If you're not from Atlanta it's really hard to imagine how bad the pollen is. Imagine the dust bowl of John Ford's films only yellow. When you're out riding your can see plumes of the stuff blowing off the trees. Everything is covered in a fine yellow dust and the horizon is obscured by billowing clouds of plant love.
Here's something that has been sliding under the radar for a while but it's sure to create a stir later this summer. Last year I blogged about MARTA's new Breeze Ticket system. Starting May 1, 2007, MARTA will begin charging a .50 fee for issuing Breeze Tickets. Allegedly this is to recoup the cost of the tickets, but it's really just a revenue generator.
Now you can repeatedly reload the tickets but these things are flimsy and are lucky to last one week much less the 90 days they're good for. When MARTA adopted the Breeze system the rational was to make it harder for fare cheats but now it seems clear that the real motivation was to provide a new revenue source for a transit system that can't increase their fares.
I've got a new job and for the first time I'm going to be commuting into Atlanta everyday. Over the next week or so I'm going to be planning my new route and searching for the best place to secure my bike downtown. I'm also considering getting a MARTA card just in case I need a ride.
You've probably noticed that gas prices are creeping back up again. I don't mind, it just means I'm saving that much more money on my bike. What I notice most is that the same people who flipped out when gas prices went above $2.00 a gallon a couple of years ago seem strangely quite now. It seems the gas companies have gotten the American public use to high gas prices so they're going to keep them as high as they can.
As I said I've got no problem with high gas prices but I would rather see the money going to the government instead of Exxon/Mobile. So I'm saying why not another $2.00 in Federal taxes on gasoline? Sure people seem to have gotten used to $2.00 a gallon but how would they deal with $4.00 a gallon? The only way were going to break our addiction to gas is shock therapy and better now than later.
I'm under a fair amount of stress right now. The HRIS data system I'm under to contract to clean up is a mess. School is keeping me really busy. And then there's the fact that I'm the father of two teenage girls. But you know what? When I'm out on a ride all the stress just melts away. And if my youngest daughter wants to ride with me, so much the better. I'm sure you all know about the health benefits of riding but don't forget that a bike can be good for your mental health too.