Saturday, January 31, 2009

Why Monks?

If there's a sign like this anywhere else in this city I haven't seen it.

And when I left there were 12 bikes parking.

Oh The Weather Outside Is...

...delightful. It's supposed to be near 50 today.

Too bad I'll be locked inside Monk's House Of Ale Repute watching a US Forestry DVD about building trail. Follow that by discussing the month of February with the same group. Oh well, at least there will be the bike ride to and from the venue. Did I mention they're opening Monk's early just for us? Woot! Nothing like a little creativity in meeting space. I can already taste the BBQ Chicken Pizza! The snowball is gaining momentum and it's looking like February will be our first opportunity to be squashed by the bureaucratic machine.

Yesterday was a pretty fine day in all things bike-able. With the studded tires in the capable hands of the LBS I rode to work without. Some pre-ride apprehension gave way to ride elation as I rediscovered the relative joy of riding 30lbs less of bike.

Lunchtime errands, and a post work ride to meet my trainer put me at an 18 mile day.

I had two pretty fun conversations during the day:

1. at lunch, helmet on (practice safe eating), messenger bag loaded with goods complete with extruding document tube (singletrack project posters) the mother of an apparent 6-ish year old son approaches. "My son just said, 'I thought you said that bikes can't be ridden in the winter.' I had to tell him that I just don't want him to ride in the winter."

That's right kid. Rethink it.

The Trainer and I discussed whether I should maintain a membership or simply pay for training. "We have some very good cycling classes." "Uh, I'm fundamentally opposed to bicycling inside." "Well, I mean for during the winter." "Oh, I'm on my bike today."

I introduced her to Community Supported Agriculture during our meet/greet too. I figured I was on pretty safe ground talking vegetables with her. I'm counting the weeks until this year's veggies begin to sprout. I can't wait for that lettuce. As we finished our final squash dish I was already looking forward to next fall.

I think that's what the mean when they talk about the joys of in season eating.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

LifeLight Going Green?

Remember back in the good old days when I was complaining about James Dobson and his view on global warming? He said - "What Richard Cizik and his associates want us to do is roll back the use of fossil fuels (oil) to the 1998 levels, or even earlier, which would paralyze industry and put millions of people out of work."

I noted with interest today's Local Daily article detailing scale backs at one of my favorite local ministries LifeLight. I'm sure this is a very heavy time for the folks at LifeLight as they try to reduce expenses yet still maintain an excellent festival.

But the symbolism of this caught my fancy - they're scaling back production including eliminating one of two jumbo video screens on main stage. I'm pretty sure this means a serious reduction in energy consumption therefore reducing the festival's carbon footprint.

Less symbolically are the local roadway traffic counts I pointed to previously. Ask a SD DOT guy why the counts are reduced by roughly 10% and he might suggest that people just aren't going out and buying stuff like they used to. Reduce trips, reduce energy consumption. Reduce consumption of stuff, further reduce energy consumption.

Hey James - it turns out - if you "paralyze industry and put millions [well hundreds of thousands, ed.] of people out of work" use of fossil fuels begins to approach that of "1998 levels, or even earlier."

I Have A Problem

I have a shifting problem. Really, who didn't see it coming? I'll take a complete overhaul please.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Victory Is Mine

The MinusCar Project was born in 2005. Let's see how I'm doing. Here is some traffic count data along our busiest roadway.

Clearly only one conclusion can be made from this data.

Victory is mine!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Don't Try This On Your Bike

I suppose this had something to do with today's broken chain.


So I'll be on the bus tomorrow with a chain tool in hopes of riding home at the end of the day.

Perhaps a can of lube might be of use as well.

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's Early

I went to 2009 Bike To Work Day meeting #1 yesterday. Good times. Sounds like it's going to look a lot like it did last year - pancakes! Here's this year's banner.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mis-heard Lyrics

The Boy 6 has been enjoying The Chipmunks rap-ish album.

The lyric is "everybody make some noise."

He hears "everybody make s'mores."

I'm in.


Speaking of music, I recently rediscovered my favorite album and new band for 2008 and the Transit Librarian put up his 2008 picks, so hear:

Does It Offend You, Yeah? - You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I had The Daily Show rolling on the television this evening. All the talk about Obama put The Boys in political mindsets. The Boy 6 wants to know why we never elect girl presidents. I think he's disappointed in his parents for voting for a man.


I perked up yesterday when they started talking about trust and other matters of the heart. I thought Krista Tippett nailed it when she said, "But I think one of the great ironies...of what's happening now in the economy is the economic concepts and theories, when it was presented as fact and logic was as fanciful as Narnia...we have been dealing in a world of illogic and illusion presented as fact and logic, and I wonder if we take that seriously, if some of these concepts that you're talking about of the heart and of community, of trust, of relational trust, can we begin to see some of those things as more real."

Parker Palmer said, "It's a lot easier to try to get a grant or beg the feds for more money or bring in the latest dog and pony show from the curricular experts. A lot easier to do that, because it's all arm's-length stuff. But when we're challenged to invest ourselves, we shy away from that challenge because it means taking risks. It means making ourselves vulnerable. It means trying to speak the truth. It means a whole lot of things that we don't want to do. And so we're being looked at, we're being seen into, by these great and fundamental forces that challenge us to change, and those forces are forces of the heart. They're forces that involve us coming closer to our own reality and closer to our responsibility for one another."

Yesterday's podcast was Speaking of Faith's - Repossessing Virtue: Parker Palmer on Economic Crisis, Morality and Meaning.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Found You!

I had to go to Rapid City to find you...but I did.

Where's My Singlespeed?

...oh, I'm on it - now I have two. It stands to reason - if you cover your bike with snow and ice, your bike will be covered with snow and ice.

I rode today. Apparently temperatures were below zero. Based on base layer moisture content I either wore my wicking layer inside-out again or I overdressed.

My snow and ice covered gears refused to shift. I manually moved the chain to the big ring and down a cog so I wasn't pedaling 1:1.

I had to ride because it's the only way to thaw out the bike. After a year in this new building I've observed enough of the unwritten rules that I'm comfortable parking in the garage. The gears will thaw and if they don't turn to rust I'll get a couple days worth of shifting back.

Besides - I love leaving work to a nice warm bicycle. No scraping windows or sitting in the parking lot waiting for it to warm up. Ahhh...executive luxury without the inconvenience of owning an SUV.

(rule #1 for blogging - don't blog about work. They will learn I'm parking in the garage.)

(rule #2 for blogging - don't blog about not blogging about work. It's embarrassing.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

The MinusCar Week 2009.1

My LBS likes me because I make pictures that look like this - even if they are badly shot. Underneath all that snow is a $4,000 carbon road bike - as far as you know.

I didn't use my car at all this week. I got a few rides in including the chilly Saturday Coffee/Doughnut ride.

A much warmer (30 degrees?) Sunday ride to Caribou marked the beginning of singletrack meeting #3. We didn't get as far as I'd anticipated but next up we're taking over Monk's House of Ale Repute for some serious trail making DVD watching. Hopefully this will make up for yesterday's very long and work intensive Sunday effort.

I wonder how the other customers will like the finer points of trail building?

A final thought. Be careful out there. It's slickery. Friday night I watched a woman depart the bus and promptly hit the deck, three ring binder papers flying. I resolved right then and there to not let that happen to me. When I departed the bus I walked 20 feet before I fell.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Between The Lines

Lots of folks have great difficulty agreeing with the belief that separate bicycle facilities (bike lanes or paths) are useful, necessary, or even a solution to bicyclist/motorist interactions.

I offer this photo to demonstrate that 200ft and a big box retail store was not enough to separate these trees from the motorist bent on destroying them. I have no doubt the trees were self-righteously mocking the motorist from what they thought was the safety of such a large buffer.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


The Hooterville Mayor...

...will ride for biscuits.

If zero degrees is considered cold, it was cold. I made a rookie dressing error. I put my wicking layer on inside out. All the moisture in the air got sucked into my body. That helped keep the others dry.

We rode our bikes so you could park your Hummer by the front door.

The bike - 25lbs, with winter get-up - 35lbs, with snow - priceless.

Somebody check, I think Snakebite's bed is warmer than it used to be.

Actually, if I have ridden to work in this mess all week long the idea of doing it recereationally would lose some appeal to me. See you tomorrow SB!

Ride long, hard and cold.

Today's ride podcast of choice was This I Believe's "Pathways of Desire." There was a little bit of urban design and a whole lot of minus is the new plus in there.

Friday, January 09, 2009

2008 Miles

The year has ended.

Here's a chart showing the 8 times I filled up in 2008.

Looks like annual biking miles over 3 years is right around 3,000.

Looks like annual automobile miles over 3 years is just shy of 2,000.

The chart clearly shows improvements can be made, especially February and August. February is bad because it's cold. August is probably bad because I stayed up too late into the nights to wake up with time and energy to ride.

I'd really like to reach 4,000 bike miles but not enough to make my list of 7 resolutions for 2009 - eight.

Lately I've been experiencing public transportation and walking more than biking. I've been having quite the adventures too. Seems one particular driver is resigned to schedule failure on a particular route making it difficult for me to make my connections to get home.

I am no longer able to think of the bus service as reliable for anybody with schedule needs that go beyond experimentation with transportation. My family offers me heaping amounts of grace when it comes to this - for that I am grateful.

Monday, January 05, 2009

I Hadn't Thought Of It That Way Before...

A driver stopped for me at a mid-block well marked crosswalk today as I pursued lunch on foot. I might be 1 for 10 now at that spot.

I was so happy I celebrated by trying to get run over in the driveway outside my dining venue. In her defense I was walking against traffic which is slightly less dangerous than bicycling aginst traffic on the sidewalk.

I think she was a little surprised that we'd selected the same venue for lunch - which is to say, I think she changed her mind about lunch after that.


I read with an unsual amount of interest the Pinch Flat News post that reprinted one of his 1997 articles that included these words:
"That bikes should observe all the traffic laws governing cars is ridiculous, dangerous, and pointless -- especially since car drivers are genetically incapable of recognizing bikers as legitimate vehicles with whom they must share the road."
Perhaps it was the "Joe Soucheray: Not cold nor sludge can stop the morons" article published on that included these words:
"..if they fall down in front of me, I will run over them in their snowmobile suits and squash them like a bug...Oh, I'll call 911 and tell them where the body is, but I ain't stoppin'."
That helped me see this argument more clearly than in the past. I got it, understood it, maybe even started to belive it.

But at the same time I'll try to remember the majority of folks on the road that don't think like terrorists.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Habitat Fragmentation

And there it was, 5 days after posting this:

"which brings up interesting ideas and thoughts about roads and habitat disruption and roads and human habitat disruption."

I found this in Traffic, by Tom Vanderbilt:

"In the same way that traffic has been blamed for habitat fragmentation of the wild, cutting off species from foraging areas or reducing the tendency of birds to breed, high traffic helps starve social interaction on human streets..."

Who'da thunk.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's Day Ride

As is my custom I rode the Spoke-n-Sport First Best Darn Bike Ride Of The Year today. 200-ish people turned out for a quite nice January day.

The second best part about this particular year was The Wife accompanied me for the first time. Ice was a concern - we were without studded tires on the tandem. There were a few spots of concern but only once did I feel like we had used up all our margin for error. The best part was that we made it through that experience with the rubber side still down and loaded.

All the usual suspects were there - no surprise.

The Dad rode - but that's not too unusual. It may have even been his second ride that day.

I caught up with The Pastor - always a highlight.

Day one - 2009 - in the books.