Thursday, April 7, 2011


...we're off!

Today was (okay, it still is as I write this) sunny and actually not too windy. We spent a good chunk of this morning running errands wrapped in the warm bright spring air as we were. We then spent the early part of the afternoon making up a cardboard version of a box solar cooker (more on that in a bit) - and then it was time to take the catrikes out of their hibernation (read: the garage). We gave them a good check over, with Adam pumping up the tires to the recommended inflation while I dusted and cleaned off the specks of a winter's silent storage. Then, I donned my helmet, plunked myself into the ol' familiar mesh seat...and tore off down the street while neighbourhood kids gawked.

As with last year, it felt SO GOOD being back on the trike. My goal for today was to just run through the gears, check the handling and the brakes and make sure things like the speedometer worked properly and that the mirror held steady. Adam had to adjust it before I charged off but it held its own as I *very* happily zipped and zoomed up and down the street.

The winds, what little we had, were from the north so it did make for a chilly ride coming back from the south end of the cul de sac but at least my speed beating into the breeze didn't suffer too much. I read 21 km/hr going south and a not-too-embarrassing 16 km/hr coming back.

Stretching my leg muscles like that sure felt good and I really hope to get in many many more trips this season. Unlike the ski season here, catriking season tends to last a long time.

Oh, the solar cooker. I had always wanted to learn more about greener, cleaner ways to live. We don't own a car and are very careful about our water and electricity use. So, naturally, when I learned about solar cookers, I was keen to know more. One of the more prominent features of solar cookers is just how inexpensive they are to build; the power they use comes directly from the sun so there is no cost there at all. We just had to build one.

I was first introduced to the idea of box solar cookers by author Jamal Sharif. The details aren't nearly as important as the guiding principle - one can cook food without using electricity - and it is that principle that inspired me to consider making a solar cooker.

So, not long ago I picked up a couple of corrugated cardboard boxes and, thanks to all the hard work and effort by Adam, we managed to make a cardboard box cooker. Earliest testing shows that we can heat cold water to something tepid-bordering-on-warm in about 90 minutes. Tomorrow, with the weather forecast to be just as sunny, I intend on attempting to make rice.

So, why this on a catriking blog? Well, as my intention here is to highlight the ways of living "greenly" by using human powered transportation, I think knowing how to cook using green methods works quite well here, too.

-Peace and may your rice turn out perfectly!

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