Thursday, May 28, 2009


Back in the day, before Facepage, Mybook, Tweeter, Youtube, blogs and vlogs, before iPhones and texting and all that other crap that sucks up everybody's time and energy, people acted differently than they do today. People went about their lives assuming that nobody else gave a rat's ass about them. Yeah sure, your mom cares and maybe your girlfriend too. But all those 6 billion strangers out there certainly didn't. Back then people went to work, watched the teevee, took vacations, joined bowling leagues and just plain lived their lives. That was OK. Life was good.

Somewhere along the way something when horribly wrong. The first glimpse we all had of the decline of humanity was the MTV show, The Real World. In 1992 the show was an interesting novelty. The "cast members" seemed like real people. They didn't seem to be all that self conscious of their own celebrity (until afterwards). I remember that a year after that first iteration of the show the cast was appearing in ads for a car dealership here in Michigan. And of course, anybody my age probably remembers how Eric Nies went on to become a big star on MTV with shows like The Grind. Reality programming spawned fame. Big mistake.

The first time I noticed the peoples' need to turn the minutia of their everyday lives into entertainment via the intertubes was when I first stumbled across Anacam. Anna Voog was the first legitimate "cam girl." Her 24 hour web cam started as an art project and continues to this day mostly unchanged. Click on and you still see the webcam in her apartment just like you could in 1997. In a lot of ways her online "journal" was a companion blog before there were blogs. Back then shoddy web cams and telephone modems made the whole experience buggy, slow and a little weird. By the early 00's so many web cams had hit the web that "cam girl" came to mean porn, and legit artists like Voog were becoming hard to find over the clutter of the web and newcomers gunning for celebrity like Tila Tequila. Everybody wanted their own slice of the Reality TV fame, and the web was going to give it to them.

Now don't get me wrong. I love the Intertubes and I love me the blogs too. There's some good stuff out there. For instance, sites like are a lot better than your average blog. Bloggers like offer a point of view and a perspective that is refreshing AND unnerving. My point here is that "reality" internet content is good when it has a freakin' point to it. Just like most magazines suck, most blogs suck too. There are a handful of newspapers with editorial pages worth reading, like The New York Times. But there are a lot more that suck, like The Grand Rapids Press. There is only one Ana Voog in the world because there are only so many good ideas out there, and most people don't have them. The difference with today versus yesterday is that the the web allows people to pretend that their ideas are good.

Which leads me to this group of lame ass turds I first stumbled upon at bikesnobnyc.

Albion in the Gloaming from Albion in the Gloaming on Vimeo.

I don't know what's more annoying, hipsters wearing the word "gloaming" on their sleeves or the idea that going to Europe with a backpack and a bicycle is an original enough idea to create a multimedia site around it. What started with The Real World almost two decades ago has gotten all wrapped up with hipsterism. And the result is countless Youtube videos exposing the fact that hipsters are the worst type of pathetic posers.

The fact that a couple of suburbanite morons are recording their upper middle class "holiday" in Europe is about as insipid as the fact that these NYU students think that shopping at Urban Outfitters and wearing skinny jeans is changing gender relationships and transforming the world. Reality TV gave everybody the idea that anybody is interesting. Everybody is a celebrity. On top of that the internet and modern technology helped create a potpourri of modern pop culture where everybody talks about "meaning" in their style and life choices but nothing really has any meaning. Meaning is fame. Meaning is being number one in Youtube views. Meaning is being the next Eric Nies.

Oh the humanity! What to do? It's like the internet needs a bullshit filter.

By the time MTV got around to filming the The Real World in Chicago's Wicker Park the locals and neighborhood activists were primed to go apeshit crazy.. It seems that the reality TV world has come full circle. So much so that the last cast of The Real World went into it knowing that they had to deal with haters:

"The Real World: Brooklyn" cast-members believe it's a real shame people are already judging them.

The show debuts on Jan.7, so America has not yet met them. And even before they had set foot in Red Hook in August to film the show, local residents were already harping on the negative images of seasons' past: sex, drinking and public rowdiness.

"We'd hear, 'Oh, it's Fake World. You guys suck,'" said roommate Scott, a 23-year-old personal trainer and model from New Hampshire, who is one of the eight "RW" guys and girls (yes, it's eight this season).

"This one guy in a bar said we were a virus," Scott said. "So I walked up to him and said, 'Really?' You don't know who I am."

I can only pray that in the near future the same backlash that now plagues The Real World will somehow manifest itself online. It's as if the internet needs a Critical Mass to remind everybody how pointless most internet traffic is. Or maybe these days it would have to be a Flash Mob.

There are plenty of great things to find out there on the web. Sometimes virtual reality serves up an interesting slice of actual reality. I'll give you a great alternative to the Albion Gloaming idiots. Check out Where Are You Go, a flick debuting at this year's Bicycle Film Festival if you want to see a truly interesting bike trip.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

R.I.P. Jay Bennet

In 2002 my friend Derek Phillips interviewed Jay Bennet for It's an interesting read for Bennet and Wilco fans. You can find the it here.

Bennet was brilliant songsmith and musician. He will be missed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Haters & Hot Links

Horse fight keeps on going and going. Now they're poaching trail at Cannonsburg.

No brainer tips for avoiding bike theft.

New York is becoming a "cyclist's paradise," but Toronto is going to Hell.

Get some Obama money for riding your bike to work.

Yes, driving a car is dangerous. So buy a "motoring helmet" and stay safe!

The Obama government is resurrecting the crusade against bike saddles. For the protection of taints everywhere!

What!? You've got mountains of cash and you want to look as cool as Julien Absalon? Well then, load up your wheelbarrow with Benjamins cause the new Sram XX will set you back $2,300!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day 2009, Never Forget

The picture above is from Map The Fallen.

This Memorial Day I would like to share with you a personal project of mine that uses Google Earth to honor the more than 5,700 American and Coalition servicemen and women that have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have created a map for Google Earth that will connect you with each of their stories—you can see photos, learn about how they died, visit memorial websites with comments from friends and families, and explore the places they called home and where they died.

This is amazing project and a great way to connect the public with the human cost of America's wars in the Middle East. One can only imagine what such a map, with links to personal information about each lost soul, would look like if it included the tens of thousands of innocent people who have also died because George Bush lied.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend Roll Out

Levi in 3rd after the big TT. Can he take the lead? Can Lance fill Horner's shoes on the climbs?

Last week's race at Bloomer, the first XC event in the Michigan NORBA Series, was delayed do to flooding. Bloomer 2.0 will take place this weekend. Bring your scuba gear.

Update your blog, Hecklejack!

Das Tour of Fankenmuth takes place on Saturday (5/23). While you're there, don't forget to visit Bronners!

The Horse Fight heats up! Will wealthy horse owners somehow manage to destroy mountain biking in the State of Michigan with one poorly written law in Lansing?

Red Wings vs. Blackhawks game 3 tonight! The Beard Is Back!! Head on over to The Wings website and rate the chin whiskers of some of their biggest fans. Like this guy! I gave him "5 pucks."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bombs over Ponzi Scheme

I was chilling to a cool summer breeze here at the pad tonight. Suddenly, there's some crazy ruckus!

Can you describe the ruckus?

Yeah, sounded like 4,500 bombs.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Amway is putting on a downtown fireworks show Thursday night over the Grand River that a representative says will double the size of the Fourth of July show.

The fireworks will celebrate Amway's 50th anniversary and are slated to begin at 10:15 p.m. About 1,400 visiting executives and manufacturers are expected to attend. The show is part of a series of private events, so the public is discouraged from coming downtown.

Nice! Scamway puts on a fireworks show right in front of the Ford Presidential Museum with a big "F You" to the community.

Thanks for nothing, DICK!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Horse, the other red meat

The weather has turned. It feels like summer. That means cold beer and steaks on the grill:

It turned out to be pretty awesome--a sweet, rich, superlean, oddly soft meat, closer to beef than venison. I put some slices over a salad of arugula with olive oil and a splash of lemon juice and some caramelized onions. It was like a livelier, lighter braseola.

It's not that I don't think killing horses is cruel. It's just that I think killing chickens, pigs, sheep and cows is equally bad. Morality based on aesthetics is pretty shallow. In fact, the only weird part about eating horse was that, unlike with bacon or rib eye, we kept picturing the animal, which was kind of gross. Nonetheless, until I decide to stop my less-than-noble practice of eating other animals, I've got little choice but to order up some more horse.

I can think of a lot of things to do with a horse. One thing includes a bachelor party in Tijuana. I hear they're good for pulling wagons loaded with shitty beer. Pony rides at the State Fair. How about horse clothing?

One thing horses are NOT good for is the condition of trails in lower Michigan. While mountain bikers have learned over the years how to build and maintain trails on this soil, the sandy consistency of the Earth in these parts makes it easily churned up by horse hooves. Riding or hiking on a trail that gets a lot of horse traffic is like traversing a loose sandy beach. Both hikers and cyclists require a firm trail tread. Sustainable trails for cyclists here means careful trail construction and lots of TLC by countless volunteers throughout the summer months.

Equestrians are doing everything they can to wreak those trails. The latest battle line is Fort Custer, where a very active local chapter of the MMBA maintains 20+ miles of multiuse trail. Equestrians have always had access to the trail network, but two other horse specific trails nearby have kept conflicts with mountain bikers to a minimum. That quickly changed this year when cyclists built a short stretch of new singletrack at Fort Custer. Equestrians are enjoying the new trail so much that it's becoming unrideable for bikes:

Rode the re route on the Green loop yesterday and was troubled by the damage caused by horses riding the steep drop portions and caving parts of it in. Why do they feel that they have the right to ruin trails that were put in by mountain bikers for mountain biking? They have plenty of other areas that are not so sensitive to ride at the Fort but they insist on riding the most technical areas of the trails and damaging them severly with their 2000# rototillers. Met another rider who crashed on the damaged area and destroyed a expensive front wheel due to the horse riders lack of common sense. I'm also getting tired of having horse crap flung onto my water bottles and clothes. What about parade bags? Do we crap on their yards and driveways?

No, we don't crap in their yards. In fact, I don't even let my dog crap in the yard. I walk my dog twice a day and carry a pooper scooper every time. Steaming piles of excrement are something best not left in yards, on sidewalks or even on trails at the park. Hell, is wrong (and against local laws) to leave dog poo in the park, but it's just fine to drop hundreds of pounds of horse crap?

What's really got every one spooked isn't the destruction of trails at Fort Custer, it's a broader effort by equestrians in the State Capitol to open up all existing trails on state land to horses, and even to reopen trails that have long since been shut down and "reclaimed" by nature in favor of reroutes and more sustainable trail designs. House bill 4610 (R-Tim Moore) would do just that. Specifically:


What does that mean? It means that if equestrians were using a given trail or trail network 10, 20 or 30 years ago they'll have guaranteed access to it again. Imagine the shit storm that would ensue if Cyclists crafted a law to allow access EVERYWHERE they may have once had "historical" access.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Shit Faced Weekend Preview

Scientists finally tell us that kids like to get hammered! Duh!

Detroit turns a filthy alley into a rail trail and the Trehuggers are pissed off. And a lot of Mountain Bikers who live in the suburbs are pissed off too.

This weekend is the Tour of Kensington, for all you roadies.

Get your NORBA license out for Sunday's Bloomer XC race. Part of the Tailwind USAC MTB Series.

This weekend is the Cannonsburg Game Area trail work day. If you want to see what a great job local trail volunteers are doing, check out the before and after pics from the recent Luton Park Trail work.

Game one of Red Wings Vs. Blackhawks is Sunday 5/17.

I can't wait!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spaghetti and Meatballs

FYI: Spaghetti and meatballs isn't even an Italian dish. In Italy they never serve a meatball on top of a plate of spaghetti. They have great wine, though. And the dudes there wear $500 shoes and live at home with their mothers until they're 40 years old. No joke. They know how to live.

European cycling is like single Italian guys. Sometimes it's too good to be true.

Checking out today's Giro results I noticed an article on Velonews titled Tools of the Pro Tour mechanics. It's an interesting piece of fluff. Until I started actually sort-of wrenching for the LIttle Lady I thought all pro mechanics were set up with shit loads of Snap On tools and a rig full of fancy ass spare parts. Like NASCAR or F1. Turns out those euro freaks have some homemade stuff in their tool box. Like fancy homemade truing stands and work stands. The most interesting tool though was a butter knife which was being used by a naked fat guy who wrenches for Astana!

Away from The Boot, The Belgian Federation has Boonen's back. How is it that testing positive for Cocaine isn't a doping violation? It's DOPE!

The UCI statement said: "Following the control ... on the Belgian rider Tom Boonen, which revealed the use of cocaine, the UCI President Pat McQuaid has decided to refer the matter to the UCI Disciplinary Commission.

"The behavior of Tom Boonen, even though it does not constitute a violation of the anti-doping rules, can be considered unacceptable (Art.1.2.079) and liable to harm the image, reputation or interests of cycling or the UCI (Art. 12.1.005).

"This infringement is punishable by a suspension of 1-6 months."

All I know is that if I blew a drug test at work they'd fire me for the cocaine and wouldn't care about EPO or cortisone. Do you still want to believe? Well, check this out: an expose on Telekom, the doping years 1995-2006:

The findings of an independent commission have broken new ground on systemic doping on one of the sport's most successful teams. It has been revealed that two doctors from the Freiburg University Clinic ran an organised doping programme for the enormously successful German Telekom/T-mobile squad from 1995 to 2006. Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer reports.

Is it my imagination or does Telekom's stool pigeon, Patrik Sinkewitz, look a lot like Chris Kattan? Mango!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Along with hundreds of pounds of mud caked to my truck, I seem to have brought a nasty cold or sinus infection or whatever back from Tennessee. I'm not surprised. I'm prone to what Mark Hendershot would call wussitis. A little putrid pasture mud and rain and I'm fracked. Now I'm flat on my back and home early from work. No evening hammer ride for me tonight. I'm on down time. All the better, cause tonight is the season finale of Lost. The pounding in my head makes me wanna do something old school, like call the local barber/veterinarian/doctor and have him get the toxins out. I'm speaking metaphorically here, of course. Better to let the Sudafed do its job.

More and more the bicycle blogosphere seems to be hitting on the impending wave of Dutch City Bikes coming our way. Not content to stay out of the fray, the Grey Lady is chiming in.

But City Room isn’t quite so sure that the masculine, messenger-centric bicycling culture is ready to embrace a style of lumbering, erect bicycling-riding that is reminiscent of, well, Pee Wee Herman.

Either way, 200 Dutch-style bicycles are coming to New York as part of the 400th anniversary of the Henry Hudson’s landing in New York City. Not just any Dutch bicycles, orange Dutch bicycles. “Very orange,” as the deputy mayor, Robert C. Lieber, put it at a ceremony introducing the bicycles.

Will the hipster fixie kids embrace the upright posture and civility of european city bikes? Sounds like a bad question. As trendy as the fixie craze has been it's only been a trend. And a trend for a relatively small number of people at that. Very very few people ride bikes in this country. Especially here in the heartland. And messenger bikes, whether reclaimed vintage frames or new single speed versions from Redline or Cannondale will never be seen as accessible or practical by the general public.

Yeah, initially I'm sure that some of those annoyingly precious hipster chicks and their emasculated boyfriends will plop down a couple of grand for a Jorg & Olif or a Velorbis. But the truth is that city bikes require that you actually live in a city. A city that's built around them. They don't move very fast. These bikes are usually three or five speeds. They're designed to be ridden slowly in normal street clothes and shoes. Not in congested vehicular traffic. If your commute is 5-10 miles through busy suburban or city streets one of these city bikes might not do the job. You'd be better off with a Shimano 10 speed rear deraileur, drop bar and set of panniers for your work junk.

I'm rooting for bike share programs in American cities. A metropolis like Gotham might be a good place for these Dutch machines. But out here in the midwest we don't even have simple public transportation. No subways. No light rail. No fancy commuter buses. There's one Amtrak train that comes through my town and goes strait to Chicago, but you aren't allowed to bring your bike or even a checked bag onboard. Don't even get me started on the lack of bike lanes here.

Civilized european style bikes won't take a firm hold here until the cities in which we live become more civilized. If we're going to get around on what is essentially a fancy slow moving cruiser bike we'll need a more civilized city. We'll need to live closer to our destinations. We'll need more bike lanes and bike only roads. More racks. A more comprehensive public transit system to fill in the gaps. After all, if so many of us live in the suburbs, we can't really ride our city bikes 30 miles to work downtown.

Until then I'll keep riding my Surly Long Haul Trucker to the bar.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Ain't nothin' like mud. Wallow in it. Roll in it. Rub your bum in it. Some mud is better than others, though. Some mud is good for makin' bricks. Some mud is good for mud pies. Some mud is good for racin' trucks.

DS&G Blog Roll.......... has an insane amount of videos and coverage of Dirt, Sweat & Gears 2009. You want photos? They got photos! You want videos of helpless people in the woods freaking out about killer mud. They got that too.

Danielle Musto was humbled by Tennesse's rich native soil. has a write-up of the race.

Dicky is scarred for life!

Some moron in Oregon has nothing better to do.

Harlan Price is a fucking rock star!

Jeremiah Bishop bummed a Kenda Karma off me Friday night and used that freakin' tire to win a bike race! (but he may not have updated his blog yet, so check back later)

Eddie O finally made it out of the woods.

Namrita has lots of muddy pictures, and one of me.

Got more updates on the race? Post em in the comments or send me a link.

In the mean time, WTF is up with Tom Boonen? Reminds me of Jan Ulrich's prophetic words:

"I can appreciate now what I didn't see before, that I'm not going to be young forever, that If I am going to win the Tour, then it would have to be within the next three years," he muses. "But I never wanted to win as many Tours as possible, full stop. It's more a question of getting to the top of the world hierachy in the sport, exploiting my talent 100 per cent."

Maybe all these guys never listened to Nancy Reagan. Just say no to drugs you dopes!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hell Is A 12 Hour Mountain Bike Race

I have just returned from what I can only call the most horrible trail conditions I have ever seen at a 12 or 24 Hour race.
But don't take my word for it. Listen to the guy who won...

The Little Lady showed off the trail conditions up close and personal.

Dirt, Sweat & Gears has gained a reputation over it's few short years of existence. It's a well run event. Great atmosphere. Big cash prize purses. it draws a stacked field of pro endurance racers from all over the United States. The trail is on private land in Fayetteville, Tennessee that includes pastures and a clay covered wooded and rocky ridge. Funny thing about clay. If you pour water over it for hours and hours and days and days you get an insane sticky slop. "Peanut butter" is what I often hear mountain bikers call it.

I got news for you. That crap wasn't JIF!! And the only way to protect yourself against it was to stay in the pit area and wear protection!

Since we just arrived home I've got a lot of gear to stow before I get to bed. I'll Post some updates, links and photos tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cycling Fail

Around these parts The Detroit Red Wings are the top of the sports food chain. A winning team year after year. The kind of Dynasty not unlike the New York Yankees. You want to get your ass kicked? Go into any bar around here wearing a Mighty Ducks jersey. Is there a parallel in cycling? Maybe CSC or Telecom (before doping finally blew everything to hell). Or maybe Johan Bruyneel and his succession of teams. In the past decade his riders have won Le Tour 8 times, plus the Giro and Vuelta. In the cycling world the guy is Lou Holtz, Bo Schembechler and Scotty Bowman all rolled into one.

Crazy to think that Bruyneel's team is flat broke! Not even paying their riders. Busted. Kaput. Cyclingnews says it may be so bad that the team might not make it to The Tour de France this year!

The Astana cycling team may be getting its Giro d'Italia campaign underway, but its future in the sport appears to be under question. According to the website, the team is under real threat of financial collapse and has a week to sort things out before the International Cycling Union (UCI) withdraws the professional licence.

In April it was reported that riders had endured a period of time without payment of salaries, but that the Kazakh cycling federation would cover the overdue amount while it was waiting for the team backers to pay up. However the financial problems have lingered and it is now understood that the team must receive $2 million in the days ahead in order to replenish the UCI bank guarantee. That guarantee has been depleted, presumably to pay overdue salaries.

This shows how screwed up cycling is. The constant hunt for money and sponsorship. Unlike franchise team sports like Football and Hockey, cycling is constantly chasing the money. Imagine the Detroit Red Wings making it to the Stanley Cup Finals and announcing that they don't have the money to fly to the games and pay Chris Osgood.

Crazy days. We'll see how bad Mr Armstrong wants to ride in France. He may have to foot the bill.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dog Bone F-g Michigan

Poor kid. Probably thought he was some kind of local hero with a public access show in the Detroit suburbs and a chance to interview Black Flag. OOPS! Gotta give the kid some credit, though. Back in the day I'd have shit my pants if Henry Rollins got up in my face like that.

Monday morning and another weekend bites the dust in "dog bone fucking Michigan."

Bob Ashby, a Right Wing Jerk in Holland, thinks Barack Hussein Obama is going to destroy humanity and everyone will have to have an abortion. He's been ranting about Liberals for forever. But he's probably just still pissed that Ottawa county allows beer sales on Sunday. Check out the buckets of crazy in the replies to his column. Send him an email if you want:

There's an election in Grand Rapids on May 5. Lots of local stuff going on. Since only the Geezers vote in these local elections, will grandma and grandpa support the schools? There's a Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT) on the ballot. Seems like a good idea, since Grand Rapids destroyed it's streetcar system 60 years ago there hasn't been much of a public transit system. Of course, like all things in the 616 area code, the Reich Wing is shitting bricks and wants you to be very afraid.

The results are in from "The Fort." I had an acceptable day at the races, back down with the rabble in the age groups. Had a nice lead going and my 1x9 gave up on me. I have all the accoutrements on board my rig to keep the chain in line, but the damn chain has a mind of it's own. Took me a lap to get back the lead. I once watched Chris Etough win 24 Hours Nationals on a 1x9. Maybe I need a pit crew to keep that chain on. Oh wait...I AM THE PIT CREW.

Once again Christian Tanguy threw down some serious hurt on all the rest of them "elite" guys. The dude is fast. Scary fast. Nice to see old man Meyers was not far behind. Gotta respect the old man who can throw down on the trail and still put down some good quality beer afterwards. Did you know that the old man Meyers got fancy new glasses?

Ain't if funny how that Bells MTB Team color matches the Smurfs?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Pig Flu Friday

Rightwingistan wants to warn you that Pig Flu is terrorism.

If Neil Diamond is the Jewish Elvis, who the hell are these morons?

There's a mountain bike race on Sunday. Proceeds go to the Southwest chapter of the MMBA.

There's a kick ass road/dirt road race this weekend. Cone-Azalia is something of a right of passage in these parts. We used to call it "Michigan's Paris-Roubaix." But we can't anymore cause Michigan now actually has a Barry-Roubaix! If you can tolerate a horrible soundtrack and shakey camera work, here's a video preview of the Cone-Azalia course:

Last week the New York Times published a fluffy travel article about the North Country Trail, which called it a "foot path" and never once mentioned the fact that Congress designated it a multiuse trail or that the Trail Nazis in Lowell are trying to kick the rest of us off public lands we've been using for decades.

Speaking of Trail Nazis, the right wing nut job Federal Wildlife Officer over at the River Rant still hasn't turned the comments function of his blog back on. More than two years after taking his ball home so nobody can play, it still seems pointless to have a blog that nobody can comment on. Fear is the mind killer, dude. Be VERY afraid!

Not all cities can hug themselves as hard and tight as the homogeneous liberal bastian of Portland, Oregon. They got the cool real bad. Like Voodoo Donuts. And some kind of communist European train that goes down some road downtown. 7,000 bikes a day cross a bridge in that town and every one of those riders wears a helment! If safety is your idea of cool, move your unemployed lazy ass out there NOW!