Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Carnage and the Wake Up Call

I cycled to work again this morning. Like yesterday the temperature was 58 degrees. How could I not ride? A benefit to riding is I get to add 7 miles in the morning to the 20-ish miles I tick off after work. Nice. Tomorrow my driver will expect an apology.

Yesterday it took me 66 minutes to ride home. Today I was feeling good and decided to try to do the same route five minutes faster. Half way home I went into a left turn too fast and too distracted. It's a complicated turn in that if you're riding fast you need to be looking ahead at what's coming up after the turn. Also, I had just finished waving at a guy I saw riding in a smiliar spot yesterday. He doesn't wave back...he has one arm. As I was turning and braking debris in the corner caused my rear wheel let go of the asphalt.

Here's the wreckage. You can see the skid mark beginning in the lower left of the picture and derbis is a little more obvious. Miraculously I have no road rash to show for it. My left foot unclipped from the pedal and tried to help the recovery which tweaked my knee some. I feels a bit swollen right now but only time will tell if there's damage. I was able to complete the ride, a bit slower.

I can't help but think how the crash might have looked if I had been on the road. As a result I'll be reconsidering some of my on road riding behavior over the next few days.

And because I'm a geek, here's what heart rate looks like during a ride like that. 25 minutes in the orange around 165 beats per minute which is right close to my lactate threshold. Then two minutes away from the heart rate monitor as I check my body and bike for injury, also known as "walking it off", right coach? And then a much more leisurely ride around 150 beats per minute except for some uphill sections.

Thanks for playing. Ride more safely than I did today.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Tuesday Morning to Work

The temperature was 58 degrees this morning. That’s 58 degrees cooler than the highest temperature I experienced on Saturday’s errand run. I decided to ride to work instead of catching the bus. How could I not? I wasn’t surprised to find that it takes less time by bicycle. I also wasn’t surprised to find that I’m much less sweaty when I take the bus…and I get more of the paper read too.

Passenger Data: July 22 - 25

7/22 – 8am – Home to Depot – 2 aboard, 1 drop
7/22 – 8am – Depot to Bank – 8 aboard, 1 drop
7/23 – 12pm – Home to Depot – 1 aboard, 4 pickups, 1 drop
7/25 – 8am – Home to Depot – 2 aboard, 2 pickups
7/25 – 8am – Depot to Work – 3 aboard
7/25 – 4pm – Work to Depot – 5 aboard
7/25 – 4pm – Depot to Home – 6 aboard, 2 pickups, 7 drops

Scoring: July 18-24

MinusCar Trips: 8
Multi-occupant Auto Trips: 7
Single-occupant Auto Trips: 3

A big week for single occupant vehicle trips. Monday we used The Car as a mobile bus stop and caught a ride back to The Car with The Wife, leaving me to drive home alone. Tuesday was the bike club’s moonlight ride where I have responsibilities that include cool snacks. Cool snacks require mobile power and security, which that day required a car. Wednesday, after missing the convenient opportunity to drop water at work on Tuesday, required me to drive to work.

My Car Miles: 33

Bicycle Training: 9.2 hours

Viewed Media

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - ****

Nicely done movie. Johnny Depp was appropriately creepy and reports of similarities to Michael Jackson seem pretty ridiculous to me. Liberal Media Elite Alert – this movie seems to show that there might be some virtue in being poor. Don’t worry though; the true message is that if poor people play the lottery they’ll live happily ever after.

Pirates of the Caribbean - ***

(5 star scale)

(Liberal Media Elite Alerts are sarcastic and might not accurately reflect certain political, philosophical, social, or religious beliefs that I hold.)

Thoughts on Lance and leTour

Lance retires after winning The Tour for The Seventh time. As long as The Boy (7) has been alive we’ve been watching the same person win. Unlike some years, I actually wanted Lance to win this one.

And now he’s retired which opens up a world of possibilities for the race and pro-cycling. The Tour will be more exciting next year as everyone gets to move up a notch in the final standings. Will one of the three other American’s that finished in the top 15 be able reach the podium next year? Will a racer, after wearing the yellow jersey through 4 days in the mountains crack on the 5th day and finish in Paris merely in the top 10? Will Tyler Hamilton get to come out of doper’s purgatory?

Not only will The Tour be more exciting but also races throughout the season could change. Maybe George Hincapie, bolstered with the confidence of winning a mountain stage, and not concerned with needing to be at peak fitness in July, can let it all hang out and win the elusive Paris/Roubaix in April.

So long Lance. It was good when you were here, and it’s good that you’re gone.


The first image was taken early this year on the same day as the profile photo. The second image was taken during Saturday’s errand run. The temperature is displayed in the lower left corner. If it could display three digits is would be displaying 116 degrees. On Saturday, some of the time I found myself thinking about winter.

MinusKids and the Jonny Deppathon

The In-laws lifted The Boys from daycare on Friday with the promise that we could retrieve them Sunday.

The first order of business for this MinusKids weekend was to attend the outdoor Bare Bodkins Theater Presentation of Midsummer Night’s Dream. The soaring heat index made us realize that no amount of bare bodkins was going to be comfortable so we opted for air conditioning instead. It began with dinner out at Boston’s and ended with the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie starring Johnny Depp.

Saturday was a workday for The Wife. I went for a two hour training ride (props to Eric at the LBS for the Tour Time Trail updates), got home, showered and got right back on the bike for some all day errand running. I caught The Bus to downtown for lunch with The Wife. Then rode to the LBS for a new Camelback hose (after noticing that the current hose was sprouting vegetation.) On to The Mom’s house to return some property and an hour of chatting (it had been awhile.) The UPS store to return some mail order clothing for The Wife. The Outdoor Campus for a photography exhibit (they were closed), Sam’s Club for a blood pressure monitor (I’m getting old, eh?), the grocery store for some popcorn, and finally Ruby Tuesday’s where I met The Wife for supper. After supper we returned home to enjoy the movie Pirates of the Caribbean starring Johnny Depp on DVD.

Saturday’s excursion, while ostensibly being about errand running, was also partly a meditation a little bit along the lines of a Native American Sweat Lodge. With heat indices well above 100 degrees, I wanted very much to spend the day outside on a bicycle to experience how it felt and to think about global warming and green house gasses.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Missed Bus and Cars That Burn Sunlight

My city hosted a checkpoint for the The North American Solar Car Challenge, a race from Texas to Alberta, this week. The race route passed right outside the front door of my employer. I tracked them on their GPS page during the day Wednesday and as each car went by outside people inside the building were increasingly curious. The last three times I stepped outside to see a car there were 8 to 10 people with me.

It was quite cool to see the little spaceship-like vehicles buzz by on one of the busiest streets in town, each accompanied by two or three full size vans and SUV’s (thank you very much.)

The race reminded me of a combination of Pinewood Derby, Cannonball Run (it’s a movie that I’m actually to young to remember), and a whole lotta grant money. Anyone can enter but who’s got time and money for that? The 20 teams this year were groups of students from different universities. Wednesday the University of Minnesota was first by the front door followed by MIT about 30 minutes later. Seems like a pretty great way for a student to spend a summer, except for the 110 degree heat the drivers endure. For a sense of race strategy this daily report seems worthwhile.

The GPS revealed that one team spent the night in town, so I attempted to catch the early bus to downtown to check out the car. I waited at the stop for almost 20 minutes before deciding even if I hadn’t missed the bus I needed to get going, so I rode my bike in. (I verified today with my usual driver that I had missed it because it was early.)

At the checkpoint I found Fusion from Iowa State University with their panels pointed to the sun charging the batteries and the demonstration class hydrogen powered car Subzero IV H2 from the University of North Dakota getting some fresh duct tape.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Clever Chimp v. The Green Witch

The CleverChip (yo, TL, he's in Portland) reports on his visit to a member of his local permaculture guild. It's a very fascinating read.

It makes me remember fondly the rabbit wacker scene in Michael Moore's "Roger and Me"...only without the condescension and sarcasm.

While you're visiting The Chimp check out his red pill post. This post is loaded with good thought and ideas. I think it's brilliant.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Urban Adventure

(to the extent that there's anything urban in this city)

Monday night, The Wife's night to work, The Boys and I got a little crazy. We used the car as a mobile bus stop. The Boy 3 was a little apprehensive about riding the bus, but by the end of the trip he was sitting in his own seat instead of my lap.

Downtown we switched to the free Trolley service and rode through downtown to the library where we did some business and hung out for an hour. After that we hooked up with The Wife for the ride home.

With a little food planning and some well timed computer reservations this trip could easily turn into a 4 hour (or more) adventure, and on a Saturday there'd even be time for the bus trip home, hmmmm.

New Category: Passenger Stats

In the comments Nimbleboy offered his impression that a typical bus might have a dozen riders. I'm going to track rider statistics for awhile to offer a more accurate picture of what riding the bus looks like to me.

7/18 - 5pm - Depot to Home - 2 aboard, 2 pickups, 2 drops
7/18 - 7pm - Home to Downtown - 1 aboard, 1 drop
7/19 - 8am - Home to Work - 1 aboard, 1 pickup

These numbers do not include me in the counts.
Bus seating capacity is 28 passengers.

This will also give me a way to track bus trips per month. I pay $25/month for unlimited rides. I suspect that I don't ride the necessary 25 trips per month to break even on the deal.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Viewed Media

7/4 - Seinfeld: Season 4: Episodes 18-24 – now back to our regularly scheduled least until Season 5 is available. Does anybody know when that will be?


MinusCar Trips: 13
Multi-occupant Auto Trips: 7
Single-occupant Auto Trips: 0

My Car Miles: - 0

See that…zero miles.

Bicycle Training: 8.5 hours


George Hincapie - Winner - Stage 15 - Tour de France.

This guy is one of the good guys and he deserves the victory. The first Lance Armstrong teammate to win a Tour stage since Lance began winning Tours. Don't believe the talk about him being Team Discovery's future hope for the Tour.

Cycling Is Dangerous

You never know when a pedestrian is going to run out into the street...

and get run over by a motorcycle.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Sorry This Bus Is Full...and Don't Break the Routine

On the way in today two guys with bikes were waiting at a stop. It was unlucky for them that I was already on the bus with a bike and two is the maximum load. They ended up choosing to ride downtown. I felt bad. I had previously decided that if this situation ever occured and it was reasonable for me to get off and ride, that I would. Today it was reasonable for me to ride from that stop, but I hadn't realized what was going on until the bus doors closed and they rode off up the street. I'll be more prepared next time.

Yesterday's bike problems continued to cause me trouble today. I removed my bike lock key from the ring so when I arrived at work today I was without a key to lock my bike. my bike is hiding in the basement of building #2. Hopefully its presence doesn't offend someone.

Today’s Tip: Don’t Mess with Your Transport (Especially When It’s Your Only Transport)

I began the day looking forward to joining the evening club road ride. Upon arriving at work I performed a very minor handlebar adjustment that I should have done a couple weeks ago. As I was tightening the stem bolt I stripped it. Unbelievable! That leaves me in a mess. Not only can I not join the club ride, I can’t even get home!

At lunch I endured standing on the corner in business casual work clothes accompanied by a road bike, waiting for a bus to take me to the LBS. I ordered a new stem and left the bike behind. Then back on the bus to get back to work. After work I’m back on the bus to get back to the LBS. And I’m still not entirely comfortable waiting at bus stops.

Here’s where the lemons become lemonade. This guy I know, who happens to own like a ton of bikes agreed to loan me his top of the line Cannondale F4000SL. (Thanks Chad!) Then this other guy I know agreed to give me a ride to and from the OFF-ROAD club ride in his Cadillac SRX. (Thanks Eggs!) Talk about plush rides! (Thanks Guys!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

It’s Not Much But It’s Contagious

I had a conversation with the husband of the daycare provider about riding to work. Someone at his place of employment is trying to get him to ride. He thought maybe he’d get it done before winter.

I saw one of my neighbors on the road with a backpack heading home recently. I can’t claim any credit for this one, but it doubles the number of people within a block of my home riding to work.

And then there’s the land of the bloggers:

SASQUATCH: “I was reading where Sioux Falls, SD recently implemented racks on busses and if a city that size can do it, why can't Lincoln?”

Me, My Life + Infrastructure: “But then the smallest things can cheer me up...MinusCar from a guy going carfree in South Dakota boosted my spirits.”

Of course headlines like “Gas prices nip at record high” really help.

By the way, Monday I saw my first bike on bus out in the wild. By that I mean, I wasn't on the bus, and I wasn't at the bus depot. And yes readers, I have reported to you each of my bike/bus sightings, and I think this makes three.

August Outside Magazine

I read the August issue of Outside Magazine yesterday. Normally I don’t get quite so captivated by reading, but for some reason this was different. Here are three highlights:

1. This is inspiring. Seems like this setup might be a little rough on the shoulders and that it would slip out from underneath. I wonder if I could figure out a way to pull something like this off before winter. I could start with 41 pounds of rock in my backpack.

2. Article “Raising the Dead” by Tim Zimmermann – about cave diver Dave Shaw’s fatal attempt to retrieve Deon Dreyer’s corpse from a cave 900 feet underwater. This fall I read Krakauer’s Mt Everest book, and this article brought back many of the same feelings. It was captivating, and includes an ironical ending.

3. Article “New American Dream Towns” by Mike Grudowski – about 10 towns with “cool ideas for building smart communities…plus…concepts in urban revival, combating sprawl…” I learned here that in 2002 Salt Lake City “independently latched on to the Kyoto Protocal goals, vowing to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases 21 percent by 2012.”


MinusCar Trips: 6
Multi-occupant Auto Trips: 5

Single-occupant Auto Trips: 3

It was a tough week for single occupant vehicle trips. I drove to work Wednesday because I had 10 gallons of water to bring with me. I had The Wife lined up to carpool, but I was going to make her late and by the time we realized that I was too late to bus or ride.

Thursday during the day I learned I’d be picking up The Boys in the evening, and without trailer transport for them I was left with driving.

And Sunday, while I didn’t accumulate miles on My Car, I did cause The Family to use The Other Car specifically to come rescue me after the chain on my bike broke 5 miles into a ride.

My Car Miles: 22 (seems like the low 20’s is becoming normal weekly miles)

Bicycle Training: 5.1 hours

Friday, July 08, 2005

Not Responding

Not Responding is a blogger (Not On My Watch) and a MinusCar reader. You may remember him as a commenter to previous posts such as MinusHelmet. He also lives in the UK. I'm thinking of him this afternoon. I'm hoping he's busy acting locally.

High Risk Behavior

The bus ride to work today was quite the adventure after swapping yellow for orange in the mass transit rainbow ‘o terror. Fortunately for me, calling the busses I ride as mass transit is a bit of a stretch. For most of the trip it was I who held the honor of being the most dangerous passenger, since I was the only passenger.

My personal rainbow 'o terror gained some flecks of red as I boarded; my driver informed me of a slight route change. I remained alert for the duration of the trip looking for additional signs of impending doom, but found none. Eventually it became obvious that the route change was necessary because of advancement of a very large road construction project.

Two Cities Two Wheels has an intersting article about the sudden popularity of bicycles in London after yesterday.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Me v. 1 (800) BAR-NONE

As it turns out Al Trautwig isn’t the most annoying thing on OLN-TV right now. It’s the microphone wielding sock puppet doggy formerly employed by He’s been hired as the BAR-NONE pitchman, and can be seen two or three times an hour during OLN-TV’s Tour de France coverage.

The advertisement opens with the puppet approaching a well-dressed young woman sitting on a bus stop bench. He asks her if she’s been waiting long, she responds affirmatively and adds that she’s late. He suggests she needs a car, she says she has bad credit. A well-dressed young man then approaches with the same problem. He makes the call to BAR-NONE finds out they’re going to extend him credit so he can get a car.

The message is clear. If you’re waiting at a bus stop there must be something wrong with you. Additionally, you’re open to questioning by random microphone wielding sock puppets while you wait.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

June Results

June is complete. The Car went 128 miles between 5/26 and 7/3 compared to its previous average of 450 miles per month. May 26 also happens to be the last time I filled the tank with gas.


7/4 - Seinfeld: Season 4: Episodes 12-17 – “not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

7/4 –Lance Armstrong's War: One Man's Battle Against Fate, Fame, Love, Death, Scandal, and a Few Other Rivals on the Road to the Tour de France, by Daniel Coyle - ****

This was a very good read for me. Journalist Daniel Coyle tells the story of Lance and the 2004 Tour de France. Beginning early season 2004 and finishing after the Olympics, the book provides quite a lot of insight into Lance and his main rivals in the professional peleton.

I was most interested in the details Coyle gives about Floyd Landis and his growing up as a bicycling Mennonite in Pennsylvania as well as the experiences that led to his departure from Lance’s team.

Additionally the author’s treatment of the topic of drug use and doping in professional cycling is interesting. This book does more to describe the relationship between controversial doctor and Lance trainer Michele Ferrari than anything previously available. It makes the Coach Carmichael/Athlete Armstrong relationship seem more a matter of convenience than anything, especially after finding out Armstrong is part owner of Carmichael Training. Coyle also does a fair job of balancing the opinions and thoughts of people who think he must use performance enhancing drugs, with the fact (and only possible answer to the question) that Lance is the most tested athlete in all of sport and he’s never failed a drug test.


MinusCar Trips: 7
Multi-occupant Auto Trips: 4
Single-occupant Auto Trips: 1 (Thursday from bus stop to home)

My Car Miles: 4.5 (yeah, baby!)

Bicycle Training: 14.8 hours

Holiday Weekend

I began the holiday weekend hoping for big hours on the bike, starting with a 90-minute trip home from work. Then came a 9pm, 2 hour ride around the town. Lots of people were feeling chatty while we were out on the ride. Many things were shouted from many vehicles as we rode, and none of them could be easily determined to be hostile.

Saturday was a waste, mostly because it began at 7:30am with 3.5 hours of Tour de France coverage on OLN-TV, in all its Trautwiggian awfulness. Once a day begins with that much television I have very little motivation for anything else. I even tried, without success, to reboot the day by taking a nap.

Sunday arrived and I was rested and ready to do some off-road biking. One way that the MinusCar Project has hampered my quality of life is in my ability to ride bike off-road. The best/nearest place to ride is in a state park 25 miles away. My desire to minimize car trips has so far greatly limited my desire to make that trip. Four of us met 8am Sunday morning at the LBS and 7 hours later I’d completed the round trip by mountain bike. As I was thinking how to count this for MinusCar scoring I realized I had probably ridden to the ride to the ride. Interestingly while on this ride I learned that I no longer have enough hair up top to protect my scalp from sunburn.

Sunday into Monday I spent at the in-laws lake home. I had the option available to ride the 35 miles home, but ended up choosing the option of napping and eating more bars and cheesecake.

Kids On the Bus

The Boy 7 and a friend are attending a weeklong experience downtown. It’s a few blocks from the bus station and it was my turn to be useful and take the kids. We used the car to get to my usual bus stop and got on the bus.

The trip was a big hit! Beginning with running around a grassy area while we waited for the bus, continuing with the ride in the big machine, and then finishing with the walk to our destination where we checked out the construction of the new federal building and some road construction. After dropping them off I got on my bike for the rest of the trip to work.

I can’t help but make comparisons between this experience and the more common experiences of getting in a car and being dropped off at the door of the destination.

Thursday’s Plates