Monday, September 28, 2009

My buddy D's thoughts on bikes as fashion....

D forwarded me a link to a NY Times piece about Dutch bicycles and clothing designed specifically for folks who want to be seen cycling in the Big Apple. I wrote that all that had nothing to do with cycling as we know it, and asked him if he thinks this fashion spotlight is "good" for cycling. When the fad fades, will some of these folks keep riding? Here's D's response:

Hi Maynard,
I think it's good for cycling. Visability, celebrity-types pedaling, haute couture. I used to always say fashion knows no practicality, but now I have to re-think that.

While it doesn't have much to do with cycling as we know it, it does hark back to the days of yore (late 1800s, early 1900s) when cycling was new and fashionable. The fashion folks had to come up with new styles for the bloomers women were suddenly allowed to wear for riding. Folk were much more formal in their attire back then - 110 years ago - even for leisure and recreational activities - like the two-piece swimming outfits for men, bathing dresses for women - and suits and ties for picnics. So, in a way, we're back to the future.

If I were to clean up my mountain/city bike, I could see myself riding to church in my bow tie, slacks and sport coat. The helmet wouldn't go too well. It's only 3 miles, though 2/3 of it is up a 4% hill. I'd have to dawdle in the granny so as to not overheat too much. Ahh, the price you pay for fashion statements.

yours awheel, D

Downturn? Where?

From VeloNews, about notable stuff they saw at the just-ended Interbike show in Las Vegas:

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

From the NY Times: Cyclists vs peds....on the Brooklyn Bridge...?

Here's the link: Sidewalk Wars

Why we don't quit.... (those of us who don't)

Cadel Evans, after a season in hell, has won the World's Road Championships today in Switzerland. You couldn't write a more dramatic story than his 2009 racing year has been....with an ending worthy of a Rocky movie! Congratulations, Cadel Evans!

Here's a link to the VeloNews report.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Because you may have missed this comment....

Here's what Prairie Dweller had to say about the getting-more-folks-riding piece. The piece, if you recall, is about making riding feel safer and more appropriate for women. I have to tell you that because the comment comes from nowhere but Prairie Dweller's need to tell us just who he is:

"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

Suprising answer to the same old question....

How do we get more people riding bikes? That's the question, right? Here's an article from Scientific American that says the question may really be: What do women want? Thanks once again to my friend David S up there in Seattle, where the clouds may be closing in....

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Surprising cars clunked for credit

From the NY Times, who accurately call it mind-boggling, here's a list of a few of the cars turned in for Clunker Credit. Prepare to be amazed!

Yes, Jonathan Vaughters is cross-cultural

Here's a Vaughters Twitter quote brought to this blog's attention by David S of Queen Anne Hill:

"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...

The furor in Philly....

When I told Tamar (she's from Philadelphia) about the streets in Philly that were going to be made bicycle safe by reserving their right-hand lanes for cyclists, she was amazed. That meant real progress for Philadelphia's growing number of riders. Just yesterday, the measure was enacted....and the protests started.

This 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....

The Greatest Tour ('89, o'course) by G. LeMond, who was there and oughtta know...

From Pro Cycling via Bike Radar, part three of a three-part interview with candid Greg LeMond. In this segment, he talks about money, racing - and a mysterious, beckoning woman, clad all in black leather and riding a motorbike....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I would not have believed the reports....

...had I not seen these photos. From the current Interbike show in Las Vegas, here are photos of the most improbably cool urban or touring bicycles, replicas of French classics from decades ago.

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!

Because you may not read cyclotourist's comment...

Here's a link to the Slate article about Born to Run - and a time when Bruce and the band's careers were swirling the drain....

Thanks, cyclotourist!

The Boss turns 60

And he made the cover of the AARP magazine too! Bet that was a rush for him. The NY Times reported on Mr. Springsteen's big sixtieth birthday and several people commented, many with expressions of support for the aging star: BRUUUUCE!, for instance.

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

Inspiring tale of a deaf cyclist who is no longer deaf

Here, from the Marion, Ohio, Star, is a short, cool piece by a guy who's been featured on my blog page before, I believe. He's a family man, a recreational cyclist and a hero, I'd say.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

David Bryne's "Bicycle Diaries"

From the SF Chronicle online, here's a review by Chris Carlsson, one of the founders of Critical Mass, of what sounds like a great new book.

Friday, September 18, 2009

It was better back when, part two

Here's a NY Times article and, if you're still skeptical, a video, featuring a 2009 Chevy Malibu and a 1957 Chevy BelAir hitting head-on. The video is a bit creepy: Dummies flopping in the cars and the collision repeated again and again as seen by various cameras inside and outside of the cars.

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

First Patrick Swayze and now Mary Travers...

Well, hell....

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

Do you NOT believe everything you read in the papers?

You can believe this. From the Tucson Citizen, it's a description of the perils of cycling in "one of Bicycling Magazine's Best Cycling Cities in America," Tucson AZ.

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

Clinging to the past - from firearms forum The Firing Line

"Senior person" Jart posted this in response to a question about MIM parts, a widely despised, newish method of forming firearm parts by pouring molten metal into molds. I'll put explanations in quotes, if it seems appropriate. This is astonishingly well written and presented, especially for a forum of this sort, wherein many posters cannot be bothered with punctuation, spelling or grammar.

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

Yes, I bought a 1970...

And here's the link to my piece in the latest CityBike about it.

My latest piece on

Here's a link to my just-published "chill, dude" piece in the Bicycle Paper. Hope you like it....

Friday, September 11, 2009

East is east....

As you surely know, I participate in and write about two sports/activities/hobbies, bicycling and motorcycling. Often, as I share the roads with the riders, watch the racing and read interviews with the stars of both pursuits, I'm struck by how seriously bicyclists take themselves and their sport.

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 ( 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

Canadian drunk driver gets life sentence...

I noticed this in the NY Times but it came off the AP wire. As you read the piece, think of how many times some judge had an opportunity to stop this guy before "he killed someone."

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.

Everyone hates texting-at-the-wheel...except the millions who do it every day...

...and start fights with passengers in their cars who, duh, feel somehow unsafe....

From the NY Times

Monday, September 7, 2009

Not all easy rollin' in WV, is it?

This might've been a fun but unremarkable piece about a high-mileage rider from Charleston, WV - except that it mentions his Litespeed bicycle and how many miles he's ridden it. Makes you wonder how many bikes ever reach that kinda mileage. Hey, this guy's got his Brooks broken in...

Stargazing on Labor Day: Russell Crowe awheel....

Take a look. I don't know what I could add that'd cast any light on this piece.

Probably everyone's seen this but me....

Here it is anyway: The BikeGlow bicycle light - from Santa Cruz, CA!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A terrific NY Times audio slide show

Hi all!

I'm back from my trip, home safe, and I'll tell you all about it soon. Here meanwhile is a slide show from the NY Times featuring a woman in NY City who drives a 1971 Fiat 500.... Wonderful!