Thursday, December 26, 2013

Publish or Perish

There is a common expression among professional academics, "Pubish or perish". Thank god blogs aren't like that, 'cause I would be dead. Hang on, though; I just checked my site stats and whadda ya know, blogs ARE like that! I am pretty much dead! Go an' figger!

My extended absence from this space wasn't planned or expected or any of that. I honestly hope that the friends I've made here swing 'round again when I start writing regularly once more. I have a problem with my creative outlets it would seem because I am prone to lengthy outages. This is the first long one with the blog, but similar things have happened with guitar and stuff before.

Rather than go into a lengthy exploration of why I stop and start, which is useful to no one, I think maybe I'll just post some stuff from while I wasn't writing here, like this:




Yes, I traveled a bit while I was gone... I'm hoping to keep it highly mysterious, like scooby-do mysterious. Why would a guy like me be taking pictures of posters in Slovakia? What? Why? Were there bikes? Well, no, there were no bikes, sorry.

I've been looking at some of my older posts and feeling like I used to write good stuff, but not lately. It might happen again, but if not I've always got some helmet cam video worth showing, thank goodness. I won't ask you to stay tuned because my return is still sort of fragile, but if you feel like it, come back again. There might actually be something to see or read.


And Oh Yeah, Merry Whatever Floats Your Spiritual Boat!
 Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Monday, October 28, 2013

It Just Makes Me Want to Cry

I could cry. I was back on a real roll with this blog thing. Then, poof! Time gone.
 
I could cry tears of joy, however, every time I watch this clip my brother sent me:
 
 
 
 
I can think of nothing better than leaving this post up while I work through all the other stuff I've got to do!
 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

King Schming

Wow man. I thought the King would rule. I have taken many photos of my favourite tree this fall, hoping to dominate the foliage frenzy over at anniebikes.
 
No such luck. I must have known deep in my sappy bones that this would be a lackluster year and bailed on the smackdown as a result. Or it is just coincidence. One of those.
 
Anyway, if you want to see how the King looks this year, check out anniebikes. He will be posted there sooner or later, or so I have been led to believe.
 
 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Workload

Apologies for not being around much this week; work has been crazy, blah blah blah. I'm finding my own excuses tiresome and repetitive, so I can imagine how boring it feels for you. Here's a funny picture instead, symbolizing my work life right now:
 
 
 
 
Thanks for your amazon web searches; sorry if I haven't used 'em all. I warned you that I would be only posting the ones I found strange enough and that got at least one result. I wanted to post drummergeek's "jell-o comfort shorts", but sadly there were no matches for the search. Damn.
 
You know who keeps coming with awesome searches? My phrenologist, Mordecai McBumpanoggin (McBump). That dude is a genius.
 
 
Be well, ride your bike, and I'll be back ASAP! Yer Pal,

.
R A N T W I C K

Monday, October 14, 2013

Things People Say Fridays #13: Wild Man

I'm posting this on a Monday, but that's OK, because this person said what they said on Friday. That's good enough for me. Plus, this one is awesome and I'm not gonna wait 5 days to post it. As with other "Things People Say" posts, I'm not gonna write a whole bunch of stuff and just let the video speak for itself:
 
 
 
  
On this Thanksgiving Day I am thankful for all the characters like this guy that make my world more interesting. For all you silly 'Mericans, happy Columbus Day! I bet that dude was a way out character too.
 
Enjoy Your Holiday Wherever You Are,
R A N T W I C K

PS - If you are not enjoying a Holiday today, please tell your boss that I said it is OK for you to take a day for yourself with pay. If they have a problem with that, they can email me and I'll give 'em what for about the value of your work and how they really don't want to piss you off because they don't know what I know about how crazy dangerous you are.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

R A N T W E R K

Yes, you read that title right, and yes I am nothing if not a follower of popular trends. Twerking might have "jumped the shark" by now, but that is just when a guy like me gets right into something. Just as when fat white middle aged suburban Dads (or fabric ladies) start rapping and everybody loves it, so too is my twerking AWESOME. I think I messed up the the structure or correct usage of the simile (or is it metaphor, or analogy? I should know that!) but that's OK, because when you can bike twerk, you don't need no English grammar 'cause your hot shakin' action says it all! Check me out:

 
 
 
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention my thing is "bicycle shadow twerking"; I mean, how gross do you think I am? I'm a 44 year old 5'10" 200+ lb man, for God's sake! Eewww! Call me a prude, but I find it kind of distasteful even when attractive people do it. Man oh man, am I gettin' old. 
 
On the slim chance that anyone thinks those shadows are of my body, please rest easy in the fact that the shadows are actually of my jacket; I had a set of keys in the back pocket that were largely responsible for my awesome shadowy motion. I'm not entirely pleased with my bod, but thank god none of it really woogles like that!

Aren't you glad you showed up here today? Well if you're not, at least I am. Thanks as always for reading!
 
 
 
Yer Pal,
 
R A N T W E R K

PS - I'm running low on bizarre Amazon searches, so help me out if you can.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Slanting Rays of Autumn

Most regular cyclists I know wear sunglasses to both cut the glare and keep their eyeballs from drying out. I couldn't find mine this morning, so I wore the clear safety glasses I usually save for the dark of winter.



It was a good reminder of how completely blinded anyone without shades could be, sun visor or not.
 
It changed the way I rode a little; at one point I pulled over and waited for overtaking cars to clear before getting out there to take a left. Stuff like that. Lovin' the Fall weather though; made a bee line for the path, where shade prevails much of the time. It was great. I hope your Autumn rides are proving just as nice!
 
 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

No Leafy Goodness For You!

That was the email message I got from Recumbent Conspiracy Theorist, a past participant in the Autumn Tree Smackdown who knew that I wasn't running it this year. Fittingly, he sent me this perfect tree picture, the only kind I should expect to get this Fall:
 



Where, you may wonder, will all the leafy goodness go this year? Well, that's easy: the leafy goodness is hangin' out over at anniebikes! You got some goodness? Send it her way for sure.
 
 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Monday, October 7, 2013

Only In Canada

I love my country. One of the things I love about my country is the CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Similar to the BBC in Britain, it is the government funded TV and Radio network. Sometimes though, it provides me with some stuff that is downright embarrassing. Here's a recent sound clip from CBC radio:
 
 
video
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
As you, my naturally suspicious reader, may have guessed, I misled you a bit there. That was a snippet from "This is That", a CBC Radio One show that I LOVE. It does completely deadpan mockeries of real CBC Radio programs and interviews.
 
The CBC, in my opinion, is a national treasure for stuff like this and so much more. When talk of cutting funds to it roll around, and it happens sometimes, I am deeply saddened. It provides the best news coverage in the country, hands down. It runs informative and educational stuff similar to NPR or PBS in the States. It makes television dramas and stuff that aren't usually to my taste, often historically set. It broadcasts big sporting events like the Olympics and of course Hockey Night In Canada. The CBC is awesome. People here rely on it more than they know.
 
Should have saved this post for Canada Day, I guess! Or CBC day. CBC day is held on the first Monday after your birthday here; every Canadian gets CBC day off as a personal holiday. You are supposed to take the day to explore CBC programming, but I always use mine to ride my bike, my red Norco with silver handlebars.
 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Friday, October 4, 2013

I Liked This

Saw something that I liked on my rainy ride in this morning. It struck me as funny but kind of cool at the same time. Because sharing is caring, here you go:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Have great weekends all!
R A N T W I C K

PS - Thanks to the new people who submitted random Amazon searches. I'm enjoying seeing them even if I'm not using all of them, so keep it up everybody!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

FFARATS? Feh! Fellow Freak Finds Fun Foisting Fall Foliage Fotos Featuring Fabulous Finds From Friends!

As you may be aware, I have decided not to run an Autumn Tree Smackdown this year. I was feeling a little bad about it. However, a Fellow Foliage Freak is coming to the rescue for all of those awesome foliage pics looking for a home. Less structured than my contest but every bit as appealing (at least to me) is anniebikes' 2013 Foliage Challenge.
 
 
If you were thinking of sending me any pics, don't. Send them to Annie, so all that leafy goodness can be found in one place. It is my sincere hope that The King will simply subjugate any and all other submissions, because when it comes to Autumnal splendour, it is all about domination, right? Right.
 
 
Thanks Annie!
 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bicycle Commuting: Good, Bad, Good, Bad, Good. Bad.

You know, on any given bicycle commute you'll share the road with all kinds. One recent ride had a complete mix of road users; I saw a good driver, a stupid cyclist, a pedestrian, an idiotic driver and a cyclist who seemed to know what they were doing, in that order, on a single 6 km commute!




Hearing the distinctive click of a brake lever behind me out in the thru lane where it belonged, combined with the unique-to-cycling opportunity to say good morning and warn my fellow rider about my next moves redeemed the whole ride somehow, leaving me relatively happy instead of definitely pissed about having to share the road with a bunch of morons and nutcases.
 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K
 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

An Old Favourite: Ortlieb's Inferno

There was a time when I spent seemingly infinite happy hours writing things for this blog. I must have been neglecting somebody or something at the time, because right now I can't imagine how I pulled it off!
 
In any case, I'm short on inspiration and time and I thought I would dig out an old post I was kind of proud of, Ortlieb's Inferno - A Descent Into Cycling Forum Hell. Holy crap, those were the days.
 
I am working on new stuff, a video that's taking me a while to finish up. I hope it is worth it. In the meantime, I encourage you to check out that link. Although it is only from 2009, it feels like a lifetime ago. In a good way.
 
 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

PS - So far only RoadQueen has helped me out with weird searches. Where have all the weirdos gone? Sniff, Sniff, Sigh...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

YouDuped

I hate it when I think I have stumbled across something startling and brand new only to find out it is old. Why the hell do people take youtube videos and re-post them under their own names anyway? It really makes me mad.
 
I had never seen this video and thought I had found it when it was just hours old!
 
 
 
 
Naive as I am, I responded with real concern about whether the dude was alright...
 
 
rube: see above.
 
Turns out this video has been bumping around on YouTube for 6 YEARS and has been re-posted by no less than 13 PEOPLE. Look at my comment again. I feel like an idiot. I don't know why I should, but I do. Most of the re-posts I've seen don't even have ads on them. So why do people do it? How am I supposed to tell what is actually new? The stupid Internet is Stupid with Stupid Stupid-Heads.

 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Let's Get Weird In The Amazon

Hi All! Not much to say today, except that I wanted to point out a new feature here on RANTWICK. Some of you may have noticed that I've been messing around with my layout and ad placements here on the blog. I've always had a minor guilt complex about having ads, trying to make a couple bucks without allowing them to be too annoying. For myself, I know that it is a rare thing indeed for me to even read an ad, let alone click one. I think I've come up with something that might be sort of fun instead.
 
 
Full disclosure: If people end up on Amazon via the search box on the left and buy something, I get a small percentage of the sale, so more eyes on that search box is good. That said, here's my awesome idea, which I call SEO, or Search Engine Oddification.
 
 
Every day, or at least pretty damn often, the search term in that box will change. It will always be something stupid or odd to put in such a search box. I originally intended to supply any and all weirdness myself, but sometimes, believe it or not, I have been having trouble coming up with something. That's when I had my SEO eureka moment! You can all help me! Doesn't that sound like fun?
 
 
I have created this handy form for submitting search term ideas. Only words that get at least one result will be used, and I reserve the right to reject words that I don't think fit with the generally clean tone of this blog or that I don't find weird enough. "Bike light" ain't gonna cut it. "Home Surgery Kit" probably would.
 
 
You will get credit under the search box when I use your idea, and I'll link it to a web address if you supply me with one, so long as it isn't a porn site or something. In addition, this running list of past search terms will be kept for the reference of future generations. We can't forget about the children.
 
 
That's it! Get those kooky thought juices going, and thanks as always for putting up with the ads and the often useless drivel. You rock!
 
 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Taking the Lane When You Least Want To

It seems to me that sometimes when you're feeling the most pressure to ride to the right of traffic is just when to do the opposite - take the lane. Nobody wants to be disliked, even by strangers; the thing is, when your safety is on the line it is time to take popularity out of the equation and do the right thing. An example:
 
There is a stretch of bridge on Highbury Ave in London Ontario where traffic volumes are high and there are lots of big trucks. There is a fairly steep incline right after a traffic light that means low speeds for cyclists and semis alike. When riding, you can really feel the collective pressure to just get out of the way; this bridge on an arterial road is no place for you to be, so move over! Here's what it is like when I give in to that pressure:
 
 
 
  
I haven't ridden to the right like that on this stretch for years. When I first got back into cycling I did, for a short while, before I saw the light and began taking the lane. Riding on the right on purpose just to make this video went against all of my better cycling instincts! I'm sure fewer drivers were mad at me, but what is the value of that when weighed against how awful a collision would be for all of us?
 
Now here's some video of what the same stretch is like when I take the lane.
 
 
 
 
Traffic wasn't quite as heavy at the time I took that second video, I admit, but part of why it isn't as crazy looking is that the trucks (most of which tend to stay in the right lane) were forced to stay behind me while I climbed the hill. On a bad morning one of these might startle me with a honk, or worse, an airhorn. Even then, however, I am in way less danger and they aren't tempted to make close passes that put me (and indeed every vehicle on the bridge) at greater risk.
 
The point I'm trying to make is that ticking people off for a short time is often better than keeping them happy, despite the basic and strong human desire to be liked. It took a shift in thinking that was a little difficult, but now that I've experienced the reduction in risk (and therefore fear and stress) it creates, I'll never go back.
 
I wish every driver who gets pissed at me on this stretch could read this post and see those videos; similarly, I wish I could personally thank those who show a little patience and civility and allow me to get over the bridge without being cranky. Sadly, that just isn't in the cards.
 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Monday, September 23, 2013

Workin' Fer Old Man Budnitz!

As some of you may be aware, I'm a big fan of bikesnobnyc. One of his pet topics is Budnitz bicycles, a company that does "High end titanium and steel city bikes, cycling apparel, components, and accessories". Bikesnob has created a character called Old Man Budnitz. He has also test-ridden a Budnitz bike, with less than glowing commentary to follow. You would have to read a bunch of his stuff to know how funny it is.
 
Anyway, Old Man Budnitz made his presence felt on this very blog on Friday! Whether Budnitz will continue to do so, I don't know. You see, I have Google Adsense ads on my blog, among others. I don't control what shows up in these ad spots, except to exclude/filter stuff I don't want to see. Cycling stuff, of course, is always welcome.
 
Given my long standing readership of the Snob, imagine my surprise when I saw this!


Now, I'm not entirely certain of this, but I think bsnyc may not love the googly googly corp in addition to having reservations about the Budnitz corp. Does this make me an enemy of one of my favourite bloggers? I doubt it. The Snob seems pretty easy going about such things. He's a shrugger. As in shrugging off these kinds of coincidences. I hope.

If not, well, it's on, baby. I'm a Budnitz man now, chasing the mighty aesthetic titanium dream. Or, somebody who's willing to grab a few cents off anybody stumbling into said dream. One of those.

Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cycling or Cyclists?

Richard Masoner of cyclelico.us recently posted something about the "dangerisation of cycling" that was prompted in large part by a paper by Glen Koorey of New Zealand. I'm glad he did, and that he encouraged his readers to read the whole thing rather than just the snippet he used regarding "dangerisation".
 
This paper seems to me a very balanced and informed piece of work that made me re-think how I see cycling advocacy, at least in some ways. The pdf of this paper is here. Rather than re-hash it, I just wanted to give it big "Amen, brother" and pass it on. If you're into cycling or advocacy or both, I think it is worth a little of your time.
 
 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

PS - Every time I resolve to just stay clear of such matters and "just ride my bike", I get sucked back in. At least this time it was by a reasonable voice in these days of rampant hyperbole.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Sign of a Good Friend

When you are a boy, it is really pretty easy to tell your friends from your enemies. Your friends only pretend they're gonna hit you in the stones. Like this:
 
 
 
 
Totally good buds, you can tell. Right? Back me up here, fellas. OK, the one kid is a bit of a jerk, but still. Every kid has one friend like that and at least they're on your side...

One thing I found interesting was that when I showed the video to my son, he knew immediately what was going on there. Mrs. Rantwick and my daughter, had to really watch closely to figure out what that kid was doing. Ah, boys. I sure like being one.

One other gender based question/observation: have you ever seen any of the women in your lives give the fuel pump nozzle a little jiggle before removing it from the car? I don't think I have. It certainly doesn't matter to me whether they do or don't, but I know I always give it quick shake. I suspect (and think I've seen) other men do it too. Thoughts? Deep and meaningful sidenotes of your own? Rather obvious theories? Mad ramblings? All Welcome.
 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Smackdown Smacked Down

I have made an executive decision not to run the Autumn Tree Smackdown this year. Believe it or not, it actually took a lot of time to do and I have work and other obligations coming up that could really make it tough.
 
Plus, as somebody mentioned long ago, naming problems were about to rear their ugly heads...
 
First Annual Rantwick Autumn Tree Smackdown = FARATS
Second Annual Rantwick Autumn Tree Smackdown = SARATS
Third Annual Rantwick Autumn Tree Smackdown = TARATS
Fourth Annual Rantwick Autumn Tree Smackdown = 4ARATS? FFARATS?
 
Then what about Fifth? Ugh. Obviously I wasn't thinking ahead when I ran the first couple.
 
I feel kind of bad, but on the other hand, I know of marriages that didn't last three years. My marriage is fine, but when it comes to contests it would seem I have crippling commitment issues.
 
For those of you who can't stop spotting contestants (I have this problem too, despite the fact that I only ever posted the King), please feel free to send in your pics! I'll be happy to post them here; I'm just not going to run the contest, so it would just be for the fun of it rather than for the glamorous prizes. 
 
Yer Remorseful Pal,
R A N T W I C K

PS - If any of you fine former contestants feel like taking over and want to host the Smackdown instead of me, please do so! The King would win, I know it. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Where Was Everybody?

This morning's ride into work was the first one in a while that I was able to extend a bit because miracle of miracles, I left with enough time. It was cool enough that I had to stop and put on my gloves, but just perfect in my opinion; it was one of those mornings when you think of people getting to work in their cars and wish they only knew how much nicer their mornings could be.

Consider two pictures from this morning's ride:
 
 
This?


Or this?

Easy decision, I think. Of course, even the second picture is more fun on the bike.
 
 
The thing is, in something like 7 km of riverside MUP, I didn't see one cyclist, not even any of my "regulars". Maybe everybody runs late like me. Maybe once shorts and T-shirt weather is gone, most put their bikes away. That would be a terrible shame because Fall is cycling prime time as far as I'm concerned. Enjoy it as much as you can before the snow flies! Then, if you're up for it, ride in the snow!
 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Monday, September 16, 2013

RANT: Just a Joke

I can't handle many more a-holes who post content expecting others to back them up in being stupid or negative or mean and then cop out with something like "it was Just a Joke, relax bro... " when people don't like it. It was never intended to be a joke. Calling it one after the fact doesn't make it one. "Just a Joke" is an infuriating, childish and cowardly cop-out that drives me crazy, at least as I write this.
Here's the specific thing that set me off: last week I posted a video entitled London Ontario City Workers Doing A Great Job. When I played it for myself YouTube did its usual thing, displaying related videos when mine was over. One of them was entitled "London Ontario City Worker's Typical Day". I played it, expecting to see some people leaning on their shovels or looking lazy. Which is still no fair in my opinion. Imagine what your work day would look like if somebody filmed you the whole time. Any down time? Any hanging around waiting for stuff beyond your control? Any time wasted chatting? Just sayin'.

Where was I? Ah yes, this other video. Turned out it was of a City dump truck that had become stuck, probably due to some driving or other error. It was being hauled out of its predicament by a big tow truck. The video narrator says: 
"Pretty funny what our tax dollars pay for, stupid drivers...". The closing credits and the description both ask if we should have to pay for this, inviting viewers to comment. Doesn't sound like a joke to me. Here's a link to the video , and now some screenshots in case you would rather not waste your time watching it:


Hmm. Not so jokey, really.


 "Pretty funny what our tax dollars pay for, stupid drivers"


Video poster asks for comments, and gets one!






As you can see above if you look closely, what happens when a commenter objects? The video's owner replies with "It was just a joke man it's all good. Everyone screws up".  Just a joke man? Where was your easy-going "everyone screws up" attitude when you went to the trouble of making the video and trying to get people all pissed off? Coward.

I have written things on this blog to which some people have objected in the past and I likely will again. When that happens I think about whether I still feel OK about what I wrote or whether I need to back pedal a bit and maybe even apologize, or stick to my guns and argue. That is what grown-ups do.

I would much rather that the poster of that video responded by saying, "I don't care who you know, buddy, this is a waste of my tax dollars"! Wrong-headed or not, doesn't matter. It's better than this weak "Just a Joke" bullshit. If you want to post as a grumpy taxpayer, go for it. In doing so, however, you forfeit the option of responding to criticism like a kid. Pick which one you are, or shut up.

The specific example I cited above is not enough to set me off in and of itself. I've been reading too many comments sections lately or something, because to me it seems symptomatic of a negativity and cowardice and stupidity that seems to be taking over my precious Internet.

The Internet presents such a crazy opportunity for good debate from thousands of valid viewpoints, the sharing of positive and interesting and entertaining stuff by almost everybody in the world! I mean, how cool is that, really??? Trouble is, everybody just has to accept that to get to the good stuff you have to wade through the bad stuff, being in some danger of being sucked in at all times. I hate that part.

In person, when some idiot says "easy man, it was just a joke" when it definitely was not, you have the option of punching him in the face. Online you have the option of getting them more attention by arguing, which is always pointless when facing off against a moron anyway. Thanks to this blog I have an additional option: vent like I have just done and then go kick some empty cardboard boxes. It works, thank God. See you next time. 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

PS - Nothing in this post was Just a Joke. If you don't like something in it, bite me.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Oblivious Swerving Cyclists: Saved!

Whew! Since cyclists and motorists are both completely oblivious to their surroundings, Volvo has come up with an answer!
 
 

 
At first I was a little worried the cyclist would swerve for no reason at all. I mean, they really make the cyclist look like a bit of a chucklehead, don't you think? I was glad that a commonplace reason for a swerve was used. However, the cyclist didn't even consider that a car might be behind him. I would rather cyclists knew to do a shoulder check than have tech protect them from their own stupidity. Similarly, I would rather that drivers  were paying attention to what is around them, particularly right in front of them instead of trusting their car to apply the brakes for them. I wouldn't want my car to apply the brakes without my permission, I don't think.
 
 

What Are Your Thoughts?
R A N T W I C K

PS - I know I'm posting like a maniac. I just keep coming across these little nuggets today!

KeJeeJee is not just for selling Stolen Bikes


Sorry for the funny spelling in the post title, but I didn't want to run afoul of our our Internet Overlords with some sort of trademark infringement.
 
This post is just a quick note to mention that sometimes, good bikey things happen. Even on classified ad sites.
 
 
 
 
  
We wanted to publicly thank Janice, who contacted us this morning saying she had spotted my husband stolen bike , abandon by her apartment.

There ARE wonderful people who are willing to do the right thing, and we are so grateful!

My little boy was ecstatic this morning when he found out we could go for bike rides with Papa again.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! We will pay it forward whenever we can :)
 
 
 
 Hey everybody, Janice ROCKS!
  Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

D & R & Life's Rich Pageant

Here in London Ontario there are two abbreviations or euphemisms for intersections that I know of. The more fun (and delicious) one is "Ham & Eggs", the intersection of Hamilton Road and Egerton Street. This intersection, more than any other I can think of in this fair city, is a PERFECT candidate for a roundabout if the City could get enough space. It is a signalized nightmare where 3 fairly major streets converge:
 
 
If you live in a city, it's a good bet that you've got something similar. I felt obligated to mention Ham & Eggs because of its awesome name, but Ham & Eggs didn't inspire this post. D&R did.
 
Dundas and Richmond streets intersect in what most Londoners would consider the heart of Downtown. Some people avoid D&R if they can. Others love it, at least in part for the variety of characters you'll find there. I am one of these. When I see odd stuff and people, I'm reminded of the REM album title "Life's Rich Pageant". REM didn't coin the phrase, but they did introduce it to me. I enjoy the pageant. Very much. Like yesterday...
 
 

 
Wishing you weekend bongos and real chipmunks, I remain,
R A N T W I C K

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bikeshare Goodness

Thanks to mikeweb , who posted a link to this video in the comments section of BSNYC. The Citi bikes of NYC are like most bikeshare bikes; solid, heavy, cumbersome...



 



Excellent, no?


Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

How Richard Sleegers Got Screwed and God Got Mad

Yesterday I posted the London Ontario Cyclist Profile of Richard Sleegers. For some reason, perhaps because I accidentally published it early and took it back, it did not show up in any of the feeds found on blogger sites. That's bad, because a large number of people who read this blog have blogger sites themselves. Richard Sleeger's post did not get the usual amount of attention. RS got screwed.
 
God loves Richard Sleeger and hates Feedburner, and so had a bit of a temper tantrum last night here in London. Lots of high winds and outstanding lightning. This tree clipped a house not two blocks from my my place:
 
 
 
 
I am hoping this post feeds properly. I don't want London to incur any more wrath. Follow this link to check out the mighty Richard Sleegers on yesterday's post!
 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

London Ontario Cyclist Profile: The Real Richard Sleegers

I can't remember the name of them, but there's a set of questions with a french name that CBC radio often uses to interview authors and artists and stuff. I've tried to google it, but I can't find it. If anybody knows PLEASE comment and remind me.
 
Anyway, in the spirit of those "standard" questions asked of many different people, I have decided to make a standard set of my own, which I will use from this day forward for every London Ontario Cyclist Profile, fake or real. They are quite intentionally a mix of cycling and off-the-wall stuff.
 
My new friend Richard Sleegers is being kind enough to be the first to respond to this awesome set of one dozen questions, so let's get to it: 
 
 
1) People cycle for all kind of reasons. What are your top ones?

RS: Being slightly on the cheap side, the economy appeals to me, saves on gas, delays getting a second vehicle. I commute to work and it’s actually faster than bus, but I’m glad there’s now the option to use the bike rack on the LTC. It also helps keep my fitness up, and weight down. Plus it’s about the only time I can wear spandex, at least in public.


2) Have you ever spent any time (even a couple of hours) in jail? If so, what for?

RS:I once spent 5 minutes in a cell at the Children’s Safety Village at Fanshawe, but other than that, no! It’s true that I can’t leave the country, but that’s because I haven’t applied for a passport since the new border rules came in effect.

RW note: This is possibly the most wholesome answer this question could possibly have. Well done, RS!


3) Do you have a favourite London bike shop? Which one?

RS: It has shifted as bike shops come and go (RIP All Season Sport), currently it is Village Cycle. In the past I’ve also bought from Reynold Cycle, and To Wheels. I even have an old Fiori Excella from Champion Bicycles that I bought 30 years ago, although it needs a bit of work to be road-worthy again.

 
4) What is your favourite place to cycle recreationally?
 
I’d have to give the London’s Thames Valley Parkway a pretty good grade, especially early in the morning before they become crowded with long dog leashes and the headphone zombies. Otherwise it’s the open country road (a quiet one with a wide shoulder) for training rides.

 
5) Wine or beer? Neither? Both? Other?
 
Beer! I’ll drink wine to be polite, or if its free. But I often go weeks without drinking either one. Coke (the soda kind) might be my kryptonite, it’s great for when I’m training, not so much when I’m less active, and I can’t stand the diet versions.


6) Got any hobbies (other than cycling)?

Triathlon, running, (both middle-of-the-pack, you can see my times at Athlinks), camping (the trailer kind), home automation (basic electronics and embedded systems). I keep up on consumer technology trends and I’m usually asked questions about computers and phones and tablets and internet, but I’m actually a late adopter myself.


7) What would you consider a "dream bike" right now?

Anything Cervelo gets me excited but I think I’d be too worried about it getting scratched or stolen. The Marin Fairfax SC6 looks like a sweet replacement for my current commuter; it has internal hub drivetrain! front dynamo hub! hydraulic brakes! puncture-resistant tires!


8) How much/often do you ride your bike?

Daily! During the week for commuting on my heavily used Gary Fisher bike (I think pretty much only the frame is original after a few winters), and sometimes training on the weekend on a Cannondale road bike. I recently spent a day my daughter with hauling her around in a bike trailer just to prove it can be done, and we’ll often use the trailer while camping, too.


Richard with his Gary Fisher commuter bike,
looking way more fit than me. Jerk.
 
 
9) Demographics: Give me your age, gender, family/marital status, job if you want, the works.
 
I’m currently in the 40-44 age group (as we say in the running/triathlon industry) with a wife and young daughter. I work as a software developer.

10) Any tips or tricks you've learned that you would like to share? Cycling and non-cycling answers welcome!

Don’t eat yellow snow! Most important cycling tip I have is to leave yourself room! WE ARE TRAFFIC! This means take the lane - a lot of close calls I have had were with vehicles trying to squeeze past me. By forcing them to slow down and pass, you have room to maneuver if it gets tight. I’m more aggressive on this since I’ve been “door-prized”, although my winter padding saved me from serious injury. This also means leaving room for when cars “don’t see you” and turn in front, so you have time to stop or avoid. I assume that I am invisible unless I see eye contact, and even then I am wary. I’ve also had a shouting match or two with motorists in the past, but in the end I can’t change their behaviour, so now when I hear a shout (though it’s not like I can hear the whole sentence anyways as the vehicle zooms by) I just assume it’s something like, “looking good”, or “I wish I was riding”, to which I can wave back graciously.

 
11) If you can, tell me one thing about yourself that most people would never guess.

Twenty years ago, my answer was that I was a closet cyclist. No more! Now I cycle outside! You might think I’d be a big bike sports fan, but I never got into watching events like the Tour de France (even before/during/after the whole Lance thing). I did once do the Tour de Norfolk. That was fun.


12) If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would your favourite movie be?

Peanut Butter, au naturel, the Motion PictureTM! However, the sequel was a bit nutty. Recently I discovered Banana Granola Peanut Butter, so I may have a new favourite. Movies-wise I like sci-fi, war themed, and, shh! romantic comedies.

 
Thanks Richard! I thought those answers were pretty damn good. I also think that set of questions will do quite nicely in future. Speaking of the future, I want to profile more London Ontario cyclists! Do you know somebody who might be good, including yourself? Lemme know.



Yer Pal,

R  A N T W I C K

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Can See Clearly Now

There was a bit of bike path running under a bridge here in London Ontario at Adelaide St that I actually emailed the City about because the sight lines were so bad. Nothing happened for many days, leaving the spot in question looking like this:

 
 
 
 
 
That spot is bad at the best of times, but the lack of sight line under the bridge thanks to the vegetation was slowing me to a crawl for fear of running into somebody.
 
Recently, however, I had the good fortune to run across not only some real improvements but also the people who did the work!
 
 
 
 
 
When asked about what I was filming, I told those guys "good stuff goes on my web site"... I wonder if they would like to know they made the cut? Pun unintentional. A keeper though, right?
 
 
 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Oops

I accidentally posted tomorrow's stuff today for like, only a couple minutes. I could see a couple people actually took a look. If you did get a look at the London Ontario Cyclist Profile of the mighty Richard Sleegers, consider yourself sneak peeked!
 
The rest of you will just have to wait until tomorrow. Stay tuned though, todays regularly scheduled programming is still on the way. It is scheduled for 1145 to be exact.
 
Hey, speaking of that, I write my posts at night and usually schedule them to publish some time in the morning. Any preferences for what that time should be? Let me know.
 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Monday, September 9, 2013

They Are Among Us

Well, having that camera on my head all the time had to pay off sooner or later! I have captured some footage that strongly points to an alien presence in London Ontario:
 
 
 
 
 
I could not resist having that kind of fun when I saw those perfectly still wheels. Rantwick readers being as intelligent as they are, however, (which is roughly Government-experimental-spy-ferrets-after-6-solid-weeks-of-Luminawesomity-brain-training intelligent) many of you know what is going on here. Commonly called the "wagon wheel effect", this is what happens when the frame rate of my video camera happens to synch up rather perfectly with the rotation of the spokes in the wheels.


Here's a super cool video showing the same thing, this time with a badass helicopter:
 
 



I love stuff like this. Explicable, but still fun as hell. In my opinion. If you disagree, just put a sock in it. The aliens and I don't need your humourless downer vibes clouding the hivemind.
 
 
 
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K