Runnin’, Runnin’ and Runnin’, Runnin’

Over the past few months we’ve been doing our best to spread the clean air message. For all of you who have ditched your gas-guzzling cars for a chance to ride your bike, walk, skate, or carpool – we applaud you.

But we want to take things way back, to a time before the wheel. Before Fred Flinstone’s eco-friendly bedrock cruiser. What’s the healthiest, most eco-friendly way to get around? Foot power. We humans have been running for thousands of years.

Check out some of our favorite bi-pedal movie scenes.

Run, Forrest, Run – The iconic phrase that haunts all middle school track athletes. In this classic, Forrest Gump runs back and forth across the country in 3 years.

Rocky – He’s got the eye of the tiger, and he’s training hard for his big fight. In this scene, Rocky isn’t just running to get from Point A to Point B. He’s running to get to victory.

Chariots of Fire – These boys are going for a good old fashioned beach run in the opening credits of this movie. Nothing like a workout in slow motion.

Casino Royale –James Bond chases down a bomb-maker, parkour style, through a village in Madagascar. Epic

Indiana Jones – Sometimes we have to clean-commute ourselves right out of the path of those gargantuan boulders.

The Matrix – Trinity makes leaps and bounds, over buildings and through windows, in her escape from the evil agents.

Men in Black – NYPD all-star (played by Will Smith) chases down a super-speedy alien criminal.

Run Lola Run – It’s pretty much a whole movie about running…

Terminator 2 – Why are the bad guys always so fast? And persistent!

The Bourne Supremacy – Jason Bourne hits the beach for a morning workout, meanwhile his girlfriend finds out his secrets:

What are your favorites? Share them in the comments (and earn aircreds).

Saving the Planet: One Tasty Bite at a Time.

Thanksgiving is coming up, and you know what that means: the season of face-stuffing is about to begin. Between Thanksgiving, various holiday parties, and New Year’s celebrations, the American social scene centers around one thing: food.

Yeah I know, the holidays are supposed to be about family and fellowship. We all say that, but I know it’s really about the tasty, tasty treats that you only get to eat this time of year.

Now as you can imagine all those trips to and from the store aren’t great for our air or the environment. Think about all the exhaust fumes that your car pumps into the air each time you go to and from the store. Just remember that every mile is about 1 pound of air pollution. So what can green choices can we make to help?

Green: Bike or walk to the store.

Riding your bike is a great way to cut the everyday air pollution that comes from short trips. It’s definitely a great way to start solving the problem. Not to mention you can exercise while running errands. What a time saver!

Greener: Buy local.

Buying foods from the supermarket is super-convenient, but it can be bad news for the earth. Just think about all the energy (and air pollution) it takes to ship the things you buy to the supermarket. Say you live here in Georgia and buy avocados from California. That’s 2,456 miles away. And when you consider that every mile driven puts one pound of pollution into the air, we’re talking about almost 2.5 tons of air pollution for one avocado truck. Seriously?

So how can you enjoy your tasty holiday foods (and everyday foods), and still cut air pollution at the same time? Well, it’s really pretty simple – the idea is to buy local.

You can cut out the thousands of miles, and tons of air pollution by making a trip to your local farmer’s market. They bring in local, organic foods that are way fresher (didn’t spend a week on a truck), taste even better, and are from local businesses near you. Check out the Dekalb County Farmer’s Market, that place is incredible.

Greenest: Grow your own.

Ready to really go the extra mile? Let’s talk about having a garden at home. Check out our Pinterest board for ideas.

Believe it or not, growing your own veggies is easier than you think. Just imagine walking into the back yard to grab dinner. You’ve not only cut out nearly all environmental costs, but you’re probably saving lots of money—while eating better quality food.

Super-Ridiculously Green: Go vegetarian.

This one might not be so popular. But hear us out.

Environmentalists have started spreading the word that going vegetarian or vegan packs an even bigger punch in the fight for clean air. When you don’t have to transport thousands of livestock for food, you cut out a good chunk of transportation-related pollution. Also, let’s face it—that all-bacon diet is probably not the healthiest decision you’ve ever made.

And think about this: we’re not talking all-or-nothing here. A lot can be changed just by becoming a sometimes vegetarian. Some research shows that cutting out meat even one day a week can make some pretty dramatic changes to air pollution AND health.

If you’re worried about missing out on all the tasty holiday foods, here’s a solution for that problem.

Even if you always buy local, or grow your own produce, there are still some things you have to get from the store. That’s ok—sometimes you just have to get what you need. Just remember the more local products you buy, the better off our air is!

For a full breakdown of the benefits and costs of buying local or international foods, check out this infographic.

Flashmob Instant Crosswalk

We all know how bad Atlanta traffic is, but the truth is that it’s even worse in Europe. Traffic is so bad, and gas is so expensive, that most Europeans rely on an awesome subway system or their bicycles to get around.

In the ATL, our subway system is less than stellar, and we don’t have many bike lanes, so clean commuting can be a challenge. It only gets harder if you live in the suburbs – with a lack of sidewalks and crosswalks, pedestrians have a tough go of it most of the time.

Getting across the street is no easy feat – it seems more like a real-life version of Frogger on super-hard mode.

In most of the world’s big cities, pedestrians are supposed to have the right-of way—but sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way. Especially in Paris. So this French theatre action group, XTNT, decided to take a stand (or a walk) for their pedestrian rights.

The stunt baffled motorists unaccustomed to stopping for pedestrians, and led tons of foot-traffic to cross one of Paris’ busiest intersections without harm.

Movie Scenes – Bicycle Edition

Here at On Air, we love a good movie almost as much as we love clean air and clean commuting. And we thought it was only right to follow up our last post about public transit in the movies with a list of our favorite bicycle movie scenes.

So, there are a lot of bike movies that are way before your time (before my time, even). But that doesn’t mean they’re not worth a watch. We’ve come up with a list of scenes from movies that you will actually recognize—but first, the classics:

#1: Better Off Dead (1985) – in this scene, a determined paper boy rides down John Cusack, in pursuit of his rightfully earned $2. (Hey, that was kind of a lot of money in 1985.) (Also, don’t try this stuff at home.)

#2 The Great Muppet Caper (1981) – Who doesn’t love the Muppets? We’ve got to give clean air props to Kermit and Piggy, who ride their bikes through the park in this classic scene:

#3 E. T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982) – Even if it’s over than 10 years older than you are, you have to have seen E.T. This classic film has one of the most iconic bike scenes of all time!

#4 Napoleon Dynamite (2004) – Gosh! We sure do love Napoleon, especially when he takes Pedro’s bike for a spin. Lucky!

#5 127 Hours (2010) – This movie has a killer mountain biking scene. Unfortunately, it’s not on Youtube, but we thought it deserved a mention anyway. Here’s a taste from the trailer.

#6 Premium Rush (2012) – This is an entire movie about biking! Again, YouTube hasn’t  got a hold of specific scenes yet, but the trailer you will show you just how much action-cycling there really is.

#7 Transporter 3 (2008) – This is probably my favorite scene of the bunch. Action star Jason Statham chases down his stolen car from a bicycle, and puts a bike-fu hurt on the bad guy.

So there you have it, a few of our favorite biking scenes from the big screen. Who did we miss? What is your favorite bicycling scene?

All rights too these film clips belong to their respective studios.

City Cycling 101

In light of our Bike to School challenge, we want to offer up a few tips (courtesy of Intown Bicycles) to help make your clean commute easy, less stressful, and most importantly safe.

Now we know that it can be scary riding on roads alongside speeding cars, but if you use your head, stay focused, and be smart, you can avoid nearly all major issues.

Tip #1: Be Visible. Now this may seem like an obvious one, but you may be surprised at how many cyclists and pedestrians don’t follow this advice. Make sure that you are wearing bright colors, and that your bike has an appropriate number of lights and reflectors. When you’re on your bike, you want car drivers to notice you from as far away as possible, so that they can plan to safely pass you. This is especially important at night. Wear yellow, it is the most eye catching. Do not wear grey, it’s the color of the road.

Tip #2: Be Predictable. It’s important to be as predictable as possible so that other drivers can know what to do. Follow the rules of the road. Stop at all red lights and stop signs; signal when turning; yield to oncoming traffic; ride on the right-hand side of the road, and turn left from the left lane. Essentially, ride your bike as if you’re driving a car.

Tip #3: Beware of Hazards. A lot of things that are bad for cars (pot holes, road plates, construction zones) are bad for bicycles, but there are additional things to watch out for when biking in the city. Watch for cars making left turns in front of you, and look for cars pulling out from side streets and driveways.Watch for cars that pass you and then make a right turn in front of you.

Also watch for sewer grates, railroad tracks, and gravel or other road debris. These items can cause you to lose traction and fall, particularly if you hit them at high speeds or going around turns.

Be aware that drivers cannot see the holes, debris, and other hazards that you have to negotiate. Signal drivers, if possible, before making any unexpected moves to avoid hazards.

Tip #4: Plan Your Routes Ahead of Time. Putting a bit of time in to plan your route can pay off big time. Not only can you avoid the busiest roads, but you can find out which roads have bike paths, which traffic signals don’t recognize cyclists, etc. Make sure to utilize bike paths as much as possible. It is technically illegal to ride on the sidewalk (unless you’re under 13), however there are some situations where it is way safer – so use your best judgement.

Tip #5: Be Prepared. First off, you should always have the proper safety equipment. Always wear your helmet (even for short trips), and wear reflective or bright clothing, as we mentioned earlier. It’s also important to carry some tools and supplies in the event of a problem. We recommend a spare tube for your tires, a patch kit, and a multi-tool, to help fix general mechanical issues.

Tip #6: Pay Attention. This is another no-brainer. Make sure that you are constantly aware of your surroundings. Unfortunately this means no listening to music. It’s important to use all of your senses to be aware. Don’t even think about trying to text while riding your bike. Not only are your eyes not on the road, but your hands aren’t on the handlebars, and you have no way to avoid a problem. It’s not worth the injury or the broken phone.

For a full guide to bycicling in Georgia, see the DOT’s Georgia Bike Sense. The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition also offers courses on city cycling, and bike maintenance.

 

 

http://www.portlandoregon.gov/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=312589

October Bike to School Challenge

So the old folks over at The Clean Air Campaign have issued an October Bike to Work Challenge. I figure if they can bike to work for an ENTIRE month, we have to be able to bike to school…right? I mean, after all, we are far younger, fitter, sprightlier, and can certainly bike circles around every one of them. Not to mention, we are far better looking.

Why should you bike to school? Well for starters, it’s awesome. But if you need any further persuasion, here you go:

1. Biking is fun. There is nothing more exhilarating than working hard to get up a hill, and then flying down the other side. For you thrill-seekers with a need for speed, you will greatly enjoy it. If you prefer to be a bit more cautious going downhill, then no worries, that’s what brakes are for.

2. Biking gets you in great shape. Now I’m not saying that biking a mile or two a day is going to get you looking like King Leonidas or the women’s Olympic track team (that takes a ridiculous diet and exercise routine, who knew), but biking to and from school is an incredible way to get in some daily exercise. It helps to tone your core muscles, as well as boosting your cardiovascular fitness level.

3. Biking is good for the air. Naturally, this is our favorite reason. The only pollution that comes from riding your bike is the CO2 that comes from your heavy breathing – which gets sucked up by trees and converted into oxygen. Riding your bike means one less car on the road, and one less pound of pollution per mile. Imagine how much air pollution you WOULDN’T create if your entire school rode a bike for just one day.

4. Biking is social. Riding in groups can be great fun. It’s an excellent way to show up your friends in a nice “last-one-there’s-a-rotten-egg” kind of way. And that victory tastes so much sweeter when you’re sucking down clean air instead pounds of pollution.

5. Biking gives you your own ride. If you’re not old enough to drive, haven’t gotten your license, or just plain don’t have a car, biking is a great solution. No more waiting around for your parents who bother you with their intrusive questions, no more waiting for your friends to pick you up. Just hop on your bike and you’re on your way.

In addition to bombing hills, getting ripped, and beating your friend in an all-out race, you can earn Air Creds for every day that you bike to school. Rack up enough Air Creds, and we will send you some sweet On Air swag to help support your clean air message.

So there you have it. Zero reason not to bike to school this month and show all those adults how youthful you are, and they once were. Remember to always wear a helmet. I know, you don’t look as awesome in a helmet (no one does), but it will sure save your good-lookin’ head in the event of a fall.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your pedaling. Because really, we ought to be able to beat this guy:

 

iOS6: Transit Maps Alternatives

In our previous post about Apple’s iOS6, we talked about the new Apple maps feature not having transit directions – an absolute necessity for the modern clean commuter.

To their credit, last Friday, Apple admitted to their short-comings with the new maps app, and said that they are hard at work to rectify it. We don’t know what that means for transit riders, specifically, but we’re hopeful.

In the meantime, we’ve done some research and come up with the best alternatives for you to easily navigate around town. Unfortunately, only one of these apps works in Atlanta (for now), but we’d still like to showcase some of the world’s best transit apps.

1. Hop Stop – This is one of the top transit apps available, and it’s free! Not only does is work on the iOS system, but also on Android and in a web browser. The best part is that it works with MARTA.

2. NextStop – If you’re ever in NYC and need a great app for getting around on the massive subway system, this app will come in handy. It’s even got train delay notifications.

3. iBart  -This app is for the San Franciscans. It include directions for both trains and buses. This system is created by Embark who have developed several transit routing apps for major cities. Unfortunately Atlanta is not one of them.

4.NYC Mate – This another great app for New Yorkers, but this app has got bus directions too. It even includes New Jersey!

5. LTWatch – One of Canada’s better apps for London-Ontario offers real-time bus tracking in addition to its directions function.

6. London Tube – Obviously this app is for London, but it offers all of the official maps for each system, as well as a trip planning function.

7. Google MapsNo, Google has not released a downloadable maps app for iOS6 (rumor has it that it’s in the works), but all smart phones can access Google Maps through their web browser via the HTML 5 app. It’s no flashy app, but it is the exact same interface that you’ve been using for years.

8. ChiTransit – This app not only provides transit directions for Chicago, but it also tracks the buses and trains in real time.

9. The Transit App –  This one’s got loads of potential; it’s just a matter of ironing out the kinks with iOS6. Offering multi-colored routes, trip planning, departure time, and even a trip memory, this could be the most comprehensive transit app yet. And the best part is that it’s FREE! It is available in 21 major cities–unfortunately, Atlanta is not on the list yet.

Sources say that Atlanta’s MARTA is in the works of outsourcing with some third-party developers to bring Atlantans a better, more powerful app. For now, we recommend you use HopStop, or plan ahead with Google and Marta’s real time bus locator before leaving the house.

 

Today is International Walk to School Day!

Need some inspiration to express your individuality as a walker? Boom:

Walk on friends. Get creative, and share your walking style with us via Facebook or on Twitter: @OnAirGa

Tomorrow is International Walk to School Day!

Guess what? Tomorrow is International Walk to School Day!

But of course, you already knew that.

So we want to see you strut your stuff to and from school tomorrow. It’s good for you, and it’s good for the air.

In case you need some more encouragement, below are a few things that you may not have considered yet–but first, see what one of our student bloggers, Zoe Spencer, has to say about clean commuters at her school:

And now for some walking facts:

Walking to school promotes physical health: Seems like a no-brainer, right? Well walking to school is a great way to get some easy exercise in each and every day. While it may not seem like you’re pushing yourself too hard, every little bit helps.

Walking to school keeps our air clean: Walking to school throws a huge punch on behalf of our environment. For every person that walks to and from school, that’s one less car on the road emitting toxic fumes and polluting our air.

For every mile you drive, your car puts 1 pound of pollution in the air. That is a ton of pollution! Let’s face it, no one likes breathing polluted air, so why not drive less?

Walking to school is social: Get together with some of your friends or neighbors and walk to school in a group. It’s a great way to socialize and catch up on things you’ve missed (gossip), and to get your day started with a positive attitude.

Walking to school makes a statement:  Stand up for our environment. You can show your parents, teachers, and community leaders that we don’t have to rely on cars for everyday transportation. Your example will show everyone how easy it is to walk in your community. You could be a trendsetter!

16 year-old makes big changes on a global scale…

…$78 million worth of big changes, to be exact.

16 year-old Azza Abdel Hamid Faias, an Egyptian student, has found a relatively cheap catalyst to help break down plastic waste and turn it into bio-fuel feedstock.

Azza at the 23rd European Union Contest for Young Scientists

Azza’s discovery was made when brainstorming on how to reduce Egypt’s trash consumption, nearly 100 million tons per year. The idea of breaking down plastic garbage to be used as a bio-fuel starter has been around for several years, however it’s Azza’s catalyst discovery that is the real breakthrough here. All other methods have been regarded as too costly to be efficient, but this newly discovered catalyst, aluminosicilate, has been proved to break down waste and simultaneously produce methane, propane, and ethane, which can be used to create ethanol.

According to Azza, the technology could “provide an economically efficient method for production of hydrocarbon fuel,” including 40,000 tons per year of cracked naptha and 138,000 tons of hydrocarbon gasses – the equivalent of $78 million in bio-fuel.

Azza’s proposal is already attracting loads of attention, including that of the Egyptian Petroleum Research Institute, as well as interest from major energy companies worldwide.

At only 16 years old, this teenager has made a discovery that could change the world. We know she has a bright future ahead. We also know that she is not the only young mind working towards a better planet.

Even ideas that seem small-scale at first can turn out to have a big impact. So we want to know, what things do you do make your part of the world better? Let us know in the comments!