Thursday, March 30, 2006

Bay Area temp housing

Fritz posting here. I need a place to stay. I'm browsing Craigslist for a 1BR to rent through the end of May in the SF Bay Area. Since many of you read Cyclelicious from the Bay Area, I figure why not post my quest for a room here?

I'm willing to pay up to $750/month for a room beginning this Monday or Tuesday (April 3-4) until the end of May, though I have some flexibility either way on the start and end date. The room will be just for me, my clothing, personal hygiene stuff, laptop computer, cellphone and one bicycle. I'd like to be within about three miles of a Caltrain station. Free WiFi in the vicinity is a bonus. I'm sociable but quiet. The only mind-altering drug I take is caffeine.

I'm focusing mostly around Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and the South Bay, though I may go as far north as Millbrae and maybe even into South San Francisco. East Bay locations near the Dumbarton Bridge (e.g. Fremont or Newark) would also work well. I don't mind sitting on the train for an hour and a half if the price is right -- i.e. I'll take your guest room in Gilroy if it's cheap enough.

All I'm looking for is a reasonably quiet place to crash at night, eat my bowl of cereal in the morning, and occasionally eat dinner at night. If all you have is a bare floor, I'll buy an air mattress, folding chair and card table. I also plan to be gone about half the weekends through May.

Please contact me if you have something like this! I can meet you beginning this Sunday.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Inadvertently Funny Cycling Picture


The above picture appears on VeloNews today, Milram teammates Erik Zabel (background) and Alessandro Petachhi (foreground) in one of their more recent races. I just had to post it, and I look forward to some of the comments for this one...

Bicycle theft prevention

Jonathan has published an article about bicycle theft prevention over at BikePortland. All of the advice is what I consider common sense, but bikes keep getting stolen so I guess not everybody knows how to lock up their bikes. Among the theft prevention tips:
  • Use a good lock. Thin cable locks are fine if your bike is in your plain view, but U-locks are the only good deterrant.
  • Don't keep the bike on the front porch. I've known several people who've had their bikes stolen from the front porch, even when the bike is locked to something.
  • Don't hide the bike. Don't park your bike back by the garbage dumpster or behind a wall; that allows the thief to work without observation. Put the bike out front where there are people.
  • Don't just lock the front wheel. To me it's unbelievable that people do this, but I see it all the time. I also see a lone wheel without the bike locked to a bike rack all the time.

Photo info: NL/Nieuwegein/Bicycle? by Oop.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Anime bicycle

I watched Japanese cartoons when I was a kid growing up in Japan, but today there are adults that really geek out on Japanese anime (pronounced "ann ee may"). For ¥47,000 (about US$400), you can buy the special edition Neon Genesis Evangelion Bicycle. This is a junky-looking full suspension Bicycle-Shaped-Object (BSO) with low-end components and a hinge in the top tube so the bike folds in half. This "EVA 01 BIKE" was introduced at the Tokyo Anime Fair on March 23. I think one of my neighbors paid about $50 for a similar toy bike with a Power Rangers motif or something.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Carlton Reid podcast

Bicycle messenger graphic. Links to Flickr.com.
Carlton Reid, editor of Bike Biz, has a Podcast site. In his latest audio blog, Carlton interviews Elizabeth Train (Bikes Belong) and Andy Clarke (League of American Bicyclists) who talk about the role of advocacy in securing $5 billion on U.S. Federal spending for cyclists and pedestrians.

Locally, Boulder County is spending $1.7 million to widen Nelson Road, a very popular cycling route running five miles from Longmont to the foothills. I ride this road often and I would personally enjoy the benefit of extra space if I weren't moving next week.

Dangerous roads, dangerous drivers

Cycle Dog writes about them both from the perspective of the Vehicular Cyclist. I ride vehicularly and I'm teaching my children to do the same. There are roads, however, that I take regularly that I'll bypass when I my children are cycling with me. My son (age 10) is confident in riding on most city streets. The only roads he avoids are narrow streets with very heavy traffic -- he's not quite confident enough to take the lane -- and streets with heavy, high speed traffic like this one. This photo was taken from my bike during my evening commute; the speed limit is 35 switching to 55 right after the intersection.

My daughter still rides a trailer bike for longer trips. Saturday my kids and I biked a total of 17 miles around town, my son on his bike, me pulling the trailer bike and and a kids trailer so I could haul dog food and other things I purchased.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Pro Cycling Manager

At first I thought this must be a joke. I haven't had time to download and try it out (remember, I'm moving next week), but some people online claim to have tried it out. I'm into bikes, but I'm not sure I'm geeky enough to play a game where I pretend to manage a pro bicycle team. Then again, maybe it would make a cool prize in a future contest. Via.

Litespeed bicycles blog

Litespeed launches what they're calling the Ford Tour de Georgia Blog with "Litespeed information for cyclists and cycling enthusiasts."

Except it's not really a blog: There's no syndication, no comments, and no trackbacks -- in other words, no ability to interact and no ability to read the content offline. This trend of creating a web page that's not a blog and calling it a blog makes me want to beat my head on the wall. Like Tonya's "blog" that isn't a blog -- are there other cycling pseudo-"blogs" that aren't really blogs?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Anti mandatory helmet paper in British Medical Journal


A helmet-less bicycle rider in New Orleans.
Discussion at BikeBiz.

Quote: "The British Medical Association famously said that the risks of cycling are far outweighed by the health benefits of cycling." Phooey on the BMA.

On my lunch ride today I saw one of my neighbors on Weld County Road 1 (County Line Road), sans-helmet. That was unusual enough that my riding partners made some comments about it.

Mandatory helmet usage for children recently became state law in New Jersey.

Guns 'n' Roadbikes

Don't hassle the cyclists in Jacksonville, Florida. Some guys in a van pulled up to a cyclist, said something the cyclist apparently didn't like, and the cyclist pulled out a gun and started shooting. Share the roador else.

Moves

I mentioned this before, but Fat Cyclist is also moving because of a job change. He's ahead of me in the game, putting his house on the market. Before I can sell my house, I have to fill in the swimming-pool sized hole that my children have dug in the backyard in their attempt to visit China. I also have a fence to repair, walls to paint and repair, a broken doorknob to replace, and carpets to clean. Children are very hard on houses.

Oh, I currently live in a 2100+ square foot house with four bedrooms, an office, a living room AND family room, and three bathrooms. That means I have enough furniture to fill a 3000 square foot house with blah blah blah. There is no way I'll afford a place in California that will accomodate this furniture, which means you'll find great deals on used furniture at my home come garage sale time. Just about everything must go.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Going back to California

After a twenty year absence I'm finally returning to California. I'm moving to the South San Francisco Bay Area next week to work on computer hardware virtualization software. I intend to hit the ground running -- or cycling, rather, riding the bike on my first day of work.

Audrey Lemieux ripping it up at Mardi Lachine Cyclist. Photo by Justin Knotzke.
I've never biked in the Bay Area: Is a fixed gear bicycle around Palo Alto and Menlo Park a reasonable choice, or should I bring a geared freewheeling bicycle with me for my first week of work?

I imagine I'll be very busy over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, here's a collection of bicycle blog entries from elsewhere.

Beijing bicycle barber

Jing Qui is 91 years old. He bikes to make haircutting house calls. Read more. Via.

Will you make the leap?

I don't know, because the website refuses to display any content on my Firefox browser in spite of the presence of Flash. "Will You Make the Leap" is being promoted in a two-page spread in Velonews. (Read the comments at Kool-Aid -- there's great discussion there about this ad campaign). Some smart cookies did a reverse IP lookup and figured out the site is owned by SRAM, prompting speculation that SRAM will release its much anticipated "Force" road group on April 7. See photos of SRAM Force at Velonews.

But he's such a nice guy

I know Tyler Hamilton's a really nice guy, and I'm not going to make any friends by saying this, but I'm pretty much in agreement with Nathan here who runs into Tyler on occasion in Boulder.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

101 days to buy a bike

Mathijs (pronounced a little like "Mathis") Gajentaan and his wife wanted to see more of the world, so they moved from Amsterdam to Toronto six months ago. He has managed to remain car-free in Canada, "even though that is tough in a country that is so very big and where things are pretty far away from each other," Mathijs says.

Mathijs gets around on an old rusty Raleigh hybrid bicycle, but he plans to buy a new bicycle on the first day of summer, June 21. He started a blog on March 12 -- 101bike.com -- because 101 days from that day will be the day he buys a bike. Over that time, he hopes to learn all he can about bikes, including the right kind of bike for his riding.

I asked Mathijs about some differences between biking in Amsterdam and Toronto. "In Amsterdam there is no uphill or downhill," he says. "Flat as can be. A luxury if you think of it."

Mathjis continues about driving culture: "A big difference is that cars are used to bicycles, so they are alert. In Toronto people still don't expect a bicycle on the left or the right. Also cars in general are bigger here so it makes it for a biker a littler more scary. An important thing is that Amsterdam is very compact and it is easier to take the bike that trying to find parking for your car."

Equipment also differs between the two places. "In Amsterdam no one wears a helmet and kids-seats are really basic. Here it's like you are putting your child in a F1 car. People in Amsterdam really have a bike to commute, so most bikes have racks and fenders and even things on the side to protect long coats."

About blogging and 101bikes.com: "I started 101bike because I have been thinking about getting a bike a long time. I want to - like a lot of other people out there - get more serious about biking, but don't know anything about bikes. I also have an interest in Blogging and Internet, so I thought it would have been a fun combination.

"Also I want to find out how far the web and blogging can take me.

"Another reason I that I would love to a dialogue/conversation being created on my Blog. Thus people reacting to each others comments.

"I also hope to meet people this way and contribute to the content of the Blog which will hopefully progress also."

Mathijs intends to have a theme each week. This week he is investigating helmets and is finding some good resources out there. Go join the conversation. And welcome to the bicycling blogosphere, Mathijs!


Bikecircle -- scraped content

I just received a form letter asking for a link exchange with bikecircle dot com. To ensure I'm not linking to a bad neighborhood I always do a little check on the domain requesting the link. Here's what I found about bikecircle.
  1. The domain was registered January 2006 to somebody in Spain.
  2. The site is a discussion forum about bicycling.
  3. In spite of the recent registration, there's are hundreds of pages of discussions. There are two reasons this might be: the forums were on an old, existing forum and they switched domain names; or (more likely) the site is using "scraped" or copied content from other websites.
  4. To test for copied content, I select a random discussion thread that I think looks a little unique. There are several misspelling, which is a big giveaway that this is scraped content. The user profiles are all empty which is also suspicious. The topic I selected also catches my attention because it's something I think I've seen before. I search for similar content and, lo and behold, I had posted the article to Usenet in rec.bicycles.misc about three years ago!
I don't see any advertising on the site, so I suspect they're just seeding the forums to encourage further participation. I've seen other web forums do the same, but they at least keep the proper attribution. Bikecircle's tactic of slightly modifying the content through mispellings and occasional swapped words and changing authorship to fictional users is completely unethical.

Tags: blackhat, seo

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Wheelie gene and multimodal canoe commute

Local mountain bike racer and blogger Nick Martin was featured in the Boulder Daily Camera yesterday. "I think there's a wheelie gene, and you have to be born with it," says Nick. He says it because he can't do wheelies. Nick races for Trek/VW.

For something completely different, here's a story about Joe Pratt in Halifax. He uses a canoe and a folding bicycle to commute to work.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Federal prosecutor bikes to work

Mike Winck is an assistant U.S. Attorney in Knoxville, TN. He bicycles to and from his Federal government office every day. This winter, he had an apellate court argument in Cincinatti, so he rode his bike three days to make the court date. A business trip last spring to Columbia, SC took him six days by bike, round-trip. "I do it for my mental attitude and because I feel we drive too much in this country," Winck said.

Read more in the Knoxville News-Sentinel. Tags: knoxville, bicycle

Bicycle news and blog report

"We stop at lights" by Too many bicycles
Eight secrets to cycling in traffic is an excellent How-To from Biking Toronto. This from Bisbee.

Another great find from Bisbee is Bob Roll's new website and blog. Bob "Bob-ke" Roll is OLN's off-beat cycling commentator. Well, he calls it the "BLOG-ke," except it doesn't have any of the features that usually define a blog, like the ability to comment, to trackback, or to even subscribe! If there's interest (leave a comment) I may create a feed like I did for the BRaIN website. Graham notes this shortcoming also: "a blog with no feed is like corn flakes without the milk!"

Tour de France predictions: Bobke thinks the winner will be "someone who isn't on the radar." KWC's motto: "Predict early, predict often. That way I get more chances to pretend I was right." KWC then gives his assessments of how Americans will do in 2006. Aisner said in his interview the other day that the winner will be Lance. Though Floyd Landis is looking great in the early season, I'll thrown my hat in with Deductive and say that Jan Ullrich will win in August.

New mountain bike film from The Collective: ROAM will be released in April or May.

Random writes about our roadbike ride last week on washboarded Boulder County dirt roads. There's something exhilarating about zooming 25 mph on a dirt road when you hit a soft spot of loose gravel. We finally hit (paved) Neva Road where we chased down an OCP on a sweet CF Orbea and took turns being a wheelsucker for about five miles when I had my first asthma attack of 2006, and me without a rescue inhaler. I slowed way down and managed to relax enough to get some air into my lungs, but the rest of the ride home was a struggle.

Speaking of Boulder County: Tyler Hamilton has been participating for years in the local Boulder Criterium series. This local race series is completely unsanctioned, but the UCI and USA Cycling are threatening action against licensed racers if suspended racers participate. Read more at TDF blog.

Velorution always has excellent posts and links to great articles. Instead of linking to individual posts, I'll just say go there and scroll down.

Folding bicycle photos from the Taiwan bike show. I may move to California soon; if I do, I'll likely use Caltrain to get to work; if I do, I'll probably get a folding bicycle. Which one should I get for SF Bay Area commuting?

I interviewed the inventor of Gel-Bot last week. He's a Boulderite who recently moved to Menlo Park, CA. I also interviewed a car-free Dutch transplant to Toronto for his perspectives on cycling in Amsterdam versus Canada. Watch for these articles later this week on Cyclelicious.

Doored or nailed: Which is better?

D.D. asks bicycle lawyer Bob Mionske, "What is the legality of when a cyclist swerves to avoid a car door opening and is hit from behind by a car?" Read lawyer Bob's answer here. He calls Riin a student at the University of Michigan; Riin is in fact in charge of Interlibrary Loan at the Medical Library.

Stumptown bike builder folds

Portland-based Mountain Cycles -- builder of the Stumptown bicycle -- called their employees to a meeting last Friday, where they were told that their Taiwan parent company decided to pull the plug on Kinesis USA and Mountain Cycles.

Some of you may recall Specialized's Cease and Desist letter to Mountain Cycles regarding Mountain Cycle's use of the Stumptown brand name. Speculation in Portland is that threatened legal action from Specialized or backroom dealings in Taiwan may have contributed to Mountain Cycle's demise. I personally don't believe there's a connection, but should globalized bicycle corporations be wary of the backlash that may occur after the failure of a popular local bike builder?

In like a lion

Monday is officially the begining of Spring. Bike Denver scheduled their annual Equinox ride for yesterday (Sunday) and Vecchio's Bicicletteria in Boulder scheduled a retro road bicycle ride - steel frames and friction shifters. Neither ride occurred -- the weather turned nasty. The weatherman says we'll get up to a foot of snow along the Front Range through the end of Monday in this upslope storm. Monday, I'll ride my snow bicycle to work. Tuesday I'm skipping work and hitting the slopes for snow skiing.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Wired to Win: Tour de France in IMAX

If you like to see road racing cyclists in tight lyrca up close and personal, the IMAX film "Wired to Win" might be for you. My family and I arrived at the showing at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science just before the show started. The only seats available were on the front row. The cyclist were all at least 20 feet tall. When Jimmy Caspar crashed in the 2003 Tour de France, his road-rashed butt hanging from his ripped shorts covered at least 20 square feet directly in front of my eyeballs in full Technicolor glory. You can trace the incision on the larger-than-life IMAX version of Lance Armstrong. And when Baden Cooke sat at the end of a stage in his bike shorts, you could almost see the line where he stopped shaving his legs. Thank God Team Fran├žaise des Jeux doesn't use red shorts.

Huge IMAX road bicycles are an amazing sight. It was interesting to me to see all the Japanese components on European bicycles. Even on the big screen, cyclists jostle and are mere inches from one another.

"Wired to Win" uses the Tour de France to illustrate the workings of the brain in learning, training, pain response, and decision making. The film makers followed Fran├žaise des Jeux bicycle team members Baden Cooke and Jimmy Caspar in the 2003 Tour de France. I went for the bicycle racing footage: Where else will you see a stage race in IMAX? "Wired to Win" does a good job capturing the excitement of the mountain passes, showing the beauty of Marseilles, and giving us the obligatory shot of cyclists passing through a sunflower field. Caspar crashed and tried to continue racing in a neck brace but eventually had to drop out. Australian sprinter Cooke won the green jersey, lost it to fellow Aussie Rob McEwen, then gained it back again in the end.

All of this is done to teach me about the brain. Repetitive training is done so that neural pathways are established to make racing moves and teamwork second nature. Decisions are made after injury: Go or quit? Sudden hazards are dealth with instantaneously through various parts of the brain.

"Wired to Win" was interesting to my wife and I. My two children (who've seen plenty of cycling videos) were bored after the first half hour of it.

"Wired to Win" is showing through the end of March at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science IMAX theater. $5 for member adults, $8 for non-member adults; children and seniors pay a little less. The Body Worlds exhibit (showing real cadavers) is extraordinarily popular, so expect parking to be unavailable. Find other show locations at the Wired To Win website.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Q&A: Michael Aisner

By Michael Franken

As part of a multi-post interview series, I am presenting a Question and Answer session with Michael Aisner. In you are unfamiliar with many of the accomplishments of this US Bicycling Hall of Famer, search for his name in any search engine, and enjoy the results.

So without any more procrastination, the Q&A with Michael Aisner.

The Coors Classic


1. Was this event (as the Red Zinger Bicycle Classic) your first taste of professional cycling?


It was AMATEUR cycling at the time. 1977 and I was asked by the President of Celestial Seasonings if I could help him with PR on his bike race, the Red Zinger. Later I bought the race for $1 from Mo and took it to Coors to sponsor and at that time I made it Pro-Am. It was the biggest such race in the world. I loved the idea that hot amateurs like this young LeMond got to race against real Euro pros and the UCI let me be an exception because we were in the USA where pro racing was miniscule. Nowhere in Eurpore were the Soviets in races against pros until the Coors. It was all armnchair quartback chat---can Soukho beat Hinault. Well here pro LeMond battled the Sovbviet monsters.....and won.

2. Did you ever expect the Coors Classic to grow as much as it did (from the Red Zinger Bicycle Classic)?


It was an evolution that was not predicable from the start because no one in America had done it before and Euro cycling was soooo alien to the American sports conciousness. So I just forged ahead recognizing its great qualities of fast, exciting, colorful, international, men/women and dangerous. I did know from the start that it could be a great TV sport and I started knocking on the network's doors almost immediately. We made a movie short that played in 35mm on the big screen in theatres around the west. Amaziungly effective promotion for Red Zinger using bike racing, and played great on the silver screen before JAWS and BREAKING AWAY.

3. Was it the best investment you've ever made (being that you purchased the event for $1 from Mo Siegel)? Was it hard in the beginning of the races when you were working as efficiently as possibe?


It was a pretty good business deal for me huh? The best I could have ever made. We had a small staff but it was supplemented by tea company staff all the way up to Mo. It was a very efficient little operation and we hammered it into what later became a 350 person road staff with 13 full-time employees and a $1 million merchandising operation.

4. How does it make you feel when you realize that your event was a key part in the careers of cyclists like Greg Lemond?


There were many sterling cycling careers started, marriages , businesses and long-term life changes that resulted from the race. Not just Americans either!! The list is long and I hear about even more occasionally. It is the most rewarding part of the whole experience. Even hearing from Bernard Hinault about it being his memorable last race of his career.

5. The Soviet Union team attended the 1981 race, one year after the US boycott the Moscow Olympics, how did the Americans react/welcome the team at the race?


They were hugely receptive. Now mind you the race was based in Boulder at the time, a highly educated and progressive community that voted 83% blue in the last election. We took the Russians and our racers into the University football stadium for July 4th fireworks with an Olympic-style flag-carrying entrance and the place went nuts when the Soviets were introduced. It was a sweet moment for me because we just did not know. I wanted wars between countries played out in sports and here for the first time the Russians came in the heart of the cold war...and to such acceptance. I think that's where humans really are--humans who want peaceful lives.

6. Think the race could ever be brought back?


It would be VERY expensive now and from a pure return-on-investment perspective, the dollars rival a Tiger Woods golf match or top three tennis players in a match. Colorado is one of the most perfect scenarios for racing in the world and I'd do anything to see it back and fully support someone running a great race here. When I was inducted into the Hall of Fame, Peter Coors wrote me a kind congrats and said frequently he is asked to bring the race back.

Bicycling Hall of Fame

1. How did it feel to be inducted into the Hall of Fame?


It was kinda weird because most everyone in there has competed. Here I was a race promoter but it was a great week and completely rewarding to be there with my friend Kay and a staff member who flew in from Oregon because he said the race meant so much to him. They were VERY organized there and the Hall is a wonderful time capsule for our great sport. I was extremely honored indeed.

2. Of all the cyclists in the Hall of Fame, who is most influential to you?


Each has it's own place. Mike Neal was a pathfinder as was Jock Boyer. LeMond was to us like Lance was to the Tour----hand-in-hand growing each other's images together. A great competitor he was. Connie Carpenter is high on the list and critical to the race's growth and our important stake in women's cycling. And of course there's Davis Phinney...my personal hero, friend and cohort in the race's growth. And the list goes on.....

Professional Cycling in the US

1. Since you started working in professional cycling, how has it been to see the explosion of American cycling?


I'm not sure it has been an explosion but I think Greg and then Lance have dramatically widened the influence of this sport--influence in the sense of gaining popularitry--people who actually say I WATCH BIKE RACING. The gains have been on TV but I am very encouraged by the recent Amgem California stage race which brought out crowds on the heals of years of great spectator success in Philly and San Francisco. Cycling WORKS!!! But I so believe we need to up the ante in the way it is presented. It's showtime in the zeroes and the sport must continue to grow exciting racers while becoming even MORE contemporary in its presentation. I'm afraid we are a bit unfresh.

2. What has your favorite race in the United States been?


Certainly Philly's configuration lent itself to interesting racing as in San Francisco. I love climbing. But I also liked the Dave Pelletier blitzy crit series and personally I think the Saturn one-day point-to-point here from Boulderv to Breckenridge over 14,000 feet of climbing in Colorado Len Pettyyjohn did was a perfect formula.

3. Is being a race announcer a dream job for you?


I love announcing because I think it has the entire weight of the promotion on it. I must call the race for sure but with that I am there to engage people and convert them into fans. There's too much shop-talk on PA's and even on TV sometimes. We need to invite more people in and talking UCI points and "protecting the jersey" without explanation doesn't help. I love an interaction with another announcer as a foil, where you can legitimately ask what people are thinking. For me it's great fun and a responsibility to raise energy levels and create fans I accept. And yes, it happens to be the best seat in the house.

4. Are you surprised with the amount of large tours in the US now, such as the Tour of California and Tour of Georgia? Think there will ever be a Tour of the United States? If not, why?


The United States has little to offer as a race course, unless it is RAAM -- the Race Across America. It's all about the courses. Everyday they must be captivating on TV and have fans there. Too much of the country does not warrant an event but certain regions sure do....like Colorado and certainly California.

Misc.

1. Has living in Coloado helped out your career in the cycling world?


It IS the cycling world's epicenter. This town of Boulder has had more top cyclists per capta than anywhere, and runners and tri/bi athletes. The Coors has largely been credited with starting that. They are building a monument in North Boulder Park as a testament. Good!! By Mo's design, the race and Colorado and me all coincided here, so yes.

2. You've traveled many places around the world for fun...What has been your favorite location?


I love Iceland at the top of the list. My total eclipse chasing passion has taken me to many great adventures in Hungary, Thailand, Mexico, South Africa, Zimbabwe....and cycling has taken me to Britain, Malaysia, Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Russia many times. I love to travel.


3. Finally, who is your pick for the 2006 TdF now that Lance is gone?


Lance.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Bicycle gloves and tire wiping

CycleDog wrote about cycling clothes yesterday. If you don't know why we wear funny shoes, padded shorts and plastic shirts, the Dog gives a good explanation.

He explains that bicycle gloves "absorb vibration, let you brush debris from moving tires, protect the hands in a fall, and sometimes give you a place to wipe your nose."

About brushing trash from the tires, I've been tire wiping for at least 20 years and I continue to do it in spite of Jobst's claim that tire wiping "never had any validity in the first place." In spite of Jobst's thought experiment on the subject, I remain firmly in the camp of a True Vacillator on the effectiveness of tire wiping. A flaw in Jobst's opinion is that it can take several rotations for a thorn or piece of glass to work itself through the tire to the tube -- I've seen it happen.

What about you? Do you wipe the tire or not?

Bicycle safety education and Denver Osteopathic Foundation

Among the funding requests made to the Colorado Department of Transportation for non-infrastructure Safe Routes to School grants is an application from the Denver Osteopathic Foundation for child pedestrian and bicycle safety classroom presentations. This piqued my interest -- all of the other grant requests are from cities and school districts -- so I rang up the Foundation's Executive Director Phyllis Ring.

Part of the mission of the Denver Osteopathic Foundation is "to elevate through education the health and well being of the community." Most Cyclelicious readers are aware of the health and community benefits of bicycling so I won't rehash that here, but it makes sense for a Foundation with that mission to promote walking and biking to school and I applaud their efforts in this area.

I am a little concerned that the Foundation seems to focus on helmet use to the exclusion of other, more effective safety education, but Ms. Ring assures me that they plan education in traffic and bicycling skills in addition to helmet promotion. The DOF selected elementary schools in Denver and Douglas County to work with in their grant application, where they plan both indoor classroom presentations and outdoor instruction.

The Colorado Safe Routes to School advisory committee and CDOT are expected to make their recommendations known by May 2006 or so. About $6.5 million was requested out of a budgeted pool of about $2.3 million.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Yet another Phonak cyclist tests positive (YAPCTP)

Phonak bicycle racer Sascha Urweider was suspended by his team after testing positive for illegal levels of testosterone. Urweider is using the Barry Bonds defense, claiming that any illegal substances must have come from an unnamed nutritional supplement he took. Isn't testosterone administered through an intramuscular injection?

Via TDF Blog, which has some good additional commentary and a history of doping at Phonak. See also The Hyena for analysis: "...suggests continued problems within Team Phonak and will hurt their reputation further."

See related: phonak, steroid, cycling

Monday, March 13, 2006

Wonderlic test and discussion

This is the IQ test given to NFL football players. I got 14 out of 15 correct; I missed the one about profit sharing due to an arithmetic error. Maybe Bode Miller is right and I need drugs to oxygenate my brain.

Open Discussion: American cyclist Floyd Landis is looking good in the early season and Phonak is doing well in the teamwork department. Phonak was Tyler Hamilton's cycling team. Two other Phonak riders tested positive for doping in 2004. When you hear or read "Phonak Cycling Team," do you still associate the name of the team with doping? Is Phonak getting their money's worth in sponsoring this team?

Bicycle facility of the month

It took a minute for the subdued British humor to sink into my brain, but this site is wonderful! Every month, the Warrington Cycle Campaign site posts a photo and description of a bicycle facility "highlighting examples of how innovative design and outstanding engineering offer safety, utility, and comfort to cyclists." Some of the winners include "Cyclists Dismount, End of Cycle Route, the One Meter Bicycle Lane, Colour Coordinated and Continental.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Small world

I'll be around Santa Clara / San Jose, CA this Tuesday. I don't know what my schedule looks like yet, but if you want to get together for coffee Tuesday afternoon please feel free to get in touch. If you don't hear back from me right away, it's probably because I didn't get your message in time.

John @ FreshBlog likes to talk about "microspheres" of participation rather than Chris Anderson's Long Tail. I think many of the more interesting blogs sit at the intersection of two or more topical spheres. Many bicycle blogs, for example, seem to have a co-interest with environmental issues. Then there's Kiril, who's CarFree and a political conservative. Kool Aid sits squarely in an intersection of cycling and marketing.

Because of my varied interests, I participate in several communities -- cycling, Christian Church stuff, city planning and activism, search technology, and some subsets high-tech geekdom. One of the nerdy subsets I inhabit is that of (very vaguely) operating system design.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I interviewed for a job at Google. I got as far as a discussion with the hiring manager. Michael Davidson is in charge of the team at Google that modifies the Linux kernel to meet Google's unique requirements for their search engine servers. It turns out Mr. Davidson used to work with one of my colleagues at SCO. Davidson is known most recently, incidentally, for the infamous "Michael Davidson email" in which he told SCO supervisors that their fishing trip for copyright infringements in the Linux kernel was a waste of time.

The other week I was in Seattle for another interview. I'm not allowed to say who I interviewed with or why (it's not a CIA or anything like that), but one of the managers did the initial Xenix port to a computer built by a small company in Illinois that I went to work for shortly after he left. We knew all of the same people and worked on a lot of the same kinds of projects.

OS Design isn't a tiny world, but it's small enough that I run across the same people at shows and job interviews. It's important, then, that I don't do something to make people lose their trust in me. If word gets out that I inflate my credentials or create sloppy code then I'm done in this industry.

I should probably go somewhere with this idea and perhaps tie that in with Schwinn's struggles to win back dealer support or the laughingstock that Pacific made of GT's name or even the betrayal felt by many bicycle enthusiasts when Cannondale made their insane foray into motorcycles, but I need to take a dump now. But before I go, big props to Floyd Landis for winning Paris-Nice. Woo hoo!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Go Floyd!

What else is there to say? Floyd Landis is the only American in the top 10 at Paris-Nice right now, but with two stages to go he retains the overall lead.

Lose a bike, win a lock

BikePortland.org has a stolen bike registry. BikePortland has added to this effective program by offering two free Kryptonite locks every month for everybody who reports their stolen bicycle to the police and lists their bicycle at BikePortland.

BikePortland's owner, Jonathan, has multiple motivations for running this contest. "I think we need more people to call and report their bike to the cops because they actually recover a lot of stolen property because of the meth situation. We need to pump up the official stolen bike stats as much as possible so that maybe someday the issue will have some leverage in high places. Right now it's pretty much just laughed at."

BikePortland is already a tremendously popular resource for Portland cyclists, but Jonathan believes the Kryptonite lock giveaway will draw even more attention to his site. "As my site and my listings get more visibility, we will recover more bikes," says Jonathan. "There is power in community awareness of an issue like this as the several recoveries in the past few weeks can attest!"

BikePortland is partnering with Kryptonite in this project. According to Donna Tocci of Kryptonite, "Kryptonite's hope is that even just the announcement of this program will get some people to stop and think about security. Nobody likes to think about security much and, of course, 'it won't happen' to them, but, unfortunately, everyone should think about security and protect themselves."

Beyond product giveaways, other Kryptonite educational efforts include sponsorship of numerous bicycling events every year, free distribution to police departments of non-product specific brochures on proper lock-up free, and visits to bike shops. Says Donna, "Education about the need for security is a big deal to us. The more we educate consumers about the need for security, the more they use security. Yes, we hope they choose Kryptonite, but whichever brand they choose, they are better off than not having any security at all."

Bike theft is a bigger problem than many of us think. Thanks to BikePortland and Kryptonite for bringing some attention to this issue.

See related: kryptonite, bike+theft, crime

Lynskey Performance Bicycles

The Lynskey family is back in the business of building custom titanium bicycles. Their website is now up. The content is in a human voice. They should put a blog on the site!

See related: lynskey, titanium, custom

Depilatory sunshine

I always wear sunscreen on my forays to the high country. When I spent three days at Winter Park, CO last week, however, I forgot the sunscreen. The result is that a week later the skin on my face is still peeling from the sunburn I have.

Because of the burn I haven't shaved all week. When I looked in the mirror this morning, though, I look like I only have about two days of growth. That makes me wonder: Does sunburn slow hair growth on men?

This might explain male pattern baldness. Should I rotate among bicycle helmets with different vent patterns to prevent embarrassing patterns of bald spots on my head?

The moderate sunshine that we all get might even explain facial hair patterns. Hair doesn't grow on the sun exposed regions of our faces: our cheekbones, top of the nose, or the outside of the ears. Beards and mustaches start at the relatively shaded areas. Hair thrives in the dark areas of our bodies: inside the nostrils and ears, underarms, and other nether regions.

My upper arms (which are almost always covered with shirt sleeves) are hairy; my lower arms and hands are almost bare. Ditto for my legs -- thighs are hairy, my shins have some good wisps of hair, and my calves (which I've sunburned) are bare. I'm looking right now at the area just beneath the protrusions of my bony knees -- that patch of skin is very hairy.

On my daily bicycle commute, the left side of my body is exposed to the morning sun while the right side gets the setting sun. My left arm and leg are noticeably more hairy than my right limbs. Is there a connection between this hair assymetry and my sunshine hypothesis?

My shoulders and back are mostly hair-free, but my belly (with my monster pecs shading my flat abs) is almost a bear rug.

I don't know how many of my male readers shave their legs for cycling, but leg shaving is not a pleasant task. Would it be easier to just get a sunburn a couple of times a year to kill the hair producing cells?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Bait bike

This is too cool. Police in Victoria, BC arrested a bicycle thief 48 hours after they announced their bait bike program. They locked a bicycle up in a public area and monitored it until it was stolen. According to Victoria police, about 720 bicyles are stolen in the Victoria area each year. Only about 15% of those bikes are recovered and returned to their owners. They hope the bike bait program will increase awareness of theft among bike owners and reduce the number of thefts.

Story about Sacramento's bait bike program. See related: crime, theft, bicycle, victoria, British+columbia, police

Bicycle for Lent

For Lent I've given up on driving a car. Ha ha ha. That's not especially a huge sacrifice since I don't normally drive anyway. Perhaps transportational cycling year-round is, in fact, the bigger, more meaningful sacrifice than the tokens that are usually offered up during this season.

Peter Dula went to teach theology at a Christian College in the Middle East. At a lecture about his time in Iraq, he spoke of Iraqi hatred of Americans, about expatriate kidnappings, the horrors of watching the neighbors children being kidnapped, of seeing churches exploding in the night. The ethics class he spoke to asked what the right response should be. Should they picket the White House? Should they write letters?

Dula's response: "Ride a bike."

Read more about Peter Dula and biking as Lenten practice. Via Urbana-Champaign Bicycle Commute. See related: Lent, bicycle, Iraq, Christian

Bicycle resistance trainer recall

Bicycle trainers sold by Nashbar / Performance have been recalled because the "blocking mechanism" can break, causing the bicycle to disengage from the stand and "posing a fall hazard." I hate it when that happens, especially when it's right into the big screen TV. Performance has received two reports of the bike trainers breaking. See here and here for specific model numbers.

See related: recall, cpsc, nashbar, performance

This bike is a pipe bomb

While I've been globetrotting, other bicycle bloggers have been reporting the news.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Austin Velodrome Project

USA Olympic cycling may move to Austin

The non-profit Austin Velodrome Project wants to build a $35 million indoor velodrome in Austin, Texas. That's great news for American track cycling and promotion. It may be bad news for cycling in Colorado Springs, the current headquarters for USA Cycling. Gerard Bisceglia, head of USA Cycling, said he would consider a move to Austin should a state-of-the-art VeloDrome be created. "It would be a great opportunity to be (in Austin) as a national cycling center instead of as a tenant at the Olympic Training Center," said Bisceglia. "Our sport is beginning to ascend to the point where we need to have our own home."

There are some downsides to a potential move of the US Olympic team to Austin. In my opinion, the roads around Austin are worse for cycling than the area around Colorado Springs (and I've ridden around both cities). USA Cycling would lose it's proximity to the U.S. Olympic Committee. This article about the proposed velodrome cites the fact that athletes can't benefit from high altitude training, but there is no benefit to high altitude training so that one isn't a valid concern.

The Austin Velodrome Project will probably seek taxpayer financing. This xenophobic blogger will have nothing of that. Ms. Jerri Ward (AKA Sue Bob) writes, "I would hate to see businesses or parks or ballfields that Austin residents have been enjoying for years, swept away to attract outsiders." Ironically, Ms. Ward wrote quite a bit just two weeks ago about her travels to the Big Bend area of Texas, where she is, presumably, an outsider and where the roads and national park facilities were built primarily for the benefit of outsiders such as Ms. Ward. I'm pretty certain my Uncle Robert B. -- who ranches near Marfa -- would consider Ms. Ward an intruder.

Denver Post seeks input from bloggers

Steve Raabe is the energy and utilities reporter for the Business News department of the Denver Post. He's not at all familiar with blogging, but he's involved in a project in which the Post uses the blogosphere to try to find leads and insights on the beats the he and his colleagues cover. Although Cyclelicious is a bicycle blog, we often mention energy issues of energy here, especially where they intersect with transportation policy.

So how about it? Steve has already written stories for the Denver Post concerning Peak Oil, rising utility and heating costs, high gasoline prices and so forth. Is there a good business angle regarding energy (and perhaps bicycles) and its impact on business in Colorado that Steve should write about? If so, he solicits your input. His email address is sraabe@denverpost.com.

Bike-less in Seattle

Actually, I was in Bellevue for a day, but Seattle is nearby. I walked all around what seemed to be the downtown area, watched several city buses and tons of cars everywhere. After about three hours outside in pleasant, partly cloudy and maybe 30 minutes of very light rain, I saw exactly one bicycle. The bicycle was sitting parked in a parking garage. In spite of very mild temperatures in the low 50s, this bicycle has pogies mounted on the handlebars. Who needs pogies in Puget Sound? It's not like it ever gets cold there.

Many mispleddings of Cyclelicious

Common misspelling of this bicycle blog: [cycle licious] cyclelicoius cyclelicous cylelicius cyclicious cyclelic.us cycle.lici.us

Who honestly remembers where the dot goes in "de.licio.us" without having to think about it? Does it ever trip you up?

I admit that even my own domain name, Cyclelicio.us, gets misspelled when I leave comments on other blogs. That dot in between two letters is not something my 72 wpm fingers are accustomed to typing and they stumble when forced to move in weird and different directions.

It's interesting, however, that a good number of visitors to Cyclelicious come after searching for the term "Cyclelicious." I guess it's something like brand awareness -- you remember the name of this blog, but you can't remember exactly where the dot is supposed to go. I imagine several people also remember something about Cyclelicious-something, but can't figure out how to spell the word. I've probably lost them forever unless they run across me by accident.

I do the same thing when I visit the websites of my local bike shops. I Google for high gear cyclery. Or is it higher gear cyclery? High gear cycles? Or maybe it's high gear bikes.

Bike shop webmasters, you're completely familiar with the name of your bike shop, but your customers -- even loyal customers -- may not remember exactly what your bike shop is named. If your web traffic is important to you, think about optimizing your site for some alternative names for your shop. If you run "The Bike Mart," your customers might be hunting for Bicycle Mart, Cycle Mart, or even BikeMart. Locally, we have a shop that is called Acme Bikes. I think -- it might be Acme Bicycles, or Acme Bike, Acme Cycling, or Acme Cycle -- I'm not really sure without looking in the phone book.

Your customers will probably eventually find your website, but you might as well make it easier for them to get to you. Here's an evil thought: create a web page based on a misspelling of your competitor's bike shop name.

If you're not convinced, check out Google's data on misspellings of Britney Spears. If people use a legitimate variation of a word rather than a misspelling, Google's spelling correction won't kick in.

Here's a hint if you do forget how to spell Cyclelicious: Do a search for bicycle blog. Cyclelicious will be on the first page at least for the important search engines.

See related: seo, sem

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Winter Park, Colorado

I've been at a conference near Granby, Colorado this past several days, hence the lack of posts here on Cyclelicious. I spent a day and a half skiing at Winter Park Ski Resort. Near the end of the day today I wiped out in a mogul field and pulled something in the back of my leg. It was too painful to ski but I did it anyway. By the time I got back to the lift the pain was gone, so my son and I went for a steep black hill for our final run.

I also tried out Sol Vista Basin in Granby while I was in the area. SolVista is the new name of the Silver Creek ski area. In three hours I went down every blue and black run at least twice. SolVista a tiny local ski area with four slow lifts, short runs, 1000 feet of vertical, and $40 lift tickets. SolVista/Silver Creek has never been popular in Colorado, but it's not a bad place if you want to learn to ski and hate crowds.

Most of the adults were wedging down the slopes. If you're a confident blue-level skier, SolVista probably won't do much for you. SolVista is out of the way enough, however, that I was able to find fresh powder along the edges of the runs. At Winter Park today, every square inch of the every mountain was scraped clean -- even the Parsenn Bowl and Vasquez Cirque on the backside of Mary Jane were bare of powder.

Two weeks ago, I was in upstate New York and I tried the Catamount Ski Area along the NY/Mass border. This was my first experience skiing on New England ice. Once I figured out how to control my skis on the ice it wasn't too bad. Catamount isn't especially steep, but the monster bumps on one of the runs kicked my tail. I'm not a bump skier anyway so that's not saying much.

Although it was cloudy and foggy in New York, the temperature was pleasant at around the freezing point -- my business casual attire with longjohns plus hat and gloves kept me warm enough, though I did stand out from all of the teens wearing heavy snowpants, parkas, and goggles. I think 20+ years of riding my bike in the winter has acclimated me to cold weather.

That is not a photo of me at Winter Park -- it's just a random Flickr photo of somebody at Winter Park.
Photo info: WinterPark 068 by dawgfanjeff.