"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


Thursday Hate: More Bikes = More Hate

It was said some months back that in order to get more bikes on the road as a mainstream commuting option, we simply needed more women on bikes. Meaning when women feel comfortable and safe enough to begin biking, that is when the numbers on the streets will truly grow, society will accept bike-commuters with open arms, and our traffic infrastructure will reflect this.

Today, the NY Times gave evidence that a growing number of women are indeed gaining the confidence to take the lane, and they're looking good while doing it.

And as long as women are being liberated, there will be men, especially from the south, speaking out against it:
Not everyone is thrilled. Ross Autry, a blogger in Birmingham, Ala., noted in an e-mail that multitasking bicyclists are too self-consciously hip for his taste and, what’s worse, may pose a hazard. “Fixing your makeup or sending a text message could have catastrophic results,” he said.
Certainly, Ross. All of us men know that women are the only distracted drivers. And if distracted cyclists would be catastrophic, what does that make our current situation with all of them behind the wheel of a two ton Escalade? And the current infestation of brakeless hipsters marauding through intersections, preening in a storefront window at 23 miles an hour, giving more thought to their color-coordinated chain, aerospoke, and top-tube pad than the poor fuck on foot they're about to run over is far more dangerous than a stylish piece of eye-candy who doesn't want to sweat through her Tory Burch top.

God knows my regularly-commuting girlfriend practically has a restrictor-plate and never goes any faster than most people jog. In fact, I witnessed the greatest multitasking-cyclist of all time on my first-ever bike commute to work, back in 2004. A dude, no less, riding no handed through the Oak Street chicane of the Lake Front Trail - before it was repaved - talking on a mobile with one hand and holding a cigarette and a coffee in the other.

"TEACH ME!" I yelled as I rode by.

I imagine Ross is probably enjoying a table for one at TGI Friday's right now, before heading to home to masturbate on the internet and throw a beer can at his dog.

However, ladies, the hate goes both ways.

Just because I place function over form doesn't make me some jarhead or as George Bliss says, "an infantry solider with a helmet,” who has “alienated every pedestrian.” Yes, a lot of people bike unsafely in crowded places, but most of them aren't wearing helmets or lycra. Many others pass safely and we announce our presence, so don't project your inadequacies and bullshit on me.

Speaking of tight clothes, I wear lycra on most commutes because it doesn't bunch up painfully between my balls and my thigh. Because when I commuted 15 miles each way to my last job no one would make that ride in jeans. Because sometimes I wanna ride fast, or get in an extra 30 miles before work at my current job downtown.

And I've cracked a helmet in each of my three bad crashes that didn't involve a car. A crack that otherwise would've been my skull. I think waiting until you arrive at your destination to finally look your best is a preferable alternative to looking your best and drooling on yourself while your mother argues with the doctor to keep the feeding tube in.

Oh, and I hope Topaz Page-Green (if that is her real name) carries personal liability coverage on her condo policy, because she's gonna need it when she takes out a four year old while riding illegally on the sidewalk.


Thursday hate

I gotta lot of problems with you people.

First, why the fuck do you draft on complete strangers riding the Lake Front Trail? Is it not immediately obvious to you what a gross invasion of personal space this is? It's the equivalent of reading over someone's shoulder on the train or at a coffee shop. Unless you ask, or introduce yourself...get the fuck off of my wheel.

Next up: riding in the dark, with sunglasses and without lights, weaving through ped and bike traffic at reckless speeds while wearing headphones, without so much as even giving back an, "on your left." I hope to god you only take yourself out with a tree branch or a pothole before injuring anyone else.

Finally, some guest hate. My dad was hit by a car this morning. Same dude who nearly hit him last week while backing out of his driveway, yakking on the phone. Shit caught up with him today:

The guy who hit me was totally freaked out. While I was clawing at his roof, trying to stay on, I could hear him inside on his cell phone, which of course he was on when he pulled out in front of me, "Oh my god I just hit a guy on a bike." I'm yelling back at him how I am going to rip his balls off and stuff them down his throat, etc. Then I slide off the roof still attached to the pedals, fall on my side and lay there yelling for his head. He gets out trying to call 911, he gets them, and I yell they better hurry cuz there is going to be somebody dead here and it won't be me.

I got up realized I was OK, but that the fork was now reversed. But the fucking wheel is true. Go figure huh?

Shop ordered a replacement fork that they think and hope will work but it will be at least Wed. of next week.

When you see this neighborhood you will understand how dangerous it is to back out of driveways. Everybody knows this and most back IN, then pull out forward, but still. It could have been the prego woman who walks her dog, then where would this knot-shit be?


Jurassic Park

(pix by the amazing Steven Vance)

No, not quite. Although I had a startling realization as I was filling out my waiver on Friday night for Coach Randy's Jackson Park race-eve skills clinic, that my cyclocross racing age is actually 39...so next year that won't be too far from the truth.

A dinosaur on a bike.

However, since this year I'm still the spring chicken in my 30s, I ponied up for the Masters 30 Plus and the 4As. You have to double up in my situation. The 4s races are too short, and when your team is hosting, you gotta be out there. Maybe next I'll do the hat trick with two masters races and the 3s.

You guys can yell sandbagger all you want, but I'm staying in the 4s this year until I'm either on the podium or forced to upgrade. I may have Cat 3 power, but I have Cat 5 handling skills, so I think the 4s is a safe average on which to net out.

Anyways, Jason Knauff hates my constant blogging and called me out on my call up...so Jason, here's to you.

I pre-rode the course - another A+ design by teammate Greg Heck - as the 40 plus men were staging and twitching to get the 2010 Chicago Cross Cup season underway. The course was long and fast - versatile, in fact - suited to both mad CX skills in the technical turns and off-camber twists; and to roadies, who could make up for their short-comings by hammering in the straightaways.

Game face


I'll keep it short and sweet for a long and bitter race. Two and half laps in I was almost puking, after having started near the back and then turned myself inside out to work my way up to 25th or so in a sold-out field of 75. Coming past the wheel pit I tried to hawk one but it got stuck halfway, stretched out between my throat and dangling down my chin. Trying to then force it out almost made everything else come up as well.

Pushing hard past David of Roscoe Village and a very determined Martin of The Pony Shop, the last two laps I could only keep the pressure up and held on to a well-deserved 23rd place. It was my best placing by far in an open field, so I was pretty happy with my effort there.


As I mentioned before, I got a call up in this race. Traditionally, and for the remainder of the season, call-ups to the line are given based on your overall placing. The starting line is ten wide, so a call-up is like gold in a racers quest for the hole-shot. But since there were no results to go on, the call-ups at Jackson Park were awarded on a lottery basis, rather than last year's placing as had been done in the past. And with 10 names out of a pool of 75, the odds weren't that bad.

And truthfully, in my second race, I wasn't too surprised to hear my name called with Sister Sprocket's third dip into the paper bag filled with names. And then to hear Erik's name right after I rolled up.

Sister Sprocket will draw 10 names

The starting sprint was madness, with two big crashes in the opening turns. My technical skills were a real liability in this race and soon the podium gone. Patty, with Jack, and her sister Rose and niece Kaila watched from the mid section where they could scream and heckle multiple times as we doubled and tripled back.

Brian's crew

I did cling to the Top 10 for most of my blazing three laps, until the very end when I was passed in a turn (where else) by Lew of Rhythm Racing. The gap closed little by little in the closing meters, but ultimately it was too late - 11th place - and I won't be getting a call-up on October 3rd in Dekalb, the next race in the series.

Brian on the slalom

The 4B started right where it left off last year, with every level of fitness and skill represented in their three laps, and more heckling than a heathcare townhall meeting in Tyler, Texas.

Huge thanks to Illlinois Cycling, Chicago Cross Cup, all the officials, the sponsors, and of course, all the teams that showed up and made Sunday such a spectacular opening to the 2010 cyclocross season.


Thursday Hate: Slim Sarah (Guess Who's Back?)

She's going to Iowa.

And a growing legion of creationist-"science"-in-our-high-school-labs-forcing, Walmart-grocery-shopping, Elizabeth Hasselbeck-wannabe moms with MMA-watching, Monster-Energy-Drink-for-breakfast, fat-man-titty-having, juggalo ("fucking MAGNETS! How do they work?!") teen kids will be voting for her.

Happy Halloween.


Hump Day

The top 10 signs you have a dream job (or "perspective is everything"):

1. There's an "office coffee club," with Intelligentsia and it only costs $5 a month per person, versus $2 a cup from the Starbucks-branded vendor, Sodexo.

2. The Red line is two blocks from both your front door and the office door.

3. Your colleagues, all 34 of them, don't look at you as though you are green and singing, "Blue Bells of Scotland" through your tentacle beaks when you walk in with a bike helmet under your arm.

4. Your workplan for the next three months is waiting when you arrive on the morning of your first day.

5. Did I mention there's no Sodexo cafeteria? But there's Chipotle, Jimmy John's, Trader Joe's, and about 17 Thai places all within walking distance.

6. There's not one, but two private unisex restrooms (read: no steath-poopers in the stall, no piss spray on the floor, and no gum in the urinals).

7. QBP access (don't even THINK about it) and a monthly bike-reimbursement.

8. The I-was meant-to-be-here moment of the day: the HR director knew Jack when he was in foster care at Chicago Canine Rescue.

9. At the bar-meet-up after work, the new Executive Director seeks you out and already knows your name.

10. Your work is to make the city you love a more livable place to be.