"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


For Beth

Tamara reminded to me today.

After all my petulant ranting, just like last year, being reminded of her death kind of puts things in perspective.

“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”

Arthur Conan Doyle, Sr.

BK...wish you were here.


My Proctologist's Exam!

Sorry. Nothing but mixed-metaphors right here. It's the whine. Er, wine.

Proctor. Illinois State Criterium Championship. Yeah. I wanted this race bad.


I could complain about how the hell did I fall asleep and let him get off, when all week that was practically the only tactic we talked about...

I could complain about how I was just as complacent as everyone else with 5 to go...

I could complain about how strong I felt but didn't really apply myself, HTFU, and sling my own pair around with a counter-attack into that wind...

I could complain about how I worked my way up, probably no more than 5 wheels back with ideal position on the outside with 2 turns to go, just going into my jump, yet had to bail out onto the curb to avoid the flying bodies right in front of me...as the entire race went from a guaranteed top-10 to DFL in the span of about four and half seconds...

But I won't.

Because at least I got to race. Just getting to start is a privilege, and the chance of a finish like that is, frankly, what gets the heart racing and makes it all so fun in the first place, especially for a guy like me who, otherwise, has basically just been banging his head against a brick wall for the last 6 weeks. I consider myself blessed to have even been in that race at all, let alone being the factor that I was up to the bitter end.

Unlike David Jones, who spent 6 hours in the backseat, only to be told he couldn't race at all. And David can race, and deserved to. But it goes to show you can't rely on the USCF site to have to have the most up-to-date results when you really need them. Especially if you've been using day-of licenses this whole time.

So David, get that resume done, and get the annual license. We'll see you at Superweek.

Speaking of Superweek...I will be taking the inside of the turns, since I can hold my line.


Thursday Funny

The final slide from Rick Santorum's "Slippery Slope" presentation to Congress:

(image courtesy of Drunk Cyclist)

Thursday Common Sense

Last week, both a friend and a teammate of mine were doored (self-explanatory for you non-cyclists - please see below) and received relatively serious and very serious injuries, respectively. One is a blue belt in karate and a daily commuter, and is now on crutches with torn ligaments in her knee. The other is still in the hospital with God-only-knows-what internal injuries. At least she's out of the ICU, finally.

And far more disastrous, a third, Clinton Miceli, was actually killed two weeks ago, on the first day of Bike to Work Week, no less.

It's literally an ounce of prevention...a fraction of an ounce, actually. Bike lane or no bike lane, driver side, or passenger side, just look over your shoulder before opening your car door on the street. It takes one second. If the three drivers responsible for the incidents above had taken that one second to think about somebody other than themselves, Clinton would still be alive, Sophie would be going to karate tonight, and Robin would be racing this weekend.

There are a lot more bicyclists out there than in the past, and we are here to stay. The old "roads are for cars" line carries zero weight now. That school of thought now only is for selfish, thoughtless people whose mommies never taught them to share, and who believe that 200 horsepower between their legs gives them the right to threaten anybody "weaker" in their way.

And not only is sharing the road the right thing to do, it's the only thing to do.

So let's all be patient, let's all be cool, and let's all get home safe.


Lakefront Pathos

I set a new personal best at the fitness check time trial this morning...finally cracked the 25 minute barrier. 2nd PB in a row, too. Whoot. But now they’re going to be harder to come by.

Some anecdotes from today’s workout:

I was moseying along, headed downtown from Logan Square along Milwaukee Avenue (The Hipster Highway), when around Western I hear the telltale sound of rusty chain and bike lock hitting a frame. It stays there for a bit, so I figured now’s the time to get at least one effort, and I hate the sound of a poorly maintained bike, so up I go.

Big ring: still there.

Shift: still there.

Shift: squeak-squeak-squeak

25 mph: still there.


I slow for the red light at the Noble intersection and around me shoots this guy in basketball shorts and a sneakers, on an ancient downtuber, didn’t get a look at the make. But he does have shaved legs. So I say to myself, down boy. Don’t give in.

I hate commuter racing. What is it about Freds that makes them try to race anyone in kit? Or even worse, sucking a stranger’s wheel? Introduce yourself. Nothing pisses me off more than to check behind me as I’m about take the lane to pass a double-parked car and be greeted by somebody drafting on. If I don’t know you and it’s not a race, it’s personal space. Maybe this guy isn’t a Fred, so even more shame on him...I guess I did start it, but, not to “race,” only to get away from the annoying sound of his chain.

For God’s sake.

So I pass him on the overpass, and sure enough he’s stuck to my wheel again. And this is where it got funny: as I was passing over the Ohio feeder ramp…he “attacks” on the overpass. Except as he tries to come around to my left, he plateaus, and then falls back.

Not to be outdone however, he blows the light at Grand, after nearly getting hit while doing one of those glacial creep “trackstands” and shoots away up towards Jefferson.

Good for him.

On the return leg of the time trial, just past the path construction where the route jets out towards the breakwater, I come upon a dude with the exact same bike as mine…same model, color-scheme, everything.


“Nice bike!” I say as I come by.

Fuck you, asshole!

Oh man, there was way too much loaded into that one to really get into it, other than this:

I remember when I first started biking on the path, I’d be pretty self-satisfied with my speed, and then, as a racer on a training ride would come flying past, I’d completely deflate and spend the rest of the ride embarrassed and grumbling under my breath something derogatory about shaved legs or spandex. Long story short, I confronted my perceived shortcomings and decided to do something about them.

So, sorry Bike-twin. I meant nothing by it. But, since you brought it up…

Ha ha. Now go do something about it.


Spotlight: ED Sufferer of the Week

Two days a week, I commute to my job in the northwest suburbs; Northbrook to be exact. It’s a great route, a safe route, and a very convenient way to get my base endurance training in during the week, instead of sacrificing 2 extra hours of the day to devote to a separate ride; or losing quality riding by commuting on stop and go urban streets…as much as I miss that…

The route generally takes me up Kimball from Logan Square where I take Elston to the North Branch Trail head, at the intersection of Milwaukee and Devon. The world-famous Superdawg is here, a 1940’s era drive-in that serves a very unique dog, with friendly car-hop service. There are outdoor order intercoms you can use without a car so it makes a great pit stop on the way home from work…

From there I ride the North Branch Trail (empty and quiet at 6:30 am with the sunrise peeking through the trees) to Dempster. From here, it’s back to street-level, and I ride Leheigh north to Beckwith and go west (this is where the Chicago Cycling Club comes through on their weeknight training rides). A few blocks, and then north on Shermer, and I head past Golf, Central, and Glenview and then head west on Lake.

So far, so good…just a couple miles more…when…

I hear the shrieking of tires to the left me, and then honking cars. I of course completely freak out thinking I’m about to be the innocent victim of a 3 car pile-up. Then it becomes apparent no crash is imminent when I realize that the driver next to me, of the screeching tires, is yelling at me.

The passenger window of his blue minivan is down and he’s looking over his shoulder, calling out to me, over the irritated horns behind him:

Yew must not lahk livin’, huh?!

Having made his “point,” he then hit the gas and drove off.

I’ve been taking this route since March. I stay to the right, averaging about 23mph on this stretch, and every single car passing me up to this morning has given me at least a token of the required three feet. In short, we all just get along.

Until this guy, with his sense of self-worth(lessness) masked by self-entitlement, brought on by an obvious case of being unable to satisfy his wife’s even modest sexual needs, comes along and feels the need to create a traffic situation far more dangerous than the present one in order to inadvertently show just how innocuous can be one solitary bicyclist.


Happy Birthday to You

That night you laid it out there on the stoop
I sat there, stared and smiled without reply.
So when you showed it threw me for a loop,
Until I stuck my thumb into your pie.
Yet even though it seemed it might not last,
For I knew better and to bide my time…
In Fall those Summer flings are long since past,
Our sleepless night together was sublime.
And as you told me stories of Down Under,
The bees flew ‘round and told me “she’s the one…”
She’s come to you like lightning comes with thunder.
That she’ll be there forever, like the sun.
In humid darkness appeared that ray of light
Your smile, prophesy, on the stoop that night.

Bon Voyage baby...two weeks is gonna seem like an eternity.

George Carlin RIP

I first heard of George Carlin when I saw one of his specials on HBO when I was in 6th grade. I've never laughed harder. For all the people I never met who shaped my outlook on life, his influence easily carried the most weight. George Carlin loved words, and loved exposing the hypocrisy and pathos that lay beneath them in our culture and society. He probed their meaning, and skewered any and all attempts to soften, or lessen, the affects that real speech had on us.

He railed against phrases such as, "pre-boarding" ("to get on before you get on?"). He lamented as toilet paper became "bathroom tissue" and partly cloudy was now, "partly sunny." And, then seemingly much crasser, why handicapped people still weren't called "cripples." But, under that crassness there was truth behind his questions and tirades.

I was never more affected than his chronicle of the term "Shell-shock" to it's present-day form of "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder." "Still eight syllables, folks...but we've added a hyphen!" He remarked that if we'd still been using "shell-shock" instead of watering the term down for our own psychological benefit, maybe those veterans would be receiving the treatment they actually deserved.

And of course, while he was most famous for his "7 Words You Can't Say On Television," but I also loved him for his outright silliness blended with his profanity - a juxtaposition of childlike and adult. This skit below, from that HBO Special I first saw, (Carlin on Campus, 1984), was my very first impression of him, and will stay with me forever:

Go well, George. Great work.


The Kiss n Ride Years

From 2000 through 2005, I was the bassist in a band called Kiss n Ride, a Chicago pop rock act from Norwood Park that had actually been around since 1994 in some form or another.

Our influences ranged from Fats Domino to Sam Cooke to Rolling Stones to the Prodigy, but our primary sound was that of Brit Pop. The lilting, dancable beats of the Stone Roses and Blur were always clearly evident in our music.

Kevin Flynn was Kiss n Ride from it's inception to the end in 2005, and I worked and collaborated with him closely for the 5 years I was in the band. Early on, through the recording of the My Vanity EP, Patrick O'Malley played guitar, and Doug James was drums. One other recording from before my time exists, Joyrider, but I do not have access to this.

Brad Wdowiak was the guitarist from 2003-05, and we also worked with several drummers before finding Mat Thies in 2004.

Below are links to two EPs, My Vanity and Someone Killed My Generation, as well as a third with 3 singles (one of which is a cover from a Jim Ellison/Material Issue tribute Album) and a couple of live tracks from a 2005 show at Schuba's.


My Vanity

Someone Killed My Generation



The Hidden Side of Chicago's Bike Routes: Essanay Studios

A major thoroughfare for Chicago cyclists to and from the Northside is Clark Street. Affording a direct route to downtown or easy access to the Lake Front Trail, more bikers use this route than almost any other route in the city.

Built over an existing Native-American trail (as were many streets in Chicago, such as Milwaukee Avenue and Broadway), Clark Street runs the gamut of Windy City Existence. From gritty Howard Street at the Evanston border, it meanders diagonally down through the emergent neighborhoods of Rogers Park, Edgewater and Uptown, becomes clogged with cargo-shorts, summer dresses and spilt beer in the arrested-development paradise of Wrigleyville, Lakeview, and Lincoln Park, then straightens out to soak in the ritzy and well-established glamour that is The Gold Coast, before hulking up and heading down past City Hall and the Man On Five, through Southloop, and finally ending back in the grit and dust of the public housing and warehouses just east of Chinatown.

Obviously, there is quite a bit of history to be found on Clark Street’s trajectory. From former speakeasies to mob hits, landmark buildings to famous homeruns, Clark is a time-capsule of Chicago’s life.

As I mentioned in the last installment, Edgewater, in particular, attracted its fair share of celebrity during the far-Northside’s early years, and not-at-all due entirely to the aforementioned Edgewater Beach Hotel. Amazingly, one the most prodigious movie producers during the Silent Era was set right in nearby Uptown, just east of Clark Street, at 1333-45 W. Argyle Street.

View Larger Map

Essanay Studios is probably most famous for making the films that turned Charlie Chaplin into a star, including “The Tramp,” “Shanghaied,” and “Police.” It also, however, produced the first American “Sherlock Holmes” and the first-ever film version of “A Christmas Carol.”

Essanay is formed out of the two letters, S and A, after the company’s founders, the George K Spoor and Brocho Billy Anderson. These two men lured Chaplin away from the Keystone Studios and gave him the boost that launched his career. In addition to the 14 movies Chaplin made with Essanay in 1915, the studio made over 1400 movies from 1907 to 1917. This included almost 300 Broncho Billy Westerns, and the usage of addition studios in Niles, Colorado, and California.

Chaplin left Essanay after only one year for a larger contract on the back of his newfound fame, and the emptiness left by his departure caused a rift between Spoor and Anderson that eventually led to the studio’s closure in 1917.

Today, the building is home to St. Augustine College.

Sources: wikipedia, IMDb, Totavid.com


Thursday Hate


"Sounds good, Dave. Why don't you engage Geena, as discussed, and move forward with that action item? She's definitely got the bandwitdth. Then we can circle back and revisit our core competencies for the mission statement so we can move forward with our deliverables in order that we have the clients' buy in at the end of the day."

"Fuck you Diane. How about instead: I'll give Geena the work - she ain't busy - then we'll meet again tomorrow to talk about what we're presenting to the client? Is that good? Great. I'm going to the toilet."


These new offshore drilling proposals. Banned for years, exploratory drilling, even moving to full production, will do nothing to alleviate high gas prices. As with ANWR, what will come out of the ground will amount to a drop in terms of world demand. Especially when you realize that those first drops - if oil were discovered today - wouldn't be on the market as refined product for another 10 years or so. And we all know demand world-wide is going to go nowhere but up and who knows what other variables will be effecting the price of oil by then.

There's no more room for this kind of leadership. There has never been a more urgent time for real, proactive action on Energy. The oil economy will be dead in ten years. So will John McCain. You know what to do.


Hump Day

Who knew thongs could carry liability beyond Hershey stains? PROFITS!


What do you need to be come a superstar playing Wii? A nice ass, apparently. PROFITS!


Becks gets even MORE money. PROFITS!


No Profits.






I want some of that Evil.
To be a spiteful mystic.
I want to see a Devil
Twisted up and slick.

Should I kill my Angel?
Lock her down in chains?
Ignore the cries from down in her cell,
And wield, like a knife, her pains?

Heaven and hell at sunrise.
Revelations at dawn.
Inconsequential demons prize
My tiny Armageddon.

I’ll keep to the dark, alone
To try and keep control.
For all that you have ever known
Is only one half of my soul.


Sherman Park Weekend

Up before dawn for the second time this week, I sat out in front of my front door, looking at my spread of equipment, pondering the day ahead as I wanted for Bob and Gigi to arrive.

It was going to be a long one, for sure, with work to be done from dawn to dusk with barely a break in between; if you could call actually racing a break. The truck was just beginning to be unloaded as we arrived at Sherman Park, and most of the early crew was already hard at work. There was much to be done.

The start finish area needed barriers, the stage, sound system, and canopies, just for starters. We set up 12 marshalling stations around the course, and marked the (much fewer than last year) potholes with spraypaint, while still others swept the remaining debris from the course the city’s streetsweepers had missed. It was my first race setup, and I truly realized it’s the individual work ethic that means the most to the group.

Photo by Luke Seemann

Soon the registration area was packed and Newt had the tunes issuing forth from the PA. I was then strictly Marshal Sergeant. It was going to be full-time job. We had great coverage committed to the early races – but people had other obligations later in the day, and the later, higher category races were a huge concern.

Many people didn’t understand why we needed so many volunteers to marshal for this race. Southside Sherman Park is a unique venue for a bike race, to say the least. By late morning, the park was in full use by the area’s bemused residents who were not quite sure what to make of all these strangers telling them where they could and could not go in their neighborhood’s own park.

But I had my list of volunteers, even though half of them were names I didn’t recognize, and a few were names who weren’t yet at the race. So, anyone who approached with outstretched arms received a bright green vest, a whistle, and instructions.

My sincere and heartfelt thanks go out for all those who gave up their free time for marshaling. The race simply could not have gone on without your diligence and commitment.

The Cat 5s were then underway and I made a pass around the park to make sure my posts were covered. XXX thoroughly dominated the race – as they should have, with over 50% of the field in black – and put four into the top 5.

Photo by Luke Seemann

The team got more rewards from team work and smart, hard racing in the women’s Master’s race with a win by Tamara Frasier.

Next up was my first race of the day, the Men’s Master 4/5, 30+/40+.

No warm up. In fact, the race was going to be my warm up, so I decided to just have my fun with it. The race stayed together, sloppily, by lots of attacking, chasing, and counters.

Obviously, not much to tell here, from my vantage point, other than a few inconsequential flyers, until the end of the race. About 200 meters from Turn 2, there was a incursion of mulch onto the course, laid down by the city to soak up the mud and rain water from the week’s earlier storms. It was always a little dicey there as people moved avoid it, and with the speed ramping up on the last lap, I suddenly found my handlebars locked with another rider.

He started to panic a bit, and I just kept it steady and increased my speed and we came apart without incident. But the box-in kept me behind the initial move, and once I was free I had to swing all the way to the right approaching Turn 4 to try to catch up. While I was effectively protected, and I did make up several places in the last hundred yards or so in the headwind, it was way too late and the best I could manage 12th overall, 7th in the 30+, just out of the points and the money. XXX did get the win, however, with Newton getting the benefit of a monster leadout by 5's winner Kyle Wyberg.

At this point I just abandoned my list of volunteers altogether, and relied on a system of badgering as many people as possible to marshal, as well as standing on the start/finish line and yelling while I waved the green vests over my head. I would periodically cruise the course to make sure all 12 posts were covered, and finally 20 minutes before my second race - the straight 4’s - I got on the trainer for a brief warm up.

I was late getting my lap to the line, and should’ve just gone straight there, because as I rolled back up, Alderman Joan Thompson was already blowing the whistle and away we went. Aaack!!!

Or I should say, away they went; for as I was at the back, not even clipped in, Peter and several others were already breaking away. It didn’t concern me, but it should have. Several strong riders, Calvin, Sean, plus Henry and Chris of Pegasus, stayed back with me while two more XXXers – Newt and Chris – bridged up early. We just thought at first it wasn’t going to stay off, but we realized too late that suddenly there 12 riders in that break, including a pro-triathlete, the winner of the Master's 4/5s, and a sandbagger who’d just submitted his upgrade that very morning. Now it wasn’t so much of a break as it was a field split, and all of us wanted to be up…there

Desperation dictated dynamics in the back from then on out. Yet, with surrealism I calmly noted the several open marshal posts along the course. I was going to have to really stay on that after the race.

Twice I tried to bridge up with larger groups, both on the back of Pegasus' Chris Padfield's monster efforts. And later, as I was outsprinted for a prime and still going while the winner sat up, Jon flew past me with, “let’s go! We got a gap!” Sure enough we had 50 meters and growing, and away we went for two laps on our own. The best we could manage was 25mph - smiling through the pain at Debi and Katy cheering as we passed them - while the lead group was surely doing much faster that with far more opportunities for recovery. We were back in soon enough and nothing more got off.

Photo by some friend of Chris Reikert that he didn't give credit to

They were announcing primes for our group however, and with two to go I heard a suicide call and bell. “Screw this” I thought. I’m going home with something other than a 13th place finish, at best. And between Turns 3 and 4, I jumped hard, and crossed the line well ahead of our pack. Having won my prize, I sat up as the final lap move passed after Turn 1 and I cruised in well behind the sprint.

Imagine my dismay upon being told my number was not on any prime list, although others said there was definitely bell with 2 to go.

Who knows where my head was in that race…on more important things, to be sure. Keeping these little ankle-biters off the course.

Photo by Chris Reikert.

Helping the race director make sure everyone had a safe race.

And we did.

Competent, effective marshalling was at no time more needed than in the Women’s and Men’s Pro/1/2/3 races at the end of the day. Soccer games, pool parties, and a wedding were in full swing, and everywhere, neighborhood residents needed to cross the course. At one point, Bob Willems let a woman with a grocery cart attempt to cross, only to have her immediately turn against the flow as the Men’s Pros came screaming toward him. No fault of his own, as he thought she’d go straight across, but it goes to show how difficult it was to control the safety of the race. It was like a leaky dyke with 100 holes and only 12 fingers.

In my case, I was situated south of turn 4, by a car access point, and with 5 laps to go, a white Dodge Charger starts driving around the barrier. I run up, waving my hands, and they tell me that they need to pick up the DJ from the wedding and to move. I tell them that if they drive on that course, they’re going to have a lot more trouble than from just me, and I pointed to the three police officers standing with their bikes just the last turn.

With some convincing they abided, and even waited for the pros to complete their warmdown before, cautiously even, proceeding on to the course. Ed had nearly pulled it off. Jumping from just past turn 3, and holding a big, yet closing gap as he passed me. The winner eventually grabbed hold of his wheel maybe 300 meters out and came around for a nailbiter finish.

The breakdown was relaxed and happy. Nobody could stop talking about the events of the day. We were amazingly packed within an hour, and I was home in Logan Square enjoying the sunset, along with a plate of ribs and a beer, with Katy at Dunlay’s. Sleep came hard and fast.

And believe it or not, I was up by 5 the next morning, out the door at 6, trying to find my way down Ogden to Palos Hills to meet Ed and Heidi. I caught up with them at LaGrange, and we rode south together, as the sunlight of the once beautiful morning gave way to the black, rumbling, end-of-world that was roiling in from the west.

Just as we reached the 7-Eleven at Willow Springs and Archer, the sky opened up and we took shelter within. And who did we meet inside but none other than Dave Foulkes, of USCF. The Chicago Time Trial Series was having an event right there on Willow Springs, and they were waiting out the rain. It came down in buckets outside, and we waited, drinking coffee and bullshitting.

Eventually we relocated to the Dunkin Donuts up the road, and waited until 9:30 to finally decide to just call it a day. I needed to pick up the keg for the party at my place that afternoon. We rolled through Oak Park and it was a near disaster area of downed trees and power outages, the sounds of chainsaws drowning out the morning birds.

I finally had a chance to wind down at my place with beer and friends, and reflect on an weekend the likes of which I’ve never experienced. It was hard to get to sleep that night, knowing everything would get back to normal. Until I began to think about all the great racing, the hot summer days and nights, all the potential and fun that lie ahead.

I finally drifted off to the soft breathing next me, and in my dreams, it sounded like the pleasant whisper of pavement rolling by.

Monday's Muse

You were never closer through each painful pass with barely a glimpse.
Your words never louder.
Your smile never brighter.

You were never clearer with each tasty mouthful and morsel and platefuls of soul.
Lifegiving food.
Delicious you.

You’ve never been truer without saying a word, spoke with your eyes.
Unneedful of place.
Mindless of want.

But you were never farther as I saw you, just out of reach, soon out of sight.


Thursday Hate

Portland: Cyclist's Utopia? Not quite sure about that.


Boonen blows it. A total snow job for such a minor infraction. He's walking a rail here. Quite a bump in the road.


Bike Thieves. there is a special place in hell for these people. I hopehopehope I actually see this guy. Be on the look out for a very pro bike, with very un-pro rider on it. I will be using something a little more precision guided than that method that Matt suggests, should I see this asshole.


And, hey! I want my tomatoes back. Why is it so hard not to wash produce in raw sewage? Oh right. Because you don't give a shit. Well, actually...you gave us your shit.


Tornadoes. I've never even seen one, and I lived in Texas for 7 years, but they scare the shit out of me. And this coming from a guy who lived in the most seismically active place in the world, who once slept through a 6.5 rumbler.

But I hate Boy Scouts too, so this is kind of a draw.


Not that I really hate it...but I have a day off tomorrow and I'm not even going to be able to sleep in! I've got too much stuff to do! It is a big weekend, you realize. Load the truck, volunteer at Bike to Work Day, pick up the keg. So busy, in fact, I won't be able to go to Cat 5 opening night at the track, as Jeff just pointed out, below. Shit. That is something to hate.

When's a writer to find any time to blog?

Oh, yeah. Work.


Hump Day

I bitch a lot about people on the train who leave their bags on the seat. I think it’s bad form any time, but when the train is crowded and people are looking for seats, it almost warrants a slap across the back of the head. Today was no exception. With the construction, high gas prices, and congestion, there was a crowd almost three people deep at the Mayfair station this morning.

However, 90% of these people are so passive they can’t bring themselves to even ask the selfish person taking up two seats to move his bag in the first place! I was walking behind two people who passed a headphone absorbed dude so I just tapped him on the shoulder and told him to scoot. Of course he obliged, but with people as weak-minded as those wandering lost among the aisles this morning, can you blame him for trying to get away with it?

Even as I sat down, there were three others with in view who had open seats next to them filled with a bag, and yet the prissy, feather-haired women standing next to me continued to lament, “There’s no seats…we should try the next car.”

I think these people should be forced to travel on a CTA train car in which all the seats are filled a gangbanger and a boombox, while they each carry four heavy grocery bags. That would force them to make a choice. I don’t understand how somebody could be that passive that they can’t bring themselves to request somebody to take their bag off a seat on a packed train. It’s a wonder they even get change back at the store.


Racism and sexism? At NASCAR? Shocker.

And speaking of NASCAR, Public Radio ran a piece this morning, on the amount of water it takes to maintain a golf course. There are enough courses in the United States to equal the area of Rhode Island, yet each course requires as much as 300,000 gallons of water each day. And to top it off, much of these courses exist in areas of extreme draught, i.e. Southern California and Arizona.

Ummmmmmm…when is somebody going to build this bridge between NASCAR’s fuel usage (read: WASTE) and high gas prices?


Think people wasting time at work is bad? Try the Jury Box.


Looking for something to do this Saturday? No? Well, come race or volunteer and watch the races anyway. Whatever you are doing is probably way less important. Except the World Naked Bike Ride...so make sure you hit that after the races.


Tuesday Pastiche

First, it's a bit early in the week for it, but...

ah, summer blooms! Along with the flowers and leaves and the pretty girls with barely any clothes on along Chicago's lakefront...

...so too bloom the amateurs on tri-bikes and no handling skills to speak of, "training" during rush hour...

...so too bloom the frumpy, middle-aged women named Helen and Bev, Joyce and Donna, who fly into jumpy, waving panic at the words, "on your left" as if a bicycle was the last thing they expected to encounter as they walked 4 abreast over a yellow line in the heart of the third largest city in the country...

...so blooms the hate.

Hate the path. Hate it.

I was up at 4:30 to do sprints at Montrose harbor with three others. Suck it.


Bike to Work Week Haiku:

Cage, begone with you.
We'd rather spend our money
On more thoughtful things.

Than polluting smog,
And a big fat ass that you
Got at the drive-thru.

A bright, pink helmet
Fuel you eat instead of pump
And sexy, tan legs

Are much better ways
To lead you to happiness.
A "Hemi?" So what?

Ditch the car and gym...
Sunshine,wind, and blowing hair are
Better than stale air.

Hand over your keys.
Abandon the Cage of Rage.
You are free to be.

Leave the car, stop your road raging, embrace alternatives, and ride your ass to work! For according to the Chicago Bicycle Federation, anyone can do it!

Do something with your body for once. Help reduce congestion, make the city a better place, and while you're at it, make YOU a better place...healthy, active people are much happier.

Here's another great resource to deal with all of your lame excuses. No shower? Don't matter. Too far? Don't matter. What if it rains? Get a rain jacket, pussy. Get real. I bike out to Northbrook for a round-tripper of 40 miles two or three times a week...you can do the 15 miler downtown everyday. And if you get tired or have a flat, the buses have bike racks, and the Metra trains have room too...

And in all seriousness, be careful and watch out for thoughtless assholes.

See you at the Rally on Friday on Daley Plaza - 7am!


The Hidden Side of Chicago's Bike Routes: The Edgewater Beach Hotel

Nothing quite stands out like pink.

It catches your eye like a glint of sunlight off someone's watch. Especially when surrounded by dull colors of slate and gray and steel and black. Pink is the color that says, “Look at me! I’m super fabulous! Thanks for asking!”

So it is fitting that among all of Chicago’s lakefront, among all that mishmash of grey brick and black steel, of glass and brownstone, of turn-of-the-century masterpieces and the birth of modernist architecture, there is but one, sole, pink building. And it announces brightly, loudly, the north end of the Lakefront Trail.

The Edgewater Beach Apartments stands tall and proud at Bryn Mayr and Sheridan, carrying on the optimism of a bygone age, holding out for a neighborhood's distinctiveness against encroaching homogenization, with the echoes of Tommy Dorsey’s band and the happy shouts of celebrities and movie stars still reverberating within its hallways.

It was once a twin of a second building just to the south, and together they were the Edgewater Beach Hotel. A resort of sorts, it was a destination for the many rich and famous who visited Chicago from the Roaring Twenties through the war years and beyond. The building that is still standing, the pink Apartments, was built in 1927 as an expansion to the hotel. The original 400-room building, in Spanish-style stucco in the form of a Maltese Cross, was constructed in 1916 and stood where the black, monolithic condominium now dominates the northshore skyline.

The hotel was a victim of Chicago’s success, as the expansion of Lake Shore Drive from Foster northward in mid-1950’s removed the beach front, and the advent of television and air-conditioning further drove away the hotel’s clientele. The quality of service steadily declined as well with the sale of the original owners’ interest in the late ‘40s, and by 1967, the hotel had closed.

But in its heyday, the Edgewater Beach Hotel was the place to be and be seen in Chicago, and truly set the northside lakefront apart. It featured such national acts as Tommy Dorsey’s band, and you might have seen Bette Davis or Marilyn Monroe, Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig. Hotel manager William Dewey had a knack for booking top acts at the Edgewater, and all that talent and celebrity drove the allure of the Hotel and gave the now Historic Bryn Mawr District it’s name.

We're going to pull off the path now, and head into Chicago's neighborhoods and take a closer look at some of our favorite urban routes. So be sure and get a closer look at Edgewater while you're here. Stop in at Johnny Sprocket's Bike Shop for a quick tune up, grab a massive bleu-burger and take in the anti-Wicker scene at Moody's, sample some fair-trade coffee and attentive service at Metropolis, or experience the last vestiges of the area's Jewish heritage with a Reuben at the Bryn Mawr Deli.

Sources: Wikipedia.org, WTTW

Calling Rachael Carson

I hate target races.

I never do well in them. I let the pressure build up all weekend, and then once the race starts I second guess every move I make, and when anything bad happens, it cracks my will power like DDT does an eggshell.

Where’s Rachael Carson when I needed her?

It was pouring rain soon after we got to Spring Prairie. We spent an hour in the car joking, eating and watching the RADAR on my cell phone – it looked as if the entire state of Wisconsin had been covered in a four-year-old’s green, yellow, and red fingerpaint. But soon the flat grey mass overhead lightened and took on the dimension and texture of clearing skyies and we got underway only delayed about 45 minutes.

A few half-hearted efforts pushed the pace early, and by the end of the first lap I am sitting 3rd wheel at the base of the hill. A pretty big effort holds that place and as we crest I am with a Cuttin’ Crew rider and fellow XXX-er Sean Piper. I was told later the field split on that first time up the hill and the front pack was much smaller from here on out.

There’s a modest gap behind us and I try to get things organized and Sean takes the initiative as well and pulls through. Nothing formed and it wasn’t nearly enough, however, and the group got us back in early on the rollers after turn one. The pace stayed fast and as I tried to stay up front I couldn’t recover so had to fall back.

I was mid-pack next time up the hill, and began to have a hard time staying positive as I fell back farther. It wasn’t hard to get back up to the front by Turn 1, but I started thinking about lap 5’s hill, and basically the race was over right there.

Peter got off at the top on lap 2 with Al of Cuttin’ Crew and a KME rider, plus one other and they increased their lead to about 200 meters for the rest of the race. Sean Piper was a mad-man in the pack, chasing down anything and everything, and Jeff, John, Mike and I also worked well together to block for Peter those next two subsequent laps.

There were a few desperate attempts to bridge up on laps four and five, and I caught onto them, but only Chris Padenfield of Pegasus got off to finish a solo 5th when his wheel sucker - my wheel - died on the effort. I was forced to make a choice to bridge to Chris or get back in the pack, and the pack was closer, so in I went, thinking Chris would be next. Nope.

Then Jeff Holland strung out it hard on the back stretch coming to turn 3, and there I was sitting pretty at 3rd wheel in the pack when the hill came back for that last time.

And I choked.

What more can I say? Riders passed me on all sides as I mashed it way over geared, and lost all of my willpower and drive. A Cuttin’ Crew rider kicked me when I was down by throwing past me for 28th place or something like that. Good for him. I deserved it.

No more target races, at least as I am defining them now. And maybe I need to work harder during the week. And to start taking more risks to expand my race dynamic, poking the bear, I mean…sucker punching a gang-banger perhaps. Laughing at cops, or lighting firecrackers in my hand.


Well, fuck.

The Dow crashed today by more than 400 points.

Oil shot up 8% to $139 a barrel.

Unemployment is higher than anytime since 1986. And half of us work at Wal-Mart anyways.


I guess it's time to have a party:

http://view.break.com/513310 - Watch more free videos


Thursday Hate

Anyone can be an asshole. The truly great ones can do it without trying, simply by only thinking of themselves.

Classic examples, especially as see through the cycling focus of this blog, are the cagers that pass us with inches to spare, honk, swerve in our right-of-way, only because they can’t be put out to get to that red light 10 seconds later, or because they didn’t see us at all, since they were texting their idiot trixie-friend Ashlee about meeting up at John Barleycorn so they could get groped on the dance floor while getting dizzy on the GHB that’s been slipped into their Cosmopolitans.

And how about drivers who insist on proceeding into the intersection even though it is backed up, and when the light turns red, they block the oncoming traffic from getting through?

There have been roommates who don’t give you phone messages, or check the mail. There are people on the train who take up an extra seat with their bag, or even their feet, and then look at you like you have an anus in the middle of your forehead when you ask them to clear it so you can sit down. I also love the two dipshits that leave the “fag” seat in between them at the game or the movies. And the group of people that will sit at the bar, leaving only one seat between them and then next group, so when you and your friends come in, there’s no where for you to sit because there’s only (five) single seats.

Group dynamics on that one, I suppose. And I must have a thing about seats.

The common thread, regardless, is that all of these examples show a distinct characteristic, that of not going one iota beyond giving a shit only for you.

If you are an asshole, you could give not a fat…fuck.

Now take an individual who is either a sociopath - this includes drivers, who operate within a supposed acceptable range of behaviors on the road that say, in the grocery store, would get them punched in the face - or a psychopath, who simply does not distinguish right from wrong, and acts ONLY on the base instincts of satisfying the self. There is no moral restraint. And given our animalistic and violent instincts, this actually moves way past just being an asshole, into the realm of harming others.

Some notable psychotics include Jeffery Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Richard Nixon, and Enron.


Yep. The Supreme Court in their landmark 1886 decision, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, ruled that corporations are individuals and therefore covered by the same rights afforded by the constitution to you and I. The rub lies in that it’s soul - or rather, the lack of one - is merely other human individuals acting on behalf of it, with their liability shielded by it. They are only following orders of the shareholders.

A 2003 documentary covered this sickening dynamic by discussing the symptoms of psychosis and their correlation with corporate behaviour; with notable examples including Enron’s manipulation of the California power market, Shell’s incitement of civil strife in oil-producing African countries for it’s own benefit, and Wal-Mart’s mistreatment of its workers, and cost-cutting measures that literally destroy American producers and small-town city-centers overnight.

Now, I must be really mad to write such a long introduction as all that. And after typing all that, what I’m about to share with you isn’t nearly as bad as all those examples I just provided. But the fact is, that as of yesterday, I am still dealing with Norwegian American Hospital nearly a year after getting hit by a car and spending the better part of the evening there strapped to a gurney with my neck immobilized...

And what they’ve most recently done to me, however inconsequential and minor it may be, is really pissing me off.

Fuck you, Norwegian!

A recap. June 14th of 2007, a driver turns left in front of me near El Cid in Bucktown, I go flying across his hood, and get an ambulance ride to Norwegian American Hospital courtesy of his auto insurance.

After spending three hours staring at the ceiling with not one person coming in to check on how I was doing, I finally started screaming at the footsteps I heard passing the doorway until someone came for me. That finally got the job done, and after X-rays showed there was no major damage to my spinal, I was finally freed from my prison, of sorts. My right arm and hand were still fairly numb and I still had eaten nothing since the Clif bar I’d had upon finshing my intervals on the lakefront and heading home.

There was only one ER resident and two nurses to care for the other patients besides me, four of whom had all apparently been beaten up by their husbands or boyfriends. One had a black eye that looked like movie make up, and worse than Rocky’s. Everyoneinawhile the smell of shit and vomit would pass by.

The entire facility was filthy, with dust bunnies below the beds, empty juice cups and napkins on the counter, and - naturally - full trash cans. Then the night began to resemble the last 15 minutes of Jacob’s Ladder, for as I went back upstairs for my CT scan, I spied a bloody gauze pad staring at me from the corner of the elevator. Any minute I expected severed body-parts.

By time I did get out of there at 02:30 and head over the fire station at Courtland and Damen to pick up my bike, I expected I would begin to see a bright light and wake to find out I was dead.

Instead I woke up the next morning with a bear trap clamped around my shoulder and I spent the day gulping 600 mgs of Motrin.

Fast forward two months later when I got the bill from Norwegian for my deductible. It was obviously a photocopy of an original invoice, and a bad one at that. It looked like it was sitting on the copier glass askew. And had highlighter marks on it.

I called the called the hospital and told them that I’d opened a claim against the dude’s auto insurer, and that they’d be paying the bill, once my treatment was finished and the case was settled. That was the last I heard of anything.

Typically, the insurer wants to settle in no more than 6 months, and by October, my treatments had been completed and I was no longer feeling the numbness in my arm and hands. I sent all my bills to the claims rep, and by late November, they made an offer, which I accepted. All the bills were paid as soon as I sent them, and by December, I received a check for my pain and suffering, as well as all of my out-of-pocket.

Then in January, I receive a call from a collections agency, on behalf of Norwegian American Hospital, for the ER bill on my deductible.

“I’m sorry, but the insurance agency paid that bill back in October. You must be in error.”

Typically, the rep for the collections agent said, very unprofessionally, “I don’t know nothin’ about that. I’m calling to collect this debt and that’s all I know. So will you pay this so we can stop calling you?”

“Um, I’m not going to pay it, and you’re going to stop calling me. You’ll hear from my claims representative. Don’t call me again. Have a nice day.”

I called my rep at the insurer, but she was on vacation, and I had to fax a copy of the invoice from the collection agency to her cover. But, since I didn’t hear anything further on the matter, I figured it was all put to bed.

Until Tuesday: “I don’t know nothin’ about that. I’m calling to collect this debt and that’s all I know. So will you pay this so we can stop calling you?”

Called my claims rep. She said to please fax the invoice again, and apologized.

And then yesterday (different person this time): “I don’t know nothin’ about that. I’m calling to collect this debt and that’s all I know. So will you pay this so we can stop calling you?”

Fuming and frothing more than my chamois crème was last night as I chased down Andy Daley, I called my rep. Voicemail. Not directing any anger at her, because quite frankly, my claim process over this whole ordeal had been completely painless until now.

Later that day, as I am on a conference call, the phone rings with the 800 number I recognize and I send it voicemail. A couple minutes later the message light turns on.

I play the message. It’s my rep and someone from Norwegian conferenced in:

“I’m sorry to have to conference you like this, but I just wanted Mr. Morrissey to hear this: so you’re telling me that you’ve had payment from us all along?

“Yes. I’m sorry.”

“So why was it sent to collections? Why wasn’t vendor notified?”

“I don’t know, I’ll have to ask my supervisor.”

Upon calling my rep back to thank her, she told no thanks was necessary and that she was disgusted by the whole process. Her opinion was that what happened was this:

Even though the hospital said they’d wait for the insurer’s payment, they sent me to collections anyways. The collector didn’t have their shit together to start harassing me until January, but when Norwegian received the payment directly, they didn’t bother calling the vendor because then they’d have to pay the % on it for the fee. For a goddmamn measly $275. Fucking up my credit and ruining my day with harassing phones from illiterates in the meantime.

Hey, Norwegian American Hospital, and any other corporation that screws over people instead of doing the right thing because profit is more important:


Chump Day

Looks like I'm not the only one that's recently had success with stepping up and facing the man. Let's cross our fingers and hope it continues for today's head-to-head in Lake County (all of the riders involved in the incident are being interviewed by the prosecutor today).


Banality and escapism caught up in a swirling vortex of sugary uselessness and pretension.


Ever hear the story about Greg Lemond getting explosive diarrhea during a 1986 Tour stage? This is what caused it.


I went here for the first time last night. I need to work on my Flying 200.

Photos by Ed White:


From the Front Lines

Last night, I got into a bit of an altercation with a driver.

"So? Big deal?" you ask. Normally, yeah, arguments with drivers are as common as helmet visors at sprint triathlons. Except, this driver happened to be sitting behind the wheel of the Damen Avenue #50 bus.

(Side note: tough weekend. I had just gotten in from Madison after helping a friend relocate. I owed friend big for when I was looking for a job, but he'd not packed at all. At all. It was all I could do not to turn around and walk out the door. It seriously looked like a flea market in there. But, I really did enjoy spending the time with him, the break in routine, and seeing his awesome knew neighborhood. This is the pool two blocks from his place. This is a city park. No shit. Lesson to Chicago Park District: tax dollars really can go a long way. Awesome organic fair-trade coffee shop within walking distance too, as well as the idyllic gay couple next door, and we received eight unsolicited hellos from neighbors walking down the street. Plus he gave me a bottle of Dominus Cabernet Sauvignon. Wine heals all wounds.)

Anyways...asshole bus driver.

I realized I left my Rudys in friend's car so since I needed a ride anyways, I left on the hour round tripper from Logan to Roger's Park on my bike. I was on Damen heading north just past Lawrence when I first noticed the bus behind me, passing while speeding, and zooming into the next stop with no regard for my personal space whatsoever in the bike lane. It was though I was merely an obstacle.

I pass the bus at Ainsle, and as I am approaching Foster, where the Damen bus turns east, I sense the bus approaching at high speed again. I realize it is very likely this aggressive bus driver might attempt to turn right in front of me once past, so I look behind, signal, and take the lane, so he can position for his turn behind me instead.

He then honks, and we both come to a stop at the red light.

I turn around, and as I give him a dirty look for the honk and his aggressive driving, he opens his window and dresses me down:

"You need to be in the bike lane, man!"

I set him straight as to what the law actually states regarding bicycles in the right of way. I am immediately rebuked by the bus driver and told that I am the one who needs a refresher in traffic laws. I ask for his name and route number, and he then warns me that I "shouldn't cut off vehicles that are bigger than me."

I responded that I was taking that last comment as a threat and to expect a call from his supervisor.

I got home and sent an immediate letter to the CTA's Officer of the Attorney General, copying the BikeFed. I of course expected my plea for redress to go to the "ignore this hippie asshole" pile, so I added that I would write that office every single day until I received a satisfactory response.

Imagine my surprise and shock this morning upon receiving an actual reply from an actual person at the actual customer service office at the CTfuckingA! Completely professional, positive, and affirming the legality of my actions as I described them, they said the driver's supervisor would be informed immediately.

I plan on writing back to request I be kept informed as to the corrective actions taken against this particular driver. Not that I am seeking to have him fired, or take vindictive glee from his punishment in anyway, but that asshole needs to be shown the error of his ways. I'm abused on a daily basis by drivers, but to experience that from a public servant who's salary is paid by my fare card is something I will not stand for. Not from a professional driver. Not in this town where busses and bikes should be on the same team.

Public Transportation is part of the solution, and a bus driver who is not "on-board" is instead part of the problem.

Keeping on with the Fight for your Right.