Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A raise and a promotion!

I got a huge pay raise today! Woo hoo! I'm finally going to be able to afford a car. Only poor people and stupid people and drunks ride bikes. I'm no longer poor. So I will soon change the name of this blog to "AUTOlicious" to serve the successful and happy American motoring public.

Tim tagged me with a random facts chain meme, so in the spirit of American motor love, I'll post about some random automobiles I've known and loved.
  1. My high school car was a 1976 Isuzu Gemini, a Japanese 2-door coupe with a 1.3 liter engine that was essentially a clone of the Opel Kadett C. My best friend Becky loved it because the passenger door was stuck closed and she had to get in through the window Dukes of Hazard style. I loved it because when I shifted the four-speed the car was so small I'd "accidentally" brush my hand across Becky's thigh.

  2. My first college car was a BMW 3.0Si with a six cylinder fuel injected 2.8 liter engine. My dad bought the car in Germany and shipped it to the U.S. This wasn't actually "my" car -- my dad just let me drive it to class since I lived at home and the college campus was waaaay on the other side of town. I was driving this car home from English class when I turned the radio on and learned of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.

  3. My second college car was a schoolbus-yellow nineteen-seventy-something Toyota microbus that my dad brought over from Japan. It had the Toyota 4 cylinder 1.6L 2TC engine used in the Corolla that got something like 30 mpg. The coolest feature was the steering was on the right side.

  4. My final college car was a tiny Subaru hatchback that was the victim of a hit-and-run collision. The rear lights were destroyed and the hatchback was secured with a bungie cord. I paid $400 for it (about $200 less than I paid for my first bike just the year before), cleaned it up a little with some Bondo and spray paint, and bolted trailer lights onto the rear bumper to make it legal. The front seats were also broken so I used metal clothes hangers to hold them in place. I put it up for sale after I completed college. A large woman came for a test drive and broke the makeshift seat retention clean off when she sat down. I thought that killed the deal, but I think she figured if she broke it she bought it, and indeed she bought it. She paid $550 for the heap. That was the best automotive investment I ever made.

  5. Another college car was my girlfriend (and wife to be) Sara's Plymouth Valiant. It was ancient and ugly. The headliner flapped in the wind until my brother borrowed the car and just ripped all the fabric out. Sara was delivering papers at 3 A.M. when both tie rods snapped. We abandoned the car with a friend who said he'd fix it.
I'm breaking the chain by only listing five random facts and I'm not tagging more people. A horrible curse will befall me. The end.

Complete Streets: Designing roads for all users

USA Today has a nice article explaining Complete Streets, a transportation design philosophy considering the needs of pedestrians, bike riders, seniors, the disabled and mass transit when cities plan new roads or reconfigure existing ones. I've seen the difference that "Complete Streets" can make in the livability of a community and I love it.

See also Complete The Streets.

Future war: Russia vs Canada vs Denmark

Don't laugh; Russia, Canada, and Denmark are all moving to claim big portions of the Arctic Ocean -- including the North Pole -- for future oil exploration and recovery as global warming melts the permanent sea ice in the frozen north.

An underwater feature called the Lomonosov Ridge extends from Russia's New Siberian Islands, across the North Pole and to Canada's Ellesmere Island. Denmark is working to prove that this oceanic ridge is actually an extension of Greenland. Each nation claims that the ridge is an extension of its continental shelf. According to the UN Convention on Law of the Sea, a nation has exclusive rights to the resources that lie on the continental shelf that extends from the nation.

Russia is sending an expedition to the North Pole to send a minisub to plant a flag on the ridge and backs it claim for ownership of the ridge.

Canada, in response, ordered C$7 billion in new military equipment and facilities to assert Canada's claim on Arctic resources. "The ongoing discovery of the north's resource riches, coupled with the potential impact of climate change, has made the region a growing area of interest and concern," said Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. "Canada has a choice when it comes to defending our sovereignty over the Arctic. We either use it or lose it. And make no mistake, this government intends to use it."

Denmark, in the meantime, is working with the Canadians to prove that the Lomonosov Ridge is an extension of Greenland (a Danish territory) and Ellesmere Island. The Danes are hopeful that international cooperation and treaties will prevail.

Canada's new Arctic warships won't be ready until 2012. With renewing belligerence between Russia, Western Europe, and the United States, how long will it be before Canada and Denmark request American assistance in asserting their claims to Arctic mineral resources? Is continued easy motoring really worth going up against a nuclear power?

More: If you think this article is worthwhile, please remember to click the Digg button below.

Bike shop blues: It's too hard to buy a bike

I found this in my "drafts" folder. The links are a few months old but I think the lessons for the Local Bike Shop are still valid. Is it still too difficult for the uninitiated to buy a bike? Or have things chnaged much since last year? Has Shimano's "Coasting" initiative done much to make things easier?

Trek makes it too hard to buy a bike. "Bicycle shops are notorious for being unfriendly places to the uninitiated. I am not one of those neophytes, but I once was. I recall going into shops where the "sales associates" were notably annoyed that they had been interrupted by a customer- especially one who doesn't know all that the omniscient staff members already do. It's about the same feeling you get going into a music store like Guitar Center."

Trek Makes it Hard to Buy a Bike Part 2. "The first thing you must know when you go to purchase a high-perf bike is that the people in the bike shop will treat you with about much interest as a call from a telemarketer at dinner time."

Monday, July 30, 2007

Cycle Cluster

Now that le Tour is over, I can clean my inbox of collected cool bicycle links.

Cycle Cluster "Information Collective" is like a Digg specifically for bicycle sites and news.

Paris Free Bike program. Nice article in the Mercury News.

Grant is an American in Prague. Go Czech out (sorry) his Prague Bike Blog.

A bicycle / tricycle haiku at tinywords.com.

He stole my name, but it's still a decent blog: Cycleliciousness covers "Copenhagen Bicycle Culture." Lots of excellent photos of Danish people on bikes.

Bike Hugger: Large Guy In Spandex.

Watch out for them killer handlebars!

Iban Mayo Tests Positive for EPO

Adding to the list of Tour de France riders who tested positive in the 2007 Tour de France is Spanish rider Iban Mayo from Saunier-Duval. He tested positive for EPO on the final rest day of the Tour. This was not his first positive this year, as he tested positive for higher than allowed testosterone during the Giro d'Italia, although he was eventually cleared from that test. He was suspended from the team after the result came back from the A sample. Pending the result of the B sample, possible removal from the team is possible.

Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

For those keeping track now, the Tour de France doping-related cyclist list stands as follows:
Alexandre Vinokurov - Homologous blood doping
Michael Rasmussen - Missing tests
Cristian Moreni - Testosterone
Iban Mayo - EPO

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Blue like jazz

Today's Devotional comes from Donald Miller's book Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality:
My friend Andrew the Protester believes things. Andrew goes to protests where he gets pepper-sprayed, and he does it because he believes in being a voice of change. My Republican friends get frustrated when I paint Andrew as a hero, but I like Andrew because he actually believes things that cost him something. Even if I disagree with Andrew, I love that he is willing to sacrifice for what he believes. And I love that his beliefs are about social causes.

Andrews says it is not enough to be politically active. He says legislation will never save the world. On Saturday mornings Andrew feeds the homeless. He sets up a makeshift kitchen on a sidewalk and makes breakfast for people who live on the street. He serves coffee and sits with his homeless friends and talks and laughs, and if they want to pray he will pray with them.

All great Christian leaders are simple thinkers. Andrew doesn't cloak his altruism within trickle-down economic theory that allows him to spend fifty dollars on a round of golf to feed the economy and provide jobs for the poor. He actually believes that when Jesus says feed the poor, he means you should do this directly.

It doesn't matter what I say. It matters what I do. Andrew says I should not live like a politician, but like a Christian. Like I said, Andrew is a simple thinker.
Donald Miller's website includes the entire text of Chapter 1 along with several pages of excerpt from Blue Like Jazz. I like that book. Donald lives in Portland, audits classes and hangs out at Reed College and lives in an intentional community.

Tour de France Finale

Discovery Team's Alberto Contador rode victorously into Paris looking like a yellow canary with his yellow jersey, yellow shorts, yellow framed shades, yellow Trek bike and yellow Giro helmet as Lance Armstrong cheered Team Discovery on from a team car. The tradition of a rolling parade and party onto the Champs-Elysées prevailed and the 141 remaining riders completed the 94th Tour de France.

Stage Twenty Results
1. BENNATI Daniele LAMPRE-FONDITAL 3h 51' 03"
3. ZABEL Erik TEAM MILRAM 3h 51' 03"
4. HUNTER Robert BARLOWORLD 3h 51' 03"
6. CHAVANEL Sébastien FRANCAISE DES JEUX 3h 51' 03"
7. CANCELLARA Fabian TEAM CSC 3h 51' 03"
9. FÖRSTER Robert GEROLSTEINER 3h 51' 03"
10. QUINZIATO Manuel LIQUIGAS 3h 51' 03"
Final General Classification
2. EVANS Cadel PREDICTOR - LOTTO 91h 00' 49" + 00' 23"
3. LEIPHEIMER Levi DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 91h 00' 57" + 00' 31"
4. SASTRE Carlos TEAM CSC 91h 07' 34" + 07' 08"
5. ZUBELDIA Haimar EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 91h 08' 43" + 08' 17"
6. VALVERDE Alejandro CAISSE D’EPARGNE 91h 12' 03" + 11' 37"
7. KIRCHEN Kim T-MOBILE TEAM 91h 12' 44" + 12' 18"
8. POPOVYCH Yaroslav DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM 91h 12' 51" + 12' 25"
9. ASTARLOZA Mikel EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 91h 14' 40" + 14' 14"
10. PEREIRO SIO Oscar CAISSE D’EPARGNE 91h 14' 51" + 14' 25"
Link Roundup:

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bicycle used to move GMail

Did you know Google uses bicycles and other human-powered transportation to deliver email with their GMail service?

From the new GMail blog @ Google. Let's see how many unique bicycle video submissions we can get added to this project!

TdF Stage 19: Individual Time Trial

Wow, Leipheimer really poured on the steam today in the Individual Time Trial averaging 33 mph! This gives him the fourth fastest time trial speed in the history of the Tour de France and his first career win of the Tour de France in today's stage, bringing him within seconds of race leader Alberto Contador. Although one more stage remains in the 94th Tour de France, the final ride to the Champs-Élysées in Paris is considered almost ceremonial for the GC contenders and the Yellow Jersey is foreordained for Contador, though with less than a minute between 1st and 3rd place we'll see what kind of action happens tomorrow.

David Millar had hoped to win today's time trial, but as he came off the starting ramp his carbon fiber Mavic TT wheel flew apart. He threw is bike down and got another one, but this mechanical failure cost Millar some time.

1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 1.02.44 (53.068 km/h)
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 0.51
3 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne 1.56
4 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 2.01
5 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 2.18
6 José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 2.27
7 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 2.33
8 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 2.36
9 Leif Hoste (Bel) Predictor - Lotto 2.48
10 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 2.50
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 87.09.18
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 0.23
3 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.31
4 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC 7.08
5 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 8.17
6 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 11.37
7 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile Team 12.18
8 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 12.30
9 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 14.14
10 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 14.25
  • Bob Roll: Tour of Redemption
  • Phil Ligget: Standing together
  • Paul Sherwen: Epic:
    That was an epic time trial today through the Cognac region of France. It was billed as the battle between Albert Contador and Cadel Evans- which it was but that would do the race an injustice.

    Leipheimer was superb, riding the race of his life, admitting that he had always dreamed of winning the time trial stage, this afternoon that was dream achieved - added to that was his other dream of a podium finish at the Tour.

  • Versus Stage 19 daily videos
  • Steephill.TV Stage 19 report
  • Cyclingnews Stage 19 report and photos.
  • TdF Blog: Leipheimer dominant.
  • Spare Cycles Stage 19 report:
    Discovery Channel had an amazing day with Lance in attendance. They finished 1-4-5-7 on the stage and will head into the final Paris stage tomorrow in 1-3 overall. Levi will start 8" behind Evans, so the final standings are not settled yet. Contador has a 23" lead and should be able to cruise to the top podium spot tomorrow.

  • What's the 94th TdF without doping news? Though Andreas Kloden claims he's never doped, he plans to retire from cycling because he fears prison if "somebody pours something banned in my salad and I test positive." Uh huh.

Watch the live Twitter links at Cyclelicious for the latest Tour de France news.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Freakonomics on doping

Stephen Dubner asked the question on the Freakonomics Blog: "Is it time, perhaps, to come up with a pre-approved list of performance-enhancing agents and procedures, require the riders to accept full responsibility for whatever long-term physical and emotional damage these agents and procedures may produce, and let everyone ride on a relatively even keel without having to ban the leader every third day?"

I would in no way participate in or watch a sport that permits participants to abuse themselves in that way. Freakanomics published a response from Joe Lindsey of Bicycling magazine. Joe gives his points on why we should not open the doors to "legalized" doping.

Tour de France: Stages of grief

First of all, check out Masi Guy's passionate expression of his love for the sport of cycling:
Why love a dirty sport? Well, because not all riders are dirty and because it's a beautiful sport. The roads of France were still lined today as the Tour rolled through their towns. Sure, many people booed and chided the riders, but they were still there to watch because of the amazing spectacle that is the Tour and cycling.
Tim links to quite a few other commentaries about the whole doping scandal:
  • Bike Hugger's: "With Interbike coming up, the Fall, and another bike season, I expect many are thinking of “other things” than racing. Like, comfort bikes, SUBs, cargo bikes, and the like."
  • Rich Kelly on watching le Tour with the kids: “Daddy? Where’s Vino today?” Ooof.
  • I also liked Donna's post: "We as the every day bike riders can still make sure that kids find the love of bike riding. It's not all about the pros. It's about all of us bike riders - there are a ton of us out there. Start your own Tour Day Neighborhood today. Don't sit around and stew about the 'state of the sport'. It's only the state of the pro sport that is in shambles. The state of bike riding is as great as it has always been."
  • This article from ESPN on the transparency of le Tour athletes is fantastic.
    The Tour is open. Most of the course is free of barricades. No tickets, no exorbitant parking, no luxury boxes. All it takes to be part of it is whatever effort you want to put into getting there and setting up your folding chairs and your picnic table.

    Fans can walk right up to the top-heavy rolling locker rooms called team buses at the finish and plant themselves in a rider's path when he wheels in still lathered in sweat from covering more than 100 grueling miles.

    If doping scandals make you doubt that the physical feats you see in a bike race are real, look again. Look at the whole sport. It's convulsing in a very real, human, imperfect way. Things may get worse before they get better, though it's hard to imagine how much worse they could be than they were this week at the Tour de France.

Finally, here's some more troubling news about Rasmussen, who's been accused now of smuggling plums. (Via TdF Blog.)


It's been a bad week in the Bay Area. Death Monsters killed an eleven-month-old baby, two drag-racing teens and two seniors in south San Jose and a still anonymous driver on I-280.

The baby died after his dad drove to work and forgot his son was in the car. Ian Takemoto perished in the back seat after outside temperatures reached 80 degrees. And people are a afraid to ride their bikes to work.

The anonymous driver was killed when a maniac driving 100 mph in rush hour traffic struck two cars, sending the maniac and another driving to the hospital and sending the third driver to his grave in a cataclysmic explosion that shut a major freeway down for four hours with backups along Highway 17, I-880 and surface streets for miles around. And people complain about bicyclists who hold up traffic.

The two teens were driving like teen drivers do on an empty residential road. They lost control, and hit two senior citizens out for a walk in the cool evening air before they hit a pole and were killed themselves. And the other night, a driver struck a police officer directing traffic in San Francisco. And people complain about the laws that cyclists break.

Death Monster photo from San Francisco by Allen & used with permission. All rights reserverd.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

MSP cyclist taser case verdict

You all know the story: Minneapolis Airport Barney got upset about a local who biked home from the airport in Minneapolis. Rather than obey an unlawful order, Stephan Orsak continued biking (legally) on the airport access road. The police restrained, tased, and arrested Orsak.

Orsak's jury trial concluded last week where he was found guilty of only one of the six counts against him. Orsak plans to appeal that finding in which he is guilty of "Failure to Comply with a Lawful Order."

Tour de France good news

Over the years several people have commented that pro cycling needs to get serious about doping and the drug culture that's rampant among the ranks of professional cyclists.

UCI and le Tour organizers finally are cracking down on the problem -- and I believe pro cycling is probably the only organized sport that is serious about a problem that exists across almost every sport and almost every level of competition -- and we're seeing the results. Evidence of drug use is decimating the peloton, with entire teams eliminated from the world's premier cycling race.

While we shouldn't exactly be rejoicing, we should stand behind those who choose to race clean and continue to support them. The news this week has been a hard pill to swallow, but I think cycling has possibly reached a tipping point toward no tolerance to drug use.

I will continue to follow the 2007 Tour de France. Velonews writer Jason Sumner wonders if the competition matters anymore. Of course it matters -- I believe the competition is more meaningful now than last week. I'm excited to know that those who compete and win will have done so without the benefit of banned substances.

Allez! Allez!

Melancholy hernia

I'm in a melancholy mood anyway (for a couple of reasons, but the news from le Tour certainly doesn't help) and now I think I've herniated myself.

I quickly hoisted my commuter bike up over my shoulder to carry it upstairs and *ooohg!* dull but quick pain in my groin and lower abdomen. ~30 pounds isn't all that much, but I didn't pay attention to technique.

A half hour later I still feel a little tender. What does a hernia feel like, anyway?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Hat tip to Frank in Illinois.

For a lighter view of the Tour de France, watch the polka dot bikini video over at Quick Release TV.

It's official: Palo Alto to host 2008 Tour of California Prologue

I missed the press conference because of work obligations, but Spare Cycles made it, taking some photos and reporting on the announcement that Palo Alto and Stanford University would host the 2008 Tour of California Prologue.

The 2008 Amgen Tour of California professional cycling road race will take place February 17-24, 2008. Three new locales – Modesto, Palo Alto and Pasadena – join Sacramento, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Santa Rosa, Sausalito, Seaside and Solvang as host cities along the route.

Read the press release.

Bike boom in... the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is known as the land with more bikes than people. Because so many people use bikes to get around, air pollution is not a problem in this densely populated country. The average Dutch person cycles 3 kilometers per day on the 19,000 miles of paths and lanes provided exclusively for bicycle use. Up to 50% of the population uses a bike regularly for travel.

The Dutch bike industry reports that they are experiencing a bike boom with increased sales over previous years. According to Statistics Netherlands, 15% more bikes and mopeds were sold in 2006 over 2005, with an expectation of even greater growth in 2007, with domestic bike production and imports of bikes up significantly.

TdF Stage 16: Who's clean?

Tour de France 2007 Stage 16 Today's stage started 20 minutes late as the French and German teams protested the doping scandals with a brief sit-in. Stage 16 at 130 miles and five categorized climbs -- including two hors catégorie -- is probably the toughest stage of the 2007 Tour de France.

If Europeans historically have had a laissez-faire attitude toward doping, this was not in evidence today as many spectators booed the GC leaders as they rode by. With all of the scandal, I have to wonder if anybody in the top five today are drug free? Rasmussen rode strong and confidently through the entire stage, seemingly unaffected by the controversy swirling around him. His Stage 15 rival, Alberto Contador, held back as Contador's teammate Levi Leipheimer took second place.

Todays results:
1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank 6.23.21 (34.20 km/h)
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel 0.25
3 Alberto Contador (Spa) Discovery Channel 0.35
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor-Lotto 0.43
5 Mauricio Soler (Col) Barloworld 1.25
GC as of today -- let's see how much this holds up after today's doping control tests:
1 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Discovery Channel 3.10
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor-Lotto 5.03
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel 5.59
5 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 9.12
6 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 9.39
7 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 13.28
8 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile 14.46
9 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel 16.00
10 Mauricio Soler (Col) Barloworld 16.41
TdF Stage 16: Other Tour de France news:
  • Wiggins suspected doping (Via Honk de Bonk):
    "I know how well I went in the time trial, what power output I had," said Wiggins. "I know that in order to put two minutes into me, what power Vino would have had to have put out and the effort he would have had to make and it didn't add up. I didn't want to accuse people because they had beaten me outright. But when you saw him limping the week before you couldn't help thinking about it." He added "I think everyone has been suspicious of Astana"
  • Cristian Moreni positive for testosterone. Also: Basque seperatist terrorist along the Tour route and Vinokorouv pleads his case.
  • VeloNews on blood doping: What, How, and Why.
  • T-Mobile to review Tour sponsorship.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

365 Main: San Francisco power outage

Backhoe fade?

If you're wondering why you can't get to some websites, it's because power outages in San Francisco have taken out a whole big pile of important Internet servers including my employer, Craiglist, TypePad, CNet, Technorati, Livejournal, Yelp, VOX, Six Apart, dot dot dot. Frank Steele Twittered that TdFBlog was affected also, pointing to this rumor of a disgruntled employee who intentionally sabotaged several data servers at 365 Main in San Francisco.

365 Main is supposed to have redundant and conditioned power and everything, but the way the lights are flickering South of Market, I think the repeated power outages are a more likely scenario than a drunken rampage. Our IT Staff is reporting power outages as the cause; the machines are up and running, but many of the network switches that connect them to the outside world were reset multiple times. I imagine more than a few network routing tables and DNS entries were hosed today.

More from Scoble, Laughing Squid and O'Reilly Radar.

Almax and Internet trolling

There's been some discussion about the "tests" used in "Gone in 60 Seconds, a purported documentary that claims to show that all high-end bicycle and motorcycle locks can be easily defeated with the right tools and technique. The motorcycle chain company that was featured in this video seems to believe they can win sales by misleading potential customers then insulting them when they're called on it. The company (or persons who seem to represent the company) even try to play the sock puppet game pretty well, from what I've seen.

I didn't think it was necessary, but Kyrptonite has responded to "Gone in 60 Seconds." I'll attest that high quality locks from Kryptonite and other high-end lock vendors are effective in preventing bike theft. Sure, a determined thief with the right tools can defeat these locks, but I think most of us realize that locks are deterrents, not absolute preventatives. Picking the right lock is an exercise in risk management.

I want to puke

I guess there's a reason Vinokourov performed so well over the last couple of days after a week of lackluster cycling. *sigh*

I admit that this possibility was in the back of my mind after Vino's amazing turnaround. Homologous blood transfusion -- that's what Tyler Hamilton was busted for not so long ago.

Reactions: Why why why why why?

Monday, July 23, 2007

TdF Stage 15: Eye of the Tiger

Wow, another amazing Stage as Contador and Rasmussen battled it out on the Col de Peyresourde today. But the story of the day is watching Alexander Vinokourov get another stage win. After his crash early in the 2007 Tour de France, the man looks hungry, and nobody deserves it more than the Kazakh. I feel like I'm watching Rocky Balboa coming up against the odds to win the fight, except this isn't a movie.

Vinokourov, though is in 23rd place overall, a full 28 minutes behind Michael Rasmussen, who continues to hold the yellow jersey. American Levi Leipheimer is in 4th place overall with a five minute deficit.

Suspicions of doping continue to dog Michael Rasmussen. Rasmussen recently was booted from the Danish national team for September's world cycling championships and the 2008 Olympic games because he missed mandatory random dope tests. David Millar spoke out against Rasmussen telling L'Equipe that Rasmussen has ruined the Tour de France with his presence. Several other teams are expressing their anger about Rasmussen's participation peloton. There's a lot of suspicion that the Danish cycling federation purposely withheld the news about Rasmussen's failure to take the tests because Rasmussen might have been barred from le Tour.

Meanwhile, French customs officials searched TdF team buses in a surprise inspection, apparently to search for contraband.

Elsewhere: Tuesday is a rest day; Wednesday, July 25 is another mountain stage.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Best Stage 13 commentary...

The best Tour de France 2007 Stage 13 commentary has to be this one from Masi Guy:
Road-rash Rasmussen actually rode a very respectable TT today- likely the best of his life. It's amazing what the yellow jersey can do for you- it'll either weigh you down or give you wings. Raz-ma-taz finished an impressive 11th, only 2'55" behind a very resurgent Vinokourov. The Krazy Kazakh stormed across the finish line with the fastest time of the day to get his first stage win of this Tour and a taste of redemption.

[Valverde & Mayo's poor showing in the time trial] So much for the resurgence of the Spanish Armada... that ship has sunk.
Read more from Masi Guy.

Trailer for Adult Handicapped Rider

I've been following the Tour de France since the Prologue on July 7th. To my surprise, my first life partner Lisa Brewer, who has shown only a passing interest in cycling previously, is suddenly interested enough to have picked a personal favorite in the Tour de France overall classification: Alexandre Vinokourov ;)

Anyway, Lisa seems to have caught some cycling fever. She's actually shown some interest in riding with me lately. I checked into it and there's no way I can afford to get her a hand cycle (those things run in the thousands), but I should be able to afford to get a trailer for her. ;) The thing is, though, I need to find a suitable trailer fast because I'd like to have it in time to get it as an anniversary gift, and our anniversary is August 17th. ;)

Does anyone know where I can get a bicycle trailer suitable for an adult handicapped person? I'm specifically looking for the following features ("essential" features I must have... "optional" features would be ideal, but not essential).

  • minimum 115 lb weight capacity
  • harness (five point if possible)
  • push bar (so it can double as a wheelchair at a destination)
  • quick release wheels (ease of flat repair)
  • standard wheel size*
  • forward sitting position
  • canopy
  • suspension
  • foldability for storage
  • incontinence resistant covers
That last one in the "essential" list is an important consideration. Lisa's wheelchair has 22" wheels which, I have discovered, are not a standard bicycle wheel size. It's extremely difficult to find tires for this thing and totally impossible to find high end tires for it. Low end tires are fine for a wheelchair that'll be traveling no faster than 7 km/h on average, but for a trailer being pulled at 25+ km/h, good tires are essential.

Standard wheel sizes for which a wide variety of tires are available are 20", 24", 26" and 700c.

I need to find information on this ASAP so I want to spread the word as far as I can as fast as I can. If anyone knows anything that might help me here, it would be greatly appreciated! :)

You can submit any information at a comment here or E-mail me privately.


TdF Stage 13: Vinokourov strikes back!

Kazakh Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) was hurting yesterday and he went into today's stage hoping to just make it to Paris. Vinokourov found his legs in the 54 kilometer individual time trial today and blew away the competition, coming in more than 7 minutes faster than second place Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto). The look of determination on his face was amazing as he pushed himself hard. He showed he wanted it and he got it.

"I am happy with my performance," said Vinokourov after his run on the rainy road. "I am finding my legs again. Now I want to attack in the Pyrénées. I want to thank everyone in and around the team that gave me the encourage to get through the Alps."

Way to go, Vino! It's good to see him find his legs. With today's stage win, Vinokourov moves into the top 10 of the General Classification. Michael Rasmussen, who placed 11th today, retains the yellow jersey.

What a race! With just another week to go, the 2007 Tour de France is still anybody's to win. Here's Levi Leipheimer tearing it up to make ninth place in the ITT today.
More coverage:
  • Spare Cycles: Stage 13 with that great photo of Vino's raw determination chiseled into his face with spittle running down his chin.
    Early rain saw many riders finish with wet and bloody skinsuits. Cancellara put in a good early time check but quickly fell from the standings after he crashed and appeared to hurt his arm. Wiggins instead had the top early mark on the day, which stood until Vinokourov put in a shockingly fast TT: 2:13 faster than Wiggins. Gusev was putting in a good time until he crashed into a roundabout and went skidding over the curb.
  • Group News Blog The race of truth. An hour of pain and oxygen debt.
  • TdFBlog gets all alliterative with the title Astana awesome in Albi.
  • Tour de France For the Rest of Us: Vino's back.
  • TdF07: Vinokourov Wins ITT, Rasmussen Not a Disaster.
    Today’s rain soaked Individual Time Trial was remarkable not so much for the fine performances put in by Vinokourov, Evans and Kloden, but for the meltdown that did not appear. Michael Rasmussen was widely considered vulnerable in the yellow jersey because of his self professed dificulty in the ITT, which was highlighted by his disastrous performance in the the Tour in 2005 which lost him a spot on the podium. But while Rasmussen’s 11th place finish today lost him a few precious minutes to Vinokourov, Kloden and Evans, it was not the disaster that was feared or expected.
  • And speaking of expectations....
  • Pez Cycling News: Vino improves with age
  • [Land of colors] 雨の中、勝ったのは、ビノクロフ.
For live Tour coverage every day, don't forget about the Twitter feeds that are automatically posted to the front page of Cyclelicious.

Stage 13 Top 10
1. Alexander Vinokourov (Kz), Astana, 54km in 1:06:35
2. Cadel Evans (Aus), Predictor-Lotto, at 1:14
3. Andréas Klöden (G), Astana, at 1:39
4. Andrey Kashechkin (Kz), Astana, at 1:44
5. Bradley Wiggins (GB), Cofidis, at 2:14
6. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr), Discovery Channel, 2:16
7. Alberto Contador (Sp), Discovery Channel, 2:18
8. Sylvain Chavanel (F), Cofidis, 2:38
9. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Discovery Channel, 2:39
10. Mikel Astarloza (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 2:42
GC Rankings
1. Michael Rasmussen (Dk), Rabobank, 58:46:39
2. Cadel Evans (Aus), Predictor-Lotto, at 1:00
3. Alberto Contador (Sp), Discovery, at 2:31
4. Andréas Klöden (G), Astana, at 2:34
5. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Discovery Channel, at 3:37
6. Andrey Kashechkin (Kz), Astana, at 4:23
7. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC, at 4:45
8. Mikel Astarloza (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 5:07
9. Alexander Vinokourov (Kz), Astana, at 5:10
10. Kim Kirchen (Lux), T-Mobile, at 5:29

TdF update straight from Bob Roll!

Bob Roll is friends with the folks at Kryptonite Locks. He even provided a TdF update over at the Kryptonite company blog. How cool is that?

のブログ 自転車 magic

Let me also take the opportunity to mention to my bilingual Japanese guests that a machine-translated Japanese feed of Cyclelicious is available here. See sample output here for news about ツール・ド・フランス, 自転車, and even ママチャリ. Japanese-language TdF updates can be found at this American blogging in Japanese with a French name.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday's bicycle blog news

The BRaIN has a new look! They even make product reviews and member forum postings available to non-members. There's still no RSS feed for the news, though. For that, use my BRaIN food.

We want good ideas to promote cycling.

Warm Planet Bicycles just opened their bike parking facility in San Francisco next to the 4th and King Caltrain Station. Hurray! Photos here.

Bike lane agnostic from Treadly & Me is worth a read.

Another howler from Bike Snob NYC.

Sprinter: How do dopers live with themselves?

Warren wonders why walkers jump off the path.

Have a good weekend, all. I'm about to hop on my bike for a 24 mile commute.

Score the walkability of your address

Walk Score uses the Google Maps API to calculate the walkability of an address and help people find walkable places to live. I plugged in several addresses where I used to live, and the reality is about the inverse of what Walk Score reports. In spite of the very low score given by Walk Score (18/100), the tiny farm town of Sidney, IL was probably the most walkable town I've ever lived in. Narrow, tree-shaded streets and slow traffic made getting to the local ice cream stand, eateries, and markets very easy to get to.

My old address Longmont, Colorado rates 16/100. Two supermarkets within walking distance, along with the middle school down the street and the elementary school only a little farther made walking and biking the ideal ways for even children to get around. The nearest bus stop is a little far -- nearly a mile away -- but that's an easily bikable distance. The drawback is hauling snow skis that distance to the bus stop.

My current address in Scotts Valley, California rates the highest, but in reality this town reeks for walking. My daughter's school is literally impossible for children to access by bike -- the street is way too steep. Besides that, the locals all drive way to fast on the twisty, narrow hillside roads that provide access to the school, and there are no sidewalks to get to the school! The complete lack of school transportation in California blindsided me when I chose this community; if I knew this ahead of time, I probably would not have picked this location.

I can see Walk Score as a tool to help people judge the resources that are important to them.

Via Hole in the Wall.

Five facts from Fritz

I've been tagged, so I'm privileged to give five random facts about myself. I'm short on time so I'll be quick.
  1. I was the last kid in the neighborhood to learn to ride a bike! I lived in San Diego, California, I was seven years old and I couldn't ride a bike. My younger brother taught me how to ride.

  2. My very earliest memory is that of my father returning home from the Vietnam war. I was three years old and distinctly remember sitting in an upstairs room of my grandmother's ryokan (Japanese inn) when I saw a taxi pull up with my dad inside.

  3. As you can infer from Random Fact Number 2, I'm half Japanese. The only place I've had problems with overt racism was in Omaha, Nebraska. I was in kindergarten and older kids regularly called me names and shouted at me to "Go back to China!" My usual clever retort was "I'm not Chinese, I'm Japanese." That's when they'd laugh and push me down. I hated school. I still don't care to visit the U.S. Midwest.

  4. 2001 was a year of disasters for me. My house burned down, my favorite puppy was killed by a car in the aftermath, a devastating tornado then wiped out much of my town, medical bills for my daughter's birth defect were piling up, I lost my job, 9/11 happened, and I ended up moving out of the state for a new job. In all the chaos, I somehow never got around to filing my 2000 income taxes. I remember now that I filed the extension, thinking I'd get to it later but then I forgot all about it. The IRS got around to reminding me about eight weeks ago, with a friendly letter saying by their calculations I owe at least $40,000 in back taxes, fines, penalties and interest.

  5. I preach tolerance and diversity on Cyclelicious, but in reality I'm a bike snob. I'm loathe to touch anything besides a reasonable quality road bike.

Who can I pick that's a little different?

Biopure Hemopure

Hemopure, developed by Biopure (BPUR), is an oxygen-therapeutic based on chemically stabilized bovine (cow) hemoglobin. It has been developed for potential use in humans as a substitute for blood.

Hemopure is stable at room temperature and does not require blood typing. Hemopure has been approved for human use and commercial sale in South Africa since April 10, 2001, a first and only for this product class. Hemopure is banned for human use in the United States where it continues to undergo animal studies. BioPure continues human trials in Europe. A similar product from BioPure -- Oxyglobin -- is sold for veterinary use to treat anemia in dogs.

Sports medicine researchers have already noted the potential performance benefits of "Hemoglobin Based Oxygen Carriers" such as Hemopure. Research so far shows no performance benefit from doping with Hemopure.

A one-time friend of cyclist Michael Rasmussen claims he was asked to transport Hemopure to Rasmussen.
Whitney Richards told VeloNews that in March of 2002, Rasmussen asked him to transport a box containing cycling shoes. But the shoebox, according to Richards, actually contained bags of an American-made human blood substitute.

In an effort to fit all his belongings in his luggage, Richards opened the box to discard it and just bring the shoes - he said he then discovered the bags.

"I was blown away," Richards told VeloNews. "This wasn't a pair of Sidis ... it was frickin' dog medicine or something."

According to labels, the bags were filled with a hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier (HBOC) known as Hemopure, manufactured by the U.S.-based Biopure Corporation. The product is made from hemoglobin molecules that have been removed from the red cells of cow's blood.

"The nerve of the guy," Richards added. "Not only is he a drug cheat, but he didn't give a damn about anybody else. He was willing to put me out there to carry that crap through customs ... into Italy at a time when they were investigating Dr. [Michele] Ferrari and people were lobbing accusations at Lance Armstrong. Think about what it would have been like for Italian customs to catch an American with a bunch of bike gear and cow's blood at the border."

Friday Tour de France 2007 Stage 12

Stage 12: Go Tom Boonen!!! Erik Zabel and Robbie Hunter (go Barloworld!) tried to pass Boonen up at the end of the race but they couldn't quite out-sprint the Belgium's legs. See the recap at TDF Blog, Spare Cycles, Group News Blog, Biking Bis, and TdF07.

More Stage 12 links: For those who missed the news, Dave Zabriskie was dropped after Stage 11 yesterday because he finished outside of the time allowance. He's been struggling through le Tour this year. His contract with CSC is up this year.

Dope Tour de France dope

  • Rasmussen accused of past doping.
    Rasmussen asked Whitney Richards to transport a box containing cycling shoes. In an effort to fit all his belongings in his luggage, Richards opened the box to discard it and just bring the shoes. "I was blown away," Richards told VeloNews. "This wasn't a pair of SIDIs... it was frickin' dog medicine or something."

    According to labels, the bags were filled with a hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier (HBOC) known as Hemopure, manufactured by the U.S.-based Biopure Corporation. The product is made from hemoglobin molecules that have been removed from the red cells of cow's blood.

  • Patrik Sinkewitz wants his B sample tested. In the meantime, German prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into Sinkewitz's alleged doping.
  • Trust But Verify notes today is the anniversary of Floyd Landis's amazing breakaway win on Stage 17 to Morzine. That seems soooo long ago.
Stage 12 Top Ten finishers:
1. Tom Boonen (B) Quick Step, 178.5km in 4:25:32
2. Erik Zabel (G), Milram
3. Robert Hunter (RSA), Barloworld
4. Daniele Bennati (I), Lampre-Fondital
5. Thor Hushovd (N), Crédit Agricole
6. Bernhard Eisel (A), T-Mobile
7. Sebastien Chavanel (F), Française des Jeux
8. Nicolas Jalabert (F), Agritubel
9. Robert Forster (G), Gerolsteiner
10. Andrey Kashechkin (Kz), Astana
Stage 12 GC standings:
1. Michael Rasmussen (Dk), Rabobank, 57:37:10
2. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), Caisse d'Epargne, 2:35
3. Iban Mayo (Sp), Saunier Duval-Prodir, 2:39
4. Cadel Evans (Aus), Predictor-Lotto, 2:41
5. Alberto Contador (Sp), Discovery Channel, 3:08
6. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC, 3:39
7. Andréas Klöden (G), Astana, 3:50
8. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Discovery Channel, 3:53
9. Kim Kirchen (Lux), T-Mobile, 5:06
10. Mikel Astarloza (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 5:20

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Short skirt and shimmery tights

Cool BMX flatland tricks, too!

Everybody else is mentioning this Donnie Darko-ish video, so I figure I should, too.

Bat for Lashes is the stage name of British songwriter, musician and multi-media artist Natasha Khan. She studied film and music at university, both of which strongly influence her work. I copied that last sentence from a blog somewhere because it's so inane. Enjoy.

I forgot to mention earlier that Doc Logan posted this video too.

Iowa needs more bicycle education

There are only two League of American Bicyclist Certified Instructors (LCI) in the entire state of Iowa, and both of them are in the Iowa City area.

To rectify this situation, the Iowa Bicycle Coalition is offering the LCI Seminar and the prerequisite Road 1 class in August and September. For dates, signup information, and more details see the Iowa Bicycle Coalition blog.

German television and drug-free cycling

After Jan Ullrich, Erik Zabel, Rolf Aldag and Bjarne Riis were implicated in the Puerto scandal last year, the German TV networks ARD and ZDF threatened they would suspend Tour de France coverage if new doping allegations against German cyclists appeared. ARD and ZDF followed through on this threat after the news was released that Patrik Sinkewitz tested positive for testosterone.

According to L'Equipe, the German networks made it clear to German cycling that they would only broadcast cycling events if the sport is clean. "It is a warning to cycling and all the other sports," says ZDF Editor in Chief Nikolaus Brender. "We discussed this in length with the team managers, the German Cycling Federation, and race organizers, telling them that we were ready to support cycling if doping is controlled. However, this news shows that the teams are not even able to control what their cyclists do."

TdF organizer ASO is critical of German TV's decision to suspend broadcast of le Tour. "It is hypocritical to sanction the drug testing by not publishing the results," said ASO president Patrice Clerc.

In the meantime, the private German Sat 1 broadcaster quickly arranged broadcast rights for the Tour de France in the aftermath of the ZDF and ARD boycott. Sat one now has exclusive broadcast rights in Germany.

And after I painstakingly and slowly translated the French reports, I see the same thing in the English language International Herald Tribune. Oh well.

See also Sat1.de/sport.

Drugs in sports

Golfers do it (and the PGA is talking about testing. So do baseball players, college football players, swimmers, runners, skiers, and now, apparently, even pro cyclists!.
The German Cycling Federation (BDR) announced on Wednesday that T-Mobile rider Patrik Sinkewitz 's A sample, taken on June 8, had a raised testosterone level. The up and coming rider has been suspended by his team who say that if the B sample confirms the first test then he will be sacked.

That news sent shockwaves through the German media, with national TV networks ARD and ZDF suspending their coverage of the Tour de France.

It has been a bad week for Sinkewitz who collided with a spectator on Sunday immediately after the end of the eighth stage in Tignes suffering a broken nose and a head injury.

But the latest development is more bad new for T-Mobile who have seen several former riders confess to taking banned blood-booster Erythropoietin in the last few months.

Seven former Telekom cyclists, including 1996 Tour de France winner Bjarne Riis and top sprinter Erik Zabel, admitted they took EPO in the 1990s. And Sinkewitz's failed drugs test comes almost exactly one year after T-Mobile sacked 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich for being linked to a doping scandal in Spain.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tom Danielson at the Mount Evans Hillclimb

Discovery Team cyclist Tom Danielson, who is recovering from an intestinal illness, plans to race the Mount Evans Hillclimb this weekend in Colorado. The race begins at 7000 feet above sea level and climbs for 28 miles to the top of the highest paved road in the United States at over 14,000 feet. Danielson is the current course record holder on the climb which he accomplished in 2004 while riding for the Italian Fassa Bortolo team.

Danielson will be up against 6-time winner of the event, Scott Moninger of the BMC cycling team as well as climbing specialist, Drew Miller and other top professionals.

For more info about the Bob Cook Memorial Mount Evans Hillclimb, visit bicyclerace.com. Mount Evans is one of three Colorado "fourteeners" I've been to the summit of. I'd like to do it by bike some day.

Hat tip to Pete in Colorado for this news.

CO2 inflator explosion!

I'm always a little paranoid when I use my CO2 inflater on my bicycle tire, a little concerned that the bullet-shaped cartridge might explode or shoot itself out. I figure, though, that a U.S. company wouldn't sell an unsafe product, right?

It apparently turns out the consumer is the tester for popular Genuine Innovations Second Wind MTB and Wrench Force Two Shot combination CO2 inflater and hand pump. Genuine Innovations says they've received twelve reports of their CO2 inflaters exploding, with six injuries reported including lacerations, ringing in the ears and bruising. These can explode if there's an obstruction in the valve. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission reports 55,000 of these have been sold. Genuine Innovations has issued a recall for this product.

What I want to know is where's the YouTube video of this?

TdF Stage 10: Twitter Death!

Believe it or not, I get my Tour de France updates via the Twitter reports from Dave, Ken, and Frank. Sure, I can get the live reports by continually hitting the reset button at Cyclingnews and VeloNews, but I really like just getting this stuff asynchronously. I was a little disappointed, then, when Twitter went down during the last part of Stage 10. Twitter is headquartered in San Francisco, but I wonder if maybe they have a datacenter in the East Bay, which has been plagued with power outages this morning. Ah well, the gift and the curse of technology.

Frenchman Cedric Vasseur of Quick Step-Innergetic claimed a win for the host nation today when he took the lead in a breakaway in the final quarter mile in today's 130 mile stage. His countryman Sandy Casar of Française des Jeux took second place. Overall, Michael Rasumussen continues to hold the yellow jersey, while American Levi Leipheimer of Discovery remains in the top 10 at 9th place.

As usual, an excellent link roundup of stage 10 can be found at Spare Cycles, with videos, photos, news and commentary. See also Steephill.TV for more Stage 10 results.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Vatican taken over by eco hippies

First the Vatican issues its Guideline for the Pastoral Care of the Road in which motorists are reminded that cars are "an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin." And now, the Vatican has announced they will be the first sovereign state to go carbon neutral through carbon offsets. The Vatican wants "to do its bit to fight pollution on earth and to contribute to improving the planet that God gave to humans so that they could be the servants of nature and not its masters."

Bike messenger business on the downhill

I couldn't decide of this is news or not, but I was persuaded to post the article. The messenger business is tough and getting tougher because of the Internet. Messengers used to be able to rake in as much as $100 day (!), but those days are gone. Most of those hipster kids riding their fixed gear bikes down Market Street aren't really messengers. Real messengers ride bikes with gears and baskets when they're on the job.

It's old news, I know, but the Chronicle reported on it so some editor decided it was newsworthy. I thought yesterday's story that (gasp!) BART bathrooms are filthy stinking disgusting pits of slime and spew wasn't exactly breaking news either.

TdF: Who is Team Barloworld?

Colombian Mauricio Soler of the underdog Team Barloworld took stage 9 of the Tour de France on Tuesday, breaking away and leaving the chase group in the wind.

The team sponsor Barloworld is an "Industrial Brand Management Company", whatever that's supposed to mean. The website is horrible to navigate, but they seem to be a truck, car and heavy equipment distributor in South Africa.

Team Barloworld is a UCI Professional Continental cycling team based in the United Kingdom. The obtained a wild card entry to the 2007 Tour de France, making them the first British-based team to compete in the TdF since 1987.

Read more about Soler's win at Spare Cycles. The Stage 9 Link Roundup is also there for you to peruse.

What's your source of news for le Tour?

Hello fellow netizens. What's your primary source of news for the Tour de France 2007?
What's your favorite? What Tour de France news sources have I missed?

Millionaire bike commuter

This is so cool. Hal Taussig hasn't owned a car since 1973. He works hard and makes fistfulls of money and gives most of it away. He rides his bicycle to work everyday. This dude rocks.

See the video news story. See also: Via Commute By Bike, who found it via Alan Snel.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Bicycle link love

Here are the blogs that have linked to Cyclelicious over the past week or two, so I'm returning the love.

Please feel free to comment if I skipped you and I'll add you to the list.

Earthquake mamachari ikemasho!

A major earthquake rocked Western Japan in Niigata prefecture, collapsing houses and destroying infrastructure. These news photos reminded me of the 1995 Kobe earthquake, where my dad led relief efforts on behalf of his employer. He took the trains from Tokyo as far as they would go, then paid cash for several bikes for he and his team to transport water, food, and satellite phones. With collapsed roads and destroyed rail, nothing else was getting through.

I live in an earthquake prone area. I've told my family to sit tight and I would meet up with them by biking home from work if a major quake hits during work hours. In Japan, some workplaces keep bicycles as a part of earthquake preparedness.

See also Surveyed businesses ready for big quake.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Tour de France 2007: Stage 8

That's an old photo of Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen. He placed first in today's stage in the Tour de France 2007, also winning the Yellow Jersey and King of the Mountain. Visiting the long tail once again for Stage 8 commentary:
  • Chooky Fuzzbang: "So the big question is, “who’s the favorite to win GC?” I’ll be honest. I don’t have a clue. Leip, Vino, Kloden, etc. don’t look like contenders on a day like today. They didn’t do poorly but they didn’t ride like leaders. But they could be saving themselves. They didn’t look particularly strained. Valverde looks pretty good here."
  • Tour de Denver -- this guy is riding his bike every day, trying to recreate the stages of the Tour de France in Colorado.
  • Julie writes about "TdF Stage 8: Wicked Game". Instead of "Risky Game" because "that would entail recreating a scene from Friends featuring Jennifer Aniston."
Monday is a rest day, so maybe I'll catch up on the other cycling news and issues that continue during this race.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

TdF Stage 7: The Long Tail

You already know about the updates from Spare Cycles, tdfblog and so forth. Let's see what else we can find in the blogosphere about today's stage.
  • Original reporting on the Tour de France from the Group News Blog.
  • Tour de France 2007 is "coverage of the Tour de France by professional journalist Jeff Cutler." Mr. Cutler is in Europe covering this on his blog.
  • TheRoad Bike.com
  • Who is Linux Gerdemann.
  • Today is Bastille Day. That's the French national holiday in which they commemorate the storming of a nearly empty prison. To avoid hurting the invading hordes, the prison commander opened the gates. The rioters then proceeded to slaughter everybody inside, including the commander who let them inside.
Also don't miss:
  • Paul Sherwen's audio report.
  • A meeting with Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwen.
    Over the years, Phil has come up with some great one-liners affectionately known as Liggettisms. One of my favorites goes all the way back to 1986 when Bernard Hinault had his sixth Tour victory all but wrapped up when he betrayed Lemond in the Pyrenees. Sitting on a five-minute lead Hinault was unable to control his bravado and attacked solo with three huge Pyrenean climbs remaining. Phil's words were prophetic as he exclaimed, "is he a superman or a fool?" Bernie blew up and Greg beat him by 5 minutes setting the match all square.
The Stage 7 top 10 finishers were:
1. Linus Gerdemann (G), T-Mobile, 4:53:13
2. Inigo Landaluze (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 0:40
3. David De La Fuente (Sp), Saunier Duval-Prodir, at 1:39
4. Juan Mauricio Hernandez Soler (Col), Barloworld, at 2:14
5. Laurent Lefevre (F), Bouygues Telecom, at 2:21
6. Fabian Wegmann (G), Gerolsteiner, at 3:32
7. Juan Manuel Garate (Sp), Quick Step-Innergetic, at 3:38
8. Xavier Florencio (Sp), Bouygues Telecom, same time
9. Christophe Moreau (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, s.t.
10. Alejandro Valverde (Sp) Caisse D'epargne, s.t.

Linus Gerdemann also took the Yellow Jersey today, as well as Best Young Rider recognition. Sylvain Chavanel is King of the Mountains.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Streaming video: How to bypass country restrictions

Steephill.TV provides an excellent list of links to live streaming video of the Tour de France. Unfortunately, most of them have country restrictions due to their licensing agreements with the Tour organizer. There is a way to bypass these restrictions. I haven't done this in a long time, but here's the theory. If you get this to work, please comment with your experience or link to your own how to.

1. Find proxy servers in the broadcasting country. For example, if you want to watch the French streaming video feed, find a web proxy server in France. Here's one list.

2. Choose a public proxy that will anonymize or hide your origin. Software that will automatically test this for you is Charon. Charon will also automatically search proxy lists for you and tell you which proxies are good, saving you a lot of time and effort. Within Charon, select "Check Proxies" and "Check anonymity of proxies." Then select "Connect Options" and "Use External Judges." Let Charon due its magic and wait for it to generate the report. Charon can sort proxies by country so pick one in France or whatever country to you want to browse in.

3. Change your web browser settings to use the proxy.
  • In Firefox, select Tools -> Options -> Advanced -> Network -> Settings. Click the "Manual Proxy Configuration" button and fill in the proxy IP address and port number (as reported by Charon).
  • In Internet Explorer, Select Tools -> Internet Options -> Connections (tab) -> Lan Settings. Click the button for "Use a proxy server for your LAN." Enter the proxy server IP address and port.
  • In Safari, select Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced. Click the "Change Settings" button next to the "Proxies" label. Click the "Web Proxy" button and enter the proxy server IP address and port.
Select your country-restricted video feed and let me know how it works! After you're finished, don't forget to reverse the steps above to disable proxy usage. You typically don't want to send any sensitive information like usernames and passwords through untrusted proxy servers.

Flickr blog features Tour de France photos

Tour De France 2007 London

Flickr blog: Allez! Allez!
“DO NOT speak of TODAY’s TOUR DE FRANCE (I haven’t watched it yet.)”

That’s a sign that adorns the chair of the most recent member to join our team — Richard Crowley. He was willing to assist with image selection for this post as long as it didn’t become a spoiler for the 3 hours of Tour (apologies if this lodges the theme song for Gilligan’s Island in your noggin*) he’ll enjoy tonight.
Read more. Photo by Will Rose of London.

Age 21 to cycle alone???

I feel sorry for whomever's parents reported 21 years as the minimum age to bicycle alone!
Researchers at the University of Colorado in Denver surveyed 954 households with children aged from one to 14 to find out at what age parents thought children could safely engage in unsupervised, potentially risky activities.

Parents reported a wide range of acceptable ages for unsupervised activity -- from six to 21 years to cycle alone.
Read more: Parents disagree on when kids are safe alone. I allowed -- nay, encouraged -- my son to bike to school alone when he was in 4th grade. I walked to school alone as a first grader.

The past and future of cycling

"The Prologue" by Craig Richardson. Used with permission. See more of his Tour de France 2007 photos at his photostream.
Da Square Wheelman has an nice essay about how futuristic cycling seemed back at the turn of the last century.
Back in the last years of the 19th century, it was all about love. Bikes were the cutting-edge choice of the forward-looking Avant Garde. But with the fin de siecle came the fin du cycle as the epitome of all things modern. While declaring his joy of mechanical force in the Manifesto of Futurism, F. T. Marinette quite literally sideswiped bikes. The manifesto's preamble described a reckless, high-speed joy ride which inspired Marinette to become the father of 20th Century Futurism.
Read more at Slowmotion Revolution.

Speaking of the past, Dave Moulton blogs about cycling's past on occasion. He writes about personalities such as Jean Robic: "the little giant" who won the 1947 Tour de France; or technical items such as this one about so-called "suicide shifters."

Bike Snob opened up the time capsule to poke some fun at product innovation from early 90s and made his predictions of what we'll all lampoon twenty years from now.

I like technology and shiny new things, agog over the amazing technology in use in the Tour de France and I'm looking forward to new stuff at Interbike. It's always good to reminisce and remember, though, and appreciate how simple the bike really is.

Bicycle lending library

Fort Collins aims to increase bicycles for transportation

The city of Fort Collins, Colorado, received a federal grant to pay for a new bicycle lending program. According to city bike coordinator Dave Kemp, "We are encouraging daily trips around Fort Collins by a bicycle instead of a car. We're trying to make it easy to bike instead of use a car. We want a clean city to live in."

The Fort Collins Bicycle Library, scheduled to begin in early 2008, will make 50 bikes available for free use from various locations around town. The program, a joint effort between FC Bikes and Bike Fort Collins, will offer road bikes for the business person who wants to bike the commute rather than drive, cargo bikes for anyone who needs to deliver packages or take items with them and cruisers for those who are looking for a recreational trip.

Read more in the Coloradoan. See also this profile on Dave "DK" Kemp.

Doping pledge.... for bloggers

"Bicycles Espresso" by Bob Travaglione.
Frank Steele unveils some troubling evidence of doping among our ranks!
Marcello at Velochimp? Espresso fiend. Phil at Spinopsys? Absolutely obsessed with beer. Elden at FatCyclist.com? Let's just say French reporters have found evidence of Red Bull in garbage cans outside his hotel room.

During the 1996 Tour, under pressure from my sponsors, I briefly tried a topical anti-inflammatory that may have been on the World Anti-Doping Agency banned list.
Frank exhorts cycling bloggers to take his blogger's anti-doping pledge. Read it here.