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    Pedaling Over the Hump

    Retail_challengeMid-way through the work week and the particpant numbers keep climbing. While Free's rear-hub casualty has taken some of the spark out of our Pat HQ vs. Distribution Center rivalry, the Retail Bike Challenge remains hotly contested. While you find the store's individual rider numbers below, consult the graph for a sense of the real non-impact being made by this week. Each of those miles logged is one less spent in gas-powered confinement.

    List of Stores and their average number of participating cyclists

    Westport            4.75
    Palo Alto             7.25
    Portland             7.00
    Reno Outlet        7.25
    Freeport Outlet   2.75
    Santa Monica      6.00
    Boston                8.75
    San Francisco     6.25
    Pasadena           6.00
    Chicago              1.75 
    Soho                 10.00
    Seattle                4.50
    St. Paul               5.25
    GPIW                  4.25
    Boulder               5.50
    Salt Lake Outlet  4.25
    Denver                2.00
    Santa Cruz          2.75
    Upper Westside  3.25
    Washington DC   4.25
    Cardiff                 1.50
    Atlanta                1.50

    National Average     4.90


    Bike Commuting in Connecticut

    WptpatagoniaEarlier in the week we mentioned that the Westport store was leading the 2nd Annual Patagonia Retail Bike to Work Challenge. Nate Paulson, manager of Patagonia Westport, sent along this update:

    Patagonia Westport is attacking Bike to Work Week like the last hill on a mountain leg of the Tour de France. Yesterday, 9 staff rode, totaling 155 miles -- that's 35 pounds of CO2 we eliminated. And mention of bike lanes around here is like a foreign language; between the drivers and the hills, each ride is a challenge.

    On Saturday, we hosted three cycling groups in the store to kick off the week: Connecticut Bicycle Coalition, East Coast Greenways Alliance, and Elm City Cycling. The groups were all super-engaged with customers and staff, educating folks about safety, advocacy and a grand vision for cycle corridors. Local TV news even came by to see what was going on, and a segment about Bike to Work Week aired Saturday evening.

    [A peak inside Patagonia Westport, with local cycling groups tabling in the foreground. Photo: Su Ruh]

    Continue reading "Bike Commuting in Connecticut" »

    Probably Not Riding His Bike This Week

    Bike to Work Week seems like the perfect time to have another look at how some people feel about the spirit of Bike to Work Week. This video was posted here earlier, under "Keeping Alternative Transportation on the Radar." This was back in the good-ol' days when oil was hovering around $100 a barrel. Regardless of whether or not Rep. McHenry (R, NC) is going to be pedaling to work, it sounds like he understands what Bike to Work Day/Week/Month is all about.

    The video can also be seen here:

    Bike to Work Week is all about positive energy toward positive changes. Our earlier posting of this video generated quite a few comments. It would be great to see more of your comments here. Better yet, share your thoughts with your representative(s). And maybe send a little pedal-powered love to Mr. McHenry.

    Bicycles Pedaling Into the Spotlight

    2008_world_bike_and_auto_production Rick Ridgeway tipped us to the following article from the Earth Policy Institute. It's part of their Eco-Economy Indicators research -- twelve trends that the Institute tracks to measure progress towards building an eco-economy.

    Bicycles Pedaling Into the Spotlight

    J. Matthew Roney

    The world produced an estimated 130 million bicycles in 2007—more than twice the 52 million cars produced. Bicycle and car production tracked each other closely in the mid-to-late 1960s, but bike output separated sharply from that of cars in 1970, beginning its steep climb to 105 million in 1988. Following a slowdown between 1989 and 2001, bike production has regained steam, increasing in each of the last six years. Much of the recent growth has been driven by the rise in electric, or “e-bike” production, which has doubled since 2004 to 21 million units in 2007. Overall, since 1970, bicycle output has nearly quadrupled, while car production has roughly doubled.

    Promoting the bike as a clean and efficient alternative to the personal automobile is a practical way for cities to reduce traffic congestion and smog. To simultaneously confront those problems as well as climate change and an emerging obesity epidemic, government leaders and advocacy groups are working to bring cycling back to prominence in the urban transport mix.

    Continue reading "Bicycles Pedaling Into the Spotlight" »

    2nd-Annual Patagonia Retail Cycling Challenge Begins!

    Retail_challenge_1Patagonia employees can be a competitive lot, particularly when it comes to scoring bragging rights. Throw some nifty schwag into the mix and you've got the makin's of a serious throw-down. This update comes courtesy of Nick March, in Patagonia's Dealer Services department. Nick's a dedicated bike commuter and Chief Numbercruncher for Patagonia's Bike to Work Week Cycling Challenge. Check out Nick's report below, and click here to read about last year's hotly contested race. Stay tuned to see which store earns the right to claim the most pedal pushin' miles this week.

    Welcome back to this year’s Retail Challenge! The retail stores are back this year to compete for store pride and a sweet new Cruiser. The criterion for this year’s Challenge is a little different than last. Rather than being measured by the average amount of participants the stores are trying to rack up as many miles as possible from May 10th – May 18th using only human-powered transportation. These miles include the round trip between home and work by each employee. The store with the most miles at the end of the week takes home a shiny new cruiser, compliments of New Belgium Brewery.   

    The weekend results are tallied and it looks like we have a great turnout so far in the retail sector. Westport is leading the pack with 213 miles followed closely by Palo Alto with 201.2. It’s been an epic journey for many in the Midwest and east coast, battling intense thunderstorms but still staying dedicated to the human-powered transportation!  It looks like its going to be another tight race this year and there’s plenty of time to rack up the mileage.  Stay tuned to find out how your local store is performing!

    List of Stores and their average number of participating cyclists

    • Westport               3.5
    • Palo Alto               7.5
    • Portland                6.5
    • Santa Monica         6.5
    • Reno Outlet           6.5
    • San Francisco         6.5
    • Boston                  8.5
    • Pasadena               6
    • Freeport Outlet       2
    • Seattle                  4
    • Soho                     10
    • Boulder                  7.5
    • St. Paul                  5
    • GPIW                     4
    • Denver                   2
    • Salt Lake Outlet      4.5
    • Washington DC        5
    • Upper Westside       3.5
    • Atlanta                   2
    • Cardiff                   1.5
    • Santa Cruz             1.5
    • Dillon                    5.5
    • National Average    4.98

    It's Bike to Work Week - Listen to the Dirtbag Diaries after your Ride Home

    Humanmule Once again it's time to leave the car in the garage and clean up your commute. It's Bike to Work Week and we'll start it off with a new episode of the Dirtbag Diaries. Fitz Cahall, host of the podcast, has this to say about episode 19:

    Life was good. The approaches were short. The routes straightforward. The work wonderfully mindless. After a long dry-spell of writing, a job as a climbing guide at Smith Rock was like a vacation from life. I was 22 again, not a failing writer struggling to pay the rent. It was too good to last.

    Through the years, I’ve tried to escape words and journalism, but the writing life always has a funny way of creeping back into my world. This time it came in the form of a 230-pound cameraman with a fear of heights, a fast talking New York producer and a 30-year-old broadcaster trying to return to her childhood. It turns out you have to earn your 15 seconds of fame.

    Listen to The Dirtbag Diaries:
    Episode 19 – The Human Mule (mp3)

    Like what you heard? The RSS feed, subscription link to iTunes, and contact information for future story ideas are all available at

    [Big thanks to Adrienne for this week's custom masthead.]

    Update: Changed title and edited post to discourage listening to iPod while riding. Thank you Todd.

    Happy Belated Mother’s Day

    Carpool Even though this comes a little late, I really want to wish all the moms out there a happy mother’s day. Thank you for all that you do, and all that you give up, in order to help your children prepare for life on their own. Hope you had a great day yesterday.

    [Photo by mama bear from her post My Carpool.]

    Eruption in the Backyard: Kris Tompkins Reports on the Chaiten Volcano

    If you’ve ever been far away from loved ones when disaster hits, you know how Kristine Tompkins (Patagonia co-founder and former CEO) and her husband, Doug, feel right now. They are in Argentina, while miles away, one of the Chilean national parks they founded, Pumalin Park, is threatened by the ash and toxic gases spewing forth from the Chaiten Volcano. This volcano, which has not erupted for thousands of years, sits at the southern end of the Pumalin Park near the city of Chaiten and has been erupting since May 2nd forcing thousands to evacuate.


    [From Kris: "Photo Taken from our farm at Pillan, looking over at where we live, 17kms from the volcano."]

    Kris has been keeping the Chouinards updated via email; hit the jump for some excerpts and insight into how the situation is changing daily.

    Continue reading "Eruption in the Backyard: Kris Tompkins Reports on the Chaiten Volcano" »

    Slaying Giants with Grassroots

    Off_to_jail_4_2 This post was submitted by Patagonia grantee Monty Bassett from the Sage Foundation.

    January 17th, 2005, in a remote village in the middle of a vast British Columbia wilderness, Roy Quock, an 84-year-old elder of the Tahltan tribe, discovered that his band chief had been touring the world, at the invitation of the World Bank and the Canadian government, promoting the benefits of industrial mining on aboriginal lands. Roy heard on the radio that his chief had been speaking in Guatemala at a mining conference and boasted that he’d negotiated for six mines – four of them open pit, and a giant coalbed methane project – all to begin in his territory within a year.

    “Enough is enough!” said Roy and he and his younger brother, Bobby (83), trundled down to the band office. Upon discovering that the chief was away (meeting with Shell in Calgary) they said, “We’ll wait.” and they did. With three dozen other elders they waited for eight-and-a-half months until their Chief was turffed, thus starting an environmental fight that would lead to barricades, arrests, and a protest ad appearing in the London Financial Times.

    Continue reading "Slaying Giants with Grassroots" »

    Zoe Hart Becomes Fourth American Woman to Earn IFMGA Mountain Guide Credential

    Zoe_hart_patagonia_2_2 A big CONGRATULATIONS goes out to Patagonia Ambassador Zoe Hart who just passed her Ski Mountaineering Guide’s exam to earn her IFMGA mountain guide credential! This makes Zoe the fourth American woman to earn her IFMGA, or International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations, status. This is the highest level of credential available by a professional mountain guide anywhere in the world and is recognized in over 20 IFMGA member countries.

    [Zoe Hart tapes up on St. Exupery, Patagonia, Argentina. Photo: Maxime Turgeon.]

    As some of you may know, since 1997 it has been possible for American guides to earn their international certification through the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA). At this point in time there are approximately fifty American IFMGA guides in the country. To accomplish this, one must take a series of courses and pass three exams: Rock Guide, Alpine Guide, and Ski-Mountaineering Guide. Additional courses are required as well, including Wilderness First Responder and an American Level 3 Avalanche certificate. To put this in perspective each course and each exam lasts between 7 and 14 days, and you are required to have a certain number of guiding days between each course and exam! This is a long, arduous, and often expensive process of educational courses culminating in certification exams.

    Patagonia is a benefactor partner and has long been a big supporter of the AMGA’s mission.

    [Editor's note: Steve House was the seventh American to earn an IFMGA pin, way back in 1999, and was a former director of the AMGA's Alpine Guide program. "Pin" refers to a highly coveted cast-pewter pin IFMGA guides traditionally wear to identify themselves to fellow mountain guides. The only American women to earn IFMGA pins are Kathy Cosley, Margaret Wheeler, Olivia Cussen and, now, Zoe Hart. Way to go Zoe!]

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