Monday, December 27, 2010

Whatcha gonna do?

Here, from the Denver Post, is an inexplicable tale that at first sounds like "just another" highway fatality. Was it an accident? Was it a failed suicide attempt by truck? What was it...?

"The semi driver, Jason Ross, 33, of St. Louis, is believed to have driven at least nine miles the wrong way with his lights off his Freightliner semi shortly before 9 p.m. Sunday night."

Youth stunt/motorcycle/scooter culture in...Iraq!

"Be great to have girls around," the guys say, but in Iraq you can't carry a woman who is not your wife on your motorcycle or scooter. Or tandem bicycle, huh? From the NY Times, c/o m'friend Justin.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Young Dick Cavett at Christmas, given a peek into the adult world

I'm thankful at holiday time for Dick Cavett's stories and for the New York Times. Without either, it would be a poorer life indeed. This piece won't make you laugh or fill you with holiday cheer. Read it anyway and write me a mean comment if it ruins your Christmas. Or a nice one if it enhances it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tim Egan from the NY Times on Christmas in the West

Great holiday tale.
Egan mentions, as seldom happens, the Simca automobile, made in France and imported by Chrysler in the '50s and perhaps early '60s. My friend Maury Zaft had one when we were youts together in Indianapolis. Maury died young, in his 30s, I believe. Maury, if you read my blog, Happy Holidays to you, my brother....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Some of what you hadn't heard about the Vail hit/run fiasco

Al Lewis writes in the Denver Post that victim Stephen Milo's father-in-law is an old money-business friend of the slippery perp.

Pearlizumi's David Brinton-drawn Christmas card!

Cute! Bravo, Brintoni!

Are NYC's bike lanes working? A discussion....

From the NY Times, a five-person panel discussing the state of commuter cycling in the Apple.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Latest CityBike (motorcycle) piece

CityBike's web site is not current so here's a link to my latest CB piece, Communities.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

from the Wall Street Journal: Where the Postal money came from....

....and what happened when the doping rumors started. This is clear, well written and sad as hell.

Sorry I haven't been posting. It's winter in Denver, chilly if not snowy, and my thoughts have been elsewhere.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

One hand washing the other - in England

Italian bike company Pinarello has given England 1050 bicycles this year - for elite racers and grassroots programs. The racers and kids have the bikes; Pinarello has the big visibility in the UK. I feel sure this is how things are supposed to work....

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Another video, downhill this time

I'd never heard of Gee Atherton, downhill mountain bike rider, but David Knight is a genius motorcyclist, the best in the world. Here, from BikeRadar.com is a video of a race between the two down a fearsome hill in the UK. You get a good look at the course as they walk it before the event, and I don't even want to walk down....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Did someone mention falling off?

Short video, longer lasting laughs....

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fall off your bicycle and get hurt? Will you quit?

I don't know where I'd have expected to find this piece, but it wouldn't have been the NY Times. Here it is nevertheless. I didn't quit riding after I broke my leg in '08, but I quit riding small-wheeled bicycles...and I quit suiting up like a racing cyclist for several months. And I did "cast about" for a reason why I fell.

Provocative reading....

Monday, November 29, 2010

Walking Dead not scary enough?

If men and women smashing zombie heads with pickaxes isn't frightening enough, read this. You will never order online with the old confidence again. "I just wanted some designer glasses, officer...."

Update, 12/7/10:  Borker's been arrested!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Great stylish piece from The Faster Times

Terrific back-East style subdued rant about anti-cyclists. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

45-year-old Masters racer from MI suspended for EPO

As reported in VeloNews, this undistinguished Masters class racer used EPO to boost him from 17th to 16th place, it seems. Click on the link to view his results. This blogger, another undistinguished Masters racer, used to have coffee with his pancakes on raceday mornings. One guilty secret after another, huh?

From the Times: Making coffee....

As caffeination goes upscale....here's a wry piece about missing the simple old days.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

From Bikeradar.com: Drivers typically at fault in cycling collisions...maybe

I'd say this research (from Australia) tallies with my experience, but if you provide cyclists with helmet cams, do they ride differently? Is the science flawed? Some people say that if you merely provide helmets, people ride differently....

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ted King's blog in VeloNews: car wars in strife-torn Napa County

I admire Ted King for his riding and for his efforts at sharing his thoughts and experiences on the VN site. I'm not sure this particular post is my favorite; I think it could have been presented differently and perhaps more effectively, but Ted probably doesn't love everything I write - if he's ever read anything I've written.

I'd always heard that the scenic routes in NorCal's Napa and Sonoma Counties were over-cycled by none-too-courteous outta-towners. King's thoughts support that theory.

Anti bikelane backlash in NYC

Here's the link. Sorry I haven't been posting....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

All of a sudden....so much religion

Here, from Big Questions Online, is a look at why, when only a few years ago this seemed like a secular nation, we are confronted with religion on every side. This piece makes no comment on the individual religions, only on the dramatic, seemingly recent renaissance....

Monday, November 15, 2010

From Mother Jones: Detroit

I was a kid in Flint, Michigan. My dad and mom had lived in Detroit since the Great Depression so my father's formative years were spent there. We moved when I was still in grade school, but if you asked me where I'm from, I suppose I'd say Michigan.

This terrific but unspeakably sad piece focuses at first on the accidental shooting of a young girl in a crummy Detroit neighborhood, then expands to scan the awful sadness that hangs over the city.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Los Angeles on $100/day - by bike!

Here's the NY Times Frugal Traveler joyously touring America's most auto-oriented city - by bike. You could easily do the same trip based on this article...and it sounds like big fun! Take the shuttle from LAX, rent your hybrid bike here....

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hipsters vs "real" motorcyclists - from Hell for Leather dot com

Not only do I feel sure you'll enjoy this piece, I'm confident you know both of these guys. See if I'm not right....

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A fine blog site from England

David S sent me a link to a particular post on this fellow's blog site, In the Saddle. I surfed around and found that the posts were generally interesting and always well written. I like this guy's style. See what you think....

City cycling point-counterpoint

Here, from the St Edwards University (Austin) online paper, are opposing student viewpoints about why Austin cyclists do the things they do. Typically, I can line up alongside one writer or the other. Here? Harder.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Something about this doesn't seem fair....

Friend Khal, who is on top of this cycling advocacy thing, forwarded this link from New Mexico. The accident happened in Vail, just up Highway 70 from here in Denver. Maybe I'm wrong and just don't get it, but this seems outrageous to me. I feel sorry for the dude who got hit...and I feel sorry for the rest of us, who have to look at this mess and try to find truth, justice and the American way....

Sorry I haven't been posting. I worked at a polling place last Tuesday, a 13-hour day, and I'm still recovering.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hells Angels (sp?) suing Alexander McQueen designer firm for misuse of logo

From Clutch 'n' Chrome, but you can find it anywhere, here's the story. What's next, swastika lingerie?

Today's NY Times Frugal Traveler writes about the original

Mexico or Japan on $5/day? Remember? Here's an interview with the guy who went there and wrote that!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

An excerpt from Ben Spies's "diary" on Superbikeplanet.com

Ben Spies is World Superbike Champion and rookie of the year in MotoGP, the elite class in motorcycle road racing. A Texan, he trains on a road bicycle and appears to have fallen in love with road cycling. He's a Cat Two rider in Texas, and...

Off the track, I'm starting an amateur/pro cycling team in the States next year. It's all come together pretty well. It's going to have about 12 guys on it. Six under contract, the heavy hitter squad. They'll be the guys that'll go on the road to race. They'll do the USA National Criterium Series, the National Road Race, and some big road races. 

We've got a couple of guys based in Texas, but then a bunch of other guys, too. I'm going to have a Sprinter van and a trailer. I'm working with Specialized; Yamaha is going to be a sponsor; and I've got a couple of other sponsorships that are being finalized. The riders and everything else are pretty well locked down. I'm pretty excited about it. It should be fun. 

I've got one really, really good rider on the team - all the riders are good, but one is going to be more the mentor for the younger kids. Really, it's just a thing for me. I'm into cycling and it's something I can do without spending money - I'm not making money on it, it's a nonprofit deal. Just basically giving some young kids a chance. Once we get all the posters and stuff knocked out and ready for the year, I'll be able to update everyone in the racing world. 

Right now I'm starting off small but really professional. Three years from now, we might have a team that can go to the Tour of California and things like that. But right now, it's just going to start out as a small, amateur/pro team, and work their way up.

Everyone likes and respects Ben Spies. Let's wish him luck and cheer for his guys in 2011 and beyond!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wonderful UK hillclimb audio slideshow

From Owen M to Tena G to me and now to you, the Catford Cycling Club Hillclimb Classic. I resist using the hackneyed word awesome, but if I were gonna use it, I'd use it now. Click right here and enjoy.

Pee-Wee Herman in Sturgis...from Hell for Leather.com

Is an explanation in order? I think not. Here's the link.

Oh, "potato, potato, potato." That's the (copyrighted) sound of a Harley-Davidson V-twin, just as "chugga-chugga" is the sound of a steam locomotive struggling up a grade.

My friend Larry's Colle delle Finestre story

Written by Larry Theobald, lightly edited by this blogger, here's a fine piece (from the Italian Cycling Journal) about a fabled pass that will be part of 2011's more-demanding-than-ever Giro d'Italia.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cyclist-Pedestrian Wars - I missed this in mid-September

From the NY Times. Did you know that riding the wrong way is called "salmoning?" Worth reading...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

If I told-ya, you wouldn't believe me...

Thanks to William H in Austin for the link, here's an item on a non-cycling site about a remarkable new bike helmet. Well, it's sort-of a helmet. Read the text and watch as much of the video as you can tolerate. Can this succeed?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Health Care and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - from the NY Times

We motorcyclists get SO much bad press - Donorcycles, Hells Angels in the drug business, guys riding on one wheel at 100mph on the Interstate, loud pipes....you can imagine my delight at reading this piece.

Retired racer Randy Mamola, perhaps the inspiration for this scheme, has been a significant and visible benefactor for African causes, perhaps like Bono. If you have watched MotoGP racing on TV or live, he's the guy who takes VIPs for one- or two-lap rides on an extremely fast Ducati converted to carry two people.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Run whatcha brung at the abandoned velodrome in Detroit!

Bicycles, mopeds, motorcycles and scooters, all racing (not at the same time) on a disused, beatup concrete velodrome in the Motor City. Read the Hellforleather.com article; watch the Hellforleather video (for sure).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Friend Donald on his classic Schwinn in action in Mexico! Ole!

Here's Donald, photographed on a descent during what was supposed to be a marathon ride from Mexico City, where he lives, and Acapulco. Petty confusion among local bureaucrats shortened the ride and soured his experience, unlike last year, when he was a proud finisher.

Donald's on his old Schwinn Superior, equipped with wooden Ghisallo rims he bought from Ric Hjertberg and built up himself.

Allez, Donald!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Maybe you don't care about cars.

Two years ago I visited my friend Steve M in Muncie, Indiana. He took me to his buddy's house, where we saw three collector Jaguars, all three with racing history. His C-Type was the standout, and would be in any automotive company. What a car!

50 Years On, Jaguar’s Sexy C-Type Still Seduces


The firm that would become Jaguar Cars Limited was founded in 1922 by two young British entrepreneurs, one of whom later would be knighted. In the decades that followed, the company’s fortunes would wax and wane, its fast, sexy cars dogged by issues of quality and public perception.
This wasn’t always the case. In the early 1950s, there was a period when Coventry seemed incapable of failure — when its street machines were strong, quick, and beautiful; its racing cars were gorgeous champions; and its financial well-being was secure. From this period came a handful of legendary cars.
Among them was the Le Mans-winning XK-120C, or C-Type. Just over 50 were built between 1951 and 1953, all intended for competition. They are widely regarded as one of the most beautiful British cars ever made, and even the tattiest example will set you back hundreds of thousands of dollars. Good ones can command millions.
I recently had a chance to ride in a C-Type. My life will never be the same.

A 1948 Jaguar XK-120, the C-Type's predecessor and the car that put Jaguar on the performance map.
Like all great cars, the C-Type has its roots in a good story. In the late 1940s, Jaguar was a solid, moderately successful car company. Its XK-120 roadster, a sleek missile introduced in 1948, had jump-started sales. It offered a remarkable (for the era) top speed of 120 mph — hence the name — and sexy bodywork so refined and futuristic it may as well have fallen from the moon. No manufacturer, domestic or European, offered anything like it.
The Jaguar C-Type of Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt passing under the Dunlop bridge at Le Mans in 1953. The car won the race.
Unsurprisingly, the XK-120 had a knack for winning races. At the 1950 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a near-stock example driven by Leslie Johnson ran as high as third before retiring due to a broken clutch. Johnson’s car wasn’t the only Jaguar in the race — another 120 finished the French classic, albeit in 12th place — but it had been watched closely by two very important men. One of them, William Heynes, was Jaguar’s chief engineer. The other, William Lyons, was Jaguar’s co-founder.
The two men were spurred to action. With little precedent — Heynes once said that, until the ‘50 Le Mans, he had “never seriously contemplated designing a [competition] car” — they decided to go racing. And they decided that they were going to win Le Mans in 1951.
The car is the closest thing we will ever create to something that is alive.  —William Lyons
Starting with little more than an XK-120’s driveline and a clean sheet of paper, Heynes drew a tour de force. The tube-framed pinup that appeared on the Le Mans grid one year later was dubbed the XK-120C, for Competition, or C-Type for short. Three C-Types started the French endurance classic in 1951, and while only one finished, it did so in first place, a whopping 77 miles ahead of the next closest car. Over the next decade, Jaguar would win Le Mans five times.

As racing cars go, the C-Type’s guts were relatively ordinary. The four-speed transmission, independent torsion-bar front suspension, and 3.4-liter, twin-cam straight six were borrowed from the XK-120. The driveline was shoehorned into a tubular steel frame, and everything was cloaked in a Malcom Sayer-designed, hand-beaten aluminum body.
If Sayer’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he would later pen Jaguar’s legendary D-Type, E-Type, XJ-13, and XJ-S. The man had an eye for pretty.
Judicious tuning bumped power from the 120’s 160 hp to around 200 hp — later C-Types would produce as much as 260 — and, free of carpets, a windshield, or other creature comforts, weight dropped to around 2100 pounds.
The C-Type's engine, a 3.4-liter, dual-overhead-cam straight six, was essentially a modified version of the production XK-120 mill. Twin SU carburetors (the two towers at upper right) fed high-lift cams and a Harry Weslake-improved cylinder head.
“It was a big moment. I was just in awe of the C-type when I first stepped into it. The steering was light — almost scary light. It was the first car I ever drove that had a really precise feel about it. It really felt like a racing car.”  –American Formula 1 Champion Phil Hill
The C's elegant nose is one hand-hammered panel. It pivots forward like a clamshell. The svelte grille echoed contemporary Jaguar street cars.
In many ways, the C was a landmark. At a time when companies like Ferrari were attacking the speed problem with ever-rising horsepower and displacement, bludgeoning the wind into submission, Jaguar focused on aerodynamics and reduced drag. The C-Type broke speed records (first car to average over 100 mph at Le Mans, 1953), it marked the first use of disc brakes in competition (1953 again), and, in the hands of privateers, it proved to be one of the most competitive and well-rounded sports-racing cars of the 1950s. It was also the last world-class racer that could truly do double duty. If you had the means and the talent, you could drive your C to any race in the world, compete for the win, and then drive home again.
And it was, lest I repeat myself, so pretty it hurt.
What we have here is not just one of the most beautiful cars ever built. This is one of the most beautiful things ever built. Period, end of sentence. To stand in front of a C-Type and gaze into its undulating curves and fluid, muscular haunches is to gaze at a masterpiece. This is the Mona Lisa’s arched smile, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and the Sistene Chapel rendered in hand-crafted aluminum. It is a study in contradictions: Sexy but brutish, lithe but masculine, simple yet complex. And impossibly, almost heartbreakingly beautiful.
So yes, I got to ride in one. As part of Jag’s 75th  anniversary celebration (the company marks its founding as 1935, the first year the Jaguar name was used on a production vehicle), the cats from Coventry hauled out a few of the cars housed in the nonprofit, state-owned Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust. One of those cars, British registration number NDU 289, was XK-120C chassis 45. On a cloudy day in Gaydon, England, at Jaguar’s proving-ground test track, I sat passenger while a white-haired British man woke the beast.
At a time when the average family sedan struggled to top 80 mph, the Jaguar lapped Le Mans at 100-plus-mph average speeds. Note counterclockwise tachometer.
The starting procedure is simple, essentially like rousing the world’s randiest Camry: Ignition on. Wait for the fuel pump to prime the lines. Foot off the throttle. Push the starter button. Wait for unholy crackling sound to split your brain open. Lather, rinse, and repeat, as time and bank account allow.
The C's cockpit, all bare aluminum and steel tubing. It's narrower (and hotter) than it looks. Photo: Sam Smith/Wired.com.
Here’s the thing about a C-Type’s muffler: It doesn’t exist. A short, stubby pipe pokes out of the car’s left rocker panel, roughly two and a half feet below the passenger’s — all C-Types are right-hand drive — ear, and if it has any muffling baffles in it at all, you wouldn’t know it. When a C lights off, the world goes out of focus. Your ears, bludgeoned by three and a half liters of midcentury British explosion, simply give up and refuse to hear anything else.
“We’re going to have to let it warm up a bit,” shouts my driver. I am not allowed to drive the car myself because A) it is owned by the British people, and I am not one of them, and B) it’s worth more money than I make in ten years. I have no problem with this. We pootle around, careful to not lug the engine, as the coolant warms. I smell leather and leaking oil. Bare aluminum and painted steel tubes fill the cockpit; a short, stubby gear lever pokes out of the center console, and a cereal-bowl-sized tach and speedometer live in front of the driver.  There’s a hole in the floor where I can see the pavement whiz by. We pass a bus stop, gargling and crackling along in third, and two grade-school kids waiting there look at me like I’m wearing a hat made of Margaret Thatcher’s face.

Leaving Jaguar's Gaydon, England proving grounds. Photo: Sam Smith/Wired.com.
“It doesn’t like running slow,” shouts driver. I nod, or maybe just twitch uncontrollably from the noise.
And then he nails it.
For the most part, I don’t remember most of the important moments in my life. I can recall the monumental ones, of course — meeting my wife, the day I got married, and so on — but everything else, from birth to graduation and all other points, eventually fades away. But I will never, ever forget this. At full basso roar, a C-Type Jaguar sounds like hell’s own blender. Each and every cylinder’s firing comes smack out of that rocker pipe and hits you in the chest like an anvil. It’s a cross between Unholy Gatling Gun of God and Who Put Led Zeppelin Turned Up To Eleven in My Nuclear Bomb Test?
On the road. Photo: Sam Smith/Wired.com.
Because my driver is a nice man, a kind man, a gentle man, he does this repeatedly, and I cannot stop grinning. I begin to laugh uncontrollably, the car bounding down the road in manly, angry leaps. We blast past ordinary traffic just to watch soccer (football? cricket?) moms swerve as they get hit with the C’s wash. The trees go all blurry. My driver is unperturbed, but I can’t stop giggling. This might, I think, be the best thing ever.
XKC.045, “my” C-Type, is one of the later production cars, a customer vehicle delivered on April 9th, 1953. It is now painted British racing green, but it was originally red, and unlike the 1953 factory cars, it features drum brakes and SU, not Weber, carburetors. The Italian driver Tadini entered it in the 1953 Mille Miglia but crashed out, and while the damage was repaired, the car has never been restored. As such, it sports a fascinating patina, the kind of well-worn, lived-in look you only find on much-loved old cars.
The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust bought 045 in 1983. People who should know claim that “runner” C-Types — decent drivers with less-than-perfect cosmetics and no real competition history — can be had for as little as $700,000. This is, in case you needed reminding, more than twice the cost of a nice house in the midwestern United States. For reference, it’s also several hundred thousand dollars more than it would take you to buy many other iconic cars. Original Shelby Cobras, for example.
In light of what you get, it seems like a bargain. Jaguar may never again reach the heights that it hit in its ’50s and ’60s heyday, and just under a million bucks seems like a small price to pay for one of the most amazing crossroads of technology and beauty ever created. Expensive, as it so often is, is relative.
Pardon me while I buy a hundred lotto tickets, sell a kidney or two, and go rob a bank. If there was ever a reason to be rich as hell, the C-Type is it.
The author, stone deaf and deep in the throes of an exhaust-note-inspired freak-out. Photo: Sam Smith/Wired.com.
Photos: Jaguar Cars Ltd., except where noted.
See Also:

A review of a charming book about food, thanks to friend Khal

From the NY Times this past February, a review of Food Rules: An Eater's Manual, by Michael Pollan.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A ride up (and down) the Stelvio...on a (brakeless) fixie

Here's the link. I suppose that by putting this video up on my blog page, I'm suggesting that you watch it. And I guess I am. There's nothing elegant about this video. Watching it makes you wonder why anyone would do it or want to watch it done. The climb is what you'd expect, but the descent...?

How Bad is McDonalds Food, from the Huffington Post

This piece includes a video of a dramatic short ad warning against fast food, a shot directly across McDonalds' bow. The writer asks if the ad is in acceptable taste...or over the top. Here's the last sentence in the article:

You would have to walk for seven hours without stopping to burn off the calories from a Big Mac, a Coke and an order of fries. 

What Columbus Day Really Means

Is it all about the tubing? This piece, from American Scholar.org, never mentions the tubing but defends the holiday if not the man. Interesting stuff, I'd say.

If you scroll down the page, on the left side, you'll see several links to other pieces from American Scholar. I found one of them, Teaching the N-Word, by Emily Bernard, to be wonderfully written and laden with insight. See what you think.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rival NYC Spin Classes - Who'd have believed this?

I don't know that I have anything to add. Check out this NY Times piece, please....

Friday, October 8, 2010

BikeRadar seems skeptical....

...but I can think of a thousand times I'd have given anything for these. Be sure to check out the foot covers.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Let's leave Florida...and go to Italy!

Here's a Guardian (UK) piece about a retro-style bike ride in Italy....on old bikes, in cold clothes and on old unpaved roads. Sound wonderful? I thought so too....

Real progress from Florida...finally!

You'll be relieved to read that after half a dozen cyclists have died in St Petersburg since the end of July (and one in six cyclists killed in the US is killed in Florida)...sound of trumpets...a committee has been formed!

Let the sun shine in!

More sadness from Florida

Friend Khal sent me this newspaper report of not-very encouraging progress at identifying the hit/run driver who killed Neil Smith in St Petersburg.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sad story from Florida

Here, thanks to a heads-up from friend Khal, is a fine piece from the St Petersburg Times/TampaBay.com. It's a fine piece but it's a sad piece. Never say I didn't warn you....

Friday, October 1, 2010

Robert Mackey of the NY Times on doping in cycling

Cycling fans wish they'd been to medical school.... Did Alberto Contador dope? Did he transfuse his own blood? Who knows? Will we ever know? Here's a terrific Times piece on the confusion and sadness of it all.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

"...a kind of rustic enhancement." Her bicycle, that is.

It's still another bicycle chic in NY article from the Times. Watch the slide show; a few of the items are sorta charming....

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Grewal astounds again!

Posted by John Wilcockson of VeloNews in CO or perhaps Las Vegas at midnight last night, 50 year-old Alexi Grewal, badboy bike racer and prophet, is taking up where he left off decades ago. I had just heard from the guys at Turin Bike Shop that he'd ridden a mountain bike in an arduous paved-and-dirt-road race in the mountains (Crooked Roubaix) on flat pedals and hiking boots - and finished well. I think this might be for real. Honestly, I hope it is....

Thanks, John G, for the heads-up! Allez, Alexi!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Abandoned velodrome discovered in Detroit...and you can race on it - if you dare

This big-attitude piece is from big-attitude Hell for Leather, a motorcycle web site with an east coast flavor. Read the piece and check out the photo gallery. See if you want to ride a scooter, moped or road bicycle on this track....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Old Farts Ride photos by Several Old Farts

Sunday, October 12th, in Danville CA: the start of the annual Old Farts Ride, originally a yearly reunion for '60s bike racers but thankfully extended to welcome latecomers like this blogger. Here's a link to more photos of riders and friends and a few bikes. Enjoy!

Young man in Yorkshire recyling auto seatbelts into...

Toe-straps! Imagine, a decade into the new Millennium, this guy is making...toe-straps! Next he'll recycle old smartphones into those steering wheel knobs with hottie photos in them.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This Guardian blogger's commute got longer...and longer

So he asked his readers for suggestions on how to make his 10-miles-each-way commute more fun... And the comments/answers? Brilliant! They're not (most of them) about fun. They're about... well, take a look. Read the blog and click on the comments.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"I thought I'd hit an animal," the Escalade driver said,

"but when I got home, there was a bicycle stuck underneath my car."

The young lady she hit was 30 and the Green Party candidate for US Senate from Maryland. From the Baltimore Sun....

The race of truth

Here's an unusual NY Times piece about how we do and how we think about it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Not much joy from latest distracted driver statistics

Here they are, from the NY Times, with statements from the remarkably sympathetic Ray LaHood, who MUST be a rider, huh? Hoo-ray for Ray!

Bicyclists: Don't Tread on Me!

DVC is Diablo Valley College in the San Francisco East Bay. It's sidewalk cyclists again....

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Latest Bicycle Paper piece

Riding with a local non-racing bicycle club, I've learned that many of the club members have acquired few cycling skills and little understanding of how to operate their (often quite expensive) bicycles. So I wrote this for the Bicycle Paper and after asking permission, offered it to our local advocacy group, BikeDenver, and to the club, Denver Bicycle Touring Club - for free.

BikeDenver will use the piece on their web site and in their newsletter, I'm told. Denver Bicycle Touring Club has not responded to my three emails, not entirely a surprise.

Hope you enjoy the piece. It's about how to use bicycle gears. It's not intended for beginners, but for regular riders who've never figured it out.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

About to leave


Here I am on my Suzuki, about to leave the September 12th Old Farts Ride. I'm in Danville CA, headed for Mountain View CA, to visit with Tamar's brother and his bride of not-yet a year.

I look like I've bowed my head in prayer, hoping for a safe trip. But no. I've just started my bike and I'm probably checking the odometer mileage for a hint of my fuel level.

This is a Steve Yee photo. Steve is a bicyclist and motorcyclist or he might not bothered taking this shot. I have dozens of other OFR photos, a few of which I'll share soon.

He dreamt of a...bicycle

Great story from Nicholas Kristof in the NY Times this morning.

Who wants a 50lb bicycle? Thousands do. Millions, maybe....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Can you hear me now? Of course, I'm on a land line....

From the LA Times, a wry, well written piece about telephones by Stephen Randall, deputy editor of Playboy.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

As the Sept 12th Old Farts Ride approaches...

The ride hosts and coordinators are John and Tena G, of Danville California. The ride is an annual event. I've missed at least a decade of them, living as I have in Arizona and now Colorado. Here's a note Tena sent today to the OFR listers. I'm putting it up on my blog page to give you an idea of the bonds that existed then and still exist now among old bike riders. FYI: I know some of these folks and don't know others. Most raced in the Bay Area and/or nationally in the '60s and '70s.

Sept 4th, 2010

Everyone asks if Bob Tetzlaff and David Brink are coming. I called and talked to Bob Tetzlaff and David Brink this morning. Bob will be here and David is 90% sure but he drives a double trailer truck for Fed Ex. He and his driving partner had just been in PA and were in Texas when I talked to him this AM.
Mike Cone is coming from Hawaii, Ken Spears is coming from Anchorage, Jon (Schneider) Longcore and Allan Tinkham from Albuquerque, Tony McMillan from British Columbia, Maynard Hershon from Denver, Bruce Schatmeir from Portland, Bill Tout and Karl Schneck from Ashland, OR and many locals!!! Ed Kinney just moved back from Virginia and will be coming. George Dyer from Montana too.
So far, we have 84 yes's. And I just sent another email to the no's to reconsider and to the people who have not responded at all yet. If there is someone you'd like to see, please let me know their name and I can forward you their contact information and let you know if they are coming or not.
Some of you were "probably" coming so I hope that this helps persuade you to come. See you next Sunday.

Tena G

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tamar after dinner at Kerry's in Golden; Maynard and his Suzuki dual-sport at Wondervu, CO

That's Tamar at our friend Kerry's after our barbecue dinner the night before the Four-Stroke Single Nat'l Owners Club Thumper Cafe in Wondervu.
Yep, that's my blue tank and the tip of my saddle. Tamar and I are in the foothills in scenic Wondervu, 40 miles from our Denver home. That's my old Nolan flip-front helmet on one of its last outings. Sigh. Kinda nice with the yellow helmet and the yellow umbrellas behind me....

Thursday, September 2, 2010

In the stands at the 2010 Indy MotoGP

In Corey's shot, this is Tamar and I high in the stands at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We're luckily sitting in the shade on an oppressively hot and humid day. We sat just above turns two and three, where the big first-lap crashes occurred in the Moto2 event, if you watched the racing on your TV.

On my wrist, you see a red Ducati band, allowing me access to the huge Ducati pavilion, maybe six or seven tents huge. Ducati does a great job of boosting the brand at events all over the country.

...this land was made for you and me.

Timothy Egan in the NY Times writing about the huge, spectacular areas of the country that are preserved by law for you and me. Inspiring reading.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A slide show with Beatles music dedicated to the late Laurent Fignon

As David S, who sent me the link, suggested, get a tissue.... It's a four-minute YouTube presentation.

Fignon's friends remember....

Here, from VeloNews, are a few memories of Laurent Fignon from his friends. Look at him with Bernard Hinault in the black 'n' white photo; Seems like a super guy, huh....

Good news and bad

Tamar and I are home after a great trip to Indianapolis. But Laurent Fignon has died from cancer at 50 years old, a good guy gone too soon.

The two sites I watch regularly, BikeRadar.com and VeloNews, reported Fignon's passing with the same French press service text. Soon, I hope, we'll have more personal remembrances.

Gosh, only yesterday in 1989 when Greg LeMond beat Fignon by those glorious eight seconds, Fignon looked so young....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Our plans

Tomorrow morning, Tamar and I will fly to Indianapolis to visit family and attend the MotoGP motorcycle road races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And the Indy Mile (dirt track) at the state fairgrounds.

Tamar will visit the new public library in Indy and the art museum, both renowned facilities. For the first time, I have secured press credentials for the MotoGP, allowing me access, well, nearly everywhere, I hope. We're both stoked about the trip.

Luckily, Valentino Rossi's broken leg has healed fast; he'll be competing at Indy. Ticket sales were slow when his presence there was doubtful. When he began racing again, the Motor Speedway sold tickets worth $250,000 in a single day. We're excited to see Rossi ride, and I may, maybe, get a chance to meet him.

We'll be gone four days. Not long after we return, I'm going to the Bay Area for the first time in years to ride the annual Old Farts Ride, a gathering of men and women who were racing in the '60s and '70s. I have found excuses since I left the Bay for missing the OFR, but this year....

I apologize for the few posts on my blog page this summer. I've been riding my bicycle but to be honest have been having more fun on the motorcycle. I rode to my HS reunion in Indy. I did a one-day, 526mi event over 11 mountain passes here in CO. Tamar and I attended the Four-Stroke Single Nat'l Owners Club lunch in Wondervu, CO, a few weeks ago.

Oh, and I worked for the census, and soon I'll be working for the election people as the general election approaches and on the day. My friend Phil presented me with a gift motorcycle that was not yet ready for prime time, and I've been preoccupied with it and its refurbishing.

I suppose I've been busy doing stuff and writing stuff for publication. I've neglected my blog.

I'll do better, I think. Meanwhile, may you easily afford Rapha but not buy it.

Maynard

That's three hundred and thirty one dollars!

For a new Rapha designer messenger (sorry, courier) bag. Don't miss the comments.

From Bikeradar.com....

From McSweeny's: The best e-reader on the market

After exhaustive testing, "the newspaper" reigns as best e-reader...and you can make a hat!

At the bottom, click on Modern Yoga Poses. Namaste.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

From the Guardian (UK): Is this bike maker greener? Well,....

Here's the link. Be sure to read the comments. They're not entirely what you'd expect....

If you buy a new, expensive and prestigious replica (if we're honest) of an old, prestigeless item, even if the new item is made in your neighborhood and its construction reflects a concern for environmental issues, is it green? Or is finding the old, discarded no-flash product far greener?

Note: New personal sentence length record established this morning immediately above.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Who rides a 29er? Well....

From BikeRadar.com, this is partially a press release and partially a fun news item that humanizes a guy it's been easy to think of as not so human. Whatever George Bush was like in the White House, on the bike trail he seems like an okay guy, huh? Peleton One...is that cool or what?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sat, Aug 14, Wondervu CO, at the Thumper Cafe


That's Tamar and I at the Four-Stroke Single (cylinder) Nat'l Owners Club lunch in Wondervu, CO. Wondervu is NW of Denver in the foothills, close to Nederland, not far from Boulder. I rode my Suzuki and Tamar her Piaggio, the longest, most adventurous, mountain road ride she's done in her four years on the 150cc scooter.

Fifty-six FSSNOCers attended, nice folks on relatively small, low-powered motorcycles. Two guys from Oregon, one each from Montana and Florida. Lots of people rode from KS, OK, NM, TX and diverse CO locations. For a burger. A pretty good Kobe beef burger, but still...a burger.

Occasional CityBike contributor John Bishop, who was there from Sonoma County, CA, took the photo and kindly sent it to us. Bishop was on an extended tour with a friend from New Zealand, both men riding old Yamaha XS650 twins.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Know what a Mamil is?

Here, thanks to friend Addison, is the answer, presented with a BBC accent, o'course....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

North Hampton, Maine, passes noise law....the Harley shop responds

Here's the link.

In this (occasional) blogger's opinion, loud Harleys (or sportbikes) are no different from sidewalk riding cyclists or Critical Massers. At some point, pissed-off folks with local or regional horsepower will become fed right up. We're so often our own worst enemies, huh?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The NY Times on the Spooky Doin's

Here's the link.

Lance was here in Denver yesterday, all excited about next year's Quizno's Pro Challenge stage race. All the while, the law is trying to nail him. We've got 500 loaner bikes here in town and miles of terrific bike paths, and the right is calling cycling a leftist plot to undermine the American Way.

Ah, Colorado....

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Spooky doin's right here in the Mile-Hi City

Thanks to m'friend Khal down there in New Mexico.... click here.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The bulldozers are coming! The bulldozers are coming!

From the NY Times, a charming piece about cyclists protesting new rules removing the protection enjoyed by community gardens in NY City.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Rapha/Paul Smith collection!

The article (from Bike.com) is interesting enough. The comments are better.

Has anyone ever seen any of this stuff? Raise hands....

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Get convicted of DUI in NY State - lease one of these....

Anti-booze interlocks made mandatory in NY State for first-time convicted drunk drivers. Seems so simple. Why just NY? Why do we punish some offenders so harshly....and hardly bother with others?

Monday, July 19, 2010

When you read this David Brooks piece....

Here's David Brooks on the most recent Mel Gibson scandal, but don't focus on Mel, charming man that he seems to be. Think about the Self-Esteem Inflation that Brooks is writing about, the percentages of Americans who behave as if they have S-EI, and think especially about drivers....

Here's a paragraph from the column:

"In their book, “The Narcissism Epidemic,” Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell cite data to suggest that at least since the 1970s, we have suffered from national self-esteem inflation. They cite my favorite piece of sociological data: In 1950, thousands of teenagers were asked if they considered themselves an “important person.” Twelve percent said yes. In the late 1980s, another few thousand were asked. This time, 80 percent of girls and 77 percent of boys said yes."

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ladies-who-lunch...and ride cargo bikes

From the NY Times. Check it out.

On-board gyroscopic camera....amazing.

Here, thanks to friend Corey, is a video of just-returned-to-action-after-breaking-his-tibia Valentino Rossi riding his Yamaha MotoGP bike, the two-wheeled equivalent to a Formula One car.

The camera keeps the horizon level so you can experience the lean angles of Rossi's bike. I'd never seen anything even close to this for gasp-effect. I'll bet you haven't either. Watch as they set up the equipment and then hold your breath for the ride!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Have you ever heard of anything like this?

Order a new Corvette from GM and get yourself to Wixom, Michigan, and GM will supervise while you BUILD YOUR OWN ENGINE, then warranty it just as if you'd let them do it. Would Colnago watch you build your own frame...or Harley-Davidson look over your shoulder as you assembled your own Big Twin?

Is this cool or what....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The State of the State (Colorado)

From the Boulder Daily Camera, here's a look at how Colorado is faring in the battle for the streets.

I just rode up Left Hand Canyon (out of Boulder) yesterday, long steady climb, longest climb I've ridden in years, I think. I had trouble with me, but zero trouble with cars. There were hundreds of cyclists on that road, and thousands elsewhere around the area and state.

Frankly, knowing what I know and we all know about the mental health of motorists, it's a blessing there isn't more trouble than there is.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Too cool for words!

Be sure to look at the slide show. Here's the link. The piece is about a period-faithful Model T Ford "special" just hand-built in the last few years, handed down from father to son. I tried and failed to post an image from that slide show. Perhaps they're protected somehow. No harm done; you can enjoy it nonetheless.

Friday, July 9, 2010

David Brooks on Reading Books

From the NY Times.... Every word rings true.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My latest motorcycle piece

This piece ran in CityBike, Motorcycle Sport and Leisure, and the Southeast Arizona Touring Riders newsletter; SEAT is my old motorcycle club in Tucson. It's about great big bloated motorcycles.

And my latest Bicycle Paper piece

Here's my most recent piece for the Pacific NW's Bicycle Paper. As you'll read, it's a back-and-forth between my buddy Corey in San Antonio and me...with a little input from my old friend Phil in Oakland. I enjoy doing collaborative articles, especially with friends who may not always agree - with me or with one another.

This piece is about club rides - here in Denver, in San Antonio...and perhaps where you live.

A different world, part one

As I've mentioned, I have just returned from my HS reunion - class of 1960 at Shortridge High School in Indianapolis. At the time I went to Shortridge and for decades previously, Shortridge was a fine school dedicated to preparing students for college and for lives of the mind.

You could take courses in Home Economics and Shop but you could also take eight semesters of Latin and six of Greek, plus a pioneering, vocabulary-building course in Latin and Greek Derivatives.

While we '60 grads were in Indy, we were offered copies of The Shortridge Blue Book, "a handbook for students of SHS," last edition, published in 1953, the school's 100th anniversary. I plan to post a few excerpts from that Blue Book, found evidence of a lost world that flourished in Central Indiana only half a century ago.

Note: I have left spelling alone. So "street car" is two words and "busses" has three esses. Notice the use of "as" and "for" instead of "because."

Transportation to and from Shortridge is a safety problem, for pupils come from all directions on foot, on bicycles, in automobiles, and in street cars and busses. This adds greatly to the congestion on the streets surrounding Shortridge. Students can help immeasurably in dealing with this problem by following a few simple rules.

I. As a pedestrian
A. Follow all traffic rules applying to pedestrians.
B. Cross streets only at intersections or cross walks.
C. Observe the law which forbids thumbing or soliciting rides.
D. Keep to the right on sidewalks.
E. Do not crowd other pedestrians off the sidewalk.

II. As a cyclist
A. Follow the Indianapolis Traffic Code, for under that code a bicycle is classed as a vehicle.
B. Do not ride on the sidewalk.
C. Ride single file about three feet from the curb or as close to the curb as parked vehicles will permit.
D. Provide a basket for books and keep both hands on the handlebars.
E. Ride alone on your bicycle unless you have a "bicycle built for two."
F. Dismount at the curb and walk with your bicycle to the parking racks.
G. Lock your bicycle to the rack as the school cannot assume responsibility for loss of property.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Why I haven't been posting

I'm sorry I've been neglecting my blog page, but I've been otherwise preoccupied. My high school reunion trip to Indianapolis was a whirl of experiences, both at the event and on the journey. I traveled the old roads, as I mentioned, not the interstates, so I met folks in cafes and gas stations and while hiding out from torrential thunderstorms in MO and IL - eastbound and westbound.

I suspect that the ease of meeting and chatting with the people at the reunion and on the road had something to do with life in the Midwest. Certainly there was an easy familiarity with my schoolmates, in my case many of them grade school classmates also.

As the days pass and I can process all those experiences, I'll post a story or two to this page.

Designer of original Range Rover dies in bicycle crash

Charles S. King, the leader of the team that designed the original, iconic Range Rover, was hit by a van as he rode his bicycle and died. According to the NY Times obituary writer, King had grown disgusted with what had happened to his all-terrain baby, a symbol worldwide these days of smug, faux Abercrombie and Fitchity.

Seems like a fine guy, huh?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My first meeting with a Motor Maid



When I began riding motorcycles and went to major flat-track races, I'd see a group of women riders doing a parade-pace lap of the track on their big Harleys. They were called Motor Maids. It was and is a national club of women-who-ride, formed in 1940.

I've been told that in the beginning, it was girlfriends and wives of guys who owned motorcycle shops or worked as mechanics or parts people. Today, it's women of every sort from all over the US and Canada.

On my trip back from Indianapolis, I ran into Dotty B and her husband somewhere in Kansas. We rode a couple of hundred miles together. When I got home, I checked out the Motor Maids, Inc, web site and found these photos and lots of other cool ones.

Are these shots atmospheric or what? Here's a link to the site....

Bartonsville TX bans cyclists in groups larger than nine

Thanks to old friend Mark M, here's the link.

Blackhawk, CO; the state of Iowa; Bartonsville TX. Do we detect a theme here...?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday morning 6/27 post reunion post

Hi all!
I've been to a breakfast and two dinners with my old classmates and had a terrific time. Please don't pass on your own reunion because it seems like too much trouble or you don't want to relive your old unsatisfactory high school experiences. I've been to two reunions, years apart, and both were richly worth the travel and tense anticipation. Go for it, as someone said. Lao Tsu? Can't recall....

The last few days have occupied my mind with things other than the usual. Although I rode my motorcycle to Indy for the reunion, I parked it and drove to the festivities so as not to walk in carrying my helmet, silently screaming Look at Me, I Rode Here. I haven't thought about cycling or motorcycling for days, but my head is spinning from accumulated brushes with old memories and old friends.

I'll be leaving for Denver this afternoon, trying to ride a couple of hundred miles so the following days are a little easier. It's hot and humid here; I hope the breeze on the road cools me. It was still 80 when we left the final reunion dinner last night at maybe 11. Denver has softened me up; I'm used to cool evenings.

I'll post when I get home, I promise. I'm sorry I've been uninspired to do so while I've been here, but as I mentioned, my mind's been elsewhere....

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Assembling a Flying Pigeon....

Apparently not as easy as it might seem....or is it? From a NY Times blog....

VERY nice slide show.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Off to Indianapolis

Hi all!

I'm leaving tomorrow, Sunday, for my high school reunion in Indianapolis. It's just over a thousand miles from Denver to Indy, two days hard riding each way on the motorcycle. I'll be gone until the first of July, give or take. If I can get online during the trip, I'll post a little update.

My class at Shortridge HS, the class of 1960, had over 500 graduating students. I suspect two or three hundred will attend. I'm only in touch with a very few of my classmates and haven't seen the rest (except for an hour or so at our 25th reunion) since we graduated. I moved away from Indy later in 1960 and only returned for a short time in the mid-'60s.

I'm riding Highway 36, the "shortest route from Indianapolis to Denver," as the sign says. It's the old road, not as acclaimed as Route 66 but not so different in character. I may ride 36 in both directions...we'll see.

I plan to see old friends in Bloomington and Muncie, both smallish towns an hour from Indy.

As I said, I'll try to post as often as I can....

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Volvo offers free helmets for some European kids

...to protect the kids from Volvos?

Here's the BikeRadar.com piece. Be sure to read the comments.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Returning the rental truck

Teddy H is perhaps my best Denver friend. He's the manager of our condo building three days a week. We have lunch once a week and have been doing so for about two years.

Teddy graduated from U of CO with a business degree but retired last year after carrying mail for 30 years. He's a few years younger than I am. He's black and wears his hair in dreadlocks. He's a vegetarian and a meditator and a damn good guy.

We were scheduled to have lunch today. When I went to his office downstairs at the appointed time, Teddy said he didn't think he could do it. He had to return a rented truck to Home Depot. I asked if I could go with him to return the truck; we'd have lunch on the way back. Super, he said.

We drove the rental flatbed to Home Depot and went together into the tool rental area. Teddy and I stood at the counter. Teddy dealt with the Hispanic guy behind it who was doing the paperwork. The building board was paying for the truck rental.

Teddy had forgotten to fill the tank so the guy went out to look at the gauge and add something to the bill to cover fuel. When he came back, we were standing there at his counter. I had said nothing at any point. The guy finished typing in the figures; the printer spat out the invoice...

And the guy put it on the counter in front of ME!

I immediately knew that without thinking he'd handed the invoice to the white guy. Teddy, he knee-jerk figured, was the worker, the hourly guy. I was the guy with the credit card.

I slit the invoice to Teddy, who took care of the charges. As we walked out to his car, I said, Did that guy just hand the invoice to the white guy, the guy "in charge?"

Teddy told me that's exactly what had happened. I shook my head. He told me he's gotten used to it. It's just how things are. His son would get upset about it, Teddy said.

I'd get upset about it, I said.

Used to be worse, Teddy told me. When he was a kid in Arkansas, if you were a black man walking down the sidewalk and a white woman was walking toward you, you crossed the street so you were sure not to meet her eyes. There were doors for blacks, drinking fountains for blacks, and no way at all that you'd ever be the boss of even one white guy.

Most of the time, Teddy and I are two guys going to lunch together. Sometimes we talk about the "black experience" and I'll hear stories of intentional or reflexive racism, almost always told with a sense of humor, and an appreciation of human folly.

I'd never been in a situation like the one today, when my skin color made me the boss, and Teddy's made him a guy who couldn't be trusted with a credit card.

From the Denver Post this time: Tickets written in Blackhawk!

They have really done it, outlawed cycling in Blackhawk, and they are enforcing the ban! Is this amazing or what....

From the WSJ! Scott Adams, Dilbert cartoonist, on investing

Adams advises us, in this hilarious piece, to invest in the companies we hate the most. The paragraphs on Apple are really funny - as is the rest of the piece. It's all really funny.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sure enough, says the Huffington Post, Blackhawk has gone and done it!

Yup, the nervy slimeballs have banned cycling in Blackhawk, CO - not that anyone was excited about pedaling through there anyway. I wonder if casino employees canvassed their customers, typically Cadillac-driving high-roller lowlives, and the nice folks encouraged the ban.

Wouldn't surprise me. Or you, I'll bet.

I could not fail to note...

that it is 31 degrees cooler this morning in Denver than in Baltimore. Our predicted high is 70; it's already 10 degrees above that in Baltimore. We've had warm days here, no doubt, but it's been wintry since October. Argh....

Locals think the weather is wonderful and brag about it. They have short memories, in my NorCal and SE Arizona view. Tamar and I had family visiting for the weekend; it rained almost all the time they were here. I can't recall when I rode my bicycle last. It's been days, certainly. Ugly again out the window this morning....

We were told that even in winter we could bundle up and ride perhaps four days a week. If you're brave in my opinion you can ride four days a month in Jan, Feb and March - in the city. You can commute if you use big, fast, snowplowed streets that are inappropriate for cycling.

Thanks for allowing me to vent. I'm all done now.

Michael Dresser in the Baltimore Sun

This is an unusually balanced piece by a mainstream newspaper columnist about urban bicycle safety. Dresser rode an electrically assisted bicycle around the city, so he knows a bit about what he speaks.... Please read this article all the way through; its conclusions surprised me with their reasonableness.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Just yesterday...

My buddy Denny was in his car following another car on one-way Washington Street here on Capitol Hill. Both cars were under or right at the speed limit: 30mph. As Denny watched, the car in front of him (driven by a 60ish woman) hit a cyclist.

The car hit the woman cyclist as she was crossing Washington. The rider flew up onto the hood of the car, hitting the windshield but not breaking it. Freaked the driver right out.

Denny watched it all, noting that the woman had an earbud in her ear. She'd been looking down at her iPhone, texting as she ran the stop sign, right in front of the woman DRIVING THE CAR.

He stayed to tell his story to the attending officer.

Denny felt that the officer was not present, not really listening to the participants and witnesses. So he asked the officer to summon his superior, who appeared in no-time. That officer dealt with the cyclist's husband, who showed up and announced to one and all that he is a lawyer - and that his wife would never focus on her phone as she rode.

As they all stood there, cops and citizens, two cyclists rode the wrong way down the one-way, brass-bold in the middle of the street, giving them all a good reason to shake their individual heads.

Boycott BP stations? Tricky business....

Better to get Beyond Petroleum.... From the NY Times "Your Money" section.

Friday, June 11, 2010

More threats of bans

From the same British online magazine, Road.cc, this time it's Iowa....

Bike Ban in Blackhawk?

Here's a piece from a UK publication about a town just 45 minutes west of Denver. It's a casino town, nearly no locals, no reason to go there except to gamble. The mayor sounds like a notorious crook, as you'll learn if you read the piece to the end.

As a gambling town, Blackhawk represents America at its worst, I'd say. I don't care if I'm banned from its streets on my bicycle; I don't want to be there anyway. Still, it's another nail in the coffin of public friendliness to cyclists. As Jim T says in his comments, we're soiling our nest, huh?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Remember this guy?

He's Stu Bikofsky, the Philadelphia columnist who wrote angrily about cycling scofflaws and new on-street bike lanes in Philly. Seems the local bicycling coalition has asked for donations - in his name. Maybe, as a few of the comments suggest, his ideas and theirs are not so different...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bicycling's for kids, says this dude

From the Republican American, here's the cold side of the pillow.... This guy's ideas give us good reason not to fuel his fire. Not that he or his friends need our help.

"There is something profoundly wrong with a nation where more adults ride bicycles than children.

America might now be such a nation."


Ohmigawd. Help us, BP; save us from ourselves....

From Slate, a review of an out-of-print book...

...about three men (in the '50s), each of whom believed he was Jesus Christ, and the doctor who treated them. Fascinating reading, or my name's not Je.... Jus' kiddin'.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Think US drivers are bad? You could be riding in INDIA....

No comment needed, I'd say. Click here if you want to feel good about Main St USA....

Floyd's new legal eagles - Greg's old crew....

Here's the story from BikeRadar.com....

Monday, June 7, 2010

So there were these two women mountain bike racers, see....

And the younger one thought it'd be cool to ride the Leadville Trail 100 in the older woman's class....

A coffee and a doughnut. Sounds simple, huh?

Again from the Guardian, about city life and our secret small obsessions....

Added later: Tamar, on reading this post, tells me that the Doughnut Plant was originally the Doughnut Guy. The Doughnut Guy pedaled a bicycle around NYC delivering his products to cafes. Tamar adds that the Doughnut Guy's doughnuts were indeed special: While eating one you had an almost irresistible urge to shout out to your neighbors your disbelief at how great that doughnut was.

Here's a link to the Doughnut Plant's charming web site. Click on History and look at the (mostly) family photos. Thanks, Tamar, for the heads-up!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

From the Guardian in the UK; Swingin' '60s photographer Brian Duffy's signature shots

Photographer Brian Duffy has died. Here are thirteen of his photos that will take you back to the 1960s: Models, actors, gangsters, politicians and rockers. You want nostalgia? We got nostalgia....

Mr. Colnago, Mr. Serotta, this is Mr Carter

Mack Carter is known as "the bicycle guy" around Iowa Park, TX, and no wonder.... From the Wichita Falls (home of the Hotter-n-Hell Hundred) TimesRecordNews.

"Carter has built more than 50 unique bicycles in the past seven years. When not building bikes, Carter is a Licensed Vocational Nurse, plays bass and sings in a band."

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The electrically assisted racing bicycle....

This story has been around for a few days but it seemed so unlikely I posted nothing about it. Now it's made the NY Times. The racing organizers are developing tests to detect bicycles with cheater motors in the seat tubes. Who'd ever have imagined...?

Glenn in SC, thanks for the heads-up!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Your Favorite Uncles - from the Bicycle Paper

Here's my latest deathless prose from the Pacific NW's Bicycle Paper. It's an offering of advice to new bicycle commuters - from their doting uncles Phil, Corey and Maynard.

Hit/Run driver on rampage in San Francisco

From SFGate.com, here's the sad link.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Washington Post interview with the new Wash Area Bicyclist Assn chief

This guy, Shane Farthing, sounds great. See if you don't agree....

Monday, May 31, 2010

Losing bulk in Tulsa

Sometimes I forget (I confess) the simple joy of the bicycle. And the benefits it can bring to folks who may never pedal from Seattle to Saint Augustine or win a road race. This guy, for instance....

The high cost of cool

Love that new electronic gadget? Here, from Spiegel Online International, is a short description of its origins.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Do we tolerate too many traffic deaths? A discussion....

One in a series of panels run in the NY Times, this one focuses on accidents and traffic fatalities in the US. I really enjoyed reading these statements from genuine experts. I bet you will too.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

From Boston.com; more real estate shoppers are asking about bike facilities....

They're asking about bicycle parking/storage and bicycle routes, more than ever before. Written, unless I'm mistaken, by a real estate agent for other real estate agents, this is eye-opening stuff....

One more journalist weighs in on Landis...

and believably too. Here's what I remember: Before I met Floyd Landis, I heard nothing but good things about him. Everyone liked him. His teammates liked riding on teams with him; he kept the temperatures down with humor and a great attitude.

I met him a few times and he did seem like a great guy. David S and I had coffee with him the morning after the San Francisco GP a few years ago. We were sitting at Starbucks across the street from the race HQ hotel. Floyd walked in and sat with us. Again, I thought he was a great guy and David did too.

Now it's hard to know what to believe. Maybe I just want him to be an honorable guy, even when he's admitted that he wasn't. I don't see myself giving up on Floyd. If I'm honest with myself, maybe that's about me and not about Floyd at all.

Thanks, David S, for the link. I'm sure you're just as saddened as I am.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

His first commute

Andrew Kenney of the Johnston County (NC) Herald, wrote this about his first brave ride to work - on an old Univega his father rebuilt but warned him not to trust. This charming piece will remind you of the epiphanies you experienced on your initial outings awheel.

Next to last line: "In a car, a road is just a road, but on a bike, the world becomes a place to explore again."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Why I became driven to drive

By Jane Alison, from the Washington Post. Nearly 50, never having owned a car, Ms Alison buys a new Mini. But she's not sure about what she's done....

Evidently someone believes Floyd

....because the investigating is ongoing. From today's NY Times Online. As I understand it, if the team's athletes used US Postal Service money to pay for drugs, or if athletes lied to sponsors about their own cleanness, federal charges can be brought. Stand clear of the fan, folks....

A bicycles-only community in So Carolina!

A group of brave guys has acquired land and will build a car-less development in South Carolina. If you drive there, you have to park outside and walk or pedal in. Mostly dirt trails at first. The guys know they are "jumping off a cliff;" they are starting slowly and trying to do it right.

Imagine....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

From Seattle...with love - for cycling!

You will love this Katherine Long piece about Seattle cycling -- its intensity and diversity and history. It's from the Seattle Times. Note: this piece ran in the Pacific NW section of a general interest newspaper, NOT a bike mag! Hooray for Katherine Long!

Look at all those people on that ferry going to the February Chilly Hilly ride. See all that raingear? Imagine how cold it was. Enlarge the photo. Look again at all those people....

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ben Delaney of VN on Floyd

Can Floyd be believed? Can we just ignore his accusations as the ravings of a shattered man?

Fine editorial by my occasional editor Ben Delaney.

Greg on Floyd's confession and finger-pointing

Thanks to Davis S in Seattle, here's a link to Greg LeMond's blog page.

Six mos in jail, a $500 fine and some probation. Oh, and community service...

It's not that this report from Lawrence KS is so unusual. It made me wonder how many newsy articles like this one will appear this year.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Further Floyd

It's hard to come away from reading this NY Times follow-up knowing what to believe.

Floyd and other sorrows

Just to put this Floyd Landis confession/whistle-blowing into perspective, I believe this is the worst day I've seen for cycling.

The day Greg LeMond was shot was bad. The day Floyd was stripped of his Tour win was bad. The day Trek quit making/selling LeMond bicycles was bad. The day we heard false reports that Eddy had cancer was a bad day. So was the day long ago when we lost Jacques Anquetil. The Festina affair was bad too.

But this is awful on the grand scale. We should be flying cycling's flag at half-mast.

I have to believe that Floyd has been beaten down by losing so much that he is holding himself up on the ropes. I suspect that if we want to think the best of him, and I DO want to think the best of him, we must conclude that he's not emotionally together and knows not what he does.

Floyd's not dumb. Can he expect people to believe his accusations?

When we raced for water bottles and cotton musettes, most of us dreamed of watching the Tour de France. We never imagined that one or a few of us would RIDE the Tour or for chrissakes WIN the damn thing. Who'd have imagined guys making themselves rich by riding their bikes?

Now there's big money and big prestige. There's stardom at stake. And lots of men (and probably a few women) desperate for that money and fame. I wonder if some of us doped when we raced for water bottles or (if we were lucky) some dealer's oldest tubular tire. Maybe.

Maybe also my relationship with money is not so simple and transparent, but when the first guy suggested that we "follow the money," he probably spoke Sumerian. Maybe money does ruin everything.

With so much to be gained by pedaling faster than the other guy, can we look with scorn on athletes who can't resist buying themselves an edge? Can we be sure we wouldn't do the same?

The ultimate cycling close call

Very short video, repeats and repeats. Amazing.

Oh, Floyd....

If you haven't heard the sad news.... Some good comments, some cheap. One guy got Floyd's first name wrong throughout his comment. Imagine the talk in the peleton at the Giro and TofC...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Crashing, from the NY Times

Focusing on Jens Voigt, this timely piece published a day after a crash-ridden rainy Tour of California stage, is well worth reading. The writer, I feel sure, confuses kilometers per hour with miles per hour, suggesting that bicycle racers reach 70 on descents. Seventy's fast, huh?

Fifty years of Cafe Lena

"...the idea that you can sit in a small room where amplification is almost not needed and you can almost converse with the artist and sing along, that's a rare thing in the arts.''

That's the last paragraph in the Times piece about the 50th anniversary of Cafe Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY. If you're an old folkie, a fan of acoustic music or curious about how resolutely un-mainstream acts found places to play, read the rest.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Springtime of our Discontent

On Saturday, Tamar and I walked to breakfast, intending to break our fast at a trendy cafe maybe two miles from our place. We walked along a busy street on the way to the cafe and a quieter street on the way back -- after finding that the line at the restaurant was far too long to endure.

As we walked in both directions, we'd approach intersections and find that a car would come to a stop at the corner directly in front of us, blocking the marked or unmarked crosswalk. The driver would wait for traffic to clear, ignoring or pretending to ignore us standing there, and proceed just as if we had never existed.

The same thing happened four or five times: the same thing. A couple of times we waited for the car to vacate the crosswalk. A few times we walked around the car.

We were not scofflaw urban cyclists nor were we outlaws of any stripe. We were a couple walking to breakfast on a Saturday morning.

I'm sure the same thing has happened to me dozens or hundreds of times in the past, but it struck me especially that day -- it was so blatant and so frequent.

Not one driver halted his or her imperial progress to let us walk across the narrow street in front of the car. Not one driver bothered to back out of the crosswalk so we could pass.

Rudeness is the default. Defensiveness is the default. Sharing roads is a fantasy. Merely acknowledging the presence of others in "your world" is rare good manners.

Maybe this is just 21st Century human nature. Maybe it's urban America in decline. Maybe it's individual rudeness multiplied a million times. How did we get to this place?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cycling the most dangerous road in the world...

Thanks to my friend William in Austin, here from BBC News is a story much like Into Thin Air. Why do they do it? Baffles me. You can have my place in line.

A reminder about cycling and bone health

From SFGate.com, here's an easy to read piece about cycling vs weight-bearing activity. Walking as much as I have been in recent months, I've lost my old cyclist's aversion to pedestrian activities.

When I reach middle age, I suppose I'll really have to worry about this stuff. Heh...heh.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fun to look at....

Here, in PDF form, is a newsy item about the Roadeo, a sorta-light, lugged steel, club-ride bicycle from Rivendell. I'm not selling Roadeos but I do like the look of this one. The nice orange example in the photos is handsome despite a few homely components. How 'bout that fork, huh?

As some of you will know, Grant Petersen of Rivendell has fallen off his bicycle and broken his thumb. He is typing in a limited fashion these days -- in his ee cummings period, he says.

Even if you love your Scott or Cervelo, an occasional look at the Rivendell site will remind you that there is more than one way to do this cycling thing.

Added later: Another Roadeo, this one a bit more sanitary. If you check this one out, scroll down and look at the waterproof shoe covers...if...you...dare.

Lance, 39, says he feels 39

And in this interview, from VeloNews in the last days before the Tour of California, Armstrong says that the guys he's racing now are stronger than the guys he raced then. Remarkably frank chat with a frankly worried man....

Friday, May 14, 2010

For something COMPLETELY different

Here's an item forwarded by my friend Jim S in Colorado Springs. As I understand it, the young man in these clips has appeared on TV broadcasts in many areas, making unfounded claims about his yo-yo expertise. If you like to watch embarrassing TV, here are two clips of the Fake Yo-Yo Trickster. Beyond amazing....

None of us DO this, o'course....

We know that texting while driving is criminal carelessness, right? Here's a short reminder from the nice folks at Channel Four, right here in the Mile Hi City.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's a NY Times blog...about the SF Bay Area

Would you believe that there is friction by the Bay between pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders and motorists? I didn't think you would....

My old friend Jim in Bisbee...on my old Honda GB500


This is Jim W of Bisbee AZ, on my old Honda GB500. The Honda is 21 years old and Jim is somewhat older yet, but both are doing fine, thank you. Jim and I became friends in 1970 or '71, when I owned a little motorcycle accessory store in San Mateo, California. We have ridden many hundreds of miles together over the years. He and his wife Irene are my oldest friends, I'd say, or certainly the oldest friends with whom I'm in regular contact.

I miss that lovely Honda but knowing that it's in the best possible hands is comforting. Before you ask, Jim is not in his riding gear. He's in his getting-photographed-on-beautiful-motorcycles gear. I feel sure he's in front of his garage in Bisbee (or Naco, to be precise) Arizona. In the background of the shot--that's Arizona. Behind the camera? That's Mexico.

Letters about sidewalk cycling to the MercuryNews

Here, from the San Jose CA MercuryNews.com, are letters to the traffic editor about sidewalk cyclists.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

From CNN Living: Cyclists, motorists clash

Here's an interesting piece (called Bicycle Wars in the URL) quoting cyclists and motorists from here and there around this Great Land. The narrative begins in Brookline MA, where Tamar grew up, and ends in Denver, where we live and ride today.

Note the map, highlighting Bicycling Magazine's best cycling cities -- all are in the northern half of the country except Tucson. Perhaps a six-month riding season -- unless you're a die-hard -- adds points to your town's cycling-friendliness score.

Ah, Tucson. Tamar and I believe that Tucson's best efforts are aimed at lobbying and courting these awards, not at actualizing or enhancing rubber-on-the-road bike-friendliness. We looked carefully, as you'd imagine, for cycling friendliness in Tucson during the years we lived there.

You could say we looked under every rock, redneck and smug retired contractor from Omaha, yearning as we did for the fabled Tucson bike lanes paved with high-consciousness motorist gold. We came up empty-handed. Riding in groups was iffy; riding solo was just too scary.

The car is king everywhere in the US, and given our mentality as a nation, perhaps that's as it should be or must be. But that unthinking reliance on motor vehicles is worst, we feel, in new America, in areas where almost no one wanted to live before the advent of air conditioning.

It must be bicycle award season, huh? I wonder what these fetes are supposed to accomplish.... Do I want to pick up and move to one of the lauded cities? Would you?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More responses to Chris Raschka's piece

Here are two more letters to the editor of the NY Times.

I'm not sure what I think about this (writes your blogger), but the numbers of responses to the stopping-at-lights piece and the Times's choosing to run it last week mean that lawless cyclists are on motorists' minds - well, those few who seem to have minds.

While the cyclists are hardly more lawless than the motorists, motorist scofflawing is the default; cyclist scofflawing is new and outrageous. We seem to be taking advantage, grabbing an edge on drivers sitting in line in their incredibly costly cars waiting, fidgeting, for the light to change.

Yesterday, as I rode my motorcycle along one-way, four-lane Eighth Avenue in central Denver, a guy on a bicycle (no helmet, one gear, Brooks, backpack - you know the dude) rode in the middle of the rightmost lane.

There are bike lanes on streets on either side of Eighth; I don't know why anyone would use Eighth. I assume he uses Eighth because the side streets have occasional stop signs or lights and he has no intention of honoring them in the slightest, no intention even to slow slightly so all the drivers can be sure to see him blow by, insultingly, illegally, up the right curb through the red.

I'm a cyclist and the guy's actions and evident intent angered me. He may not even be in a hurry. He may only be leaving signs of his presence, like a dog peeing on a post. He's poisonous for cycling's PR, but as someone said on a club ride on Sunday, he doesn't care about cyclists or PR. It's all about him, huh?

I wonder if one of the drivers who watched him yesterday will write the editor of the Denver Post. Wouldn't surprise me a bit. Maybe I'll write the editor of the Times.

Birds of a feather who'd never flock together: Guys who openly carry handguns in Starbucks. Guys who ride unsilenced motorcycles. Scofflaw bicyclists. All have reasonable-sounding explanations for their actions, weak explanations they use to mask their antisocial self-absorption. They want to make an impression. A negative one will be fine.

"It's our right, guaranteed in the Constitution. Loud pipes save lives. I'm a storm trooper in the anti-materialist, green revolt."

Those of us who think about how we can "all just get along" know that we're all in this getting-along thing together. Except for that guy on Eighth Avenue yesterday afternoon.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Responses to Chris Raschka's piece: The Only Cyclist in NY who Stops for Red Lights

Here's the link to the responses. Here's a link to the article I posted a week or so ago - called Braking Away.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

From Belgium - the good news (Eddy) and the bad news

British riders injured in Belgium

by VeloNews.com

Five members of the women’s British national team were injured in a collision with a car while training in Belgium, the British Cycling Federation said on its website on Saturday.

Hannah Mayho, Lucy Martin, Katie Colclough, Emma Trott and Sarah Reynolds were involved in an accident that occurred between the towns of Brakel and Oudenaarde on Friday morning.

Mayho, who came into direct contact with the vehicle, broke both her legs, her right arm and wrist and was undergoing surgery,” the cycling fedeartion said.

Colclough suffered concussion and was staying in hospital overnight, Martin cracked a vertebra and has been advised to rest over the coming weeks, Trott suffered a broken collarbone and a black eye and Reynolds hurt her hand and split her chin.

The riders were accompanied by Olympic Academy Programme coach Simon Cope.

Eddy on a stamp in Belgium!

Here's the news - from James Raia, the Cycling Examiner. On one level, so what, huh? Eddy on a stamp is not going to cure cancer or bail out bankrupt nations. On another level - HOORAY!