Commentary

Women's Wednesday - The Gift of Riding Bikes

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Nancy on her new ride

The Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future: Sharing My Love of Bikes.
I’ve got a photo of me somewhere. I’m wearing a lavender sweater with a big cowl neck. Lavender was never my color and cowl necks are apparently back so that makes me sort of timeless. Or old. Not sure which. I’m straddling a blue ten speed. Now, I think it might have been a birthday day gift but for the purposes of this article, let’s call it a Christmas gift. I was in high school. I know that much because that’s when I mistakenly thought lavender was a good color for me. And I also thought a big curl up down each side of my face was a good idea. I did not have a helmet. No one did. Besides, it would have ruined my hair.

I loved that bike. It was freedom. It took the place of another bike that I had when I was about seven years old; a banana seat Schwinn. My hair looked pretty solid in that picture too. Cute bangs and longish in the back. I think I’m wearing a big pearl necklace for some reason. I wish I still had that old bike. And that hair that didn’t need coloring every eight weeks. The Schwinn must have set my mom back who at the time wasn’t making much waiting tables as a single mom. Or maybe someone else bought it for me or maybe I stole it. She died almost seven years ago so I’ll just give her all the credit.

Tuesday Coffee Talk - Cities Learning to grow up with Bikes

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Today's Coffee Talk deals with American's maturity with bikes. Cycling is becoming more and more popular in recent years and I mean that in the most general sense, not racing or weekend lycra warriors. Problem is many of these new cyclists might not have been on a bike since either their teens or when they had a young child and they rode around the block in their neighborhood. By never having grown up in the culture where cycling transportation was a part of their life, can cause conflict due to their ignorance. Longmont Colorado is one of those beautiful towns which has been doing amazing work at making their town more bike friendly yet along they way, as the new cyclists mature into their new cycling culture, they make mistakes and bad choices and Longmont is trying to reduce tension and educate cyclists on cycling ettiquite by proposing Dismount Zones for Cyclists in the downtown area.

Given the layout of downtown Longmont there is little reason to ride on their core streets and cyclists will learn that as they learn to ride in traffic safety and as they continue to work with the city to add more structures for cyclists.

Question of the day is how do new cyclists learn how to move on from their 10yr cycling skill set to that of a more mature transportation cyclists? This problem may exist in Longmont but if the cycling movement continues to catch on it will be the same problem in nearly every city across the nation

A Matter of Civility - From BikeDenver

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From our Friends at BikeDenver.org
Our Safety on Denver’s Roads & Trails is at Stake

It’s been a great summer for biking in Denver. Whether you ride a few times a year or ride to work every day, you know that biking is booming in Denver.

Bike commuting numbers rose to exceed 4 times the national average, and we also saw increases in the number of bike events and in participation in events like the Denver Century Ride, Tour de Fat, and USA Pro Challenge. From bike shops to B-cycle, every bike indicator in Denver is rising.

This summer also saw some growing pains and re-introduced us to existing challenges. We heard a lot of frustration from people who walk, bike and drive about unsafe behaviors. Complaints ran the gamut from bicyclists running red lights, incidents of extreme harassment by motorists, pedestrians feeling threatened by bicyclists on sidewalks and trails, and just about everyone (bikes, cars, joggers and even scooters) using bike lanes improperly.

Coffee Talk Tuesday - Return to Bare Bones Racing?

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How do you want to race and by that I mean what are the check list of items you mentally go through before you decide to do a CX race or not? Over the past 12 months the hum of races getting too expense is starting to turn into a roar. Some are saying that bike racing, particular CX is starting to price itself out of existence. In what use to be a cutters style race where racers would cobble together second class parts and show up pretty much clueless to what cross was all about are now showing up with Carbon A and B bikes and are prepped with CX specific training given to them by their coaches. Is that evolution or is that elitism? In a recent poll we did we discovered that about 3/4's of the riders want bare bones racing with no prizes, no announcing, no extras, just a course, parking lot and less than $25 entry fee (after all late fee's and extras applied). That's not to say that big event racing should disappear it's just that within a month 3/4 of the races could be bare bones to keep the riders coming back. While that might not eliminate the carbon on course it should make your day just a little bit easier to swallow.

Coffee Talk - Time for unsanctioned races?

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Nothing was better in my early years of being a bike racer than the Wednesday night TT's we did. About 20ish riders would roll up to one of the only roads that had a shoulder in town and we'd go 5 miles out, look for the painted arrows turn around and race back. No permits, no, cops, no volunteers at the corners stopping traffic (you had to time it right with cars) and no "posted results or points". Cost was $0. Best experience I ever had in my early days of racing, you learn so much about how much pain the body can take in those early years that is valuable for the training or racing coming up that weekend.

Where did those Wednesday TT's of my youth go? Some of the races today are getting pricey, I'm not complaining, big races like Boulder Cup takes big investments and lot of expenses and risks but some riders just can't do it anymore, especially if they don't get the royal treatment.

While reading the Daily Camera today I was for a moment returned to the 90's racing those Wednesday night TT's for no prizes, results or points, just for pain and knowledge, unsanctioned racing. Their article was about a new ad campaign by Pearl Izumi to forget about those big events and go rouge, underground. Why not? Permits are nearly impossible to get these days from local governments and the police force you need to have on had can get pretty pricey and there are plenty of nice parks around. Of course unsanctioned races have no insurance if you crash but you learned from Megan Hottman, The CyclistsLawyer that race insurance isn't going to cover a whole lot if you are hurt. What's stopping you besides very illegal and you could get sued to death?

Thanks Pearl Izumi for taking me back to those days and remembering what it is like to race for nothing but glory.

Liar Liar Liar Pants on Fire: Drugs, Lies & Sponsors

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I love happy gas at the dentist. I love drugs. They have a time and a place and a purpose. With the birth of each of my children I was ready to take whatever it took to get the job done. It just so happened that I didn’t need any. I guess that my body and my babies and all that goes along with delivering small melons with legs and arms seemed to work for me. But the minute I was being pushed out the door of the hospital I had my prescription in hand for Vicodin or whatever they wanted to give me.

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