Tuesday, December 22, 2009
After I was lawfully stopped in the right lane and signaling for a right turn at the intersection of Jenks-Carpenter and Highhouse road this morning ( 7:50AM, 12/22/09) in Cary, NC, you pulled up next to me in the right turn lane. When I initiated my right turn, you proceeded to try to pass me in the intersection while making a right turn yourself, thereby cutting me off and forcing me to come to a stop halfway through my turn to avoid hitting you.
Although I was uninjured and no contact occurred, I wanted to say thanks for being an inconsiderate jerk.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Because confession is good for the soul ( or perhaps for jumpstarting the lack thereof…), I have two stories to relate:
My First Confession:
Wednesday last week, I was driving home ( versus biking home which is my normal routine). I came to an intersection at which there was a combination McDonalds/Gas station on the right, and I was in the right lane, planning on turning into that parking lot when I got there. My right turn signal was on. Traffic was backed up, so I was not near the entrance for that parking lot yet and I was stopped. However, I was right at the entrance for a bank parking lot which connected to the McDonalds parking lot, so I initiated I right turn into that lot. I checked my inside rear view mirror out of reflex, but only saw the big pickup behind me and the SUV stopped behind him. I did NOT check my right side view mirror, as I was in the far right lane already, and I was looking out the right window at the entrance to the bank parking lot ( for you detail sticklers, yes, my side view mirror was technically in my field of view at that point, but I was not focused on it). So, just as I began to turn the steering wheel, but before I let my foot off the brake to hit the gas, a flash of green, black and white blows by me on the right, between my car and the curb. A cyclist passed me in the ~2 ft area to my right at a good clip.
Let me make this perfectly clear; If I had been a bit more aggressive on the gas or starting a small fraction of a second sooner, I would have cut him off. I did not see him until it was too late. Barring a heroic leap over the curb on his right, he would have impacted my car. My guess is that he was doing around 20 mph, in that tight space, he could not have been going much faster. Probably not a fatal accident ( although possible) but certainly a fair amount of bodily injury and property damage.
Although I’m not a lawyer , I suspect he was legally in the wrong. Regardless of the legality, I was disturbed. I put in an awful lot of miles on my bike, so when I drive my car, I am very, very conscious of cyclists. I check mirrors, when I open my car door on the street I always look, I pass very safely, etc. I had seen and passed this same cyclist a mile up the road, but I had not thought that he might be coming up again on my right. He simply was not a part of my situational awareness by the time I got to the intersection, and I darn near collided with him because of it. I feel I made two mistakes: I did not check the side view mirror ASSUMING there was no way for traffic to be there, and I forgot that I had passed a cyclist a while back that may be catching up.
All that being said, and even more disturbing, I used to do EXACTLY what that cyclist did: passing stopped traffic on the right. I previously never considered that a car would do exactly what I had almost done. I stopped doing it because I realized it was generally stupid.
My second confession:
I ran a red light this morning. I don’t mean a red light in the middle of nowhere with no cars as far as the eye can see. I mean I drove though a red light with cars starting to move. I had to do a bit of dodging and weaving. No really close calls, but a clear potential. Why? I don’t know.
I honestly just did not see that the light had just turned red. It was one of those situations where all the other visual signs said “green light”: no cars stopped next to me, no other lanes moving. It was a case of me just being on auto-pilot and not paying attention. The kind of thing that gets people killed. Let me say that I have about 20,000 commuting miles, many of them on that same stretch. I have NEVER had that happen before. I’ve done stupid, dangerous things before, but always as a conscious decision. As far as I know, I have never just blown through a light by mistake. It really shook me up.
That’s two major incidents in under a week. None of which caused any damage, but both certainly woke me up. Its interesting that these events have occurred after I have made a conscious effort this year to become a safer, more careful rider. Apparently this is being offset by the complacency that comes from following the same path over and over.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Drives me batshit to look down and see it has turned itself off for who knows how long...
Monday, September 28, 2009
Last Weeks Miles: 58 ( Total slacker. In my defense, it rained 4 days)
Last Weeks Road Kill: 0
First of all this rocks. It needed to be done and its funny:
Secondly, my Garmin 305 is beginning to try my patience. Its one of those 90/10 things. The device is 90% great. Its the remaining 10% that is beginning to make me nuts.
1.My biggest gripe is that the system will occasionally shut down while riding.
- This apparently is due to vibration breaking the contact between the batteries and the circuit board. This is a common problem.
- I have disassembled and followed the golden path laid down here.
- This only worked for about three months. Its happening again. I moved the unit from my stem to my top tube to see if the lower vibration area will help, as I hate to crack it open again. I'll keep you posted.
3. The 305 only allows 100 "waypoints/coursepoints", which makes it useless for long ride navigation. Disregarding the poor map display on both the device and in Garmin Training Center, in theory you can use http://bikeroutetoaster.com/ to create maps/routes, which is an AWESOME tool. ( I'm sure there are other great tools, so don't take offense if I don't mention your website. Okay, take offense, I don't really care. ) With BRT create your own maps that can be uploaded to devices using TCX or GPX files. EXCEPT a typical map may have hundreds, if not thousands of waypoints. Its not a huge amount of data, as its only text, but its more than the Garmin 305 can handle. Its trivial in actual RAM. Upshot: To use a map created with BRT on your Garmin 305, you have to very manually and vary laboriously trim down the waypoints/coursepoints. It sucks and in some cases is not possible.
So, you would think that the Edge 705 , the latest version, would be better. Nope. Exactly the same.
Garmin is missing a huge boat here. The ability to create routes with BRT/Google/Open Maps is fantastic, but if I can't use it on my Garmin, I'll buy a $10 application for my iPhone ( which does mapping nicely) instead of upgrading to the Edge 705.
If somebody has a workaround, or an update for this, please let me know. I also see this:http://www.geobuddy.com/gps-receivers/Garmin-Edge-705.asp
Which indicates that it may be possible to have more turns or stops than that, up to 250, or up to 500 trackpoints. Not sure how this would work with BRT, but still not enough. For example, a common 60 mile ride I have has over 1,000 waypoints in BRT.
Anyhow, if I CAN't easily crate good maps on my PC and send them to the device, I am not upgrading to the 705 and will find a better alternative. There are several iPhone apps that provide good alternatives. These come with the typical iPhone downsides :
-Comparitively short battery life;
-Tend to stop or fail when phone rings. Poor multitasking.;
-Not water resistant ( depending on case).
Monday, September 21, 2009
Last Weeks Road Kill: 3
No ride on Sunday, spent the day rearranging the Evil Lair at the behest of Mrs. Evil.
I need to spout off on my current peeve, but an ugly, uncomfortable confession is required first.
Okay, there, it's out in the open. There are riders out there that are faster than me, or enjoy me in their rear view as opposed to gazing at my magnificent backside.
To my credit, this typically happens when I am commuting, so mitigating factors include:
- I commute with a 20 lb backpack;
- I'm in no real rush to get to the lab;
- No coffee in system yet;
- The fact that after drafting in my huge wake for the last half hour, the "passer" may be rested and refreshed for the pass.
But, you passing bastards: MAKE SOME NOISE when you pass. Anything from a simple "passing" to a bell or a cough. Don't pass in silence. Its startling and its dangerous.
I, and most riders, can easily hear cars. (Car drivers take note: No need to honk, we know you are there. Exception being the hateful Prius. ) But a cyclist coming from behind blends into the background noise. End result: I don't know you are there until I catch you in my peripheral vision.
I repeat for emphasis: It's startling and it's dangerous. I could swerve a bit to miss some debris and hit you. Or I could hit you out of spite, just for passing me.
All that bloodshed could just be avoided had you, the passing cyclist, just made some noise.
Don't think for a minute that I really want to talk to you. I don't want to exchange pleasantries about how nice it is this time of year. I don't want to have to acknowledge your compliments of my cool ride or bright lighting system, only to have to fabricate half-hearted compliments as replies. I just don't want to get hurt. In return, I promise not to swerve into you or mutter nasty things about you as you continue on your oblivious way. Understood?
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Really nothing like them.
Been slow two weeks. Not many miles. Head cold and odd work schedule.
Yet, I carry on. If my head clears, I'll knock out 30 or 40 miles tomorrow. If still a snot filled bag of agony, less miles.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Trying to decide whether to mount them now, or wait until my Quattros fail.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Some places are just cursed: King Tut's Tomb, the Burmuda Triangle, Madonna's crotch. I have a new place to add, which shall forever be known as:
"Evil Cyclist's Valley of Death"
This area has caused more than half of all the flats I have had over the past four years in which I commuted to the Evil Labs.
Flats are a fact of life when commuting. Typically I deal with them by flogging some minions and then just move on with my life. However, much like Agrajag, I eventually noticed a pattern; this spot was out to get me. My last post concerned a flat in this very same area. I didn't commute again until yesterday, due to a schedule deviation ( i.e. Track Out for the Evil-ettes) and got another flat. I had not even replaced the tube in my seat pack, so I was forced to endure patching the ruptured tube.
I have had at least six flats in this area, all of them involving small bits of wire, thinner than your average staple. The area itself is unremarkable, and although there is some new construction catty corner from where I ride, that has not been there for all the flats. Indeed, the only obvious item of interest is that this area lies in a bit of a valley, so perhaps the rain washes debris to the spot more than others. But why here, one very small part of my entire commute?
Really, I have to believe that this is more than just random chance, not a statistical anomaly, but instead, a delicious, malicious plan. Somebody is trying to "out evil" me.
Who is the plotter? Some clever twit eager to get my off my bike and prove their worth? A spurned ex-lover who stews in her own loss, looking for sweet revenge? An old high school math teach who simply never liked me? I don't know, but I will find out! Then, I will lay out my revenge, for all of you as a warning: Taunt Not the Evil Cyclist!
Monday, September 7, 2009
700x25 if you care, riding at 110 Psi.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Last Weeks Road Kill: 2
Went on a 72 mile ride on Sunday through the rolling NC countryside. Some of it was depressing, as only run down mill towns can be during an economic downturn. Some of it was nice, as only wealthy retirement golf communities can be. As a side note, I was chased by dogs in three different locations. The fastest dog was some very little terrier type who quite frankly hauled ass and did not give up. No huge threat, and rather amusing.
Big news is that I broke another pedal. If you have been following, you know I switched back to Crank Brother Quattros, after my right Speedplay Light Actions self destructed. The earlier switch to Speedplay was after my original Quattro right pedal shaft snapped.
Because I bought a pair of Quattros while waiting for the original pair to return from warranty replacement, I eventually had two pair of very lightly used Quattros, one set black and the other blue.
I was riding the black set on Sunday when I started to notice a very annoying squeal during each pedal stroke. This was at about mile 30 of a long unsupported ride, so mechanical failure would be a major problem. The sound seemed to come from my left foot, so I popped out my shoe and noticed the outside endplate was missing and the fasteners that went through the pedal to the inside end plates were just sticking out unsecured. Here is a picture of the damaged pedal in comparison to a picture of a healthy pedal showing the parts. The big circle shows the missing piece and the little circles show where the fasteners come through the pedal.
I have no idea when the end cap dropped off. I never heard it fall, and I have not hit anything that would cause damage.
Apparently, that cap serves to hold some type of bearing and its grease in place. Lack of these two items in some form was causing the squealing. However, I had no real choice but to carry on. Other than the very annoying noise, and some wobble and drag, the pedals still worked fine. Because suspense is a major stress creator, and I don't want to kill you by misplaced concern, rest assured that I completed all 72 miles.
So, I have a spare Quattros, which have already been installed ( although the blue looks awful on the new hotness), and I will send the defective item back to Crank Bros to see if they will replace it. I also have the Speedplay pedals coming back soon, so I am not stranded, or really even greatly inconvenienced, but the big question is:
Why are my pedals failing?
My original Shimano 105 ( Look compatible) pedals lasted for thousands of miles before finally wearing out, not really failing. My first set of Crank bros Quattros were probably good for about 10,000 miles. But I have gone through three different pedals in the last roughly 1,500 miles. I'm lighter than I have ever been, I maintain them properly, no wrecks, accidents or abuse, and still they fail. Grrrrr...
I will keep you posted on how Crank bros handles this failure, and when I get the Speedplay's back.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I'm finding it hard to be too cynical right now. Not that there's not plenty of crummy stuff ( queue The Ramones) going on in the world, all of which may or may not be part of my Evil Master Plan. However, I'm not ready to get into politics quite yet on this corner or the blogsphere. In my little world, insofar as cycling is concerned, things are as they should be.
I had contacted SpeedPlay about my exploding pedal, and the were very good about providing Return Authorization. I sent the pedals in on Friday, and Ill let you know when they come back. In the mean time I am kind of enjoying the Crank Bros. Quattros.
The latest issue of Bicycle magazine came the other day. Plenty to ridicule, so stay tuned.
I still chuckle when I look at the old issue that calls Lance Armstrong "Mr. Millimeter"
Monday, August 24, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Many of you have been slavishly waiting for pictures of my new ride, slobbering, drooling over the prospect, hoping that just seeing my incredible mount will somehow bring you closer to me. The wait is over. I have enough miles on it to unveil it. Like many primitive tribes who wait to name children until they are sure they will survive, I waited to unveil this bike until I knew it was right.
A little background: As you may recall, I had been riding an all aluminum Cannondale frame for somewhere in the neighborhood of the last 15 to 20 thousand miles. That frame finally cracked. No hard feelings, lesser beings have cracked earlier under the weight of my evilness.
That long term ride had no components from the factory left on it. All components had been replaced over the years. Let me make an important point about replacement items for me. Everything on there was on there because it earned the right to be there. Almost everything on that bike went through several iterations before I arrived at the component that worked best for me. I don't really care what it cost ( compared to a car, anything you put on a bike is still cheap, as long as you are not a fad follower ), weight was never a huge factor, I don't give a rat's ass if Bicycle Magazine or my local bike shop recommended it ( in fact, that was usually a negative, as I was then sure those recommendations had been bought and paid for) and generally only took the advice of my fellow riders with a grain of salt. Really the only "pro" whose opinion I really listened to was the late Sheldon Brown.
Why? Because a bike, more so than almost every other means of transportation, is a highly personal device. I'm not like any other rider. I'm not nearly the same size as the "average" rider. I don't ride like many riders. I'll not a sucker for the latest fad, flash or fashion. I don't race. And...I don't care what other people think. I put the very best components, based on true function, fit and durability on my bike, then I ride the snot out of it.
So the new ride has most of the same old components. Only real change was the front derailleur, as it was a clamp on, and the seat tube sizes were different.
The "new hotness" is really based on an "old school" carbon and aluminum bonded frame, the Trek 2300. I was looking for a steel ,lugged Italian frame, but this one caught my eye, and after more than 500 miles on it, I am delighted with the choice I made. Shocked its not some cutting edge, flashy, "just like Lance's" bike? Then you haven't been paying attention. Go stand in the corner. Naughty, naughty minion.
First, it is not a stiff as the old frame. This surprised me. Not that is was less stiff, but that I could actually tell. I knew it would be less stiff, but I assumed that this would be rather imperceptible, and would only show up if I cared enough to time myself in controlled circumstances to see how efficient the power transfer was. Trust that I would never care enough to do that. However, I can actually see the lateral flex when try to flex the bike or when I stand up to pedal. But, I just don't care. Why?
Because it is SO DAMN COMFORTABLE. This bike is an order of magnitude more comfortable than the last bike. Now, granted, the geometry is somewhat different. How different? I don't know, because I don't have the specifications sheet for either, and I don't feel like getting a protractor and a tape measure out and measuring it myself, but it is different. I can not only feel it, but the steering stem needed different spacers, so I have objective proof they are different, even though both are 62cm frames.
Comfort is often difficult to measure on bikes. Partly because it is so subjective, but also because you are often comparing apples to oranges. You ride your old bike into a bike shop and try a new bike. Its a new saddle, new handlebars, new pedals, etc. Soooooo many variables. My change was different. Everything was the same EXCEPT the frame. So, I know any comfort changes were not due to the pedals, the saddle, the amount of padding on the handle bar, etc.
The new hotness rocks. Now it just needs a name.
In writing this piece, I realized that I may need to spend some future "blog-inches" going over my choices for the various components, but I really worry that then the blog starts to sound like an infomercial. ( Like some others). Can't have that.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Last Weeks Road Kill: 0 ( Quite frankly I am surprised)
First day back on the Crank bros Quattros. They do work well, but are slightly harder to get into than the Speedplay Lights. You need to do more "aligning" before they catch. Once in, they feel good.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I switched to Speedplay Light Action pedals about 500 miles ago. I had been riding Crank Bros Quattros for thousands of miles before that, and Shimano 105 old school Look compatibles before that. Now you know my my pedal history; don't you feel all warm and fuzzy?
I had snapped the spindle on my right Quattro this spring. I was not angry, as it had many miles on it. Crank Bros. quickly replaced it under warranty, and while waiting, I bought another pair so I was not without a bike. However, it got me thinking about a switch.
Although I had ridden the Quattros for thousands of miles, I was never thrilled with them. I often had trouble clipping in after stopping, especially on critical uphill starts. The cleats seemed to wear out often,and it appeared the Crank Bros were going to discontinue the Quattros.
I did not want to go back to a single sided pedal, despite the latest Shimano pedals getting good reviews. Since my biggest complaint was tough clip-ins, I wanted something better in that area, and a single sided pedal did not seem to provide any advantage.
I have friends who ride the Speedplay pedals and they swear by them, so I decided to give them a chance. Based on a conversation with a sales guy who had never ridden with me and who had no idea how I ride, and clearly didn't care what I bought, I was talked into buying the Speedplay Light Action pedals. This decision was partly determined because the difference between the X series and the Zero series was , well, unclear and partly because the Light Action were in stock and on sale.
First, I am annoyed that none of the seemingly similar Speedplay pedals are compatible. Come on guys...
So, I buy them and install the cleats on my shoes and the pedals on my bike. The right pedal seems okay. Slightly different action for clip in and clip out than I am used to, but that is to be expected. Occasionally a hard clip in, but that may well be the occasionally dirt or gravel bit. However, the left pedal is like its from another planet. It often comes unclipped randomly with no apparent reason. About once every mile, my foot just slides out. I had about five hundred miles on these pedals, I have lubed, cleaned, tweaked, uninstalled, reinstalled, but still, foot just jumps out. Note that there is no real adjustment possible on these. There are shims you can add for foot position, but no way to change the release value. The only guidance the instructions give for this type of issue is to make sure the four mounting bolts for the cleat are not too tight, as they warp the plate. I checked this. Several times.
So, I am planning on going by the shop, where hopefully the same guy who blindly sold me these pedals can give me advice, but before I get a chance: POW! I'm riding a short lunchtime loop and am almost back, maybe a mile away and the right pedal ( the one that has been OK) seems to explode. The whole pedal platform becomes about a half dozen pieces. Note that this was not during a climb or anything, just flat pavement. It appears one screw came out and then the whole thing disintegrated.
I am going to contact Speedplay and see about a replacement. While I do have the original box, not sure about the receipt. I will let all my minions about how that experience goes, but I am not sure, even if they are replaced, whether I will use them again. They were certainly no better in the usability or comfort department than my Crank Bros, and they definitely did not last as long. However, choices are slim. I would consider the X or Zero series, if I could get an honest opinion on the difference between the two, other than that they don't work with each other. You seems to be able to "fix" the float on the Zeros. Big deal. Does anybody ride with no float? I mean anybody who wants to walk in their old age?
In the mean time, I am riding the Crank Bros. Quattros again. I had the replacement that they sent back, which only had a few miles on it.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Bicycling magazine, September 2009, Page 57: "Editors Choices: These Five Saddles Are Proven Winners" should read "Editors Choices: These Five Saddles Ponied Up the Cash to be Featured"
My preference for Brooks saddles is well known. Let me be perfectly clear: A Brook B-17 saddle changed my life. Period. If I had not found the comfort of the Brooks, I would not be riding today. Also, to be perfectly clear, I have no affiliation with Brooks or their parent company. They probably have no idea I exist. I paid for my Brooks saddle and have never received any compensation, endorsement, candy, Christmas cards or ANYTHING from them. They have my endorsement because they EARNED it.
However, I suggest that Specialized, Sela Italia, Selle San Marco ( Brooks Parent?), Fizik and Terry, all paid for the endorsement by Bicycles editors. Now, it should come as no surprise to anybody that magazine editors have to walk a fine line between product reviews and their high paying advertisers. Your subscription fees don't pay their salaries, advertising dollars do.
But annoyingly, not a mention of the Brooks saddles among all those soul-less ass-boards that they do recommend. Reeeaaallyy? I know a Brooks is not for everybody, ( for example: any of the typical losers who attend "Burning Man", because they clearly have their heads up their asses, so no saddle will fit) but it clearly out ranks some of the trash that was "recommended". Proven winners? Find out how many Race Across America riders have chosen Brooks. Yes, I know a B-17 weighs about twice as much as the heaviest saddle they recommend. So what? Is the extra 240 grams worth the long ride comfort? You know how I feel about "Gram Whiners".
Thus, my minions, I put it to you that you can't trust anything Bicyclist editors say. Just like my respect of Brooks was earned, your trust in their judgment must be earned. This article does not even provide a down payment on that....
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Typically, I love it when somebody calls a retailer/manufacturer/politician to task for being less than honest. However, when you do so, please remember two words:
Your credibility goes down the tube when your e-mail looks like it was written by a three year old. Even I make occasional typos, but in general, I do proof read.
Example of truly awful found below. Its so bad, I am actually wondering if the typos are intentional, to make some type of point. If that is the case, and the joke is on me, so be it:
"intersting that my post was deleted so quickly guess those honmest folks at perfromance dont wnat everyone to knwo what si goign on there...i have had a dozen emails this mnornign replying thta they had the same exeporience there
gues sthta pretty well sums it up...
Hi everyone...i usually dont do negative posts but my experience yesterday leads me to this...i went to perfomrmce bikes with my girlfriend and took my specialized hardrock bike with me...
we wanted an adjustable stem for it so we could get an optimal position for my girlfriend...james a mechanic there tells me that we dont need a stem we need swept back bars...course thta doesnt addreasss the issue fo her wantign to be more stretched out and then he also points out that the saddle is inappropriate( even tho he hasnt asked the fundamental question fo what ehr riding agenda will be,)
and says we need a tractor style saddle with springs...interesting becuase when i went to performance some months before i was sold the wtb womens saddle and was told it was very comfortable...
he then says that it will cost $133 for the handlebaqr because the cables are too short and the bars wont fit...i had just done a compelte overhaul on the bike and when i put new cables on i added extra length to accomodate a stem or handlebar change...so that was his 2cnd lie...the seat was actually the first...then he says you probably wont want to fix this bike as it will cost a lot of money to fix up...theres a lot wrong with it.i asked "well specifically what?" he said "lots."
what specificfally is asked again...he says he can "see" that the bottom bracket cup is loose...if a cup is loose the crackset has side to side play...its simple physics ...i had it in my park stand the day before when i did a complete overhaul and there was no
play whatsoever...on the fixed cup there was not one tenth of a millimeter space between the cup and the bottom bracket shell...but this joker can "See" that its loose?????james problem is that i was a mechanic for four years and managed a bike shop...he didnt know that and what he was saying about the condition fo the bike was total fabrication...
then he tells my girlfriend that what she really wants to do is check out a new performance bike so he hauls out a 289 dollar hybrid with a frame too large for her and the handlebars a foot higher than the saddle...just the thing she needs for 20 mile group rides...:-) right on James!!!
the bike is eight pounds hevier than the specialized and the shock is a cheap coil type and the compoments and wheels are crap by comparison to the specialized but he keeps bad mouthing the specialized ....
so he wants us to get rid of the porsche and buy a vw...I suspect jamers is used to soccer moms coming in and he lays the line fo bs on them thta eh was gicving ne and their eyes glaze over as they get the checkbook out...
gotta hand to to performance i have bought bikes from them shoes helmets clothes etc...but never again...any organization that lets con artists like this exist within their community isnt deserving of the publics trust or money..
he doesnt work in a vacuum...i suspect that there is a commission for every new bike sold and probalby on repairs as well...a great system for performance but not so good for us bikers that seek an honest and professional opinion.
i have been to allstar rei and used to go to spin cycle and have never heard the outrageous line of self serfving lies and bullshit in any of those shops that i was served at performance bikes yesterday...
Rasleigh nc " [sic]
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
Instead of cycling during lunch, I accompanied some of my henchmen and cohorts to "Hooville" to eat some wings and oogle some ladies. Really quite nice. Our waitress was Monica, and I could tell right away she was eying me up as a possible father to her yet unborn children. As if the world needed more of me; it would be better to have ten more lawyers! So, I had to give her the unspoken "no" in order to keep her focused on keeping our glasses full of barley juice. I could tell from the look on her face that another fair maiden's hopes had been dashed. Such is the carnage I leave behind. Or maybe she just had gas. I really can't read people too well.
Now I am in the post lunch daze, doing little other than thinking up obnoxious replies to use when my alumni association begs for money. I hate them. I really do.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
PARIS—Cancer survivor Lance Armstrong's inspirational third-place Tour de France finish has motivated thousands of patients battling cancer to eventually finish third to their life-threatening disease......
Read it. Laugh. I command you!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Last Weeks Road Kill: 2
After my unsettling encounter with the Zombie Deer, I decided to keep track of the roadkill I see each week, in the interest of evil science. This number will only reflect larger creatures, with the cutoff being cats, raccoons, possums and larger. Squirrels,rabbits, snakes, turtles, frogs and smaller birds will not be counted. Large birds like vultures, etc will make the list. BTW, the Zombie Deer was gone by the afternoon. Taken to be the main course on some hillbilly Mayberry transplants dinner table? Spawning more Zombie Deer in the surrounding woods via its wretched infected bite? Only time will tell.
I am also going to post my weekly mileage. We can figure out a roadkill per mile statistic that may be useful to future generations, and those who eat roadkill. ( http://www.road-kill-cafe.com/roadkill.html )
I mentioned a while back that I was buying a new frame as my road bike. My old frame developed a crack that even Mighty Putty could not repair, finally succumbing to the horrifying stress of carrying me and my swollen head around for thousands of miles. Many of you have been anxiously awaiting details and pictures. Well the bike is on the road and I have about a week on it. I will post pictures, details and impressions soon, I promise. You know my word is my bond....
However, for now, rest assured that my bike rocks, and is far superior to yours, and is not one of the latest pieces of overpriced trash. You just have to wait for the rest.
Monday, July 27, 2009
So, the Friday commute to Evil Labs was fairly typical. Nice weather, just getting warmed up and in a bit of a self absorbed zone. I was riding the shoulder and I noticed up ahead a deer which had clearly been hit laying across most of the shoulder and a bit into the roadway. It was obviously fresh, and not as gory as these types of things often are. Also, not all that rare. I see deer along the road regularly, and as a cyclist, I notice it more than drivers, especially after it has time to ferment a bit.
So, to set the scene, deer head is laying facing to the right of the shoulder with about 1 foot to pass between the head and the grass at the right side of the shoulder, rear is somewhat out in the traffic lane to the left. Tongue hanging out of the mouth in a typical pose, but again, not too much blood or gore, and none of the signs that the carnage was anything but fairly new. No flies, no smell, no additional tire marks or impact trails.
I'm staring at the body as I ride by, again, very close, and the deer lifts up its head to look at me, tongue still lolling out. Whoaaaa! My skin immediately crawled right off my body. It was the most macabre thing I have ever seen in real life and I very nearly drove off the road. I starting seeing stars and realized it was because, although the physical effort of my cycling had continued on autopilot, I had stopped breathing for a few seconds.
The deer was clearly not dead, and therefore clearly quite miserable and suffering. You may have noticed the empathy is not my strong suite. I've done my share of hunting and seen plenty of dead animals. However suffering, dying animals are somewhat different. That bothers me.
As troubling was the fact that there was little I could do. An injured animal, especially one as big as a deer, is not to be trifled with. Really, the only solution was to put it out of its misery, a task for which, at the time, I was ill equipped. I did not even have a number for animal control, which I would presume, are better equipped. Its also possible that in the next few minutes, another car or truck finished the job. However, I am a bit haunted by the fact that the animal continued to suffer as I rode away. Still haunted several days later.
Friday, July 24, 2009
In honor of Bruce:
1. I obeyed every rule of the road on the way to the Evil Lab today. Stopped at every stop sign and red light, used proper hand signals, (while refraining from the less proper ones) and didn't shout a single obscenity. All very atypical.
2. I think everybody should strive to reach out and touch more people. This will make a lasting mark on the world around you. Bruce seemed to do it by getting deeply involved in the things he loved and using his enthusiasm to spread his passion to others.
You could also make a mark with your fellow citizens the Evil Cyclist way, which is to circle around after everybody has ridden off, and let the air out of all their car tires. Watch for cameras and make sure to let some air out of you own tires too, in order to cast aside suspicion. Almost everybody at one of these events will have a hand pump, but it takes forever to pump up a car or SUV tire with a hand pump. Bonus points for getting the news truck tires.... BTW, this is almost certainly a crime and will get you pummeled/arrested if caught. Don't whine to me from your cell/hospital bed.
This will be an ongoing, if intermittent, series in praise of the most personal of all bike components.
Shall I compare thee to a comfy chair?
Thou hast more leather and more shiny rivets:
Rough roads foil not darling rails of steel,
And cyclings roads hath all too many a bump:
Sometime too hot the eye of my fair bum shines,
And often is its brown complexion dimm'd;
But every hill from peak sometime declines,
Forsooth, in truth the Selle saddle does sucketh much;
But Brooks eternal comfort shall not fade,
Nor cause the sores that do others plague;
Nor shall the berries whither in your care,
Tis 'neath the taint thy tender cradle;
So long as rider can breathe and pee,
So long live Brooks, and and only Brooks, under me.
takes great care of my bottom, as well as from where I pee.
Brooks, Brooks, cradles my arse, and gives me nothing but glee.
I just never ride down past the end of the town,
if I don't ride down on thee.
Brooks, Brooks, B-17, the finest saddle around
Brooks, Brooks, B-17, for rides past the end of town.
If you want to cradle your junk including your trunk
You'll find that this saddles astounds.
John Boultbee Brooks of Birmingham burg
should clearly be listed a saint,
as he made a device so kind to your hind that riders sing praise to their 'taint
So when you go riding for hours on end and others are grumpy and sore,
take heart my good friends, and much sympathy lend
but know that YOUR comfort comes firstmost and fore.
Okay, that's fine. Despite Al Gore, many of us find that as the only practical option. And it beats the crap out of the train/bus/other public transportation.
But, I have to laugh ( an evil snicker, truth be told) at those of you who bring your bikes to work on bike racks. During my morning commute today, I counted at least 18 cars in rush hour traffic that had road bikes strapped to the car.
I could take a tangent and poke fun at the mountain bikers with a jab about how you have to drive your car anytime you need to ride your bike, but that's too easy. That's all the time, and not just commuting. So, I need to stay focused.
So, mainly aimed at those of you with road bikes strapped to your car for the drive to work, what is your master plan? Going to go for a quick jaunt during lunch? Really? Here's an idea: RIDE YOUR BIKE TO WORK! Would you strap your motorcycle or moped to your roof so you could buzz around and lunch? People other than me would snicker.
Let say you are not a foaming at the mouth enviro-nazi. (So far, so good) Even assuming that Al Gore is a dolt ( not a huge leap, really. Maybe even settled law), the wisdom of not wasting a non-renewable resource, or, even more importantly ( to the Evil Cyclist at least) not sending our money to theocratic despots or dictators in the Middle East sounds like a good idea. I'm not about "saving the world "( unless I am "elected" leader...) but common sense says that wastefulness and propping up horrid despots is bad, umkay? If you need to support a despot, may I suggest somebody closer to home..the Evil Cyclist!
I understand that a few more of us riding bikes to work is not going to make any measurable difference, and won't topple any theocracies any time soon, but at least it takes some hypocrisy out of the equation. This is important because I see hypocrisy like I see oil, as a finite asset, and I really need to save my hypocrisy for something important, like explaining to my kids that pre-marital sex is a bad idea.
So, stop making crappy excuses, I see those for what they are, um, crappy excuses, and ride your bike to work. Or quit your job and acknowledge the inner you, a worthless parasite on society. That way, I won't need to unleash "Plan B". No, not thisPlan B, the Plan B that involves peanut butter, duct tape, a Sesame Street DVD, a microwave oven and your bike rack. THAT Plan B.
The cycling community lost a fantastic member, spokesman and champion over the weekend, Bruce Rosar.
He was a better cyclist and better person than most of us, me included, could ever hope to be.
He died while cycling, with the current official story being that he made a left turn in front of oncoming traffic. If this is true, it is at best ironic. But I am going on record as saying I am suspicious and not convinced. It was a clear intersection with good visibility. Even an inexperienced cyclist doesn't make a left in front of traffic ( unlike cars, who often make left turns in front of approaching cyclists). Bruce was experienced and was a safety fanatic. Its just NOT the kind of mistake he would make.
Of course it is possible that he was fatigued, distracted or maybe the sun was in his eyes and did he not see the car. It's also possible and just as likely he was zapped by space aliens, which is to say damn unlikely. I'm going with Occam's Razor and say that is was almost certainly the motorist fault. I hope that more witnesses come forward to either repute or corroborate the current version. Either way, Bruce deserves to have the truth come out.
Let me be clear: Unlike many cyclists, I am not anti-car. I am not a cycling crusader who sees all cars as the enemy. I love my car. I love driving my car, and, I even share and understand many driver's frustrations with some cyclists on the road. I am certain that Bruce also enjoyed cars. He drove a gorgeous red Porsche that the liked a great deal. I also suspect he would be disappointed in some of the news coverage on this event that depicts the event as a bicycle safety issue. The coverage is clearly wrongheaded and an attempt by the local media and perhaps law enforcement to make the wrong point at the wrong time.
This event tends to shift your personal paradigm a bit. Like many riders who ride on the road, intellectually I understand the danger. However, on an emotional level, in order to keep myself a bit sane, I frame my reality a bit differently. I tell myself it won't happen to me, that I am a safe rider, that I stay aware and safe all the time. I tell myself the people that get hit are those who wear dark colors and no light at night. The people who get injured are those who don't wear a helmet, or do idiot things in traffic. I assure myself that if I can just avoid the drunk or texting drivers, I'll be fine. Events like this expose those views as what they are, little white lies that give me the courage to get on my bike everyday.
No, not thinking about whether to up-armor it. Of course I will.
Actually I am wondering if I made the right choice. No, this isn't some namby pamby case of buyers remorse. That would require some inner measure of guilt, of which I was thankfully born without.
I had been pretty sure I was going to buy a single speed. I realize you are thinking right now that I just wanted to jump on the trendy single speed bandwagon. Not so. I just want simple, light and reliable for the commute from the evil lair to the evil lab.
But several realities came into play:
1. I don't just commute, I join group rides and I ride several centuries a year;
2. I already have very reliable components to build up the bike. Its not as if I had a reliability issues withe the previous machine;
3. I don't care so much about lightness, within reason ( Hafnium frames being the exception);
4. I don't really need a simple bike. By their nature, even complex bikes are fairly simple to work on, especially for the Evil Cyclist.
5. I dawned on me that people might think I was actually riding a fixie. I could not bear the shame.
You almost certainly thinking....Evil Cyclist joins group rides?
Content for a later entry: Top Ten Evil Things To Do While On a Group Ride
"I propose that as bikes get lighter and lighter, cyclists should be allowed to mount small cannons on their handlebars, the weight of which would be included in the UCI bike weight."
Let's assume my old bike was damaged by an IED or sabotaged by some other evil wanna-be. I mean just for the sake of argument, lets assume that, even though it didn't really happen that way.
First of all, let me say the Evil Cyclist doesn't give a rat's puckered sphincter about a few extra grams here and there. I don't race. I want a bike that makes me grin and whistle a devilish little tune on my commute to my evil lair, not that makes me the envy of all the snobbish "Gram Nazi's".
So, in theory I should buy a Hummer of a bike, with a Hafnium frame, filled with heavy water. Of all the heavy elements, why Hafnium, and why not Osmium? Well, Osmium sounds "a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll", if you get my drift ( If not, you are a dolt, and for God's sake, click the link and get a clue). More importantly, a little thing called "Induced Gamma Emission". So, if some driver actually clips me with their pathetic Prius, they may be in for quite a shock.
Since I don't want to run afoul of certain international agencies, Hafnium and heavy water may be out of the question. By international agencies, I don't mean the UN. Note how terrified North Korea and Iran are of those guys. I mean Mossad of course, and the IRS. Do NOT cross those guys.
So, the frame will probably be more mundane steel or carbon, and I have to console myself with the thought that those materials can create a nasty cut when broken or sharpened.
I will also be using many of my existing components, so I am really just looking for a frame ( but would not pass up a nice complete bike). I will write an epic poem about my love for my Brooks saddle at some point, but let it suffice to say that all my current components are battle tested and each one truly deserves to be on the next Evil Machine.
He can be beaten.
Seriously, even the Evil Cyclist can't despise Lance, but I can loathe all the journalists, cyclists, grandmothers etc. who are imagining how great it will be when he wins again. Come on, would it be more fun to see a kid from nowhere take him off his throne? Or how about, just once in the sports world, a graceful retirement without the slew of comebacks.
Or how about a juicy scandal with a bunch of barely legal hotties..and pictures.
The first recipient of this award goes to Cannondale, for shipping productions overseas. How deliciously evil..... Maybe if they hadn' t tried to build motorcycles a while back, they'd have enough money in the kitty to build efficient production facilities here and even better, would never have been bought out by Doral.
Instead, they put several hundred skilled employees out of work. I'm sure those bike builders will be able to find employment at another bike factory in the U.S....., er, um, never mind.
Lotsa blame to go around though, with the buck stopping at worthless politicians who create policy that makes Bozo look brilliant. You'll find a disdain of politicians a steady theme here at evilcyclist. Plenty to dislike there on both side of the aisle!
Next person who suggests "get sushi and not pay" will be vaporized. That's not evil, it's just stupid and oh so 1980's.
The "Main Minion" job is still open. All entries so far have been so lame that they don't merit mention. Not suprising really, judging from my target audience.
Clearly I have a security leak that must be eliminated. However, an Evil Cyclist, like an evil scientist ( note the change in capitalization, clearly indicating my superiority) must divulge his plans to any captives.
This site is about Evil, Cycling and Me. Simple enough that you can understand it, my little minion.
Minion? You don't remember agreeing to be my minion? Of course you did, nobody forced you to click on this site, so here you are, thus showing defacto desire to become my minion.
I am Evil Cyclist's Minion, I swear devotion to him for all eternity.
I am Evil Cyclist's Minion, I swear devotion to him for all eternity.
I am Evil Cyclist's Minion, I swear devotion to him for all eternity.
There, it is now official. You are sworn to do my evil bidding. "But Evil Cyclist, I didn't read it out loud.." Sweet camel toes, is this kindergarten? Nobody reads out loud except in kindergarten. Stop sniveling and get on with your Evil Minion duties. There, I capitalized it. Does that make you feel better? Whiner.
What is your first duty as a Minion? Send me an (firstname.lastname@example.org ) telling me why you should be Head Minion, and what things you will do to all the Sub-Minions. I will post results as I see fit.
Also, I will change the hideous banner of the rising sun and the mountain biker as soon as get around to it. Mainly because it is just awful, but also because mountain bikers are pathetic. Okay, so are road bikers. I'm pretty sure unicyclists suck too. Can you say Misanthropy? I thought you could.