This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and develops a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Statistically speaking

The blustering inconsistency of November has rambled from 70F down to more predictable freezing temperatures.  The only characteristic we have found was the removal of leaves from every single branch.  Thanks to the winds we have finally seen the entrance of that transition between fall and winter.  Sunrise silhouettes each and every twig.
       Now, we have a barren norm.  While we wait for the first arctic clipper to blast a layer of snow off Lake Michigan across the fields.   I have to think about moving my bikes around so my car will fit into the garage.  There it will be ready, and closer to the charger since the battery will undoubtedly be dead when I need it   It won't be long before the streets are transformed 
into new and challenging single tracks of ice and snow to play in.

In the meantime, the shadows
 are long and early in the afternoon.
Base layers are out now and we start trading
 sweat on our brows for frosted eyelashes,
and finger-less gloves for hand warmers in our mittens.
   A new idea has been launched from the self proclaimed bike capitol, Portland.   Nearly Killed Me
is a new website where we can begin to log our close calls.  While only in it's infancy, it has the potential to produce some remarkable and realistic statistics about dangerous driving habits.  I'm sure it will accumulate it's share of data from over reaction, but if we are responsible and report incidents on a regular basis, it could be very illuminating to the public once enough data is compiled.  It's noteworthy, at least to me, that the announcement of the site came from our City Planner who has proven to be a tireless cycling advocate.  I've already reported one very close encounter with an SUV which nearly side swiped me.  I hope the rest of you do.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Going places.

         Where exactly have I been lately?  Nowhere I can think of which means there is nothing but local riding around to do with the onset of fall.  Weather has been intoxicating and I have been out enjoying it rather than sitting around in my pajamas writing about it.  Despite the extended warm weather the spandex hamsters are planning their winter time "training" in front of the TV.  I suppose that Strava provides some vicarious competition for the change of seasons.  
            In the meantime, this was provided about Olso's intention to eliminate cars.  It created a little flame up with a bike club local who let his true colors fly.  It seems the traditional arguments against riding a bike are his fall back; no cars=no business, what about cold?  Snow? Dressing properly?  No way.  Really, without cars, how could anybody get somewhere to ride their bikes?   It's all so confusing.  On the other hand, Oslo is not the only place trying to eradicate the auto.  Indianapolis seems to be having an impressive run at it.  In this city eliminating on street parking for cars would be helpful.  It would reduce congestion, fill up the parking garages which are only 40-60% utilized, provide more room to share the road safely and incentive to ride or walk rather than drive. 
 Some people believe.
I'm seeing indications at the grocery store.  This is the first spotting of one totally geared LHT at the bike rack.  Everything from 4 panniers, a frame bag, what looks like VO crazy bars 
and a BM Luxos headlight which looks to be pregnant with twins of
the little pipsqueek on my bikes.
Then there was this shiny tasteful vintage Cannondale with matching Brooks Saddle and tape.
It looks like a nice ride with clean looking fillet brazed joints.
It's the kind of thing you should expect at Earth Fare one of out great new institutionalized hippie food chains.  I'm guessing it belongs to the clerk who wears a kilt and nose ring, but I could be wrong.  It looks like something I would ride, maybe I should get a nose ring, maybe a man-bun.
Well, it's encouraging to see people going places rather than riding back to their cars.

Monday, October 19, 2015

K.I.S.S. it!

There are a lot of confusing things in this world.   After reading one of my posts about a trip I took last summer another blogger asked how I suggest people make time for cycling. The best thing I can think of is, drive less.  It's a difficult concept, but I just go somewhere.   Life's not complicated.  You don't need special clothes, a group to meet, or class to attend; just get on your bike and go somewhere.  There was also this article about riding 10,000 miles a year.   He lists all kinds of competitive groups taking time away from other things, motivated by professional trainers, coaches, groups and Strava goals to move people across the road.  I do none of those things, and ride between 10-15,000 miles a year. 
If you have one of these things, you have my sympathy,
 I'd need special motivation to ride also.
Buy something comfortable and useful, you'll ride more.
 Just get on your bike and go somewhere.
 Apparently more people are all the time.  
According to the LAB, 67% more people
 commuted by bike last year.  
That's impressive, but since the overall number
equals less than 1% it really doesn't mean much except that we may reach 2%
within 3 years...woohoo, off to the races.
Speaking of races, I went to a local cyclo-cross event this past weekend
and one of the locals had the premium setup
for his children on his xtra-cycle. 
Hook 'em while they're young.
I'd never been to one of these events and it looks kinda fun.
There were about 80-100 signed up in different categories,
They were riding everything from fat bikes to vintage touring rigs.
I've always had the impression that these things were blood and guts ordeals.
It looked like a little bit of fun
 riding around a course in the park
 and hittin' a little dirt in the infield.  
Riders came in all sizes and this little girl was impressive.
Especially since she was hardly as tall as her wheels.
I was expecting mud baths and creek fording
but they just waltzed over these barriers
making rather elegant dismounts and mounts. 
Impressive since they were clipping in and out each time.
Of course some were not having as much fun as others,
 he looked like his Strava goals were stuck up his butt sideways.
 But the youngsters exhibited the exuberance of youth:
"Can't wait for Monday!
The other girls ain't gonna believe this shit!"

Monday, October 12, 2015

"Country roads take me ....someplace...please!"

The weather guessers gifted us with indescribably beautiful atmosphere for the weekend of the "Fall Fondo."  It's the seasonal remake of the infamous Barry Roubaix gravel race.  It's like coming home for me.  I lived about 100 yards from the course until they started the race.   The race didn't drive me out, I moved, then they had the race. I had nothing to do with it and thought the whole idea was preposterous until it got famous.  After all, these are the roads I used to go to Wal-Mart.  How could you make a race out that?  Well they did and it turned out to be pretty good.  This is the first time I participated in one of the events because the weather in March, when the main race occurs, is stupidly nasty and I wouldn't ride in it if I was forced.  The fall ride is not a race and a bunch of CV enthusiasts used it as an excuse to get together.
Tim Potter had organized the CV gathering and was there
 with his collection of vintage bikes, jerseys and parts.
Greg Parker, who now owns the "Heron" brand will have new frames in production later this year.
They are truly gorgeous, I didn't want to throw your opinion with the lousy photo I took, but trust me they will be great bikes, built of Reynolds tubing by Waterford .
People came rolling in on road, touring and mountain bikes of steel.
Steve Cox once again solidified his reputation by taking on the Barry Roubaix course
on a 1960's Frejus track bike.  Yes, I said fixie on the Barry Roubaix.
  The man is a BADASS, 
certifiably crazy, but he got it done.
Beyond the 10 or 15 of us riding real bikes, there was a few hundred enthusiasts riding the normal collection of fat, cross, mountain and even a couple of tandems.
We all basked in the glory of the day and the season,
as well as the legendary sand mire of Sager Rd.
I only found myself walking 20 feet of the damnable pit,
 so the Hunq done me proud in that regard.
The rest of the roads were pretty much as we had found them a couple of weeks ago.
The ride was relatively easy and I just had to help a few people out with the route.
They would stand at an intersection and stare around in a circle muttering something about Garmin.
I would just yell the proper direction, they would say; "But Garmin..."  
"Garmin didn't live here, follow me."  I would say.  Some did, some got lost.
Sooner or later, everybody made it back to sample some Founders beer,
and talk about old days when bikes were more than plastic toys.
There was music, a big fire bowl and did I say beer?
The CV people had plenty to discuss,
like correcting the upgrades to stay period correct
or just saying fuck it and using zipties
and duct tape to keep your saddle from splaying.
A good first attempt this year, hopefully it will happen again and maybe the Riv contingent from a couple of weeks ago will be adding to the head badge collection.