Tuesday, December 29, 2009

How to Fight Crime With Your Bike



Apparently, the guys on the scooter had just snatched a purse.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another Thing We Thought We Knew

According to this article in the New York Times, cooling down after exercise serves no useful purpose.

The idea of the cool-down seems to have originated with a popular theory — now known to be wrong — that muscles become sore after exercise because they accumulate lactic acid. In fact, lactic acid is a fuel. It’s good to generate lactic acid, it’s a normal part of exercise, and it has nothing to do with muscle soreness. But the lactic acid theory led to the notion that by slowly reducing the intensity of your workout you can give lactic acid a chance to dissipate.

The article goes on to say that it does nothing to relieve muscle soreness or tightness either.

Training Aids

The Onion is reporting that Sports Drinks Face Competition From New Sitting-On-Couch-Watching-TV Drinks.

You have been warned.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Carpenters Park Cyclocross Race

After having to miss the third race of the season (which I heard was another rousing success) I was ready to race Carpentersville. This will be the first time I will have raced in the same race three years in a row and I was hoping the experience would help. I also remembered that Carpentersville was one of my favorite races of the Chicago Cross Cup. Great venue, technical course layout and a variety of obstacles.

I carpooled with Paul again and we got to the park early, around 8:00. It was 33 degrees and there was frost on the grass when we got there. Still, it was sunny and beautiful out. They were still putting the finishing touches on the course as we took the bikes off the car and got ready.

2009 Chicago Cross Cup Race #4

Another thing I like about Carpenters Park is that it is secluded from high traffic roads and it's easy to warm up by riding some easy laps on the road around the park. With the leaves changing on the trees and the morning light, I couldn't resist taking this shot.

2009 Chicago Cross Cup Race #4

Registration opened at 8:30. We got our numbers and prerode the course. It was similar to previous years, but improved in subtle and significant ways. This year the course started on the road in place of the U-turn they had last year (which I didn't like). The hole shot is pretty long and the actual first turns weren't that sharp although it tightened up into some off camber turns. This led to the first barrier with the added bonus of a jump into and out of a sandy dry creek bed. Some more turns and a straightaway leading to the sand. Two years ago, it was a sharp left turn right turn into the sand forcing all but the strongest riders to dismount and run. Last year, there was enough room for me to accelerate and ride through the sand. This year, it was a U-shaped path through the sand. If you wanted to ride it, you were going to have to be strong and maintain your balance and control. During the race, some riders did ride all the way through. I ran it each lap while a number of riders rode part of the way, some intentionally and some not.

2009 Chicago Cross Cup Race #4

Our race started at 9:30. I was in the middle of another pre-ride lap when I checked my watch and saw that it was 9:24 and I had to get moving. I was quite warmed up by now and the sun was out when I lined up at the start. I took off my jacket and felt really warm--too warm, even. I began to reconsider my balaclava (one does these things). Seeing that I was the only one there with my ears covered, but having no time to return to the car for a headband, I made the decision to take it off and go without. This made my helmet slightly loose, but at least I wouldn't spontaneously combust during the race.

And we were off. I hit it hard and, as usual, lost a lot of ground to the stronger riders into the first turn. Several riders took some risks in the first turns, but I stayed up and no one went down around me. I passed a few riders after the barrier with a fast clean remount, but I was still with riders that were eventually going to pass me. Well, there are 43 minutes to go and lots of racing to do.

My first lap into the sand, I had trouble unclipping and lost my balance. Seeing that I was going to fall and there was no way to catch myself, I dropped the bike and jumped over it into a shoulder roll in the sand for a nice soft landing. I got up grabbed the bike and continued around. This turned out to be the only time I fell in the race. I did miss one turn late in the race which may have cost me one place, but otherwise, I raced clean (skillz-wise).

After a straight section and some turns around the trees we come up to a set of triple barriers and more turns through the trees. Then another straight section led into a turn and an off camber climb up the hill and down into a corkscrew. I'm getting better at these, but still have to learn to carry more speed through the turns and trust the bike to maintain traction. Out of the corkscrew, speed up and ride over the hill. After the hill, something new--a series of six humps to ride over.

2009 Chicago Cross Cup Race #4

I'm told that a skilled, practiced BMX rider (three things I am not) can enter this obstacle and, without pedaling, just using balance and weight shifting, can exit faster than entering. I was content not to fall and to carry most of my momentum through it. You'll be happy to learn that I did just that, although it did beat my body up a bit.

Now it's the home stretch with some more straight sections and gentle turns. There was a gully to cross, which one could do slowly at the correct angle. Still, some racers dismounted and carried through. Then it was one last U-turn onto the asphalt and about 100 yards to the finish line.

The laps were long and hard (but fun, I keep telling myself that). By the second lap I had pretty much settled into the bottom quartile. I was in a group of four including Paul and we were trading positions depending on who cleaned an obstacle best or who misjudged a turn or who had the best legs on the straight sections.

At the end of the third lap, I remembered to check to see how many laps we had left. Two. @#$%! I don't have the legs for two more laps. One was going to be hard enough, but two was going to take a loooong time.

Oh well, settle in, get your rhythm back and make sure you take the turns and obstacles cleanly and before you know it the race will be just some great memories.

As I entered the corkscrew I heard someone call out "leaders coming!" This was great news because when they pass me it means that this will be my last lap. With this new information, I started to pedal harder (not that it generated any additional measurable speed). I got passed on the way up the hill and set my sights on trying to catch up and pass Paul and the other two racers. As I entered a turn I saw the race leader fall as he crossed the gully just ahead of Paul. "Get up damnit! I don't have anything left for another lap!" I thought (do you put your thoughts in quotes?). He got up fast and kept his lead. I crossed the gully and passed one of my small target group, but Paul still had me by about 40 feet. I took the U-turn onto the asphalt carefully (remember muddy tires+asphalt+too much speed=fall on a hard surface) and then hit the gas with everything I had left. It was Glencoe all over again, but this time I had a lot of ground to make up. I was hoping that Paul either wasn't expecting me or didn't have a sprint in him, but it didn't matter. I didn't have enough time or distance to pass him. I probably got within 10 feet which is a victory in itself (yeah, yeah, I know).

Result: 36th out of 45 (not counting the two that DNS). I tell myself that this is a good result for me. Heck, I'm nearly the oldest guy in the 40+ group as if that matters at all.

Monday, October 19, 2009

How to Get More Bicyclists on the Road

This month's Scientific American has an article with the above title. I quoted David Byrne several months ago about getting more people to ride and now this article continues the thought.

In the U.S., men’s cycling trips surpass women’s by at least 2:1. This ratio stands in marked contrast to cycling in European countries, where urban biking is a way of life and draws about as many women as men—sometimes more. In the Netherlands, where 27 percent of all trips are made by bike, 55 percent of all riders are women. In Germany 12 percent of all trips are on bikes, 49 percent of which are made by women.
“If you want to know if an urban environment supports cycling, you can forget about all the detailed ‘bikeability indexes’—just measure the proportion of cyclists who are female,” says Jan Garrard, a senior lecturer at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, and author of several studies on biking and gender differences.
An article in their July issue (the abstract is online--full article requires a paid subscription or a visit to your local library) discusses the powerful link between physical activity and mental acuity. Staying fit helps us maintain our cognition as we age.

As if I need more reasons to ride.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cyclocross Results

The results from Jackson Park and DeKalb (Hopkins Cross) are now available on USA Cycling. I came in 49th out of 56 at Jackson and 39th out of 49 in DeKalb. No points, but not last either. So I got that going for me...which is nice.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cycling Safety Video

I played with LEGO a lot when I was a kid. One thing I didn't know was that LEGOman can do a track stand. Caution. This video contains LEGO-on-LEGO violence.



Did you notice the look on his face right before the car hit? I'm not sure if that was fear or FU and if was he one-finger-saluting right before impact.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More Like This Please

New York City built a protected bike lane to solve the problem of how to make biking along the approach to the Manhattan Bridge safer for bicycles. After completion, bike traffic more than triples.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cyclocross

Although I still don't know exactly where I finished Sunday, there is a terrific article in today's Chicago Tribune about cyclocross racing that grabbed my interest.

My favorite quote (from a related article, How cyclocross races work) describes exactly how I feel during the early part of each race:

"I've never started a 'cross race and not felt like I was over my head within the first two minutes," says racer and shop owner Lou Kuhn.

My feelings exactly.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Jackson Park Cyclocross

It was a great day for a race. Mild temperatures and little to no wind was going to make finding excuses difficult. Paul and I arrived at the park just around 8:00, about two hours before our race (40+ Masters). We got the bikes off the car, put the wheels on the bikes, suited and helmeted up and took a few easy laps before registering. Easy, right? This was going to be a beast of a course (aren't they all?) It was very similar to the layout that I remembered from two years ago, but the organizers had added a few tricks. My favorite was using the baseball field to ride from home to second base (approximately). There was also three fence posts laid across a slight uphill spaced about two bikes lengths apart. This was easily ridable, but with low pressure in my clinchers, I thought it would be a pinch flat hazard, so I decided to run it. This also turned out to be faster for me. I guess the running I had been doing the last four weeks has helped.

Two laps, a couple of additional practice runs in the maze and it was time to register. Kudos to the Chicago Cross Cup for adding pre-registration this year which made the process fast and easy.

After some food and a few more laps, I notice that there's about 20 minutes to go before the race. I dismount the bike, feel a pull and hear a noise. I look at my saddle and half of it is pointing upwards. I try to fix it and  get it snapped back on the rail and see the real problem:

Inauspicious Start

It's either going to be a short day or a bad ride. I brought spare tubes, a spare tire, tools and Paul brought a pump. Who thinks to bring a spare saddle? Would the mechanics tent even have one? I headed over to the Get a Grip Cycles tent and asked Mike, who wrenched at my local bike shop for a couple of years. Jeff says: "Take mine, I'm not racing. Looks like it's the same one, too." This is Jeff who saved my day:

Thanks to This Guy (and Mike)!

And damned if it wasn't the same saddle, just a much newer one! Comfortable too! Jeff and Mike take nearly no time to fix me up and I head over the the start. It's a big field and with the trip to the tent and the last minute repair, I'm near the back. Heck, I'm going to wind up there anyway so I might as well start here.

The start was, as usual, fast. We rounded the first turn into a wide grassy section and then we all bunched up rounding the fence leading to the infield. We entered the infield at less than a walking pace so I decided to dismount and run it. This was a good choice, passing a number of racers and getting back on the bike without incident. I did fall on the first lap, back by the water where the shade kept the grass moist and slippery (how did I miss this on the practice laps?) but what would a cross race be without getting some grass and dirt in the shift levers? On a later lap, I would pass a guy who must have brutally missed the entry turn into this section as he was furiously putting one of his shoes back on.

As the race wore on, my body was getting more and more beat up. Some of this was probably muscles that hadn't fully healed after a spectacular endo at Kettle Moraine a few weeks ago which, I'm sure, also didn't like being fallen upon in lap one. I did get into a reasonable rhythm as the race wore on. I wound up running the fence posts each lap to save my tubes and make up time. I also decided to ride the dirt infield after running it the second lap. I figured it was better to ride it and save energy rather than try to make up some time running it and tiring myself out. The rest of my skills seemed pretty good to me. I did make one poor remount, missing the sweet spot of the saddle by about 3 inches aft, but, luckily, no major damage done.

I finished. Tired, beaten up and happy to get the first cross race of the season under my belt. We did hang around about 45 minutes after the race. Time to change, eat and for me to get a few pictures. The results weren't posted yet, but I think I might have cracked the top 75th percentile.

Just two weeks to DeKalb!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

James Martin Apologizes (sort of)

Thanks to the Fredcast on Twitter, I see that James Martin has attempted an apology. I am cut and pasting it here in its entirety just in case he changes his mind and takes it down:


Regarding the The Tesla Roadster Article...
May I take this opportunity to apologize for any offence I have caused through the article in last weekend’s Mail on Sunday. It was never my intention to offend the many cyclists who share our roads across the country. What was intended to be a humorous piece was clearly misjudged. Further more I do not condone any form of reckless driving.
Once again, I am sincerely sorry for any upset caused in relation to this article.
James Martin

As apologies go, this one rates about a 3 out of 5. You see, it wasn't his fault for taking pleasure in running a couple of cyclists off the road and writing about the experience. It was that we cyclists didn't realize that it was meant to be funny and not an encouragement for drivers to act similarly. Now I don't expect, as a result of this article (and others like it), that some driver somewhere will do the same. But I do believe that making light of driving recklessly near cyclists encourages the feeling that cyclists are not supposed to be in the road and are barriers to get around no matter the risk to the cyclist. Share the road means that bicycles have to share it with cars as well as cars have to share it with bikes.

If a humorous piece misses its mark, it is typically the fault of the writer, not the reader. I'd like to see Mr. Martin take some responsibility for that. I would also like to see this apology appended to the end of the original article in the Daily Mail. And, in an ideal world, I'd like to see him have to ride a bicycle into London every day (saving the "£8 for the privilege") for three months donating the savings to driver education and write about the experience.

One can dream, can't one?

Moron James Martin

Oh. I see. It was just a joke:

When the Guardian contacted Martin yesterday, he declined to comment, but a source close to him said he was only joking.
Cuz, you know, it's funny when a motorist runs a cyclist off the road and then writes about it giving him pleasure. And now it seems that the Daily Mail has cut out the last few paragraphs of the article which 1) detail Martin's offensive and stupid antics and 2) makes his comments about hating cyclists even more out of place in the review of the Tesla.

Do they have editors at the Daily Mail?

Monday, September 7, 2009

How Not to Ride

I've never seen "What Not to Wear" but I think I can deduce what the show is about from the title and the fact that it airs on TLC. Today, I was thinking about "How Not to Ride" as a possible blog post and then perhaps as the sole subject of a blog. Think about it. An entire blog dedicated to learning from and being entertained by the mistakes others make on a bike. I'm not talking fashion mistakes (like men wearing arm warmers with sleeveless jerseys). Instead, I want to explore errors of judgement like the guy who, while riding along at 20 MPH, decided to smack in a loose bar end on his road bike leading to the cycling equivalent of a self-goal .

The reason I was thinking about How Not to Ride was that I was remembering my trip yesterday to Kettle Moraine. Those of you who know me or read the blog know that in a typical year I put in thousands of miles on my road bike and hundreds of trail miles on my cyclocross bike, but only dozens of miles on my mountain bike. I love mountain biking and would do more of it, but the local trails are rather limited and it's 3-hours round trip to get to either Kettle or Palos. Yesterday, being the middle day in a three day weekend, gave me an opportunity to do something different, meet some friends and get in some handling practice that I hoped would serve me well when Cyclocross season begins in two weeks.

We started on the white loop, which had a few challenging sections and sharp turns, but I was pretty much in cautious mode, rode it reasonably well and felt pretty good when we regrouped at the end. I took some advice on how to take the sharp turns smoother and faster and we went off on the blue loop.

My handling was getting better and things were coming together nicely for me. I was climbing the hills well and descending a little faster, but still cautiously. We hit the most technical and difficult section of the trail and I was getting a little cocky. Still, I managed to keep the bike upright and mostly under control.

That is, until we hit a particular descent. First of all, let me ruin the suspense and mention that I didn't break any bones or bike components. I don't remember exactly how it happened, but it seems that I was out of the saddle as I began the descent and hit a rut which pitched me a little forward. Not much, but enough that when I hit the next rut immediately after, I went all the way forward and knew this was going to end up badly.

The rider behind me had a great view of my crash. I think she described it as spectacular. I wound up next to my bike on the ground in front of a tree. I was in front of it because it didn't move when I hit it. Nancy said my feet were up in the air when I hit the tree. I remember my back hitting the tree and I must have slid down it like a cartoon character. The tree left it's mark on my back in a red scrape reverse image of its bark starting at my left shoulder and ending above my right hip. This would appear to give the angle at which my body hit the tree. As I think about it, if I was going to hit that tree anyway, having endo-ed right before impact probably have saved my body and bike a lot of damage.

As I lie on the ground thinking that I really wish I hadn't done that, I began a quick self inventory. I remember thinking that the fact that I wasn't in any immediate pain was a good sign. I said out loud, "I'm OK, I think". I collected my wits for a moment and began to move and sit up. Still no sharp pains, but I felt some tenderness in both calves, more on my right one than my left. It felt like they had been hit with a blunt instrument (which, I guess, a tree qualifies). My biggest worry was injuring my back, but there was nothing besides the scrapes. The only damage to equipment was a large tear on the back of my jersey and a bent derailleur which Brendan fixed for me in about 30 seconds.

I got up and walked around and realized that I was quite lucky to have had such a spectacular fall and not any significant injuries. We rode back to the parking lot. I arrived quite a bit later than the rest of the group taking my time and walking down the one remaining steep rocky hill. I said my goodbyes and headed home. I got in about 90 minutes of riding and had to be home by 2 so it was a good time to leave even if I didn't crash.

At home, there was ice, Vitamin I and rest. Today I got out and did an easy road ride. I noticed that I had also hurt my left shoulder when I attempted to signal a turn. As I expected, I'm slightly sore in a number of places that I didn't feel yesterday, but the legs are better and I think I'll be able to get in a run or two this week in addition to my morning rides.

As for Kettle. I can't wait to get back to ride the blue trail at my pace. I got too aggressive for my skills and paid for it. Luckily, the price was rather cheap.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Short URL

Hey. I've got me a new short URL via my friend at Cyclelicio.us. It looks like this: http://cycl.me/ILF

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tattoo Combines Science and Cycling

How's this for a cycling tattoo? It's the the power equation which describes the power needed to propel a bike against everyday forces: gravity, weight, friction and wind resistance (link).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday Hate

With apologies to The Car Whisperer who typically hates on Thursdays:

People who leave dog poop neatly tied up in plastic bags on the trail. This morning, I went for a run on the Green Bay Trail. As I entered I noticed a pile of about 10 tied up bags of what was probably dog poop. I have seen this before on the trail and occasionally at parks. Why do people do this? They'll scoop up the poop, tie up the bag and then leave it? It's too hard to walk with it a little and dispose of it properly in a garbage can?

Apparently, it's OK to run down bicycle riders in Manhattan.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Caffeine vs. Calories

I love this chart! Click on it to be taken to a larger image (opens new window).

The Buzz vs. The Bulge

Monday, August 10, 2009

My First Crit

Yesterday, I finally went and did it. I raced my first crit. Two years ago, I course marshalled the inaugural Glencoe Grand Prix. At the time, my impression of a criterium was a race where crashes were common and painful. It's one of the reasons I started to race cyclocross figuring that a) I wanted to race a bike b) cross was slower and c) if you fell, it was on grass, dirt, mud or sand. Crits had the risk of high speed + sharp turns + hard asphalt (or concrete) and I didn't want to complete that equation. However, after watching the GGP, I thought, I could handle this one and made plans to race it in 2008. Unfortunately I got invited to a wedding and couldn't sneak in a race in time, so I had to put it off a year.

Finally. 2009. I registered a week early and got my number and timing chip the night before (an excellent idea, by the way). Had a nervous night followed by a nervous morning. Drank some coffee, ate a Pop Tart and a banana and drank some water to fuel up. I got in my kit and did a 30 minute warm up before returning home to pick up my back pack and rode to the race.

I got to the event about 20 minutes before my race, Cat 5. This gave me some time to visit with some friends before the start. We did get in a practice lap before lining up for the race. I was still quite nervous while the preliminary announcements were going on. It didn't help that there was a problem with the count in the race which delayed our start another 10 minutes.

I looked around and saw two familiar faces, Paul and John. These were wheels I could trust, even if they weren't strictly teammates in this race. There also was quite a turnout from XXX Racing--15 or 20 racers, I think. It was at this moment I realized that I was still in my small chainring from the warm up lap and made the quick decision to unclip and shift into the right gear for the start. I sure didn't want to drop my chain ring at the start. I was a novice, but I didn't want to be a rube.

And then, we were off. I clipped in and got underway without causing or being part of a collision. First goal achieved. The initial acceleration was pretty fast, similar to what I experienced at at cross race. The pack slowed for the first turn and accelerated out quickly. Then we were coasting, then braking into turn 2 and accelerating out. This became the pattern for the race. It wasn't what I expected (what was I expecting?) but soon I settled in making sure to hold my line and watch for the riders in front and around me. The first three laps I stayed with the pack, holding my position near the middle and just feeling out the rhythms as we went around the course. I knew that this constant accelerating was going to wear me out and was looking for a way to take the corners smoother to save energy.

Early in the race, heading into turn 2, I saw a rider plow right into the back of John's bike. I was close enough to get spooked, but far enough away to avoid it without slowing down. I found out later that John wasn't hurt, but the collision broke his bike's derailleur hanger.

I have to admit that I was so focused on riding safely and holding my line that most of the race is a blur to me. I remember that after about 5 laps in, I was feeling more confident in the turns and was using them to advance forward in the pack. Usually about 2-4 positions at a time. At one point, I took turn 2 on the inside perfectly and accelerated out so smoothly that I found myself at the front. This couldn't be, could it? I was convinced that due to the lack of XXX jerseys around me that they were out in front and we were chasing. It was then I noticed the pace car in front of me ("And I had never seen a hole...playing for Temple.." -Bill Cosby) and realized that indeed I was in front. What the hell was I doing here? I spent about 15 seconds up there and realized I had no business being where I was and that there was no way I could maintain 26 MPH for long unless I wanted to get dropped (I didn't) so I pulled off to the inside to allow the front riders to pass me. Not being a friendly group ride, they let me stay in front for a bit (softening up the fresh meat) before accelerating past me into turn 3. I got back in the pack about half way back and realized that I really ought to plan on what to do in case that happens again.

The next laps were uneventful for me. I was riding well and maintaining my position. Barry told me that I was third wheel on several laps. Honestly, I don't remember. I was concentrating so hard on holding my line and riding smoothly that I don't remember hearing grandstand announcements or keeping track of what position I was in. I just thought I was mid-pack or at least in the front third.

There were about three laps to go and I was feeling remarkably well. The jitters had gone and I was moving with the rhythms of the race and feeling reasonably well. Coming out of turn 3 something felt wrong ahead of me and I tightened my grip on the brakes slightly. That's when the rider ahead of me plowed into the rider ahead of him. I think one of them veered wide on the turn and the rider behind just plowed into him. I had opened up enough room in front of me that I was able to brake hard and avoid hitting them (and praying no one would plow into me). I kept it upright, avoided the collision and the rest of the lead group passed me. I tried to get on, but just couldn't grab anyone's wheel.

OK. I can do this. They're not that far ahead and I can now take the turns as fast as I want. I put my head down and went into time trial mode. Or at least what I thought was TT mode, since I have never done a TT. And, based on the next 3 laps, I'm not likely ever to do a TT. I just couldn't catch them. They seemed within reach the first lap, but after that the pack just got farther and farther ahead of me. On the bright side, every time I looked behind me I saw nothing. No one. I heard the bell lap and still, there was no one behind me. As I rounded turn 4 and hit the home stretch, there continued to be no one behind me so I just rolled in, as it turns out, to 27th place out of 50 starters.

Well, not a bad result. I rode safely, competitively and, had it not been for the bad luck getting caught behind the collision, I would have done better. Still, a good first time.

As I rode over to my friends, I realized that in all my nervousness, I had forgotten to remove my saddle bag before the race. What a rube.

Now I had 90 minutes to relax, unwind, eat and drink before the 30+ 4/5 race. The next two races were the Womens 4/5 and Masters 45+. I had friends and team mates in both races so I took a few (OK, 175) pictures before taking a quick spin around Glencoe to loosen up before the race.

I did remove my saddle bag before the race. The field was bigger (72) and I was still pretty tired, but the nervousness had left. The race started, much like the first and the first 15 minutes found me in familiar territory: Accelerate, coast, brake, turn, rinse, repeat. Around the 20 minute mark, I could tell my legs weren't going to make it. All those accelerations were doing their cumulative damage and wearing me out. Around 25 minutes in I got dropped. I was done. No chasing for me. I was content to ride the course at 20-21 MPH and finish. After a while, my speed dropped to 19-20 and I had thoughts of dropping out. And then I thought no. Harden the fuck up and ride. A couple more laps and I met up with two other riders and they were willing to work together to make finishing the race easier for all of us.

With around 4 laps to go, we got lapped by the field. And that was it. We kept riding, no one else gained on us and we didn't catch any dropped riders. On the final lap, after turn 4, I decided to make a sprint for the line. What the hell, I might was well finish in style. With about 200 yards to go I jumped. So did the XXX guy and it was on. Mano a mano in a race to the death for 48th place (because, ya know, 49th is for losers). I pushed harder and passed him, but he countered and was gaining on me. I pushed harder and my legs were burning. I remembered some research about how cursing makes it easier to bear pain and then thought better of it since the GGP is a family friendly event. So I just let out a blood curdling yell.

I thought he had me, but chip timing reported that I took 48th place by 0.002 seconds.

I'll take my victories any way I can get them.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Cross Season is Coming!

The 2009 Chicago Cyclocross Cup schedule is posted at the newly redesigned ChiCrossCup web site First race is Jackson Park on September 20. See you there.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Phrase that Stays

This article brings an entirely new meaning to Phil Liggett's expression: "the Hard Men of the Tour".

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cell Phones + Cars = More Dangerous Than You Think

The next time you are riding and see someone in an SUV (or car, but around here, it's mostly SUVs) on their phone, watch out. Just because they are looking in your direction does not mean that they see you. In a summary of research on cell phone use while driving by the National Safety Council, these two particular points stuck out and brought home just how risky talking on a cell phone (hands free or not) while driving is:

  • Drivers who use cell phones are four times more likely to be in a crash while using a cell phone.

  • 80 percent of crashes are related to driver inattention. There are certain activities that may be more dangerous than talking on a cell phone. However, cell phone use occurs more frequently and for longer durations than other, riskier behaviors. Thus, the #1 source of driver inattention is cell phones.

  • Read the entire Fact Sheet. It'll only take you a minute or so.

    Just don't do it while driving.

    Monday, July 13, 2009

    What I Learned on the Internet Today

    For best results, don't visualize yourself winning, imagine yourself training. The Secret fails!

    Caffeine consumption may help prevent Altzheimer's. But don't overdo it, there's a possible link between significant caffeine consumption and hallucinations. So, that's why I thought I remembered where I put my car keys.

    Curse while sprinting or climbing to deaden pain. That would have made the HHH much more interesting.

    Which Species Of Cyclist Are You?

    Love this tongue-in-cheek description of the various species of cyclists one might encounter on the roads and trails. I found the exact same article here. No credit to the original writer of this "guide".

    Thursday, July 9, 2009

    More Reasons Caffeine is Good for You

    From Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health E-Zine (July 12, 2009):

    Two studies in the July 2009 issue of Journal of Alzheimer's Disease show that [the human equivalent of] five cups of coffee a day reverse memory loss in mice with Alzheimer's disease. The coffee also reduced blood and brain levels of beta-amyloid,the abnormal protein that may cause Alzheimer's disease in mice and people. Other studies by the same researchers at the University of Florida show that caffeine lowers blood levels of beta-amyloid in elderly non-demented humans, and when given in early adulthood, prevents memory loss in mice bred to develop Alzheimer's disease in old age. Previous studies on rabbits also showed that caffeine may help to prevent Alzheimer's

    Researchers at the Florida Alzheimer's Disease Research Committee plan to start studies in humans to evaluate whether caffeine can prevent memory loss of early Alzheimer's disease. Other experiments by the same group show that caffeine may prevent memory loss by blocking the enzymes that make beta amyloid

    The amount of caffeine in two to five cups of coffee (200 to 500 milligrams) is probably safe, but more than five cups a day may cause insomnia, nervousness, irritability, nausea, anxiety, a fast or irregular heartbeat, headaches, breast pain or muscle tremors. People who have high blood pressure or narrowed arteries leading to the heart may be advised to restrict caffeine. However, the Nurse's Study showed that heavy coffee drinking is not associated with increased risk for high blood pressure. Unfiltered coffee raises blood levels of the bad LDL cholesterol and blood sugar levels after eating. Pregnant women are advised to restrict caffeine since it may cause miscarriage or low birth weight

    Many studies show that caffeine can improve mood, alertness and energy, prevent diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and liver cancer, decrease the risk of stroke and may help prevent skin cancer. It also increases endurance in athletes.

    And I just thought it was the perfect way to end a ride.

    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    Stupid Headline

    Sorry if it seems like I'm beating up on Bicycling Magazine too much, but this type of stuff drives me nuts.

    Headline: "Fignon Wonders if Drug Use Caused Cancer"

    Halfway through the article Fignon says: "I'm not going to say no that it didn't play a role, [b]ut I didn't hold back any details of my drug use with my doctors and they said, 'It can't be that. That would be too simple.'"

    A little later he adds: "If there was a direct link with my cancer I think there would be a lot of other cyclists that would also be suffering from the same cancer."

    I wish Fignon the best in fighting his Pancreatic cancer. It is a serious condition and 5-year survival rates are pretty low. There's no reason for him to add to his misery by blaming his drug use for the disease when his doctors and his intellect say it's not likely. And there's no reason for Bicycling to emphasize this when it's hardly relevant.

    Brews and Bikes in Bicycling Magazine

    Bicycling Magazine has a feature on their web site called "Brews and Bikes: The best bike-related summer beers." Being two of my favorite topics, I took a look.

    First, let me say that I'm not a fan of the format they chose for this feature. You see one slide at a time and when you click for the next, the entire page reloads. They also have a popup window ("We are conducting a research survey on this site. You will be invited to participate when you leave. Please do not close this window") which, will trigger your popup blocker (I'm using Firefox) every time you click to see the next beer in the article. I switched over to Google Chrome to avoid this and to see what the fuss was about the constantly blocked popup windows. My last complaint about the article is that it does not give you a link to any of the breweries mentioned or a final list of all 12 beers. Yeah, I know, I can search for any of the breweries myself, but I shouldn't have to. This is the internet, not a magazine.

    The article was well written and got me interested in trying to find at least one beer I hadn't tried, like Pike Brewing Company's Tandem Double Ale. Unfortunately, their web site had no information on whether it's distributed in my area. I also liked that the article emphasized breweries that didn't just have a picture of a bike on the label, but also showed support for cycling in some other way like Full Sail Brewing Company and Oskar Blues. In any event, I learned about six or eight bike-related beers that I can add to my "to-drink" list.

    This also gives me an excuse to plug a local brewery that is heavily invested in the local cycling community, Half Acre Beer Company. I have seen these guys on the road in their Half Acre kits and at many of the cyclocross races that my faithful readers know about. I also like that their web site gives me everything I need (tell me about your beer and where I can go get/drink it) in an easy-to-navigate layout.

    Oh, and that survey I was promised? Would it surprise you to learn it was to see how well Nissan's latest marketing campaign was working? After the basics, there were a lot of questions about how much you like several of their ads. "Don't care" wasn't one of the choices.

    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    Bicyclist Harassment Ordinance Passed

    Via Levi Leipheimer's twitter feed and Bike Monkey, We learn of an ordinance passed by Columbia, Missouri that "makes harassment of bicyclists — including throwing objects, verbal assault and other offenses — a misdemeanor offense punishable by a $1,000 fine or one year of jail time"

    Following the lead of South Carolina and Colorado, the ordinance "makes it a misdemeanor to do the following: throw an object at or in the direction of a cyclist, threatening a cyclist to frighten or disturb the cyclist, sounding a horn with the intention to frighten or disturb a cyclist, knowingly placing a cyclist in the path of physical injury, or knowingly engaging in conduct that creates a risk of death or serious physical injury for a cyclist."

    Full story here.

    Legislation that helps cyclists doesn't just happen. We have to get involved. That's why attending the upcoming meeting of the Highland Park Traffic Commission on July 22, at 6:30 pm is important (put that in your calendar now). Lina Hoffman from The Active Transportation Alliance (formerly The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation) will be making a presentation on Complete Streets. The goal is for the Traffic Commission to begin taking all users (including pedestrians and cyclists) into consideration when making decisions that impact the roadways in Highland Park. We need to have strong representation at this meeting. The meeting will be at Highland Park City Hall, 1707 St. Johns Avenue.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    Cyclist vs. Journalist

    Fox journalist attacks cyclist in Central Park with his SUV:
    Brian Dooda, a Brooklyn film archivist, was riding his bike on East Dr. in Central Park at about 5 p.m. on Thursday when he says a grey SUV cut him off, nearly swiping his front tire.
    This escalated when Dooda caught up to the vehicle at a red light, pulled in front of it, and, in his own words (see NY Cycle Club thread), "facing the driver and, straddling my bicycle, explained to him that what he just did almost cost me my life, the speed limit is 25mph in the park and if he doesn't like it to stay out of Central Park."

    The driver then accelerated, knocking Dooda and his bike to the ground. It get even worse from here (read the whole story in Gawker or the Daily News). The good news is that Dooda escaped with only some scrapes and bruises.

    Tuesday, June 9, 2009

    The Last Four miles

    Make no small plans...

    Four of Chicago's 30 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline are not available to the public, contrary to the plan Daniel Burnham published 100 years ago. The advocacy group Friends of the Parks will be unveiling a plan (as yet unfunded) to change that.

    "Called “The Last Four Miles,” the plan proposes to plug these holes with 2 miles of new parkland on both the north and south lakefronts. If fully carried out, it would create a chain of parks, beaches, lagoons and bike trails that would stretch without interruption from the Evanston border on the north to the Indiana state line on the south."

    What's that expression about a journey of a 1000 miles beginning with a single step?

    Thursday, June 4, 2009

    Indexed Help

    So far the cold weather has kept them away, but they're coming...

    Monday, June 1, 2009

    Talking Head Book Review

    In yesterday's NY Times Sunday Book Review, David Byrne reviews "Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities", by Jeff Mapes.

    It's always fun to read about David Bryne using his bicycle as his primary transportation around New York. He quotes Mapes pointing out that "when more women begin riding, that will signal a big change in attitude, which will prompt further changes in the direction of safety and elegance." Byrne says that he "can ride till my legs are sore and it won’t make riding any cooler [I say that if David Byrne is doing it, it's cool], but when attractive women are seen sitting upright going about their city business on bikes day and night, the crowds will surely follow." True, that.

    It sounds like an interesting book, one I will probably add to my "to-read" list.

    Also of note. In the author's bio at the end of the article, it's noted that his book "Bicycle Diaries" will be published in the fall. I'll be keeping an eye out for that as well.

    Tuesday, May 26, 2009

    Take Your Cycling Shoes Swimming

    The Lunocet Fin is something you will just have to see to believe (h/t to the print version of Outside Magazine).

    Cycling Art

    Seen in Saugatuck, Michigan.

    Cyclists

    Wednesday, May 20, 2009

    Help A Fellow Cyclist In Her Fight Against Cancer

    This is worth reposting from Ride-Strong.

    Colleen Whealdon-Haught is a cyclist fighting metastatic breast cancer. Read her story and help her out if you can.

    Thursday, May 14, 2009

    Fast at the Giro

    Twitter updates from Lance and Levi. 70+ MPH descents today at the Giro. YIKES!

    Thursday, May 7, 2009

    Injustice

    Early yesterday morning I was riding with a group of about 15 cyclists on our usual route through the north shore suburbs on Sheridan Road. We were under control and riding two abreast when we were pulled over by a Kenilworth police officer. He instructed us to ride single file, that there had been complaints on the road and that this was for our safety as well. We asked if riding single file was a local ordinance. The officer said, no, it was the state law that required riding single file on a road with one lane in each direction (the turn lane doesn't count). He said that if the road is two lanes in either direction, then state law allows cyclists to ride two abreast. When one of our riders said that this is not our understanding of the law, the officer offered to take us to the station and show us the law, which he claimed he has done in the past with other riders. Not having the time to do this, nor wanting to be confrontational, we followed his instructions to continue our ride single file.

    So I checked (the internet is a wonderful thing). The Illinois Vehicle Code, Article XV. Bicycles states (all emphasis mine):

    (625 ILCS 5/11‑1502) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11‑1502)
    Sec. 11‑1502. Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles. Every person riding a bicycle upon a highway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this Code, except as to special regulations in this Article XV and except as to those provisions of this Code which by their nature can have no application.
    (Source: P.A. 82‑132.)


    (625 ILCS 5/11-1505.1) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1505.1)
    Sec. 11-1505.1. Persons riding bicycles or motorized pedal cycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than 2 abreast, except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for their exclusive use. Persons riding 2 abreast shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and, on a laned roadway, shall ride within a single lane subject to the provisions of Section 11-1505.
    (Source: P.A. 83-549.)


    There are no provisions in the Illinois Vehicle Code for riding single file based on the number of traffic lanes.

    So what do we do? This stretch of Sheridan Road is less than 2/3 of a mile long (from 10th street to Winnetka Road). And yet, we were riding legally and safely, and not impeding traffic in any way. At that time of the morning, we see few cars at all. One cyclist suggested carrying a copy of the code (small format suitable for printing and laminating here) and politely showing it to the officer. Whether or not this works probably depends as much on the situation as your charisma. Will it prevent a future unnecessary interuption of your ride? One can hope.

    I have contacted the Active Transportation Alliance (formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation) for their ideas. You can contact them here if you have anything to contribute to this situation.

    Monday, May 4, 2009

    Stupid Doping Tricks.

    So, Tyler Hamilton announced his retirement from cycling after testing positive for a banned substance. "He had tested positive for Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) a multi-functional steroid he said was in an herbal remedy he took after he had stopped using prescription anti-depressants."

    Self-medicating for depression is stupid. Self-medicating if you are a pro athlete subject to random drug testing is really stupid. Self-medicating after serving a two-year suspension for doping is pretty well off the charts stupid.

    Depression sucks. If you are not getting well with your current medication then either change it, change your program or change your doctor.

    The reports say that Tyler got caught using a "'homeopathic' remedy - Mitamins Advanced Formula - that included herbs, such as St. John’s wort, and DHEA". Let's break the stupidity apart from that sentence. First a "real" homeopathic remedy contains no active ingredients and is just water, so if the lab at UCLA was able to detect it, it's either a miraculous test or a false positive. Second, if that remedy actually contains St. Johns wort (which is nearly useless in treating depression, anyway) and DHEA, then it is not homeopathic. This either means that Tyler didn't get what was advertised or Mitamins was being misleading when they called it a homeopathic remedy (and either way, my head hurts). Finally, DHEA won't help his depression, is banned (and he knew it) and probably didn't provide any performance enhancing benefit (so then why is it banned?)

    I wish Tyler well.I hope he gets his depression under control. I morn for the racer he could have been, without the doping drama. So I'll continue not to watch or pay attention to the pros very much. Instead, I'll just ride.

    Friday, May 1, 2009

    Blogger Down

    A long time ago I discovered the Large Fella on a Bike blog. What caught my attention was the story of a guy who weighed 501 pounds and was told by his doctor that he'd be dead withing six months if he didn't undergo stomach-reduction surgery and take heavy medication to lose weight. Oh yeah, the doc also said he only had a 50/50 shot at surviving the operation. Neither choice appealed to him, so he takes a different route. He changes diet and decides to exercise. On a bike. That has to be custom made for his, er, size.

    It's about four years past the time when the doc said he'd be dead and he's at 178 lbs. It's an amazing story of perseverance and the ability of being able to turn one's life around. (In some ways it's almost twice the story of Mike Magnuson, author of Heft on Wheels: A Field Guide to Doing a 180, a book I thoroughly enjoyed.)

    His blog was an interesting mix of his rides, personal life and a series of questionnaires with a who's who of framebuilders. I visited from time to time and linked to him from my blog as a reminder to stop in occasionally.

    And now, in an effort to simplify his life (near as I can tell), he's decided to blog no more.

    Wonder what he'll do with all the time that'll save him?

    Bicycle Dreams

    Bicycle Dreams (note: music autoplays on the site) is a documentary of the 2005 Race Across America. During this race, Bob Breedlove was killed by an oncoming vehicle which just adds to the drama and poignancy of the event and movie. From what little I could read about it, I'm interested enough to want to see the movie. Unfortunately for me it is currently only scheduled to play at film festivals in Colorado, New Jersey and California. I'd love to see it added to the Bicycle Film Festival which typically comes to Chicago in August.

    As it is, I have two quibbles with their web site. First, their home page plays music as soon as you load the page and there is no (obvious) way to turn it off. The music is pleasant, but the idea that I want to listen to this as the default mode is incorrect, obnoxious and just bad design. Quibble #2 is that there is no way to subscribe to a mailing list if I want to be notified when the movie is scheduled to play in my area. They do have a Facebook page, which might serve this function.

    Here's the trailer for the movie.

    Tuesday, April 28, 2009

    A Swift Reply

    Scott Myers, Copy Editor at The State News, wrote a near-brilliant and humorous response to Clueless Zach Colman

    The fun begins with:

    White 2009 Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno.
    That’s the bike I ride — and if you’re a motorist on the road and plan on running me over, I hope you have a good lawyer, because I might sue you.
    Intentionally.
    Because you see, with all these dangerously inattentive motorists on the road nowadays, doing things like changing songs on their iPods, sending text messages while driving or falling asleep because they can’t get enough sleep to function on the same schedule as 90 percent of the rest of the world, I’m tired of getting run over.

    And ends with:

    Those are the blinking lights on my white 2009 Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno in front of you, and I’d appreciate it if you’d do your best to avoid them.

    Well done, Scott. 

    Monday, April 13, 2009

    The Stupid. It Burns!

    Via TCW, I read this from Zach Colman who writes for the Michigan State University student run newspaper, Statenews.com. I don't know how many comments this idiot usually gets, but this column got A LOT. A few favorites:

    Zach wrote: "I cannot drive my car on the sidewalk, so why must you ride your bicycle where I drive?"

    "Dumb as D. Bobby" pointed out (complete with link) that the MSU biking regulations state: " .. Since bicycles aren’t legally allowed to ride sidewalks on campus .."

    Zach wrote: "But roads are for cars, not bicyclists. The bicyclist should not have been in the car lane."

    "Michael" pointed out that the Michigan Vehicle Code states: "Each person riding a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, or moped or operating a low-speed vehicle upon a roadway has all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter".

    I won't even point out how stupid it is for Zach to use Lance Armstrong's average speed in the Tour de France as a cycling speed benchmark (I'm sure some commenter did).

    It was the third paragraph which set the tone for the burning stupid which followed. Zach wrote: "But you see, with all these things I can do in my car nowadays, such as choose a different song on my iPod, send a text message while driving or fall asleep at the wheel because I had to wake up for a worthless 8 a.m. biology lab, I might not notice you."

    OK. Zach. You are obviously too stupid to drive. Your column demonstrates that you are a failure as a journalist. Your attitude towards Biology demonstrates that any career involving Science is probably not in your future. Science also involves research, something for which you obviously lack motivation and/or ability. Judgment seems to be a problem for you based on your self-assessment of how you drive. That's going to narrow your field of study and career choices even further.

    So what's left?

    Inmate?

    Saturday, April 4, 2009

    Morning Ride

    With the warmer weather, it's getting easier to take photos during the morning ride. There was no way I was going to take off my lobster mitts and expose my bare hands to 20 degrees and 17 MPH self-generated winds just to take a picture of a rider I probably won't recognize due to the amount of layers they're wearing. Anyway, today I took some photos early in the ride and what follows is the best one. Turns out my fitness level only allowed me to take a few shots early in the ride when the pace was slow and I could easily stash the camera and catch up.

    Still, a nice start to the spring riding season.

    Morning Ride

    Monday, March 23, 2009

    Bicycles as Tools

    Via my friends at Working Bikes comes this video of how bicycles are used as essential tools throughout the world. The car rack on a bike (yes I have that in the right order) seen at 2:51 is incredible. The video was put together by Bicycles for Humanity.

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009

    Card Tricks

    First, for your entertainment, Ricky Jay performs an amazing card trick:



    Now, watch this trick and see if you can guess how it's done:



    Just how good were your powers of observation? Let me know in the comments.

    Thursday, March 12, 2009

    Road Work

    According to my just-delivered copy of the Pioneer Press, the following stretches of crappy roads are due for resurfacing:
    Green Bay Road from Lake-Cook to Edgewood.
    St. Johns from Lambert Tree to Roger Williams.

    Work is scheduled to start in May and be completed by the end of July.

    Thank you, Highland Park City Council and us taxpayers.

    Whatchoo Talkin' 'bout

    Sears Tower To Be Renamed Willis Tower.

    Monday, March 2, 2009

    Friday, February 27, 2009

    Cycling and Bone Density

    We've all heard that cyclists are prone to osteoporosis and that cycling weakens bones. Well, to borrow a quote: "I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that." First, although a study in 2000 from the American College of Sports Medicine did find that bicycle riders have bones that are less dense than people who don't exercise at all, bone density tests do not necessarily measure bone strength. Now, a more recent study from Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK compared bone measures of sprint and distance trained cyclists competing at World Master Track Championships along with sedentary controls (30-82 yr) and examined the associations of bone measures with age. The study showed that long distance cyclists have denser bones than sedentary control subjects and that sprint cyclists have denser bones than long distance cyclists (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, March 2009). The abstract of the paper concludes: "This suggests that competition-based cycling and the associated training regime is beneficial in preserving average or above-average bone strength surrogates into old age in men."

    So we got that going for us, which is nice...

    How the Bank/Wall Street/ AIG Bailout Should Work

    Dilbert.com

    Sunday, February 22, 2009

    When It's Cold

    This is how you dress when it's really cold out.

    I remember one winter when I rode my $275.00 Gary Fisher Gitchee Gumee with a set of $400.00 Mavic wheels, slick tires, full fenders and ClimbMitts. This allowed me to keep warm and dry and nearly keep up with my usual road bike group who all rode on skinny tires and bikes that were at least 10 pounds lighter than mine. I'm not sure how I kept up. I think the coldest we rode was 8 degrees (F). On that day, if you include the cost of my light, I was wearing more $$ than I was riding. Now I wimp out if it's less than 20 degrees (F) out.

    Friday, February 20, 2009

    Monday, February 9, 2009

    iPass Troubles

    I have an iPass transponder. It's the newer kind, the one that does not indicate if the toll was collected successfully. Today, I got a "Notice of Violation" that I owe $83.40, which, I assume, is both the missed toll amount and penalties. I naively believe that I can fix this with a call to their toll free number which is on the letter .

    So I call.

    And get disconnected.

    17 times.

    I go to their web site which helpfully explains that I have to call them to resolve this. So I fill out a complaint form to pass the time while redialing. I eventually get through and am told how important my phone call is to them.

    So while I'm waiting, I reread the letter. The first thing I notice is that nowhere on the letter is the date and location of the (alleged) violation. There is a nice photo of my car and license plate. There is a issue date which is not the violation date since I know I wasn't on the tollway that day. There is a due date, which is fortunately two weeks hence. There is the amount due, the violation number and a helpful reprinting of the section of the Illinois Toll Highway Act that explains that they can assess mandatory fines. There is a paragraph that says that failure to respond to the notice is my way of admitting guilt. The phone number that they want me to call to contest the notice is helpfully printed five times on the letter.

    By they way. I'm still on hold. They said my estimated wait time is 10 minutes. It's been 19 so far.

    They keep repeating that my call is important to them. They also say that for faster service I should go to their web site (getipass.com) . Faster for them, maybe, because I can't resolve this issue on the web site. I know this because the web site says so.

    I'm still on hold.

    Their phone message also keeps reminding me what their business hours are. They close in about four hours and 15 minutes. I hope I don't have to stay on hold that long.

    27 minutes.

    I'm going to make dinner. I'll keep them on hold on the speaker phone and see what happens.

    A little research turns up that the Tollway Authority has outsourced toll collection to Unisys. That's working well.

    Monday, January 19, 2009

    Flickr Fun with Blago

    First, there's this:


    New Illinois Plate


    Then, the burger of the month:


    #!@%?/ Blagojevich !!!


    And this:


    blagofunnies

    Thursday, January 15, 2009

    Monday, January 5, 2009

    Everything That Happens

    Funny how one thing leads to another. I was listening to the podcast of All Songs Considered on NPR. It was their episode on listener picks for the best songs of 2008. Number 25 was Strange Overtones from Everything That Happens Will Happen Today by David Byrne and Brian Eno. I never know what will hook me when I listen to something new. Sometimes it's the lyrics, but it's usually something about the music that I like that I can't quite explain. This song fell into that latter category. The next day, I was talking about this song with one of my riding buddies who not only knew the song, but told me that you can hear the entire album at their web site (streaming audio) and download that song free.


    I wanted more, so I went to David Bryne's web site to look for tour dates. Of course, I missed him, but I noticed a banner across the top that said: NYC Bike Racks. It turns out that David Byrne, an avid bike rider (I know that), designed a series of bike racks for NY that are installed in various places. Check it out.

    Oh, and if you like some humor with your music, go here and listen to number 7, Flight of the Conchords.