Saturday, December 30, 2006

End Of Year Deaths

I understand it’s pretty normal for lots of people to die at the end of the year, as motivation from thoughts of “If I can just make it till Christmas to see all the family one more time...” comes into play.

So today I marked the passing of three icons by paying partial attention to the CNN broadcast on the TV in the far corner of the room while I enjoyed lunch at a downtown eatery with The Boys.

Gerald Ford, the last president before I became conscious of what presidents are.

James Brown, the godfather of soul. My appreciation of JB doesn’t go much beyond L.A. Style’s offering of the song from 1993, James Brown Is Dead (mp3). Do you like techno?

Saddam Hussein. Last night, in the midst of end of year celebratory activities my friend KT informed me that the news was showing the demise of Saddam. I immediately returned to the equally dissonant memory of a day (January 15?) in 1991 that I learned we had commenced bombing Iraq. I was on an educational immersion trip in Chicago and marched on Michigan Avenue the next day.

Curt at Can’t See the Forest makes the good point:
“Saddam Hussein’s regime was being enthusiastically backed by the Reagan administration at the time the Dujail massacre, for which Hussein has been hanged, transpired. The propensity for Washington commanders to overlook such inconveniences of record is keen and unfaltering...

But Iraqis remember. Palestinians and Iranians remember. Only in America is history so easily and smugly rewritten, and only in America are the motivations of those in the Middle East who would wish our government ill so poorly grasped.”
Happy coming New Year.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Report: December 18 – 24

Trips -
MinusCar: 6
Multi-occupant Auto: 8
Single occupant Auto: 5
Destinations: 35

The MinusCar Project was just a rumor this week. It began with the temporary destruction of the winter bike the Friday before. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, cold, wet, rainy, and I had The Boy pick up duty all three days. Finally Friday I was ready for some bus riding. I didn't even park and ride - I got up early enough to walk to the stop closest to my home.

My Car Miles: 67
My Bike Miles: 6

Only six bike miles. I did manage one ride in on Christmas Eve day. I ran to the store for some necessary groceries for the evening’s festivities. In the messenger bag went two glass jars of pizza sauce separated by three bags of shredded cheese for padding. Sticking out the top were two loaves of French bread…and nobody was around to appreciate it.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

I Still (heart) My LBS

I ordered up some Papa John’s Pizza to be delivered to My LBS for lunch then I hopped a bus and got myself there just as the delivery vehicle was leaving. It’s Christmas, and there’s nothing better than sharing a meal in community, especially at Christmastime.

I did this because I love My LBS.

Here, a week ago I lamented the death of Judy, my yellow forked companion of 11 years. That day The Owner suggested he might have a suitable replacement for me. A couple days later he said he thought it might be yellow. A couple days after that he confirmed it was yellow and he’d need to be sure the travel matched the original. Today there is a resurrected yellow Judy on the blue and yellow Zaskar, and The Owner claims once upon a time a conversation occurred, “We’d better keep that around because someday minuscar guy will need some parts.”

I’d like to see do that for me.

Merry Christmas LBS!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Report: December 11 – 17

Trips -
MinusCar: 8
Multi-occupant Auto: 5
Single occupant Auto: 1
Destinations: 20


My Car Miles: 14
My Bike Miles: 52

Public Enemy Cancels

Tonight’s performance of Public Enemy has been cancelled due to slower than expected ticket sales. It’s my fault.

Saturday, 12/9 – wants $10 additional just to sell me two tickets. I opt to purchase locally. Search the internets in vain for ticket purchasing venues.

Friday, 12/15 – I finally find myself in a business with a poster where I learn tickets are available at Last Stop CD Shop.

Monday, 12/18 – I drive by what I thought was LSCDS only to realize it’s not even Disc Go Round anymore. Return to work and ask dexOnline were LSCDS is.

Tuesday, 12/19 – I now require four tickets. Stop in at LSCDS to make my purchase. That’s $116 cash only. I’m $114 short. I’ll come back tomorrow after I shake the money tree.

Wednesday, 12/20 – I learn of the cancellation.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tag, I’m It

Mr. Bite tagged me yesterday. The task, identify 5 interesting things about myself that people aren’t likely to know…or something. And then tag 5 other people.


1. I've shagged punts for the man who was to become New Orleans’ Saints all-time leading punter.

2. I was born in New Jersey. I got out before it made me hard; before I turned 1.

3. In early Jr High I crashed my Free Spirit bicycle when the duffel bag I was carrying on my handlebars got caught up in the front wheel. Someone in the neighborhood found me unconscious in the street and called an ambulance. I regained consciousness on the way to the hospital. I didn’t ride again until college.

4. Hardees was my first place of employment. It’s no longer a Hardees but some of the faces are still the same.

5. If there was one place I’d rather live it would be Chicago.

Tag, you’re it - peddlingshutterbug, sasquatch, geoff, sans auto, m.mccluskey

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Makes Me Feel Shiny And New...

Welcome to the new Googlematized The MinusCar Project. I fully committed the blog to GoogleBlogger tonight. It was as long and tedious as I expected.

The biggest trick was getting the logo up there in the header. I am geek boy.

The second was getting the LastFM music artists tables right. I need some virtual Visine 'cause I couldn't get the red out.

Enjoy. I've decided not to do category labels. Some stuff should just remain hard to find.

My favorite part is the green and black text. The official MinusCar colors don't ya know. If you don't like it...get your own blog.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Judy Is Dead…Long Live Judy

Wanted: 1995 yellow Rock Shox Judy XC.

In 1995 Rock Shox introduced the yellow Judy XC suspension fork. The striking yellow front end and advanced technical features helped solidify the Judy as a landmark product.

In 1995 I abandoned my first full time job for greener pastures. I elected to transfer my retirement savings (such as they were) to my pants pocket, and went straight to the LBS formerly known as the Bike Barn to upgrade my current ride to a yellow forked and legendary GT Zaskar.

A few years ago Judy’s oil damper cartridge broke. With the help of The Owner and some hard to find after market parts sitting on someone’s shelf in Tuvalu (maybe) her life was extended as a Total Air suspension fork. At that time The LBS also converted the Zaskar to a single speed.

Tonight The Family did some Christmas shopping. Instead of suffering the crush of people in shopping central, the mall, or wal*mars, we elected to enjoy some relaxed downtown shopping. The Wife rounded up The Boys, I put the bike on the car and we headed for downtown dining and shopping.

Parking was difficult to come by. After some futile searching we headed for a parking ramp. This is what was left on the car after the parking ramp removed the Zaskar from the roof.

Longtime readers of this blog who are scoring at home (or if you’re alone) will know this is the third time I’ve rammed bikes into buildings with cars (second time for the Zaskar) since The MinusCar Project began. A very infinitesimal part of me is proud of the irony that because I drive so little I'm more likely to destroy my bicycles. Nonetheless, readers should take a moment to consider dropping their subscription to the blog of an idiot.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Commuter Backpack

Once upon a time (August) I was engaged in e-mail conversation with a guy from Banjo Brothers. We agreed that near winter they’d send me some product to try out. Not too long ago I noticed Fatboy Cyclist was giving away Banjo Brothers product. This and another blog reminded me to wonder if I’d somehow been forgotten.

And then Saturday; a package on my back step from the Banjo Brothers. They sent me their commuter backpack. This will be a tough sell. For many months I rode with a standard backpack. It wasn’t until I made the switch to messenger bag that I realized what I was missing. I love my messenger bag. It and I have become one.

This bag is interesting. The main thing I noticed is the removable insert. It’s a big thick white sleeve that is obviously waterproof and causes me to ponder its ability to keep milk and ice cream cold in the summer on its way home from the grocery store. This is something the messenger bag will never do. I want to know the thermal properties of the insert. I also wonder if the insert will hold together at -5 Fahrenheit.

Reportedly the bag sits lower on the back than a standard backpack. For this reason I cannot dismiss the bag. Because a standard backpack rides so high, the backward view is partially obstructed. The messenger bag which rides very low showed me how much I was missing.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to the grocery store to buy milk.

Monday, December 11, 2006

December 4 – 10

Sunday morning somewhere in Kentucky Woo donned his MinusCar t-shirt and presented “Eco Community: Changing the Paradigm of Environmentalism” to his church. Woo rocks. Given the four hours of pain I experienced at the church I go to it was nice to have this pushing down on the other side of the scale.

Trips -
MinusCar: 11
Multi-occupant Auto: 6
Single occupant Auto: 3
Destinations: 21

I’m pretty happy with this week given how cold and Christmasy busy it was. I had somewhere to be every night this week. I was able to ride or walk to most of them.

The Car is approaching 3,000 miles since the beginning of The MinusCar Project. I’m using that as extra motivation to drive less ride more.

My Car Miles: 15
My Bike Miles: 67

Temperature Lowlights:
12/7 – Temp: -4 Wind: 6

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Studly Tires

SueJ, riding her bike and wearing a MinusCar t-shirt in Champaign-Urbana, IL wanted to know about my studded tires. Here you go SueJ. I think they'd look good on your Xtracycle.

They are Kenda Klondike XT's.

(don't be fooled, the grass is not this green right now.)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I’m Not Gonna Lie

I could write about the beauty of cold crisp night riding with 5 people under a full moon after a light snowfall. The soft swish of the snow as it passes under tires, the shuffle of unseen small animals and the wondrous stare of a deer as it takes a stop closer and tries to figure the meaning of five dancing white headlights.

I could pretend that it didn’t matter that when we arrived at the Christmas light drive thru the lights were dark, and that there was minimal conversation because it was so hard to hear through all the layers of clothing and the layer of concentration it takes to ignore the elements.

I could even say that the pain of my frozen feet and my icy upwind pinky finger couldn't over weigh the beauty of the ride. Even that I was eager upon waking up, to do it all over again, but this time take away a few more degrees.

Nope. To write all that would be to ignore the real story. There’s no getting around the fact that it’s just plain cold.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Mystery Rider

Remember the mystery rider from a week ago. The one who passed me in subzero windchill on the red Schwinn?

1. She's a she.
2. She's got a MinusCar t-shirt.
3. She's happy I said she was skinny.

Check out the comment - here.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

November 27 – December 3

I received an e-mail from a friend and MinusCar reader this morning. His employer has relocated to a building closer to his home. He says, “I know I won’t be doing this everyday, but so far 2 days in the new building and 2 days biking to work.” This sort of thing really makes a bloggers day.

Remember when I used to do a weekly report?

Trips -
MinusCar: 6
Multi-occupant Auto: 4
Single occupant Auto: 4
Destinations: 20

MinusCar trips are lower than they used to be. I don’t go to lunch as often as I used to.

Monday was wet and I had pickup duty, I drove to work. Tuesday was still wet, I did the car park and ride. A handful of people asked if I had ridden to work these days. I just hate saying no.

By Wednesday I was dying to ride and at 10 degrees the muddy ground was either dry or frozen. I made sure to ask how they all got to work that day. “Car? Excellent.”

On Saturday, since I just can’t get enough of high winds and low temps, I did a little recreational ride too. Honestly, I can get enough of high winds and low temps, but I had already committed to the Saturday ride. Sitting and enjoying post-ride bagels warmed us up nicely.

My Car Miles: 38
My Bike Miles: 51

Temperature Lowlights:
11/29 – Temp: 10 Wind: 17
11/30 – Temp: 7 Wind: 7
12/2 – Temp: 10 Wind: 22

Monday, December 04, 2006

Google Loves Snakebite

Looks like the #1 Google result for "how many calories are in a snakebite" happens to be The MinusCar Project! So how 'bout it Mr. Bite? Can you give an answer? Where I come from calories are things that are consumed or used. This question really makes me wonder if I'm missing out on some hidden virtue of S/snakebites. Maybe it's just different in Raliegh, NC.

And speaking of Mr. Bite, there's an ever so slight chance of snow for his moonlight ride this week. That's great! I'd really like to pull out my specially decorated winter bike for this ride. Having snow for the studded tires to eat would be a welcome bonus.

So far only The Dad has seen the decorations. We passed each other like two bikes in the night on the way home from work Friday. Dad, the flashing light caught my attention first if that's worth anything to you.

The Snakebite moonlight ride reminder is here. I haven't yet taken the time to read the whole thing but I think I saw a naughty word or two in there. The official announcement is here, with fewer naughty words.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Giving Thanks

I had an exceptional four days off to celebrate the Thanksgiving weekend.

It started all proper-like on Thursday morning with the 2nd Annual Spoke-n-Sport Thanksgiving Day ride followed by my Annual Thanksgiving Day meal. That evening The Wife and I viewed the colorized VHS version of Miracle on 34th Street. I've recently been outed at work as a classic movie ignoramus and this seemed like it would remedy my most egregious transgression.

Friday The Boys and I ventured downtown by bus for our traditional viewing of the Parade of Lights. The driver remembered us from this summer when he almost failed to pick us up at the stop. The Boy 8 remembered the driver as the one who described running over road construction barrels with a front end loader.

We hooked up with The Wife for dinner and donned our warm clothes and glo-sticks for the parade.

Saturday I hooked up with some fellas for a trip to the hills. It's been a long time since the race bike has seen legitimate off road use. Seems I'm less willing to make the requisite 30-ish mile drive these days. Last time I was there some of us actually rode to the ride.

Some fellas. It was a pleasure to ride with and hear stories from Des Moines export and an Iowa 24 Hour Race organizer TT (left).

Tight formation.

Eayste finding balance.

Ride instigator Eggsnbacon. "Am I going to be on your blog?"

The trouble with taking photos from behind is all the behinds...

the trouble with taking photos from the front is...

you never know what's behind.

Saturday night The Family ventured to Winter Wonderland at Falls Park.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

It Was a Good Day...No AK Necessary

The day began quite similarly to the way it ended yesterday. With a howdy to a very cozy KT. This time he was in a warm vehicle with his lovely wife HBT, post fresh steamy latte fetching. She raised her brew and surmised aloud that I looked cold. I guess she didn’t notice the pit zips were open and venting.

30 minutes later and not any degrees warmer I was passed. On your lefted. Ridden by. Dropped. Elastic snapped. It’s wasn’t so much getting passed that was remarkable…it was getting passed in single digit temperatures. I suspect someone had the mysterious person imported for the purpose of passing me. First off it was a skinny little thing with lots of hair on a red Schwinn, gender undetermined. Secondly, it rode vehicularly, even signaling the right turn with an outstretched right hand. How odd. Good on ya mate!

Remember – red Schwinn. Must be crazy because they’re out riding in this weather! Look out.

I had enjoyed conversation with a coworker/MinusCar board member where I admitted I'm looking forward to warmer temperatures. Ironic isn’t it, living in fear of a warm planet and wishing for higher temps. This is life in MinusCarlandia.

The PDA beeped at me this afternoon. 15 minutes till my dentist appointment, something I had completely, utterly, and fully forgotten about. Ugh, I wasn’t mentally or physically prepared for a mid-afternoon venture on the bike. But wait…the bus. If I hurry I just might catch it. I stepped out the front door and there it was coming up the street. I ran and waved and hoped. Sure enough the driver saw me and waited. In my head I entertained visions of an approving nod from the TransitLibrarian for the hustle.

A snow blower was delivered to my driveway this afternoon. I’m loath to actually use it but the price for purchase and delivery were so good I couldn’t say no. Who knows, maybe it will actually snow. Maybe I’ll use it. I wonder how many mpg’s it gets.

Finally, The Family went to the Brule’ concert this evening. Brule’ is contemporary Native American music, with a holiday twist for this holiday show. I thought it was an incredible concert. I had plenty of time to wonder if Native American culture knows something about life that I don’t. I’m guessing it does.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Lunch: Fajita Ranchera, Chips & Queso, Lemonade = 1590 calories...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


The USDA recommends adults consume 2,000 calories per day...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Day Off

The great theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel said, "the sabbath gives the world the energy it needs to go for another six days."

Get it out of church by calling it anything else, or leave it in church and call it a sabbath. How desperate is the Earth for the world to take a day off?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


A while ago I heard the preacher man speak about Being Beautiful (mp3) (Greg Boyd, Woodland Hills Church). Since then I've been bugged.

Tuesday I listened to a different preacher man speak about the Sabbath (mp3) (Rob Bell, Mars Hill Church). In addition to points about sabbath-ing, there are hints to the sorts of things I believe could nudge humanity in directions that would mitigate global warming.

Today I decided to take a sabbatical. I'll return when I think my sense of humor has.


Update: I've openly pointed to two personalities that I obviously let influence me and those two people come with baggage. However, these are two pastoral type people I trust. I trust them largely because I've never heard them say the person next to me should change their behavior. I trust them because they keep me busy thinking about my behavior.

The best criticisms of Rob Bell can be found through Wikipedia. I assume Google can uncover them for Greg Boyd.


Update: My download service might not work well for everyone. The official download pages might work better.

Boyd is here. The page is date ordered, 8/20 is the one.

Start here for Bell. It's not named Sabbath but November 12 is the one. They ask for e-mail addresses to download. As far as I know, they've never used mine for anything.


The Globe That Is Warm

There’s plenty of fresh bad news out there about global warming. Perhaps the power shift in Washington has caused various groups to issue a flurry of press releases. Perhaps new hot steamy data has come to light. Perhaps the rearranged congress will be listening. Perhaps not. Whatever.

The 13th global warming tipping point is, “a shift in human perception that would push humanity to avoid mayhem by addressing global warming with the urgency it deserves.” – a Mother Jones e-mail about The Thirteenth Tipping Point: 12 Global Disasters and 1 Powerful Antidote, an article I haven't read. It looks interesting…and long.

The Ride

I went for a recreational ride today. I started in the fading light and finished in the darkness. I’ve recently re-discovered the recreational ride; it sure is nice to go without a set of clothes in a messenger bag. It makes me want to ride what little urban singletrack is available. I did.

I also rode without an mp3 player which caused me to realize I haven’t been doing that enough. I remembered the clarity of thought that comes from a quiet bike ride. I like that.

The Fascination: Why the Narrow Agenda of the Religious Right Doesn't Really Do Much For Me

Start with the religious right’s (as personified by James Dobson, arguably the most powerful voice of the religious right) fascination with a narrow agenda and strategic use of politics to create legislation.

The Conversion – Richard Cizik

Last spring I learned that Richard Cizik, National Association of Evangelical’s Vice President for Governmental Affairs had a conversion experience.

“…in 2002, I had a conversion to the science of climate change…global warming, if you will — is the third rail, 'you touch it, you die.' Well, I've touched it.” – Richard Cizik, Krista Tippet’s Speaking of Faith

His response to his conversion, in part, was to openly support the Evangelical Environmental Network (, the Evangelical Climate Initiative (ECI) (, and no doubt encourage his own organization to adopt a global warming position.

With Cizik’s help the ECI published a letter, "Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action" signed by 86 evangelical leaders, including the purpose driven Rick Warren, urging global warming action. According to Jim Wallis "the very day the article came out the White House called the NAE to ask what policies they were most concerned about."

The Third Rail - James Dobson Jumps to Action

On his radio show he said:
"...we believe that Richard Cizik and his colleagues are dividing evangelicals and setting them at odds with each other, as though we have to choose between that issue and the others that we feel so strongly about." – Focus on the Family Radio Show May 19 Warning: I'm referencing myself here.
He signed an opposing letter:
“…addressed to the National Association of Evangelicals…which last year had started to move in the direction of taking a stand on global warming… [the letter] asked the National Association of Evangelicals not to issue any statement on global warming or to allow its officers or staff members to take a position.” – New York Times, Evangelical Leaders Join Global Warming Initiative, February 8, 2006
And perhaps he tried to get Cizik fired. I’ve seen it written by a source I trust, on the internets (“so it must be true.”). I’m not going to point to the source but I have mentioned the post before. If you want it you’ll have to earn it. Besides, how can an outsider prove something like that anyway:
“Higher powers at the NAE, he said, insisted he remove his name [from the ECI letter]… (translation: Cizik, its oft-quoted spokesman, should zip it). "It looked like Tony Soprano had whacked one of his own," says Cizik. "People asked me, 'Rich, do you still have a job?' “ – Moving Heaven and Earth, KRON 4 TV
Who were the higher powers at the NAE? Meet former National Association of Evangelicals President Ted Haggard:
“[Dobson] went on to say, ‘Ted has been my close friend and colleague for many years...He will continue to be my friend even if the worst allegations prove accurate.’” – Haggard Admits Buying Meth, Denver Post
A Local Manifestation of the Narrow Agenda
Abortion - “Thank you for your email regarding the reporting of campaign finance activity for a group called Bound4LIFE…I do not know if their activity would require the filing of a report but if the group raised, collected or disbursed money to influence a ballot question, it is likely that a report should have been filed.” – South Dakota Secretary of State
The Other One - "You can see it coming. Why do you think that they’re trying to extend all of the privileges of marriage to the homosexual community? This is an orchestrated effort. I’m guaranteeing you, they’re going to want to sweep in and take the babies. They’re going to be the ones who want to care for the babies…We have to steal theses babies from the hand of this dragon." – Bound4LIFE representative

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Post That Almost Never Was

It was going to be the perfect post. It was going use current campaign finance law to demonstrate how two groups operated in South Dakota, efforting to have the abortion ban pass, without meeting South Dakota law's requirements to file a finance report. I even published it...and then found a problem. It wasn't bulletproof. It needed to be bulletproof. I deleted the post. If you were lucky enough to check this afternoon around 4pm you might have seen it. Here's what I could salvage of it...


God is going to use this state very strategically to tear down national strongholds… from this place [Pierre, SD] the nation will begin to be legislated. – Bound4LIFE September Newsletter

I spent a lot of my holiday weekend being curious about campaign finance law and how it relates to the South Dakota abortion ban. Specifically I’m as curious as any South Dakotan about the potentially illegal $750,000 donation SD Legislator Roger Hunt’s Promising Future Corporation gave to the VoteYesForLife committee.

Turns out blogger SD Progressive (with Coat Hangers at Dawn’s echoing) got it wrong when they said “Not one disclosed dollar on the Vote Yes committee filing is from Steve Kirby.” Page 22 of the report (PDF) contains Steve Kirby’s name and $1000 donation. I’m not saying that means it’s not his $750,000. I’m just agreeing it’s hard to do research.

Yes, that’s right, I read with interest the Pre-election Campaign Finance Reports this weekend. I suppose if a South Dakotan has the right to know who’s trying to influence them in an election; this South Dakotan might as well exercise that right.

My favorite part of the VoteYesForLife report (PDF) is the un-required pie chart showing 65% of donations were from South Dakota contributors. But wait! Take away the mysterious, anonymous, potentially illegal $750,000 donation and you get 42% of donations from South Dakota contributors. Nice!

I also reviewed the list of South Dakota Ballot Committees to see which groups worked for an outcome on the abortion ban. I see that Bound4LIFE is not on the list. Bound4LIFE didn't submit a campaign finance report.

Here's where I got stuck. I had the laws all lined up. I had the evidence...and then the word election jumped out at me. Election (person) versus ballot question (not a person). So now all I have is some lines from the local daily:

"Disclosure law requires campaigns for statewide candidates and ballot issues to file finance reports that cover activity up to 10 days before a general election..." - Argus Leader (Or so they've been told.)

"The issues involved in the complaints are covered by current laws. If that association did collect and receive money to influence a ballot question, it, too, is covered (by existing law)." - Secretary of State Chris Nelson

If these two statements are true, why couldn't I connect the dots to the law? Because "Campaign finance laws get 'F' in S.D."

"Ballot question committees present more difficulties than don't always even know they exist until they're brought to your attention." - Attorney General Larry Long


Did Bound4LIFE raise money?

Did Bound4LIFE spend money?

"My team and I are packing boxes this week and will be leaving on Monday. It has been an extreme pleasure to live in South Dakota for the last three and half months." - Matt Lockett

Did Bound4LIFE try to influence the outcome of a ballot question?

Maybe by the time the abortion ban bill comes around again Pierre, SD will be ready to legislate something as simple as campaign finance.


The Christian Gallery News Service was also not on the list. Since they don’t even pretend to be responsible, it doesn’t surprise me that they didn’t file.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

School's Out Carbon Lite

There was no school today. The Boy 4 went to daycare. The Wife went to work. That left The Boy 8 and I to figure it out by ourselves.

We walked out the door at 10:15 and caught a bus a little later. My favorite part of the walk was when he described how to make a wish and blow the seeds off a dandelion. I asked him what he wishes for. He wouldn't tell me. Sigh. My boy's old enough to keep things from me.

The Bus Women were all in a tizzy today. One of them got into yesterday's local daily because she offered a same sex marriage opinion. That led to a variety of political commentary. Political commentary very different from what I am accustomed to. A couple other Bus Women were quite upset because someone had spilled the beans about a surprise birthday party. The best part of all the is when we switched buses all the same stories were re-told to the new interested passengers and driver.

I've come to realize that there is a group of women maybe 10 to 15 large, that all know each other. It seems that the bus is their biggest point of connection. Events are planned and replanned, gossip is told and retold, all during rides on the bus. Some of the drivers also take an interest.

After we arrived downtown we selected a lunch venue. We chose well because I was able to greet The Progressive on the Prairie there. We agreed life seems a lot different on this side of a very contentious election. Part of politics is poison. We finished our hot dogs and enjoyed an hour or two of playing at the science center.

The Wife called around 2pm and we took the long way to her office for the ride home. On that walk we came upon the sculpture "A Book For Everyone." During the summer The Boy 8 became a reader. He liked this sculpture.

One of the books is "The Complete Works of Shakespeare." Another is labeled Tolstoy. Then he climbed up to see what the boy was reading. I stood there while he read the whole page. I love it that he reads. His learning to read has given me a greater appreciation of reading.

Now he wants to read the book but the title wasn't part of the sculpture. I e-mailed the sculptor.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Beautiful Day. U2?

After the flood all the colors came out
It was a beautiful day
Don't let it get away

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ride Your Bike to the Polls Today

I’m going to vote today.

I might even vote my values. Funny thing that. What does it mean to NOT vote ones values? I suppose the coin flip fits in there. Maybe voting for the beautiful people is another. I can’t understand how any thoughtfully (or prayerfully) placed vote would be a vote against ones values, no matter which way it was cast.

If “vote my values” does mean what Dr Dobson or my pastor thinks it means, I’m going to struggle hard today with how I don’t LIVE my values. I’ve never knowingly ridden a bike with an addicted gambler. I’ve never walked a scared teen and her nervous boyfriend to a clinic for counseling. It doesn’t take me very many fingers to count how many times I’ve dined with a gay man. For the non-South Dakotan, these are related to ballot issues.

I did interact with an “activist” federal judge once. I saw him drop a credit card in the coffee shop parking lot. I picked it up, cut in front of him in line, paid for my coffee with it, and handed it to him as he waited behind me. That was ok though, I served twice as a juror for him so he (kn)ow(e)s me. (Parts of this story are not true.)

In fact, with the exception of the pregnant teen and the boyfriend (I do have a Boy 8 and Boy 4 don’t you know), I’ve sort of arranged my life so that I can avoid these situations. I didn’t arrange things this way intentionally. I just sort of followed the path of least resistance. You know, stayed comfortable.

I will demonstrate at least two of my values today. I will vote and I will ride my bike to do it.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Nite Ride!

I joined Thee Double Secret Probation Moonlight Ride Saturday night. What a beautiful night! 40 degrees, barely any wind. Full moon. I rode to the ride and managed 28 miles for the evening. Mr. Bite let me lead. I paced the 13 participants at 13-ish mph and I could tell from the conversation and laughter behind me that I wasn't working everybody hard enough.

The ride departed from Granite City and upon our return there was 110% participation in post-ride appetizers, beverages, and conversation. A beautiful night all around!

Plus! At least two, maybe three other participants actually rode to the ride!


The Boys know. They wear their helmets when they ride their bikes. They rarely need reminding. They just do it. Maybe they're following the lead of their dad or maybe they're just smart. The Boys have another interesting habit, they often forget to take their helmets off after riding. Scenes like this are quite common around here. (I assume observant readers can identify The Boy 8 in this picture.)

It's kinda nice that this happens. I get to be an over protective parent without any effort whatsoever.

Saturday, The Boy 4 came running into the house crying after playing for a while with the crew in the photo above. Turns out The Boy 4 was in the trailer of a pedal tractor being pulled by a boy 8. This is highly inadvisable behavior, had I been monitoring I would have registered my disapproval. This boy 8 turned sharp and The Boy 4 was pitched over the side where his head met the pavement.

We know his head hit the pavement because his helmet is now slightly damaged.

I'm not saying it saved his life, I'm not saying it saved us a trip to the doctor. I'm just saying we have a damaged helmet and I'm rather pleased about that.

This photo is the helmet but long before the damage.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Back On The Bus

I gave my bike trail jogger friend a break today. It was my turn for the The End Of Friday The Boy Pickup Duty so I parked and rode. I can’t remember the last time I was on a bus. Perhaps my summer trip to Minneapolis…sheesh, maybe that four hour bus ride poisoned me toward busses more than I realize. Turns out I still remember how to catch ‘em.

With just a few more days before the big vote the street corner political sign holders were out in force. It seemed a little more personal as I sat on the bus and observed from behind the big glass windows. It felt surprisingly different from being in a car, but I can’t put my finger on the exact reason.

Do the various campaigns reserve street corner time slots or is it first come first served?

On the way home the driver, while stopped at a red light, responded enthusiastically to a “honk if you’re for…” sign. Repeated honking and offering multiple thumbs up. I thought that was interesting. I didn’t see a sign on the bus stating the driver's opinion does not necessarily represent the City of Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls Transit, or the current bus passengers. I didn’t think about asking if I could have my own horn for which to cast my own street corner vote until now. Oh well, maybe next time.

The most mind bending sign I say today was “repeal the ban.” I think this might have been an overreach for a street corner. I was grateful to be on a bus without distraction to fully contextualize and interpret the sign.

I’m just saying.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Surprise! II

The guy from yesterday whom I surprised. Remember? I saw him today too. I was a bit later than yesterday so he had already reached his turn around. He was coming toward me. He had plenty of time to see me. I waved. I didn't see any amount of acknowledgment from him. It was dark. He may not have seen any amount of acknowledgment from me either.

Could this be the beginning of a long and meaningful relationship?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


How to grow a blog – post a lot. How to shrink a blog – post a little.

The main story today: I think I gave a bike trail jogger a very big fright tonight.

It was dark. It was windy. I saw a light ahead from quite a distance. After I got closer I could see a jogger with a flashlight. He also had a reflective strip on his jacket and reflective spots on his shoes. It’s surprising the number of people who venture onto the trail in the dark without any lighting whatsoever.

As I got closer he began to see his own shadow created by my Cateye Five Barrels of LED Fun. Perhaps he thought he was going to be run over by a motorcycle. He whipped around and pointed his flashlight directly into my face. If it had been a light saber maybe he would have cut me in half.

Hi! I said and rolled past.

Today was my first day riding after the time change. Monday I performed water duty for my team. Yesterday my work mates divided two South Dakota cows. The uncertainty of how much meat I would have to haul put me in the car. I tried to pretend it was worth it because the meat didn’t have to be flown from Japan. That only made be feel a little better.

My favorite part of this time of year? NIGHT RIDES at 5:30.

The Boy 4 is really messed up. He’s calling for jammies, even before supper.

The #1 reason I’m not posting much right now: 8 hours of sleep a night!

The #2 reason I’m not posting much right now: I’m reading three books. At once. This, from a guy who sometimes reads 3 books a year.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Day For Bikes

As I got ready to ride this morning I noticed it was a little dark. I put the light on my bike and on my way discovered most drivers were still using their headlights. Good choice. One more week and lights will be an absolute necessity.

I rode to a lunch meeting. Against the wind all the way there. I was a few minutes late.

After work I had two downtown meetings. A city bike committee meeting (thanks for the pizza) and the previously advertised bike 2 work meeting. Looks like we've got some new faces interested in getting involved. Excellent.

And then the best part...ride your bike to work, attend evening meetings after you getting home?


When I put the lights on this morning I hadn't realized that I'd be needing them to get home that evening. Planning ahead is important. Luck is nice too.

I rode the long way home and rode a lot of the bike trail. It was a beautiful night. I saw another well lit rider on the trail. I think we waved at each other. It was dark.

28 miles today.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

It Didn't, I Rode

It didn't snow. It didn't rain. I didn't drive.

We didn't buy Wal*Mart. We didn't sell Disney.

I received great encouragement from a guy named Tim.

I was treated to some new artwork at one of the UnderBridge Galleries.

Most of it I'm not old enough to look at let alone display.

But there is this green splotch with a lovely reflective yellow background on steel.

And the author(s) left their moniker.

Back To Reality

A nice side effect of having all this off topic stuff to think about the past few weeks is it takes my mind off the awful job I did this week of riding my bike places. Yeah, that’s right. MinusCar Guy was way more Car this week than Minus. It doesn’t even matter that The Owner saw me on a bike in traffic; it was one of a few times I was on a bike. Tomorrow morning I have an investment club meeting, it’s supposed to be rainy and snowy. I have to sit in someone else’s chair. I might not get to ride to that either.

Add this week’s snow to the off topic stuff I’ve been working on (and you may or may not have been reading) and you have a guy not giving a lot of thought to global warming…until today.

It began with a conversation with a friend who just got back from visiting some farm land he stands to inherit. It’s in the most northern and western county in North Dakota. I asked him, in a few years when South Dakota turns to desert, if he’d save me a little piece to put up a pup tent. He laughed.

He didn’t say no.

Then I saw a post on the Mother Jones blog that mentioned a new faith-based campaign against global warming. Yeah, it’s the same one that was new a year ago. But wait, it points to a different article reporting that one of the signers of the ECI has become the head of the Christian Coalition. And he looks “forward to expanding our mission to concern itself with the care of creation, helping society's marginalized, human rights/religious issues and compassion issues.”

Anything is better than a God who legislates the nation from Pierre, SD…an opportunity Jesus declined early on, in my estimation. There’s still the fact that it’s the Christian Coalition which leads me to imagine God legislating the nation from, say, Portland, OR. That wouldn’t be much better.

And then thanks to the Leveller's blog I learned that Common Dreams is reporting that “Climate Change Will Cause Refugee Crisis.”

Ya think?

Well I guess these studies are necessary. Nobody believes me when I say it.

The report claims there are already 25 million environmental refugees. Some of them are Mexican’s coming to the United States. Meaning the current national discussion on immigration is partially related to global warming even if Bill O’Reilly doesn’t realize it. And our answer to the problem is...

Build a wall.

Dear Canadian friends, you’d better get started with yours. You've got a lot more ground to cover.

I wonder how many pup tents my friend's land will hold. Oh and corn, not for eating, for fuel, so we can drive to McDonalds. In Canada.

It was a dark afternoon.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

snOh Yeah!

For many years now I've considered it pretty romantic to be on the bike during the first measurable snow fall of the season. That would be this morning. The grassy areas showed the accumulation. The pavement and hard pack dirt did not. That left me pretty sandy by the time I got to work.

I’d better get the snow tires on the single speed soon! LBS, ready or not, here they come!

NPR v Prairie Progressive

Were you listening? Did you hear him? The Progressive on the Prairie went national between 8:30 and 9 this morning on...

NPR Morning Edition's story about South Dakota Amendment E.

Which, by the way, he'd like to remind you, vote NO on E.

Way to go Tim!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Problem, Problem, Problem, Problem, Payoff

Ok. Nothing to see here. Move along.

An eventful commute today.

The cable of the front derailleur fell off the leverage point. I had to stop and temporarily fix it.

Two minutes later, on some rough stuff, it felt like something had fallen off the bike. I’ve finally learned to stop. Not matter what. Even if I’m sure it was just a rock that got kicked up. Make sure everything is still attached. Sure enough, my CO2 cartridge had fallen off. Regroup.

On the way home I stopped at the LBS so the fine folks could fix the front der and run through a quick gear adjust. Rock and roll, service with a smile. Well, actually it was some fine blues playing in the shop today. Thanks guys!

One more stop, this time at Radio Shack. It looked like my computer battery was going to die any minute. It’s backup already failed last week. I’m a geek boy. I gotta have my uninterrupted data flow. Batteries secured.

And home, to some excellent, greasy, salty, sweet chicken cordon bleu. Thank you very much, can I have another.

And the big payoff - seems someone found a bike in the river. They dragged it out and made this piece of art. I love how the bike blends so nicely with the leaves.

Babies, Dragons, Clarification

Matt Lockett was kind enough to engage me on his blog regarding the comments I took so hard from his Sunday morning presentation to a church in my community.

You can read that exchange here.

Matt Lockett has traveled (is traveling?) around South Dakota rallying state pastors to support the abortion ban legislation. He has hosted at least one conference call between US Senator Sam Brownback (KS) and pastors from this state.

He travels for God, the Justice House Of Prayer and Bound4LIFE.

Previous MinusCar posts on this topic are here and here and less so here.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Snakebite’s: Scavenger Hunt

I’m toast.

I participated in Snakebite’s Scavenger Hunt today. I almost won it too! There was just one problem: the small matter of being 7 minutes behind the actual winner. And being 2 minutes over the 3 hour limit, ok, two problems. Well, three, I messed up on one of the mandatory items which sort of disqualified me. But I was crossed-eyed by that time so I deserve a break. Don’t I?

The mandatory items were 1 canned non-perishable food item from a specific grocery store and 1 boxed non-perishable food item from a different specified store. Receipts were used to verify place of purchase. I bought a canned item at both places. I went home with “does not follow instructions” stamped on my manifest. My understanding is the food will go to the food bank. Smart guy that Snakebite:.

From a MinusCar perspective this was such a cool event too. There’s nothing quite like making people run errands on bikes to help demonstrate that running errands on bikes is possible. There was some conversation around the Applebee’s table regarding route selection, roads traveled and traffic experienced.

The winner and I were the only ones that completed all 15 items. Including my ride to the start I had a 3 hour ride time and 42.6 miles. The winner rode to the start too. He’s like that. A year ago he described his commute to work to me: get up and ride 20 miles. Return home and go to the basement to start working. That’s living close to ones job!

If you’re curious about what a Snakebite: Scavenger Hunt looks like, here is what I learned and the order I learned it:

Start – courtyard at the federal building.

The muzzle of the cannon at Lyon Park is stamped with NO 109 BH.

The sculptor of the Statue of Liberty in McKennan Park is Bartholdi.

1 can Bushes Orignial Baked Beans at Hy-Vee, 33rd & Minnesota Ave.

The gazebo in the formal garden at the top of Tuthill Park has four fenced and two unfenced sides. Did I mention it’s at the top of Tuthill Park?

The surveyor’s marker in Sherman Park was placed by the US Coast and Geodesic Survey in 1935.

The chain on the anchor at Sherman Park has 8 links.

The anchor displayed at the memorial of the USS South Dakota weighs 26194 presumably pounds.

The yellow sign at the gate to the Keuhn Park Golf Course is just a yellow board. It says nothing.

The splice plates on the pedestrian bridge over I-29 near Southeast Technical Institute have 12 bolts.

The serial number of the bridge over the diversion channel north of the airport is 2002218-2.

The monument overlooking Cliff Avenue and John Mmmmmorell’s was dedicated in 1999 by the Minnehaha County Historical Society.

There are 82 steps to the top of the Falls Park Observation Tower. I asked at the desk. If I hadn’t asked I would have counted on the way up. Mr. Smarty Pants Snakebite: would have ridden the elevator up and counted on the way down. Apparently you get the same number.

The sign on the west wall at the top of the parking ramp by the bus depot says “Dump Snow Here.”

The Statue of David was presented to the City of Sioux Falls and Augustana College by Thomas and Marie Fawick.

1 can Bushes Original Baked Beans at Sunshine Food’s, 13th & 2nd Ave.

Downtown Applebee's, where participants dined, I ordered food to go, and The Wife on her way home from downtown, stopped to pick me up. I'd probaby still be trying to find my way home had she not.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Babies, Dragons And MinusCars

What does The MinusCar Project have to do with abortion, gay marriage, wiretapping and torture?

Somewhere close to 18 months ago it became clear to me that if I wanted the scenery around me to change (and I desperately needed it to change at that point), it was my responsibility to change it.

A few months after that The Owner passed on to me one of the greatest lessons I may ever learn. He presented me a theory that every group of people has at least one of every kind of person in it. If this is true certain things can be deduced. For example: when I look around a group for a cool person and there isn’t one, I am the cool person in the group.

When something needs to be said, and there is nobody in the group who will say it…

When something needs to be done, and there is nobody in the group who will do it…

18 months ago I discovered that not doing anything and not saying anything was no longer going to work for me. I took a baby step: a blog for saying things, and a commitment to a bicycle for doing things. The MinusCar Project does not exist in a vacuum and some people close to me might be hoping I don’t fall down the stairs.

Doing things and saying things is risky. What if I do the wrong thing? What if I say the wrong thing? I’ll be uncomfortable.


Nothing has devastated the environment more than my need to be comfortable. Nothing has devastated my relationship with the 2/3’s world more than my need to be comfortable. Nothing has allowed my government more free reign than my need to be comfortable. Nothing cheapens my relationships with my wife, my The Boys or my friends more than my need to be comfortable. Nothing has done more damage to my body and my health than my need to be comfortable. Shall I go on?

Nothing has diminished my relationship with my God more than my need to be comfortable.

Tomorrow I will ride to work, possibly in the snow, some people will percieve this as discomfort.

I will not listen to a man in a pulpit in a church in my community encourage adoption as a way to steal babies from homosexuals and not say or do anything.

The scenery is changing.

Being uncomfortable has it's benefits. Sunday morning I talked with a woman who described to me her adventures in riding to work. A few years ago she was run over by a pickup and sustained internal organ damage. She continues to ride to work. She takes encouragement from this blog. I take encouragement from her. Discomfort might be worth it.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Got Woody?

My favorite story about Tony Campolo is that he’s been known for informing audiences that 30,000 kids died during the past few hours because of disease and malnutrition and that most people in the room don’t give a shit. He’d then point out that, in fact, most people in the audience were more concerned about his use of the word shit than the 30,000 dead kids. – see wiki for wiki-proof.

I’ve had an accidental Woody Harrelson film festival over the past few weeks.

The festival began here after I pointed to Sans Auto’s discussion of Dr Putnam’s lecture and book “Bowling Alone.” I mentioned I’d soon be watching League of Ordinary Gentlemen. While the movie has very little to do with linking bowling and social decline, it does acknowledge the link by opening with meaningful quotes from Dr Putnum and then President Clinton. Woody’s part in the movie is simply the use of clips from his parts in Kingpin, a movie I havent seen.

Next up was North Country, the film about sexual harassment in northern Minnesota mines. Woody played the good guy lawyer. North Country was produced by Participant Productions, maker of some of the best (most challenging? most socially conscious?) films in recent memory, including: An Inconvenient Truth, Syriana and Fast Food Nation.
Participant believes in the power of media to create great social change. Our goal is to deliver compelling entertainment that will inspire audiences to get involved in the issues that affect us all.
Today I watched Go Further, a movie that might serve to get this blog back to its regularly scheduled programming. The film documents Woody’s west coast lecture tour where he and a handful of others rode bike from Oregon to southern California, ate organically, and lived in the tension of ummm...that laundry list of all that is bad related to the environment. In the opening minutes I thought I was going to be really annoyed by the movie but soon it became palatable and by the end I really liked it.

The best part: I watch my daddy films from the laptop, quietly, not wanting to push this crap on the family. Sometimes The Boys get curious and I either pause the film to avoid inappropriate content or they quickly get bored and walk away. The Boy 8 watched much of this film over my shoulder. He knew what was going on and even wanted to know what’s so bad about corn dogs?

And I wasn’t concerned that he was hearing the word shit.

(I was glad the huffing of the Dust Off part had already passed.)

Part of a very cool Woody Harrelson poem:
Politicians and prostitutes
are comfortable together
I wonder if they talk about the strange change in the weather.
Complete poem here at the Voice Yourself website.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Embarrassed Again: I Scooped Tony Campolo (by 5 days)

He’s not on the religious right. But he is an evangelical leader. So let’s celebrate! Woot!

Hey! There’s an evangelical leader who agrees with my sentiments! Yes, the sentiments I expressed in my “Still Not Getting It, But Not Stealing Babies” post. By the way, there is some mildly interesting commenting relating to who said what going on there.

Tony Campolo says in this “Duplicity on the Right” posting:
“If they [religious right] have changed their minds and are ready to refute the golden rule, then it is time for them to say plainly, ‘For the most part we agree with Jesus, but there are special circumstances when we must ignore His teachings.’"
“the Religious Right can’t have it both ways. They can’t say that righteousness must never be compromised [abortion], and then add 'except in certain situations—like torturing our enemies in times of war.'”

Now, let’s celebrate!

Offer #1: I am holding in my hand a copy of Tony Campolo’s book “Adventures in Missing the Point: How the Culture-Controlled Church Neutered the Gospel” If you want it I’ll send it to you. Just e-mail me a delivery address. Like the shirts, I’ll only use the address for delivery of the book.

Offer #2: Tony Campolo is featured in this Starving Jesus podcast (mp3) where you can hear him say a bunch of juicy things. If you don’t like him now, you’ll probably like him less after listening to this. But what’s Starving Jesus? Want to read the Starving Jesus book? I'll send it to you. Again, e-mail me an address. Previously expressed address privacy rules apply.

**10/4 for clarity - on offer: Adventures In Missing the Point and the Starving Jesus book. Starving Jesus is travelling to Austrailia.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Still Not Getting It, But Not Stealing Babies

(10/1 - after further review I regret not qualifying evangelical Christians with a some or a lots. To encompass ALL evangelical Christians with this post is a mistake. You can read more explanation in the comments.)

In a world where evangelical Christians are so very close to getting some legislation that will lend support to the legal enforcement of commandment #6 (it’s the murder one).

In a world where evangelical Christians are SO NOISILY in need of a constitutional amendment to define marriage which will help support legal enforcement of…ummm…which commandment is being used to in defense of that one?

In a world where these two things are linked from a Sunday morning church pulpit less than a mile from my home by the simple explanation that gay people are orchestrating an effort to make same sex marriage legal so that they can “sweep in and take the babies” that are no longer going to be aborted.

"We have to steal these babies from the hand of this dragon." - says the man from the pulpit as he describes adoption.

Our congress, comprised of representatives defined as much by evangelical Christianity as anything else, has approved President Bush’s detainee bill. A bill that denies habeas corpus to foreign nationals designated as terrorist suspects. Not only that, the House has approved President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping programs.

We’re told it’s Those Other people we’re wiretapping. We’re told it’s Those Other people we’re detaining. We’re told that it is good for America that we’re wire tapping and detaining them in a figurative and literal “over there” so that we don’t have to do it over here. I concede; it is good for much of America that we’re doing it over there to those other people.

What I want to know is which commandment is the greatest, the one about not killing? What about the one regarding stealing? Then there's the one about idols? That’s way up there on the list, right?

And then there’s that pesky guy who, when asked that very question, would say something crazy like “love those neighbors ‘over there’ as you’d love yourself.” And another time he’d say “do to Those Other’s as you would have Those Other’s do to you.” A guy who talks like that, well, he wouldn’t last long in this world, would he.

I can’t wait to hear the religious right go off on congress for passing those two bills. They’re going to go ballistic when they learn that congress, run by our representatives, has passed a couple bills that go directly against the greatest commandment.




Readers: please be alert and let me know when this starts to happen. It’s only a few days to Election Day, religious leaders in my state are trying to use congress to outlaw abortions, and I’m having steal difficulty hearing these through the babies noise.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Insolicited, Unexpected and Doing It Anyway

Is it spam? Is it real? Even if it’s real do I really want to post it? It’s unsolicited and unexpected! I don’t know who these people are! I assume most of the other blogging bicyclists I know of received the same e-mail. I wonder how many will post what they received?

And so it goes that I’m posting content from an unsolicited and unexpected e-mail…but first:

Thich Nhat Hanh is the real deal. I know of Thich Nhat Hanh because I listen weekly to public radio’s Speaking of Faith. In March he was featured. He is a Buddhist. The website is here. The transcript is here. The podcast here. I recommend the podcast because hearing the man speak is to hear peace.

UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Personal trivia: the “Christian conference center in a lakeside setting of rural Wisconsin”, where the radio show was recorded, is a conference center my family has connections to.

What about the e-mail?

Thich Nhat Hanh is apparently speaking to UNESCO on October 7. He will propose that UNESCO organize a Global No Car Day. Part of the effort to convince UNESCO to accept the proposal involves a petition that is attempting to gather 10,000 signatures by October 7. The petition is located at the Deer Park Monastery website.

I have signed it.

Here is the message:
From Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh:

Only collective awakening can help us to solve the difficult problems in our world like war and global warming. In an upcoming talk which I have been invited to give at UNESCO (United Nations Education Science and Cultural Organization) on October 7th, I will propose that UNESCO organize a Global No Car Day-- a day when people refrain from using their cars, except in emergencies.

It may take six months or more to prepare for such a day. UNESCO can promote this day around the world and use it as a means to educate and inspire collective awakening concerning the present environmental dangers facing all of us on planet Earth. I will suggest that UNESCO itself, from the director to ambassadors and other members, try to live in such a way that the message becomes a true message; not just a call for action, but action itself.

In our daily lives, we should each try to drive a car that doesn't pollute the environment, or ride a bicycle more often, or use public transportation. Every one of us can do something to protect and care for our planet. We should live in such a way that makes a future possible.

Thich Nhat Hanh
September 16, 2006
Deer Park Monastery, Escondido, CA
I have also responded to the invitation in their e-mail to help develop and promote a Global No Car Day. I wonder what that might mean?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Take A Look In The Mirror

This morning's readings revealed on the Rubber Side Down blog that his company is screening the movie, An Inconvenient Truth. After the showing there is discussion planned and details provided by a segment of the company around how they're going to corporately curb their emissions. I think this is an incredible exercise for a company to do, and I am very interested that he promises to report back how the day goes.

From his lack of desire to be confronted by a movie (by Al Gore?) with global warming facts he already knows and believes, to the prospect of being involved in an open discussion about an issue as charged as global warming. I identified a lot with his post. (I hope I'm not mischaracterizing his words too badly.)

Where I work a “Please turn out the lights” sign has appeared in the bathroom. I was happy to see that. I've become pretty aware of unnecessary lighting myself and I wonder who else has.

Now, the light gets turned off once in a while. :)

The idea of a corporate discussion around the movie overlaps slightly with this excellent post on the Sans Auto blog. He laments:
"We don't have people over for dinner and we don't recreate with friends and neighbors. The result of this isolation has been greater distrust in society as a whole. We have a tight knit group that we interact with (primarily family) and we don't venture out much. This limits our ability to influence people and get ideas out and give diverse groups opportunity to think about new ideas. So there is value (capital) in socializing and being involved in different groups."
This is a pretty thick post that I recommend. It's a thoughtful reflection of his time spent listening to Robert Putnam, author of "Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community." I wonder what the author gives for evidence of or ideas for revival.

To tie this all together: an afternoon of movie going and potentially divisive discussion (as truly laudable as I think it is) doesn't serve to change minds very well. Companies of course get to dictate their direction, "like it or not this is what we're doing." People would probably be better served by, figuratively or literally, going bowling. From what I've read, the global warming movie is also about Al Gore going bowling.

Interestingly or ironically, A League of Ordinary Gentlemen is on its way to my home from NetFlix. Excellent, more time at home sitting alone in front of my television. Then I can blog extensively about it.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Today was World Car Free Day. I mentioned that to someone at work. She said she hadn’t heard. Yeah, usually only people like me know that sort of thing.

I don't know if this is Martino's work but that's where I got the image from.

Lots and lots of cycling bloggers are talking about how rainy it’s been the past few days. My city has not been an exception. Even the turtles are confused.

I used to have a rule about riding in the rain. If it’s merely supposed to rain at ride time I ride. If it’s raining at ride time I don’t ride. And so it was that I woke this World Car Free Day morning to the three weather w’s: wet, wind and wain.

Ugh. I need inspiration! I found Tex in Luavull trying to decide what to do about all that green on his radar. He was to accompany a new rider to work. Yeah…it’s awful wet out.

Then I found Griffin at Wheel Revolution saying “Where is it you need to go today that you think you need a car for? Rethink.”

I did. I rode. I rethunked.

Wet ground means I have to take the winter route to stay out of the mud. This is an additional mile or two, which causes further discouragement. I learned some things: I wrapped my clothes and consumer electronics in plastic bags for waterproofing because I didn’t fully trust of my ballistic nylon Timbuk2 messenger bag. I won’t be doing that again. Thanks Timbuk2. Also the new jacket, while perhaps not as windproof as the old one, resisted the rain like a champ…except for the thunderstorm going on inside…but that’s my fault.

I’ve revised my wet riding rules.

A car pulled up beside me on the road. I think it’s awfully funny how it’s possible to sense that words are going to be spoken from within a car, even before the car is in appropriate position. Maybe it's the extra time it takes to reach over and roll down the passenger window. Sigh, here we go. But it was a friendly face! SteveP! You rocked my morning. Thanks!

And finally, a while ago I ordered some pieces of flair for the messenger bag. My reward was waiting at the end of my ride home.

What I wouldn’t give for one of those buttons with a bike instead of an airplane. The size of the buttons surprised me a little. They're dime size. The strap they appear on in the picture is 2 inches. That's good, I like the subtlety.

Buttons here. Suspected terrorist story here.

*** upon further review - to the extent that the buttons I display here are appropriate, the buttons for sale at the site mentioned are, um...way less appropriate. Don't go there unless you want to be even less happy about the buttons I've purchased. Thanks.

*** to be even more clear...did I just point my mom to THAT site. Ew, sorry mom.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Of Poker Runs and Scavenger Hunts

If you haven’t heard about the guy whose single handedly attempting to bring some sparkling new bike culture to my city...go meet him.

The Poker Run was a great time. Half of the riders I’d never seen before. I had a pair of 2’s which wasn’t going to survive. I really wanted to win the bike too. The final bar, having been overtaken by German Fest was a bit of a bust, except riding into the festival as a group of well lit cyclists was very cool.

Final beverages on the Snakepit: deck reminded me of being somewhere I’d never been. I couldn’t figure out where all the urban ness had come from.

Next up is Snakebite’s Road Hog and Bicycle Scavenger Hunt. Calendar properly marked. Dude.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

After the Fall Comes…Part III: What’s Up?

All references to temperature are wind chills.

The torso and the arms, that’s what’s up.

Apparently I’ve got a lot of room for improvement. The data shows my perceived comfort is all over the place which is very different from my legs. Most of the time I was on the warm side which I’m pretty sure reflects a fear of being too cold…so I over dress, right?

I think it’s pretty telling that between 45 and 20 degrees I was too warm 5 times. Between 2 and 13 I was also too warm 5 times. As the temperature drops I put on too much.

The base layer – the thickest, tightest, warmest Under Armor there is. Probably this piece…although it makes me look nothing like that. Think sausage, yeah, that’s closer to reality.

The long sleeve jersey – nothing unusual here. Around the mid-50’s this lightweight jersey goes on and tends to stay on to the teens. It’s a staple.

The thermal jersey – I wear a Cannondale thermal jersey. It’s a couple years old and didn’t appear to be similar to anything they have available today. It’s made from pretty thick polyester. I don’t think it’s water or wind proof.

The windproof shell – this is the single most important piece to me. I use a Fox Storm-something jacket. It’s wind and water proof and a couple years old so I can’t point to it. Because this piece gets so much use and current versions of the jacket are on clearance I’ve added a new Fox Stormshield jacket to my collection for this year. Again, this is a shell jacket; there is no thickness to it whatsoever.

Finally, the windproof jacket – this is the matching counterpart to the tight. It’s very similar to (might actually be) this Sugoi Invertor Jacket. The front is made from a thick nylon spandex blend. The back is relatively thin to let off heat, but I think this causes it to overlap the comfort of the full coverage windproof shell.

As temperatures fall from 55 degrees the long sleeve jersey and the windproof shell is the first combination. These get me down to the mid-20’s.

From the mid-20’s to the mid-teens I go with the base layer and the windproof shell or the thermal jersey and the windproof shell.

From the mid-teens to last year’s max low of –(7) I used the base layer and thermal jersey and alternated between the windproof shell and the windproof jacket. At these temperatures both combinations were a little bit warm, which shows there’s good potential for going lower on the thermometer.

Friday, September 15, 2006

T-Shirt #21

KW in Portland, OR:

20 essays and not a one from Portland. How could I say no? Speaking of Portland; the Transit Librarian's brother just moved from Portland to 1 block away from me. Coincidence? Yes, actually.

Here’s the thing: consortiums of politicians, business leaders, scientists and academics from around the world all concur: there is no doubt that global warming is accelerating, and no doubt that the burning of fossil fuels is the primary cause. We may, possibly, have ten years to turn things around; at best.

In ten years time, my son will be 21. He, his contemporaries, and all that come after will know that we all knew the extent of our impact on the climate; that we all knew the exact nature of our sins. He will know that the people who where operating cars did so knowing they were robbing future generations of…well…a future; robbing them of air and water, polar bears and ecosystems.

Someday my son will be looking at me with those beautiful hazel eyes, and holding me accountable for what I did, or failed to do, to address these issues. Could there be any greater call to action than that?

So, really, there was never any question, I chose a house based on it's proximity to bus lines and began reducing my car use. Still, each year, average temperature rose, and each year the tomatoes in my back yard, and the figs on the tree in the front yard, ripened earlier and earlier. So, last year, I bought the best bike I could afford, along with a trail-a-bike for The Boy, and gave away my car.

This was not a stoic exercise in self deprivation: with this change came countless blessings. The time the Boy and I spend cycling is some of the best time we have with each other. The human pace of cycling has made our life so much saner. Slowing down has allowed us to know our neighbors and community in a way we never did before.

Still, at the end of the day, it is a moral imperative for me. The fate of the world my son will inherit is in my hands. I do not question whether my actions are enough, I know simply I must do what I can do.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

After the Fall Comes…Part II: Leggings

All references to temperature are wind chills.

The tight: the previous iteration of the Sugoi Firewall. I wore these 95% of the time and I can prove it. Windproofing is the key for me in all this winter gear. The fabric is tough too. It survived a January 30 pavement slide without so much as a scuff. I used the tight alone starting at 50 degrees down to about 15 degrees.

The long underwear: to squeeze a little more use out of the tights I put a pair of long underwear underneath. The underwear is a very light, thin, and cheap polypropylene fabric. Thin is important because thickness restricts motion making for more difficult miles. The undies paired with the tights got me down to about 5 degrees.

The extremes: below 5 degrees I tended toward a Smart Wool Midweight Tight coupled with the (legendary if you believe the marketing (I did!)) Mile Marker Sports XC Cross Pant. The Smart Wool Midweight Tight is you guessed it, 100% wool. 1 billion sheep can’t be wrong, eh? The Mile Marker Sports XC Cross Pant is made from their secret blend of 85% polypropylene and 15% lycra. Oops, I’ve said too much. Just call it 3SP.

I rode twice at –(7) windchill. Once with the long underwear/tight option and once with the wool tight/XC Pant option. Both times my leg perceived comfort was 0 (perfect). It’s likely that the XC Pant and the wool tights are just another option and not necessarily a necessity for extreme cold.

But options are important because once in a while the stuff has to go through a laundry cycle. To be a little easier on The Wife (who has not certified me to do laundry) I don’t wash my leggings after every ride. Last winter I stayed alert and evaluated each piece daily usually washing pieces the day after they needed it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Yes, This Blog Has Pictures



I have a pack rat. A very neat one.


Finally, Martino's Bike Lane Diary is featuring a pretty darn funny YouTube video demonstration of how to steal a bike in New York City. It's a recent post. You won't have to scroll too far.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

After the Fall Comes…Winter: Part I

School starts…80 degree mornings turn to 50 degree mornings and the long sleeve jerseys come out of the closet…a weekend trip to the Minneapplecity reveals people are getting their snowmobiles out…and this morning I fetched the tights from a pile of clothing I left behind last April 5.

Raise your hand if you’re riding through winter.

I’ve got a series of posts in mind describing how I keep riding through the winter. Today I’ll start here with how I stay motivated.

For me, staying motivated is very closely related to avoiding getting overly cold on rides. If you’re a geek-boy like me you have geeky ways to manage these things.

This morning’s temperature was a calm 45. I haven’t ridden in 45 degree temperature since April 5. On that day I know exactly what I wore and how comfortable I was when I wore it.

Did I mention I’m a geek?

I keep a list on a spreadsheet: date, temperature, wind direction/speed, windchill, feet, legs, hands, body, head, a perceived comfort scale (-5 to 5) for each body section, and a cumulative perceived comfort scale.

It might be over engineered but here’s how it works. I wake up and learn the temperature is 15 degrees with an east wind of 10mph. Brrrrrr…that’s impossibly cold. I’ll freeze if I ride today. I wonder…

Sure enough, last November 30, 14 degrees and 6mph wind. My perceived comfort shows my feet were -2 and my body was +3. Everything else was 0 (perfectly fine) so with some minor adjustments I think I’ll be able to make it to work without major discomfort. Because I know this…

the temperature is no excuse to not ride today!

PS: the tights were good for 45 degrees this morning but it was 70 when I returned home. I remember thinking I should pack regular shorts for the ride home. I didn't. I rode home in my underwear. Practice, practice, practice.

Friday, September 08, 2006

T-Shirt #20

LV in Cottonwood, MN -

A Different Take On the World

I am a person who enjoys commuting on a bike as much as riding it casually. I loved being able to ride to work in Sioux Falls. I loved people being amazed that a person can ride across town on a bike, in 40 degree weather. I was glad to say that there were many days that I didn't need to rely on a car for transportation.

Then I moved to rural America. This has hindered my choice not to drive a vehicle. It isn't because I have to drive to work. It is because I have to drive a work vehicle after I get there. There is really no way for me to get around this. I do still ride my bike to work everyday and I am proud to say everyday and mean everyday.

But, what I have come to realize with commuting on a bike is that world seems to slow down. You have the time to notice the people out tending to their yard. You see the new business coming to town. You see the new houses being built. I very much enjoy this time to appreciate the community that I live in.

I have noticed lately that I am driving a lot slower when I am in a town. I like to go through the residential areas, much like I would on a bike. I slow down to see the people and the buildings that make up each place. It allows me to relax, if even for a minute.

In closing, I would like to encourage everyone to slow down and take the residential streets. See the places off the beaten path and notice the beauty in the everyday world around us. Granted, bike when you can, but enjoy the times you have to drive. It can still be a moment to leave the rat race and see a detour.

MinusCar: Sandwich Delivery Specialist

I arrived at my customary sandwich shop to pick up my lunch a couple days ago. The (I’ve always presumed) owner asked me what was up with the riding of the bike all the time.

While I was thinking “the car’s gotta go, man” I launched into a 20 minute explanation of how, a year ago I found myself in an existential crisis and I realized that I needed to make some fundamental changes in my life so I started with ditching the auto and blogging this thing called The MinusCar Project, and a couple people actually read it and at least one of them is really cool, and it’s led to all sorts of interesting experiences and other changes and…he…said…what’s blogging?

And then I remembered that it was the other way around, I was thinking that other stuff and actually said, “The car’s gotta go man.”

He responded that he’s really been thinking about hiring a bike rider to deliver his sandwiches. You know they do that in the bigger cities, and we go right over that way so much of the time and a bike is just as fast as a car for that.

I put on my best Keanu Reeves and said, “whoa.”

And I got my sandwich and went to my customary quiet place and ate and all I could think about was a hundred different ways that I could help this guy start delivering sandwiches by bike.

So, if my job moves to India tomorrow I know where I'm going Monday...and I'm calling up essay #1 and finding out what's up!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

T-Shirt #19

HC in Sioux Falls -

I’ve always been amazed at how little what we know affects what we do. We know certain things are bad for us and for our relationships, but we continue down the wide path toward destruction anyway. My example is (sorry, it’s borrowed): “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

David Laibson, behavioral economist at Harvard describes this human behavior in economic terms.

“There’s a fundamental tension, in humans and other animals, between seizing available rewards in the present, and being patient for rewards in the future. It’s radically important.”

Consider a project like starting an exercise program, which entails, say, an immediate cost of six units of value, but will produce a delayed benefit of eight units. That’s a net gain of two units, “but it ignores the human tendency to devalue the future,” Laibson says. If future events have perhaps half the value of present ones, then the eight units become only four, and starting an exercise program today means a net loss of two units (six minus four). So we don’t want to start exercising today. On the other hand, starting tomorrow devalues both the cost and the benefit by half (to three and four units, respectively), resulting in a net gain of one unit from exercising. Hence, everyone is enthusiastic about going to the gym tomorrow. ( (March 6, 2006))

It’s a paradigm shift, and paradigm shifts are hard; fundamental human behavior makes it that way. Someone said paradigm shifts take a generation, but that’s too simple of a theory. There was a time when we knew earth was the center of our solar system. Another time we said we could never get rid of slavery; after that, we still said women should not vote.

Minus is the New Plus describes a paradigm shift that society has not made, yet. Until we make the shift, each generation must relearn what its previous generation failed to embrace.

PS: Someone should write another essay on “the chasm.” That’s the marketing term for the time-space between a product’s initial sales and mass sales. Change the words to “early adopters” and “mass acceptance”.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

T-Shirt #18

DT in Louisville, KY -

Surprised into Flight

Having once tasted freedom – wind-howling, heart-blasting, soul-soaring freedom – how now shall I return to the cell? For twenty years I had been caged like an animal. Cramped within four walls. Two tons. Heavy metal and plastic and wheels. I entered my prison daily and worse, I did so of my own free will. My heart's desire was to be caged within my car. I longed to drive, even if it was only around the block.

Worse yet, I paid for the privilege to enter my prison. Month after month, I'd make payments to the insurance company, to the loan company and to the parking lot. I paid for gas. I paid for oil. I paid to have the oil removed and replaced. I paid for antifreeze, for windshield wiper fluid, for air conditioner coolant. Poisons, all. I'd daily shill out my contributions to the oil industry and yearly to my government. I paid to build more and more roads on which my rolling concentration camp might lumber along. I paid to protect the oil on which I was dependent.

I paid.

Daily. Yearly. Dearly, and in ways I hardly realized.

You see, I didn't realize I had been caged. No one told me. According to all the advertisements, personal liberty and beautiful women could only be had by owning and driving a car. The cage was a necessity. Thus I was told and thus I believed.

Or perhaps I knew it was a lie all along. After all, it has never been a secret that cars vomit smoke and oil and all manner of noxious muck, that they cost personally and societally.

Whether I knew or was deceived, whether by my fault or society's, the fact remains: I had become a captive of my car. It determined my path and separated me from the great outdoors.

But now, now I am free. And it was a bicycle that led me to liberty. My cage door has opened and outside, amid the sunshine, trees, grass and fresh air, a $20 beat-up bicycle bade me come into the presence of this world and share in its pleasant grace.

Now, when I need to get from home to work, I open my house door, roll my bike out into my neighborhood and greet the little girl next door waiting to go to school. I pedal along the streets of my city, enjoying the tree-lined urban setting, old brick houses on either side, history rolling past.

As I head north through downtown, I can make my way down to the river and bike along the riverfront. I can zoom along rapturously embracing the glory of the day, moving at just the right pace. I can get to work just as quickly as I could in a car, but the journey is entirely different.

When cycling, I move at a speed that gets me where I need to go promptly enough and yet slowly enough that I can watch the mallards swimming in pairs on the Ohio River. I can watch downstream as an elegant great blue heron slowly stretches and leaps to the air, filling the city with feathered grace unknown to all but me.

When I travel by bike, I know the earth in a way that was lost to me while driving blindly around in my car. I can truly know the delight and challenge of each season as the year spins like a grand wheel.

On my bicycle, I can embrace the coming spring, and revel in the newborn daffodil and crocuses as they colorfully bid winter goodbye. I can laugh at the tickle of a sweet honeysuckle-scented shower.

On my bicycle, I can know fully the heat of a humid August day and accept it as evidence that I am alive in this world. I can appreciate the cool escape of an early morning ride through Louisville's summer, mocking the fever of the soon-rising sun.

On my bicycle, I can rattle through autumn leaves lying on the street, scattering crisp joy as I ride. I can race the sparrows, darting out of bushes as I surprise them into flight.

On my bicycle, I can breathe deep frigid winter breaths, exhaling my own clear clean exhaust into a bright December sky. It can be cold and I can dress warmly and it is okay.

As I've become a bike commuter, I've discovered that I do not need to isolate myself from this earth for comfort or safety. In the past, I tended to view The Environment as some separate thing, the good stuff of this planet that needed us to protect it. I have found, instead, that the environment is us all; the oaks, the river, the mallards, the squirrels and me. By biking, I've found my place in this beautiful fragile wild world and been made whole.

I've entered into the community that I was never truly apart from except in prisons of my own creation. In traveling this path, I've had to move deliberately in a direction opposite from the norm and accepted wisdom, but I've not been alone. I ride upstream with all of nature and the goodwill of friends who wish to break away from the foolishness of man.

On my bicycle, I've found freedom and more. With my two-wheeled connection to the world, I've no reason ever to be caged again, and that's been my salvation.