Sunday, December 28, 2008

the great american eyeglass swindle

It's a long one and if you don't wear prescription glasses you can ignore the hell out of it. You've been given the opportunity, at least.

I've been meaning to get a new pair of prescription glasses for a while now. I was a bit of an idiot and decided to purchase the vision plan at work, thinking it would pay off for me in the long run - I'll be canceling this the next time I'm able, which is during a 10-day period next November - health plans in the US are the awesome!

So I go to the fancy eyeglass place, the guy starts putting frames on the table as soon as I walk in, and has about six pairs there for me after my initial walk around peering into the frames locked up in their cases. OK - I sit down and try a few pair on. The guy really likes a certain frame or two and is a bit upset when I eventually steer towards something a little less boring with less bright colors and no cutout designs on the sides.

OK - so I've got this vision plan through work, what's this pair here gonna run me? Let's see, that frame is 540. What? Is that in US dollars, I wonder - because we haven't even begun to discuss the lenses yet, which is the thing I'm really after here - being able to see clearly. OK - but my plan covers the first $140 and takes off an additional 20%. So after factoring in the lenses, the frames, the $90 anti-reflective coating, which I don't want, it comes to about $475 - that's with tax now, so let's not lose sight of that.

I'm going to go think about this for a few hours before I throw down this cash that I really don't have, but if I don't get something before the end of the year I'm out the money I put into the plan - the $140.

I walk to a national chain type place - they've got a sign on the window saying something like all frames are $59 or something crazy like that. OK - they've got a much larger selection, though the frames have all been touched and prodded on by every person who just got off work at the burger king - if you try hard enough you can almost see out of the french fry grease fingerprints protecting the clear lenses.

So I find a frame that I think will suit my needs. Hey guy, how much for lenses in these here pair? OK, so he's ignored me up until now, cleverly utilizing the quiet hands off approach, I like it. This gentlemen can't seem to answer any of my questions other than repeating that I am going to need the most expensive lenses they offer, based on my very bad astigmatism. Wow, I had just told him the opposite, that I usually get by with the cheap lenses as my prescription really isn't that complex. So these top of the line lenses are gonna go for 200-bucks, that's including the anti-reflective coating, which everyone so far is emphasizing their ability to greatly enhance my ability to "drive at night". I've never had a problem getting around before, I keep thinking to myself. I walk out.

Let's go back a few years, shall we? I'm getting my eyes checked by an optician in the Navy. It's in Florida, this guy is a Captain, a very high rank for an eye doctor. He does the whole check up, we talk the whole time, have a hoot. He hands me my new prescription, telling me to walk around the other side of the building, hand the guy this slip and I'd have the glasses faster. Of course I do as he suggests. This technician takes a look at my prescription, grabs the right size frame out of a box on the wall, grabs the two lenses out of different bins, places them in the automatic grinding machine to bring them down in size to match the frames, pops them into the frame, polishes them with a cloth, and hands them to me. Five minutes, I'm walking out with my new glasses.

A buddy of mine was just in Korea. He's walking down the street and a vendor selling glasses tells him 35-bucks for a pair of glasses. No, he wears corrective lenses and doesn't have the prescription on him. No worries, have a seat. Hey, 35-bucks, what the hell? My buddy sits down, a light scans each eye for a few seconds, a slip prints out with his prescription on it, and 20-minutes later his glasses are ready. Bam!

My current pair of glasses cost me $150, frame and all, down in a Mexico eyeglass store.

So why the hell do glasses cost so effing much, for X-mas-sakes? I don't really need to be at my fashion best - I'm looking for a basic frame with lenses that don't fall out when I'm doing whatever it is I do. I need a good pair of glasses that isn't going to cost me a significant portion of my monthly income - beer money is not easily cut into, people.

I recall I'm a recent member of the Costco and they have an eyeglass counter inside. OK, so the selection is a bit lacking - I quickly find a frame that will suffice after sifting through a load of Nike/Converse/Stetson/corporate branded frames - so you want me to pay you money to advertise your brand of tennis shoes on the side of my head? OK, so basic frames - cost: $39.99 - they're the "Richard Taylor Quincy" model, in black, FYI.

On to lenses - here's where they hit you. The nice young lady tells me right away that based on my prescription, the basic and inexpensive lenses are the right choice. So how much? Lenses: $74.98 - that includes the UV coating, anti-reflective coating, and some other stuff.

Total price including the tax to support the wars and wall street bailouts and other political corruptions: $116.25 - why the hell was that so complicated?

I can get most if not all of this back once I submit the receipt for my vision plan, though I'll be out the remainder of the $140. Live and learn. Live and learn.

That's all I got.

Later reflection - Yes, I can surely see value in paying for what you get - take bike items for instance. I'm not buying a ride at Target because it's going to weigh 3x what I want to push, is not repairable or upgradeable, was likely not built correctly or safely by the 14-year old Erik's bike employee behind the scenes, is likely the most uncomfortable piece of machinery you'll ever sit upon, etc. But a pair of glasses works whether I pay a grand or 100-bucks. I don't see at all the value in paying 500-bucks for a pair of glasses - this ain't rocket science, as they say - and yes I do have a MS minor in aerospace engineering. Complimentary adjustments you say? I've always gone home and self adjusted my glasses with a pair of pliers because the person at the shop always made them as uncomfortable as possible. Warranty you add? For a quarter the price, I still have your said warranty.

I imagine there's an article in Consumer Reports talking about this very subject and I'm guessing they come up with the same conclusion - I ought to visit the library.

Out.

Damn - I could have saved myself a lot of time.

===============================
Update: June 2013

Been getting glasses at WP for a few years now and have no complaints.  And as long as you don't mind heating up and bending your own frames, which I'm fine with, I recommend them.  Oh, and you need your pupil distance, which I got after averaging out the measurement from several engineers at work using calipers.

Also, a segment on 60-Minutes I just learned of (spoiler: the industry is a monopoly and prices are set IAW there is no competition):

Thursday, December 25, 2008

effin a

Props to Common Roots for being open today. Also Cheapo Records, where I threw down a few for some fresh albums of choice. After that I went and threw down a few on the lake on my now annual ride across Calhoun. This time I chose east to west, solely to mix it up:
Lake Calhoun - beer stop

Other than that - I've spent a few hours in the garage today, sort of keeping things real, if you know what I mean. Bikes, music, and beer, that pretty much sums up my day - couldn't get any better.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

go get this bike thief

There has been a recent string of bike thefts in the Grant Park area of Minneapolis.  The thief has been skillfully breaking into back doors and into parking garages to get bikes from locked up storage areas, to name one example.

Here's a photo of the guy, if you know him, you know what to do:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'm pretty much famous... does Bloomington and Richfield count?

I'm riding home tonight down in the quiet, dark, snow packed, residential streets of Bloomington, specifically the 8500 block of Knox Ave South, when a Dodge Caravan minivan comes towards me and yells out "Idiot!" to me as he passes by. Holy shit I think - it's one of my readers! I was going to offer him a sticker, but he blew through the stop sign onto 86th in somewhat of a hurry, not really in my style at all, but perhaps explains this potential difference in character.

So not 2-minutes later, on the very next block, another car passes in the same direction, the silent driver throwing out 2 empty cans of Miller Genuine Draft at me. Two readers back to back? Too good to be true, I think, however this last person surely must have been a casual reader, because the points are on the packaging, not the actual cans or bottles. And please, for the other readers out there - it's only applicable to High Life, not the Genuine Draft. Details, people. Hey, at least he meant well! Happy holidays to you too, sir.

A third encounter you ask? Too good to be true, but true nonetheless. I'm riding through Richfield, not far from my first recognitions, on the 6700 block of Oliver, when a dog sees me - recognizes me more likely - now running at me, likely to give me a kiss or to receive a petting. I'm thinking when I stop for one dog, I'm stopping for the whole city - and my wrist isn't about to handle all the autographs, not to mention I've got to get home to check on the High Life, so I push it just a bit harder, maintaining myself just out of reach of my newest Richfield friend.

Kudos to all of you for recognizing me in the winter darkness and with my winter clothing on:
another one of these

I'm gonna see if I can finish off the High Life in the fridge tonight. You're welcome over to help, but no later than 0100, please.

Monday, December 15, 2008

midtown assaultway - a survivors tale

Read this story, though it's from a bullshit source, it's powerful and worth the read. Note that it's spread out over 3 clicks worth of pages. Please do yourself a favor and bypass reading any of the comments left on the above link.

I'm in agreement with a few of the comments left on my previous post. If people were getting jacked in their cars up on Lake Street, the cops wouldn't reply by telling people not to use that street, they'd increase their presence and add cops in an effort to nab the culprits.

I rode out to the river on Saturday night - took the side streets, bypassing this trail altogether. I've been fucked with too many times, a lot of those times on this "Greenway" trail, and am sick of riding alone in fear in a dark and secluded subterranean pathway, not to mention being the frequent and easy target for people throwing objects off of bridges at.

Speaking of the 'greening' of this particular trail, I've seen people hiding in bushes and trees along the trail on several occasions, and as Gene said a few days ago, it's only going to get worse when all the newly planted trees develop into maturity, creating a plethora of hideouts for heinous hoodlums. That last Alliteration is mine, but you can go ahead and use it.

Be careful out there - ride in groups - don't be afraid to take the streets after dark.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

tis the season

Robbery/Assaults

‘Midtown Greenway - Hiawatha LRT Trail’

 

Recently we’ve had series of robbery/assaults on the Midtown Greenway. They’ve occurred in both the 3rd and 5th Precincts at different locations along the trail.   

 

Typically the victim is surrounded and pushed off their bicycle. The attackers are taking wallets, backpacks and purses.   Many of the assaults have occurred after dark.  Some have occurred during daylight hours.  So far the attackers are not stealing the victim’s bicycles. 

 

The suspects have been described by their victims as groups of 2 or 3 younger males.  At this time we do not have more specific descriptions of the suspects.  It appears that more than one group of suspects may be committing these crimes.

 

The Minneapolis Police Department is investigating these crimes.  Police are doing extra patrol on the Greenway.  The Police Dept. met with the Midtown Greenway Coalition to discuss some prevention strategies.  

 

What You Can Do?

  • If you can, avoid riding or walking the Greenway after dark.
  • Whenever possible ride/walk with others, not alone. You are much safer with a group than you are alone.
  • There are “Bluelight” phones at intervals on the Greenway that will connect you directly to 911. Carry a cell phone as well. If you aren’t close to a phone, you can call 911 if you need help.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings. If you see people ahead of you, that make you nervous or uncomfortable, exit the Greenway at the nearest ramp.
  • If you should be assaulted, try to stay calm. Give the attackers what they want. The more you resist, the more likely it is that you will be injured.
  • Be sure to wear a bike helmet while riding. If will reduce you chances of injury considerably.
  • When you call 911 give the operator your location. Due to recent changes in our police reporting system, the Greenway is now listed as a street (i.e. Midtown Greenway W. (Nicollet Ave. westward) and Midtown Greenway E. (East of Nicollet to the river). When you riding or walking during daylight hours take some time to familiarize yourself with the addresses of the cross streets over the trail. It will help ensure a quicker police response.

If you have questions please contact Crime Prevention Specialist Don Greeley at the 3rd Precinct – 673-3482  or donald.greeley@ci.minneapolis.mn.us.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

so you want to ride your bike in the winter?

So on to the subject of riding a bicycle in winter conditions...
snowy but warm foot

Dressing is what's most important to me. When dressed smartly, you'll be a hell of a lot warmer than those people you ride by who are waiting at the bus stop.

Pack extras: keep a pair or two of extra gloves, glove liners, socks, sock liners, a few plastic bags, hat, face mask, neck gaiter/scarve, that sort of thing in your bag from now on - until a few weeks ago I'd never failed that advice, but I'm properly equipped now, I'm happy to say. It's no big deal to stop or slow down to add a layer when it's situated at arms length, but a lot more difficult to do the same when you left it at home that morning - as I did a few Friday's ago with my gloves.

Extremities - For me the most crucial aspect for proper dressing is to keep my fingers and toes warm - don't overly restrict your digits in your clothing choice or you'll freeze right away. Wear a liner of some sort and a bit heavier thing on top of that - wool is an awesome base layer and doesn't melt when standing around a campfire. I use basic riding shoes but sometimes use a pair of neoprene cycling booties on top of my shoes when it gets too cold for my liking. Some people use winter boots with platform pedals while others prefer the winter insulated cycling shoes by Lake and Sidi, but I can't afford those so I have no opinion on their performance. My favorite very cold weather riding mittens were eaten by my brothers dog last winter, so I'm experimenting with a new pair I recently picked up at Kaplan's for 14-bucks - have to wait a month or two for that sort of cold to hit, however. It is nice to have the glove liners on under the thicker pair, especially when you have to take the thicker gloves/mittens off to work a U-lock and key, for instance.

Legs - I usually just wear a pair of long-johns under pants, but this year I'm going to try a flannel lined pair of Carhartt's, again from Kaplan's. My legs are hot (I'm told), so this is about all I need - some can't seem to put enough on, so you'll have to experiment to find what works best for you.

Torso - for me it's a very light t-shirt style layer, a long sleeved sweatshirt style on top of that, followed by a light weight breathable full-zippered jacket for temperature control. I usually have this outer zipper down one-third to one-half during even cold rides, as I'm generating enough heat by my pedaling to compensate the dry-bulb temperature. It's nice to have zippers under the arms on this jacket to allow further temperature control. Don't let yourself sweat because that water is going to make you colder - this is what the zippers are for.

Head - Cover your ears, that's crucial for comfortable riding. I wear a thin hat that goes down over my ears and down to just above my eyes, but allows for my helmet to fit nicely. I like to cover the helmet with a rain cover, which blocks out the cold and allows a thinner hat for comfort (a garbage bag cut and taped to your helmet also works.) I wear glasses, so that blocks the wind from my eyes. Get a neck-gaiter or scarf, to your preference, to keep your neck warm while also being there to pull up over your mouth and nose. Grow a beard if this applies to you, it certainly helps. This year I'm going to experiment with a thin turtleneck shirt I just picked up cheap - it's technical or something and I'm not sure if it's going to burn or not. It's a pretty good idea to always have a beer in your bag in case a fire breaks out or you get thirsty, though.

Gear selection.

Lights: Wear at least one red blinkie light on your back side and a white one up front - it gets dark early and cars are less likely to think there are cyclists riding during this time of year.

Fenders: Come on, put some fenders on your bike - not cool for school, but you're past riding around with a stripe of wet, black, road grime on your ass by now, right? Go to the CRC, he's got them on sale until X-mas, knowwhatimean?
no fenders on the steamroller

Tires: Some people swear by studded tires, but I've successfully ridden more than one winter on slicks without falling, minus the times I was screwing around, of course. I believe it's more about confidence and experience than anything else, but then again there are those times I tend to screw around:
Wrexican down

Ice: The most important thing to keep in mind while riding in the winter is that you're likely riding on something slippery, and it isn't always this obvious:
icy Minneapolis streets

Riding style: When you go around a corner; do it slower than you would normally, without leaning into that corner as if you were the solo breakaway of a cat-5 crit race. When you start from a stop, do your best not to stand up and slam down on the pedals - it's not a race getting to work or school, it's just a job or an education - not worth the weeks of back pain when you slam down onto the street after your rear wheel slips out from under your body.

I already mentioned this part: As far as riding on the snow, keep in mind that there might be ice under that fluffy fresh layer, as was the occasion here:
sheer ice under this fresh snow

Keep it slow and get off and walk if you have to keep from falling.

Oh yeah, and grow a beard and always wear your helmet:
morning commute

And don't end up like this guy, and always wear your helmet:
Fleck Down - self derbied

Enjoy the upcoming winter, it's a great time to ride!

Monday, December 1, 2008

this is how we do things in the country

So I got to spend the long weekend with kin folk down in Missoura.

My T-day was spent with the brother collecting wood and setting said wood on fire. This 14+hour blaze took a lot of foraging and hand sawing, which was assisted with tow chain equipped tractor and a cooler or more of cold beer - Busch and Bud's, to be exact.

Late in the night, I decided to make a few runs on the road bike down the hill towards the fire in otherwise complete darkness. One of these runs I find my front wheel stopped by a small mogul, and me subsequently slamming my face into mother earth. I ended up with a small concussion, which caused me to spend a bit more time resting the next day than I had planned, but I'm mostly recovered good and fine now, eh?

It's good to be back in the MPLS and feel the cold air.

In other news, I overheard today that all cycling related shit over at the CRC is 20% off until X-maz - do it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

You know you want one

this just in from Minx:


Team Pegasus has a real reason for you to give thanks this week:

The Ladies of Team Pegasus And Friends calendars are in stock and shipping the same day you place your order, via Priority Mail. Priority! See how important these calendars are? Plus, you're helping the children (via World Bicycle Relief). And the children will give thanks that you're appreciating scantily-clad ladies each month. Although we're not telling them that. No, sir, we're not.

So, get your orders in today. The print run was limited and we'd hate for you to be disappointed. And once you place your order, you can be sure you'll have your hot-off-the-press calendar in your hands within a week.


Plus, deciding to gift a calendar to all your bike buddies ensures you can stay in bed with your t(of)urkey coma and avoid shopping this Friday. And isn't that what the holiday season's really all about?

Get yours here.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

the obligatory beer post

So remember how I mentioned that the High Life cruiser bike was no more? Well, some people are more visual than others; so if you're one of those people, here's a recap:
Told you so.

The 'Lucy', as they seem to officially call it, was equivalent to just over 129 cases of beer, and I guess there were enough people with ample points slip-streaming in the draft to attack - I should learn my lesson here but probably won't, I imagine. Still not sure what that lesson could be.

The good news is that I've sent off for the 'delivery guy' shirt, which required the redemption of 7500 hard earned points, or the equivalent to 31-cases and a 6-pack of the High Life. The better news is that I haven't slowed down in point collecting, with my sights now on the fleece jacket for winter time riding. The bad news is that the shirt takes 8-10 weeks to ship. Really? What the hell is going on behind the scenes at the points redemption HQ, I wonder? Terrified mass panic, I can only presume.

Shout out to those who selflessly gave me their points in the process up to now.

Now in the interest of keeping this post pointed towards the topic of beer, I would like to bring up the goal of finding my first Hopslam of the season.
The official site claims the beer is available "January 7th through February", so why are people telling me they're seeing it pop up already? Since I have yet to see this in person, I am forced to take these recent claims as unsubstantial and outside the realms of arguability.

In the meantime, I've been enjoying the 'Two Hearted', as well as a bit of the 'Hell Hath No Fury' ale, also offered by Bell's, and both being a meal in themselves.

Speaking of Ales, I seem to remember that I have no fewer than eight 'nip' bottles of Thomas Hardy's Ale aging nicely in my abode, all of which dated from 1990, plus a few more with a more recent date stamp. What am I waiting for, you might ask? A sign from above, I suppose, thought there could be deeper psychological implications here.

In other news, winter is going to hit soon. There was a bit of snow on the ground yesterday, though it's mostly gone by now. In fact, the ride home on Friday night found two of us crunching on lake ice as we attempted to take a shortcut that ultimately led on a backtracking session, on foot, down in the god-fearing regions of the inner burbs. We quickly removed ourselves from the danger of the thin ice, it's safe at this time to report, though it was quite over a shallow region of the lake - dang early darkness issues with untested trails.

Friday, November 21, 2008

happy TV people, cold cold fingers, and a change of plan for tonights bridge club

There's a study I read about this morning that concludes "that people who spend the most time watching television are least happy in the long run." Ever since giving up television watching many years ago now, I have to say that I'm not too sad. I haven't seen or heard a single political commercial in more than five years, for instance, and I'm not sad at all about that - happy in fact!

The original article appears in the journal Social Indicators Research, but I am unfortunately not on their mailing list anymore - reminder to contact their subscriptions dept. The story about it is written here, so check it out.

So the ride in this morning wasn't too bad, other than I didn't know it was going to be 10F when I left the house and was ill prepared in the finger protection department - even now they're still a bit sore. Why I haven't opened up my winter clothing bin I still don't know, but it's gonna happen soon, probably.

So in light of the lack of adequate gloveage, the weekly bridge department club meeting will be hereby moved to the Shantytown, arriving by 1700 - you are more than welcome to stop by and purchase me a drink and/or tator tots. I then see myself moving towards my garage or living room, where 50 or so beverages await somewhat randomly stashed in the garage and fridge. What can I say? The High Life points season was just extended to the end of calendar year 2009. Yes, the bike is no longer available, but we can only dream in anticipation as to what is going to be offered next! I can hardly sleep at night...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

2008 MN CX Championships recap

It was a good day for a bicycle race up in the Crystal of MN. Lots of burning thighs in the sandtrap:

Sand Trap

donut primes, for a post-stair reward:
donut handoff

moustaches:
moustache rider

beards:
beard off contestant?

all the sorts were represented, including this guy showing off my new 1x1 behind curtain #2:
the new 1x1

the rest are here.

Some of us are recovering after a long day of race observing. I can only imagine how the racers are faring on this fine day.

Friday, November 14, 2008

rider down, needs your help - go to the benefit

this just in from the Zito:
------------------------------

Hi Chris-

I recently received a call from a man named Mark who is the GM over at D’Amico Catering in Minneapolis. He used to work at the Edina D’Amico and over the years, delivered 100’s of boxed lunches to QBP. On September 17th, 2008, Rodney Scroggins, (who has worked for them for 19 years and has always biked to and from work), was hit by a car (hit and run) and found lying in the road about an hour later, then brought to HCMC. He is still in the hospital and recovering from a dislocated shoulder, broken bones and other injuries.

Coworkers have organized a benefit to help with his recovery. All the proceeds will benefit his family.

Benefit:
When: Tuesday, November 18th 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Where: Metropolitan Ballroom
5418 Wayzata Blvd.
$25 in advance, $30 at the door.

For more information or donation: Call Ramanda at D’Amico and Partners: 612-374-1776

Fund:
TCF Bank
121 8th Street South in Minneapolis
Clyde/Bruce Scroggins
In care of Rodney Scroggins

Mark wanted some help spreading the word, I said I’d see what I could do. Please consider supporting, attending or telling your friends about this incredibly important event.

Thanks for your time. :)

Anne West
Community Service Coordinator at QBP

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

all over the place - state cx champs this weekend

So I spent last weekend in the good city of St. Louis, down in Missoura - That's part of the "real America", based on the election just a week ago. It was a good time for me to get back to my city of birth in the show-me-state TM. I found the urban areas to be fitting to my needs, finding a more than adequate vinyl store, also liking the ability to purchase High Life in a 32-ounce can at the 7-eleven, on a Sunday even. Now that's 1-quart of liquid goodness, and while it comes with no points for my sweet swag, it comes with a few street cred points for picking up a large-boy in the part of town that I did it in.

The bicycle infrastructure seemed to be more than adequate, based on my short stay, though I didn't see a whole lot more than the weekend roadie types. I was more impressed with the architecture seen in the city - the copper Gothic roof tops, the abundance of brick houses, slate shingles, and basic city life - it's a good thing.

St. Louis bike lane

Let's go somewhere else for a moment. If I was known as "The Heathen", these are a few of the things I would be saying on a daily basis - some on the phone, some via text, and sometimes in person:
what's the soup?

poop in a bucket.
Now then, I haven't been much of a "mountain bike rider" in this lifetime, but I now have a single speed version of that style bicycle recently built up from parts collected in the course of nearly 2-years. This vehicle is equipped with disc brakes of the hydraulic type, and while they seem to work quite well, I do need to trim the cables down a bit from their out-of-box dimensions. And what's the deal with the lack of disc cable guides on the frame I ask. A couple on the top tube would make ones life a bit richer, not minding the two on the non-drive side seat stays of course. Photos and more description in the weeks ahead, but I'll tell you I've done a few sweet wheelies up to now and am aching for a bit more. I have to mention that the addition of the brakes are new - the other night I was riding around the complete bike minus said brakes and I have to make an official announcement that I made it home and into bed with no significant incidents that I can recall up to now.

OK - I'll be spending the weekend and next week in the EU, possibly for the last time in a while. I apologize in advance for any entries that may come during that time. Strike that, seems as if there's a change of plans.

So it now looks like I'll be able to attend the state cyclocross race this weekend at Bassett creek park. See you there.

Peace and remember: Yes we can. Usually anyway.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

get out and vote people

So it's time to go out and vote. Hopefully you've already done so - either by getting to the polls early or by absentee or early voting. I made it to the polls 20 minutes prior to opening and was out 45 minutes later - but I bypassed a lot of people once I got my ballot because I knew what to expect ahead of the game - see previous post. I was voter 56 in my ward - when I left there were 200+ in a line going around two corners of the block. Shit, I then biked 10 miles and was at work by 8am - how more patriotic can a person get in one day?

You haven't voted yet? No problem.

In Minnesota - the polls are open till 8pm - if you're not yet registered in MN, you can do so today at your polling place. This is fairly unique as far as US states go, so if you are dragging your feet because you're not registered - get to the polls now. Bring some form of identification that shows you live where you do or if you can't do that, it's OK to have a friend or neighbor vouch for you in person - yep, also fairly unique. Just a few more reasons MN is such a great place to live.

If the lines at the polls are long - stay there! Do not give up and go home! Don't think your vote doesn't count because that's bullshit. Remember, it's legal for you to skip work in the morning of election day to vote - "Minnesota voters may take time off from their job without a penalty or reduction in wages on the morning of Election Day to vote." See answers to more frequently asked questions here.

Not sure where to vote? Go here - it tells you. If you're in another state, just Google the name of your state along with "secretary of state" and bingo people - it's that easy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

homie

What happens when a few hundred folks get together on their bicycles laden with drinks, food, and other items of questionable delight, blindly follow some orange jump suit clad leader up and down stair cases, back and forth over the Mississippi river and through the woods? yep, it was the homie fall fest.

This picture caught my attention earlier.

Super Zero showed up to mentor us a bit on skillz:
Super Zero Ziegle

There were a number of roundies, sometimes with the whole group of hooligans and sometimes with just a pair showing off their shenanigans:
wheels and gene

We all got to ride through a tunnel that mysteriously led to St. Paul - yeah, I can't believe I made it over there either:
ridin the Homie

wha happen? and Minneapolis Sample Ballot

You ever have one of those mornings when you wake up and find strange bruises on your body and subsequently realize some joints don't fully articulate like they did the night before? Yeah, that was this weekend. Possible photos in the near future - pending review by my team of lawyers who are always standing by on retainer for situations such as these.

So someone said something about election day tomorrow - already? If you're in the 612, check this out to find a sample ballot and do some research BEFORE you tie up the polling booth. We're doing more than voting for a POTUS, ya know.

Anyway, if you live in or near my neighborhood, here is your sample ballot - print it out and mark it up or jot down notes on paper to bring in with you - that's allowable you know:




Saturday, November 1, 2008

pre-homey homie

Lord help us. This fine lady scored me an Old Gold, which I lit with a portion of a one dollar bill - I'll be turning in that more-than-half for a refurbished dolla soon.
And then Kmac loaned me her skirt. That super suit wasn't the lightest thing in the room.
Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pinched Nerve, HFF, Geno, Arrogance, and a mention of the CRC west

So I jacked my back pretty good a few days ago - pinched a nerve. Pain indeed. Visited the chiropractor twice now, doing better but need a few days to recover. I think the WNR is a no go for me tonight - gonna miss the 5th ride of the month unless I'm feeling much better in a few hours, which could very well happen. And furthermore, based on events planned for the weekend, please don't go calling me on Sunday - even I require a bit of rest, from time to time.

Kris pointed out this article in the local paper to me this morning. Good for Gene and Jennifer, I'm glad to see proof of them doing well - as if the addition on their home wasn't an indication by itself... And why is it popular for anonymous people to say they were treated with arrogance when walking into 1/1, and then always citing Freewheel as the preferred place to go? I can't speak for Freewheel, because I haven't walked into that place in years, but the characters at 1/1 are some of the friendliest in town (even to people they don't know, believe it or not), and I routinely see them all go to great lengths to help out a customer - even occasionally sleeping uncovered on the benches and hardwood floors to ensure they're on time for work in the morning - now that's dedication you don't see at those chain branches like the CRC, unless you're at the CRC west, because that's occurred a number of times - believe me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

darkness is upon us

So it's dark getting to work, gonna be dark on the way home soon as well. My hands were numb from the cold this morning - note to self - pack better gloves and I'm gonna need something to cover the ears soon. Make sure to freshen the batteries on your red blinkies - they keep working but get too dim and now's when you need 'em, my friends.

High Life update: 5160, with a stack of points sitting on the counter, just a waiting for bonus point days. Update: they're giving away a cruiser bike for 31-thousand points - only 108 cases to go!

Yep, they started giving out points for drinking beer and the wrong guy found out about it.

Scored a 3-speed English rider last night - looking forward to giving her a few laps around the block.

Friday - God Came From Space at Stasius. When you see me, offer a drink - I think this goes without saying.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

back on the topic at hand

First of all, let's take a look at the Pack-Max Duo cargo bike brought to us by De Fietsfabriek - I really like this:
Pack-Max Duo

Next up is just another Carrier Bike, again from De Fietsfabriek:
Carrier Bike

Next up is a pair of Cargo Bikes - these are all over the place in Amsterdam - I want one of these:
Bakfiets

Finally, there are quite a few rides locked up with beer cans stacked upon them - I imagine them used as trash cans, similar to pick-up truck beds here in the States:
Heineken Tall Boy Rack

That's all for now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bologna with a splash of bidet

So I get a rental car to drive to my destination from the Bologna airport a few days ago. Upon return I decide it a good idea to refill the tank - but it's 2100 and the stations are closed, so I drive up to the next one I see, see something that looks like it could be a sign for 24 hour self-service operation, and proceed to attempt at inserting my credit card into any number of cracks and grooves in the side of the gas pump - to no avail. Hmm. Oh well, I go to the next one - voila! It looks like my Master Charge is not accepted, but the old tried and true cash money is (several stories about how credit card machines seem to be "broken" when traveling in Italy), so I go and get some cash money, put a 50 euro note into the central machine(smallest I note on hand), more problems trying to figure out that my car is not a diesel (I could have sworn it was), and find the pump stops filling at 37 euros - OK, I'll go get my change - nope, this thing ain't setup for giving change. No problemo, I guess I'm expensing that loss... Seriously, it took me 30-minutes to fill the tank of the Ford Fiesta before I could return it. Oh, and there aren't AM stations on the dial over here for shit - static and squealching, nothing else.

In other news, I met a couple from Ukraine this afternoon while at work - very nice, although none of us shared a common language - but I could tell they were good people, and I could tell they thought the same of me.

In other other news, I ate at a restaurant last night where they had on display 4 wine bottles above the bar - one named after Mussolini, one with Hitler(no shit), one with the Pope(JP2), and one with somebody else I can't remember. Great pasta, but I hadn't noticed the bottles until on the way out. Fascists.

OK, one link - my body hasn't felt fresher in years!

1223

OK, next time I'm sitting outside my hotel at 2am trying various combinations of a possible pass code to get in, it's 1223 - and is not a combination of 1, 3, and 5 like I insisted to myself. Because if you don't remember the code, you have to buzz the owner, a 90-year old man who comes out in his bathrobe with a smile, but surely not crazy about the whole situation - evident by him grunting and murmuring for the 5-minutes it takes him to get out of bed with the intercom left on at his end.

Ciao.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

this time I'm fully with it - sorry about that other night thing

I'm checking the news for the first time in more than a day - yeah I know, way out of touch. How the hell did Obama just get a 53-36 lead over Hero-boy? And I see my departure from the country hasn't saved the economy - I was hoping there would be some influence.

I'm just walking through the Amsterdam airport when two airport cops come flying past me at full speed on their Segway scooters, pants flapping in the wind, which paints a picture of GOB into my head and I can't stop laughing in their direction.

My custom bag, hand made by Eric at Banjo Brothers is complete - see me sporting it on my return.

But seriously - I'd move to Sweden in an instant - the food, the people, the beauty, the culture - in an instant...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

re-energize America

Hello, my name is Sarah Judkins. I'm an organizer with a project called the Trek to Re-Energize America. The Trek to Re-Energize America is a bike trip to Washington D.C. to demand real action on climate change. Riders will depart for D.C. from all across the country, leaving from their home states and sweeping up media attention and grassroots support as they go. Upon arrival in D.C. the riders will rally and lobby for action on current legislation by asking their representatives to be leaders in the fight against climate change. A massive number of organized passionate people who have biked across the United States for something they believe strongly in will make for a statement that politicians and media will be unable to ignore. I was hoping that you would be willing to put up a link or banner for the Trek on your blog to help us spread the word and continue to engage more people across the country. The website is www.TrektoReEnergize.org I can send you a banner if you'd like to put one up.

Thanks, cheers,

Sarah Judkins

Monday, October 13, 2008

Last night in Belgium and whoa is it a doozy

So I'm almost falling asleep today at work - go to dinner right next to a 1446 castle outsite of Leuven - can't seem to find it right now.

Go to some bar. Visit with some guy from Romania, a couple from Antwert, who are going to the hospital tomorrow for a visit - she's very nervous as well as he - but it's down to the wire and they're gonna find out what's wrong and probably not a lot of sleep - oh, and he bought me a Duvel and a shot of some "Geneva" wheat liquour.

Oh, and then a bunch of Manchester guys show up - I buy a few of them beers, no wait - a few Canadians show up - I buy them a few beers, one of them stays around, a bunch of Manchester guys stay around - I buy a bunch of them a bunch of beers - some are from the RAF, but I doubt it. Bunch of damn dentists, anyway.

God I love Belgium - and spell checker...

How did the cross race go? Seriously.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

night 1 in Belgium

OK, meeting Karim's 2.5 year old daughter makes up for the escalator excursions I endured on Saturday afternoon. Cutest girl possible. I don't speak her Tunisian, but she's a total sweetheart.

Got a chance to briefly see the following landmarks: NATO headquarters, the Royal Palace of Brussels, the Manneken Pis, the Cinquantenaire, and the Atomium. And when I say briefly, I mean drove by in the passenger seat.

Just came back from having an in-depth discussion on beer with Willem tending bar - no, Bram is not working tonight, but Willem just happened to have Michael Jackson's great beers of Belgium book in his bag - a publication I've desired since it's first printing in 1991. Unfortunately the hardcover I just browsed is in Dutch, so I didn't get a lot of information from it, but the photos alone are deserving of the purchase. Willem just finished writing an article on Delirium Tremens for the beer tasting club he's a member of. It seems that Willem and I have similar hobbies and interests - bonding but no physical contact, sorry readers.

I got a few sweet photos of bikes this afternoon in Amsterdam - will post them when possible - I left the camera cord at home and flickr is blocked from my work laptop - land of the free, eh?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

escalators, Amsterdam, Wirth race, Dow, beer

where to start?

bridge club Friday night - rode by a gas station, saw gas at $2.89 per gallon - wasn't it just 4-bucks recently? Shit, get out there and drive.

heading on a trip - my colleague sends me a list of stuff to bring him and family - so I'm trucking up and down escalators at Pennies looking for pajamas and the like for size 4T and 6T children - out of my element, dude. and those escalators aren't a ride, people - keep on moving, it'll help to rid the cellulite. I'm gonna have to have a talk with him - no more shopping mall excursions.

fast forward a bunch of hours - sitting in the AMS airport.

anybody going to the wirth cyclocross race today? I'm bummed I'm missing it.

Wednesday the 15th - there's a birthday ceremony and tree dedication for Rachel Dow from 5-7pm at her bench on the W river road at Folwell Ave.

get out there people, we've all got beer to drink.

Friday, October 10, 2008

they're taking my Chloe away on Tuesday

this just in from Freaky Friday:

Hey Folks-

Big News, Weird & Odd News, Bizarre News:

As I'm sure many of you know, after all the flip-flopping back and forth on relocating out of MN for Portland, OR [and then it was Northern Cali, and then Portland, and then... ] and then calling the whole enchilada off [too much shit wasn't coming together, and Amy had resigned from her gig here in Minneapolis and couldn't un-resign (hiring freeze) and then money was getting very sparse, and then Amy landed a gig at Abbott... ] we decided to stay here in Minneapolis for -at least- the winter.

Well, much has changed in a short time.

We have to be out of our current place this Sunday, and into a new crib in Seward. That didn't work out [dump, over-priced] and we were prepared to go to our "Back-Up Plan". That being staying with our good pal, Bob Brown, at his crib until we could find a place for Nov. 1st. And that's what's happening... 'cept it will be for precisely 3 days.

Huh?

Yep.

In our latest episode of "Jebus Christ on a cracker with aerosol cheese": Amy got a call from the place in Portland that -way back in August- needed her [us] to be there with Oregon Nursing License in hand ASAP [but her license wasn't here yet, so they had to hire someone else]... as of two days ago, they have a position for her, in a department that's her specialty and with housing included in the deal.

So... her start date is Oct. 27th, we take the new apt. on Oct 24th.

So to the folks who care [and the ones who might not, but we care about you anyway], it looks like 'next Spring' is actually 10 days away. We are hitting the road w/bikes, cat, daughter, wife, me, gerbils and assorted crap that constitutes Life on Oct. 14th westbound for Portland [getting there a little bit early will allow us time to explore, get all of our stuff into storage and ride around... we'll be staying in motels on the Oregon coast while waiting for our crib to become available].

We hope we bump into you before then [residing in the Battle Creek area of SP will seriously cramp our day to day rollin' thru the 612 me thinks/not to mention the short amount of time we are around before splitting], but if we do not... anyone receiving this email, well you mean, have meant, will always mean... a great deal to us. We hope you all know this. We do.

Good thing we had two parties... twice as many memories.

We will think of you all back here rollin' thru winter, think of us out there rollin' thru rain [it's all wetness in the end].

Rubber Side Down, and much Love-

-Scott, Amy & Chloe Cutshall

PS-->> Nick & Kevin J, all systems are still Go for Sunday, I'll be in touch with you both, Thanks

All this from a guy who spends his nights peeing on high voltage lines. We'll miss you kids - godspeed.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Ladies of Team Pegasus & Friends Calendar

this just in from The Minx:
The ladies of Team Pegasus and some of their ladyfriends (like me) are banding together to put out a calendar for 2009 that will benefit World Bicycle Relief and Team Pegasus. This may be of interest to your readers...would you mind reblogging this? We're trying to spread the word far and wide. As in farther and wider than it's already been spread.
do it people.

In other news - have I mentioned that Monday is the new Friday - because it sure was yesterday, from what people tell me, anyway. I think I'm going to hell. Is Tuesday the new Friday? Stay tuned and find out.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

bicycle bill, my sweet 401k, and farmer mark

So I'm browsing recently passed HR1424 this afternoon, as few citizens and a few congress-people have done as well, and randomly find a resolution for the employers of bicycle commuters, as follows:

SEC. 211. TRANSPORTATION FRINGE BENEFIT TO BICYCLE COMMUTERS.

    (a) In General- Paragraph (1) of section 132(f) is amended by adding at the end the following:
        `(D) Any qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement.'.
    (b) Limitation on Exclusion- Paragraph (2) of section 132(f) is amended by striking `and' at the end of subparagraph (A), by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (B) and inserting `, and', and by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
        `(C) the applicable annual limitation in the case of any qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement.'.
    (c) Definitions- Paragraph (5) of section 132(f) is amended by adding at the end the following:
        `(F) DEFINITIONS RELATED TO BICYCLE COMMUTING REIMBURSEMENT-
          `(i) QUALIFIED BICYCLE COMMUTING REIMBURSEMENT- The term `qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement' means, with respect to any calendar year, any employer reimbursement during the 15-month period beginning with the first day of such calendar year for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee during such calendar year for the purchase of a bicycle and bicycle improvements, repair, and storage, if such bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employee's residence and place of employment.
          `(ii) APPLICABLE ANNUAL LIMITATION- The term `applicable annual limitation' means, with respect to any employee for any calendar year, the product of $20 multiplied by the number of qualified bicycle commuting months during such year.
          `(iii) QUALIFIED BICYCLE COMMUTING MONTH- The term `qualified bicycle commuting month' means, with respect to any employee, any month during which such employee--
            `(I) regularly uses the bicycle for a substantial portion of the travel between the employee's residence and place of employment, and
            `(II) does not receive any benefit described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of paragraph (1).'.
    (d) Constructive Receipt of Benefit- Paragraph (4) of section 132(f) is amended by inserting `(other than a qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement)' after `qualified transportation fringe'.
    (e) Effective Date- The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2008.
So I do a quick search and find this little known addition hasn't gone overlooked by everyone in the country. $20 bucks per month for each commuter - shit, that's gonna help my company write off in the neighborhood of 1000 big ones every year - time to rejoice for one Earl Blumenauer, at least.

Speaking of money, let's take a look at how my 401k is doing this year...
Whoops, I guess leftover Ramen and stolen sprinkler water is what I've got forward to in my golden years, assuming that ever happens.

Here's me last week after three or so hours of gardening at a farm in Colorado. That bike will soon be mine - perhaps as early as when my 401k picks up a bit...
on the BOSS

Friday, October 3, 2008

debates, cargo bikes, killer breath, and mason jars

Rode over to the Rose's house for a gathering to watch the debate - most of us are all "on the fence" here in Minneapolis on who to vote for, dontcha-know. I ended up watching 15 minutes or so of the debate - really, what's the point? During this time, I did get a chance to ride Marlin's latest fabrication - a custom brazed front-load cargo bike, which I would be more than happy to take off his hands.

Quote of the night while at the BLB, peering at the 85-90 narrow riser-barred, deep-V'd, 650b'd, bladed spoked, fixies in front of the place :
"...the biggest cock I ever saw, dude had poop breath."

On a side note - if any of the listeners has any extra Mason jars - hand them over to me for some canning and preservation - seriously. I'll also be needing a pressure cooker for said canning operations.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ghost Bike Memorial Ride This Saturday

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ghost Bike Memorial Ride to Honor Fallen Bicyclists

Minneapolis / St.Paul-October 2008 - This Saturday, the bicycle community will come together to honor the memory of cyclists who have been killed in recent accidents on Twin Cities streets. A memorial ride will visit the sites of three of the most recent crashes, where "Ghost Bikes" have been placed as a memorial to the victims. For more info on Ghost Bikes please visit http://www.ghostbikempls.org.

Family, friends and cyclists are invited to participate in this group ride. Organizers are asking that participating cyclists please wear a black shirt with orange ribbon around their arm or handlebars. Ribbon will be provided for those who need it.

What: Memorial Ride to Honor Fallen Bicyclists
13.6 miles for Twin Cities route
14.3 miles extra for Blaine route

Where: Meet on the traffic island at Summit and Snelling Avenues in St.Paul

When: This Saturday, October 4th, 2008. The ride will meet at 10:30 am; depart 11:00 am

Contact: ghostbikempls@gmail.com or 612-276-1008

The ride will begin at Summit and Snelling Avenues near the ghost bike memorial for Virginia Heuer Bower. It will then head west down Lake Street to Excelsior and West 32nd Street, the ghost bike memorial for Jimmy Nisser. The ride will then head back up Excelsior/Lake, then northeast on Hennepin to the ghost bike memorial for Nik Morton.

There is an unrelated "group photo" event at 3pm at Gold Medal Park (the red square on the bikemap) and participants are welcome to continue on to be part of the "Unite Bike" group photograph: http://www.unitebike.com/

In the afternoon, another ride will head to Blaine in order to place a Ghost Bike at Central and Cloverleaf, where cyclist Dale Aanenson was killed.

Riders are expected to be orderly and respectful of traffic. If you are riding recklessly, you will be asked to leave.

More discussion on the memorial ride can be found on the community message board Minneapolis Bike Love.

Information about the victims of these tragedies can be found here:
Dale Phillip Aanenson

Virginia M. Heuer

Nik Morton

Jimmy Nisser


Handbill here (pdf)

relax, I'm back

First of all, that last post I posted - about the Jana winning that race deal - yeah, she didn't win. She did come in first behind the winner, so that's pretty damn good. Not sure what she got for prize swag, but I like to think it was good stuff.

I was out in the CO west for a few days, visiting the former shockspital intern and now Naropa monk:
Had a great time - rode my bike around a lot, also rode a Bianchi BOSS with orange Paul hubs, stayed at a hippie co-op house, found an amazing used bookstore with an incredible selection, finally drank at Mountain Sun, and ended my stay by seeing the sun disappear behind the mountains as my plane exited the gate. Now I have to take advantage of my super lungs seeing that I'm about 5000-feet (1500m) lower in elevation.

But seriously, I did my best to find a Subaru in affluent Boulder without some sort of bicycle/kayak/ski/something-or-other rack on top - simply can't be done, at least with the power of one person - I think this might be a good distributed computing problem, like finding the next largest prime number, but in this case I think it's a losing proposition.

In other news, did I miss anything while away? And on a completely unrelated note, I wonder how my stocks are doing...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Babes in Bikeland 2

It's the second annual all-female alleycat bicycle race here in MPLS, Babes in Bikeland II,
You really owe it to yourself to go to this, and although I wasn't able to make it to last year's event, and unfortunately can't even make it to this one, the stories I've heard are of the exceptional variety, not to mention the exceptional-ness of the all female organizer. I know where I'd be to partake in this event, but I'll keep that spot to myself until next year. Good luck to all competing for 2nd place, because Jana has all but taken the lead.

Friday, September 19, 2008

week of the Fridays

it's been like a continuous Friday all week - why stop now that we've arrived?

Gathering at Scott's in a little bit, followed by God Came From Space at the 3-rock, likely to be a bit of heathenry before, after, and a bit in between. Make sure to buckle that helmet nice and tight, kids.

Anyone notice how "it's gonna be the last nice night/weekend" has been the banter of choice for the last few weeks around the workplace and checkout lanes? No, I don't wanna talk about the weather or politics - I have no control over either, they're already pre-determined by higher powers.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

America's Funnyman

Lots of late nights this week - I keep saying it's not going to happen again but it's really out of my control at this point.

It was just past midnight and the night was just getting started:
I bought his souvenir 7" vinyl last night (only 500 made) and then cracked it after a few crashes. Your copy just got that much more valuable.

Took a look at the new bridge, whoa were there cops all over the place last night.

driver's ed

This guy recently almost got the smack down by New York State Senator Jeff Klein and his big black Mercedes. Careful out there people, it happens all too often.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Giant track bike for sale

My brother is selling his track bike, yes that's a titanium Brooks Swallow. Someone buy this thing up.

click here for photos and more details, but here's the lowdown:
Frame: Giant Omnium Large
Wheels: Cane Creek Volos Track
Cranks: Truvativ Omnium 172.5mm
Saddle: Brooks Swallow
Pedals: Cranks Bros Candy, included if you want them
Handle Bars: Deda track

John

everyone else is doing it - or - I can barely stand up - or - back to the u-tubes

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

another callout for Brauer's ride

Salsa Scandium track frame, Red/Black paint job
Unmarked carbon tubular wheelset w/ Deda tires
Campy record crank
Salsa bar/stem/seatpost
San Marco Aspide saddle
Time pedals
Desalvo steel fork

photos pending, we're looking for one that captures it just so.

from Surly Blake:
"Here are photos of the same frame and fork. There are only about 5 of these, serial number should read something with either SALSA or QBP in it which is also unique."



Monday, September 15, 2008

Jackhole, flickr, and Atala - or - enough of the youtube clips

So last week I'm riding downtown after work, say 4:54pm - yeah, I left early as it's a 14 or so mile ride, but I had to pay for that T-Serv I got after hours the weekend prior. Up ahead there's an intersection packed with cars from 3 directions, all with stop signs. I go up to the front on the sidelines, foot-down stop, and wheel through said intersection adjacent to a black SUV for a bit of protection - it was a cluster-fbomb of traffic, seriously. So this guy on my right decides he wants to meet me, perhaps ask me what type of grips I prefer. Instead of the usual Minneapolis handshake, this guy, perhaps still high off the "Drill-Baby-Drill" spittle of the GOP convention, decides he doesn't like the way I do things, guns his Lincoln in a rabbit start t-bone lunge at me before braking hard, me swerving into the adjacent lane in the interests of self preservation. He then passes me with his starboard window down letting me know his thoughts - you know, the usual things people in cars say when screaming out their windows at bicyclists. Of course he's accelerating away when he's doing this, making his wording garbled and my reply useless although not completely unanswered. What's that up ahead? Oh, it's just a red light, we see them all the time. I pull next to this guy, slowly swing my backpack around, casually grab my 35mm camera, take the lens cap off and ease it into my pocket, refit the backpack, and take a few shots of this guy through the now closed car window. Funny how vocal someone can be when they are running away but how quiet and content the same jack-hole is when confronted by the victim. Shit, this is the last guy in the world who might have thought anything was amiss on this fine afternoon - fine enough now to have the windows up and airco on, facing straight ahead with a bit of oh shit, why did there have to be a red light so close to that stop sign - and he was almost on the I-394 onramp where he could be tooling along at faster than bicycle speeds on his way out of this heathen metropolitan filthtrap.

So I decided to sleep on this for a few nights to let myself cool down. Six nights have gone by and this is what I've decided. Sure it's one-sided, but it's my oneside that counts.



Oh, and my workplace is blocking a ton of websites, flickr included - good god what the hell has this world come to?

In other news, check out Christof's new (to him) Atala single-speed. Nice? I can't see it during the day, but I remember it looking nice.

Some things in life are better than others, the trick is to find the balance that makes you happiest.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

stolen Salsa track bike

I'm down on the dock this afternoon waiting out the rain storm and am casually told Brauer's bike was just stolen - his fancy Salsa track bike, nonetheless.

from the ooo blog:
Ya never think its gonna happen to you. It only happens to other folks, right? Well, it happened to me. I got a bike stolen. Right off the back dock at OOOBS. Sometime around 11:00 today. My jewel bike. Dammit. Here's the description: Salsa scandium track bike. Red/Black paint. DeSalvo steel straight blade fork. Unbranded carbon tubular wheelset. Campy Record track crank. Salsa Bar/Stem/Post. ASPide saddle. Keep your eyes peeled. Pics to follow when I dig some up. -BP
this is bullshit.

Oh, and would you please quit driving while talking into your f-bomb cell phone. No, I'm not going to give you directions as you're driving down the middle of a bike lane down the wrong way of a major MPLS street.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Jim Nisser

65-year-old Jim Nisser was killed this morning while riding his bike to work.

Nisser had cerebral palsy and had worked at the Minikahda Club since 1962. Authorities say he rode his bike to work almost every day at around 4:15 a.m.

Authorities were able to recover paint chips that belong to a tan car. Those paints chips have been forwarded to the FBI so they can deterine[sic] the make and model of the car.

Police say Nisser was wearing a bike helmet when he was hit. Authorities say the tan car may have sustained right front-end damage.

Anyone with information should call 911 immediately.


View Larger Map

another stolen bicycle in MPLS - updated

Here is what is know:
Royal Blue and White Sekine (very rare Japanese/Canadian brand)
It may say, "World's Finest Bicyle" on the downtube, pre-1973 model
Obama spoke card
Bike rack (black)
gold bell
10 sp

*priceless

similar to these photos:




This belongs to a friend, and while she is more concerned about the sentimental value than the actual monetary loss, it doesn't take away from the fact that someone stole her baby and primary mode of transportation - she's car-free.

more details when available. sorry, no photo in my collection that I can find.

Last seen locked up on the NW corner of 34th St and Lyndale Ave S at 22.00 Tuesday night.

View Larger Map

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

2 recommended cycling publications

Lots of recognizable faces and places on the 1/1 ad in issue 9 of Urban Cyclist. It was also nice to see Carl in issue 35 of Momentum.

Both of the above publications are available free online and are packed with good articles and photos that relate to the commuter as well as the track stand aficionado.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

get out and vote

If you're in the MPLS area, it's primary election day, so go ride down to your polling place and submit your damn vote.

MN voting polling place finder

MPLS voting page

My advice to you besides actually voting - go online and find out who is on the ballot - even print out a sample ballot - research ALL of the candidates and choose before you go vote. It's a hell of a lot more efficient knowing who all those funny names are on your ballot prior to staring at the back of the ballot with a pen in your hand, trying to make up your mind based on how their names sound. I go with my sample ballot filled out and I'm done with my ballot in less than a minute. Do it, yo.


Yeah I know, it's only the primary - I was the 98th person to vote in my precinct at 15.00. Sad.

Monday, September 8, 2008

nothing wrong with a bit of crystal meth, in moderation - nor with sniffing glue for that matter. pass me another mountain dew.

Check out these two identical infomercials, I imagine they're being played on national television:




Hot damn, and to think I've been avoiding high fructose corn syrup all these years. Don't go believing the liberal media elitists when they try to sell you and your family about how fat you are, how you're going to die of diabetes, how the earth is warming, and how your Winnebago isn't a good choice for commuting into the big city - hockey moms and nascar dads know what's right for their families - don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Amazing the influence of a few lies when repeated over and over and over. It's just corn, sillies.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Chloe derbies me down, more broken bike stuff - usual stuff

Four (4) of us rolled over to the gentleman Formerly Known as Large Fellow's house for a going away fest last evening. A good turnout and good times were had by all - Chloe completely outdid herself with the custom poster creations for each guest - I left mine there so as not to destroy it in my bag but already have a spot on the wall for it when it arrives. Had a derby session with the Chlo, and do apologize for taking her down a bit too hard one time - that finger will heal right up, I'm guessing. Nick and I put our heads together and decided it a good idea to hit up the store for a case of tallboys for our next stop - and I for one stand by that decision - one reason why I'm known as "The Maverick". So 6 (six) of us loaded up and rolled up to 1/1, arriving at 23.00 for the book signing tour bash. A good showing of good friends and neighbors greeted us upon arrival. The ever talented Sammy is showing and selling photos up in the main gallery space - get up there, check them out and help a starving brother out. My photos are still hanging from the BFF opening - make an offer. Somehow it turns out to be 04.00 and I'm in the alley with a slashed rear tire after running over a derby obstacle. Damn. I tried just a tube, nope. Got a new tire from the shop, which I have to return and pay for - that tube blows too. In true Maverick style I say screw it and ride home on the rim, sticking to the grass as much as I can - it's only 3 miles (4.8km), afterall. Thanks to Kevin for accompanying me towards my domicile via the grocery.

Deja f-bomb vu.
who's that girl?

04.30 - flat rear and out of patches.
flat tire ride