Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Not My President

Powell Aide Calls Bush "Sarah Palin-Like President":

"I'm going to say 'more insulting to Palin.' Palin's something of a laughingstock, but Bush is a villain. I mean, he wrecked the world economy, he led to millions of Iraqis being forced to flee their homes, he's a total disaster and a disgrace. Palin gave bad answers in TV interviews. There's no real comparison."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

U.S. policy towards Israel


In a democracy, one could expect that politicians would be afraid to express a view that 70% of the citizens oppose. Yet here we have the exact opposite situation: no mainstream politician would dare express the view that 70% of Americans support; instead, the universal piety is the one that only a small minority accept. Isn't that fairly compelling evidence of the complete disconnect between our political elites and the people they purportedly represent?

Failure to Learn

During the American Revolution, the British viewed the American Revolutionaries as terrorists for failure to face them according to the established rules of combat. Given that we live in a country founded from terrorism, how have we come to be unable to understand the causes of it? Is it because our Nation, like the majority of our citizens, has become fat and lazy?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ship of Fools

I guess I'm a bit behind on putting this up, but it's still a good read.

The decline of the Republican Party | Ship of fools | The Economist

Richard Weaver, one of the founders of modern conservatism, once wrote a book entitled “Ideas have Consequences”; unfortunately, too many Republicans are still refusing to acknowledge that idiocy has consequences, too.

Catching Up

Christmas was fun. It was good to see the family and take a break from the grind.

Wednesday night was an exercise in excess. John had an xmas party, lots of food, sake, food, soju, food, tequila, and um, food. The food and drink were in plenty, and then some. By all rights it was more than should ever be ingested, but it was too good to turn down.

So needless to say Thursday (today? Why, It's Christmas Day!) got off to a bit of a slow start. After getting up around noon and dealing with curing the maladies of said evening, it was time to hit the road. It must have been a great idea, because everyone else decided to do the same thing. A two and a half hour trip turned into a four hour trip. Even listening to Orson Scott Card couldn't completely dissipate the annoyance of sitting in traffic.

But that's easily forgotten. I had a good time and came out of the deal with a lot more to read, and watch, and listen to. Plus I got a great jersey, and an awesome camera.

Friday morning my Dad said the Pakistan was massing troops on the India border. I've learned to check out things that my Dad says, mostly because he gets his info entirely from the MSM (or less reputable sources). Sure enough it was true, but while it all over the American media sources, World Sources considered it less important.

Mostly because Israel is at it again.

Funny to see things like:
White House blames Hamas for new Mideast violence

White House: Hamas must agree to durable ceasefire

US pushes to curb Hamas

While the MSM seems clear to favor the position the Israel has a right to defend itself. It's interesting to me to compare this with the Russia/Georgia conflict. When Israel looks to protect its interests, it is supported, when Russia does, its vilified.

Hmmm. Self-Interest anyone?

I guess I should stop, and defer to someone better at this than me.


It's not for me...

Friday, December 26, 2008

World Leader Pretend

Not one supporting vote. Not one!

Approved by a vote of 177 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 2 abstentions (Canada and Israel),the resolution on the right to development would have the Assembly call on the Council to continue to ensure that its agenda promotes and advances sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals and to lead to raising the right to development as set out in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, to the same level and on a par with all other human rights and fundamental freedoms (Annex IV).

Monday, December 22, 2008



Jeff Buckley

Sagittarius: The confluence
of Mars and Jupiter suggests
you are thinking about
recording your own version
of Hallelujah. Don't.


Yesterday I had the unfortunate realization that Winter is just starting. Hopefully it will a rain a bunch, snow a bunch and get it done with and we can have a nice early Spring. I celebrated yesterday by riding through the park in the rain. I figure that riding in the cold, in the rain, and on crappy roads, on a bike that can't seem to decide what gear it wants to be in, would earn me HTFU points. Anyway, it beat sitting on the couch.

I'm really wanting a new bike, but it's the same old dilemma; To get the bike that I want, or to get the bike that's better than what I have. I can't even be sure that, if I get the bike I want, it will end up being the bike I want in six months. As I write this I realize that the bike I want now, is not the bike I wanted 2 months ago.

It's tempting to just get a frame and have something to play with. Of course, it doesn't take much in the way of foresight to see this leading to an apartment full of bikes in a short period of time.

I'm thinking of getting a bike fitting. I know I can ride anything from 57-60, but it would be nice to see which is the most efficient. They're a bit pricey, but probably worth it. I'll have to look into it after Christmas.

There are a couple shows on the horizon. I'd love to see the Truckers with Centro-Matic in Athens. But that seems unlikely. More likely is seeing Jason Isbell with Deer Tick at the Beachland Ballroom.

Centro-Matic is awesome. I just was turned on to them recently, I've gone out and purchased their catalog and am thoroughly impressed. I haven't warmed up to South San Gabriel as fast, but that will probably come with time.

And for those who think the recent storms across the nation are fuel for the "Global Warming Isn't Real" arguement. Please read this.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Most Important Number on Earth

The Most Important Number on Earth

And we have a number—350. The most important number on earth. If the Internet has a cosmic purpose, this could be it—to take that number and spread it everywhere on the planet, so that everyone, even if they knew little else about climate change, understood that it represented a kind of safety, a bulwark against the monsoon turning erratic, the sea rising over their fields, the mosquito spreading up their mountain.

And up from the ground...

came a bubbling, WTF!?!?!

The scene outside the shop today

Hmmm Let's get a closer look..

Ooooooh Bubbles

Dig In

Whatever it is, the chance of it being something good are just about zero.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's going to be a long time

Before we stop hearing about these kind of things...

"MacDonald's zeal to advance her agenda has caused considerable harm to the integrity of the ESA program and to the morale and reputation" of the Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as potential harm to animals under the Endangered Species Act.

"Her heavy-handedness has cast doubt on nearly every ESA decision issued during her tenure,"

Completely Out of Hand

I expected it to be cold in Cleveland, I accept that it will be cold from time to time in SF.

But Jesus-Christ-On-A-Bicycle, leave Vegas alone

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ready for Hibernation

At the risk of being repetitive, it's f***ing cold.
Wake me when this crap is over.

Only 8 shopping days left...

Winter is just not my thing. Two things I despise: Cold and shopping. Imagine how happy I am to go shopping in the cold.

Merry Xmas my ass.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008


Saw Margot + last night at the Beachland Ballroom. It was a short show, but pretty good, even considering they didn't play "Quiet as a Mouse."

This morning there was snow...

It's been snowing on and off all day, and cold. Saw the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum - heavy on the auto, light on the aviation.

Two down, two-hundred to go (j/k E!).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fighting the Good Fight

"It's not right when such groups interrupt. Each country has its own food culture, and whale is part of ours."

Let me just add to that, BULLSHIT.

What if my culture dictated that I should bludgeon anyone who eats whales?

Wrong is wrong. Unfortunately identifying what is wrong requires more thought than the average human seems capable of.

Monday, December 8, 2008

It's Monday, and It's Bloody Cold

Cold is good when it's describing beer, otherwise I can do without it. Now there is, what I consider to be, a general misconception about what cold is. So to clear things up, here is how my personal thermometer works:

<60 Intolerably Cold
60-70 Cold
70-80 Nice
80-90 Warm
90-100 Ideal
100-110 Getting uncomfortable
110+ Hot

I view people that speak of things like 20 degrees, the same way I view people that speak of getting up at 4am, or eating dinner before 8pm, or going to church on Sunday morning, or watching NASCAR on TV. I know that things like this happen, but I don't want any part of it.

So when I say "it's bloody cold", I mean this:

I'm trying to not deal with the fact that in three days, I'll be dealing with:

Better to not think about it yet....

Saturday was fun. I went up to Mt Sutro to do some volunteer work restoring trails.

It was a good group of people. Lot's of other cyclists pitching in. Dan from SF Urban Riders was one of the regulars and it was good to meet him. Everyone there was nice, and we got a lot done.

I tried to get a picture of E doing some work, but I couldn't get a good one, so you'll just have to believe that she did it.

Dinner at John's was outstanding as always. And was a great end to the day.

Sunday, I made myself get out and ride Conzelman, even though it was really too cold to be outdoors, I did it anyway. HTFU is my new bike riding motto. So I'm not going to let frostbite stand between me and becoming a better/faster rider.

So there.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Blah Blah Blah

Or, "It's My Birthday and My Blog, I'll write what I Effin' Please!

People fascinate me. Collectively, I think people are greedy, selfish, paranoid, reactionary and lazy. Generally, I tend to view people as a whole, with contempt. But individuals are different. It's very rare that I can't find something in common with a person. I generally know enough about what's going on in the world around me to be able to contribute to whatever conversation/discussion I find myself involved in (except TV- don't have one, don't want one). Inevitably people end up talking about some other group in a non-complimentary fashion- Republicans, Liberals, Gays, Arabs, Jews, Women, Cyclists, Blacks, French, etc., and it is always the same script- it's just the subject that changes... "Things would be so much better if it weren't for those damn _______, they ruin everything." There are lots of variations - "Mexicans are taking all the jobs and killing the economy", "cyclists don't belong on the roads", "Muslims are all terrorists".... ad inifinitum.

So are people defined by who they hate? Here's what I think (and yes, this is my opinion, and no, no one is making you read this) People have an overblown sense of self importance and are generally insecure. People are social, they like to belong to a group, a club, a society, whatever. So they find one, maybe they find it because of shared beliefs, maybe because of a perceived status, maybe because they think someone in the group is cute, maybe it's out of relief to find a group that is accepting. Once in the group, they take on more of the characteristics of that group and the group becomes a part of the individuals identity.

Let's say that this group has a core belief that Red Roses are the best flower in the world. The whole group agrees and they all commend each other on being so wise for understanding this. What happens when they meet someone that thinks Peach Roses are the best, or Orchids, or Daisies, or Tulips? This is where the insecurity part kicks in and things tend to fall apart. See, the group can't just be secure in their appreciation and acceptance of the Red Rose's dominance. They have to see everyone else with differing beliefs as a threat. Why? Because it brings up the possibility that they are wrong- maybe they will harbor secret thoughts about whether or not the Red Rose really is the best flower.

Of course in the grand scheme of things 1) Who Cares? and 2)So What?

But because this group has become part of the individuals identity, a challenge to the group is a challenge to the individual and instead of a debate about the relative merits of flowers, things turn into a series of personal attacks. "You like Daisies, you're stupid". At this point there is no debate, there are no compromises reached by an intelligent exchange of ideas. All effort is focused on trying to find information (usually in the form of biased statistics) that support what the individual already believes.

In other words, people aren't interested in learning anything new, they are interested in being recognized as being "right". It's important to note that it is not *being right* that people want, it is being recognized as being right. In this case, that equates to "winning".

An obvious example of this is Paul Krugman. A brilliant economist who was recently awarded the Nobel Prize. After the award was announced, I read a comment that basically stated it was unfortunate that the Nobel Prize had become a "Political Award" instead of one based on merit. Whoever made the comment (which is not to say there was just one dissenting voice, but it's the one I'm using for my example) could step back and say "Wow, this guy is brilliant, but his views are different than mine. Maybe I should spend some time learning about what he says. He did just win the Nobel Prize after all." Nope. This guy didn't like that Krugman has liberal views, so he didn't care what Krugman had to say. If I was into the whole betting thing, I'd put money on the commenter not being able to understand the subject matter anyway. Which just reinforces my position. If you put someone in a situation where they are hopelessly outmatched, they find a diversion. Imagine if I dared debate Stephen Hawking. He'd make some brilliant statement about string theory, which I wouldn't even be able to understand, let alone refute, so I'd respond with "You're in a wheel chair, bitch!"

How very dignified and mature, right?

It's easier for people to be dismissive of dissent than to try and educate themselves to the point of understanding it.

Look at the recent Presidential Election results. It was considered an overwhelming victory for Obama. But the US margin of victory paled in comparison to World Opinion.

Why the difference? Looking at voter data, we see that over 42% of registered voters were Democrats and roughly 33% were Republican. A slightly larger overall gap than the final results. Since these were registered voters and not actual voters (National voter turnout was around 53%)

So why was it so much closer in the US than in the rest of the World? In my opinion it's because even though McCain/Palin was an ugly Red Rose, people insisted on supporting it. Voting otherwise would cause them to question their preformed opinions about what is right.

More telling than the results though, is the campaign. Claims of "Liberal", "Socialist" and "Terrorist" were often floated around in attacking Obama. Obviously none of these are true. His voting record is not liberal, his Cabinet choices have not been liberal or Socialist. It will be hard for him to do anything more Socialist than the current administration's actions of late.

Clearly these attacks were not intended to be educational or even informational. They were meant to scare people that were currently uninformed and expected to be too lazy to verify the information being given to them.

It makes me think of the following quote:

“Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

Herman Goering

Another example that affects me directly is the conflict between cycling and driving. As a commuter by both car and bike, I see some amazing things. I see both incompetent and reprehensible behavior on both sides. I'm always amazed though, at hearing motorists complain about cyclist acting entitled to use the same roads. Which is odd, because they are. I see people using there motorized vehicles as weapons to intimidate the vulnerable cyclists as if to say "I'm bigger than you, I could kill you, stay out of my way." and this seems perfectly acceptable to them.
Yet this behavior is no different than if I were to see them: on the sidewalk, in the supermarket, in a bar, etc. and threatened them because I am bigger than they are.

I've had people intentionally try to run me off the road while yelling at me that I didn't belong on the road, I've been hit by people that turned without signalling and weren't paying attention. I've been hit be people pulling out of a parking spot without looking. The list of times I've almost been hit by people who had no idea I was even there is too many to count.

There must be some level of jealousy involved, for this to be such an emotional issue with people. Driving in heavy traffic is inherently frustrating and stressful.
More so in SF than anywhere else I've lived. Drivers that see cyclists not being affected by the heavy traffic must be resentful of it. To be fair, drivers are not courteous to other drivers either, but cutting off a car with another car is not likely to lead to injury. And the cut off car cannot ultimately ride past the offending driver and offer advise on how to improve the poor technique.

Motorists see bikes as something they can take out their frustrations on. Much like someone that comes home from a bad day at work and kicks the dog/ smacks the kids.

Yet to hear people try and justify this behavior by blaming bikes holds up to scrutiny about as well as a colander holds water.

But they aren't trying to be right, they are trying to make people believe they are right. They are trying to "Win". Maybe that's what it all about. So many games, so many contests, so many challenges, and so few winners adds up to a lot of discontented, bitter, spiteful people.

I'm not saying I don't fall into this as well, but I do like learning things, anything. Any day I've learned something is a successful day.

I'll close with another quote, from my favorite band.

Trying to hold steady on the righteous path
80 miles and hour with a worn out map
No time for self-pity or self-righteous crap
Trying to stay focused on the righteous path

Patterson Hood / Drive-By Truckers

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Piece of Work Indeed

This is what went through my head while reading this.

"What piece of work is a man! how noble in reason!
how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how
express and admirable! in action how like an angel!
in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the
world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me,
what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not
me: no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling
you seem to say so."

William Shakespeare- Hamlet

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

On being slow

I was reading this post today about being "the slow guy" on group rides. It's a really crappy feeling. I've been riding for about 15 years now, I've raced some, but not in a long time, and not that much. Still, I like bike racing. I like watching it, I like talking about it and I like doing it. Even if "doing it" involves me attacking an imaginary group while I'm on a solo ride.

I think back to the SF Flow ride I did last month. I was definitely the slow guy. I don't think I finished last, and I did the whole course, but I was literally hours behind the winners. I don't like that.

Of course, my livelihood isn't dependant on my being able to ride fast and I lack the time required to train to get fast (and I lack the motivation to get up to ride at 4am, and stop eating really good food and drinking really good drink). But I still like the idea of riding fast, and wish I was better at it.

Now, to be clear, when I go for a ride I end up passing more than I get passed (by a lot, thank you very much). But any time I ride with anyone that I think would be fun to race against, well, it usually isn't because I end up on the verge of puking while they ride on up the road.

So what to do? Get better at accepting it? Not likely anytime soon. Train harder? Easier said than done. Keep on being annoyed by it? Yep, that sounds about right.

There are so many good rides around here, there have been a lot of great 'cross races in SF and around the Bay Area. But I haven't done any. Why? First, because I don't really want to do them on my fairly crappy mountain bike. Second, because crappy bike or not, I'll be far closer to the back than the front, and that's just not fun for me.

Ever since I was a little kid, I've been too quick to frustration when things didn't come easy to me (and yet I always find challenging hobbies, maybe I'm a closet masochist?).

I gave up racing when I couldn't be competitive- because I work a lot and don't have time to train (see above note about questionable motivation).

There are so many excuses for not being able to train enough, and it's so thankless. And it requires so much discipline- and sacrifice. I loves me some going out. Hard to imagine saying "No, I better skip the Truckers show, I want to get up early and ride tomorrow."

I guess if I was to advise me, I would quote Stuart O'Grady. HTFU!

Monday, December 1, 2008

god is everywhere

In Texas.

In Kentucky.

Despite the Alaskan Governor's claims to the contrary "Under God" was added to Pledge of Allegiance in 1954. The Pledge was written in 1892.

In Sao Paolo.

In Arizona.

Lastly, in bed.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I spent today with my Buddy Joe. I've been seeing Joe once a month since August 2006. At the time I started, it was a way to get me out of my head and try and doing something helpful in the world. Now I do it just because I enjoy it. Joe is a pretty amazing guy, he can remember incredibly specific details of events 40 years ago, but can't figure out how much lunch costs. When we first started doing things together, Joe would pick I topic/thought and repeat it over and over. at first I wasn't sure how do act around him, do I correct him when he makes mistakes? Do I have the moral authority to tell him what to do? How to act? So one of the first things I decided to work on, was his constantly repeating himself. So I explained that once he told me something, he didn't need to tell me over and over. I'm not sure he totally understood, but it stuck in his head that repeating himself was bad. So now, more than two years later, he follows up most statements with "See, I said it one time. No repeating." and then give me the thumbs up. The fact that he will do this 20 times a day, or that the thing he thinks he isn't repeating has already been said five times, doesn't seem to register with him. It's now at the point where it's pretty funny. Some things are the way they are, and there's nothing anyone can do to change them.

Today Joe wanted to look at hats. This happens every several months, and it happened today. Perfect, the busiest shopping weekend of the year, let's go to a frikkin mall.

Hanging out with Joe, while watching a bunch of spoiled, coddled, over-indulged, self-important whiners (i.e. Americans), really puts the world in a great perspective.

It was a beautiful day, sunny, about 70 degrees, and I heard one woman complaining that she was sweating head to toe so therefore she couldn't help the woman she was with (her Mom, I'm guessing). This was in response to the older woman complaining that she needed a cart to carry the bag (yes bag, singular) containing the item she had just purchased. Odd, she was able to carry 100 extra pounds on her ass, but that one little shopping bag was putting her over the edge. All the while Joe is just sitting on a bench, eating his marshmallow square, smiling, happy to be outside doing something. Happy that I took him out for a Saturday. Happy to be alive.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

...trying to hold steady on the righteous path

Some pics of the evenings' spectacle. I'm not sure I could add anything. What an incredible two nights. Every time I see the Truckers it's amazing. The question now is "When are they coming back?"

Monday, November 24, 2008

One down, One to go

Last night was night one of the "Rock and Roll Means Well" Tour. Last night had DBT closing things down. From looking at some of the set lists from the tour, I knew they were dusting off some of the songs I hadn't heard live, which had my expectations pretty high.

I'd seen The Hold Steady once before, but it was at the Mezzanine (aka the worst concert venue in SF). So I was glad at the chance to see them in The Fillmore. It was a really fun show, they played for about an hour- which to me was perfect (I'm not sure I want to see them for 2 hours, but we'll see). Their set was crowned by P Hood and Dave Neff joining them for a cover of "Burnin' for You".

Then came the Truckers, they hit the ground running with "Zip City" and never looked back. Kelley Hogan joined them on stage twice- once for "Angels and Fuselage", I have to admit that I never expected to hear that live. It was probably my favorite set of all the Truckers' shows that I've seen. Then came the encore...

More of a Rock and Roll orgy than anything else. The Hold Steady guys came back onstage and they tore through all kinds of stuff: "Aint talking 'bout Love", "Play it All Night Long", "People Who Died", and obviously "Let There Be Rock".

Some good picks over at AAW.

Since last night, they didn't play anything off of "Pizza Deliverance", my hopes are high for tonight... We'll See.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I'm going to poach off RTMS for this

People are trying to rain on my parade. As I have been documenting, I've really been enjoying my introdution to mountain biking. Culminating in last weeks Soil Saloon informal race. As I was riding it, I had the feeling it was going to draw attention. The sheer turnout was bound to cause notice.

Unfortunately, San Francisco doesn't have much of a bike trail infrastructure. While there are groups like the SF Urban Riders working hard to change this, change is slow (How's the new bike lane plan coming along?)

So meanwhile, there are really nice parks, with some really nice trails, and some lesser than nice trails. Some allow bikes, some don't allow bikes, and some are ambiguous.

It reminds me of an Architecture axiom about building paths where the people are going to go, not where you want them to. Because that's what people will do. The harm done, if any, to the parks from this one day of riding would have to be considered minimal. Most likely a few people got disturbed from their process of not picking up after their unleashed dogs and have enough free time that they decided to start whining.

At the start and finish of the ride were careful to point out to be respectful of the land and the people encountered. In my experience, that's what I saw. People were also encouraged to volunteer for trail restoration. Something that I intend to do on December 6 at Mt Sutro.

Hopefully we can match the haters whining with our logic and we'll still be able to ride without fear of prosecution. (Do we really need more things distracting the SFPD from crime prevention?)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008


I've had 5 or 6 mountain bike rides, so of course it's time to race. I found the Soil Saloon website, and saw they were putting a race together. It didn't look to hard and would introduce me to a bunch of trails in the city. So I showed up.

Now, when I say it didn't look too hard, I was comparing this to road bike riding. The Soil Saloon ride was listed as 30 miles with 4000' of climbing. The Fairfax-Mt Tam loop that I ride on my road bike is about 55 miles with 3500' of climbing, so I wasn't too worried.

I should have been.

I wasn't at all prepared for the amount of times I'd have to jump off and on the bike due to: steepness, obstacles, getting out of peoples way, etc. I had to walk a lot more than I expected, carrying my ridiculously heavy mountain bike way too much.

In the end it was all I could do to finish. My thighs, calves, feet and toes were all cramping by the time I was done.

Next time I'll know better what to expect, and will have more realistic expectations.

Friday, November 14, 2008


A positive aspect of the Bush legacy

Mr Sarkozy, using the familiar tu, tried to reason with him: “Yes but do you want to end up like [President] Bush?”

Mr Putin was briefly lost for words, then said: “Ah -- you have scored a point there.”

Thursday, November 13, 2008

If it sounds too good...

Or, don't the the truth get in the way of a good story.

But the truth was out for all to see long before the big-name take-downs. For months has identified Martin Eisenstadt as a hoax. When Mr. Stein was the victim, he blogged that “there was enough info on the Web that I should have sussed this thing out.”

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Worth A Read

The Politics of Fear failed

On March 13, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), apparently in an attempt to reassure the base,- sat down for an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News. McCain was not yet aware of the narrative Hannity had been spinning for months, and so Hannity filled him in: Ayers is an unrepentant "terrorist," he explained, "On 9/11, of all days, he had an article where he bragged about bombing our Pentagon, bombing the Capitol and bombing New York City police headquarters. ... He said, 'I regret not doing more.'"

McCain couldn't believe it.

Neither could I.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


So, I like bikes. The first real bike a had was a Softride. When it broke I took the components that could still be salvaged and built up a GT Edge. While this kept me riding, it was an old frame, with old components, and I wanted something shinier. So I shopped around and bought this. The Rocky Mountain is a really nice frame, and I had it about a month before it got stolen. So I was back on the GT. At this point, rather than just replace the Rocky Mountain, I decided I'd research more. I replaced the fork, crankset, and component group on the GT with a mix of SRAM and Campy parts. I learned that I liked 180mm cranks, and that I liked Campagnolo a lot more than I liked Shimano. In fact I've gotten pretty comfortable on the GT. I think I'm going switch out the fork again (went from Aluminum to CroMo, now I'll try Carbon), to see what difference that makes. Even with all this, I still want a new bike- but what? Here's where the choices start. Do I by a complete bike, or a frame? Given that most new bikes all come with Shimano, it seems that building a frame might be better, unless I want a custom one.

Ah custom. See, I went to a demo event hosted by Bespoke Cycles and Seven Cycles. So I really want an Axiom, but I also really like the Cervelo R3 (even though I haven't ridden one yet), and well about 10 other models look good too. Part of me knows I'd be happy with any of them, and part of me wants to get the perfect one (which means I'll never decide).

Then I went Mountain Bike riding...

So maybe I should be happy with the GT and focus on getting a decent Mountain Bike? Something like this maybe? Even this would be really nice. Ah more choices, if only somebody could make a bike that combined the two...

Oh, you mean like this?

A cyclocross bike, of course.

Hmmm, but what's that saying about compromise? Something about being able to do everything, but none of it well?

I've got some choices to make...

Meanwhile, it's less than 2 weeks til the Truckers return

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Marin Headlands

I first got serious about road bike riding when I lived in Santa Rosa. I think I took for granted what a great place that is to ride bikes. Sure a lot of the pavement isn't great, and there are plenty of yokels that think that it's fun to try and intimidate cyclists with their armored vehicles (the worse the driver, the bigger the vehicle), but still it's a great place to ride. Lots of choices for any kind of ride.

So when I moved to the city, I had a bit of an adjustment. It's a lot harder to ride here. You're choices are basically a) drive somewhere else. I've done this quite a bit, but driving is a pain and it seems stupid to drive to a place to ride a bike. b) Take BART to somewhere else, if they had lockers at the stations, this would be a lot more practical. Getting to the train in bike shoes doesn't seem like fun. c) riding over the bridge. Riding over the bridge sucks. Of all the bad weather in The City, the bridge is always twice as bad as anywhere else. Cold, wet, windy... then throw a few hundred tourists/obstacles in the way and it just isn't fun.

Enter mountain biking. The trails in the city aren't great, and they aren't connected. But I can ride to Mt Sutro in 5 minutes and have a great time and a great workout. There are also a few trails in the Presidio and a few more in GGP (but bikes aren't allowed? WTF!).

I've read about all the mtb trails in the Marin Headlands, so today was the day I decided to investigate. I rode across the bridge (death cheated yet again!) and up the Conzelman climb, after the steep part of the climb, I got to the Coastal Trail and the fun began. The first part is all downhill, mostly smooth fire roads, with a few narrow spots and a few ruts from the recent rains. Then onto the pavement to the Miwok Trail. This is a nice hard packed wide trail, lots of bikes, lots of hikers (but not so many to make it stupid- like the bridge) and some fabulous scenery. After a little ways it turns uphill and keeps on climbing for quite a while offering some really great views, so great that I had to stop my climbing just to take some pictures (yes, of course that's why I stopped. Hell No I wasn't tired). See what I mean?

Looking back at where I'd come from, and....

Then looking ahead at where I still had to go.

It was hard, but it was fun. I set a pace that I knew I could maintain and just kept going. I crested the top and started a short downhill before meeting this.

Now I realize pictures are hard to judge when it comes to how steep something is, but this is steep. I saw it, laughed for a minute then went another way (but rest assured, I will be back, and I will conquer this.)

The path taken turned out to be pretty amazing in itself. By far this was the most technical decent I have done ( I had to walk through a couple spots. Yes, I suck). All was good and fun until the bottom of the trail when my spoke broke. So here I am with no spokes (and not even a spoke wrench (did I mention I suck?)) so after uttering some forgetful curses I decided to release the rear brake and start riding in hopes of finding a bike shop. It turns out, I was only a couple miles from Mike's Bikes.

Mikes is awesome, they fixed me up and sent me on my way in no time. From there I just rode back the road through Sausalito to the bridge and back home. But now having experienced these trails, I know I'll be back.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


So it wouldn't have been that long ago when I wouldn't have bothered to get on my bike with any possibility of rain. Today was different. Dave, Elizabeth and I rode to Fairfax and back. And we got wet. Surprisingly, the wet was a lot less annoying than wind, it actually turned out to be a really nice ride. Trying to attack on windy, wet roads is exciting, to put it mildly. Every corner I was sure I was going to go down, but I didn't. I remember watching Lance win the 1993 World Championships, watching him fall all over the course. It was fun to think of that while I'm trying to hold off Dave from getting my wheel.

It's been a memorable week; A mostly good election, some good rides, a newly discovered mtb obsession. Good Times.

Friday, November 7, 2008

What a Week...

From the highs and lows of the election, to the grind of the world, this has been a pretty exhausting week. Hopefully the weather will hold tomorrow so a nice long bike ride can make everything better.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dirt is Good

I've just discovered mountain biking...
While I've had a mountain bike for just over 3 years, it's mostly been a commuter. That is, when I've ever bothered to ride it. It's mostly been relegated to the third bike status, but about two weeks ago, out of nowhere, I decided I wanted to go ride trails. So I did, and it was damn fun. Even though I keep falling over I'm having the most fun I've had on a bike since I was a little kid. It really makes me wonder about: Should I get a better mountain bike? A 29'er? A single speed? What about cross, that looks like fun? Maybe I need a cross bike?

I'm going to need a bigger apartment...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes we Can.

Thanks people, everything seems a lot better today.

Well done