Monday, March 31, 2008

This just in...

General Motors has bought Specialized bicycles!

Found via Commute by Bike.

Link to original article in San Jose Journal.

Does this mean that a new GM SUV will come with a mountain bike and rack as options? How about a Chevy Impala SS with a road racer on top! Not that I can afford it, but what about the Cadillacs used by Rock Racing? If I read their website correctly, Rock Racing is on DeRosa's. I wonder if there's any problem with that.

I wouldn't be surprised if this is another effort to 'green up' their image.

More on this as it develops.....

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

A gem in the Goodwill Store...

I wandered into our local Goodwill Store this afternoon, looking for some cheap shorts for work and the usual 'dust catchers' for Mary and Lyndsay. I came up empty on those, but down at the end of the men's clothing rack they have an assortment of soccer jerseys and other synthetics. From across the room, I spotted those world championship sleeve stripes! And the Molteni on the sleeve was plainly visible too! Could it be?

Yes! It's a reproduction of a famous cycling jersey worn by none other than Eddy "The Cannibal" Merckx.

I am a happy camper. It's even a laughable XL in Italian sizing. That means it fits like a second skin. I gotta lose some weight.

Best of was five bucks.

Take the Lane (Revised)

Image from Bicycling is Better with an excellent discussion of shareable lanes.

(This based on my monthly column from the Red Dirt Pedalers "Wheel Issues"...Ed)

By Ed W. and Brian P.

One of the primary concepts in BikeEd is lane-positioning. A cyclist should always maintain a safe distance from the gutter pan or parked cars, a minimum of 3 to 4 feet. And motorists in Oklahoma are required to provide at least 3' passing distance when overtaking a cyclist. A little math tells us that if we add 3 feet from the gutter pan, 2 feet for the cyclist, and 3 feet for the minimum safe passing distance, we get 8 feet. Most cars are at least 6 feet wide. Therefore, a shareable lane can be no narrower than 14 feet. Keep in mind that in Oklahoma, lanes are rarely wider than 12 feet. That's where defensive lane-positioning comes in.

"Taking the lane" increases safety and visibility. Both new and experienced cyclists are often reluctant to try this. It seems counter-intuitive that by moving further to the left, one decreases the risk of collision, but when cyclists try the technique, they're astonished to discover how effective it is. Lane positioning communicates whether it's safe to pass or not. When a cyclist is in the middle of a narrow lane, he's telling drivers behind him that there isn't sufficient space to share the lane side-by-side, and that they'll have to yield to traffic in the adjacent lane before overtaking. When the cyclist moves further to the right, he's indicating it's safe to overtake. A cyclist should NEVER ride too far right (i.e., hugging the fog line, the curb, or even the gutter pan) because it invites motorists to 'sgueeze by' in the lane regardless of safety. On a 2-lane road, the passing motorist might be forced to choose between a head-on collision or running over a cyclist. In short, improper lane-position is a good way to get squeezed off the road.

Earlier today I read a comment by 'Siouxgeonz” on “Commute by Bike” about her introduction to lane positioning. (Her own blog is “Urbana-Champaign Bicycle Commute”.) Here's what she had to say:

I was reluctant to claim the lane at first, in a huge part because so many of the people who wrote to say it was the right thing to do seemed to emphasize “making a statement,” and I so much don’t want to make a statement that people can talk about in my eulogy...Now, I cringe whenever I hear somebody say “but I worry about the one who doesn’t see me” and hugs the line, because so many more people *don’t* see you when you’re doing that. It’s a perceptual thing…

I, too, learned to take my lane with a baptism in fire on a busy road...Two of us were riding and my friend noted that the drivers were buzzing by awfully closely… which (my silly verbal mind; it takes words to make anything happen) made me think “oh, yea! I’ve read that if we move out…” so we did.

Danged if suddenly the drivers didn’t get a whole lot better at giving us room! Instant education! And we weren’t dead center; just crossing into that “you’re in the car part” threshold.

We stopped for a bite to eat, and when we started riding again, the drivers forgot how to pass us again. Oops, make that we were too far to the right, because as soon as we nudged out again… the drivers got better. Amazing how educable they are! (Used by permission)

Some cyclists think that it's rude or arrogant to take the lane. Some think the practice antagonizes motorists unnecessarily. My response to that is simple. Safety always trumps convenience. Nothing in the law requires anyone on the road to do something they know is unsafe, and hugging the fog line is definitely not safe. Yes, overtaking motorists may have to slow down and wait until it's safe to pass. Taking the lane increases everyone's safety when a cyclist asserts his lane position. Stop caring about impeding traffic and realize that you have a right to use the road in safety and comfort the same as any other road user.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Another embarrassing moment....

When I lived in Pittsburgh, a friend and I were planning a Saturday morning ride. We met at his house and started rolling out of town. There was a charity walk-a-thon that morning, and the walkers were westbound on the sidewalk along Fifth Avenue as we approached a T intersection. We were turning east so we'd face the walkers.

The walk-a-thon was well attended. It was a warm, late spring day back in the era of halter tops and hot pants, and the sorority girls were happily parading, beaming with smiles and waving at passerby. That included us across the street waiting for the traffic light.

When the light changed, we rolled out slowly in order to take in the show. We turned left. Or more accurately, I turned left. My friend was staring at the jiggle show to his right as he pedaled into the curb at about 5 miles an hour. The bike stopped. He couldn't get a foot down and he toppled over. Now, when I've done things like this it was always hilarious. My friend, however, was instantly surrounded by a bunch of Farrah Fawcett look-a-likes who cooed, offered him water bottles, and just generally looked helpless, gorgeous, and vapid. He blushed furiously, partly because he was embarrassed to have fallen in such a dumb way, but also because he was more than a little flustered by all the female attention and exposed flesh. He got back onto his bike and rode away quickly.

When I caught up to him, I begged him to ride around the block and let me be the one to crash next time.


Riding to work in 2020

(Image from Edgewriter)

On the Tulsa Now forum, Patric started a thread about driving to work in 2020. It can be found under Forum Chat. I'm hoping to retire long before then, but I speculated about the commuting experience anyway.

It's another cloudy spring day. I open the garage door and push my bicycle up the driveway. The slight chill feels good against my face as I coast down the hill from the house. The coolness will be even more welcome once I'm warmed up.

Traffic is light this early. The sun is hiding behind the eastern horizon, but there's not enough light yet for the electric cars to run at full speed. They hum along at about 30 which is still twice my speed, but since they're smaller and lighter than the old gas-guzzling behemoths it's much easier to share the road.

But speaking of comes that ancient Chevy Tahoe again. I can hear the engine rattle from nearly a quarter of a mile away. It's a bio-deisel conversion, but the guy driving it must make his own fuel out in the garage. The neighbors must really love him. The exhaust has all the appeal of an open grease pit at a third-rate Chinese restaurant. At least the commercial stuff smells like french fries or donuts. The Tahoe just smells rancid. Adding to the irony is that chipped and peeling W04 sticker on the back bumper, still recognizable after all these years. The true diehards will never give up, even if their hero is confined to his prison cell.

A couple of young, skinny fast movers dart by, pedaling smoothly and making it look effortless to cruise above 20mph. They nod at the 'old guy' in acknowledgment, but never say a word. Then a middle aged matron passes not pedaling at all. She's on an electric bicycle - much like an old fashioned moped, but with an electric 'assist' motor. I pedal hard for a moment in order to draft behind her, knowing she'll slow down on the rise ahead. She smiles, because we've played this cat-and-mouse game many times. Some mornings she gets to the main gate first, other mornings I do. I'll pass on the uphill and try to open a big gap that she won't be able to cross before I reach that gate. The tailwind helps.

Soon enough, I'm in the parking lot locking up my bike. Compared to the old days, there are far more motorcycles and even the bike rack is full most days. But the astonishing thing is the difference in car parking. Where we had about 50 vehicles in the front lot, there are now twice that many in the same space. Sleek electric minis sit next to bulkier deisel-electric hybrids, and there are even a few old Smart Cars in the mix. Much of the backlot was no longer used, so the company built more offices and a small park for employee's breaks and lunches.

After work, I'll probably take a ride down along the River. I like the quiet trails and I want to enjoy them while I can. If the Pro-River Tax people get their way and the tax gets implemented, all the development will make going there a real pain-in-the-ass.

So, that's my story. Care to make one of your own?


Friday, March 28, 2008

INCOG BAG meeting


(This will be posted to NewOBC, CycleDog, TAOBIKE blog, and the Tulsa Now forum later today.)

25MAR2008 5:30P

Josh, Lisa, Tom, Patrick, Brian, Gary, Me...Monica arrived later

The original bicycling subcommittee had an organizational document describing their purpose. Do we have a similar document describing our goals and mission statement? We are attempting to locate the original. (Found a draft of the original on Wednesday, 26MAR, and it's been distributed.)

This committee represents an opportunity for a fresh start. This is not an official subcommittee of INCOG per Patrick.

We are the cyclist's voice, but do we have a role in planning?

We are to be proactive. Of local enhancement projects, 8 of 20 are funded. Public Works establishes a priority list. We want to bump projects up the list. For instance, the Mingo Valley Trail has been funded and that lead to neglect of other trail projects as money flowed to Mingo Trail. Patrick – we need signage and road markings and that money can go much farther than trails, increasing visibility of cyclist and cycling.

The Delaware bike lane was a joint effort of TU and Public Works.

Tom – we need to put ourselves forward as experts. Bicyclists need smooth streets, signage, and signals that react to their presence. City of Tulsa has a roadway design specification manual drawn from a variety of sources including ODOT and AASHTO. Can we get copies of this? Can we get copies of the AASHTO manual? One advantage of a regional Comprehensive Bicycle Master Plan is that it provides consistency from one municipality to the next. The rules and designs do not change as you cross from one jurisdiction to the next. INCOG has a facilities plan and a Master Trails Plan, but not a Comprehensive Bicycle Master Plan. City of Tulsa is motivated to pursue bicycle related projects, but regionally is questionable.

BAG needs to develop a document supporting the use of enhancement funds to hire a consultant for Comprehensive Bicycle Master Plan. Could Street Smarts be included as part of the master plan? It would include all the LAB E's: Education, engineering, enforcement, encouragement, equality, ...I forget the rest!

P. fox proposes committees to (1) become proactive in priority capital projects and funding of enhancement projects, and (2) improve on the current encouragement programs like BTW, trip tracker. Needs corporate help with promotion re: wellness, green issues, funding for radio, TV, newspaper ads. INCOG is promoting Ecology and Environment with Green Traveler program, ride share, mileage tracker. Summary page gives monthly totals and other information. Monica pointed out that unless corporations have a person tasked to collect the data, it falls through the cracks. We need to promote via other venues, Sustainability Tulsa, Wellness, Typros, health agencies, greens.

Monica - What are the benefits of logging all that information? Unless a company designates someone to compile it, the data will be lost.

Josh brought up the bike bus concept, an idea that deserves more promotion. Link up via Green Traveler?

Could we develop a new Corporate Challenge – pitting companies against each other for numbers of employees using bicycles for commuting and their mileage? We could publish a monthly list of winners in newspaper.

Safe Routes to School. Owen Elementary received funding from the state for projects. 100% of students live within 1.5 miles and there is no bus service. Lots of car traffic as a result. Intent is to promote kids walking and bicycling to school. Of $200K capital projects money, $20K goes to encouragement. PFox local coordinator for the project.

Community Cycling Project – money is available, yet no contacts have been made.

Open house on rail projects, 24APR. Where? Rail blog on line. GET URL

PFox needs help with: Enhancements and Bike to Work.

I agreed to help with writing BAG documents and whatever else need verbiage churned out. (More dummy me.)

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Tulsa Tough Website Goes Live

Malcolm McCollam just announced that this year's Tulsa Tough website is live. There's lots of good information about the races, the tours, kids events, the festival, and more.

Please note that the race prize list has doubled this year to $150,000!

...and they've added a forum. How cool is that!

Website design by:
New Medio
301 East Archer
Tulsa, OK 74120

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tour de Cow Town - Alleycat and Swap Meet

It's billed as the 834th annual Tour de Cowtown, which could mean this is the longest lasting bicycle event on the planet. Or possibly these guys have vivid imaginations.

On Saturday May 17 2008, in celebration of Bike to Work week, Kansas City will have an alleycat race and a bicycle swap meet.

Link to KCBikeFed
Link to Acme Bicycle Company

There's the LCI part of me that recoils from the usual behavior found in alleycat races, where breaking traffic law is normally part of the competition. Since the death of Matt Manger-Lynch in the Tour da Chicago alleycat racing has received a lot of media attention, and as can be expected, much of it is negative. My feeling is that alleycats are an endangered species, not due to police action, motorist outrage, or political pressure, but because the inevitable crashes will eventually result in lawsuits against organizers.

But despite that, I find the idea of trying to ride across town as quickly as possible an intriguing one. Alleycats are for younger, faster riders, however. A slightly overweight middle aged guy like me would be hopelessly outclassed...and hopelessly lost!

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Embarrassing Moments...

(Image of classic Campagnolo Super Leggerri pedals from Bicycle Specialties. Be still my heart!)

Long, long ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and clipless pedals had not yet been invented, I returned to Pittsburgh after a long, hot training ride. In those days, we all rode with toe clips and straps holding our feet to the pedals. We wore incredibly stylish black leather cycling shoes seemingly designed through a joint effort of some emaciated Italians and the Marquis de Sade. The idea was to ride furiously in order to distract yourself from the pain. Eventually, your feet went numb. The cheap leather saddles of the day did the same thing, except they made your....well....never mind.

But as I was saying, it was the end of a long ride on a hot day. I'd climbed away from the river up through the zoo. It was always a pleasure to reach the top of the hill because I could almost coast to my apartment. I'd reached the last red light and was slowing down when a convertible full of young ladies pulled up along side. They were admiring my lean, muscular physique quite vocally and I was returning the admiration when we stopped. My feet were still firmly attached to the pedals because I'd forgotten to release the straps!

On rare occasions, time slows down. I had ample opportunity to realize my mistake, anticipate the results, and even prepare myself mentally for ensuing events. The road and the horizon slowly tilted. My jaw clenched. My hands were vise-like on the brake hoods and my shoulder tensed for the coming impact. I don't remember hitting the pavement, but I do remember the pain inflicted by all that high pitched laughter coming from the convertible. They jetted off as I struggled to get out of those infernal toe straps.

It's a good thing I don't have a delicate psyche, or I may have been psychologically damaged for the rest of my life.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Five things....

(Image from Wooster Collective: five tips from public ad campaign)

I was thinking about writing a list of five things I'm proud of doing. But on reflection, I decided to make it a narrower list. So it's five things I'm proud of writing, both here on CycleDog, and in a few other places. I'm not limiting this to individual posts since there are a few themes I'm very happy to write about.

First, there's those two wonderful characters, Dr. Walter Crankset and his hometown of Broken Elbow, Oklahoma. Wally is a good-hearted guy very loosely based on a friend back in Pennsylvania. I wouldn't embarrass him by giving out his name, so it will suffice to say that they're both generous schemers with a wealth of tall tales. Broken Elbow doesn't exist any more than Lake Woebegone, of course, but it provides a suitably nutty background for Wally. Doctor Crankset is deliberately trying to provoke laughter, and I'm truly happy if you get a chuckle or two from him.

Then there are those posts that promote bicycling education. There's no better way to get people to use their bicycles than by empowering them. If you return to read CycleDog for the humor and get a dose of BikeEd along the way, well, I'm doing what I intended back when all this started. Sure, CycleDog originally began as a launch pad for ideas, a writing project that was meant to provide content to a regional newsletter. But like Topsy, it just sorta growed.

Twilight of the Demi-Gods was my revenge for being stopped by a local county sheriff's deputy for "impeding traffic". If 'demi' means reduced in size from normal, the deputy I had the misfortune of meeting was demi cubed. Humor is a way to channel and dispose of anger or frustration, and there's no denying that the encounter was frustrating. Some people are impervious to education or information contrary to their preconceptions. In this case, his boss the county sheriff was likewise impervious. You can't win 'em all, but you can convert them into convenient targets for sarcasm.

De-lousing Susan wasn't a post here on CycleDog. It was a comment on another blog. The author discovered small, white bugs on his tires. Like me, he hates bugs. He wondered what to do about the apparent infestation when I stumbled in the door. He referred to me as a 'gentleman'! Little does he know...

The first message in reply consisted of a quip, and a confession of ignorance regarding the substantive problem I face. The second, however, from another gentleman, suggested experience, and warned of pestilence. He wrote:

Those are most likely Vittoria beetles, commonly called tire ticks. The only solution is to replace every tire on every bicycle in the immediate vicinity. If you ignore them, they'll suck all the air out of your tires.

Granted, if you are, like me, still fairly naive to the nuance of bike maintenance, you might wonder, as I do, whether I'm being had. (Vittoria, of course, being a tire manufacturer.) But at the end of the day, does it matter? A) If CycleDog is so clever as to invent that on the fly ("tire ticks!?"), I deserve to be had; and B) even if he is pulling my leg, the fact remains, in whatever way, for whatever reason, and to whatever degree, one of Susan's tires plainly is infested by something, and one reasonably can assume that whatever the vile creatures are, they are more than prepared to, and certainly will given sufficient time, infest the other tires and only God knows what else.

I are a bad, bad man. And I'm perversely proud of that simple, devious reply. I truly hope he didn't end up replacing every tire in the immediate vicinity. I could blame it all on Wally, but that would be wrong.

Wally make me do it.

Finally, the fifth thing that I'm proud of is being able to bring you timely news and information about the Tulsa region. That may seem like a small thing, but when I'm able to sit in a meeting and learn more about how government works and how all of it can benefit area cyclists, there's both a responsibility and a kind of satisfaction in being able to provide that information here. I'm hardly the consummate insider with numerous ties and extensive contacts. I sit, listen, and very occasionally ask good questions.

Now, my original thought was to write about 5 things I'm proud of doing, but as I said, that would have been too broad. All five would have been about my wife and kids, all of whom I'm extremely proud of, and while that's something I could write about at length, this is supposed to be about cycling.

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Arthur C. Clarke

I was lucky enough to attend a lecture by Arthur C. Clarke when I was an undergraduate at Clarion State College (now Clarion University) in northwest Pennsylvania. It was the early 1970's and Clarion was developing a reputation for the science fiction writer's workshop held each summer.

As I recall, Clarke's lecture wasn't about science fiction. Instead, he talked about our own future. He told us of the exciting possibilities that would grow out of our existing technology. Remember, communications satellites were a relatively new innovation at that time. Clarke said that even the most remote village in Asia and Africa would be capable of receiving television via satellite in a few years, and those transmissions would deliver education and entertainment to people who were otherwise unreachable. He was right.

The other thing I remember from that lecture was Clarke's dedication to improving life in developing countries.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Biased? Not us!

MSNBC picked up an AP story about Floyd Landis and his last chance hearing before the Court for Arbitration in Sport scheduled for tomorrow in New York. Now, the headline would make you think that the taxpayers are paying for Landis' defense, but that is simply not true. That means it is false. That means the headline is a LIE. Now, if I had written this, I'd prefer anonymity too, just as the writer who penned this article seemed to prefer.

(Photo credit: Kevork Djansezian/AP)

The truth of the matter is that we taxpayers support the USADA, which may spend that $2 million in pursuing this case. That's a big chunk of their annual budget, but should Landis' be denied a chance to clear his name because of budget constraints? That seems to be the implication here. It costs too much to allow Landis an appeal, therefore he shouldn't be heard. I never knew that justice, right and wrong, or having a day in court were subject to a corporate balance sheet. Too expensive? Too bad. Appeal denied.

This case is 'de novo' meaning that it's a do-over for everyone involved. Rather than an appeal based on previous decisions or perceived errors, this time it starts from scratch. Also, this one is not open to the public, so we'll have to wait for news to trickle out.

(excerpts follow)

Taxpayers footing bill for Landis’ Tour defense Court fees may cost Americans $2 million in cyclist's effort to restore title


Cyclist Floyd Landis will make his final appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in New York on Wednesday in an effort to regain the 2006 Tour de France title he lost because of a positive doping test.

The final step in the Floyd Landis doping case will take place in New York, America’s most expensive city, and once again, American taxpayers will foot part of the bill.

The 2006 Tour de France winner, who was stripped of his victory last year, seeks to have his title restored by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. It’s the final step in a series of appeals that have cost upward of $2 million, a good portion of which has been paid for with federal funds.

...But it will still be costly, and a good chunk of the cost will be footed by USADA, which gets about 70 percent of its $12 million annual budget from the federal government, and the rest from the U.S. Olympic Committee.

When all of USADA’s expenses are added up, it’s possible prosecuting the Landis case from start to finish could eat up between 5 and 10 percent of the agency’s annual budget.

...CAS, largely bankrolled by the International Olympic Committee and various sports federations, will pay for arbitrators — including one from New Zealand and one from Paris — to travel to New York for the hearing.

...In the past, Landis and Suh have said they have little concern over depleting USADA’s coffers, because it’s their belief USADA runs an unfair system that is rigged against athletes.

“Everyone talks about how much money has been spent on this case, but they had twice what we had,” Suh said in an interview last September. “They had more experts at their beck and call. They spent much more than we did. That’s always been part of the system, that they’ve always had more resources than the athlete. This is the first time it’s even been close.”

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Tulsa Tough: A paradigm shift

Let me say at the outset, I have a very small role in this. The meeting I'm about to describe is just one small part of a larger effort to bring the Tulsa Tough to area cyclists. My part in that is to assist with the BikeEd program that provides bicycles and education to local kids. I'll very likely help to assemble those bicycles and I'll be out on the road somewhere providing mechanical help along the tour routes. But there's more to the Tulsa Tough, especially the racing portion of the event, and I know very little about that.

So, with those caveats in place, I'll forge ahead.

I experienced a paradigm shift at this meeting. It's always a little bit disconcerting when it happens, but this was nearly a revelation. The sponsors and supporters for the Tulsa Tough are Saint Francis Hospital and the Sports Commission, as well as the area hotel and restaurant association, and many others. That's hardly a revelation. But the idea that hit me, 'gobsmacked' as the Brits would say, is that the Tulsa area has arrived as a cycling city. There's a tsunami of cycling consciousness that joins government, businesses, and individuals, highlighting this city as a cycling mecca. You may think that's an overstatement, yet it's undoubtedly true. We are no longer struggling toward a goal. We've attained it. Sure, there's much more to do, but this was an enormous hurdle to overcome.

We met at Malcolm McCollum's law offices on Friday. Malcolm is one of the Tulsa Tough organizers, a 'big wheel' in the organization. Brian Potter, Gary Parker, and I are League Cycling Instructors. Ren Barger is an LCI too, and she's the coordinator for the Community Cycling Project. Adam Vanderburg, owner of Lee's Bicycles, is the driving force behind the Little 100 race for area schoolchildren. Adam agreed to be the contact person for this group, effectively our committee head. And Carol Bush is the executive director of the Crime Commission.

Having the Crime Commission on-board with the Tulsa Tough and BikeEd may require some explanation. We're working in conjunction with the Carol and the Crime Commission (and as Dave Barry would say, that sounds like a good name for a rock band!) by offering both bicycling education and Safe Escape. The latter is a national program that teaches children how to avoid abduction, empowering both kids and adults. It's a natural fit with BikeEd The program takes 1 hour and is aimed at both parents and children in grades 3, 4, and 5. Three weeknight presentations will be offered at Webster, Carver, and Memorial schools.

The classroom portion of the BikeEd presentation will be offered the same night as Safe Kids. We'll do helmet fitting, watch the LAB video, and get started with the introductory material. Parental participation is strongly encouraged because we can educate both kids and parents.

The 'skills and drills' portion of BikeEd will be offered on 2 weekends, May 10th and May 18th. The venue will be announced at a later time.

Jim Beach is organizing the Tulsa Townie, a short ride through Tulsa for the non-lycra crowd and the 'graduation' exercise for the kids. The Townie and all other tours will leave from the West Bank festival area this year.

We will have 300 Trek bicycles this year for the kid's giveaway. In order to receive a bike, they must attend the Safe Kids program, both elements of the BikeEd program, and ride in the Tulsa Townie. Just like last year, the bikes will be available for pickup the day before the Townie. Since these bikes are more complicated than the Schwinns we had last year, the assemblers will need to receive some training. Time and place for that will be announced.

Tulsa People will put out a guide to Tulsa Tough venues for spectators.

We discussed the probability of scheduling conflicts between these events and various other cycling-related events in May. The month is packed full of tours, meetings, seminars, and two holidays. While we attempted to minimize conflicts, it's simply not possible to eliminate all of them. This is a big concern, partly because we don't want to draw people away from their plans, but also because we depend on volunteers to help. As I'm fond of saying, trying to keep a big group of kids focused is like trying to herd cats. It can be stressful and exhausting, but the bottom line is that it's still a whole lot of fun!

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I'm the family chauffeur, and I'm not alone...

(Image from Adrian Flux, a discussion of insurance for teen drivers in the UK.)

I'm a sucker for stories like this since I have 2 young drivers in the house. Yes, I've been the family chauffeur, though now that he has a license, that duty has devolved to Number One Son. He's tickled - for the moment - so we'll see how long that lasts.

But the bit that caught my attention was the reduced numbers of 16-year-olds with driver's licenses. They've fallen from half to about a third. The article speculates about the reasons for this, including the high cost of insurance, but it offers no definitive answers. Personally, I was extremely reluctant to toss the car keys to a kid whose main interests consist of girls, football, girls, Gran Turismo, and girls. Did I mention that he has an intense interest in girls?

Excerpts follow. Emphasis added. (Link to complete article)

Driving Miss Chloe

Published: March 16, 2008

Los Angeles

YOU know her — that nice teenager across the street? Chloe. There she is, sitting in one of the two captain’s seats in the midsection of her mom’s Toyota Sienna, bopping along to the music on her iPod. Now and then she pulls out one of the ear buds so that she can tell her mom some forgotten bit of news or gossip; Chloe’s mom is up to speed on the dramas that are always unfolding in her daughter’s circle of friends, just as she can tell you the date of her next French test, the topic of her coming history paper and the location and scope of her next community service project. They have a great night planned out: they’re going to pick up Chloe’s best friend and then drive back home for a night of DVDs and popcorn in the family room. Her mom will putter around close by, and her dad will probably sit down and watch one of the movies with the girls.

When I was in high school in the 1970s, we had a name for teenagers like Chloe: losers. If an otherwise normal girl thought that the best way to spend a Saturday night was home with her parents — not just co-existing with them, but actually hanging out with them — we would have been looking for a bucket of pig’s blood.


That a profound change has taken place in the relationship between American teenagers and their parents is made clear by statistics from the Federal Highway Administration showing a steady decline in the number of licensed teenage drivers. In the last decade, the proportion of 16-year-olds nationwide who hold driver’s licenses has dropped from nearly half to less than one-third.

The reasons have a great deal to do with the cost of car insurance and driver’s education programs. But among middle- and upper-middle-class young adults, the cohort that created the teenage car culture, the propulsive energy that once served to blast an adolescent away from his or her parents has begun to drain away. Teenagers report that they don’t need to drive: their parents are willing to take them where they want to go, and they are content to ride shotgun with Mom, texting and yakking all the way to the mall.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008


(Image from Sonoma County Transit - Top ten crashes and how to avoid them. Good advice.)

Fritz sent me a link that leads to a test of your powers of observation.

Click on the link (it requires a broadband connection) and test yourself.

Seeing is an active process. The act of vision is filtered by our expectations and preconceptions. So when a motorist says, “Officer, I never saw that cyclist. He came out of nowhere!” That motorist is likely telling the truth.

Now, you'd think that as a cyclist I'd be more aware of other cyclists on the road. And in a general sense that's true. But just like everyone else, I'm shackled to my expectations when I'm driving. Several times, I've been startled by wrong-way riders or night riders seemingly appearing 'out of nowhere.' It's an unpleasant experience.

The incident I'm about to describe happened some time ago. Fritz reminded me of it during his appearance on the Spokesmen earlier this week.

The sun lurked just over the horizon that morning, lighting the road with indirect sunlight. Dawn was moments away. I was southbound on Mingo Road just north of the maintenance base where I work. A car pulled up and stopped on a side street. Yes, it's the classic motorist-about-to-pull-out-in-front-of-you position. I could see his eyes turn past me and look far down the road. The small, comparatively slow moving bicycle with a big, “well nourished” guy on top simply didn't register. The driver's programming had him looking for large, fast-moving vehicles much farther away. So while I was in his field of vision, I didn't make a blip on his radar. And radar is a good analogy because Doppler radar works by showing speed differences, and below a certain threshold, those differences are disregarded. This driver's eyes were turned toward me, but I didn't break that critical threshold of consciousness. He scanned for 'real' threats, motor vehicles hurtling toward him at 50 miles an hour, not a bicyclist traveling at 15.

I instantly moved to the left hand tire track, ready to brake or dodge as necessary. Sure enough, the car started forward. I yelled, “HEY!” The car nose dived as the driver spiked the brakes. He had the startled where-in-hell-did-you-come-from look on his face.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tuesday Musette

The last couple of days have been very busy. I'm excited to share this information will all of you because these 'happy accidents', when all the good stuff seems to converge at once, happen very rarely.

Patrick Fox/info re Google Maps

Patrick Fox, Multimodal Transportation
Planner at INCOG, caught this one I'd missed.
It's from the National Bike Summit that
concluded last week. Patrick said:

hey Ed...

Check this out...

From Streetsblog:

One of the more intriguing stories at yesterday's National Bike Summit in Washington D.C. came from Nicole Freedman, who was appointed Boston's first bike czar last September. A planner and one-time professional cyclist, Freedman was charged with building a bike network out of nothing, in a city routinely ranked among the nation's worst for bicycling, on a shoestring budget.

Well, you know what they say about necessity. Freedman invented a rather ingenious method of planning a bike network. Her team created a modified Google Map that enables cyclists to log on and trace the routes they ride every day. Watch the data pile up, and voila -- sensible bike routes. "We found out where the actual desire lines are," she said. "Using existing technology was great."

In addition to figuring out where to stripe lanes, Freedman is using Google Maps to rate streets on bike-friendliness. "Anyone can go onto Google and rate a road," she said. "Is it good for beginners or just for experts?" The results will be reflected in Boston's first official bike map, which Freedman touted as an example of the city's strategy to personalize bike education and training. (Did I mention they're starting from scratch?)

Total cost? Next to nothing. "Basically the public is creating the map, and the sponsor will print," she said.

Update: While trying to track down the Google Map, which reader Eric Fischer links to in the comments, I found this explanation of how riders use it from Boston blogger Velo Fellow.

Let's be clear – this is a free resource that we can use to determine routes used by real cyclists, rather than lines on a map drawn up in a planning office somewhere. A tool like this is very beneficial to area cyclists, INCOG, and our bureaucrats and politicians. It supplies genuine data, not assumptions or conjecture, and that's precisely the kind of information necessary to serve area cyclists.

Trail updates and Green Traveler

(This is part of an e-mail Patrick Fox sent out regarding trail connectivity with the AA Maintenance Base. Used with permission.)

As far as completing the Mingo Valley Trail, that trail is either constructed or funded to be constructed from 91st Street South to I-244. The un-constructed portions of the trail, which are generally between 81st St. South and 41st Street South, and between Admiral and 244, are being managed by the City of Tulsa Public Works department. I believe that they are currently in the final design phase with anticipated construction to begin in 2009.

North of I-244 the trail is planned to follow Mingo Creek past the Airport to connect with Mohawk Park, with a potential for a spur west towards the American Airlines facility. That extension North of 244, however, is not funded. We generally rely on either Federal Transportation Enhancement Funding and/or private charitable funding to pay for these amenities. The Enhancement Funds have paid for the Mingo Valley Trail to this point, with the matching funds (20%) coming from the city capital improvements fund.

Another project underway is the construction of the Mohawk-Owasso Trail which originates on 76th Street North in Owasso, travels south on Mingo to 66th Street North, then follows 66th St west to Memorial, where it again turns south until the Trail intersects with Mohawk Park. From that point trail users can access the park and its facilities, or travel through the park to the North side of the Airport boundary, near American. What has been completed to date is all of the survey work and some preliminary design work for the project. Construction of the project should move quickly now that the field work is complete.

I also want to let you know about Tulsa’s “Bike To Work” Program. This is an annual event, which roughly coincides with our Ozone Alert Season. The kickoff is in May, during National Bike To Work Month. Our event extends through the Ozone Alert Season and ends in mid-September. The event is designed to encourage people to ride to work when they can. The incentive, other than personal satisfaction and exercise, is that we provide an online miles ‘Tracker”, in which participants can log the number of miles they commute each week. We have two to three Bike to Work “get-togethers” in which we reward the participants who have ridden the most miles throughout the season with prizes, gift certificates, etc. Plus, we usually spring for coffee and bagels. It’s a good opportunity for cyclists around the region to get together and talk about cycling and cycling issues. The Bike to Work info can be found at:

Another ‘green’ alternative to biking is sharing rides with other American Airlines employees. INCOG sponsors a website named Green Traveler,, which provides instant online access to locating potential carpooling partners.

Anyone who has computer access can fill in their commuting schedule in just a couple of minutes. They can limit matches only to fellow workers who work the same shifts they do. In a few seconds they can get e-mail contact information on other American employees near them who would like to carpool. Phone numbers and specific addresses are kept private until participants decide to give those details to potential ride partners. Sharing rides saves money, expands commute options, and is good for the environment. Not only is less fuel consumed, but cutting down on the number of vehicles on the highway reduces auto emissions that contribute to air pollution. Using is a great way to go green!

Tulsa Tough update

(From Adam Vanderberg, owner of Lee's Bicycles.)

I received a call today from Malcolm McCollam about the Tulsa Tough Kids Challenge this year. They have partnered with the Crime Commission on their Safe Escape program. Safe Escape is a very successful community program to teach kids on how to protect themselves from predators. The program is very well attended! Tulsa Tough wants to give away bikes to these kids (3rd through 5th graders.) but we need a bicycle (education) element to the program. I'm thinking a Kids 1 course might be the perfect curriculum for this age group but we need LCI's to teach and was hoping for some support from our local professionals.

I'm told that there will be 300 Trek multi-speed bicycles equipped with hand brakes this year. Assemblers will have to receive some training. Of course, I've already volunteered to provide mechanical support on the tour route and I'll undoubtedly be there assembling kid's bikes when the time comes.

Go Green and Get Lean

Our internal newsletter, Crib Notes, is devoted to green issues in the March 11th edition. There's a long article with, ahem, me of all people promoting transportation cycling. I didn't include it here in the musette because of it's length. I'll post it separately sometime tomorrow.


The Tulsa advocacy group now has a page for news and information directed at area cyclists. (LINK) For the near future, I'll be posting news both there and in CycleDog, but CycleDog will remain the sole site for comedy, satire, rants, and other personal observations.

Wednesday night ride Owasso

I think this makes a lot of sense. Our regular Tulsa area Wednesday night ride leaves from the West Bank parking lot near downtown. With the high cost of gas, it's sensible to initiate other local rides that don't require participants to drive to the starting point. So there's a new Wednesday ride leaving from the south lot of the Bailey Medical Center in Owasso starting at 5:30.

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I been tagged...sorta

(Image from Sexy, no?)

Noah at KC Bike Commuting sorta kinda tagged me in a casual, off hand way. The idea is to write a six word memoir. Now, that's going to be difficult because on my home planet, where I'm revered as a demi-god, there's no direct translation for the word that conceptualizes he-of-the-washboard-abs-bulging-biceps-sexual-tyrannosaurus. And that word string is only a clumsy approximation. So I'll have to keep it in prosaic human terms. How dull.

Husband, father, bonhomie, cyclist, writer, technogeek.

Family always comes first. That's been true for a very long time, so long in fact, that I have difficulty remembering what it was like to be single.

Bonhomie. My friend Wade says I treat everyone as if they were an old friend. Like Will Rogers, I've never met a stranger.

Cyclist and writer. We each have our passions.

Technically, technogeek is probably not a word. But it's clearly descriptive. I make a living wearing binocular magnifiers with a soldering iron in my hand.

OK, in the same spirit as Noah exhibited, I won't deliberately tag any of you. Instead, I'll rely on your discretion, knowing that the Usual Suspects will pick it up and run with it anyway.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Kajuan Cornish

You may recall the story of Kajuan Cornish, a cyclist convicted of reckless driving and fined over $1000 under the state of Virginia's draconian 'abusive driver' law. Cornish was riding back to work when he was stopped by a police officer who said other motorists had to slow down in order to avoid hitting him.

Well, here's the good news. The state voted to rescind the legislation effective July 1st. Originally, they enacted this law to add to the state's revenue and fund more road construction. This was an ingenious end-run around taking responsibility for road funding by raising taxes. Or so it seemed at the time.

Here's the news piece about the change.

(And as an aside, it's amazing how much reading and writing I can get done when I leave the stupid television off for the evening!)


Car Head?

Tucson Bike Lawyer has a piece on Car Head, the all-too-common attitude that motor vehicles rule the road and the rest of us had better step aside. It rears its ugly head in those 'blame the victim' stories that pop up after any widely reported cycling fatality.

The two deaths near Cupertino on Sunday are no different. Bike Lawyer takes the Mercury News to task. I came across this:


Bike accident a reminder to respect the center stripe
By William Brand, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 03/10/2008 10:17:40 AM PDT

OAKLAND _ A crash like the one that took the lives of two Bay Area cyclists near Cupertino Sunday is a tragedy that should serve as a warning to both urban bicycle riders and motorists to respect the center stripe on a street, road or highway, the head of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition said this morning.

...The accident at 10:30 a.m. Sunday on Stevens Canyon Road in Cupertino took the lives of Matt Peterson, 30, of San Francisco, and Kristy Gough, 31, of Oakland.

One thing bicycle riders, those who commute by bike or just like to tool around the neighborhood, can do is learn safety skills, Raburn said.

Thanks to Measure B, the bond issue passed by Alameda County voter, the coalition is offering a series of "street smart" classes free in coming months in Oakland and around Alameda County. Each class is taught by League of American Bicyclists-certified instructors.

There's no mention of the driver's role in this crash, and he's the one who crossed the centerline, plowed into a group of people and killed two of them. No, the focus is on cyclists themselves. We're responsible for our own safety, apparently even when an out-of-control SUV comes at us head on.

If you read CycleDog regularly, you know that I'm a strong proponent of bicycling education. Normally I'd welcome an article focusing on the role of the League's BikeEd program, but in the context of this crash, the article reeks of blame-the-victim. If I recall right, there isn't a 'dodge the veering SUV' drill in any of LAB's material.

One story said that the sheriff's deputy may have fallen asleep at the wheel. That's something that will be checked in depth - I hope. Like any crash, the root causes should be fully investigated if only to find ways to avoid similar crashes in the future.


Rite of Passage...

There comes a time in a parent's life when he suddenly realizes those cute little children are no more. Lost inside that astoundingly large adolescent is the smiling little boy I knew. Oh, the smile is still there, but the package it comes in is huge.

On Friday, we went over to Claremore so he could take his driver's test. It was a fiasco. Jordan was understandably nervous. So was I but for different reasons. If he passed, I'd hear, "Can I have the keys, Dad?" no more than 50 or 60 times a day. If he failed, he'd have an ominously dark cloud hovering over his head, and he'd be a pain-in-the-butt to live with for a few days.

I needn't have worried. The State of Oklahoma in its infinite wisdom decided to change the rules for the driver's test. These days, you have to make an appointment in the morning for a test session later that same day. Neither of us knew that, so when we arrived at the testing center late Friday afternoon, Jordan was politely turned away. He was sullen about it for a while, but perked up later that evening.

But he complained loudly to She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, who came to me with a 'question' about calling the office promptly at 8AM on Monday. I dutifully set an alarm in both my cell phone and the laptop calendar program. I know better than to incur the wrath of She-Who-etc. Like a chameleon trying to fade into the background, I've adopted this dumb look as protective coloration.

This morning when the alarms went off, I began calling the exam office. I think the 'redial' icon is worn off my cell phone. Eventually I got through and made an appointment for late afternoon.

We drove to Claremore. Jordan chattered nervously. He fidgeted and asked questions about the test I'd taken at his age. At the office, he drummed his fingers and fidgeted some more until his name was called. He and the examiner walked out the door, got into the Ford, and in a moment, they were gone.

I said to the woman sitting in the next chair, "If he comes back with a big smile, he passed. If there's a scowl and a storm cloud, he failed."

Fifteen minutes later, the car pulled back into the parking lot. As Jordan got out, the woman said, "He passed!" He had an ear-to-ear grin that lasted all the way home.

Now, rather than skinned knees and a broken bicycle, I have other things to worry about. Every time he goes out the door to drive by himself, I'll turn up the volume on the scanner, hoping that I never hear anything about my boy.

That's not the end of my worries, however. In between the calls and text messages he sent to half a dozen girls on our way home, he received a call from a Marine Corps recruiter.


Saturday, March 08, 2008

They do not learn...

Pardon me while I rant for a moment....

Apparently, they do not learn and they do not read. If you're unaware of making mistakes because you don't read the feedback, how on earth can anyone expect you to correct these errors?

I found this on Streetsblog:

Bike-Share Update: DC First Out of the Gate

On Wednesday Streetsblog declared Portland the leader in the race to launch a public bike-share program here in America. But as DC bike blogger Chris Loos pointed out, a bike-share system in Washington is actually imminent.

Isn't that nice? Those cities on either side of the country, you know, out near the coasts, are having a 'race' to launch a public bike program here in America. Lovely.

The 'race' link takes you to this:

Bike-share programs are a very hot topic at the Bike Summit. Everyone is aware of how Velib has led to a huge spike in bike ridership in Paris, and they're wondering which U.S. city will be the first to replicate that success. Based on the Q&A session at one panel, "Bicycling in Great American Cities," it seems like Portland is the best bet to get something up and running first.

And below that, you find this comment by ER:

Sorry, Portland and NYC- Tusla, OK won the US bike-share arms race already. Check it out:

Yes, I know that the Midwest is 'flyover' country as far as some on the coasts are concerned, but it's annoying to encounter this story time and time again as some bicycling advocacy group touts it's own city as the first in the nation to adopt this program. It's been in operation here since last spring. The system encountered a few bugs that have been remedied, and it's widely regarded as a successful program. So successful, in fact, that it's planning to expand.


Yes, it bothers me greatly. We have a good system here. It works. And since Tulsa isn't known as a trendy cycling town, that popular bike share program is relegated to obscurity. It has to make me wonder, if Streetsblog, the Bike Summit, and others are completely unaware of events happening here in the middle of the country, how many other bicycling-related programs escape their attention because they're in 'fly-over' country?

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Friday, March 07, 2008

D's Sweet Designs, Owasso

(CycleDog Photo)

Interview with Deanna Hernandez, owner

A custom cake boutique

9100 N Garnett Rd.

Suite G

Owasso, OK 74055

Hours: Tues-Fri. 11 am - 6 pm and Sat. 10 am - 1 pm.

Phone: 918.272.3103

Fax: 918.272.3893



(In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that my daughter is a part-time employee of D's Sweet Designs. The interview this piece is based on was conducted several weeks before she was hired.....Ed)

Armies are said to travel on their stomachs and that's no less true of cyclists. We ride to eat. So it's always a pleasure to find a new destination that sells good food.

Deanna Hernandez is the owner of D's Sweet Designs in Owasso. This custom bakery opened at the beginning of the year, offering cakes, cookies, and cheesecake. She says, “If you're going to blow your diet, do it here. Eat that whole piece of cheesecake and enjoy it, but then cut out the French fries or eat a salad for lunch.” Keep the cheesecake in mind, because we'll return to it in a moment.

All cyclists understand the concept of balance, whether that applies to riding a bike or eating a balanced diet. But one area that Deanna talked about was definitely too intense, too immoderate to have any semblance of balance. That was passion, a passion for making good food that people like immensely.

Everyone needs to be passionate about something. If you do what you're passionate about don't worry about the money because the money will follow. People will get excited about what you're excited about. Success will follow. That's part of the charm of it. I'm the little train that could. Mom and Pop businesses feel like they're more invested in the business, customer service, and doing a great job. I want people to feel like it's OK to come in and visit with us. When work feels like a hobby it's fun. I don't ever want to dread coming in here to work. The ego side of me wants people to see my work and say, 'Oh, I can see you got that from D's Sweet Designs.'”

I freely admit that I like Mom-and-Pop businesses because they're often much more relaxed than the big franchises or chains. Business is conducted at a slower pace, a pace that makes customers feel more like a valued family member rather than a stranger who must be relieved of his money as quickly as possible, and then shown the door.

Deanna was working for a gas and oil company in Houston when she started her first bakery in 2002.

I brought cheesecake to our Christmas party. People wanted to know where I got it, and I had to tell them it was my own recipe.”

She started in a small shop. No one wanted to lend money because she had no real bakery experience, just what she'd learned at home.

It's a whole different animal when you're doing it with a big oven, big mixers and all that.”

She simply couldn't raise enough money. The frustration had reduced her to tears at her desk one day. The company hedge fund manager wanted to know why she was crying. She poured her heart out, telling him that this was her dream and the lack of funds stood in the way. He asked to try a piece of her cheesecake, and after eating it, wrote her a check to cover the balance.

That's some very persuasive cheesecake!

Like many small business owners, she found that the store became her life. It was successful, but the long hours took their toll.

Working 60-70 hours a week is no way to live. The original store had a long menu. I'd get there at 6 in the morning and stay until 8 at night. Fridays started at 6:30 and I worked until 2AM, returning at 7AM on Saturday and closing at 5. I was burning out really, really fast. My family won't let me do that again. The new shop is the only custom cake shop between Tulsa and Caney, Kansas. It's a labor of love, nothing that I'll ever make millions on, but it's the sheer joy to see someone take a bite of a chocolate truffle and watch their face just melt.”

I have a weakness for bakeries. My waistline proves it. But I can apply that concept of 'balance' to my diet as well as my riding, and enjoy those tasty things in life (cheesecake) in a moderate way (truffles) knowing full well that a good life (brownies) consists of yielding to temptation (chocolate covered strawberries) now and then. Not that I think about food all the time, of course.

If you're looking for a destination for one of your rides, consider a stop at D's Sweet Designs. Sure, you'll load up on calories but you'll do the miles to make up for them, right?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Thursday Musette (Updated)

(Image from CNN)

(Note: The update included a link to the TV news story about cable barriers.)

Tulsa Joint Base Communications

Steve Sanner is writing an article for one of our internal newsletters based on an idea I sent about encouraging bicycle commuting.

Commuting to work on a bicycle “Saves money, gives you exercise and its fun” says Ed Wagner, AMT, CRO Avionics Shop 260-5. In view of the continuing rise in the price of gasoline and the push for ‘going green’, Ed proposes that AAers step out of the cars and onto their bicycles.”

The company is making a big push to green up its image since we burn tons of fossil fuel every day. But my pitch didn't address their image. My idea was to promote safety both on and off the job. The very first training an incoming employee receives here is in shop safety, so it's in both the company's and the employee's interest to maintain safety awareness.

I said that with gasoline prices here expected to exceed $4 per gallon this summer, more employees will turn to their dusty bicycles for transportation. Some may ride to work. Others may just ride to the grocery store. Regardless, they should have some awareness of safe bicycle operation.

I'll write more about this as it develops. Once Steve publishes his piece, I'll include it here. My hope is that we can develop a plan or a pattern that can be duplicated at other large companies interested in promoting employee health and greening up their images.

Volunteer Awareness Expo

We had an expo at work with 40 different charity organizations looking for fresh volunteers. I walked over to talk with Duane Friesen who volunteers with the multiple sclerosis group. We talked about the enormously popular MS150 ride, and he signed me up as a member of the company bicycle club.

The women from the Tulsa Community Food Bank got my attention too, simply by giving me a cookbook for Mary. Now I owe them a favor, an obligation I'll have to re-pay with some volunteer work. I'll write about that too. Everything is fodder for the content beast!


It's cold and windy here in Tulsa. I walked across the parking lot feeling like Dr. Zhivago in a blizzard. “Tanya! Tanya!” I know. It means nothing unless you've read the book or seen the movie. Let's say it was cold and leave it at that.

So I was dressed in layers, a skull cap on my head, an over-sized hoodie with a vest over it, baggy carpenter's pants, and work boots. As I left the expo, a voice behind me loudly said, “Who let the homeless guy in?” It was my friend Dave. Now, I'm hardly a sharp dressed man, but do I look homeless? At least strangers don't walk up and offer me money for a meal – not that I'd turn them down, of course.

Highway Safety 'Improvements'

KTUL in Tulsa did a story about replacing steel or concrete barriers with cable devices meant to retain motor vehicles on the highway, absorbing the impact of a crash and causing reduced injuries to the occupants. Great idea – unless you happen to be on 2 wheels. For a bicyclist or a motorcyclist, these devices are more akin to a cheese grater. Granted, I wouldn't want to hit a concrete or steel barrier wall, either, but the cable design is far worse. The cables are bad enough, but there's a vertical post every couple of feet too. They may not offer much hazard to someone inside a car or truck, but a cyclist can easily impact them with a limb or his head. Even at the relatively low speeds that bicycles normally travel, I would not want to hit a vertical post.

The cables are cheap, and apparently our lives are equally cheap to the state highway department.

Here's a link to the television station's story:

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Oklahoma Bicycling Coalition Meeting

2008 OBC President Chuck Davis of Tulsa
(CycleDog Image)

Oklahoma Bicycling Coalition



(New officers and directors list from OKBIKE.ORG)

Written by Pete Kramer

Monday, March 03, 2008

New 2008 Officers and Board of Directors were elected at the Special Meeting of the Board and Members held in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

The new officers are:

Chuck Davis, Tulsa, President

Richard Hall, Tulsa, President Elect

Mary Cash, Stillwater, Secretary & Past President

Pete Kramer, Oklahoma City, Treasurer

The new Directors are:

Don Norvelle, Stillwater, Education Director

Shawn Gibson, Stillwater, 405 Region Director

Sterling J Hale, Stillwater, 580 Region Director

Christina L Birch, Tulsa, 918 Region Director

Jim Beach, Tulsa, Web Director

Susan Walker, Stillwater, Membership Director

Vacant, Legislative Director


In his address to the assembly, incoming OBC president Chuck Davis said that the key to expanding the organization is membership involvement. To that end, he wants the present Yahoo mailing list to be the property of the coalition. He wants to publish the membership list as a means to enhance participation. The membership is crucial if the coalition is to survive.

Let me say this about memberships. All groups include a small number of people who actually do the work. The rest of the group contribute dues to support that smaller group's efforts. In effect, their dues reflect their agreement with the organization's stated goals and its actions toward achieving those goals. When those interests diverge and the officers no longer reflect the goals of the members, those disaffected members simply walk away. They vote with their feet.

I did not renew my OBC membership this year.

There was a possibility of taking a position on the board, but given its composition, I'm greatly relieved that I did not give it serious consideration. I could not work with some of the people listed above under any circumstances, let alone the climate of mistrust and acrimony that's prevailed over the last several months. I've done volunteer work for a number of organizations, work that at times was unpleasant, but none of them caused as much personal aggravation as this one.

In one way, I hope that the OBC can be rescued and that the present board will pull it back from the brink of destruction. Yet when I consider that several of the officers contributed to that downward spiral, in reality I see little hope. Maybe I'll be proved wrong about this. If so, I'll gladly re-up my membership. On the other hand, if the present slate of officers puts the coalition into a long tailspin, I'll probably be there to help rebuild it after the crash-and-burn.

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