Monday, December 27, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
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
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
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
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Update, 12/7/10: Borker's been arrested!
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
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.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
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
Friday, November 12, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
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
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
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
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.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
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
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Donald's on his old Schwinn Superior, equipped with wooden Ghisallo rims he bought from Ric Hjertberg and built up himself.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
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.
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 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 LyonsStarting 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.
“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
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.
“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.
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?
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.
Monday, October 11, 2010
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.
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
Friday, October 8, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Let the sun shine in!
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Thanks, John G, for the heads-up! Allez, Alexi!!
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The young lady she hit was 30 and the Green Party candidate for US Senate from Maryland. From the Baltimore Sun....
Monday, September 20, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
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
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.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Sept 4th, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
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
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.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
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
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.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
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
Sunday, August 15, 2010
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
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
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
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.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
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
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
Is this cool or what....
Sunday, July 11, 2010
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
Friday, July 9, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
This piece is about club rides - here in Denver, in San Antonio...and perhaps where you live.
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
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.
Seems like a fine guy, huh?
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
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....
Blackhawk, CO; the state of Iowa; Bartonsville TX. Do we detect a theme here...?
Sunday, June 27, 2010
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
Saturday, June 19, 2010
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
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
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.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Wouldn't surprise me. Or you, I'll bet.
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.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
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.
Friday, June 11, 2010
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
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
"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....
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
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
"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
Glenn in SC, thanks for the heads-up!
Friday, June 4, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
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
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
Sunday, May 23, 2010
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
Thursday, May 20, 2010
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?
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
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
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
When I reach middle age, I suppose I'll really have to worry about this stuff. Heh...heh.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
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.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
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.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
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
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
Saturday, May 8, 2010
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.