Friday, February 26, 2010

A book review...from

Unrelated to the usual subject here, this book review and interview with the authors looks at the costs to societies worldwide of gross imbalances in money. It seems the nations with the greatest economic divisions suffer.... Read the review and see for yourself.

By the way, the reviewer/interviewer feels she has to explain the book's title, The Spirit Level.

Cycle/car coexistence in rural San Diego

Here's a piece from the Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News, evidently from a San Diego suburb or small nearby town. It's a fair-handed piece, I think. As do the posters of the first couple of comments, both cyclists.

The aspect of the piece that makes it blogworthy is the not-so-usual mention of something "all cyclists know:" That cyclists can identify with motorists and the issues drivers have to deal with, but very few motorists have a clue about life on two wheels over by the curb.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Re: Giro "Section" comments

I don't understand any of this. The only comment I ever deleted was spam, Japanese porn. I didn't know what it was but Tamar had it translated at the library. Dirty words in Japanese.

I do know that I can put up one post after another dealing with every aspect of cycling or other of my interests, and I won't get a comment. Check it out.

But if I put up one post about a genuinely ugly helmet likely to be worn by a skinny, sullen, unshaven guy on a color-coordinated fixie, someone will suggest that I need to grow up. Maybe I should feel grateful; guys my age are seldom asked to act older.

Oh... Who is Barney Rubble? And who is Cyclotourist? Do you suspect some kind of conspiracy here, Jim? By the way, who are YOU?

"The beginning of a new day" for LA cyclists

The police chief of Los Angeles is promising more protection for cyclists and improved officer training re cycling issues. A little bit of history being made here. From the LA Times....

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bob Mionske on cycling demographics and legislating bike-friendliness

I gotta say - I've been reading Bob Mionske's commentary on legal matters as they relate to us cyclists for several years. I've enjoyed it all along. But I think the guy's getting better and better at what he does.

Read this piece about Portland's struggles with cycling infrastructure and decide which of the groups Mionske mentions that YOU fit into.... It's from, but you knew that.

New Giro "Section" Helmet

Because I am old and fail to "get" many things that are new, and despite my resolve to go easy on the New Urban Cyclist in articles and blog posts, I could not resist showing you this photo.

It's the new Giro Section helmet in brown "leather-effect," the faux hide treatment intended to evoke some sepia-toned era that is gone but lingers in the minds of 22-year old luggies.

It's a Giro so we can figure that it's not cheap. The article included a photo of the helmet upside down, and it looks marginally protective, not that potential buyers care - as they have so richly demonstrated.

The new Giro Section will surely be hot in summer and ugly all year 'round.

I'm done now. I'll go back to listening to Fats Domino on vinyl.

Added post comment: Perhaps, if I have time this evening, I'll try to grow up. If I do grow up, that new Giro Section may become an object of beauty. Maybe. Maybe not.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Stand up while you read this!

Here's an interesting piece from the NY Times that maintains that if you exercise for a couple of hours - and then sit at work or at your home computer for the rest of the day, the sitting will undo much of the good the exercise did for you.

Only just today, my buddy Phil and I wondered what we used to do in the days before personal computers to waste all the time we now fritter away at our desktops. Hours and hours....doing ourselves no good at all, if Olivia Judson is right. Well worth reading - standing up!

From SF Streetsblog: An interview with a bicycle activist from Quito, Ecuador

Bike lanes, collective bike shops, bicycle and bicycle parts recycling, huge increases in cycle commuting.... These things are happening everywhere! Here's an interview with a well traveled young woman from Quito Ecuador illustrated with activist art that I'll bet you like.

Monday, February 22, 2010

This piece seems like it's about Formula One car racing...but scroll down....

Here's an interview with Spanish ex-Formula One World Champion car racer Fernando Alonso. He talks about his struggles on his old team, and (near the bottom) about his friendship with a Spanish racing cyclist whose name we all know....and their plans for a team of their own.

It's from the

Cell phoning during sex? You bet....

Here, thanks to my old friend Donald, in Mexico City these days, is a piece from his hometown paper, the Washington Post, about smart phones and their unprecedented allure. Read it and weep.

...for something completely different

Here, from Slate, is an article about the US government during Prohibition (1920-1933). The Feds ordered the adding of poisonous chemical disincentives to industrial alcohol. The idea: To keep people from drinking the stuff as a substitute for genuine booze. Hundreds if not thousands died....

I'd never heard a word about any of this, even from my father, a young man in Detroit during Prohibition. A meat-cutter, he sold sliced meat to speakeasies, and would surely have known. Has anyone heard anything about this?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

How awful for Specialized....

If you check out web sites focused on bicycle racing, you cannot have failed to note that the svelte Specialized Shiv time trial bike has been banned from racing by the UCI, the sport's international governing board.

Each news item about the unfortunate ban features a lovely, carefully posed photo of the bike in question, a bike that evidently is just too damn fast. Its dimensions, in the area just aft of the head tube, have been revealed to violate UCI guidelines. Illegal. By millimeters. Too sleek. The above photo is from VeloNews online.

Ah, but the bike is fine for triathletes and amateur time trialists all around the world. It's only guys who get bikes free who are prevented from riding it. Those of us who walk into Specialized stores (with lots of money) and buy our bikes can buy a Shiv and use it without concern. And it must be godawful slippery and fast, huh? So fast the UCI banned it!

What a bonanza for Specialized. As someone said, You can't pay for advertising like this!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Photos of Arches Nat'l Park in the snow and fog

My friend Fred at Arrowhead Motorsports in Moab, UT, sent me these photos of stunning Arches National Park, shot today. These images are especially striking because of the winter weather. We typically visit Arches in the summertime....

Above is one of the 22 shots. You can see them all by clicking on this right here.

From the NY Times but about the Bay Area

This link will take you to a blog post written by Michelle Quinn, a concerned mother from the SF East Bay. She ponders: Is Urban Cycling Getting Safer? Well written, well thought out, I'd say.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Guy Clark

Last night, Tamar and I went to a Guy Clark concert in a small venue not far from our place. If you know Guy Clark's work, you'll figure it was a terrific experience - and you'd be right. But it was also a painful experience. Clark had hurt his leg, he said, and couldn't stand up and play his guitar. Even sitting was uncomfortable, and when he walked onto or off of the stage, it was painful to watch.

Twice during the performance, Clark forgot the lyrics to songs he wrote and has been singing for 25 years. He's 68 and it's hard to guess how long he'll be able to do these gigs.

Here's a link to a YouTube video of Clark and friends singing Dublin Blues. He's accompanied by Karen Matheson, whose name I had never heard.

We love Guy Clark's music. See if you don't agree....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Not Valentine's, but Valentino's Day! From

Rossi 31
text and image by dean adams
February 16, 2010
Photo: Rossi in 1997

February 16 is Valentino Rossi's birthday; he turns 31 today. The nine-time world champion will no doubt spend a quiet night in with a few hundred close friends, all of them chatting and laughing at machine gun volume and pace.

While Barry Sheene maybe came the closest to eclipsing the sport before Rossi, the Italian has truly transcended motorcycle racing with his popularity, accomplishment and charisma. While Rossi currently has no plans to leave racing or retire, MotoGP is certainly going to be a very different place without him.

As former world champion Wayne Gardner put it a number of years ago: "Every time you see Rossi ride, you're seeing history made."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Response to Cramps' comment

In a comment, Cramps said that he'd noted the mention of a "Lake Merritt Velodrome" in the text accompanying the Oldest US Roadracing Photo of a few posts back. I failed to notice that mention but it would have triggered NO memory at all, Cramps. I never heard anyone mention an old track in Oakland.

By the way, your comments come to me via email but are unreturnable, so I have to respond via a blog post.

Lake Merritt Velodrome. You wonder if every US village and town had a bicycle racing track back when. Imagine....

Added later: Please don't miss Mark Walsh's comment to this post!

More Floyd Landis bad news.... Will it ever end?

Here's a link to the NY Time article. It makes me sad to read it so I won't comment.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

From a conversation with Bob Mionske about cyclists and the law

Bob Mionske is an attorney specializing in the law as it relates to cyclists. He was a top level racer, twice an Olympian and a US National Champion. Mionske wrote a regular legal column VeloNews for a few years and now contributes to Bicycling Magazine. I'd say he's this country's most visible spokesman for cyclists on these matters.

Here, from his web site, is a 12-minute conversation with Mionske about legal issues for cyclists.

Once again, this interview was called to our attention by the eagle-eyed David S! Whattaguy!

Called to our attn by the vigilant David S - Oprah's new campaign to get drivers off their phones!

You can follow my blog for months and months - and not find a reference to Oprah Winfrey. But Oprah earns a tip of this blogger's cap for her position on cell-phoning at the wheel. Here's a link to - the no phone zone!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Oldest US bicycle roadracing photo I've ever seen...

This is a shot of the field before the start of the Bob Brown 30-mile road race in Berkeley CA in by-God 1947. I recognize a few of the riders' names (but not Bob Brown's) from hearing about them as legends in American cycling history. Long before the bike boom of the early '70s, long before Americans cared much about fitness, long before electronic Dura-Ace.... What a great old shot!

Andrew Ritchie, mentioned in the text, has just completed his second Major Taylor biography, sure to be a tale well told. Here's a link to Jim Langley's blog and a review of Major Taylor, the Fastest Bicycle Racer in the World.

Nineteen-forty-seven. Think of it!

Added later: You wonder if some or many of the guys in the photo had been exposed to road racing while stationed in Europe during WWII. Certainly there was velodrome racing in the States pre-war as the text suggests, but road racing? I think not.

Read the article and Don't Forget to Vote!

Here's the piece. A teenage kid in England repeatedly tried to run a cyclist down (or off the road). The lad chose the wrong cyclist....

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Brendan and Tony - nearing Phoenix!

If you have so far resisted the links I have provided to my buddy Brendan's trip blog, Just Another Bike Ride Across America, here's your opportunity: Join Brendan and Tony as they pedal across This Great Land. Today, they are in Arizona, west of Phoenix, rolling silently past thousands of discarded bottles of pee and at least one rabbit of unusual size.

How 'bout a contest? Estimate the number of foreclosed dwellings Brendan and Tony will ride by on their way across Phoenix and environs, and win an acre of pristine desert (plenty of room for that pool!) 65 miles from the nearest workplace, a meth lab. Plus an F250 Harley-Davidson Edition for your commute. Don't forget the sunscreen!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The plot thickens....

From the Miami Herald. Won't take you a minute to read, but you'll be shaking your head all day thinking about it.... It's all about the perp, I'm afraid.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

San Francisco, 1906

This is a YouTube video sent by my friend Fred at Arrowhead Motorsports in Moab, here's the description:

A film taken from a streetcar traveling down Market Street in San Francisco in 1906, a few days before the earthquake/fire destroyed the area.
This film, originally thought to be from 1905 until David Kiehn with the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum figured out exactly when it was shot. From New York trade papers announcing the film showing to the wet streets from recent heavy rainfall & shadows indicating time of year & actual weather and conditions on historical record, even when the cars were registered (he even knows who owned them and when the plates were issued!).. It was filmed only four days before the quake and shipped by train to NY for processing. Amazing but true!

This is a little eerie to watch but entertaining. Watch the cyclists and drivers. Nothing changes....

VeloNews says Eddy's health is good since cancer fight! Cancer fight...?

I'm super pleased to hear that Eddy Merckx is doing well since his bout with intestinal cancer a few years ago. He got well without my best wishes for his recovery - because I never knew he was ill!

Did everyone know but me? I thought he was back on his bike and that's why he lost all that weight....

Thanks to David S and, we learn that Eddy did not have cancer after all, just a stomach ailment that runs in his family. Here's the item.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Our friend Brendan is rolling toward Saint Augustine!

Here's his first off-and-riding post - from San Diego and points east, specifically Alpine, CA!

A five minute youtube video: Rahsaan Bahati re his foundation

This is fun to watch and listen to. It's inspiring. It's road sprinter Rahsaan Bahati promoting his foundation - an effort to lift at-risk kids "out of Compton." Thanks one again Donald!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

It's a bird! It's a plane! No... It's Bicycle Repairman!!

Here is an old sketch from those daffy Monte Python dudes. The world's full of ordinary Supermen, and the guy who saves the day, the guy who stands for truth, justice and smooth derailleur gears, is.... look! There on the bus! It's.... Bicycle Repairman!

Thanks Donald!

From If it's easy to read, it's probably true....

This piece, by Drake Bennett, talks about how things are presented and how we accept them. For instance, if we ask, How many animals of each kind did Moses take on the ark?, the font will change the number of us who fail to realize that Moses wasn't on the ark at all....

We love the easy to read and easy to understand. We prefer to invest in companies with names that are easy to pronounce. We love the familiar: "If it's familiar, it hasn't eaten us yet." We find beauty in the familiar.

This piece is a bit long but interesting all the way through.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The music died....fitfy-one years ago today

February 3, 1959, a light airplane crashed in rural Iowa taking the lives of the pilot, the Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly.

Last year in miracle warm weather I rode my motorcycle to the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock TX for a memorial weekend of events. This year it's too cold to go but I'm there in spirit, listening to Buddy Holly on Pandora.

I was a month away from my seventeenth birthday when the plane crashed. That day has remained in my mind the way the day of JFK's assassination a few years later has, the way 9-11 does, the way many days have that were more tragic in a cosmic sense, in a world sense.

Buddy would be in his early 70s now if not for that plane crash and given good luck through the decades. You wonder if he'd be playing Vegas, doing the same old songs every night, catching motel room keys tossed onstage by grandmothers.

Some of the Crickets, his backup group, are doing well, still playing gigs, living back home in Lubbock. Gracious men, those old country rockers, listening gratefully to seniors telling them how much they meant to them in their distant youth.

I'm sad that Buddy died so young with so much promise unfulfilled. I've been sad about his loss for 51 years this morning. I'd like to tell him how much he meant to me in my increasingly distant youth.

The new iPad... from the Guardian in the UK

Unrelated to anything else in my blog, here's a hysterically funny piece from the Guardian. Written brilliantly by Charlie Brooker. Charlie, I'll read anything you write!

When gas goes up, we buy Priuses and Civics, right?

David S sent me this link. I'm not familiar with the source, but it seems legit and the graphics are pretty. It supports what we see on the streets, not what we read in the papers. Ford stores aren't folding; correct me if I'm wrong. Is that because they're selling so many of those terrific new Focuses? Check this out.... Thanks, David!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Posed photos of models of old cars and period scenery

If you have a hint of nostalgia or if you're over 50, you'll love these photos. If you're like me, you'll have to remind yourself often that you're not looking at cars and buildings, you're looking at Michael Paul Smith's models. Terrific slide show!

Jay Leno recreates old car film - in a new Mercedes SLS AMG gullwing

Is there a secret auto racecourse near your urban home? Here's Jay Leno in a lovely automobile, driving, chatting and showing you one of his favorite secret courses in otherwise gridlocked LA.

From the Wheels section in today's NY Times online. Wonderful six minute film.... Enjoy!

The Hurt Locker

Tamar and I are thrilled that The Hurt Locker, a film about the Iraq war directed by Kathryn Bigelow, has been recognized by nine (!) Oscar nominations. It's brilliant and harrowing and disturbing to watch. We rented the DVD a few weeks ago.

When you tell people about The Hurt Locker, they ask you to repeat the title and want to tell you about Avatar. Clearly, Hurt Locker was under-publicized.

While you're watching The Hurt Locker, it's as if you are in the vehicles and on the ground with the soldiers, a small crew of guys who defuse unexploded bombs - in city streets and the countryside. All around you are locals - maybe just rubberneckers, maybe the enemy - with detonators in their hands.

Another Portland article - with a few surprises

This piece, from what I assume is an independent Portland paper - the Bee - talks about what the neighborhoods and the city will have to do to encourage folks to ride or walk instead of drive. I was most interested in what Portland's Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller said about the relative costs of bike facilities vs urban freeway - and where our personal transport money goes.

Worth reading for sure.

Monday, February 1, 2010

LeMond/Trek feud ends, but not with a bang

Here, from James Raia's Examiner page, is the story of the feud, in brief, and the charity payoff. This item is all over the cycling news, but Raia does as good a job as anyone at describing the dust as it settles. Both parties were naughty boys but only one had to sit in the corner, so to speak....

A fun column from Ann Arbor - about sidewalk cyclists and (gosh) bloomers!

We're talking the 1880s here. In this delightful piece by Laura Bien from the Ann Arbor Chronicle, Bien cites the paper's archives on hot topics from 130 years ago, some of which have reheated themselves only recently....

We don't hear much about bloomers these days, but they were objects of horror and derision back then - "Only pretty women should wear them!"