Don't text and drive!

Don't text message while you're driving. Or download ringtones. Or fish around in the back seat. Or play with your radio. Watch the road. If you kill someone while you're driving because you're not paying attention to the road it's murder.
photo by fastboy


Sacramento Area People With Bikes

This is a call to anyone in the general downtown/midtown/east sac area: I'd like to organize a Christmas light stroll on bikes for some time in the coming weeks. We'll start at my house, drink hot chocolate/beer/wine/cider/whateva and then bundle up and cruise at a slow pace around the fab forties. The more people the better. Email me at firstnamelogan@gmail.com or comment here with your email.



R.I.P. Einstein

Honor, Aaron, Zay and Olly's cat Einstein was hit by a car and died yesterday. Honor's been petitioning for a speed bump in the very spot for years as cars zoom through the residential neighborhood at 45mph+ at all hours. He was nice cat who was robbed of his other eight lives. Slow down.
photo by Honor.


R.I.P. Jim Ford

R.I.P. - James Henry Ford. Though he released only one album* (Harland County), he wrote songs for Aretha Franklin, The Temptations and Bobby Womack, was a friend and major influence of Nick Lowe and Sly Stone, played with Elvis Presley, Gram Parsons, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Elvis Costello, Ricky Nelson and many more. He was also stepfather to Marlon Brando's children. Though amazingly gifted as a singer and songwriter, Jim Ford's legacy was limited after failing to sign with Atlantic's Jerry Wexler and becoming addicted to cocaine in the 80s. He beat the addiction in 2004, found Jesus, and started working again. A few months ago Bear Family re-released Harland County with 15 previously unreleased songs and a 40 page booklet as The Sounds of our Time. Ford was having the time of his life and recording music for the first time in years with a NEW album set to release in February. He had been planning to perform with Nick Lowe and record an album with Dr. John next spring. Aside from writing and singing music, he was fond of rebuilding Peugeots at his house in Fort Bragg, CA.

My Christmas Gift List.

Speaking of materialism, BikeSnobNYC has compiled a list of gifts sure to delight the cyclists in your life.
I already have all those things, so if you're looking for a gift for me, I'll take anything on my Amazon Wish List. Gift cards to Trader Joe's and Peet's Coffee are also a good way to get in my good graces. After you're done Christmas shopping, check out this interactive nd informative website about how all the presents you just got done fighting other shoppers for are ruining the world. Happy Holiday$!


Nice Hummer, sorry about your penis.

An study reported in the Daily Galaxy concludes what we already knew: Low Self-Esteem and Materialism Go Hand in Hand.
"Most of us want more income so we can consume more. Yet as societies become richer, they do not become happier. In fact, the First World has more depression, more alcoholism and more crime than fifty years ago. This paradox is true of Britain, the United States, continental Europe and Japan."
via cycle-licious and theboyonthebicycle
comic via freewheelsingspirit


Gratuitous pug pancake photo

We might just get to ski yet!

I was interviewed by a local radio station (KFBK) the other day about the dire snow situation. They asked if I've been skiing yet, and I scoffed and said it's tough to do without snow. But now we (skiers) have snow!!! As much as 24 inches in some places and expecting more soon. Time to plan a trip!


Release the Zombies on Paul Soglin

Paul Soglin, former mayor of Madison, WI, said on his blog yesterday that "The bicyclists who braved the week's second storm should be taken out and shot". He prefaced it by claiming that he's " the first to protect the interests of bicyclists..."

Mr. Soglin, for some people the bicycle is not just a toy that comes out when it's sunny and the birds are chirping. For some of us it is our one and only means of transportation, one that serves us well, rain or shine, and carries us to our destination a little wet but no worse for wear. No one is insisting that YOU actually get out of your H2 and ride in the rain, we just ask that you refrain from advocating our murders when we're occasionally forced to ride in foul weather.

As one commentator on his blog said, "Here we see the beauty of blogs. Now we can publish anything we want before we use our brains and think about it..."


Company Christmas Party

Amanda and I attended a Christmas party thrown by the company I work for. We ate Italian food, watched a slide show of my coworkers various adventures and played games. The company gave us each a nice windstopper fleece vest with our logo on the side and I won a back-packing tent and some fancy insoles so I'm stoked about using it.

Had to post this again. Because it's amazing.

I'm so glad I invented the internet.

So I finally have the internet set up in the house. All it took was Zack and Jordan spending three hours each on the phone with a cranky chola from comcast who was grudgingly walking them through the set-up. I'm so glad I can surf the internet again instead of just reading books. In the past two weeks I've read 1984, The Old Man and the Sea and a book about environmental entrepreneurship. What a waste of perfectly good web time. Whatever. I'm buying a Nightrider MiNewt lighting system for my bike. It's as bright as a car headlight but smaller and much more expensive. Most of my commute is on an unlit bike trail that's frequented by all manner of hobo and ne'er-do-well so a good light is mandatory. Last night I had a few drinks with Amanda, Zack, Jordan and two of Jordan's friends and I forgot to eat dinner, so I was miserable when I woke up (after too few hours of sleep). I was nodding off while riding to work and rode off the side of the trail a few times. I must have looked awesome to bystanders; red-eyed, swollen faced and swerving all over. Bad news.


What the ____ is the internet?

Well I still don't have internet at the house, but we'll have it soon methinks. Have been busy with life, thanksgiving was celebrated in grand fashion at my aunt and uncle's house in Rescue. Work is going well. Home is going well. We have far too much wine at the house, but I guess there are worse problems. I'm still enjoying my bike commute very much. How are you?


I'm still alive.

We're finally living in our new house on B Street in West Sac. It's a lovely place and I think it's going to fit nicely. Pictures and details to follow as soon as we get our internet working.


Happy Halloween

, originally uploaded by Muddyrabbit.


dRiViNg to work

I've managed to stave off complete madness on my recent car commutes to Sacramento by using as little gas as possible. The rental I have currently is a tiny little blue thing with as much interior room as my grade-school backpack, but it does have one thing that actually kind of makes it fun to drive: a digital fuel efficiency gauge. I don't know what the technical term is for it, but it tells you in real time how many miles-per-gallon you're getting and another that tells you your average. When I got the car, the average was 25mpg. I reset it to see what I could squeeze out of it and started driving. Leaving town I was getting around 15mpg because of all the start and stop, but within moments of hitting the highway I was averaging around 30. Then I found the sweet spot at about 68mph where I was getting 40mpg. I eventually caught up with a big rig and started to switch lanes but realized that even though I was a fair distance behind it, I was benefiting from it's draft which brought my mpg to 55. I creeped up closer and let off the gas, but the car kept going. My fuel consumption was hovering between 75 and 99 mpg because the airflow from the truck was basically pulling me along. I drifted behind the truck (with my foot hovering over the brake) until we reached traffic in Sac and then backed off, but not before my average mpg was at 56. By the time I made it through a couple lights to work the average was down to 50, but still pretty good I'd say. Of course, 50mpg doesn't compare to the efficiency of riding a bike, if you must drive... Starting November first though, I get to bike from the new house. Woohoo!


Ivan Illich on bikes

The following is an excerpt from Ivan Illich's Toward a History of Needs:

A century ago, the ball-bearing was invented. It reduced the coefficient of friction by a factor of a thousand. By applying a well-calibrated ball-bearing between two Neolithic millstones, a man could now grind in a day what took his ancestors a week. The ball-bearing also made possible the bicycle, allowing the wheel -- probably the last of the great Neolithic inventions -- finally to become useful for self-powered mobility.

Man, unaided by any tool, gets around quite efficiently. He carries one gram of his weight over a kilometer in ten minutes by expending 0.75 calories. Man on his feet is thermodynamically more efficient than any motorized vehicle and most animals. For his weight, he performs more work in locomotion than rats or oxen, less than horses or sturgeon. At this rate of efficiency man settled the world and made its history. At this rate peasant societies spend less than 5 per cent and nomads less than 8 per cent of their respective social time budgets outside the home or the encampment.

Man on a bicycle can go three or four times faster than the pedestrian, but uses five times less energy in the process. He carries one gram of his weight over a kilometer of flat road at an expense of only 0.15 calories. The bicycle is the perfect transducer to match man's metabolic energy to the impedance of locomotion. Equipped with this tool, man outstrips the efficiency of not only all machines but all other animals as well.

The ball-bearing signaled a true crisis, a true political choice. It created an option between more freedom in equity and more speed. The bearing is an equally fundamental ingredient of two new types of locomotion, respectively symbolized by the bicycle and the car. The bicycle lifted man's auto-mobility into a new order, beyond which progress is theoretically not possible. In contrast, the accelerating individual capsule enabled societies to engage in a ritual of progressively paralyzing speed.

Bicycles are not only thermodynamically efficient, they are also cheap. With his much lower salary, the Chinese acquires his durable bicycle in a fraction of the working hours an American devotes to the purchase of his obsolescent car. The cost of public utilities needed to facilitate bicycle traffic versus the price of an infrastructure tailored to high speeds is proportionately even less than the price differential of the vehicles used in the two systems. In the bicycle system, engineered roads are necessary only at certain points of dense traffic, and people who live far from the surfaced path are not thereby automatically isolated as they would be if they depended on cars or trains. The bicycle has extended man's radius without shunting him onto roads he cannot walk. Where he cannot ride his bike, he can usually push it.

The bicycle also uses little space. Eighteen bikes can be parked in the place of one car, thirty of them can move along in the space devoured by a single automobile. It takes three lanes of a given size to move 40,000 people across a bridge in one hour by using automated trains, four to move them on buses, twelve to move them in their cars, and only two lanes for them to pedal across on bicycles. Of all these vehicles, only the bicycle really allows people to go from door to door without walking. The cyclist can reach new destinations of his choice without his tool creating new locations from which he is barred.

Bicycles let people move with greater speed without taking up significant amounts of scarce space, energy, or time. They can spend fewer hours on each mile and still travel more miles in a year. They can get the benefit of technological breakthroughs without putting undue claims on the schedules, energy, or space of others. They become masters of their own movements without blocking those of their fellows. Their new tool creates only those demands which it can also satisfy. Every increase in motorized speed creates new demands on space and time. The use of the bicycle is self-limiting. It allows people to create a new relationship between their life-space and their life-time, between their territory and the pulse of their being, without destroying their inherited balance. The advantages of modern self-powered traffic are obvious, and ignored. That better traffic runs faster is asserted, but never proved. Before they ask people to pay for it, those who propose acceleration should try to display the evidence for their claim.

via Kent's Bike Blog
photo via Kenny Maths

klaus nomi


Good Parenting...

toothpaste for dinner

Poop Soup for the Soul # 1

Sometimes I get frustrated about my financial situation; then I hear about something like this and I realize I'll be okay. This is my first edition of Poop Soup for the Soul. Felice has $135,000 in credit card debt, spends $400 a month at Starbucks, and her kids don't have health insurance.


Model, photog and assitant.

Life in the Gas lane.

I'm going on two weeks of commuting to work in a car now. We're moving into a house in a nice neighborhood close to the American River Trail and downtown Sacramento, but it's not available until the first, so I have a few more days to go. Driving wouldn't be so bad, except for a few things:
1. I have to rent a car, so it's EXPENSIVE. I'm used to paying $0 a month, now I have rental fees and $3.15/gallon gas. I don't like it.
2. It's an hour each way. That's two fewer hours I have each day to do things I don't hate. Like riding my bike. Or not driving.
3. Drivers around here suck. I suppose they suck elsewhere too, but I don't have to deal with those drivers. These ones are fond of riding your ass for miles until they pass you just so they can ride the ass of the car right in front of you.
4. I'm riding my bike less. Ironically driving a car for two hours a day wears me out! By the time I drive to Sac, work, and drive home again, I'm wiped. I just want to lay out on the couch and drool on myself.
5. I work with cool people who DO commute by bike. So now I'm the asshole that commutes by myself and smells like pine tree air-fresheners and vinyl.
6. Driving gives me baditude and I have nothing to blog about!
If anyone is still reading this, rest assured I'll be back to my normal perky self in one weeks time. If you're not reading this, I'll still be back to myself, so it's a win-win.

In related news: I have a bicycle news ticker on my homepage that displays, amongst other things, frequent reports of cyclist deaths at the hands of irresponsible and inattentive drivers. This week in particular has been quite depressing with several avoidable deaths including those of a 12 year-old girl, an 18 year old Amish boy and bicycle-safety advocate Lee Anne Barry. After being seriously injured when hit by a car at age 5, Mrs. Barry had to relearn to walk and talk and ride a bike. She was on her fourth bicycle trek across the country in a ride called the B.I.G. Ride Tour when she was struck and killed by an SUV. She started the nonprofit tour in 2001 to raise awareness about helmet use and head injuries. B.I.G stands for Brain Injuries Greatest.

Be careful out there.


Good commercial

Okay, GOOD COMMERCIAL is an oxymoron, but I dig this one. Like I needed another reason to drink Miller High Life. Hullo!? Champagne of Beers.

Keyed, ticketed and booted Hummer.

A little bit of schadenfreude. Must have been a no-douche-bag-zone.
seen here.
also check out fuh2.com


Throw off the Chains of Consumerism

by Scott Young via zenhabits.net.

You already have everything you need. Those of us lucky enough to have been born in this time period in the Western world are experiencing an abundance few of our ancestors could have claimed. Food, clean water, shelter, law and order are almost guaranteed.

Why doesn’t it feel this way? Despite this amazing abundance, why are so many people dissatisfied? Are we doomed to always want more than we have, even if ithttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif won’t bring us more happiness?

You Can’t Live in a Vacuum
As soon as basic needs are met, your focus immediately shifts onto creating new problems. Even if poverty, exile from the population or violence are remote threats, new problems fill their place. Our cultural obsession with consumption is a by-product of this need to seek out new problems.

The solution is to find something else to fill the vacuum. Instead of mindlessly adopting the quest for material perfection, look at it critically. You don’t need to sell all your worldly belongings and become a monk, but see what other things can fill the space consumption occupies in your mind.

Here are a few suggestions for how to escape the chains of consumerism:


thebicyclist.tv II

The newest episode of the bicyclist is online at thebicyclist.tv. In this episode our protagonist Conrad and his newfound "bro" Zack run into an old friend and have a run-in with a new foe while Steve and Lissa booze it up back home.


Hate when that happens.

Work work work

Well I'm going on one week at the new job. These past few days I've been staying in Sacramento and bike commuting from my friend Ray's apartment downtown. The trip only takes about 15 minutes each way. After work today I rode to the house that we'll be renting in the fabulous forties from work and I think the trip will be closer to a half hour, which is what it used to take me to get to work in Marysville. The job has been pretty cool so far, the people that I work with are top notch. Most of them are quite athletic and I've some tentative plans to get outside with a few of them. The company offers free rentals to employees of things like tents, stoves, bikes, ice axes and everything else you can imagine, so I'll definitely be taking advantage of that. I'm in training right now, and while it's fun learning about everything, I really need more hours because my finances are pretty tight at this point. However, I might end up renting a car for this weekend again just so I don't have to impose on friends any more than necessary. As Benjamin Franklin said, visiting friends are like fish, they start to stink after 3 days.

One of the perks of this job is the huge discount we get on gear. I'm finding it to be a double edged sword though, as it's becoming increasingly difficult to resist the urge to buy new stuff. I do need new shoes though...


It's easy being green.

Today is blog action day. The idea is that today, 15,000 bloggers as well as companies such as Google and Reddit, and organizations like The United Nations join together to bring one thing to everyone's attention: the environment. Now I don't claim to be an expert on the environment, and I don't know if the whole world is about to be one big swimming pool due to melting glaciers, but I do know that it doesn't hurt to be conscious of the fact that our actions have consequences, and acting willfully ignorant of our impact on the Earth can't possibly be a good thing, so here are a few ideas to help you lessen your negative impact on the Earth in as painless a fashion as possible.

1. Use CFLs.
Compact florescent light bulbs use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.
Save about $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb's lifetime.
Produce about 75 percent less heat, so they're safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling.
2. Bring your own water.
To create enough plastic to bottle the 26+ billion liters of bottled water consumed by Americans each year requires over 1.5 million barrels of oil. This is enough to fuel about 100,000 cars for a year. And this is just in the U.S. Not to mention, that bottled water that you just paid $2.25 for probably came out of the tap. I know it has a picture of a mountain on the front, but read the fine print. Aquafina comes from Detroit's municipal water source. Depending on where you live, your tap water may very well be safer for you. And in blind taste tests, New York City's tap water beat out all the major brands. Check out this review of reusable water bottles to find one that fits your lifestyle.
3. Ride a bike.
Ummm... duh. You don't have to quit driving, just replace your short trips with a bike. Nobody likes smog and riding a bike is easy, healthy, FUN, good for the environment and good for pretty much everyone. Burning gasoline is stinky, toxic, deadly and really pretty boring. Being healthy is a privilege, not a right. Plus gas is $3.25 a gallon and biking is FREE.
4. Unplug unused and idle appliances.
Even when your appliances are off, they drain energy quickly enough to cost the average household a few hundred bucks a year in electricity costs. Use a power strip to make it easier, just unplug the strip to "unplug" everything at once.
5. Buy low-flow shower heads.
You can save a couple hundred bucks a year in unused water and water-heating costs, as well as saving your local grey water treatment plant some energy costs. It adds up.
6. Shop at the farmer's market.
The average carrot travels over 1,800 miles before it lands on your plate. It uses tons of fossil fuels to ship it there and package it. Plus you'll be eating delicious fresh fruits and veggies and supporting your local farmers!
Okay, six is a good number, so I'll stop here. Use your imagination, being green is easy and it can save you money too. If you need help finding any of the information or products mentioned here, leave me a comment saying so and I"ll tell you where to find it all.


First day at work

Today was my first day at the outdoor sports co-op where I'm now employed. I think I'm going to enjoy the job very much. Unfortunately I wasn't able to try out the showers and lockers today because I couldn't ride. We're in the process of renting a house a few miles from the job, but it's slow going. Until we get moved in I have to drive down from Marysville so I rented a compact car for the commute. I thought I might actually be relieved to be in a car instead of a bike since the weather's been patchy but the drive is soooooo boring. I found myself switching between heavy metal and raucous Mexican music just to keep myself awake. Of course, my tiredness could also be a result of the fact that I was up until past 3AM vomiting because I got food poisoning from Amanda's restaurant. I felt okay when I awoke at 7, but by about 1PM I was getting drowsy, and even a vente cup of dark-roast crap coffee from STAR$ didn't help. Anywho, I'm off to nap.



I followed a link from Gwadzilla over to thebicyclist.tv this morning. It's a internet sitcom about the trials and tribulations of Conrad, a midwest expat living in Portland. Each show is between 2-5 minutes and usually takes place in one location. I watched the first episode and then walked away, swearing I'd never return, but like a scab you can't stop picking, I've gone back and watched every single episode to date and now I'm too far invested to stop. This show puts the CAMP in Campagnolo. It's a beautiful bike wreck. It's... well, watch it.


Speaking of slime.

2,516,640How Many Germs Live On Your Keyboard?

Slime Tubes II

Well, so much for the magic of the Slime tubes. I hadn't even put 10 miles on the new Slime Tube when I was suddenly fishtailing during a sprint and realized I had a rear flat. I leaned my bike against a fence, inspected the tire, and saw neon green goo splashing out of the bead onto the tire. I found the source of the problem too; it was a small industrial staple. Okay, I thought. I'll simply remove the staple, the goo will patch the tube, I'll pump it up, and go. So I removed it and started to pump. It leaked. Rotated the tire and tried again. Nothing. Tried it again, and the valve-stem popped off and lodged itself inside my pump head. I've probably inflated tires at least 120 times with this pump, and never had this problem. So, the lesson learned is the people at the shop were right, Slime tubes suck, the end. My next purchase is definitely going to be kevlar tires.


Why do you ride?

photo by rune

I've asked this question of a million people, because I'm constantly impressed by people's reasons. I have about a million of my own. I'll list some of my reasons and some answers I've received from others in the past:

Because driving to work is dreadful and riding is not.

Good health is a terrible thing to waste.

I don't even know what gas prices are, but I know I don't want to pay them.

It makes my butt look good.

Oil is for sissies.

I never have to diet.

I like wearing bike shorts.

The easy way is seldom the best way...

I don't want to smell like gas.

Why do you ride?

Does your bike wear protection?

When I started biking to work I was quite concerned about bicycle thieves. I spent about two hours at the LBS looking at different locks, reading about their features, warranties, and all the other variables before finally deciding on one. Now I'm moving to Sacramento and I'm a little concerned about thieves again. Slate.com has an article about bike locks that saves you the guess work. They tried out a bunch of different models and chose a winner based on criteria such as security, portability and value. The winner was the Kryptonite NY Fahgettaboudit U Lockwhich boasts (among many great features) a $4,500 anti-theft warranty. The lock I've been using for months is the OnGuard Bulldog STD which only scored a 24.5 total score compared to the Fahgettaboudit's 33.4. I've also had a problem with the lock that's been mentioned by some other people in forums; sometimes the locking mechanism doesn't want to release, and you end up having to bang on it with a blunt object for up to a few minutes before it releases. When you're in a public place, people tend to look at you funny when you're huddled over a bike lock, wacking it with a hammer and sweating through your dirty work clothes. Looks like I'll be budgeting in a new lock; it's cheaper than a new bike and I might save some face.



Slime Tubes

It's goathead season and I've been suffering more than my fair share of puncture flats, so I decided to do something about it. On the front tire I've got a thorn-proof tube that's worked well for me in the past, and on the back I've installed a Slime Lite Smart tube. Apparently mechanics hate them as they sometimes gunk up your wheels and tires, but seeing as I typically work on my own wheels, it shouldn't be a big deal. I'll let you know which one works better.


Sacramento bound

photo of Tower Bridge/Sacramento skyline by Yorkie

I'm a tax-payer again, woohoo! I accepted a job offer today from a large outdoor-sports co-op in Sacramento. I sign the paperwork tomorrow and start mid month. I'm also in negotiations with a France-based company about a part-time writing job. I'm quite excited about the prospect of a steady income once again. Not working is exhausting. Now I just need to find a place to live in Sac... The co-op where I'll be working has showers and lockers for bike-commuters as well as other bikecentric incentives. Jealous?


Cool Kids - Black Mags official music video

This is like reliving my childhood. In Compton.


Return to Goathead Mountain

Zack and I enjoyed our ride to Loma Rica so much the other day that we decided to do it again yesterday. As expected, it was a pleasant ride up there once again. We even tacked on an extra 5 miles and cruised up to Browns Valley, North of Loma Rica. But when we decided to turn around, I had a flat. No prob, I thought. I'll just throw on the spare. But wait, the flatted tire is my spare, I forgot to buy a new one. I sat on the side of the road in the gravel and pulled my tube out. Then I looked at the tire itself. Not one, not two, but five giant goat-head thorns were sticking out. I hope they didn't all puncture the tube... but of course they did. Just then a friendly soul drove up in a small truck and asked if we needed any help. He was a cyclist too and offered his pump/patch kit/whatever. We said thanks a bunch, but we had it covered. He smiled and drove away.

I patched the five holes, using all my patches and one of Zack's, and put the tube back into the tire. Pumped it up, mounted it, and then heard ssssssssssss. Crap. Took it all apart again and saw that I had missed a small rock or something that was sticking through the tire. Pulled it out, used another of Zack's patches and tried again. Ssssssssss. One of the original patches was now leaking, and we were out of patches. And 35 miles from my house. With no cell reception. Crap. We decided to ride quickly to the store a few miles away and see how far we could get between pumps. We just made it to the store before I was completely flat.

We ate fried chicken (our new Sunday ritual) and pondered the situation. Finally I threw in the towel and called Amanda to save me. She couldn't find her patch kit, and didn't have a spare. She would have to drive me home. Zack decided to finish the ride by himself and disappeared over the next hill. Amanda showed up a few minutes later and offered me Teddy Grahams while I loaded my bike into her car. We passed Zack a few miles later as he was flying down the hill we had painstakingly climbed an hour before. I threw a Teddy Graham at him.

What do you do to minimize flats?

Update - check out goatheads.com


When dogs attack...

Yesterday while on a "training" ride with Zack (we're not actually training for anything), we had two separate incidents with dogs, mere moments apart. I'm not going to go into my rant about ignorant dog owners (in both cases they were watching idly as their dogs attacked us), but what I found interesting about the whole experience was the vast differences in techniques for ridding ones self of the attackers. When the first dog started chasing me I just yelled and jammed. The theory behind this method being that most dogs can't maintain 32mph for as long as I can. It works when you have a jump on the dog. When the second dog attacked, it did so from the front. I was watching behind me for the previous attacker and all of a sudden I heard a bark up ahead. This time I jumped off my bike and used it as a shield between me and the angry dog. This was effective because I could keep backing away from the dog until it lost interest. Fortunately for me Zack rode by seconds later and the dog took off after him. His reaction was to kick limply at the dog with his toe while struggling with his water-bottle. He later explained that he was going to throw the water bottle and hope the dog would chase it. In any case the owner, realizing that neither of us were going without a fight eventually called his dog, allowing us to roll on unscathed. I think it was a good thing for Zack because I'm not so sure the dog wasn't about to lose patience with Zack and bite his foot off. We finished our ride with all of our digits intact, but I was wondering what we could have done differently. Any suggestions?

More Interbike 2007 commuter bike porn

There's too much good stuff coming out of interbike to keep track of, but in case you're trying: Here's a rad 3-seed made by Sun Bicycles called the Cayne Cykel. If you're in the market for an $8,000 titanium commuter, Seven Cycles has this one for you. Bilenky is showing one of their cargo-bikes, and there appear to be plenty of folders and minibikes at the show as well.


Wired Magazine loves city bikes

Here's a story in Wired Magazine about city bikes:

Some people believe that, right now, a quiet revolution is taking place. In cities like London, San Francisco, Boston and New York, the ranks of bicycle riders are swelling with the rise of a new breed: the urban biker.

Traffic snarls, soaring gas prices and worries about global warming have prompted a big boost in cycling, affecting even places like Los Angeles -- America's freeway capital -- that have traditionally given bicycles the cold shoulder.

"What's really happened in the past year is a cultural shift...."

More Interbike 2007 photos

Fritz from cyclelicio.us has a great Interbike 2007 flickr set which is growing by the hour. Some great shots of new commuters by Topeak, Masi, Breezer, Batavus, Elektra, Seven and more. Here's Sycip's beautiful Townie.


Some highlights from Interbike 2007 demo day

These photos are from bikehugger's 2007 Interbike flickr photo pool:
2008 Kona Ute

2008 Felt Curbside

2008 Surly Big Dummy

2008 Raleigh Sojourn

2008 Masi Special


Loma Rica loop

Yesterday I rode to Zack's house at around noon and we rode together up to Amanda's house. The scenery in Loma Rica is beautiful, I always enjoy riding up there. The route we took to her house was 30 miles and involved a few pretty intense hills, so we were thoroughly pooped by the time we got there. Fortunately there was a chevy truck full of red-necks buzzing us with the truck every few miles so we had no choice but to stay alert. Amanda rewarded us with fresh baked cookies and then we hit the road for the return trip. The cookies were delicious, but we needed some health food so we stopped at Gold Eagle Market in Loma Rica for fried chicken and jojo fries. We each got a chicken breast and a few jojos, Zack got a flavored water and I had a V-8, for a grand total of $6. I could feel the vitamins and protein surge through my body. After devouring the food in mere seconds we hopped back on the steeds and headed down the hill. Now this ride is awesome for a few reasons. The first couple I've already mentioned (cookies, scenery, cookies, duh), but it's also great because the ride home is mostly downhill. With a stomach full of chicken and jojos, a perfect 70 degree day and a downhill return trip we flew back to Zack's house making the trip in about half the time it took us to get up there. Back at his house we made sure we were in no danger of losing any fat by drinking a couple beers and eating some pot roast and veggies. If there's a better day of cycling to be had, I've never seen it. You have any good rides lately? Know of any good rides in my neck of the woods?


Greens Keepers - Lotion

Warning: weird content, foul language, catchy tune


Iro Cycles Sale

Iro Cycles is having a sale. You can receive 20% off of any 2007 products which means you can get a steal on a complete bike. I've heard nothing but good things about Tony and his bikes, so if you're in the market for anything of the fixed or single variety, check out his online store.


A camping trip without rain is like a hot dog without hair on it.

We had a freak rainstorm here today, complete with lightning, thunder and hail. It caught us completely by surprise; we were playing tennis in the sun and all of a sudden the wind picked up and a monster crowd of purple clouds blew over the top of us and started dumping. It reminded me of a camping trip Brian and I attempted a few years ago.
It was a beautiful day out, and my Brian suggested that we head up into the foothills and find a camping spot. I was fighting a cold, and Amanda and a few others had to work, so it ended up just being Brian and I who were available, but I did so want to go camping so we picked up a few necessities, like hot-dogs and beer, and hit the open road. We drove up towards Lake Tahoe, top down on the convertible (P.O.S.'91 VW Cabriolet) checking out sites on the way.
Eventually we found one we liked complete with nearby bubbling brook and no immediate neighbors to distract us from the great outdoors. We set up the tent, made a fire, cracked a couple beers and threw some dogs on. After having a dog, Brian decided to try and catch us some fish from the stream. He wandered away with his pole in hand and I reclined on the picnic table and stared at the sky. "Hmm", I thought, "might rain".
While I was pondering that ponderable, the camp host pulled up on an electric golf cart. He was a short, skinny 60-something with a grey, military issue flat-top."Howdy" he said.
"Howdy" I replied, smiling.
"Good spot!" he said, pausing and returning the smile.
"It's $40 a night, how long you boys staying?"
"Uh, probably just tonight." I looked around for Brian.
"Okay, well then it's fordee bucks"
"Okay, well, the other guy is paying, so I'll have him head over there when he gets back." He looked around for a minute, then left without saying anything. Brian and I had agreed that he'd pay for the site, as I'd spent a bunch on supplies. Brian appeared from the trees a moment later. He was smoking a cigarette and as he approached he dropped it on the ground and put his fishing pole where I'd been laying.
"No luck" he said, and opened another beer.
"The host guy was here, you need to pay him $40" I said, sipping my beer. He stared thoughtfully at the fire.
"I don't have any cash, we'll pay tomorrow" he concluded. The host pulled up again from where he'd been schmoozing with an older couple down the way. Brian explained the situation.
"Nope, you have to pay tonight." He must have decided we were a flight risk. Brian stared at the fire more while the host and I watched in growing discomfort.
"Okay, we'll go get money. Where's the nearest ATM?" The host told him where it was, ten miles up the hill and then sped away. We stood in silence for a moment, during which it started sprinkling.
"Let's just go home" he said.
"I just spent $80 on all this" I replied, pointing around at the new cooler, food scattered around the site, camp-tableware and booze. "Plus we're already set up."
"Well I don't have $40." Brian had recently inherited a bunch of money from a dead relative, in addition to a bunch of stocks he already had from another inheritance. He had five cars, two boats, a scooter and rented a nice house with a garage big enough to keep them all. He was also a notorious cheapskate and a liar. I'm pretty sure he'd intended on ditching in the morning before the host made his rounds to collect.
"Um... yes you do @#$% head!" I replied calmly.
"I haven't cashed out any stocks and I lost my bank card." The rain got heavier. "Let's go." he finished, then he began packing things up. Pissed but defeated, I followed suit, rolling up sleeping bags, taking down the tent, etc., all the while cursing under my breath between coughs (the cold). It started hailing. We managed to get everything packed into the car in about six minutes. We settled into the car silently. Brian sped out of the campground, passed the confused host, and onto the highway. The worn top on the convertible was flapping wildly, and I was being misted with rainwater that was seeping through it. I coughed and hugged myself.
About 10 minutes into the hour and a half long drive home, the top ripped completely off the car. We were being pelted by torrential rain and hail at 75 miles per hour. "I have to get that" he said, pulling over. I pulled my arms into the torso of my sweatshirt and cursed. It was freezing, and we still had 80 minutes to go. Brian wrestled the decrepit top down into the back seat with our stuff and we took off. Occasionally something would fly out behind us, but I was too cold and pissed to care. I kept thinking the rain would stop when we got lower down, but it continued pissing on us all the way home. By the time we got into town, we were soaked to the bone and shivering violently. I was coughing every couple seconds and felt as sick as a dog. He dropped me off at my house and I got out without a word and walked inside to take a hot shower. He never apologized and he still has my cooler.

Any good camping/rain stories?

Student tasered at Kerry speech.

Amnesty international exposes widespread taser misuse...

Max is a photog.

My brother Max (who is 12) has a flickr account now and uploads lots of pictures of flowers and pumpkins and the like. Check it out and leave him some feedback so that he might become the next Ansell Adams.


Sorry anti-bike bigots, you're wrong.

A common argument of the anti-bike set is that drivers pay for the roads via gas and car taxes, so cyclists are free-loaders. As it turns out, it's quite the opposite! Cyclists are subsidizing their road-use. They also like to state that America spends a disproportionate amount of taxes on bicycle and walking trails, but the Thunderhead Alliance Report of 2007 found that only 1.54% of Federal Transportation dollars are spent on bike and pedestrian projects (p.52), even though 9.6% of all trips made in the US are by bike or foot (p.100). What does all this mean? It means the bike haters don't have a leg to stand on.


My new favorite food.

I've had dry muesli a bunch of times, and I've always sort of considered it granola's ugly cousin. I never knew that the dry muesli we're served here in the states is merely a poor knock-off of a staple food eaten all over Europe for a hundred years. The original recipe as used by Maximilian Bercher-Benner, a Swiss doctor credited with popularizing Meusli around 1900 consists of:
1 tablespoon rolled oats, soaked in 2–3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cream
200 grams apple (about one large, preferably a sour variety), finely grated
optionally top with 1 tablespoon ground hazelnuts or almonds.

Since I'm a fat American, my version is usually more like this:
3 tbs. rolled oats soaked in milk, water or apple juice until plump
1 1/2 tbs. plain yogurt
1/2 tsp. brown sugar (optional)
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 small apples, finely grated
1 tbs. dried cranberries
1 tbs. sliced almonds or walnuts
+ whatever fresh fruit is around
Mix it all together, grab a big cup of dark black coffee and enjoy.

Some people get it.

I came out for exercise, gentle exercise, and to notice the scenery and to botanise. And no sooner do I get on that accursed machine than off I go hammer and tongs; I never look to right or left, never notice a flower, never see a view - get hot, juicy, red - like a grilled chop. Get me on that machine and I have to go. I go scorching along the road, and cursing aloud at myself for doing it. ~H.G. Wells, The Wheels of Chance

When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man's convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man's brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle. ~Elizabeth West, Hovel in the Hills


Keepon dancing to Spoon's

Amanda and I played with Keepon the robot at the Spoon show. He was in the lobby rocking out the whole time. The inventors were standing next to us in the auditorium.


Back from LA

Just returned from LA where Amanda and I visited with my brother and saw a Spoon show. We flew down on friday and spent the day wandering Venice Beach where he lives (well okay, he lives 2 minutes away from the beach by bike). We met Gabe and his roommate Halina at his house around 6pm and then drove into Hollywood to have dinner at La Poubelle, the restaurant where his girlfriend Melinda works. We had an unremarkable dinner (though the crab ceviche was good) and then had a few drinks with some of Gabe's LA friends at the bar. Someone mentioned a pool party at another friend's house so we loaded into the Prius and met the others at the house. It was a nifty house. As it turned out the house's owner is in a band that you are likely familiar with, and as a result his house was located in the Hills above Hollywood and featured a lovely view of the city. We mingled and swam, drank and laughed, and had a jolly time and when we'd had our fill we headed back down the hill and across the city to Gabe's house where we slept.
In the morning Amanda and I had breakfast at Noah's Bagels (weak coffee) and then walked to the pier where we watched surfers fight for waves. When that got old we walked Venice Beach again, checked out a bookstore, drank a lemonade and then walked over to famous Abbot Kinney road. We had a coffee and then met Gabe back at the house where we read some magazines and shot the breeze before walking over to Mao's Kitchen for dinner. It's a hip, cozy, and surprisingly affordable Chinese restaurant with Chinese Revolutionary posters on the walls and tasty, creative food on the menu. We shared a few entrees and talked about Gabe's job (in advertising). At one point CJ from Top Chef walked by with a gal and a dog. Top Chef is the only TV show I watch and CJ is the person Amanda and I are rooting for to win, so the fact that he walked by was fun. We joked about running after him but let him go. This time. After din we walked back down the beach in the dark where I accurately predicted someone would ask us for our leftovers. So we gave them to a couple dudes who were sleeping under some bleachers and finished the walk home via the canals. The houses on the canals are rad.
Yesterday we woke up early and had breakfast at Joni's. It's a coffee roasting operation with good food and damned good coffee. They roast the beans daily and brew it by the cup. It's strong, dark, sweet, and delicious; no sugar needed. I highly recommend it. Then we met up with some of Amanda's friends from high school who now live in Hermosa and walked all over Venice with them. Afterwards we met Gabe back at his house where we chatted and read for a couple hours before heading out for the Spoon show. We picked up Melinda at her house and drove to the show at Henry Fonda theatre in Hollywood. We waited patiently through the end of an openning set by DJ Dr. Octogon (or something). I still don't understand why they had a rapper opening for Spoon, but whatevs. We took the opportunity to purchase a $7 beer from the bar upstairs. The Spoon show was awesome. Best I've seen. The band was energetic, they played well, and the production value was the best we've seen: lots of colorful lights, good sound mixing, etc. Afterwards we drove down the way to Canter's, a historic Jewish deli with the world's best corned beef and pastrami sandwiches. They serve up 4,900 pounds of pastrami a month and 4,000 knishes a week. There were a couple familiar faces in there too, but I was too busy with my Reuben to care. When we were stuffed to the gills, we walked back to the car, handing over two half-sandwiches to pan-handlers on the way.
This morning Gabe took us to the French Market Cafe. They have a limited but fresh and tasty menu consisting mostly of eggs and fresh-baked breads. Our meals came with green salads and blueberry jam for the bread. Good food and coffee served up by authentically snotty French people, worth checking out. When Gabe asked if he could substitute one bread for another, she basically told him to piss off, but he ended up with the bread he asked for and a funny story to tell. After breakfast we drove to the airport, said our goodbyes and flew home.
What did I accomplish with this trip? Ate lots of good food, walked about a million miles, saw a good show, caught up with old friend and made some new ones. What did I learn? I dunno. Not all LA people are dicks, but plenty are. They're all really lousy drivers. Most of Venice is walkable. I still don't want to live in LA again. That's all.


Attempted murder is okay if you use a car.

Sometimes there's no amount of caution that will keep you from being hit while on your bike. In Des Moines this morning, a driver deliberately hit a cyclist that was riding on the sidewalk. The driver was heading in the opposite direction and flipped an illegal U-turn, drove up onto the sidewalk and ran over the cyclist. He is only being charged with willful injury. I must be missing something. If I was walking down the street, saw someone I dissaproved of, went out of my way to get behind him and stabbed him in the neck, I think I would be charged with attempted murder at least. And of course there are people writing in to the newspaper to talk about what losers cyclists are, and how they deserve what they get. Here's a diagram of the crime scene. And a picture of Robert Brett Kleiber, the murderous, poster-child for birth-control that perpetrated the crime.


The Kona Ute in the US

It is with great pleasure that I announce that indeed, the Kona Ute - which I'd previously reported on - will be sold stateside in '08. It will be sold in one size and color, seen here, for $799. The bike will feature a custom chromoly frame and fork, Deore derailers and disc brakes. I am stoked about this bike. Other neat bikes to look forward to are the Smoke 2-9 with fenders and rack mounts for only $369 and a really sexy cruiser called the 88.