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Thursday, December 28, 2006
We're back from a short trip to Nashville to visit family for Christmas. We visited the Ryman Auditorium to the Grand Ole Opry with Ricky Skaggs, Patty Loveless, Joe Nichols, and others. There was a cast of thousands, including some of the real old timers, some of whom could actually remember their lyrics.

We also visited Cheekwood to walk the beautiful grounds and visit the galleries. I enjoyed Portraiture: Private Lives/Public Faces which included mostly Tennessee artists. Also enjoyed Randy Hayes: Baby Doll House, based on the house used for the film Baby Doll. It's an interesting mix of oil painting over photographs.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006
 Two-way streets are better than one-way streets 
As a geographer, I often ponder what makes one city function better than another. For many years I've noticed that cities with many one-way streets seem very pedestrian and bike unfriendly. They are also difficult for those unfamiliar with the one-way patter to navigate. It sees that many cities are converting many one-way streets to two-way streets to slow traffic and allow motorists to more easily find their way around:
The boom in one-way streets began with the Cold War in the 1950s, when cities planned quick routes out of town for evacuation in case of nuclear attack, says John Norquist, one of the first vocal advocates of two-way-street conversion.

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Friday, December 22, 2006
 2006 places 
Looking back over the past year I was curious about the places I have been. These are locations where at least one night was spent away from home:

Atlantic Beach, FL
Philadelphia, PA
Halls Lake, VT
Portland, OR
Seaside, OR
Tillamook, OR
Lincoln City, OR
Newport, OR
Florence, OR
Eugene, OR
Basel, Switzerland

Most travel involved either family or bicycles.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006
 Staying Safe: Exploring Virginia's Roads 
VDOT recently published a booklet for children on road safety, Staying Safe: Exploring Virginia's Roads. There's lots of information about road signs, the history of roads, and road safety. There's one thing blatantly missing; there's no mention of bicycles anywhere in the publication. There is no mention of the role that bicycles played in the early development of the road system. During the cycling boom of the late 1800's, cyclists worked with the business community to form the Good Roads Movement to lobby for better roads for bicycle touring. There are no pictures of bicycles nor mention of bicyclists using roads in Virginia. Looks like it's time for a letter to the author.

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Monday, December 18, 2006
We've had a very mild late fall this year. There have been very few rainy days, and we've been able to ride in short sleeves the past week. This weekend we checked out the Fairfax Co. Parkway trail, a bike trail that is portrayed on the Virginia Bicycle Map. There are four routes in N. Va. on the map: the W&OD Trail, U.S. Bicycle Route 1, the Fairfax County Parkway Trail, and the Cross County Trail.

I hate to be negative about the first bike map of Virginia but...the Cross County trail is a single-track nature trail for long stretches and is not a bike trail that should be on the map in my opinion. Also, the Fairfax Co Parkway trail is in bad condition and there are several long, unsigned detours. Our bike group, FABB, hopes to get the county and VDOT to put signs at critical points, especially in the north half.

We rode a long stretch of the trail; it was also an excuse to ride to Panera for lunch. We took a few photos of the weeks and debris in the trail and made notes on where signs should be placed.

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 Bike commuting article 
There's a good article about bike commuting in Governing magazine. It describes how various cities around the U.S. are establishing facilities to help bike commuters.
The biggest lesson for cities, says [Andy]Clarke [of the League of American Bicyclists], is that a successful bike-commuting policy is a combination of infrastructure, education and promotion.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006
 Stroke of Genius 
Is the name of an exhibition of Rembrandt prints and drawings at the National Gallery.

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 9/11 deaths vs. war in Iraq deaths II 
As I noted back in August, The number of U.S. deaths in Iraq is ready to surpass the number of people killed on 9/11 (2928 killed in the war vs. 2973 9/11 deaths). I hope Nancy Pelosi lives up to her threat to issue subpoenas to those from the administration responsible for this debacle, not only to expose the lies, deceit and corruption of the war but to hold them responsible for the needless war deaths on both sides.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006
 Choosing a kid's bike 
Here's a table of info on choosing a kid's bike.

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 A Literary Visitor Strolls in From the Airport 
The author Will Self likes to take long walks. He recently walked from Kennedy Airport to Manhattan:
“People don’t know where they are anymore, “ he said, adding: “In the post-industrial age, this is the only form of real exploration left. Anyone can go and see the Ituri pygmy, but how many people have walked all the way from the airport to the city?”
I feel that way about bike commuting. It's an adventure every day and it allows you to “know where they are”, not see the world passing by behind the window of a car. I got to know a lot about where I am yesterday. Our bicycle advocacy group is compiling a map of bike routes in Fairfax County.

I recently received a map on which some routes were drawn and I wanted to check them out. It was about a 40 mile journey, through Vienna, to George Mason Univ., and south to Burke, and back along the Fairfax County Parkway. On the return trip, my feet were so cold in the 30 degree weather that I had to walk the bike for a while to get the circulation going. It really did feel like an adventure, right here close to home.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006
 50 works of art 
A list of someone's idea of the 50 works of art to see before you die. I'm reading about one (the Sistine Chapel ceiling) and have a framed poster of another hanging on my wall (View of Delft). There are a few produced in the past 50 years, but not many. Probably my vote for the worst pick is Richard Serra's Torqued Ellipses. His huge steel plates seem to me to be the epitome of sterile modern art.

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 World map game 
Test your knowledge of countries of the world with this world map game.

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