn't.
    How much energy does it take to heat a large city in the Cold belt? If I understand supply and demand correctly diesel prices rise in the winter for people in the Southwest because people in the northeast use so much fuel oil? At least that is what we are told. And they are simply moving the water from where it starts from to where it is nice to live.

    Once again where did they discover that man first started to develop? Haven't the scientest been telling us it was in Africa and Asia? But we digress. Even Denver is too cold for me in the Winter but I do love to visit Colorado Springs in the Summer.

    Next time we are there DNVRFox I'll give you a heads up and maybe you can show me some of the sights. I might need a Bottle of Oxygen for the first three or four days but the next time I am bringing my Road Bike.

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    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Got in 30 miles today on the trail going south. Met my running neighbor where the cement trail crosses the mtn bike/hiking path - about 1600 acrres there of open space. I had told him about it yestyerday, and that it would be a good cross country run. So, at the 15 mile mark, there he was, ecxploring the new-to-him trail.

    Also saw a coiled rattler in the middle of the bike path - other bicyclers were there also, walking widely around the rattler.

    Then I went for a lap swim at the rec center on the way home. Very relaxing and cooling.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by cranky old dude View Post
    I can't imagine what it must be like to ride mile after mile on concrete bike trails.
    When I went out there, I found them a mixed blessing.

    I like that there are bike paths everywhere, and that they go for miles and miles, and that they also connect useful destinations.

    What I didn't like was the expansion joints in the concrete. They got old after a while and I found myself longing for the macadam bike paths of home.
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  24. #24
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    When I went out there, I found them a mixed blessing.

    I like that there are bike paths everywhere, and that they go for miles and miles, and that they also connect useful destinations.

    What I didn't like was the expansion joints in the concrete. They got old after a while and I found myself longing for the macadam bike paths of home.
    Very good point... above 18mph on our concrete MUPs, and you do start to notice it.

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