Monday, December 28, 2009

Stunt-rider Danny MacAskill makes the NY Times

Here's the article. Pretty amazing kid. I posted a link to the You-Tube video a few weeks ago. If you haven't watched the video, there's a link in this article. He's a super rider and seems like a great guy too!

James Raia's Farewell of the Year - Tyler Hamilton

Here's the link. When Raia says that Tyler was one of the easiest guys to like in the pro peleton, he speaks for most of us who know Tyler. A crashing-down from the heights like something from a Greek tragedy....

A letter from an unlikely place....

This is a letter to friends from JVB, a '60s bike racer from the Bay Area.

Dear friends,
Roberta and I are in the last week of a 3 month trip to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. I thought it might be fun to send an email to people I know who are into bikes and the biking culture. I will illustrate with a story from each country we visited.
Not everyone knows exactly where all the countries in Southeast Asia are, but most people have heard of Ankor Wat, a huge Buddhist temple in the jungles of Cambodia. Its reputed to be the largest religious building in the world- and is the biggest tourist attraction in Southeast Asia (along with the beaches of Thailand). So imagine my surprise in going to see Ankor Wat and what is going on right in front of the place but a bike race. No, Lance wasn't there, but there were plenty of other competitors. We got there at the tail end of the race. A few stragglers were coming in.I checked out the bikes- they were serious racing machines. Talked with one of the guys and he said he was living in Cambodia, teaching English (he was American). I was curious how such a big field of riders could be assembled in this part of the world. He said a lot of expats, like himself, were into competetive cycling. There are also some Cambodians (but don't look for them in the Olympics). People are willing to travel a fairly long way from places like Hong Kong, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur, to be in a major race. Who wudda thunk?
We were staying at a small guesthouse in southern Laos, at a place called Tat Lo. There's a beautiful waterfall there, but mainly people go there just to experience the simple rural life. Its also not so oppressively hot there, as cooling breezes seem to often blow off a nearby plateau.Turns out our next door neighbors in the guesthouse are a Dutch couple touring around Southeast Asia on their bikes. They are in their mid fifties. He's an accout exec. for a company in Amsterdam. They do a three month bike tour every year in some part of the world. They've been doing this for fourteen years. He's going to retire soon so he and his wife will have more time for cycle touring.Everything we ask about their travels, his wife says yayayayayayayaya...She's a fountain of enthusiam.The punchline to this story is that we meet five other couples from Holland in this area during the next few days. They are not part of a big tour. They are all here by coincidence. We ask them about this- what is it with the Dutch? We just like to cycle they say.Roberta is very impressed. "These Dutch are really strong and brave to do this kind of thing!" "You shouldn't be so surprised " I reply. "After all, you married one".
Our Vietnam story concerns a remote border crossing. We have just returned to Vietnam and are caught up in some dodgy scam which has us stranded in a remote restaurant in the country. We are waiting for a bus outta there, when along comes a couple on bikes pulling trailers. They stop for some food and we get their story. They are from Mallorca, Spain. Roberta is excited to be speaking Spanish with them. I'm more comfortable in English. We drift back and forth in the languages. They are biking around Southeast Asia, but they started in Buenas Aries, Argentina. They rode up through South America, Central America, through the Rocky Mountains in the US and Canada. They've been traveling for a year and a half. This is the first bike tour they've ever done. They are going to ride across Asia to get back to Spain. Figure another year and a half. They're having a blast. They don't look tired.
I guess only our imagination holds us back sometimes.
Cheers, JVB

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thanks to David S, a short film about ghost bikes

This lovely short video from NYC focuses on those white bicycles that are chained to immovable objects at the sites of cyclist fatalities. It's sad and inspiring all at the same time.... A must-watch.

What's an "indicator jersey?"

Why, it's a jersey with turn signals built-in behind the shoulders! Here are a few new products from Taiwan featured on

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Go Amber Neben!

From VeloNews: Ben Delaney writes about super successful US racer Amber Neben, who has bought and given over 40 Christmas bicycles to homeless kids in SoCal. I enjoyed Neben's comments and those of her husband. What a totally cool thing to do!!

Forza Amber Neben!

Old British motorcycle safety film

Here, from the '50s, I'd say, is a short film by the British Ministry of Transport on road safety. It's charming because of its age and quaintness, and it's applicable to bicycling because when the film was made, motorcycle turn signals were the stuff of the future.

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....

Thanks to Jim in "the Springs..."

Thanks to Big Jim down the highway, here's another of those brilliant do-it-yourself cartoons offering a super clear picture of some aspect of cycling life. This time it's a racer talking to the promoter of a cyclo-cross event at registration, trying to....take advantage. Imagine.

This cartoon features no violence or gratuitous sex, but the language is appropriately course, dude....

Christmas eve morning - and white, white, white

Sure enough, we'll have a proper Christmas here in Denver. Tamar and I are both sick with colds or sinus stuffages but we're surviving.

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

From Sam Abt via James Raia

Here, brought to our attention by James Raia's Examiner email, is a piece by revered, now sorta retired, cycling journalist Sam Abt. Abt suggests a largely unsung French racer, Stephane Goubert, for "Rider of the Year." Goubert enjoyed one victory in his long career in the saddle, and shared that one with his time trial teammates....

Thanks, James! Hooray for Stephane Goubert. And hooray for Sam Abt!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Share the damn road jerseys.... Pretty cool, I'd say

Here's a link to It's one page, offering for sale half a dozen jerseys, one or more of which may say precisely what you've wanted to say all along.

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....

Copenhagen's cycling culture - text and a short film

Here's the link. I watched the film with the sound off (Tamar's still sleeping) so I don't know if the gentleman is speaking English or what he has to say. The article (from tells the story well, I thought, and watching the images of so many people pedaling on what appears to be a chilly morning.... Inspiring.

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

Bike wheel stores energy while you're braking....

Here's the link - to While you're there, check out the Gary Fisher (is skunk works the correct term?) one-off single speed, belt drive 'cross bike. Fancy fake lugs and one gear, correct twice a day like a broken watch.

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

Run 26mi? Race across America? Hey, do something sketchy....

Twenty-two year old woman from Ohio, never a jock, will row single-handed across the...wait for it...Atlantic Ocean! Here's the NY Times piece....

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

In Austin, before lunch....

On the right, William Hudson, who's been riding for 100 years, and his wife Sharon. On the left, your blogger and his sweetie Tamar, enjoying their visit to Texas. I tell you what, y'all: We met a buncha nice folks during our visit. We will go back.

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....

In NYC, if your office is in a building with a freight elevator, you've got it made!

Here's a link to the NY Times piece. More employers are deciding that taking care folks who pedal to work is good business....

In China, pedal cycles are losing out to cars....and electric bicycles!

Here's the Washington Post piece, thanks to Donald, who useta live there.

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

Not in MY neighborhood, no way!

Here, from the NY Times, is a piece describing a squabble between local Hassidic Jews in Brooklyn and cyclists trying to ride through their 'hood. I readily admit: I never expected to read a story like this one....

Six-point-five in Denver this morning. Minus six-point-five....

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We pause for a moment of whining

It's 6.9 degrees in Denver at 9 this morning but it'll be 11 later, according to Weather Underground. There is a 100% chance of snow, maybe only four inches of it. There's plenty of snow already on the ground and on the roadsides, snow and ice and ugly brown slush.

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!

Trek v Greg LeMond.... The wheels of justice are still grinding

Here, from VN Online is the story. Trek says Greg maligned Lance and abused privileges; Greg says Trek lost interest in his brand. The most compelling part: Greg is accused of criticizing Lance while both were contracted to Trek. Greg may try to prove that Lance was NOT beyond criticism.

The question: Why do we do it when we know it's wrong?

Here in today's NY Times Mark Richtel poses this question: Why do we use our phones while we drive, when we know we are driving less safely as a result? Is there a double standard? Do we imagine that it's stupid and criminal for others but okay for us?

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

Well, it's a guy descending the Stelvio Pass (maybe it's the Stelvio) on his belly....

Here's the link, sent to me by my buddy Jim M from Durango. A few minutes long and worth watching. Tamar felt it might be a digital creation but I think it's actual footage of this guy doing whatever it is you call what he does. It kinda looks suicidal and it kinda looks fun....

A attempt to cycle-commute for a week in Singapore - interrupted by the Singapore Marathon!

Here's Jeanette Wang's report on her mostly successful attempt to ride, not drive - in hot, humid, rainy Singapore! Nicely written and fun to read.... From the Straits Times, never before cited on my blog. Go, Jeanette!

Cell phones and driving - how much did the industry know?

It's a five-page piece from the NY Times about driver distraction and the cell phone industry. See if it doesn't sound remarkably like the tobacco companies just a few years ago....

Sunday, December 6, 2009

First it was book censorship, then music, then....

Tamar and I got to talking about book censorship. She works in a library, y'know, so she has to think about someone's exerting control over what someone else reads. From there, we went to music censorship or labeling, like movie labeling, and from there it was a short jump to Tipper Gore.

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

More abt Fame: Dick Cavett on Walter Winchell

Here, from the NY Times, for those of us who can no longer count the candles on our birthday cakes, is Dick Cavett on Walter Winchell, news broadcaster and maker/breaker of careers and men. When the two met, Winchell was "past it," as the Brits say, and Cavett, who is no longer a family name himself, is watching and remembering, decades later.

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.

From James Raia's post: Five minutes with Lance and Campbell Brown

I can't imagine why you wouldn't watch this. Much of it is about what it's like to be THAT famous and THAT suspected of abuse of drugs. Cool interview with (in my view) a cool guy.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tyler Wren's bamboo 'cross bike

Here's a link to a BikeRadar piece (with lotsa photos) about what appears to be a competitive cyclo-cross racing bike made (by Boo Cycles) of bamboo....and carbon...and boring old aluminum, just for the dropouts, y'understand. Fun to look at, I'd say. I love to ride it. Bamboo!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

While we're looking at John Maynard photos....(see previous post)

Here's a link to his home page. I clicked on People, Products and Places on the left side and looked at all the sample shots. Maybe 10% are cycling-specific, but they are all memorable and lovely.

Enjoy some more.... All this photographic bounty is thanks to David S, on a hill there in Seattle.

Are you an old roadie? Wanna treat?

These wonderful photos from photographer John Maynard, whose name I had never heard, are presented through the courtesy of Road Bike Action magazine. Shot at the Coors Classic in the mid-'80s and never published.... No need for me to tell you anything about them. Enjoy.

Thanks, David S!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Are cyclists a menace? Results of the debate in the UK

The article is interesting and the comments too. Watch the road, boys....

Plucked for your reading pleasure from

A rock 'n' roll obit: Bob Keane; know that name?

Bob Keane, early in a long career of discovering great rock talent, stumbled on a young guy from SoCal who couldn't play or write music worth a damn, but drove young women wild. He formed the Del-Fi label, and found and promoted new talent for years. If you've seen Pulp Fiction, you've heard some of the songs.

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

From Philly to London: It's a global thing....

Here's a super piece by a London columnist who pedals back and forth to work. Busted for riding in a no-cycling area, she elects to go to bicycle traffic school - and it isn't what she thought it'd be....

Interesting comments as usual.