Great Divide

Kent Peterson has assembled all the Great Divide Race-coverage links here. The time-table is particularly handy and the adventure cycling gallery is helpful in putting faces to the names (this image is from the gallery). Kent is the current GDR single-speed record holder so you know he's watching closely. By some accounts Jay Petervary is setting himself up to blow the current record of 16:00:57 away by almost two days. Who needs the TDF?


Bicycle Haikus. Now you know.


Pink "Fat Cyclist" Socks.

Just ordered four pairs of "Team Fatty" socks from Twin Six. Proceeds go towards two excellent causes; the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Fat Cyclist's wife Susan's treatments. I would have ordered a jersey for myself and Amanda but I'm not nearly cool (or fast) enough to rock a pink jersey and I'm not sure it would go over well if I bought a jersey for my girlfriend that said, "Fat" anything. Pink socks, on the other hand - Oh yeah.

In other news - On my way home from work tonight I was cruising over the bridge (pedestrians and cyclists share an elevated walkway as there is no shoulder) and I was stuck behind a pedestrian with earphones on for about 3 minutes. He was walking slowly and rocking out, enough so that he missed my yelling, whistling and light flashing. I thought about squirting him with my water bottle but he looked back and moved aside right as I unsheathed it. Next time...

Team Hoyt

Wow. Unbelievable.


some thoughts on love

Why is it that we're nicer to strangers than to the ones we "love"? When we're having a "bad day", we mope around the house, snap at our loved ones and seclude ourselves, but if someone from work calls or the FEDEX man drops off a package, we're suddenly the picture of serenity. Oh hello! Sign here? Great! Wonder what it might be; see you next time! Then back to our office/bedroom/bathroom to sulk and feel sorry for ourselves. The only explanation is that there truly is a thin line between love and hate. But why then do we attempt to surround ourselves with those we love when we know they have the potential to make us the most miserable? Wouldn't it be wiser to keep everyone at arms length? Or is our tendency to lash out at the ones we love merely an attempt to do that very thing? They say that it's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, so does it follow that the best scenario is to love and lose and love and lose ad infinitum? It's enough to lead a person to drink.

The Practical Pedal

The Practical Pedal magazine is now available online. Go check it out.


Am I rich? II

"Gilbert Murray" enjoys receiving emails from Nigerian Scam artists. On this website he's posted the transcripts of hundreds of conversations he's has with them. He strings them along with promises of money and meetings and frustrates them to no end. He's even arranged meetings with them and then videotaped them waiting for him. It is hilarious. Go read them! My favorite so far is The Inventor.


pictures i heart

found here

Am I rich?

Received this email today:

How are you today??I hope all is well with you. I am Barrister Eric Brady,solicitor. I am the personal Attorney to Mr.P.S.Logan,who used to work with the shell development company Lome Togo. my client,his wife and their three children were involved in a car accident along Bells Express road. All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost their lives.Since then I have made several enquiries to his Embassy to locate any of my client's extended relatives,this has also proved unsuccessful. After these several unsuccessful attempts,I decided to trace his relatives over the internet,to locate any member of his family but of no avail,hence I contacted you. I have contacted you to assist in repartrating the money and property left behind by my client before they get confisicated or declared unserviceable by the security company,where this huge deposits were lodged. Particularly,security company were the deceased had deposit value of $8 million united states dollars,has issued me a notice to provide thae next of kin or have the deposit confisicated within the next three official working months. Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 2 years now, I seek your concent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased so that the proceeds of this deposit value at $8 million united states dollars can be paid to you and then you and me will share the money 60%to me and 30% to you,while 10% shiiould be for expenses or tax as your government may require,I have all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up any claim we may make. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this deal through. I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law.You have to assure me that you will not sit on the fund when it is finally claimed. Please get in touch with me through e-mail to enable us discuss further.
Best Regards,
Barrister Eric Brady (Esq)
Brady Chambers
10 Bull Ave Lome Togo
West Africa
002289111830 or 112289111830

I responded:
Sounds good buddy! I could always use an extra 4 mil. Have your people call my people.
Live your life in happiness, even though those around you lead lives which are unhealthy, and wish to spread their illness to you. Be Happiness itself. - Buddha...


My eventful ride

This morning I woke up early and couldn't fall asleep again so I finished reading "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy. The story is set on the abandoned highways of a post-apocalyptic America. It follows a man and his young son as they make their way towards the coast where they hope to find some sort of reprieve from starvation, cruel weather and roving packs of cannibals. In that respect it's kind of like the ride I just finished. Well, that is if you substitute his son for my bike, the snow for the oppressive summer sun, starvation for mild dehydration and cannibals for pot-holes and power-poles that jump out in front of me. I started around 11:00am. My little brother started the ride with me but his bike broke twice within the first ten miles so he called for a ride home (in his defense he was pissed about having to stop early). I continued on through Marysville, intending on heading up towards Browns Valley as my friend Zack did a few days ago. Alas, before I even made it out of town my bike computer stopped working. So, like any sensible person, I reached down while spinning at about 16-17mph and wiggled the wires around the sensor. While distracted with the wires I drifted towards the sidewalk and ran full bore into a power pole with my handlebars and right side of my body. The impact stopped me in my tracks, bending my bars and my brake-hood and leaving my right shoulder and knee bruised, scraped and sore. I cursed, checked my bike and body for any serious damage and straightened things out. As I'd only made it about 14 miles by this point I decided to keep riding and see if my pain got any worse, as it was manageable at that point. I slowly cruised out of town and onto the sparsely-used agricultural roads East of Marysville. I realized quickly that there were many roads and not quite as many street-signs, so I just stayed pointed towards the foothills whenever possible, but eventually gave up and just rode without any destination in mind. I rode like that for another 12-15 miles (remember, my computer didn't work so I don't know for sure) before I realized I was really low on water and needed to turn around. I had counted on a store in the foothills for a refill but it never materialized. I did however find a spray-painted warning that reads: "Caution Bikes" with a childish painting of a hand making the bird sign. The meaning was rather ambiguous; did it mean "Watch out for bikes, asshole!" or "Watch out ass-hole bikers!", or perhaps "Bikers, be cautious as there are asshole train-tracks up ahead!" I might never know what the artist intended, but I do know that the artist's model might have had a fingernail covering their fingerprint because his painted hand did. I also found a 20+ foot long piece of film which, upon examination contained a theatre copy of the trailer for "The Last Mimzy". I always wondered what theaters did with the trailer reels after they were no longer needed. Now I know. As I passed back through town I stopped at The Brick, a local coffeehouse where Amanda was doing homework.I refilled my water-bottles and headed home, but not before stopping once more for a bag of fresh fruit with lime-juice and chili-powder. A treat popularized in Mexico that is now sold from various fruit-stands around town. I only got to ride 45-50 miles instead of the 60+ I had hoped to ride, but I enjoyed myself despite the rough start. The picture of my shoulder up top does no justice at all to the actual damage. It's really quite impressive looking and has inspired grimaces from everyone who's seen it.

Fast and Reliable

Before you complain about your bad luck....


Giovanni Sollima - Sogno ad Occhi Aperti (Daydream) PART 1

Neat music video, awesome musician.

Bamboo bikes go to Africa

Neat article in the LA Times today about Craig Calfee. He's going to Ghana to teach the locals how to build bamboo bikes.

Why bikes rock: Reason #384,279

Last night Amanda and I went out with some friends in Sacramento to celebrate a birthday (one of their other friends). We walked around midtown where they live and where all of their favorite bars are (they are gay and midtown is the Castro of Sacramento). Due to a series of miscommunications, misunderstandings and mistakes we only saw the birthday boy for a few minutes but we had fun along the way and made a bar-crawl of it. We stayed out pretty late and as a result I drank more than I had anticipated leaving me in an undesirable condition this morning. I tried all of the normal remedies; big fat breakfast at Crepeville, double espresso from Old Souls, gallons of water and some aspirin; all of which failed to rid my head and stomach of their respective aches. When it came time to head to work I weighed my options. I had a car at my disposal today, or I could take my bike. I walked outside to see how hot it was and it was pretty nice, probably 90 with a cool breeze. I decided to suck it up and ride, concluding that the blood pumping around my body would probably be a good thing. I grabbed a water bottle my panniers and headed out the door. When I got on the road I noticed that the breeze was blowing north, giving me a decent tailwind. I turned on my ipod (yeah, yeah, I know; but I keep it low) and the shuffle feature provided me with a mellow soundtrack of indie rock and reggae (Spoon, Ziggy Marley, Cake, Bright Eyes, to name a few). I pedaled to the beat, keeping me at a steady but effortless 16mph. Forgetting my aches and pains I rode my longer route, slowing down to check out yard-sales and stopping at one point under the bridge to watch a motorcycle race at the river-bottoms. When I got into town I found I still had a few minutes so I rode around old Marysville, checking out some newly renovated office buildings and enjoying the shade of the trees that were planted by the original settlers of Marysville. When I finally got to work I was sad to get off the bike but I felt like a million bucks and looked forward to my ride home.



Yes, I am that cool.


Utility bikes.

If you are one of the few enlightened individuals who has managed to escape the cult of the car, you might find yourself in a tough place when you need to move large, bulky items like kayaks, tables, and beer kegs. Until recently a bike-trailer has been the only option, but trailers can be cumbersome, unstable, and prone to theft. A few years back the Xtracycle was invented, and people began converting their extra bikes into utility bikes, or SUBs. In recent years several custom bicycle builders have introduced utility bikes, but they're hand-built and thus quite pricey (though still much less than a car). Thanks to increased demand, there are now a few mass-produced, purpose-built utility bikes available in the US (they've been available in the UK and other parts of the world for many years). The Bakfiet is a bike with a large basket between the main-frame and front wheel, good for hauling large quantities of cargo (kids, cats, vespas, whateva) that you want to keep an eye on. They're now available from Clever Cycles in Portland. Another option-in-the-works for Americans is the Yuba Mondo. These long-wheelbase bikes are used by coffee farmers in developing nations to increase their profitability. For more on that check out Worldbike.org, Project Rwanda, or Bikes to Rwanda. They can be used by you to increase your moxy. According to Ben at Xtracycle (they will be an American Distributor)the price range is $600-850. Why do I bother to write about all this you might ask? Aside from the fact that they're cool and "green", I'd rather get hit by one of these than by a station wagon so the more people that buy them the better for me.

Honor's cakes.

My sister Honor makes cakes for people. This is a cake that she made for my our dad to serve when he had his coworkers (teachers) over for dinner. Note the apple theme. Teachers, apples.. get it? In any case it was amazing. It was a lemon cake with blackberry preserves, butter-cream, royal icing flowers and hand-sculpted marzipan apples which she stayed up until all hours making. It blew everyone's mind and elevated Honor to the coveted position of my parents' favorite child. If you would like to order one and you live in Northern California, let me know and I'll pass your info. to her.

Oh the lazy, crazy, HOT days of Summer

Actually, it wasn't all that bad today but the thermometer said 95 degrees. Amanda and I rode around Sacramento again today, this time riding the Sacramento Northern Bikeway trails instead of "urban riding." Having not spent a lot of time on bike trails in favor of the open road, I must admit I don't really like them. They're too narrow for any real ped/bike traffic, they're always full of people going the wrong direction, and they often take you to areas remote enough that I would be worried about my girlfriend (or sister, mom, daughter, friend who is a girl) using them by herself. Anywho after riding around on these trails (which we found quite difficult to navigate BTW) for about an hour we dead-ended on one of them and cruised out onto the road. Fortunately we figured out where we were based on the location of the river and skyline so we knew which way to go. As we made our way back through a sorta-shady neighborhood a thick-necked white fellow called out to me, What up wood?" I ignored him and continued on my way. For those not in the know, "wood" is short for "pecker-wood", a slang term coined by southern blacks in the 19th century to describe poor white people whom they considered to be loud and pesky like a woodpecker. Since the 1940s it has been used by white supremacists to describe each-other. Thus, he was identifying me as a white supremacist, which I am not, and I felt no obligation to respond to him. He took offense at my non-response, and let loose a barrage of insulting and threatening comments which I also ignored. Amanda, who was riding in front of me turned the next corner and immediately had a blow out on her rear tire. "Awesome" she said sarcastically, looking in the direction from which we expected the moron to barge at any moment. I smiled at our poor luck and went about fixing her tube, occasionally glancing up at approaching footsteps which were never him. When I was done we took off again, only to be cut off by a large truck driven by another moron as soon as I'd gotten up to speed. The driver did it while staring right at me, smiling smugly. Normally I would just slide around him and give him a glance that said tisk tisk but I was already a little ticked at people's general stupidity so I slowed down and flipped the driver off with both hands, staring into his eyes. He stopped smiling but did nothing else. I immediately felt stupid and embarrassed at my response (it was immature, unChristlike and I put Amanda in danger by doing it) and I was glad Amanda didn't see it. I realize this story makes it sound like I didn't have fun on the ride, but I did. We saw the city from a new angle, rode in the trees and worked off the watermelon Merlino's Freeze drinks that we got at Mr. Pickles. I guess the moral of the story is that every bike ride, no matter how seemingly mundane can become an exercise in self-control... or something. In any case: ride on, have fun, be careful and use your head.




Had the day off yesterday so Amanda and I went down to my sister's house in Sacramento to hang out with her and the kids. We all took a walk to the local La Superior for some horchata, then poked around the Salvation Army next door for vintage coffee mugs which my sis collects. Found this radical little number, a coffee mug with pictures of coffee mugs in the glaze. Sort of a mind trip, no? Okay maybe not. When the kids went down for a nap Amanda and I headed downtown and rode around old Sac, eventually making our way to Mr. Pickles where we indulged in some turkey sandwiches and their garlic fries which we'd heard were amazing and only available at this particular Mr. Pickles location. Well it went like this: the woman who made our sandwiches was in a funk, and when we ordered the fries, she seemed to resent us for it, and I briefly worried about her violating our fries somehow, but figured, who does that. Well the fries arrived at our table and to our surprise, they were crisscuts instead of shoestrings, and holy cow they had a lot of garlic. I wondered if she had dumped extra garlic sauce on the fries in a fit of rage, but ate them anyway. Moments later the manager walked past our table and exclaimed, "Holy cow, you guys must like garlic ALOT!" He smiled and walked away before we managed to say anything. We didn't pursue the subject further as they were in the middle of a rush, but I'm pretty sure she was giggling to herself as she watched us eat the amazingly garlicky mess she had created for us. Oh well, they were delicious. Then to burn some of those calories we took a long meandering ride through some of the beautiful houses downtown. After riding and eating and riding more we headed back up 70 to home and watched Stranger than Fiction starring Will Farrell and a soundtrack co-written by Britt Daniel of Spoon.


A Bicycle Zen Koan, for your edification and amusement:

A Zen Teacher saw five of his students return from the market, riding their bicycles. When they had dismounted, the teacher asked the students, "Why are you riding your bicycles?" The first student replied, "The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!" The teacher praised the student, saying, "You are a smart boy. When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over, as I do." The second student replied, "I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path." The teacher commended the student, "Your eyes are open and you see the world." The third student replied, "When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant, nam myoho renge kyo." The teacher gave praise to the third student, "Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel." The fourth student answered, "Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all beings." The teacher was pleased and said, "You are riding on the golden path of non-harming." The fifth student replied, "I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle." The teacher went and sat at the feet of the fifth student, and said, "I am your disciple."


In Praise of the Simple Bicycle

There's a decent article about cycling in the Rutland Herald called In Praise of the Simple Bicycle.
"The bike is truly a marvel of engineering and it will still be around when the gasoline is all gone. Why aren't you riding one?"

Police Bicycle Chase

What can I say, I was listening to my ipod and didn't hear the sirens.


Clever Cycles opens in Portland

Clever Cycles, a new bike shop by the folks that brought you the stokemonkey just opened it's shop doors for the first time. The new shop in Portland is oriented towards the utilitarian and commuter bicyclist as opposed to the racer, and is one of the few importers of dutch bikes in the US. According to their own description:
"Clever Cycles sells stylish, practical bicycles and accessories for everyday use. We serve households and businesses seeking to avoid dependence on cars. Dutch bakfietsen and city bikes, folding bikes, and our Stokemonkey electric assist for Xtracycles offer passenger and cargo capacity, plain-clothes comfort, all-weather readiness, and low maintenance."
Check out their new digs if you're in the Portland area.

Shocking News Story

"Dana Thomson gets some strange looks when she goes to school in Winterville." This is the opening sentence in a story from the Associated Press today. Why does she get strange looks you might ask? Does she have an extra arm? No eyes? A robot for a pet? No, even weirder and more shocking.
"That's because the kindergartner at W.H. Robinson Elementary rides her bike. "
"Her mother Deborah rides along with her and says the half-mile trip takes less time than waiting in a line of cars."
"Dana's trip to school is the exception but some groups want to make it more common."
Yeah, some commie pinko fag hippy groups!
"Pitt County Schools special projects coordinator Alice Keene works to encourage people to walk or bike with their children to school. She says the extra physical activity will help children."
Okay, I'll stop the sarcasm but seriously, is it so bizarre these days for a kid to ride a bike to school that it necessitates a story in the AP? Perhaps this is why 1 in 5 children is overweight or obese and 7 out of 10 adults are too...?


video break

I wanted to hate this, and I tried not to laugh, but it's pretty well done. Some gratuitous swearing around 4:30. Also watched an interesting profile on "YAC" - John Yacobellis, King of NYC Bike Messengers. It's dated, maybe 10 years old, but that makes it more entertaining. Here's another messenger profile about Dog-Paw (SF), circa 1992. This one is hilarious.

fat cyclist - pink jerseys

Anyone who reads fat cyclist's blog know about his wife's battle with cancer. The peachy folks at Twin Six have released a pink Fat Cyclist jersey to help raise money for her treatment and the Live Strong foundation. Twin Six is not making any money off these jerseys, so go buy one or six and buy some socks to match.