Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Report: July 16 – 29

Looks like I missed last week’s report. I’ll combine two weeks in this one.

It’s been pretty great biking weather. One person’s drought is another person’s car sitting in the driveway. Yeah, that’s selfish…so, one person’s drought is my dried up peas. Yes, the garden is suffering…but the robins are enjoying the partially sundried tomatoes.

Trips -
MinusCar: 23
Multi-occupant Auto: 10
Single occupant Auto: 2
Destinations: 77

The Car left the driveway on 7/18 with just me in it. I was late because I was lazy. I tried to make the most of it.

My Car Miles: 29
My Bike Miles: 168

On the 24th I combined bus and bike for a trip to a regional transportation planning meeting. The bus was necessary because I wanted to be dressed and not sweaty. I can’t remember the last time I put my bike on the bus. I know I’ve never put the IF bike on the bus…the tires are so fat they need to be pounded into the rack.

I was the only one at the meeting with a messenger bag. I got the best parking spot though…they let me park inside the building.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Coffee And Doughnuts And Bloggers, Oh My

We had a record 10 rollers at the Coffee & Doughnut ride Saturday morning. Snakebite took us to Black Sheep coffee. CycleSD blogs a review of the ride and the FAB Poker Run later the same day. And...he purchased commuter gear too. Hmmm...

"I'm the new evangelist for this ride. What a cool way to get off the beaten (bike) path..."

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Preach It Brother

“The question isn't just about what they do with the brick; it's what the brick does to them.”

Lots of people are talking about how hot it’s been. Summer does that to a person doesn’t it? Yeah, it’s probably just a summer thing. I’ve been remembering how much I enjoy riding in the wintertime.

Yesterday I noticed my electricity bill was less again this month than last year with the same average temperature. I like that in an electricity bill.

I ran 90-degree bike errands after work. I hooked up with the FAB check cosigner. I hooked up with Snakebite to give him the checks so he could purchase prizes for this weekend’s poker run. Then went to check out the freshly posted alternate bike trail route signs the city has placed. I took a call from The Owner, noticed a man urinating in pubic, and yep the signs exist. Bring a digital camera so you have something to refer to as you travel the alternate route. So far the city isn’t really into making them completely useful.

My ride listening for the trip was Rob Bell’s Sunday morning message, the fourth installment of his churches God Is Green series. As I’m being amazed at the heavy MinusCar content I’m thinking about how I should blog it. I'm a little uneasy about blogging Rob Bell because lots of people are convinced that listening to him is akin to taking a few steps down the road to hell.

I decided if, when I got home, there was postal mail from Ray the Lunatic Biker, I would blog Rob Bell. If I’m following the road to hell I want to be in good company.

Thanks for the stickers Ray! (the other one is over there) -->


Rob Bell

The mp3 I listened to is here, or check their site for the official source. If you listen, get bonus points by correctly identifying the Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson song lyrics he works into the first 15 minutes.

Here are two quotes that I particularly liked:

“I decided to make a vow that I would ask myself, every time that I was about to drive somewhere, is it possible to walk this, and if it's not possible to walk to this thing, is it possible to ride my bike to this thing. So I've been practicing this for a while now and it's absolutely revolutionized my life...It's hard to consider the lilies at 70mph.”
“Many people go out to a garage, get into a car, windows up, air conditioning on, garage door up, drive to parking garage, get out into building, windows sealed, air conditioning, back out, into car, air conditioned, windows up, drive back to home, door up, in, door down, into air conditioned home and then say things like, ah, God just seems far away.”
Thanks Rob.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Friday Night FAB

I see the CycleSD blog is displaying pictures from our Friday night adventure. Here’s what happened…

Late Friday night the FAB Fone beeped out the message that a FABB13 (FAB behavior #13) was possibly going down at the bus depot. A FABB13 is a possible subversive misuse of the FAB logo. He and I converged on the bus depot just in time to observe suspicious materials being handed off between two parties.

We split up and I followed the vehicle that received the mysterious materials. They led me to the 49th Street Bridge near the bike trail closure. It was dark and I kept my distance but they were there for quite some time. I didn’t want to push my luck so I retired to my bed for the rest of the night.

The next morning, with the safety of daylight I went to inspect the scene. Here is what I found…

Parts of this tale may have been fictionalized.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Report: July 9 – 15

Trips -
MinusCar: 11
Multi-occupant Auto: 8
Single occupant Auto: 3
Destinations: 42

The usual trip for The Boy pickups and another day of driving to work so I could drive to the across town FAB board meeting. Ugh...

My Car Miles: 50
My Bike Miles: 119

Scored a 50 mile Sunday by rolling with a group of 9 for breakfast…in Dell Rapids. From there I went on to lake country to hook up with The Family for the rest of the day.

Five weeks in a row of 100+ miles. I’m pretty pleased with that.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hard Core Detours

I headed downtown Monday afternoon for a meeting with The City: four cyclists and four city employees (The Planner, an engineer, a risk manager, and a parks guy). The four of them had already put their heads together to come up with something for us to look at.

They're not too excited about the term "detour." These will be "alternative routes." Apparently the term detour implies a level of safety equal to the intersection and automobile free bike trail. They are reluctant to encourage use of the road for cycling. It didn't occur to me until now they seem to be equally reluctant to encourage the use of the sidewalk for walking. The City would assume too great a liability to imply either is a safe activity.

"That is an S.U.V; Humans ride in them because they are slowly losing their ability to walk." - RJ, Over the Hedge

My favorite take-away from the meeting was an empirical measurement for a definition of hard-core cyclist. Ready?

That's all...1/2 mile. Ride that, you qualify.

It's always hard to measure what sort of progress is made (if any) from a meeting like this. The guys on the other side of the table have the juice, we're just the sweaty ones trying to help one or two more people ride their bikes for utility.

Snakepants wrote up a nice report of the meeting. I have a few comments there too.

Friday, July 13, 2007

This Week In Bike Photos

Friday - Schwinn LeTour. It's 35 years old, just ask her.

Bikes line the railing outside Tuesday's city council meeting.

Report: July 2 – July 8

Trips -
MinusCar: 9
Multi-occupant Auto: 6
Single occupant Auto: 2
Destinations: 43

Two single occupant trips for The Boy pickup duty. If I could just get The Boy 5 to like the trail-a-bike…he doesn’t.

My Car Miles: 15
My Bike Miles: 101

Sunday morning I was at 99 miles for the week. Sunday afternoon I rolled to the local Stop-n-Rob for hot dog buns. 1.1 mile round trip.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Ever seen a guy address a city council in a Primal Wear jersey and sound reasonable doing it? Well now you can with windows streaming media, right here. He's within the first five minutes. The prayer, the pledge, the approval of the agenda, showtime.

Does he have a silver tongue? Well he had an awful lot of calls from city officials Monday...maybe they know.

I've driven 50 miles so far this week. The Boy 5 began his initial venture into soccer yesterday. It's a long drive to the field. Today. I. Just. Didn't. Feel. Like. Riding. To add to the misery I had to fill up with gas to make it home tonight. Haven't done that since 5/17.

The Living on Liquid blogger found his way into the the USA Today...uh...yesterday. Here's his ecologically friendly money quote, "I'm spending a small fortune on gas for my boat." I know this because my Google news alert told me so...and then he blogged it. Stay cool Tom.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Endurance Parenting

Much of the rest of the weekend featured cranking the thermostat to 85 and heading to the pool. I participated in The Boy 9’s Terrace Park Circuit Training. Begin with a 35 ft climb to the top of the water slide, great for the legs. Strengthen the core with a 35 ft plunge to the water below while keeping the body rigid for speed (Luge is an Olympic sport). Endure a head full of water and increase coordination while regaining footing and clearing the way for trailing participants. Repeat ad nauseam at the pace of a tireless 9 year old.

Saturday I was able to recover from the stair climb waiting in lines for the slides. I passed this time by mentally exorcising the desire to toss some young men over the railing after observing them spitting on fellow stair climbers, including me. Ah yes, the fun of youth.

Saturday was good warm up for Sunday when there were no lines. As I awaited lifeguard permission for the plunge portion I remarked to him about the lack of Sunday’s recovery time. His response was to drastically reduce the wait time (by bending rules) between The Boy 9’s departure and my own. I’m amazed to discover being as old as I am, that it still felt like I was getting away with something for him to do that. Ah yes, the fun of youth.

Respect respectable authority.

Endurance Bike Fixing

Apparently Al Gore was in town Saturday. I’m surprised. It seems like he was just here a few weeks ago.

And you; how was your vacation? I’m glad you’re back. I missed your visits.

Tuesday I received an e-mail (I assume most bike bloggers did) from the makers of Accelerade. “On behalf of Accelerade, I have recently visited minuscar.blogspot.com where you have shown an obvious interest and great understanding of endurance sports.”

Ha. Sorry girlfriend, 100 mile weeks do not a great understanding of or obvious interest in endurance sports make. Endurance bicycle commuting isn’t a sport you’ll make money on anytime soon either.


Saturday morning, bright and early roll out to meet Snakebite downtown for the 8am opening of Michelle’s. I needed to leave early as The MinusCar Bike was loaded down with tools and gear. The intent was biscuits and gravy prior to the 8:30 FAB event. Turns out 8am simply marks Michelle’s arrival. Biscuits and gravy is warm at 8:30.

We headed to The Diner where we added our bicycles to the 12 already parked outside the venue!!! Amazing. On the patio we were surprised and delighted to discover the FAB Communication Director/CycleSD blogger half way through his breakfast. At 8:30 we sent him to collect the ride arrivals (which turned out to be The Dad) while we wolfed down 2 + 2 + 2, bacon for me, patties for him. He got the jump on me, but in the end I beat him by half a pancake.

The five of us headed to the Center of Hope. On the way we collected The Sailor after spotting him crossing a bridge with a telltale bike pump extruding from his backpack. We happened upon a biker down, cradled in his SO's lap. He was well attended by other rollers and an ambulance was enroute. I’m just guessing, irregardless it remains true, helmets are good and collarbones heal. We arrived at the destination and were joined by The Kernel, BriMan and LevisGhost.

It turns out the immediate area around hope has no trees, so we opted to perform our services just below the center of hope in the cooler yet very moist basement. CycleSD was unable to wear his glasses because of the humidity.

We spent three hours truing wheels, adjusting brakes, swapping parts. In the end we’d placed 10 Magnas, Huffys and Roadmasters in the done row and delivered 3 bikes to The LBS for some additional work. Two television stations and one (public) radio station visited us. The Center of Hope’s administrator gave three interviews. The FAB Communications Director does a nice job doesn’t he?!

These bikes will go to people who are in need of transportation. Priority goes to people departing prison sentences and needing to get on with employment (not unlike Scooter Libby I suppose). In other words, used by people for their primary means of transportation. These are things that are important to me. This FAB event fit nicely with The MinusCar Project.

Tomorrow: Endurance Parenting

PS: If you roll and you're in the area hit the city council meeting at 7pm Monday night. Snakebite's asking the city to do a better job detouring bike trail disruptions. I've seen his words. Go and see if the snake's got a silver tongue.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Weekend Photo Time

First the current installment of the garden photo. The clothes line is retractable. I'm hoping for a big impact with this. Reducing use of the electric dryer. Might also reduce the need for a basement dehumidifier by putting more moisture outside.

Not only did the content of this post - "how many gallons is this?" - at the Sew Green blog impress me, but I enjoyed the approach in writing it. I think I might get a bucket.

Did you see the Banjo Brothers ad featuring the Lunartic Biker? If you're a bike blogger you probably did...but not all of you are bike bloggers, and some of you stay away from the naughty ones anyway.

Clicky for bigger picture. This ad was created to run in the Urban Velo magazine which I really like.

The Boy 9 celebrates his independence.

Finally, here's a nice picture that I found over at the Bicycling in and Around Sioux Falls blog.

I wonder what this would look like printed on card stock, laminated and hung from a sign downtown on the bike trail.

Huh. Pretty good I think.

I may or may not have had something to do with the hanging of this sign. I may or may not have intentionally spelled Lunatic wrong earlier in this post.

I did however have a nice 30 mile day, thanks to an after supper run to Staples, the Snakepit, the downtown bike trail, and back home. You know, urban cycling.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Hope's Center

I found this on local blogger Snakebite's site. Edited to ummm...make myself look smarter than I am. The original is here.

Saturday July 7 from 9am to 12pm FAB members will converge on the Center of Hope in a voluntary bike fixing effort.

The Center of Hope accepts bicycle donations, fixes donated bicycles, and gives them away to men and women in need of employment related transportation. Individuals departing prison are first priority in an effort to assist in keeping them from return visits.

A few weeks ago the Center of Hope had given away 190 bicycles so far this season. The only thing keeping them from giving away a record 400 bicycles is the number of functioning ones they have. Not too long ago they received 50 or so bicycles from Northwestern University in Orange City, Iowa.

What sort of bicycles are these? Imagine a college bike rack full of your sisters abandoned Magna at the end of a long year of college…then account for your sister’s 50 riding buddies who abandoned theirs too.

So bring your crescent wrench, your metric socket set, and other wrenches and let’s go!

Center of Hope at the top of the hill formerly known as Cliff Ave is best approached from the north. Head south from the Benson Road/Cliff Ave intersection; it’s one of the last couple buildings on the east side of Cliff Ave. I’ll lead a ride from the downtown courtyard just south of 334 S Phillips Ave at 8:30am.
Later Saturday is a Greenpeace global warming awareness event at McKennan Park. A number of bands are playing including The Body Electric. You may remember The Body Electric from previous events like Bike To Work Day. Related website here. This would seem like the perfect sort of event to wear one's The MinusCar Project t-shirt.

(Uhhh...sorry dudes that I am in debt a t-shirt too. I've sorta dropped the ball on that...for now.)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Report: June 25 – July 1

Car? We don’t need no stinking cars!

Trips -
MinusCar: 10
Multi-occupant Auto: 4
Single occupant Auto: 0
Destinations: 34

Did you hear the one about the single occupant of the SUV? Stopped at a red light he rolled down his window to inquire of the single occupant tandem…”where did your stoker go?” (honestly I saw this story on someone’s blog a few months ago, but I can’t escape it. It’s one of the first things I’m going to try when we finally get a tandem.)

My Car Miles: 0
My Bike Miles: 135

Yep. Zero miles on my car. I drove this morning, I had to wash the dust off the windshield.

Saturday morning I enjoyed a trip downtown for pumpkin pancakes at Café 334. I took the scenic route through Crooks and Baltic. Them is some yummy pancakes.