I run Cyclelicious as a labor of love, but I do appreciate those of you who choose to contribute a dollar or two my way by purchasing items through my Amazon affiliate online store.
I occasionally look through the sales reports to see what you buy. I can’t see who the purchasers are, but I can see the items (and the occasional returns). If you’re looking for last minute Christmas gift suggestions, here’s what people who read this bicycle blog buy.
British cyclist Max Leonard focuses on chapters in the lives of those racers who finish last in the book Lanterne Rouge: The Last Man in the Tour de France. This book wasn’t published for the USA market, so Americans probably won’t receive this in time for the holidays, but reviews are favorable.
So this is it, I'm shutting down the presses until Monday, January 5th, Two Thousand and Freaking Fifteen, at which point I will resume regular updates:
"Wow, I can't believe it's almost 2015," he sighed wistfully.
If you'd have told me 25 or 30 years ago that by 2015 we would not be living on Mars, or traveling in flying cars, or vacationing in a democratic North Korea, I'd have been profoundly disappointed.
Indeed I'm still profoundly disappointed.
And if you'd have told me I'd be a semi-professional bike blogger when I grow up, I'd have saved myself a bunch of time by dropping out of grade school and getting a head start on the path to loserdom.
Actually, come to think of it, I did get a heard start on the path to loserdom:
(1980-something. Note analog cigarette and mechanical Swatch.)
So if anything I should congratulate myself on my foresight.
Amazing. If you had told me 25 or 30 years ago that I'd be on the Internet selling hats, I'd have said: A) "What the fuck is an Internet?," and 2) "Why would I put a hat over this luxurious non-thinning mane of partially-bleached hair?"
And if by some miracle none of the above stuff appeals to you, then buy something from one of the fabulous companies who generously sponsor this blog. Brooks! Knog! Rivendell! WorkCycles! State! Walz! Classic Cycle! You're telling me that between all these fine purveyors of bike stuff and all these fine curators of bike blogs you're going to buy your presents at freaking Target?!?
Frankly, I'm disgusted.
Then again, that Kent road bike is pretty sweet, so maybe I spoke too soon:
And now, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz. As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer. If your'e right then good, and if you're wrong then you'll see Fred "Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo!" speed on the flats.
Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and have a joyous and bountiful pagan-based-gift-giving-and-arbitrary-turning-over-of-the-Gregorian-calendar celebratory season.
See you back here on Monday, January 5th, 2015.
(Unless we've all colonized space by then and we're waiting for our Internet to get hooked up.)
During one of our rainstorms over this past week this tree became wedged under Montague Expressway on the Guadalupe River Trail in San Jose, California.
Some guy says he totally could have bypassed that with his mountain bike. The water drained by this morning, and this is what the water obscured.
San Jose Trails has sent work crews out to try to remove this tree, so far without success. They’re working to borrow heavier equipment. In the meantime, we get to detour across six lanes of fast and heavy traffic on Montague Expressway, whee!
Those of you who depend on trails in the Santa Clara Valley can use this map to see real time trail conditions for paths along the Guadalupe River, Los Gatos Creek, San Tomas Aquino Trail, and lower Coyote Creek. Computer models are used to “guess” the flooding status based on automated stream flow gauges and rainfall.
This means the trail status is pretty accurate when it comes to determining how much water is on the trail, but it can’t predict things like this tree. This model also misses the heavy mud currently on the Guadalupe Trail through downtown San Jose. In spite of these limitations, I hope this tool proves useful.
I’m working with somebody to get data on the Penitencia Creek Trail in San Jose, so look for that soon.
What I really need help with is the Stevens Creek Trail, which floods under Highway 101 with heavy rain, and the Permanente Creek Trail. I never ride those trails, so I don’t know what to expect. If you’re a daily trail user on either of those trails through Mountain View, I could really use data on the days and times low spots on the trail are flooded. I can then compare against historical streamflow and precipitation data to create simple model, and then fine tune from there. Here’s video of Stevens Creek at 101 during the storm last week.
The kind people at the Friends of Stevens Creek Trail have been super helpful with some preliminary information. I’ve also called the Mountain View trail hotline for rough data, but I’d really like to know when a trail is flooded and clear within at least a four hour span. Please comment here if you think you can help out!
First of all, now that we're normalizing relations with Cuba, I'd like to welcome all you cubanos to the blog. Our cycling cultures have much we can learn from each other. For example, you can teach us about DIY recumbent building:
I never thought I'd get to the point where cyclocross annoyed the fuck out of me, but I'm sorry to report that cyclocross now annoys the fuck out of me.
It's hard to say whether it's because cyclocross is getting too douchey or because I'm just getting old, but it's probably about 5% due to the former and 95% due to the latter.
All I know is that if I hear one more American in shants refer to french fries as "frites" I'm gonna puke in his aïoli. I'll bet you if I bought a shitload of McDonald's fries, went to all the cyclocross races, and served them wrapped in some Belgian newspaper at $15 a pop I'd be rich enough to retire within a year. In fact, I may very well do that at Cyclocross Nationals in Austin this coming January:
Whenever I am a victim of some sort of Fredly faux-pas it always seems as though the perpetrator is wearing a Gran Fondo New York jersey. Whether it's that wheelsucker lurking behind me on the bike path, that unprepared pump-grubber, or the aero-dork who thinks he's a customer and every other cyclist is a bike shop employee, they always seem to share this jersey in common. The best advice I can give you is to always give Gran Gondo New York jersey wearers a wide berth--unless they also have some form of aerobar on their bike, in which case you should save yourself the trouble, steer your bike into a ditch, and crash yourself:
It's not a question whether the rider with Gran Fondo New York jersey and aerobars will crash. Rather, it's merely a question of how hard he's going to crash into you--or, barring the presence of anybody else, his ottoman:
This is not to say I'm any better at riding rollers. In fact, I confess I've never ridden on rollers. Furthermore, odds are I never will ride on rollers, because unless humankind is forced to relocate to Mars and I can never go outside again I can't imagine a scenario in which I would be tempted to "ride" a bicycle indoors.
Also, I can certainly understand people wanting to "Be A Pro For A Day:"
Though I think the full slogan should be "Be a Pro For A Day, Be A Fred For A Lifetime."
That powered flight sprang from the bicycle should be no surprise. At the turn of the last century, if you liked speed and dreamed of ways to travel farther, faster, you probably were a cycling enthusiast. That heritage isn't confined to the Wrights. Glenn Curtiss, the brothers' bitter rival in the air, made his name first as a bicycle mechanic, then as a motorcycle designer, mechanic, and racer. These guys were the gearheads, the shredders, and the techies of their day.
Like most Americans I knew the Wright Brothers had a bike shop, but I never realized they invented the whole reverse-threaded left pedal thing:
According to Engler and other Wright historians, the brothers used their ingenuity to contribute to the improvement of the bicycle. First was the "self-oiling hub," which sealed the bearings with felt washers to keep a reservoir of oil inside. Then, in 1900, the Wrights introduced an innovation we still use today: the bicycle pedal that doesn't come unscrewed. On earlier bicycles, both pedals screwed into the crankarms with standard threads (clockwise to tighten, counterclockwise to loosen). The motion of the cranks spinning would tighten the right-side pedal against the crankarm, but loosen the left. Wilbur and Orville realized that if the left pedal screwed in with reverse, or left-handed, threads, the spinning of the cranks would tighten it against the arm as well, thus giving us secure pedals (but to this day confounding home mechanics who don't know which way to turn their pedal wrenches).
Overall, I found this article very interesting, though I took issue with this paragraph:
A hundred years later, aviation has repaid the bicycle, with interest. As bike technology has advanced from Wilbur and Orville's self-oiling hubs to cold-worked titanium frames and all-carbon rims, aerospace has contributed many of the most important concepts.
"Aviation has repaid the bicycle, with interest"? Are you freaking kidding me? Have you flown with a bicycle lately? Those bike charges are insane! If anything it seems like we're paying them a royalty for some reason.
Also, as far as technology, titanium frames and crabon rims barely count as technological advancements, especially when you look at how far the airplane has come since the Wright Brothers's original flying recumbent glider thingy. I mean really--look at a Wright Brothers bike and tell me there's been any mind-blowing bicycle innovation since then:
Looks like a typical fixie to me. If you dropped the Wright Brothers onto the Williamsburg Bridge today they wouldn't miss a beat.
In fact, if some Fred in a Gran Fondo jersey asked Wilbur to change his tire, I'm sure he'd be able to do it in a heartbeat.
I won't bore you with the finer details of why I've been away. I respect your intelligence and will operate under the assumption that you know what being busy is like.
I do have some cute photos to share with you!
And... cue blog post:
Up above you see Dexter and Alice dressed up for the first time, at the same time. Super fun to get them decked out in some holiday finery, though I still try to keep this stuff relatively low key. It's cute to see other boys in kindergarten tuxedos or toddler wedding gowns, but my philosophy is they're just going to grow out of it so... anything that is classic and hand-me-down-able. Check!
Dex and Alice attended their first Snowflake Gala, and it was a pretty fun time. Particularly the part where all these other super moms & dads were feeding food to the kids and taking them to play! There was a candy bar, balloon animals, Mr. Potato Head, and video games. Suffice to say it was not surprising when Dexter broke down into tears when it was time to go home. Sorry, dude!
At another time, we were full on winter folk during a snowy downtown excursion. It was our first giant dump of snow in the city, rendering all roads and driving a complete nightmare. Luckily, we just decided to walk and take the bus and train.
While Dex was off at school, Alice came with me to do some work one morning. We were visiting City Hall School that day to take in a presentation on homelessness for a grade 6 class. Research and inspiration for my youth initiative with the United Way in the new year.
My sweet babies are also being very cuddly this winter.
BOOM. Then I was in Vancouver, visiting with one of my best and oldest friends.
More time at city hall. Alice is always working hard.
And in the realm of random things I do for myself, my friend Christy has been giving me skating lessons. My objectives were to learn how to stop without random scraping my pick all over the place, with the subsequent spinning out of control. I am happy to report that the "STOP" initiative has been a success! My big takeaways from skating lessons have been 1. Bend your knees and 2. Use your edges.
A few neighbours and I joined forces to do a neighbourhood carolling party. I played piano and sang with two guitarist neighbours, and it was incredibly jolly. Bonus was the hostess this year had a gorgeous grand for me to enjoy.
My kids are currently into playing dress up.
Also, watching Scooby Doo.
Amidst it all, there is still this.
I'll see if I have it in me to pop out a holiday post (obviously I'll try) once this week wraps up. I particularly want to do a post on saying NO and other goals for the new year! Until then, stay warm, play safe (party season is upon us), and don't forget to spread the cheer this holiday season!
A male in Timaru was stopped by police on Sunday afternoon while cruising the streets without clothes or helmet. Like Australia, it is compulsory for cyclists to wear helmets in New Zealand. The man was slapped with a fine for leaving his head uncovered, while police were more lenient about him leaving his body unclothed.
So where did they slap him?
Speaking of nudity, Leroy's Dog has difficulty believing that Mario Cipollini is a virgin when it comes to "touring down under:"
That's five years and counting, just in case you're keeping track.
Gotta be some kinda record.
Anyway, moving back to helments, I'm not sure why wearing them has to be an all-or-nothing proposition. What's wrong with making the decision on a case-by-case basis? For example, if I'm just riding around the neighborhood naked and running errands, I forego the helment. However, if I'm out on the open road on my Fredcycle, wearing stretchy clothes and flying about o'er hill and dale, I strap on the ol' "safety kippah."
Well, looks mostly, but also because neighborhood cycling is mostly just slow-speed encounters with double-parked Entenmann's trucks and senior citizens slowly rolling through stop signs, whereas high-speed road cycling involves shit like this:
Goddamn deer wasn't even wearing a helment.
The rider totally Hincapied his cockpit too:
And here's a somewhat less thrilling animal encounter:
I'm not sure that qualifies as an "attack." If anything, the dog was probably just trying to get a whiff of his chamois. Speaking as a dog attack survivor myself, frankly I'm not impressed.
By the way, it's been over a year now since that dog bit me and I'm pleased to report I'm still rabies-free. In fact, I plan to start selling rubber bracelets:
Service NL Minister Tony Cornect said research shows there are significant reductions in bicycle-related head injuries in provinces where there is mandatory bicycle helmet legislation versus provinces and territories without such legislation.
Right, probably because there's a significant reduction in people riding bicycles.
I suppose when if you can't ban bicycles then passing a helment law is the next best thing.
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