Paul Andrews

Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

This Day in Doping: Friday afternoon bad news

In This Day In Doping on January 29, 2010 at 7:22 pm

In mainstream media the advice goes like this: If you want to bury bad news, release it on a Friday afternoon.

Well this is the blogosphere, folks, and we’re creating a whole new dynamic. You release bad news on a Friday, you’ve got a hailstorm from hell on your hands.

Case in point: Riccardo Ricco’s partner Vania Rossi testing positive for CERA, the exact substance that got Ricco kicked out of the 2008 Tour de France. OK, Vania’s not exactly a household word, and Ricco isn’t either. And typically news like this gets picked up by BikePure.org and maybe Bicycle.net and that’s about it. Doping is so ingrained in cycling culture, it’s just not big news any more.

But wait a sec…it’s Friday afternoon dude! Nothin’ goin’ on! A little Twitter here, a little Facebook there, blogs-a-poppin’ … soon you’ve got a veritable sheetstorm of linkerage and commentary.

So just in case you missed it, here’s BikePure, Bicycle.net, BikeRadar, VeloNews, and the always incisive Twisted Spoke.

(We do trust that Friday afternoon blahs are the only explanation for such breathless attentiveness and not the distaff nature of the crime. That would be sexist and bad form, even for the blogosphere.)

News Cycle: Protection for cyclists — is strangulation covered? Dirt Bowl, Women of Dirt, all the best dirt & more

In Bicycle advocacy, News Cycle, Obama Bikes, Rider Down on January 29, 2010 at 2:17 am

If you try to run down a cyclist in your car but somehow miss, never fear. You can always go for strangulation.

In L.A., a booming promise that “The culture of the car ends now!” No throwing projectiles, no verbal abuse, no cutting within 3 feet … and yes! No strangulation! “(No) making physical contact with a bicyclist from a moving vehicle on the roadway either by physical person or use of an implement.” Yay!

I remember when I was this anal about my ride logs…but it was a long time ago.

Reminder that the Marin County Bicycle Coalition’s “Dirt Bowl” fundraiser is Sunday, Feb. 7.

(Two) wheels ‘n feet account for 9.6 percent of all trips, but just 1.2 percent of federal funding. Other goodies as well in the Alliance for Biking & Walking “Benchmarking” report.

Add mtbchick to the growing list of hosts for “Awesome Land: Women of Dirt” showings .

Alan at EcoVelo looks at the iPad’s potential for mobile blogging.

Nothing to do with cycling, other than Yokota’s involvement, but a wild story nonetheless. So wild that the Man Himself, Gary Fisher, retweeted it.

Have a great weekend! Winter’s on the decline, time to get out ‘n RIDE!

Awesome Land “Women of Dirt” Premiere Countdown

In Mountain Biking, Videos on January 28, 2010 at 7:32 am

Its co-filmmaker calls “Women of Dirt,” which premieres a week from tomorrow, an “experiential lifestyle film” packed with “levity” and “fun.” But it’s not just a film “for and about women,” whether on bikes or off. Instead, says Mark Brent, previewers have been unanimous that the movie has “huge crossover appeal” for any audience — meaning the riding, the relationships and the story take it beyond the usual backflips-and-beer ethos of conventional freeride DVDs.

“Women bring a different aspect to the sport,” Brent said. Their riding has a subtlety and grace to it that “We can all identify with better,” Brent said. “It’s super flowy and style-y.”

We were instantly drawn to Brent’s and co-filmmaker Miles Sullivan’s project by the presence of Seattle native Jill Kintner, whose 2009 season ranked among the best of any mountain biker, male or female. Kintner is featured riding last summer’s Whistler Crankworx (where she won two titles and runner-upped a third), the nationals (she took first) and — get this — the Woodland Park jumps, within shouting distance of our Phinney Ridge home. Modest and understated, Kintner hasn’t gotten her due. Perhaps the movie will remedy that.

Unfortunately, Jill (and most of the pro cycling world) is in Australia, where it’s summertime, training for the 2010 season — which means she can’t be at Northwest Film Forum for the movie’s worldwide premiere Feb. 5 (tickets here). But Katrina Strand, Stephanie Nychka, Cierra Smith, Tammy Donahugh and Leana Gerrard will be in Seattle (be sure to read Martha Hucker’s interview of Leana) for the premiere and Lisa Myklak, Emily Johnston, and Tammy Donahugh in Santa Cruz for the California premiere Feb. 28. The Cali hosts, Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz, are making the showing part of a gala two-day festival, including an open ride at Soquel Demo Forest and jump jam sponsored by Epicenter Cycling in Aptos.

At the Seattle premiere Diamondback Bicycles will give away a 2010 Mission 1. And 10 percent of net proceeds from Seattle showings will go to benefit the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, which is doing superlative work to support freeride parks in the region.

Brent says that, after two decades of mostly male mtb films, there’s a lot of pent-up demand for a film featuring women riders. He got the idea for “Women of Dirt” in part from talking with Joy Mutoli, who noticed after race weekends that the guy footage on PinkBike would get a few dozen views while the fem footage shot the needle up to 500 or more.

The “Women of Dirt” teaser has gotten more than 50,000 views. And the film’s Facebook fan page has nearly 1,500 members.

“People have told us, ‘Wow, we didn’t know this story existed’,” Brent said. “They’re blown away by the beauty and courage and comradery of the riders.”

In addition to NWFF’s run and the Santa Cruz premiere, “Women of Dirt” will be hosted by Mudd Bunnies in Vancouver, B.C. And Brent is working with groups and clubs in a variety of locales, including Bellingham, to get the film before local audiences.

“We’re encouraging anyone with a group of any size to host a showing,” he said. (It’s called marketing in the age of the Internet.)

DVDs will go on sale officially the day of the premiere but may be available online earlier, Brent said. Fans also will be able to buy the film directly from the producers at the BonesOverMetal web site. And discs are sure to make their way into select bike shops.

“I hope this opens up the opportunity for a full-length feature documentary,” Brent said. Perhaps something on the women’s World Cup circuit — something along the lines of Clay Porter’s annual series (“F1rst,” “Between the Tape,” “Tipping Point”). In any case, “Women of Dirt” is long overdue as a tribute to women opening the sport and zeitgeist of freeriding to a whole new generation of riders. For an example, be sure to check out Walter Yi’s video link below of Kat Sweet out at Duthie — one of the places where Evergreen is making such a difference.

Kat Sweet edit from Walter Yi on Vimeo.

“Vulnerable User” legislation gets a hearing

In Bicycle advocacy, Obama Bikes on January 28, 2010 at 6:50 am

Seattle Times: ” ‘There are cases where a driver is not filled with criminal intent but truly does cause death or serious injury to a biker, to a walker,’ state Sen. Joe McDermott, D-West Seattle, a sponsor of the bill, said at Tuesday’s Judiciary Committee hearing.”

You can still make a difference.

Interesting discussion of the legislation in Cascade Bicycle Club forum.

Apple’s iPad: The blogging cyclist’s dream machine

In Bicycling on January 27, 2010 at 11:50 am

Slim and weighs next to nothing

As a blogger and cyclist, we’ve been waiting a long time for this. Our MacBook is just a little too big and bulky to be comfortable in our Chrome Ivan, even if there is a separate waterproof compartment for it, and even if that’s what we’ve been doing the past few years. Our iPhone on the other hand is too small to type anything but tweets on.

The iPad has what looks to be a roomy touch keyboard built in. We’ll see how we like it. But the clincher is a dock with a full-size keyboard.

Combined with all the other stuff going on, including all those apps, this is what we’ve been dreaming of…and more.

Fatty or Snooty? The Hobson’s choice for Bloggies

In Bicycling on January 27, 2010 at 11:06 am

So it’s come to this in the bicycle culture. We have the choice of voting, in the annual Bloggies Awards, between a fat cyclist and a bike snob.

Now we in the cycling community know perfectly well what’s going on here. Fat Cyclist isn’t really fat, and Bike Snob isn’t actually a snob. Fatty may have started out that way (using the term loosely), but for quite a while now he’s been a barrel-chested, iron-thighed, pedal-mashing Thor of muscle and bone. The guy has ridden with Lance Armstrong and Team Radio Shack, fer crissakes. He’s training for a freakin’ marathon. You and I know that.

Odd maybe...but not fat

But the non-velocipedes who make up the vast majority of the American public do not. The American public sees “Fat Cyclist” and thinks folds of lycra’d flesh balanced on two wheels like mounds of whipped cream on a spoon, with a flabby pear-shaped head that makes his helmet the size of a yarmulke. The American public sees Chris Farley on a comfort bike. They see someone called Fat Cyclist is in line for a Bloggie, and they go Wha??? Is that the best they can come up with?

Well, as a matter of fact, it is. Because the alternative is the Snob.

Now we all know that Bike Snob isn’t really a snob or he’d never blog about something as common and filthy as cycling. He would be some bow-tied oenophile blogging about what Bordeaux goes with foie gras and Muenster cheese. Or about the definitive interpretation of the libretto to The Magic Flute. A true snob would not be caught dead riding some oily contraption along the besotted gutters of 42nd Street. A snob on a bike would perspire on his tux. He would get grease on the cuffs of his Armanis. Snobbery, really, has no place in the cycling community, except when a roadie meets a mountain biker. And the outcome of that is never pretty.

What a BikeSnob fan looks like

The mainstream public doesn’t realize that Bike Snob is just another loser who can’t scrounge up cab fare home. They think he’s some epicure putting on airs, carrying on like he’s better than the rest of us. They think he blogs for Slate, or maybe The Daily Beast.

Unfortunately, we bona fide members of the cycling community are stuck with a choice of incredible political incorrectness. It’s either obesity or snootiness. ShopWrech.net and BottomBracket.org didn’t make the cut. If we really want to support our precious avocation, we have to ignore public perception and vote for a cyclist. Knowing this, knowing they’ve got us between a proverbial fat rock and snob place, both candidates have put together shameless self-promotional solicitations worthy of Donald Trump on crystal meth, which as a public service we are linking to because … well, because we care.

FatCyclist: “Vote for me because my third win means I won’t be eligible to harangue you next year!”

BikeSnobNYC: “Vote for me and you could win a new bike that is too declassé for the Snob to be seen with, let alone ride!”

News Cycle: Haiti relief, Bike RV, Lance’s chances & more

In Lance's Chances, News Cycle on January 27, 2010 at 1:35 am

Guy gets so excited about Google Street View camera he crashes his bike. I’ve heard of more riders losing their iPhones exactly this way.

In 2009, the Dutch bought 1.3 million bicycles.

Which is 1.3 million fewer than Americans bought in the first quarter of 2009.

No longer does Preston Peterson have an excuse to show up at the trailhead with his trashed-out RV.

Craigslist continues to be the most successful weapon of choice against bike theft.

Adageo Energy Pro Cycling Team jerseys are being sold to benefit Haiti.

Even better, a 7-year-old cyclist is raising funds for Haiti by riding around his local park.

Twisted Spoke has scoped out early odds on Lance winning the Tour.

Today’s inspiration.

Top 10 Mountain Bike Trail Names of All Time

In Mountain Bike Trail Reviews, Mountain Biking on January 26, 2010 at 1:42 am

It’s not easy naming trails, and it’s gotten progressively harder as the sport of mountain biking has become more respectable. Somewhat off-color or “out there” names that captured the real spirit of the trail became harder to stick with when the trails made it into print — on maps, book guides, local tourist literature and MTBR.com. Still, our general belief is that trail names have become too sanitized and boring. In the spirit of celebrating mountain biking’s early radness and illegitimacy, we hereby list our Top 10 Mountain Bike Trail Names of All Time.

Subject to change of course. And if you have any favorites we left out, by all means forward them along.

10. Tapeworm (Renton WA)

Southeast of Seattle there’s a trail that switches back and forth in such close quarters you can shake hands with a rider behind you or ahead of you going the opposite direction on a separate section of the same trail. Especially in winter, when everywhere else turns to slop, The Worm offers challenging features and a good workout. What it lacks in poetical charm, “Tapeworm” makes up for in denotational succinctness.

9. Ladies Only (Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver B.C.) This was one of the first B.C. trails we ever rode, back in the early 1990s, atop Grouse Mountain on Vancouver’s NorthShore. We took the name literally. We were fools.

8. Comfortably Numb (Whistler B.C.)

Fittingly named Foreplay for several years while it was under construction, Comfortably Numb derives from a Pink Floyd song about surgical prep, but ably describes the slack-jawed glaze that starts to flow over you after a few hours of humping this, the longest 16-mile bike ride on the planet.

7. Analectomy. (Undocumented, B.C.) How befitting of the early risks of MTBing, when riders launching hardtails snapped seatposts on landing, forcing drastic evasive measures to avoid an impromptu and unwelcome colonoscopy au naturel. This name, originally assigned a nasty B.C. Interior trail with an inadequate transition, did not last long but remains inscribed in the memory of anyone who attempted it.

6. Poison Spider (Moab UT)

It may not be Moab’s best ride, but it’s Moab’s best name.

5. Kill Me Thrill Me (Whistler B.C.)

An early Whistler favorite, before the Mountain Bike Park existed, and has remained so over the years. Often the order of execution gets reversed, which is more logical, perhaps, but less imaginative. (We can only hope that the correct sequence is what awaits us in mtb afterlife.) Lots of challenge, including a slickrock dive worthy of Moab. Once I met a bunch of Canucks at the top who offered me a toke. No thanks, I said, checking out the drop. I want to be sure I have all my faculties. That’s funny, they said, we’re trying to lose ours.

4. El Pollo Elastico (Galbraith Mt., Bellingham WA)

One of the great legacy trail names on Galbraith Mountain outside of Bellingham. “Rubber Chicken” refers to a one-time trail ornament but also describes vividly the riding technique and/or psychological demeanor you need for Galbraith’s gnarlier singletrack. (That’s me in Mongo’s photo sequence.)

3. Severed Dick (Mt. Seymour, Vancouver NorthShore)

When I mentioned this trail in an article in 1995, the editors changed it to the more clinical “Severed Penis.” At least they kept the point; the trail still exists but in today’s PC parlance more often goes by simply “Severed.”

2. Organ Donor (Victoria, Vancouver Island)

We’re forever gratified that this trail name has not been “upgraded” to something more innocuous. But we do wonder what happens when a parent brings a grommet into ER and has to fill out the line on the form designating where the accident happened.

1. See Colours and Puke (Function Junction, B.C.)

This was originally the name of the Cheakamus Challenge, a hellacious one-day mass ride from Squamish to Whistler, and one can easily understand how it got bowdlerized as the Challenge gained in popularity. It survived for a time as the name of a key trail linking the main highway with Whistler Mountain. But today signage lists the trail name as Hair Straight-Back. We will always prefer the original, as it told the truth about the trail’s unique attractions and physical charms in its own inimitable fashion.

Insight into why cyclists may “waffle” on bike safety legislation

In Bicycle advocacy, Obama Bikes on January 26, 2010 at 1:35 am

Interesting take from Cathy Tuttle of Spokespeople on “Why I Waffled” re Washington State’s proposed “vulnerable user” legislation. From a note Cathy sent out to an email list, by way of explaining why she delayed acting on the issue:

“Right now, if a driver is speeding, or runs a light, or makes an illegal u-turn and mows down my child walking to school or maims my husband biking to work, that driver most likely will be given nothing more than a $42 traffic ticket. There are drunk driving and vehicular homicide laws that are more aggressive, but if a driver is breaking the law and kills or maims a pedestrian or bicyclist, Washington State laws favor the driver. So what caused my reluctance to support this bill?
 
I support all sorts of good causes these days, some quite controversial, with no qualms at all: 350 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere, SCALLOPS, Sustainable Food Systems, Transition Towns.  And I don’t like the idea that a distracted, incompetent driver can mow down walkers and bikers with impunity. It hearkens back to the Middle Ages when lords could run over peasants and not look back.
 
And then I realized why I waffled. It is because I could be that distracted driver. I speed (just a little). I talk on the phone in the car (only in rare cases). I have been known to catch just the tail end of a green (well, yellow) light. My car. My weapon.

I have an obligation not to cause great harm in everything I do. I would want the redemption of punishment, more than a $42 ticket, if I killed a cyclist while I was running a red light. That is exactly what the Vulnerable User Bill does. It fills the gap between a simple traffic ticket and more serious offenses. It requires a court appearance and possible community service for drivers who kill or gravely injure pedestrians, bicyclists or other vulnerable road users. It is a deterrent to negligent driving and will encourage us to focus our attention as we negotiate the urban streets more and more filled with our friends, children, and neighbors.
 
Please choose to fill out the quick on-line form supporting the Vulnerable User Bill. Now.”

News Cycle: Zoic resuscitates, Top bike-club names, Bike rear-view mirror safety sticker & more

In Bicycle advocacy, Lance's Chances, News Cycle, Rider Down on January 26, 2010 at 1:32 am

BikingBis: Top bike-club names. Can’t argue with Gene on these. We did have the privilege of serving with a 1980s club founded by the estimable epicure, Bradford O’Connor, in celebration of one of his favorite beverages. It was called Team Green Death, in reference to the suitably toxic Rainier Brewery product, which served as official libation for all team meetings, gatherings and functions, including the annual sponsored Century Ride. TGD served its purpose and passed on, but the audacious team jersey lives in our attic somewhere.

Trial starts tomorrow of woman accused of mowing down cyclists while on her cell phone.

Lance says he thinks he can win the Tour de France again. “I might be a fool,” he acknowledges. While we chuckle at the thought Lance might be a fool, and especially at the notion he might really think that, we also know he has almost no chance to win another Tour. But as we’ve said, till someone else with a scintilla of charisma steps forward to lead the sport, Lance might as well chat up his chances.

Early Zoic (circa 2004) clothing was trend-setting and cool. Then the parent company lost interest and Zoic got expensive and precious. Now Eric Swenson and Paul Wyandt have bought Zoic, and we’re expecting great things.

BikePortland has report on a clever bike safety sticker.

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