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Monday, May 31, 2004
Giro d'Italia Winner - The latest Italian phenom, Damiano Cunego rode to victory in the Giro on Sunday. Simoni, his team captain wasn't very happy about the turn of events, but he just wasn't powerful enough to match Cunego in the Mountains. Alessandro Petacchi won yet another sprint in the final stage, giving him a post WWII record 9 victories in a single Giro.

Since we couldn't watch the Giro live we settled for watching CSCs Lars Michaelson win the CSC Invitational race in Clarendon, formley known as the Clarendon Cup. I hauled the BOB trailer behind my V-Rex so that we could eat lunch and sit in comfort on our folding chairs. It was an ideal day to ride, overcast and cool.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Realism Today - Checked out the Realism Today show at the Apex Gallery. Unfortunately, the website contains almost no information. The show was excellent, showcasing the work of modern artists trained in the classic tradition. Later stopped by the National Gallery to view the show American Masters from Bingham to Eakins: The John Wilmerding Collection. Much of the work was not the best from the represented artists, but there were some excellent drawings. My favorite painting was John Frederick Peto's Take Your Choice.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Toyoto's vision of the car of the future - Toyoto has developed what they are calling the Personal Mobility (PM) concept car. A surprising stat in the article is that:
The average American driver spends one hour and 41 minutes in their cars each day, almost more than any other daily activity, according to research from the University of California at Berkeley.
I suppose if you must travel by car, this could be a solution of the future. I prefer to spend the hour and 40 minutes on my bike.

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Monday, May 24, 2004
Beast of Burden - Decided to haul the accumulated waste paper to the recycling center about 3 or 4 miles away. I needed to check out the garden as well, so I hooked up my BOB (Beast of Burden) trailer and loaded it up with about 20 or 30 pounds of paper. I was a little disappointed when I arrived at the center and realized that it was closed for maintenance. Since I had earlier posted a notice about the closing on a website, I had not excuse for my ignorance. I decided to look on the bright side; it was a chance to get in a good workout.

So, I continued on to the garden plot about 5 or 6 miles away, watered the plants and weeded. The garden looks great. The carrots are growing tall as are the tomatoes, which already contain several large, green fruit. Someone's been nibbling on the beans, but the yellow squash, cantaloupe, cucumbers, potatoes, and onions all look healthy.

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The emporer has no clothes - It's about time someone said it, and Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority Leader, finally did:
"The emperor has no clothes," Pelosi, D-California, told reporters on Thursday. "When are people going to face the reality? Pull this curtain back."

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Saturday, May 22, 2004
Cycling from the Jacksonville Airport As I mentioned earlier, it is possible to cycle from the Jax airport using mostly back roads, to get to the beach. Here is the route:

From the airport, take the airport exit road, Duval Rd. past I-95 to US 17 (N. Main St.). Take a right on US 17 and proceed about 50 meters. Turn left on Duval Station Rd. Go a short distance and take a right onto Gillespie Ave. There are several residential roads that parallel US 17. It shouldn't be too difficult to find the one that doesn't dead end, whether there is a sign for Gillespie Ave. or not, and I'm not entirely sure this road is Gillespie, although that's how it is labelled in Mapquest.

Proceed to New Berlin Rd. Turn left at the light and proceed about 100 meters to Pulaski Rd. Turn right onto Pulaski Rd. The speed limit on Pulaski is 35 mph and traffic was light during evening rush hour. Proceed on Pulsaski past 9A to Eastport Rd. Turn left on Easport Rd., then veer right to keep on Eastport after about 100 meters.

Easport passes several industrial areas and has very little traffic. The speed limit is also 35 mph. After several miles, Easport ends at Heckscher Dr. Turn left onto Heckscher and proceed about 10 miles to the St. Johns River ferry. Bikes cost 50 cents to cross. Heckscher is undergoing widening, and there is one stretch where there is no shoulder. When I passed that section, the newly paved area was passable, and the construction crew had left for the day, so I used it. Eventually Heckscher will have a bike lane. Most of the older part of the road has an OK shoulder. The speed limit is high in sections, up to 50 or 55 mph, so be very careful in those sections.

After crossing the ferry to Mayport, take A1A to Mayport Rd., a terrible, 2 or 3 lane road with heavy, speeding traffic. turn right on Mayport Rd. Most of the local bike traffic was on the sidewalk. It's about 2 or 3 miles to Plaza St. where you would take a left to Seminole Rd. Seminole will take you to Atlantic, Juniper, and Jacksonville Beaches.

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Recumbent Muscles It takes a while to develop recumbent muscles. I've had a Rans V-Rex for a couple of years, but was only riding it occasionally, maybe once a month. Every time I rode, my gluts and side thigh muscles would scream. That has changed now that I ride the V-Rex on a regular basis. I think I'm a strong rider, and now I can use some of that strength while riding the bent. I find that I look forward to riding in the recumbent position much more than the upright position. Having a bad back with near constant sciatic pain that is exacerbated when riding upright doesn't help.

Spell Check By the way, I've really grown to like the new Blogger Posting interface. The spell check is quick and easy to use, as is the Preview feature. I'm even using the GUI to add the <strong> tags.

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Friday, May 21, 2004
Cicadas are back The 17 year cicadas are back, otherwise known as periodic cicadas. I hear their high-pitched whine in the background. They are beginning to cover the ground, and I tried to avoid three of them as I drove down our street. They should be around for another couple of months.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2004
Jacksonville Airport to the Beaches by Bike Discovered that it is possible to cycle from the Jacksonville Airport to the beach. Arrived at the airport at around 5:30 pm. It usually takes around 20 minutes to set up the bike and trailer and get on the road. Arrived at Mom's place just after 8:00 pm, so the ride took around 2 1/2 hours. Except for the construction zone along Heckscher Drive, there was a decent shoulder or relatively quiet back streets for most of the ride. The ride was an adventure, as opposed to sitting in a taxi for an hour and fretting about the $40. fare. Talked to a few people while awaiting the ferry; a guy who lives nearby and wants to ride but doesn't feel safe "I only ride against traffic so I can keep an eye on the crazy drivers". I tried to correct that notion. There was also a couple from Georgia who talked about the recently completed Tour de Georgia and the difficulty of the mountain stages.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Giro d'Italia - Super Mario took a bad fall in the last 200 meters of today's Giro. His lead out person slowed and Mario clipped his wheel, going down hard. I was watching the live coverage, and his right foot was covered in blood. I'll be surprised if he races tomorrow. Petacchi went on to win his second stage in four days.

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Leesburg via recumbent - I'm becoming very fond of my Rans V-Rex short-wheelbase recumbent. I've been riding it for most longer rides and realize how much more comfortable it is than my upright bikes. It has taken a while to build up the leg muscles that are specific to recumbent riding, so now the burn in the legs isn't quite so bad. Yesterday I rode out to Leesburg. On the way back it was fun to pass a couple of hotshot wannabes, me with my loaded rear bag, them on their titanium road bikes.

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Monday, May 10, 2004
Community Garden Plot - Spent a little time in the garden today. The yellow squash is sprouting, the carrot tops are around 6" high, the tomatoes love this hot weather, and the cucumbers are just barely poking their little heads out of the soil. There's no sign of the basil that was planted from seed several weeks ago.

It was theraputic to prepare beds for the seed potatoes I bought over the weekend. The soil in the garden is suprisingly good. Over 20 years of people adding organic material and tilling the soil has done wonders. The worst soil is where I planted the onion sets, but there was no room elsewhere. I'll try to post a photo in the near future.

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Bike to Work Day - I haven't had much time to post lately. Last week was devoted to getting ready for the Reston Bike to Work Day event. We had 240 people show up out of 300 that registered. It was interesting to note that several people showed up at the bike shop the following day to either look at new bikes or purchase accessories for their commute. It was encouraging to hear some people say that their bike commute took the same or less time than their car commute.

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Blogger Redesign - It was a little off-putting to see the new Blogger redesign. It's an excellent design, but my first reaction is "Great, another interface to learn". It seems intuitive, just hope I don't lose too many posts during the learning phase.

Giro d'Italia - Just what I need, another reason so sit inside and watch television. The Giro is being telecast by OLN TV again this year. Stage 2 just finished, the second of 20 stages that end on May 30.

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Monday, May 03, 2004
Tyler Hamilton is in good shape for the Tour, winning the Tour de Romandie for the second year in a row.

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Jane Jacob's new book, Dark Age Ahead, looks like a good read. Maybe not an entirely optimistic book, it might be a wakeup call to a society that is slowly in decline. For more info, see Ben Hammersley's Dangerous Precedent comments.

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After going together for 13 years, Kerie and I decided to get married over the weekend. We had a very nice, intimate outside ceremony overlooking Lake Thoreau. There were turtles basking in the sun on the opposite shore, and ducks and geese frolicking nearby. Afterwards we took a ceremonial ride around the lake on our Barcroft Columbia tandem that Kerie had decorated with flowers.

We then drove to Shepherdstown to join the May Day festivities with our friend Becky. Here are some photos from a previous celebration. As with most springtime outdoor activities, it looked as if it would rain but the sun was out and it was a beautiful day, a great way to celebrate our marriage.

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