Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Quick Post

Just a quick post about Johnyrandom Bespoken..Well a Video is more to the point. Enjoy

Johnnyrandom | Bespoken from Johnnyrandom on Vimeo.

Monday, January 27, 2014

To Ride in Winter

To ride in winter is a skill that is not for the weak hearted. There are at least 5 things that I would like to pass along before you decide to ride.

1.       Know your limits. This is important because the north wind is a cruel bitch and will chill you to the bone quicker than you think. Dress in layers, use wool shocks, pick up winter riding gear for your feet and ride only when the conditions are best.

2.       Be Visible. I cannot stress this enough. Have a bright or reflective coat. When using lights make sure they flash. Flashing lights seem to draw more attention than static lights. Use hand signals as often as you can. Conditions are slick for you and the cars so it is in your best interest to let drivers know where you are going.

3.       Know your route. Unless you spent a shit ton of money on your lights they will most likely not light up the roads. So knowing where the bumps and holes are will save you from falling.

4.       Winter riding is not a race so give yourself extra time to get to work. Winter riding is more about a steady pace and control and not about speed. Going fast is a formula to falling on your ass.

5.       Lastly, keep up on your maintenance on your bike. The cold will slow up or freeze up you detailers and brakes. Keep them clean and well lubed with a winter blend lube and you should be able to ride through any drift.


Winter riding can be fun but it the danger level can be elevated in normal street riding. So if you are going to attempt winter cycling then heed these 5 things in your riding as well as being more vigilant with your attention on drivers. Most of all don’t feel you have to ride if the weather is too cold. If you really want to break a cold weather ride record then take a ride around the block, drive to work and call it a day. 

 Ride safe!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Long Ride

It wasn’t the longest ride I have done but for this year so far it was. I rode out and hit the CVN trail to C Street SW. Took that to 76 which went to Kirkwood Blvd. A quick ride on Wright Brothers and over to Club where I sailed down to Shueyville. Rode to 965 and headed to North Liberty then rode the same route back. I got a total of 46.6 miles in 2hr 54min while holding a 16mph average. On the way down I had the chain up on the big 55 which was not bad. Some of the hills were tough but I still managed them. Because I don’t have a derailleur for the front I had to move it do to the smaller gear for the trip back. I wanted to run more of the gears driving my RPM up. The videos I have embedded are shot on my IPOD so they’re the not the best quality. I also had a hard time working the camera and riding at the same time. I should get better. Maybe I will shoot a video of my commute. It takes 20min to get to work so I will just shoot the highlights.

video

video

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Are Bike Lanes the Answer?


Are Bicycling Advocacy groups pushing the cycling agenda in the right direction when it comes to bicycling lanes? Are these painted paths on the roadways the answer to the bicycling utopia that we all crave for? Or are we painting ourselves into a corner of the street of unintended consequences? Advocacy groups as well as cyclist believe that what works in some European countries should work in this country. But will it?

Promoting bike lanes, cyclist as well as advocacy groups believe that they are creating a bike safe and friendly city. The lanes are a boundary for where cyclist can be and where motorist are not . Each lane is generally on the right hand side of the road a few inches from the curb or next to the place you park your car. Pinning you between traffic and a door prize. Bike lanes tend to collect trash that either blow into it or deposited by motorist or pedestrians passing by. Despite these obvious issues city leaders, advocates and cyclist pin these lanes on their preverbal lapel like the latest cause of the year . They believe they are showing their support for alternative transportation as well as bicyclist that use these lanes. But are they?

The idea behind bike lanes is to give a safe zone where cyclist can ride and not disrupt traffic flow. And on the surface bike lanes would look like it would accomplish just that, but in addition of my earlier point the bike lane doesn’t educate the cyclist about riding. That is what is missing in the equation of some cities that are trying to be bike friendly. The lack of efforts to educate the cyclist as well as the motorist about their interaction as well as responsibilities around each other is why bike lanes are springing up. Bike lanes are easy to put up, the education of people is difficult. I believe it comes down to two things, attitude towards the bike and who’s responsibility it falls on.

When you talk to the average person and ask them whether they class the bike as a viable transportation option or is it a toy. Most of them would say the bike is a toy. If you don’t believe me, you can just ask them. Or better yet watch the bicycle section in some big discount store and see how many people buy them. There is no one to advise them in their choice or to fit them properly on their bikes. Why? Because they think they are picking out toys. In fact most bikes in discount stores can be found with the toy section. I had a conversation with someone who wanted to find a bike they could ride with their kids. They wanted something cheap under $100 dollars. It was outrageous to pay anything more for a bike. I tried to explained that a bike is like a car, you have to make an investment on it in order to get the best out of it. My advice was ignored.

The other way to see peoples attitude about bikes is how they ride them in traffic. Most of them either ride them on the sidewalk or against traffic. They don’t know better because they believe that the rules of the road do not apply to them. “It’s a toy so why would traffic laws apply to it?” That lack of understanding brings me to the second point, education and who is responsible to deliver it.

Back in the day when I was a kid, elementary school P.E dedicated a week or so to bike safety on the road. The cops explained how the rules of the road did not only apply to us but could keep us safe while we rode the bike. They also gave us strategies on how to chose our routes and stay safe in many riding situations. And remember we did not have helmets like we do today. Today I have not see our public schools teach our kids how to ride. I have seen one charter school take Fridays to ride as a class on our trails. I am not sure if they take the time to go over riding skills on the streets.

So the schools are not teaching our kids, so why don’t the parents? You would think my generation would take up the mantle and ride with it. Well most of us have failed. I would have to venture our love affair with the car at 16 years old, ruined our relationship with the bike. Gas was cheap and the car meant freedom and a possible privacy for a sexual encounter in the back seat. Can’t do that on the back of a bike. And because our love affair was so long and economically viable we failed to pass on our first love, the bicycle.


This brings me to the phrase “Share the Road” that is commonly espoused by advocates and cyclist alike. We want to share the road and blend in with traffic. So how do you do this with bike lanes? You can’t! You either blend in with traffic or you are separate in you lanes. There is no in between. Besides, bike lanes do no go everywhere you want to go and when they end what do you do? Stop? No you have to blend in with traffic. And the ones who can blend in with traffic are safer and more mobile verses those who opt for the sidewalk.

Ultimately blending in with traffic is what we, cyclist and advocates, all have been wanting. So how does bike lanes fit in our ideal world? It doesn’t. Education of cyclist and motorist on our responsibilities to the law and each other will do more to further the bike friendly city than some paint job that cost more. So when someone starts on a long diatribe about how bike lanes will make our city bike friendly, just ask them this; “How will you continue on riding when your bike lane ends?” If they say they will blend in to traffic then ask them “So why do you need painted lanes to do that?”


Here is a video that makes it's own point.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Reality Shows Suck!

Well maybe not all reality T.V. I do like Ice Road Truckers, Deadliest Catch and Whale Wars. And Why? Because it is about everyday people busting their ass doing what they do to either get the load to it’s destination, bring in the big haul, or stand up for what they believe in. None of these people are rich, spoiled or prima donnas. Oh sure some of them have their foibles but nothing like some of the other shows I have had the displeasure in seeing.

Here is the big question; who’s reality is some of these shows based on anyway? I watched one today that had a woman talking about what she wanted for her birthday to her guy friend. It was a watch that was from some expensive bouquet. Her guy friend was to put a bug in the ear of her husband so that she would get what she wanted. Ok maybe not a bad idea since us guys don’t always take note on what our wives want. I know sometimes I could use a little help. In the next clip the husband took her to a pricey restaurant were belly dancers perform. After the main course the husband pulls out a gift of naughty underwear for her. For the most part she kept a stiff upper lip about it but you could tell she was disappointed. And I do have to say, Naughty Underwear is maybe not the best gift for a birthday. But her masked disillusionment soon vanished when another gift came out with the dessert and it was the watch she wanted. Now that was not the part that discussed me..Wait for it…It was the fact that the watch was 53k ! That about made me Shit myself. Her life just would not be complete unless she had the watch. Hell, 53k would take out most of my wife’s college bill. 53k would but a serious hurt on what I owe on this house. For God sakes! Really? This is reality to one person’s life. Fuckn’ Shallow if you ask me.

Hey I got a reality show that would fit most of everyone reality. How about a show that is has a family group of 3 where the Mom and Dad have to juggle each paycheck so that they can pay the bills and have food on the table. Or one that maybe Mom works, Dad is unemployed for a long time and they are looking at a possibility of losing the house they worked so hard to get. Of course this is not the reality that TV producers want to put on the air. No they want some rich Bitch(s) that they can in situations were they have to do mundane tasks and see how bad they fuck it up. Or a bunch of kid living in a loft not paying rent or have jobs and see how much they get on each others nerves.

The sad part of all this is that there are people out there who must feel like their lives are so meaningless that they have to watch these shows to escape their problems. Best advice I can give to them; Put down the fuckn’ remote and fix your problems. It will not be easy but you will be more fulfilled when you accomplish it. And because you stop watching the trashy reality shows, the ratings will go down and we will not have to hear about the spoiled brats of so called want Abe actors on TV or on the internet. WHO CARES IF SNOOKY GET BUSTED FOR BEING DRUNK? Is this the type of person we hold above all others giving them fame and riches? If so why not empty out the drunk tank at the local police station and give each person their own reality show.

Thank God I have Netflix so I don’t have cast my T.V vote for some floozy or Dork on some reality show. If I want reality on my T.V I watch a documentary and learn something or one of the shows listed earlier. Best yet I just turn off the TV and hang out with my family. It has drama, laughs, struggles, and successes. Most of all we are not actors, we truly love each other.


Oh I forgot to meantion the word bike in this rant. So Bike and bike often. There you go.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bike Lock Woes

Earlier this year I had lost my last key to a bike lock I have been using for the best part of two years. In a desperate move I checked out the bike lock manufacture to see if there is anyway I could get a replacement key to the lock. My efforts were futile and resulted in that lock being a permanent fixture to my employers bike rack. My guess is it will most likely be there long after I retire and pass from this earth. So I continued to surf the web looking for a bike lock system that would fit my needs as well as offer the ability to reproduce keys if I loose them.

What I found is that Kryptonite just has such a service. Not only do they have the toughest lock on the planet, the New York Chain, but you can register your keys of the lock you have bought on the website. This is great, I can register my keys with kryptonite and when I inevitably lose my keys or on my last key, I can order new ones. So I headed out and picked up a U lock and cable came home , got on line and registered my keys. While on the Kryptonite site I noticed that the “My Account” was still in the works but I figured that by the time I get ready to order the keys the “My Account” will be working.

Well time passed, keys disappeared and I had to buy new keys. No problem I created an account with the key numbers on the Kryptonite site. I logged on to the site and looked for a “My Account” and come to find that it was still “Coming Soon.” Crap! Still! After 5 months, still “Coming Soon?” So what now. I mean I did not write the numbers down. Why should I? If I did most likely I would lose the paper, right? Besides I have the key numbers registered with the company and it should be safe and accessible from there. It maybe accessible but not to me. I eventually sent an email through the companies site asking for help to get another set of keys.

I waited 24 hours and got no response. I then composed this letter to them asking again to help in getting new keys. The letter is as follows;

Good day

5 months ago I purchased your 2 ATB lock bicycle lock. In the ligature enclosed I had learned that you offer a key registration so in the event you loose your keys, you can get replacements. I logged on to your website and filled out the registration information for the keys. At that time “My Account” was still under construction.
Now I am in need of new keys for my lock. I logged on to your website on 5-26-11 and found that “My Account” is still in process of being created . So I explored your website to see if I can find any way to draw up my information or contact you. I found the contact page and sent an email inquiring on how to order new keys with the information I had entered 5 months ago. It has been 24 hours and I have not heard back as of 5-27-11.
I am making a formal request; I have lost my keys and would like to replace them. You have the information and I would like to use it to purchase new keys. To help in your search his is what I entered minus the key numbers.

David Glandon

I sent it on Friday and by Tuesday 5-31 I got this letter;

David,

I located your registration and your key number is #######. Please verify the mailing address, if different than what you registered, and I can have 2 ordered for you at no charge under our Key Safe Program.

Regards,
Donna
Customer Service Representative
Kryptonite
Ingersoll Rand
Residential Solutions
437 Turnpike St
Canton, MA 02021
Tel: (800) 729-5625
Fax: (781) 821-0780
www.kryptonitelock.com

So I sent them the information and today June 12th I received 2 keys to my bike lock. Thank You Kryptonite. Now I am back in business.

After I opened the package I could not help myself and went to the site to see if they have “My Account” up and running. Much to my dismay “My Account” is still coming soon. 6 months and counting which means I will be writing the numbers down so I can order the keys when I need them.

Kryptonite has a great thing going here. Not only do they have the top locks but for people like me, a way to get new keys to their locks. But what I am disappointed in is that the service is not complete. By not having the “My Account” part of the website active they miss completing the full circle of customer service. And in this day and age companies can either excel, stay the same or fold all on their customer service.

Despite Kryptonite not finishing their website and having to take a few extra steps in getting new keys, I am still pleased with both the lock and the personal service I have received. So if you are like myself, looses keys often, and in the market for a new lock then check out Kryptonite locks. Just make sure if you register your keys, write down the numbers and keep it in a safe place. I know I will.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

May Ramblings



The month of May has gone by and looking at my blog I hadn’t written too much at all. It is not that I wasn’t cycling, I did, I guess I was busy. The censes at work has been up and down, the weather had been fluctuating between beautiful and what the hell, and a lot of other stuff. Not a great excuse but one that I am putting out there for now.

So what happened this month for me. With May being bike month I rode to work every day. As the days got nicer I was happy to see more bikes parked in the bike locker. I would like to say it was because of the work I did for bike to work week but I am not sure that claim is accurate. Although I presented the story idea to our inter hospital news group, The Image, the story was not that interesting to grace it’s page. We did get a little help from our Wellness group. At least they put up flyers in the cafeteria, the week of bike to work week. I guess I am glad I did not totally rely on them and put flyers out to the individual department.

Nikki and I had some conversation about next year and how we should start working on a presentation that we could give to respective corporations about the benefits of supporting cycling to commute. We are planning to get started right after the mayor’s ride. I think this summer I should get some photos of me or people I know in riding situations. That way I don’t have to search desperately on the internet for royal free images.

I still think an Ally Cat type of race would be cool to do around the end of the summer or into fall. The entry fee could benefit some cause like Safe Routs or incentive programs design to get kids riding to school. The only issue I have with Ally Cat Races is that they tend to encourage breaking road rules and that is not the image I want. I think still it has potential.

I lost my key to the lock I bought just this week. I have a habit of doing that so I bought a lock from Kryptonite. If you go on to their website you can register your keys with them so in the event you loose them, you can order new ones. Now it has been 5 months since I had registered them with Kryptonite and I had to put them to the test. We I got on the website and could not find anywhere I could log in and draw up the information I had given them. No problem, I will just e-mail them and explain the situation and see if they can help. I did not hear from them in 24 hours so I wrote another formal e-mail. This email explained my situation and my expectations in a friendly and professional way. I told them I expect to hear back from them in about a week whether they are able to help or not. So I expect to hear back from them on or before June 3rd. Keep you posted.

I think that the idea of registering keys so you can have them made is a great idea. I am always loosing my keys to my locks. In fact I have to cut one off the bike rack at work that I can’t get keys for. When I saw that you can register your keys with Kryptonite, and that they build a great lock, I was sold. The problem I have now is the fact I feel abandoned. I made the effort to give them all the information to them but they have not followed through, yet. They still have time and I would believe they will come through with some answer whether it is what I want to hear or not. Keep you posted on this.

Looking forward. I am going to start riding after work 20 miles or so at least 2 times a week. I need to ride more so the size of my shadow will grow smaller, and I can achieve the 3000 mile mark. I plan to mix it between the road and mountain bike. That way I can keep it fun and not a chore. With other projects I want to achieve I am looking to a busy summer.