Friday, August 29, 2008

On the campaign trail with Wally Crankset





Dr. Walter Crankset vowed to continue his campaign to be the Democratic vice presidential nominee at a campaign stop in Cowboy Flats earlier today. A heckler in the crowd, identified later as local rabble rouser Fritz Delicious yelled that Senator Joseph Biden is the real Democratic nominee and that Dr. Crankset should "give it up and get a life!"

Dr. Crankset has been beset by numerous hecklers throughout his campaign, and often takes time from his stump speech to confront their objections in a straightforward and forceful manner. He was in no mood for distraction this morning. "Joe Biden!" he yelled. "Joe Biden is a good man, but he's no match for Mary Palin. That woman is tough! She's from Alaska and she wrestles Kodiak bears and catches King Crab with her bare hands. Joe Biden can't do that. He's from Maryland where their idea of a crab is something that fits on a dinner plate. King Crab are 4 feet across and Palin catches them in her teeth! You need somebody just as tough to stand up to her. and that's me. I may not look like a mean, hard-as-nails hombre these days, but back with I was a masked wrestler in Mexico..."

His security detail intervened at this point and Dr. Crankset didn't finish his remarks.


Evening shift at IHOP

Last night, Jordan was at work waiting tables at IHOP. A customer came in alone and was seated in his area. Jordan went over to the table and the man ordered two meals, one for himself and one for his wife. The kitchen was humming right along, so the plates were ready quickly. Jordan took them to the table and was slightly surprised to find the man still alone.

He was sobbing.

Jordan asked if he were alright and the man told him his wife had passed away just recently. He'd come into IHOP and ordered her favorite. It was just too overwhelming and he began to cry.

When he regained his composure, he ate his meal in silence, then called for the check. Jordan said, “No, this is on me. I paid for both meals.” And he did. He took the cost out of the tips he'd made and paid for the meal with the knowledge of his manager.

Sometimes our kids do things that are simply astounding. I can't get him to go to bed on time, clean up his room, or clear off his dishes after breakfast. Then he does something like this and lets Mary and I know that we instilled the right values in him where it counts, deep in his heart.

I'm very proud of my son today.

Food! Glorious food!

This will be short. I took a vacation day in order to stretch out the weekend.

I had lunch today at Simply Sushi, an new sushi bar located on 86th Street in Owasso, just south of the Eighth Grade Center. My family is more the meat-and-potatoes type, so I'm the only one who engages in eating 'adventures.' Sushi is turning into one of my favorites.

Today I had edamame for the first time. These are young soybeans still in the pod. They're cooked in salt water, spiced, and served hot. It's much like eating boiled peanuts, and just like peanuts, they can be addictive it seems. They make a wonderful and nutritious snack or appetizer.

Also, I had the Cowboy Roll today. This is hoisin beef, carrots, and sprouts wrapped in rice.

I'll be honest - this is not a lot of food, but it's probably the amount I should be eating at lunch rather than the amount I want to eat. Having the edamame along side kept my fingers busy with munching.

All of that went well with a cold, sweet iced tea, the chardonnay of the South.

So if you're out and about on your bike somewhere north of Tulsa, and you're in the mood for sushi, stop in at Simply Sushi.

13720 E 86th Street N
Owasso, OK
Dine in and take out available


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Parade

(This is my Lanterne Rouge column for this month. Obviously, it was written just as the Olympics started. I breathed a sigh of relief when it was over, and had just enough time to draw another breath before the Democratic convention started. Lucky me.)

Lyndsay wanted to watch the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics. I left the room, knowing that if I stayed, the television coverage would be annoying. I gave up on the Olympics many years ago because I'd prefer to see the events in their entirety, not chopped up in bite-size pieces. If the networks covered football that way, the fans would storm the television stations with torches and pitchforks.

Sure enough, about an hour later, she stormed into the bedroom where I was tinkering with my laptop. "They had a parade of these random nations, just all tossed together! And some of them had to be made up. Who ever heard of Shree Lumpum Looie? It's all fake! And they aren't even in alphabetical order! They have no organization!"

Miss Neatness has everything placed just so in her room. Her closet is organized by colors and even her shoes are lined up. I said, "Maybe they're not in alphabetical order because the Olympics are in China and they don't use an alphabet. They're Chinese. They use ideograms."

"Oh, yeah" she replied, applying a thick layer of sarcasm for her obviously befuddled father, "They have the parade according to the number of marks on a country's character. That's not right, it should be alphabetical, then it would make sense!"

She left in a huff, presumably to watch more Olympics coverage and get even more upset.

I found my headphones and plugged them into the computer, selecting some music that wouldn't interrupt my reading.

The next interval was shorter. The door flew open and she bounced in again. "They're waving flags around and they have these little boxes going up and down. There's music and a light show. I thought this was supposed to be athletics! I really want to see the gymnastics!" All this was loud enough to penetrate my headphones. I tried to rivet my attention on a description of a U-boat attack in the First World War, but it was not to be. I made eye contact, so I couldn't pretend she wasn't there.

"You might want to check the network schedule and see when the gymnastics will be on," I replied. "And I think NBC is offering them on their website too, so if you miss the broadcast, you can still see the events. Regardless, it's going to be stiff with commercials."

She left again, an exasperated sigh trailing along behind her, the kind of sigh a teenager uses upon discovering that the world does not operate according to their whim.

Seconds later, she returned. "These commercials as so stupid!"

I didn't even look up. "Turn it off and read a book." I could hear her eyes rolling from across the room. When she left, I gave passing thought to simply bricking up the door until the Olympics ended. I think I can survive in here on the odd candy bar and water from the bathroom tap. It wouldn't be so bad and I can certainly afford to lose a few pounds.


Monday, August 25, 2008

TAOBIKE planning meeting

(Please note: The date for the proposed BAG meeting is given as 12SEP2008. This is the Friday before the MS150 weekend. I'm trying to find a venue available for Thursday the 11th as it may offer fewer conflicts. Also, as Tim Armer was able to attend, we covered much more than the original agenda. It was a productive meeting....Ed)

TAOBIKE planning meeting


We had three goals for this meeting:

Set the schedule for BikeEd classes.

Discuss the HUB.

Discuss growing TAOBIKE.

List of attendees:

Tim Armer

Gary Parker

Ren Barger

Mike Schooling

Andy Wheeler

Brian Potter

Richard Hall

Steve (?)

Ed Wagner


Tim Armer provided some background on INCOG's role in local planning. He discussed the changes to the EPA dirty air list and mentioned that the changes may bring more than 300 cities into non-compliance where only 80 had been before now. One reason Tulsa was denied BFC status was because it does not have a Comprehensive Bicycle Planning document, a situation we would like to address. As always, pursuing funding is the hard part.


PlaniTulsa is an opportunity for community participation in the city planning. Register on-line to participate in a workshop on September 22 or 23.


The HUB is part of Tulsa's beautification project and will be a central component in BikeEd. Ren has secured a 10,000 sq. ft. facility located near the new stadium. The plan is to offer Road1 classes, bicycle repair classes, a cafe, and much, much more. The Community Cycling Project will be the major agenda item. There is a parking lot adjacent to the facility for Road1 drills. It should be operational by November. There is a possibility that The HUB will be involved in the Tulsa Townie program in the future. (An aside – the Tulsa Townie program sees an average of 200+ bicycles used on an average weekend, and there are 75 bicycles in the fleet.) The HUB has a website and is currently looking for a web designer and content. Note that The HUB will be closed through the months of February and August in order to save energy.


BikeEd – there is some interest in offering a Road1 course through 360 Sports, a local bike shop in Owasso. If this is successful, it may be a blueprint for Road1 in other suburban communities in the region. Tulsa is the biggest market, of course, but a program like this highlights our interest in all area communities. We would like to get some of the BikeEd curriculum into local DUI schools. We need to find contacts at the courthouse or possibly through MADD.

Bike to Work

There was some discussion of Bike to Work events and AA was mentioned specifically. Also, it was pointed out that many bicycle commuters are unable to attend BTW events because they're already at work!

Tulsa Transit

We discussed Tulsa Transit's Rack and Roll program that offers program participants a free bicycle for 24 hours at the Denver Avenue station. (pdf)

LAB News

LAB is looking for Ambassadors. This is from the American Bicyclist Update, 19AUG2008:

We are creating a new volunteer position to provide a stronger link
between our regional directors (who have to serve many states)
and the cycling community in every state – clubs, advocacy groups,
the industry, mountain bike and racing activities, and more. State
ambassadors will work with board members and staff to provide
closer liaison between the regional director and League members,
volunteers and affiliated organizations identify issues, challenges,
and opportunities for the League to address in relation to its
member services and programs; promote member participation in
the League; promote League membership, services and programs
to people and organizations in their state; and assist their
regional director in recommending regional events and award
recipients for the national office. Appointments will be made
this fall, following the Board of Directors meeting on
September 25. We welcome applications – please send a cover
letter and resume – through September 15; please send
your nomination to and make
reference to “state ambassador” in the subject line of your
e-mail. Note: technically, we know this isn’t a new position.
We used to have state representatives and state legislative
representatives a while back. We’ve chosen the term
“ambassador” this time as we want people who are
facilitators and connectors, people who can help the
League’s programs come to life, and who can process
valuable feedback on those programs for the board and staff.

Upcoming events calendar:
Bike to Work 12SEP
BAG & Master Plan Meeting 12SEP
MS150 13-14SEP
Road1 20SEP tentative
TBC Fall Century 27SEP
Claremore 4OCT
Road1 Owasso 20OCT tentative
Tulsa Tough Skill Drills (kids) 9MAY2009 and 23MAY2009 tentative

BAG and Comprehensive Bicycling Master Plan meeting
The Bicycling Subcommittee (BAG) at INCOG has had
a problem whenever there's a staff change at the agency.
We've had to re-organize and start from zero each time.
This is difficult for everyone involved. So in order to
provide some continuity within the bicycling advisory
group, we are proposing the formation of a permanent
bicycling advocacy group that will provide the same
function as the subcommittee, yet be outside INCOG.
By necessity, this must be a representative organization.
There will be a planning meeting on 12SEP2008 to do
the preliminary work. As yet, the venue has not been
established. All interested parties are invited to attend.
This message will go out to all current BAG members
as well as area clubs and organizations.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

On the campaign trail with Wally Crankset




At a whistle stop in appropriately named Whistle Stop, Oklahoma, the Wally Crankset campaign originally planned a town meeting in the high school gymnasium, the largest venue available. Due to the recent unseasonable rains, the football field is underwater, so the team needed the gym for practice. Showing their adaptability, the campaign staff set up in a defunct Sinclair station nearby.

Dr. Crankset was delivering his stump speech about taxes, foreign policy, and taking personal responsibility, when he broke off to answer a heckler in the admittedly thin crowd. The man was later identified as Matthew Jackson.

He ain't American. He rides a French bike!” yelled Jackson. The Crankset campaign is car-free and has been traveling by bicycle.

Dr. Crankset had taken the heckling with good grace to that point. He responded, “Yes, it's true. It's a French bike that's over 30 years old, and I'll keep right on riding it – all the way to Washington! It represents something we've lost as a people, and that's the simple determination to build things that last. How many of you are still driving the car you had 30 years ago? You put more money into that vehicle than I've ever spent on this bike, and that car and all your money is long gone. Why don't we build things to last rather than make them disposable? Think of it this way – if we built consumer goods to last a lifetime, if we build them to be repairable, we'd have money to spend on other things in life, like better educations for our kids, better medical care, or maybe a house on the lake or some other dream that's just out of reach. It requires changing our priorities. Rather than building new factories overseas to turn out more goods, we'd be spending our money employing local people in small businesses. So sure, I ride a French bike that's over 30 years old. If I can keep it repaired, I'll ride if for another 30 years!”

Mr. Jackson replied with a string of profanities, and two members of Dr. Crankset's security detail escorted him from the building.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama announces VP choice



Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama announced that he's chosen Delaware Senator Joseph Biden to be his running mate in the fall campaign. Senator Biden is a long-time Washington insider with considerable experience in foreign policy and national security.

Broken Elbow's Dr. Wally Crankset, who announced earlier this week that he was the VP pick and not Sen. Biden, reacted angrily when contacted by the Meteor News. Dr. Crankset was finishing lunch at Larry's Cafe, a local watering hole, where he made these comments. "This ain't over! I'm the real candidate not that panty-waist Biden. He's gonna have to come here and we'll settle this man-to-man! And dammit, Larry, last call does not come at one o'clock in the afternoon!"

Moments later, Dr. Crankset was escorted to the door.

The Broken Elbow Meteor News will offer continuing coverage of his campaign for vice-president.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A correction...




Yesterday, the Broken Elbow Meteor News reported that Dr. Walter Crankset had been selected as Barack Obama's running mate. As the crack investigative reporters on the News have learned in the last 24 hours, this information is false. When contacted, the Obama campaign denied that Dr. Crankset had been chosen, and furthermore, they went on to say that they had never heard of him previously.

Dr. Crankset adamantly refused to confirm the campaign's statement, insisting that Obama campaign insiders had offered him the position in exchange for $500. "And that's twice what Dick Cheney paid for his job!" said Dr. Crankset. "With me, you'll get twice the vice president! At least you can find me." Dr. Crankset said he would continue campaigning until Democratic nominee Barack Obama personally called on him to stop, but admitted that without financial backing, traveling the campaign trail would have to be limited.

Dr. Crankset announced that in lieu of air travel, he would campaign from the seat of a bicycle. When contacted, the Secret Service would neither confirm nor deny that they were suppling protective services for Dr. Crankset.

The Broken Elbow Meteor News will be following Dr. Crankset throughout the fall.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

This just in...

Remember, you heard it here first. I expect the wire services will break this story in the next couple of minutes....Ed




After much consultation with noted Democratic leaders around the country, presumptive presidential nominee Barack Obama has selected a political unknown for his running mate. Largely unknown outside Oklahoma, his choice for vice president is Dr. Walter Crankset, a researcher and political activist at the University of Northeastern Oklahoma, extension campus in Broken Elbow. Doctor Crankset said in a brief interview this morning, that he was looking forward to the challenge of the fall campaign, mainly because it would help him pay off his bar bill highlight various political causes.

Oklahoma's Republican leadership was stunned at the selection of Dr. Crankset. “He's a wanted man in at least 3 counties,” said Billy Joe Doug Igniewtowski, whose daughter was once engaged to Dr. Crankset. “If he crosses the county line, I'll see his sorry butt in jail!”

It promises to be an interesting fall campaign.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday Musette

Rain? In August?

The Bianchi has fenders (mudguards to some of you!) again, and apparently I installed them at the right moment. The radar shows a line of thunderstorms heading this way. With my luck, they'll arrive just when I leave for home.

A word about the installation. These new fenders are the Hardcore Road models with stainless steel hardware from Planet Bike. Installation was simple except for the bracket that attaches to the brake bridge. I couldn't get enough clearance to keep the tire from rubbing until I cut off the vertical tab and used zip ties to secure the bracket. This procedure is included with the instructions, except for the tab removal. My Bianchi San Remo has generous clearances otherwise. I've had tires as large as 38mm installed without any problems – without fenders, of course. The current tires are only 28mm, so you'd think clearance wouldn't be a problem.

We had rain here last week too. This is a rarity in August. Some summers we haven't had rain in June, July, or August. The ground cracks, and small towns have water rationing. But not this year.

So I may be riding home in the rain. It's much easier to take with the temperatures in the 80s. In January when it's 40F, raining, and an icy wind comes out of the north at 25mph or more, it's an entirely different proposition.

More bike lane inanity.

I came across a post some time ago in which a cyclist lamented he could not get from here to there because there was no bike lane. Seriously. No bike lane = can't go there. I seem to recall writing something about how bike lanes fostered dependency in some cyclists. The so-called advocacy groups who insist that lanes are necessary both play on cyclist's deepest, darkest fears and do much to encourage that dependency.

Well, recently I came across another one, a cyclist who insisted that unless there were a big group riding together on XYZ Road, it was impossible to ride there because motorists often encroached on the bike lane.

So there you have it. First, the roads will not be 'safe' until bike lanes are installed, and second, even the bike lanes aren't safe unless there's a big group of cyclists present.

Pardon me while I go have a depressive episode.

And finally...

Of course it didn't rain! I have fenders!

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bicycle commute clothing: A response for Buji

(Image from Technology in Australia, a photomicrograph of a wool fiber.)

(When I started writing this back at the beginning of August, daytime temperatures here were at or above 100F every day. In the last week we've had some rain and the resulting cloudy days have reduced temperatures to 'only' 90F or so. Believe me, that feels like relief!)

Bujiatang left a comment on "Wednesday Musette":

I was wondering if I could ask a bit of advice myself about commuting.

I wear cotton boxers and the weather in Minnesota has been a bit hot and muggy too.

do you suggest a different garment? A better fabric?

any advice is appreciated.

Do we really need cycling clothes for commuting? If your commute is short - no, you don't. But if you're planning to ride every day or your commute is more than a couple of miles, cycling clothes can make your saddle time more comfortable. These days there are more choices than the traditional jersey and shorts, but I wouldn't be caught dead in them. Strange, isn't it? I think nothing of wearing a jersey and shorts, but draw the line at those dorky capris. Go figure.

Here are a couple of links to other cycling clothing choices:

Though he didn't say so explicitly, Buji hit squarely on 2 essential aspects of any high-performance clothing: garment design and fabric design. I've elaborated on them in the sections below.

Let me preface this by saying that long ago, I rode every day wearing cutoffs and jockey shorts. Maybe I had an advanced case of iron butt or those pain receptors weren't fully developed, but if I tried that now, I'd be off the bike for days. All those seams would act as tiny saw blades on my skin. In order to continue riding every day I need to be careful about preventing saddle sores. (See the saddle sore piece for more.)

My commute here in Oklahoma is 7 miles - roughly a half hour ride at my leisurely pace. Please remember that "Oklahoma" is an Indian word for "this place is only 2 miles from the sun!" Yesterday's homeward ride featured 102F. It was still 101F at 10PM and it was over 80F when I rode to work in the morning. Dancers may 'glow' but I sweat like a pig.

In all honesty, I'll admit that I've ridden around town on a Saturday morning wearing cargo shorts over jockeys. I wouldn't make a regular practice of it, however. Cargo shorts are wonderful when I'm running errands and visiting yard sales, but they're not a good choice for long distances or every day use. I've worn cycling shorts under cargo shorts a few times, and while it's convenient, I wouldn't want to wear them all day. It's a near-certain prescription for saddle sores. I've even tried riding to work using synthetic shorts under my work clothes (think 'tighty whities' with legs) but I don't like sitting in an air conditioned shop as the stuff slowly dries.

My usual practice is to wear boxer shorts, but on a bike saddle they form folds and creases that have the same effect as those seams in jockeys. Eventually they start cutting into my skin. Even worse, the 'dangly bits' sometimes get trapped between my leg and the saddle, leading to some strange gyrations as I try to get everything situated comfortably.

My son gave me some synthetic polo shirts for Father's Day this year. They wick just as a cycling jersey does, so I've given some thought to getting some baggy mountain bike shorts for occasional use.

(A word of advice is in order here. Don't wear gym shorts when cycling. They tend to get hooked over the nose of the saddle. When you stand up, they stay down. This can be somewhat upsetting, though there are certain people who find it perversely exciting. You know who you are.)

Over short distances, nearly any type of clothing will suffice for commuting, but as Buji has noted, there may be better alternatives than cotton.

Fabrics and sweat

Back in the old days, cycling clothes were made of light wool. Even now, some very nice and very spendy cycling clothes are made of wool. Wool fibers move moisture over their surfaces by capillary action if I recall right. Sweat evaporates from the outside and the fibers wick more away from the skin. All wicking fibers do this, not just wool. In the late 70s or early 80s, synthetics were developed that performed the same function.

Cotton doesn't wick. Anyone wearing a t-shirt on a hot day has seen wet patches on their shirt. A wicking synthetic doesn't exhibit these characteristics. Sweat dissipates throughout the material very quickly, leaving no wet spots. the cotton fibers swell up, and the saturated fabric doesn't permit air flow, so there's less evaporation from the skin underneath. I once had a jacket made of ventile cotton and it exhibited this effect very well. When wet, the fibers swelled and stiffened the fabric almost like heavy canvas.

Why is this important? In cold weather, exercising hard enough to produce sweat isn't bad in itself. There's something invigorating about working hard in the cold, in fact. But a problem arises if you have to stop for a flat tire, for instance. You're no longer working as hard so you're not producing as much heat. Meanwhile, sweat continues to evaporate, chilling the body even more. Hypothermia is called the killer of the unprepared for good reason.

Sweat is one way your body controls temperature. In summer, we're all accustomed to sweating copiously on long, hot rides. Cycling clothing wicks the sweat away, and as it evaporates, it cools the air right next to the skin. I could be wrong, but I think a cycling jersey offers a larger surface area for evaporation than the skin beneath it, adding to the cooling effect.

Garment design.

Co-worker: I'd ride a bike but I wouldn't wear them funny shorts.

Me: Given your looks, that's probably a wise decision.

I'm not writing about exotic prints, sublimated artwork, or custom embroidery. This is about the basic construction of cycling clothing.

Anyone interested in the history of bicycle racing can see that clothing construction hasn't changed substantially in half a century. Fabrics have changed radically in that time, but the basics of bike clothing are almost set in stone. Jerseys have 3 pockets across the back - except for track jerseys which have none - and there's a zipper down the front. Zipers have been growing longer every year it seems. Back in the 1960s and earlier, jerseys came with collars like polo shirts and sometimes included a front pocket up near the shoulder for cigarettes. They stayed dry up there.

Purpose-built cycling clothing is all about sweat management, long distance comfort, and drag reduction. Form fitting clothes like the traditional bike jersey and shorts reduce drag by reducing frontal area and reduced flapping. That saves some energy, though frankly it's probably miniscule. Without quantifying it, let's just say there's a noticeable difference between wearing my cycling jersey in warm weather and that big white parachute of an anorak when it's cold.

Cycling shorts are black so those of us who throw a chain or repair a tire have someplace to wipe our hands afterward. Black doesn't show the grease and dirt. See the saddle sore post for more about shorts, saddle sores and other stuff you may not really want to know.

I mentioned these synthetic polo shirts up above. They'd be suitable for a short ride if I had someplace to put my keys and wallet. Likewise, I have some wicking T-shirts at home that would be equally suitable. But that's one thing about bike commuting - maybe one of the most important things, actually - and that is the problem solving we do in order to ride back and forth to work. I can't claim that my solutions are universal. What works well for me may not work at all for you. We each find solutions that are sometimes unique to our situations.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Highway Statistics

The NHTSA announced a significant reduction in highway fatalities. In 2007, there were 41,o59 motorists killed on our roads, a decline of 3.9% from the previous year. Injuries also declined by 3.3% to 2,491.000. (Report pdf)

Motorcycle fatalities continued their 10 year increase, with an increase of 6.6% in fatalities and 17% in injuries.

Cyclists (or pedalcyclists as NHTSA calls us) saw a decline of 9.6% in fatalities and 2.3% in injuries.

“Thanks to safer vehicles, aggressive law enforcement and our efforts, countless families were spared the devastating news that a loved one was not coming home last year...You can be sure that we’re not stopping here, the quest is not over until that bottom line number is zero.” .....U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters

I would suspect that people are driving fewer miles and that has an effect on these statistics.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Road1 mini-lesson

Matt, one of my co-workers, has decided to take up bicycle commuting. For the first week, he rode his old mountain bike, but quickly discovered that knobby tires and low gearing aren't a 'go fast' combination. He bought a new Specialized road bike.

And I'm answering lots of questions. It's like teaching Road1 5 minutes at a time.

Yesterday he wanted me to look at his tires. He had questions about proper inflation. I did the spiel about keeping tires at the right pressure in order to prevent pinch flats and have the tires last longer. When I looked at his new bike, a prominent bulge jutted out from his back tire. I pointed it out to him and he took the bike into the shop for a replacement.

This morning, he hit a drainage grate and flatted coming in to work. Of course, he doesn't have a pump, spare tube, tire levers, or patch kit. He called his wife to pick him up and get him to work.

It's a teachable moment.

I told him to see that his tire label lines up with the valve hole. Then, when he has a flat, He can use the punctured tube to determine where to look inside the tire. If the puncture is on the outside of the tube at 2 o'clock relative to the valve, for instance, look inside the tire if nothing is apparent on the outside. Sometimes a tiny glass shard or piece of wire will be found inside the tire though there's no obvious hole on the outside.

I warned him about punctures near a mold line in the tube. Even if you carefully sand it down, most patches won't hold air.

I offered to give him a tire boot for those long cuts through a casing. Simply installing a new tube won't get you home because it pushes out through the cut and punctures immediately. I told him that he could boot a tire with an old piece of another tire, a length of duct tape, or even a dollar bill if it's not wet.

He bought a floor pump, so I ran him through the ABC Quick check. A = air. Check your tire pressure because they leak down quickly, sometimes overnight. B = brakes. There should be a finger's width of space between the brake lever and handlebars when the brakes are fully applied. If it hits the bar, the brakes need to be adjusted. C = chain and cranks. See that the chain is in place, and pedal very gently at first to see that nothing is misaligned. Finally, Q = quick releases. Put them in the same place every time so you can see at a glance that they're still closed.

Gosh, we're having fun!


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Yee Haw!

Tales of the Zombie War just posted my story "Zombie Cafe." I swear it doesn't feature Dr. Wally Crankset, the town of Broken Elbow, Oklahoma, or the usual cast of misfits, oddballs, and more than slightly crazed townspeople.

I'm tickled!

There are more stories in process, but I'm way behind on writing, as any regular readers of CycleDog can attest.

...and in the zombie theme, check out Ken Avidor's "Bicycle Zombie Slayer" in Post Carbon Comics! It's a hoot!


Monday, August 11, 2008

Swirling floaters in the toilet bowl of wisdom....

Here are a few gems I've collected over the summer. Enjoy!

I don't have a problem with bike riders that don't have their heads up their a$$ and won't pull in front of cars or impede traffic.But the others (they wear those turtle helmets and spandex) I will admit I would enjoy doing great bodily harm to them,but alas our laws wont permit this.I say if you are gonna use the roads get licensed,insured and put tags on em or watch out cause there are times that the cars can make your ride interesting and your spandex smelly.

...and I've said before that cyclists should carry guns.

Dave Matlow for

A Bridgeport man riding alone lost control of his bike when he hit a pothole (foreground) on Westport’s Beachside Avenue overpass at Greens Farms Road today and suffered facial lacerations and a road rash shoulder requiring medical treatment. Assistant Fire Chief Larry Conklin said the accident underlines the importance of always wearing a bicycle helmet. He said this cyclist not having worn one was a contributing factor to the severity of the injuries sustained. can anyone explain how a helmet prevents facial lacerations and road rash on the shoulder? Inquiring minds want to know.


...Road building is historically a responsibility of state and local officials who are in a better position than Uncle Sam to determine the transportation needs of their motorists. But, as long as Washington holds the purse strings, Virginia and the other states will be denied control over their own affairs.

...According to Ronald Utt, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, each year Washington doles out more than one-third of its gas tax revenues for non-highway projects such as air quality, traffic congestion, bicycle path projects and thousands of hometown pork projects sponsored by members of Congress. Cycling the federal gas tax collected in Virginia to Washington and then back to Virginia also adds costly federal labor, environmental, and other regulations -- expensive hoops state road builders must jump through to get their money. And don’t forget that hundreds of millions of federal gas tax dollars are wasted each year funding bureaucracies in Washington that duplicate the work of state highway bureaus.

Centralizing in one place the $33 billion in federal gas tax revenues flowing into Washington each year makes it easy for interest groups and lobbyists to concentrate their efforts and sway Members of Congress to send money their way. If that $33 billion was instead spent by 50 separate legislatures, more money would go directly to serving the motorists who paid the taxes. It would be far more difficult for greedy interest groups and lobbyists to rip off money in the 50 state capitals, one state at a time.

In Washington, right off the top, 2.86 cents per gallon in gas tax revenues goes to mass transit projects. And perhaps the most outrageous raid on the federal gas tax occurred in the mid-1990s when 6.8 cents per gallon was siphoned-off to pay down the federal budget defecit.

...yet again, one man's essential project is another's pork. I'd dearly love to control where my tax money is spent, too, and I think I'd start with subsidies to tobacco farms (in Virginia, of all places) and all those tax breaks for the oil industry. I'd spend more on alternative transportation, like MASS TRANSIT, and let the interstates choke on their own fumes. You say that an interstate bridge collapsed and you need federal funds to re-build it quickly? Tough. Raise the money yourself.

Yes, I know it sounds cold, but imagine the consequences of a badly deteriorated interstate highway system. Remember, the original thought behind building them was that it makes moving troops around much easier. Eisenhower brought the idea back from Germany after the Second World War.

Today, the interstates are thought to be essential for commerce. In some respects, we enjoy a better life as a result of fast and easy transportation. We get tomatoes in mid-winter, brought by truck from Mexico or California. We get furniture made in the Carolinas. Our local big box stores are full of cheap goods made overseas, and they arrived here in the middle of the country via interstates.

So what happens if the interstate system breaks down? Instead of furniture from the Carolinas, maybe a small furniture building industry would grow here. Those foreign goods wouldn't be as readily available or as cheap, so maybe we'd see other businesses supply them, businesses that are local rather than global. Frankly, I'd miss tomatoes in January.

But there's an even better reason for moving the bulk of road spending to the various state houses. Purchasing a state senator or legislator costs much, much less than the equivalent federal civil servant.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Task force meeting re: Transportation Advisory Board


Tulsa City Hall

What lead to this meeting was an email from Paul Tay, stating that the new transportation committee had no cycling representative. I sent an email to all the city councilors saying that with gas prices increasing, and all the usual boilerplate, it would be a good idea to have a cyclist on the board.

One of the councilors said that we need to get more casual, recreational cyclists onto area roadways, but there was no discussion of how to implement this, and that's the hard part. Rich Brierre was generally supportive and gave a balanced view of the conflict between the facilities and education crowds. There was near-universal agreement that more education is desirable, but again, nothing on how to implement that idea. The real nuts-and-bolts will be worked out in the Transportation Advisory Board. We will not have a seat there, though Councilor Bynum said he would be our voice. There was some discussion of a cyclist's right to use the public roads.

So what follows are my rough notes from that meeting. For clarity, I've tried to group comments around common topics, so this is not representative of the actual sequence of events. Each of us spoke in turn, addressing other's comments, so the minute-by-minute version is harder to follow.

One of the first comments was a quote from a previous meeting, where a motorist said, "I don't drive on your bike routes so don't ride on my streets!" There's a lot of ignorance to overcome. Some people really believe that bicycles don't belong.

Paul Tay had a draft resolution declaring all streets and roadways as bicycle routes and all lanes as bike lanes. The intent is to treat cyclists as drivers of vehicles.

Bicyclists have an intense interest in safe streets. In Tulsa, 28% do not have motor vehicles. "Skilled bicyclists have demonstrated the efficacy and the safety of bicycle driving on major roadways and expressways without causing deaths or injuries." He said people are intimidated from using streets and seek safe routes away from traffic. Tay says bikes to be mixed in with traffic and it's necessary to educate motorists who do not know the law.

Councilor Bynum wants to have bikes as official vehicles for trips of less than 5 miles. The draft resolution is an expression of intent. Tulsa's mandatory sidepath ordinance was repealed, yet it's apparent that some officials, law enforcement professionals, cyclists, and motorists are unaware of it.

Tulsa will establish a Transportation Advisory Board as part of the upcoming comprehensive street plan. The city is still interested in getting Bicycling Friendly City status from the League of American Bicyclists. I said that Tulsa is already a bicycling friendly city because most motorists are already very accommodating toward cyclists. One councilor disagreed that Tulsa is a bicycling friendly city. He said that more people would ride if they weren't intimidated by motorists. “We rely too much on the Wheelmen, and not enough on casual bicyclists.” When he's been on the road, it's not unusual to get brushed by a mirror. He believes Avery Drive is a decent ride with its wide shoulders. Brian Potter disagreed about Avery due to gravel, debris, and other maintenance issues. Rich Brierre said that the first BFC application was rejected because Tulsa does not have many miles of bike lanes, and he noted that the establishment of such lanes is a controversial issue among cyclists.

I listed improvements on my wish list:

Bicycling master plan. It can be narrow or broad. Models are available from other cities. The usual approach is to bring in a consultant with expertise.

Remove “as far right as practicable” ordinance. I'd like to see it go away, but it's hazardous due to unintended consequences. The “slow vehicles drive in right lane” applies equally to cyclists. “As far right as practicable” leads to harassment and road rage.

BFC. As noted above, Tulsa is already a bicycling friendly city. All we just have to do is say so. There is a small town feel that we should promote.

Acknowledge that cyclists are encouraged and expected to use the streets. We need to get this message out to people.

I used an analogy. “Do you remember learning how to drive and how frightening it was? New cyclists have the same fear, much of it stemming from the unknown. That fear is the biggest element preventing people from riding on the street.” We could use more education for both cyclists and motorists.

One councilor noted, “It doesn't matter where you ride (within the lane) someone is going to send you a message - get off my street!”

We can improve the transportation system for casual cyclists. Brian recommended Street Smarts and gave Councilor Bynum a copy. He noted that the Oklahoma Drivers Manual (pdf) has a good section for motorists on how to drive around cyclists.

Another councilor noted that on the city's bike trails, frequent and busy intersections provide interruptions. Some intersections are difficult and hazardous when crossing.

Gary Parker noted, “Things are challenging for both motorists and cyclists, but in a general way, when I ride my bike as a vehicle I get treated pretty much like a vehicle.”

Paul Tay noted that a bicycle friendly city like Boulder has bike lanes. We do not have that here.

Paul mentioned the 4 Es: Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement, and Education. He wants to see this discussion continue in in the Transportation Advisory Board. At present there is no capital spending on part of city on bicycling. There is nothing in the streets package for bicycle facilities. Paul noted that there are no cyclists on the board. Councilor Bynum said that we do have a voice there because he and the other councilors represent us.

Ren Barger talked about the Tulsa Wheelmen's Community Cycling Project and the mention of it in Urban Tulsa. She's working to establish a bicycling 'hub' in the downtown area in order to address problems with gentrification and to maintain a pedestrian perspective. CCP will function to rehab transients in getting jobs. The program has been successful since it's inception under Sandra Crisp. Ren sees the hub providing vehicular cycling classes, instruction in fabrication and repair, information on sustainable lifestyles. She noted that the other E is Example. As more cyclists take to the roads, it's easier to change motorist's attitudes. Knowing cyclist's rights and providing support is a key issue. Ren also noted that the local cycling instructors will assist with the Kid's Challenge events at the Tulsa Tough over the next three years.

Rich Brierre noted that at one time the city had a bicycling ordinance that was contrary to state law. The city's mandatory side path law resulted in TPD issuing tickets to cyclists on adjacent roadways. The law specifically read “bicycle trails” yet no trails for the exclusive use of cyclists existed. All are mixed use or multi use trails. He noted the apparent ignorance of state laws when a Keifer officer stopped a group ride and insisted they ride single file, “according to state law.” No such law exists. Tulsa has made significant strides. A comprehensive bicycle master plan a positive idea and it may range from minimal to substantial with costs directly related. Tulsa's on-street routes provide connectivity between neighborhoods and popular destinations. The plan favored neighborhood streets over arterials. He noted that new roadway construction requires a 14 ft wide outer lane, so sharing side by side with motor vehicles is possible. Brian asked about measurements? “Is that from the curb to the lane line? If so, the lane is narrower as the gutter area is unusable due to debris and storm drains.” The old standard was much narrower. Some streets were constructed in the 1920s and 30s, and they were 9' or 10'. Rich reiterated that LAB BFC status was denied for bike lanes, and again noted the divide within bike community. The city chose to use designated routes rather than lanes, where promoting road sharing is extremely important. It's critical to educate motorists and get the word out that sharing the road is something they should do. Three-eights of all trips are less than 2 miles so encouraging using a bicycle for those trips is important. The proposed resolution may reference expressways and may be effected by state law or other city ordinances. It must be approached carefully. Better educated cyclists and motorists are important. Rich expressed dismay at encountering cyclists without helmets, or riding against traffic, but he noted that some were told to ride that way years ago.

I invited the councilors to our Road1 Class at end of August, saying that I thought I was a skilled experienced cyclist until I took that course. I learned some new things. Gary said that uncertainty is not desirable. You don't want uncertainty. Be predictable. We teach that. Predictability is the whole point of traffic law. 'Practicable' is ambiguous.

Paul Tay said there no statutory definition of bike route or bike lane in Tulsa. The state does not have such a definition either, though OKC does. This is another subject to address in the master plan.

Brian noted that Rich's account of being pulled over in Keifer happens to bicyclist all the time and they do not differentiate between different communities. This is another application of model cycling laws. Tulsa could be the model for every other community in the state. The patchwork nature of local laws may inhibit people from cycling.

Gary said that INCOG could communicate this to member governments. “Bicyclists are full, taxpaying citizens like anyone else, though we're a little slow. Motorists successfully pass slow or stopped vehicles all the time.”

Councilor Gomez, a cyclist, noted that he's had plenty of bottles thrown at him, been doored, etc. “so as far right as practicable makes sense to me, but I'm going to control that lane. We have 3 asphalt overlays, storm grates, so to me as far right as practicable means about 5 feet from the curb.” Potholes are significant.

Councilor Bynum said that there seemed to be consensus regarding the resolution clarifying city laws about bike routes and lanes, and that a bicycling master plan should be part of the Transportation Advisory Board.

Councilor Eagleton, a former triathlete, said that bicyclists do not respect rules of the road by impeding traffic. Brian noted that Tulsa spends hundreds of thousands of dollars installing traffic calming to reduce speeds, yet cyclists do that for free.

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

A brief word about spam...

When I checked the mail yesterday morning, I had a message from Blogger saying that their spam detecting robots had flagged CycleDog as a possible spam blog. Now, I normally don't do any product mentions here, but I'd included several in recent posts. I have to wonder if that's what gave the robot those spasms.

Regardless, CycleDog is back on line. I'll probably have some new material tonight or tomorrow when time permits. Much as I like writing this, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed has first dibs.