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Wednesday, July 25, 2007
 Tour de France leader Rasmussen fired 
What a surreal day in the Tour de France. Michael Rasmussen, the current leader of the Tour and the winner of today's stage, was fired today by his team and has left the tour. Discovery Channel rider Alberto Contador is now the leader, with his teammate Levi Leipheimer now in third place. Rasmussen is suspected of using illegal techniques after the recent revelation that he was not training in Mexico earlier this year when he missed a random blood test; he was in Italy.

Phil Liggett reported that “former Italian Champion, Christian Moreni, had tested positive during a spot check on Stage 11 for synthetic testosterone. Moreni finished this afternoon and was then taken away by handcuffs by French police.” It was also reported that Moreni admitted his use of the drug and decided not to ask for a second test. All of this on top of the news yesterday that Vinokourov tested positive for blood doping.

What a sad, sad day.

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 Brooklyn Critical Mass 
Many cyclists dislike the idea of critical mass rides. Most of them are chaotic and cyclists who participate tend to enjoy antagonizing motorists. I can't say that I blame them; for once the streets should belong for us for a couple of hours and we don't care what you think. While I can understand the sentiment, I realize that the rides often do more harm than good. Many cyclists are arrested at some of the rides, with police who seem to want to bust a few cyclists heads.

The Brooklyn Critical Mass is the exception. The organizers have the cooperation of the police, who help them select routes and who ride along, some on bikes. On StreetFilms (Filming the New York City Streets Renaissance) there's a video of recent Brooklyn Critical Mass ride.

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 Watching the Tour 
It's times like this that it's good to have a wireless capable computer and a home wireless network, as I sit in the kitchen watching the finish of the last mountain stage of the tour, live on Versus network. Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin are the best commentators in the business. As the significant other said the other night, they could make watching paint dry seem exciting. Phil is writing a blog, including an entry yesterday about Vinokourov testing positive for blood doping.

The U.S. Discovery Channel team is doing great with Popovich now leading the pack up the last climb, getting ready for his teammate Contodor to make the final break for the top, and Levi Leipheimer in fourth behind the leader, Rasmussen.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007
 Bike Virginia 2007 
Finally got around to posting a trip report from our July ride with Bike Virginia. It was the 20th anniversary tour, returning to Williamsburg, where the first tour was held and the location of the headquarters of BikeWalk Virginia, which now organizes the tour.

As I was posting the report I noticed that our Bike Virginia 2005 report wasn't linked to my reports page, so I've added it as well.

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 VDOT crew blocking trail 
VDOT has a policy to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians in all their projects. The word doesn't seem to have filtered down to their road crews, who regularly block sidewalks and trails with their signs and trucks. The sidewalk in these photos was just completed and now VDOT seems to think it was built for them to park their vehicles. The following day they blocked the sidewalk with one of their signs, while they wreaked havoc further down the road. Luckily the trail at their new workplace was far enough away from the road that it couldn't be used as their parking spot.

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Friday, July 13, 2007
 Post article on Congressman Oberstar 
Entitled A Representative for the Riders, the Post recently published an article about Congressman Oberstar's efforts to provide some basic facilities for bicyclists at airports. Seems like a reasonable idea given the number of people who work at airports, some of whom would like to be able to ride to work, not to mention those Bike Friday cyclists who want to ride to the airport with their suitcase trailers, pack up their bikes, and do the reverse when they land.

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I discovered the bicycle paintings of Taliah Lempert a while back, I think while viewing photos of bikes at Fixed Gear Gallery. I love her paintings. She has a great color sense and is a good draftsman (draftsperson? It seems that woman draftsman is more common. Anyway she draws well). About all that I can afford are her postcards.

If you click on her studio link, you can check out the progress of her current work, and see images in progress of her earlier work. The image at the right is my initial attempt at a drawing of my current wheels, the Bike Friday New World Tourist. The vignetting is from applying filters in GIMP to try to highlight the now-faint pencil lines.

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 Hincapie 5th in Tour 
After 5 stages, George Hincapie is in 5th place, 43 seconds behind the leader, Fabian Cancellara. His teammate Levi Leipheimer is not far behind, in 22nd place, 1 minute behind the leader.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007
 Bicycle sales vs. Car sales 
18.2 million bicycles were sold in 2006. 12.7 million cars and trucks were sold that year, over half of which were trucks. And yet we spend about 1% of our transportation budget on facilities for bikes.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007
 U.S. gas consumption per day 
When was the last time you heard the words "conserve gasoline" from this administration. I think it was in 2001 when Cheney was discussing his energy task force report and he was asked about conservation. He said something like “it may be a sign of good personal virtue, but it was no basis for energy policy.” As opposed to most, he likely sees nothing wrong with this chart.

After a quick search, I see I'm wrong. Bush mentioned it in his own convoluted way in 2005:
[W]e can all pitch in by using -- by being better conservers of energy. I mean, people just need to recognize that the storms have caused disruption, and that if they're able to maybe not drive when they -- on a trip that's not essential, that would be helpful.
It was noted in the article on his speech that this contradicts Cheney's earlier statement and the rather consistent disregard of conservation of fuel during the entire administration.

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 Cruisin' on the beach 
Down here at the beaches in Jacksonville most people use their cruiser bikes to get around. 1st Street runs from Atlantic Beach through Jacksonville Beach nearly all the way to Ponte Vedre Beach. It's a block or two from and parallel to the water. It has two-way traffic without any painted lane markings. It's blocked for through motor traffic with cut throughs for cyclists and others. It's pretty much a free for all on the weekends, with cyclists dominating. Anyone driving a car on the road yields to everyone else, even at four way stops. I've tried to stop and let cars pass, but they all insist on letting bikes go through first. They're surprised when a cyclist stops. Running stop signs isn't a good habit to get into, but it feels great to always have the right of way.

My usual ride is about 10 miles from Atlantic Beach to Ponte Vedre and back. There are always interesting sights along the way. There is quite a collection of beach bums, surfers, tourists, etc. riding and walking, especially in the summer. The road is mostly deserted in the winter.

Most everyone rides a crank-forward single speed with swept back handlebars, cruising at about 10 mph. It's easy to get into that crusing groove. I need to get a bottle holder on my handlebars so that I fit in with the locals. Of course my Bike Friday wouldn't be mistaken for a local bike no matter what I did.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007
 Support Our President Sale 
As seen at Dulles Airport. Guess the presidential memorabilia isn't selling too well these days. The pink First Lady glasses case isn't doing too well either.

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Friday, July 06, 2007
 Bogota's bicycling mayor 
According to this article on the mayor of Bogota, Columbia, he had a choice when he came to power a few years ago:
“A city can be friendly to people or it can be friendly to cars, but it can't be both,” the new mayor announced. He shelved the highway plans and poured the billions saved into parks, schools, libraries, bike routes and the world's longest “pedestrian freeway.”

He increased gas taxes and prohibited car owners from driving during rush hour more than three times per week. He also handed over prime space on the city's main arteries to the Transmilenio, a bus rapid-transit system based on that of Curitiba, Brazil.

Bogotans almost impeached their new mayor. Business owners were outraged. Yet by the end of his three-year term, Mr. Peñalosa was immensely popular and his reforms were being lauded for making Bogota remarkably fairer, more tolerable and more efficient.
We can do the same here. Why don't we?

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Monday, July 02, 2007
 Infographics done by Megan Jaegerman for the NY Times 
Thanks to Kottke for the reference to the Edward Tufte site in which he praises the infographics of Megan Jaegerman in the NY Times. I especially like the graphics for Life: Start here and Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation: A Timeline. Also, the relapse curve for quitting smoking is rather sobering; the overall success rate after 5 years is 15%. Tell that to all your high school friends who smoke.

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