Thursday, December 22, 2011

Last Gasp SARATS Entry!

Hey there! Long time no write! How have you been? I sure have missed you these last 9 days... I have no good excuse. Just got busy again. Somebody else who got busy was Darin from Duluth, Minnesota. He submitted a picture for SARATS at 9:01 PM (Eastern) on December 15, bringing the total number of entries to a whopping 18! There were 12 entries in the Smackdown's first year. Now, does that translate to 150% growth or 50% growth? I've always been a little slow on growth percentages. In any case, it is awesome. Thanks again to all who entered.

Here's Darin's email:

Hi Rantwick,

I guess I've procrastinated as long as I could, so here is my entry into the smackdown.
These two beautiful maples are in my back yard in Duluth, Minnesota. Not only are they the perfect distance apart to hang a hammock, the squirrels and chipmunks who frequent them keep my dog, Loki, entertained and out of my hair for hours on end. 
Thanks for putting on the contest, and despite what Loki may think, I find reading your blog much more entertaining than watching squirrels and chipmunks.


Pretty damn good entry if you ask me.
I consider Darin an excellent new acquaintance for several reasons. First and foremost, he appears to be pretty crazy about bikes and has a number of them that I envy and/or covet quite badly. This leads to a second reason; one of said bikes gets ridden in Winter in Duluth, Minnesota.
Look at those fat tires. So cool. The last reason I'm pleased to have "met" this dude is that Duluth Minnesota and the pictures from his blog remind me very much of my birthplace and childhood home of Thunder Bay, Ontario, which I openly pine for sometimes on these pages.
Look at this map:
Hell, we're practically brothers! Darin, please don't be alarmed. I won't be showing up at your house or anything. I may, however, be sending you some syrup; only the voting will tell.
Speaking of the voting, it may have to wait until the new year, meaning a SARATS winner may not be declared until later in January. Sorry for the delay, but I've been kind of swamped lately.
I probably won't be writing again until after Christmas. I want to wish all of you a truly peaceful and loving holiday. Whatever you think the real point of Christmas is, cling to it as best you can and try to just dump all the rest.
Yer Pal,

PS - I take issue with Darin enjoying reading my blog more than watching squirrels. Squirrels should win that one hands down. Darin, you're not my new best friend anymore, you anti-squirrel watching jerk. So there. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

A SuperMutant, Boeshield T-9, and a Tree

I have sad news. Mutant Winter is no more. When I got around to trying to clean her up for this winter season, I found that the disc brakes had deteriorated into rusty clumps of unfixable goo. I didn't want to buy new ones. Other things were also pretty bad, so I stole the studded tires, the second best tub in town, pedals and a few other components and slapped 'em on an old SuperCycle mountain bike. SuperCycle is a house brand for Canadian Tire bikes. At the lowest end they are about the same as NEXT or any of the other cheaper department store bikes. The Gary Fisher Bitter that Mutant Winter was based on was nice, but while I wait for the time and resources required for my next sweet winter bike build, I figure this will suffice. One nice thing is that by combining parts from Mutant Winter and this SuperCycle, I have created a SuperMutant!

SuperMutant, sans Tub

I guess it doesn't really look like a mutant at all yet. I'll get there, I promise.

The Deore derailleur from MW wouldn't work on this frame since it required a derailleur hanger, so I bought a new, cheap ($15) Shimano "Tourney" from Village Cycle in my neighbourhood. Looking at it, I knew its screws and other silver bits would begin to rust immediately in the salty road conditions here. That's where the Boeshield comes in.

Boeshield T-9 is really great stuff. I originally bought it to treat the insides of my steel Trek touring frame. I also sprayed it on a heavy chain that I use to lock up bikes on my porch. That chain has been sitting outside in the snow and and mist (although not direct rain) for about 15 months and it still looks pretty good...


I only treated it with Boeshield that one time over a year ago, so I'm pretty impressed. A steel chain left outdoors would normally get rusty pretty quick, I think. Anyway, I hosed down that derailleur and many other parts of the bike with Boeshield and I bet it'll help considerably. When I get around to building a new winter bike, I will use Boeshield from the get-go on everything (especially spokes, nipples and rim eyelets: I've had nipples break due to salty brutality) and every few months in the hopes of keeping it nice despite the salty crud it will face.

If you are thinking of commenting about how I should give the bike a rinse after riding in salty slush, I know, I know. I also know myself and that I'm too lazy or hurried or both most of the time to do what I should and Boeshield or something like it may be my only hope.

Where was I? Ah, yes, a tree! There is another SARATS entry. It is a Steve A find from a blog post he read. It is, however, being entered by the owner, Durango, who shot it in Fort Worth, Texas with Steve's encouragement.

Love that dome shape, man. Thanks for the tree and good luck in my contest! 

Yer Pal,

Monday, December 5, 2011

The End of SARATS?

It is entirely possible that the two entries I show you today are the last I will receive before the deadline of December 15. Whether I get any more entries or not, I would like to say that I am more than pleased with the response, especially considering that I've been less active on the blog this year. Thanks very much to everyone who has entered so far!

This one was from Bob in California, who responded to the post about PaddyAnne's #13 entry with this email:

Yo Ranty,

I don't have a story as grand as PaddyAnne's, just trying to show some love from the West Coast (of the U.S.) and break your 13.

I'm in San Juan Capistrano, California. The tree in front of our house is a bit stubborn and only a few leaves have turned, but luckily one cul-de-sac over is this beauty. Unfortunately all I have is a phone camera at the moment, so the quality ain't so great. And yes, you can see that pretty much everything besides this tree is still Granny Smith green. And yeah it was 77 degrees here today. Sorry haha.

Have a great one,
Bob, I'll happily get reports of perfect weather from anybody, any time, because I'm sick enough to enjoy "bad" weather most of the time anyway. Thanks for the tree pic! Because I'll be displaying them to voters on a laptop, pictures of lower quality will display pretty much as well as super high res ones, so no worries.
Next came a more mysterious entry from what my gmail calls ".w..brwn." . No worries .w..brwn., I've got your real email address as well but wouldn't post it here. If you win, you'll get email for sure. If you see this, leave a comment to tell me where your tree is located (country, city, state).
Here's .w..brwn.'s brief message:
Hello Rantwick,

Thought I might send an entry for the SARAT competition that you are running.

This particular tree is located in park that I pass though frequently. It was in fine colour this year, however recent change in weather and winter temperatures alas is now taking its toll.

Ah, such is the nature of Autumn glory... the fleeting quality of a tree's fall foliage is part of it's beauty for me; thanks for your entry!

Trees! Woo Woo! R A N T W I C K

Sunday, December 4, 2011

SARATS Entry #14

Steve A, and then two more others, quickly responded to my desire to have more SARATS entries than an odious 13. I'll be posting the other entries shortly.

Steve resides in Texas, which makes a foliage competition a little more daunting than it would be for, say, someone like me in London Ontario, or most people even a little further north.

I find it quite gratifying that Steve had trees on the brain over the last couple of months, evidence of which can be found in this post on his blog, DFW Point-to-Point.

In the end, Steve went with this indoor specimen found in the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah:

From Steve's email: Make sure you tell the voters that the Mormons will send missionaries to convert them if they don't vote for my entry! 

You have been duly notified. How do you feel about people who come around to your house or stop you on the street to talk religion? I like 'em. I admire their conviction and thoroughly enjoy talking with them. I'm afraid they often find me rather stubborn in my "many many answers" or "whatever floats your ark" religious approaches, but every chat I've had has been polite and kind and generally nice. I haven't been converted from my kind of half-assed brand of Catholicism yet... but who knows, maybe the next missionary I meet will blow my mind wide open! I don't think it very likely, but never say never, man.

For now I think I'll stick to worshipping at the Church of the Mighty (Extra Light Canada No. 1) Maple, and I would be most pleased if you would join me.

Yer Pal,

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Please Pardon My Absence: I Was Busy Preparing to Fail

I have been very stressed out and busy preparing for an Exam that I wrote yesterday. I bombed. Like really bombed. I will be extraordinarily lucky if I get the 60% required to pass. The crummy part is, I studied harder than I ever have for just about anything. I prepared  a wide variety of answers for the essay questions that may come. None of the questions I prepared for were on the test. NONE. I am totally sad and upset now, because I have never failed at something I actually put reasonable effort into. There are options for failures like me to re-do the exam, thank God, but man, will that ever suck.

Hey, what if the marker of my exam happens to be a Rantwick reader?  I mean, at least a couple dozen people in my great province read this blog... Hey, remote Exam marker person: You rock. Like, really. Please mark my exam like somebody really nice and/or stupid would rather than how I would or how you normally would. Thanks! 

Ah, well. What's done is done and all I can do is await my fate. I was provided with a study package that may have well as been one page that read "study everything"... but at least it had its lighter moments in the final point of the "exam tip ands tricks" section:

That's all for now, because I really am kinda whipped from 3 days of rather intensive, perfectly useless study on top of work. You should know, though, that I currently have 3 more SARATS entries to tell you about! Leaves! Trees! Salt Lake City, Utah! San Juan Capistrano, California! Unknown location! Aren't you just busting with anticipation? I'm not, because I've seen them. But they're coming to this space soon, I promise. I'm thinking Monday, but maybe sooner... I dunno.

Yer Pal, R A N T W I C K

Monday, November 28, 2011

Record-Breaking Smackdown Entry!

My Autumn Tree Smackdown has officially hit new heights! Last year's contest garnered 12 entries including my own. Today's entry from PaddyAnne (last year's top legitimate vote getter) of Pedal Talk brings this year's tally to 13! Considering the fact that I've been less active on the blog lately, I think that's awesome.

I'm hoping somebody else (aka Steve A or Keri) will enter something so that odious number of entries won't bug me. Superstitions are silly in my opinion. I break mirrors for fun, our black cat crosses my path almost daily, I walk under ladders, and so on. I'm not so much superstitious as kind of OCD, which means that nagging little number will bug me like a valve stem without a cap if only because others (silly others) may not like it.

I hope PaddyAnne isn't superstitious because I just called her silly... here's her email message:

Hello Mr. Rantwick. I have just woken up from a long sleep, but I think still in time to submit my entry into this years Autumn Tree contest.

While last year I sent in a photo of the golden "Empress", this year I am submitting a photo of "Princeling".

Princeling is 7 years old. I bought him for $5.00 at the farmers market when he was just a twig about 9 inches high, with one side shoot. I planted him in a spot up at our cottage, and last year, at 6 years old, transplanted him into a new spot where he would not be so crowded. He survived the process, thank goodness. To keep him company this summer I planted my vegetable garden around him, so you can see some of my leeks and lettuce. And some weeds. Princeling is magnificent all year round, and all though small in stature, give him a few years and he'll be a real knockout. Perhaps I'm entering him a bit pre-maturely, but this year I was hankering to enter a red tree, since last years' was a golden colour. It was sort of a foggy day in October when this photo was taken.



Thanks PaddyAnne! It does my heart good to know that people have begun growing trees solely (hee hee!) for my contest.

Be good, everybody, and I'll see you soon. Figuratively, of course. I mean, I won't actually see you... although wouldn't that be cool (for me, at least)? Like, some sort of futuristic "reader viewer" where if you landed here I could watch you! Quick flashes of the image seekers. Longer views of the reading nose-pickers and belly-scratchers and comment typers. I would only want such technology if only I could use it. I sure as hell don't want all you people to be able to see me and my 12 inch Pikachu chest tattoo as I engage in my always shirtless blog reading and web snuffling. But I digress. Come back soon, and thanks for reading.

Yer Pal,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

MEC London Ontario - Opening Non-Update

Disregard the following stuff, because London MEC is open as of Dec 1, 2011. Thanks to Mike M who left me a comment letting me know. If you want to check it out, you can click here for my info on location.

Hey there. Just a quick note to all you people who are landing here looking for info on the Mountain Equipment Coop opening... I called MEC and they still don't have a hard opening date for the store. The signs say "Late November" but I got the feeling from the guy I talked to that it may be postponed a little.

Staff are on site and inventory is going in but that is all the detail I could get for now. For every scrap of information I've posted so far, you can click here.

Important unconfirmed non-update update: Anonymous has commented that "the buzz is Sunday, Dec 4th". As of Dec 1, MEC is open! Thanks to Mike M in the comments for the heads-up.

Yer Pal,

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nostalgia Attack! In Search Of... A Cool Cycling Jersey

The title of this post (for those too young to know or others too smart to have watched) is an homage to the In Search Of... TV shows hosted by Leonard Nimoy, aka Spock from Star Trek. The show premiered when I was 7 years old and finished when I was 13. Here's a sample:

Those were some pretty formative TV viewing years, but thankfully I was the second youngest in an intelligent and completely cynical family of groovy monster and paranormal naysayers. Whew.

The thing is, cycling jerseys can be just as freaky. I don't even currently own a real cycling jersey; I've always opted for the cheaper, wicking, and  generic athletic shirts sold by gigantic cut-throat unethical big-box retailers because, well, I'm selfish and cheap.

What got me on to this topic was thinking about creating a RANTWICK shirt to wear when I go out collecting SARATS votes. I figure it would promote the blog with local readers and add some legitimacy to the freak asking people to look at tree photos out of the blue. So, which to choose: The more widely accessible and cheaper to produce cotton T-shirt, or the often visually striking and much more expensive to produce Cycling Jersey?

I personally wanna go cycling jersey, because they can look so damn cool. Trouble is, there are SO MANY that could trump anything I could come up with. I visited a major online retailer looking for inspiration, and man oh man...

Who wouldn't be into sporting a navel-sniffing (or is it grazing?) giraffe, or for that matter a giant giraffe butt mocking all those you overtake? The maker of this jersey also makes this intimidating item:

Whoa. You just don't mess with a tiger, especially one worn by people who appear to have time-travelled straight out of the 80's... they are hardcore, for sure.

Although I started my browsing with an eye for weird jerseys of any kind, I ended up finding several novelty cycling jerseys I really liked. When I look at the ones I chose to post about here, a theme has emerged... nostalgia. Perhaps it was the blast-from-the-past hairdos of the tiger wearers, or the "In Search Of..." thing I kicked off with... who knows? Nostalgia is a symptom of growing older, I guess, and I expect it will only get worse. Just the same, check it out; there's a cycling jersey for every stage of my young life, starting with pyjama-clad cartoon watching:

What can I say? Awesome. After some early-morning TV, I might well have been served something rather alarming for lunch...

In the interest of total accuracy (which is of paramount importance in a blog post of such gravity) I must make a couple of notes here. First, although I believe Spam was available on Canadian store shelves, it was more likely that I would receive a Canadian equivalent called Klik.

Secondly, my Mom wouldn't normally put a slab of the stuff in a sandwich, but rather create a "ham salad" kind of mixture with it and do the sandwich that way.

Moving from cartoon and mystery meat nostalgia to the musical, this jersey really took me back...

The album cover art from Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd is imprinted on many people's brains. In my case, it was featured on a big poster that graced the wall of the bedroom that I shared with my two older brothers when I was a kid. That bedroom was in the house I wrote about in a different nostalgic post over a year ago. Sigh. Those were good times. As I grew older, the band providing the soundtrack for my life became...

Every guy I hung out with was into RUSH, the extraordinary Canadian power trio that featured three remarkably talented individual musicians all in one band; Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart are widely regarded as among the very best at what they do. They also wrote songs that appealed to my adolescent brain. Though it sounds kind of childish to me now, I still get pumped listening to "Red Barchetta" in particular. Strangely, I have never met a girl or woman who liked RUSH, even a little. If you happen to be such a woman, don't tell me, because I might have to visit you in person just to confirm that you are for real.

Soon after those teenage years, my memories become somewhat more fractured and clouded. I can't imagine why.

When I emerged from the haze, I found I was a fully formed old man, well ahead of literal old man status:

So there you have it; my life as told by cycling jerseys. I started this post meaning to write mostly about RANTWICK shirt design considerations, but this blast-from-the-past tangent has already hijacked your time for long enough. I'll write about my RANTWICK shirt production planning and woes another time, for which you will no doubt be waiting in a state of breathless anticipation because it is just so fascinating. All I can say is...

Keep Yer Shirt On!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Snow Will Come. I Am Totally Unprepared.

It is a minor miracle that we have not yet seen any snow here in London Ontario. Yet, despite the fact that I am excited to once again ride in winter, I am woefully unprepared. Mutant Winter has seized cables/brakes plus two broken spokes in the rear wheel. Whether they let go due to corrosion or pothole or both I am uncertain, but the wheel looks quite truable (new word there, I think). I have been procrastinating since I put the bike away in that deplorable condition last Spring.

Speaking of procrastinating, the space I would like to use to work on the bike looks like this:

I can hardly believe that I am considered a grown-up. I mean, who lets this kind of thing just sit there, month after month? I do, it would seem. I'm hoping to clean up that room well enough to use it tonight. Wish me luck.

On the brighter side, I've received another SARATS entry, this one coming from JAT in Seattle. JAT makes this observation in his email:

It's amazing to me how geographically disparate your entries are, since (having grown up in soggy Doug Fir land but having gone to school "back east") I think of colorful trees as being the province (no pun intended) of the "northeast" not sure how Canadians relate to USofAians perceptions of northliness, obviously for you Northeast would probably start at Torngat Mountains Nat Pk...).

Yes, I love the way the trees that come in are from all over the place. The Internet has this "everywhere" element to it that makes one feel connected to people and places never seen in person. I really like it. Here's some more of JATS email:

Attached please find my entry to the SARATS extravaganza.  I took this photo with my almost smart phone on my way to retrieve my car and offspring from crew practice (my car doesn't row, but my kid decided he wants to, so I dropped him off (in the car) at morning Jazz Band practice before school, then drove to the boathouse, parked and rode in to work.  Anyway on my way to the I-90 Mt Baker Bike Pedestrian Tunnel (known as the echo tunnel during the Trail-a-bike days hence known as the mugging tunnel) the light was just right.  We generally don't get great trees for fall - not enough deciduous / too much sort of warm green followed by too much kinda cooler rain but (until today) it's been a dry (ish) Autumn.

The light was indeed just right. Thanks JAT, it is a beauty! He even included a link to a map to show the area he was talking about. I followed the link, took a screenshot and then made my best guess about which tree it was based on the background in his entry...

I'm thinking JAT will set me straight if I was wrong with a comment. Have a great week everybody!

Yer Pal, R A N T W I C K

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tired of Trucks and Tragedy

I was alerted to another tragic cyclist death by this post on Waterloo Bikes today. The author, Rob, is really angry about the angle taken by CBC's coverage. Sadly, one-sided and ill-founded assertions always seem to abound when stuff like this happens. I agree with Rob, but have become weary of commenting on the fear-mongering that always comes along with such events.

What I think is likely about how the accident went down is not any more relevant than anyone else's assertions. When somebody dies on a bicycle or in any other way, it isn't about who was right or who acted stupidly. It is about profound loss and what might be learned from it. When police officers, reporters and yes, Internet bloggers and commenters use such events to start pointing fingers or advance their own agendas it just leaves me feeling sad and tired.

I have no statistics, but since starting this blog it feels like fatalities involving right-turning trucks have become a terrible recurring theme. It has had a direct impact on how I ride. Whether painted lines indicate I have a right to be somewhere or not, here's my own personal rule:

Where there is any opportunity on the road ahead for a truck (or any large vehicle) to turn right, I will not willingly ride beside one. Should a big truck overtake me anywhere near a right-turn opportunity, the driver has very likely seen me. Just the same, I will slow dramatically in an effort to put myself behind that vehicle.

Will this guarantee that a truck will never ever take me out turning right? Nope. My strong suspicion is that my personal policy will cut the odds deeply enough that it will never happen. I remain completely convinced that bicycling is as safe as just about any other activity you can name, with almost innumerable benefits to both self and society. As such, I have just this moment decided to stop posting anything about cycling tragedies. That news gets around so quickly and is so readily available that I think I'll leave that to others from now on. I'm gonna promote safe and effective cycling whenever I feel like it, but stick with the joy-joys angle from here on out. Thanks, as always, for reading.

Man, do I ever love Riding My Bike!

Monday, November 7, 2011


Biodiversity, most thinking people will concede, is important. Whether it is important to my SARATS might be debatable, but it is a good enough argument for me to include the following from John Romeo Alpha of One Speed: Go! 

JRA lives in Phoenix Arizona. I figure if people who live in the desert want to find a way to enter my Autumn Tree Smackdown, "Fall Colour" needs to be a flexible term. Thanks for the pic, JRA!

I also received a more foliage driven entry from Johnny of Johnny Trash Bike:

Nice work, Johnny. I dig the old stone building in the background. Johnny didn't tell me what City the tree was from... perhaps he'll let us know in the comments.

Yer Pal,

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Unfortunate Word Choices

I don't usually buy newspapers, but I do read the articles online sometimes. On Monday I noticed this intriguing headline displayed in the London Free Press newspaper box:

Of course, several scenarios sprang to mind and these scenarios led to multiple WTF attacks. My struggle with Word To Form syndrome is well documented in these pages. You can learn more by visiting the link in the sidebar.

So, what kind of crack drives away protesters? Perhaps a great fearful fissure in the earth's crust!

pic sources here and here

Or Maybe it was Crack cocaine...

crack pic source here

Were they actually under threat of giant, looming Butt Crack?

butt pic source here

If you found that last one distasteful, well, sorry. If it is any comfort I chose a dainty lady butt instead of one of the multitude of way ugly big fat man butts that were more readily available.

Of course, the article wasn't referring to any of these types of crack, but rather possible divisions within the protest group. That doesn't make for much of a visual. Dear Headline authors: Please have mercy on this poor WTF syndrome sufferer. Please.

Yer Pal,

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

More SARATS Entries!

Hey all! The SARATS entries keep on comin', and I couldn't be more pleased. Steve A of DFW, point-to-point posted about a divine discovery inside a Tabernacle of all places... although he hasn't committed to making it his entry. That dude is determined and canny, I tells ya.

On top of that, I've received two new confirmed entries. First, here's most of Annie's email introducing her pic:

I took this photo last evening as I was hurrying to get home from a very cool and bone chilling ride. I could tell that we were going to get either some rain or snow overnight. The sun had already set, but the overcast sky bathed this beauty in stark contrast with the evergreens in front of the grand Sisters of Mercy building here in Burlington, Vermont. The other deciduous trees on that lawn were already in stick-mode, as you can see on the right side of the photo, which made this one all the more special. I fear the leaves will all be gone this weekend along Lake Champlain.

By the way, I'm entering the contest just because it's fun and not for the prize of maple syrup. I enjoy observing the awesome changes in our landscape. If truth be told, my husband consumes a gallon of syrup a month - he eats pancakes every morning. No kidding. And I thought my chocolate habit was expensive...

Foliage season here was very late and spotty, but also dragged on the SARATS viewing longer for all of us autumnal leaf connoisseurs. Here are more of my foliage posts:

Thank you for considering my photo in your contest.

No Annie, thank you. You are obviously a foliage freak, and for that I am grateful. If you win the prize, don't you dare let your husband just slurp up my super syrup. Jakeman's Extra Light ain't no garden variety pure maple syrup. It is the best of the best in my opinion, subtle and super light and utterly perfect.
Next comes an entry from a more Southern locale, submitted by Norm:

Here's an entry from down south in Huntsville, Alabama. It's taken awhile for the trees to turn and most just went from green to brown. This one caught my eye and is located at the Marshall Spaceflight Center. I enjoy reading your Blog.



Hey Norm, I dig that tree. Thanks for submitting it! Did you notice that Norm, like Kenny, enjoys reading my blog? Praise is always welcome, you know. It makes me happy. More praise please. Way more. I deserve every scrap of it, considering my unbelievable effort and commitment to writing random cycling crap and posting pictures of trees! I mean, who else is filling that void for you right now? Nobody, that's who. Me baby. It's all me.

Seriously though, I want to thank everybody who bothers to read this stuff. I get a great deal of pleasure from just writing my nonsense, but the fact that others bother to come here and read it is just awesome. 

Yer Pal,

Monday, October 31, 2011

Snow Face Hates Halloween

Mrs. Rantwick and I really like Halloween. Snow Face not so much.

I've got a new SARATS entry, but I think I'll save it for tomorrow. Halloween belongs to the ghoulish, not the tree-based joyjoys.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blissed Out in Spring and Autumn

As I mentioned yesterday, I had one of those memorable, soul-feeding Autumn rides on Monday. I have made a video similar to one I did in the Spring a couple of years ago, one that has become my most popular youtube video by far. In these days of youtube vids with millions of views, that isn't saying much since that one has been viewed just over 600 times, but that makes it #1 among mine.

I've skimmed the archives and don't think I ever posted that video here on the blog. If I did and missed it somehow, please let me know. Anyway, here's the "old" Spring video:

Now, Autumn blissed-out action from Monday Oct 24:

Perhaps this type of video is more popular because I'm not trying to be funny or anything. Who knows? In any case, I secretly hope that when you're sitting inside during a snowstorm in the long deep dark days of winter, jonesing for a bike ride in the fresh air, you'll come back to these videos for a dose of bike zen. Of course, that could just make things worse...

Yer Pal,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stress Leaving You Green? No Worries, SARATS Accepts All Comers

Another SARATS entry has arrived and this one is green! It comes from Kenny of Kenny's Blog of Greatness and his email explains:

Mr. Rantwick,

I had the pleasure of riding my bike around Washington DC (USA) last Friday, and hoped to get a good picture of a tree for your smackdown. It's been a strange summer here in this part of America, with extremes of hot, dry, and wet stretches. Adding in an earthquake and hurricane put many trees on notice. It was such an extreme summer that weatherman Bob Ryan said that when trees go through such stresses in one season, sometimes they just drop their leaves without letting them change color!

I don't know how true this is, but the trees I saw mostly had just dead leaves or were half bare already. So I took this great picture of one of the Japanese Cherry trees that surround the "tidal basin" area near the Jefferson Memorial (Thomas Jefferson, as you may recall, drafted the Declaration of Independence, had a slave as a mistress, and discovered penicillin (that last part may or may not be true)). Many of these trees are about a hundred years old and have seen a lot of action, as millions of tourists converge upon this area to bask in the glory of the cherry blossoms for a couple weeks each spring.

Yes, the leaves are still green, but the trunk and branches are so gnarled and twisted, I hope you'll accept this as an alternative entry for your SARATS competition.

I enjoy reading your blog.

Thank you and have a great day,

See that? Kenny called me Mr. and said he enjoys reading my blog! In addition I had an outstanding Autumn ride last night after work, video with soothing music to follow tomorrow. Overall, these things are making me feel pretty damn good today and I wish you the same until next time.

Yer Pal,