Thursday, April 30, 2009

An Apology

As a resident of Minnesota, I feel compelled to apologize for having Michele Bachman represent a part of the state though I hasten to point out not my part. Of course being a pretty (to some) face unable to think for herself she is really just channelling Rush Limaugh.
I completely fail to understand how she got elected in the first place but having come across this picture illustrating her campaign technique, I may be getting a glimpse of her appeal. I would be scrambling for the Listerine (or airsickness bag) if she used this technique on me but I suppose some guys might like it. Still, how she gets any women to vote for her still remains a mystery.
Anyway, on behalf of the thinking Minnesotans, I apologize for our state giving her the platform to spout her bat-shit crazy drivel. Then again, she is a great poster child for the importance of education and what can happen when someone with no clue about either biology or history gets the talking stick.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Spring Classic

First hot day

Classic April headwind

Pushing the paceline back

Grinding forward anyway

Post rush-hour light traffic

Bike lane stripe

Winter sand swept away

Safety illusion

Half dozen lycra spinners

Bright colors half a block long

Happily pedaling in the

Safety zone

Silent without warning

Steel on my left

Enters the safety zone

Terminates my safety

Rolling at a good clip

Nearly through the intersection

I'm meeting a right hook

Unwelcome spring classic

Turning, leaning on Detroit steel

Hoping I don't join Erik

Steel and lycra shouldn't touch

By surprise at 20 mph

I should have

Chased him down

Educated him on how

He nearly took a life

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Get yours at the French Meadow Cafe somewhere else.
It goes went well with the live jazz before they cancelled the live music.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Sweetie

Jeanne is my love She is the air in my tires My rolling partner

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ride Around the Lake

Just a little ride around the lake. With a 12 mile round trip from home it was a lovely way to spend three hours of my life today. This was a club ride that I joined up with to find some new roads around Lake Minnetonka and the route is very nice indeed. A few patches of rough road but above average road conditions.
Club rides are fine for a spin in the sun but it sure makes me appreciate the steady pace and road safety focus of the group on those occasions I have the pleasure of joining roadies with racing in their background. I find surge and coast to be very tiring and I like following a wheel that always finds a clean line.
I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fat to skinny

This is the time of year when I transition from fat to skinny I love me some
skinny tire road riding!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bike Tunes

Rider's Writing Cycle challenge from Highwaymunky; Tune selection


I am a very passionate music fan & former musician with tastes more diverse than the faces on a New York subway. I can get totally lost in a piece of music, nearly to the point of losing track of my surroundings. It's great to have such a powerful connection to music but it can also take more of my concentration away from keeping the rubber side down. So there are times when I skip the externally produced tunes and stick with the internal sound track. I always have music playing in my head so I have a great selection available, it just may or may not be coming from an electronic source. Given the power music holds over me, I generally only listen with one ear piece though since I want to be aware of the truck that is about to roll over me before I feel it. Perhaps that way I can avoid becoming an extra large street pizza.

An Important Note: We're all adults here so we make our choices and live with the results so I don't pass judgement on those who do listen all the while they ride unless they are weaving like a maniac and can't hear my pleas to let me pass in which case they're just rude and inconsiderate, both of which I think are unnecessary on the trail.

First Movement - The Commute

Adagio - Morning

In the morning it's an eclectic blend with Radio Heartland, a public radio station with a web feed and an iPhone app, hits the spot perfectly as long as I can maintain the signal. When I can't, my choice could be anything from Allison Krause or Stacey Kent to Bela Fleck or Vivaldi, perhaps even Eric Dolphy or Lyle Lovett. Maybe even these guys. It all depends on my mood.

Presto - Evening's past

Before I got my iPhone, I had a phone with a radio and I took perverse pleasure in listening to traffic radio on my afternoon commute. We have a great public jazz station that also does traffic reports. Depending on my contract, my commute has generally had me riding near enough a major highway that I can track my progress against the cagers. There's few things as enjoyable as riding along a trail that parallels the highway, moving faster than the traffic listening to some driving jazz and hearing traffic reports about how long a delay they will incur. They play quite a variety but it's mostly straight ahead jazz and really pushes my commute on.

Allegro - Evening's present

Now that I can't get that station, it's mostly jazz on the way home such as Chet Baker, Count Basie, Weather Report, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, maybe Ella Fitzgerald. Whatever it is has to be cookin' since I have only so long to work out the stress of the day and I want the music to kick up the tempo.

Second Movement - MTB

I don't generally listen to music from an external source though there was a run this winter through my local single track where I had Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Winter of course, and it really hit the spot. My internal iPod generally plays something pretty kick-ass when I am flying down the singletrack so the Vivaldi was a surprise but the first and third movements are pretty up tempo. Most of the folks I ride with leave their tunes behind which generally works out pretty well because then we can hear, and join in, the grief being passed up and down the line.

Third Movement - Road Riding

On my road rides I listen exclusively to John Cage's 4' 33". This is a piece that is often referred to as 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence but is actually the listeners hyper focused on the sounds in the environment. For me, when I'm on the road, I feel I have too much to think about and too many other folks dependent on my actions to give any attention to music. I am inches off someone's wheel or they are inches off mine, often both, and the margin of error is too close for me to have the sounds around me blocked out. This is, of course, strictly my opinion, your results may vary, offer only good on my blog, this cyclist has been injured in the development of this opinon, I don't care if you try this at home.

Finale - Indoor Trainer

I feel this is the most pathetic "cycling" I do and only on those rare occasions where I can't ride for some reason or get my work out from cross-country skiing or running. In other words, it's a short list of times I'm not doing something else but when I do find myself on the trainer, it's podcast time! My current favorite is RadioLab from WNYC and broadcast throughout the public radio waves.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Easy is hard, hard is easy

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
Gievn taht comumnitacion is posbisle eevn wehn tihgns are tihs srceewd up, why is it taht so mcuh micsomumniactoin ocurcs eevn wehn the megsagse is snet in psirtnie oderr? If you firuge it out, gvie me a sohut but in the maen tmie I'll be out riindg...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Post Winter Basement

It's a sad life for a bike sequestered to do trainer duty. Think about it. Here is a machine made to roll over open ground clamped by the arse, raised up off the ground with the back wheel jammed into a spinning pipe and the front wheel balanced on a two by four. It shares floor space with a Nordic Track, machine that has never know the feel of fresh air flowing freely by with a grinning person gazing out at the possibilities ahead. No, the Nordic Track was conceived to sit in a single spot resisting the various pulling actions of a sweaty person grunting out a work out, likely watching some video in hopes of forgetting they are grinding away in some dark corner of the house.
Even if the clamped and tortured bike has the company of a lovely companion, its a sad state of affairs. Just because she's leaning seductively against the shelving flashing that tight, trim seat bag doesn't mean he can ignore the fact that there's no breeze, no natural light and no matter how fast the back wheel spins, the front wheel sits idle nervous that the gentle rocking will knock it off the two by four. A spinning wheel can take a pretty good bump and keep on rolling but a motionless wheel can only look forward to the rude awakening of a dull thud followed, no doubt, by colorful language of a startled rider, or more accurately, spinner.
Near by hang some wheels and tires, quietly waiting for their chance to be part of the action. They know the feel of the wind, the warmth of the sun and the gentle vibration of the tarmac flowing under their steady spin. Someday they will again be pressed into service but for now they just serve as the basement's version of hanging art; pretty and stationary, lucky to receive an occasional dusting.
Winter fading, spring running late, the commuter hangs patiently waiting for the end of season scouring. It's been a long run over ice, sliding through slush and pushing powder out of the way, always making the trip a success and a joy. Occasionally a frigid survival exercise, often a hardy romp with sizzling studs on the dry spots between the carbide teeth purchasing safe passage through everything else. It's a salty, sloppy mess but the charge of a commuter is to attack whatever horizontal obstacles it encounters getting from point A to point B. It's not without joy that it meets its mission but pretty and happy fall under other duties assigned and make no appearance in the main body of the job statement.

Energy Management

Yeah, that's it; I'm not lazy, I'm just an effective energy manager...