Monday, December 29, 2008

Coffee to go - part two


A while back, I did a write-up on a coffee mug I was using for commuting. A year later, I am on my second mug.

The first one broke because I never did get around to making it fit tighter in the bottle cage. I was coming down a hill and hit a rather bumpy area. The original bottle bounced around and popped out of the cage. The stainless steel part was intact, but the plastic lid was in pieces.

If fixed that problem. Version 2.0 is fixed up with an old bicycle tube and electrical tape. Surprisingly, all the mug needed was the little bit of thickness under the rubber grip. I added the tube down the sides so that the rattle would not drive me bonkers.

So far, this setup has held up very well. I have used it every day since the weather has turned cold without a problem.

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A belated David Babcock update

back in July, David Babcock was shot and killed in Toledo. He was a first-time bicycle commuter. This case really bothered me because I used to ride the area he was killed. It's been almost ten years since I have moved from Toledo, but I still recognize the area as if I had never left.

I would even ride the area at the same time as him. To imagine someone killing another person for no real reason is mind boggling. The story was that Dounche Jones was attempting to rob Babcock, but he resisted. So Jones shot him in the face. Nothing was stolen.

Jones was caught because he was overheard bragging about the murder to his friends. Two separate people heard this and went to the police. There is plenty of hope for people doing the right thing.

During a three-day trial at the start of the month, these two gentlemen and seventeen other witnesses presented their case to a jury in Toledo. It took two hours for the jury to return a guilty verdict. Having served on a few juries, the case has to be pretty open and shut to return a verdict in two hours.

A few days later, 20-year-old Dounche Jones was sentenced to life in prison with a chance of parole after 18 years.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

SmartLock

I found an interesting lock while playing around on the internet this morning.

SmartLock is a cable lock that has cores of compressed air and liquid running through its body. If cut, the liquids spray out over the perpetrator, his tools, the bike and the scene of the crime. A bike that has been stolen will be covered in coloured dye (the dye renders the bike undesirable and therefore unsellable) as well as transluscent Smartwater - an invisible forensic property marking liquid.
I like the idea. You can see a video of it in action here.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Why my kids are awesome...

Today I had to head to Kroger to get a gallon of milk and some other stuff for dinner. I told my wife that I was going to take my bike. Both kids (Garek is too small to know what is going on) came flying out of the living room. Lindsay stared jumping around because she was so excited to go for a bike ride. Emily immediately grabbed her coat and shoes.

All this for a half-mile ride to the store. My kids are awesome.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Whodunnit?

A while back, the moon walking bear was all over the internet. It made a great point about missing the obvious. The folks that brought us that have brought us another installment.



I wonder if more people would pass this test if hi-vis yellow and Planet Bike's Superflashes were used.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

One ba-jillion words for snow

I once heard that the Eskimos have something like a ba-jillion different words for snow. If you look around on the internet, you will find that "wa-ter" is the Eskimo word for melted snow.

Today I rode through what the Eskimos call feelslikeyouarebeinghitwithfrozenmarbleslata.

A more detailed cold weather write-up is coming soon.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mea Culpa

Sigh... Yesterday I got all crabby about the impending doom all the news people were forcasting. Then, I wake up this morning to pictures of the massive back-ups on 270 because of the slippery roads.

Should I just apologize for taking the dire warnings lightly, or should I complain that where there are constand warnings about the weather, people begin to take them lightly?

From the Columbus Dispatch

A light coating of snow combined with freezing temperatures to turn freeway bridges throughout Franklin County into sheets of ice last night, causing crashes everywhere.

There was a chain-reaction crash on a bridge in the eastbound lanes of I-270 north, about a quarter-mile west of I-71. About 20 vehicles were scattered over the highway in pinball fashion, as one after another hit ice and spun out, hitting other vehicles.

"It was ice and I just could not stop," said Pat Shirp, whose SUV rammed the back of a car driven by Aaron Hurney, who slowed when he saw the crash.

A second set of cars crashed less than a half-mile away, on the Outerbelt at I-71.

Southbound Rt. 315 had multiple crashes, including one south of Kinnear Road, one at Ackerman Road and another at the Riverside Methodist Hospital curve. And westbound I-670 near Downtown was covered with wrecked cars.

There were no serious injuries reported.

Mary Carran Webster, Columbus' assistant director of public service, said city salt crews went out about 10 p.m., though she said many of the overpasses on Rt. 315 had been treated with brine earlier in the afternoon. The Ohio Department of Transportation is responsible for salting most of the freeways in central Ohio.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

White Death

I woke up around 3:00 this morning. There was a light dusting of snow outside. I did not even think about it. After all, the weather people have been calling for snow for a few days now. This little bit of snow wasn't really any cause for concern. After falling back asleep, the alarm clock went off around 6:00.

At 6:00, there was maybe 1/32 of an inch of snow on the ground. I did not think much of it until I turned on the television. Oh boy, it was only then I realized the peril we were all facing. Slippery roads, low visibility... Please leave early to make sure you don't die on your way to work.

Despite the warnings of certain death, I still go on the bike this morning. I rode in the weather that causes normal people to hoard bread and eggs. It was cold. There was a short period where the snow fell pretty heavily. I escaped unscathed.

The best part? Riding over the Route 70 overpass and seeing traffic backed up. I know that when traffic is backed up at the Wilson Road overpass, I am actually making it to school faster than I would if I were driving.

All this over a light dusting of snow...

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Riding a penny farthing around the world

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to ride an authentic penny farthing bicycle. It was an embarrassing train wreck from start to finish. Getting on and off the bike was a mess. Bouncing around on solid rubber tires was painful. A quick trip around the parking lot was more than enough for me.

One of my favorite trip journals has been Joff Summerfield's journal detailing his trip around the world on a penny farthing bicycle. Give yourself plenty of time to read this. It is very much worth the time it will take.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

David Babcock update

From the Toledo Blade

South Toledo man accused of murder to stand trial

A Lucas County common pleas judge yesterday found that a South Toledo man accused of killing a man bicycling to work is competent to stand trial.

Dounche Jones, 19, of 235 Western Ave. is charged with two counts of murder. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.
Just days before his scheduled Oct. 20 trial date, his attorney asked for a new trial date so that Jones could be evaluated for competency. Judge James Jensen ordered the evaluation and set a Dec. 1 trial date.

Jones is accused of fatally shooting David Babcock, 46, in the 800 block of Western as the longtime employee of Fresh Products Inc. was riding his bike to work about 5:45 a.m.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Are you still riding?

The e-mail came a few days ago. It was simple. It only said, "Are you still riding?"

The answer is yes. I'm still on the bike whenever I get the chance. This past month has been nuts. There have been several things that have come up that took up most of my time.  First, there was a brief hospital stay.  After that, my son got very ill.  Finally, major issues at school were occupying almost all of my free time.  That's my past month in a nut shell.  


But I have been riding.  I'll tell you what, commuting in November is very different from commuting in the summer.  Ohio weather is predictably unpredictable.  Here are the temperatures for a recent ride...

My house when I leave at 6:45 am:  32 degrees F
School when I arrive at 7:30 am:  38 degrees F
School when I leave at 4:00 pm:  60 degrees F 

I pretty much need three different outfits for one day's commute.  This is the fun time of the year to be on a bike.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Update on David Babcock

From the Toledo Blade:


Competency evaluation delays man's trial in bicyclist's slaying

The trial for a 19-year-old South Toledoan accused of killing a man as he bicycled to work was pushed back in Lucas County Common Pleas Court yesterday so that the defendant could be evaluated for competency.

Dounche Jones of 235 Western Ave. is charged with two counts of murder. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.

Yesterday, Judge James Jensen granted defense attorney Paul Geller's request to continue the trial set for Monday and referred Jones to the Court Diagnostic and Treatment Center for an evaluation.

Judge Jensen set a Nov. 12 competency hearing.

Judge Jensen had denied an earlier request by assistant prosecutors to continue with the trial date because the names of witnesses that had been kept secret for fear of retaliation had been released earlier in the week. Judge Jensen warned that any intimidation of witnesses would not be tolerated.

Jones is accused of fatally shooting David Babcock, 46, in the 800 block of Western.

Mr. Babcock, a longtime employee of Fresh Products Inc., was riding his bike about 5:45 a.m. to save on gas and make sure he arrived at work on time.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Words of encouragement

Today's commute was wet. Very wet. Total downpour type of wet. I was riding down Trabue and a truck pulled up next to me and said ...

"You're f---ing crazy!"

Then, through my rain soaked glasses, I saw a thumbs up coming from the window.

My day started of great because of this guy.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Political ads

Things like this generally run through blogs like wildfire. For once, I want in on the ground floor.




I guess if your solution is not, "Drill baby, drill," you are a kook.

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Training drivers

A while back, Yehuda Moon mentioned that drivers are trained to deal with a bicycle commuter. You know, the idea that the motorists are used to seeing a bike, so they give you a little more respect?

I generally take the same route at about the same time every day. I think I may have trained the drivers on my commute.

Exhibit One:
I ride past the Mars Pet Care plant each day. I am guessing that they start a shift at 7:00 because of the number of cars heading into the parking lot. Until recently, that was a frightening part of my trip. Cars would zoom past me just to hit the brakes and make a quick right into the parking lot. Now, they give me the space I need to be safe.

Exhibit Two:
There are two weird parts of my commute where I have to get into the left lane for a turn. For some reason, traffic is always heavy when I have to switch lanes. It used to be that I would wait for a tiny opening and force myself in it. Now, cars are starting to slow down and letting me in.

Exhibit Three:
This is my favorite example. There are three people I see on my commute every day. There is the older guy who is walking and smoking a cigarette. I love his, "Keep it up," everyday. The second guy is always at the bus stop drinking coffee. Everyday, he raises his cup of coffee to me. Finally, and probably my favorite, is the lady who is walking down Treemont everyday. She always smiles and says good morning. After the recent windstorm, I did not see her for more than a week. I was a bit worried about her. Then, when I saw her again this week, she told me that she missed me.

I do not know if they just respect me or if they are just used to seeing me. Either way, I like it.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Update - 300 miles in 30 days

Early last month, I wrote about the 300 miles in 30 days challenge. I planned on riding 300 miles during the month of September. Then, I thought about it. My commute to school is about 25 miles each day. If I commute four days a week, I have 100 miles under my belt. Three-hundred miles would be a piece of cake.

Not so fast...

The first two weeks started of just fine. In fact, by the end of the second week, I had about 185 miles under my belt. Then, Columbus got hit by a hurricane. I was off from school for three days. I did a little bit of riding around, but nothing near the ten miles a day required to hit 300 miles. I rode to school one day that week.

By the end of the third week, I had about 225 miles. Still, I wasn't worried. I had more than a week of riding to get to the magic 300 number. Then, I put a nasty gash in my foot while playing around in my garden. I rode one day that week. End of week three... 250 miles.

I rode to school the last two days of September and edged myself over the 300 mile mark. I think I ended up with 307 miles for the month.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A much needed update

It's been a while. Well, there are a couple of reasons...

First, I was off the bike almost all of last week. I wasn't very careful with a hoe last weekend and cut my foot pretty good. It's a dumb story with dumber actions, so I won't go into gory details.

Second, school has been kicking my ass. I am not sure how many of you are parents. If you are a parent, please rest assured that your child's teachers have much better things to do with their time than make up stories just to get your precious child in trouble. Chances are, your kid is lying, not the teacher.

Third, my overly hopped homebrew IPA tasted pretty good. I have a personal rule about staying off the internets when I have been drinking. I had a bad experience once with eBay and a credit card.

So there you have it. Three lame excuses as to why I have not written.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stay at home week

The latest attempt to save gas is coming from ABC. Conserve gas by staying at home during the week of the 21st. In a very altruistic move, ABC has decided to help our pocketbooks and the environment at the same time.
Thanks ABC. Only two-thirds of Americans are overweight. With your help, we can get that to 100 percent.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

When did it become us vs. them?

While searching Google News for something interesting to read, I came across an article from Fort Collins, Colorado. They have installed bike friendly sensors at their stop lights. My first thought was to post a "we need this in Columbus" type of post. After all, I can wait to turn left at the light at Kenny and Treemont every day. I'll admit it, I typically run that red light because it does not know I am there.

When I read the article, I was not expecting the negative comments. I expect them whenever a bicyclist complains about drivers. "We'll respect bikes as soon as the follow the rules of the road." Yeah, we have all heard it. There is nothing new there. I expect the negative comments whenever a cyclist is injured (or killed) by a car. "Roads are for cars. Take your toys on the sidewalk."

Cyclists respond in the familiar way. We say, "Laws are on our side," or "You can easily kill us with a single mistake." This argument is played out whenever the word "bicycle" finds its way into any article.

It's the same argument over and over. I grew tired of it a while back and excused myself from all discussions. To be frank, I have no idea why the negative comments in the article caught me off guard.

Why does it have to be this way?

Last weekend I was stopped at a stoplight in a small town. A guy in a pick-up truck pulled up next to me and said, "Pedal your ass right out of town city boy."

A few weeks ago, a guy in a dump truck told me, "I could run you over and never notice."

What encourages people make comments like that to a complete stranger?

A while back, I was passed with inches to spare. Then, the same driver stopped for a group of geese in the road. The driver waited until all geese were out of the road before passing.

Why do geese get more courtesy than a human being?

Why does it have to be us vs. them?

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Yesterday's windstorm (with Xtracycle pictures)

I have ridden my bike in countless thunderstorms, in a blizzard, and now, in hurricane force winds. I was lucky. Nothing bad happened to me other than a mess of tree limbs and leaves in my back yard. We only lost power for a few minutes.

Here are some pictures of yesterday's storm.

This is the fountain in the neighborhood pond. Usually it sprays about ten feet straight up. Not yesterday. It sprayed about ten feet to the side.


















This is one of countless trees that were snapped.


















A street sign was also destroyed.


















Another tree cut down by the wind.


















My neighbor's tree and playset.


















What is one to do after a storm like that? Go out and help the people who need it. The Xtracycle was the perfect tool for helping neighbors. The yard sweeper (I took off the bag because it was like a sail!) fit perfectly on the wide loader. The snapdeck was the perfect place for a rake. The other freeloader held the sweeper's bag, a small saw and yard waste bags.


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Sunday, September 14, 2008

OHM's portable charger


I have been seeing OHM's newest charger on a few gadget websites. The idea behind this is that you put some rare earth magnets on your rear rim and a dynamo under your seat. Viola! Instant power for your iPod, cell phone or whatever rechargeable device you have.

It's a great idea, but I have some serious doubts about how well it work. I'm no engineer, so I could be way off base here. I'm sure someone will correct me if I am.

I currently have a pair of Reelights. I love the lights, but they were kind of a pain to install. Here's why... the lights needed to be really close to the magnets for them to work. Try holding rare earth magnets a few millimeters away from something and you will understand what was so hard. (The hint is to screw the lights on to the bracket until they are almost tight, then align the lights and magnets.)

If the light and the magnet were about a half inch apart, there would be no light. There just was not enough power created to light two LEDs.

Now imagine your read rim and your seat. I think they are a bit more than a half-inch apart. If the power to light two LEDs is not enough at a half-inch, do you really think an iPod could be charged with a gap of a couple of inches?

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Stolen bike story from Hubbub

I often wish I lived in Cleveland just so Hubbub could be my local bike shop. Diane and Brian are amazing people who know bikes. Here's one more thing that makes them amazing...

Here is a true story that still blows my mind...

Brian and I were on our way home last night (September 12th), just about ready to take the left turn onto our street. I'm driving - Brian suddenly says "follow that bike"! I'm thinking WTF???? But I know better than to assume he's nuts and pull back out into traffic, following a small turquoise bike being ridden by a medium-large African American man.
You can read the rest of the story here.

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Obama/Palin is your new bicycle

This was sent to me from a good friend. He agrees that it is fun, but kind of silly. I'm sure someone out there knows what this is about. For maximum enjoyment, refresh the screen for a new comment.

For my Democratic friends...

Barack Obama is your new bicycle

For my Republican friends...

Sarah Palin is your new bicycle

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Friday, September 5, 2008

From the useless stats department...

I like to use Bike Journal to keep track of my biking miles. At the start of the year, the miles were a rough estimate. This spring, I won a GPS off eBay and the miles got much more precise. Although I still loathe the speed function, I have grown addicted to the estimated time of arrival function.

Earlier this year, I was in the top 1000 on Bike Journal. It lasted until mid-February. I know that I have no chance in getting back into the top 1000. (Right now #1000 has ridden 1333 miles more than me.) But it is my goal to get back into the top 2000. Slowly, I am getting there. Today, for a few hours at least, I slid under 2100. I don't know why I care. It is just a fun way to keep myself motivated.

Speaking of ways to keep myself motivated, I have currently ridden 80 miles five days into the 300 miles in 30 day challenge.

While we are talking numbers, how about these:

Money not spent on gas: $346.50
CO2 not released into the atmosphere: 1960.29 pounds

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

300 miles in 30 days

I saw that Zach's Bicycle Commuting Blog mentions Map My Ride's 300 miles in 30 days challenge. I'm game. 300 miles in September. It will be done.

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Monday, September 1, 2008

More on lights

Earlier today, I had to refill a propane tank. So, of course, I took the Xtracycle. After grilling a nice meal of kabobs, I decided to take the kids to the park. So, of course, I hooked up the bike train. After riding around for a while, it was time to bring the kids in and get them ready for bed. After reading Knuffle Bunny, I had to head back outside to put away the bikes. I was looking at the bikes lined up on my driveway and had the brilliant thought... Let's take a picture of all of the lights.

So here are the bikes...On the far left is the Trek with the trail-a-bike attached. The Trek has a Superflash on the seatpost and rear rack. The trail-a-bike has a Superflash on the chainstay.

In the middle is the bike trailer. I have the generic Performance Bike Flashpoints on that. Inbetween the Flashpoints is my helmet. I have Blackburn's Mars 3.0 attached to the back.

Finally is the Xtracycle. There are two Superflashes on the back of that.

Here is the picture....
(You know, I took drafting in high school. The only thing I remember from that class is that lines pointing at things should not cross. I'm glad I am not an architect right now.)

So I have the lights... Let's kick on the flash and see what we get. The piles of reflective tape really show up under the flash. Take a look...

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Friday, August 29, 2008

All hail the Superflash


There probably only a few commuters who have not heard of Planet Bike's Superflash. This is one amazing light. I have had mine since last spring and cannot imagine riding without them. I ride with one on my seatpost and another on my rear rack.

At night, this light will light up the neighborhood. I cannot tell you how many times I have been stopped at a stoplight and car will pull up to me to say I look like a police car.

At night it is easy. Bright lights are obvious. The real test came this week. Wednesday brought us the remnants of hurricane Faye. A pretty good rain was pouring down on me. It was overcast and gray. You probably know the creepy not quite light, not quite dark scenario. I have no scientific evidence to back this up, but I think this is when I am least visible.

At a stoplight, a driver commented on how visible I was. She told me, "I could see you as soon as I pulled out of Panera." I figured that was somewhere between a half mile to three-quarters of a mile.

Another driver asked me about the lights because he also rode. He said he had never seen anything like it.

This morning was another test. The two days of rain left Columbus with a heavy fog. When I got to school, my neighbor emailed me. He wanted to let me know that my bike was more visible than all other cars on the road.

If the brightness on this light is not enough to convince you to get one, keep this in mind... Planet Bike donates 25% of its profits to bicycling advocacy. That's not enough? How about free shipping on all replacement parts? Still not enough? How about free shipping if you are a member of any bicycling advocacy group? Planet Bike doesn't just have a great product, they also have a great company.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dhani Jones... Bike Commuter

I feel a little dirty posting this. Dhani Jones is a Cincinnati Bengal after all. I guess I can be the bigger person here and put cycling over a rivalry.

From Bicycling magazine: The Cincinnati Bengals linebacker rides to work on a fixie and spent three weeks getting eco-tutored by Al Gore--but wishes he had more time for the group ride.


P.S. Go Browns!

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

100 KM; The Metric Century

I am always amazing when I find people who think what I write is interesting enough to link to. My profile says that I am just some guy on a bike. I really believe that. There are many others out there who are doing much more than me to promote bicycling. I just get out and ride and try to set a good example.

I received an email from a friend letting me know that 100 KM; the Metric Century listed me in their 50 States - 100 Bike Blogs post.

Now, I just hope that Ohio was not one of the states that he found difficult to find two good blogs.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Back to school

The past couple of weeks have been a mix of vacation and getting reading for the new school year.  In the downtime, I have been writing a little bit, but I keep finding myself side tracked after a while.  That happens when there is a bunch of stuff to do.


Bike Commuters has a great post about getting off your duff and walking/biking to school.  These types of plea often result in someone saying that children can walk/bike to school because of a busy road.  When I was in middle school, I rode a bus because the only way to get to school was to go down a state route.  

As most middle schoolers do, I ended up getting a detention.  I think it was for throwing paper in the classroom, but that really is not that important.  When I was dismissed from the detention, I grabbed my stuff and began to walk out the door.  Ms. G., the teacher, stopped me and asked me where I was going.  I told her that my dad was making me walk home as a punishment.  Ms. G. was shocked that someone could be so mean as to make a middle school kid walk home. Ms. G. got on the telephone with my dad and said told him to pick me up.  She told him how dangerous it was to have me walking.  

My dad lost the debate with Ms. G.  He would have to pick me up.  I was conflicted.  I was getting out of having to walk home, but my dad was the master of creative punishments.  

When my dad showed up, I opened the door to hop in his truck.  He looked at me and asked, "What are you doing?"  I stared for a second.  He continued, "You punishment is that you have to walk home, get walking."  He turned to Ms. G. and promised to keep me safe.  

I walked the  four miles to my house that day.  My dad drove behind me the entire way.  

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

$600

What could I buy for almost $600? I could buy a a Jamis Coda Sport. I have been saving for the Jamis Aurora, but I would settle for the Sport to get through the winter.

What did I buy for almost $600? An oil change, new brakes and calipers, and a tie-rod for my car.

Yippie...

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Sixth of August

frank has a wonderfully written blog which you can visit over here. and do send him a box of chocolates. he likes those.

Seriously. His latest post about the Sixth of August is something I really enjoyed. I forget how I found Behind Hidden Doors, but I do remember that this was the first post there I read. It's not always the happiest stuff, but it always well written and makes you think.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Murdered cyclist update

I was away on vacation for a while. Some of you may have already seen this. This is from the Toledo Blade on August 7.

A 19-year-old South Toledo man accused of killing a bicyclist riding to work last month will have a Sept. 22 trial date.

Dounche Jones of 235 Western Ave. pleaded not guilty in Lucas County Common Pleas Court yesterday to two alternate counts of murder. He faces up to life in prison.

He is accused of shooting David Babcock, 46, of 908 Kingston Ave. in the 800 block of Western. Mr. Babcock, an employee of Fresh Products Inc., was riding his bike to work at about 5:45 a.m. when he was killed.

Members of both Mr. Babcock’s and Mr. Jones’ families were in court. Mr. Babcock’s fiancĂ©e, Renee Long, has said that July 15 — the day of his death — was the first day he took his bicycle to work to save gas. He left early to ensure he would be on time.

Mr. Jones is in the Lucas County jail in lieu of a $500,000 bond set by Judge James Jensen.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Junk Raft

I found the Junk Raft website about a week or two ago in the Discover Magazine blog. It's taken me a while to read the entire thing, but I found it to be both fascinating and disgusting at the same time.

In order to raise awareness of the problem of plastics in the ocean, they are sailing to Hawaii on a raft made of junk plastic.

Probably the most disturbing thing I saw was this picture:

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Night riding

If you have read this blog for a while, you already know that I love riding in the dark.  (If you have not been reading, I also love riding in the snow and the rain.)  Last night was another one of the great rides.  It's not a major ride.  It's only about 13 miles.  I can easily go out and be home in less than an hour.  I love this ride because it takes me to an area that makes me forget that I live so close to a major city.

I am riding down a road with very little car traffic.  It's pretty safe to turn off my lights and enjoy the darkness.  It takes a few seconds, but my eyes adjust.  The glow from Columbus is enough to help me see.  To the left and to the right are corn fields.  The corn is easily eight or nine feet tall.  In the darkness, I feel like it is a corn tunnel.  Fire flies are flashing all over the place.

It's pretty dark, but the sun has not completely set.  There is still an orange glow to the west.  I pulled off the road and sat on the edge of one of the corn fields.  I watched the orange turn more orange and darker until it became completely dark.

Now that the sun has set, it is time to head home.  I'm only two miles from home, but I am still far from everything.  I still don't turn on my lights.  The night does not need to be invaded.  Soon enough I will hear the hear the cars and see the lights, but for now I can enjoy being alone in the dark.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

All aboard the bike train

Lindsay's birthday present of a Trail-a -Bike presented me with a unique problem. There was no way to take Emily along on our trips. A trip to the bike store (complete with disapproving looks from the bike guys) fixed that problem. Viola! The bike train. Here's a picture of it next to my car for size perspective.Here's a picture of it in action. Yeah. This is fun stuff.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

1500 miles

To paraphrase an old joke that generally runs around whenever people celebrate a nice round number....

What's the difference between 1499 miles and 1500 miles? One mile.

Like most people, I like round numbers. I celebrated 1000 miles and I am celebrating 1500 miles. Why don't I celebrate 1364 miles? I did. I celebrate every time I get on the bike.

Yesterday I decided top celebrate by depositing a check in the bank 25 miles from my house. Thanks to Nancy, I had a wonderful route from west Columbus into London, Ohio. She has encouraged me to take this trip more than once. Finally, I did it. She was absolutely right about it being a great trip.

Here's a photo of the Scioto River. If I were to face south on this bridge, you would see the canoe launching area. If I were to ride north a few miles, I would be in one of the many parks in Columbus. We are truly blessed to have such a wonderful park system in Columbus. I could not have picked a better day to ride. Really. Take a look at the sky. The only bad thing about the weather was that my knees got sunburned. I don't know what is wrong with my body, but two areas get sunburned no matter what I do. The first is my knees. Not really my entire knee. I only get sunburned on the top half of my kneecap. It's weird but it is something happens while biking. The other place that gets sunburned is my bottom lip. This has happened as long as I can remember. I try to stop it, but nothing seems to work.
Now, one of my favorite things about biking is that it takes you to places most people do not see. This is what I consider to be the backbone of America. To the left of the picture was a tractor unloading something into the silos. To the right was a tractor trailer taking something away. Finally, after about 50 miles, I decided some beer would be good. A six-pack of Hoegaarden and a couple of 99 cent LaBatt Blues would be good.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Weird Concidence (Not cycling at all)

I turned on ESPN this morning and watched the brawl at the Dayton Dragons game. There's no sound, but watch after the manager gets ejected. You will see the pitcher fire a fastball into the crowd. (He was aiming for the dugout, but missed.) The spectator was sent to the hospital and the pitcher is now in jail.




Then, I open the Columbus Dispatch and read a letter to the editor. (All emphasis is mine.)

Some of my happiest moments were during the World War II years, going to the Sunday double-headers at Red Bird Stadium. Once a year, we were allowed on that beautiful diamond to play an opponent on "Upper Arlington Night." What a great time!

Now I read about a brawl in the stands at a soccer game in Columbus. That's what you get when you import a Third World sport. Go out to the ballpark. You're safe there.

TOM NEAL
Boulder City, Nev.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Toledo murder update

It seems that the Toledo Police Department can find a murderer. According to the Toledo Blade, Dounche Jones was arrested early this morning for the July 15 murder of first time bicycle commuter David Babcock.

Click here to read the full story.

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What's that on my car?

What's that on my car? Dust! The thing has sat around for so long, it was covered in a thin layer of dust.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Murdered Toledo cyclist's case on America's Most Wanted

Last week, David Babcock was murdered while riding his bike to work. Deep in my heart, this feels like one of those cases that will never be solved. Even so, America's Most Wanted has featured this case on their website.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cartoons

This is what happens when I get lazy. Cartoons with no comments from me. I'll let someone else do the work for me.


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Friday, July 18, 2008

Riding past an accident

I went to a ball game tonight. On my way home, there was an accident. I asked a couple of the people standing around about what happened. I was told that a truck rear-ended a bus. I rode past without thinking twice about it.

Then, I get home and read that two people were killed and nine were injured.

Please, if you are in a car, pay attention to what is happening around you.

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The go by bike challenge

Trek's go by bike challenge is popping up everywhere. It probably because you can win a free Trek 7.2 FX Hybrid bike. Here's a sample.



It's very similar to the Two Mile Challenge that provoked me to start this entire thing. I'll be honest. I began because I really enjoyed being on a bike. It's the short distances that made me want to go farther and father. The two mile challenge has become the four or five mile challenge for me.

Since this seems to fit in with the post...

Money not spent on gas: $282.60
CO2 not released into atmosphere: 1,416.69 pounds

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

New Route to School

I have been playing around with a few different routes to school lately. I think I will stick with this one. It's only about a mile and a half longer that the one I was taking and it skips past all of the scary parts of my current route.



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Bicycle Jigsaw Puzzle

Just for fun... A bicycle jigsaw puzzle. Click on the picture to complete it.

Click to Mix and Solve

Enjoy!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Commuter shot and killed in Toledo

Around 5:40 this morning, someone shot and killed David Babcock. Why? No one really knows yet. Here's the story from the Toledo Blade. It's much better than the Dispatch's article.

Be careful out there.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

A.T.'s Tree

My trip to school takes me past three golf courses. Here's a view of one of them. This is a private golf course that I assume costs a lot of money to be a member.

I find it odd that this golf course almost never has anyone playing on it. You can be sure if I spent a whole bunch of money on anything, I would use it as much as possible. I look at it and it is simply beautiful. Even so, I take the opinion of Bill Foster in Falling Down.

It's not enough you have all these beautiful acres fenced in for your little game, but you gotta kill me with a golf ball? You should have children playing here, you should have families having picnics, you should have a goddamn petting zoo. But instead you've got these stupid electric carts for you old men with nothing better to do.


As I ride by, I see this stump. The tree continues to try to live, so the initials are almost completely disguised. I don't know the story behind these two letters, so I made up my own.

I imagine that A.T. is some guy who hates his job. After his boss told him to cut down the tree, A.T. decided to carve his initals into the stump. It was a small act of defiance, but it made A.T. feel pretty good. Now, as he drives past the gold course, he can always say that he left his mark.

That is one one the great things about being on the bike; there is plenty of time to think.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Bike tattoos

This is probably old hat by now, but I thought I would share the awesomeness of bike tattoos.

See them here.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Today's column by Ann Fisher

For those of you who are not from Columbus, Ann writes a column for the Dispatch. Generally, I like her writing. Maybe sometime, I will give her a call and buy her a beer.

Today's column was about how people just do not know the laws regarding cycling. Should bikes be on the sidewalk? Can cyclists pass cars stopped at a red light? Do cyclists have to ride on the shoulder? It was pretty interesting because average Joe does not know the answers.

Then we read along a little further and find Upper Arlington Police Officer Heather Galli's thoughts. "Some bicyclists don't follow all the rules, but they want special treatment," she says.

Why do people use bicyclists who break the law as an example as to why cyclists need to be trained or taken off the road? Cyclists want special treatment? Nope, we just don't want to be road kill. That's all. Let me live long enough to see my children grow up. That's pretty special treatment.

How about the website that sells these windshield stickers: They are breaking the law, and wanting people to move out of their way. That's special treatment. But that is different, right? It's a car breaking the law. In that case, it is just fine.

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Panasonic Regenerative Electric Bicycle

I have never tried a bike with an electronic assist. So far, I have not run out of gears on a bike. Nonetheless, it is an interesting idea. Read more here.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Latest load on the Xtracycle

Sorry that I have not updated in a while. I spent the Fourth away from technology.

Last Thursday, some guy stopped his car to ask me about the Xtracycle. As we were talking, he told me that recognized the bike. Of course, he thought I was Jamie from Bike Commuting in Columbus.

Here is the load I carried. Three things made the trip home great. First, the car seat made people think there was a kid on the back of the bike, so I had plenty of space on the road. The second was the the car seat acted like a sail in the tail wind.

The last great part of this trip was that I ran into the Safelite guy who repaired my wife's windshield earlier that week. While he waited for the epoxy to cure, we talked bikes. As he drove past, I saw a big thumbs up. It made that last stretch home a little bit easier.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

This post has nothing to do with cycling

I just have to complain. Sorry to those of you who are expecting something bike related. I'll do that with my next post.

I received this email about The University of Toledo vs. Ohio State University football game in 2009.

Tickets will only be available to UT Season ticket holders and/or athletic/Rocket Fund contributors.

73,200 seats and not a single one available to the average fan. Thanks UT. Thanks for screwing average Joe. I have gone to at least two games a year for the past five years. I cannot make the commitment of season tickets. I cannot afford to donate money to the athletic/Rocket fund.

Thanks UT. It's not about the fans, is it? It's about how much money you can make.

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Cars to be afraid of

Yes, I know I am stereotyping. I am sure that there are one or two people in the world who do not fit these statements. To you, I apologize.

In general, I have found that the scary drivers typical have a few things in common. Unfortunately, most of them are bumper stickers, so you don't know until it is too late.

The first one is the classic Calvin peeing on something.

What better way to show your thoughts than taking a cartoon character who embodies the innocence of youth and make him take a wizz on something? I've seen Calvin peeing on Chevy logos, Ford logos, Toyota logos, and Honda logos. I guess Calvin hates all cars.

The girl peeing Calvin stickers are even more creepy.

EDIT: Thanks to Jason, I now have a link to various Calvin peeing on things pictures.

I laughed out loud when I saw Calvin peeing on the words, "copyright infringement."

The next type of car to be afraid of is the pick-up truck with the Confederate flag.


Usually, the bigger the flag, the bigger the jerk. A small sticker is nothing compared to the people who plaster this on the back window of the pick-up truck.

I realize that this might be different in the south, but I'm not sure how Ohio fits into the confederacy.

The new car that I am afraid of is the Kia Amante.

The people who drive these cars want to look like they have a lot of money, but they don't. I'm not sure what it is, but the mount of run-ins has landed them of the list of cars I am afraid of.

You might have thought I was above picking the low-hanging fruit of Hummers. Nope, they are jerks too. Here is a mildly NSFW video from fuh2.com (also NSFW).

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Mass Transit is a Liberal plot to control you

I think this is my official indoctrination as a member of the "drive-by media." I'm probably giving myself too much credit, but here we go anyway....

And why do they want you using mass transit? Well, they say it's because it's less damaging to the environment. And they say it's more efficient. What it does is put you under the control of city transit plans: where you go, how you get there, when you go. Liberalism is about control. It is also about relishing the loss of liberty.
There you have it. Comedian Rush Limbaugh feels that mass transit is simply a Liberal plot to take away your rights.

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Good drivers

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

I spend a great deal of time writing and thinking about the bad drivers. You know the ones... they blow through the stop sign at Walgreen's and almost hit you you despite three lights on the front of the bike. I'm not going to talk about that idiot today. Today I am going to be positive. Here is a list of some of the good drivers in Columbus.

Probably the nicest drivers I have come across has been the fleet of Majestic Drywall trucks. Their shop is on my commute to school, so I am passed by three or four trucks each morning. I have never had a problem with any of them. I'm not sure if they are so nice because my neighbor works there, or they are genuinely nice. Personally, I don't care why they are nice to me. It's just nice that they are.

Team Fishel has another set of good drivers. They do something in construction also. I'm not exactly sure what, but judging by the size of their trucks, it is something big.

Although I can point a finger at these drivers, there are an overwhelming majority of drivers who will share the road without any hesitation. Just today, a guy in a green Ford Explorer passed me. Then, he pulled off the road. I got a good look at him because I was stopped at a stop light. He waited the entire time I was stopped. As I rode past, he shouted out that I was dragging straps off the back of the Xtracycle.

A few weeks ago, I stopped for a break while I was on a trip. I found a nice shady spot and pulled off the road. Some guy in a white car stopped to see if everything was OK.

Before the Xtracycle, I bought too much at the grocery store. I was struggling with getting everything on the rack. Someone came out and helped tie everything down on my rack.

Most people are good people.


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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Lindsay!

Today was Lindsay's fifth birthday. She moved up from the trailer to the Trail-A-Bike. I surprised her by telling her that we were going to the grocery store. You can see her spontaneous reaction to the bike below. This got a better reaction than all of the Tinkerbell and Ariel toys.














Here is a picture of us getting ready to go.














And we're off!















And this is my favorite picture of the afternoon. Why? Neither of us knew that picture was being taken. Take a look at Lindsay. That is one huge smile. She is already talking about going out for milkshakes on the rig.


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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cycling and calories - Part two

A while back, I posted about cycling and calories.  It was just a little tongue in cheek piece about how many calories I have burned.  


The Palm Beach Bike Tours blog has a great write-up  about calories and pulling a trailer.  It is an interesting read.  Go take a look.  

As far as my numbers go...

Me at 15 mph:  0.049 *180 is 8.82 calories per minute
Me with the trailer at 15 mph:  0.049*200 is 9.8 calories per minute
Me with Lindsay in the trailer at 15 mph: 0.049*245 is 12 calories per minute
Me with Lindsay and Emily in the trailer at 15 mph: 0.049*270 is 13.23 calories per minute

Of course, none of this really matters as long as I get to have fun with the kids.






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Sunday, June 22, 2008

But, at least... it's not on my bike

I saw this commercial last night while watching the Columbus Destroyers get beat by the Cleveland Gladiators.



So some kid finds a POS car on the side of the road and decides to fix it up. It takes his entire summer and a bunch of money, but heck, it's worth it as long as he does not have to suffer the humiliation of riding a bike, right?

Streetsblog has a much better (and funnier) write-up on this commercial.

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Pedicabs in Columbus

The Dispatch had a good article about pedicabs yesterday. It leaves me with only one question, how do I apply?


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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Rainy Saturday mornings

Sometimes I just feel like writing. Like today. The problem is that nothing has really happened that is writing worthy. That's when Google News comes to the rescue.

I typed in bicycling and sifted through countless articles about bicycle commuting is more popular now because of gas prices. There were also a bunch of articles blasting Obama for looking like a dork while wearing a bicycle helmet. (I don't mean for this blog to get political, but if you are voting based on which candidate does not look like a dork, please stay home in November.)

First up: Man with fake mustache robs surprise bank, flees on bicycle

This was the first thing that popped into my head when I read that.

Then I thought... if only there was some way he could disguise himself and his fake 'stache...
Up next: Crazy two person bicycle


I guess this is supposed to be used as a trust building gizmo. If both people decide to pedal, they will crash. If both decide to steer, they will crash. I am just imagining how much stronger a marriage will be after both people spend the weekend in the emergency room followed by weeks of recovery.

Finally: Cycling: Bad for the economy?

At last, someone is willing to expose the downside of cycling.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Crazy Guy at Kroger


Don't get me wrong. I am used to crazy people yelling things at me. I heard "Get a car!" and various other comments questioning my sexuality in the past week. Usually people yell at me from their car and quickly drive away. Today's crazy guy yelling at me was totally different. He came up to me in person.

"Hey! Hey, hey!"

I looked up from loading my bike. Usually when I hear that tone, someone is about to back into someone. Not this time. Instead, he is coming right at me.

"You," he yells, "on the bike!"

"Aw crap." I think to myself. This guy does not look normal. Still, I hope that he is going to ask me about the Xtracycle (which is carrying Lindsay's fishing pole, the girls' birthday presents, 22 pounds of ice and a 20 pack of Coors Light). Hope as I might, I don't think this is going to be a friendly meeting.

He is next to me now. "America was built on the car. The car is what made America great. You young kids today don't know what it is like to sacrifice." Really? O.K.

"When I was your age, I would have been happy to have a car. No, you have to ride some toy around. What's next? Are you going back to the tricycle?Maybe you want a horse and buggy! Gas may be expensive, but you can afford it. You know what the terrorists want? They want Americans to give up their way of life. If you give up your car, the terrorists have won. But people your age don't really care about that, do you?"

I am wondering why I lock my bike up so securely. If I would have just done the cable lock, I would have been riding off by now. Nope, I had to do the U-Lock and the cable lock.

"All you care about is whether you get something right now."

Don't worry about following his logic. I was there and I had no idea where he was going.

"Once you abandon America, the terrorists have won. We might as well have a 9/11 every day and you wouldn't even notice. It's all about you, isn't it!?"

At this point I started to ride away.

"Get on your bike you drunk! Don't think I don't see all that beer!"

Wow. This was a different type of crazy than I am used to.

-----------

On a totally unrelated note, I found this while searching for the Grandpa Simpson yelling at a cloud. I thought it was funnier than the whole cloud thing, but it did not really fit in with the post.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Columbus, Ohio, Role Model?

I was playing around on the internet and found this from Bike Providence. They are looking at Columbus's Bikeways plan and trying to gain momentum there.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

World Record Bike Parade Attempt

A Father's Day trip back to Lorain County is the perfect front to participate in the World Record Bike Parade attempt in Wellington.

From the kind people at the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure:

Join the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA), a world-class bicycle tour, in celebrating its 20th annual event by attempting to break the Guinness World Record TM for the Largest Parade of Bicycles. On Saturday evening, June 14, 2008, the inaugural event of this year's week-long tour will be the GOBA traditional bicycle parade, held in Wellington, Ohio, in Lorain County. The current world record stands at 1,901 bicycles and was set by Volvic in Taiwan, July 21, 2007.

More information here.
I have been on several GOBAs and have found them to be a wonderful trips. (Well, except for the thunderstorm that blew rain up and under my rain fly. ) I have met the people that put these together and they are incredibly dedicated people. If you are looking for a fun trip in June, this is it.

If you are in the area, look for me. I'll be on the Trek with two kids in the trailer.

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Bike plans get OK

A while back I wrote about Columbus's bike plan. Most great ideas are simply that, great ideas. Sometimes though, those great ideas get put into action. This seems to be one of those. Last night, the Columbus City Council voted to approve the funding for the plan.

Good job Columbus.

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Great Commute Race - Columbus Version

I have read quite a bit lately about a bike beating a car in a commute race.  I have even talked about the time it takes in a car vs. bike on my own route here.  Still, I have been involved with a race with my neighbor during the past month.  


Typically, I will leave for work a few minutes before him.  He'll usually pass me right before I turn on the the bike trail.    We'll meet again once I turn onto the main road.  Nine times out of ten, I will be ahead of him.  I head towards the highway overpass and then turn onto the main road of my commute.  Then I ride for two or three minutes, waiting for the familiar honk.  My neighbor pulls up next to me, honks his horn, give me the "you owe me a beer" sign, then pulls away.  There was always a little comfort in the thought that he just barely beat me the train yard where he works.

Today, with two days of school left, I beat him.  Maybe he'll buy me a beer this weekend.  I'm in the mood for Sam Smith's Oatmeal Stout.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Just awesome

I know I am biased when I say my kids are awesome. That being said, let me tell you a story about my almost five-year-old.

We had some rain here today. After it stopped raining, I took the kids out for a walk/bike ride. Lindsay turned to me said, "Daddy, I need fenders on my bike."

She'll be a commuter.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Good-bye Hummer

I just read this on MotorTrend's website:

In one of its smartest moves in recent years, General Motors is looking to dump Hummer, or "everything from a complete revamp of the product lineup to partial or complete sale of the brand," according to Rick Wagoner. The chairman and CEO also says the new Chevy compact will begin production in Lordstown, Ohio in mid-2010 (not 2009, as reported in my last post and at Automotive News), and that GM will close four big-truck plants. The era of the big truck/SUV clearly is over. And so, too, is the Hummer brand as an albatross, as perhaps the last vestige of Ron Zarrella-era GM malaise.

Read the complete article here.

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Xtracycle propaganda

I had family in last weekend. They saw my car and asked, "Why do you have that sticker?" My reply? "Xtracycle was out of these:"

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Ohio License plate ER58BJ

For those of you in Columbus, be on the lookout for a man driving a silver Jaguar with the license plate ER58BJ. He almost hit me three different times today.  

First time:  Going into the construction on Trabue, he swerved toward the shoulder to avoid a bump in the road.  I went into the dirt and stayed ahead of him.  

Second time:  Still in the construction zone...  There was a gap of about a car length between me and the car in front of me.  Well, of course, he had to sneak in there.  Unfortunately that gap closed quickly and he swerved into me again.  I was still able to stay ahead of him.  

Third time:  We were out of the construction and it was finally safe to pass.  Well, it would have be safe to pass if he was not planning on making a right hand turn.  At this point I seriously debated taking my U-Lock and breaking a window or something.  





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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

You ride a bike for an hour?!?

Well, not really. It's somewhere between 40 and 50 minutes. Usually, it is closer to 50 minutes, but a nice tail wind can give the my coveted 40 minute commute.

Because of a nasty head cold, I drove today. On the way home, I decided to take the same route (excluding the half mile of bike path) I use to commute. I wanted to compare the difference in time between driving and riding. I'm not a scientist. I realize that one trip is not data. Even so, here are the results.

If I leave school at 4:00 on my bike, I get home at 4:45.
If I leave school at 4:00 in my car, I get home at 4:45.

Stop lights, school buses and trains kept everything equal. On a bike, I am not stopped by the buses. They are far enough ahead of me that I can see them, but I never really catch up with them. I can almost count on hearing the train's whistle as I turn into the apartment complex by my house. Traffic is always clearing up as I pop out of the bike trail.

In my car, I am delayed by a bunch of little things. On a bike, I seem to go just slow enough to avoid them.

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Welcome

I probably should have done this last Friday, but better late than never...


Welcome to bicycle commuting Michelle.  It was nice seeing someone else on the road.  I hope you stick with it. 


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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Interesting commute

Today was fun.  It was definitely weird, but fun.  


Part one - I was yelled at and told to get of the road.  That's not strange in itself, but today it was from a guy on a bike.  Really, he wasn't on a bike. He was walking it as far to the left on the shoulder as possible.  In fact, he was stuck at the highway on-ramp waiting for cars to let him cross.  Maybe he was just worried about my safety.  

Part two - At one part of my commute, I have to move from the far right lane into the left turn lane.  This is often tricky in heavy traffic.  Most cars are switching into the left lane so they can pass me.  Today, a dump truck slowed while in the left lane, let me cut in front of him and into the turn lane.  Wow... a little bit of kindness really made my day.

Part three - The weather.  Today was chilly and sticky.  Really.  The weather was in the mid 50s with 85% humidity.  I don't know it it is typical in any other area, but it is weird in Ohio.

Part four - There was a nice tailwind on the final overpass of my commute.  I hit that thing hard and fast.  The downhill is even better.  There must have been a little rain earlier because the road was wet.  Skinny tires, slick roads, high speeds and recently adjusted brakes led to a nice skid.  The old motorcycle training came in handy because my back tire was whipping around, but somehow I stayed upright.  

---

It's been a while, so we go...

Money not spent on gas: $184
CO2 not released into the atmosphere: 910 pounds

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As gas goes up, driving goes down

From CNN:

At a time when gas prices are at an all-time high, Americans have curtailed their driving at a historic rate.

Americans are not driving as much as they did a year ago as gas prices skyrocket.

The Department of Transportation said figures from March show the steepest decrease in driving ever recorded.

Compared with March a year earlier, Americans drove an estimated 4.3 percent less -- that's 11 billion fewer miles, the DOT's Federal Highway Administration said Monday, calling it "the sharpest yearly drop for any month in FHWA history." Records have been kept since 1942.
You can read the rest of the article here.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My personal ride of silence

I love to ride at night. If I had to list the top three conditions to ride in, it would be snow, night, and warm rain. Tonight I decided I needed some ice cream, so a trip to Handel's was on.

(A lighter side note here, Handel's has the best ice cream ever. If there is one remotely close to you, you need to get there.)

I headed out, then decided to take the long route. The silence of the neighborhood made me pause. Earlier today was Columbus's Ride of Silence. I was not able to make it, but I did stop and make my daughters say a little prayer with me as everyone left the statehouse around 7:00.

I rode for about an hour tonight. I thought about the time I was hit by a car. Twelve years ago a car right hooked me. I remember looking her in the eye right before impact. I was knocked off my bike and unconscious for a short period. The worst of my injuries were a separated shoulder and a sprained wrist. The lady that hit me drove off. I was lucky. I could have been seriously injured. Instead, I was only hurt enough to take an evening off work.

I don't know why I keep torturing myself, but I cannot look at any of the ghost bikes without getting emotional. I wonder if these have the same affect on non-cyclists.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bike to Work Week -- part four

Earlier this week, Columbus's mayor Mike Coleman introduced the city's bike plan. I haven't commented yet because I wanted to read all 287 pages. Now that I have read it, I think this is a great project that I am excited to see put into action.

Here are the current bicycling accommodations on my end of Columbus:

If you are trying to figure out where I live, I live just north of Galloway Road.

The streets marked in yellow are the ones that have a wide, paved shoulder. That's it. I'm not sure what is considered a wide shoulder. On Galloway road the shoulder goes from three feet to six inches back to three feet, then back to six inches several times.

This does not mean this area is a dangerous place to be. I feel like I can hold my own on almost any road in the area. There are couple of hairy spots, but they are portions, not an entire trip.

Now I am as selfish as anyone. While I think the plan is a good one, what I really want to know is how will it affect me?

The map below is the proposed improvements. The green dotted lines are proposed paths. The blue dotted lines are where bike lanes are to be added to the road.

I have been joking with people that this plan should be renamed "Rick's personal bike routes." Every road I ride is being improved in some way. Trabue Road, the main road on my commute is getting a path. West Broad, which I use for almost all shopping, is getting bike lanes. The death trap called Hilliard-Rome Road is even getting some bike lanes.

While I joke that this is great for me, it is really great for the west side. These paths are being placed right in the main arteries of this side of town.

Please Columbus, make this happen.

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Bike to Work Week -- part three

Two of my students had the opportunity to meet Lance Armstrong. According to the parent, the conversation went like this:

Lance: "Hi, how are you?"
Student: "Good. My teacher rides his bike to school everyday. Do you know him?"
Lance: "Ummm... no."

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bike to Work Week -- part two

Let me start off by saying that I love my doctor and I trust him completely with my health. Today he gave me the bad news I was expecting. I need to take a short break from bicycling. I aggravated an old injury. I knew it was coming. When I had to hobble up and down the steps yesterday, I knew it was Iliotibial Band Syndrome. That's just big fancy words for, "my knee hurts like hell."

I was told to stay off the bike for two weeks. Ouch. That hurt more than my knee. So I begged and pleaded. I was told to reduce the mileage I ride by 50% during week one and 25% during week two. Then I can go back to normal. If the pain increases, I am supposed to stop right away.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Bike to Work Week -- part one

I woke up late this morning and almost did not ride.  It was windy and raining.  I would have to put the hammer down if I wanted to make it to school today.  I decided to go anyway.  Even though the weather was crap, I was glad I did.  My students notice that when I do not ride, I am in a bad mood.  Here's an honest to goodness conversation I heard in the hall a while back:


"Mr. Logue drove today."
"Awww man, he's going to be in a bad mood...  Everyone be quiet, Mr. Logue drove today."

Today was one of the days that would put anyone in a bad mood.  I can only imagine what it would have been like without the stress buster of riding to work.

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I'm not sure the reason, but I saw three additional commuters today.  I am happy to see you.  I hope you stick with it. 

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Friday, May 9, 2008

Future best bicycling city - Columbus, Ohio

From Bicycling magazine:


Columbus, Ohio
What happens when you cross a citywide fitness initiative, Commit to be Fit, with an environmentally friendly "green pact" signed by the mayor? A sudden interest in bikes. Columbus is working on its first bike master plan since 1993, and every indication is that it's going to be a whopper. Mayor Michael Coleman has already pledged $50 million for bike and pedestrian transportation and has linked the bike plan with the city's 2012 bicentennial by naming it the Bicentennial Bikeways Plan.



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