Sunday, December 31, 2006

2007: Now what?

Here's a traditional year's end chestnut, a post about resolutions and predictions for the New Year. I can't avoid giving this a bit of personal spin from a cyclist's perspective. I try to hit a balance between optimism and hope, and a more realistic view that doesn't slide into cynicism.

Resolution: I will strive mightily to avoid doing something stupid in the coming year. That runs the gamut from avoiding doing something stupid in traffic to avoiding saying something stupid to anyone in the immediate area. If I could bite my tongue and choke back some of the more obvious stupidities that spring from my mouth like toads, life around the house would be better.

Prediction: I will undoubtedly do something stupid in the coming year, and what's more, I'll write about it. After all, if I'm going to have some bad moments, I have to share them. And if those of you reading this get a few laughs from it, so much the better.

Resolution: I will try to talk less and listen more. This is a perennial favorite, and I've actually had some success with it, mostly at work.

Prediction: Toads will still leap from my mouth from time to time.

Resolution: I will make a Herculean effort to be nice to those few motorists who treat me badly, despite their bad attitudes, spotty personal hygiene, familial in-breeding, and intelligence rivaling that of small kitchen appliances. I will overlook their shortcomings, both intellectual and anatomical, and refrain from making rude comments on them. In this, there is some chance I will fail.

Prediction: The motoring public will continue to have a minority who view cyclists as a nuisance, to be endangered whenever possible, honked at, sideswiped, and otherwise harassed. Though there isn't any scientific basis for my hypothesis, I believe this occurs because stupid people breed faster than intelligent ones, and that stupidity may really be a dominant gene. I am afflicted with it myself now and then, though this may be hard to believe.

Resolution: I will get my weight under 200 pounds.

Prediction: Yeah, right, pudgy boy. Have you ever met a cookie you DIDN'T like?

Resolution: I will do preventive maintenance, fixing things before they fall apart, lubricating before the squeaks begin, and replacing those inner tubes that seem to be composed entirely of patches. I will remember to carry spare batteries for my lights.

Prediction: I'll have a flat tire on a dark road. My lights will slowly go dim, and the spare batteries will be dead.

Resolution: I will carry some biscuits for those dogs that chase me on occasion, hoping that by doing so they'll look forward to meeting a cyclist who hands out goodies and that their behavior will change.

Prediction: For those dogs that won't change, I'll fantasize about carrying the .45 ACP. That'll learn 'em.

Resolution: I'll ride more and drive less. As it is now, I ride to work most days. So if I expect to ride more, it means riding for pleasure on the weekends, doing some regional tours, and even the local time trial series (if it makes a re-appearance this season).

Prediction: Jordan will get his driver's license this year, and there's a good chance my Ford will be gone in the spring. I won't have much choice but to ride more.

Resolution: Tonight's party will be one to remember!

Prediction: I'll be asleep in bed by 10:30.

Living with blondes: Part LXXVIII

Lyndsay said, "Dad, the headlights in my Blazer are very dim. It's hard to see at night."

I asked if there was a voltmeter on the dash. She said there is.

"OK, check the voltage as the motor cranks when you start it. If it's dropping to 10 volts when you start the engine, we may need to put the battery on the charger for a while. You drive a lot of short trips and the battery may not be charging enough."

She was leaving for church, so I had a thought to check the lights before she left. The daytime running lights came on when she started the engine.

"Turn on your lights", I said. She pushed the main lighting switch and the low beams came on. They looked fine.

"Turn on the high beams." Nothing happened.

I walked around to the driver's side door. The window came down and she said, "Those ARE the high beams."

That's when it hit me. She's been driving around at night relying on the daytime running lights! No wonder she thought the headlights were dim!

I showed her how the main light switch works and how to turn on the high beams with the stalk-activated switch. "If the dash lights aren't on, your headlights and taillights aren't on. If you drive like that at night, you can get a ticket!" She was wide-eyed at this. Lyndsay is a stickler for rules and I suspect she'd be reduced to tears if she were stopped and ticketed.

So if you've seen a dimly lit Blazer cruising around Owasso at night, it just may have been my daughter.

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

A bit of fun...

Here's a bit of fun - which superhero are you? As you can see from the results, I'm most likely to be the Hulk! And here I was thinkin' that it was the tequila that made me turn green....

Your results:
You are Hulk

Green Lantern
The Flash
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
You are a wanderer with
amazing strength.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...

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Friday, December 29, 2006

Friday Musette

Advocacy, education, and 'toxic talk'...

This is not another talk radio anti-cycling rant. This one seems to be appalling ignorance, pure and simple, and to their credit, both the on-air personalities and the General Manager handled this well, though the GM's statements about moped riders could be equally applied to cyclists.

“The less wheels you have the less rights you have to the road” is bad enough, but one of the hosts came up the old ‘open your door into a cyclist’ chestnut.

The link goes to the North Carolina Coalition for Bicycle Driving webpage where the MP3 file can be heard.

The Big Talker Responds

The December 18, 2006 broadcast of The Town Hall radio show on The Big Talker 106.3 FM in Wilmington, NC drew objections from the cycling community when, after discussing a traffic incident involving a motor scooter, the hosts asked bicyclists to stay on the sidewalk and claimed that bicyclists do not have the right to operate on roadways because they do not pay license fees. The comments aired clearly indicated ignorance of state law and best bicycling practices.

Paul Knight, Vice-president and General Manager of Sea-Comm Media, responded to bicyclists' emails to the station with the email copied below, and provided a recording of the original broadcast in MPEG3 format, also provided here. While it appears that no malice was intended by the show hosts, cyclists in the area hope that the radio station will correct the situation by making its audience aware of the actual laws and safe practices related to roadway bicycling. Wilmington-area bicyclists are continuing a dialog with the station management to hopefully reach an understanding about the importance of safe driving and respecting cyclists' legal rights on our roadways.

Bicycling Education in the News...

Here's an oddity in bicycle-related news stories. The triumphant announcements of a new bike lane or path are a dime-a-dozen. I came across one glowing account of a new path that was only a quarter of a mile long, connecting a park and an elementary school. Sounds like a sidewalk, but it was built with cycling funds. Hmmmm.

Anyway, here's the Houston Chronicle story about bicycling education:

Dec. 28, 2006, 12:00AM
Course valuable tool for riders
Two-day session can benefit rookies and veterans alike

For The Chronicle

If one of your New Year's resolutions is to become a better all-around cyclist, the Road One course should be on your to-do list.

The course, which offers both classroom and on-the-road instruction, is one of the educational programs from the League of American Bicyclists, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit serving the interests of the country's 57 million cyclists.

Road One provides tools and techniques designed to give cyclists the confidence they need to ride safely in traffic and with other riders. The course covers bike safety, skills, general maintenance and crash-avoidance maneuvers. While the two-day, nine-hour session is recommended for novice adult cyclists, even riders who've been around the block a time or two can benefit.

"We find that a lot of people are using techniques that they learned when they were children, and they just never improved them as they grew up," said Houston's Peter Wang, a certified League of American Bicyclists instructor. "Some of them have even done quite lengthy rides. It's real simple things like use of gears, use of brakes, mounting and dismounting a bike properly. All of those things impact safety."

A portion of the classroom tutorial on the first day also covers equipment and how to make the right choices for the type of riding a cyclist is doing. Most of the second day of the course is spent on cycling drills and firsthand instruction on the road.

"We take them out on public streets that aren't lightly traveled streets," Wang said. "Many people have never ridden on a public roadway before, and they're amazed that they can do it and feel safe about it. That's a real eye-opener for a lot of people."

Wang also makes it a point to address some of the common mistakes he has seen over the years. For solo riders, the No. 1 error is riding too far to the right of the road.

"They tend to hug the curb too much," he said. "They need to get out two to three feet from the edge of the roadway. It makes you more visible to cars. If you ride out into the road in the righthand tire track, like a motorcycle, it's obvious to most drivers that there's no way they can get past you in the same lane, so they will change lanes and pass you that way."

In group-riding and pace-line situations, Wang believes the most common mistake is riders overlapping their front wheel with the rear wheel of cyclists in front of them. Crossing wheels significantly increases the potential for collisions.

The Road One course, which costs $36, is offered in Houston about six times a year through Leisure Learning Unlimited. The Rice Village location of Bike Barn has hosted recent classes, which drew about 40 students throughout 2006. The next session is scheduled for Feb. 10 and 11.

A brief, off-topic rant...

The following is from my pet peeves files. It's not the content, though there's precious little of it. No, it's the style that bothers me. Writing is a form of communication and if it's intended to reach as wide an audience as possible, it should be easy to read. This isn't. (Anyone who responds with similar vacuous comments will be tracked down and their telephone numbers given out to insurance agents trying to sell whole-life policies! Your phone will NEVER stop ringing!)

... on monday janna cum to my sci tuiton lah then she wear so hebat haha...then tat nite jee an call me... then he say.. kelly u ver gud rite or not help me... i say wat first... he say u sure help rite... then i say c first... he say call janna i was lik blur then d line cut i call janna and say ... jee an ask me call u... she was like hah? then i sms jee an...he say ask janna stand in front her gate... so i tell janna... then dunno wat lah.. janna say jee an cum her house at 11 something on bicycle(cuz they live quite near) i was damn freakin envy...

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Dubious advice about fatherhood...

Coelecanth said...

"My gift for this holiday season turned out to be news of a life changing sort. I'm going to be a father....You gave me some very good advice about marriage, any advice about fatherhood would be greatly appreciated. I don't mind saying I'm terrified, in a happy sort of way, about the whole prospect."

Seriously, being slightly terrified is a very good starting point! I wish I had some sage advice about fatherhood. I can relate some of my experiences and what I've learned from them, but I won't claim they're universally true. And if I really want to be truthful, I'll have Mary read this before I publish it. She never hesitates to set me straight, and though I don't like to admit it, that's sometimes necessary.

Children change our lives in ways we can never imagine. Before the kids were born, Mary and I had a routine we followed on weekends. We'd eat out and go to the movies. When the babies arrived, all that ended. Now that they're teenagers, we're beginning to realize that our lives will change yet again when they leave, and we can't imagine what it will be like.


My father, a wise and thoughtful man, said that husbands should be able to walk on water, and the husbands of pregnant women should be able to walk about three feet ABOVE the water. We have to consult that inner compass, the one that directs us toward love. When she's getting whipsawed by hormones - a common occurrence in pregnancy - check that compass often! The mood swings will pass just like a summer storm, and that 'love compass' keeps us headed in the right direction. It's best to take a long-term view of our relationship because it helps weather those storms. Actually, this is good advice long after the pregnancy is over.

Babies arrive without operating manuals or instructions. In the absence of those instructions we pattern ourselves on our parents for good or bad. I know people who hated some things about their parents, yet they repeat the same behaviors. In my life, I've deliberately tried to avoid some of the things my parents did, yet now and then, I hear my father's voice coming out of my own mouth! It's eerie.

That lovely bride, the woman you married because you love her above all else, suddenly has her attention fixed on a squalling little baby that interrupts your sleep, your meals, and nearly every other aspect of your life. Let's just say that when the situation is becoming amorous one evening, and the crying starts down the hall, she won't hesitate to leave you in an instant. Try to become accustomed to slipping to the number two position in her life, consult that inner compass, and be thankful that you're still ahead of the cats and dogs (maybe).

When the kids were little, I thought it would last forever. It certainly seemed to be forever at the time. But looking back on it now, I can appreciate what my mother said, "They grow up too fast!" They believe in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny. It's a magical time that passes quickly.


When my own kids were babies, I managed to get eight hours of sleep every day - about 2 hours at a time. I worked rotating shifts back then. I'd arrive home after midnight, so I could stay up until 5AM or so when Mary would take over and let me sleep through the morning. Caring for babies was definitely a team effort, but in all honesty, I can say that I was the junior member. Moms carry the bulk of the load. I think that's why Mother's Day arrives before Father's Day. It's only right.

The racing cyclist's maxim, to eat before you're hungry, drink before you're thirsty, and rest before you're tired is good advice for a new parent too. You'll discover that kids offer a wealth of interruptions. There have been times when I've finished reading the Sunday paper on Tuesday, for instance. Meals may be irregular, just like sleep will be at a premium.

You learn to be flexible about time. We'd decide to leave the house to go somewhere and actually leave 4 or 5 hours later - after something involving the kids intervened.

It's important to know where you can obtain disposable diapers, formula, ipecac, and infant Tylenol at 3AM. It only seems like you're wrapping their butts in dollar bills, until you run out of diapers in the middle of the night. Then you'll give some consideration to actually wrapping their butts in dollar bills as you trudge off to a convenience store in the rain.

Colic can be cured with voodoo. Jordan had colic. It results from the build-up of stomach gas the baby can't belch out. You'd think this wouldn't be a problem because they vomit everything else out. It causes pain, and if your kid has colic, he'll scream and scream and scream and scream, sometimes for hours. This makes parents go crazy. We found that walking with him helped, but he still screamed. I wore hearing protectors as I walked him around in the house. I walked outdoors for miles. He'd be quiet when the cool night air hit his face, but as soon as we returned to the house, the screaming resumed. Sometimes vibration and white noise will quiet a colicky baby. Riding in a car didn't help. Putting him in a car seat atop the drier didn't help. (As an aside, laundry is a daily chore with newborns and small children, so the drier runs constantly.) Finally, Mary discovered that if he was in his car seat and she ran the vacuum cleaner - ominously named "Jaws" - around him, he'd quiet down and fall asleep. Now, you may not believe any of this, but if your nerves are totally frazzled by a screaming baby some evening, you'll consider voodoo. Trust me.


Everything breakable in the house migrates upward, out of reach of small hands. One couple I met said that they'd teach their child the meaning of 'No!' rather than moving all the breakables. Guess what? Everything moved. You'll find yourself paying attention to all those strange childproof gadgets and elderly women will suddenly become valuable information resources.

A three-year-old child is basically a wild animal cleverly disguised as a human being. They bite. They throw temper tantrums. And sometimes they really need a quick swat on the Pampers. Political correctness and Dr. Seuss be damned.

Regardless, your language improves. A friend's daughter was visiting grandma, and when the little girl dropped her plate over the side of the high chair, she peered after it. "Dammit!" she yelled. Granny gave Karl a stony look and asked, "Where did she learn THAT, I wonder?"

School-age children

You'll realize that professional educators share some of your goals regarding your children, yet they differ in others. Allow them to make recommendations. You make the decisions.

Eventually, every parent hears, "You’re not being FAIR!" My reply was, "I don't have to be fair. I have to do what's right." You're his father, not his best friend. Set firm limits and don't hesitate to explain your decisions. On the other hand, there are times a child cannot understand the reasoning process or the more complicated decisions. For instance, you'll teach them that telling lies is a bad thing. Then they'll want to know why it's OK to tell Mrs. So-and-so that she looks wonderful when in reality she weighs as much as a Buick. Tiptoeing through this minefield is difficult for both parents and children. One thing I've learned is to be able to admit when I've been wrong and apologize to them for it. Sure, the kids will get angry at you, and you'll get angry at them. It's time to consult that inner compass again.


At this point, as a friend put it, you realize you're just along for the ride. Whatever character traits you instilled in then at an early age are the traits that will carry them through adolescence. You can try to change them, but for the most part, their values and character are set in stone. My son, that same boy who cannot clean up his room, works continuously at his fast-food job, emptying garbage cans, cleaning tables, and generally keeping busy. His supervisors noticed. I call him the pod Jordan; because the one who lives with us would have someone else breathe for him if he could. We must have done something right, but for the life of me, I can’t explain what it was. Other parents tell us he’s very polite, and says ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. But at home we get one word responses at best.

“As the twig is bent the tree inclines” can clearly be applied to teenagers.

Somewhere between infancy and adolescence, you'll teach them to ride a bike. They'll learn to balance and brake. There will be some skinned knees and gashed hands. You'll fret and fuss when they accompany you on their first road ride in traffic. Then there will come a day your heart will be in your mouth as they ride off alone for the first time. Keep this in mind if you have a daughter, because that heart-in-your-mouth feeling will come back when they start talking about weddings and marriage, but it will be amplified a hundredfold.

Finally, as I've said before, there's no one of us as smart as the whole bunch put together. I'm certainly not an expert on the subject of raising children, but I'm willing to tell you what I've learned, much of it the hard way. Those of you reading this who already have children are cordially invited to post your thoughts in comments.

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Some quick notes...

Christmas involved copious amounts of coffee! My mom-in-law gave me a DeLonghi drip coffe maker. This has a gold-plated screen filter rather than paper filters, and it has a timer so a fresh pot of coffee will be waiting when I get up in the morning. Heaven! The kids gave me some French roast, a Kona blend, and a Jamaican Blue blend. I'll be way over-caffeinated this week.

Also, and I consider this a gift of the first magnitude, my daughter asked to ride the tandem with me! Her strength is coming back. She's able to lift some of the trays at work again, something she hasn't been capable of doing for months. And she's been riding the stationary bike at low and moderate resistance levels, but it tires her quickly. This afternoon, she asked to ride the tandem. We'll probably drive down to Mohawk Park and ride some loops. I thought about the Osage Prairie Trail, but an out and back may be too much for her. We can do shorter loops in the park.

I ran into Adam Pratt at the grocery store. He was off from work today, too. Adam asked if I'd join him on a ride this afternoon, but I begged off. I'm not nearly as fast as Adam. Besides, I felt cold and the wind made me feel colder. The only serviceable bike in the garage right now is my fixed-gear commuter. I could imagine spinning furiously while trying to keep pace with Adam! (On second thought - the Giant is probably serviceable, but I should inflate the tires hard and see that they don't leak down overnight before I trust it on a cold winter ride. Off to the garage!)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

...and another thing...

Graphic Novel

Nobody does fear mongering better than the NRA. Nobody. Not Thunderhead Alliance. Not Bikes Belong. Not LAB. Not even the bicycle helmet do-gooders.

Wonkette has a marvelous piece on a graphic novel the NRA is publishing. The illustrations are absolutely wonderful! I have to get a copy.

I really have to admire effective campaigns the NRA conducts. They raise money over real and imagined threats to the Second Amendment, all without ever challenging the basis of most of our gun control laws. That would be the act enacted in 1934 (I think) that defined what types of weapons Americans can possess. If the "shall not be infringed" phrase is taken at face value, we have to right to own ANY firearm, regardless of type. I don't want or need a full-auto. I'm too cheap to buy all that ammunition! But the NRA has never challenged the law. They raise plenty of money through fear mongering over the threats, yet they're not interested in resolving the issue in the courts. Most likely, they'd lose and their membership base would evaporate.

A (Cyclist's) Christmas Story

It reads like re-take on the Red Ryder BB Gun chestnut, but it's entertaining nonetheless, particularly if you're an fixed-gear obsessed Italophile!


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Twas the night before, yada, yada, yada...

Actually, as I write this, it's the morning before Christmas. I dutifully completed my shopping by about this time yesterday, so I finished early this year!

But I can't help but think back on previous Christmas seasons. In comparison to last year, the family is doing much better. We faced a bleak Christmas then, because our car required very expensive repairs and it sucked the bank account dry. It was a depressing holiday season.

Still, we've met families in far worse shape. I'm incredibly lucky to have a wife that I adore, and kids that are growing up to be good, upstanding young adults. They have their moments, of course, like any other kids do. But when I hear other parents talking about a child in trouble with the law, in rehab, or in rebellion, I'm thankful that my biggest problems seem to revolve around dirty laundry strewn across the floor.

I learned of another family here in Owasso with a need for more transportation. Presently, they have one car but both parents work. They share the car, but like similar situations with one car families, there's inevitable conflict at times. The father works close to home, so I'm looking for a suitable bicycle for his work transportation. I'll give him the Road1 course instruction gratis.

To my mind, giving is what this season is truly about. Within the family, we give each other things that may make us more comfortable, but they're often things that are not entirely necessary. For instance, I'll probably receive a new pair of ski gloves to replace my old ones. The old pair is still serviceable, but the insulation is compressed in places, making for cold spots. Having two pair of gloves seems frivolous when I know there are people who not only don't have gloves, they have no winter coat, hat, or scarf.

Since I'm on vacation for the coming week, one of our family projects is to look through our closets and sort out any usable clothing for one of the charities here. Yes, there are needy people even in our suburban community. I can't think of a better gift than to see that someone gets an item that they truly need, like a new coat, or a warm hat and scarf.

Tomorrow we'll sit down to a modest dinner and probably eat too much. We'll sit at the table after the meal is over, telling the same old stories we've shared every year. The kids will be mildly bored but they'll pay polite attention. I can only hope that years from now, they'll remember all those stories, add to them, and bore my grandchildren.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Back in the saddle again...

Lyndsay bought me a new/used saddle for my birthday, a lightly used Brooks Professional that I installed on the Centurion commuter bike this afternoon. Yes, it's used, but it's new to me, so it's a new/used saddle. That makes perfect sense! I rubbed it down with saddle soap a couple of times until it developed a deep brown color and a bit of luster. The oversized copper rivets are tarnished and dull, but I'll leave them that way. They'll buff up a little bit as the saddle gets used.

Tom had the saddle behind the counter down at his shop. I spotted it immediately and we arranged a price. I was there to pick up my new shoes, another birthday gift. Tom said to Mary, "You've spoiled him, you know!" She readily agreed. We debated the point off and on while driving home.

I wanted to put the saddle on the bike when we arrived, but I couldn't find it. "Where's the Brooks Pro?" I asked.

"It's your present, so you can't have it!" Mary replied. The logic of that statement still eludes me.

My birthday rolled around on Tuesday. (For the curious, I turned 55.) We had a nice family dinner. Mary made manicotti, something the kids hadn't had before and they were a little dubious until she told them it was very similar to lasagna. The dove in, forks flying. My son really should have a t-shirt that says "Keep Hands and Feet Clear!" At sixteen, he's a bottomless pit for groceries. Even Lyndsay ate a lot, and that's something that I like to see. She's still recovering from her summer illness, and she would benefit by gaining a few pounds.

We had gifts and cake and ate too much. It was a good time.

I hadn't been feeling well for a couple of days, however, and on Wednesday it was all I could do to get out of bed. I know it's going to be a bad day when I need some ibuprofen first thing in the morning. My legs and back hurt. My throat was raspy, and I just felt tired. I started the Ford and drove to work.

Today (Thursday) was a little better. I drove to work again. My legs still hurt, but the other aches seem to be subsiding. It was probably just a mild cold. I'll be back on the bike tomorrow.....on my new/used saddle.

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Response to Paul Dorn

(Sigh) Normally, I skip over the passive-aggressive aspects of condescension, and go directly to ridicule, mockery, and sarcasm. Why waste time? While it's certainly fun, it does nothing to shepherd an argument along. And I use the term ‘argument’ in the formal sense – a reasoned discussion. Besides, Mary gives me that over-the-top-of-the-glasses look when I indulge my low taste in sarcasm, so I suppose she's a moderating influence. I take pains to avoid the wrath of She Who Must Be Obeyed.

With that in mind, I discarded my hasty response to Mr. Dorn in favor of the following.

Apparently Mr. Dorn equates advocacy with facilities. "I support bicycle education. But it is no substitute for advocacy." Paint and pavers exist to 'give the people what they want' and what they want are bike lanes because so-called advocacy organizations have told them so for better than 30 years. They fear riding in traffic, and ‘advocates’ like Mr. Dorn reinforce their fears by telling them about our “hostile streets”. Most cyclists are totally unaware of bicycling education, and 'advocates' like Mr. Dorn - despite his LCI credentials - would prefer they remain blissfully ignorant. So it's more than a little disingenuous to suggest that vehicular cycling is an old way of thinking. Most cyclists have never been exposed to it. It’s a startling revelation when they discover that riding in traffic isn't a terribly fearful experience.

Facts, however interesting, are irrelevant.

The paint and pave types can't get through a paragraph without hyping the supposed danger of riding a bicycle. “The sad reality is that bicyclists in much of auto-centric America face hostile street conditions.” If it's so dangerous, where are all the bodies? They pick statistics very selectively to support their positions, or if the data doesn’t fit their predetermined outcome, it’s ignored. This isn’t confined to bicycling advocacy. It’s a common characteristic of advocacy groups. In the absence of hard data, there’s always a temptation to substitute anecdotes or analogies.

Studies of cycling risk have widely varying conclusions. The risk per mile traveled makes cycling look far more dangerous than riding in a car, yet the risk per hour of exposure makes it look less. We could try to compare the injuries and deaths per unit of population, but it’s hard to obtain an accurate figure on the number of cyclists in this country. I’ve seen estimates from 40 to 80 million, and in statistical terms, that qualifies as a wild-assed-guess. Frankly, I don’t know of a way to correlate the differing figures, but my seat-of-the-pants estimation – my own wild-assed-guess - is that riding a bicycle is a little more dangerous than driving a car because motorists seldom topple over, but it's far less dangerous than riding a motorcycle. Still, hyping the danger serves no one, unless you're a so-called advocacy group using fear to drive up membership and grab a bigger slice of publicly funded pie.

Mr. Dorn linked bicycling education with this: “…note the "success" of motorist education--42,000 deaths a year and counting.” It implies that education is ineffective in reducing injuries and deaths. Yet even a casual study of cyclists finds that experienced cyclists have far less chance of crashing than young cyclists or novice adults. Presumably, Mr. Dorn read this in Effective Cycling when he received his LCI certification. Perhaps he’s forgotten.

It’s not about the money…
A friend and vehicular cycling advocate was on her way into a meeting with an elected official when she was stopped by some paint and pave types who advised her to keep quiet during the meeting, so they could get the funding they wanted. Whether their pet projects were a responsible use of public funds was a question they didn't want to answer. As citizens, we demand that government use our money wisely. If a public project is intended to benefit only a small portion of road users, and its intended for the exclusive use of those users, is it a responsible use of taxpayer’s money? If we built a road for the exclusive use of Lexus drivers, the taxpayers who paid for it would be justifiably outraged. Bike lanes are no different.

Build it and they will come....

When a new bike lane is established, facilities advocates happily announce it increased cycling in the area. But did it actually increase the number of cyclists, or did it merely attract existing cyclists from nearby streets onto the new facility? As far as I’m aware, there are no studies that quantify the issue. Until such studies exist, claims that new bike lanes increase the number of cyclist are just so much supposition.

Money vs. numbers of cyclists.

There was a small increase in cycling deaths in 2005. Some shrill voices were raised decrying the increase. Is this attributable to increased numbers of cyclists (presumably due to sharply higher fuel prices)? Is it a normal variation, or is some other factor responsible? Paint and pavers hype the increase without looking for the underlying cause. It’s irresponsible, but it's another example of selectively using statistics.

In the 1990s, spending for bike/ped facilities increased tenfold yet the number of cyclists remained relatively flat – if we assume (always hazardous in statistics) that the number of cyclists in the US is reflected in the number of new bikes sold. Why didn't spending more money on facilities cause a corresponding increase in the number of cyclists? The build it and they will come argument is a fallacy.

One definition of insanity is performing the same actions over and over, expecting different results. If spending more and more money doesn't result in more cyclists on our streets, why do we continue spending the money?

San Francisco’s modal increase: a “post hoc ergo propter hoc” argument…
Mr. Dorn touts the increase in modal split in SF as evidence that bikelanes increase the number of cyclists on the street. “…San Francisco, which is the only city in the US to have seen a doubling of bicycling for transportation according to U.S. Census Bureau.” On the surface, this would appear to be true, but it ignores other contributing factors. For instance, the cost of living in SF is very high. It was once the most expensive city to live in, but may have been surpassed by Boston and DC. Still, when you have to cover housing and food, automobile transportation comes in a distant third. When you consider the availability of public transportation and the headaches of parking, a bicycle becomes a far more attractive transportation mode. So touting bike lanes while ignoring simple economics may be misleading.

If I recall correctly, the US Census indicated that 3% of all trips in Oklahoma are made by bicycle. Personal observation causes me to question that, since if it were true, I’d expect to see several hundred bicyclists arriving at the maintenance base each morning. Yet there are only a handful. How did the Census arrive at that figure?

“In reality all cyclists do both, change and cope. They cope with existing conditions as they endeavor to change them. But clearly the path to a more bicyclist-friendly U.S. is to pursue change.”

I think that Mr. Dorn and I share a common goal – to see more cyclists using our streets and roads. We differ widely on how to achieve that goal, yet we’d agree that change is necessary.

It’s easy for an advocacy group to point at a strip of concrete and tout what they’ve accomplished for cyclists. It far more difficult to point out some cyclists and tout their bicycling education as an accomplishment. Changed behavior is far less obvious than that concrete slab. The existence of the concrete is a memorial to the efforts of the paint and pave groups, not unlike a tombstone. Ten years from now, let’s hope that those crumbling tombstones are all that remain of paint and pave advocacy.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

New shoes!

New shoes!

I wrote about the ecstasy of fitting new tires a long time ago. A female friend compared it to getting a new pair of shoes, something that apparently fills many women with joy, but is far beyond my comprehension.

Until now. On Saturday, I picked up my new Sidi Bullet 2 Megas from Tom's Bicycles in Tulsa.

I've been using Shimano touring shoes for a very long time, so long, in fact, that the shoes have literally begun to fall apart. They were loose enough to make out-of-the-saddle sprinting an iffy affair. I was afraid to go all out for fear they'd simply disintegrate.

I've worn various Italian-made torture devices too, shoes apparently designed by a stylish descendent of Torquemada. They looked good, but after an hour or two on the road, the shoes seemed to slowly tighten, becoming more painful with each passing mile.

To make matters worse, my feet are oddly shaped making it difficult to find shoes that fit properly. They're broad across the toes and narrow in the heel. When I was a kid, my Dad called them 'flippers'. My little toes actually curl under. I always thought that was due to poor-fitting shoes when I was small, but then I noticed my daughter's toes are the same. It's genetic. Regardless, the toes provide a pressure point against the side of my shoes. Corns are common. Sometimes the toes wear out the shoes from the inside. The Shimano shoes actually have holes worn through from my little toes.

So the Sidis were a revelation! Having shoes that do not cause pain is a truly wonderful thing. Oh, I'm sure some of you wonder how I can go on like this about a pair of shoes. Let's just say that at my age, riding a bicycle nearly every day is bound to cause some aches and pains. But when my feet hurt enough to have me hobbling around the house in the morning, my kids make fun of the "old man" because they know I can't catch them!

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Weird troubleshooting...

I don't often write about work, partly because it's boring to relate stories about repairing computers, and partly because management may not look kindly on detailed stories about aircraft maintenance. It's actually a good job and I'd like to keep it until retirement if possible. It feeds us.

But sometimes there's a truly weird event to relate, and today must have been my turn. I've been working on a 'dog' unit – one that has serious problems that are difficult to eliminate. This particular unit has a -12 volt monitor circuit that failed repeatedly. Oh, the voltage was within spec, but it had a lot of noise on it that caused the failures. I traced the problem from the monitor circuit back to the power supply. Everything on the power supply board tested OK, leading me back to the input transformer. It looked OK, but on another unit I'd encountered a similar problem due to a cracked transformer core. I decided to 'augment' the core with another piece of magnetic material. I looked around the bench. The most suitable thing was a refrigerator magnet of my hero Pepe Le Pew. So I stuck Pepe on the outside of the transformer and ran the test again.

It worked!

The extra magnet damped down the noise, allowing the unit to pass the acceptance test. Now, before you think that I sent the unit out to the field that way, please think again. It's staying in the shop until I get a replacement core assembly, though I'll admit the idea of using Pepe Le Pew refrigerator magnets to fix a computer has a certain perverse attraction. The FAA, our management, and our own QA department would stomp me with hobnailed boots. Sometimes you just have to do something a little odd in order to troubleshoot down to the component.

Bicycles can be that way too, though fortunately they're not as complicated and don't give weird failures very often. This week, my commuter bike began making a thunking noise in sync with the crankset. It could be: the bottom bracket, a pedal, a cleat, a loose crankarm, the saddle, or even the handlebars. Mysterious clicks, creaks, and thunks can be traced to any of them. What makes this one more annoying is that it comes and goes without any apparent reason. I checked the chain, chainrings, and cog without finding anything. This weekend I'll overhaul the bottom bracket. It's overdue anyway.

I had a similar problem a few years ago. There was a clicking noise coming from the bottom bracket, or so it seemed, and it only happened at night. How would darkness have any effect? It was maddening. I checked the usual suspects as listed above, but found nothing. Then the weather got really cold and I had to ride home with a sweater and anorak. That afternoon, I heard the clicking again. I stopped to look for the cause, but again, found nothing. The click occurred right at the same cadence as my pedaling. It just HAD to be the bottom bracket or something attached to it. But why would it click only when it was cold?

That's when I noticed the metal zipper pull on the anorak. It swung in and out right along with my cadence, and each time it tapped the zipper, it clicked! I felt like an idiot. But at least I was an idiot with a well-maintained bottom bracket!

New Link in Sidebar...

I've added Dave Moulton's Bike Blog to the list over in the sidebar. It's always a good idea to know people who are smarter, more experienced, and generally better informed that I am! Hey, it's a guiding principle at work. Dave Moulton is a retired framebuilder....but I'll let you read his stuff for yourself.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Marsha and her chainsaw...

Wouldn’t you know it? I haven’t been on the commuter bike for about 10 days, not since the winter weather rolled in on November 29th. The ride home that day was cold and wet, directly into a stiff north wind. The bike sat in the garage on the floor stand since then.

Naturally, when I went out to the garage to ride it to work today, it had a flat tire! Now, why didn’t I notice that last night as I cleaned and lubed the chain? It was a minor annoyance. I simply swapped the front wheel from the Bianchi and set off for work.

This morning I had a moderate headwind from the south. The temperature was an almost balmy 55F and I was working hard – and sweating hard – within a few miles. My anorak billowed like a parachute, adding even more drag going into the wind. To make matters worse, I had the theme from “The Brady Bunch” going round and round in my head. It was irritating and slightly maddening, but the tempo fit with my cadence as I ground along, and it distracted me from the effort a little bit. I toyed with alterations to the lyrics, some of them definitely obscene and others quite gruesome.

“Mrs. Brady – liked her brandy – and she downed it by the gallon every week.”

The roads were still wet in places, with treacherously slick railroad tracks and water-filled potholes. I had to pay strict attention to them too, and again, that helped get my mind off the wind.

When I finally arrived at the north gate, there was a brand new guard standing in the roadway glaring at me. He insisted I slow down almost to a stop so he could scrutinize my identification badge. Motorists, of course, just hold their badges up to the windshield and get waved through, but you never know when some pesky cyclist could be a terrorist.

“Just then Marsha – got out her chainsaw – and she hacked him into little tiny bits.”

Regardless, I made it in on time.

Not all my time was spent on the fun-filled lyrics, however. I thought about the dependency that’s fomented by some of our so-called advocacy groups. There were a few items I’d read over the weekend that kind of percolated for a while. One was written by a cyclist who bemoaned the fact that she couldn’t get from A to B on her bike because there were no bike lanes connecting the two. So she was ‘forced’ to drive somewhere to ride her bicycle. There were a couple of pieces with the usual ‘you can’t ride ABC Street because it’s too dangerous/too fast/too narrow/ too whatever’.

Many cyclists think this way and too many of our alleged advocacy groups encourage them to do so. They hype the danger of riding in traffic because their agenda calls for bike lanes on every street and roadway in the nation. Never mind if this is good for the community, good for cyclists, or good for the taxpayers. It’s VERY good for the organizations involved. Thunderhead Alliance, Bikes Belong, and sadly, even the League of American Bicyclists endorse such projects.

These bike lane proponents claim to have the needs of cyclists in mind when in fact their projects are mainly beneficial to motorists. Bike lanes do not serve the real needs of cyclists because they encourage a timid, subservient attitude in the cyclists who use them. Organizations who endorse such projects reinforce the attitude that cyclists are not meant to use our public roads and that cyclists have an inferior right to those roads. In the civil rights era, they would have been referred to as ‘Uncle Toms’. For those of you too young to remember, that’s an epithet – not a nice thing.

So the message here is to know your place, and don’t expect much more. That is, don’t expect much more unless you join the organization and send in your dues. It really does revolve around the politics of fear. In this case, the fear comes from riding in traffic, and rather than try to overcome the fear, these organizations prefer to pursue government-funded facilities. That’s fine, but the ever-increasing amount of TEA-21 money has not produced a corresponding increase in the number of cyclists. It’s money that could go to other projects that benefit today’s road cyclists.

Imagine for a moment that bicycling education programs received even a tenth of the TEA-21 money. We could reach into the schools with something like “Road User Education”, a curriculum to educate students regarding motor vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians, in effect providing them with the information regarding the proper way to share our public roads. This would involve multiple perspectives including all modes of travel. It’s very true that the world changes when you see it through someone else’s eyes.

OK. I’m done ranting for today. I’ll go back to contemplating Marsha and her chainsaw.

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LA Times Doping Story: Part 2

Honestly, this is what news journalism should be about, not celebrity worship, sex and drugs, or an endless parade of murder and mayhem. The Times is doing a public service.....Ed


Athletes see doping case appeals as futile exercise

The arbitration system is flawed, with a tilt toward accusers. Accidental and trivial cases result in harsh penalties.
By Michael A. Hiltzik, Times Staff Writer
December 11, 2006

Strict policy, or flawed system?

Second of two parts

A panel of international sports arbitrators hearing a doping case against Olympic sprinter Torri Edwards went out of their way to sing her praises.

They described Edwards, then a 27-year-old USC graduate, as "a diligent and hardworking athlete" who had "conducted herself with honesty, integrity and character."

They acknowledged that her purported breach of doping regulations was entirely unintentional, caused by the obscure additive nikethamide in a couple of otherwise innocent glucose tablets she took at an exhibition race in Martinique.

"She has not sought to gain any improper advantage or to 'cheat' in any way," they wrote in August 2004.

But the arbitrators, while expressing "unease" about the rules and acknowledging their "harshness," still found Edwards guilty of doping. Her sanction: a two-year suspension from international competition.

The punishment was indistinguishable from what could have been imposed on an athlete caught deliberately injecting steroids. It wiped out Edwards' eligibility for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

Full story at:,0,2983494.story?coll=la-headlines-sports

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Athlete's Unbeatable Foe

Here's an interesting story from the LA Times about the fundamental unfairness of the World Anti-Doping Agency. Yes, there are several anecdotes regarding top athletes, including Floyd Landis. But Dick Pound's overbearing ego is readily apparent too. When WADA is the sole judge, jury, and prosecutor in a doping case, it's absolutely contrary to any sense of fair play, particularly when an accused and convicted athlete has no recourse to our court system..........Ed

Excerpts follow:

Anti-doping authorities serve as prosecutor, judge and jury. The innocent often pay a high price.
By Michael A. Hiltzik, Times Staff Writer
December 10, 2006

Strict policy, or flawed system?

The worldwide sports anti-doping program, created to fight performanceenhancing drug use in international athletics, imposes severe punishments for accidental or technical infractions, relies at times on disputed scientific evidence and resists outside scrutiny, a Times investigation has found.

Elite athletes have been barred from the Olympics, forced to relinquish medals, titles or prize money and confronted with potentially career-ending suspensions after testing positive for a banned substance at such low concentrations it could have no detectable effect on performance, records show.

They have been sanctioned for steroid abuse after taking legal vitamins or nutritional supplements contaminated with trace amounts of the prohibited compounds. In some cases, the tainted supplements had been provided by trusted coaches or trainers.

The findings emerge from a Times examination of more than 250 anti-doping cases involving runners, cyclists, skiers, tennis players and competitors in dozens of other sports from around the world.

...Stringent anti-doping measures have become a fact of life for the thousands of athletes participating in national and international events since the creation of the World Anti-Doping Agency, or WADA, at an international sports conference in 1999. WADA's founding was prompted by a rash of doping scandals threatening the credibility of global sports.

What has evolved to protect competitive purity since then is a closed, quasi-judicial system without American-style checks and balances. Anti-doping authorities act as prosecutors, judge and jury, enforcing rules that they have written, punishing violations based on sometimes questionable scientific tests that they develop and certify themselves, while barring virtually all outside appeals or challenges.

...A test sample is typically divided into two vials, labeled "A" and "B." The "A" sample is the first to be tested. If it comes up positive for a banned substance, the athlete may demand a confirmation test of the "B" sample. If that is also positive, the code allows the agency to declare the athlete in violation of doping rules and impose a penalty ranging from a public warning to a lifetime ban. Generally, the athlete also is disqualified from the event at which the violation allegedly occurred.

An accused athlete's only recourse in the face of a doping charge is arbitration, under rules of evidence dictated by WADA and designed to give the authorities the benefit of all doubt.

In many countries, including the United States, athletes have no right to appeal an adverse arbitration ruling to the courts. In the vast majority of cases, including every case heard in the U.S., the arbitrators have upheld the violation.

Tests for banned substances may be performed only at one of the 34 labs around the world accredited by WADA. Athletes are not permitted to have their samples tested at any lab outside the agency's system. The rules also prohibit WADA labs from doing any tests in defense of an accused athlete.

WADA Chairman Richard W. Pound, 64, a Montreal lawyer, argues that the program must be so stringent and uncompromising to be effective against doping, which he calls "the biggest threat to sports."

"The less discretion there is in the finding of a doping offense, the better it is," he told The Times in an interview.

Pound, a former competitive swimmer who finished just out of medal contention at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, dismissed the notion that a significant number of doping cases are accidental or inadvertent; WADA policy states that every athlete is responsible for everything he or she ingests or applies to the body. In the case of adulterated supplements, he said, "If you didn't know what was in there, it's your own damn fault." In the rare cases that an athlete can be proved truly faultless, he added, the system is flexible enough to temper its penalties.

...Yet the international anti-doping program's own statistics cast some doubt on the concerns expressed by Pound and other officials about a sports world awash in drugs. Of USADA's thousands of tests per year, fewer than 0.5% have produced sanctions. Many of those were for prescription medications or substances with little or no performance-enhancing effect.

In 2005, for example, USADA conducted 8,175 tests and imposed sanctions on 20 athletes. Its testing program consumed $5.6 million that year, or 47% of a $12-million budget funded primarily by Congress.

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NYT on helmets and risk...

The New York Times has weighed in on the 'helmets increase cyclist risks' in piece that's refreshingly free of any attempt at analysis or critical thought. Hmmm. One would think that the nation's premiere news organization could do better, wouldn't one? "Oh my! Riding a bicycle is horribly dangerous and wearing a helmet make it more so!"

Walker's paper will be published next year. Here's hoping that it's subjected to rigorous and scathing peer review, unlike the NYT piece.

Full story at:

Excerpts follow:

Bicycle Helmets Put You at Risk

Published: December 10, 2006

For years, cyclists who ride on city streets have cherished an unusual superstition: if they wear a helmet, they are more likely to get hit by a car. “I belong to an e-mail list for cyclists, and they complain about this all the time,” says Ian Walker, a psychologist at the University of Bath who rides his bike to work every day. But could this actually be true?

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

D3O Labs & RibCap

While I was in the Collinsville Library a few days ago, I thumbed through the latest issue of Popular Science (December 2006, Vol.269 #6). It had a short piece about something from the D3O Lab, a kind of material made with “intelligent molecules”. According to the manufacturer, “they flow with you as you move but on shock lock together to absorb the impact energy.” Think of this as a soft fabric that instantly hardens under impact. For a cyclist, the applications are obvious.

D3O doesn’t make any products, but their web page includes links to companies that do. This material would work well in gloves, hats, and outer garments. It probably isn’t as protective as a regular helmet (please – this is NOT meant to incite another pointless flame war over helmets!) but it would offer more protection than a simple baseball cap or a bandana. The applications for gloves, in particular, would save your hands from getting cut up in a fall.

I followed the link to the RibCap website. The Hendrix looks very good as a winter cycling alternative, and if you simply added a pair of goggles, you’d have that oh-so-hot WW1 flying ace look! Still, with a price of about 90 euros and a weak dollar just now, the Hendrix would be an expensive - but stylin! – alternative to a regular helmet.

Graphic Novels...aka Comic Books

My parents discouraged me from reading certain comic books when I was a kid. Archie was OK, as was Richie Rich and their ilk - all of them innocuous kid's fare. Batman and the Fantastic Four were on the edge because of their sometimes-violent content. Dr. Strange was verboten - too weird and witch-like. Mad Magazine was banned too. I never told them about Bijou Comix, Young Lust or anything by Bob Crumb or Gilbert Sheldon. They would have gone ballistic at all the sex and drugs! I suppose the intent was to protect my impressionable young mind and prevent me from becoming slightly warped.

It didn't work.

I collected comics for a while back in the 70s. I had a lot of early Conan the Barbarian, some odd Canadian stuff like Captain Canuck, and frankly a lot of junk. I toyed at drawing with both pencils and pens, and in fact, I still draw cartoons now and then. But the more lavish comic book art was beyond me. It still is. My stuff is very simple, kind of like South Park, but not as charming. Most of it is about work, and when the occasional cartoon shows up on a co-workers bench, I deny any knowledge of it, blaming everything on that pesky "Phantom Cartoonist".

Wednesday, I was in Collinsville while my son took his food handlers test. It's a requirement for working in restaurants in Oklahoma. I passed the time by wandering through some antique stores, looking for a Christmas gift for Mary or Lyndsay, but eventually ended up at the library.

I was astounded to discover that the Collinsville Library, part of the Tulsa City County Library system, has a collection of graphic novels! How cool is that! I'm going to spend some time looking through them, but it's sure to make a pencil appear in my fist and I'll start sketching again.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

From the RBR newsletter...

I've said this before about the RBR newsletter. It's certainly worth
reading even if you're not into competitive cycling. There's a wealth of
information. The bit at the end - "Ride like a Flahute" - hit me right
between the eyes! I've been dee lazy mon recently. Driving the car to work
in the snow and ice set a bad precedent and even worse, made me far too
comfortable. The ice receded about Wednesday but I still haven't been on
the bike. "It's too cold!" I whined to my wife. I'm such a baby.

There's a little voice in my head yelling, "On yer bike ya lazy scut!"

I do like the tip on wiping the frame down with WD40 to prevent rust. If I
can get the mud and grime off the commuter bike, I'll try it.

Excerpt from the Road Bike Rider newsletter:

3. Uncle Al: The Winter Bike o^o o^o o^o o^o o^o o^o

In the backroom of your local bike shop or perhaps in a neighbor's shed,
there's a bike perfect for your winter riding.

I'm not talking about a bike that's wrecked or rusted. This is about bikes
that simply have been abandoned. They've suffered nothing more than dust,
cobwebs and passing time. To my mind, they are diamonds in the rough and the
foundation of the ideal winter bike.

Nearly all of these gems will be made of steel. The 25-year-old Motobecane I
use for my winter bike has French-made Vitus butted chromoly tubing. My
wife's 27-year-old Trek is made of really nice Ishiwata tubing from Japan.
These bikes were once considered "lightweights" but they now pale in
comparison to the 18-pound wonderbikes we ride during the season. But who
cares in winter?

If the bike you find is complete, you're lucky. Most oldies will have a
couple of missing parts or something that needs to be replaced. If the hubs
are still good but the wheels are 27-inch, have them rebuilt with 700C rims.
This will make your life far simpler as there's not much tire selection for
27-inchers anymore. Most old bikes have brakes with a reach long enough for
slightly smaller 700C wheels.

Most old frames also have enough clearance around the wheels for fenders. I
consider fenders essential for a bike that's going to be ridden in nasty,
wet conditions. They keep road spray off you and the machinery. That means
less time cleaning the bike and yourself, and more riding time.

Here are my eight essential tips for turning an old bike into your winter

---Tell the shop what you're up to. They may surprise you with something
out of the basement, particularly if they've been in business for many

---Make sure the frame size will work for you. No old bike is a bargain if
it can't fit you like your summer machine. It's smart to have your key
dimensions written down when you go hunting so there's no guesswork. If the
bike you find is a tad small or big, you can probably compensate by changing
stems, using a longer- or shorter-reach handlebar, or replacing the
seatpost. It's okay if the handlebar is higher than normal because winter
clothes make it harder to bend over anyway.

---Overhaul the whole shebang. Do it yourself if you have the tools and
know-how. If not, make an appointment with your shop mechanic. If you have
good rapport with him or her, ask if it's okay to watch and learn. It takes
time to do a "project bike" because there's likely to be some glitches. Be
mellow and keep it fun. Bring 'em a nice sixer.

---Don't try to "modernize" the bike. It'll only frustrate you when you
discover a lot of new stuff won't fit older frames. Try to stay with the
vintage of the bike as much as you can. But there's no problem using your
current saddle and pedal system.

---Spray inside the tubes with a rust preventive. A good one is J.P.
Weigle's Frame Saver ($15). No sense letting internal corrosion start eating
a steel frame that's survived this long.

---Don't worry about a beat-up paint job. Surface rust is rarely a problem,
but bubbles under the paint could mean serious corrosion. Touch up any deep
nicks and scratches but don't get too Type-A about it. This is your winter
bike. It shouldn't be so pretty that you're reluctant to ride it on sloppy
roads. After you do, wipe down the frame with a rag sprayed with WD-40.
That'll keep it looking fine and the rust at bay.

---Do not weigh the finished bike! It doesn't matter. What matters is that
you have a bike that allows you to enjoy riding in wet conditions and not
hate yourself for getting it dirty.

---Ride like a flahute. In Belgium the hardmen train no matter what the
weather. You've got the bike now, so get out there.

While you're doing that I'll be in the shop, building a winter bike for
another dedicated roadie. Oh yeah, and thanks for the beer!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Bicycling advocacy reading list: An update

I wrote about a suggested reading list for bicycling advocates in Advocacy and the Role of Planning.

As it turns out, the late Ken Kifer's Library page covered much of the same material, and it has links!

Ken Kifer continues to influence cyclists and advocacy long after his death. I never met him or corresponded with him, but there's no doubt he has an effect on my writing.

Thanks, Ken.