“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.”
— Eartha Kitt, American actress and singer, 1927-2008
Writing this blog is proving to be a continuous learning process.
Frequently, after I post an item, a reader will ask a question or send along a link to a website that will steer me to new information on the topic of the blog post.
Occasionally, a reader will give me an update to a blog post written weeks before.
I posted on Saturday an item about pedal-powered cinemas (‘Bicycles built for view’). That prompted a query from a fellow cyclist in Fort Worth: “Isn’t there a jail in Arizona where the inmates pedal up power to watch TV?”
Sure enough, the notorious sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona, Joe Arpaio, has installed a stationary bicycle in the county jail for use by female inmates to power a 19-inch television.
They have to exercise for their entertainment.
“It’s caught on,” Arpaio was quoted as saying in an April 22 CNN report. “The inmates seem to like it. The public, from what I got back, thinks it’s a great idea. I don’t know why no one’s thought of it before.”
The use of pedal power by inmates was only part of the broader CNN report about the use of stationary bikes to generate energy in a variety of establishments around the world.
My son Ben, who lives in Taipei, Taiwan, read my post on pedal-powered cinemas and sent me a link to a BBC report on the use of two power-generating stationary bikes in an upscale Copenhagen hotel, the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers.
Guests in the 366-room hotel are invited to use the bikes to generate electricity in exchange for a free meal in the hotel restaurant or bar.
“Anyone producing 10 watt hours of electricity or more for the hotel will be given a locally produced complimentary meal encouraging guests to not only get fit but also reduce their carbon footprint and save electricity and money,” the hotel said in a statement.
Hotel spokeswoman Frederikke Tommergaard told the Reuters news agency that the offer of a free meal applies only to hotel guests, not passers-by.
The value of the meal — any one of the main courses on the hotel restaurant or lobby bar’s menu — is about 240 Danish crowns (about $42), she told Reuters.
The hotel plans to test the idea for a year with a view to expanding it to more Crowne Plaza hotels, part of the InterContinental Hotels Group.
Another bit of reader feedback this past week provided an update on a post I had written on Aug. 21, “A unicycle, a quint and a Shweeb.” That post mentioned the remarkable Harrison family, Bill and Amarins and their three young daughters, Cheyenne, 7, Jasmine, 5, and Robin, 3.
They set out Aug. 1 to ride 7,000 miles from Mount Vernon, Ky., to Fairbanks, Alaska, on a “quint” stretch tandem, with five seats, seven cranks and a trailer at the rear. The bike was specially manufactured in Oregon.
The Harrisons call themselves the “pedouins,” a contraction of “pedaling bedouins.” You can track their journey on their Web site: http://www.pedouins.org/.
The family headed south to Florida before traveling west to San Diego, and then up the West Coast toward Alaska. They hope to arrive in Fairbanks this summer.
A reader of this blog sent to me on Tuesday a link to a video report on the family’s stop in Petaluma, in northern California.