Archive for January, 2008


One day at work I ate a lot of donuts. Thing is, I don’t remember how many. It was more than eight and less than twelve. I think. Not a great story but that is not important. What is important is donuts. Who Needs Donuts? That is the question and it was ably answered back in the early seventies by Mark Alan Stamaty in his book Who Needs Donuts?

Cover Image From

Cody recently got this book from the library and it is a hoot! The drawings are super detailed and fantastic. Each page is packed with strange critters and donuts, of course. The story is short and easy and I should think that with a bit of arm twisting this would be every kids favorite book. You can read a recent interview with the author where he explains himself. Find the book and have a look, donut forget!


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Call Me Milk Bone

Went skiing today. The tracks did not start at my front door but the exercise did. I hooked up the Super-Toober to the Touring Townie and rolled over to the Ashton course to skate ski. I have already confided that I am a poor skate skier but I have the equipment and the snow is looking to get sloppy so I thought I should give it a try. I rode over Ashton and headed out. It was not freshly groomed but was still way better than Hickory Hill. I love going skiing at the groomed places because I see lots of people I know. Today I bumped into some Team Skin folk and a graduate student and I saw lots of other people out. I skied two complete loops and two trips out to the mall and back. JMC told me it is 5 miles per so I think that is the furthest I have ever skated in one go! I felt okay, crashed just twice and met a nice man who gave me some pointers. I also got bit by a dog.

It was a ridiculous situation, two people with a dog that had previously barked at me in a vicious manner had the dog on a leash but let go of it. As I approached from behind I called out “excuse me” from about 10 yards back as I am a share the multi-use path kind of guy but they did not budge. I double poled by and was not surprised when their dog charged me but was surprised when it punctuated its barking by biting my knee. I yelled, the dog ran off and they blamed me for the incident! I told them they needed to have the dog on a leash and as they picked up the trampled and clearly snow covered leash they told me that it was. I told them that was crap and they started to leave. I got them to stop so I could check and see if the bite had broken skin and they did but all the while assured me that this was my fault. I told them not to blame the victim and we engaged in a bit more arguing. No skin was broken so I let them go but that was not cool. I mostly feel bad for the dog. I am all for nice and well behaved dogs off leash but if your dog has issues you need to deal with it and care for it. If this dog does bite someone badly it will be the end of the dog and that is not right.

It was still a beautiful day and I had some great skiing.  I hope to get out again tomorrow.  Maybe I will see you out there!

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Mid Winter Meltdown

Its cold out there.  Not Duluth, MN cold but still very cold.  Our cats are getting pretty grumpy about it.  The skiing is good, though!  Lots of snow down.   Went out a few nights ago as the full moon was rising and it was one of those moments to live for I tell ya, skiing over fresh sparkly snow with that glowing orb hanging overhead.

I love winter and mostly if I am complaining about it I am just after more of it, not less.  The ski season is unpredictable in Iowa and the snowshoe season does not really exist.  We get out as we can and take what we get and even as I  love the season I still find myself day dreaming about warmer times, and this morning I scrounged up a few pictures of summer bike touring that got me all excited to get back to it.

My first non-supported (RAGBRAI/TOMRV) tour was in 2003 as near as I can figure and this was  my rig.  I bought this Motobecane  for either 10 or 15 dollars (we never could remember) from a friend and he threw in the rack for free.   I rode it just as I got it but for pedals, saddle, bottle cages and aero brake levers.  Plus, as a tacky bonus I went with the “freedom” cork tape.  I got to EP the bags through the shop I was working at and off I went!

I camped in Montezuma and then rode to Des Moines to meet my spiritual advisor who had agreed to ride his Motobecane along with me.  We spent a couple of days aiming for

RAGBRAI and had some fine adventures along the way.  Covered bridges, small town bachelorette parties, bar bathroom showers and close encounters with cow pies.  Pretty

standard Iowa bike touring situations.  As soon as I saw our friends support van the first morning of Ragby proper I threw my bags in it right quick but my interest in touring had been born!  Now I have taken a few other tours, the longest was 10 days.  Cody also

enjoys this mode of travel and we have learned a lot about equipment and bikes and such, making due with our road or cross bikes and even having a go on a loaded tandem this past summer.  We both built touring specific bikes but have yet to use them for that purpose.  Once the snow is gone and the seasons have changed we should be cyclo-tourists once again but for now we have only our memories and some more skiing to do.

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Dr King Day, Hooray!

Monday our Nation honored Martin Luther King, jr by giving folks a day off. It is easy for cynics to say that such an act misses the very message that he promoted but that argument misses the message, too.

A holiday honors the man and brings his legacy back to the fore yearly. It is an opportunity to educate people about his work and the things he helped accomplish. Those already in the know (excepting those that have to work, its not a holiday for all of course) must make a decision about how to spend the day. Go to the mall and shop for the perfect outfit to wear to yoga class? Ski? Watch the tv? Get blotto?

Many people choose to make the world a better place and help their fellow human by volunteering on Martin Luther King Day. Here in Iowa City the U of I organizes a civic engagement program that organizes volunteers all over Iowa City with various groups that need help. The Bike Library has participated the past two years and this year we hosted eight people and got them to do our dirty work!

It was a full house as we had 3 wranglers and 8 helpers

Lots got done, many wheels dismantled for salvage, lots of kids bikes rearranged and a few parted out for hot rod projects, lots of cleaning and organizing of the computer files and the parts bins. A fine day I must say and the Bike Library is ready to open for the 2008 season!

Big thanks to Cody (Now back on the web!) and 20¢ for their help

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DM Smack Up & Down

The trip to Des Moines is in the books. Bikes were summited and Tarik was well met. We left Iowa City early Thursday morning to check out the action at the Capital building but a winter storm stopped us cold (heh, heh) and we retreated to wait for safer and sunnier travel. Made it over in the afternoon and found that no one from the Des Moines cycling community had shoveled Kim’s driveway or sidewalk! Come on people, the man has a broken clavicle! Of course he would not do the same for you but you can bet he will get you out of jail when you find yourself in so please, help a brother out! I shoveled the walks and drives.

Not much to do so Cody and I walked to the Art Center and looked over the pretty pictures. Friday the action hotted up. Coffee. Met Tarik at the airport. Lunch. Coffee.

Very cold walk in the woods around the Art Center. Got Tarik settled in at Chad and Dorothys and had a nice dinner and beer drinking experience.

Saturday we dropped in on the Iowa Bicycle Coalition Bike Summit and spent a few

hours learning about Safe Routes to School and bike racks and the like. Took a short

break in the afternoon and then went down to Bike Night. It was a good time, about 1oo

people there. Talked with some IBC heavyweights and had a beer at the Locust tap with Cody and Jen and Scott Sumpter and Luggs and Kyle Robinson, too.

Tarik’s talk was great, if you missed it you owe it to yourself to see it someday, if you

saw it long will you think back on it and smile. Much thanks to the IBC for bringing him and to Tarik for coming! Another beer at the super smoky Locust Tap wrapped the evening up.

Sunday morning we had one last group coffee date before we left for Iowa City. Tarik spent his afternoon being ably cared for by Chad and Dorothy before returning home to New Mexico and I give them my sincerest thanks for being great hosts. It was a great weekend in Des Moines and bicycling will be better for it, trust me!

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The Hours

Its been a good week of training around here this week.  I have been happy to roll out some safe and sane miles with Brian.  Some paved, some gravel, and today we hit lots of snowmobile trails.  They were in fabulous shape with some snow and ice and some bare sections.  We were both on our single speeders and the large and knobby tires felt very nice out there.  Brian is rolling 2.3’s!  My little 1.5 slick on the rear looked a little bit, well – little.  Very fun ride at 3 and 1/2 hours and with a few 2 hour rides and a couple of one hour hikes in the past few days I am sitting on 12 hours of the aerobic stuff in the past five days.  Yeah!

But now I am off to Des Moines for a few days to make riding in Iowa safer and better and more legal for everyone and I probably will not get much riding done as the temps are projected to be around zero and I am not taking skis.  It will be good to spend time with the rapidly healing Mr Mystery West and at long last meet Tarik.  You should, too!

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Don’t Throw MY Vote Away

The other day I rode my bike downtown to do something or other and I saw a big dumpster full of office furniture. It caught my eye because it was in the street taking up a few of Iowa City’s valuable parking spaces. These parking spaces are right in front of the office building that used to house the local offices of the many presidential campaigns we had just endured.

I skipped over to take a look and shucks, that furniture looks fine and usable and covered in Hillary Clinton bumper stickers! Yeah team, you are going to change the world!

Hillary has a bold and comprehensive plan to address America’s energy and environmental challenges that will establish a green, efficient economy and create as many as five million new jobs.

Hooray, that sounds good, but thats not all! More from Hillary:

We can empower individuals with new tools and technology to lead the green revolution one home, one car and one business at a time. These choices determine the energy we use, the carbon we emit, and the world we leave for our children. I believe, when called upon, Americans will choose a clean energy future. This generation can become the Greenest Generation. We only need to light a spark – and that’s what I’ll do as president.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle? Hillary and her campaign are 0 for 3 on that basic environmental mantra.  This sort of stuff is really upsetting.  A dumpster full of functional office furniture and supplies will forever rest in our landfill.  Way to light that Green Generation spark, Hillary.  You stink.




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