Build a Better Bike

If your commute is too long for pedal power, just add a little juice to your ride. by Jason Cozens, as told to GOOD I've been an on-and-off bike commuter for about seven years. I enjoyed riding and being outside-not being confined inside a car-but I always showed up to work covered in sweat and beat..

If your commute is too long for pedal power, just add a little juice to your ride.

By Jason Cozens, as told to GOODI've been an on-and-off bike commuter for about seven years. I enjoyed riding and being outside-not being confined inside a car-but I always showed up to work covered in sweat and beat up.I read an article about a man in Africa who built a motorized bike. The picture in the article showed this bike that looked like it was from another era. It was delicate looking, but it could get him from village to village, and it transformed his life. So I started doing some research and discovered that the motor I had seen in the article is generally known as a Happy-Time motor. They're two-stroke motors, made in China.So I ordered one.They make these kits 49 cubic centimeters for a reason. If it's 50 CCs or more you're required to license it, to register the bike, and to license yourself. Those things might deter a do-it-yourselfer. It makes the project bigger, and it kind of takes the renegade aspect out of it as well.

When the kit came in the mail, I was shocked to find it came with no instructions. It was just a box with Chinese characters printed on it and a bunch of parts inside. The parts were all shiny and vaguely resembled the parts of a motorcycle or a car. I googled "motorized bike"-that's what they were calling them in the article I had read-and found this community of people who make these bikes. Without the help of this nation-wide community, I wouldn't have even attempted to make it.I probably could have put it together in about a week, but I customized it a lot. I wanted the bike to be eye-catching and have a bit of character. I've always had character cars. I'll be at a gas station with my beat-up 1976 Celica, or my beat-up 1967 El Camino, and people will come up asking how much I want to sell the car for. I love having a car you don't see anywhere else on the road, and in the same respect I love having a bike that nobody else has. It's kind of like a Pee-wee's Big Adventure complex. He has his ridiculous bike and I have my ridiculous bike. Pee-wee and I were born on the same day.It's about a one-horsepower motor, which means it's like riding a horse. It is a very natural amount of power to have. I don't have a speedometer, but people have pulled up next to me and said, "You're going thirty miles per hour." I'd say around 30 mph, 35 mph, is my top speed on flat ground. Since it's just a one-horsepower motor, on hills you have to pedal just like you do on a bike, but when you pedal you feel like Superman because you're barely touching the pedals and you actually feel yourself relieving strain on the engine.Now that my engine is broken in, I get about 150 miles to the gallon. I have a half-gallon tank, which I usually don't fill up all the way. There's nothing quite like the feeling of going to a gas station and telling someone I'd like 75 cents on pump two, and then seeing the shocked look on his face when I come back in for change.

The two-stroke motors from China are EPA-approved, but to really comply with the law you need an EPA-approved muffler also. There are similar, four-stroke motors that are actually green. They have very low emissions, they get over 200 miles per gallon, and they are extremely reliable. A lot of those motors come from Japan and they're more than twice as expensive.The quirks are what really endear me to this little machine: the fact that you have to pedal from a dead stop, or that you go faster downhill if you pull in the clutch and stop gassing-those things are unique to this form of transport. Also, the ability to use it as a regular bike is probably underemphasized in what you read about these bikes.I spend a lot of time at The Home Depot. There are plumbing parts in and around this bike, as well as plenty of things from the 99-cent store, pieces of jewelry, and leather bracelets. You start to see the possibility of anything making its way into your own custom vehicle. Something like a doorstop becomes a fantastic way to hold a gas-tank in place.I live a block off of Skid Row, and so many homeless people come up with a general interest. A lot of homeless people rely on bicycles for transportation, so I'm sure the gears are turning in their heads: "Wow, I could get out of town on one of these if I had a motor." When I tell them I got my kit for $130, they're usually blown away.My current commute is about five miles through an older, industrial part of Los Angeles. It's kind of miserable to sit through in traffic. But on the bike it's actually a fantastic experience; it becomes transcendent.

LEARN MORE Want to buy a motor? spookytoothcycles.comPhotos by Will Etling

Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

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The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

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via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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