Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday Musette

The Header...

In all honesty, I should change the 'all weather cyclist' header at the top of the page because for the last several months I've been only an occasional cyclist. My knee still hurts and I'm afraid to do more damage by riding in the cold. Sure, I could go see the doctor and say, "Doc, it hurts when I do this."

His reply would be, "Then don't do that!" And it would cost me about a hundred dollars for his common-sense advice.

Or it could be worse - he would order x-rays, CAT scans, dubious orthopedic devices from the Marquis DeSade Medical Supply Company, and numerous strangers would poke and prod my knee, saying, "Hmmmmm" in profound ways. They'd tell me to avoid riding, jumping, running, twisting, or putting down ceramic tile on the remaining floors. Then they'd send a bill to my insurance company and I could fight with them for months about it.

Why do I get the uneasy feeling that if government takes over health care it won't be much of an improvement?

More boring news about flooring...

Now, despite the knee pain, I'll continue working on our floors once the weather breaks. I have a great incentive. Mary and I were preparing dinner in the kitchen last night. Right out of the blue, she said, "You know, I really like this floor."

I made a lot of mistakes tiling the kitchen, but she doesn't see that. She's just happy to have it, and if there's one thing I've learned very well about marital bliss, it's Keep Mama Happy. I'll forego cycling to get the floors done and I'll do it happily.

Ice and snow...

We're in the middle of a typical Oklahoma winter blast - a few days of arctic cold followed by a rapid thaw. This is much different from a winter in western Pennsylvania, where temperatures dropped below freezing at Christmas and didn't change until March. That's a slight exaggeration, of course. But here in Oklahoma, we can have near record highs one day, followed by a precipitious drop to well below freezing. I often wonder how pioneers survived such rapidly changing conditions.

When I left work on Monday, we had freezing rain. The roads and sidewalks looked uniformly wet, but that served to disguise patches of ice. The car danced around a few times on the way home. For most of the trip I had no problems. I was wary enough to avoid walking on the driveway, preferring the better footing offered by the yard with its bed of pine needles. But I had to cross the sidewalk to reach the porch and that single step was costly. I started to fall, then caught my balance quickly. In doing so, I managed to wrench my right knee - again - and felt a sudden pain right above the patella. This is the problem area that's given me fits for the last several months.

Oh, joy.

Feral kittens...

Back around Thanksgiving, we captured some feral kittens. Mary lured them into the house one at a time over the course of a week. Three have tamed down fairly well while one is still extremely wary. We need to place them soon.

The short haired tabby is the most gentle. In the photo above, he has his face in the food bowl. Mary dubbed him 'Shadow' because he follows her around in the house. The two long haired tabbys - both gray - are more typical. When they want attention they'll let you know. Otherwise, go away. The orange tabby isn't ready to be placed. He's just too afraid of people yet.

Collectively, I refer to them as the Wild Bunch. They're fur-covered eating machines who will devour cat food, dog food, sandwiches, pretzels, and potato chips with total abandon. All food must be guarded from the feline menace. If one of them drank beer, it could stay. (That earned me the Very Stern Look from She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed!) Also, they've learned that if my keys jingle, it means the laser pointer is about to appear. They come running, even if they were asleep, and start looking on the floor for the red dot. I've been very, very tempted to run that red dot across Jordan's bed when he sleeps in late, but that would be wrong. Probably. But it would be funny! And wrong, definitely wrong maybe.

Want a kitten? I'll mail it to you.

Management 101...

My employer 'lost' $2.1 billion (that's BILLION, with a B) in 2008. And I say 'lost' because I once had a boss who said, "There are two kinds of accountants, honest ones, and very good ones." On the same day as the announcement of the loss, they also said that upper management would be receiving stock bonuses, though those bonuses would be reduced.

I could apply this same principle at home. "Son, I know you want to go to the movies tonight, but you still haven't done your chores. I was planning to give you $25 dollars, but since you've shirked your work, I'll only give you $20. I hope you've learned your lesson."

That'll show 'em!


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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tent show

Did you ever wonder if we could lure more people into vehicular cycling if we used the same approach as those revival preachers with big hair? Our detractors say there is an element of faith or near evangelism in VC, so why not make it an overt one?

"Friends! I want you to get down on your knees and be thankful that we can still ride our bah-cycles on the roads. I want you to know that there are some who would force us from them, denying us the right to those very streets our taxes build and maintain. And friends, it's time we realized how truly blessed we are to have such a fine road network that let's all of us travel freely - regardless of our mode of transportation."

"Let us turn now to Title 47, chapter 11, part 1202."

"Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this act, except as to special regulations in this article and except to those provisions of this act which by their nature can have no application."

"Here ends today's reading. My friends, in our study of the holy writ given to us from on high, we can see what appears to be a contradiction in this passage. It says that a bah-cyclist has ALL the rights and is subject to ALL the duties of any other vehicle driver. Yes, we know this means a bah-cyclist will have to stop at stop signs and red lights, just like any other driver. And of course we know that it means we drive on the right side of the street like everyone else. But what happens when we encounter a locality with a mandatory sidepath law? We're legally obligated to ride on it regardless of its safety or suitability for bah-cycle travel. This isn't conferring 'all the rights of other drivers.' It's better defined as anti-bah-cycling discrimination - a 'separate but equal' bit of hypocrisy that applies only to our two-wheeled bretheren. Imagine a town cop stopping a motorist for driving on a surface street when there's a perfectly usable interstate highway nearby and you begin to understand the absurdity."

"Now, in a moment, our ushers will begin passing the collection plate. But before they do that, I want to urge all of you to remember that this effort doesn't run on goodwill alone. No, it takes real money, folding money, hard currency to fight the oppression we encounter every day, so please be generous. And if we find out who put the used axle spacers and worn out Campy bearing races in the collection plate last week, well, I want to have a chat with you after the service."

It just might work!


Friday, January 23, 2009

Got a (painless) tat...

Get your own knuckles at the knuckle tattoo gun.

I found this on BikeSnobNYC. Cool, no?

I've never been tempted to get a real tattoo, even when deep in my cups. Besides the fact that I'd probably cry like a girl, there's the realization that if I loathed the thing after a few years, it would be a massive PITA to be rid of it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I want one!

From Carbon Fiber Gear, an excellent source of information on new products. Sure, the carbon fiber carabiner for your keys is very cool. And the iPhone case may be practical. The carbon fiber letter opener is simply gorgeous.

But I want a carbon fiber toilet seat! As I said to that long-suffering woman I married, "Gosh, honey, it'll make me go really, really fast!"

She rolled her eyes and she's ignored me since then. I hope to get some dinner tonight.


Bad Luck or Bad Karma?

(I listened to Mur Lafferty's "I Should Be Writing." She went through a few weeks of very little writing because of 'stuff happening' - something I can relate to from recent experience. But she received an email from a fan saying that if we don't write through the low spots, allowing 'stuff' to get in the way, we'll never write. And that's certainly true. I've let the 'toos' get in the way: Too tired, too busy, too involved in other projects, etc. My drafts folder is bulging with too may incomplete posts.)

(This post began as a column for the Red Dirt Pedaler's newsletter "Wheel Issues." Susan Walker is their editor. She normally wants me to limit the column to 500 words, so I took a chainsaw to it, tightening it up considerably and - in my opinion - making it funnier in the process. It's important to realize just what can be thrown out. The shorter version is about 650 words. Sometimes I'm too close to a piece and I'm happy with the way an idea came out. Or I'm too proud of a turn of phrase or just the right sentence. I hate to chop them. That's one reason I like working with Susan. As editor, she's not emotionally attached to what I've written, and she can edit ruthlessly when necessary. She makes me look better.)

(Maybe the newsletter deadline is the kind of goad I need to keep writing. Paraphrasing Dr. Johnson, there's nothing like a deadline to wonderfully concentrate the mind. One of the writing blogs recommended that we set similar goals for ourselves. It also recommended stream-of-consciousness writing as a means of producing new ideas. It's much like throwing strands of spaghetti at the wall to see which ones stick. Actually, I've adopted some of the ideas, including one recommending that we write in a simple text editor so that spelling correction and formatting are kept to a minimum, allowing greater concentration on the written words.)

(That's enough introspection for the moment. Here's the full length Bad Karma piece. After Susan publishes, I'll post the edited piece here.)

I rode to work on Tuesday morning for the first time this year. It's been almost 2 months since I last commuted by bicycle and I missed it. The original plan was to ride on Monday, but after getting all my stuff together I couldn't find my helmet - even after searching the house for an hour. It may have been mixed in with some trash we discarded or it may be lost in all that Christmas stuff in storage. Who knows. Regardless, it was at the end of its serviceable life, so losing it was not a big concern.

I bought a new helmet at 360 Sports in Owasso. This one is a Louis Garneau Equinox and it seems to be constructed mostly of holes. I had 2 requirements. First, it had to be big enough for my oversized head (containing an oversized brain and equally large ego) and it had to be a light color. This one is white. Since I ride to work before dawn, having a light colored helmet helps to present a human silouette to overtaking motorists. The helmet's tail is black styrofoam, so I applied a couple pieces of reflective tape.

Mary gave me a new cycling jacket as a Christmas present. Wade gave me one too! So I have two high tech jackets, one that fits better over a bulky sweater or my windblocker fleece jacket. It'll be the choice for genuinely cold weather. The other fits more tightly and doubles as a vest. It'll be better for cool weather in spring and fall.

I added the new helmet and jacket to my normal winter kit - thermal shirt, jersey, shorts, tights, leg warmers, various sweaters, a balaclava, and ski gloves. The leg warmers are the cycling type, not the ones used by dancers that inevitably bring back visions of Flashdance and that infernal music in my head. "She's a maaaaaniac!" It's one of those diabolic tunes that sticks in my head, driving me sligtly crazy. (Oh dear God no! It's started up again!. Please shoot me now.)

Back in the fall, I purchased a new light from Tom's Bicycles, a Cygolite that puts out the equivalent to 10 or 15 watts in a halogen unit. I'll write something more detailed on the light soon.

But all of the above is merely a preface, setting the stage for the real thrust of this post.

I'm just a little bit superstitious.

I know, I know, it's utterly senseless. My rational mind says that there's no point indulging in certain rituals before a ride, but I can't help myself. Some behaviors could be rationalized as mere habits, but that would only be a comfortable way to avoid confronting their almost obsessive nature. There's nothing major, just some small behaviours that I can only describe as rituals.

For instance, I always put my shoes on starting with the right foot. Bad things happen if I start with the other one. And before I put them on, I have to stare at them for a moment or two. OK, that may be simple procrastination, because I know that once I've put on shoes, I'm committed to go to work. Some mornings I delay as long as possible.

The shoes, however, are a minor thing. What really bothers me is adding new equipment because I don't know what kind of karma it brings. Yes, this is really stupid. I didn't claim it was rational. I haven't crashed or even had a fl@t t1re for a long time, so whenever I get something new, I wonder if it carries bad luck. The problem is compounded when I receive a bunch of new items, like I did at Christmas, so my irrational fears are even more exaggerated.

I think this traces back to my Giant CFR2 that I rode to work 3 times before some foolish teenager showing off for his girlfriend drove under me from behind. I'd had that bike for only a few weeks. It was worth more than his car and it was totally destroyed. My left leg was broken, helmet smashed, and I spent the night in the hospital after having a seizure. Did the Carbon Fiber Gods frown and turn their thumbs down or did the CFR2 arrive with massively bad karma?

Ok, that covers the basics. Tuesday's ride was blessed. I had a light tailwind going both ways. Sure, it was cold by Oklahoma standards - about 20F both mornings - and I am out of shape from inactivity, so I planned to stay in a small gear and spin easily.

The Headwind Gods sneered at the Tailwind Gods, smacked them upside the head with an open palm, and sent them off wailing for their mommas. Then they turned their attention on me.

When I unlocked the bike Wednesday afternoon, the temperature hovered in the low 40s, but the wind howled by at over 20 mph. It gusted higher and came from due north. I'd have it in my face most of the way home, with only a brief 'respite' of crosswind for a mile. The Bianchi is a stable bike, but a strong crosswind works the pannier like a weather vane, and the effect is worse at low speed. The first 4 miles were directly into the wind. I managed to get up to almost 12 mph pedaling downhill and into the wind, but most of the ride was at 9-10 mph. The wheel flop resulting from low speed coupled with occassional wind buffets made getting a drink a problem. I did not want to remove my hands from the handlebars, preferring to stay in control rather than risk a fall.

Even in a small gear, it was like riding uphill constantly. I was breathing hard most of the way and I was beginning to feel more than a little wobbly toward the end. The final hill up to the house looked almost like an alp. I switched down to the granny gear and kept grinding along. Jordan waited in the driveway, anxious for my arrival - and the arrival of my all-important car keys. It was very good that he was there. I was afraid to try to get off the bike without assistance. He supported me for one attempt, but I almost fell, so he went inside to get Mary. With their assistance, I was able to throw a leg over the bike of the bike and dismount. They walked me into the house as I nearly fell a few more times. Jordan unceremoniously dumped me on the couch, took the keys, and jetted off to work.

"This is a switch," I said to Mary. "Usually, it's me helping you!" She grinned.

Under my windbreaker, my clothing was damp with sweat. I was very badly dehydrated in addition to being out of shape for a hard slog into the wind. After a cup of coffee and a bottle of water, I felt better, but Mary hovered and wouldn't let me do much that evening.

In all honesty, the wobbly legs were frightening. It was much like the feeling after a hard sprint, when energy and oxygen are spent and it's impossible to get off the bike safely. I do not want to repeat the experience.

But I was thinking, too, that maybe an atrocious headwind ride restored my karmic balance. I've paid the price for all that new equipment and now I can relax. But I'll still put my right shoe on first.



Friday, January 16, 2009

A bit of fun...

This is from, a site that offers some interesting photo effects. Yes, that's my high school photo complete with uber-geeky black glasses, and at one point, I even had them taped together with white adhesive tape around the bridge. Honest.

Lyndsay asked, "Do you know who that is?" Like Dad is completely cut off from popular culture, news and information, or anything else that's happened since the invention of the printing press.

"Why, yes, I do know who that is, and that's why it's funny. A joke, you know, something that's absurdly funny - Paris Hilton in obvious admiration of a geeky, bookish guy who knows far too much about Star Trek and amateur radio, and can't dance to save his life. His idea of a party is a Battlestar Galactica marathon."

I'm gonna go find those glasses and wear them around for a while.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Musette

I've run across a couple of items that may be of interest to cyclists. First, there are some photos from the Consumer Electronics Show. Follow the links for more details.

Bikes at CES

Here's the MOOF bike from Areaware. That oversize top tube isn't merely for show. It houses the lights and presumably, the battery to run them.

Link to DVICE page.

Areaware doesn't list this bike on their website yet, though they do sell Stridas.

This is the Schwinn Tailwind, slated to be introduced this year at a suggested retail price of $3199. At that price, it will be competing for market share with motorscooters and small or used motorcycles. I get the impression that these electrically assisted bicycles are aimed for people who really don't want to pedal unless it's absolutely necessary. They may find a simple scooter more attractive.

Link to DVICE page.

New toy safety law

In response to a federal law enacted after the death of a child, a death caused by a lead toy he ingested, new regulations require testing of many products for the toxic metal. I was surprised to learn that bicycle inner tubes contain a small amount of lead in their valves. Presumably, since most places (think XXX Mart stores) put bicycles in the toy section, inner tubes and other bike parts would be subject to testing.

"Many companies say the new law doesn't spell out exactly which products and parts of products must comply with the new limits -- and that uncertainty is wreaking havoc with business plans. Makers of bicycles, clothing, jewelry and electronics could all be forced to discard millions of dollars in inventory, companies say."

"Bicycle suppliers are upset because components such as the valve on a tire often contain lead. Although children aren't likely to ingest that lead, it may be at high enough levels to violate the new ceiling of 600 parts per million."

"Unless the manufacturers get an exemption, the law would make it illegal for many of them to sell kids' bikes."


Now, I'm assuming that most CycleDog readers don't think of their bikes as toys. Our bikes are vehicles that we use for transportation and recreation. Still, these new regulations will catch us in their overly-broad net, like it or not. I've seen the results of heavy metal poisoning, so believe me, I do not want to see anyone needlessly exposed to these hazards. Still, I've never heard of anyone ingesting a valve assembly from a bicycle tube.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Return of Wally Crankset!

A soul-piercing screech came from the front of the house. Wally was still missing after the collapse of his campaign to be our next vice president. I hadn't heard his ancient Mafac brakes for months.

So it was likely that Eric and Samantha, the snake cultists next door, were sacrificing another pig. I was OK with the occasional noise because Eric and Sam made some tasty barbecue, and the snake cultists always chased that with ample quantities of beer. The dancing girls were a plus too. In fact, I'd had such a good time at one of their parties that Mary had forbidden me from attending another one. Last month, both of Broken Elbow's cops showed up to quell the noise and their cruiser sat out front with all the flashing lights on for nearly three hours until the state cops arrived. Fred and Ethel were 'cavorting' with the party guests and it took some time to retrieve all the various parts of their uniforms. Theres a rumor that Ethel's wife started divorce proceedings against him. It was a great party.

The front door banged open. It wasn't a terrified pig looking for sanctuary under our kitchen table again. No, it was Wally!

Where have you been?” I asked.

Mary stepped into the room, gave him a withering glare, and did a quick u-turn back toward the bedroom, probably out of solidarity with every woman Wally had wronged over the years. It was a long list.

Well, my security detail kind of fell apart after I proposed,” he said.

Proposed?” I asked. Repeating the last word as a question was a trick I'd learned from She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed because it almost always lead to more information, at least until I'd caught on to it.

Yeah, I proposed, and it caused some dissension. You know how women are, they'll get riled up over nothing.”

Really? Nothing?”

Well, yeah, it was almost nothing. I proposed to Lynda, and she gabbed about it to some of the others. As it turns out, I'd proposed to three or four of them. Like I said, it caused some dissent, but they eventually decided to bury the hatchet....and bury me along with it. I decided to withdraw from the campaign at that point and take a vacation.”

He described the aftermath of that meeting as dispassionately as someone reading a grocery list. The angry group of women pursued him outside, where he jumped on his bike and pedaled off as fast as possible. They chased on their own bikes and it looked like some impromptu alley cat race careening through town, except for all the thrown bottles, knives brandished in the air, and screamed threats to remove important body parts - preferably with the dullest knife.

They commandeered a car and forced me into a ditch! Before they could come to a stop, I ran into the woods. When they gave up looking for me, I found my bike and rode to my Aunt Suzie's in Acme. She owns the Southern Style Sushi bar over there and I worked in the kitchen for a couple of weeks.”

Everyone in the area knows Suzie's Southern Style Sushi and if you're ever traveling on Interstate 99 through Oklahoma, you can't miss the signs for the restaurant. Somewhere in the mists of time, Suzie read about sushi and was captivated by the thought of making some herself. Remember, though, Oklahoma is technically part of the south, so the idea of serving up raw fish just never seriously entered her mind. As all good southerners know, fish are meant to be deep fried, so her version of sushi was deep-fried fish rolled in rice and nori. Of course, Suzie included the other staples of southern fried cuisine: chicken, okra, cornbread, hush puppies, and black eyed peas. She had grits too, but no one in their right mind eats Aunt Suzie's grits - except for demented tourists from up north. It's great fun watching their faces as they realize their mouths are full of what polite people say tastes like elementary school paste. Impolite folks use earthier expressions. Still, her grits are a popular item because locals use it for spackling, plugging radiator leaks, and killing insects. "Ball O'Ants", a sticky mass of grits sweetened with honey, is a favorite catfish bait.

Let's go have a beer, Wally,” I said. “There's some cold ones down in the cellar.” I could hear Mary on the phone with her mother and her tone was getting increasingly angry. It would be a good idea to put some space between her and Wally. We decamped to the basement.

He immediately spotted the pen in one corner and asked, “Is that a pig?”

I was expecting it. “No, according to Mary, that's a cat. His name is George.” Actually, she'd named him Wally, but I insisted on the change.

He looked at me in disbelief. “It sure looks like a pig.”

George escaped from last month's barbecue over at Eric and Samantha's place, where he was about to be the the guest of honor. He decided to avoid being the main course and lit out looking for a place to hide. He ended up here. I was gonna return him to Eric, but Mary doesn't allow me to go over there anymore. Then she declared that from now on, George is a cat.”

Wally gave me a commiserating look. “He's a nice fat one. I bet he'd make for some good barbecue although I've never had cat.”

The 'cat' grunted while eyeing Wally with apparent misgivings, then went back to rooting around in the dirt. Wally fished a lint-covered Ball O'Ants out of his pocket and tossed it in George's pen. The pig cat was delighted to have something new in the way of food, and he snapped it up. Immediately afterward, he looked at us balefully, his eyes conveying that there were fates worse than barbecue and that if he ever got out of his pen, we could look forward to serious payback. Who knew that cats could be that expressive?

Feeling guilty, I gave George the last bottle of beer. He accepted it graciously. Then Wally and I left for the safety of Larry's Café.



Saturday, January 03, 2009

Saturday Musette

From Urban Tulsa:

Urban Tulsa Weekly announced their Hot 100 for 2009, and Ren Barger made the list! Here's what UTW wrote:

Adrienne Barger, founder of Community Cycling Project. Most people think of bicycles as recreation instead of transportation. Seeing the opportunities to commute effectively in Tulsa, Barger began the Community Cycling Project, which provides bicycles and other equipment to those who need some wheels.

Some quibbles - first, Ren was not the founder of the Community Cycling Project which is an outreach effort backed by the Tulsa Wheelmen. Ren is continuing the work of Sandra Crisp and she's added an important new adjunct, the Tulsa HUB which will multiply the effectiveness of the CCP. Both these capable women are to be applauded for their efforts. The HUB is Tulsa's first bicycle co-op that I'm aware of, and it will be a central part of the area's cycling culture.

I look like a convict!

Not that it's a bad thing.

Ladies perspire. Dancers glow. Big guys like me just sweat, even in cold winter weather. I wear a skullcap or a watch cap most of the time. My hair has the consistency of straw as a result. I hate it. So when it comes time for a haircut, I really get a haircut!

Photo evidence:

I'd carefully tucked back the 'wings' that form in line with my ears. They give me that oh-so-hot Bozo the Clown look. My hair starts to curl when it's this long and I get a good DA going in the back. Is it any wonder I want it cut short?

This makes for efficient cooling summer or winter. And in fact, it feels cold at first so I wore a watch cap inside the house last night.

However, there's no denying that this is a cheap, effective way to gain better aerodynamics on the bike. I'm probably 5-6 mph faster after a haircut. I could probably get another 5 or 6 if I shaved my legs, but that ain't gonna happen.

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Friday, January 02, 2009

Tulsa Million Miles

I attended the kick off event for this year's Tulsa Million Miles Sign Up this morning. It was held at Hicks Recreation Center and included volleyball, ping-pong, and a recumbent bike race on stationary bikes. This program is intended to encourage people to walk, run, bike, and swim in an effort to promote better health in our community.

Vendors handed out water bottles, t-shirts, food, and literature. I'd had a big breakfast just before the event, so I passed on the food. But when I was asked to try the bike race, well, how could I pass it up? I've never been on any form of recumbent bike. These appeared to have a programmable resistance profile like a stationary bike I used long ago. The plan was simple – go as far as you can in three minutes. I tinkered with the seat position so I could spin effectively, warmed up briefly, and I was ready to go. My competitors would be toast.

Spinning at 110-115 revs against light resistance is fun. My quads were burning in the first minute. I closed my eyes and concentrated on pressure breathing. The burn was manageable, but my revs dropped off toward the end of the second minute. I closed my eyes. At the 3 minute mark, I'd 'ridden' 1.8 miles, a 36mph pace. If I could do that on the road, I'd turn pro.

I thought they were going to run several groups of people through the bike race, but it ended up just being the 3 of us, and my 1.8 miles was good enough to win! I sat on the bike awhile waiting for the lactic acid to clear, and I chatted with one of the women who works at the center. She said I was to get a prize, and I said that I really would appreciate a new Klein track bike. I think she rolled her eyes then. I have a knack for getting women to do that.

Shortly later, I was called to the front of the room and presented with my prize. See that big basket of assorted breads in the photo above? That was my prize! Tulsa's Great Harvest Bread Company provided the goodies, and in all honesty, it's more than my family and I could eat. So I gave Paul Tay one loaf, and dropped off some cookies at 360 Sports. Another loaf went to some neighbors. We still have 2 loaves – one with chocolate and cherries, the other with lots of nuts – and a big bag of granola. This is all comfort food for me, so I'm a happy (and very full) camper this evening.



Thursday, January 01, 2009

The 100 Best of CycleDog for 2008

That's not "one hundred." It's one-zero-zero. Remember, I'm an electronics uber-geek, so that's a binary number. You know, like 101110001110. I could have written the date as 7D8 in hex or 3730 in octal, but that would only be confusing. Well, I thought it was funny. Maybe I'm the only one.

I couldn't subject you to one hundred CycleDog posts. Frankly, I didn't even want to do a list of ten because we're inundated with "10 Best" lists at the turn of the year. I rebelled in disgust when one of the television shows did a Best of Britney series. And in all seriousness, it's a little humbling to review a year's worth of posts only to discover there's little of substance to be found.

So here's my one-zero list, the four posts or themes that I like best out of all of 2008.

Number 001

Riding to Work in 2020

This post speculated about bicycle commuting in the future and how our changing circumstances would alter our vehicles and expectations.

Number 010

Paradigm Shift and the Tulsa Tough

The series of posts on the Tulsa Tough began with this one. The Tough represents an opportunity for volunteerism, bicycling advocacy and education, and some excellent racing and touring. But the central idea of this post follows.

"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 already have a bicycling friendly city, regardless of the League's endorsement. Cyclists already know that Tulsa is a good place to ride. We just need to broadcast that fact.

Number 011

Zero Water Update

The original Zero Water story still accumulates lots of hits. I can only assume it's from people trying to get background information. So it was natural to do a follow-up, and since I'm constitutionally susceptible to snide, twisted humor, I couldn't avoid taking some potshots.

Number 100

This Just In...

This was the beginning to the "Wally for Vice-Prisident" series, a story still in search of an ending. Yes, I have one in mind and it's presently only an outline. Give it time. Let me say that I really like Wally, as he represents some aspects of my own character and he incorporates some that I do not have. He's earnest, well-meaning, and a bit of a con-man at times. I could only wish to be a con-man as I do not lie convincingly.

There you have it! My 100 Best of CycleDog list. Happy New Year!