Drive My Bike


Tour Of Utah
August 21, 2009, 2:25 pm
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The Tour of Utah has been going this week, and I’m excited to finally be able to catch some of the action in person. It is not often that we get to see pros like David Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, and others, who just rode in the Tour de France. Pretty cool! 

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My wife and I are planning to see Stage 3 tonight, at Miller Motorsports Park. It’s a 9.2 mile individual time trial stage. After the race is done they are going to open the course up to the public so that anyone that wants to bring their bike can ride the same course the pros just rode. Sounds like fun! (Other than the fact they are predicting the temperature over the asphalt could be 110F or more due to the hot day today. Yikes!)

Tomorrow a friend and I are planning on heading up to Snowbird in the afternoon to catch the finish of Stage 4, which is a pretty brutal 96 mile ride over several major mountain passes, ending with the 10 mile, 3300 vertical foot climb up to Snowbird.

Finally, I’m also hoping to catch some of the final stage on Sunday, which is a 90 minute criterium race in downtown Salt Lake.

This will be the first time I’ve been able to catch a bike race in person since I started biking a little over a year ago, and I’m pretty stoked!

If you’re a local then I’d encourage you to come on out and have some fun. I believe that all of the events are free to watch. Find out more info at the Tour of Utah website.



What Would It Be Like?

What would it be like if the majority of commuters rode bicycles?

Think about it…

What would happen to the environment?

What would happen to healthcare… obesity… nutrition?

What would happen to our stress level?

What would happen to our sense of community?

Obviously bike commuting doesn’t work for everyone…

But what if it worked for most of us?

As you can see from the video, it is possible.

Thanks to Bike Commuters and Kona.



Another Terrible Reminder To Be Careful
August 18, 2009, 9:43 am
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There’s another horrible auto-cyclist accident in the news this morning.

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A driver in Texas, who was apparently drunk, hit a cyclist, who went through the car’s back window, and ended up in the back seat. The driver then drove home and tried to hide the vehicle, with the cyclist still in the back seat! A relative found the car and called 911, but the cyclist was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – A driver accused of slamming head-on into a bicyclist, who was left in the car’s back seat after he toppled over the roof and crashed through the rear window, was jailed Monday on an intoxication manslaughter charge.

Vincent Paul Riojas, 27, is accused of hitting Ronnie Monroe Keller, 59, on Saturday in Grand Prairie, a suburb of Dallas where both men lived. Investigators said Riojas was driving on Texas 180 when he drifted into oncoming traffic.

The impact hurled Keller into the windshield of the car and flipped him over the roof before he crashed through the rear window, investigators said.

Riojas drove from the scene to his home and apparently tried to hide the car in a side yard before fleeing, according to a police statement released Monday.

Riojas’ relatives found Keller critically injured in the car and called police. Keller was dead when he arrived at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

Quoted from MSNBC

This just serves as a reminder that no matter how careful we are when we ride our bicycles, we still have to constantly be on guard for things beyond our control.

Be alert. Ride safe.



All About Performance… HaHaHa
August 12, 2009, 8:43 am
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Wow… a year ago I wouldn’t even have understood this video… but now, even my wife found it hilarious!

If you don’t get it, don’t worry. Keep learning about bikes and bike culture and you’ll eventually find it funny.

Yes, I guess bicyclists are pretty weird… and yeah… now I’m one of them. 🙂

Thanks to Cyclelicious for this.



Denied
July 30, 2009, 3:19 pm
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This morning I had a great ride to the office. It was cooler this morning than it has been for a long time, and even though I pushed the speed, I felt strong, and I wasn’t overly tired when I got there. Then I got to the office…

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…and realized I had forgotten my keys and wallet!

I was the first one at the office, so without my keys I was locked out. Doh!

I did have my cell phone, so I was able to handle a couple of appointments I had scheduled, but then I just had to sit and wait for someone else to show up to let me in. I figured I’d take the picture above to commemorate the moment.

Oh well, at least it was a nice morning to be stuck sitting outside. 🙂



And So It Is Over
July 27, 2009, 4:12 pm
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This was the first year that I ever cared much about the Tour de France, and it sure was fun to watch the race play out each day. Thee weeks of getting up early to watch, or setting up Tivo. Three weeks of checking the standings. Three weeks of wondering if Lance will pull it off. Three weeks… and now it is over.

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When the tour started three weeks ago, I had no idea what I was in for. I knew the Tour was the most famous bicycle race in the world, and that Lance Armstrong was making his comeback, and I knew it was a big deal, but that was about it.

Well, in the last three weeks I have learned more about the Tour de France, and bicycle racing in general, than I ever could have imagined. Words like “Peloton”, “Breakaway”, “Attack”, and “Stage” now roll effortlessly off my tongue. I even know who Phil and Paul are. 🙂

What a race it was! It was exciting each day to see the unique elements of that day’s stage, and to begin to understand the strategies that each team was going to try. I learned all about the unique scoring of the different stages, and why certain riders chose to pursues different goals.

On the final day it was beautiful to watch the peloton roll into Paris, and to see the tradition play out as Team Astana took the front and “protected” their leader. Then there was that final sprint… wow… so much speed!

It was great fun!

I now consider myself an avid cyclist and have put in a lot of miles over the last year. I have a great deal of respect for all of the riders in the Tour. Just getting to that level of athletic ability is something that few in this world can hope to achieve. Then, when I watch guys like Lance Armstrong, Andy Schleck, and Alberto Contador conquer something like Mont Ventoux on Stage 20 with so much power and control, I am simply amazed.

It was great to see Lance do so well in his comeback bid. I know that some are disappointed that he didn’t win the overall, but for a guy his age who has been “retired” for so long, I think he did an incredible job. Based on the announcement of his plans for Team Radio Shack, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lance at the top of the podium next year.

You can be sure that I’ll be watching.

(Photo courtesy of hyku)



Saturday Morning Canyon Ride
July 18, 2009, 8:58 pm
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This morning Dave and I road to the top of Emigration Canyon, a beautiful canyon in the northeast corner of the Salt Lake Valley. We started at about 6:15am, and it was a wonderful way to begin a Saturday. Who is Dave you ask? Well that’s another story…

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Last Thursday evening I was sitting around the house and I just got kind of restless. I should have been really tired because I had done an intense spinning class that morning, and those usually completely wipe me out, but for some reason I just wanted to go for a ride. I decided to keep it simple, so I didn’t change into biking clothes, I just grabbed my helmet, announced my intentions to my family, and headed out the door. I didn’t really want to go far, I just wanted to get out and enjoy the night. I couldn’t decide on a good route, so I just started weaving through the neighborhood, and I eventually ended up on the road that is my main route for my commute to the office.

It was about 9:30pm, and was getting dark. As I pulled onto the main road I noticed another bicyclist a block or so in front of me. He was easy to spot because he had two really good red flashers on the back of his bike, and he was wearing a bright flashing headlight on his helmet. With a lighting setup like this I figured he was an experienced rider, so I decided to catch up with him and say hello.

As I got closer he must have sensed me coming up behind him because he pulled over to the right a bit to allow me to pass. (I later learned this was because he wears a good rear view mirror on his glasses.) I pulled alongside and said “How’s it going?”. That’s pretty much my standard greeting to other riders, and within a few seconds I can usually tell if the person is friendly and interested in talking at all.

Well, he was definitely in the friendly camp, and he responded in kind. We started talking about the weather and how it had finally cooled off a bit that night so that it was pleasant to ride again. He said he usually rides in the morning, but he had some schedule changes so he was trying to get a ride in that night. I shared that I had only been riding for about a year, but that it had become quite a passion of mine. I asked how long he had been riding, and how often he rides. He said he had been riding for probably 20 years or so, and got started when he lived in Europe. He mentioned that his son is training for a triathlon and so the two of them usually go for longer rides on Saturday mornings. I mentioned that I had been riding on Saturday mornings lately, and had been trying to find people to ride with. I mentioned that I had been doing more challenging rides lately, and had successfully ridden up Traverse Mountain, but had been thwarted by the heat when I attempted to ride Big Cottonwood Canyon a week later. We continued our biking discussion, over a few miles, and a few stops for red lights. He mentioned that he was getting close to home in a few blocks.

Then a curious thing happened. He said, “Well I would ride Emigration Canyon with you this Saturday morning.”

It kind of caught me off guard, and my initial reaction was to decline the offer, but for some reason I found myself saying “Yeah, I would meet you for that. What time?”

“How about 6:30? There’s a little dirt turn off at the mouth of the canyon, and we can meet there.”

“Okay. Sounds good. By the way, my name’s Scott.”

“I’m Dave. Do you have a phone number?”

I got his phone number, we shook hands, and agreed once again to meet at 6:30am on Saturday. Dave pedaled off one way, and I went the other.

It was done. I had just agreed to meet a stranger, that I knew little about, to go on a ride that I knew little about, early Saturday morning. That felt a little crazy.

All day Friday I was stewing on this, and a few times I pondered ways I could call and tell Dave that I would have to cancel: Family obligations, Too tired, blah blah blah. I’m glad that I didn’t do that.

Needless to say, we did meet this morning, and it was a great ride. We talked about all kinds of things on the 45 minute ride up the canyon. We reached the top a little after 7:00am, and paused for a few minutes to rehydrate. There were some folks up there enjoying the morning view, and one of them shot the picture at the top of this post. Then we saddled up again, and enjoyed the exhilarating 20 minute ride back down at about 40 miles per hour.

Oh, and one more thing about Dave. He’s 63 years old. When he told me this I was shocked, because when I met him that night I would have guessed he was in his early fifties. Not only is he an avid cyclist, but he also water skis, and does serious rock climbing. (By serious I mean… he backpacks in, climbs over 1000 feet to a summit, climbs down, backpacks out… yeah, serious!).

I hope that I’m that full of life when I’m 63 years old.

I would never have met Dave if I hadn’t started riding my bike to work a little over a year ago. Nor would I have ever known how cool the bicycle community can be, a community where two strangers can meet, and in a few minutes have enough in common to decide to meet up for an early morning ride. It reminded me once again why I love riding my bike.

Dave, if you read this, thanks for sharing a great ride with me this morning!



Enjoy A Ride This Holiday Weekend

As you celebrate this Independence Day, I hope that you’ll be able to get out and enjoy a bike ride “just for fun”.

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There are lots of things happening this weekend. America is celebrating Independence Day. The Tour de France begins. People will be taking time off and celebrating.

The gym that we belong to is putting together a group ride on Saturday that sounds like a lot of fun. It’s mainly for the holiday weekend, but they are also taking advantage of the Tour de France coverage. The gym will have the live coverage of the Tour de France first stage setup on the big screen, and a group will be getting together in the morning to watch the race together. Afterwards we’ll all hop on our bikes, and ride a timed 15km “stage” of our own, ending at a local bike shop, where there will be prizes and free stuff given out.

I think that sounds like a lot of fun, and I’m really looking forward to riding with a group, as well as the fun of some friendly competition, and of course I’m always one to enjoy free stuff. Also, since I’ve only been into bicycling for the last year, this is the first time that I’ve really been interested in watching the Tour de France. I’m excited to be in a room with a bunch of other bicycle geeks to see how Lance Armstrong and the other riders will do.

I was told by the event organizer that this get together is not just for gym members, so non-members are welcome to join the fun. If any of you Utah riders are interested, the event will be at Lifetime Fitness, 10996 River Front Pkwy, in South Jordan. The Tour de France coverage should start around 8 or so, and the ride should start around 9-9:30. I plan on getting there by 8. I have no idea how many people will be showing up, but if you read this and decide to be there then I’d love to meet you. I’ll be riding a white Rocky Mountain road bike, and I’ll probably have a blue and white jersey on. I’ll also probably be wearing my Keen commuter sandals. Hopefully that narrows things down a bit. 🙂

Whatever you do this weekend, have a safe time, and I hope that you can get out and enjoy a fun ride.



Hot Weather, But Good Company
June 29, 2009, 4:51 pm
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I left the office a little earlier than usual today, and as I was about merge from the parking ramp onto the main road another cyclist came pedaling by. I decided I would try to catch up and say hello.

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The days are getting hotter and it was in the low 90’s when I headed home today. In spite of the heat, I decided that I was going to relax and enjoy my ride home, so when I saw this other bicyclist I figured I would see if he was up for some friendly conversation. I caught up with this fellow, and he had headphones on, but when I said hello he greeted my back. I commented on the heat, and a few other things, and we eventually struck up a good conversation. I asked where he was headed, and he said he was in college and heading to some night classes at an extension campus that was not too far from where I live. He asked what I did, and then we talked about my work and his schooling, and what he wanted to do in life. We talked about bikes, and he admired Jake’s bike that I was riding. I explained that I was just babysitting it for a friend who was in Africa for a year. This intrigued him so he asked a bit more about Jake and how that worked.

Our conversation continued, and it made the time pass quickly. Before I knew it we were at the place where I would go left and he would go right. He still didn’t know exactly where he was going, so I told him I would ride there with him. I figured it was no too far out of my way, I could use the extra miles, and I was actually really enjoying the company.

Soon, he got to his school, and I doubled back and went home. It was a nice ride, and I sure noticed the heat once he was gone and I didn’t have the conversation to distract me.

The timing of this is funny because just this afternoon I was emailing with a regular reader, Bobby D, and was telling him how I never get to ride with anyone else. Little did I know that just an hour or so later I was going to meet Jason, and we were going to have a nice ride together.

if you read this Jason, then know that I really enjoyed the ride with you, and it certainly made my ride go faster. Thanks and I hope we meet up again some time!



Accidents Are Happening… Stay Alert… Ride Safely!
June 24, 2009, 10:20 am
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As I left the office yesterday afternoon I noticed that the traffic was backed up more than it usually is, and I could see emergency vehicles up ahead.

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As I got closer I realized that the emergency vehicles were located mostly on the shoulder, not in the main traffic lanes. The fire truck and EMT vehicles pulled away as I got closer, and I pondered how I was going to weave my way through the police cars that remained. One of the policemen got into his vehicle and began to move, so I slowed down and waited for him as he pulled further out of traffic. Suddenly I noticed that there was a bicycle on the shoulder, with a completely crumpled front wheel! I was still trying to make my way through the police and onlookers, as well as the line of cars, so I couldn’t really pause to take it all in, but I noticed the cyclist sitting on the tailgate of a pickup. He looked like he was okay, and I didn’t notice any blood or scrapes, so I’m thinking that he must have been able to bail out before the vehicle hit him. If I had it to do over again I would have probably stopped and tried to talk to the cyclist or get some pictures, but I was so flustered by all of this that I just got clear of the accident and kept on pedaling.

There have been several accidents between cars and cyclists in our town as things have warmed up and more people have been riding,but seeing something like this on my regular route shook me up a bit. Even though I didn’t know the person that got hit, It just made it a lot more personal that this was a guy whom I could easily meet on any given day as we made our commutes.

In fact, it could have been me.

When I got home I found out that there had been another accident downtown earlier in the day, and the cyclist was killed. It sounds like this was just a freak thing, because the driver was diabetic and apparently went into diabetic shock and had no idea that she had even hit anyone.

That is scary.

We as bicyclists have to remember that we can do everything possible to be visible…

  • lights
  • reflective gear
  • bright clothing
  • taking the lane
  • knowing the rules of the road
  • etc.

…but even well intentioned drivers can still have situations which put us at risk!

When you got your driver’s license you were probably taught “defensive driving”. This is basically staying aware of your surroundings, and anticipating what the other drivers are doing, and being ready to respond if something goes wrong.

When you ride your bike be sure you practice “defensive riding”. Enjoy your ride, but stay alert! Always be aware of your surroundings. Don’t assume that drivers can see you. Make sure that your bike is in good condition to ride. Check your brakes, tires, quick releases, etc.

Bicycling is a wonderful thing when done right. Please do your part to ride safely.