Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday Hate (apologies to The Car Whisperer)

I'm co-opting thursday hate from The Car Whisperer because there's just so much to hate.

Before that, a word from my sponsor: Starbucks Coffee, 5406 W Devon.

Wanted: Barista With a Sense of Humor

Are you a morning person? Are you a morning person only after you've had a bunch of coffee? In either case, you'll do well here because we're open at the buttcrack of dawn and you can have as much coffee as you want. The pay probably sucks considering you're mostly dealing with assholes who want gas-station cappuccino flavor from our carefully roasted espresso beans, but there's a good chance you can get health insurance after you work here for a while. At no time are you allowed to be surly with these assholes. They're the lifeblood of our business and the money that goes into your pocket will be coming straight from theirs. If someone cracks a joke (especially a not funny joke), suck it up and stroke the customer's ego a little about them being "a funny person". You can make fun of them later if there's down time.

Ok, now that the hate disguised as fake advertisements is done... THE LIST.

- You rode your bike to work?
- Dog Snuggies (that's why they come with a built in FUR COAT, fuckface.)
- "Get on the Sidewalk" from a single occupant in a whale of an SUV.
- "You're blocking traffic" from a non-practicing member of the Illinois bar who is a single occupant in a whale of an SUV
- Single occupants in whale-esque SUV's
- Nosing into parallel parking spots when I have 200 lumens of blink on my handlebars
- Mozzarella and Marinara Pringles. So much wrong about shaped, flavored, dried potato slurry.
- 70% Chance of Rain and 43 degrees Farenheit

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hump Day Cyclocross Hump Awesomeness

This photo sums up how totally awesome Cyclocross is.

Bartlett CX 4B's
Originally uploaded by Luke

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bartlett Chicrosscup

Why do I look pissed, angry at the world? Not because I've managed to isolate the source of my lower back pains and have resolved it, not because I just got passed... because I totally screwed up the sprint for the hole shot by not clipping in quick enough and not being as aggressive as I should be.

As seems to be the case, I was slowly and steadily picked up and dropped by several riders through the three laps in my 4b's race, which wouldn't have bothered me if I hadn't been 20th+ at the first corner. I almost puked three different times, and every time I looked down at my Garmin, it further confirmed that I was "doing it right", with an average 183bpm on the course.

I finished in the top half, 37th our of 73 starters. 7 places away from points that would have helped the team's overall standings, but it was still a fun race. I've found my ability to corner at speed while staying off the brakes, and seem to have figured out what kind of tire pressure I can run in order to keep the tire on the rim. Those two combined to give me some pretty good efficiency through the technical sections - I was making ground on people and felt really good about the race. The "heckle hill" run-up was a different story - A knobbier rear would have helped as I was spinning out 3/4 of the way up the hill pretty much every time. I'll definitely be throwing my other set of tires in the trunk just in case the St. Charles race is similarly muddy.

Looking at me next to the other guys out there, it's safe to say that I'm the biggest guy in the race. Sure, I've got surplus kilos on me, but don't we all this time of year? Right after I finished and was dry heaving, a Bicycle Heaven rider dismounted and laid in the grass next to his buddies. As he's laying there, panting...

Rider: "Man, I couldn't catch that big xXx dude..."
Buddy: "Which one?"
Rider: "The fat fucker, on the Yellow Trek, man - I just couldn't get him!"
Me: "Uh, are you talking about me?"
Buddy: "Dude, he's right over there."
Rider (Rolls over to see me standing 15 feet away): "Oh yeah - dude, I couldn't catch you! Good riding"

I can only imagine where that conversation would have gone without my interjection. All I have to say about the situation is that if I had the body mass of that guy, there's a lot more people who wouldn't have been able to catch "the big xXx dude...on the yellow trek".

In other news, I didn't break anything!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

stop not stopping? stop!

If you didn't already know, Idaho recently amended its' traffic code to allow cyclists to legally roll stop signs when the way is clear of vehicles and pedestrians.

Here's a video summary:

Bicycles, Rolling Stops, and the Idaho Stop from Spencer Boomhower on Vimeo.

Slate published an article about the concept last week, and the Active Transportation Alliance here in Chicago has posed the question, "Are you a vehicular cyclist or a facilitator?"

I see myself in the grey area between being a vehicular cyclist and a facilitator, how about you? When drivers yell at me for rolling a stop sign, I wish there was a way to say "seriously, have you ever rolled a stop sign in that car EVER?!" in two or three yellable syllables. Bike lanes are great, though I see drivers give no respect to them on a regular basis. Bike paths like Chicago's Lakefront Path can be good, but they're no place for bikes traveling at 17-20mph, not to mention that path intersections like those around Montrose point are the scene of many a collision between cars and path users.

Last, here's a great article about a dutch town that took a hard look at the way people moved around town and actually did something about increasing everyone's safety... notice there's no mention of "safety-enhancing" red light cameras (and red lights!)