Friday, November 28, 2008
For about a month, I decided to take up running. I think it was Johanna's idea for me to do this. She only went once, but I continued. Actually, up until two weeks ago I continued. The Sunday before last, I tried but felt this horrible pain in my knee and had to limp home. The pain hasn't really gone away, but riding my bike actually feels better than walking. So, I've kept doing that, but I mostly avoid walking these days. I just returned from a ride at Penwood. Riding a singlespeed there is rather tough on the knees, thus my aggrieved knee is particularly angry. In fact, towards the end I tried to ride up one more hill and the knee just wouldn't let me, luckily it was on my way back, and for those familiar with Penwood, it was right near Lake Louise, so I just went on the paved path back to the parking lot. From what I understand, you're not actually even suppose to ride on the Metacomet there, so maybe it was my knee just telling to follow the rules.
Anyway, my question is and the purpose of this little blog post: should I go to the doctor? Two weeks of knee pain does seem like a lot. Anyone else have any experience with this? Read more!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
This is a cool rock found at Gros Morne National Park.
This morning while I was showering I had this idea to write a really deep post about what I was thankful for. At first, I wondered if I should for the sake of the blog I should be thankful for cycling-related things. I decided against that. With the world in as many crises as it is, that's in poor taste. I could get all sentimental about friends and family, but that's lame and you don't want to read about. So, I decided not to write about that stuff.
Last night, I thought I should ask the millions of loyal readers if I should buy some kind cheap fixed gear bike for the winter to wreck the bikes I have right now in the sand and salt. But in these tough economic times, that's like writing an article about getting a $400 bike fitting as if it's a perfectly acceptable idea. So, I didn't write that post.
Early this afternoon I was going to extol the virtues of mountain biking during lunch time, because I went on a lunchtime ride with these two new dudes, Bill and Cedric, around parts of The Eel. Oh, in case you're wondering, that sign didn't create any new trails. It's what has always been there. But, I'm bad at extolling.
So, uh, Happy Thanksgiving!
If you go out to the bar tonight, watch out for those college kids who are home for the week. Don't let them ruin your favorite bar!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
If you find yourself in the Elm City (a.k.a. Pistol-Wavin' New Haven) today or tomorrow, swing by Devil's Gear II, on Audubon between Church and Orange. Sadly, that downtown outpost of the like-named New Haven bike shop on Chapel Street is going out of business (blame Hank Paulson), but the upside is that they are selling TO THE BARE WALLS, and everything in the store is 40% off.
Being the smaller sibling of the Devil's Gear, Devil's Gear II doesn't have a ton of stuff, but if you need tubes, tires, fenders, racks, stems, cassettes, cogs, bottle cages, or sundry other items, they have 'em, and 40% off is no joke. They're also selling their fancy workstands and a lot of tools (which would be a good jumping-off point for the awesome Hartford bike shop we keep talking about opening, but somehow I think none of us has the cash on hand to buy them out, put a deposit down on some retails space, and live the dream quite yet). I think they have some bikes too, but I'm not right now in a position to spend 60% of the cost of a bike, so I focused on the gear. I picked up a new 20"x1.75" tire for my Xootr ('cause after I tore the sidewall on my old one during The Eel, the only replacement at REI was a 1.95", the thickness of which requires me to set the wheel farther back in the dropout, which in turn makes the chain rub when I put it in the highest gear, and you know that a thoroughbred like me lives in the highest gear) and an adjustable stem for the Xootr (so I can more easily convert from suit-wearing, laid back geometry to hunched-over, hardcore pursuit mode), all for just $31. That is a fine deal. Read more!
As I slowly become acquainted with the practices of more serious cyclists - the sort who refer to the clothes they wear while riding as their "kit" - I learn that nutrition is just an important element of cycling as spandex, fancy equipment, and inscrutable jargon. As someone who refers to his riding outfit not as "kit" but as "jeans," I don't pretend to know about nutrition. For me, the essential pre-ride comestible is determined largely by the time of day: early mornings require coffee, daytime rides require, maybe, a ham sandwich, and nighttime rides call for beer. So I don't try to do any strategic energy-building with my meals (like carb-loading).
But I can appreciate the relationship between eating and ritual (see, e.g., Thanksgiving, Passover, etc.), and the value of ritual in athletic and sporting activities. The great Wade Boggs, for example, ate chicken before every game, and he was a very good hitter. I don't think the particular nutrients in chicken raise batting averages (Tony Gwynn, Boggs's contemporary and another great hitter, had no such routine) but for Boggs, obviously, there was something about the chicken-eating process that led to good results.
This morning, desirous a pre-work longish ride and knowing that riding between Bridgeport and New Haven in pouring rain is, well, sometimes a little bit miserable, I felt I needed something more fortifying than my regular eggs and cheese or cereal. So with the power of ritual and chicken in mind (thinking not just of Wade Boggs but of Cerrano from Major League who needed to sacrifice a live chicken to get the team out of its slump (and who was played, I now realize, by Dennis Haysbert a.k.a. President Palmer from 24)), I fried and ate the left over giblets from a whole chicken I had roasted on Sunday night. Giblets, of course, are the innards of the chicken, usually delivered in a wax paper bag neatly tucked inside the chicken's body. (If you entertained any notion that the giblets thus packaged were at some point attached to the accompanying carcass, let me disabuse you of that: This particular bag contained two hearts.) I figured that these would give me Wade Boggs-like tenacity, and on top of that, by eating the chicken's vital organs I hoped to capture some of its life force.
Honestly, I cooked and ate the giblets because I like giblets, especially chicken hearts. (My wife thinks this is disgusting, but that's really because SHE SECRETLY HATES AMERICA.) But I did hope for a little extra kick. And you know what? It worked. I felt strong, albeit damp and sweaty. Unfortunately, I did not have any more chicken hearts to bolster my life force supply later in the day, so after getting very damp during the ride and sitting for two hours in an inexplicably air-conditioned meeting room, I was freezing my giblets off while waiting for the train back to New Haven. What is the lesson here? ALWAYS BRING EXTRA CHICKEN HEARTS WITH YOU WHEN THE WEATHER IS INCLEMENT. ALSO, BREATHABLE RAINWEAR, IF POSSIBLE. Read more!
Monday, November 24, 2008
One of the great things about this velocipeding we so enjoy is that it provides so many options. You can crash through the woods on your mountain bike, crash through a carefully controlled, woods-like environment on a road bike in a mountain bike costume (Brendan calls this "cyclocross"), ride on pavement wearing a superhero costume (road biking), or just tool around on a highly jury-rigged three-speed with your jeans rolled up to your calves. This multiplicity of possible bike uses can be downright vexing when we come to the task of building or acquiring a new bike. Last night, in fact, Joel came over to pick up an old road frame I have, which he will use in building a new bike. Joel told me he wants a singlespeed, but the build is motivated by the acquisition of an eight-speed wheelset (Joel is blessed with a curmudgeonly coworker who doesn't like to say hello but does like to build wheels in his spare time and give them away; none of my coworkers are wheelbuilders (as far as I know), but if anyone out there wants to build me a wheel, I would like a seven-speed coaster brake hub laced to a 20" rim, please). Examining the cogs, I determined it was a cassette, so to make it a singlespeed, Joel would have to get one of those singleator thingies (or maybe there's another way, but I don't know about it because I live in a pre-1990 world when it comes to bike technology knowledge, fancy folder notwithstanding). But then we had to wonder whether maybe he should just take advantage of the wheelset, frame, and awesome cranks (from my parts bin) and rock some 1x8 action, leaving the construction of a singlespeed for another day.
See? That's how it goes: Eight speed or singlespeed? Fixed or free? Folding or non-folding? Honestly, if I had enough money to do anything other than happily settle for the bikes that fall in my lap, I'd be crippled by indecision. Or I'd just own a whole lot of bikes.
And then, even when I owned all those bikes (in my make-believe world where I can afford many bikes), I'd stumble upon a one-of-a-kind piece of awesomeness like this unique and magical craigslist find (pictured below), and if I failed to acquire it, I'd live a life of sorrowful bike regret.
Those of you who rode The Eel remember the part of the course that went through Riverside Park with my mediocre arrows. It appears that it's now a legitimate trail system (as of like this weekend). Looking at the detail of the map shows the "Challenge Trail". I have no idea what that is. It's really not that challenging back there. Is there some secret freeride park that I've never noticed? They also leave out the extent of how far these trails actually go. But, whatever, there's now sanctioned mountain biking in Hartford proper. I just got an email from the Director of Human Resources telling me that I have Friday off, maybe I'll go explore. Read more!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
My cold went away, so I raced today.
Since I'm not very good, I didn't do that great. I didn't get lapped (no one was being pulled, so that wasn't a fear). It was a pretty tough course as it was 60% woodsy single track with some rocks and roots, but I think that's fun because it takes my mind off going slow.
Two things I must do: stop starting in the back of the pack and get some better brakes. I actually raced pretty well with my cohort. I passed a few people and held off the guy who was gaining on me despite almost dropping my chain (I caught it like three links before falling off, but lost time messing with it). However, I was so far behind every in front of me that I had no hope of ever catching up. It's the opposite of how I mountain bike. My last race this season, I had the hole shot for like a mile and a half and then let people pass me. With cyclocross, I start at the back and then move from 25th to 21th. It'd be better to go from 12th to 17th or something like that. Regarding brakes, the ones I've got right now have no stopping power. It's kind of scary. Read more!
Friday, November 21, 2008
“We like to say that you can give a monkey a machine gun, but that doesn’t mean he’ll know how to use it.”
I found a reference to our local Central Wheel in an article about professional bike fitting in the New York Times today. Unfortunately the reference is not about the shops skill in high-level fitting abilities but rather cites the fact its owner sought a professional fitting before a multi-day trip to the French Alps.
I often suffer from numb toes, sore knees, and a stiff neck when I ride distances exceeding 50 miles and often fiddle with my bike's fit in order to alleviate these issues without dramatic success. I had hoped this article might offer some tips for a casual rider, but alas no. Fortunately I don't take my bike, or my riding of it too seriously. I guess if that was not the case I wouldn't be satisfied without anything less than a Pinarello and a full matching kit to boot.
I guess in this case I am the monkey and my bikes are machine guns.
So anyone got $400 so a poor grad student can get fit for a multi-day trip around the Farmington River valley? Read more!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I've had a cold this week. It's a been a particularly nasty one and it might be a flu, but I'm really hoping that it's not. I came to work late on Wednesday and then left early today. I may take the entire day off tomorrow, because in my current state, I'd just infect my coworkers.
There's something else, too: that race in Cheshire. I know that the race shouldn't factor into my decision making at all because work is more important than my pathetic racing attempts. I did pay $20 to pre-reg, though.
Also, I snapped the front brake cable on my surly today. Has that ever happened to anyone before? I've certainly never heard of it. It happened just as I was stopping in the driveway, so no catastrophic injuries. It was really weird, though. One of the individual threads had snapped a month or so ago, but you wouldn't think that could a change reaction that would break them all. That wasn't really the case at all. One broke awhile ago and then they all broke today at once. I have just recently purchased a cable cutter/crimper, but seemed to have lost it in the move. Read more!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Well, I guess all those disparaging remarks Bill O'Reilly recently made about Greenwich Village are grounded in cold hard data: A study conducted by Hunter College students and reported in the New York Times has proved, once and for all, that cyclists in New York disobey traffic laws, fail to use bike lanes when they are available, and don't always wear helmets. The article reports that a shocking (shocking!) 57% of cyclists failed to stop at red lights. (The article actually has a cool typo on that point - it says "fail to stop red lights." In my experience, 100% of cyclists fail to stop red lights, but, you know, that's just because I swore only to use my traffic-signal-mind-control powers for good, not evil.)
Now, I wouldn't know anything about disobeying traffic laws (that was some other guy with my name who picked up those two tickets for running red lights on a bike in New York way back when (one of which, I should add, was dismissed, but I digress)), but I have heard it said that sometimes, it's safer for us two-wheelers to disobey traffic laws, because these drivers can be crazy out here, feel me? I often think it would be better to run a light than risk getting t-boned by someone trying to bang a left right when the light turns green (but I never do it! because I am an officer of the court and I always respect the laws of Connecticut!). And guess what? Cold hard data are on my side! What do you think, dear readers? Read more!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Two CCBA admin notes first:
1. Tomorrow's board meeting has been cancelled
2. No Ice Bike To Work this month. Day after T-Day!
So, as I rode in with the first really bitter breeze in my face this morning I got to thinking about Ice Bike to Work in general and getting more folks to give cold weather biking a try.
Chicago has www.bikewinter.org which has some pretty cool resources and illustrates a pretty neat setup to get people to ride through the winter. Of course for tips there is the ubiquitous icebike.com as well. We have had an Ice Bike to Work series the last few years and have had some new folks show up from time to time which is certainly a good thing. We usually get around 8-10 folks and maybe a few less when it really starts to blow and freeze. What are your thoughts on expanding and doing more events in the winter in and around the beat? An ice bike demonstration has been suggested, but no one has grabbed it yet to make it happen.
Also, we need a new sponsor for Ice Bike to Work. The contact at our old sponsor has moved on from the Beat and we have had a hard time finding someone to pick it up. We meet the last friday of every month at JoJos on Pratt Street right in the heart of the Beat (http://www.cafejojo.com/) from 7-9, October through March. Typically we don't meet in November. I think the cost runs around $50-$75 and we provide a fantastic winter bike presence. JoJo's is pretty busy in the mornings and we get a lot of questions, have had a couple newspaper interviews and have even been on TV. If you know anyone, please pass along their info quickly. We could maybe even work up a t shirt or something warmer this year to sell or giveaway to participants. Read more!
Friday, November 14, 2008
I picked up this happy little fellow in my front tire about a half mile from the office this morning. The wheel held its air to get me the rest of the way. Of course now I'm thinking about how both my spare tube and patch kit are foolishly sitting in my other bag at home. Word to the wise: when you decide to switch bags impulsively, make sure you transfer other things. On the bright side, I get to ride the bus home tonight in luxurious warmth and comfort. Route H2 represent! Read more!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Thank you all who attended the Bike Everywhere meeting last night at Lenas. Lots of good discussion and ideas for next year. Just to give you a taste on this cruddy, dark wet night as I get ready to blast out into the rainy wet and endure the "wow, you ride in this" questions, here are the events we came up with for next year. Your input is always appreciated and your help as well. If you have another idea or want to take ownership of one of these let me know!!!
a. Hooker Brewery Tour
b. Monster Bike Pull/Cargo Challenge Picnic Event
c. Disc Golf to Wickham Park
d. Bike Polo (more than once hopefully!)
e. Geo Caching/Scavenger Hunt (Racks, Bike Lanes, Etc.)
f. Celebrate West Hartford Valet Parking
g. Snow Bike/Commuter Demonstration
h. Ice Bike to Work (if sponsor can be located)
i. Warm Weather Bike to Work (all, need point person)
j. Corporate Cup/Workplace Challenge
k. Other events??? Support for Keney Cross Race? Read more!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Thanks to poorly timed rain last week, our first bike pub crawl was called off. So we're pushing off on Wednesday evening and marking the 90th anniversary of the Armistice that ended The Great War. Since the odds are good that we won't run into any WWI vets to honor, we'll also be remembering all the veterans of the armed forces. It's a day late for Veterans Day, Remembrance Day, and Armistice Day, but I don't think anyone will mind. You could mark the Nov. 12th expulsion of Leon Trotsky from the Communist Party, but I like my idea better.
Rather than start at the Corner Pug, we'll instead convene at the CCBA Bike Everywhere meeting at Lena's on Park St. (Bike parking in the rear parking lot). The meeting starts at 6 pm, and attending is a good way to let your voice be heard and contribute to the advancement of cycling in Hartford. We can carb up with some of Lena's good food and then head all the way across the building and officially start the crawl at Sully's Pub. The forecast is for a seasonable night for mid-November...somewhere around 40 F. Dress for it!
Here's a loose schedule:
- 6 pm - 7 pm: CCBA Bike Everywhere Committee Meeting, Lena's, 2053 Park St., Hartford, CT
- 7:00 - 7:45 pm: Sully's Pub, 2071 Park St., Hartford, CT
- 8:00 - 9:00 pm: Vaughan's Public House, 59 Pratt St., Hartford, CT
- 9:05 - 9:45 pm: McKinnon's Irish Pub, 114 Asylum St., Hartford, CT
- 10:00 - 11:00 pm: The Half Door*, 270 Sisson Ave., Hartford, CT
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
— Lt.-Col. John McCrae
Monday, November 10, 2008
So after reading this article in the New York Times, bastion of the untrustworthy liberal media elite, and was wondering if bike-sharing could work in our own city of Hartford. As the article notes,
"In increasingly green-conscious Europe, there are said to be only two kinds of mayors: those who have a bicycle-sharing program and those who want one."
What if our own mayor shared such sentiments? Numerous bike-sharing programs are enjoying tremendous success across the pond and two have already been recently established on this continent (one in Washington D.C. and one in Montreal). The entities that have established these programs note numerous difficulties but argue they are far outweighed by benefits that include reduced traffic congestion and smog, lower demands on infrastructure, and a healthier populace among others. Most importantly there is evidence that these programs are far less expensive than other forms of public transportation once the bugs are worked out (the article notes that a city fleet can be had at a cost similar to purchasing a single bus).
Similar programs are also being experimented with on college campuses where administrators are dealing with increasing difficulties accommodating the needs of our pervasive auto-centric culture.
So what think ye humble readers? Is Hartford too sedentary, too stagnant, too disinterested in bicycles to make a program work or make it even be worth the investment? Would we see the same problems that college programs note with bicycles being abandoned and poorly treated? Or is Mayor Perez far too in love with his parking lots to allow such a program be initiated?
Sunday, November 9, 2008
The Eel is done.
The weather was nasty and I'm guessing that scared off a number of competitors, despite that I thought we had a pretty good contingent. We also know who's hardcore in CT.
Big ups to Johanna, Xootr, the Elm City Scorchers, Matt from Ghostship, the Riverfront Recapture ranger, and everyone who showed up. (Sorry for the use of "big ups", I couldn't think of an appropriate substitute.)
I don't have a camera anymore, so I have no way of showing you what it actually looked like.
- Salem 1:16
- Russ 1:18 (with loaded front panniers!)
- Matt 1:21 (first place out of town, too)
- Doug 1:21 (he got the cool Xootr rack)
- Josh 1:38 (on a folding bike)
- Chauncy 1:38 (fixed)
- Joel 1:38
- Chris 1:44
- Eric -
- Rafael -
- Drew -
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Guess what's today? The Eel is today!
Here's the cue sheet:
CUE SHEET (sorry, no mileage)
-start at Gazebo
-ride north through parking lot
-go around gate
-go on gravel path
-continue straight on dirt path toward brick building
-pass between brick building and cement wall
-run up (or ride up) stone hill at park river confluence
-stay on paved path all the way to the boat house at riverside park
you will pass under the founders and bulkley bridges
-bare right of boat house
-follow orange tape lined path (Xtreme scramble course) it will
loop back eventually to the boat house
-bare right of boat house; head toward I-91 pedestrian spirial
this will dump you on to pequot street
-turn left on market street
-turn left on morgan street
-get on bulkley bridge pedestrian bike (not I-84)
ENTER E HARTFORD
-turn right on bike path
-take bike path all the way to the end; passed great river park's
-path bares left a hockanum river
-enter woods and pass under rt 2
-stay on path following spray painted arrows
-this path ends at kahoots strip club, go through parking lot
-don't get distracted
-turn left on to pitkin
-turn left on to jayce
-turn left on east river drive
-turn right on to pedestrian entrace for charter oak bridge
-head back into charter oak landing park
-turn left towards gazebo as descending levee
-first lap, go through parking lot
-final lap, go to gazebo for finish Read more!
Friday, November 7, 2008
In anticipation of The Eel, I have lately been trying to take as many opportunities as possible to go on longer rides. I usually do this in work clothes while carrying a bag with many items in it, including a laptop, so it's sort of like high-altitude marathon training: When I show up at Charter Oak Landing tomorrow with actual bike shoes, no huge basket full of crap on my bike, and comfortable, wicking clothing rather than a wool suit and leather dress shoes, I will be like a lithe bicycle panther - with wings and rocket boosters. Yesterday, I further increased the degree of difficulty of my training regimen by riding from Bridgeport to New Haven in a torrential downpour. This was, notwithstanding the strength of body and character developed. probably a bad idea.
In fairness to me, it was not raining when I set out. In fact, it was fairly pleasant - overcast, to be sure, but balmy and with a light breeze. Being an optimist, I look at weather like that as an invitation to ride 18 miles. Meteorologists, however, understand that "precipitation begins forming when warm, moist air rises. As the air cools, water vapour begins to condense on condensation nuclei, forming clouds. After the water droplets grow large enough, two processes can occur to form precipitation."
Also, in fairness to me, I didn't have much choice. I had just missed the train at Stratford, but my dear wife needed me to hasten to Middletown as quickly as possible to collect our children from her, as she had plans for the evening and our babysitter had called out sick. Since the mid-afternoon trains toward New Haven come only every hour, and it takes me just over an hour to to ride to New Haven, once I narrowly miss the train, I will reach my parked car in New Haven faster if I ride. Also, it's nice to ride, and it saves me $2.75, which sum can later be spent on booze or coffee.
Well, to make a long story longer, just as I was about a mile past the Milford station and into the long-ish gap between Milford and Union Station in New Haven, the sky opened up and Hurricane Deez Nuts passed over the area. Luckily, I had my rain coat, rain pants, and galoshes with me, and a rain cover for my bag. Unluckily, piled-up leaves in the bike lane + ceaseless downpour = large, deep rivers covering most of the road. So I plowed on east, instead of returning to the Milford station, and felt fairly confident I would remain dry, until the following indignity befell me: I was tooling along through a deep puddle when I heard a car give a little tap on the horn behind me. It was not an angry tap at all - more like, "Look out, I am coming through with a wide load and want you to be aware of my presence," or "Careful, there, my cyclist friend, as you are inadvertenly drifting toward the middle of the road." So I looked over my left shoulder to see what was up, and learned in an instant that the tap actually meant, "I am about to drive past you through a deep puddle at a high rate of speed, so I want to make sure you are facing me when I splash you with a huge amount of water."
So, yeah. I got very very wet and now my laptop screen doesn't work. I think there's a lesson here, but I'm not sure what it is. In any event, I am ready for The Eel. And if for some reason we are suddenly required to carry laptops and race in the rain, I will house all you. Read more!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
She's at it once more.
How could the Lincoln Memorial — “With malice toward none; with charity for all” — be as moving if the black neighborhoods of a charming American city were left to drown while the president mountain-biked?From what I understand, Bush was at John McCain's birthday party when Katrina hit.
Why does mountain biking have to be her go-to cliché for emphasizing Bush's puerility.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Just like Guy Fawkes, our plot has been foiled. The forecast for tonight has gotten worse. Now we're looking at a 90% chance of rain with accumulations between a quarter and a half-inch from 8-midnight. That's not fun for all when it's cold. I'll still go to the Corner Pug for a couple, and to inform those participants who didn't get this update and show up.
We'll push it back a week, and make it a ride to honor our veterans and the WWI Armistice. So get some rest from your post-election reveling/sorrowing, and we'll see you next week.
The election yesterday was pretty good. My main concern yesterday, obviously, was Urania Petit for Hartford Registrar of Voters. It ended well. She beat Sal Bramante by 104 votes. Now Hartford has 3 registrars. Suck on that, rest of the state!
Anyway, I was snooping on craigslist briefly and thinking to myself that now that the weather is getting cooler, craiglist is really improving. I saw a $500 mid 90s serotta that looked pretty awesome and some other nice things. I also saw a langster and a pista for $450, both of which were in Hartford by the same guy. Weird.
Then I saw this: http://hartford.craigslist.org/bik/881668326.html
It's a Mercier Kilo TT for $300 with no wheels. On bikesdirect, it only costs $399. It's got a purple chain, but I still can't understand how you can charge that much money for a wheel-less bikesdirect bike.
That's it. See you on Saturday. Thanks to ghostship and bike new haven for the shoutouts about THE EEL. Read more!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Remember, remember the Fifth of November,For our first bike pub crawl in the Beat, we're going to blow off the last of that election tension on Wednesday, November 5th and check out a handful of the Hartford British/Irish pubs on the traditional date for "Guy Fawkes Night" in the United Kingdom. True, the celebration normally includes the burning of effigies, but we're taking a break from the destruction and just enjoying a few fine brews here in this "New" version of England. Everyone with a bike is welcome to join the crawl. We'll start at The Corner Pug and allow some time for food while the stragglers get in. Below is a rough schedule, in case you can't make the whole shebang (very loose schedule and subject to change on a whim)
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I see no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
- 7 pm - 8:15 pm: The Corner Pug, 1046 New Britain Ave., West Hartford, CT
- 8:30 - 9:30: The Half Door*, 270 Sisson Ave., Hartford, CT
- 9:45 - 10:15: McKinnon's Irish Pub, 114 Asylum St., Hartford, CT
- 10:20 - 11:00: Vaughan's Public House, 59 Pratt St., Hartford, CT
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intentRead more!
To blow up the King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
Right about now, everyone (your humble Presidente included) seems quite preoccupied with the results of today's voting. All around Connecticut and in every city, town, village, and unincorporated exurb across this great land, Americans tonight will gather round the old transistor radio and wait with bated breath, hearts pounding with the heady rush that can only come from witnessing democracy in action, to find out, once and for all, if seventeen-year-olds who will turn eighteen by the day of the general election will be granted the right to vote in Connecticut primaries. But friends, there is another exciting contest before us, a contest in which every candidate - indeed, every American - will be a winner. I refer, of course, to The Eel, the exciting on-road/off-road race on Saturday afternoon.
Will there be prizes? You bet your electors! Our very good friends at Xootr have donated one of their Crossracks as a prize. Here's what the Crossrack looks like in action, carrying lots and lots of groceries:
There will also be a cash prize, the quantity of which will be determined by the number of entrants, the results of the election, and the prime rate. There may be other prizes too, depending on what we can rustle up. (Manhattan Portage, you sudden non-returner of e-mails, I am looking at you!)
Naturally, I will be riding the Swift Folder that they gave me, the excellent folding properties of which will facilitate my Rosie Ruiz-style competition plan: I will have a confederate meet me somewhere along the course, I will fold the Xootr up and throw it in the trunk, and my accomplice will ferry me farther along the route, ensuring that I finish third behind Brendan and that other crazy-fast dude who is a teetotaler and whose name now escapes me.
Just in case I am required actually to pilot the bicycle over any rough terrain, I have switched handlebars to ensure more control and general toughness:
Scared yet? You should be. Read more!
Im note going to belabor the point nor am I going to argue the benefits. If you bike you are probably smarter than the average American citizen and if I might dare say likewise if you are reading this blog so you already know.
Remind your friends to VOTE!
Monday, November 3, 2008
Brendan was foolish enough to authorize my ability to be a contributor to the beat and I will take advantage of his trusting nature for the first time today, BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!
Ok, seriously though, thank you to all the Beat writers, you guys are doing a great job and I am thankful for the ability to post when interesting stuff comes up with CCBA that is relevant to the beat and when I have thoughts to contribute.
First off, I am the chairman of the Bike Everywhere Committee for CCBA and we are having an end of the year organizational meeting on Wednesday, November 12 at Lena's on Park in Hartford. The meeting will start at 6 and we will be going over last years bike to work and bike everywhere events and talking about how we want to structure things going forward. This is an extremely open forum (just be nice and don't attack anyone, those are the only rules...) and we would appreciate all the input we can get to put a good product on the streets and advance cycling in the beat and beyond. If any of our readers from the Pacific Rim could be there that would be fantastic, your voice is, as of now, unaccounted for in our committee planning........
Second, El Presidente's comment related to increased horseless carriageness has had me thinking as well. Its really unfortunate that the gas prices have dumped right on the edge of winter.... It would have been great to see the push to ride carried on through the colder months and I fear it will be hard to motivate folks to get back on and ride in the spring....
Finally, CCBA will have a new website soon. We are moving forward out of the 70's and into the now! More on that later. Read more!
As gas prices climbed and climbed over the summer, we bike- and alternative-transportation-advocates crowed merrily that these times they were a-changin'; that finally the moment had arrived for a real sea change in Americans' driving habits. Well, now gas prices are in sharp decline ($2.40 today at the Cumberland Farms on Park Rd. in W. Hartford) and I heard on the news the other day that just as people cling to guns and religion in times of crisis, so too are they returning to their old friend, the horseless carriage, in times of relative petro-abundance.
Another, perhaps less-noticed change that came with high gas prices was an increase in posting on New Haven's bike advocacy listserv. It's true, as the good folks at Design New Haven noted back in June: when Americans started to feel the pinch at the pump, they seemed to find solace not only in drink, but in posting on the Elm City Cycling yahoo group. Luckily, however, while the drop in prices has heralded a return to four wheels, it as not kept us from the interwebs! (Like Charlton Heston says, the only way they'll take my internet away is when they pry it from my cold, dead hands!) ECC posting volume continues it's periodically erratic but overall steady growth, with 342 posts in the month of October. And BeatBikeBlog readership is up 16.29% over the last week, with crucial increases in Australia, Japan, the Philipines, Taiwan, South Korea, and Pakistan!
What is the point of all this? I'm not really sure. It's good news, sort of (bicycles + internets = awesome!), and it is another distraction from the incessant, nerve-racking, pre-election news marathon. It distracted me to write it, anyway, and me being distracted is half the battle. Read more!
This blog, as all six of our readers know, is about the bicycles, and also about Hartford and environs. But one of the main reasons we ride bikes, aside from to get from one place to another, is to have fun. Why do we have fun? To distract us from the more weighty problems of our lives and of the world. Personally, I have never needed such distraction more than I need it now, because I am feeling very nervous about this election. (I am concerned that Ralph Nader's encouraging poll results in Winsted will not translate into national success.) Sadly, I can't just go off on a day-long bike-capade because I am at work and when I finish work I have children to feed and bathe and such, so I must turn to other sources of distraction. Moments ago, I found the best source fo distraction ever, and not surprisingly, it was on the INTERNETS! It is a treatment for a screenplay, called, "The Lost Medallion of Palenque," and it is the most coolest thing ever, like The Mummy meets Apocalypto meets Independence Day, but possibly more awesome. You should read it right away.
When you read the story, you will probably think, "This is absurd and full of bad punctuation. Can this guy be serious? And what makes El Prez think this is a movie treatment rather than just a poorly written eighth-grade English assignment posted to a poorly designed website?" The answer is, YES HE IS SERIOUS, and I KNOW SO BECAUSE OF THIS CRAIGSLIST AD.
You're welcome. Read more!