Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Screw Big Oil

I got one of those chain e-mails this morning. You know, the kind in which the sender says he's sending it to 30 people, and if each of them sends it to 20 or 30 more, and each of them ... blah, blah, blah. The message was that we should all protest rising gas prices by not buying from Exxon or Mobil, thereby putting pressure on them to lower prices. If that's what blows your dress up, go right ahead. But I have a simpler idea: Buy less gas. If you want to send a message to the oil companies, give 'em a good, swift kick to the 'nads by gassing up once a month instead of twice a week. With gas headed toward four bucks per gallon, there's never been a better time.

I've actually enjoyed this summer's high gas prices because I've seen more people riding bikes on the trail I use to get to work. One morning, I saw six bike commuters in a short stretch where I typically see none. Most of them had the look of people who were new to it; they were using combinations of cheap and old equipment and had the bewildered look of people who weren't quite sure they had figured out what they were doing. (Am I going the right way on this trail? Did I remember to pack my pants?) Some of them actually looked like they were having fun on their way to work for the first time in years.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Maybe there's reason for hope

Who knew the Federal Highway Administration has guidelines for bicycle parking and storage? Does this mean a couple of my tax dollars weren't wasted? This could turn my whole world upside down.

Too bad we don't have more cities like San Francisco, where the municipal government installs new parking meters and then provides instructions on how to properly lock bikes to them. Nice job by the folks at the San Francisco Bicycle Program.

Speaking of bike storage, I'd like to see these outside some buildings in Anchorage. Very cool.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Fatter than ever

Just what I needed -- another bike on which to focus my lust. Anchorage singlespeeder Pat Irwin is taking Alaska mountain biking into new terrain with his Surly Pugsly and its monstrously fat tires. Check it out in the Alaska forum at

It's happening Down Under, too.

It's only a matter of time until these cool machines fall into nefarious hands and end up being used as the human-powered equivalent of monster trucks. It could lead to a great new side event at mountain bike races. Pile up some Huffys and ride over 'em like Bigfoot smashing a bunch of old Chevy Impalas.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Friday, August 26, 2005

Uh ...

I'm at a loss to even describe this story. But when titles like "Nocturnal Penile Tumescence and Rigidity Testing in Bicycling Patrol Officers" present themselves, you just have to get on the bus and see where it takes you.

He kicked your asses. Get over it.

Most cycling fans have long known that the French press salivates over the prospect of shaming Lance Armstrong. Now that L'Equipe (click here for Velonews coverage in English) has launched its latest attack, even Miguel Indurian -- who is rarely heard from these days -- has spoken up on to say, "They have been out to get him in France for a number of years."

You can bet your ass that if it was a Frenchman who just won his seventh straight Tour, no one would be picking up L'Equipe this week and reading stories about urine samples from the '99 Tour.

Still, it's frustrating and troubling news if you're a fan. I've never denied that, despite all my hopes to the contrary, Armstrong could be as dirty as the next guy. I still hope he's clean. But while reading more coverage last night, it occurred to me that if this was happening in any other sport, I probably wouldn't believe the athlete's denials.

So why believe Armstrong? Well, the guy is such a biological anomaly that it's certainly easy to believe he could have done it all clean.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Go Gonzo

Newspaper writer Jay Ambrose has done a column to state his belief that Hunter S. Thompson was a hypocrite, a stoned and unhappy drunk and an overrated writer. His arguments hinge largely on Thompson's mean-spiritedness, his sophomoric sense of humor and his lifestyle.

A tightly restricted sphincter apparently inhibits one's ability to appreciate hyberbole, sarcasm and visceral humor. Ambrose, you pedantic prick, I have news for ya: "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" wasn't exactly an example of straight, factual reporting. I believe there was a just a bit of embellishment and bullshit involved.

Thompson's lifestyle choices and his happiness (or lack of it) are irrelevant to his work. If we dismiss the work of every tortured soul who wrote, composed music or painted while living a difficult life, we're going to have a lot of empty shelf space in libraries and museums.

The world has enough uptight newspaper columnists. I'd like to see a few more passionate writers who know how to drink, shoot guns, and rip the throats out of the neo-cons.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Gotta love that hoopty ride

I was eating lunch in my office today when I came across this image from somewhere in Iraq. It's a great reminder that the fun and freedom that's found on a bicycle is common to kids everywhere. Sure, maybe that kid on the right is the class geek who gets his ass kicked on a regular basis because he rides around on a bike loaded with 37 rear-view mirrors and enough plastic crap to fill a Humvee. For all we know he's the neighborhood nerd, but you've gotta love the passion. When he pedals that pimped-out bad boy around the block, he thinks he's The Shit. And I hope the feeling lasts. It's hard to hide a car bomb on a bicycle.

The photo is from the Army's 411th Civil Affairs Battalion's video and photo gallery.

Speaking of Iraq, this Boston Globe editorial, via the folks at, is something everyone should think about.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The crazy guy

This disturbing picture appeared this morning with a story on the website of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. The story was about the editor of Bicycling Magazine (and several other journalists) going mountain biking with Dubya. I find it a little distressing that the village idiot happens to look like that crazy, bike-riding homeless guy we've all encountered at some point. You know, the guy who at first glance looks pretty normal, but then you get close and he has that disheveled appearance and crazy look in his eye. Then he sees that you ride a bike too, so he starts ranting in some slurred, indecipherable speech pattern about the voices in his head, the FBI's plot to kill him, some sort of "axis of evil," weapons of mass destruction in Iraq ...

You know what has to be done. Keep moving. Avoid eye contact. You don't mess with crazy people.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Weekend pass from juvenile hall

What kind of desperate, pathetic need for attention inspires some low-life dipshit to mark his family's visit to a park bench by defacing it with a Sharpie? And what does "Damon P.O.C." mean, anyway? Damon Piece of Crap? Damon, wherever you may be, you need a serious ass whuppin.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Why sit in traffic?

Some mornings are just too perfect for going inside when I get to the office, and this was one of them. This lake is two blocks behind my office and is bordered on the far shore by a paved bike path that is part of my ride to work. I sometimes throw my lunch in a rack trunk and ride here for an hour in the middle of the day. A co-worker rode by this spot on her way home one day this week and saw a moose swimming across the lake. I was only five minutes behind her, but it was gone when I passed by.

On the other hand, I did get to see a large brown bear during a trail ride last night. I was riding with a friend who crashed on an exposed tree root and knocked her handlebar out of alignment. Rather than fix it in the woods, where the mosquitoes were thick, we rode a short distance ahead and stopped in an open area beside a creek. As I finished adjusting her bar, my friend said, "Oh my God, that's a BIG BEAR!" I spun around in the direction she was looking and saw an adult brownie in the grass on the other side of the creek. It was a nearly perfect bear sighting: close range, fairly good visibility despite the tall grass and, best of all, by the time I saw it, the bear was already starting to run the other way. Can't ask for more than that.