Tuesday, February 26, 2008

300 Million but not enough

We were out to dinner the other night with some friends. The husband was also in the Army in Special Forces. He said somethng interesting. "It kills me that we have 300 milion people in this country, and most aren't willing to cross the line and protect it and say "not on my watch"".

This was brought to mind because I just watched ABC News run some experiments in social behavior. One was where a Muslim woman was discriminated against in a bakery. Because she was wearing a veil. Most people did nothing, quite a few spoke up, and a few encouraged the discrimination. Another one was a group of girls tormenting another girl in a park. Again, not enough people did the right thing.

It's pretty sad when we as a nation feel that everyone other than ourselves will solve our problems for us. It's time for us to step up. Is that step too high for us? Maybe we need to retrace our steps as a nation and look for the spine America lost.

Monday, February 25, 2008


So here I am, thinking of something to write. I could write about the Serbian issues, the raging debate about Team Astana not being allowed into the Tour de France, the presidential snorefest, or something else of the thousands of things I think about.

So, you know I love cars. No secret I hate gas swilling SUVs, etc. Yet I love all kinds of high performance cars. Resource eating, highly impractical massive carbon footprint Ferraris, Astons, Lotuses, Jags, Porsches, and all my vintage cars. So here I sit, sometimes preaching about being enviromentally sensitive, about riding my bike, or trying to follow the line of morals and ethics.

Let's look at this a little. I love cycling. But high end race bikes eat up a lot of resources. Races devour resources. But they raise awareness of cycling, and of course, the sponsor's raison d'etre. So let's say the race inspires some people to ride, commute, maybe a handful will race. So the benefit offsets the voracious eating of the resources. That's going on the theory that those who do get inspired will become healthier, more productive, and more enviromentally conscious. So am I a hypocrite?

What about my love for cars? Yes, I love my high end cars I'll never afford. I also love my more reasonable, older small displacement British cars. They don't gobble up gas, they sometimes aren't as clean with emissions. Leather was used for most of them. I can hear the forests roar their displeasure at the wood dashboards. So, though I drive a 98 Accord coupe right now, is it bad for me to be bringing my monster out of hibernation? Is it historic preservation? Living history? My way of connecting with a bygone era? Connecting with my dad? (He used to race a Triumph TR3a when it was new, and we've spent who knows how much time talking about various older sports cars.)

What's the appeal of these activities? Am I hypocritical posting about closet gas guzzler cars, then telling you about all the stuff I'm doing to my Spitfire? Or how about all the gas I use just going to and from bike races? Or the number of tires I wear out on my bikes over the course of a season?

Or is it that I just enjoy some activities that aren't quite mainstream? I've always been a bit of a free spirit. Maybe that freedom goes into my racing mind sometimes.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

So, here are two things I love

If you haven't guessed by now, I am pretty passionate about cycling, cars, trains, and all the related topics they spawn. One other thing I love to death is to be antagonistic. That's right, you guessed it, it's time to combine a few of these things into a post that will hopefully get a few people to think (a longshot given the state of American mental ability) and others to laugh and even a few more to try and discount what I say.

So let's start the fun with this article I just found on Car and Driver.

Pretty cool, I think, and a bit surprising for a few of the list. Oh, and I apologize that I'm not as good as everyone else with links and getting words to light up, etc, and be the link. It's probably faster, but I digress.

What I find cool is that some classes of vehicles, ie the crossover SUV, basically do nothing well. Really no more usable space, mileage is terrible, off roading not that good. Can anyone explain to me why you'd want one? Get an all wheel drive station wagon. This reminds me of the 5 cylinder Audis, Acuras, etc. We used to joke "all the power of a 4 with the mileage of a 6". Again, why want one?

So then you're probably wondering what I drive. Am I some type of journalistic hypocrite? Well, no, because I'm not entirely a journalist. I drive either my wife's Honda Civic 4 door, or my Accord 2 door coupe. Both very economical cars, to say the least. Yes, though I live less than a mile from work I do drive more than I should. I concede that. But I try to ride my bike when I can, and I even walk sometimes.

Yes, you in the back. What? Oh, yeah, what about my polluting Triumph? Glad you asked, I was waiting for a cornball like you to pop. Right now it's a very efficient car, as it doesn't run yet. That's right, 0 emissions! Not bad for a 30 year old car. Followup? Sure. Actually, it uses unleaded gas, gets about 24mpg around town and over 30 on the highway. Plus it's crazy fun, and cheap to repair. Try to say that about your toxic disaster on wheels hybrid.

So let's throw some pics up of my Triumph again. Or parts of it. Because I can. The parts are my master brake and clutch cylinders, which tonight will be rebuilt while I watch the Tour of California, and the other pic is a row of Spitfires at my last Triumph club meeting.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

It's Official

I'm now a licensed USA Cycling official. So that means I am one of the refs or judges at races. Kind of excited, as now I can be involved with races and even get paid. At least it's guaranteed money, unlike the lottery of trying to place well. Hopefully on Tues I can go for a short, easy ride.

Monday, February 04, 2008

I feel the pian of this guy

We've all had mix ups in our lives. But what Philly does is pretty un brotherly. I had a similar situation. I had the same first name, last name and middle initial of another guy 2 years older than I. Even in college, he got my gi bill plus his, and I never saw any of it, and he never got in trouble.

I guess I'm saying watch your back, and if you're in a position to correct something, do it. Not only is it the right thing, it might be you someday.