Tuesday, February 28, 2006

EPO: The racer's edge

Amgen in Longmont

That's what it says on the t-shirt I bought from Velochimp. While we were taking these photos an Amgen employee came up and talked to us; she didn't seem too amused. This Amgen factory in my city is where rhEPO is manufactured. The location of this factory at the corner of Airport Road and Nelson Road in Longmont is also along a very popular route for road cyclists in Boulder County.

Perhaps I shouldn't treat this so lightly -- people die from EPO abuse. Their blood gets too thick and they get heart attacks. I want to make it clear that I am absolutely against doping in athletic competition.

$6.5 million requested for Colorado Safe Routes

Colorado communities have requested $6.5 million in grants for bicycle and pedestrian projects, exceeding the $2.3 million available in 2006 for Safe Routes to School programs.

Safe Routes funding is split between infrastructure and non-infrastructure grants. Infrastructure funding is for facilities and other engineering changes. Non-infrastructure funding is for promotion, awareness and education programs.

In Colorado, about $6 million has been requested for infrastructure grants, while non-infrastructure requests total $576,000. Federal law mandates that no less than 10% and no more than 30% of funding be used for non-infrastructure projects. In Colorado, the Safe Routes advisory committee will determine the percentage to distribute to non-infrastructure programs after they review and score all of the proposed projects.

CDOT's timeline is to complete the scoring my the end of March and to take their recommendation the Transportation Commission for approval in April.

My city has applied for a non-infrastructure grant to fund an existing "Walk and Roll" program in conjuction with the local school district and our two LCIs.

Monday, February 27, 2006

EPO test "faked science"

"Wow." According to a study published last month in Blood -- the peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Hematology -- the test used by the WADA to test for the presence of synthetic EPO "can occasionally lead to the false-positive detection ... in post-exercise, protein-rich urine."

This has been hypothesized previously, but I believe this is the first time that this possibility for false positives has been demonstrated in a controlled experiment.

The study describes how the test is performed. Erythropoietin (EPO) is produced by the kidney to induce red blood cell production. Recombinant Human EPO (rhEPO) is manufactured by Amgen as a treatment for anemia and other diseases. It's also used to enhance performance in endurance sports. Natural and synthetic EPO have slightly different molecule electric charge differences. Tests for synthetic EPO use this charge difference to detect the presence of synthetic EPO.

The study shows, however, that post-exercise blood is rich in protein that also might be falsely detected as synthetic EPO.

Furthermore, this Medical News article notes, "Contrary to WADA claim, the Doping Journal analysis of citation impact of earlier publications on Epo testing in urine indicates IOC/WADA method for Epo testing is not scientifically popular or well-established. An in depth analysis of the articles behind the IOCs' urine test for Epo shows these earlier publications missed critical control experiments and were not designed to exclude non-specific false-positive misidentification of other non-Epo urine components. The Doping Journal is an international, peer-reviewed journal on doping science.

Hat tip to Spinopsys for finding this. He comments correctly when he writes, "The ramifications of this being right are quite incredible."

Monique Beullens, Joris R Delanghe, and Mathieu Bollen. "False-positive detection of recombinant human erythropoietin in urine following strenuous physical exercise." Division of Biochemistry, Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium and Department of Clinical Chemistry, University Hospital, Gent, Belgium. Blood Feb 2006. Read the ABSTRACT here. Pay $25 to read the full study here.

Bike commuting

Bike commuting. The Paceline is The Discovery Team's official website with news about pro cycling. Usually, there doesn't seem to be much in common between professional road cycling and transportational cycling besides that both use a bike, but Chris Brewer wrote a decent bike commuting primer for the racing audience at the Paceline. It's nice to see pro road racers pushing bike commuting like this.

Commodification of bike culture

That's what they're calling it. Brooklyn Industries sells clothing and accessories in Brooklyn and New York City. Brooklyn Industries recently put custom tallbikes in their store windows.

"Dissent about the blatant commercialization of this particular subculture" took the form of etching "Bike culture not for sale" using acid-based etching ink into the store windows, causing thousands of dollars of damage and resulting in the removal of the tallbikes from the display windows. Brooklyn Industries reports, "We at Brooklyn Industries personally worked on the display from the ground up- from finding disused bikes and parts and welding them into working tall bikes, to designing the accompanying text. The damage was felt on a very personal level."

Kiril sums up the news and gives his opinions on his blog and in comments at Sucka Pants. This "counterculture" display of sheer boneheadedness also got the attention the influential AdRants, which notes that "No one wants their sacred culture commercialized but in a capitalist society, there's little chance a culture with any cred won't sooner or later be bitten by a brand desperate for commercial success."

Drew at Commute a Blog summarizes his opinion with these words: "You people make me sick."

In spite of commentary at Sucka Pants and elsewhere attempting to justify the vandalism, I personally don't see anything good about what was done.

Anna Ternheim bicycle video

Anna Terheim is a young, pretty Swedish singer and guitar player with short blond hair and sad eyes who sings sad songs about loneliness and lost love. You can watch Anna ride a bicycle through village streets and rural tracks around Gotland in her music video "To Be Gone." Via Missouri Bike Fed.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Big bicycle races and local news

I wondered about the lack of coverage in my local paper of the Tour of California. Roger Kramer is a cyclist who works for the Belleville News-Democrat newspaper near St. Louis. Roger provides interesting insight about how wire services work and why his particular local paper didn't cover the Tour of California.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Tour of California photos

Here's a nicely done and well-photographed slide show from the Tour of California (Macromedia Flash required). Props to Jon for pointing the way there. Jon also provides good commentary about what he's seeing on the Tour of California at his blog.

Don't miss the Graham Watson bicycle photos of the Tour of California that KWC points to. KWC also reports that Google video has finally posted two of his videos. Unlike the official Amgen videos, his videos actually have decent audio!

For timestamped Tour of California photos, video, and audio commentary, don't forget to visit the Grassy Knoll Project.

Cyclist Foundations (Part 1)

By Michael Franken

With the amount of international visibility professional cyclists have, it is no wonder that there are numerous foundations setup that help various charities and philanthropies.

The Lance Armstrong Foundation - The foundation with (easily) the most visibility worldwide. As a cancer survivor himself, Lance Armstrong has not taken a passive stance in his foundation. He is actively involved in many aspects of his foundation and the sheer amount of money raised is unbelieveable. Just through the wristbands alone, around 60 million have been sold. At $1 a bracelet, that's $60,000,000. Considering the amount of money that is raised through corporate sponsors and charity events, it's unbeliveable how much money has been raised through this foundation. Cancer affects the lives of millions of people (the LiveStrong site states that 10 million Americans are currently living with, through, or beyond cancer) and the Lance Armstrong Foundation is leading the way to help all in finding strength.

The Davis Phinney Foundation - Although not a household name, Davis Phinney is the winningest American cyclist ever, 328 career victories. An Olympic Bronze medal from the 1984 Olympics, two stages of the Tour de France, and a USPRO Champion. Davis is truly an amazing cyclist. Just a few years ago, Davis was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Since then, he has taken an active stance in raising money for Parkinson's Research. Parkinson's affects 100-250 people out of every 100,000. It is great that although Davis is currently dealing with the disease, he is still able to raise hundreds of thousands (over $500,000) for research.

The Tyler Hamilton Foundation - As stated on his foundation's site, Tyler Hamilton became involved when a friend (whose mother suffered from Multiple Sclerosis) introduced him to the National MS Society. Since that date, Tyler has become involved in many aspects of MS fundraising. Ending within the next few days is a auction that is raising money for the Tyler Hamilton Foundation. That auction can be found here.

The Fast Freddie Foundation - Leading the way in fundraising to support the growth of youth cycling is Fast Freddie himself, Fred Rodriguez. Freddie has given his support to numerous events where youth cycling was to benefit. Likewise, you probably cannot find a cyclist more open to signing autographs or taking pictures with junior cyclists than Freddie himself.

These four American foundations are great places to make donations to. Through this posting, I am asking anyone who has made donations to any of these donations to post a comment with how much you donated. Let's try to reach $1,000. If we haven't reached that point, let's all pitch in and help these charities out. Part 2 of this post will be an update of how much we all have helped out these foundations.

Contest winner etc

KWC is indeed the winner of the Stage 3 Contest. He guessed a winning time of 33'45"; Floyd Landis won the stage and the Yellow Jersey with his 35'58" time.

Speaking of KWC, he has a wonderful bicycle blog here where he's done a great job recapping each stage of the Tour of California.

The Amgen Tour of California has moved close to my old stomping grounds in southern California. Floyd Landis of Phonak still has the overall lead. Don't miss the race today and the final stage on Sunday.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Contest: Guess the time, Get a Prize

Stage 3 is 17 mile individual time trial through San Jose. Guess thewinning time -- closest to the winning time wins (Price is Right rules-- closest without going over). If more than one person guesses the correct time, the person who guessed first wins the prize. Prize is $10 Amazon.com gift certificate. Same rules as Stage 2 contest.

Good luck!

In case you forgot those rules...

Small print: The correct time will be that indicated on the Amgen Tour of California website when I select the winner tonight after Stage 3's conclusion. Once the contest winner has been selected and announced by me on the Cyclelicious website, the contest is final and there is absolutely no recourse for anyone else to win a prize. If a scoring error on the part of Tour officials is determined after I've selected this contest winner, or something else occurs resulting in the winning time going to a different person after I've selected this contest winner, too bad so sad. No purchase required to win. Entry is by leaving a comment on this website related to this article. Technical issues preventing you from leaving a comment are not my problem. Life isn't fair. "First" will be determined by the time I receive your comment. Attempts to game this system by manipulating clocks and the like may result in disqaulification.ONLY ONE ENTRY PER PERSON!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Frank Zappa plays the bicycle

This video is making the rounds. It shows a very young, neatly dressed and neatly groomed Frank Zappa making an appearance on Steve Allen in 1963. Frank Zappa demonstrates a pair of bicycles as musical instruments. It's pretty funny stuff.

George Hincapie

In what looked to be a thrilling bicycle race, Discovery Team racer George Hincapie won Stage 2 in a sprint finish, with Chris Horner and Josep Joufre Po of Davitamon Lotto following behind. They chased down a six minute breakaway led by Michael Creed of TIAA-CREF, Mads Kaggestad of Crédit Agricole, and local favorite Ben Jacques-Maynes of KodakGallery/ SierraNevada.

It appears that George Hincapie will take the leader's Gold/Yellow Jersey going into the individual time trial in San Jose tomorrow. Nobody guessed Hincapie would win, so nobody wins today's prize. Watch this space for another contest tomorrow.

Ben Jackques-Maynes, incidentally, rode today using the new SRAM road group.

Contest: Pick Gold Jersey and get a prize

Update: If nobody posts the correct answer by the time today's stage winner crosses the finish line, the contest is over without a contest winner.

Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California will begin in a few minutes. The bicycle racers will ride along winding valley and mountain roads east of the Bay from Martinez south to San Jose. This stage will favor climbers. The first person leaving a comment here correctly predicting the race leader after today's stage wins a $10 Amazon gift certificate. This is not the stage winner, but the person who will wear the overall race leader's Gold Jersey on stage 3. If you've already won a prize from Cyclelicious you are not eligible to win, though feel free to leave your predictions if you want. Gift certificate delivery is by email so I'll need your email address if you want the prize.

I won't have a contest for every stage but I'll try to have contests for several of the stages like this.

Small print: The correct name will be that indicated on the Amgen Tour of California website when I select the winner tonight after Stage 2's conclusion. Once the contest winner has been selected and announced by me on the Cyclelicious website, the contest is final and there is absolutely no recourse for anyone else to win a prize. If a scoring error on the part of Tour officials is determined after I've selected this contest winner, or something else occurs resulting in the Gold Jersey going to a different person after I've selected this contest winner, too bad so sad. No purchase required to win. Entry is by leaving a comment on this website related to this article. Technical issues preventing you from leaving a comment are not my problem. Life isn't fair. "First" will be determined by the time I receive your comment. Attempts to game this system by manipulating clocks and the like may result in disqaulification.ONLY ONE ENTRY PER PERSON!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Definition: Fanboy

Fanboy or fanboi is a term used to describe a male who is utterly devoted to a single subject or hobby, often to the point where it is considered an obsession. Read more at Wikipedia. Usage example of fanboy from this Flickr post: "The prologue winner, Levi Leipheimer, spins back to the start after the race to collect the spoils of victory. Not in the picture are the 15 or so fanboys following on their bikes."

See also Tifosi.

Play-by-play of the show

Podium Cafe provides exciting, up-to-the-minute, live coverage of ESPN's coverage of the Tour of California! Read the recursive coverage here.

So much for the Lance effect

Americans snagged six out of the top 10 during the Tour of California Prologue yesterday. The team most familiar to Americans, Team Discovery, stands at second place, with several other American sponsored teams -- Health Net/Maxxis, Toyota/United Pro, Navigators, Colavita, TIAA-CREF, Kodak/Sierra, Jelly Belly -- filling out the roster.

Interest in cycling was tremendous last year during and immediately following the Tour de France and Lance Armstrong's seventh win. Amgen signed on to be the title sponsor of the Tour of California to capitalize on this interest. Today, however, absolutely no mention was made of the Tour of California in my local paper (in a town with a very high population of road cyclists). The Boulder Daily Camera also had zero mention of this race. The only real online mention I've found in U.S. papers is either cycling-specific news sites (e.g. VeloNews), or in papers local to the race -- mostly Bay Area newspapers such as the San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News.

Even large sports news portals are ignoring the event and its athletes. At CNN/SI, there are nude (literally!) Heidi Klum photos, but there's absolutely nothing to be found about the Tour of California. The latest story about Levi Leipheimer is from last July. FoxSports and ESPN at least regurgitate a wire service story about the race.

This reflects a complete disinterest in cycling among American sports editors. Sure, they're competing with the Olympics, baseball spring training (*yawn*), and some NASCAR controversy (*yawn* again - with apologies to NASCAR fan Ms. Tocci), but today's sports section of my local paper also devoted 12 column inches to a wire service filler about the celebrities who might attend the 2007 NBA All Stars games in Vegas. Give me a break.

How about it, cycling fans? If you're outside of California, did your local paper devote any space to the Tour of California today? What can you do to let team sponsors know you appreciate their support of American cycling?

Santa Rosa stage Tour of California

Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California finished in Levi Leipheimer's hometown, Santa Rosa, California. Tens of thousands of fans lined the streets near the end of today's 84 mile stage. Although Juan Jose Haedo for Toyota-United won today's race, Levi Leipheimer has enough points to retain the leader's Gold Jersey for the next stage of the race.

High interest inundates web servers

If my inability to connect to the Amgen Tour of California website is any indication, interest in the bicycle race might possibly outpace the ability of the web server to keep up. Traffic to Cyclelicious is up 2,400%, with 80% of recent search visitors looking for information about the Amgen Tour of California.

Other Tour of California resources

Don't forget to visit the Grassy Knoll Project for up-to-date video and photos from the Tour of California. Also, don't miss Tony Rocha's Tour of California Blog. The Team Standings are here. Click here for individual rankings.

SRAM in pro racing

I don't remember where I first saw this mentioned, but SRAM's new road group was introduced for racing at the Tour of California. Kodakgallery/Sierra Nevada's Merckx frames are equipped with SRAM's "DoubleTap" shifters.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Americans take top 5 in Tour of California prologue

California homeboy Levi Leipheimer of Team Gerolsteimer won the Amgen Tour of California prologue today, winning the 1.9 mile sprint in 4 minutes, 53.43 seconds. Team CSC's Bobby Julich came in five seconds later, while George Hincapie of Team Discovery followed a second later with Phonak's Floyd Landis right on his tail. Dave Zabriskie of Team CSC finished out the all American top five.

An estimated crowd of 200,000 people noisily cheered on each of the 128 riders in the Tour of California Prologue.

See the Tour of California website for the complete leaderboard. The TOC website also has video of Leipheimer's win and other Tour highlights.

As of right now, Flickr reports 167 photos tagged with "tourofcalifornia".

Chris Baldwin has about the best commentary on the Prologue I've seen so far.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Four Things

Paul is evil. Doesn't he know I'm busy busy busy and sick as well? What they hey, though, I'll play along.

Four jobs I've had
Short order cook.
Pizza Hut cook.
Steakhouse cook.
Airline catering cook.

Four movies about bicycles
Breaking Away.
American Flyers.
Prince of Darkness (Alice Cooper stabs people do death with bicycle).

Four places I've rode a bike.
Tokyo, Japan.
Paris, France.
San Francisco, California.
Krebs, Oklahoma - home with Cowboys and Italians.

Four shows I like to watch
I don't own a television. Reality is so much more fun and engaging.

Four foods that I like.
Natto to gohan.
Katsu Don.
French Toast.

Four sites I visit (almost) daily.
Blue Letter Bible.
Google and several of their properties (e.g. gmail, groups, etc).
My work "intranet".

Four things I want to do before I die

Four people to tag
I hate chain letters so fuggitaboutit.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Words to Remember

By Michael Franken

"It's not over, until it's over."

Yogi Berra states it best with those six words. Now I haven't been the best cyclist, so wins for me are few and far between. However, I cannot stand it when I see a race lost, all because someone celebrated too early. It has happened to amateurs, it has happened to pros (even in the Tour). Sure, you may want to throw your arms up in the air crossing the line, but have you ever actually considered the point of that? Does it make much of a difference starting to raise your arms after the line?

I am mentioning this tonight because of Lindsey Jacobellis. This snowboardcross racer was one of four women to make it to the finals in the Olympics, a dream many people have, but not many achieve. After some bumping between competitors behind her, she basically clinched a gold medal. However, extremely close to the finish line, and an OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL, she decides to grab her board on a jump (mainly to show off), and ends up losing her balance when she hits the ground. Instead of standing on the top block in Torino, having a gold medal hanging around her neck, watching the American flag fly, and listening to the American National Anthem...she must instead watch Tanja Frieden of Switzerland savor the glory.

The main moral of this story? Just because it looks like you may have a win clinched, and may want to show off to the crowd, do not take it for granted. Things can change in the blink of an eye. A bunch of sites have a video from some race in a French-speaking area. A cyclist rounds the last turn, and looks over his shoulder to see second place a good distance behind him. He raises his arms in triumph, but his bicycle hits the center line of the road (which because of the rain is slick). He crashes hard and is able to get back on the bike before second place catches up. He pushes down as hard as he can on the pedals to get across the line...

The chain wasn't on the bike anymore.

Second place passes him just before the line, and makes guaranteed winner an unforeseen runner-up.

So after reading this, if you get the opportunity to cherish a victory, please celebrate AFTER the line. You'll save yourself much ridicule and embarrassment should something not turn out the way you expect it.

Comments? Leave one or email me at SusquCyclist@gmail.com.

Colorado Driving Insititute

It looks really bad when you have a car advertising a driving school and you drive like an idiot. Example:

I was going down the Diagonal Highway (Colorado SH 119) from Longmont to Boulder today. The total distance along this highway is less than 10 miles (16 km). At 60 mph it will take you about 10 minutes to go this distance. At 70 mph it will take you 8 1/2 minutes.

Traffic was moving smoothly at about the speed limit, 55 mph (90 km/hr). The highway was reasonably clear, but there were still plenty of slick, icy spots, especially along the dashed lines delineating the lanes. This morning, a driver lost control on the ice and plowed into three pedestrians on this stretch of highway, putting herself and the pedestrians in the hospital.

I look behind me and see a little car weaving between the two lanes, cutting across traffic in an attempt to move forward. I could see a yellow "STUDENT DRIVER" sign on the hood (bonnet). As the car passed, I saw a single occupant (the driver) and a sign on the side of the car advertising Colorado Driving Institute in Boulder.

If you operate a driving school, please follow the advice given by Colorado Driving Institute: "Set a good example." By driving like a jackass and discrediting his school to the 6000 people who will read this article, the driver saved two minutes at the very most, though in all likelihood he saved about 30 seconds of time.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Bicycle chain care

Velorution reminds us to care for our bicycle chains and tells us why and how.

Photo info: Racks Submerged by CarbonNYC.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Million Dollar Board

The Million Dollar Board has a a blog. The owner of Million Dollar Board commented about my post the other day about pixel sites in which I mention Million Dollar Board in particular. Million Dollar Board's owner promises big things to come in the future of pixel site promotion. I shouldn't knock them -- Million Dollar Board, for example, looks like it's sold about $1400 in pixel space so far. It's hardly a fortune but it's definitely more than what I've made on Cyclelicious since I started this in August.

I did find a truly innovative pixel site: Smash My Viper. You pay money for an ad and they'll video tape themselves damaging their Dodge Viper. Pay an extra $100 and they'll video tape the SmashMyViper girl doing the damage. Bicycling car haters might find some amusement in this site. Found via Apogee.

Ranking and Million Dollar Board

Richard @ Apogee, incidentally, is a Search Engine Marketing specialist. When G00gle indexes this new post tomorrow we'll see how highly it ranks for the search term "MILLION DOLLAR BOARD." I'm a total amateur at SEO, but my guess is I'll rank either number one or two by this weekend. Million Dollar Board is a pretty useless keyphrase to target for with only an estimated 154 searches per month, but what the hey.

Google and blogging cyclists

I had seen the news today that Google acquired blog tracking software Measure Map. I just now got around to reading the Google blog and discovered that Measure Map's previous owner -- Jeffrey Veen -- is an avid cyclist. Jeff wonders if he should buy these Google cycling jerseys.

Here's Jeffrey Veen's blog where he talks about cycling.

Thanks for the nice comments about my own path to Google. I'd consider one of the Google cycling jerseys but they don't have my size available. Bummer.

Google interview

I'm very busy today so I'll just post a quick personal note. First, several people have written to me personally and in the comments over the past day or two. I try to respond quickly but I've fallen behind. I'll try to get to you when I can. Please accept my apologies for the delay.

Secondly, I've applied for an engineering position at Google. I had my first telephone interview today. The screening questions were complete softballs: "Explain the difference between shift and rotate operations. Where are deadlocks useful? What are the x86 op code, mnemonic and operands for the set-and-test-bit instruction? Quickly! Recite Pi to 9 decimal places." I told the interviewer that her questions were much easier than I expected. She gave an evil chuckle and responded, 'Oh, they'll get harder as you move along.'

I passed the initial test and I have a second phone interview scheduled with the hiring manager. It turns out, incidentally, that I used to work with this manager at a previous company.

Will Fritz move to the Googleplex? Stay tuned to Cyclelicious for details.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Tour of California live coverage for the mobile user

WAP Review has created an easy, one-stop portal for quick, live updates of the Amgen Tour of California at Cycling Live. The Cycling Live page uses browser detection to give you a WAP1 or WAP2 page depending on your mobile device’s capabilities.

Wap Review also plans to use the Cycling Live portal for coverage of Ghent-Wevelgem, Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold Race, Tour of Georgia, Fleche Wallonne, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana, and the World Road Championships.

Hat tip to Paul for the pointer.


Monday, February 13, 2006

Ride your bike. A photo mosaic.

Looking at and thinking about pixel sites got me thinking about what I could do with a few million pixels.

Click here for the huge, 2400 x 2200 pixel 1.4 MB JPEG image. You can see the individual photos in the large image. I downloaded several Flickr photos of red bikes, green bikes, blue bikes, and pink bikes for this mosaic image.

I can think of at least a half dozen contests using this image, but I'm all out of money for contests right now. Just for funsies: There's a recursive image in this composite mosaic. Describe the image -- i.e. what is on the image -- and point out the approximate location of at least one instance of this recursive image. I might create another mosaic in a couple of weeks and have a contest then. In the meantime, please feel free to shoot some ideas to me on a bikey mosaic you would like to see.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Wichita Falls bicycle blog

Wichita Falls, Texas is a city of over 100,000 people in north central Texas. The world-famous HH 100 cycling event starts and ends in Wichita Falls. I've know several cyclists (including myself) who have lived in or near Wichita Falls. A state-supported university with a decent computer science program and an NCAA Division 1 cycling team is located in Wichita Falls. Midwestern State University is one of a handful of U.S. colleges and universities that offer cycling scholarships.

And... I can't find one single bicycle blog from somebody in Wichita Falls. I can't even find a personal blog from Wichita Falls. Do you know of any Wichita Falls cycling blogs? Can somebody help me find one or two? Please comment here if you run across any.

Notes: I attended Midwestern State in the mid 80s. Some of my in-laws live outside of Wichita Falls. It is really really really hot there in the summer. I've participated in one HH100 -- with Lance! -- and wouldn't mind doing it again.

Alex Tew and pixel sites

Alex Tew is the creative genious who thought up the Million Dollar Homepage. Alex Tew is a 21-year-old college student in the UK who needed cash to pay tuition. Tew came up with his idea during a 20-minute brainstorming session and became a millionaire four months later. Maybe he'll lose his million and then some in the pending lawsuit against him, but Alex Tew has made his mark in Internet marketing.

For those thinking they can cash in with the same idea: Don't. Rather, don't unless you can think of a creative twist on the idea. There have been some reasonable money-making variations on the idea: the New Baby Page, for example.

But most are pure knockoffs: The Million Dollar Pixel Homepage, Get A Ride Online, Million Dollar Board, Cheap Ad Site ... I can go on and on and on -- there are literally hundreds of similar pixel sites out there, and they're multiplying daily.

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Alex Tew made his million dollars because he got pen and paper and spent twenty minutes brainstorming. He didn't know if it would work, but nobody had done anything like it before and he figured it was worth the risk. He hit the jackpot, but he put some creative effort and came up with a goldmine.

Most of these people following on with their own pixel sites aren't showing any evidence of a shred of thought beyond, "Hey, this looks easy! I can become a million aire also!" If you want to get rich, you've got to put effort, creativity, thought, and time into your endeavor. Otherwise, you're just wasting your time and money.

If you're thinking of buying an ad from one of these pixel sites, I came across this case study showing which ad sites are most effective.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Tour de Bicycling Blogs Deux

Cycling Dude posted his second edition of the TDBB. He's posted a nice collection of bicycle blog posts that are a little off of the beaten blogosphere path.

Tyler Hamilton suspension upheld

Tyler Hamilton lost his final appeal today when the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected Tyler Hamilton's arguments that his positive drug tests could have resulted from legitimate reasons. The CAS also ruled that Hamilton's two-year ban from competition is effective from the date of his initial suspension on September 23, 2004. UCI rules extend the ban an additional two years.

Tyler Hamilton made this statement on his website:
Based on my devastating personal experience over the last year and a half, I am committed to fighting for reform within the anti-doping movement. I do support the anti-doping mission and USADA, however the current system has failed an innocent athlete and needs to change.

Out of respect to fairness and the rights of all athletes, there should be clear separation between the agencies that develop new tests and those that adjudicate anti-doping cases.

Credible, independent experts, not those who funded or developed the original methodology, should be charged with properly validating new tests.

I don't believe any athlete should be subjected to a flawed test or charged with a doping violation through the use of a method that is not fully validated or generates fluctuating results.

I will also continue to support the formation of unions to help protect the rights of athletes. My goal is to keep other athletes from experiencing the enormous pain and horrendous toll of being wrongly accused.
Read more:

Podium Cafe

Podium Cafe is a blog ... with threaded discussions! Site owner Chris has done a good job assembling a community to discussion all things pro cycling. Podium Cafe is the successor to the Digital Peloton blog.

Tags: blog, cycling,

The Amazing Shrinking Man

Tom Stormcrowe is the Amazing Shrinking Man. He's amazing because he has lost 325 pounds over the past year.

I first noticed Tom over at Jill's Arctic Glass blog. I asked him about his weight loss and he filled me in on his secrets.

He started out with bariatric surgery because of his morbid obesity. Tom tells me that surgery alone isn't enough to lose the weight.
"I would have lost weight as long as I stay on the diet required, but the exercise helped me not only lose weight faster, but also helped me with self image as I watched my physical capabilities increase. Exercise is also necessary believe it or not to relieve pain initially. It stimulates the production of endorphins and helps dissipate gas pockets that form shortly after surgery. I had the roux-N-Y procedure, which is a laporoscopic procedure. Part of the procedure is to inflate the abdominal cavity with a neutral gas to give the surgeon room to work. This gas, if you lie around after surgery, causes intense pain in of all places, your left shoulder and the only way to ease the pain is to get up and move around to dissipate the bubble."

Why cycling?
"I've tried everything, walking was too painfull, cycling was easier on my knees and a whole lot more fun. I was in pretty bad shape. I tried cycling because when I was much younger, I seriously enjoyed cycling. It was nothing for me to take off on a century, so I wanted to regain that capability. I really couldn't do a lot at first, I was winded and completely exhausted after 1/2 mile. I was determined to get back into life; however, and kept at it. Swimming would have been a good alternative as well as far as low impact, but I couldn't afford to get a membership anywhere. It was a hardship even buying a used bike!

"Cycling has helped me get healthier by helping me drop the weight, in addition to the surgery, along with giving me a tangible feeling of accomplishment. In losing the weight, among other benefits, I am off insulin and diet regulated as far as Diabetes goes. The exercise has helped bring my blood pressure down to normal range with no medication when before, I was holding the bottom end of high blood pressure through medication. In addition, my at rest heart rate is now down in the 60's and 70's from 109. I still have an enlarged heart, but the pumping action has gotten FAR better, I formerly had an outflow fraction of about 68%, and my heart efficiency has increased dramatically. I am also off of Oxygen except for night time use as I still have apnea, so I use oxygen and a Bipap when I sleep still. This is soon to be reevaluated, however. I had a blood oxygen saturation of 68% off of oxygen and had a rough time getting it above 82-85% even at 10 liters of Oxygen/minute. I am currently holding 97% at rest and 85%+ under stress(exercise). I can hold my heart rate at 180 for 30 minutes under exercise without discomfort as well. Before my surgery, I was only able to walk about 40-50 feet without extreme discomfort and chest pain. These are all direct results of the aerobic exercise cycling offers me. My peak weight was 581 pounds and I am currently at 260.

"I've definately learned the principle of 'No pain, no gain.' At first, it was discouraging when it hurt, but you get past that, and the feeling you get from pushing past another barrier is the best feeling on Earth.....BAR NONE! It's kind of like Zen to me, I get lost in the ride and get outside my body, and the next thing I realize, I'm 15-20 miles into the ride and feeling pretty good. I'm not the fastest rider in town, but I am steady! I've gone from a 5 mph pace being all I could do for a half mile at a time to 14-16 mph pace for the day! This is on a mountain bike converted to road, by the way, as I felt the mountain bike would hold up to me better with the heavier components. It boils down to the fact I wanted to stay alive as a reason I went through all this!"

Tom continues to chronicle his efforts and achievements at his blog, "The Amazing Shrinking Man." He's an amazingly positive individual and I'm glad he's blogging.

The Bicycle Page

I mentioned The Bicycle Page yesterday. I caught up with site owner Russ Goodwin in Capitan, New Mexico (hometown of Smokey the Bear) to ask him about the page and cycling. Russ is a middle-aged father of three who rides as much as he can "when I can find the time, money and motivation. Through out the years I have done Tri's, Ironman Distances, Ultras & RAAM. I just ordered a Specialized Epic and with any luck am going to give 24 hr MTB racing a try this year."

"This is my first attempt at website design and it took me about 2 weeks and a few all nighters to learn to write code using notepad ( didn't know they made software for that ) Then I have been slowly adding blogs & links for the past 4 months."

(Note to Russ: I use vim for site design.)

Russ created to The Bicycle Page as a resource portal for cycling and endurance sports "with a fun and easy way to surf for information".

Russ continues , "I like the idea of everything being on one page and only one click away." So do I. Thanks for this great cycling resource!

Friday, February 10, 2006

New, improved BRaIN Feed

Last month I set up a scraper feed for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. At least a couple dozen people are using the feed, but I've had reports of problems with a slow feed and what not.

I've set up a new feed for BRaIN through Feedburner in the hopes that it will work a little better. Plug this address into your feed reader software or your web-based feedreader (Bloglines, etc):


If your BRaIN feed works okay, the old address will remain so don't worry about changing for now. As always, I'm interested in your feedback on how to improve the BRaIN feed.

Tour of the US? (Part 2)

By Michael Franken

Velochimp offered a great response in regards to the first posting regarding a Tour of the US. Restating my comment that it is a dream, chances are, a US Tour would never happen (in the grand tour sense). It just wouldn't work.

Velochimp does have an excellent point in stating, "I would be against such an idea as I think the regional one week race aspect has better potential. If more areas begin to setup their own stage races, then that would help cycling in the US in several ways..."

I fully agree. However, I feel that a new pro cycling tour here in the United States could easily revolutionize American cycling with inclusion of the Tours (California, Georgia, & Toona). Although all three races are run by different organizations (for example, California is run by AEG, Georgia by Medalist Sports), creating a points-based "tour" out of all these tours could create competition between races. Threshold Sports had something going with the "Pro Cycling Tour", but after the NYC Cycling Championships fizzled, and San Francisco has gone to the wayside for this year (after financial problems), the current schedule (according to the PCT website) states that the three races that make up Wachovia Week will be part of the PCT. The only other race that is part of the PCT (at this point) is the inaugural New Jersey race series (4 crits over a week).

If all the race organizers teamed up with USA Cycling, created a points system for all races, and had an overall sponsor for tour prize money (theoretically, they wouldn't even need to sponsor the individual races), maybe some international interest could be created in the US system. This would allow races to fit within large races in the European calendar. It wouldn't be the traditional three-week stage race based on time, rather it would be a multi-week stage race series based on points. Even if financial difficulties hit one of the numerous stage races and they would have to fold, it wouldn't affect the whole series.

Velochimp also had a great point with getting other regions to have stage races. States could showcase their wonderful terrain for cyclists. The routes on the Tour de Georgia and Tour of California maps display their area for international cyclists to see. Even New Jersey is getting in on the action this year. Maybe a few regional races could make it easier for people around the US to get to races. Just think, right now there is the Tour of CA, Tour de GA, Tour de Toona (PA), and the New Jersey Series. Maybe states like NY, TX, FL, and others could create tours to be put on the domestic/international calendar. Think about it, stages could have point values assigned to n places, the overall winner of the stage race could get # amount of points. At the end of all the stage races, the overall leader gets the purse.

What are your opinions on this subject? Do you have an idea you think would work? Email me at SusquCyclist@gmail.com or comment and tell me what your idea is for a US tour. I'll respond to some of the ideas and even ask a famous US race organizer what he thinks about the ideas. Hope to hear your ideas soon.

Big Net

I've cast the net over the side and seining for good stuff. Below is a sampler of what I've caught. Gents, don't forget -- next Tuesday is Valentines' Day!

Go Clipless has had a number of good posts this last week. Among the ones of special note:
  • Closeup photos of President Bush's mountain bike complete with custom paint and Presidential Seal.
  • Link to The Bicycle Page, a nifty website of links to bike sites all over. I've already spent way too much time clicking and browsing from there.
Oil Free and Happy is a Fort Collins business of Alternative Transportation items. The site owner, Jim, bike commutes 16 miles round-trip every day in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Small-wheeled bikes by Japanese bike builder Hirose. Via.

Ultra Marathon Cycling Association.

Chicago Cycling Club.

Princeton Cycling.

Ontario Cycling Assocation.

Bicycling magazine on winter bike care.

Kool Aid: Bike Mag gets a facelift.

Details on TdF 2007 London start.

Creating Passionate Users: "Real Motivation Posters." I had a co-worker once who hung up more realistic mockups of the popular motivation posters. His had drawings of a fat, grumpy boss in a suit and smoking a cigar with sayings like "WORK OR BE FIRED!" I used to work for Scott McNealy and I recently interviewed at a company funded by Larry Ellison. I'll go work for McNealy in a heartbeat. The Ellison-owned company was a programmers sweatshop and managerial nightmare.

New West: Singing the Warm Winter Blues.

Quick release good

A Marin Count jury found for the defendants -- Wal-Mart and Dynacraft -- in a bicycle product liability lawsuit in which faulty quick release levers were blamed for causing injuries to several children. News around the net about the outcome of this case:

Winter sweat

This isn't me. Click on photo for details.
This winter has been so hot here in Colorado that I've forgotten how to dress for winter cycling. A cold front came through last night, it snowed, and the temperature this morning was in the high teens Fahrenheit (minus 8 or so Celsius).

I put on my Patagonia featherweight base layer and a midweight fleece middle layer on my legs and torso. Another layer of fleece went on my torso. Bridgedale wool socks, plastic bags and shoes covered my feet. Wind and wet proof shells covered my legs and upper body. A balaclava covered my head and face. Heavy ski gloves and helmet completed my cold weather ensemble. I had three layers on my legs and a whopping four layers on my torso. I headed out the door and hopped on my red fixie, nice and warm and toasty.

Experienced winter cyclists already know what happened during my five mile bike commute. I unzipped everything I could, but I arrived at work drenched in sweat. I was dressed for below zero F (-20°C), not the relatively mild temps we had this morning.

The usual solution is to regulate heat by regulating my activity, but I rode my fixie on ice-covered streets. If I go slow in those conditions, I'm expending a ton of effort anyway just keeping my bike upright on the ice. I might as well get some distance for the energy I expend by going fast.

Here's the general tip for winter cycling: If you're comfortably warm when you start your ride, you're probably overdressed. I should've checked my own winter cycling clothing guide that I created two years ago.

Tour of the US? (Part 1)

By Michael Franken

Call me a dreamer, but there has to be a way to generate enough interest to create a Tour of the US. We have many multi-day stage races across the United States, could it ever be possible to combine those tours?

Case in point, look at the following stage races:

Tour of California - 8 stages
Tour de Georgia - 6 stages
Tour de Toona - 7 stages

Just with the three tours alone, there would be enough stages to classify as a "Grand Tour". If there was a way to move these three races closer together datewise, add transitions by plane, and maybe condense the sponsors, it may be plausible for a Tour of the US to take place. However, in my mind, it would not count as a grand tour. Three states would benefit from this race, and the rest of us would be left to travel.

Although it may be possible for a Tour of the US to eventually happen, we are faced with some problems that France, Italy, and Spain do not have to contend with.

Issue 1: Geography
The United States is a large country, to spread 2300 miles or so of cycling would hardly be coast to coast. Likewise, a route that would benefit climbers and sprinters would be hard to create. The Rockies would offer the most climbing, but would limit the race to the west coast. Likewise, deserts would probably have to be avoided (although it would make for some intense cycling).

Issue 2: Timing
A Tour of the US would have to find a twenty-three day period between the other grand tours and smaller tour races in Europe. May would be out (for the Giro), July would be out (for the TdF), and most of September would be out (for the Vuelta). There would be no way to place the Tour of the US in August, as cyclists would need some time to refresh after the TdF. Having a Tour of the US in March and/or April would not be possible, as that is when the spring classics take place. It may be possible to have a tour in October, but again, not much time would be given after the Vuelta to offer cyclists a break.

Timing can also be viewed in another way. The other grand tours have been around for quite a long time, bringing in a new grand tour in its infancy stage may not generate enough appeal for European teams to make the trip over for.

Issue 3: Sponsorship
There have been numerous sponsors of large stage races in the United States. However, these sponsors stuck around for a while, sponsorship was lost a few years later, and then the race was lost. The Tour de Trump is a perfect example, once sponsorship was lost, Dupont stepped in and kept the race here for a few more years, once sponsorship was lost from them, the race inevitably folded. The same goes for the HP Women's Challenge.

Issue 4: Security
To provide excellent security for the races, state police departments from numerous states would need to work together to provide flawless transitions from state to state. Grand tours in other countries just get the national police to provide escorts throughout the race.

There are many other issues I will discuss in Part 2, but as for right now, I will leave it at this. Just imagine, the final stage of the Tour of the US, cyclists heading down Broadway towards the finish line in the middle of Times Square. A sprint finish at one of the most famous places in the world.

Expect Part 2 this weekend, and as usual, please contact me at SusquCyclist@gmail.com with any questions or comments, or simply comment here. And to cyclists in the northeast, break out the rollers this weekend, sounds like we're in for some snow.

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Jim Green, John Forester, and the LAB

For their 125th Anniversary, the League of American Bicyclists selected the Top 25 Change Agents in bicycling. They included John Forester in the list for his education efforts and championing the rights of cyclists for over 30 years.

In the Winter 2006 issue of American Bicyclist, The LAB printed a letter from engineer Jim Green of Asheville, NC. Mr. Green expressed his "strong objection and disgust" for "having included John Forester as an 'Inspirational Figure' in cycling. Green continues in his letter: "About the only inspirational thing Forester has ever done was to prevent hte funding of much needed bikeways and bike lanes. [To give Forester] credibility ... is a terrible way to put the general public at risk."

In response, the LAB printed that Forester's "views do not necessarily represent those of the League of American Bicyclists."

The LAB failed to mention the long-runnning feud between Forester and Green. Green has it in personally against Forester (and vice versa). Green wrote that he felt "ethically and morally bound to register" his "objection and disgust," but I suspect the real reason he wrote the letter is that Green just personally doesn't like Forester.

Tags: vendetta

My $0.02

Greetings Everyone. My name is Michael and I am the newest addition to the Cyclelicious blog. I hope you enjoy some of my insight into all things cycling.

A brief background of myself. I started cycling around the age of twelve or so, purchasing a mountain bike with the proceeds from my paper route. After a bad soccer injury that badly affected my knees, I purchased a road bike. I started multi-day charity bike rides and progressed onto fundraising thousands of dollars for three different charities. Around the age of fifteen, I participated in a junior cycling program at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome, and participated in my first road stage race. At the age of seventeen I participated in a three-day, 180-mile charity bike ride. The next year, I was part of a week-long, 550-mile charity ride.

For the past six years, I have attended numerous professional cycling races in the northeast, creating friendships in the process. I am recognized yearly as one of the most animated fans of the races. Through networking, and good luck, I have worked at some of these races, been featured on TV at these races, and have even had the honor to go cycling with some of my idols. I've had the thrill of shaking hands and getting pictures with Lance Armstrong, Eddy Merckx, and Davis Phinney. I've even been on a ride with Andy Hampsten, something I could have never imagined happening, especially at the age of 18. The beautiful thing about professional cycling is the ability to get closer to your idols than some of the larger sports, such as professional football or basetball.

Hopefully, you will enjoy my look into professional cycling and the American influence on the sport. I'll try getting a few interviews with racers for you, and maybe some photography at the numerous races in the northeast. Sometimes I'll even describe the affect cycling has on my life. I encourage you to email me at SusquCyclist@gmail.com with any questions you may have.

To leave you today, I give part of an Irish proverb that I believe relates strongly upon all cyclists.

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,

May the sun shine warm upon your face.

Texting teen gets 9 days in jail

The text-messaging teen driver who struck and killed Colorado cyclist Jim Price last November was sentenced to nine days in jail and four years of probation, according to the Rocky Mountain News.

The nine day prison sentence will be spent while the teen is on Spring Break this May. While he is on probation, he is required to wear an ankle bracelet and he is not permitted to "drive any vehicle" or possess a cell phone. Via.

Bad break in Wal-Mart quick-release trial

Wal-Mart and Dynacraft are being sued for selling bikes equipped with faulty front-wheel quick-release mechanisms.

Lawyers for the defendants -- Dynacraft and Wal-Mart -- brought in a brand new Next brand bicycle, still in the box, for jurors to examine while they deliberated on the case. The quick-release lever then broke in the jury room. Plaintiffs' lawyers giggled with glee.

Read more in the San Francisco Chronicle.


Bike Ride '06

My first Ride of the year occured yesterday - a temporary cure for my Itch mentioned in a previous post. Normally, I would have been playing Racquetball with my room mate down at the Gym, but he couldnt make it yesterday. So, sucking it up, I decided to go on a ride. It also gave me my first oppurtunity to wear my Christmas gifts and test out the new cogs on my bike. Because it's 34 Degrees Farenheit out, I decided to layer up. First went on the Bib... not as much padding as I would have liked (and now my butt hurts)... followed by a long-sleeved underarmor Cold Weather Gear shirt. Ontop of that went my sleek looking long sleeved jersey and a windbreaker, along with tights that covered my legs. If only I had booties. I put long fingered gloves on, and a Cannondale beanie. I was set.

As soon as i got outside, i realised how cold it was. Even with all my layering i had begun to feel cold, and i hadnt even gotten onto my bike. Needless to say, i decided to take the short 5 mile ride down to the Isle of Que and back again. I failed to realise the need for a neck-gator, or some similiar item to protect my throat and face, and it wasnt long before the cold, chill air started wrecking havoc on my lungs, making it painful to breath and causing me to have to spit every few seconds.

But i perservered, i stuck it out. I was still riding long after my feet had frozen solid (if only i had booties!), my fingers a close second, and my arms and thighs close behind. I was glad that i had remembered my windbreaker, as it definately took off the bite of the wind. I also managed to hit the one traffic light i had to pass through when it was green, both ways, and didnt have to stop once.

Despite the downsides, and feeling a little sore today, i am glad i went riding in the 34 degree weather. In fact, i believe it was closer to 30 Degrees as every pool of water i saw was frozen over. Perhaps this is why the few walkers i passed by gave me some interesting looks. Suprisngly, ever driver i saw was very....kind towards me, waving me on around them if they were reversing into a driveway and had their nose in the road, or allowing me to go through the light first. There was a moment when i became slightly scared, having not come to a full stop at a Stop Sign. I slowed down enough to look every direction, almost coming to a standstill, and realising no cars were there but one behind me, and went. This was in the last 80 yards of my ride. However, the car behind me followed and as it went to pass me, i turn my head. A Cop! Perhaps the 5th one i've seen in my 3 years of going to school out here. He slowed down and eyed me up, before taking off. For a moment there i thought he was going to wave me over to the side of the road.

Regardless, it was an exhilarting ride, but one i wont do again if it is just as cold.

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Legalize Segway on Colorado bike paths

Colorado Senate Bill SB168 will legalize the use of 'Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices' (EPAMD) on sidewalks and paths. In addition, operation of EPAMDs are legalized on streets with a speed limit of 35 mph or less under this proposed legislation.

Permitting 'mobility devices' on streets is possibly a good idea, but I don't care for the provisions of this bill permitting Segways on sidewalks and paths. The bill does allow for local regulation of Segways on local streets, sidewalks and paths.

The part I really don't like about the bill is the very restrictive definition for EPAMD:

Hmm, what is the only two-nontandem-wheel, self-balancing electric mobility device on the market? Talk about legislation that's custom-crafted for a single product. I'd favor a definition that's bit more open-ended, perhaps defining the powered vehicle in terms of size, speed, emissions, and power output.

More info about SB 168 is available from the Bicycle Colorado website.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Sharky and Velo

Sharky is the messenger. Velo is his kid. Velo rides in Sharky's messenger bag. This is way too adorable. From Bike Portland.

Photo info: Sharky and Velo downtown by BikePortland.org.

Contest: Name that tune and win a prize

UPDATE: We have a winner! fixedgear got up early this morning and posted the correct answer: "Godzilla" by Blue Öyster Cult. This song appeared on Spectres in 1977. You can hear a short clip of this song here or click here for a 2 week free trail of Rhapsody and get the whole song. I'm curious: Did anybody run across the Easter Eggs in this post?

Real Networks

I'm testing your cultural knowledge, faithful readers. On Monday's edition of Cyclelicious I made a lyrical music reference in the title of a post. The first person to post a comment in this post with the correct title of the song, group, and the album and year it first appeared wins a $10 gift certificate from Amazon.com. For you to receive this gift certificate I'll need your email address. I'm listening to the song right now. 30 years ago I used to think these guys could sing.

You must provide the name of the song, the group who performed it, the name of the album it was first commercially released on, and the year it was commercially released. The song appeared on at least a half dozen greatest hits and live albums, so be careful. There's an Easter Egg in this post with a big hint; if you're reading this via a feed reader the Easter Egg might not get propogated.

If nobody provides the correct answer by 2 p.m. U.S. Mountain Standard Time on Wednesday, January 8, 2006, nobody wins the contest and no prizes will be given. If you've won something from Cyclelicious in the past couple of months you are not eligible. That means you Nick and GirlsLuv.

Cyclists and UK highway law

From Zoe Williams in The Guardian:
Lord Quinton wanted to know "whether Her Majesty's government would take steps to ensure that bicycle users would abide by the Highway Code". The other guy wanted to point out that a cyclist had once nearly run over his wife.
Read here for Zoe's wonderful rebuttal. Via this comment on pedaller.blogspot.com.

More Tour of California video coverage

Update: 2007 Amgen Tour of California video coverage details here.

Update: Fixed URL for thesteeps.NET. Thank you to mallfellow for seeing that mistake!

Billy C at The Steeps Blog tells me they will provide video coverage of the last two stages of the Tour of California. They'll definitely provide short video recaps. He and his team are also working on the logistics for up-to-the-minute coverage of the last two stages, with posts as things happen in the Tour of California.

If you haven't visited The Steeps in a while you should check them out. They have a sharp looking design layout and worthwhile articles on the site. The owners of The Steeps do graphic design and animation for the NFL Network and have several years of experience doing design and animation for television and movies. I'm looking forward to some good video from them.

Don't forget about the ToC Grassy Knoll Project at Steephill.tv. Steve @ Steephill tells me the project is coming along nicely. Word is getting around and he expects plenty of good video and photo uploads.

Who needs ESPN when you have the Blogosphere and enthusiastic talent?

Visit Cyclelicious for continued updates.

Litespeed founders go back to bikes

The Lynskey family, founders of Litespeed Titanium Components, will be returning to the bicycle frame-building business. They will be designing and building high-end custom titanium bicycle frames under the new company name of Lynskey Performance Products in Chattanooga, TN. The domain name LynskeyPerformance.com was registered last week but there's no website there yet.

The Lynskey family founded Litespeed in 1986 and sold the business to American Bicycle Group in 1999. If I recall, several Lynskey's are involved in the management of ABG. ABG is based in Chattanooga, TN where their Litespeed, Real Design, and Quintana Roo bikes are built.

Read more from the BRaIN. Litespeed and Merlin will be at the 2006 North American Hand Made Bicycle Show in San Jose, CA, March 3-5.

Monday, February 6, 2006

Oh no, there goes Tokyo!

First, watch the Hummer H3 Superbowl Ad here or here. If you don't have broadband, here's the synopsis: Gojira-style monster (named Jennifer the Monster) is running rampant through Tokyo causing mayhem and destruction. Jennifer meets Robie, a giant city-destroying robot. Jennifer and Robie fall in love. Jennifer and Robie make love. In the midst of a destroyed city, Jennifer has a baby -- a brand new Hummer H3. How precious.

Am I the only one who saw the weird irony in this ad? Okay, the part about the association of harmful, destructive forces with the creation of the Hummer is pretty obvious, to me anyway. The irony is that the advertising agency and Hummer execs who approved the ad seem to be completely unaware of the association between their product and the damage that they cause.

My favorite ad, incidentally, is this FedEx ad.

The Itch

Ever get that Itch? That feeling where you are so wired but no matter what you do, you cant get rid of that Itch? Any Cyclist will know what i'm talking about. It first comes about 2 months into the winter, two months of not being able to ride your bike. It only gets worse the longer you wait. It intensifies as Winter turns into Spring, the snow melts, the sun feels warm upon your face, and your bike starts talking to you in your sleep.

I'm suffering from that Itch right now. Its gotten ba enough that i'll ride outside today, even if it is only 32 Degrees out. Cold enough to turn my water bottles into Ice. But i dont care - i've got an Itch and it needs to be scratched - even if its only a 10 mile ride. The first of my season. If i dont, i'm gonna go crazy. Racquetball no longer satifies the Itch, hammering a ball as hard as you can only does so much. I need to feel the strain on my legs, that handlebars underneat my hands, the sway of the bike from side to side as i climb up Sassafrass Hill. I'll probably end up on the Isle of Que - the Island i could not remember in my last post.

With the winter being this mild, Febuary 6, 2006 will be my first ride of the new year. If all goes well. Its just a matter of surving the Itch for the next 3 hours - enough time to get me through my one Class and then Lunch, and prep time for my Bike. It'll be the worst when i'm prepping the bike, knowing that the ride is only minutes away, but they'll be the longest minutes of this year. But 4 hours from now, the Itch will be gone. And that is all i hope to accomplish this day.

Specialized responds to Stumptown discussion

There has been discussion all over the bicycling blogosphere about Specialized's cease-and-desist to Mountain Cycle's use of the Stumptown brand. Stumptown is a well-known nickname for the city of Portland, and in fact I had suggested using Stump when BikePortland blogger Jonathan Maus was looking for ideas for the name of a cycling column. Portland-based bike builder Mountain Cycles named their hardtail frame the "Stumptown" in honor of their hometown.

Jonathan asked Specialized for a statement about the C and D. Specialized's corporate communications chief Kevin Frank responded.
We were forced to ask Mountain Cycle (or any other company in a similar situation) to stop using the Stumptown name or risk losing the right to it ourselves. We simply have to protect what we’ve worked so hard to develop in order to justify the time and investment we put into making better bikes and equipment for everyone.
I think it's a little weak. Stumptown and Stumpjumper? Not even the same and I don't personally see the brand dilution.

Mountain Cycle's other products include the full suspension freeride Shockwave (trademarked by Macromedia), and full suspension Zen (expect a C and D from Boulder bike builder Lennard Zinn).

Read more here.

Leah's story

Leah is the Toronto bicycle courier involved in the infamous scuffle captured on camera by photographer Adam Krawesky. She gave her side of the story on Spacing Wire. According to Leah, the paint scratch on the SUV occurred when the assailant pushed her against his vehicle. She did not deliberately key his truck.

I was WALKING my bike up Augusta when the incident took place. He was driving and opened his door (while driving) and yelling profanities he threw his beef patty on a bun out of his door. I walked over to his car, and right or wrong, I opened the door and “gave” him back his food (which he MUST have dropped by accident!) He then lost it, and jumped out of his car and threw 2 large Timmies at me then grabbed me by my helmet and tried to toss me around a bit. It was at that point that my bike lock key (that I wear on a bracelet around my wrist) scratched his car.

Then with some “encouraging” from some helpful bystanders he got in his car and drove away…or so I thought! People were comming up to me and saying that I should have him charged but at that point I just figured I had made my anti-littering point and and eye for and eye with the coffee shower, I mean I did throw that patty right. But just as I was getting on my bike to ride home he came running back and that's when the photos start. He had driven half a block and decided that the scratch was worthy of a more thorough beating I guess.

And as for the police charging him…. He took off in his car as soon as he heard the sirens. They chased him down but it is not a crime to leave the scene. They were going to charge him with a variety of things including assult with a weapon x2, mischief x2, aggravated assault, etc, but the police informed me that if I went ahead and placed those charges then they would have to charge me with mischief for the scratch.