Sympathy for the Devil

I was walking around the city the other day, headphones on, rocking out. I’d just crossed the street, and took a step to the left off of the curb, getting ready to turn left and immediately cross another street. I heard a squeal (which in retrospect was the sound of bike brakes on the rims) and felt a thud against my left shoulder. Before I knew what was happening, I saw a guy smack onto the pavement in front of me. I’d just blindly walked in front of a cyclist riding in the road next to the curb, knocking him to the ground.

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This is gonna be good

I waited until I got home and had a beer in me before reading it. The headline kinda says it all: Why You Hate Cyclists. I mean – with a title like that how couldn’t I expect something, um… inspiring. I’m an opinionated guy, thus I’m always on the lookout for fellow opinionatedees. And this was going to tell me why I hate cyclists. Clearly I don’t hate cyclists, so right off of the bat I’m assuming the article is targeted towards motorists. Yea. This is gonna be good… But then I read it. And reread it. And it actually wasn’t terrible, nor terrific. In fact, I’m still not sure what I think about it, or its author. According to his bio he’s an attorney and a writer. Oh yea – and according to his own article he’s a cyclist. And kind of a jerk. Continue Reading »

Learning how to ride safely due to a dead battery

I was leaving work – late – the other night in what seemed a normal manner. It was dry and clear, but dark as I’d stayed at work solving a problem (funny how you can be most productive in an office environment when 80% of the rest of the company has already left.) I grabbed my bike off the rack, flicked on the lights (they are nice and bright) and roll out the door.

About halfway home from the office I’ve got this strange feeling something isn’t right. I’m riding on lit streets, but on a whim I put my hand in front of the Planet Bike Blaze 1/2w Headlight mounted on my handlebars. It barely illuminates my palm at 4 inches.  Damn. Dead batteries. While I’m at it I stop and check the tail light. Completely dead. I try to turn it on. Dim light then nothing. Damn. More dead batteries.

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Line of Sight

16mm_lucas_taxiskitch_zenga_480I just got done watching “Line of Sight” – an alley cat racing film by Lucas Brunelle. Right off the bat I feel a bit conflicted writing about this movie. It is about alley cat races – which means a bunch of guys riding like jack asses; completely ignoring all traffic laws in a dense urban area. It is exactly what we DON’T want to encourage our children to do, and personifies each and every negative stereotype that uneducated motorists will hurl at us as we pedal on the run.

It is also one hell of a lot of fun to watch.

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My most well researched post to date

Lance who?

Amtrak Capitol Corridor To Run Bike Share Program?

While riding the Amtrak Capitol Corridor train again today I found a card advertising a survey (pictured at right). I’ve been riding the Capitol Corridor trains for years, and I had some time to kill on my one hour 50 minute trip, so I figured “why not.” I was a bit surprised, however, when I found out that the grand prize in a drawing of those that take the survey is a Brompton M3L folding bike. Seemed a little bit of an odd give-a-way item, and raised my interest even further.

Once I started taking the survey I found out why that bike was associated with this survey. Seems Amtrak is considering running a rental-bike program.
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Mainstream media and bicycle helmets

Photo Credit Ross Del Duca / VeloReviews Media. Used with permission.

Of all of the things I’ve written about here on JustAnotherCyclist, few subjects tend to spark as much disagreement – from both cyclists and non-cyclists alike – as my posts regarding bicycle helmets. Many seeing me roll up to work or wherever without my helmet on have referred to me as reckless, stupid, crazy, nuts, or even… well, you can probably imagine. I’ve been told I’m an irresponsible parent, setting a bad example for my children. I’ve been told I make drivers on the road nervous, thus increasing motorists/cyclist contention. I’ve even been told I “deserve to crack my skull open” because I opt to sometimes ride without a helmet.

I’ve never once encouraged anyone to ride without a helmet. Instead, I’ve spoke of my own opinions and ideas on the subject, encouraging others to find out the facts and make an educated, reasonable decision on their own.

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Will the real Greg LeMond Please Stand Up

Ahhh social media. Not only do you get provocative messages - you get provocative discussions about who the provocative messages actually came from.

Adding to the “intrigue” is the fact that the message was posted to the Greg LeMond timeline at least 13 separate times – the identical post – at the time of this writing. Speculation was already rampant that the posts didn’t in fact come from Greg himself.

Maybe, maybe not. But here’s the full text of the post in quesiton:

http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/10/news/kimmage-felt-rage-deflation-during-mcquaids-armstrong-press-conference_262474
Can anyone help me out? I know this sounds kind of lame but I am not well versed in social marketing. I would like to

send a message to everyone that really loves cycling. I do not use twitter and do not have an organized way of getting some of my own “rage” out. I want to tell the world of cycling to please join me in telling Pat McQuaid to f##k off and resign. I have never seen such an abuse of power in cycling’s history- resign Pat if you love cycling. Resign even if you hate the sport.
Pat McQuaid, you know dam well what has been going on in cycling, and if you want to deny it, then even more reasons why those who love cycling need to demand that you resign.
I have a file with what I believe is well documented proof that will exonerate Paul.
Pat in my opinion you and Hein are the corrupt part of the sport. I do not want to include everyone at the UCI because I believe that there are many, maybe most that work at the UCI that are dedicated to cycling, they do it out of the love of the sport, but you and your buddy Hein have destroyed the sport.
Pat, I thought you loved cycling? At one time you did and if you did love cycling please dig deep inside and remember that part of your life- allow cycling to grow and flourish- please! It is time to walk away. Walk away if you love cycling.
As a reminder I just want to point out that you recently you accused me of being the cause of USADA’s investigation against Lance Armstrong. Why would you be inclined to go straight to me as the “cause”? Why shoot the messenger every time?
Every time you do this I get more and more entrenched. I was in your country over the last two weeks and I asked someone that knows you if you were someone that could be rehabilitated. His answer was very quick and it was not good for you. No was the answer, no, no , no!
The problem for sport is not drugs but corruption. You are the epitome of the word corruption.
You can read all about Webster’s definition of corruption. If you want I can re-post my attorney’s response to your letter where you threaten to sue me for calling the UCI corrupt. FYI I want to officially reiterate to you and Hien that in my opinion the two of your represent the essence of corruption.
I would encourage anyone that loves cycling to donate and support Paul in his fight against the Pat and Hein and the UCI. Skip lunch and donate the amount that you would have spent towards that Sunday buffet towards changing the sport of cycling.
I donated money for Paul’s defense, and I am willing to donate a lot more, but I would like to use it to lobby for dramatic change in cycling. The sport does not need Pat McQuaid or Hein Verbruggen- if this sport is going to change it is now. Not next year, not down the road, now! Now or never!
People that really care about cycling have the power to change cycling- change it now by voicing your thought and donating money towards Paul Kimmage’s defense, ( Paul, I want to encourage you to not spend the money that has been donated to your defense fund on defending yourself in Switzerland. In my case, a USA citizen, I could care less if I lost the UCI’s bogus lawsuit. Use the money to lobby for real change).
If people really want to clean the sport of cycling up all you have to do is put your money where your mouth is.
Don’t buy a USA Cycling license. Give up racing for a year, just long enough to put the UCI and USA cycling out of business. We can then start from scratch and let the real lovers in cycling direct where and how the sport of cycling will go.
Please make a difference.

I’ll let you be the judge.

 

I’ve got an idea – name the hole that now exists

Ugh. I know. I probably shouldn’t be writing about Lance Armstrong now. Enough is enough. What I was really thinking about is all those folks that are now going to have to go over the record books with erasers, Wite-Out® and heavy black markers obliterating all occurrences of the name Lance Armstrong from the official record of winners. I think the ancient egyptians were good at erasing fallen pharos from the record too, so maybe we can take some cues from them.

But in our digital age, getting rid of records is a little trickier because any joker with a keyboard (say, like me) can write an article. And those articles will have undoubtedly used the name Lance, Armstrong or, if you’re not into that whole brevity thing, Lance Armstrong. But it becomes really awkward to just schwack his name from all the records. I mean, sentences wouldn’t even make sense.

For example: “…the federal investigation into seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has been closed with no charges filed…” just doesn’t work with his name redacted. “…the federal investigation into seven time Tour de France winner has been closed with no charges filed…”  See – that just doesn’t work, because, well, there now is no one that has ever won 7 Tour de France victories.

Or how about this: “Despite the evidence, Lance Armstrong continues to maintain that he never used performance enhancing drugs.” Take out his name and “Despite the evidence, continues to maintain that he never used performance enhancing drugs” just sounds like a court transcript where the court reporter got lazy.

So it occurred to me that we need some sort of a place holder we can use to replace his name, and fill the gramatical hole created by redacting his name from the record. Something to fill the gap – fill the space left by the absence of Armstrong’s name. Something to fill the hole left behind by Armstrong – the Armstrong hole. Hmmm… Something to fill the Armstrong hole.

Oh! The A-Hole!  That’s perfect!

So now, wherever we would have said “Seven time Tour de France Winner” or “Lance Armstrong” or “Lance” or “Armstrong,” we simply substitute “The A-Hole” and it all works:

“…the federal investigation into seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has been closed with no charges filed…
becomes…
“…the federal investigation into The A-Hole has been closed with no charges filed…

Likewise, “Despite the evidence, Lance Armstrong continues to maintain that he never used performance enhancing drugs.”
becomes…
“Despite the evidence, The A-Hole continues to maintain that he never used performance enhancing drugs.”

Nice thing is, this can become a handy twitter hash-tag too! In fact, I highly encourage anyone posting any tweet about The A-Hole to also include #theahole in the tweet, so that we can all easily find it without needing to type out the guys actual name.

Just a modest proposal.

How a cardboard bike saved my mood

I’ve been moping and whining about the fact that, after seven years of destroying the peloton, Lance Armstrong was able to do it one final time without even spinning a pedal. I couldn’t come up with anything worth mentioning on the case Neil Browne hadn’t already said. However it is such a huge story that I find myself, like the mainstream media I lament, feeling compelled to talk about nothing else.

Well, thanks to the constant stream of updates coming from VeloReviews.com and their Facebook page, I found a story right up my alley – just teed up for me to run with. And that story was about … cardboard.

I loved it because it immediately made me think of how Lance had become sort of a cardboard-cutout of his former self to many people. But this story was much better. Because unlike Lance, this was not a story about someone or something that was less than it appeared. Rather, it was the story of someone making much, much more out of something than was immediately obvious. It was a story about a fully functional cardboard bicycle.

Now some will undoubtedly take my analogy a step further, pointing out that through the use of chemical treatments the cardboard has actually been made stronger than its natural form. Sure, someone could say that the glue is the EPO, and the laquer is the transfusions that allow this cardboard to achieve super-cardboard feats of strength. To that I would respond: You think too much.

What I see here is a great opportunity to have what could amount to a disposable bike. Imagine the possibilities here when a bike is can be manufactured in a guy’s garage for $20? Now imagine how much that price could be reduced to on a higher production run. Now imagine those cheap bikes made from potentially post-consumer cardboard being deployed around cities as a means of public transportation. Imagine a vending machine at the airport that would allow you to purchase a fully functional bicycle for less than you’d likely pay for a cab? Imagine schools able to check out bicycles to students for the year for less than the price of a textbook.

Sure – this is just a prototype. And sure, the $20 number may not pan out. But you’ve got to love this guys innovation and vision to even try. Do I love my Fred-tastic carbon fiber bikes? Hell yes. But you better believe I’d ride on of these bikes too.

Funny thing is, the other “new bicycle design” that seems to be taking off around the internet isn’t new at all. I’m talking here about the Bicymple. Look – there is no denying it is a beautiful design (if you are into weird things) Fundamentally, however, this is essentially a fixed-gear wobble bike, slightly less articulated. Maybe it is my naiveté, but I really don’t see why two wheel steering is necessary on a bicycle. Even on cars – which you can’t pick up and move sideways to park – four wheel steering was never more than a novelty.

Ahhh – doesn’t it feel better to write (and read) about bikes instead of bio-chemistry and doping? Time to drop my digital copy of the “Reasoned Decision” into the virtual trash can on my computer.