Friday, May 30, 2008

Bicycle Commuter Tax Incentive back in Lesgislation this week.

This is a repost from the League of American Bicyclists. You can click here to take action.

Bicycle Commuter Benefit on House Tax Extender Bill...

On May 21, 2008, prior to the Memorial Day recess, the House passed H.R. 6049, the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008. Included in the legislation is a $20 per month transportation fringe benefit for bicycle commuters to cover costs of commuting by bike. (See text of legislation here). Section 127.

We are expecting the Senate finance committee to take up the measure the week of June 2nd, and would like to have the Senators who previously co-sponsored S. 858 (Bicycle Commuters Benefit Act 2007), sign onto a joint letter, being distributed by Senator Wyden, to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Finance Committee asking them to adopt the House provision. Please take a moment to click on the action button to contact your Senator and urge them to sign onto the joint letter. Thank you.

I filled out the document and even added a paragraph of my own and it only took me about 5 minutes. My recommendation to everyone is to put the game of free cell on hold like I did and fill it out. It will help us all.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Ghost Riders Gallery

In honor of the Ghost Riders movement that is steadily gaining ground throughout these fine United States of America I have decided to create a Gallery for Fellow Ghost Riders.

I have added a few pictures from the Pasadena Ride of Silence to get the ball rolling, however I think it would be great if all the Jersey owners could start sending in some pics! I know at least a few of you have pictures, so send them...

Send them here:

you can view the gallery here:

Ghost Riders Gallery!
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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Heartbreak 08 Ride Report

More often than not I'm a creature of comfort. I find myself getting into a good groove and I stick to it. Case in point: Training for The Mulholland Challenge. Instead of finding varying rides with the elevation I needed I simply did laps of a very familiar ride that's close to my home that I ride all the time. Every once and a while though I break out and try something new. Case in point: the first time I tried Mole, at a restaurant where I had to pay. Normally, if I have to pay I buy something I know I'm going to like, like a cheeseburger, or enchiladas. There was this one time though that I got all crazy and ordered a plate of Mole...

Anyway, my point is that usually I do rides in areas that I'm pretty familiar with. for the most part if you look at the list of rides that I have for 15 rides you'll see many that I've done before; Tour de Palm Springs, Solvang, Conejo, Coolbreeze. However, this year I branched out and did a few that I've never done before, and for that I'm kind of proud.

The Heartbreak Hundred ride was one of those that I've never done before, and I did an unusually light amount of research on the ride. It wasn't until a few days before that I realized the ride starts at 3500 ft. above sea level and rises to about 6100 ft. This plus the steadily declining weather would end up playing significant factors in my performance.

For those who aren't familiar with the Heartbreak Hundred, it's the final century of Planet Ultras' King of the Mountains Challenge. It takes place in Frazier Park and the surrounding areas and takes you up to 6100 ft. above sea level, then down to 2500 ft. then back up to around 5500 ft. then back down the the starting elevation of 3500 ft. My Garmin counted 8844 total ft. Heartbreak starts right off with climbing, there's no warming up on the flats, no coasting to the first climb, nothing. Straight out of the parking lot you're going up. You climb through Frazier Park, through Pine Mtn. Club and through Ft. Tejon State Historical Park, which I have to say is incredibly beautiful. Then you descend for a while before steadily inching your way up to the final climb which leads to rollers and then a final descent. This is what I knew of the ride going into it.

The first section of climbing is nearly 30 miles. Through this there were some quick, steep descents marked by the emblematic yellow "Trucks use Low Gears" signs. These signs were a welcome warning as they meant a quick reprise from the unusually grueling 6% grade that, combined with the wind and the altitude was taking it's toll on my legs. There were points where the road pitched up to as much as 15% but for the most part the climb was steady. The summit of Mill Potrero was marked by a State Parks Fire Station and a State Parks sign that I didn't bother reading as a wicked descent was about to follow. This descent wasn't too steep, but carried on for a while, leading to a sections larger than normal rollers that took us through a windswept section that must have been a prominent ridge line. This area was absolutely beautiful as it gave way to incredible views. The terrain was incredible as well. There were wildflowers blooming everywhere and those combined with the windswept pines created a beautiful, surreal experience. After the rollers there was a long, long, long descent through rolling fields and farmland. There were moments the road pitched up, but these were few and far between. Most of the road through here pointed downward, and I was able to get some food down before we got to highway 166, which led to highway 33, which was torture.

Highway 33 was a climbers nightmare; long stretches of false flats with a blistering headwind. by this time we had picked up two extra riders and were setting an asphalt crushing pace of 14 mph through the farmlands. It SUCKED!!! It was fortunate that we were able to stick together through this section, going it alone would have been terrible. We lost those two new riders at the Aid Station and it was back to Mark, Alfred and I. We were passed by a pretty sizable group a few miles past the Aid Station and Mark Jumped in with that group. I didn't feel like hanging on and neither did Alfred so we let them go. Later on we came across one of those guys, (I think his name was Chris) who was waiting for his friend (Scott? or maybe I think it's Scott because he was riding a Scott). We teamed up with them until a few miles onto Lockwood Valley Rd, executing a nearly perfect double paceline. The four of us had caught a group of guys that Chris and Scott started with. We stuck with them for maybe a mile or two but they went ahead as Alfred and I suffered through the false flats leading up to the days final challenge. We did catch them as the road started to pitch up, but then let them go again as both of us were pretty beat.

The final real climb of the day was Heartbreak Hill, and it was something else. The wind had managed to switch directions each time we turned and every time we thought we'd have
a tail wind it turned into a head wind. Heading up Heartbreak Hill was no different. I crawled up the climb, Alfred came up just a few seconds after me. There was a short, beautiful descent which lead to about 10 miles of rollers and false flats and then it was back to descending. We had caught another rider in the rollers and the three of us were working together on the descent as we caught another rider, who was a giant. This guy must have been 8 ft. tall. I didn't catch his name, but he rode a "2danger" bike or something. The last 4 miles was a sweet, fast, lightless descent that saw speeds of 30-35 miles an hour despite a wild, crossing headwind. We were being blown all over the place.

We managed to make it to the finish without incident and I checked in at 6 hours 48 minutes. I was shocked when I heard my time as I had miscalculated and thought I was close
r to 8 hours. Actually looking back at the ride I realize that most of the names and other specifics that I learned in the last 40 miles might not be accurate as my mind was pretty clouded by the suffering that was The Heartbreak Hundred. Despite that suffering, it was an awesome ride, one that I would totally do again. The BBQ afterwards was a welcome relief.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ride of Silence 2008, Pasadena CA.

Tonight was the 2008 edition of the Ride of Silence, which is an event that goes on world wide. I attended the Pasadena chapter, which was at the Rose Bowl. The Pasadena ride is organized by Rick Babington, Well known cycling coach and member of PAA. For those of you not familiar with the ride of silence simply scroll down a couple of entries and read the entry about the Ride of Silence. The ride happened as it usually does, with a reading of the Ride of Silence poem, in English and Spanish, and then a reading of names of victims. There were just over 100 participants here for the ride, It seems that some must have joined right as we rolled out because the number of people in this picture doesn't seem to be as high as the number at the end. This is fine with me, the more the merrier...

Out of all the rides I do all year, this 3 lap, 9 mile, slow paced ride is the most impactful, and it's the only one that I remember each moment of each year I participate. I go on some pretty sweet rides, in some pretty sweet places, but I think that because of the emotional weight of this ride is what makes it stand out to me. This ride, to me at least, is us doing a little for those who have passed on, through no fault of their own, due to careless motorists. Tonight I heard of a friend's sister being hit in Arizona, by a drunk driver. The first thing I thought of was Paul L'Ecuyer.

At the end of the ride I tried to get around to everyone with the Jersey's and say thank you. Rick gave me a shout and I got to say a piece about the jersey which was totally unexpected and awesome. And there were about 10 of us with the Jersey out tonight, which was awesome. I realized tonight that the jersey isn't really a jersey any more, but a movement, with a solid awesome grassroots beginning. Things are going to be awesome, and I'm sure I have lots to say about it but I'm wicked tired right now so I'm going to bed.
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Pick Up Your Effin' Trash: Reduex

Now that the sun is hangin' out longer with the intention of burning un-prepared shirtless tourists at the beach I decided it was time to do a full on Secret Slopes lap after work. With my training still being somewhat lackadaisical and the Heartbreak Hundred coming up I thought it might be a good idea to get a little climbing in. On my way up I was relaxed, listening to Alive 2007 and taking my time. I came upon the "Bend of Destiny" and couldn't help but notice that some schmeggy douchebag left his blown tube on the road...

Now I'm all for changing tubes when you get a flat but I'm not all for leaving my shit laying around like this rare beauty of a park that lies like an island amongst the ocean of filth and shit that is Los Angeles is my personal trash can. Especially when a bona fide, true to god, man made trash can that is emptied by park employees lays not a quarter mile up the road.

What really pissed me off is the fact that whomever dropped this tube was a relatively avid cyclist, or at least someone who spends money to look like they are, as this was a pretty high end tube with a 90mm valve stem on it.

Way to help ruin one of L.A's greatest assets... douche.
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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ride of Silence

I'd like to remind everyone that the ride of silence is coming up May 21st, at 7:00 p.m at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. This is an extremely important event that affects all cyclists, regardless of club lines, regardless of fitness or skill level, and regardless of type of bike...

The Ride of Silence will begin in North America and roll across the globe. Cyclists will take to the roads in a silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, the motoring public often isn't aware of these rights, and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves.

In 2003, Chris Phelan organized the first Ride Of Silence in Dallas after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the mirror of a passing bus and was killed.

The Ride Of Silence is a free ride that asks its cyclists to ride no faster than 12 mph and remain silent during the ride. There is no brochure, no sponsors, no registration fees and no t-shirt. The ride, which is held during Bike Safety month, aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for those who have been killed or injured.

For more information, click Ride of Silence

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

F@%king laptop!!! Cruisin' the Conejo Ride Report


I hate my laptop. I had all these sweet pictures saved from Cruisin the Conejo and when I loaded the XD card it formated the card. P.O.S! Now I don't even want to write. The ride was awesome, I got a sunburn. done.
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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Diane Feinstein Rules

I've always been under the assumption that our elected leaders have a wholesale policy of ignoring they're constituents and doing what the lobbies and corporations want them to do. Despite getting a degree with the intention of becoming a Speech Writer, I'd become increasingly disillusioned with the state of American Politics. A while back I wrote letters to California's Senators and my Representative about the bicycle tax break being left out of the Energy bill. I got typical boxed responses. I wrote a blog about it saying "Thanks" in a typically sarcastic tone...

But the other day something happened that changed my mind. I received a letter from Diane Feinstein regarding the letter I had written informing her of my disgust about the bike tax break being left out. The letter was even signed by hand. This leads me to believe that either Diane, or probably more likely one of her Aids read my letter. Needless to say I was pretty shocked.

California has always been a very progressive state, and I really think if we work together and make the push with our lawmakers we can begin make some changes, if even small ones on a national scale.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Epic Rides!

Refer to my previous post to see that this is about Epic Rides, like the title wasn't enough to indicate...

I've put tons of miles in my legs, from the time I was a kid I was riding around. Cycling as always been important to me as it was the only way I could get out of eye shot of my parents for the first 10 years of my memorable life. I developed an early appreciation for two wheeled vehicles. I worked at a bike shop, which led me to watching Le Tour every summer and following coverage of the Giro and Vuelta. I watched La Course en Tete when I was 15. I know that's not saying much by California standards, but for a kid who grew up in Kansas with little to no recognizable cycling culture it was a big deal. Anyway, I was become a part of the cycling culture in Lawrence. Despite Kansas being thought of as flat (by California standards it is) there is some great riding. In fact in 1997 the Clinton Lake Trail and River Trail were rated #25 and #26 best MTB trails in the US by Bike Magazine.

My Epic Ride happened on 1997's 26th best MTB trail, the River Trail, when I was about 18 years old. I'd done lots of rides before then and lots and lots after, but this one ride has always stuck out as the best to me.

I went out on my new Cannondale F-600 after school. I was only going to go for a lap, which was out and back, approximately, and about 10 miles. I went out, and felt great. I came back to the trail head... almost. About a mile from the trail head there is a turn around, and you can loop and head back out. I usually went out for one lap, some did 2 or 3, but for me it was always one. On this day though, it was great. I was moving, fast, and I came to the turn around and headed back out. I set a hard pace, yet didn't feel tired, or put out or anything. I went out and back again, when I came to the turn around there were a couple guys from the KU cycling team. I turned around and headed out again, keeping pace with the guys from KU. We stomped along the trail again, and then back. The KU guys headed home and I made my way back in. At this point it was starting to get late. I headed out one more time, and back. Four times, Four laps in one day was by far a record for me, and it felt great.

What was exceptional about that ride was that through the whole ride I felt sharp and on point. I caught every detail of the trail, negotiated each obstacle and took each banking turn like I had ridden the trail 100 times before. Nothing was hard, or difficult or challenging. each turn and bend in the trail was like it was a girlfriend, asking to be caressed with black knobby, rolling rubber. I'm not sure what happened different on that day. I don't know if I was on peak, or beat the wall, or hit my Chi, but whatever it was it was awesome. By the time I got back to the trail head it was late. the sun was going down and it was getting late. I had to head home and get some dinner.

Thats it. That's my epic ride. I hope you all can share too!
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Monday, May 5, 2008

It's May! Ride Your Damn Bike!! Then tell me about it!!!

When I started writing this blog I thought to myself that I should do something significant in the month of May since there is a "Ride your Bike to Work Week" embedded somewhere in there. This fact gives me license to call May "Bike Month" whether it is or not. So, since this blog is about cyclists rights, and so much of it is focussed on cyclist/motorist interaction I thought it would be great to have my readers write in with stories about the problems riders have had with cars and the moron's that drive them. Then I thought "Man, that's going to be a buzz kill, 30 day's of stories about cyclists being molested by bad drivers".

Then today I though to myself as I was thinking about a ride that I did when I was a kid "I should have my readers write about their all time most memorable ride". I decided that this was a much better idea. So if you're a reader reading this blog, and you can think of a great ride, the greatest ride ever in your entire life, you should write me and tell me about it. I'll write an entry in a bit, but you all should write some too. If you have pictures from that greatest ride ever you should send it to me also.

So that's it. Ride your Damn Bike! Ride it every day this month. Do it! Do it now!!!

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