Thursday, June 28, 2007

If it looks like, smells like, sounds like fascism...

A startling series of articles from the Washington Post about Dick Cheney nicely summed up in a piece. A few choice excerpts are below:

"He has transformed an office that Franklin D. Roosevelt's first vice president, John Nance Garner, said was "not worth a bucket of warm piss" into one of vast power. Cheney has acted as the Stalin of the Bush administration, the master of the bureaucracy, eliminating one rival after another, ruthlessly and unscrupulously concentrating power, the culmination of a more than 30-year career. The Post articles are based on information provided by dissidents who have suffered at Cheney's hand and have given Post reporters stories proving that Cheney's whole point is power."

"Despite the recent round of punditry that Cheney's influence has waned, he remains a formidable force. These are Cheney's final days; this is his endgame. He will never run again for public office. He is freed from the constraints of political consequences. He now has no horizon. He lives only in the present. He is nearly done. There are only months left to achieve his goals. Mortality impinges. Next month, he will have his heart pacemaker replaced. He disdains public opinion. He does not care who's next. "We didn't get elected to be popular," he said on Fox News on May 10. "We didn't get elected to worry just about the fate of the Republican Party."

Fascism defined from two sources:
a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.

A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hummer Owners are A**holes!

You gotta figure it's a bad news day for Reno when a story about the Hummer wedding gets picked up and goes national. Click the link for the full story. No wonder I was passed by the Hummer club when I was biking up Geiger Grade last week.

The thing that kind of pushed me over the edge recently in regards to Hummers is that I was riding my bike and I saw someone driving a newly purchased model. I don't know, but recently I've felt like we have been getting awful close to a tipping point in terms of awareness of global warming, what with the Inconvenient Truth coming out, daily stories on the major media outlets about the "greening of America," the campaigns to use the "funny looking" lightbulbs, features on Oprah, and the increasing gas prices. I know we have a long way to go but environmentalism feels like it is shifting back to an acceptable mode of thought and way of life across the US. So when I see someone driving a brand new Hummer I just feel like I've been slapped in the face. It really is the height of conspicuous consumption and anyone buying a new one is just giving the finger to the planet as far as I am concerned.

We don't all have to drive a Toyota Prius. It almost certainly matters more how much you drive as opposed to what you drive. But sheesh, how about taking some personal responsibility for the planet?

Momentum Planet and the Practical Pedal -

Two Interesting Bike Magazines of Note:

based out of Vancouver B.C. and,

The Practical Pedal ( that I noted before in this blog but has finally had its FREE first issue mailed (although the content is available online for both magazines - no need to kill the trees).

Both of these are nice alternatives to "Buycycling" magazine.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Apparently One World is NOT Enough For All of Us.

After listening to Earth and Sky this morning on NPR I had to take the quiz to guage how many planet earth's we'll need if everyone lived like I do. Ugh! Sobering. I'd heard previously that the average is about 4 when you look at most American lifestyles. So I guess I'm doing better than some. But it begs the question of where we are going to come up with the three extra earths if our economic model in the West is to export our economic system to all corners of the globe. What was it Marx said about capitalism's "need of a constantly expanding market for its products" taking over the "surface of the globe?" I suppose that's good for capitalism...but maybe not so good for our one planet.


Trying not to be too cynical but this is a step in the right directions I suppose. Leave it to Representative Earl Blumenauer:

Blumenauer initiative part of plan to green the Capitol
A bike-to-work program is part of a new plan to green the Capitol, unveiled last week by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The program, which will be implemented by a newly established employee transportation coordinator, includes improved parking for cyclists, showers and other changing facilities, and a bike-sharing program that would be available to House members and staff.

"This is an exciting change on Capitol Hill, and I am pleased that the federal government is leading by example," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon). "The plan to green the Capitol shows we are walking the walk and doing our part this Congress to fight global warming. It's important that we accommodate everyone on Capitol Hill who wants the option of biking to work, which is both good for the earth and good for our health."

Seven thousand people are employed in various capacities in the U.S. House of Representatives. Each day House employees make at least two trips - one to work and one home - for a total of 14,000 trips per day, or 70,000 trips per week. With a majority of these trips currently made by car, providing more incentives to bike to work is a one way to reduce congestion, lower emissions and benefit employees' health.

"We applaud the U.S. Congress for its leadership in unveiling this bold initiative, and we look forward to working with members of the Congressional Bike Caucus, under the leadership of Representative Blumenauer, to bring this plan to life," said Andy Clarke, executive director of the American League of Bicyclists."Bicycling is a simple, often overlooked solution to combat climate change, save energy, reduce congestion and promote physical activity."

Also included in the Green the Capitol plan are improved maintenance practices, such as eliminating certain chemicals and fertilizers, the use of alternative fuels, the greening of dining facilities, a car-sharing service for House employees and an increase in plants and trees on Capitol grounds.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Save a Bike!

Do you ever see bikes parked that seem like they deserve better in their old age? I know I should just be happy when bikes are still going years after they were first built. At least they are stil being used (and maybe even loved). But I just came across this old Masi at the rack behind Bibo Coffee Company. I don't know that much about Masis except that the new ones are gawdawful ugly and the italian lugged steel earlier incarnations were what the Hero of the film Breaking Away rode (now that was a beautiful bike with a wonderful campy group). This bike was partially shimano 600 equipped (one brake). And check out those makeshift pedals! Yowza...I bet that's great for pedalling efficiency.

This Masi is a long way from its glory days I'm afraid.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Woman sexually assaulted in Keystone Canyon

From the RGJ:

Reno area woman was sexually assaulted shortly after noon today in the Keystone Canyon area adjacent to Rancho San Rafael Regional Park.
The victim notified county park rangers of the assault. No weapon was used during the assault and the woman was not hospitalized.
“The suspect made contact with the victim and as a series of events unfolded he later took her to a secluded area by the park and sexually assaulted her,” said Washoe County Sheriff’s Capt. Marshall Emerson.
Authorities described the suspect as a white male 40-50 years old, balding with blonde hair and bad teeth. He wore a dirty T-shirt and jeans.
The suspect drove a white flatbed truck with rolls of carpet on the bed. Detectives can be reached at 785-4629 or Secret Witness at 322-4900.

Not a lot to say here except that this is obviously a favorite mtn biking area for Reno. Apparently there have been some car break-ins at the trailhead in recent months (although I would ask why someone would drive to this local trailhead). Having had a close friend who was raped during her college years it can be such a nightmare both physically and mentally for the victim. Sigh...this sucks.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Vatican issues 10 Commandments for drivers: Don't drink, don't kill, and pray

The Vatican is getting a lot of play over their newly publicized commandments for car drivers. Not being a Catholic, or for that matter Christian, I can’t speak as to how inline these principles are with the teachings of Jesus. But anything that gets car drivers to act with a little more respect for others on the road can’t be a bad thing.

Here are the commandments from the Vatican. And forgive my audacity but below that are a few commandments I'd like to throw in for good measure.

Excerpt from an article on the Vatican's list:

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican today issued a set of "Ten Commandments" for drivers, telling motorists not to kill, not to drink and drive, and to help fellow travelers in case of accidents.

An unusual document from the Vatican's office for migrants and itinerant people also warned that cars can be "an occasion of sin" — particularly when they are used for dangerous passing or for prostitution.

It warned about the effects of road rage, saying driving can bring out "primitive" behavior in motorists, including "impoliteness, rude gestures, cursing, blasphemy, loss of sense of responsibility or deliberate infringement of the highway code."

It urged motorists to obey traffic regulations, drive with a moral sense, and to pray when behind the wheel.

The "Drivers' Ten Commandments," as listed by the document, are:

1. You shall not kill.

2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.

3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.

4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.

5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.

6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.

7. Support the families of accident victims.

8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.

9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.

10. Feel responsible toward others.

All this is well and good, but I’d like to propose some additional “commandments” for drivers and bicyclists courtesy of the Nevada State Pedestrian and Bicycle Program:

1. Thou shalt remember that we are equal partners on the road, same rights, same responsibilities.
2. Thou shalt treat cyclists like you would any other vehicle on the road with fairness and respect.
3. Thou shalt not drive in bike lanes; they are for our use and for emergencies.
4. Thou shalt remember when you are making a left turn and a bicyclist is approaching your from the front, be sure you have enough time to turn safely; in urban areas bicyclists often go as fast as motor vehicles.
5. Thou shalt remember when making right turns, don’t cut us off by passing then turning in front of us.
6. Thou shalt not pass bicyclists in an unsafe manner. It is the motorists responsibility to pass bicyclists safely, if it’s not safe, don’t pass.
7. Thou shalt take special care when passing bicyclists. We may be forced into your path by debris and potholes.
8. Thou shalt remember when approaching a group of cyclists riding together, to wait before passing to give us a chance to get into single file.
9. That shalt remember when parking to take a moment to look to the rear to avoid opening your door in our path.
10. Thou shalt observe the speed limit and watch out for bicyclists. Most fatalities involving kids on bikes occur on quiet, residential streets.

That’s the nuts and bolts of it, but I would add one final commandment:
11. Don’t act like you own the road. YOU don’t! We all own the roads. Use of our roads is not a right, but a responsibility and privilege.

I don’t imagine that either of these lists of commandments are going to make most cyclists feel any safer. But just remember, cyclists have one other thing to keep us safe on the roads. Our own patron saint – Madonna del Ghisallo.

This cyclist is kissing a monument of Fausto Coppi located at the Chapel for the Madonna de Ghisallo.

The AFI Best American Films List

I'm a sucker for "best of" lists. I can't help myself. The end of the year is crazy for me with all the best music, films, books, tv show lists, etc. But film lists in particular are my weakness. I love watching films and I love talking about them.

That's why I was pretty curious about AFI's revised list that was broadcast last night. I know that no list can ever be 100% satisfactory. Case in point, check out the list below. But the litmus test for me is whether or not the list includes three "modern" films: Young Frankenstein, The Big Lebowski, and This is Spinal Tap -- Three masterpieces of modern comedy. Comedy always seems to get the short end of the stick.

Where does the AFI list go wrong? Well, let me tell you, any list that includes Yankee Doodle Dandy in the top hundred is instantly suspect. The tension that always seems to arise for me with these lists is the balance between whether they are "important" vs. whether you would actually take 2+ hours out of your life to watch them.

Here is the complete list.

CITIZEN KANE (1941) [previously #1]
THE GODFATHER (1972) [previously #3]
CASABLANCA (1942) [previously #2]
RAGING BULL (1980) [previously #24]
SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952) [previously #10]
GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) [previously #4]
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962) [previously #5]
SCHINDLER'S LIST (1993) [previously #9]
VERTIGO (1958) [previously #61]
THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) [previously #6]
STAR WARS (1977)
PSYCHO (1960)
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968)
HIGH NOON (1952)
KING KONG (1933)
SHANE (1953)
M*A*S*H (1970)
JAWS (1975)
ROCKY (1976)
DUCK SOUP (1933)
NETWORK (1976)
TOOTSIE (1982)
PLATOON (1986)
12 ANGRY MEN (1957) NEW!
BEN-HUR (1959)

The Latest in Bike Technology!

Can I get mine in a nice cherry wood?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Badger Returns to Racing!

The "Boss" of the peloton is making a return to cycling. True, it's in a cyclo-tourist event, but it seems like with all the DQs and firings of late in the pro ranks they could find room for him on a pro-tour team. Favorite Hinault quote: "As long as I breathe, I attack." The guy won 11 Grand Tours.

From velonews:
Hinault back on bike - Five-time Tour de France champion Bernard Hinault will race for the first time in 21 years this weekend in France. The 52-year-old hasn't raced since he retired in 1986, but will participate in a cyclo-tourist event in Saint-Brieuc named after him and his wife. Hinault will reportedly compete in the shorter, 110km version instead of the longer 170km and 230km routes. Will the Badger be able to help himself and not go on the attack?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Nevada City Classic Bike Race

The 47th running of the Nevada City Classic Bike Race happened yesterday. It had been several years since I had gone up to visit the quaint town and one of the most brutal courses you're going to find. Every year I've gone to see this race the course pretty much dictates that it is a free-for-all. The backside climb through downtown NV City pretty much separates the contenders from the pretenders after only a couple of loops. I arrived in time to see Mike Hernandez win the Masters race (missed the Juniors unfortunately).

There was a great field for the women's race (something the Tour de Nez has neglected developing in recent years). Shelley Olds, of the PROMAN Women's Cycling Team, dropped the hammer on the rest of the field and motored away in an impressive win. One question, is it always necessary for the race announcers to talk about how hot the women are? Don't get me wrong, I'm not blind to the appeal of a bunch of fit women in lycra. But you don't hear the announcers talking about how good looking the men are during the race. Nice to see a Wolfpack rider hanging tough in the women's race. Good job!

In the final race, Darren Lill of the Navigators decimated the pro men's field with an attack that left the rest of the field asking, are you going to, are you going to chase? It was one of the more impressive attacks I've seen. He barely looked like he was breathing.

Does Reno Need a Dress Code?

Follow-up to Tour de Nez post... This fellow was blocking my view (or maybe he was the view). Sorry about the bad pic...I was bumped and missed the full shot. Call me old-fashioned but I come from a background that says "Shirtless does not a fashion statement make." Even if you are a Fabio (that doesn't make you fabulous) you need to keep your shirt on!

I'd like to dedicate this post to T, A, S, and F who were enjoying the view Saturday.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Hodge Podge of Tour de Nez photos

and a link to the RGJ wrap-up. A nice time yesterday was had by many but probably not the woman who was seen throwing up into the Truckee off the bridge. But then again, maybe she did have a good time because I saw her drinking after that. Yesterday also saw the new incarnation of the Reno Ramblers cycling club. Not a big ride but some good food, conversation, and stops at Walden's, Patagonia, the Farmer's Market on California St., and the Bike Expo, made for a nice time.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bush really is a Bum

I had been refraining from commenting on the World Naked Bike Ride Day which just passed but this was too much to pass up. Not an image that is easy to shake...

Check out the link if you want more info.

Reno Rambler Ride - The Plan

A few folks are getting together this Saturday for a meandering ride that could include stops at Patagucci, the Farmer's market, and the downtown/Bike Expo area of the Tour de Nez. We'll be meeting at 9 am at Walden's Coffee and meandering from there to wherever. There's a lot going on this weekend with the TDN events and Reno Rodeo and such so take advantage and show off your wheels (the self-propelled kind) at any of the venues. I'll be on my Rivendell bike so be sure to say hello if you see us out and about.


It would be nice to think that someday this kind of story from cnn wouldn't be classified as "offbeat" news.

Tour de Nez article in the RGJ

Note that it appears the Masters race has been moved to 2:30 on Saturday.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Resurrection of the Reno Ramblers Redux

This Saturday a group of cyclists are going to resurrect the 100+ year old Reno Ramblers cycling club. I have already emailed a few cyclists that responded to my original post about this social cycling club that was in existence as early as 1890 in Reno. Time and place is still being determined so comment/email me and I will respond directly to you regarding the meeting place. The original idea was to meet for coffee, do a little ride (that perhaps includes the route for the Tour de Nez crit through downtown later in the day) and then end by checking out the Bike Expo for the TdN. All cyclists are welcome! I'll post more details as they become available. If you have suggestions about where to meet/start the ride feel free to suggest them.

Happy riding!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Tour de Nez - 1 week away!

I haven't seen much Tour de Nez info in the usual local media outlets. Not that I'm necessarily on top of all the local streams of info (such as they are). So, I thought I'd take this opportunity to plug one of the better events that happens in Reno. Below is the Friday/Saturday schedule that takes place in Truckee/Reno respectively. It makes for a wonderful time in downtown Reno on Saturday with the booths, food, and some great racing! Help get the word out.

Friday June 15th - Truckee, California

5:00 pm – 5:20 pm Second 10th Annual Clunker Classic
5:25 pm – 5:45 pm Kids’ Race
5:50 pm – 6:15 pm Handcycling Criterium in Truckee
6:15 pm – 6:30 pm Handcycling Awards
6:45 pm – 7:45 pm Pro Criterium in Truckee
7:45 pm – 8:00 pm Awards & Interviews
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm Block Party in Truckee

Saturday June 16th - Reno, NV

7:00 am – 8:00 am Century Ride registration & check-in
8:00 am Century Ride begins
9:00 am – 11:00 am Ride with the Pros catered breakfast & bike ride
10:00 am – 12 noon Bike Swap drop-off
10:00 am – 8:00 pm Expo
11:00 – 5:00 pm Bike Swap
1:00 pm Bike Messenger Alley Cat Race begins
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Bike repair clinics & bike fitting
1:45 pm – 2:00 pm Art Bikes Parade
2:00 pm – 2:30 pm 2nd Annual Bike Shop Challenge
2:30 pm – 2:45 pm Second 10th Annual Clunker Classic
2:45 pm – 3:00 pm Kids’ Race
3:00 pm – 3:15 pm Clunker & Messenger Awards
3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Masters’ Criterium
4:30 pm – 4:45 pm Masters’ Awards & Interviews
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm Bike Swap pick-up & donations
5:00 pm – 5:01 pm Cycling Community Photo from the top of Park Tower
5:20 pm – 5:45 pm Hand-cycling Criterium
5:45 pm – 5:50 pm New Belgium Raffle
5:50 pm – 6:00 pm Hand-cycling Awards & Interviews
6:15 pm – 7:45 pm Mighty Tour de Nez Twilight Pro Criterium- The Grandaddy of Them All<
7:45 pm – 8:00 pm Pro Awards & Interviews
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm Concert & party in Wingfield park
10:00 pm – 2:00 am The Tour de Nez "Afterglow Prom" at The Holland Project

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sunday, June 03, 2007

So You Want To Be A Rock and Roll Star?

I've always wanted to form my own band and call it the Heebie Jeebies. I figure it would start out as a ska outfit and morph into a punk/metal band before heading into a free jazz/prog rock direction. I could have my drug phase, my rehab phase, my date kate moss phase, my find god phase, my anti corporate phase, my shilling for McDonalds phase, and then die from a coronary caused by too many quarter pounders with cheese (a final, and very short-lived, phase).

But gee whiz that seems like a lot of work! Good thing the bumbershoot "band bio generator" is around. Just answer a few questions and voila, instant rock and roll legends:

A history of indie rock icons: The Heebie Jeebies

"Since forming in a dusty attic in reno, The Heebie Jeebies climbed to the top of the the indie rock scene in 1987 with their debut album, Facilitate This! The band's latest album, Ants in My Pants, merges Herbert Jerbert's unabashed vocal narratives with experimental Brit-Pop to slap together some seriously inspired creations. With standout tracks like "Ants in my Pants," the music of The Heebie Jeebies appeals to indie rock fans and non-indie rock fans alike."

note: the photo is actually of 80's Flashback Band based out of Sydney, Australia

The Next Time You Get Mad At A Cyclist...

I'm a member of a great online group of cyclists and every once in a while a post comes along that really strikes me as quite compelling. Such is the case with this post that I was able to get permission to publish here. It's really for all those cyclists who get whined at when they arrive at work by coworkers who seem to think they some how represent all bicycle commuters that drivers happen upon. For every cyclists who blow a stop sign, or whatever, this is for you. And the drivers who don't understand cyclists place on the road. I'm not saying it's necessarily ok to break the law while cycling. But the cycling experience is quite different from that of the "cagers" behind the wheel of their autos. So, without further ado, this is from Joe R. and the ibob list. Joe R. sent this to his coworkers after one particular "bitch session" directed towards him as the bicycle commuter in the office.

So yesterday here at work was the periodic bitch-about-cyclists day
that is always directed at me. The general impression I got was that
when you see cyclists break the law, it really irritates you. Some of
you had said we should get off the road, and some have even claimed to harrass cyclists in your sordid past.

Here are my experiences yesterday on a 45 mile fitness ride: One truck
turned left in front of me that forced me to swerve and brake hard to
avoid me T-boning him. Of course me hitting him would have little to
no hardship for him but could have easily killed or maimed me. A truck
chose to pass me on M road (2-lane, no shoulder, rural, very low
traffic) as another truck approached. I, and the approaching truck had
to go to the gravel to avoid a collision. By collision I mean me being
hit from behind and possibly killed or maimed. He then flipped me off
as he roared west beyond me. I guess my being there was irritating
enough that he thought it righteous to endanger and then try to insult
me. At least 5 cars were speeding, one in my neighborhood doing
approximately 35-40mph (estimated double my speed at measured 19mph) and I saw him run two stop signs. I saw two other vehicles run stop signs out in the rural part of the valley. For my part I ran two stop
signs at deserted intersections at N3/10&17Rd and 16&ORd, and try as I might I don't think I ever exceeded the posted speed limit. There were
probably another 70-150 drivers that were courteous, law-abiding, with
many returning my wave as we passed.

This was one day in my cycling life. So when you come to me to
complain about cyclists getting in your way, I immediately think of
literally thousands of times when fossil foolers have endangered lives
and property. Your complaints to me seem disproportionate, bordering
on absurd. Cyclists and motorists are held to the same law.
Individuals in both groups choose to break or follow those laws. The
big difference is the motorist endangers others when he breaks the
law, a cyclists nearly always only endangers himself.

Maybe you don't know this: There exists a common law for people to use the public roadways. When the automobile was introduced it was
determined to be so unusually dangerous that special regulations were
created to regulate it and make operators accountable for the damage
such powerful machines could wreak when used on the public
throughfares. This has no connection with the use of the public
roadways for muscle-powered transport, which cannot be lawfully

Driving a motor vehicle is a privilege, not a right. Using the public
roadways under ones own power is a right, not a privilege.

Public roadways are paid for primarily paid for out of income and
property taxes, and to a lesser extent license fees and gasoline
taxes. I cannot find my reference, but I remember reading a DOT report
that the average 3000 lb vehicle using the roadways is subsidized to
the tune of $3000 per year by income and property taxes. So tax-paying
cyclists help underwrite roads that are used by cars. Please also
consider the numerous hard costs associated with automobiles,
including dependence on foreign oil and the wars that dependency
produces, not to mention the intangible costs of car-fueled urban
sprawl. I personally would love to have more of my tax dollars spent
on seperated cycling and pedestrian commuting alternatives. But in our
community these dollars are hugely spent on making automobile travel
easier and faster, to the detriment of our health, environment,
nation, and world (in my opinion).

Also on my ride last night, I had a coyote cross my path, bugled to
the farm elk on 16Rd who again did not return my call, watched a
towering cumulus virga-out and dissipate, felt the upvalley winds
diminish to calm around 7PM and become downslope at 745PM, saw two
ducks flying overhead, smelled the blooming russian olives in bloom,
and generally felt my body come alive in aerobic activity. This is why
I ride. That and because I think it is good for me, my community, my
nation, my world. When you decide that being tied to a car for
virtually every activity has become too much of a financial, health,
philisophical, or spiritual burden; feel free to come to me for
pointers on how to survive and even enjoy riding under your own power.

Is it possible the anger many drivers feel for cyclists is due to being envious of the cyclists who can navigate through traffic, have fun on their commutes, and perhaps even a bit of guilt for contributing to the greenhouse gases and global warming? It's not an all or nothing issue in terms of giving up your car completely. But there is something to be said for karma and the positive feelings one gets from riding a bike, and by extension, being a part of the solution, and less a part of the problem.