Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snownami

My snow rides are the only thing that make the snowstorms and everything that goes with them bearable.





Unfortunately, with a big snow like this one, I have to dig out from the wave of snow after I ride in it. The ratio doesn't work in my favor when we get slammed like this, so for the next snow I'd like to order 3-6 inches instead of 14 or whatever we got. I don't like the big storm ratio, ride for an hour shovel for 2:15.

The ride last night was good but there were some idiot drivers out. A few blared the horns as they passed me, in the other direction. I could almost understand them doing it if they had to wait to pass me, but these people were not the least bit inconvenienced by me. Maybe they are like the guy who waited at the stop sign at the top of the hill just to ask me if I was nuts, and then have to make a dangerous pass to get around me. If I don't get in your way at all what difference is it to you if I ride my bike in the snow?




But that didn't take away from the enjoyment of my ride. I don't know what it is about the snow, but it usually just makes me laugh and smile at the idiots. The snow on the parkways was great, again, but the snow at the plow end of my driveway was 4-5 feet high. That's a lot of shoveling. I guess I'll just call it cross training. The weather guessers tell me I've got more cross training coming up this weekend.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Maiden Voyage

I took out the new singlespeed tonight in the snow. Awesome. Epic. The bike was great. I on the other hand had a couple new experiences. My eyelids froze partially shut a couple times and my chin got really cold despite a good balaclava. I did have a head band that warmed me up nicely. It will be nice when fixedgeargus gets done with his homework so he can join in the reindeer games.




For the folks interested in the tech stuff, I was running a Ritchey Speedmax 32 on the front and a Kenda Kwick 30 on the rear each at about 40 psi. My Tektro brakes worked great even with no name old levers. Not to touchy in the snow, but just enough so I could slow down.

As far as clothes, as some of you have asked about, I use mainly Under Armour base layers and then a long sleeve jersey and a shell. Lower half is shorts, leg warmers tights and if it's snowing or raining REI bike specific rain pants. I also wore a DOT approved reflective safety vest. I might have looked dorky, but I was visible, and didn't have any close calls.

For lights I always use a Planet Bike superflash on the rear and up front I used my homebrew lights, which are about 200 lumens and last for a couple hours per battery pack.

I will try to post some more info about the light construction soon.
Bikesafer
Jeff

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Big Ticket Item

Breaking News

There is another big ticket item in addition to the one discussed below. My first singlespeed since my bmx bike in middle school is ready to ride.




No I haven't been shopping, the big ticket was given to the driver of the car in the latest video.




Franklin Police Department is now 2 for 2. Not for tickets issued, but both times I 've reported drivers there, the officers were professional and helpful.

Back to the ticket.

The officer wrote the guy for driving on a suspended license instead of illegally passing me, and that's fine because I might not need to testify now if he fights that ticket. It's also a bigger ticket.

The scary thing to ponder is, given the fact that he was driving with a suspended license, and since he honked at me and told the officer he thought I was in his way, would he have stopped if he had hit me.
Hopefully he will at least give bikes more room next time he drives with a suspended license.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Slack Jawed Yokels and Happy Rednecks

Perfect snow conditions this morning for riding. I don't have the single/fixie built yet, but I had to ride this morning while I had the chance. If I'm going to have to stand in it all day at work, I sure as heck am going to enjoy it while I can.
I passed one guy in my subdivision who just stared at me with his mouth open so far I thought he might drown on all the snow he was catchin. He looked like he was watching an alien ship land. I just said, "good mornin'" and rode on. Later I came upon a beater van with a guy who would probably describe himself as a redneck, not that there's anything wrong with that, especially when he gives me a thumbs up and shouts words of encouragement as I ride by.
Hopefully the snow lasts long enough for another adventure tonight.
Sorry no pix, no time.
Bikesafer
Jeff

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Winter


Winter has arrived. Unfortunately I didn't get to enjoy it. I couldn't ride in the latest snow, but I'm hoping to ride in the next snow. Hope I don't see any snowplows.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Shoulda Coulda Woulda

But didn't. I shoulda coulda woulda been the first guy to finish at my first alleycat (Cranksgiving) on Saturday. Instead, I misread the finish address, or actually I transposed 2 numbers, so I didn’t win like I shoulda coulda woulda. I ended up second in the B category which was still pretty cool. It was a great event for a good cause and they had some great prizes. I snagged an eighth inch frame and a timbuk2 messenger bag and an origin8 handlebar.


Then Sunday I did the 40+ 4 cx state championship race. I woulda coulda shoulda been 2nd but ended up third due to a dropped chain well into the last lap. The guy who got past me was from IL so I ended up 2nd in the state, but 3rd overall. Still not bad.


The season is over and it was a pretty good season. I had more fun racing then I can remember and I finished on a lot of podiums, even though I shoulda coulda woulda won some races, I was never on the top step. It was still a successful year and more importantly a fun year and a good year for the team. Some team news coming soon.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Fight Continues

It's nice to know I'm not alone. I've heard from many people about my efforts, and recently, about the story of my mission for safer roads on http://www.myfoxmilwaukee.com.


Lately my posts have been about racing and other fun on the bike. I haven't had many problems on the road to report, and that's good. Unfortunately, I think it is more a product of the type of riding I've been doing lately rather than any major change in cyclist/motorist interaction. I've been riding shorter rides often on parkways and paths. When my rides get longer and I spend more time on more rural roads again, I'm guessing my troubles will increase as well.




But until then it's nice to know that there are others out there who are joining in the fight for safer roads for cyclists. I have links to some of them on the blog already and others I've just learned about. I got a comment from this guy today. There are people who are wearing/selling jerseys or have started using cameras on rides and calling the police. Whatever they are doing, the point is they are doing something. I commend anyone who is trying to make the situation better. I would also urge anyone who is doing something to talk to your local media about your efforts. I think educating the public is the key to improving the situation. To all those who've had enough and decided it's time to do something, thanks and keep up the good work.
Bikesafer
Jeff

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Hard Core

At the Stoughton/Viking Cross race there were three guys who dragged snow by the bucketful from behind the ice arena, (the Zamboni dumped it there), to the skate park about a hundred yards away near the cross race. They wanted to snowboard on it. I shot some video of them and commented that they were hard core snowboarders. Then it dawned on me that we are pretty hard core bike racers too. It's 30 degrees windy and snowing and were all out here riding our bikes. I just wish it had snowed more during the race. I think the snowboarders would argee with that senitment.

Untitled from Bikesafer on Vimeo.

I borrowed a singlespeed (thanks Gus) and did the state championship race for my singlespeed debut. I achieved my goal of not getting lapped by Ronsta who won the race. I guess I did o.k. considering the competition. There were some really fast guys there. It was a blast.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Messenger For a Day

I wasn't exactly a messenger, but I followed a couple of them around for a day or so. You can see the resulting story at:



http://www.myfoxmilwaukee.com/myfox/pages/Home/Detail?contentId=7801536&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fly By Night


Aris "I'm faster than you" Peters is also Aris "I can bunny hop higher than you" Peters.




Untitled from Bikesafer on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Gus Does Cross

Cyclocross that is. Even though he's recovering from a cold, he toughed it out at Kletzsch park. Nice job Gus.



Gus Does Cross from Bikesafer on Vimeo.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

En Fuego

Only at the Halloween CX race in Milwaukee would you see this!











It was a neat idea that may have gotten a little carried away. As far as I know, no one was hurt during the pyro portion of the race. It was a great day for a cross race. More later. Homemade pizza and Mrs. Bikesafer await. Enjoy the pix til then.























Thursday, October 16, 2008

Love What You've Done With The Place





It's been a while since I've ridden the Muir trails. Wow I love the changes to some sections of the blue trail. Fast and flowy. Mrs. Bikesafer and I had some spare time so we just goofed around for the afternoon. In case you're wondering the orange vest is to protect us from deer hunters, that's right they allow people to hunt right on and around the trail system. Doesn't sound too safe, but we made it out alive this time.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sheboygan WORS

Lots o photos for tonight more thoughts later.


















Monday, October 6, 2008

OMG



Also known as Oh My God! Which was what Mrs. Bikesafer said when she saw me in the lead for the first time during the 40+ Cat 4 race at Lapham Peak. Believe me, no one was more surprised than me that I was there. I kind of enjoyed the view out front, but I knew then and really know now that I stayed there too long. It was just 2 or 3 of us for about 2 or 3 laps, with a gap ranging from 100 feet to a couple hundred yards on the next guys, at least when I was looking back.


After coming through and being told 2 more laps, the guy following me went into the weeds at the next corner, so I pegged it thinking I could get a nice gap. Well by the next corner at the end of the long straight, he was right back on so I dialed it back, knowing that even at that pace I had little chance of winning if I just pulled for 2 laps. But I'm relatively new to this whole cross thing so I rode as fast as I could without blowing up and came home with a 3rd. I can live with that, especially since I did it all on a 20 year old touring bike. I can't wait for the next cross race, even though I don't hold out a lot of hope of repeating my performance next time, but hey it was cool to hear Mrs. Bikesafer so happy, maybe I can do it again.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bikesafer on TV


I was on Fox 6 news Tuesday night. The investigative reporter did a story on my difficulties with the City of Brookfield. You can view it here. Select "Dead Right" from the list of stories.

I'd love to hear what you think of it.

Bikesafer

Jeff

Friday, September 26, 2008

Baseball Anyone?


I've never been a big baseball kind of guy, but it's not that hard to get caught up in all the playoff hype surrounding the Brewers. We flew over Miller Park just before the game last night. All I had was my point and shoot camera but I still thought this was a cool shot.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Before and After

No I didn't get a makeover, but the video might be just as interesting as if I had.
On a ride last week, I saw an SUV that I called the police about last spring. I've only seen one other vehicle that I've complained about after the initial complaint so I was very interested to see how the driver would pass me this time. You can see for yourself below. The first video is the before from March of this year and the second is from last week, September of this year.

video
video

Later in the ride I had 2 late teen to early 20 something guys in a sports car behind me going up a hill. They waited until the top of the hill so they could see around me to pass and as they did I gave them a wave to say thanks and they gave me a wave and a thumbs up. So some progress is being made. The close pass later in the ride by a Ford Focus still points to the fact that work needs to be done, but every little bit helps. At least this one SUV driver seems to have gotten the message. Thanks to Officer Morris of the New Berlin Police Department. I don't know what she told the driver, but it seems to have worked.
Bikesafer
Jeff

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The View From The Back

The back of the tandem that is. It's my view during the Chequamegan Fat Tire 40. Actually the camera got a better angle than I did. It was on the top of my helmet so it was higher. If I wanted to see anything I had to lean one way or the other.
Enjoy
Bikesafer
Jeff
video

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Beginner's Luck?


Just got back from the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival. It was my first time and I made the podium. Yes I know I'm wearing the "wrong" jersey according to some of my teammates. Let's just say that I was brought up off the Alterra practice squad for one race. Seriously since Mike Owens of Alterra is the reason I was able to ride this race I figured the least I could do was wear his colors (and my former colors) on the box.

We did the tandem category, as he usually does. I don't usually do the tandem. It was my 4th time on a tandem and the second time off road on one. It was fun but a very different experience going 40mph down a hill with a wet grassy muddy corner at the bottom and no brakes or steering. Mike did a great job keeping us upright . I've been on the front end of a tandem too and it ain't easy muscling that thing around. It's like pedaling a school bus.


Congrats to all the Expo and Alterra peeps who did the race and did very well.

Maybe I'll get to a longer race recap later.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"We're only asking for half of what the strippers got."

I found this column about a dangerous stretch of road in Ohio, and the cyclists who ride there. Unfortunately the title of the column is " Bicyclists should do their part for safety ". I believe cyclists should do their part for safety, but the greatest threat many cyclists face is not under their control.

Late in the column one cyclist says a 3 foot law, (like we have in Wisconsin), would help make cyclists safer. He points out that the Ohio legislature was working on a bill that would require patrons at strip clubs to stay at least 6 feet from strippers. He believes cyclists should get at least some protection from the legislature, even if it is only half the protection strippers get from their customers. The columnist says " That would help, but only if the driver can see the bicyclist and has time to react."

I say it might help but only if you can convince the authorities to enforce the law once it takes effect.

Bikesafer
Jeff

Monday, September 8, 2008

Back In The Tuck

After a week of vacation on Sanibel Island where the only riding I did was on a rented beach cruiser with a basket and handlebars that had me sitting more upright than a toddler in a high chair, I'm back on the road in a normal riding position. My brother in law was kidding me that if I tried to ride the cruiser in a semi-tuck, (with my hands on the center of the bars by the basket), the locals would run us off the island.

Well we managed to stay on the Island most of the week. We went swimming, boogie boarding, windsurfing, saw alligators, spiders, snakes, dolphins, a whole bunch of different birds, and more dragonflies than I've ever seen in one place, but the highlight had to be kayaking with a family of manatees. They came right up to us and bumped right into our kayaks. I can't wait to try windsurfing again, but for now it's back into the familiar tuck position to get enough road miles to feel somewhat ready for the rest of the races this year.



video



Thursday, August 28, 2008

Yeah, Roger That

Gus called and wanted to know if I wanted to ride on Wednesday. Uh yeah that is exactly what I was planning. So an Expo group ride was planned. It was a small group. Just me on the old Cannondale and Gus on the Roger. It started as a planned route into Racine and turned into a total yeah ride. For a while we knew what direction we were going but not where we would end up. That's the ultimate yeah ride. Since I brought the bad weather bike and Gus brought his Endura rain jacket, it of course stayed dry, which was fine by me. I almost got hit by blackbird, but that was the extent of the conflicts on the road. In the end it turned out to be 58.5 miles of fun.
video

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Invisible Man

That's what it felt like today. I almost got full on rear ended twice and got buzzed by a medical transport van and a school bus. The 2 rear end near misses were both approaching intersections with red lights. The guy in the Volvo was adamant when I caught him at the light a couple hundred feet later, that he was "nowhere near me". Take a look at the video and tell me. I wouldn't want him that close to me if I was in a car much less when I'm on a bike. It was a good ride though same weather as yesterday. Perfect, little wind lots of sun. I needed to get some miles in the legs cause they didn't feel great at WEMS at Franklin, and I gotta be ready for the Fat Tire 40 which I'm now doing. I just sent in the application yesterday. How does that work you ask. I'm replacing half a tandem. It should be a blast and a great way to do my first Cheguamegon.
Bikesafer
Jeff
video

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dragonfly Sunday


Took Mrs. Bikesafer for a birthday ride with a few other Expo folks at Greenbush. There were a ton of these red dragonflies landing on all our stuff. The riding was good, but Mrs. Bikesafer really needs a new bike or some new components, so off the bike shop we go. What's better than shopping on your birthday right? BTW happy birthday shout out to Gus as well. I hear that he shares a birthday with the Mrs.

75 Miles Into the Wind & Then...

Disc Golf. That's right after riding to Beaver Dam, into the wind the whole way, I played my best round of disc golf ever and beat my brother in law and nephew. Of course my nephew then proceeded to destroy me in a match of front yard wrestling. For the record he never pinned me but if it were actually being scored, he would have had me by quite a substantial margin. I think next time thumb wrestling should follow disc golf in the family olympics.


I wore the BD1 fully loaded on the way up, just to see how it would perform if I ever needed it full of stuff. I threw some good hills into the route too, just to see what it would feel like to ride hills with a full pack, just in case.






Wednesday, August 13, 2008

License To Speed?

I received a letter last week written by the Brookfield City Prosecutor, to the Mayor. It was quite a surprising letter for a number of reasons. First the City Prosecutor refers to two separate incidents in the letter, one of which I didn't even bring to his attention, and he transposes the facts of the two incidents. He also makes assumptions about my reasons for contacting him about the one incident in the first place, many of which are incorrect.

I'm not going to get into all the mis-statements of fact or incorrect assumptions, as that would take to long and be far to boring for readers of this blog.

I will however discuss the most shocking part of the letter. The part where the City of Brookfield's City Prosecutor, in an official correspondence to the Mayor, seems to give tacit approval to drive a car over the posted speed limit.

Mr. Kershek says that, "if a bicyclist is traveling the posted speed limit and the average car is traveling at five miles per hour greater than the posted speed limit, the bicyclist is, by definition traveling at less than the normal speed of traffic under the conditions then existing"

Mr. Kershek goes on to say, "in the interest of safety, it is reasonable to interpret the statute as requiring bicyclist to ride as close to the right hand edge of the road whenever they are not keeping up with traffic, regardless of the speed of traffic. To allow otherwise would create an unsafe situation as cars would have be forced into the oncoming lane of traffic to pass the bicyclist, allowing the required three feet distance between them."

So if a bicyclist is traveling the maximum posted speed limit in Brookfield Wisconsin, they have to make room for motorists who are speeding so the law breaking motorists don't have to slow down to pass?

Does this mean that if all the cars on the road are speeding, I'm allowed to speed on my bicycle to keep up with the flow if traffic?

This interpretation sure seems to raise all kinds of questions. I'll get back to you if I hear any answers.

Bikesafer
Jeff

Monday, August 4, 2008

Riding With Champions

There were many champions in attendance at the 24 hour National Championships at 9 mile, and I got to ride with a few of them.

Johnny G. and I did the Championship Duo category. It was John's first 24 race. I think we made a great team. It was fun being out there with you John.

In the middle of the night last year, (my last solo race), I got passed by Chris Eatough just after the second Red Bud crossing. I tried to hang with him, but couldn’t. This year I got another shot at it. He passed me at the same point in the middle of the night, and this time I was able to hold his wheel all the way in to the finish area. It wasn’t like I was competing with him, it was just cool to come into the main pit area, right on the champion’s wheel. Another reason I bring it up is because Chris Eatough is a great champion. There are guys on every mtb course who yell, scream, and swear trying to get past you, even when there is no room to get past. In all of the 3 or 4 races I’ve competed alongside Chris, he has always been the calmest, most polite guy when it came time to pass. Even when he was in a heated battle where every second counted he understood that you were racing too. Thanks Chris, you do the jersey proud.

Then later in the race, in the early morning hours, I rode with Jerry Daanen, ½ of the 2007 Championship Duo. He was just finishing out his late laps, since they had no chance of losing 4th and little chance of moving up.
We talked for a mile or two about the strength of the field and the race, and just having fun riding. Then we got to the long gravel road with the 2 short climbs and he showed why he was the reigning champion, as he rode away from me on his singlespeed. It was good ridin you with Jerry.

As the sun started to heat things up again I caught Fixedgeargus, reigning singlespeed solo champion, and Expo teammate. We rode together for a few miles and talked about the race. Just usual riding with your teammate stuff, but mostly we talked about the last champions I want to mention.

The Expo Juniors.

They don’t get to claim the official title, but they rode like champions. These guys rode their hearts out and woulda coulda and probably shoulda been wearing the Stars and Stripes. They finished second by only a few minutes, after 24 hard hours of racing.
I say woulda coulda shoulda because if you take away one flat tire and one fluke accident with a errant pedestrian, the finishing time gap might have been 5 minutes the other way. But as they say in NASCAR, it was just one of those racin’ deals.
Stuff happens in a race and that’s why you do the race. You never know until it’s over, and that is why the Expo Junior Team are all champions to me. They gave their all, worked as a team and never gave up. They have what it takes to be on the top step if they ride like they did this weekend they will get there very soon. You guys were the class of the Expo team, and I think the class of the field this weekend. I’m very proud of all of you.

It was a great weekend and a great way to finish out my last 24-hour race.

Oh, and the bonus, John and I got to stand on a National Championship podium. We ended up 5th place in the Championship Duo category. Thanks John, it was a fun race.
Maybe next year I’ll find out if it’s more fun in the pits than on the racecourse.
I’ll have pictures as soon as fixedgeargus sends some.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lights, MTB, Action




Well the lights are coming along. Nothing like waiting til the last minute. The MTB is ready. There is plenty of action going on getting everything organized for 24-9. I wanted to post the light photos cuz some folks were asking to see them.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Now A Few Words From The Lieutenant

I thought the best way to illustrate the absurdity of the Brookfield Police Department's reaction to this latest incident would be to simply share a few quotes from Lt. Beth.


Lt.: Well you know I would choose different roads to ride on if this is an issue, choose a road that’s much safer for you if this is a concern,
Jeff: I guess I would ask you if a motorist came to you with continuing concerns about safety on a road would you tell them to drive on a different road? If I told you Calhoun Road was to dangerous to drive on would you tell me to drive on a different road?
Lt.: no I wouldn’t do that but I’m just telling you I’d advise you that if this is an issue where you don’t have enough room to safely ride with vehicles also riding on the road I would choose a different route.



Lt.: … plus the fact that the car had another vehicle coming the other way and it really had no where to go at the time.

Lt.: and I would advise you not to swear in public places such as you did yesterday (just for the record I did not swear yesterday) that’s a form of disorderly conduct. You brought in proof of that which we have on file.

Lt. I have to warn you that you’re riding on the white line and that’s pushing it in my estimation.

AND MY PERSONAL FAVORITE

Lt. You have no right to be in an active traffic lane if you’re not going the speed limit.


Just for the record the first officer to investigate told me multiple times that it's clear that the truck driver was in violation. In spite of that fact, the driver was only warned, and then told that I was also violating the law. So now he/she incorrectly believes that I am not allowed to ride on the road.

Well done Officer. You've let a driver off for a serious violation of the traffic laws and given him incorrect information which will influence his future travels and further put me and other cyclists in harms way.

Told to Get Out of Dodge

Well Brookfield actually. I reported one of the closest passes I've had in while which happened in Brookfield. Yes the same Brookfield where I've had nothing but trouble. The trouble continues. The officer who took the complaint initially told me he would be citing the driver. He called back the next day to tell me that he would be warning the driver and he was warning me for not being as far to the right as practicable.

When I talked to the Lt. about the incident, I was told that I should find someplace else to ride, that unless I was going the speed limit, I was not allowed in any active traffic lane, and if I continued to shout at drivers as they passed illegally I would be cited for disorderly conduct.
I've got plenty more to say about this situation later.
Jeff
video

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Yellow Truck Update, A Small Victory

I have been in contact with a few people regarding the Yellow Truck incident.

I got an email Friday from the Vice President for safety at YRC Worldwide. That is the parent company of Yellow Transportation as well as Roadway, USF and other major trucking companies. This is what he had to say.


Jeff, as a follow up to our last communication, we did send out our monthly corporate wide safety focus memo to all drivers today. It’s titled “Sharing the Road with Bicyclists” and ALL of the tips you provided were used in the communication. All of our facilities will post and discuss this Safety Focus message for the next 4 weeks in order to instill the right behavior with our professional drivers. Thanks again for the insight you provided.
Bill


Thanks to Bill for taking this issue seriously. You may have saved someone's life by doing this.

These are the "tips" I provided to them. If anyone has any other ideas they think truck drivers should know, let me know and I will pass them along.



Bikesafer
Jeff