Sunday, March 30, 2008

A clarification

My last ride report blog entry raised a few questions from friends of mine, and spurred some debate as to my attitude towards cyclists in general. It called in to question my dedication to the sport, and my attitudes about all people who get on with two wheels. I listened to those concerns and questions and felt that my personal feelings and attitudes needed some clarification.

I am viciously loyal to the sport of cycling. In that, I have an inherent concern for the well being and happiness of all cyclists, which includes everyone from the super flashy racer guy to the guy who rides his bike because he doesn't have a car, to the little kid who's getting on a bike with training wheels for the first time. I love all things bike, and despite what I may write or what I may say, I'm just happy that you are getting on your bicycle and riding around sometimes... regardless of how far or how fast you go. I try to do as much as I can to help people feel more comfortable on the road, and to do as much for the sport as I can and I realize that sometimes my methods can be a bit, how do you say... abrasive?

I know that I'm a big jerk, people tell me that all the time. I'm a douche bag, and a lot of times that comes out when I write. I see things that I don't agree with and I put those offenders on blast almost immediately. I have a razor sharp wit and I'm not afraid to use it, much to the chagrins of many. The last piece I wrote was about some specific riders that I happened across at the Solvang Century. If it was you that I was writing about you would know it because I said something to you at the ride. Something to the tune of "Quit fighting me for this wheel" or "Quit cutting me off" or " If I say 'On your left' 6 times and you still don't move off the yellow line you're a jerk" or "Watch out" something to that tune. So if you read my ride report about Solvang and you thought that maybe it was about you please know that it wasn't, unless I spoke with you specifically. So if you were at all offended by my last piece, I'm really sorry.

To all my regular readers, and to anyone who may happen across this blog, please know that all I really want in life from all of you is for you to get on your bike and ride. Ride as for as long as you want, and go as far as you want. But just get on your bike. And then when you're done, remember that you're a part of this culture just as much as I am or as any other cyclist is. And if you ever run into me on the road and I'm a jerk to you, or you feel like I was rude to you, please let me know.


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Monday, March 17, 2008

Public Service Announcement

This was e-mailed through the PAA cycling network. It's pretty brilliant. Read more!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Randolf Van Pedalsworth Esq. III's Solvang Ride Report

Hello and Good day ladies and gentlemen,

Your old friend and world bicycle explorer Randolf Van Pedalsworth Esq. III here to report on my latest bicycle adventure in the wild and untamed west of America. This month I found myself in the beautiful and dangerous state of California and in one of it's many hidden gems, Solvang. I was to participate in an event that has become a local favorite... The Solvang Century. I would use this event to explore the statewide cycling culture, pervasive in the American west where fitness and health are of penultimate importance. For this event I would be embedded in local cycling culture, and I would have as my guides no less than 3 tandem teams and two expert field guides known as Chris and Banning from Banning's Bikes in Fullerton. I pride myself on being a physically fit bicycle world explorer, however this crack team of field guides set an unrelenting pace through the beautiful and vast green hills that surround Solvang. Along my 100 mile journey I met many different variations of the American Cyclist, a few of whom we will discuss here. California has always been known to be home to diverse wildlife, and the various, uniquely evolved cycling species are no different....

The first and most persistent species of cyclist that I encountered on my wonderful journey was Racerius Wannabeus. Distinguished by their color coordinated jerseys, Racerius Wanabeus was a group we saw multiple times throughout the ride, often running into the same "packs" over and over again. Racerius Wannabeus is similar in appearance to Cyclistis Eurodouchebaggus, who will be discussed later. The distinguishing behavior of Racerius Wannabeus was their inability to maintain high rates of speed on their own. This lack of individual, maintained speed resulted in a constant game of catch between my escorts and the various packs. I assume this is because Tandem teams, like my caravan, are prized amongst individual Racerius Wannabeus since they offer shelter from the wind. When caught, Racerius Wannabeus force their way into other rider caravans, disrupting the pace and then resting in the draft line. After their rest, they attack off the front and leave the group, only to be caught again later, farther down the road. Other distinguishing behaviors are a generally bad attitude, the inability to introduce themselves to the group they are joining, and a disregard for basic acceptable group ride behavior.

Second to Racerius Wannabeus in persistence and annoying behavior is Slowis Yellowlinus. To the untrained eye this cyclist bears a similar physical appearance to it's cousin Racerius Wannabeus but is distinguished by it's lower over all rate of speed and it's inibility to launch effective attacks on faster groups of cyclists. This group is often seen roaming the roads alone, or in smaller disparate groups including other subgroups. Slowis Yellowlinus typically rides on or near the yellow divider line of a road, rendering safe passage difficult if not impossible. Now many different groups of cyclists find themselves close to the yellow line, however what distinguishes Slowis Yellowlinus is they're apparent lack of hearing. As you approach Slowis Yellowlinus it is impossible to prompt them to yield the right of way to faster groups of cyclists for the fact that they either have selective hearing, or no hearing at all. Research has not been conducted on Slowis Yellowlinus so it is unknown if this lack of hearing ability is physical or purely psychological. My guide, Chris theorized that the hearing is blocked by an over inflated ego, causing Slowis Yellowlinus to sense that they are moving considerably faster than they really are, and thus causing a psychosomatic block of the sense of hearing.

Another unique cycling species that I encountered was Squirellius Boeweavoulus. This subgroup of cyclists can be easily spotted by their coarse and loose jerseys and generally sporadic and undulating riding style. It is not uncommon for Squirellius Boeweavoulus to cause chaos amongst other passing groups of cyclists as the line they are traveling is unpredictable and ever changing. They spend a lot of time observing their surroundings which tends to increase the unpredictability of their movement and makes them even more dangerous as they aren't really paying much attention to the road, or those around them.

A close cousin of Squirellius Boeweavoulus, Distinguishable by sleeveless jersey, ridiculously short shorts and by completely useless additional parts hanging off the front of their bikes, is Triathletis Boeweavoulus Dorkus. This group tends to embody most if not all of the traits of these groups. They can rarely travel at high rates of speed, lack any common sense or courtesy, are erratic and unpredictable and often have the bloated sense of ego that blocks hearing similar to Slowis Yellowlinus.

Also on the road was a very rare Albino Cyclistis Eurodouchebaggus, A fast and highly skilled cyclist who rules the road. He can be seen on the left in this rare photo. Easily spotted by their stunning and tediously groomed jersey kits, Cyclistis Eurodouchebaggus' are often seen navigating the road with deft skill and extreme intensity. The one photographed here had latched on with my caravan at the beginning of the journey, giving me a unique and exciting opportunity to observe Cyclistis Eurodouchebaggus at length. This particular Cyclistis Eurodouchebaggus was cordial and polite. I overheard him discussing race results from Europe and the finer points of style and grace in cycling culture with my guide Chris. I often spotted him taking unnecessarily long turns at the front of the group, forcing his way into the wind. He would attack often and later "went out alone" from the back of our group around mile 75. We met up with him again, in his exquisite white jersey at the last rest stop, but he "went out alone" again at the last climb. I can only assume that he finished the ride completely void of sweat marks, breathing through his nose, moving at a high rate of speed with his hands planted firmly in the drops as it is the nature of Cyclistis Eurodouchebaggus to always finish in style and in complete control, even if not in first place. However this particular Cyclistis Eurodouchebaggus was later found crying in his beer about the difficulty of the ride and the headwind. Obviously the Albino Cyclistis Eurodouchebaggus is not as battle hardened as his more colorful siblings. Below, the map and profile.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

La Tuna Canyon Cycling Death

I received an e-mail yesterday from a friend letting me know of a death on La Tuna Canyon road. Harvey Hetland, a retired professor from PCC was struck by a car on La Tuna Canyon road Wednesday. He did not survive. The driver who hit Harvey did not stop either. Unfortunately for the driver there is rumored to be video of the accident, taken by a resident of the canyon road who is angered by the way people drive on said road. I don't blame that resident one bit for being angry. If you've ever ridden La Tuna Canyon, you know why... You can click here for a full article on the incident from the Pasadena Star News.

I spent a good portion of yesterday brooding about this incident, thinking about what to write and how to write it. I don't really have anything to say I'm so disgusted. I used to ride La Tuna Canyon almost every week. I've seen the way people drive on that road. Most drive with reckless disregard for human life. Motorist fly by cyclists at up to 60+ miles an hour, giving little to no room to pass. What disgusts me the most is how drivers seem to forget that the person riding the bike is still a person, and that their actions as a motorist could result in tragedy for so many.

A memorial service for Harvey Hetland will be held on Thursday, March 13th, at 11:00 a.m. at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1757 N. Lake (at York), Pasadena, CA.

Rest in Peace Harvey.
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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Alley Cat Death in Chicago... bad for everyone.

People dying always sucks. I'll start by saying that so no one thinks I'm being insensitive. What's worse is people who are cyclists dying. For those who don't know, I write things about stuff sometimes and most of that usually has to do with cycling and things related to cycling. This post is no different. There was some news that hit the wire in Chicago, and I felt it required some attention... It already got some attention thanks to the local news in Chicago, and internet friend and journalist extroidinaire Andrew Vontz. He brought this to my attention today at work when I was busy doing a lot of stuff that has everything to do with my work. You should click the above link and read.

But if you can't, I'll give you a quick run down. There was this alley cat in Chicago. Alley cat's are basically illegal messenger races that run through city streets. As a broad generalization, alley cat races typically don't stop for anyone or anything and they usually don't stop for Red lights. Now, I'm all for cyclists getting the right of way and having the right to the road and all that, but alley cat racing is fucking crazy. I'll never do it, and I don't recommend it for anyone. Anyway, Matt Manger-Lynch was leading this particular alley cat race, then runs a red light without looking, gets hit by an SUV and dies.

The organizer of the race, Alex Wilson, was quoted as saying: "To blame the victim for dying such a tragic death I think is an injustice. And I think it's an injustice that our culture is so embedded into auto use and the convenience of autos that we are willing to let our friends and loved ones be killed,"

"Willing to let our friends and loved ones be killed" It's great that Matt's friend turned his death into an agenda speech.

What is that supposed to mean anyway? that makes almost no sense, except for the comment about the victim being a victim since he did die. Other than that, it makes about as much sense as my 3 year old god daughter, wait... no she makes more sense. I think the rider was probably to blame, since no one forced him to ride in that race, and no one made him run that red light without looking both ways, but regardless of who's fault it is it does suck that he died regardless of the circumstance.

We do have an Auto-centric culture in America, and I do think that's wrong. But just because it's wrong doesn't mean I get to roll through traffic like I run shit, I mean I can, but there will most likely be consequences...regardless of whose fault it is.
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