Friday, February 29, 2008

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Check out this article. In an effort to address a parking shortage, Ripon College, a small liberal arts college in Wisconsin, is giving incoming freshman a Trek 820 mountain bike, a helmet, and a lock if they promise not to bring a car to campus for a full year. Here's an excerpt from the article:

"We're a residential college with a beautiful, historic campus in the middle of a small town," said President David Joyce, an avid cyclist. "Paving it over was not an option I was willing to consider."

He hopes the 1,000-student campus' "Velorution Program" will protect it from building more parking lots.

"We obviously live in a car culture. That's not about to change," Joyce said. "But if a significant number of students learn that a car isn't a necessity at this stage of their lives, that's good enough for me."

Is this what they mean by "limited government"

Now the FBI is opening an investigation into whether Roger Clemens lied under oath before Congress a few weeks ago when he testified that he never took steroids.

This whole episode is an embarrassment. We are a country bogged down in a zillion dollar war, a good portion of our citizens have no health insurance, and the economy is in the tank. The solution: waste Congress's time and our taxpayer money by holding Congressional hearings about whether there is a steroid problem in baseball. Then start another investigation into whether a washed up pitcher lied about taking roids.

A few observations:

1. Remember when the Floyd Landis scandal broke and American mainstream media sports news people summarily dismissed cycling as a fraudulent sport while continuing to treat the Big 3 "American" sports as clean and legitimate? Now that was funny.

2. Any politician, from either party, who seriously takes part in these hearings should be ashamed of themselves.

3. Any politician who claims that he/she stands for "limited government" but supports these government hearings on steroid use in baseball (a non-governmental organization, last time I checked) should be ashamed of themselves.

4. Just ride your bike and screw all of these dirty athletes.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

But why are we offended?

JimmyNick recently re-opened some old wounds by talking about the 105.7 WMJI morning show with Lanigan and Malone. These are the two who, a few years ago, commiserated with on-air callers about how bikes don't belong on the road as they discussed the best way to "take out" cyclists (throwing things at them, dooring them, etc.).

Apparently Lanigan recently got worked up on the air over another species of worthless life forms....pedestrians who have the audacity to walk on plowed streets instead of on the unplowed sidewalks in the winter.

It's pretty obvious that allowing someone like Lanigan (or pretty much any other morning talk radio dj) to get under your skin is about as much of a waste of time as listening to his crappy show. But still, many people do listen to and actually look up to this guy.

So why am I personally offended by this guy's antics? It's all an act, right? A show. Entertainment. I'm the first person to believe that humor is best when it's irreverent and offensive. I liked the movie The Aristocrats. If the Onion wrote one of its satirical articles advocating taking out cyclists, I would probably find it hilarious. Same if if Conan did it in a monologue.

So why does Lanigan burn our blood?


You just know that, to some extent, he's not kidding. You know that some people calling in really want to take out a cyclist. You know that Lanigan also knows this but allows the hateful banter to continue. You know that Lanigan really can't stand it when pedestrians want to commute to wherever they're going without walking in 10 inches of snow or treacherous ice. That's why. It's not because we're some kind of thin skinned lefties who get our spandex or rolled up jeans or cargo shorts in a knot every time someone challenges us. It's because they're not kidding. And we know it.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Watching the Tour of California and learning new things every day

Today's final stage of the Tour of California was a blast to watch. Congrats to George Hincapie on the stage win and Levi Leipheimer on the overall victory. Here is a photo from Saturday's start line courtesy of Peter Rupert, a former local racer who recently moved to Santa Barbara to escape our lovely winters. Check out Tom Boonen and Mario Cipollini discussing where they are going to go clubbing that night:


Around here, the weather was decent enough to ride both days this weekend. I'm sure glad I did, because I learned something very interesting on Saturday from a guy in a large pickup truck who passed us while we were abiding the law and riding a double file paceline on a country road. He zoomed past us, hollered at us, stopped at the next intersection, then proceeded to make up some numbers that supposedly represented the section of the Ohio Revised Code that said cyclists must ride single file. He was a pretty smart feller. Thanks for the advice, Tex.

If anyone cares, here's a link to the section of the Code that says Tex is wrong (unless you are in a city that has passed its own single file law):

(B) Persons riding bicycles or motorcycles upon a roadway shall ride not more than two abreast in a single lane, except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles or motorcycles.

Friday, February 22, 2008


we're happy because we run

A recent article in the Cleveland Free Times talks about an elusive pack of wild dogs that lives in and around Rockefeller Park by MLK Blvd. These days, the dogs are chasing cyclists and joggers on the bike path more often, there are more dogs, and the chasers give up less easily than they did in the past. Wild dogs are and have always been a problem on this stretch of road ever since I bought my first road bike in 1999 and rode MLK on my "Rock Hall and back" loop.

These days I am rarely chased by dogs on my normal routes, which include many rural roads in eastern Cuyahoga, Geauga, and Lake counties. But, whenever I ride out of town, I am always chased by at least one dog. It really takes the fun out of riding when you must approach every house you pass with caution and attentiveness and be ready at any point to engage in a 30 second sprint while hoping the dog gives up the chase.

Here's to responsible dog owners everywhere who keep their pets (and us cyclists) safe by keeping dogs off of the streets. Because my idea of sharing the road only goes so far.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Great News!

Here's some great news for Cleveland area cyclists. As opposed to being dangerously cold, as it was for the last two days, tomorrow is supposed to warm up and only be obnoxiously cold for those of us who want to commute to work or sneak in a ride sometime during the day. Hurray!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Yield to Life

American pro roadie Dave Zabriskie has started a non-profit organization dedicated to making the roads safer for cyclists. It is called Yield to Life. He's also heavily involved in a Salt Lake City, UT Bikes for Kids organization.

Hats off to this guy...he's a real class act and not too shabby of a time trialist either.

Yield to Life's mission statement states in part:

Yield to Life will engage in a vigorous awareness campaign to promote positive attitudes toward cyclists and replace any hostility that exists between motorists and cyclists with understanding, respect, and appreciation for all life on the road. Safety for every cyclist is the top priority of Yield to Life.

Cycling is a healthy, life-affirming, environmentally-sound activity that adds value to anyone’s life. Since cyclists' lives are often in motorists’ hands, motorists must understand the vital role they play in a cyclist's safety.

Yield to Life will concentrate on road-rule education programs for motorists and cyclists alike through driver's education programs, public awareness movements and media campaigns in order to ensure a safer and more harmonious environment for all those on the road.

Yield to Life will engage in a hands-on educational program with target audiences that range from school assemblies to corporate conventions. Workshops will be created to arm cyclists with tips for navigating through traffic and tools for riding in a safe and responsible manner. Yield to Life will work on a database for cyclists to find the best, the safest and the most accommodating roads for commuting and for recreation.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Rock and Republic

Don't worry, this is not a post about doping in pro cycling.

But, I have to say that this Rock and Republic Pro Cycling Team is a trip. For those unaware, some rich cycling fanatic who runs Rock and Republic clothing company (famous for its jeans) is bankrolling a a pro cycling team. He's outspoken, he swears a lot, and he fits into cycling culture about as well as his Cadillac and Rolls Royce team cars fit in with all of the Euro wagons normally used in pro races.* I don't know if this guy is going to be pro cycling's savior or its downfall, but the whole spectacle is sure entertaining to watch.

About as entertaining as Rock and Republic's website, whose tagline is Sexy denim inspired by rock and roll, with emphasis on modern silhouettes and sleek fit.

Because nothing screams of rock and roll's sense of rebellion and anti-establishment ethos like a pair of $326.00 blue jeans.

* I just read today, however, that the Cadillac automobile was named after a 17th century French explorer who founded Detroit in 1701. If that's true, it means that perhaps Caddies do fit in the European pro race caravan. It also means that there are a lot of red blooded 'Mericans (including Boss Hog) who are unknowingly driving around in a car named after a French guy. Now that's funny.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

One Down

The first road race of the season is officially in the bag. The Frostie Toes Road Race was today just noth of Columbus. The promoter raced the 1/2/3 and 3/4 fields together but scored them separately. Around 17 riders at the line for 3 laps of a 9.2 mile circuit. A break formed about halfway through the race and, after a hard bridge by two of us, all Team SBR's found ourselves on the right end of the break (myself, Chris B, and Pete S.) We took 4-5-6 overall, 3-4-5 in the 3/4 field. Onward to Mid-Ohio.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Another good seminar (for a good cause), and (gasp) a race!

Bike Authority is hosting another bike injury-related seminar this Tuesday and charging an "admission" of one can of food for the Cleveland Food Bank. Note: If you can afford fancy bikes, you can probably pony up more than one can of food for the Food Bank, which is a very good local organization.

Bike Injury Prevention Date: 2-19-2008
Time: tuesday @ 06:00:00
Description Bike Injury Prevention: Importance of Core stability, Muscle Balance, and Flexibility by Susan Masturzo, PT Summa-Health.
Meeting at Bike Authority. Please register early as it will fill up quickly!
Admission is free, we do ask a donation of one can of food that will be donated to the Cleveland Food Bank.

In other news, people who call themselves friends are trying to convince me to do the Frostie Toes Road Race this Saturday just north of Columbus.

Friends don't let friends do February road races in Ohio...unless of course the weather is ok (supposed to be dry), and I don't have to get up too early (1:30 start), and the course is flat (check). Shoot, I may be running out of excuses here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Rec

Katie and I recently visited a local municipal rec center using some free passes from my sister. It was encouraging to see so many people (young and old) exercising. The experience, however, reminded me that I am NOT, nor will I ever become, a regular rec center/exercise club person.

If the weather dictates that I cannot ride, I prefer to either run outside or ride inside in the privacy of my house, listening to my own music (not on headphones), and not being subjected to watching either soap operas or Roger Clemens' bloated self testify before a Congressional Committte about Major League Baseball's steroid scandal. I couldn't care less.

If I am going to delve into the world of exercising with weights, I also prefer to do so at my own house for all of the above reasons...and because whatever chemicals that lady uses to obsessively clean off the weight machines every 10 seconds truly scares me. I'd rather take my chances of catching the superbug, thank you very much.

And is it a rule that personal trainers at places like this have to take themselves way too seriously? Just wondering.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Do they make handmade car alarms for bikes?

According to this article on

...the vast majority of booths at this year's NAHBS [North American Hand Made Bicycle Show, being held in Portland, Oregon] had some sort of city bike or utilitarian commuter on display. Whether that stands as an indicator of growing trends in the marketplace, the local influence of the commuter-infused Portland scene, or a direct consequence of rising energy costs, it doesn't really matter: townies are still arguably the reigning genre of choice at NAHBS.

I find this fascinating and encouraging. More commuter bikes means more people using bikes as transportation, less cars, more incidental exercise, the list goes on. But who is willing to lay out the cash for a relatively expensive handmade commuter bike to beat on in the rain, snow, and sleet? A bike to leave outside the coffee shop, grocery store, or bar while dozens of degenerates and potential thieves walk past and eye your prized handbuilt, custom painted, steel lugged masterpiece as they wait for that split second when no one is watching so they can steal a bike they will never come close to appreciating.

Maybe I'm just cynical. Maybe I'm paranoid. Or maybe these people's bikes are insured.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Friday, February 08, 2008

Lets show some love when the local media covers us

Kudos to local racer and Plain Dealer writer Jim Nichols for his recent PD article on locally based domestic/European pro roadie Brooke Miller. Anyone who has ridden with Brooke knows that she works her tail off and deserves every bit of success she has achieved at the highest levels of pro cycling.

So now is our chance to voice our support for the PD's coverage of cycling. We cyclists do a very good job of complaining about the mass media's lack of coverage of our sport/hobby/mode of transportation/life's obsession. Let's let the PD know that we appreciate this article and would love more cycling coverage, from commuting and advocacy issues to race coverage. Call them, e-mail them, do whatever. You are a target market, and your voice as a consumer is only heard when you raise it.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Sorry about that gun, sweetie!!

According to this story from the BikePortland blog, this ad ran in the "missed connections" section of the Portland area

To the girl who ran into my car door on her bike -
As you peddled away crying, I realized that I had over reacted. I was having a bad day and had just spent a lot of money on a new paint job, but pulling a gun on you was out of line. I’d like to make a formal apology in person. Over a bottle of wine and/or dinner, perhaps?

I would venture to guess that the author of this post is not too bright since he/she?? just admitted to committing a pretty serious crime on a public message board.

There is some debate as to whether this ad was serious or a joke. If it was a joke, it's really not that funny (kind of like this blog). And, the joke could actually be on him if the cops were to follow up on the ad and make him explain why he "jokingly" admitted to a crime.

The best part of the ad, if true, is the fact that the driver seems to almost be looking for a date with the girl on whom he pulled his gun. A real Don Juan. It would be like posting an ad on Craigslist that said: "To that lady I mercilessly beat to a pulp yesterday and stole your watch....please forgive me, and let me take you out for a bottle of chianti and some good conversation next week."

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A bit late, and a lame name.

1) I apologize for the last minute those who have not heard about it, Bike Authority in Broadview Heights, Ohio is hosting this event tonight:

Common Injuries that plague people during race season
Date: 2-5-2008 Time: tuesday @ 06:00:00
Description: Renowned Dr. Nilesh Shah from Summa-Health will discuss common injuries (tendonitis…etc.) that plague people throughout the race season that they ignore… but focus on recovering and rehabbing to set them up for a good season next year. Attendance is strictly limited to 28, please sign up early! Meeting held at Bike Authority Store.
E-mail: Admission is free, we do ask a donation of one can of food that will be donated to the Cleveland Food Bank.

2) According to this article on, pro road race squad Team High Road (formerly known as T-Mobile) has changed its headquarters from Germany to San Luis Obispo, California. This appears to be great news for cycling in America, as the more UCI pro teams HQ'd in this country the better.

So, I'm reluctant to be a Negative Norby here, but Team High Road has to be the most banal and self righteous team name...ever.* I applaud the team's extensive doping controls, which is the reason for the name. But, the name itself seems to invite derision from other teams, as it implies that they and they alone are the high and mighty "clean" team of the pro peloton. Plus, the name incorporates no humor, irony, modesty, or any form of self awareness that it sounds like it was coined by someone in a government propaganda program.

The team has a sizable budget from which it could have a paid a halfway decent creative marketing person or firm to come up with....well anything better than Team High Road.

C'mon guys, I really dig the message, but the name has to go.

* I do realize that some may accuse me of hypocrisy for mocking the name of Team High Road while recently criticizing those who took issue with the name of the Portland volunteer organization called Portland Bike Militia that provides bike escorts to those who feel safer riding with a companion, especially at night. To be honest, I have no defense to these accusations of hypocrisy, but I stand by my position that Team High Road is the lamest name imaginable.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Post Industrial

Today Chris B, Dan M., and I did a version of what we call the Post Industrial Ride. The ride involves catching the Metroparks and taking the Bedford/Tinkers Creek Reservation down to Canal Road, where we catch the bike path near Rockside Road and head towards town. The path goes to Harvard, then restarts near the Steelyard Commons shopping center and takes you towards Tremont. The ride then goes through downtown, then home. For me, it was about 55 miles today.

The name of the ride originates from the aesthetically pleasing but unpleasant smelling stretch of the ride between Granger Rd. and downtown. The old railroad bridges, giant fuel tanks, steel mills, and other assorted industrial detritus along the bike path create a neat vibe. We also rode over those two pretty nifty zillion dollar pedestrian/bike bridges by Granger.

Another fun fact of the industrial part of this ride is that once, a few years ago on a night ride, a friend and I encountered a 50 pound beast plopped squarely in the middle of the bike path next to the canal. When I called the Metroparks the next day to inquire about what we may have possibly encountered, the excited woman on the phone congratulated me for my sighting of a giant beaver. No joke.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

A multiple choice game

Area cyclists must not be hip to the idea of riding on a 30 degree Saturday with slight flurries and a 101% chance of black ice. On my little 3, and then 4, and then 3, and then 4, and then 2-person group ride today, we encountered only one other cyclist the entire 3 hours we were out there, and that cyclist was local endurance pro Ernie of Solo Goat fame.

Does that make us:

a) dedicated;
b) stupid;
c) sexy;
d) stupid sexy; or
e) any combination of the above?

Friday, February 01, 2008

I hope...

...that there is special place in the afterlife reserved for those who do things like steal the Michigan Mountain Biking Association (MMBA) Kids Trailer.