Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Boise-area cyclists - Ambassadors-for-a-day Needed!

Dear readers/cyclists who are in and around Boise...

You are cordially invited and encouraged to join in an opportunity to put year-round transportation cycling in the public eye... in the annual HOLIDAY PARADE!

Saturday, November 29th, in the morning. (That's just a couple days from now.) The staging area is in the Morrison Center parking lot, just off Capitol Boulevard.

Come one, come all!

Some detailed information from #1 Organizer Danielo follows, but in a nutshell, the idea is to put a positive spin on our passion, in front of a happy holiday crowd. (This isn't a "critical mass" mentality; fortunately we don't have much reason for animosity or self-preservation instinct, with a few exceptions.) Ideally, we'll raise awareness and maybe even recruit a convert or two.

Here's the detail from Danielo:

Thanks for you interest in joining us in the Boise Holiday Parade! I'm Daniel, and along with my friends Clancy, Elizabeth, and Julia, we are entering the parade with a bicycle-themed float (under the ad hoc group name "Year 'Round Riders"). Actually, our entry is a series of 4 mini-floats, each one decorated for one of the four seasons. Spring (Elizabeth) will lead off, followed by Summer (Clancy), then Fall(Julia), and finally Winter (Daniel). The overall message of the parade is "Dreaming of a White Christmas," and our float's theme proclaims that the best way to have a joyous white Christmas is to ride a bike year round. We're not trying to make a political message, just a fun, happy one.

We have decided to invite other Boise-area cyclists to ride along with us. To do so, please review the parade "rules" below. Then, you should plan to choose one Season to ride along with, and dress appropriately. If you have a particular one you want to ride with, let me know and I'll put you in touch with the appropriate person who is leading that mini-float.

(1) Safety is paramount. If you don't look safe, you won't go down theparade route. Helmets are STRONGLY encouraged, but not required. As this is the first time (to our knowledge) that a bicycle-themed float has been in the parade, we're not completely sure how the organizers will treat us. It's probably wisest just to wear a helmet.
(2) The parade goes on … rain, sleet, hail, snow, or otherwise. Bring raingear and warm items for everyone. If you need help/advice in that vein, check with me.
(3) No throwing candy or handing out advertising pamphlets, etc.
(4) Do NOT dress as Santa. There is ONE Santa Claus and he will be at the end of the parade.
(5) No blasting of sirens or airhorns! However, you may, and should,bring bells and other bicycle-appropriate sound-makers. and most importantly....
(6) Be happy! We are trying to spread the idea that it's not just practical, but FUN to ride a bike year-round. Whatever you have to doto get yourself in the mood to wave and smile LOTS, do it.
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CHECK IN: is at University Dr. & Capitol Blvd. We (the main organizers) will be there at 7:30am. We are arriving early for judging. If you can be there then, great! If not, be there no later than 9:00am. Parade step-off is 9:45am, and we won't know where we're at in the lineup until that day. Just look for the bicycle mini-floats!

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ROUTE: North on Capitol Blvd, west on Battery, south on 9th, ending at University Dr.
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Monday, November 24, 2008

Off-Season Bicycling

Are you noticing fewer cyclists on the road, now that the weather is cooler and the days shorter? (And now that gas isn't $4/gallon?) I suspect a majority of the fair-weather riders have hung it up until the glorious days of late spring are once again upon us. And that's their choice.

Dana Lucas had an awesome letter in the Idaho Statesman yesterday:

This summer, I saw a lot of bicycles on the Greenbelt. Way to go, Boiseans! You reduced smog, got some exercise, and most importantly, saved gas money and thumbed your noses at rapacious oil companies. The best way to tell them that you're unhappy with being overcharged for gasoline is to stop using it.

However, now that fall has arrived and it's getting colder outside, the number of bicycle commuters is declining rapidly. This is alarming - increasing winter gasoline will likely halt the slide of gasoline prices, which will make it very difficult for a lot of us to heat our homes this winter. I would like to see oil company executives to get hit in the wallet this winter, not us.

To this end, I urge all of you to continue biking this winter! Gloves, a windbreaker, a hat, bike lights and a helmet can all be had for the price of a couple of gallons of gas, and will enable you to extend your biking season considerably. (Be safe - leave your cell phone and iPod in your backpack, and follow traffic safety rules.) Protect your community and your wallets, Boise, and keep pedaling!

The only thing I would add is - when the temperatures are below freezing, watch for all forms of slippery stuff on the roadway surface. Cyclists are more vulnerable to of hazards than the people who are stuck in their steel cocoons ("cages," as bikers like to call 'em). Small price to pay. But those hazards can be dealt with as long as there is awareness and proper caution.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Can Lance win again?

(I don't follow competitive cycling much. But when Lance Armstrong says he's back in the game, his countrymen sit up and pay attention, even if they're not close followers of the sport.)

Just in case you've been in the woods for a few months, Cycling Great Lance Armstrong says he will race in the 2009 Tour de France, and pursue his eighth win.

Can he do it? I guess we'll find out.

He's older than his competitors, but he has a proven record of being prepared, and more significantly, of overcoming incredible odds. I hope he wins.

Unfortunately, the entire sport (professional road cycling) has had its reputation tarnished by the ongoing doping allegations. The problem has been so pervasive that in many people's minds, the winner is guilty until proven innocent. Which is a shame, because frankly, I can't think of any human endeavor that's a better test of physical endurance, than a weeks-long bicycle stage race. (I get sore just thinking about riding 120 miles... and then getting up the next day and riding another 130 miles, 95 miles the next day, etc., etc.)

Armstong is concerned about the possibility of a hostile spectator ambushing him.

And he's got a point. Spectators line the route; they don't need a ticket or a screening to get in. And there are some wack-jobs among us. Eddy Merckx (who I consider to be the all-time greatest road cycling champion) was ambushed by a disturbed spectator, and was injured after being shoved. He couldn't finish the race.

An interesting interview with Armstrong can be read HERE.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bike Nazi? ... I think NOT!

We're switching over to a different internet provider, in order to get higher speed service at the homestead.

So, we're losing our old email addresses.

So, of course we need new email addresses.

I tried to register "" - it wasn't allowed.


*** Irony Alert! Irony Alert! Irony Alert! ***

Didn't I wake up in America, Land of the Free, this morning?

Surely, if we can put a black man in the White House, we can send email to a Bike Nazi!

But seriously... I wasn't totally shocked when they wouldn't accept my handle. (Frankly, I was a little surprised when I was able to register the blog name.) Most content-filters aren't smart enough to do anything more than look for forbidden words. They can't judge intent, or "content of character."

(That's also a good lesson for all of us people out on the Worldwide Web... when we're just looking at a stream of words, it can be difficult if not impossible to determine if the author is pounding forcefully on those keys with total, sincere intent, or typing happily with a silly grin, or eyes-rolling.)

I'm confident my regular readers are aware I'm NOT professing any fascist political leanings, but rather paying homage to the "Soup Nazi." I may not be the polar opposite of the Nazis, but I'm totally unsympathetic to their "cause." They can go straight to Hell.

Regarding newly-elected President Obama... I did put down some thoughts about his hard-fought victory HERE, should you be interested.

Monday, November 3, 2008

October Riding Report

In October, your Bike Nazi host accumulated 610 miles on 30 riding days. (What a fantastic month it turned out to be!)

Fuel cost for a month of commuting: $0.00.