Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Where Were We?!

The Wife has some time off. I got home after work last night and took this picture. I'm so lucky to have a wife that likes to play along.

Before a couple days ago I'd never heard of Mark Bittman. Today I know two things about him. He has a TED Talk and a very short Wikipedia page. I especially hadn't heard of him before I posted my first thoughts on food.

But now I have. And I like him. Because as it turns out, he agrees with me...erm, I agree with him. Really, talk about giving up meat, or the best sort of meat, or the best diet...but isn't my current crisis really about over consumption of just plain everything? How about I start with a 2,000 calorie diet and see what sort of effect that has on the amount of meat I consume?

Here's Mark - it's 20 minutes so I grilled up a big slab corn fed beef to enjoy while I watched. If you cared enough to give me life advice in food post #1, please - watch this.

"What's wrong with what we eat"

"To suggest that, in the interest of personal and human health, Americans eat 50% less meat? It's not enough of a cut, but it's a start. It would seem absurd, but that's exactly what should happen. And what progressive people, forward thinking people should be doing and advocating, along with a corresponding increase in the consumpton of plants...

...I'll never stop eating animals I'm sure, but I do think for the benefit of everyone, the time has come to stop raising them industrially and stop eating them thoughtlessly."
This week we planted peas and beans. Beginning tomorrow I'll warm up my shower by filling a bucket to take outside and pour on the potted cherry tomatos. We fenced the garden and I'm determined to take better care of the tomatos this year.

Soon most of the fields this city will fill up with corn. Believe me, I understand the importance of corn. It's similar to the importance of the automobile. I also heard Mark Bittman talk about the family farm.

Here's a preview for a new movie, King Corn.

And then dinner tonight.

It's overexposed - someone's been messing with my camera. I think it was me. I've made adjustments.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Media For Monday

First: thanks to the TransitLibrarian for guidance for embeded audio.

Now, the first embeded audio, DJ Andy on Hot 104.7 a couple weeks ago ranting about bicycles in the roadway.

Next, audio of State Senator Sandy Jerstad before the Sioux Falls City Council asking for bike lanes on The City's busiest streets. Also asking for bike trail improvements. Followed by city park's Don Kearney saying he's on the job and city mayor noting he's heard tell of some new bike lanes in the city.

The request for lanes on the busiest streets seems a bit off key to me but if she can get that done (she can't) I'd sure be impressed.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I Have A Face For Radio II

Well, I have 10 minutes left in this year’s 15 minutes of radio fame. Contrary to what I thought, I know of 1 (one) person that still listens to the radio in their car.

If someone had been listening to the radio they would have heard me talk about how grossly inefficient legal bicycling is on the sidewalk. They would have heard a police officer describe the legality of riding on the roadway and the legal way to ride on the sidewalk.

The listener would also have heard a logical and reasonable description of the desirability and functionality of the brightly colored shirts and the spandex shorts.

DJ Andy seemed genuinely interested and reasonably enlightened to the facts above. I was quite satisfied with the bits that went over the air. I think there was good and factual information in the 5 minutes of air time.

To DJ Andy’s credit – he had obviously read both my e-mails, the second was a rather lengthy set of points I think I’m good at discussing. Andy was willing on air, to face his ignorance of bicycling law and his ignorance of bicycling clothing. I commend him for that.

To DJ Andy’s dis-credit – he was not willing to face his ignorance that “jokes” like “BUT STILL, I'm driving a 4,000 lb car, you're riding a 10 lb bicycle. Get OUT OF THE STREET” and “I was like - if I had a bee bee gun right now, he would be yelping and calling the cops” are dangerous and irresponsible.

Because of this - parts of the meeting were very contentious. By that I mean I was contentious. With home field advantage, a bee bee gun and a 4000 lb car - he was not.

The entire visit was 30 minutes. In that 30 minutes I was able to finally ask an officer of the law, in an appropriate setting, the question I’ve held so anxiously for 2 or 3 years:

If the law says a bicycle has all the rights and responsibilities of any other vehicle on the road and The City installs traffic sensors that don’t detect bicycles, isn’t The City violating the law? The officer got it and immediately called in for the arrest of The City traffic engineer.

Just kidding - the officer DID get it, which is enough for me right now.

The officer and I disagreed on the meaning of this law:

A person driving a bicycle along a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances, except that a bicyclist must stop before entering a crosswalk from a sidewalk and must yield to all traffic on the highway.

The officer believes if the bicycle stops before entering the intersection then any collision within the intersection is the fault of the automobile driver. I strongly suggest “yielding to all traffic” within the intersection makes collisions the bicycle rider’s fault. If you agree with my interpretation you’ll find it interesting that this officer is responsible for teaching bicycle safety to children in the schools. If you disagree with me - you probably haven't read this far anyway.


In reality, the only person who really knows what these laws mean is the judge that tries the case. In other words, we'll let the courts decide that. Hopefully the cyclist needing the clarity is alive to hear it.

That’s all…unless it’s not all.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Have A Face For Radio

3pm Update - It's on. With SFPD. I'm surprised and impressed with my PD.

2pm Update - DJ Andy has postponed to an unspecified date due to a lack of SFPD response to the invite. I recommend tuning in, just in case something changes.

I've been practicing my radio voice all day today. If all goes according to plan I will be speaking with DJ Andy on the air at 5pm Drive Time Wednesday. That's Hot 104.7 on your FM radio dial. This seems like a rather rare opportunity to discuss cycling with a frustrated driver. I guess he got a kick out of my e-mail. He was especially appreciative of the lycra covered asses ending.

An invite has been issued and conversation occured with a specific officer in the police department. Media appearances need departmental approval. I'll be very surprised if the SFPD participates. Sending an officer into a situation as uncontrolled as this seems nuts to me.

If you listen set your expectation dial to low because my late confrontation with a motorist ended with me falling off my bike.

This Is Why.

"Shut up, pay the 80 bucks required to fill your gas tank and go on about your business. You're way to soft to ride a bike to work every day." Ray the Lunatic Biker

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Next Thing Is Already Here

If you want more context for this post you'll want to read "Give My Regards To Your Grandmother."


Thanks so much for your thoughts on bicycles in Sioux Falls. Very enlightening. I've listened hard to your arguments. I have a few thoughts.

How was your motorcycle ride to work? Do you wear a helmet when you ride? I toured J&L a few weeks ago with my fourth grader. Our guide ran down a list of essential gear to have when riding a motorcycle. You think bike shorts are weird? How about all that leather in 80+ degree weather? I guess there are things about motorcyclists and what they wear I don't understand. I do know that motorcyclists and bicylists share some of the same roadway concerns.

It sounds like your bicyclist friend performed a left turn from the right lane by first stopping in the intersection and waiting for clearance. This seems to violate the law that "bicycles have the same rights and responsibilities as all other vehicles." I agree that your frustration is valid.

Please know the legal definition of a vehilcle does not care if the vehicle has a motor.

I do have some jabs for you. Your willingness to talk about your understanding of the law without bothering to even read up first - makes you sound incurious. Like George Bush.

Your request that the cyclist take to the sidewalk doesn't work. There is not a sidewalk in that spot. To get to the sidewalk a bicyclist needs to cross Cliff Ave. If you'd like to petition the city to put sidewalks on both sides of all streets you'd become a big fan of a lot of people.

Finally, your talk of using a gun in your situation - really sucks. Even if it is just a bee bee gun.

Thanks Andy. If you'd like to have a couple local cyclists on your show sometime I could get you a couple pretty quickly. They'd be smiling, happy and entertaining but would still encourage you to, you know - come here and say those things to my face - instead of our lycra covered asses.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Give My Regards To Your Grandmother

5/18 update - I happened by this intersection yesterday. There is no sidewalk - a clear indication that our DJ friend Andy has a different set of issues that he's transferred to a battle between his 4,000lb vehicle and a someone else's 10lb vehicle. I hope you get those fixed soon Andy.

In case it matters - I think it sounds like the cyclist failed to perform the legally required yield when riding a bike in a crosswalk. Of course I find the rest of the language disturbing.

Andy - radio DJ @ HOT 104.7 - words spoken on the morning show, May 15. Download mp3 from this page.

I'm getting up on my soapbox...

I'm going to torque off a couple people here but I really don't care. Here's the thing. It's just one of these, 'I think somethings dumb, other people think it's awesome.' One of those things. The only difference is I'm on the radio so I get to tell the world about it and they get to call and yell at me.

Yesterday I'm driving home from work. Pull off the interstate off I-229 at Cliff to turn right. I get to the bottom, it's a red light...

6:30, sunny day, nice day.

There's a little bit of traffic left over from rush hour coming down Cliff and I'm just waiting for my opportunity to turn right at the red light and a Lance Armstrong wannabe, wearing a yellow jersey and biker shorts and a helmet with one of those little doctor things that hangs down...a mirror.

Back when I was 12 and rode a bicycle I would just look back, but anyway.

This guy crosses the street in front of me. I have no problem with that, he's trying to get to the bike trail. Instead of getting up on the curb, you know, OUT OF THE know, when I was 12 my mom told me don't play in the street. Instead of doing that, he camps out in the middle of my turning path. Waiting to cross Cliff Ave to get over the bike path.

And I was losing my mind. Now granted this is a small thing to be upset about. BUT STILL, I'm driving a 4,000lb car, you're riding a 10lb bicycle. Get OUT OF THE STREET.

I guess there's some law in Sioux Falls that you can't ride on the sidewalk. I didn't know that before and someone called an yelled at me last time I complained about bicyclists but at least keep up with traffic.


So this guy is just sitting there and I am staring at him waiting for him to look. He didn't have enough time because he doesn't have an engine - to cross the street. I, have a motor and can turn into the right lane. The problem is all the traffic coming from the north on Cliff is all in the left lane. So I could have turned right into the right lane as soon as I got there. But this clown is camped out right in my way. If I had gone I would have hit him. Well, I'm not going to get a ticket for vehicular manslaughter or getting 50 points for smoking a bicyclist. But still, if you're waiting to cross the street I think you're allowed to be up on the curb with your bicycle.

Ok, and I'm not, I know this is like bicycle town USA in the summer with our 800 miles of bike paths that's fine. Tomorrow is ride your bike to work day which I'm going to do but mines going to have a motor. Yeah, I'm riding my bike to work. It's still better mileage than a car.

All I'm asking bicycle guy in your pretty tight shorts, showing me every curve of your butt...I was only staring at is because I was like "if I had a bee bee gun right now, he would be yelping and calling the cops."


Call #1:

But they're not a car. That's my problem. They're like my grandma in a car. That's what bugs me. Bicyclists are like old people driving cars. Either throw a motor on that pedal-bicycle, yeah they're not a pedestrian, but yet they are riding a pedal-bike. They're using their feet, which I believe is where the ped comes from. That's why you go to a podiatrist when you got a bad foot. You're a pedestrian not a car.

When they're going down the street and they're keeping up I have no problem with them. But when they're going slow in front of me and making me...that was all he had to do was get up on the curb, get out of the way and let me turn. If it would have been a car in front of me well then I'm just screwed.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

On The Menu: Food

I'm trying hard to get my head around a set of posts about food. I've scrapped two or three crummy attempts today. I feel the pressure to post so here.

It's what we had for supper Sunday evening. Minute steak from a southeastern South Dakota cow, butchered last fall. Lettuce greens, potatos and radishes from a farm (with a greenhouse) near Madison.

Don't see the radishes? They're baked in with the potatos.

This season, The MinusCar Household seeks to reduce the distance food travels from ground to stomach. There's a good argument that distance is less a problem than simply eating cows. That's fine...I have a feeling as the season progresses we'll be trying to eat so many vegetables before they rot that red meat consumption will decrease - drastically.

More on this later. Probably.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Forest Finds Favor

Remember Forest Halford? My favorite bicyclist in Kentucky? The one who wrote MinusCar Essay #15? Here's a reminder -

"I've learned that the bicycle is the natural enemy of impulse buying. My previous dreams of new cars, large houses, and secluded lots far out in suburbia have morphed into dreams of simple, chemical free living with plenty of time to enjoy life. I've learned that I can live without a dryer, that it's okay to sweat in summer. I've learned to appreciate the chill of winter. I’ve discovered my neighbors and we know each other by name. I’ve learned that I’m not meant to go fast, that going slow gets me there just as quickly. I’ve learned to live more deliberately with less."

Still beautiful words.

Forest found his way into the Western Kentucky University newspaper last week. That's where the photo is from.

"He rode through a cemetery. He said he loves riding through cemeteries. It always puts things into perspective," he said. Reminds me of the last Snakebite/FAB Scavenger Hunt.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Hot/Fresh: Bike To Work Day On TV

The City produced a Bike To Work segment for their "Around Downtown" television program. Check it out on the Sioux Falls Bikes To Work blog.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Save Money On Gas, April Edition

Did the weather keep you from riding to work today? The rain was done by the time I departed work but I sure needed to make a lot more eye contact than usual on the way home. If you're reading this I'm glad you made it home too.

As promised here's my end of month mileage and gas report. I bought gas on the 10th. Sorry I forgot to record how far that tank took me. I'll catch up on May (or June). If you need your subscription refunded because of this let me know.

3 tanks in four months.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Today I Posted...

...on 12 Hours In Photos. Hopefully there will be more sets than just mine in the next couple days.

Here's a teaser...

2pm - outside the office supply store to buy printer paper I saw this rare for my town rig. (Hi Jodi!) Yes, our large big box toy store has no webkinz. The mall does, ugh.

Friday, May 02, 2008


Full strip

James Howard Kunstler and Stephen Colbert were on my iPod last night. His book is "World Made By Hand." I generally lack the fortitude to read JHK, but when I do I'm happiest with him when he's travelling the themes this book seems to.

Perhaps I'll be enjoying it soon.