Monday, December 28, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Forza Amber Neben!
When I watch this video, it gets stuck as Tom's friend fixes his hurried breakfast. If I move the dot forward just a bit with my mouse, I can watch the rest of the film.
How 'bout that Tom, huh? What an example he is for the rest of us....
This cartoon features no violence or gratuitous sex, but the language is appropriately course, dude....
By the way, December here in central Denver is not nearly so difficult as it was in Mall Country. You don't sense the heightened craziness that you expect around the holidays. It isn't bucolic but it's not much worse than the eleven other months.
We'd like to wish you Happy Holidays and a champion New Year. Our holidays will be delightful if we can taper off the meds and stop coughing and waking one another in the night.
For unfathomable reasons, my interest in riding my bicycle has been at a low ebb. I follow the sport and cultural aspects of cycling same as always, but I've not been riding much.
Tamar and I went to Boulder last weekend and bought me a pair of running shoes at a cool running store. First pair of such shoes since the '70s, I'm sure. I've "run" a couple of times, walking and trotting really, trying to stay in reasonable shape. I hope the yen for pedaling returns with the springtime sun.
I have to think that the last paragraph is a year-end confession. Because I've ridden so few times in November and December, I feel inauthentic when I write about cycling. Perhaps I need to visit the Madonna del Ghisallo shrine and say 10 Hail Faustos. Kidding aside, I do feel a bit guilty.
Have a safe holiday season and a fine new year. Thanks for reading my blog over the months. I wish all of us good riding and good health this year and next!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Thanks, James! Hooray for Stephane Goubert. And hooray for Sam Abt!
Monday, December 21, 2009
While Tamar and I lived in Tucson, I yearned for an Often Armed jersey. I was told that such a garment would offer police probable cause to stop me and engage me in roadside chat. I was never sure if that were true.
I am sure I'd have designed an ugly Often Armed jersey. These are pretty good-looking.
I wish I felt more optimistic about a cycling jersey asking drivers to slow down. After all, double fines or threats of imprisonment fail to slow them one mile per hour in highway work zones....
I'll believe I'll ride down to LaMar's Donuts, lean my bike against the glass and order big. Maybe I'll have a Danish.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Were we demanding a single speed 'cross bike? Belt drive? Were we clamoring for faux lugs? Whose questions does this bike answer? That said, it has fender eyelets and might be fun around town and on running trails in urban parks.
Would it cost $1,000? I'll bet it would. Would it be $800 better than a 1980 Fuji or Miyata? You decide....
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Just to be a crotchety old guy, I will say that each time someone raises the bar in these activities, it becomes less satisfying to do the hard but humanly possible thing: Ride a century, run a marathon or pedal the Continental Divide Trail. People train and run marathons to help them quit smoking.
Not that long ago we were in awe of marathoners. Now, thousands turn out and perhaps finish with an empty feeling.
"Well, I did it, but I'm no Forrest Gump. That dude was a real runner...."
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
We want to go for a ride with William and Sharon.
We stuck our heads in Lance's shop and Freewheeling Bicycles in Austin. We were tempted by Freewheeling shirts with armadillos on them and by the many Mellow Johnny's logo items but we exercised restraint. Just as you would've....
Tamar and I are back from a terrific trip to San Antonio, including visits to Austin, Helotes and other metropolitan Texas cities. We like that Lone Star feeling! Yee-haw! Ciao!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Six-point-five in Denver this morning. Minus six-point-five....
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Luckily, Tamar and I are escaping to San Antonio and Austin on Friday, staying with our friend Corey in San Antone. We intend to visit Austin, walk the River Walk in SA, attend a concert and visit an authentic TX dance hall in Gruene (Green). Perhaps we will forgo the wearing of fuzzy ear covering or boots-made-for-traction. Back Tuesday.
So...if you don't see new posts for a few days, no need to worry. We're in good hands in Texas!
There were about 25 responsive comments when I posted this. Comment #6, from Judy Johnson of Cambridge MA, speaks in our voice, I believe, as cyclists. Interesting stuff, or scary if you're a ped or rider....
Monday, December 7, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
How'd she get that name, Tamar asked. I Googled Tipper Gore and found that Mary Elizabeth Gore's nickname came from a lullaby sung in an old movie - a movie from before Tipper was born. As I looked at the page, I saw that Tipper takes photos and has earned a living doing so. I clicked on the link to her own photo site.
I was impressed by her photos and found this one under Travel.
I hope you click around on Tipper's site and enjoy the shots. Before I end this post, though, have you seen capes like the ones in the photograph? I have seen "aprons" for motorscooters like the ones in the shot, but I cannot recall bicycle capes that extended forward over the hands, perhaps even over a handlebar bag.... Maybe I've seen hundreds and forgotten; write me if you suspect that I'm having a senior moment.
Aha! Thanks to Mike Smith at Liberty Bicycles in gorgeous Asheville, NC, here's the answer to my question.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Fascinating comments as usual. I'm struck again by how fortunate we are in so many instances that we do not know our heroes. And...when fame flees, its escape is sudden and complete.... Gone.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Enjoy some more.... All this photographic bounty is thanks to David S, on a hill there in Seattle.
Thanks, David S!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Plucked for your reading pleasure from BikeRadar.com.
Keane just died (at 87) but the young man he discovered, Ritchie Valens, has been gone for 50 years....
Life is just like a boxa chocolates, huh?
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Interesting comments as usual.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Here, from today's NY Times, is proof, if you want to think about it that way. Because I have no wish to sneak this up on you, I'll tell you that it's about Cormac McCarthy's typewriter. He bought it for $50 in Knoxville TN in the early '60s, but I tell you what - it's been a good ol' typewriter....
Doncha hate it when you're trying to do something right and you get it wrong...? Hooray for Brad Pitt in any case. According to many locals, the article says, he's done more for the city's recovery than any gov't agency.
"Just enforce the existing laws," say the messengers, "and all will be well."
The messengers will demonstrate en mass this afternoon, perhaps disrupting traffic, to protest being confused with all those other scofflaw poser a--h--es with fixies and large, over-shoulder bags.
"We're the real Robin Hoods," they insist. "Those other guys just wear green."
As I read it again, I see that it's a letter contributed by a News Star reader. That's an explanation, sort-of. Still mystifying, I'd say.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
As bad as Vegas is for non-drivers, the annual biggest-in-the-world bike show remains there. I'm sure it's convenient for travel in and out and for lodging and convention facilities. Or if you want to lose your rent money or meet a hooker.
Otherwise, what has Sin City got to do with bicycling? Single-space your list and use both sides of the paper as necessary.
Added half an hour later: As suggested by my old friend Khal, here's a link to a Patrick O'Grady piece about visiting Vegas - for Interbike. It's an O'Grady piece; it's dependably terrific.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Just as an observation, has anyone polarized US cyclists more than John Forester? And has anyone reading this (or anyone known to anyone reading this) ever ridden a mile with the man?
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
By the way, and this is NO reflection on the linked article, do you think of a bicycle losing traction sideways as "skidding?" Did you always refer to falling off your bike as "crashing?" Do you call front suspension units "shocks?" Is the unit comprising hub, spokes, rim and tire called a "rim?" Can a bicycle's stopping mechanism be called a "break" or a "brake?"
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Note to recent converts to cycling: This bike is not tig-welded; it's fillet-brazed. That's why the frame joins are so smooth. Check out especially the bottom bracket area shot. Lovely, huh? Wanna see more about my old friend Tim's Lighthouse bikes?
Let's "stop handing them the stick" that they beat us with, he suggests.
Why do we fuel the fire of bike hatred? I'm going to publish this post and log off before I'm driven to abuse italics again. Hey, I can quit anytime....
Monday, November 23, 2009
Many of us have ridden for years, decades. We never provoked a column like Bykofsky's.
Leave no trace? Uh-uh. Leave a slime trail, that's the program. Poison the well. And for what?
Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk or running red lights or riding-to-provoke and attract notice is no different from riding an illegally loud motorcycle or doing a 100mph wheelie down the interstate. It's anti-social behavior - to no good purpose. It's tin-horn, cheap, adolescent theatrics.
"Green" defenses of obnoxious urban cyclists don't hold up to scrutiny any better than "loud pipes save lives" arguments. Both behaviors are about attention and attitude. They're all about me. Look at me, get mad at me, hate me....but don't you dare ignore me. I'm what's happening.
Note to readers: Evidently, when I get upset I resort to italics. No more italics today, I promise.
Why have these laws taken so long to get on the books? Aren't lawmakers afraid of what could happen to their own families? There must be something about this drunk-driving thing that I just don't understand....
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
It was after two Saturday afternoon, a dark and stormy afternoon, in tiny but scenic Pine, Colorado. The Pine Public Library, though closed after two, has three unlocked cabinets outside like the one you see me peering into.
The cabinets are full of books, paperbacks and hardbacks. If you see a book you've always wanted, you can put 50 cents (paperbacks) or a dollar bill (hardbound books) in a box outside the building.
It's a cute town and a cute library. Tamar, who's working on a Masters in Library Science, is doing a paper on CO libraries. She shot several photos, none more exciting than this one, featuring....sound of trumpets....me.
To see an old post with two of Tamar's photos of Pine, merely click here.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Steevo, thanks a ton for the comment and the kind words. I'm just as pleased to hear from you as you were to learn that I thought your cartoon was great! By the way, Steevo, David S sent me the link to your cartoon. He says he got it from Lennard Zinn!
Readers, if you have not watched Steevo's short video, it's two posts down on this page - and it's big fun!
One, how can they register all those bikes? One point five, will compelling cyclists to register their bikes really cut down ridership? Two, how can they enforce this? And three, how else can they police the anonymous thousands of scofflaw cyclists on city streets 'n' sidewalks?
I wonder too how long folks thought they could get away with wholesale pissing-off of the public without a slap on the wrist or a traffic citation.
Will bare-bones urban bicycles now have plates but no brakes? Will riders protest by climbing off their bikes - as bikers did when helmet laws went into effect?
Note the comment about Minneapolis....
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Better a few folks riding to work in $200+ "biking pants" than using hulking SUV's that burn up $200 worth of hydrocarbons in a week!
My first thought was, Is it the riding pants that got them on those bikes? Is the Rapha buying impulse the same impulse that spirited them to the car store to buy the SUV they've parked, at least temporarily?
Do extraordinarily expensive, stunningly dorky trousers make it hip 'n' happenin' to ride - unlike Lycra or denim?
We remember, many of us, when cycling clothing was dorkier than green service-station attendant jackets with a name patch over one pocket.... We didn't buy that stuff because it was dorky. We bought it despite its utter lack of style.
I'm pleased that these garments are covering the cadaverous white nakedness of these folks as they ride their retro-style velocipedes, but I have to wonder.... Would I like any of them? No, not the velocipides or the garments; I don't care about either. I mean the folks. Do you know any?
Monday, November 16, 2009
And here (added later) is a link to a YouTube video of the pilot Equalizer episode. It's 10 minutes long and you'll wish it were full length, but it gives you the feeling of the show....and of Edward Woodward's presence. Thanks, Schnitz!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
And correct me if I'm wrong. Are the commenters saying, "Those sons-of-bitches make ME slow down! What nerve! They deserve what they get."
We're talking about good South Dakota citizens here, readers. Not those frenzied New Yorkers.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Well, maybe: Go, Boris!
I read the review and found the movie company web site, then went to Netflix where there is no sign of "Cafe Society" the movie. But I'll be looking for it for sure. I think it'd be perfect for a wintertime evening showing at our local Triumph and Euro motorcycle shop. Thanks a ton for the heads-up!
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Lotta vowels in Coloradoan, huh?
Saturday, November 7, 2009
There's a nice photo of Greg, and one of Greg and Kathy. Hasn't always been easy to be Kathy LeMond, but she's held up well, doncha think? And she's standin' by her man even now.
Greg'll be 50 before we know it, and his life has not been smooth sailing, huh? Still, he looks pretty good, I'd say. I know both those guys a little, Lance and Greg, and I've always trusted Greg. I hope he's wrong about Lance. I don't want Greg to be wrong - but I desperately want Lance to be clean.
Friday, November 6, 2009
It'll remind old-timers of the '70s (that's correct, isn't it?) film The Incredible Hour, but it's 100 times better than that unwatchable flick. Maybe 100 is a low estimate. Your money back if not delighted....
Thursday, November 5, 2009
That's Tamar & I on the right in the photo with our friends Ray & Carrie.
During the lovely ceremony, written in part by the wedding couple, the rabbi's voice was made impossible to hear by the many Harley-Davidson motorcycles passing by on the Embarcado just below us.
I was inspired by the gross inconsiderateness of those riders (not only for the wedding, of which they were not aware, but for anyone or anything they may encounter) to write a column for CityBike and Motorcycle Sport and Leisure, the two motorcycle magazines that run my stuff.
I sent the article off last week. Just today, I learned about a recent South Park episode focusing on Harley riders and their amazing lack of consideration. It's a funny and accurate skewering of those callous promoters of hearing damage. Here's the link. Enjoy. Sorry about the ads....
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
The coverage in VeloNews has been evenhanded and readable; the letters in reaction have been well written and expressive. Makes you proud to be a bike rider. Afraid but proud.
If you want to follow the trial as VN has, click around at the site where it's all archived. I'd do it that way (watch it as it unfolded) and experience it as did those of us who followed it all along. Riveting, I'd say.
Here's a link to VN, but please....start at the beginning. Some of the descriptions and photos will scare you, but no worse than evening television.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
It's 10 short pages - betcha you read every one!
Your pal makes some interesting points. Italians seem to have more than one cell phone per person and they yak on them all the time, even while driving (though it's illegal unless a hands-free setup is used) but don't seem to run over many cyclists.
I don't think super-harsh penalties for distracted driving are enough to protect cyclists. I believe what keeps Europeans from running us over is the popularity of the sport and the much greater use of bicycles in general, combined with the view that roads belong to everyone.
In Italy the automobile or motorist is not king, even if he or she is piloting a Ferrari. Sure, they have the right to use the roads but only the auto and super strada roads are exclusively for them, everywhere else people ride bicycles or motor scooters and even walk in the road.
We see folks walking in the road all the time when there's no sidewalk, even pushing baby strollers along! There's none of the "get off MY road!" attitude there, unlike so many places in the US.
Add in that lots of folks ride bicycles, including the local pro and amateur cycling teams along with most everyone's mother (who uses a bike to pop down to the bakery or butcher shop every day). You end up with motorists who generally pay more attention to other road users and give them respect.
Think about it. Who would want to be the motorist who ran over the local pro? Or their best friend's mother? More often you see the motorist waving to the local pro or friend's mother as they go by.
I doubt this will ever be the case in the US until traffic-calming devices are put into more cities and bicycles get used for more purposes by more people. Taxes on motor fuels could help but I don't see the political will to impose them on a society where we can't even get a decent health care reform bill passed over the special-interest group objections.
My answer is, as you know, to MOVE as soon as we can figure out a way to do it.
Best Regards, Larry
I would have no idea about these changes had not Brooks brought them to my attention. See if he doesn't open your eyes too....
Monday, November 2, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
PS At 5:30 Mountain Time on Halloween day, this above-linked piece was the Most Emailed item from the NY Times....
Friday, October 30, 2009
By the way, I keep my computer's sound shut off. You may also. Well worth listening to Patrick Harris tell his own story during this presentation...
Thursday, October 22, 2009
We milled around outside waiting for the lunch bell, and a young woman pedaled up on an Extra-Cycle, one of those lengthened bicycles with a platform on the back. Evidently not at all intimidated by the 30 "macho" (middle-aged, Cordura-clad, tea-drinkin') men, she stopped. A circle of curious guys gathered around her. One of the guys stepped up to buy her lunch.
She'd ridden from Washington DC to Gate Oklahoma! She didn't mention riding partners so I assume she'd done those miles alone, maybe 70 miles in a typical day. Her father rode motorized two-wheelers, she said, and told us she expects to own one herself one day. I don't believe she'll quit pedaling....
She's been headed for Denver/Boulder and then Oregon, but the premature advent of wintry weather drove her south. I believe she felt that further travel this year would be risky; I feel sure she'll find an airport and fly home - to resume her trip next year.
Vanessa - it was great to meet you! We all enjoyed your effervescent presence at our lunch!
Tamar and I are off tomorrow for San Francisco where her brother Ronnen is marrying Robin Rudikoff, a lovely Baltimore girl. They live in Mountain View. Should be big fun.
Sometimes after a journey on the motorcycle, I can't stop writing about this or that aspect of the experience. Other times it seems nothing memorable must have happened, 'cause I write not a word about it - for my blog page or publication. Why this happens or what it means is a mystery to me.
A couple of months ago, I rode to Indianapolis for the MotoGP motorcycle races at the Motor Speedway. I rode to Flint MI to try to find our old family home. I visited friends in Muncie IN and met author and car collector Clive Cussler and other really cool car-culture guys. I hardly wrote about that trip. Was it not story-worthy? It was.
Tamar and I will be back on Sunday after the happy occasion in The City by the Bay. I'll be back in touch soon after our return. Sorry for the lapse; I know I made at least one guy worry....
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
A year and a half ago, we moved Tamar's mom from Philly to Denver, where we live. Tamar's brother had migrated from Philly to the SF Bay Area and could no longer look after Rachel. So we uprooted her and moved her into an apartment house for older folks, some of whom need a bit of watching-over. The move has proved successful. Everyone's happier.
Just a few months ago, Rachel had a heart attack. She survived and is doing well, but she often visits doctors and other healthcare professionals. Because she does not drive, the responsibility of getting her to those appointments falls on Tamar.
We've been using share cars and that has been good, but now we have a car parked out behind our apartment building, our own car, and we hope that it will work out better.
I've owned cars in the distant past; Tamar has never owned one. We felt that our car-less life together allowed us to enjoy high-road feelings. Our road is no longer so elevated.
I'm sure that the commenters who chided us for selling out were teasing, but we fear that we've caved and disappointed ourselves and others. Watch, dear reader, for signs of encroaching main-streamity. God forbid....
Saturday, October 10, 2009
From Dvice online (I think): the new Nissan Land Glider! Is it cute...or what? I watched almost the entire video, entranced by the music and the graceful moves of the little car.
Friday, October 9, 2009
This link will take you to a fine article from Slate about a man's love affair with Japanese motorbikes of the late '60s and '70s. Worth reading even if you could care less about Japanese motorbikes of the late '60s and '70s. See if I'm not right.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
George Sweeper is far more gracious with passersby who ask questions about his car than I can be. It's a gift, I figure, that I was not given. I want to be nice, and in my best moods I can be nice. But I am not dependably nice. Hence this post. Enjoy the slide show....
Monday, September 28, 2009
Oakley introduces a new “Elite” line of ultra-pricey eyewear and apparel, topped by the $4500 “C Six” sunglass machined from carbon fiber (a 96-hour construction process!).
Blogger's note: It's my feeling that 96 hours is not nearly enough to make proper sunglasses for ME. I want sunglasses for ME to be somewhat special, so that I will know and passersby will know just how worth it I am. Because I am worth it, and don't you forget it, hear....
PS I sorta hate that it's Oakley making these things. I love my Oakleys. Both my riding pair and my casual pair are a decade old and doing nicely, thank you. I live in Oakleys.
Some folks are losing their jobs, homes and heath care coverage; other folks, luckier folks, are buying $4500 shades.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Here's a link to the VeloNews report.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
"I'm an older guy and I commute on a 650cc dual sport motorcycle. It's inexpensive, fast, rugged, reliable, and runs on pocket change. It moves through city traffic like a greased weasel through a drain pipe. Pavement is a convenience, not a necessity. It sits tall in the saddle so you see eye to eye with the SUV drivers. It has a hoot factor no bicycle can match and no scientist can measure. Everybody should get one. 65+ mpg through your front yard.
Bicycles are speed bumps. The older you get, the meaner you get. Just one of the pleasures of aging. AHHHHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
Or so he says. The downside of reading this guy's comment is having to read it at all. The upside is that he's riding a motorcycle, not driving an SUV. Another upside is that we'll probably never meet him. The blogger and all the readers of this blog are getting older. I can't imagine that many of us are proud of getting meaner.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
"Fabian takes the corners like Valentino Rossi. He's gaining 1-2 seconds per turn... Not to mention he's going faster everywhere else too."
He's talking about Swiss ace Fabian Cancellara at the time trial World Championships today in Switzerland...
This Philly.com columnist, Stu Bykofsky, loves the idea of cycling as green and health-enhancing, but just hates cyclists. Be sure to read the comments. And please, stay off the damn sidewalks....
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Thanks to Bike Radar and Gary Boulanger, you can feast your eyes on these new Electras.... Be sure to click on the row of photos. Check out the cranks and the oh-so Campylike hubs!
My favorite comment, from Andrew, is:
Gramps like us, baby, we were born…to power walk in the mall!
Happy Birthday, Bruce! Many, many delightful returns....
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
It's creepy - but it's convincing. Check it out.... It was made by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. I trust those people the way I trust big oil. Don't you? Hard to fake this film though, I'd say, and not much to be gained by scaring folks out of their old Chevys. Right?
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
If you're under 50, Mary Travers' name won't mean much to you. She was the Mary in Peter, Paul and. If, as the NY Times obit says, P,P and M were the sex appeal of the folk era, Mary was the sex appeal of the group.
Here's a You Tube video of the three singing If I Had a Hammer, introduced by Pete Seeger, who wrote the song. You can see how the camera (and so many of us folkies) loved Mary Travers. Oh my: Mary Travers.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Tamar and I lived there five years plus. We owned a home there and figured we were there for the foreseeable future. We loved the desert. Neither of us suffered from allergies; Tamar liked her job; we had friends there and a support network of local businesses we trusted.
We both got so scared there that Tamar only cycle-commuted and I quit riding entirely for months and months. We feel that the cycling community there is in some sort of denial. It's scary on a bike in Tucson.
This gal's right.
Here's her final sentence: "I felt safer biking through the clogged and manic streets of New York City, which I did often, than I did once biking one mile in Tucson to the nearby Blockbuster."
Monday, September 14, 2009
Here's Jart (he's from Grand Prairie TX):
I'm usually circumspect regarding stereotypes but I make an exception for many firearm enthusiasts, most especially revolver aficionados, who can lean dramatically in the direction of hidebound reactionaries. [Seinfeld]Not that there's anything wrong with that.[/Seinfeld]
This subset of revolver folks, if they were fishermen or golfers, would still be using bamboo and persimmon respectively. Fooey on carbon fiber and they would probably boycott Ruger if they learned Ruger was casting titanium heads for Callaway.
These are the folks you remember that griped and moaned at family reunions about the bean counters taking over when transistor radios started showing up in the '50s - they sounded tinny and were made by furr in oars. Clearly, vacuum tubes were superior to transistors and would remain so for for millennia.
Their great-great-grandparents stroked out when Eli Whitney started using black heart iron in firearms. Their grandfathers quit their jobs at Rolls-Royce when the automaker went from hand-cut to machine made bolts, stating that the auto was "no longer fit for a gentleman to drive."
They state emphatically that every single, solitary, change, without exception, that Smith&Wesson instituted since the Wright brothers flew at Kittyhawk was mandated by accountants in an effort to cheapen the product and intentionally reduce quality - partially to pad the bottom line but partially simply to irritate the speaker.
Any new material or process introduced in the 20th century was an indication of shoddy workmanship, the decline of civilization and the harbinger of poor personal hygiene on the part of our youth.
Worst of all, we have lost contact with the extraterrestrials that taught us how to erect the pyramids, render navigational aids in the form of pictures of chickens discernible only in flight, (space aliens are restricted to VFR) and taught us the mysteries of metallurgy - not since the first half of the 20th century have we even possessed the ability to forge metal with nobility, keeping it both tougher than Tonya Harding and harder than a thrice-divorced diamond.
I'm taking my yew bow, my hand-tooled boots, my 1958 Winchester, a life expectancy of 53 years and susceptibility to polio and going to catch the train. If I hurry, I'll get there before they transition to diesel.
Back to me now: I don't know what he means by VFR. I added nothing to the above after all, only changed S&W to Smith&Wesson; I'm sure Jart wouldn't mind. When we behave as Jart describes revolver nuts especially (and I'm among 'em) as behaving, are we rushing to catch the train before they transition from steam to diesel? And worrying about polio...? And furr in oars?
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
At the right is Valentino Rossi, multiple times world champion of motorcycle road racing at its highest level. In dominance, he's more comparable to Eddy Merckx than to Lance Armstrong, but dominance is not what prompts him to put on bunny ears.
Rossi is having a good time. All is not perfect in his world but it ain't half bad either, and he's typically lighthearted - as you sense from the (Superbikeplanet.com) photo.
Even his nearly as talented teammate and rival, Jorge Lorenzo of Spain, climbed the crowd-control fence at Indy after his victory there, sharing his exultation with the fans. That's Lorenzo visible under Rossi's right arm.
Please feel free to send me photos of Lance (or any pro bike racing star) wearing a silly hat post-race or stopping at a portapotty on a victory lap or carrying an inflatable full-size replica of his rival's supermodel girlfriend on a victory lap....
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
His lawyer, the article states, is considering appealing the sentence. One only wishes the guy had multiple lifetimes to pace his cell. One lifetime in jail doesn't seem nearly enough.
From the NY Times
Monday, September 7, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
On the other hand, why wouldn't Monroe suggest that you buy new shocks at 50,000 miles so your car will be more maneuverable and stop better - so you can avoid hitting one of those cute cyclists? Or motorcyclists?
Squirrels are cute, no doubt. Monroe's squirrels are super cute. But squirrels don't have a monopoly on cute.... People can be cute too.
According to Superbikeplanet.com, nearly every intersection in downtown Indianapolis sports a banner like the one in the photo. Numbers of Indianapolis streets have been renamed - after great racing motorcyclists!
No telling from here in Denver if Kevin Schwantz Street intersects Freddie Spencer Avenue....
Last year, Hurricane Ike pounded Indy with wind and rain, shortening two of the three GP events and canceling the third. Even in the awful weather, 90,000 fans showed up to watch Valentino Rossi and his adversaries. This year? The Motor Speedway holds 250,000 spectators....
I plan to spend tomorrow night visiting friends in Hutchinson KS, near Wichita. I should spend Wednesday night somewhere in Missouri or Illinois and ride into Indiana on Thursday, stopping that night in Bloomington, where I started college and motorcycling.
I'll stay with my nephew in Indy. We'll go to the races with my niece and her family, constituting a reunion, I believe. I should be back home at my computer on the 4th of September or thereabouts.
If I have computer access on the road or in Indianapolis, I'll try to post a report or two.
Thanks for reading, as always.
In treating that battery so callously, I played right into the hands of T-Mobile, who have never wasted an opportunity, no matter what my phone complaint may have been, to upgrade me as a solution, charge me more per month and extend my iron-clad contract.
I chose T-Mobile because they sponsored a fine cycling team. I am sure that the other "providers" do business in the same slimy manner, but I'd have to pay T-Mobile serious money to find out for myself. I'd hate to pay them good money for permission to jump from the cell service frying pan into the cell service fire.
I've found a cheap online source for batteries. I promise I'll be better to the next one.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Tamar and I have T-Mobile phones. We started by paying in front, so many minutes cost so many pennies. Worked out great, except that if you leave your metropolitan area and drive for an hour, you have no phone. Weirdly, coverage for pay-as-you-go plans is far worse than for monthly, on-going, this-is-a-holdup plans.
But you know all that. Probably. Here finally is the reason for my rant: The battery in my year-or-so-old phone, little used but never shut off, charged all night every night, is holding less and less charge by the day. It's on its way out.
T-Mobile doesn't sell batteries. T-Mobile, again, doesn't sell batteries. They don't feel the need. All their phones are powered by batteries but they don't sell them.
If you say you need a battery, they sell you a new phone (with a new battery in it) CHEAPER than a replacement battery - and they sign you up for two or three more years of their service.
Look on the T-Mobile web site. Look for replacement batteries. Click around there. Look, as I did, in Accessories. No goddamn batteries. Before you suggest it, yes I called Batteries Plus. No batteries for my phone model in stock. Come in and order one. Takes two weeks. Forty bucks.
To T-Mobile, the failure of your battery is not a loss, it's an opportunity! Why should they sell you a boring battery when you can buy a slim, powerful, omni-featured new phone? And more years of good service from T-Mobile? For less out-of-pocket today than a battery alone....
Are the cretins behind this con the same guys who give away printers and sell short-lived $100 ink cartridges?
My PHONE isn't broken, dammit. I don't need a new PHONE. Why is it okay for cell phone companies to mislead us and upsell us? If our local merchants did it, we'd never stand for it....
Saturday, August 22, 2009
The mountain bikes are loud and the motorsickles are quiet.... Uh, have I got that right?
Lovely day, fine lunch at Zoka's. Wish you'd been there with us....
Tamar took her digital camera and shot a few photos from the moving motorcycle. As you can tell from the clarity of the shots, the motorcycle wasn't moving too fast. Here are a couple of shots from today's lovely ride.
We think Pine is at about 8,000ft of elevation. It's 80 miles round-trip from our elegant digs in metro Denver.
Evidently there was a fire out there at some point before we moved here. The home you see above all those burned trees couldn't have been there then, could it?
The river in the lower shot is the South Platte. It runs through Denver about a mile from our place...and like us, enjoys its journey to Pine.
Friday, August 21, 2009
A nice story from an elderly gentleman forwarded by my buddy Jim in the Springs (that's what Coloradans call Colorado Springs):
Yesterday I was at COSTCO buying a large bag of Purina Dog Chow for my loyal pet, Biscuit the Wonder Dog. I was in the checkout line when the woman behind me asked if I had a dog.
What did she think I had, an elephant?
Since I'm retired and maybe a little bored, on impulse I told her that no, I didn't have a dog, I was starting the Purina Diet again.
I added that I probably shouldn't start that diet again because last time I ended up in the hospital, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before waking up in Intensive Care with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.
I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet. The way it works is that you load your pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The nuggets are nutritionally complete - so it works well and I'd decided to try it again.
I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with my story.
Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me.
I told her no, I stepped off a curb to sniff an Irish Setter's ass and a car hit us both.
I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard.
Costco won't let me shop there anymore.
For a business to say they are bicycle friendly, that they accommodate customers arriving by bicycle, the business needs to have secure, indoor bicycle parking. That business should provide a space inside, out of the elements, devoted to receiving and storing my bike when I'm shopping.
Why do I need to carry an unwieldy lock? Why do I have to worry about banging the frame on a piece of galvanized pipe stuck in the ground? Why do I need to worry about which bike I ride to go to the store? Why do I need to have a clunker to get around?
Why can't I just stop on my way home from a ride and grab some groceries - without worrying about where I'm going to stash my nice bike for a few minutes? Wouldn't it be cool to ride in and hand the bike to a concierge who hands me my claim ticket? That's bicycle friendly, to me.
I rode into Gregg's Cycle yesterday to check out the new Ultegra group, see the stuff in person. Every slot of their indoor bike rack, the one right next to the door, was filled with repair bikes. I had to find a spare wall to lean my bike against. I stood there for a minute wondering what the hell.... Then I remembered- oh yeah, I'm just the customer. Who do I think I am?
The Ultegra stuff looks okay, by the way. The levers are great with both cables routed along the bars. The finish is nothing to write home about. Makes Dura-Ace stuff look spiffier than it already does.
From the Economist.com: How long does it take the average worker in these cities to earn the price of a Big Mac
PS From a comment to this post by Anonymous: They should do another chart showing the relative healthcare costs resulting from a diet of BigMacs in various countries!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
But when I tell folks from Michigan that I'm tempted to do that, I'm warned away. It's a wasteland these days, they tell me. You've seen Roger and Me. You've read about the unemployment and crime. Don't go. You'll only be disappointed.
And maybe they're right. Probably they are.
In the early '60s, a buddy and I on two motorcycles rode from Indianapolis south into Kentucky, intending to ride east to Harlan County. That's infamous "bloody Harlan," where the violent labor unrest and a good leaving-alone by law enforcement created a badlands, a xenophobic area like the OK Panhandle. We were middleclass white boys from Indianapolis; we were curious.
In a civilized hotel near Louisville, the proprietor warned us away from bloody Harlan.
"Couple of strangers like you two, college boys on nice motorcycles, you ride over there and you're liable never to be heard from again," he said, shortening our journey considerably.
As you will see in this NY Times piece and slide show, not everything about Flint is bottomed out and still sinking. A neighborhood called Carriage Town is doing just fine.
I'm going to Indy next week to see family and attend a couple of bigtime motorcycle races. I can spend a day riding to Flint. I can have a coffee in the Good Beans Cafe and I can stand in front of my father's little market. Or whatever's there now.
I never did visit Harlan County. And I don't know a soul in Flint. I suspect I'll never have a better opportunity to visit if I pass on this one.
Will I go? I'll let you know....
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Maybe after she got hit by a full Big Gulp, the driver did get upset. Do we believe the writer when he tells us that Critical Mass is a family event, wiener roasting and kids in bike trailers, celebrating bicycle awareness? Or that the overreaction by the cops provoked the melee?
Do we trust our narrator?
What's the statement CM is making? If you ride in a (Friday evening rush hour) minefield, how surprised can you be when you hear explosions?
I'm sure CM is one of the things that's not too loud; I'm just too goddamned old. I flat don't get it.
Gun to my head, I sympathize with the woman motorist. Who'd have thought that a buncha cyclists would act so badly that I felt sorry for a driver...?
Monday, August 10, 2009
It troubles me that Alexi's not better known here in CO where he lives. He won the Olympic road race in southern Cal; hence the media attention, I suppose.
I've seen Alexi behave badly and heard stories about his stubborn weirdness, but I've always liked him. I don't believe he does any of the outrageous things he does for effect. He's totally himself and nothing like anyone else. If he says he feels called to minister to his flock...I believe him.
"Chapter One says you love her.
You love her with all your heart.
In Chapter Two you tell her,
You never never never never ever gonna part.
In Chapter Three remember
The meaning of romance.
In Chapter Four you break up
But you give her just one more chance."
About the same time Mickey and Sylvia sang:
"Love, love is strange
Lot of people take it for a game
Once you get it
You'll never wanna quit (no, no)
After you've had it (yeah, yeah)
You're in an awful fix."
In 1938, W.H. Auden published "O Tell Me the Truth About Love"
Our history books refer to it
In cryptic little notes.
It's quite a common topic on
The Transatlantic boats;
I've found the subject mentioned in
Accounts of suicides,
And even seen it scribbled on
The backs of railway guides.
Does it howl like a hungry Alsatian,
Or boom like a military band?
Could one give a first-rate imitation
On a saw or Steinway Grand?
Is its singing at parties a riot?
Does it only like Classical stuff?
Will it stop when one wants to be quiet?
O tell me the truth about love.
My left middle and ring fingers have never shrunk back to pre-crash slimness. Tamar and I exchanged comittment rings; I wear mine on my right hand. Won't slide over my knuckle on the left.
I have good mobility in those fingers but not nearly what I had before. When I curl my fingers back into my palms, my middle finger cracks audibly, reminding me more than my leg does of that day.
My left leg, the one that was broken, looks like the right one now. I can't see the scars from the surgery and I never sense the presence of the titanium rod or screws in my femur. Weather changes do not announce themselves in my leg. Good as new, I'd say, or good as old-but-sound.
I'm spooked now by sand on the bike path, even sand of insufficient depth to cause a bike going straight to crash. Our paths here in Denver run alongside the South Platte River and along several creeks, so after a rain the water covers low-lying sections of the paths. When the water recedes it leaves gravel or sand or silt, making passage difficult for the fearful - like me.
We've had an extraordinarily rainy summer. It rains in the evenings typically, and the paths are dry by morning. But the sand remains. Most riders intrepidly blast through it. I can't do that yet.
I still owe a few hundred dollars on my medical bill - for the ambulance ride. I got help from the government and from the hospital with almost all of it, I'm delighted to say. Ruinous otherwise.
I'm enjoying my motorcycling despite a love/hate relationship with my Kawasaki, in many ways the worst executed bike I've ever owned. I enjoy my bicycling but I don't enjoy every ride. I feel sure I'll have to stop using bike paths on weekends until the weather turns cold, when many fair weather path-users return to their caskets in the darkened cellars of boarded-up Victorians.
What do I remember about my crash and the months of recovery? I remember an orderly, a black guy, offering to clean me up after one of my first forays out of bed and onto a toilet, an offer I hope never to have to accept. I remember my first shower on my own - able to climb into and back out of the tub.
I remember Tamar's visits and the good coffee she'd bring with her. I remember when she pushed me in my wheelchair to DazBog for coffee - how scared I was at the speed, how rough the ride up and down the access ramps and over the sidewalk joints. I remember how every person with a crutch or wheelchair or cane would say, hi, howya doin'?
I remember learning how to get around on crutches - first two, then one, and how mobile I was on them - eventually. I remember lying on my back and trying to lift my leg off my bed (even an inch) for my wonderful physical therapist.
I remember favors from friends, lifts here and there, taking me to coffee or picking up my bike at the firehouse where the EMTs took it after the crash. I remember the humankindness and efficiency of the Veteran's Administration Hospital here in Denver and at Denver Health Hospital where I spent eight unreal days beginning a year ago tomorrow.
Maybe I will, as Peace Nique suggests in his/her comment, ride out there to where I crashed and look the devil right in the goddamned eye - see if that sumbitch blinks....