Don't Want A Speeding Ticket? Try Obeying The Speed Limit.

November 5th, 2012


When I say this to those who complain (including Gerty!), I am treated like a lobotomized flatworm. (Apparently everyone except me knows that speeding is a basic human right.)

From a Washington Post editorial:

HERE’S AN IDEA for motorists who complain about having to pay the fines assessed by the District’s traffic cameras: Obey the laws. Driving the speed limit, stopping at red lights and not making prohibited right turns on red are the best defense against getting a ticket.

Now we need turn signal cameras . . . .

Mile High Urban CX Chaos: Nov. 11 in the RINO District

November 5th, 2012


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This sounds very fun and very cool:

Primal Wear brings you Denver's First Ever Urban CX Race, Ever. Not the suburbs of Highlands Ranch or Castle Rock, not Golden, not Boulder, but right smack in the middle of Denver. Mile High Urban CX Chaos (MUCCY) is a one of a kind event in Colorado breaking ground in a truly gritty urban metropolitan environment: graffiti, warehouses, construction, train tracks, abandoned tires and empty lots.

They had me at "Not the suburbs of Highlands Ranch or Castle Rock, not Golden, not Boulder . . ."

So, in review, why race MUCCY?

  • It is the first and only truly urban, full category, sanctioned CX race in Denver(Bronze Level in the Colorado Cross Cup)
  • It is building the first adaptive CX course
  • Lagunitas Brewing Co. is providing the beer with the proceeds to benefit BikeDenver. The Lagunitas Beer Garden will be at the Fat Bros. Bar & Grill - they will open at 8am and have some amazing breakfast burritos!
  • There is an opportunity to help build bikes for kids with Project Re-Cycle
  • It is a great group of individuals and companies that have come together to celebrate the cycling community in Denver

Needs a better name though.

The Padraig Principle(s)?

November 5th, 2012


Padraig at RedKitePrayer (Patrick Brady) wrote on Thursday to announce to the world that he believed Lance was a doper all along (or at least before Lance's first Tour victory.)

Trouble is, Padraig and the cycling press didn't share their beliefs about Lance with the rest of us. Not only didn't the press tell us Lance was a doper, most writers didn't support those telling the truth about Lance and, worse, some actively helped demean and discredit those Lance's critics. (I discussed Padraig's post here, contrasting it with another writer who appears to have some remorse about the press's behavior.)

A fair reading of Padraig's "The Cynic" post is that, after struggling a great deal about his role as cycling writer, Padraig decided not to write about Lance's doping because Padraig was a) frightened of Lance; b) wanted to keep working as a cycling writer; c) figured he would pretend that the peloton was clean as long as the UCI didn't do anything; and/or d) figured that Lance "should" have success (scamming the public?) because the UCI was inept.

I suspect that Padraig didn't expect the response his post received. (Padraig deserves credit for posting the unfavorable comments and repeatedly responding to them.)

A few commenters aren't happy with Padraig or the cycling press. One commenter, Evan, reminded Padraig that not telling the whole truth is a problem:

[N]ot speaking the whole truth and nothing but, one commits moral turpitude. This was hard, perhaps the hardest thing in my life to face as I have lived a life serving others often at great peril to myself. I almost always prevailed, changing occupations rather than not speak out. . . .

Only you can know truly why you choose to stay a journalist and be silenced. None of us have the right to judge you nor tell you why.

I disagree with Evan a bit: Padraig has told us why he chose "to stay a journalist and be silenced." (I've listed what Padraig told us about that above.) So, we know and can comment on Padraig's reasons -- but that's a mere quibble.

Trouble is Padraig still doesn't understand why his readers might be angry at the cycling press. And, as to his own culpability, whether large or minuscule, Padraig is having none.

Although in "The Cynic" Padraig describes himself as "wrestling" with what Lance's doping meant to him since he was making a "living writing about cycling," he responds to his critics with by saying that he, "really wasn’t writing about pro cycling at all."

Had I been writing about pro cycling much during that Armstrong era, I might have done things differently. The fact is, from ’99 to ’02, I really wasn’t writing about pro cycling at all. From ’03 to ’05 I was publishing a lifestyle magazine and covering pro cycling wasn’t part of its editorial mission.

I confess I'm puzzled. If Padraig wasn't really writing about pro cycling or couldn't write about it, what was all his anguish/concern/cynicism about? If he was not writing or couldn't write about pro cyclists, who cares if he cynically treats dirty cyclists as clean cyclists or cynically believes Lance should be successful? Why should we even credit his opinion from back then about the UCI's enforcement efforts? We care about those things only if Padraig could have written about Lance but refrained.

I don't think Padraig wanted us to take away from his post that Padraig was out of the pro cycling loop, wasn't really writing about pro cycling, and couldn't have written anything about his belief even if he hadn't been so cynical.

His response to his critics is hard for me to square with the original post.

Full story »

The Truth Just Fell On Your House

November 4th, 2012

The New Jersey relative who last summer called me "really stupid" for suggesting we should do something about global warming is still trying to get the tree out of his roof. And still no power.

Two Lance Enablers Confess, But Only One Is Sorry

November 1st, 2012


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Ed Ruscha, "Safe & Effective Medication." Image from Ikon Ltd. Fine Art. This is the painting that Hal Epsen found hanging prominently on Lance Armstrong's living-room wall during a 2005 visit.

Today two journalists discuss their knowledge of Lance's doping, and why they didn't tell their readers what they knew or suspected. Hal Epsen's piece at The Atlantic, ?How I Enabled the Cult of Lance Armstrong,? is a reflection on Epsen's role, while he was editor of Outside magazine, in creating and maintaining the Lance Armstrong myth. Epsen acknowledges his naiveté, credulity, and now, his shame. The second, by Padraig at Red Kite Prayer, aptly titled ?The Cynic,? is a curiously unselfconscious description of Padraig's reasons for remaining silent about his belief that Lance was doping, discouraging investigation of Lance, and dissing Lance's most-prominent critic during the great Lance Armstrong scam. At first glance, both pieces appear confessional ? efforts to fess up to individual failings, as well as the failure of the cycling press to tell the public the truth. The first is exactly that. The second however, is not. Let's start with the second. On first read, Padraig appears to acknowledge his complicity in Lance's scam:

I need to admit to you that it's been a long time since I thought Armstrong was a clean cyclist.

Sounds good. Padraig has been writing about cycling a long time and believed that Lance was doping. He's going to apologize for failing to tell us the truth. But if you thought Padraig was going to apologize, you'd be wrong. Padraig's "admission" isn't an admission at all ? at least he's not admitting he goofed. It's actually a bit of rhetorical jujitsu -- a bit of self-aggrandizement disguised in the language of a confession. Padraig is telling us that he wasn't a credulous dupe like the great mass of U.S. cycling fans and Lance lovers. He knew more. He knew better. He just didn't tell us.

Full story »

From Elsewhere . . .

November 1st, 2012

  • Amsterdam has (bike) parking and (bike) traffic problems.
  • Not shopping at Menards again.
  • From The Big Story, internet access supplied by bike in Bangladesh:

    Dozens of "Info Ladies" bike into remote Bangladeshi villages with laptops and Internet connections, helping tens of thousands of people — especially women — get everything from government services to chats with distant loved ones. . .

    The Info Ladies project, created in 2008 by local development group D.Net and other community organizations, is modeled after a program that helped make cellphones widespread in Bangladesh. . . .

    D.Net recruits the women and trains them for three months to use a computer, the Internet, a printer and a camera. It arranges bank loans for the women to buy bicycles and equipment.
    . . .

    The women — usually undergraduates from middle-class rural families — aren't doling out charity. Begum pays 200 takas ($2.40) for an hour of Skype time with her husband, who works in Saudi Arabia.

    Begum smiles shyly when her husband's cheerful face pops up. With earphones in place, she excitedly tells him she received the money he sent last month. He asks her to buy farm land.

    Even Begum's elderly mother-in-law now uses Skype to talk with her son.

  • Yemen, where lycra kills.
  • I'm told there are good cops, but it is inescapable that many are thugs. This fellow tasered a 10-year old to show him what happens when citizens don't obey the police.
  • Yves Smith on why changes in where we live make our social safety net more important than ever, though both candidates for president want to cut it:

    The implications of gutting social protections are far more serious than they might appear. Dial the clock back eighty years, and most people lived in or near the communities they grew up in. They could turn to extended family, or other members of the community for support if they suffered a serious setback. Informal social safety nets stood in the place of the government provided ones we have now.

    Broadly shared prosperity and government safety nets are essential underpinnings of a modern, mobile society. The American nuclear family isn’t just an outgrowth of the automobile era; it’s also the result of union jobs in an industrial economy helping create a wage foundation, and the high confidence most men (in those days, it was men) had in continued employment, and the existence of social protections if something bad happened (Social Security’s disability programs have raised entire families, for instance) made it viable to move far from one’s hometown in pursuit of opportunity.

    But as the population has become more mobile, the role of community, and their local support mechanisms, has faded. . . . We are moving towards the sort of stratified society we had not in the 1920s, but in the early Industrial Revolution with a landed aristocracy, a small haute bourgoisie, some well remunerated craftsmen, and a large agricultural/servant class. In other words, the effort to roll back the New Deal is in fact going much further, in terms of reinstitutionalizing class stratification, lack of mobility, and a resulting large new “lower order” that will live in stress and often squalor. A new, more brutal society is being created before our eyes, and it seems such an incredible development that many people are still in denial about what is happening.

How many PhDs Does It Take To Get A PowerPoint Working?

November 1st, 2012


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Cartoon copyright Jorge Cham.

Very familiar and only slightly exaggerated.

From, new strips Monday, Wednesday, & Friday. If you like it, you're in luck, the archive goes back to 1997.

Happy Halloween!

October 31st, 2012


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Lovely Bicycle!'s 1946 Griffon & Howle Rando-Broom

I am embarrassed to admit that Griffon & Howle's exquisite work was unknown to me until now. In case you are as ignorant as I was, according to Lovely Bicycle!:

Griffon & Howle were the constructeurs of flying brooms, back in the days when fine craftsmanship and attention to detail truly mattered. They used only the finest wooden tubing, the lightest metal fittings, the softest, most aerodynamic bristles. But more importantly, they fabricated all components and accessories in a manner that truly integrated with the broom itself. To hold a Griffon & Howle is to hold a masterpiece. To fly a Griffon & Howle is a privilege that few experience.

More pictures and design drawings are here.