Bicycle Diaries: October 2008

Recent Posts


Sturmey-Archer Dyno Hubs

where have
they've gone?

Answer #1

Answer #2

Any more?

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Halloween critical mass

de los Muertos

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Bike Kill 2008

on the wacky, wacky streets
of New York City

The NYTimes once described it as
a carnivalesque assortment of voodoo top hats, orange jumpsuits, bunny ears, Mexican wrestling masks and a Pee-wee Herman doppelgänger waving from his Schwinn cruiser.
Whitnesses assert that it's the greatest, craziest gathering of misfit bike gangs and whimsical wheelmen/women. Over last weekend, the infamous Black Label Bike Club, hosted several hundred Situationists who participated in everything from tall bike jousting to six-pack drinking contests.

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The banking crisis

75 years ago...

And in the capable hands of then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt:
You people must have faith; you must not be stampeded by rumors or guesses. Let us unite in banishing fear. We have provided the machinery to restore our financial system, and it is up to you to support and make it work.

It is your problem, my friends, your problem no less than it is mine.

Together we cannot fail.

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Vampire power

will suck
you dry

Trick-or-treating this Friday? Be afraid ... very, very afraid! Halloween poses more risks than ghoulies, ghastlies, and ghosts. While your out, your cell phone charger will be burning up power even if you have the phone with you. Your sleeping computer will be doing the same, as will your your modem and wireless system. Even your innocent TV, with that little red light keeping your remote control company, will be using electricity. What's happening?

Vampire power sucks
17-25 % of your household electricity.

It can add up to 10% of your monthly electric bill.

It costs US homes and businesses
an estimated $1 - $3.5 billion annually.

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A February surprise?

a time of testing

Jason Sudeikis as Senator Joe Biden on Saturday Night Live:
Mark my words. If you take away nothing else from what I say here today, or indeed, in this entire campaign, remember this. If Barack Obama is elected, we will have a crisis. And when this crisis hits, and it will, in the second week of February, we may do some weird things. We may cede Florida back to Spain, or Alaska to the Russians. We may blow up every nuclear power plant in the country. We may set fire to Washington D.C.. We may round up all French-Canadians. But don't lose faith. It's all part of a plan. (see someone else in the crowd) Hey! There's Pat Reardon, a great assistant D.A. here in Greene County! Good to see ya, Pat!

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Nuff sed

stick with it...

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Winter's on the way

the respite)

...and so is bike abuse!

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

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The true angels of Nottingham

or why
I'm a velopunk

Only barbarians are not curious about where they come from, how they came to be where they are, where they appear to be going, whether they wish to go there, and if so, why, and if not, why not.
The very desire for guarantees that our values are eternal and secure in some objective heaven is perhaps only a craving for the certainties of childhood or the absolute values of our primitive past.
Isaiah Berlin

I was reminded of the quotes above by two encounters over the last few days. First, an old friend and colleague came to town for business. We got together for drinks and our usual wide-ranging conversation drifted into leisure activities. He expressed good-natured shock when I mentioned my velopunk exploits with the nattily clad gentleman cyclists, even going as far as to warn me of the likely diminution of my manliness. I hesitated to assert a robust commitment to biking might just be the thing for reducing his own rather overly amble manliness. Instead, I smiled and wandered into another topic.

A little later, a fellow velopunk and gentleman cyclist sent me an email about my recent post, How the angels built bikes. He suggested I look at a couple of websites featuring photos of Nottingham's vanished bike industry. In contrast to the Ray Teece's wonderful photo essay of Raleigh industries architecture, Chris Richards's Raleigh Photographs (from which this post's photos are borrowed) focuses more on the true angels who built our worthy steeds. For example, the men in white (above) are the Raleigh Industries Cricket Team. It's now sadly absent as a worthy, working-class opponent for the more toffy Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club.

So in a delayed response to my old friend & colleague: isn't amazing that there's a rare species of bike enthusiasts who do not simply retire to the garage, basement, or workshop to bask in the glow of their iron bitches? Who instead bask in the glow of their own sweaty brows and in the warmth of their woolen togs during the semi-annual rites of lightweight touring. We, who risk the opprobrium of unsure families and uncomprehending friends as well as strangers, cagers, and pedestrians, cheerfully don breeks of tweed and socks of lengthy dimension to face the open road on lugged steel considerably older than ourselves.

...and each one built by men (and women), like those to the left. Few of us velopunks, whether of British extraction or inclination, despite an unfortunate accident of birth in the colonies, have met even one these true Angels of Nottingham. It fact, it's doubly unfortunate. Who amongst us hasn't scratched his considerably perspired noggin trying to figure out why the two sides of a front axle are threaded in opposite directions? What we wouldn't give for two or three hours of ale-inspired instruction from one or two of these wise craftsman.

More unfortunate, however, is the fading of their personal and collective histories. This is, I think, what has motivated Chris. This is a 1975 picture of his father, Harry. According to Chris, it as well as the others he has posted were taken by Terry Radford, who started at the Cycle Road 3-speed assembly shop as a youth in 1956. He knew my late father ... who looked after young Terry and the other apprentices in the factory. I must confess I get a little shivery thrill when I think that my original 1962 Robin Hood may have been built by one of these men. Certainly it's a shame that nearly all of the Raleigh Industries buildings are long gone beneath suburban redevelopment. That's where the 2nd Berlin quote comes in. To wit, [t]he certainties of childhood or the absolute values of our primitive past rarely survive. But that doesn't mean that a few stalwart velopunks can't remember and even celebrate the memories of such things. Besides, I've got to go and clean up the rusty chrome on my new acquisition, a 1930s Accels & Pollock Handlebar Stem.

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How the angels built bikes

Closed for nearly a decade, the Raleigh Industries building on Lenton Boulevard in Nottingham remains an empty, abandoned shell. But, thanks to Britisher, Ray Teece, we can still get a glimpse of the greatness that was on his website, The City of Nottingham at the Turn of the 21st Century. It was built between 1930 and 31 at the height of The Great Depression. But its architect, Cecil Howitt, softened the era's Modernist, monumental tendencies with small, almost unnoticeable Neo-Classical flourishes.

In photographing the building in its present state, Teece noticed a series of bronze plaques under the first floor windows on either side of the main entrance. These, not surprisingly, illustrate the manufacture of bikes from processing the components to the final finishing. What is surprising are the workers: pudgy, almost nude cherubs. Hopefully, these little gems won't end up on eBay. Perhaps, instead the Raleigh Industries building could become the focal point of pilgrimages for gentlemen and lady cyclists?

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A grumpy old gentleman

but a gentleman cyclist

The Fat Lad just pointed me towards another fine example of gentleman cyclist. Tlatet - Riding the World of Grumpy Old Men, is the wonderful blog of Gom1. Hailing from the Thames Valley in the UK, he introduces himself as [a]s a well-rounded man in his mid fifties, with a sedentary lifestyle, a number of unhealthy habits, and little previous history of physical effort. That, I believe, is the epitome of velopunk. While fascinated by all things bike, it is the practical aspects of our worthy steeds that we appreciate most. With his, Gom1 is
working on eliminating grumpy old men, one at a time, starting with myself ... I am now trundling around on a bike trying to get into better shape. This is a record of how I am doing. I hope you enjoy my ramblings.
What results are posts full of nifty details, both current and historical, about rolling the hills and dales of Merry Ole England. One concerns the 1889 edition of The Roads of England and Wales, a must-have road book for both gentlemen and lady cyclists. Another describes a recent ride Gom1 took following in the wheels of Charles G. Harper who in 1909 wrote Cycle Rides Round London. He even reaches across the Channel to highlight biking in the era before Lycra and the safety razor. So I definitely encourage all velopunks out there to take a look at this fine gentleman's bike blog!

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Celebrity roll, Part III

the dapper velopunk,
Jacki Chan

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A Wheel within a wheel

Frances Willard
discovers bikes

So she was for bikes: but against booze. Frances Willard was born in 1839. She led the Women’s Christian Temperance Union until her death in 1898. While she and the WCTU pushed Victorian ideas of the true woman she also pursued the grander demand for equal political rights. Her own private life was out of bounds. Willard expressed her sense of personal freedom late, during the last decade of her life, when she took up biking. In her book, A Wheel within a Wheel; How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle, she simply linked the growing popularity of biking with the freedom women should achieve over the world at large.
From my earliest recollections, and up to the ripe age of fifty-three, I had been an active and diligent worker in the world. This sounds absurd; but having almost no toys except such as I could manufacture, my first plays were but the outdoor work of active men and women on a small scale. Born with an inveterate opposition to staying in the house, I very early learned to use a carpenter’s kit and a gardener’s tools, and followed in my mimic way the occupations of the poulterer and the farmer, working my little field with a wooden plow of my own making, and felling saplings with an ax rigged up from the old iron of the wagon-shop. Living in the country, far from the artificial restraints and conventions by which most girls are hedged from the activities that would develop a good physique, and endowed with the companionship of a mother who let me have my own sweet will, I “ran wild” until my sixteenth birthday, when the hampering long skirts were brought, with their accompanying corset and high heels; my hair was clubbed up with pins, and I remember writing in my journal, in the first heartbreak of a young human colt taken from its pleasant pasture, “Altogether, I recognize that my occupation is gone.”

From that time on I always realized and was obedient to the limitations thus imposed, though in my heart of hearts I felt their unwisdom even more than their injustice. My work then changed from my beloved and breezy outdoor world to the indoor realm of study, teaching, writing, speaking, and went on almost without a break or pain until my fifty-third year, when the loss of my mother accentuated the strain of this long period in which mental and physical life were out of balance, and I fell into a mild form of what is called nerve-wear by the patient and nervous prostration by the lookers-on. Thus ruthlessly thrown out of the usual lines of reaction on my environment, and sighing for new worlds to conquer, I determined that I would learn the bicycle. . . .

Let me remark to any young woman who reads this page that for her to tumble off her bike is inexcusable. The lightsome elasticity of every muscle, the quickness of the eye, the agility of motion, ought to preserve her from such a catastrophe. I have had [only one] fall. . . . I have proceeded on a basis of the utmost caution, and aside from . . . one pitiful performance the bicycle has cost me hardly a single bruise.

They that know nothing fear nothing. Away back in 1886 my alert young friend, Miss Anna Gordon, and my ingenious young niece, Miss Katherine Willard, took to the tricycle as naturally as ducks take to water. . . . Remembering my country bringing-up and various exploits in running, climbing, horseback-riding, to say nothing of my tame heifer that I trained for a Bucephalus, I said to myself, “If those girls can ride without learning so can I!” Taking out my watch I timed them as they, at my suggestion, set out to make a record in going round the square. Two and a half minutes was the result. I then started with all my forces well in hand, and flew around in two and a quarter minutes. Not contented with this, but puffed up with foolish vanity, I declared that I would go around in two minutes; and, encouraged by their cheers, away I went without a fear till the third turning-post was reached, when the left hand played me false, and turning at an acute angle, away I went sidelong, machine and all, into the gutter, falling on my right elbow, which felt like a glassful of chopped ice, and I knew that for the first time in a life full of vicissitudes I had been really hurt. Anna Gordon’s white face as she ran toward me caused me to wave my uninjured hand and call out, “Never mind!” and with her help I rose and walked into the house, wishing above all things to go straight to my own room and lie on my own bed, and thinking as I did so how pathetic is that instinct that makes “the stricken deer go weep,” the harmed hare seek the covert.

Two physicians were soon at my side, and my mother, then over eighty years of age, came in with much controlled agitation and seated herself beside my bed, taking my hand and saying, “O Frank! you were always too adventurous.”

If I am asked to explain why I learned the bicycle I should say I did it as an act of grace, if not of actual religion. The cardinal doctrine laid down by my physician was, “Live out of doors and take congenial exercise”; but from the day when, at sixteen years of age, I was enwrapped in the long skirts that impeded every footstep, I have detested walking and felt with a certain noble disdain that the conventions of life had cut me off from what in the freedom of my prairie home had been one of life’s sweetest joys. Driving is not real exercise; it does not renovate the river of blood that flows so sluggishly in the veins of those who from any cause have lost the natural adjustment of brain to brawn. Horseback-riding, which does promise vigorous exercise, is expensive. The bicycle meets all the conditions and will ere long come within the reach of all. Therefore, in obedience to the laws of health, I learned to ride. I also wanted to help women to a wider world, for I hold that the more interests women and men can have in common, in thought, word, and deed, the happier will it be for the home. Besides, there was a special value to women in the conquest of the bicycle by a woman in her fifty-third year, and one who had so many comrades in the white-ribbon army that her action would be widely influential. . . .

It is needless to say that a bicycling costume was a prerequisite. This consisted of a skirt and blouse of tweed, with belt, rolling collar, and loose cravat, the skirt three inches from the ground; a round straw hat; and walking-shoes with gaiters. It was a simple, modest suit, to which no person of common sense could take exception.

As nearly as I can make out, reducing the problem to actual figures, it took me about three months, with an average of fifteen minutes' practice daily, to learn, first, to pedal; second, to turn; third, to dismount; and fourth, to mount independently this most mysterious animal. January 20th will always be a red-letter bicycle day, because although I had already mounted several times with no hand on the rudder, some good friend had always stood by to lend moral support; but summoning all my force, and, most forcible of all, what Sir Benjamin Ward Richardson declares to be the two essential elements—decision and precision—I mounted and started off alone. From that hour the spell was broken; Gladys was no more a mystery: I had learned all her kinks, had put a bridle in her teeth, and touched her smartly with the whip of victory. Consider, ye who are of a considerable chronology: in about thirteen hundred minutes, or, to put it more mildly, in twenty-two hours, or, to put it most mildly of all, in less than a single day as the almanac reckons time—but practically in two days of actual practice—amid the delightful surroundings of the great outdoors, and inspired by the bird-songs, the color and fragrance of an English posygarden, in the company of devoted and pleasant comrades, I had made myself master of the most remarkable, ingenious, and inspiring motor ever yet devised upon this planet.

Moral: Go thou and do likewise!

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Vote smarter

straight talk?

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Yet another bike test

how safe
is your bike?

How long does it take for an unchained bike to get stolen? Mariano Pasik, an Argentine publicist, thinks he knows the answer: about one hour. However, the safer the location, the longer will it take. Pasik recently decided to prove his hypothesis on the streets of Buenes Aires, a city of 12 million. Using cheap bikes and a hidden camera, he simply waited for the thieves to show up; all men, no women. Now he hopes others will join his nonprofit Bicycle Test project to create a worldwide insecurity index. He believes
...[i]t could become an informal crime gauge akin to the "Big Mac Index", which compares the cost of the same McDonald's sandwich in different countries to give an idea of buying power of people in different places...

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Dashing Tweeds

everything old
is new again

The BoyOnTheBicycle turned me on to a new velopunkish venture, Dashing Tweeds. It's Britain’s latest tweed textile company, offering classic quality clothing, created from a range of tweeds for the 21st century. Designed by photographer & biker, Guy Hills, and tweed weaver, Kirsty McDougall, the aim is to re-fashion tweed for our time. They first came together a few years back to develop a new fabric called Lumatwill. The fabric incorporates thin strips of 3M reflective yarn making it highly reflective, providing safety and dazzling effects for the wearer. Since Lumatwill incorporates Teflon, it is also completely waterproof. The wool makes it warm, breathable, and stylish.

Now they have have ready to wear garments as well as fabric for bespoke items. The Scooter Coat, designed by cutter Russell Howarth is based on the Household Cavalry greatcoat. The Scooter Coat is stylish and warm in the daytime and, at night, reflective and water repellent, providing a safe and elegant coat perfectly suited to the requirements of today’s urban environment. They also have the stylish capes for men and women created by award winning designers, and made on Savile Row.

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Celebrity roll, Part II

in the saddle

Back in March 08, I posted several pictures of celebs on bikes. I completely missed this one! Perhaps Bubba knows something about the future of our economic crisis that we don't? Actually,
[...] In the waning days of his presidency, Bill Clinton sat down with Vanity Fair to personally caption a selection of unpublished pictures taken by White House photographers. The diamond in the rough: this William Vasta shot of the commander in chief bicycling through the Old Executive Office Building during the taping of a video (later shown at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner) that satirized his idle hours as a lame duck. By William Vasta, 2000; Vanity Fair, December 2000; © William Vasta.

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No bikes allowed within

but we've come
a long way baby

The Chicago Journal, 8 July 1895, reports that Attorney John H. Breckinridge lost a court case that would've allowed him to bring his Penny-Farthing into The Fort Dearborn Building, on the southwest corner of Clark & Monroe. The attorney for the building's owner, The Galena Trust and Safety Vault Company, claimed that such a task [as lugging the large-wheeled bike into the elevator and up 12 floors] would overexert him, and if he is delicate, as is averred, it would be very greatly to injure his health.

While basing the case on the grounds of humanity, the building owner's attorney also cited the complaints for numerous tenants. They claimed in signed affidavits that neither the elevator nor the corridors were spacious enough for the conveyance of the aforementioned bike. Judge Payne, despite being somewhat of a wheelman himself, immediately decided the case in favor of The Galena Trust and Safety Vault Company:

Poetic justice for Mr. Breckinridge was not long in coming, however. Two years later the The Galena Trust and Safety Vault Company defaulted on the the $600,000 building's rents and taxes. Citing hard times and a lack of tenants, Judge Tuley placed The Fort Dearborn Building in the hands of a receiver. Perhaps a more bike-friendly owner would have prevented this???

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Pissed off in Kansas

or pissed on?

Former US Representative, Jim Slattery, is running for the US Senate against the Republican incumbent, Pat Roberts. State polls have him running far behind Roberts. So it isn't all that surprising that this new TV ad gets down and dirty by hosing Roberts's close associations with the oil industry.

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Bike speed test

is bike commuting
the quickest option?

It's commonly accepted wisdom here in The Windy City that getting around by bike is faster than driving or using mass transit. How much faster depends on the route, traffic conditions, as well as your overall willingness to flout city and state laws. Several weeks ago I did my own experiment when I put an out-of-town guest on the Brown Line at Belmont Avenue bound for Addison Street while I biked there. I showed up a good 10 minutes before he did.

Today, while rummaging around The NYTimes On-line Archives, I discovered a similar but decidedly more scientific experiment conducted here on 9 October 1937. It put up a biker against a taxi, The L, a private car, a horse, a bus, a street car, and a pedestrian. The course was a little more than a mile starting at Dearborn & Quincy and finishing at Halstead & Van Buren, southwest of the Loop. The results were impressive:

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Morals of wheelwoman

Chicago police captain
thinks bike use dangerous
for the ladies

Here's another charmer from an ancient relative's knickknacks. It appeared in The New York Times, 16 May 1889:
CHICAGO, May 15. -- The Rev. W.W. Reynolds, pastor of the Brightwood Methodist Church of Indianapolis, recently wrote to Capt. Luke Colleran, Chief of the Chicago Detective Department, inquiring if the use of the bicycle among women had affected their morality in any perceptible manner. Although not offering statistics, Capt. Colleran's reply deals with the subject in a positive manner. He writes:

"I am not an advocate of the use of the bicycle among women, when viewing it from a morality phase. Women of refinement and exquisite moral training addicted to the use of the bicycle are not infrequently thrown among the uncultivated and degenerate element of both sexes, whose coarse, boisterous, and immoral gestures are heard and seen while speeding along our streets and boulevards. Many doubtless escape the contamination, although the contagion be ever present.

"A large number of our female bicyclists wear shorter dresses than the laws of morality and decency permit, thereby inviting the improper conversations and remarks of the depraved and immoral. I most certainly consider the adoption of the bicycle by women as detrimental to the advancement of morality -- nay, even its stability. I have always entertained deep sympathy for the hosts of noble and honorable ladies, who while riding their wheels are frequently associated with women whose morality will not stand investigation and whose conversation is invariably coarse and undignified."

On being asked for an expression of opinion, Mrs. Charles Henrotin said:

"This Indianapolis minister must be very hard up for subjects. Perhaps he considers that he has conquered the devil in his own dominions and must go forth to conquer him in new fields. Why should cycling be restricted to men? I don't see that they have any superior rights in the matter. It is an exercise conducive to good health and good spirits, and certainly there is nothing improper in it."

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It's gonna' be close

Obama wins
even while
takes the battleground states

The map above comes from Electoral Vote. It's an interactive website that tracks the daily changes in the electoral college vote-spread between McCain and Obama. Each day it uses an algorithmic aggregation of national and state voter polls to create the map. The states are then designated as Strong, Weak, or Barely Democrat or as Strong, Weak, or Barely Republican. As with North Caroline, states can also be designated as Exactly Tied. So if the election were held on 8 October 2008 Obama would win with 274 electoral votes to McCain's 174.

<p><strong>><a href=''>2008 Election Contest: Pick Your President</a></strong> - Predict the winner of the 2008 presidential election and enter to win a $500 prize.</p>

The Washington Post posts a similar map called Pick Your President. Rather than estimating the daily vote-spread, it allows you to do so; which I've done above. Using the Electoral Vote map, I gave the Strong and Weak states to the respective candidates. Then I gave the Barely and Tied states to McCain. The predicted outcome still favors Obama but is much closer with his 277 electoral votes to McCain's 261. That's one reason why I believe that the Obama campaign is working in more states than McCain. They want to win by as large a margin as possible. This would lessen the risk of the situation that Gore faced with Bush in 2000. A small margin would raise the specter of a another Supreme Court resolution of a presidential election.

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More WHEEL than WOE

neither gentleman
nor velopunk

The Diary of a Nobody first appeared as a weekly serial in Punch written over the course of a year from May 1888 throgh May 1889. Although little known to the world at large, its anti-hero, Mr. Charles Pooter, has entered the English zeitgeist. The word Pooter conjures up a conventional, priggish, strait-laced, lower middle-class, white-collar worker living in a cheap suburban house with lace curtains and gnomes in the garden. But with impossible social aspirations, Putter's humor derives from his unconscious gaffes and self-importance, as well as the snubs he receives from those he considers socially inferior (i.e. tradesmen). Thus spawned Putter has come to describe the tendency of such folks to take themselves excessively seriously.

So gentleman cyclists and velopunks, TAKE HEED! Don't let the anti-lycra thing grab you by the brass ones. Besides, Pooter railed against that great, incredible gift of the Victorian Age: the bike!
July 2. - Cummings called, looked very pale, and said he had been very ill again, and of course not a single friend had been near him. Carrie said she had never heard of it, whereupon he threw down a copy of the BICYCLE NEWS on the table, with the following paragraph: “We regret to hear that that favourite old roadster, Mr. Cummings (’Long’ Cummings), has met with what might have been a serious accident in Rye Lane. A mischievous boy threw a stick between the spokes of one of the back wheels, and the machine overturned, bringing our brother tricyclist heavily to the ground. Fortunately he was more frightened than hurt, but we missed his merry face at the dinner at Chingford, where they turned up in good numbers. ’Long’ Cummings’ health was proposed by our popular Vice, Mr. Westropp, the prince of bicyclists, who in his happiest vein said it was a case of ’CUMMING(s) thro’ the RYE, but fortunately there was more WHEEL than WOE,’ a joke which created roars of laughter.”

Charles Pooter
The Laurels,
Brickfield Terrace,
The British Empire

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Kilts a-flyin'...

at the
Brompton World Championships

Over at Flickr, John Spooner has posted his photos of the 3rd Annual Brompton World Championships which took place at Blenheim Palace on 28 September 2008. Brompton is the brand of folding bike loved by British commuters. The rules...
[f]or the event are not overly onerous, but poor dress sense will not be tolerated: a suit jacket, collared shirt and tie are de rigueur for participants; sports attire is not permitted, and Lycra shorts/leggings are specifically named, shamed and excluded. Competitors will be expected to demonstrate their folding skills in a Le Mans style start.

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The joys of biking in the 1950s

from yet another
velopunk & gentleman

Paddy Megahey, 73 years young, is from Ardoyne in North Belfast. He's been biking since 1947. And this is his tribute to gentleman cyclists. Why? Well just read on...

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Maybe Ohio...

but not in

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Keep buggering on, 70s style

from the BBC
in the wake of

a nuke attack

Last week, I got a comment about what KBO means; essentially Keep Buggering On. It's what Winston Churchill kept repeating during the dark years of WWII. He first started using it during the 1930s when his warnings about Hitler's intentions fell on deaf British ears. A more recent example was just discovered in the UK's National Archives. It appears that the BBC had a radio script prepared in the event of a nuclear attack on the country:
This is the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This country has been attacked with nuclear weapons. Communications have been severely disrupted, and the number of casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known. We shall bring you further information as soon as possible. Meanwhile, stay tuned to this wavelength, stay calm and stay in your own homes ...
And my favorite bit:
Water must not be used for flushing lavatories: until you are told that
lavatories may be used again, other toilet arrangements must be made. Use your water only for essential drinking and cooking purposes. Water means life. Don't waste it ...
We shall repeat this broadcast in two hours' time. Stay tuned to this
wavelength, but switch your radios off now to save your batteries until we come on the air again. That is the end of this broadcast.

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Critical masses (revisited)

biker bailout?

Yesterday while I was winging my way back from D.C., the US Senate passed H.R.1424, commonly referred to as the $700 billion economic bailout plan. More precisely it's
[a] bill to provide authority for the Federal Government to purchase and insure certain types of troubled assets for the purposes of providing stability to and preventing disruption in the economy and financial system and protecting taxpayers, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide incentives for energy production and conservation, to extend certain expiring provisions, to provide individual income tax relief, and for other purposes.
Among a wide range of benefits, for those of us who are not bankers, is Sec. 211: Transportation fringe benefit to bicycle commuters in Title II - Transportation and Domestic Fuel Security Provisions:

Qualified bicycle commuters will be eligible for an annual reimbursement covering all reasonable expenses incurred during the calendar year ...

These include the purchase of a bike as well as improvements, repair, and storage, if you commute regularly between your home and workplace.

If passed by the US House of Representatives, this section will apply to taxable years beginning after 5 December 2008.

The US House of Representatives has voted
by 263-171 in favor of the $700bn plan.

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Keep buggering on

with the Fat Lad
at critical mass
IX 2008

He came,
he saw,
he conquered...

all I did
was wear
a kilt

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