Where I can play with fire
Monday, December 31, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
A few days ago I talked about a great road ride in WV that I love to do. That got me thinking about this photo, which Katie took last year during our trip out there. We stayed in a ski condo near the top of Snowshoe Mountain, and this bear came right up to our deck for two straight evenings during dinner time. Thankfully the deck was elevated about eight feet above the ground below.
(Crazy) people in these condos must feed the bears from their decks.....great idea. He (she??) actually looked pretty harmless, except for the fact that it was a 300 pound black bear.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Thank you for mocking the proposed bicycle commuter tax credit on the floor of the United States House of Representatives on December 6, 2007. Thank you for ensuring that this $240 personal tax credit over 15 months was deleted from the recently passed Energy Bill. Thank you for ensuring that our government sends a message that alternative means of transportation, such as bicycling to work, are laughable. The scarce resource oil is at a staggering high price, America is being crippled by obesity-related diseases, yet you, as House Minority Leader, mock a measly $240 tax credit for doing something responsible to better our health and our environment.
Don't worry though...the "hummer tax loophole" was reinstated into the bill that passed. We may not want to reward those who commute to work by bike with a $240 tax credit, but by gosh we will reward small-business owners and the self-employed by allowing them to claim tax deductions up to $25,000 for large, 6000 lb+ luxury vehicles that are not even necessary for their businesses.
A link to the BikePortland story on this issue is here, which includes an audio clip of the part of the speech that pertains to the bicycling commuting tax credit.
A link to the website of the esteemed Congressman Boehner is here, which includes a YouTube video of his entire 12-6-07 speech.
A link to an NPR article about the "hummer tax loophole" is here.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
The other neat thing about this road is that they close it to vehicles during the winter but keep it open to cross country skiers and hikers.
Start at the parking lot at U.S. 219 and W.V. S.R. 150, a few miles north of Marlinton, WV. If you're in the area, stop by by the Dirtbean bike shop, inn, and training center.
I don't have any photos of the route itself, but you can find some here and here and here.
I do have a photo of this thing, however, which we found a few years ago along the off-road hiking/biking trail less than a mile from the parking lot where you begin the ride:
This picture describes how I felt after completing this ride the last time I did it while chasing Pete S. the whole time, who, according to him "was feeling good" that day.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
In 2006, the OBF successfully advocated for changes in Ohio's bicycling laws.
The organization has now just recently submitted HB 390 to the Ohio House. A link to the proposed changes in the law (additions are underlined, deletions are crossed out) can be found here.
Although HB 390 proposes several changes to the current law, the most significant ones (in my opinion) are this one:
When the operator of a vehicle...overtakes a bicycle
or other slow vehicle, the operator shall pass at a distance of
not less than three feet between the vehicle...and the bicycle or other slow vehicle.
Three feet. Is that too much to ask for?
...and this one:
(A) The driver of a vehicle...who approaches an intersection where traffic is controlled by traffic control signals shall do all of the following, if the signal facing the driver either exhibits no colored lights or colored lighted arrows or exhibits a combination of such lights or arrows that fails to clearly indicate the assignment of right-of-way or if the signals are otherwise inoperative, including due to failure of a vehicle detector to detect the vehicle:
(1) Stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, stop
before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the
intersection, or, if none, stop before entering the intersection;
(2) Yield the right-of-way to all vehicles, streetcars, or
trackless trolleys in the intersection or approaching on an
intersecting road, if the vehicles, streetcars, or trackless
trolleys will constitute an immediate hazard during the time the
driver is moving across or within the intersection or junction of
(3) Exercise ordinary care while proceeding through the
Yes, the second one has to do with not being ticketed for going through an intersection when the traffic light's vehicle detector does not detect your carbon race machine.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP THIS BILL PASS
Go to this link to the Ohio House of Representatives. Enter your address (including full zip code) to find your representative. Call and e-mail your representative (and write a letter if you're feeling really motivated) to remind him/her that you are a cyclist who votes and that you support HB 390. When you call, you will probably talk to some office assistant. That is fine. They are paid to answer phones and take messages for their boss. Be kind to him/her and politely ask him/her to relay your message to House Member _____ .
Occasionally check the OBF website to track the progress of this bill. Once it makes its way to the Senate (which it will, especially after all of you contact your House Representatives to support the bill), find the contact info for your Ohio Senator and contact him/her in support of the bill. When it is sent to the Governor to sign, contact the Governor.
This whole democracy thing works great when you, as an informed voter, actively use it to your advantage.
This process of contacting your Representative takes a few minutes from beginning to end (call and e-mail!!), and is the most important thing relating to bicycling that you can do today. (Yes, it is more important than downloading and obsessively analyzing your power data from your most recent ride!!)
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
But, how many of you have seen the lesser known but just as entertaining movies 2 Seconds or Red Light Go? If you have, you get two "cool factor" points, which you may whip out anytime someone accuses you of being square.
Here is a summary of 2 Seconds (1998) from Yahoo Movies:
A woman named Laurie is fired from her team because she is now considered too old for the reckless job of downhill mountain bike racing. She comes back to Montreal and moves in with her brother, a physicist who devotes his time between girlfriend hunting and relativity theories. Obsessed with time and speed herself, Laurie tries to make a living as a bike messenger in the city jungle. By chance, she comes across the shop of a grumpy old Italian man named Lorenzo, a former road cycling champion now holed up in the back of his shop building wheels. Lorenzo instantly detests Laurie, but the young woman is stubborn and keeps coming back. One night, they decide to face each other in a peculiar duel. Lorenzo shows Laurie how every victory is relative and that-speaking of relativity-speed is not the only way to bring time to a halt.
Downhill racing, bike messengers, and a cantankerous elderly Italian ex-roadie who talks about his old road racing days...does it get any better? The movie was filmed in Montreal, is not rated, and, if I recall, has some "adult oriented" scenes. Here is a link to its IMDB entry:
Red Light Go was released in 2002 and is a documentary about messengers and alley cat racing in NYC. Here is a review from IMDB:
Author: gleng1 from New York
This is a terrific documentary about life as a bike messenger in New York City. We meet several messengers by day, when they wrassle with NYC taxis, bad weather, crowds, traffic, and indifferent customers while delivering packages and documents all over town at high speed.By night and on the weekends the messengers participate in alleycat racing -- illegal races through the city. The racers must each stop at several checkpoints, but they can hit them in any order. The racing section of the film focuses on the scariest race of the year -- at night, on Halloween, in Manhattan, during rush hour. Fun to watch, but not for the faint of heart to ride.
I saw this movie in 2004 at the Cleveland Film Fest, then took part in an alley cat race immediately following the film. It was about 40 degrees and raining. Hard. The beer afterwards made up for the discomfort, as did the free Once cycling cap (that I still wear) courtesy of Spin Bike Shop.
The movie itself is pretty entertaining. I had a lot of respect for the "lifer" messengers (10+ years on the job). The others were ok, but some were clearly living their counterculture lifestyle on their parents' dime and were trying way too hard to look like financially struggling hipsters. Last time I checked, a 23-ish year old messenger living in NYC probably can't afford a $200 wool retro jersey without some help.
Here's a link to the movie's official site:
So now you have some movies to watch this holiday season. Enjoy
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
This petition to the UCI was authored by Georgia Gould, whom I greatly respect for having the courage to speak out on this issue. Regardless of your views on this topic, you have to give her props for standing up for something in which she believes.
Here is a link to an interview with her on Velonews.com. Read it before you make up your mind on this issue. http://www.velonews.com/race/cyc/articles/13802.0.html
And yes, my blog is named after my cat.