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.