Sunday, October 9, 2011

End of a blog.

I'm sorry to say that with the updates to the operating system of Blogger.com my work browser is no longer supported. I can't get our IT guys to update it, so I am unable to post to my blog from work (which is 3/4 of the time I am able to get onto the computer).

I will therefore be migrating my personal blog to a new home within the pages of Missing Link Cycling Club's web site.  If you follow this blog, please look for future updates at www.missinglinkcycling.weebly.com .

I hope you have enjoyed what I have written here, and hope to see you on my new site.

Thanx,
Papa Bear

Thursday, September 1, 2011

...Your Speed

...Your Speed:

I love it when I pass those photo-electric speed signs and I am going the speed limit or even faster on my bike! I feel so vindicated!!!


-PB

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cyclist Fined $1,500 For Running Red Lights

The other day, as I was riding home from work, I saw another person riding a bike ahead of me. We were travelling down 800 South from 1300 East. Those of you who know that area of Salt Lake, know that the hill on the North side of East High is STEEP. 


As I came down the hill, I overtook the other rider who was going quite slowly down the hill. I can only assume he's not comfortable with the 30-40mph speeds you can get just simply coasting down that hill. I hollered out my intention to pass, took the traffic lane when there was an opening (and since I was going as fast as the cars, they couldn't really complain) and went by. As I passed, I said "have a good ride" - which I almost always say to others on bikes, just to be nice.  He gave me a dirty look.


I then came to an intersection with a red light, and stopped LIKE YOU ARE SUPPOSED  TO. He came along, barely slowed at all, and barrelled through the intersection, garnering a couple of honks from angry drivers. He was almost 1/2 way to the next light before my light changed, but I passed him before the intersection. I thought "for being in such a hurry at the intersection, he sure isn't going very fast".


The next two intersections were the same thing. I stopped, he went through, I passed him before the next stop. Finally, I'd had enough. At the next intersection, I blocked the road and made him stop. I told him off for making all cyclists look bad by blowing through lights, and how the police have started ticketing cyclists the same as autos. He just gave me a shrug and then turned North (presumably to get away from the angry guy in spandex). 


Oh, and to top it off, he wasn't wearing a helmet - while he's running red lights in front of oncoming traffic!  Hello!?! Can you say "death wish"?

Today, I read the following on Dave Moulton's Bike Blog, and just had to share:

NYC cyclist fined $1,500 for running red lights


Juan Rodriguez (Above.) got not one, not two, but three tickets for running red lights in New York City. He thought if he went to court and explained to the judge that cyclists going through red lights are no real danger to anyone, the judge would dismiss the charges.
He was wrong; he was fined $190 for the first offence, $375 for the second, and $940 for the third, a total of just over $1,500…… Ouch.

Now Juan is angry and puzzled; he feels that fining a cyclist at the same rate as a tractor-trailer running a red light is overkill. While I might be somewhat inclined to agree, on the other hand cyclists are pushing the slogan, “Same road. Same rights. Same rules.”  So if the same fines are applied, does the cyclist really have an argument?

The excessiveness of the fines is only felt if the cyclist runs a red light; if he stops as he should it doesn’t really matter. And if the cyclist doesn’t grasp the concept of stopping on red after the first ticket, and goes on to collect two more, is there anyone to blame but the cyclist himself?
To get fines lowered for cyclists would call for a change in the law, and who is going to propose and push through such legislation? There are far more important laws that could be placed on the books that could be of real benefit to cyclists.

The problem is that Juan Rodriguez has probably ridden his bike through red lights ever since he first learned to ride a bike as a school kid. Like literally millions of others, no one said he shouldn’t do it, and it has become a habit. Cops in most places have turned a blind eye to it, figuring there is no real danger to anyone but the cyclist themselves.

Things have changed; there are now far more cyclists on the road and numbers continue to increase. People are becoming aware of cyclists, which is a good thing; but often we are being noticed for the wrong reasons. Running red lights is just one of them.

Traffic lights by their very nature only work by everyone taking a huge leap of faith. There is no barrier that descends like a railway crossing; if you approach a light and it is green, the only reason we feel safe about driving through is the leap of faith we all take that everyone crossing your path will obey the law and stop. Naturally that includes cyclists.

Even though the cyclist estimates he can beat the car through the intersection, for the approaching car driver it is unnerving and annoying, whether it is a cyclist or a pedestrian running across. No one wants to hit another person, or even have a close call.

Rodriguez was also fined for not having a bell on his bike; a requirement in NYC and some other places; you could say he got a No-Bell Prize. (Sorry ‘bout that, I couldn’t resist.) I notice in the above picture he now has a bell. I wonder the bold Juan will stop at red lights from now on; I assume if he doesn’t it will cost him $940 a pop.

Lesson learned? One can only hope.
-Papa Bear

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Losing Momentum: NOT an excuse for not stopping!

This post is borrowed from Dave Moulton's Bike Blog.

Dionette Cherney (Right.) who was hit by a cyclist while crossing a San Francisco street has died from her injuries.
That makes me both sad and extremely angry.
This unfortunate lady’s death was totally unnecessary; it was rush hour, she was crossing in a crosswalk with a green light, and now she is dead because a cyclist decided not to stop but to push through the crowd of pedestrians.
This not stopping by cyclists has to stop; it is total bull@#$%. It is a stupid habit many bike riders have, and there is no logical reason for it.
I am not being critical of the cyclist who rolls S-L-O-W-L-Y through a deserted intersection on a residential street. I am talking of the failure to yield to pedestrians, or to other vehicles that arrived first at busy stop signs and red lights.
If anyone wants to argue that in both instances cyclists are breaking the law I will have to plead no contest. However, the big difference is that the latter is rude and anti-social; it pisses people off, and in this case someone has died because of it.
Forget that 811 pedestrians were hit by cars in San Francisco last year, while only 18 were hit by a bicycle; that is not the point. Unless a pedestrian steps directly into the path of a speeding cyclist, no one should get killed or seriously injured by a bicycle.
Nearly every complaint I hear about cyclists revolves around the fact that cyclists hate to stop; or in many cases, even hate to slow down.
The reason; they will lose their precious momentum. Are they that fucking lazy that they can’t slow or stop and make the effort start again?
All it takes is get out of the saddle give a few hard pumps on the pedals and you are back up to speed again. The ones with the potential to do serious damage are the ones who have reached a level of fitness that stopping and starting again should not even be an issue.
I witness this bullshit behavior almost on a daily basis; riding on a local bike path. I see cyclists buzz past pedestrians without warning or any attempt to slow down; in many cases there are small children around who are totally unpredictable and extremely vulnerable.
There are a couple of places where the path crosses a street and you can hear cars approaching and if they are close you can even see them. Why anyone would ride a bicycle from a bike path onto a road with a car approacing is beyond my comprehension.
Yet I see cyclists not even attempt to stop but rather make a hard left, ride towards the oncoming traffic, forcing the car to swerve towards the center of the road. They then continue riding until the road is clear and do a U-turn to double back to the path.
If a car approaches in the far lane from the opposite direction, they pull the same maneuver and make a hard left into the near lane without stopping. In most cases the car will stop because the driver has no idea what this idiot is about to do. The cyclist then turns in front of the car without so much a hand signal, or thank you wave.
All this just to avoid losing that little bit of precious momentum. All types of cyclists, across the board; even people on cruiser bikes, wearing street clothes and no helmet, and not traveling at any great speed. But already they have learned that momentum must be maintained at all costs. It is a habit these cyclists have formed; probably at the same time they first learned to ride a bike.
It is a habit born out of laziness; what other reason can there be. Like all habits it can be broken, but only if there is a willingness to change on the of part the individual. If a person is riding a bike to stay in shape, stopping and starting again is increasing your rate of effort; it is a form of interval training.
Resist the urge to keep moving at all cost and embrace stopping and starting as part of your exercise regime.
If nothing else by stopping when a cyclist is supposed to stop takes away the biggest complaint both motorists and pedestrians have against us all. Yes, all of us; I'm sure I get less respect on the road because of the poor habits of others. As I have said before; stop handing them the stick to beat us with.
Slowing down or stopping when it is called for, and the resulting loss of momentum is not your enemy, it is a ticket to increased strength and fitness and greater respect from others with whom we are obliged to share the road.

Couldn't have said it better myself!
-PB

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Monthly Cycling Mileage Log

Here is a log showing my mileage for each month starting July 19th of 2010 (which is when I started tracking).

Monthly TrackingStarted Tracking July 19, 2010
July-1081.23Total Miles:2569.21
August-10253.89
September-10346.71
October-1038.27
November-1058.06
December-103
January-110
February-114.69
March-11203.04
April-11320.43
May-11537.24
June-11355.18
July-11367.47


I injured my knee in September, and as you can see, my mileage dropped off severely until I had surgery in Feb.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Driving Around Cyclists for Dummies

Borrowed from Dave Moulton's Bike Blog

Driving Around Cyclists for Dummies

I got an email from a regular reader, Keay Edwards; he said,
“I thought you might be interested in AAA's stance on California's proposed law requiring a three foot passing distance of cyclists by motor vehicles.
I was surprised to discover that my auto insurance company was lobbying against the proposed law and asked them why."
Here is their response: 
Thank you for your comments relative to AAA's position on SB 910.
Our official position is not a straight oppose, it is an 'oppose unless amended'. We don't take issue with the 3 foot distance rule when it can be safely accomplished. The problem is how to address situations when a 3 foot distance cannot be maintained or met.
Current language in the bill would require the vehicle to slow to 15 mph of the speed of the bicycle to pass. But this is problematic for several reasons, as pointed out in the bill analysis. Law enforcement has issues with this approach as well because it can cause a drastic decrease in speed differentials between the vehicle passing the bicycle and other vehicles on the road depending on the posted speed limit.
Not only can this cause rear-end collisions, it can create a more dangerous situation for the cyclists. It is the differences in speed that is the number one cause of car crashes. Another suggested approach is to require the car to enter into the opposite lane of traffic (cross a double line) in order to give the cyclists the 3 foot distance. This is something being explored as well as a number of other ideas.
While we can all agree on the concept and goal SB 910, crafting workable legislation usually requires addressing a number of details and issues that arise throughout the process as the concept is flushed out and enforceability is addressed.
The author of the bill, Senator Lowenthal, is committed to working with all interested parties, including law enforcement, AAA and the bicycle coalition sponsors of the bill to find the most appropriate and safest way to address situations, when the general rule to allow a 3 foot distance cannot be met due to road design. We have to determine what the law should be in those circumstances and there is some disagreement on that level.
Thank you again for allowing us to explain our position on the bill.
Best Regards,
Crista B. (
AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah.)
Thank you Keay for forwarding this; here is my take:
Why all the fuss over an issue that should be common sense. Would you pass any vehicle giving less than 3 foot of space? You would give a stray dog at least 3 feet when passing.
Let’s say there is a large object, a refrigerator for example, lying at the side of the road protruding 3 feet into your lane. Would you continue driving at 55 or 60mph and miss it by less than three feet?
Most sensible people would slow, and if they couldn’t go into the opposing lane, they would squeeze by carefully at a slow speed. The 3 foot passing law is calling for what people should do anyway if they were using common sense.
Let me offer another simple scenario: You are driving on any two lane highway or street; a vehicle is waiting to make a left turn. (Right turn in the UK.) The driver cannot make the turn because there is opposing traffic; he stops and waits with his turn signal on.
Other traffic stops and stacks up behind, waiting for the driver to make his turn. There is no danger, no one runs into the rear of anyone; eventually there is a break in opposing traffic, the vehicle makes its turn and everyone goes on their merry way.
And yet to read Crista B’s explanation above, a vehicle slowing because it is not safe to pass a cyclist presents a danger to other road users. I would suggest if a vehicle runs into the rear of another, they were driving too fast for the road conditions, or they were following too close. This is driving 101.
Maybe I should write a “Driving around cyclists for Dummies” book. In it I would say, “If you see a cyclists ahead give him/her plenty of room as you pass. If you can’t go into the opposing lane because there are cars coming the other way, slow down and wait for a break in opposing traffic.”
You only need a small break because a cyclist is about 7 foot long and 3 foot wide, usually traveling at 15 to 20mph; it is not like trying to pass an 18 wheel semi. And you don’t have to go completely over to the opposite lane but at least straddle the center line.
If I am that cyclist quite honestly I have no objections if you squeeze by with less than 3 feet, as long as you do so carefully at slow speed. If you bump me at 5mph over the speed I am doing it would probably not be too serious; but clip me at 55 or 60 and it might be fatal.
This 3 foot passing law is getting way too complicated for the average person to understand. Crista B for the AAA asks:
When the general rule to allow a 3 foot distance cannot be met due to road design. We have to determine what the law should be in those circumstances.
This situation is no different than a stop sign where cross traffic doesn’t stop. You stop, and then proceed when it is safe to do so. Legislators are not asked, “What do I do when it is not safe to proceed?” The answer is simple; you wait until it is safe. Give a cyclist 3 feet; if you can’t do that safely, then wait until you can.
No need to change the wording; if you slow down and pass a cyclist carefully no one is going to take a yard stick and argue over the exact 3 feet.
Imagine the cyclist is a refrigerator or some other large object in the road.  Just slow down and go around while being careful not to bump into it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

TDF Spectators

Did any of you watch the TDF?  I saw parts, and I can't believe how unruly the spectators get! They are constantly running out in the street, reaching over barriers and trying to touch, grab and downright STOP the riders.

Then there are the protestors.  Oh, my.

Here is a clip from a blog I read:

It seems to me that cycle racing and in particular the Tour de France is the chosen spectator sport of the European version of the Red Neck. This loser goes to all the trouble to dress up as a fake doctor; then waits on a mountain top for hours for Contador to come by.
Then he gets in Alberto’s face in some kind of anti-doping protest, and all he gets for his effort is a smack in the gob. Does one brag about that after? ”I got punched in the mouth by Alberto Contador.” Or does one keep quiet and hope no one recognizes you?
Rock on, Alberto!  Punch his freaking lights out!  If I were riding (even on my ride home from work) and some idiot got in my face, I'd clean their clock! I can't believe the people in charge of the TDF let this crap go on!

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


-Papa Bear

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Museum of Non-visible Art

I kid you not. This is apparently real!  How stupid of an idea is this? I mean, how incredibly idiotic must a person be to pay for nothing??? 

Read on...

Museum of Non-Visible Art Opens Its Doors

This is a conceptual art project by Praxis, curated by Vallejo Gantner, artistic director of PS122 in Manhattan. Praxis is the collaborative art team of Brainard and Delia Carey, and in this project, James Franco has collaborated with them. Praxis has been in the Whitney Museum Biennial and James Franco has exhibited his art work internationally.

The Non-Visible Museum is an extravaganza of imagination, a museum that reminds us that we live in two worlds: the physical world of sight and the non-visible world of thought. Composed entirely of ideas, the Non-Visible Museum redefines the concept of what is real. Although the artworks themselves are not visible, the descriptions open our eyes to a parallel world built of images and words. This world is not visible, but it is real, perhaps more real, in many ways, than the world of matter, and it is also for sale.

Important Note: When you contribute to this Kickstarter project, you are not buying a visible piece of art! You will not receive a painting or a film or a photograph in your mailbox. What you will receive is something even more fascinating: The opportunity to collaborate in an act of artistic creation. You will receive a title card with a description of a piece of art, as well as a letter of authentication. You may mount this card on a blank wall in your home or gallery. What comes next is up to you! The artwork comes to life—and takes on full personal meaning—in your imagining and describing of it, both to yourself and to your visitors. You may also choose to sell the non-visible artwork to another collector, to exhibit it elsewhere, or to lend it back to Praxis when we take the Non-Visible Museum on tour.

As these non-visible works of art are bought, exchanged, and resold, they open our eyes to the unseen universe that exists at every moment, and we can share that universe. It is like finding the code beneath. We exchange ideas and dreams as currency in the New Economy.
In the near future we will invite more artists, writers, and others to contribute works to the Non-Visible Museum so that it can keep expanding. You can sign up on our website to be on the mailing list. http://www.nonvisiblemuseum.com

For now, we want to tour this museum in the U.S. and Europe. For each exhibition, we will give a tour of the Non-Visible Museum, describing to all those in attendance what they are looking at and imagining. As this tour grows, we will continue to collaborate and add new works. 
Thank you for reading this far and dreaming with us.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Scorpion

Spence bought a really cool scorpion made of wire at the farmer's market last weekend.  Now, I'm a pretty crafty guy myself, so I figured I could copy it.

I spent about a half-hour studying the weave of wires, then I went to work.

First, I bundled 8 wires together to form the core, then began weaving the other eight wires into a body and legs.

Body and legs from the side
Body and legs from the top
Bottom view

Wrapping the tail


Completed!



Pretty cool, huh? 
-Papa Bear

Stupid Train!

Here is my ride for this morning:




I was stuck for 15 minutes behind a stupid freight train that was stopped in the intersection.  I finally back-tracked and rode south to try to find a way around. I had to ride from 8th south to 13th south to finally get to the end of the train!  That was one loooooooooong train!

There were a bunch of girls on bikes waiting when I showed up, and they said they had been there for almost 15 min before me! I hope they got to work on time!

I have to say though, I was thrilled seeing so many people on bikes commuting to work.

I also had the opportunity because of this detour to find out there is a hill that makes the Escalator look fairly easy! It's on 1300 south between 900 east and 1300 east.  I swear, I felt like I was trying to climb a ladder not a road!  :)

Oh, well. I made it to work a little later than I planned, but I made it!

Keep pedaling!
-Papa Bear

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Difference Between Men and Women

Let's say a guy named Fred is attracted to a woman named Martha. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.

And then, one evening when they're driving home, a thought occurs to Martha, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: "Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?"
And then, there is silence in the car.

To Martha, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.

And Fred is thinking: Gosh. Six months.

And Martha is thinking: But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily towards, I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

And Fred is thinking: ...so that means it was...let's see...February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer's, which means...lemme check the odometer...Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here.

And Martha is thinking: He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed - even before I sensed it - that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected.

And Fred is thinking: And I'm gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don't care what those morons say, it's still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It's 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.

And Martha is thinking: He's angry. And I don't blame him. I'd be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can't help the way I feel. I'm just not sure.

And Fred is thinking: They'll probably say it's only a 90-day warranty...scumballs.

And Martha is thinking: Maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.

And Fred is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I'll give them a warranty. I'll take their warranty and stick it right up their...

"Fred," Martha says aloud.

"What?" says Fred, startled.

"Please don't torture yourself like this," she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. "Maybe I should never have...oh dear, I feel so..."(She breaks down, sobbing.)

"What?" says Fred.

"I'm such a fool," Martha sobs. "I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse."

"There's no horse?" says Fred.

"You think I'm a fool, don't you?" Martha says.

"No!" says Fred, glad to finally know the correct answer.

"It's just that...it's that I...I need some time," Martha says.

(There is a 15-second pause while Fred, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.)

"Yes," he says. (Martha, deeply moved, touches his hand.)

"Oh, Fred, do you really feel that way?" she says.

"What way?" says Fred.

"That way about time," says Martha.

"Oh," says Fred. "Yes." (Martha turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.)

"Thank you, Fred," she says.

"Thank you," says Fred.

Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn, whereas when Fred gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a college basketball game between two South Dakota junior colleges that he has never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it's better if he doesn't think about it.

The next day Martha will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification.

They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it either.

Meanwhile, Fred, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Martha's, will pause just before serving, frown, and say: "Norm, did Martha ever own a horse?"

And that's the difference between men and women.

-Dave Barry

UN Summit on Cancer...

Hey--

Did you know that six out of 10 deaths globally come from diseases
you can't catch like cancer? And that we can prevent millions of these
deaths with tools we already have?

This September, world leaders are meeting for a historic UN Summit on
cancer and other non-communicable diseases. I just signed onto
LIVESTRONG's open letter calling on world leaders to make the world's
top killers a top priority.

Will you add your name as well?

http://www.LIVESTRONG.org/SignOn

If we can get 100,000 signatures before the summit, LIVESTRONG will
hand-deliver the letter to the UN Secretary General and key Heads of
State.

Thanks.
Papa Bear

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sing, Dance, Laugh, Love.

I wrote this poem for Caitlin when she went on the Trek reinactment.

Sing, Dance, Laugh, Love.

Sing, for within your voice is joy and love.
Dance, for within your movement is life.
Laugh, for laughter is the song of heaven.
Love, for love is the conversation of the heart.
-Criss F. Rosenlof


Written for my daughter Caitlin, 5/22/2011.

Plus 3 Network and World Bicycle Relief

First, and foremost... I'm NOT ASKING FOR MONEY.  Please read on...

The Plus Three Network, in conjunction with SRAM are raising money for "World Bicycle Relief".

World Bicycle Relief was founded in 2005 by SRAM Corporation in response to the December 2004 tsunami that swept the Indian Ocean. In partnership with World Vision Sri Lanka, this project provided more than 24,000 locally manufactured bicycles to carefully selected men, women and children in greatest need. Following the tsunami, World Bicycle Relief retained an independent organization to measure the impact of Project Tsunami. Two years after the project was complete, the results are outstanding: 88% of recipients depend on bicycles for livelihood activities, and bicycles can save a household up to 30% of its annual income for transportation costs. The bicycle program provided critical transportation enabling households to resume important livelihood, education and service activities.


Just by logging the miles I already ride, SRAM and +3 are raising money for this great cause. Here's my stats since I started logging for them on June 1st:

My Stats This Month:
Dollars$0.84
Hours03:42:12
Miles42.0
My Stats This Year:
Dollars$12.76
Hours28:57:06
Miles398.4

I know it doesn't look like much, but when all of my cycling buddies and running buddies log in, it really adds up!  If you want to help out, go to http://www.plus3network.com/ and sign up for free. Then you can pick the cause you want to help out (I'm doing World Bicycle Relief/SRAM).

Come on and help out!

-Papa Bear

Big Cottonwood River

Running high and fast!


Sent from my LG Vortex

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fox Racing Truck, Trailer Stolen!

Fox Racing Truck, Trailer Stolen!

Jun 29, 2011



"Hi Tyler,
Sadly it is true. Tuesday morning between the hours of 2:00am and 6:00am while Mike Vanlienden was staying in a local Hotel outside of Quebec someone drove off with our entire truck and race trailer. The Trek mechanic actually saw it going down the highway towards the Montreal around 4:00am. We are absolutely gutted about it as it was stocked with our prototypes, Titanium spring inventory and everything we needed to service our teams and riders for the upcoming important North American events. In addition we were transporting the Atherton's North American pit setup. Luckily they had their bikes with them. We prepare very early for the race season and thanks to preseason testing, servicing/rebuilding our athletes product every race and supplying adequate spare suspension, we will get through it. This is our most important year to date as we are currently leading the mens and womens DH championship along with the mens 4x championship, and need to make sure we can service these top riders at the highest level.

I would be grateful if you posted something about it. I can provide race trailer photos if needed.

Thanks
Mark"

Here is additional info on the truck and trailer:

-The truck cab is a white FORD F550 Turbo Diesel with beige interior, CA license plate. There are many distinguishing features with this cab such as all FORD logos have been converted to FOX logos, FOX custom embroidered seats, FOX instrument cluster and custom FOX footwheels. The trailer is a 28ft FEATHERLIGHT flip down door. The trailer contained custom proprietary racing equipment as well as two YETI bicycles, a medium ASR-5, and medium ARC hardtail. A reward is being offered for any information that leads to the return of the vehicle. The Race Rig was last seen at 6/28/11 at 4:30am traveling West on Hwy 20 just outside of Montreal.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I feel like I've been slacking...

Circumstances in life got in the way, and I was unable to ride the MS 150 this last weekend. All of the money I raised still went to a great cause, so I don't feel too bad, but I feel like I've been slacking.

I've not been on the bike as often as I would like, and yet when I logged my morning commute, this is what I saw:

295.64
Total Miles
20.87
Total Hours
25
Workouts
17,082
Total Calories

Yeah, I've ridden almost 300 miles so far this month, and I will surpass that just riding home tonight. AND I FEEL LIKE I'VE BEEN SLACKING?

Wow, how perspectives can change!  I remember less than a year ago, I was THRILLED to get 100+ miles in a month!  They say that your mind-set changes, and you can almost become addicted to exercise.  I didn't believe it until now. There are days I will ride 20 or so miles, and then go do a spinning class with LeAnn. The instructor even said she thought I was crazy.  ;)

Hopefully this will continue, and become a true way of life for me.  I'm down to 249.5lbs as of this morning. That's 50lbs less that I was one year ago.  I guess I must be doing SOMETHING right.

-PB

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Girl and Her Bike: Victory (sort of)

This post is taken from "A Girl and Her Bike".

One night, back in February, I was riding a Capital Bikeshare bike home (I was doing the Winter Weather Warrior contest, remember?)

I was stopped at the intersection of 13th and Kenyon St. NW at a red light, waiting to turn left onto 13th St. Kenyon is a one-way street going west, and I was on the left side of the street, since I would be turning left. While waiting for the light I heard a car speed up Kenyon St. behind me. I could sense the car stop immediately behind me, extremely close. It was aggressive, but fairly typical aggressive driver behavior. I didn't think much of it because we were at a red light, and there was no where for him to go anyway.

And that's when I felt a *BUMP* from behind. Nothing too hard, but enough to intimidate. Now, remember: I knew he had STOPPED behind me. So this was a conscious decision by the driver to hit me with his vehicle. I could hear laughing coming from the car behind me. They thought this was HILARIOUS. Also, there was a taxi to my right, waiting for the light as well that even remarked on this behavior ("asshole" is what I think the taxi driver said).

I ignored this. Why? 98% of the time, it is not worth it to engage with an aggressive driver. At best, you end up getting angrier, at worst, you get hurt. Plus, I spend the majority of my day dealing with people like this and by the time I'm done with work I Just. Don't. Want. To. Anymore.

The light turned green and I started to proceed. And then I felt *BUMP!!!!!* again, this time a bit harder.

Oh no. No. No. No. I can't ignore this. I just can't.

So I stopped. Pulled out my police badge (yes, I'm a cop if you didn't know before. No I really don't want to talk about it, thanks) showed it to the driver and motioned him to stay right where he was.

And that's when he panicked.

Before I get any further, let me explain something to you about a police badge. It doesn't grant you super powers. It's simply a piece of tin embedded with a number. It's not magical. It will not stop bullets. It will not make people do what you want. It will not make you win a fight. I have plenty of friends that always seem to think that because I'm a police officer, I am impervious to assault, robbery & bullets and that I never, ever have to worry about these things. This is not true. If anything, I am more vulnerable. Because instead of just being your average girl, I'm a threat. I live in the fear that should I ever be the victim of a robbery, the criminals will discover my badge and decide they can't risk me living and kill me. This actually happened to a friend of mine who was shot during a robbery when they saw his badge. He lived to talk about it, thankfully--but its a very real and very possible fear.

And that's pretty much what happened here. Instead of seeing a harmless Girl on a Bicycle that he could bully with his car, he suddenly saw someone that was a threat to him. And why was I a threat? Because this upstanding citizen of the District of Columbia makes his living selling illegal drugs, which is more than likely what he was doing that particular night (you will see how I know this a bit later in the story).

All I heard was "Oh shit" come out of his mouth, and the sound of squealing tires as he and his friends desperately tried to run away.

I'm not sure why I decided to go after him. I was on a CaBi, in civilian attire, off-duty. Instinct I guess? I did though. I followed him up Kenyon where he had gotten stuck in traffic & the light at 14th St. NW. I guess he saw me coming after him, because all of a sudden his reverse lights came on (he couldn't go anywhere else), and he started driving backwards towards me. I thought he was going to try to escape down the alley, but I guess he figured it was a dead-end. Anyway, he ended up being blocked in by traffic coming up Kenyon from 13th, so he was boxed in on both sides. I decided to get off my bike and talk to him again. I held up my badge and ordered him to stop. I don't know why I thought this would actually work.

Of course me walking toward him meant for him to step on the gas and accelerate towards me. I managed to get out of the way without him hitting me, but it was very close. So close I was able to hit his side mirror as he went by. The light had changed at 14th & the traffic had begun clearing, so he gunned it and managed to flee out of the block, down 14th St. It was at this time I grabbed my radio (it was in my bag) and broadcasted a look-out and that I needed help.

(Now, I know a lot of folks out there are going to say that this guy only got caught because I was a cop. I'm not going to argue, because its a bit more complicated than that. It's sort of right, and sort of not right. The only advantage I had over a "regular citizen" was my radio--I was able to get the information out to the officers in the field directly, rather than go through 911 call-takers & dispatchers. If anything, my "advantage" is my training. I was able to give the vehicle's tag number, description, as well as the description of the occupants of the vehicle and which direction they were headed in. I've taken plenty of hit & run reports and unfortunately many victims simply don't know what to look for or what's important. It's great that you memorized the license plate number--but we don't arrest cars, we arrest drivers.  Also, license plates get stolen, typically by the sorts of people that do hit & runs. Most of the time, victims cannot positively identify the driver, let alone the car. But that's just my experience)
Anyway, some officers came to my aid on Kenyon to make sure I was alright (I was. Thankfully I was not injured but it was very close). Soon after, they informed me that another officer had spotted the car and pulled it over. I would need to go there to see if I could positively identify the vehicle & driver.

When I arrived to the traffic stop, the driver & passengers had already been pulled from the car. I walked to the front of the car (because that's how I had viewed it back on Kenyon) to make sure it was the same car that hit me. It was. Also, because the doors were all open from when the passengers were taken out, I was able to quite clearly smell a SHIT TON* OF MARIJUANA. There was no mistaking that smell, and it was definitely coming from the car.

I looked over the passengers, and I was able to identify the driver very easily. He was placed under arrest at that point. One of the passengers also had a pending warrant and he was placed under arrest as well. The car was searched very thoroughly, but no marijuana could be found. It's my personal opinion that it was ditched while they fled from me. Either that, or it had just been sold because the driver also had a SHIT TON* OF CASH on him, all in a big wad.

The driver was charged at the scene with Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (vehicle), Assault on a Police Officer, Fleeing & Eluding, & Reckless Driving. Needless to say, his vehicle was impounded.

I was very surprised to learn the next day that the United States Attorney's Office (USAO) had agreed to not only prosecute those charges, but also made it two counts of ADW instead of just one. I was also floored when they decided to hold him instead of releasing him (usually you have to kill more than one person to get held in jail in this city, sheesh). So, he was gonna be hanging out in DC Jail for quite awhile...

Anyway, because Mr. Harrison (that's his name) had been charged with (multiple) felonies, a Grand Jury hearing was needed to be sure there was probable cause to charge him. If you are not familiar with how a Grand Jury works in DC, its basically this:

The Grand Jury is made of a panel of 16-23 citizens, all randomly selected. In DC, they sit for about a month at a time, hearing hundreds of cases in that time-frame. There is no judge, nor is the defendant or his attorney present. Besides the Jury, there is a court recorder & the Assistant United States Attorney assigned to the case.  The AUSA presents their evidence to the Grand Jury in the form of victim & witness testimony, and any other evidence they may have. Unlike a trial, the standard of proof is simply probable cause. They do not find anyone "guilty", just merely that there is enough evidence to charge them with a particular crime. In the Grand Jury, the citizens are able to question any witnesses brought before them to testify. This is the part that always gets a little sticky....

In this case, I was to testify since I was the victim. And of course it became difficult to explain that No, this was not simply as result of a traffic accident, but rather Mr. Harrison purposely hitting me with his vehicle (making it an assault, not a traffic citation), and that No, there was no "bike lane" not that it mattered at all, and No, I did not abuse my power as a police officer for a personal vendetta. It seemed (to me) that there was a slight anti-cyclist bias and a slightly more pronounced bias against DC police officers (which I always expect. It is what it is). But overall, I think I did a fairly good job explaining what happened and why this was a crime.

Apparently the Grand Jury agreed with me and the AUSA, because my next meeting was with the AUSA to discuss the trial. Although the USAO had offered Mr. Harrison a plea deal, he refused it. He even hired some fancy-pants defense attorney (my guess is that when the attorney learned it was a DC police officer that was the victim, they smelled blood & money in the water and offered their services).

I actually would have preferred him to have pled out. I really did not look forward to going to trial. If you have never been a victim of a crime, (or have experience in dealing with them), you have no idea how tiresome & aggravating our system of justice is. You are basically forced re-live the crime over and over and over and over....

First, you tell your story to the police officers on the scene. Then you usually have to tell it again to the detective that follows up on the case. Then you have to tell it again to the prosecutor. Then there are all manner of motions hearings (in my case, Grand Jury). Then when you get to trial, you get to tell it yet again, and have the distinct pleasure of a defense attorney do everything in their power to discredit & destroy you while they cross-examine you. THEN, if you are lucky, they are found guilty and you get to tell your story AGAIN at sentencing. And AGAIN at a parole hearing.....it just never ends. And depending on how traumatic the crime is, this can have a very detrimental effect on a victim.

So, yeah. Not looking forward to a trial. But, it is what it is.

And now we come to the (almost) end of my story.

Keep in mind, that Mr. Harrison was still being held at DC jail.

Yesterday, I had a meeting with the AUSA to go over my testimony one last time before the trial date next week. When I got there, he apologized and told me that he needed to run over to the court house because Mr. Harrison's arraignment was about to begin.

Arraignment? Wha? His arraignment was months ago.....

Not that arraignment---another one. Mr. Harrison was being charged AGAIN. Know why?

Because the criminal genius that he is, made a phone call to his girlfriend from the DC Jail. Phone calls which are RECORDED and MONITORED. And he asked her if she wouldn't mind hiding his drugs and gun for him.

Yeah. Super Smart.

An emergency search warrant was obtained and his room searched. Sure enough, a gun was recovered.

Remember when I told you that police badges aren't magical and they don't stop bullets? I'm very lucky that Mr. Harrison didn't have that gun with him that night. This is why its not a good idea to engage with aggressive drivers 98% of the time--you never know who/what they are. (The same could be said for hitting Girls on Bicycles too, though. I'm quite sure the idea that I was an off-duty police officer didn't cross his mind).

Anyway, he was charged with Felony Possession of a Firearm. So...yeah. Another pending felony charge. On top of all the others.

I guess Mr. Harrison & his attorney decided a plea deal sounded good after all, because at his arraignment they agreed to one.

He pled guilty to felony possession of a firearm, felony fleeing & misdemeanor assault on a police officer.

This is good. Sort of. It's good because it hopefully teaches him that you can't run from or try to run over a police officer. Even off-duty ones.

This isn't quite as good because you'll notice none of the vehicular assault charges were pressed. They were dropped. I think its just as important to show that you can't use your motor vehicle to bully cyclists on the road.


But there is still a chance to get the justice system in DC to hear that message loud and clear. And I'll need your help to deliver it.

Mr. Harrison's sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 19th at DC Superior Court. I want to pack the courtroom with cyclists. As the victim of a crime, I am able to present a "Victim Impact Statement" to the judge. You better believe that I intend to bring up the fact that I am a cyclist first and foremost, and that this whole saga began when a driver decided to literally push around a cyclist with his motor vehicle. It was just a matter of luck that this cyclist also happens to be a police officer as well. It is Not Okay for drivers to bully cyclists on our streets. His actions were not only irresponsible, but CRIMINAL. He didn't "accidentally" hit me--he made a conscious decision to hit a human being with a 2-ton vehicle. That is assault. These sorts of things have to STOP. I know I am not the only victim of these sorts of attacks. Read what happened to Saul Leikin when he simply tried to assist another cyclist after a traffic accident by calling 911.  He was only trying to do the right thing, and he got a concussion for it. This is unacceptable. Drivers need to start being held accountable for their decisions & actions, and punished appropriately.

If you also think this is unacceptable please try to attend this sentencing hearing. Pass the word around to other cyclists. I want it impossible for a judge to ignore the seriousness of these crimes. I've contacted WABA, and they've agreed to give a community impact statement as well. Awesome. Maybe we can get the ball rolling on change.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My new ride.

I managed to ride enough miles to wear out a second axle on my Mongoose last week. I can't keep putting money into a bike that isn't designed to take the kind of miles I ride.

LeAnn even agreed with me on that (frankly I thought it was going to take a little begging on my part), and so I bought myself a new bike on Friday.

It is a Cannondale hybrid, and it rides well. I have a new Trekking handlebar coming that will give me more hand positions and the ability to go "aero" when I am fighting the wind. They look funny, but I think they will be great!

I also took all of my good components and transferred them to my new bike. She's about 20lbs lighter than my old Mongoose, which is great on the hills!

Here is a picture of my new Cannondale that I took when I got to work this morning:


She's a beauty, isn't she? 

-Papa Bear
Sent from my LG Vortex

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Craigslist Personal Ad

I recieved this from my uncle. I have no idea if it's real or not, but I kind of hope it is!

AN ACTUAL CRAIG'S LIST PERSONALS AD
To the Guy Who Tried to Mug Me in Downtown Savannah night before last.
Date: 2010-09-27, 1:43 a.m. E..S.T.
 
I was the guy wearing the black Burberry jacket that you demanded that I hand over, shortly after you pulled the knife on me and my girlfriend, threatening our lives. You also asked for my girlfriend's purse and earrings. I can only hope that you somehow come across this rather important message.
 
First, I'd like to apologize for your embarrassment; I didn't expect you to actually crap in your pants when I drew my pistol after you took my jacket.. The evening was not that cold, and I was wearing the jacket for a reason.. my girlfriend was happy that I just returned safely from my 2nd tour as a Combat Marine in Afghanistan .. She had just bought me that Kimber Custom Model 1911 .45 ACP pistol for my birthday, and we had picked up a shoulder holster for it that very evening. Obviously you agree that it is a very intimidating weapon when pointed at your head ..... isn't it?!
 
I know it probably wasn't fun walking back to wherever you'd come from with that brown sludge in your pants. I'm sure it was even worse walking bare-footed since I made you leave your shoes, cell phone, and wallet with me. [That prevented you from calling or running to your buddies to come help mug us again].
 
After I called your mother or "Momma" as you had her listed in your cell, I explained the entire episode of what you'd done. Then I went and filled up my gas tank as well as those of four other people in the gas station, -- on your credit card. The guy with the big motor home took 153 gallons and was extremely grateful!
 
I gave your shoes to a homeless guy outside Vinnie Van Go Go's, along with all the cash in your wallet. [That made his day!]
 
I then threw your wallet into the big pink "pimp mobile" that was parked at the curb .... after I broke the windshield and side window and keyed the entire driver's side of the car.
 
Later, I called a bunch of phone sex numbers from your cell phone. Ma Bell just now shut down the line, although I only used the phone for a little over a day now, so what 's going on with that? Earlier, I managed to get in two threatening phone calls to the DA's office and one to the FBI, while mentioning President Obama as my possible target.
 
The FBI guy seemed really intense and we had a nice long chat (I guess while he traced your number etc.).
 
;In a way, perhaps I should apologize for not killing you ... but I feel this type of retribution is a far more appropriate punishment for your threatened crime. I wish you well as you try to sort through some of these rather immediate pressing issues, and can only hope that you have the opportunity to reflect upon, and perhaps reconsider, the career path you've chosen to pursue in life..
 
Remember, next time you might not be so lucky. Have a good day!
 
Thoughtfully yours, Semper Fi,
Alex
 
 
-PB

Monday, June 6, 2011

Grammy's yard

We spent the weekend working on the yard, getting it ready for Heather's wedding. Pretty, huh?

Sent from my LG Vortex

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

End of the month ride

Well, I finished off the month of May with a grand total of 537.24 miles. I have never ridden so much in my life!

I know it's working for me, because I have lost about 50 lbs in the last year, and my clothes are fitting a lot looser. I think I will go for a good 400 miles for the month of June.

Now, about my end-of-month ride...

I had to drop my car in the shop, so I threw the bike on the back, and took off from there. I rode up to the Triad Center to meet LeAnn and take her to lunch. We were talking about what a lovely day it was for cycling - warm, sunny, very light breeze. We should never have made a comment about the lack of wind!

About 3 miles from LeAnn's work, the wind started picking up. I was riding into a strong wind coming out of the South-West. Weather Bug reported 22 mph winds with gusts up to 30 mph. Here is a little video of it:


video

Crazy, huh?

I have to say, I am SICK OF WIND AND RAIN!

Oh, well. I guess I can think of it as "resistance training".

-PB

Monday, May 30, 2011

For Benjamin


Do not cry, nor fear for one
Passed beyond this life.
They've left this world and passed beyond
The torment, pain and strife.

They've found themselves caught up again
In Father's loving arms.
He'll keep them close in his embrace
Apart from toil and harm.

It's hard for us, those left behind,
Caught up in woe and grief;
We have work here on this earth
Before we find relief.

Remember those past on before
To heaven's grand mansion;
For when we die, we meet again
A joyous reunion!
-Criss F. Rosenlof 5/30/2011


-PB