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.


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


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.