Friday, October 31, 2008


If you see a nun with a beard on a Big Dummy, it's probably me.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bask in the crazy


This would be so great

From Marc Ambinder
A reader:

One name I keep hearing from the DC transportation world for Sec. of Transportation is Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer. He was an early Obama endorser and has done a lot of work on metropolitan transportation issues and infrastructure financing. His name was also discussed for this post in 2004, as I remember.

Earl is the genius from Oregon that put the bicycle reimbursement into the bailout package. He's truly a friend of cyclists and his potential to be Secretary of Transportation is truly an awesome thought.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Election time (part the first)

You've got a week, so study up. As I walk the dog around the neighborhood, I see signs for races I haven't considered. You know the ones, the judges and water conservation district managers and school board races that you just sorta fly through after the fun for voting for all the really important stuff.

In an attempt to change, I decided to better edumacate myself and at least look at the candidates. Perhaps put a face or policy to a name on a sign.

Hennepin county residents can go here to find where your polling place and see a sample ballot. Ramsey county residents can go here.

Tonight's edition of "Who the Heck Are These Folks Anyway?" brings us to the judges that are running. Minnesota Lawyer magazine has a nice page that shows all the judges running. Look at the resumes and opinions and go in with some semblance of knowledge.

Tomorrow night I will be looking at the Soil and Water Conservation Managers. I'll list what I can find. Right now, the cold medicine is kicking in and it's time for beddy-bye...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


If Obama is the antichrist, wouldn't you welcome his arrival as the beginning of the End of Days? Isn't the Rapture just around the corner?

What are y'all afraid of? Isn't it time to be raptured up?

Can I have your stuff when you are?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Big Dumb Dumpster Diving

Riding to work on the Dumvee yesterday morning, I pass a bench grinder by the curb with a "FREE" sign on it. This seems a bit too good to pass up, so I circle around and stop. I size up the critter; it's old, maybe 50 years old on a stand with 2x4's that were actually two inches by four inches and the whole thing must have weighed 75 pounds.

I poke, I prod, I push. Look at how to load it and then decide that I don't really want to carry it to work, so I move on.

On the way home, I ride back the same way to see if it's still there, and, sure enough, it is. This time I take out the tackle and load it onto the deck and secure it with an old tube, a couple of bungys and and some straps that I usually use to hold sleeping bags. It's wobbly, but it's not going anywhere.

The poor Dumvee is a-flexin' like crazy but I slowly pedal off and everything seems mostly back to normal when I get up to (a slow) speed. I pedal past my wife's uncle's house and notice that a bunch of family is there, so I stop to chat. They're amazed to see someone who rides to work, and my uncle says "I haven't seen a bike laden like that since I was in Korea."

I bid my adieus, and wobble off up to speed again and make it home most of the way -- the traffic gods were smiling on me, as I didn't hit any red lights or long waits -- when the thing decides it wants to slide off the side. Reaching around, I haul it back up on the deck with one arm (I would regret this later) and set it up right again. Pedal 10 meters. Thing starts to slide off again, reach around, haul it back on, pedal 10 meters. Repeat ad nauseum. The last four blocks took longer than the journey up to that point. I eventually got off the bike and walked it.

So now I have a busted blinkie, a mauled Snapdeck, a sore neck and bench grinder that I don't even know if it works. But I have a bench grinder, it was free and I carried it on my bike -- I'm claiming a win!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Stay classy Norm...

What a greasy little man you are, Norm. I look forward to voting against you -- I always have.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Biking to da bar - thorn in my side edition

Went Wednesday to Town Hall to join folks for beers as usual. Biked up the Hiawatha LRT trail as usual. Ran over some foliage as usual, but something kept clicking in the fender. I can see that I've gotten a twig or something stuck in the front tire which I will remove when I stop. So, after pulling off the trail by the Bedlam Theater, I flick at the twig that was stuck between the treads.

Wait, it's still there -- this doesn't look right. I finally pull at the offending flora only to find that it was stuck to the tire by a thorn. A thorn of immense proportions it turns out. I finally extracted it and I was amazed at its length. It was roughly 4cm long and the width of a sewing needle. I've never seen anything like it before, but whatever it was, it was a true road hazard as it had penetrated both the tire and tube.

I managed to get to the Hub Co-op on Cedar to get another tire (yes, I have a patch kit, but beers were waiting) and walk the bike the two blocks to the bar. After a pint of a really nice Oktoberfest, I felt steady enough to change the tire, after all I was really shaken by the size of that thorn, you know. Can't just fix a tire with shattered nerves...

Passers by asked about the tire or the bike (the Dumvee), and one fellow asked how you fix a tire, so I showed him my patch kit (see, I told you I had one) and explained how it worked. Eventually the tube was replaced and fully aired -- and I'm going to thank Kent Peterson for the recommendation for the Road Morph G, it is a great pump -- and I was able to join the festivities already in progress.

Thankfully, the ride home under a beautiful moon was uneventful.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Weekend visitors

Doug and Susan were in town for a wedding and they were kind enough to let us know they were coming. We met them Sunday at REI where I got a personal tutorial on winter riding clothes. Following that, we dodged traffic and construction on our way to Cafe Agri for lunch.

Afterwards, though the skies looked threatening, we decided to take our chances and ride one of the best loops of the Twin Cities; we left our house in South Minneapolis to Minnehaha Parkway to the Falls, up the West River Parkway to the Greenway and followed that to the Lakes and around back home. A really pleasant 18 or so miles.

We added a dash of culture to the evening with a trip to the Cedar Cultural Center (one stop shop for all your cultural needs) and listened to a show of a collection of guitarists -- some really quite good and some, uh, less so. But live music is always interesting and we heard some good songs.

Good company, good food, good music and a lovely ride -- no better way to spend a day...

Friday, October 03, 2008

From the City of Minneapolis

Really good news -- the path along the river is done and we're the first loser in cities that commute by bike!

Bicycling Update Subscribers,

Several bike-related announcements are listed below:

* The West River Parkway bike path under the south side I-35W Bridge has reopened. 2nd Street SE under the north side of the bridge has also reopened.
* Minneapolis has retained its spot as the #2 location for the percentage of commuters who bike to work, among the 50 cities with the most workers. The recently released US Census Bureau figures show that Minneapolis bicycle mode share increased to 3.8%, a substantial gain over the 2006 figure of 2.5%. That means an estimated 7,200 Minneapolis residents regularly rode bicycles to work last year. The survey has a 0.8% margin of error. Minneapolis is also closing the gap with #1 Portland, which has a bicycle mode share of 3.9%. Read more in the Census 2007 Report (pdf).
* There are two local events this weekend. The first is a Ghost Bike Memorial Ride, to commemorate those who have recently died in bicycle-vehicle crashes. The second is the Unite Bike group photo. Both grassroots events take place on Saturday and are open to the public.
* In 2009, Hennepin Avenue will be converted from a 1-way street to a 2-way street for vehicular traffic. A public meeting will be held next Wednesday, October 8th in the Central Library at 5:00 pm. Several alternatives will be presented for the placement of the bicycle lanes. Bicyclists are invited to share their opinion on the alternatives. For more information read the meeting flyer (pdf) and visit the project website.

Happy Riding,

City of Minneapolis Bicycle Program

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Biking to da bar - big dumb edition

Beautiful autumn day and a great day to bike. I took the long way from work to Town Hall and savored the changing leaves, the pale blue sky and the cool breeze off of the lakes. Had beers and walked out to unleash the Dumvee only to find out she a litter of dumblets. There were four Big Dummies chained to the tree next to mine! When I realized my bike didn't give birth, I went back in and found a bunch of guys from Bicycle Chain bike shop had ridden their fleet from Roseville.

Shook hands and chatted a bit about selling cars and riding a Dummy for all of your personal transportation needs. I then said good bye and promised to stop by their shop, mounted my green steed and headed home to me darlin' Mrs.

Also, did anyone see Letterman last night? Boy, is he pissed that McCain blew him off to get on Couric's show. He was rippin' the ol' flyboy a new one all night last night. Wrong guy to anger there Johnny Drama.