Monday, February 27, 2006

Reminder: North American Handmade Bicycle show this weekend

If you didn't catch my previous post about it, this is a reminder that I'll be attending the North American Hand Made Bicycle Show this Friday for a couple hours. If you're going to be around, drop a line.

The list of builders that will be there seems to be complete now, and I'll be taking tons of bicycle porn pics for ye who can't make it.

Driveby slappings

I grew up in Atlanta, which is a long-time contender in the list of cities with the highest murder rates, driveby shooting rates, and generally high crime rates. I tell you this because in 1998 when I told my dad that I was moving to San Francisco, one of the things he said was, "well son, out there you'll just have to worry about driveby slappings."

This, of course, was a reference to the gay stereotype that SF has (stereotypes don't come from nowhere), and it is a running joke in many parts of the country that San Franciscans don't use guns, they just slap each other on the driveby. This of course isn't true - San Francisco had more gun murders in 2005 than any point in its history. 316 people were shot, and 80 took the celestial dirt nap via a bullet in 2005. OK, I'm starting to get away from the cycling-related point of this post, but the notion of driveby slapping is funny, however.

So this morning I was reading Yahoo! News when I came across an article about a guy in Bogota, Columbia who just received FOUR YEARS HOUSE ARREST for slapping a woman on the ass as he rode by on his bicycle.

The best piece of the article reads, "Showing re-enactments of the incident, television news shows were filled on Friday with legal experts offering opinions about the judgment handed down..."

Can't you just see it? Columbian families gathered around the TV to watch the evening news, and the talking heads are replaying slow motion, macro focused shots of hand connecting with buttock. I love it!

So may I suggest to my more piggish male readers, and possibly some of the more burly chicks out there, the next time you are on your bike and see a gal with a nice arse, think twice before you slap. You might end up in the ankle bracelet wearing ranks of Martha Stewart.

Oh, and here is the article.

Another Chico cycling blog

I know that Chico has an avid cycling community, but now I'm wondering: is Chico leading the peleton in the cycling blog world? Add another to the Chico Cycling pack with the blog from the other half of team JuG.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

For those about to rock we salute you!

How cool is it that at least two pro cyclists are proudly sporting the mullet these days?

Take these two for example:

Viatcheslav Ekimov's Neck Drape
Laurent Brochard's Mullet (don't pronounce the 't' to get a French effect - like 'moo-lay')

Why is this phenomenon occurring? Does winter cycling make the neck cold? And furthermore, what would a cycling-specific mullet be called? Is there some aerodynamic advantage I'm not aware of when the hair in the back is longer than the hair in the front?

The joy of discovery on a bicycle

Today, in lieu of not being able to go see the Tour, I blew work early to go for a ride on my single speed Bianchi.

There's a levee near my apartment in Santa Clara that I've never been able to ride on, because I've only been here since December, and it's always dark when I leave work. So I hopped on the bike, and headed North. Perhaps it was my instinct to head North, some subconscious twitch trying to get me back to Chico... but I digress. This is a post about the joy of discovery when riding a bicycle.

I headed North, crunching through the gravel with slick Soma tires, a rigid fork, and one gear. I'm not gonna lie - I was feeling like a tough guy. I was full of myself, and I was fired up that I'd managed to get a mid-week ride in. Take that all ye suckers who are still in your cubes!

After a few miles of said grinding and fun, I looked up, and what do you know? San Francisco Bay is in view! At this point, I had about 45 minutes of daylight left, and I had no choice but to make it to the water, so I hammered. I took some hits at speed, managed to get some air, and nearly ate it over a set of railroad tracks. In my head, I suppose I was in my own Tour De California, cyclocross style.

As the Bay drew closer, I realized that I was coming into the little town of Alviso, and I was smack in the middle of those insane looking salt evaporation ponds that you can see from a plane when you fly in and out of SFO. And as it were, many of those salt ponds are now public, and have been made into Alviso Marina County Park.

Entrance to the park

Salt Ponds from the sky

Upon this discovery, I continued my ride out onto the embankments that create the salt pond borders. They go for several miles, and create a beautiful network of non-technical hardpack trails that are filled with seabirds of every sort, wetland plants, remnants of old fishing outposts, and glimpses of a California that has long since passed.

In some way on this ride, I felt like I was the one who discovered all of it. I didn't see another person (which is amazing in the Bay Area). I had no intention of doing anything but riding my bike for a while this afternoon, and instead I came upon a place that will now making living in Santa Clara during the week suck a whole lot less! Rock!

This type of thing has happened to me before on a bike - stumbling upon some gem that otherwise, I'd never have known it existed. And every time it happens I love it. To find some new, cool, unexpected place; therein lies the joy of discovery on a bicycle.

Amgen Tour of California

With the Tour in full swing, there has been a ton of buzz here in my weekday neck of the woods. Today, Floyd Landis whipped Hincapie by over 30 seconds to win the time trial here in San Jose to gain the yellow jersey.

The worst part of having a day job is that I couldn't get away from work to check out the action, and it's right down the street! Luckily, my colleague and buddy, Alden, blew off work this week to check out the racing, and has taken some fantastic photos to satiate my desire to be there in person. Also, there are a ton of cool Tour photos on Flickr.

Come on George!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Even communists like bicycle racing

I came upon this Chinese news site that has a report on the 31st Cycling Tour of Cuba.

For the sake of the Cuban cycling team, I hope that their bicycles are better than Cuban cars.

Are there more bums in Chico lately?

Note: not cycling related

Is it just me, or is there a much higher number of permanent fixtures downtown than there were even a year ago? And by fixtures I mean drug addicted deviants that have no desire for any civic help. They aren't "homeless." They're just hanging around to cause trouble.

If you were to ask me, it seems like the number has shot through the roof lately.

I hope that Chico isn't turning into a spineless town that encourages bums to hang around. It'd be a sad day to see the last good town in California end up with the likes of Santa Cruz or Berzerkeley. Come on people, grow some cojones!

May I suggest the citizens of Chico donating a bus that ships all the street slugs to Santa Cruz? Cruzios seem to have a special affinity for bums, so I'm sure they would have no problem with a few more busloads courtesy of Chico.

But really, how do we as proud citizens of Awesomeville, USA protect what's so great? Chico has probably 1/10th the bums of Santa Cruz right now, but is the tide turning?

Where have all the cowboys gone?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Bronchitis + flu = No Paskenta

Well, I didn't get to participate in my first big ride of the year.

My office is a veritable life-sized Petri dish. On a daily basis I am bombarded by coworkers with all the filthy germs, bugs, nasties, snots and other no-see-ums that are transmitted in public places. One could say I'm paranoid at work. Everyone I work with has been sick for months. I wash my hands no less than eight times a day. I never touch my face. I ride my bike to work in a effort to cleanse my lungs before and after. I generally eat alone, away from said disease transmitters. And still, I'm not a match for the seasonal bout of bronchitis, or flu, or whatever it is that I get every winter.

Come Saturday I started feeling a little bad, and by Sunday morning I was full blown bed ridden and wondering how my team mate, Jeff, was faring on his maiden 'Skenta voyage. Wondering if the other half of Team JuG (Jeff und Gino) was pulling his own amidst the cycling elitists that are drawn to the Paskenta Century. I wondered if he had said his pre-ride prayer and whether or not it had helped.

Turns out he did quite well, and even made it back in time to host his own Super Bowl party without falling asleep.

It also turns out there were several crashes, including one moron that ran a red light and was hit by a car. Another included a broken ankle. I hope that everyone is doing well post-crash and has a speedy recovery. Always obey traffic rules guys.

So here I sit in the Silicon Valley the day after Skenta, nursing another cup of TheraFlu and nibbling vitamin C tablets, dreaming of punishing myself again soon.

FEB 7 Update: I just got this first hand report of a crash on the gravel section via the Chico Bike Rides list. Pretty gnarly.

I had a first row seat in on this one. There were three of us pushing
moderately hard (25-30mph) through the gravel. The two (A cat 4 rider
from SF and a rider from the Fit one team)in front of me opened a gap
of about fifty yards mid-way through the four mile section. At the
side of the road was another 'Fit one' team member who was fixing a flat.

It looked as though the front rider hit the brakes for his team member
and the following ride plowed right into him. What I saw was two bikes
up in the air and then two guys down. Both ended up being picked up by
support vehicles. The extent of injuries from there is unknown.

The take home lessons were these:
-Don't hit your brakes at 30mph without signalling or moving to the
side. Don't hit them in a pack unless absolutely necessary.
-Use a large dose of caution out there. In my estimation, both of
these guys were lucky to walk away from this accident.

Ride safely,