Saturday, March 31, 2007

Arrrh! Me hearties!!!

This just in...a student was suspended from school for wearing pirate regalia. He said that it's part of his religion. Now, it used to be that here in the United States of America, it was possible for someone to worship as they pleased. You could worship the Sears catalog or regard LL Bean as some sort of cargo cult. And God knows we have more than a few who worship the almighty dollar. So what's so threatening about a kid with an eyepatch?

I wonder if any kids wearing crucifixes are sent home too?

School Remains Untouched by his Noodly Appendage

A school in North Buncombe, North Carolina, has created controversy by suspending one of it's students for wearing a pirate costume which he insists is part of his religion. The student is a Pastafarian - a follower of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Pastafarians believe that the world was created by a touch from the noodly appendage and that global warming is caused by the decline of pirates. Pirates are seen as 'absolute divine beings'.

Pastafarianism came to the notice of the public when it's prophet, Bobby Henderson, demanded that his teaching be given the same amount of classroom time as Intelligent Design in Kansas classrooms. Since then it has gained many followers.


Bata Bikers...

...and other long lost cycling stuff...

Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, which would be sometime prior to 1980 or thereabouts, I often rode to work wearing Bata Biker cycling shoes. They had canvas uppers with a stiff fiberglass midsole and a rippled rubber sole that worked well with toe clips and straps. The shoes were cheap and almost disposable. They were far better than sneakers for a big guy like me. I could even walk almost normally in them, unlike my racing shoes with their nailed-on cleats. Bata Bikers were a good choice for commuting.

Someone did a post about Grab-On grips recently, those big, ugly chunks of foam that were supposed to replace handlebar tape. You can blame him for starting me thinking along these lines. Now just between us, I admit that I actually put these monstrosities on my bike once. But I have a good excuse! I'd damaged my right elbow and I couldn't put any weight on it. Riding more than a few miles produced excruciating pain. In desperation, I fitted an adjustable stem and the Grab-On grips. Nothing helped and I had to stop riding until the elbow healed. It took about 18 months.

There are other items from that era that I miss and some that I don't. Whatever happened to those funky little hub reflectors? This was a leather strap with a small reflector dangling from it. The strap went around the rear hub, ostensibly as another reflector, but it also kept the hub nice and clean. Last year, one local mechanic did something similar by putting a LiveStrong bracelet around his hub.

I haven't seen nail pullers in quite a while, either. These are small wire devices that help to avoid flats by snagging nails or pieces of glass before they penetrate a tire. Since I'm an old fart, I reach down to brush off the tires on the Bianchi with my glove now and then. The fenders on my Centurion make this impossible.

While I really prefer the comfort of clipless pedal systems - I have wide feet, making toe clips and straps into modest torture devices - clipless pedals cannot be fitted with pedal reflectors. Those simple amber reflectors instantly identify a cyclist on a dark roadway. I put reflective tape on the crank arms, but I don't think it's as bright as a reflector, especially the DOT specification ones.

I had a jersey with a front pocket back then. It was located higher than a shirt pocket, almost up to the shoulder. Supposedly, this was to keep cigarettes dry, but something like this would be nice for commuting these days. I could put my work ID in there, and not have to rummage around in my back pockets for it. That's even worse when I have to wear a windbreaker. I've dropped my ID or keys going through the main security gate while fishing around in those back pockets.

And while I'm thinking of retro clothing, what about the resurgence of wool jerseys? I appreciate the styling and I understand the appeal, but I don't miss that stuff. Our moth population probably does. Wool is a great wicking fabric, but it takes more careful laundering than synthetics. I'm lazy. I'd rather just toss things in the washer and forget about them.

Other things I don't miss are randonneur bars and suicide levers. Randonneur bars looked like conventional dropped handlebars, but the center section was lower than the ends. This allowed the rider to sit more upright, just like a rise stem does these days. But my only objection to those bars is aesthetic. I simply don't like the way they look. Suicide levers, however, were a bad idea. They were extensions fitted to the brake levers and gave the rider the option of braking from the middle of the handlebar. There are several problems with this. First, the rider would be sitting higher with a higher center of gravity. His hands would be in the center of the bar, giving him less leverage over the front end of the bike. And finally, the extension levers introduced even more flex into an already flexible brake system since they were mostly used with center pull brakes.

Some bikes of that era came with a dérailleur guard, a metal rod that kept the rear dérailleur from getting bent in toward the wheel if the bike fell over on its right side. These were found mostly on low-end bikes, but the guard was a really good idea that never caught on. I don't know how many times I had to bend a dérailleur hanger back to the right position. This was done with a big adjustable wrench and without the benefit of a gauge. "Gauges? We don' need no stinkin' gauges!"

Whatever happened to those small tool kits that came along with a new bicycle? They weren't extensive, just some small stamped wrenches, tire levers, and maybe a patch kit. It was enough to get you home, maybe. Come to think of it, my Volkswagen came with a tool kit too. Damn, I'm getting old!

I haven't seen any of those cheap, zinc-plated spokes in a long while. Good riddance. Stainless steel ones are much better. You can't beat chromed ones for flash, though, and I understand they're still around. I never built a wheel with chromed spokes but I think they look marvelous.

When I started racing, the rules required a helmet. So like everyone else, I wore one of those leather strap helmets, a 'leather hair net'. It may have provided some protection against abrasion, but if you fetched up against anything hard, it was essentially worthless. Still, it was better than nothing, just not a lot better than nothing. I'd like to have one now, so I could wear it on a group ride now and then. Imagine the ride nannie's horror!

I bought one of the Bell Bikers as soon as they were available. By today's standards, that hard shell helmet was heavy and noisy. The vents whistled! It offered much better protection than the leather hair net but it was far less comfortable.

At about the same time, the Skid Lid was introduced. The manufacturer said it could withstand multiple impacts because it used closed-cell foam as the shock absorbing material rather than Styrofoam. Now, speaking for myself, I wanted to avoid even a single fall and I never planned for multiple ones. But there was one guy in our club who had a great deal of strength and not much in the way of smarts. He was a squirrelly, dangerous rider to be around. He wore a Skid Lid, and it made him easier to spot and avoid in a pack.

I don't miss those skinny, Italian cycling shoes, either. They surely looked sleek and fast, but the Marquis de Sade designed them. Are all Italian cyclists skinny little guys? I don't think so. Why make shoes that are only three inches wide and seem to ratchet tighter with each passing mile?

What about funky white saddles? I looked through Bicycling magazine's annual buyer's guide - a fine piece of bike porn - and found some bikes still adorned with white saddles. I thought they died a peaceful death back in the 90's. Naturally, I still have one out in the garage. For that matter, I have a couple of Brooks Professionals out there too, but I LIKE them!

If I hang onto some of my old junk long enough, it'll be stylish again and I can bask in the admiration of all those other cyclists who envy those of us on the cutting edge of fashion!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

My extended blogroll...

I do most blog reading and searching via Bloglines, so there's not a long list of blogs over on the side of this one. However, if you're interested in seeing the whole list of things, it's available at:

Currently, the list has 84 items, not all of them active. Not surprisingly, most of them are related to cycling, though there's some political stuff too. Sorry, no links for naked midget Shriners mud wrestling with Ann Coulter. Even drunken Shriners have some ethical standards.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Monday Musette...

BRAIN (Bicycle Retailer And Industry News) is always an interesting site to read.

Trek's John Burke Tells Industry that Advocacy Is the Future

MARCH 26, 2007 -- TAIPEI, Taiwan (BRAIN)--Trek's president John Burke told Taiwan's leading manufacturers they must shift a portion of their marketing and research budgets toward advocacy and promote the bicycle as a solution to fast-emerging worldwide problems.

Burke, speaking before a meeting of Taiwan’s A-Team, said a convergence of global issues positions the industry as a solution to obesity, traffic congestion, urbanization and air pollution.

Several factors, such as the rise of obesity levels in the United States and the escalating medical costs in Western Europe, make this a critical time to push cycling forward as a solution. “The U.S. is a microcosm of what is going on and the U.S. government can’t solve it. This is an epidemic,” he said.

Burke said that over the past 20 years the industry has focused on product innovation and marketing, but now it’s time for the industry to shift that focus over the next 20 years. “The bicycle industry is sitting at a place in history where we are at a crossroads,” he said, adding that bicycle advocates are the industry’s unsung heroes.

Burke urged the industry’s leaders to work harder to create a more bicycle-friendly world, to get involved with government leaders and to take greater responsibility for promoting cycling in their home markets. “The industry should try and change the world,” he said.

Christine "Peanut" Vardaros

Christine competes in professional racing in Europe, something many of us dream about, but know in our hearts that it's totally impossible. She has a wry sense of humor. I like that! On the other hand, she could just be completely out of her mind. I like that possibility too! race ended only after 45 minutes. Just as i was putting my hand back on the bars after taking a bite to eat, I was sideswiped like a perfect 7-10 split, giving its "bedposts" nickname a whole new meaning as i smacked the pavement in a tuck/cover fetal position. They say that people become religious just before they think they're going to die, but not me. Instead of thinking, "Holy S_ _ _" my thoughts were more like, "F_ _ _ ME! As i hung out in the fetal position, bodies and bikes piled on top of me like a roller derby. The screams of terror combined with the screeching sound of metal sliding on pavement was just awful.

When I thought it was over, I waited an extra five seconds with my head covered - just in case. Well, good thing i did that because there was a second wave of carnage upon me! (I learned this little five second rule from a Freshman year teacher in University. Since most of the other students who were attending school in NYC were not from NY, he taught us to wait five seconds AFTER the light turns green before crossing. I'm sure he saved a few lives in addition to mine yesterday. How did i apply it to bike crashes? I don't know. My mind is not quite normal i guess.)

I stood up and took a few seconds to assess the damage. Torn jersey, shoe covers, knickers, socks - oops, should check the helmet. Missing skin: ankle, knee, elbows, butt cheek. Painful areas: shoulder, ankle, knee, ego. I was ready to continue but my bike was not. A girl's handlebar lever was weaved into my wheel. A mechanic finally untangled it so I went to get on the bike only to find that one side of the handlebars was hanging out with my front wheel. Game over.

...That night, I was barely able to sleep due to the pain. I heard it's even worse the second day! Just can't wait!

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Found objects...

As I travel back and forth to work, I find an amazing variety of items along the road. Like any other cyclist, my brain is sharply tuned to the glitter of glass shards and that makes it easier to spot other shiny objects along the way. What can I say? I'm attracted to shiny objects. I've found some nice Snap-On and Mac wrenches, as well as Channel-locks and myriad screwdrivers. I came across some drugs and money, too. There's a weird assortment of clothing and a lot of shoes along our roads. I'm sure there's a story to go along with them, but in some cases I really don't want to know. That's especially true of the succession of women's garments I saw one day, proceeding from outer wear to far more intimate stuff.

I found a Craftsman Professional 10mm combination wrench recently. I have a set of these and I like them because they're almost as slim as Snap-On wrenches, yet they cost far less and they're perfect for bike work. Combination wrenches with thin wall sections are made from high-strength steel. Cheap wrenches have thicker walls. This usually isn't a problem when working on bicycles because access is easy. Working on cars is another matter, and since I still do automotive maintenance occasionally, I like having the better tools.

A cheap open-end wrench failed while I was trying to turn a frozen shaft one night. I punched my hand into a half-ton steel casting, and was very lucky that no bones were broken. If a wrench is going to fail, it will do so at the worst possible moment. This has to be a variation on Murphy's Law. Regardless, since I earn a living with my hands, I don't trust cheap wrenches.

There's an assortment of Craftsman, Proto, Williams, and Snap-On hand tools in various boxes. Park bicycle tools are well represented. All of these are perfectly functional, reliable tools, but I find some of the funky old ones attractive too. I like the VAR third hand, for instance, though to be honest, the Park Fourth Hand is probably more versatile.

Some weeks ago, our local Goodwill store had a tray of old tools on a shelf in the back. I found a Blue Point tappet wrench for 50 cents. Blue Point is a Snap-On trademark and the older tools have a stamp that indicates the year of manufacture. This one was made in 1949. I have another that came from 1951. I have just these two for now, but rest assured I'll be looking for more.


Brake lights

Here's an interesting idea, though I'm not sure how useful it would be since I seldom use my rear brake. In fact, the nice old Mavic MA40 on the back of the commuter bike doesn't have any scoring from the brake pads, and it's been on there for a couple of years. Still, the development of cheap LEDs is a good sign.

From Smart Stuff:

Bicycle brake pads with LED brake light
Bicycle brake pads with LED brake light.
These are brake pads for ordinary "V" type bicycle brakes. Only they have a red LED light that lights up when you apply the brakes. The only back side is probably that they need batteries. Available from Swedish auto parts store Biltemas web shop for SEK 49:- (approx. USD 7:-) a pair. ( 27-287).


Friday, March 23, 2007

Monty and Formula 1

I stumbled across these offbeat bicycle designs while looking for something else, of course. I like the simple, clean design of the Monty, and it's especially appealing in that it's a hands-free design.

The first Formula 1 photo, on the other hand, is a kludge. There aren't many bikes I'd describe as butt-ugly, however, this is definitely one of them. The frame and fork in the second shot are more appealing. It looks much like a dedicated TT bike, but with a shorter wheelbase and smaller wheels, obviously. Something like this would make for a compact commuter bike, sort of in between a full-size machine and a folder like a Brompton or Dahon.

Small & simple

This is a small, simple recumbent bicycle. With its 16" wheels Monty is a portable vehicle which easily can be dismantled. I wanted a bike that I can bring on trains, buses and other means of public transport. Since there are hardly any small foldable recumbent bikes on the market I decided to build one myself.

Centre steered

I have chosen centre steering because this design makes the bike simpler to build. There is no need for a handle bar or steering column. Once the riding technique is mastered it is a relaxing way of biking. The rider sits in a comfortable, recumbent position and does not only pedal with his feet but also steers with them. Hands can rest in one's lap or you may comb your hair or even operate a camera while riding. As steering pivot an ordinary bottom bracket of cassette type is used. The quadratic shaped axle fits into slots in the pivot fork where it is locked by crank bolts.

Simple design

I wanted as few components as possible so I chose a 3-gear hub with back pedal brake. The only lever or shifter I have on Monty is the gear shifter below the seat. With the coaster brake I am able to brake without using my hands and this enhances the freedom of the centre steered bike even more. The simple design also makes for lesser items on the bike that can hook on to things during transport. I did not want suspension because it would have made the bike heavier and also more complicated to build. To give myself best possible comfort the bike is equipped with cushy 2,0" Schwalbe Big Apple tyres.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Formula One Bicycle Madness

Most people I talk to have no idea what a Formula One bicycle is. I know that they never caught on, but it seems to me that anyone who walked into a bike shop in the late 1980's had to see them. I guess, though, if you were homing in on the new-fangled MTB's on the showroom floor, you might have missed the bastard-child-of-BMX section in the far corner.

F1 was an offshoot of BMX, which combined that sport and autocross racing. The bikes were essentially 7-speed BMX frames, with high bottom brackets and flat bars, and they were raced around a course outlined by cones in a parking lot. In retrospect, it looks like a lot of fun, to me, but it went over like a lead balloon at the time.
It's almost impossible to find any info on F1 racing on the interweb. If you have any that you would like to share, please do so.

The bikes are relatively rare on the used market. I have had one come to me, in the past 15 years, and it was missing its fork. I ended up building it with a Manitou suspension fork, PitBull brakes (the front modified to run on the 26" wheel fork while reaching a 20" wheel), old-school Dura-Ace cranks and Shimano bar-end shifters on a drop bar.

My friend Shawn ended up with this one.
I have looked for another F1 since then, with no luck. Then, I happened across this site: Willie Nichols is a bike builder in Virginia who produces new F1 frames and sells either framesets or full bikes. I contacted him, and he was cool enough to sell me an unfinished frame, with no braze-ons or paint, along with a rigid fork. And, he gave me a very decent price on it.

Here is the frame, as received, with some random parts stuck on to make it look like a bike.

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Thunderhead Alliance Newsletter

It's far past time that those nice folks at Thunderhead stopped whining and learned to ride on the road with the rest of the adults.

I read this newsletter from TA, and for now, all I can think about is the utter self-centered attitude and near blindness of it. Iraq and Afghanistan are costing us, what, a billion dollars per day? We need more troops. The troops need more up-armored vehicles, and they CLEARLY need better medical care. Yet TA whines about the loss of bicycle facilities funding. There's a fundamental disconnect in their thinking, a lapse of ethics and ordinary human empathy that reveals a grasping, money-grubbing attitude that I find revolting.

This is a classic guns-or-butter situation when it comes to federal spending. We'd all like to ignore the enormous expense of fighting two wars. We'd prefer that 'the other guy' pay for it by cutting funds from HIS pet programs rather than ours. But the bottom line is that streets and highways benefit commerce far more than any bicycle facility. This is another harsh reality. Governments spend money on programs that enhance commerce because they contribute to the tax base. Bicycle facilities and programs don't do that, for the most part, so when crunch time arrives frivolous programs are the first to face the axe.

Regardless of my conviction that this war is illegal and immoral, we cannot simply cut off the funding and leave our own people more vulnerable. On my own, personal level, there's a clear ethical conflict. We cannot cut off funding because it would lead to more death and destruction, yet if we continue funding the war, it leads to more death and destruction.

But whining about spending cuts to bicycle programs is very far down my list of priorities.

The Thunderhead Alliance Weather Report

Volume 3, Issue 2

March 02, 2007


The largest rescission of federal transportation funds ever ordered by Congress is underway, totaling $3.471 billion. Because DOTs generally protect their familiar highway programs, rescissions such as this pose a threat to the most important programs to bicycling and walking. Once FHWA issues the order, states will have 30 days to surrender program balances. So contact your best officials at your DOT right away to let them know you and your organization will not tolerate unfair taking from programs that fund bicycling and walking! Then ask how you and your organization can help ensure the rescission is spread across all transportation programs evenly.

During FY’06, there were three separate federal transportation rescission orders, totaling $3.74 billion. A number of states targeted only a few programs to carry the burden of the rescission order. For example, some states targeted only the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ). Texas took their entire rescission amount from the Transportation Enhancements (TE) program. Programs that fund bicycling and walking were targeted at a far greater percent than highway programs during the FY’06 rescissions, even though these programs represent a minor percentage of the apportioned funds.

So don’t delay! Make that call to your favorite DOT official today to let them know you and your organization are watching and to find out how to help ensure this monstrous rescission is handled appropriately.

And please email your experiences to sue “at” We are beginning work on an interactive database for our web site that will offer you the means to tap all SAFETEA-LU federal transportation funds for your efforts. We will have a section for combating unfair rescissions, so whatever you send us from this current one will help many other Thunderheaders respond to future rescissions. And please include any successes you have in bringing together coalitions of other organizations for this effort. Thank you!

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Cutlery for Mechanics!

Gosh, I don't know about the rest of you, but I really want some of this flatware! It would be reserved for special occasions, and it could replace that cheesy gold-plated stuff I bought for Mary some years ago. Of course, they're asking Snap-On prices, so it really would impress the grease-stained wretches who sit at our kitchen table.

From Boing Boing:

Friday, March 23, 2007

Cutlery with wrenches on the end

This tool-cutlery (knives, spoons and forks with wrenches on the other end) is just fantastic -- though at $24 per place setting, it's the kind of thing you might want to reserve for good company and special occasions.
Link (via Make)

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The birds! The birds!

Eagle Nest Webcam

Yeah, I know, it's not bicycle-related, but it's still pretty cool! Here's a live webcam focused on a bald eagle nest here in Oklahoma. I found it via:

March 23rd, 2007 by James Gerraughty

I found this post on the MegaConference users list. Thought I’d pass it on. -James

—–Original Message—–
From: M. Alan Jenkins []
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2007 1:37 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients

Dear Fellow Bald Eagle Enthusiast,

In case you aren’t actually interested in seeing The Sutton Avian Research Center’s newest live Bald Eagle nest camera video, please accept my apologies for sending you this e-mail. If you wish to be removed from this e-mail list, please let me know by return e-mail.

Otherwise, you’ll be interested to know that our live Bald Eagle nest camera is now operating and available by linking through our website— This year we were able to get the camera up and operating shortly after the eggs hatched, so you can see the entire nestling process through (cross your fingers) the fledging of the young from the nest in late May, which is later than average for Oklahoma’s Bald Eagles. With the camera in place now, and the high likelihood that the eagles will continue to use the artificial tower as a nest platform, we should be able to broadcast the entire nesting season in 2008, starting with nest renovations in November and continuously through incubation and fledging.


When Cardinals Attack (update)

I put some hawk-like silhouettes in our kitchen window to deter the female cardinal who's been attacking her reflection for the last week or two. The cutouts reduced the attacks for a couple of days, but starting yesterday, she went back to almost constant charging and pecking. At this rate, I'm afraid the bird will spend all her energy and not be capable of nesting. Mary propped a photo of an airplane in one window, and the cardinal seems to avoid that one. She simply started attacking the adjacent window instead!

This bird is becoming a PITA, so much so that she may need a name. Sorry, Ann Coulter is already taken. So I'm open to suggestions. I'm open to suggestions about naming the bird too.

And finally...

Mary and I sat out on the front porch yesterday evening, listening to the mocking bird singing in the oak tree. It's one of my favorite pastimes in the spring, listening to the birds. This is my favorite time of the year to commute via bicycle, because I get to hear the dawn chorus on my way to work.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Happy Birthday Mario and Skibby!

My thanks to Skibby, who points out that today is Mario Cipollini's birthday! And Skibby is 5 years older than Mario, so a happy birthday to him too!

The pro groupetto just isn't the same without the consummate showmanship of Mario Cipollini.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Solution to a vexing problem...

Many bicycling advocates routinely couple rights with responsibilities. I've done it time and again. The theme crops up every spring when the annual anti-cycling rants appear in various media, along with the routine nanny-posts recommending that cyclists not only obey all the rules of the road but wear their magic Styrofoam hats as well. Lately, I've seen a few of the get-out-of-my-way-or-I'll-crush-you pieces from some of our more pin-headed motoring brethren, too. I file most of these as well-intended but clueless advice, while the vague threats of violence go into the hyperbole bin.

Everyone who uses the public way has both rights and responsibilities. That includes motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, and even horse back riders or horse-drawn vehicles. I'm getting fed up with motorists who think that their larger, heavier, more powerful vehicle gives them a greater right to use that public space, and I'm getting especially fed up with the pencil-necked geeks who use their vehicles as weapons. It's an annoying problem, and that problem has a solution.

Cyclists should carry guns.

The next step is to determine what kind of gun to carry. Obviously, long guns like the SKS assault rifle or a combat shotgun would have a deterent effect when slung across the back. But they'd be cumbersome to use one-handed since a cyclist would have to keep one hand on the handlebar. An Uzi or Mac-10 would be a better choice. Most of these guns are heavy, and weight is always a consideration for a bicyclist.

Handguns are lighter than long guns, but they also have significant limitations. My 22 target pistol, for instance, is highly accurate but also heavy and bulky. Worse, 22 bullets aren't likely to penetrate automotive glass. They simply bounce away. The 38 Special isn't much better. It penetrates but uses most of its energy doing so. The popular 9mm and 380 have similar limitations. Bigger, heavier bullets are required.

Oh, sure, the 357 and 44 magnums would do nicely, but again, they're revolver cartridges and the guns are fairly large and heavy.

My current thought is that the best compromise of weight, bulk, and power settles on the 40 S&W and the venerable 45ACP. Compact automatics chambering these rounds are small enough to fit in a jersey pocket. Even better, some of these pistols are made of composites or other rust proof materials, so they won't corrode from sweat. The rounds penetrate automotive glass and steel panels, and retain sufficient energy to incapacitate an especially stupid motorist.

As an American citizen, you have the right to carry personal arms. You also have the responsibility to do so legally and morally. Know the concealed carry laws in your state and apply for a permit if it's required. Take the training course if it's offered. In my experience, armed citizens are polite and totally self-controlled because the presence of that handgun carries with it an awesome responsibility that cannot be taken lightly.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007


For Fritz - a Tuesday morning bikeku:

Vacation this week
Work stand holds the Bianchi
I snooze on the couch.

Actually, the snooze will probably come sometime after lunch. So far today, I've been to Tulsa to talk with Patrick Fox, wrote that earlier piece while I was still caffeine-deprived, and I accompanied No.1 Daughter to Skiatook so she could file her passport application at the post office. I whined incessantly. "Why is it that my kids get to go places and all I ever do is go" I said this with a whiny, nasal tone. She just laughed. There's no sympathy whatsoever.

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Tuesday Musette

The 'FEMA' bridge...

This morning, I had a chat with Patrick Fox (INCOG's bicycle and pedestrian planner, and no relation to BikerFox). He said that the locally infamous 'FEMA' bridge has been OK'd by that agency, and now the ball is in the hands of ODOT.

Haiku and Bikeku

Fritz of Cyclelicious fame, said he'd link to any bicycle related haiku. And since I'm usually starved for attention, I penned a haiku for him. Who could resist?

Over the weekend, I ran into an odd synchronicity. I picked up a copy of Bob Woodward's "State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III" and found this:

(Army intelligence officer, Colonel Steve) Rotkoff decided to keep a daily war journal, and over the next six months he filled six volumes. Pressed for time on many occasions, he summarized his thoughts and emotions with three line haiku.

One of his early observations:

Rumsfeld is a dick
Won't flow the forces we need
We will be too light.

Another of his efforts:

This is not a drill...
Mask + chem suit on quickly
Try not to panic.

I never considered summing up my day in seventeen syllables, but it would present an interesting challenge. Don't worry, I probably won't inflict the results on CycleDog readers! It's better than Vogon poetry, of course, but the problem is that my efforts aren't much better.

Still, seventeen syllables may be enough to trigger my memory. It's odd to experience that effect from things I wrote long ago. Memories that were long forgotten returned after reading some old lines. Could a haiku be a key for preserving memory, a kind of shorthand for a longer written experience?

Oh, before I forget - "State of Denial" reads like a Tom Clancy novel. I normally avoid non-fiction like this because it's so dry. I intended to skim through the book but it's so readable that I've been going through it very carefully.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Housekeeping issue

CycleDog has been getting some comment spam over the weekend. Spammers are some of the lowest forms of life, right down there with my pet saddle sore. So in order to squash the practice, I've turned on the comment moderation. This means there will be a delay before a comment gets attached to a post. I apologize to all of you for that, but I will not be used as a billboard for some dithering, spamming idiot.

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When birds attack!...(OT)

There's a female Cardinal attacking our kitchen window. She's done this for a few days, but this is the first time I've been home in the morning while she hit the pane again and again. When I walk outside or into the kitchen she flies away only to return in a few minutes to resume the attack. I have to assume she sees her reflection in the glass. This bird has no learning curve. It's a flat line.

I could just shoot her, of course. But besides the fact that it's illegal to shoot songbirds, I'd rather change her behavior. But how do I accomplish that?

The cats are fascinated. They sit on the kitchen floor below the window, looking up in anticipation.

Street repair

It's a sure sign that spring has arrived when the paving crews make their annual appearance. Last week, as I was riding home from work one afternoon into a nice headwind, I encountered a work crew along 66th Street north of Mohawk Park. When the wind shifts around to the north, I ride home through the park because the trees help break up the wind. Anyway, the crew was patching the S-bend section of 66th Street which has been so badly broken down it had only one usable lane. Fortunately, that street is very lightly traveled, so the pavement wasn't a major problem. But it's also a popular route for cyclists and as we move further into spring, it will see more cycling traffic as the Freewheel training rides get underway.

I saw only one worker who wasn't doing something, so I stopped and thanked him for fixing 'my' road. A Tulsa county road crew with everyone working! Imagine that!

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Tulsa bicycle maintenance...


I've talked with three people this week regarding bicycle maintenance. There's some interest in setting up a class to cover more than the Road1 course basics. That includes tire repair and the basic ABC Quick check, and not much else. I'd think that a maintenance program would have to cover cleaning, washing, and lubricating a bike, as well as basic brake and derailleur adjustment, cable replacement, and tool selection. I'd put some emphasis on drivetrain maintenance, too, simply because these parts are so expensive to replace. It's sensible to clean and lubricate them in order to get maximum service life.

Sandra and I discussed it briefly, and I have to follow up with some of our local professional mechanics. Honestly, the shop guys are far better informed than I am. In fact, I once said to my wife and daughter, "Everything I know is obsolete!" This induced a bad case of giggles.

Or as Dr. Wally Crankset said, "My mind is a vast suppository of misinformation!"

Anyway, if local cyclists are interested, contact me via the comments below, or email at Just be aware that the Yahoo address is my spam trap and I check it infrequently. But comments here on CycleDog reach me immediately. last thing...

I ran into 'Hurricane Hattie' on my way to work this week. Actually, she ran into me. I was riding south on Mingo Road in the dark when a headlight lit up the road behind me. I thought a motorist was cruising along back there refusing to pass. This happens now and then. But that section is wide, with good sight lines. I sat up and twisted around for a better look. Sure enough, it was another cyclist! She caught up to me shortly.

Hurricane was in one of our Road1 classes last year. She said that while she's assigned to day shift, she'll ride to work, but when she rotates to evenings she doesn't feel safe riding on that lonely road. That's certainly true. After 9PM or so, Mingo is deserted. I had a flat out there once and in all the time I spent fixing it, just one car went by.

It's gratifying to see someone apply what we teach in Road1.

...and just one more...

'Ann Coulter' is still around, though she's subsided to a rather small pain-in-the-ass. Bag Balm is my friend.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

About them naughty bits...

Boing Boing has a piece about a self-appointed censor wandering through Oslo late at night, covering up the naughty bits on their public statues. That hard, cold stone is enough to give one the vapors, after all.

Gosh, I wonder what the Norwegian prude would think of the world naked bike ride, or that guy down in Texas who wore nothing but a thong and flip-flops while he rode his bike through town. I almost inspires me to tear off all my clothes, rub peanut butter in my hair, and ride down the hill singing the theme song from 'The Flintstones' at the top of my lungs.

Anyone who thinks the sight of naked statuary is somehow titillating, just hasn't seen many REAL naked people.

Here's the link:

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Motorist 101

I've covered the basics of walking and cycling in Walking 101 and Cycling 101. Presumably there are some cyclists who may wish to learn how to drive a car. Motoring 101 is an introductory-level course in learning to operate one. Long-time cyclists may be unfamiliar with the concepts inherent in owning and driving a motor vehicle, so the following is aimed primarily at them.

One rule of thumb: The newer and more expensive the vehicle, the fewer laws that apply. Once you've seen the advantages a new car owner receives, it makes little sense to buy a used one. If your budget will cover only a dingy, dented old car or truck, you might be better off to continue as a cyclist.

First, you'll notice that a car is much larger and heavier than your bicycle. It cannot turn or stop as quickly. In fact, cars are about as nimble as a brick, so it's imperative that you learn their limitations. This means that cars are fairly boring to drive since they can't dodge around potholes, patches of glass, and other road debris. Basically, you just sit there and keep the car going straight down the road without wandering from side to side. You find yourself staring at roadway that changes oh-so-slowly. It's like watching a video game where nothing exciting happens.

How to enhance your motoring experience:

Modern automobiles are equipped with high-power sound systems, so you can listen to music at deafening levels. The sun visors are equipped with vanity mirrors so you can check your makeup, style your hair, or insert your contact lenses while you're behind the wheel. A cellular phone will let you keep in touch while driving, and a small television can be propped up on the dash. All modern cars have cup holders, so you don't have to juggle a drink and a sandwich. Also, the dash is convenient for placing Chinese take-out, though eating with chopsticks is best left to advanced drivers. Practice your technique in light traffic. Older, less technologically astute drivers may enjoy reading a book or magazine to relieve the tedium.

Vehicle Controls:

You may ask, "What are those pedals down on the floor?" The brake pedal is easy to understand. It performs the same function as the brake on a bicycle. But the other pedal makes the vehicle accelerate; therefore it's called the accelerator. It's much like the pedals on your bicycle. Pedaling makes it go, and the accelerator has the same function. You'll notice it's larger than the brake pedal, because the accelerator is more important than the brake. This is a crucial concept. Motoring enjoyment comes from the use of the accelerator, not the brake. Car ads on television always show someone zooming along on an open road. They never show a car braking heavily to avoid a collision. The accelerator exists to allow you to go as fast as possible whenever possible, so don't be afraid to use it.

The horn can be used as a signaling device to warn other motorists, pedestrians, or cyclists of your approach, but it's more commonly used to voice your displeasure at encountering another road user who doesn't defer to your superior vehicle, superior attitude, and superior life style. The proper way to do this is to blare the horn as long as possible. If weather permits, it's also good form to lean out the side window and curse at the offender. This is especially important if that person is a child, an elderly woman, or someone in a wheelchair who won't get out of your way fast enough.

Turn signals are often misunderstood. Don't bother to use them.

Helmets are not necessary for motorists, neither are those annoying seatbelts with their buzzers and warning lights. In fact, nearly all the so-called safety equipment in a modern automobile exists mainly to enrich the manufacturers and their lawyers. Ignore all of it.

Driving in Style:

Speed limit signs are merely advisory. Remember - the most important part of your car is the accelerator, and speed limits imply that you must use the brake pedal. The accelerator takes precedence, so ignore those signs.

In school zones or residential areas, you're likely to encounter numerous children. Again, your accelerator takes precedence, but be prepared to blare the horn and yell curses out the side window as you narrowly avoid mowing down some child or a mother pushing a stroller.

All new drivers should learn the two-foot driving technique. To do this, put your right foot on the accelerator and your left foot on the brake. Apply light pressure to the brake pedal intermittently. This will flash your brake lights while the car continues traveling at speed. The technique causes other drivers to think you’re unpredictable, and naturally they give you more space on the road. This is similar to the cycling practice of riding up and down off the sidewalk, cutting through parking lots, and jumping curbs in front of moving cars. It makes drivers very nervous, and they treat you with greater respect as a result.

And speaking of sidewalks, just like riding a bicycle, it's possible to drive on a sidewalk if it's wide enough for a car. Just go slowly if pedestrians are present and give them a chance to scurry for cover while blaring your horn. Most municipalities have antiquated laws prohibiting this, but they're seldom enforced.

Most of the time you'll find it's necessary to park your car in an actual parking lot, preferably within the neatly painted lines. If you have a new car, it's permissible to park diagonally across those lines, occupying several parking spaces in order to prevent anyone from parking next to your new, cherished vehicle and possibly denting or scratching it. You may want to park like this near the front of the lot, so that others can admire your new car too. If you're in a hurry or you're far more important that the mere hoi polloi, park directly in front of the entrance or even up on the sidewalk. When it's raining or snowing, all rules are off.

In our increasingly restrictive society, on-ramps offer the best opportunity to try out your new skills and discover the performance parameters of your new vehicle. Remember, the accelerator pedal takes precedence, so accelerate hard, signal your intention to merge with traffic at the top of the ramp (if desired), lean on the horn and yell something scathing out the window if you have to either change direction or decrease speed. On the other hand, if you're already on the highway and someone tries to merge from an on-ramp, refuse to give them any space, blare your horn, and yell obscenities out the window.

In general, it's a good idea to exit from a limited-access road on a formal off-ramp, but if you're in a hurry, an informal off-ramp can be used too. These are merely grassy areas adjacent to another road. Simply drive across the grass to make an informal exit. If the area is sloped, your tire tracks will eventually form ruts that lead to erosion. Complain loudly about public money - your tax money - being wasted on useless landscaping, unless the erosion undermines the roadway and you drive into the resulting pothole. In that case, complain loudly about your tax money being diverted from road maintenance.

Stop signs are only defacto yields, just like on a bicycle. No one stops for stop signs unless there's cross traffic, not even cops. So you can safely ignore them.

Red lights are slightly different from stop signs since they're usually located at busy intersections, but you can ignore them most of the time too. Stop only if there's cross traffic. The police can't be bothered ticketing you for running a red light on your bicycle. It’s no different for a motorist. Unless there's a cop present at an intersection, you can ignore red lights with impunity. Traffic laws only apply to the meek.

Good Excuses:

Despite the obvious superiority of a new driver with a spankin' new car, some Neolithic police officers insist on stopping and ticketing them. In the unlikely event you should encounter one of these benighted officers, here are a few tried and true excuses that will prevent him from tagging you with a violation.

"He came within ten feet of my car and almost scratched it! I had to defend myself!" This is a near-universal excuse whenever a pedestrian or pesky cyclist is in the way. After you've bunted one of them, use it when an officer responds. He'll most likely praise your attention to civic duty, and you'll drive off with his admiration and respect. Then he'll go to the prostrate body and kick it off the road.

(In all honesty, I once watched as a motorist complained to a police officer that someone had collided with his truck while it was parked in front of the gym. This guy was down on his knees behind the pickup, explaining to the officer that if he got down low and had the sunlight hit the chromed bumper just right, he could see where the offender contacted it. At best, there may have been a small scratch or even a smudge, but it speaks volumes about the near-crazed ego involvement some people have with their motor vehicles. The cop wasn't about to get down on his knees. He gave the guy a withering look and said he couldn't see anything that warranted writing a report. Basically, anal guy was wasting his time.)

"He swerved in front of me all sudden-like." This can be used in conjunction with the excuse above, but it also stands quite well on its own. However, it's not recommended if an officer is conducting a field sobriety test and the driver has already admitted to seeing two of everything. "Honest, officer, there was two of them cyclists wandering all over the road and I just tried to drive between 'em!"

Alcohol and motoring do not go together for the very same reasons that alcohol and cycling do not go together. As you know, a drink or two are very effective at improving kidney function, necessitating frequent stops in order to alleviate all that bladder pressure. If you’re forced to park the car and then get out to find a convenient tree or bush, your travel time increases. So if at all possible, avoid drinking and driving.

"He needed killin'!" This is a catchall phrase that covers a wide variety of Oklahoma mayhem. While it's not very effective regarding bludgeoning, shooting, or stabbing, it may work when a motorist runs down a cyclist or pedestrian, using a ton or more of steel and glass as a battering ram against flesh and bone. Be aware, however, that the driver may have to pay a nominal fine.

In Conclusion:

You'll discover quickly that a new car is almost an extension of your body, and that this new member is both highly sensitive and deserving of protection. You'll swell with pride whenever your hand strokes it. A new car makes the owner proud. You'll stand taller and more rigidly erect. Thrusting it into traffic makes you feel more alive, more aware and far more sexy, leading you to do it again, and again, and again, until you reach that climactic moment, a release of motoring pleasure that is so overwhelming it feels as if the whole planet moved beneath you.

Just try not to be a dick about it.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Wasabi Peas!

I can't eat nuts. So of course I'm craving peanuts, pistachios, cashews, and assorted other things that are bad for me. But today as Mary and I strolled the aisles of our local market, I found a can of wasabi peas. They're dried peas with a wasabi coating. If you're unfamiliar with wasabi, it's a kind of oriental horseradish, green in color, and it's hotter than white horseradish. Horseradish on steroids, so to speak. I love it on sushi.

The peas are hot, but not nuclear. I bought a six pack of Rolling Rock to chase them.

Life is good!


For George...

"Hope I die before I get old"...The Who - My Generation

George asked about 5 things we'd like to do before we die, and while that could delve into morbid speculation or involve some frivolous prose, I'll treat it as a serious question that deserves a serious answer.

First, like him I'd like to own a sports car - the middle-aged guy's cliche. It wouldn't need to be a fast, powerful car, and in fact, I'd prefer a simple convertible with modest horsepower. The car should be fun and relaxing to drive, not something I'd have to be striving to stay on top of every minute. I had a couple of motorcycles and while I loved riding them, these days I'd be more cautious. Perhaps a track bike would be a good substitute.

"And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.

No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun."...Pink Floyd...Time

George said he wants to play with his grandchildren. I can understand that very well. It seems that my own children grew up too fast. I look at them now and wonder what happened to those little kids who used to run around the house. My daughter played with Barbie dolls and my son played with toy cars and trucks. But all too soon it seemed that my daughter was graduating from high school and going on mission trips. My son turned into a great big football player and his interest strayed from those toy cars and latched onto real ones.

So I can understand the appeal of grandchildren. We can focus on the moment and revel in that all-too-short childhood. It's a magical time and we can better appreciate that magic when we're not ground down by day to day parenting. When my own kids were little, that magic was too easily lost in the routine of changing diapers, spoon feeding, laundry, and the crushing lack of sleep. Wouldn't it be nice to let the kid's parents do all that, and as grandparents simply enjoy the high points?

"No one ever wrote, expect for money".......Dr. Samuel Johnson

I'd like to write a book, but I don't know if I have the discipline. The late Isaac Asimov was a prolific writer. He spent his mornings writing, then after lunch, went to the library for research. I think one appeal is that writing lives on long after we're gone, and nearly all of us want to be remembered for something. Ego and vanity drive that wish.

I'd like to take some art courses and learn to draw in both pencil and ink. This is one of those things I think about doing after I retire. Drawing is like writing in some respects. It's about seeing things as they could be rather than as they are. I'm under no illusions that there's a Great Artist lurking inside me since most of my better, 'serious' drawings are merely technically good. And I'm too easily distracted into cartooning.

"Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.

Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines

Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way

The time is gone, the song is over,

Thought I'd something more to say".....Pink Floyd...Time

I'd like to live in a small village in some foreign country, someplace far off the tourist routes and well outside the usual tourist season. I've done that once, in fact. I lived in Ireland for a few months back in the winter of 1985. The company I worked for needed a trained substitute for an Irish mechanic who'd put his motorcycle into a wall at speed. I filled in while his replacement was in training.

I lived in a small house just outside Abbeyfeale, a village in the southwest. It was a cultural shock. Irish food was good, though bland by our standards. Fresh fruits and vegetables were rarities, other than winter veggies like potatoes, parsnips, and turnips. Fresh stuff had to come from the middle east or Africa and shipping costs made them very expensive. There was plenty of cabbage, but not a shred of sauerkraut. I didn't like their coffee. Guinness, however, is quite another thing.

Americans are accustomed to a wealth of food from different countries. Our local grocery has Mexican, Thai, Italian, and others. But in an Irish grocery, I couldn't find pasta let alone some oregano. It had to come from a gourmet shop down in Tralee. I normally include some pasta once or twice a week, so in Ireland, I felt pasta-deprived.

Those are minor things, though, in comparison to the daily routine. We're accustomed to a wealth of information via radio and television. Our local cable net has hundreds of channels. It may be different now, but when I was in Ireland, your choice of radio station was this one or the other one, both run by the government. Television was the same way, and on weekends, the Late, Late Show came on at 9:30PM. Maybe it's different now.

But the big entertainment for me was the local pub. I didn't quite have my own, reserved stool there, but it was close. The pub was the local gathering place and talking with other people was the biggest form of entertainment. Since I'm (ahem) somewhat talkative, I enjoyed those hours in the pub.

I came across a notebook that I used over there. If I can find it again I'll transcribe some of it.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Good News!!!

We had a Road1 class in Tulsa today. Patrick Fox, the Bicycle-Pedestrian Planner for INCOG, told us that FEMA approved the bridge for the Tulsa trail plan. We've been waiting for this approval for two years. The next step is soliciting bids for construction. More on this tomorrow.

The Road1 class was an all-day affair. I'm one tired cycle-puppy.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Iowa Bill

Apparently there's someone in the Iowa legislature who doesn't ride a bike himself, but he's out to save the rest of us from our own stupidity. Honestly, I haven't seen one of those florescent bike flags since the 1970's! I'm kinda fond of retro stuff, but not THAT retro stuff. The flags were annoyingly noisy, and the poles offered an impalement hazard in a crash.

The rest of the bill is equally obnoxious. It deserves a quick death.

More at:

This bill requires a person to wear reflective clothing and
carry personal identification while riding a bicycle on a
street or highway. In addition, the bicycle must be equipped
with a six=by=nine=inch fluorescent orange safety flag
displayed at least 60 inches above the ground. A violation of
bicycle safety provisions is punishable by a scheduled fine of


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Couldn't resist...

Freely adapted from an anonymous poem in Eugenics Review (July 1929) and found in my Oxford Dictionary of Quotations:

See the happy Luddite.
He doesn't give a damn.
I wish I were a Luddite.
My God! Perhaps I am!

except in my case, there's no perhaps about it!

When I walked out to the bike rack after work, my back tire was flat. I usually leave 15 minutes before the end of the largest shift, but the flat put me in the traffic mix going out the gate just after 3:30. It wasn't a problem, though, because I'd worked that shift often, and those motorists going north have all seen me on the road at that time.

I had a light tailwind all the way home. I really need to get the Bianchi back on the road and take advantage of these days. My fixed gear - the Luddite's choice of bicycle - is just geared a bit too low for tailwind rides.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Wednesday Musette

As I traveled west on 76th Street yesterday morning, a semi-truck passed in the left lane, and then as his cab went by me, he moved back over into my lane. The trailer and rear wheels were uncomfortably close - maybe about 2 feet away. I eased up on the pedals as the gods smiled because the light at Main Street was red. The truck had to slow and almost stop. I still had Big Mo, so I moved over into the passing lane, passed him, and then moved back into the right hand lane on the other side of the intersection. Four wheeler traffic caught up and passed us both, the trucker sounding his horn to signal his displeasure at being trapped behind a bicyclist. I motioned for him to pass in the other lane. He didn't like it. Tough shit. The guy was either being careless when he passed me or he was deliberately trying to run me into the curb. When I passed him on the left - a legal maneuver for a cyclist when he's traveling FASTER than traffic in his lane - I merely returned the favor. Funny thing, though, when he passed me the second time he stayed in the left lane until he was well clear.

I've had pain in my right knee for some time now. Actually, both knees have been hurting, but at different times. Since I have pseudo-gout which is a kind of arthritis effected by diet, I thought that I'd been eating the prohibited food groups too often. But changing my diet didn't help, so I began to suspect my cleats. Today (Wednesday) I moved the right cleat back about 3mm. We'll see if it provides any relief. I've had knee pain before now, but never anything this persistent.

My ancient Compaq laptop is on its last legs. One of the hinges broke this week, and the screen support is twisted out of shape. I don't think it's repairable. The screen sits slightly cock-eyed, tilting to the right. I've been backing up software and all my work. Much of CycleDog is on this machine. It's been fairly reliable - for the most part - since it was re-formatted two years ago. I hate to see it go, but I know I'll enjoy a new machine if only for the higher-resolution screen. The new ones are easier to read, and that's something I'm learning to appreciate more as my eyes get older. I saw an ad for laptops at one of the big box stores, so I may be going there tonight.

Oh, by the way, I've decided to name my unhealed saddle sore "Ann Coulter" because they have so much in common. One is a hateful bag of pus and the other is firmly attached to my ass.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

I been tagged...

...and I coulda been somebody. Instead, I'm a bum.

One happy Luddite
Outside the mad world roars by
His smile is content

Fritz tagged me. Now, I'm not entirely sure what that means, but that's never stopped me from writing before. Also, he calls it a 'meme'. I'm not sure what that means, either, and I surely do not know how to pronounce it. Me-Me? Meem? Who knows. I'm supposed to write five reasons I do this blog. Or maybe I'm supposed to write five things you don't know about me. Given my usual, slightly befuddled state of mind, I might combine the two.

One reason I write is because I'm a windy old fart and I like to tell stories that make people laugh. And I do have lots of stories, some of them actually true. Meme? Mimi? I dated a girl named Mimi once. It was long ago, and she had really nice.....Oh, never mind.

Another reason I write CycleDog stems from a desire to teach people how to ride in traffic in comfort and safety. It ain't rocket science. It's a set of skills that can be learned relatively quickly, and it's a attitude that sees cyclists as simply equal to any other road user.

And another thing you may not know about me is that I have this persistent saddle sore right down here (reaches into trousers ala Bob Roll) and the damned thing just will not go away! I may have to name it after some prominent Republican.

CycleDog started as a project to work up ideas for the column I do for the Red Dirt Pedalers newsletter "Wheel Issues". I kinda grew a life of its own, though there's still a lot of crossover between the two venues. CD is much more immediate and timely, and it's less restrictive than the newsletter. I mean that the newsletter has limited space, not limited content. The column is seldom much more than 500 words. Like I said, I'm a windy old fart, and it's hard to do a good, funny story in 500 words. I enjoy trying.

Dr. Johnson said that no one ever wrote, except for money. I think he meant that writing should bring in some income, but that's not why I write this. When I look back over the last couple of years, I'm surprised to see just how much material I've committed to CycleDog. Maybe there's a money-making project in all that text. Maybe I'm thinking that it's a repository for much that I've learned, and it may provide some insight into my thinking long after I'm gone. Or maybe it's just a suppository of misinformation. (An aside: I never resist going for a laugh. We never know when we'll get to tell that last joke!)

Gotta go. She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed needs to go to the grocery store, and I'm her chauffeur. Sometimes it's good to be a lackey, especially if it involves dinnertime.

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Saddle Sore of the Month: Update

Our good doctor received justice today. The jury awarded him dick after a total of 15 minutes spent in deliberations. Probably a good ten minutes of that involved potty breaks and coffee refills. Click the link for the full article!

Jury finds young roller-blader not responsible for doctor's bicycle accident

Posted by The Star-Ledger March 05, 2007 4:45PM

A Morris County jury deliberated about 15 minutes this afternoon before finding that an 11-year-old girl did not cause a fertility doctor to crash his bicycle in their Chester Township neighborhood in October 2003.

The doctor, Alexander Dlugi, was not in the Morris County courtroom when the jury of four men and three women announced a verdict that brought a smile to Lauren Ellis' face.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Freewheel Seminars

Forwarded from Tom Brown at Tom's Bicycles in Tulsa:

Cycling Seminars brought to you by FreeWheel Inc. and Tom’s Bicycles.

Please Pass the Word!
Here's the latest on upcoming FreeWheel seminars. Consult the experts regarding any questions you may have
on these subjects. Anyone and everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. You don't have to be planning to attend FreeWheel 2007 to come to the seminars or be a member of any club. All that is required is an open mind, a healthy thirst for knowledge, and the simple desire to ride your bike. Don't miss any of them. Q&A after every seminar. You may sign up for FreeWheel at the seminars. See location and times below, subject to change. Watch the FreeWheel website for additional seminars. also, there are some really good speakers at the scheduled for the Tulsa Bicycle Club general meetings. Check them out at; .

Tuesday March 6:
"Effective Cycling" Road Riding & Cycling Ettiquette, presenter Richard Hall, President, Tulsa Bicycle Club. Are you a new rider or just getting back into it for the season? Rich talks about how to ride alone or in a in a group ride; yes there are rules! He will also present valuable information about how to position your self on the road for maximum safety and visability.

Thursday March 15:
"Where to Stay on FreeWheel" Monica Wright leads a great discussion on where we can stay on FreeWheel 2007. What's available in towns as far as lodging or camping. She'll reveal little tricks she's learned along the way that will help you to wake up happy and ready to ride.

Tuesday April 3: Room Change to D-107

Subject To Be Determined

Thursday April 19th: Room Change to D-107

Nicky's FreeWheel Packing Demo" or "how does she get all that stuff into those little bags?" Nicky Hall-Hensley unpacks her bags onstage no holds barred. If you've never seen this demonstration of efficiency in packing, then here's your chance. If you have, then you know that you'll learn something new every time. But wait there's more

"FreeWheel: The Rest of The Story" Ellen Proctor. Q&A and anything else you want to talk about. We've covered a lot of topics, and this evening's for you. We'll answer FreeWheel questions, bicycling questions or any other questions you might have!
Who: Anybody is welcome, from beginners to pros, don’t be shy.
What: We're talking about riding your bike here
When: 7-9 pm each seminar Where: OSU Center for the Health Sciences,
17 th street and SW Blvd.
Auditorium First Floor. Directions Below
Why: Because that’s what we do and we all want to do it better.

The FreeWheel Seminars are held at the much-appreciated OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, Health Sciences Center at 1111 W. 17th St. or better known as 17th and Southwest Blvd. in Tulsa. Times are 7:00 to 9:00pm . Enter from SW Blvd. and go around back to parking lot. Enter through doors recessed in between buildings and guard will direct you to auditorium.

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Another B List

Since I'm a proud neo-Luddite, I've only recently tried listening to podcasts. Trust me, they're a real PITA while you're on a dial-up service. But now that I've joined the 21st century, I'm toying with all the things I couldn't access previously, like videos and podcasts.

So....I have a question for the several dozen readers out there. What podcasts do you listen to, and would it be worthwhile to establish another B list of them?

Just curious.

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Weird courtesy...

I was stopped at a T intersection on my way home earlier this week, waiting for a car coming from my right. The driver had her left turn signal on. She was about to turn into the road I was on. I waited because she had the right of way, but she slowed and stopped, then motioned for me to pull out ahead of her. I did, but I was very nervous about it.

This happens occasionally. Motorists display exaggerated courtesy toward cyclists. I can only think that they're concerned about our safety, but when they disregard the rules of the road do to so, it's disconcerting for a cyclist. I really don't like to pull out in front of a car despite the driver's best intentions.

On the other hand, there are times when a strict adherence to the rules can be disconcerting too. Last night I was riding north along a two-lane road in a no-passing zone. Apparently, the woman behind me took that literally. She would not pass and traffic was backing up behind her. Someone started laying on the horn, but surprise, surprise, when we all reached the red light up ahead, they all behaved like adults. No one yelled. No one honked. It probably would have been different if the light had been green. Rude drivers have tons more courage when they can accelerate.

I've experienced the "cop effect" a few times recently, too. That happens when there's a patrol car in the immediate vicinity and every driver is aware of it. They're usually on their best behavior at such times. Unless, of course, the rude driver happens to BE a cop, like that fat county sheriff's deputy who pulled me over a while back. Honestly, if it hadn't been for the SUV, that guy wouldn't have moved at all.

I don't know what to do differently when a driver is extending weird courtesy. Like that one up above, I disliked pulling out in front of her car, but I can't think of any other action to indicate that she really should have gone ahead of me. Well, I guess I could stand there being stubbornly defiant, but then I'd look like a discourteous dick. Everyone knows that I take pride in having good manners and forego belching in nice restaurants or farting in elevators - mostly. I don't want to be rude.

Don't misunderstand me, though. I never hesitate to take the lane when conditions require it. That's not being arrogant or rude. That's being a safe, savvy bicycle commuter.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Saddle Sore of the Month

This was over on Cycle-licious

I haven't done the Saddle Sore of the Month bit for a long time. And I'm aware that it's only the second day of March, but this one truly deserves it.

Dr. Dlugi, who will hereafter be referred to as "Dick" for obvious reasons, is suing an 11-year-old girl he collided with as she roller skated along the street. He tried to pass her, and allegedly used his bell as a warning. He yelled, "Watch out!" and hit her. Now, anyone who's ridden around pedestrians or skaters knows that their actions can be unpredictable, but Dick apparently didn't allow much room for error. Dick apparently doesn't know dick about kids, either. Dick is suing, though there's no mention of the amount he's seeking. Here's hoping that Dick gets precisely what Dick deserves - dick.

Doctor sues girl, 11, over inline-skating collision

Says her negligence caused injuries in Chester Twp.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

A bicycling doctor has sued his then-11-year-old inline-skating neighbor for pain and suffering after they collided on their Chester Township street in 2003.

Their trial is under way in Morristown this week.

Lauren Ellis was inline-skating down her street on a fall afternoon when she collided with an adult neighbor, a prominent fertility doctor, who was bicycling.

Dr. Alexander Dlugi, now 54, sued the child, claiming she was negligent and caused the collision by reacting unreasonably when he approached her from behind on Sugar Maple Row, shouted "watch out" and rang his bicycle bell.

This week, the seven-member jury in the civil trial pitting the endocrinologist against Ellis, now a 15-year-old freshman at West Morris-Mendham High School, heard testimony from the teenager and Dlugi, and opinions from an accident-reconstruction specialist.

The accident expert said on Wednesday Dlugi could have avoided the collision by simply riding around the skater.


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