Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Postcards From The Edge

Turns out I'm on the good guy list. I got a postcard from the Lunatic Biker yesterday. Thanks Ray!

I can't believe you boys up there in Minneapolis are rolling through stop signs and red lights again. On TV even!

In my city it's the cars that don't stop. You know it's true because we've got cameras flashing pictures at an intersection trying to catch 'em. More than 5,000 got surprised with a postcard from The City last year. Almost 20 a day in July alone.

The day I get ticketed for going through a red light that doesn't sense my bicycle is the day I start asking the courts whether the operator of my vehicle has the right to expect working traffic controls. "Every person driving a bicycle shall have all of the rights and all the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle by this Code…" It's the law.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

Dr Wright: Why The Right Could Stop Worrying And Love The Reverend

Update 4/26: Here is the Moyers/Wright interview. It's a bit more to digest than 30 seconds of YouTube.

Thursday morning I decided I’d attempt this post. Thursday night I learned Reverend Jeremiah Wright had a sit down with Bill Moyers for an interview that will be televised this evening. I'd like to point out I was defending Dr Wright (see comments) before defending Dr Wright was cool.

"Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem." – Ronald Reagan. Is the Rev Dr Jeremiah Wright a Regan Republican?

In perhaps the most famously excerpted sermon since the One on the Mount the Rev Jeremiah Wright argues (too effectively for most people’s tastes) that the American government ought not to be relied upon. It is God who should be relied upon.

In a more complete sermon excerpt (July 2003) than YouTube, published by the Chicago Tribune at the end of March, Rev Wright begins with Lincoln era thinking that Africans are property, continues with Truman era thinking that Africans should be separate. He includes more favorable Clinton era thinking of "the first black president", and ends with Bush era uhh…thinking(?).

Then he turns to the Italian prophet Malachi (3:6) to demonstrate that God does not change. "Where governments lie, God does not lie. Where governments change, God does not change.”

The message is clear. Do not rely on governments. Rely on God. I think he means one person’s bootstraps are another person’s faith in God.

To further cement his argument, to drive it home better than any white 70-year-old president could, he points to the failures of the Roman, British, Russian, Japanese, and German governments. Finally, he points to the United States’ genocide of Native Americans, the internment of Japanese Americans, and the slavery of Africans.

I think Jeremiah Wright might agree with Ronald Reagan.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Time Of Renewal

It's my birthday! Yeah, it's been a pretty big week. I rode my bike to renew my driving license today. Get this...there isn't a bike rack outside the DMV.

I notice on this very page, in the past few posts I've made favorable mention of Senator John Thune and openly agreed with Bill O'Reilly. With all the extra visits yesterday I wonder if some people may have gotten the wrong impression. Maybe I'll be able to do something about that on Friday.

The Gas Audit: yesterday's hoopla is history. Seems the most striking number, the bit everyone I talk to mentions, is the claim that I purchased 7 tanks of gas last year. I suppose I should mention that my car is a tanker truck.

It's so serious that The Dad's very employment could be at stake (see comment here). Let's make a deal. I will give an ongoing report of tanks of gas for 2008. From now on, the first full week of the month will feature bike miles, car miles and tanks of gas.

So far, it was a tough winter.

8:00am Update - KELOLAND blogger Cory @ Madville Times picks up the thread I laid down a few days ago about KSFY. BikingBrady and MinusCar get heavy play. I print out the post and save it as a birthday present. Thanks Robb at Sioux River Bicycles and Fitness in Brookings for being the one who actually watches KSFY.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Save Money On Gas!

Go to KSFY TV to listen to great tips on how to save money at the pump. Aaron Maguire will walk you through finding the cheapest gas! How far across town do you have to go for that cheap gas? You could get another credit card and save as much as $0.17 a gallon! You could spend that $0.17 on synthetic oil that will make your car more efficient.

Don't miss this little gem at the end! Anchor Valerie Gutierrez, "I guess this beats riding around on a bicycle." Reporter Aaron Maguire, "It does! I considered that, unfortunately."


You could listen to this idiot. He thinks he's saved $6,000 in auto expenses over the past three, uhhh...not going to the pump.

The bicycle is the natural enemy to the impulse buy. Save money at the pump and save money at the convenience store too!

The MinusCar Project and Bill O'Reilly agree, "If American's want lower gas prices cut back. Sell those SUV's. Ride a bike when you can. If everyone of us bought 10% less gasoline prices would fall fast." - 4/21 Talking Points Memo

Sorry if this loops for you. I don't like that either.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Reindeer Games

"Surely the game is rigged. Just as surely, if you don't play, you can't win."

The City broke ground this afternoon on a small piece of bike trail between Dunham Park and the not yet shiny but new Legacy Park.

Word went forth from Snakebite to attend by bike. If I'm anything I'm also fit nicely with my lunchtime plans so I did. thE kErnEl did. The Mayor of Hooterville did. Murph did. The Owner, the FAB Pres and a couple others were there as well.

There were a lot of people there in funny clothes. I think they're called suits. Here is a close up sampling. You can tell it's an important event because the guy in reddish with the video camera got front and center. The suits found the middle tier and I took my pictures from the back row standing on my tip toes. That guy speaking, he's a senator from South Dakota. Apparently this piece of trail was federally funded.

This is the actual breaking of the ground. Uh oh...looks like somebody forgot they were supposed to let The Senator dig up the biggest clod of dirt.

Afterword the esteemed Senator found some people in normal clothes to chat with. thE kErnEl came prepared with FAB-bling gifts which were graciously accepted. He also came with all the right words to say, getting in mention of FAB and the South Dakota Bicycle Coalition as if he does this sort of thing all the time.

Who Is The Boy 4?

Warning - parts of this post are not true.

Apparently tomorrow is Earth Day. At least that's what the reporter said Thursday when he called for an interview. So...I'm gonna ride my bike to work tomorrow. I'm gonna ride to work on May 16th too, it's Bike To Work Day. I'll stop for free pancakes on my way - even though it's out of my way.

Then I'll have biked to work at least once a month so far this spring.

I think biking to work is a lot more interesting than driving. My supporting evidence includes the presence of a photographer on this morning's commute. We closed the intersection of 41st & Louise at 8:30am so my left turn on to 41st could be filmed. There was a malfunction with the bullet-time processor so the footage will be pretty standard. I'm surprised The City supported the closure on such short notice.

Hopefully the photog got the "driving billboard" in the shot. Nothing says waste like a truck driving around all day advertising itself. I suppose in some way it's essential to the economy.

Hey, Lunatic! I told them how much of an inspiration you are.

Finally, over the next couple days, if you happen to see my name in the local media, and they happen to catch me calling The Boy 6, The Boy 4, remember this. I might be able to get in the media, but I'm still an idiot.

"Silence is the only successful substitute for stupidity."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bike Thru Surgery

The Dad sent me this a few days ago...

...I got an appointment with the specialist three blocks from my work. He told me the tooth should come out and that Siouxland Oral Surgery should do it. I thought that was 2 blocks closer to work.

Turns out that Siouxland Oral Surgery is 3 miles away, way South on Minnesota Avenue. When you're on a bicycle, and your wife has the car, and the surgeon will see you "now", then you walk back to your work, get your bicycle and ride to your surgery as fast as you can.

The specialist gave me my x-Ray. When he learned that I was on a bicycle, he cut the x-Ray holder in half. (instead one film in a four slot holder, it became a one film in a two slot holder). But, since it was wet, he wouldn't let me put it in my pocket. He thought I could hook it over my handlebar. That didn't fit, so off to the surgeon I went, up and down the hills of 57th Street, with my x-Ray trailing from a carabineer hooked under my seat.

Of course, I left messages on the voice mail for my wife every time I passed a telephone. At 12:30, when surgery was done, I checked again. This time she was home. Talking through teeth clenching a wad of gauze I told her I was coming home. I was home by 1:00. Not bad: 3 hours after my first appointment, 8 miles on bicycle; 1/3 mile walking.

Hey The Dad, this one's for you:

"Eighteen minutes with an agile mind."

Monday, April 14, 2008

FAB Spring Kickoff

Those boys over at CycleSD sure make nice .pdf. Don'cha think?

If I'm lucky, for lunch Tuesday I ride from the printers to all four local shops to deliver these.

If you don't see this poster up in your favorite shop after Wednesday, you'd better ask about it!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Coffee & Doughnut Abides

Snakebite and I kept the Coffee & Doughnut dream alive today.

Have I mentioned how much I like MapMyRideDotCom?

We met at O'Gorman High School at 8am sharpie and headed south on the bike path. We skirted the construction fence at 41st and noted the absence of trees near Olive Garden Restaurant. We wondered what the restaurant would look like with a raised dike out it's back door.

Over 49th to avoid fence #2, we enjoyed the crunch of last night's dusting of snow and ice. This was ride #2 on the 29 inch Ellsworth for him. We went around to Cherry Rock Park and took the greenway into downtown for stop #1 at Michelle's for biscuits and gravy. Is it too late to change the name of the ride?

I don't know how she keeps enough of them available. We visited with local songwriter and 2008 FABRAD (coming soon!) rocker Rich Show and at 9:35am, after Michelle's 9am help arrived to great fanfare (or was that dismay?), we departed for stop #2.

Mr. Bite had earlier noted MS Walk signs posted and after locating some of our favorite event coordinators by phone we arrived at the USF Stewart Center in time for pre-MS Walk festivities. We saw a few FAB members, we visited said favorite event coordinators, pretended we thought it was the MS 150 (that's Pedal the Plains to you buddy!), enjoyed a Su Fu Du performance and we were off. We didn't even steal any of their food.

Stop #3, Prairie Cycles to chat up it's owner and 2008 FABRAD (coming soon!) rocker Erik Nelson, about Bike to Work Day.

...and the ride disbanded.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Place At The Table

Remember when I and two other rollers participated in the Shape Sioux Falls Visual Survey? You don't because I didn't write about it. The Hooterville Mayor did.

Shape Sioux Falls visual survey was 200-ish pictures of cityscapes, flashed on a screen for 7 seconds each, so that the participant can rate the picture on a 10 point scale as visually pleasing.

As one MinusCar friendly person wrote to me, “I voted against any picture of a huge cement playground and voted for everything with bikes.”

1,500 people participated in the survey. A smashing success! Did more than 1,500 people vote last Tuesday in the city elections?

Now, the results are in.

Today The MinusCar Project advanced a baby step. I attended a Shape Sioux Falls Focus Group. I sat in a room of 10-ish people, council members, planners, developers, engineers, and me. We reviewed transportation and open space development related findings from the survey.

To say I eloquently argued my thoughts on sustainable development and the bicycle as a viable and necessary form of transportation would be an overstatement.

To say I said anything at all would be somewhat of an overstatement, I may have mumbled something once. I followed a piece of pithy plastic desktop wisdom my parents gave me a million years ago – “silence is the only successful substitute for stupidity.” Oops, my secret’s out.

The meeting was chock full of insights and interesting tidbits.

1. The single most favorite photo was a very nice picture of Falls Park. Rightly so!

2. 24 of the top 25 photos, to quote the consultant (after we viewed them), “no cars in sight.” Or this, from a slide, “[The] Most low-rated [photos]: exclusively auto-oriented.”

3. Interestingly, after all those no car photos, selected by all those 1,500 people, the meeting did manage to briefly degrade into how hard it is to drive through design like that.

4. I'm in a room and I hear someone refer to a section of street I wish was easier to cycle on as “my project” or “I designed that.” This is a good place to be.

5. The theoretical idea of a multi-building commercial development that a pedestrian could walk from building to building. REMARKABLE! Last week I watched 5, 14 year-old girls trying to get from the Empire Mall to the Empire East Mall. They had successfully crossed 100 yards or more of parking lot. I observed two of them run halfway across Louise before turning back to the curb and their 3 companions. They still had 100 more yards of parking lot if they ever got across. No wonder teenagers think they need cages.

6. The purpose of Shape Sioux Falls is to provide guidance as the city attempts to improve zoning ordinances. The dots were connected between this and the ability for developers to try new things. In some cases, more sustainable things. The evidence that developers should try new things is the visual survey. The actuality of developers trying new things after the zoning laws allow it is a whole ‘nother matter.

Yes, there was more, but we’re out of time. Good night everybody.

4/11 8:50am - I feel compelled to add that any sense conveyed through reading this that sustainability was at all a theme in this meeting would be an inaccurate. The sustainability theme was the template through which I viewed my presence at the meeting.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

"Bikers Suck"

Today's line from The Barista - "you won't be riding that bike tomorrow or Friday mister."

The operator of the black Jeep Cherokee at 49th & Kiwanis would like you to know that "bikers suck." What I wish he would have told me, "don't be distracted by drivers feeding you information through the hole in their steel and glass cages."

I turned to raise my grande non-fat chai to him and promptly fell off. Thereby confirming for him everything he already believes. Don't worry mom, there were no injuries. That I'll admit to.

I never got the chance to confirm with him that it is, in fact, I who suck, not all you folks who can raise a (sometimes even alcoholic) toast without falling off.

Take note - apparently when 81% of the country thinks it's headed on the wrong track people get grumpy. I've heard more from cage holes in this short year than all of last year combined.

Have a beautiful day. I hope you rode to work and you have time to take the long way home.

Monday, April 07, 2008

SDBC Score #2

Recently I wondered aloud why The Local Daily hadn't covered the genesis of the South Dakota Bicycle Coalition.

Today they did.

Thanks to those who made that happen - and nice twist turning into a FAB article too!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Coffee Run

I stepped out for coffee this morning. I'm like those Family Circus strips where Billy wanders all over the place on his way to some mother assigned task. Ultimately I bailed on Dunn Brothers and selected Caribou. Mocha and lemon poppyseed. 15 minutes. There was one other customer in the store - he had arrived in a bicycle too. I didn't know him. It took me 30 miles to find my way back home.

It's nice getting out early for an urban ride on Saturday or Sunday mornings. That first hand view of all the carnage (that's punny) caused by drivers that couldn't/wouldn't stay on the road during the night is especially enlightening.

What do you think about when you ride?