Sunday, November 27, 2005

Waimea Canyon An Odyssey in Three Parts. Part One

Waimea Canyon, an odyssey in Three parts.

Part One: The History

ZenLC is a sadistic man. He should have been a chemistry teacher.

That should set the framework for the events to follow. ZenLC recognized a part of my personality that has difficulty in resisting a challenge. He used this to inflict considerable pain and torment, both physical and mental upon my person.

Last year, ZenLC and his family took a vacation to the beautiful Hawai’ian island of Kauai. As all must do when visiting this gem of the pacific, they enjoyed the splendor of Waimea Canyon described by Mark Twain as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific." Having traveled to this same place a few months prior, we had some discussion about it. There is much to note that while I marveled at the spectacle, ZenLC began thinking of how to torture a new cyclist with the idea of climbing this monster on bikes.

The challenge was posed. Ride Waimea Canyon. Not just down, like the tour groups do, but up. Way up. With the completion of my first century ride behind me, and the elation that success brought, I agreed. I had a new challenge and with all the optimism of a green rider, I began to plan out my training rides for the year. Hills. Lots of them, and many times. Of course, as could be predicted, forces beyond my control dashed my plans, but I did a fair job of damage control. I would do less than a third of the training that I’d planned.

ZenLC, a few months out from the ride, poses the idea of adding 60 miles to the Ride and making it a century. I voice my concerns about my fear of not completing the Climb itself, let alone an additional 60 miles, but he simply says, “You’ll do fine.” Over the next few months, I commit to trying to add the miles to turn the Ride in to a century, but without the experience of that type of climbing, my limited training, and bathmophobia, my heart just wasn’t in it.

My training for climbing and improving my power to weight ratio met with mixed results. Other factors in life gained a higher priority, but progress was made on both accounts. Five weeks prior to The Climb, I quit my job. Three weeks prior, I started a new job. Nutrition and training were put to the back burner, future income had to be secured.

I will leave out the details of trying to pack down my recumbent, and the poor timing of my lovely wife inviting people over the night before the trip. It’s too much work to censor out all of the profanity. I will not be shipping my recumbent to any more off island rides. Period.

ZenLC and I had become very good friends over the last year or so, and it was interesting to meet him face to face. The familiarity of knowing a bit about this person, mixed with the lack of familiarity of talking face to face was quite odd. I had the opportunity to meet his lovely wife and adorable son.

Waimea Canyon, an odyssey in Three parts. Part Two

Part Two: The Climb

The morning of the ride was filled with electricity. The feeling of Christmas morning as a child was all around. We set off before dawn. ZenLC drove as I had a fascinating conversation with his son about pickles and toads, not to mention counting how few people were awake at that hour. As we drove the route in reverse, I became a bit alarmed at the grade and frequency of the climbs. Nothing epic, but I was also trying to place these climbs on the route map… a climb is considerably different in the first 20 miles of a century vs. the last 20 miles. The route looked daunting. Eighteen mile climb of 4000ft in the first 20 miles aside, just doing a century ride on this route would be a challenge. If I survived, it would be a miracle. Fear has now entered into the mix of emotions of exhilaration, anticipation, and desire...

After a nice breakfast in Kalaheo Coffee to fuel up for the ride, we drove to the base of the climb. Parked in the lost of a mini-mart, we set up our bikes. ZenLC finished first and spotted a rider setting up his rig as well. As it turns out this rider was planning on doing a bit of a training ride and agreed to ride with us. There was a bit of confusion on the route that he was taking and what we were calling Waimea Canyon. There are two routes up the canyon. The route that he was planning on taking was also the route that we were taking. When ZenLC said “up Waimea Canyon” the rider thought he was taking the other route. This rider shared with us a few insights on this climb, things like how no one rides past the 550/552 junction because it’s too steep after that point, and how some pro triathletes had to walk up some sections. I was a little worried looking at this light, nimble, experienced local rider say that he’s only riding to the junction, and ZenLC and I had plans to ride about 10 miles farther. I had temporarily stopped worrying about the remaining 60 miles that ZenLC had tossed on to the ride a few months prior. As the conversation between ZenLC and the rider was going on, I had finished putting my bike back together and while doing the preflight, noticed that the rear brakes were a bit on the mushy side. I moved the wire nut up about an inch and everything seemed good. He said he would meet us at the bottom of the climb and drove off. I gave ZenLC the thumbs up and we set off. The brakes still felt mushy. On any other ride, I wouldn’t have paused to give this too much though, but we were going to be doing 18 miles of descent. This is not the time to not follow your gut. Further inspection revealed the cable was worn nearly through. Bad bad. Panicked, I borrowed tools from some guys hanging out in front of the mini-mart. It took us 45 minutes to “MacGyver” my brakes into submission and we were good to go. We hoped. The local rider was nowhere to be found.

This was it. The Ride that I had feared, dreamed, and obsessed about for almost a year had finally begun. After a quick fuel dump and a little conversation with FSM, we were truly off. We climbed slowly and focused on conserving energy. We joked and talked and climbed at a nice steady pace. ZenLC, being the stronger rider, would ride next to me as we climbed and drop back when the odd car came up. It didn’t take to long for my legs to start burning, but I’d anticipated it. I could deal with it. Heck I had even trained for this, a little. My cycle-puter has an altimeter function, and I left in on that setting to watch the altitude pile up. So far, the ride hadn’t been any more difficult than my training rides, but my training rides were not quite this long. I’d communicated with ZenLC about my training rides and their different levels of difficulty and distance. ZenLC, even though he’s evil and is trying to kill me, was there with a bit of encouragement. When we’d gone about five miles or so, he asked me how long my longest climb was. I responded with “thee and a half miles or so”. He countered with “See, you’ve already done something that you’ve never done before.” Man, he’s crafty. Trying to lull me into thinking that I could actually finish the climb. Keep in mind that, at this point, I had put out the “century” portion of the ride completely out of my mind. I was focused on summiting, and that’s it. Funny how the mind can just push things to the side like that. It raised my spirits a bit when the tour group can flying down the hill. Twelve tourists and two guides, that took a van to the main lookout. I would have loved to hear what was going on in their minds when they saw us climbing the hill that they couldn’t. I made a rude remark about their abilities, or lack there of, and continued my suffering.

The local rider caught up to us. He’d waited at the other road for awhile and figured that we’d gone the other way. His pace was a bit faster than mine. By a bit, I mean double. ZenLC and he rode up a bit and talked. I just plugged away at my 5.5mph. Local guy was on a double. I guess he realized that I had no intention of speeding up and he slowed down. (Hey, I wasn’t going to tell him that I was at max climb speed.)

After what my legs would tell you was a week of climbing, we reached the junction of 550 and 552. 2400ft of climbing. Most difficult climb I’d ever done. Good time for a rest. I was quite proud of myself at this point. Heck, I was starting to think that I’d make it to the top. Again, I really wasn’t thinking about the 60 miles that followed the descent. I sensed a bit of astonishment from the local rider that I had made it this far. On a recumbent. Looks like even he had heard that “recumbents can’t climb”. ZenLC and I said our goodbyes and the local rider said good luck, and we headed off, up the hill, again. The main lookout was only a few hundred feet from the junction so we decided that it wasn’t worth the stop. And we both recalled that you had to go up a path to get to the lookout. I, for one, was not interested in breaking the rhythm I had developed so far.

We continued the climb, legs slightly refreshed from the break. A mile or so up the road was a nice view.

We started at around 30ft above sea level. Back on the bikes, we were both feeling a sense of accomplishment; we’d done some serious climbing, and had a spectacular view to show for it. I cannot figure out why someone would not ride the few extra miles to get to this view and just turn around at the junction. Odd. The road was a fairly even grade and we just pushed on. Pain had become an intimate friend. I was no longer angry. This would change.

One of the most challenging parts of the climb was yet to come. Maintenance responsibility of the road changed. So far, the road was in pretty good shape. No shoulders to speak of, but the surface of the road was smooth. This new section looked like a war zone. Horrific repair attempts. This must be where they train new road workers how to repair potholes. ZenLC, with his carbon fiber bump eating bike was not happy, and even though my back side was on a nice reclined and cushioned seat, the bumps and jolts were driven through my body. My sunglasses were bouncing on my face, and at times I couldn’t read my cycle-puter. Atrocious. Hell. This is not something that I had prepared for, or even though of. Miles of crap road.

We passed Kokee State Park and the road took a serious upturn. My speed dropped to under four mph, which is no easy task on a P-38. I’m not sure what the grade was, but after sixteen miles of my legs being on fire, it was just a bit more than I could do. The road was narrow and full of switchbacks. I cracked. Right there. That quickly. Hit the wall and came to a dead stop. I had nothing left. I was afraid that I would fall over, so I stopped. Quietly, I was surprised to have made it this far. We took a break, right there in the road, on a turn, because it was all turn. Water and fuel into the system and a chance to regain my breath, and let the legs refresh was all that was needed. Be damned if I’m going to let this end so close to the summit. ZenLC missed his chance to torment me. Heh, maybe he was in pain too. Doubt it. Evil knows no pain. When I felt that continuing would not kill me, we started off again. I had bonked pretty hard, but my mind was set on summiting. The steep section didn’t last too long and we were rewarded with a nice little descent on the same crap roads. No speed records set there. Another steep section followed by an easy descent landed us at Kalalau Lookout, elevation 4000 feet.

The Summit.

There was no more road to follow.

A brief walk up the path to the right yielded a spectacular view.

Notice the look of pride and joy on my face, contrasted by the look of “I’ll have to kill him on the descent” on ZenLC’s.

We took a short break to eat a bit and rest. Surprised tourists marveled at our accomplishment. I was thrilled, and can still remember that feeling.

Around half way back through the crap road section, my right calf started to cramp. Attempts to stretch it out on bike failed and I had to stop. ZenLC gave me a banana and we headed out again. When we made our way out of the war zone, the road felt as smooth as glass. The descent had begun. The reality of climbing Waimea Canyon was beginning to sink in. Another major goal accomplished and the thrill of flying down that hill at 25+ mph had me literally shouting with excitement. (Just another crazy recumbent rider). My aerodynamic and mass advantages launched me down the hill, carving curves as best I could. The failed brake cable still in my mind. The climb seemed to take all day, but the descent seemed to zip right by. In no time at all we were back at the junction. This alternate road was a bit steeper and followed the edge of the canyon. Brilliant views and breath taking rollers, all with a steady downhill bent. I spotted a fairly straight section and let off the brakes entirely. 25mph. 30. 35. 40. 45. The P-38 steady as a rock. 50 mph, double the posted speed limit, and a new personal record. Steady braking brought my speed back into control. I was on fire. I’d done it! Waimea Canyon was done. Recumbents climb just fine, thank you very much. ZenLC caught up to me, being much more sensible about his speed, and surly just waiting for me to kill myself so he could be spared the trouble. We rode together to the bottom of the hill, which seemed incredibly flat and headed off to the store to replenish our bottles.

We called our respective wives, whom I’m sure were both happy that we’d not gone off into the canyon. We were a bit behind schedule, but still doing ok.

Waimea Canyon, an odyssey in Three parts. Part Three

Part Three: Take Me Home

With bottle full, and our energy up, we took to the road again. The road out of Waimea consisted of nice rolling hills, of which none were scary. I was along these next 10 miles or so that I realized that I was in for another sixty miles. Part of me did not think I would make it this far. The other part was screaming profanity at me for thinking that I could finish 100 miles after 4000 feet of climbing, on a recumbent. We headed out of Waimea in into Hanapepe. The roads became little more rolling, and it was taking its toll on me. I was tired. I think it was in Hanapepe that I started to complain, merely echoing what my legs were telling me in mile three. Mentally, I was breaking. I was beginning to think that I would not make it back. I had never failed to finish a ride before; but then again, I had only been riding for two years, and this was way beyond the scope of anything I’d attempted before. Every uphill lasted forever and my body screamed. Every downhill seemed to last only a few seconds. Just enough time to give me a moment of relief before the pain began anew. Not sure how, but ZenLC had finally killed me. I was in full wuss mode. If I listed all the parts that we in pain, or had surpassed pain to enter the realm of dead/numb, it would put you to tears. The ride began to be not fun. My thoughts seemed focused on the pain. “How could I make the pain stop? Call in for the Sag? Maybe I will have a ‘mechanical’ and I could stop and not have to reveal how much pain I am in. It could be that I just need another break. A flat tire would be nice.“ That seems so ludicrous now. I wont even say the word ‘flat’ and there I was thinking how nice it would be to have one. Bad place.

We took a side road to make sure we had the miles to complete the century and along this stretch ZenLC stopped to get some gunk off his tire. I motioned for me to keep riding, but I needed the break. Badly. He could see in on my face. We talked a bit about how I was doing. He asked if I had though about calling it ‘quits’. I admitted that I had, but I wasn’t dead yet. Part of me, way deep down underneath the fear that my toes were bleeding and the pain in every part of my legs, was a desire to finish this damn ride.

The road heading off to Koloa had a few less rollers, and my focus shifted ever so slightly to making it to Koloa. The next scheduled rest stop. After a few miles of slight incline, we were rewarded with a nice descent into town. We parked the bikes and headed off to a special part of the ride. Ice Cream. We sat on a bench, tired and sweaty, eating ice cream in cycling clothes. It was the funniest thing to enter my mind in a long time. I was that far gone. We stayed in Koloa for a while. We were behind schedule. I wasn’t sure how far behind, but we were in serious danger of not getting back before dark. The time off the bike, and a scoop of mint chocolate chip gave me a moment of respite. I began to realize that my mind was the part of me that was failing. My body was in pain, yes, but unlike where I cracked at the top of Waimea Canyon, my body still had the ability to continue. I was not sure how far, but I knew I could go on. The term ‘paradigm’ is over used. But I had a paradigm shift; a mental revolution. I would finish this ride. I would not fail at this. I had not committed to ZenLC doing the century ride before. Partially because I wasn’t sure I could finish. It was so beyond the scope of what I’d done before. I made that commitment then. Not verbally. I stopped focusing on the pain and agony. This was supposed to be fun. And the reason the last 20 miles or so had not been, had only to do with my thoughts. Pain is a part of cycling.

To be a cyclist is to be a student of cycling's core lies pain, hard and bitter as the pit inside a juicy peach. It doesn't matter if you're sprinting for an Olympic medal, a town sign, a trailhead, or the rest stop with the homemade brownies. If you never confront pain, you're missing the essence of the sport. Without pain, there's no adversity. Without adversity, no challenge. Without challenge, no improvement. No improvement, no sense of accomplishment and no deep-down joy. Might as well be playing Tiddly-Winks. -Scott Martin

I changed how I was looking at the next 55 miles.

We grabbed some fuel restock from a gas station and set out. The Tree Tunnel on the way out of (or into) Koloa is a very cool thing. To see it from the seat of a bike is a very very cool thing. ZenLC and I rolled through Lihue and made some good time into Wailua. At some point he mentioned something about me catching my second wind. I didn’t have the brain power to focus on riding, holding back the pain, and go into the transformation so I told him that I found out that I had the “Wuss Swtich” on my bike set to ‘on’, and just set it to ‘off’. I remember him laughing, but deep down I could see the disappointment in failing to kill me by now.

Our average speed started to climb as we hit sections of road with few and less steep hills. Kapaa passed in a blur, though I remember seeing my cycle-puter displaying a speed of 26mph. We were booking. Anahola had some nice climbs, but my legs knew that they could just shut the hell up until they carried the bike up the stairs to the condo, and to do that, they had to make it up this hill, and the next one, and the one after that too. The rest of the hills and ride are mostly a blur. Until it started to get dark. We were running out of time, and our estimates of how far we needed to go to make this a century, and how far we had to go to get to the condo were not jiving. We pulled up to the condo five miles short, and the sun had gone done. I swapped out my sunglasses for my regular glasses, and we headed out to finish. It was hard to be at the stairs of the condo after 95 miles of pain, only to turn around and get back on the bike. We rode off out into the dusk. The area around the condo had surprisingly few streetlights. Darkness hit hard, and we were lightless. The main road was entirely too dangerous so we headed back to the side roads. Full darkness now. Riding became like a dream. Agony had retreated; simply a dull shadow. Every synapse was focused on not riding off the side of the road, or into a pothole, or into ZenLC.

Back at the condo, and climbing the three flights of stairs, my bike weighed 100 lbs. My legs had been reduced to Jell-O. My bones hurt. I was too tired to be as happy as I should have been.

Ride Stats:

Distance: 101.5
Ride Time: 8:39:26
Average Speed: 11.69
Max Speed: 50.1 MPH
Elevation gain: 10,323 feet
Calories Burned: 4949
Thrill Factor: Outstanding!

ZenLC recognized a part of my personality that has difficulty in resisting a challenge. He used this to inflict considerable pain and torment, both physical and mental upon my person. With the passing of pain and torment, I emerged gloriously reborn. Stronger in the faith of my abilities, and understanding of what a ‘limit’ is. All comments about him wanting to kill me are purely subjective on my part. I am considerably grateful to ZenLC for posing this challenge and the help, support and sadism that allowed me to complete the most difficult thing I have ever done.

So far.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Like the layers of an onion.

(freestyle thought to follow - unedited and not tied up)
Travel by human power is a unique and often overlooked alternative. While my initial attraction to bicycling (at least in my so called adult life) was for fun and recreation, it has slowly been revieled to me some of the many aspects of the bike. I wonder if anyone's taken the bicycle and broken it down like an evolutionary tree. Each branch seems both wound around the trunk and fireing off in a different direction at the same time.

What brought this up is my experimintation in Single Speed and (soon to stores near you) Fixed Geared bikes. I've been running a Single Speed for a bit now, and absolutely love it. I've even done a bit of climbing on one... which in retrospect was not the most brilliant idea I've had. Today, with any luck, will be my first venture into the world of fixed gears. The cog I've ordered came in. With any luck, I'll have that sucker on the bike tonight and I'll get to see what the fuss is all about.

Stay tuned for the ride report.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The addiction begins to take over.

Brother in law gave me a used Cannondale touring frame for my birthday.
Two days later I found a POS rigid MTB at a garage sale up the street.

I now own:
2 recumbents
2 mountain bikes
2 road frames
1 single speed road bike..

With my trip coming up in November.. I'd love to add a Bike Friday to the list.
Something tells me that, before too long, I'll have to trim this group down a bit.

Monday, July 11, 2005


Got a nice little formula from a friend the other day.
[ H2 / 10D ]
where H = height difference in meters,
and D = distance traveled in meters)

Very Nice.
My Col de Pilot ranks a measly 2.4.
The ride planned for November.... 6.4, which if it was in Colorado, it would be the 3rd toughest climb in the state.
BTW the site where I got this is Colorado Bicycle Climbs.
Might just break this down and try to compile this info for my island/state.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

2005 TDF Picks.

Ok... So I'm posting this a bit late. (list created prior to the start of le Tour)
  1. Armstrong. Yes it will be a miracle, but I think he's got the commitment, focus and desire.
  2. Ullrich. Always the brides made
  3. Vinokourov
  4. Basso
  5. Beloki
  6. Heras
I'm not really trying to predict a winner, or the order, but this is how I see it playing out.
Dang that Boonen is just an amazing sprinter!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Aero-Bellies and the lure of the Recumbent

I might be outing a few people here, so if I disapear...

I've noticed something, and I'm not sure if it's a coincidence or not. So I'll put it here until I have more time to do a bit more research on the matter. (however the hell I would do that is beyond me at the moment.)

Riders of recumbent bikes, are more likely to have "Aero-bellies", aka beerbellies, aka the midlife paunch. Now, I've not really delved into the the reasons why this would be, but I do have a theory.

(Here's where the lynch mob forms)

Recumbents can't climb. (Or so I've been told)
And since recumbents can't climb, recumbent riders avoid hills. This leads to less attention paid to the whole concept of power to weight ratio. Air resistance plays a larger part in workload on a flat road than rider weight does. It's only when the road turns up that the weight of a rider plays a significant role.

So, do recumbent riders have aero-bellies becuase they think that they can't climb and avoid hills, therefore what they weigh is less importants.
Do riders with Aero-bellies ride recumbents, becuse it gives them a reason (er, excuse) for not being able to climb?
I leave the question to the reader as an exersize.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Point proven.

She took offense.
My bike (Lightning Cycle Dynamics P-38 recumbent) spoke to me.
She told me that she's not done with me yet.

Now, I've got a big ride planned for November.. a hill climb. Or rather a mountain climb, as it's far and above anything I've ever done. 18.95 miles at an average grade of 8%. There is still some doubt about my success of that ride, though hills no longer scare me. Rebumbents are known for three things: 1) Fast as hell, 2) Comfortable as heaven, and 3) they can't climb.
Put on the table my upcoming ride, and known item number 3. Seems that I'm adding to my own potential failure by using a bike that's "known" for not climbing well for a ride that is all about climbing. I've been playing with the idea of taking my mountain bike just for this reason. I've even looked into folding bikes. I was really not sure what I was going to ride on that monstrous challenge.

I happened on the Club Ride this past Sunday. What was scheduled as the normal 30 mile, mostly flat, out and back turned into a hill ride. The ride leader (ok, the guy in the front of the pack) took a right turn and started up a side street. We ended up climbing for about 9 miles. Mostly lower grade, say 5% or so and rollers. Now, 'bents aren't supposed to be able to climb. Somehow, I was in the lead of the group for most of the ride. Responding strongly to break aways and generally riding quite strong. My P-38 was proving a point. I think she wants to do this ride in November. I heard that quite clearly. Now, I know what you're thinking; "this guy was in the sun too long.. he's hearing his bike talk to him. One word. Heatstroke." But I'm telling you, I felt fine. Drank my water on a schedule, didn't push too hard, etc etc. She told me she wants to do this ride. How else could I respond to an uphill attack? I'm not that strong of a rider. The attacker ran out of legs and couldn't bride the gap. I contemplated jumping, but I'd never ridden this route before and didn't know what hills were left.
We should have gone.
wanted to.
I could feel it.

She's ready for the ride in November.
I'm the one that needs to work on it.
Point proven.
(and 'bents can climb- it's usually the rider that can't)

Now, if she'd only tell me her name.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The end of a love affair?

Since my discovery of recumbent bikes, I've been passionate about their virtues. Everyone I talk to gets an earful, and then some, about the advantages of the 'bent and the disadvantages of the traditional diamond frame bike. I originally purchased a RedBent from a huckster in SoCal. Yes, it's a recumbent, but it was a total piece of crap. I quickly upgraded to a BikeE AT. Black and probably the easiest to ride bike that's ever been made. It didn't take too long for me to upgrade from that bike as well. (see a trend?) This next step, was a big one. I jumped from a utility style recumbent (the BikeE) to a high end recumbent legend, the Lightning P-38. This bike cemented the recumbent in my mind as the next evolutionary step in cycling. Agile and supposedly 10% more efficient in slicing through the air. What more could you ask for?

Then came, the other.

After some online conversations with a cycling maniac, CommuterDude, and a few others, I began to investigate the concept of Single Speed bikes. I could attempt to explain the allure of this type of bike, but I'd fail at reaching the essence of what makes them beautiful. Recumbent single speeds are not really practical as you cannot stand up and mash your way up any hills. With a bent, you need your gears to spin.
I experimented with my commuter mountain bike; leaving it in one gear for a few rides. I was considerably shocked to see my average speed increase. Yes, increase. I only used one gear, and I was faster. More importantly, I had fun. More fun than I usually have on the ride home from work.
Fast forward a few months.
I stumble across a guy that has a road frame for sale, cheap. One that he was going to make into a fixed gear (don't get me started on that subject just yet). While I was there, I purchased a near complete bike off him for $40. Two days latter, I take that same bike to the LBS and whamo.. It's a Single Speed.
Now, with just over 25 miles on the bike, it's my favorite bike to ride.
I've begun to doubt my relationship with recumbents.

I even look at fixed gear bike porn
I feel dirty.

A single speed bike is nearly the opposite of a recumbent. Where a recumbent is pushing the envelope of technology, aerodynamics, and engineering; the single speed bike is an exercise in simplicity. Everything that can be removed has been. Including the rear brake.

Am I over my love of recumbents?
Or, is this just a fling?

Monday, March 28, 2005

Twelve Steps (er Thirteen)

  1. We admitted we are powerless over Work - that our lives had become unfocused.
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than Shimano (Campy) could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of Cycling as we understood It.
  4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of our tools.
  5. Admitted to non-cyclists, to ourselves, and to another cyclist the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have Cycling remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Cycling to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Make a list of all persons we had met, and became willing to teach cycling to them all.
  9. Made direct attempts to teach cycling to our families, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were at work promptly left to go cycling.
  11. Sought through riding and cycle maintanence to improve our conscious contact with Cycling as we understood It, praying only for knowledge of It's will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to non-cyclists, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
  13. Amendment - Contemplated the shaving of our legs, at least once a season...
What, you're offended?
Bite me.

Food for thought (bananas anyone?)

From purely a logical standpoint…
A gallon of gasoline represents approximately 30,700 Calories (assuming that a human could convert gasoline to energy). A medium sized banana represents approximately 108 Calories. That’s 284 bananas per gallon of gasoline. I don’t care where you live.. gasoline is looking pretty cheap.

When I ride my bike to work, I use about 752 Calories to travel the 14 miles. That’s about 6.9 bananas. When I drive my car to work, it uses about .54 gallons of gasoline, or about 16,578 Calories, or about 153.5 bananas. Gasoline isn’t looking too great now.

Roughly speaking, riding my bike to work is about 22 times more efficient than driving, purely from a energy consumption standpoint. 22 times.

Ah, but what about time.. surely, you say, it takes more time to travel by bike!
Yes. It does. For me. For others, it does not.
My average speed on my bike on my preferred (read; less direct but safer and more scenic) route is around 14mph. My average speed by car, by the fastest route I can find, is about 16.27mph. So, I save about 9 minutes by traveling by car.
That’s it. 9 minutes. And the freeway and the rear end of the same car for 40+ minutes aint all that scenic.

Now, I have not, on purpose, mentioned the cost of vehicle ownership; vehicle purchase, maintenance, insurance, taxes paid to maintain roads. Etc. etc.
Nor have I mentioned the difference that between spending 120 a day on my bike vs. 102 minutes a day sitting in traffic on my health and mental well being.
And, I’ve not talked about:
Car emissions kill 30,000 people each year in the U.S. (1, 1998)
Most ozone pollution is caused by motor vehicles, which account for 72% of nitrogen oxides and 52% of reactive hydrocarbons (principal components of smog). (2, 1990)
If every commuter car in the U.S. carried just one more person, we'd save eight billion gallons of gas a year. (3, 1990)

Sumtin’ to think about. (while you’re riding your bike, perhaps)

(1) From the Eugene/Springfield (OR) Bicycle Map (1998?), which further credits the American Lung Association, Oregon Traffic Commission, Association of Commuter Transportation, American Automobile Association, and City of Eugene.
(2) 30 Simple Energy Things You Can Do to Save the Earth. Los Angeles: South California Edison, 1990, p. 11.
(3) 30 Simple Energy Things You Can Do to Save the Earth. Los Angeles: South California Edison, 1990, p. 52-53.