Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wednesday Night Pick Me Up -David Hasselhoff

I've been enduring/enjoying (I'm not sure which) bits and pieces of the TV show, America's Got Talent the last few weeks. It really is a train wreck of a show but I can't seem to not watch a bit as I'm flipping around. But I did begin to wonder how these wannabe stars feel about being judged by the Hoffster, the artist responsible for this little gem.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bicycle History, Safety, Women's Rights, Commuting, Planning...

This CBS Sunday Morning video story on bicycling becoming more popular covers it all. Not bad for a 10 minute story. When 40% of urban trips are less than 2 miles the question remains, why don't people bike more? My favorite part is the quote from Mia Birk, Portland's first bike coordinator:
She says that behind the city's 300-mile bike network is a new philosophy: "Driving has been a part of our culture for a hundred years now, and is such a predominant part of our culture that we don't even recognize it. People think that's just the way to get around."

Portland has added the bicycle into the mix.

"It's just the way we get around," Birk said. "It's just what we do."

Don't miss the video but if you want to read the full text click here.

Is This Really the Sexiest Sport on the Planet?

I noticed a pronounced spike in my blog visits in the last couple days and realized that the Guardian in the UK had linked to my previous post about Reno Cycle Chic and Schpants! Who knew that Reno cyclists would be pointed to as an example of cycling fashion sense?

The article itself is more about the All-Girl Alleycat Racing scene and while I'm all for, well, all women anything (HA) ...I think that pretty much any Scandinavian Women's Field Hockey team wins hands down. A friend of mine had the "good luck" of breaking his femur and he became something of an expert on women's field hockey while stuck in front of his tv. I will say no more.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Photos From Utah

A quick trip down to Red Rock country gave me a chance to do some riding in one of the most beautiful areas on the planet. Click the images for much larger views.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Don't Miss the Tour de Fat - Truckee! This Saturday

I wasn't able to make it last year but I heard lost of good things about it. Bikes and Beer! What's not to like?

RGJ Story on the Bike Buddy Program


Pedaling past the gas pump just got a little easier. The Regional Transportation Commission has launched a program to help more bicyclists save money and reduce pollution and traffic locally by commuting to work.

It's called the Bike Buddy program, and it's a free Web-based service that matches potential bicycle riders with experienced riders. About 50 people already have signed up for the program.

"From our personal experience at our agency, when we promoted Bike to Work day, I found people that haven't biked to work before were much more likely to bike to work if they had a mentor," said Carol Perry, RTC trip reduction specialist, who coordinates the matching service. "For a recreational bicyclist, the idea of biking in traffic is intimidating."

Cyclists can go online, enter some basic commute information and find others who share certain criteria. You can control the personal information that is shown to other travelers, so the information is secure. You contact your preferred matches via e-mail to discuss your needs and expectations.

For the rest of the article click here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wednesday Night Pick Me Up - Ladytron

I've been grooving on the new Ladytron album and this track in particular. Unfortunately, finding anything but a bad live version on youtube seems impossible so here is the preferred studio version with limited visual augmentation. Turn up your volume!

Also, the video from what I guess is the single for the album. I'm a bit out of touch with singles these days.

Serious Cycle Chic Courtesy of Gary Fisher

Kudos to Sasha over at "Left in SF" for this photo. More information there about a bike rally in SF.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hot August Bike Ride - August 8th

Here is some info passed to me about the HABR:

Join the Hot August Bike Ride
Upset about gas prices?!?
Are you concerned about pollution and dwindling fuel reserves? Are you disturbed by certain interest groups abusing us for their political and economical exploitations? Then join us on the first annual Hot August Bike Ride (approx. 10 miles or as long as you like)

Why? *To help raise the consciousness for bike riding as a wholesome, ecological,transportation alternative.
* To make a statement for better biking facilities (routes, lanes, paths), biking education in schools and corresponding law enforcement.
* For greater health
*For fun and camaraderie

When? August 8th at 6:00 PM

Where? The West Street Market, West St. between 1st and 2nd St.

Who? Anyone who can ride a bike is welcome to join us.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Morning Music - Prodigy

In honor of Controlled Burn's performance last night on the plaza here is "Firestarter" which might be even sillier. Prodigy always knew how to lay down a good groove though. Unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera downtown with me so click here to see a slideshow of the rehearsal for the "fire festival."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Oh, Sweet Jesus! Watchmen Trailer Released!

When I was in college, years after giving up the whole comic book thing, a friend handed me his copies of the Watchmen "Graphic Novel" and said, "It's the Sound and the Fury of comics". Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons did indeed create one of the most dense reads I've ever had. The multiple threads and the illustrations that weave the story in the alternate universe of the USA in 1985 are breathtaking. I had no idea how anybody could hope to capture this vision for the big screen without making it a 12 hour mini-series. Last year when images started surfacing from the long awaited production of the film version I dared to hope that Zach Snyder, director of "300", might get it right. Judging from the just released trailer, he is definitely moving in the right direction. Will the final film be too glossy and miss the darkness and heady intellectualism of the novel? Probably. Will the actors all be a little too good-looking and younger? Yes. But if you have any experience with the genius of Moore and Gibbons, I don't know how you can watch this trailer and not be excited. [Hop on itunes to download a free HD version - Worth it]

The Tour de France

Oh yeah, some big race is going on in France right now. And I haven't said a word. Maybe because there are some riders that are just being stupid. Or, maybe because the organizers of the race are being stupid. The one thing that Le Tour will always have is the actually beauty of the landscape. And this year kudos are in order for the American, Christian Vandevelde who has put himself in serious contention for a podium spot. I've always liked him ever since I saw an interview where he talked about how riding a bike isn't that hard. But when you are riding down down a mountain at 60 mph it gets a little scary.

Thanks to my brother in law for passing along this Google Maps page that allows you to follow the route of the race with different views. It's almost like racing it yourself...only you can do it in your pajamas, with a cup of coffee in hand, while listening to the race live via internet radio which is what I'm doing right now. Allez!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

All Roads Lead To XTC

On a recent trip to the Bay my sister asked me if I had heard the new Coldplay album remarking that the band seemed to be channeling Mummer era XTC on a couple of tracks. In listening to the track Strawberry Swing I could hear that she was right. It reminded me that I have been hearing a lot lately about the band, Fleet Foxes. Loads of articles proclaiming their brilliance and critics all seeming to reference the harmonies of Crosby, Stills, and Nash, when writing about the Foxes. I know that this isn’t an accident. No doubt the press materials for the band push the reference and lazy reporters just regurgitate the party line. I ended up picking up their album partly because I was sucked into the hype. But then it occurred to me, I don’t even like Crosby, Stills, and Nash (apparently I’m a little slow). I think Neil Young is great but that is clearly not the reference that the Fleet Foxes management was pushing. No, it seems to me after listening to the album that they are tapping into some of the same vein of XTC that Coldplay is on their album. I’m betting the press materials don’t mention XTC because for years the band was decidedly out of sync with what was currently considered the next big thing in music.

Of course, nothing new is really that new anymore. XTC had their own touchstones. But I don’t remember a time when XTC has really gotten their due even if they are highly respected in some circles. I recall an article from a couple of years ago that traced the music industries’ then current fascination with herky jerky, guitar based, power pop, boy bands, directly to XTCs song, Making Plans for Nigel. They had a good point. Although I don’t know if I would want to lay the blame for the proliferation of this current wave directly at their feet. It’s a great song as evidenced by Nouvelle Vague’s ability to rework it into a smooth bossa nova track without losing the catchiness.

So for tonight’s pick me up…some XTC…and some music from bands that are clearly influenced by their brilliance.

XTC - Beating of Hearts

Coldplay - Strawberry Swing

Fleet Foxes - English House (Channeling XTC here)

Nouvelle Vague - Cover of Making Plans for Nigel

And a live version of Respectable Street by XTC from 1982 (the last year they toured...God Bless YouTube!)

Hot Hot Heat wants to be early era XTC so bad it hurts.

Off to see Andrew Bird tonight...

Man Shot Dead While Cycling To Work

This is awful and tragic but this sentence made me snort with laughter:

"The coroner says Babcock took a bullet to the face that caused massive bleeding and hampered his breathing."

Yes, I would say a bullet to the face would "hamper one's breathing" a bit.

Bike Photo of the Day

RR reader Lisa sent this along to me. I wouldn't normally encourage graffiti...ahem...but this is pretty cool.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

My New Friend

Sunday Morning Music - An Echo and the Bunnymen 2fer

So I'm sitting in Ceol, the Irish pub, last night and enjoying a beer with a couple of friends and noticed a couple playing cards. I'm not making fun but it just seemed a little odd to go to a bar on a Saturday night to play cards. The rather strange thing about my brain is that something about the way they were playing cards made me flash to a random 5 seconds from the video below of Echo and the Bunnymen, that I have not seen in 20 years. Weird. One of those random things from a silly 80s video that sticks with you. There's a lot one could say that is silly about Echo and the Bunnymen but there is no denying the soaring chorus of the Killing Moon. Wow!

And, their other "hit", Lips Like Sugar.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Wednesday Night Pick Me Up - Queen...Bicycle Race

This is hands down the cheesiest bicycle song I know. But I remember loving the album, Jazz (amongst other Queen albums) in my youth. Ten years ago I might have been a little embarrassed by that. Not any more. For those that owned the Jazz LP you'll no doubt remember that it opened into a "scandalous" photo spread of a bunch of naked ladies on bicycles. No wonder I liked this album so much in my youth. Clearly this video was used as the inspiration for those racy photos. Very fun to watch but if you're at work you might want to refrain.

NBC Nightly News - Part 2 - Bicycling and Mortality

Apparently somebody at NBC News is discovery the benefits of cycling. Some of the statistics they sight in this piece are pretty startling as far as increasing longevity by biking. I recently read that for every hour a person bikes it is likely that you are adding that hour on to your own life. If that's the case I may wear out my welcome. There's no escaping the grim reaper though as this article from the New York Times about a bicyclist and his own "Tim Russert Close Call" demonstrates.

Monday, July 07, 2008

NBC - Bicycle Commuting in the News

A nice piece from NBC Nightly News on the increase in bicycle commuters around the country. Portland, Oregon, is of course featured underscoring how important it is for communities to commit to investing in bicycle infrastructure in their transportation plans. Those cities around the country that started making that commitment 10-15-20 years ago are reaping the benefits now that gas is a $4 and heading towards $5. Note: One rider claims that his "Portland" named bike is the only bike named after a city but Reno has its own bike named after the biggest little city.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Elko - A July 4th and Basque Festival Gallery

I spent a couple of years in Elko and went back over the weekend to visit family. Nice to visit old haunts. Here is a selection of photos from the weekend. Click on the photos to enlarge.

What did Dawn Gibbons do this weekend? Went to Elko of course.

Jill Derby was there.

Is this really a sport?

Dean Heller campaigning.

Basque Dancing!

My old job.

Elko's most famous landmark?

Elko's one bike lane. 2 blocks long and by Great Basin Community College of course.
Lame self-portrait.
A hazy view of the Ruby Mountains. My old bike commute took me out to Spring Creek so I decided to revisit it.
The climb...not nearly as tough as I remembered it.
I think there were 3 registered Democrats in Elko county when I lived there. Judging by the number of Obama signs and bumper stickers things are looking up for the Dems this fall.
I was riding my bike and came to a fork in the road...literally!
What exactly is Diddling?

A bicycling nomad I met on my ride.

Sunday Morning Music - Beck

Beck's new album, Modern Guilt, is coming out on Tuesday and it seems like a good time to pay tribute to one of the best albums of the last ten years, Sea Change. Is there a better melodic, thematically melancholic album about lost love? I'm hardpressed to think of anything better than this. Haunting and sublime are the two words that come to mind.

Here is an extraordinary acoustic version of Lost Cause and Lonesome Tears.

Friday, July 04, 2008

"10 Things You Can Like About $4 Gas"

This article from Time magazine is interesting in a "glass half-full" way. Certainly we needed a wake-up call in this country regarding our use of oil and $4 gas seems to have begun the process. I can't help but think of the single mom with three kids holding down 2 jobs trying to make ends meet with $4 gas. Suddenly the bright side doesn't seem so bright. These kinds of articles seem woefully insensitive to anyone living near or below the poverty line.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Reno Cycle Chic #1 - Schpantz!

I’ve been mulling a series on Reno Cycling Chic, a la the Copenhagen Cycle Chic (see link to left) and have been struck but what an odd breed and assortment of cyclists that Reno attracts. Of course, I realize the folks over at Copenhagen are doing a bit of selective posting of photos. No doubt they have their own batch of “Shirtless Joes” and faux messenger chic, and wannabe racers, riding through the streets.

After taking a number of photos I realized that the trick in posting examples of Reno Cycling Chic that attempts to capture Reno Cyclists in all their glory, will be in not seeming to come across as judgmental of, or poking fun at, our diverse population of cyclists. So that is my disclaimer…a series on Reno Cyclists, no matter what stripe, creed, or style. I’d love to get photos and feedback from other Reno riders out there so feel free to pass anything along to the RR.

Today’s entry for Reno Cycle Chic: Shpants!

A subgenre of Messenger Chic is the wearing of Shpants, a term I was woefully ignorant of until recently. Luckily the above cartoon from Arj and Poopie clued me in. Good luck getting the “Schpanthem” out of your head…”Too long to be shorts, too short to be pants…Schpants!”

I’m actually a big proponent of cycling knickers. They are obvious wear for the urban cyclist in cooler temperatures. However, I have not quite figured out the distinction between clamdiggers, cropped pants, shpants, knickers, plus-fours, and their ilk. Well, I’ve got some idea about the different definitions. I’m just not sure it really matters. I posted about cycling knickers previously so you can check that out here. My personal favorite “cycling” knickers are actually climbing pants from Prana, a company most known for their yoga gear (strangely, I haven’t tried doing my morning yoga ritual in them). The Chrome knickers come highly recommended but they’re quite pricey. Same with the Rapha. Bicycle Fixation sells light wool and hemp versions of their cycling knickers that are quite nice (I can speak for the hemp version, anyway). A good alternative is finding vintage military knickers at your local surplus store.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Wednesday Night Pick Me Up - Eels

There's no way I can really call this a "pick me up." But it's a beautiful song and the story behind this performance is wonderful:

This is a "video of him [E] performing "Railroad Man" for Anthony, a 15 year old Eels fan who passed away on May 20th due to his suffering of spine and brain cancer. "Railroad Man" was Anthony's favourite song and this performance was filmed for the memorial service on June 22nd. E met with this "bright and funny EELS fan" backstage before the Eels concert on April 14th in San Francisco. Anthony gave E a stuffed moose dog toy for E's dog, Bobby, Jr., who has a lovely appearance in the video as well."


It occurred to me the other night while going through the Artown schedule and looking at all of the events that I want to attend this year how extraordinary the whole festival is. I've been living in Reno for about 10 years and seen it grow. Looking through the events and seeing the opening night last night really made it hit home what a monster of a festival it has become. And so much more interesting than many of the other events in Reno partially because of the talent on display but also because it flies in the face of so many expectation about what kind of city Reno is. We truly live in an amazing place.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Celebrity Bicyclist Watch - Jennifer Love Hewitt

Ok, Ms. Hewitt isn't going to beat out Brangelina for being the most stylish bicyclist but she gets serious style points for the Paul Frank bike.