Rush Limbaugh has his . . . well, here is mine. This is my record of news stories and issues that interest me. You can also find more headlines at the site where I serve as editor: The Common Voice.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bicycle Polo

Riding my road bike through Cleveland Park last Sunday, I cam upon these fellows out in the grassy area playing bicycle polo. It looked like fun. Just below you can see the video that I took of them with my helmet cam.

Now, if you want to see REAL bicycle polo, check out this video of bicycle polo in Ireland. I thought cyclo cross was weird! This takes the cake.

Ah, the amazing things you can do on a bicycle.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Bicycling in DC

This video is a report about cycling as a means of commuting in the nation's capitol. Funny, but in a lot of ways, it could be the report of this subject from most any city in America. I did like the balance in this report.

The fact is, there will always be tension between auto and cycling commuters. The key is learning to manage those tensions. Some give and take on both sides would probably do more than any amount of bike lanes. Problem is, it is a lot easier to slap down some asphalt than to get people to change their behaviors.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Mellow Johnny's

More video from the Palmetto Peloton Project's Challenge to Conquer Cancer ride. A quick video tour of Lance Armstrong's Austin bicycle shop, "Mellow Johnny's". A cool shop with some pretty good coffee.

I wondered what type of service I'd find there. Was this just a "tourist trap" for catching Lance fans? Well, they were very helpful. I needed a new mount for my Garmin 705 and while they didn't have one in stock, they looked to find a solution. Ultimately, they cannibalized a full unit to help me get what I needed.

It is a honest to goodness LBS.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

The Quarq CinQo and Garmin Edge 705

For over a year I've been thinking of getting a power meter. Recently I finally made my choice and ordered a CinQo power meter by Quarq ( Perhaps I'll discover some limitations in the device, but so far... I'm quite happy.

My interest in the CinQo started when I learned it would work with the ANT+ Sport wireless protocol. I also liked the fact that it was integrated into the crank leaving me free to change out wheels should I desire.

I made contact with Quarq to see if I could beta test their power meter with the new Garmin Edge 705. Things were looking good as Garmin agreed to allow me to use their new computer for the test. I was pretty stoked about being able to be one of the first to review the 705 and the CinQo.

Soon, I had two 705's from Garmin, but no CinQo. The release of the power meter kept being delayed. Finally, the CinQo was available, but by that time Quarq was not willing to allow me to beta. They offered to allow me to go on the waiting list, but no test for me.

Then I learned that the first CinQo's would only work with standard cranks. I had purchased (what I thought would be) a compatible SRAM S900 compact crank. Now nearly a year later, the opportunity came to purchase the standard crank with the CinQo installed directly from Quarq.

Frankly, the way the deal worked out, I almost went the PowerTap route. Their ANT+ Sport version is supposed to come out this winter. However, the fact that I would have to purchase a whole new set of wheels kept bringing me back to the CinQo. Why didn't I just get an SRM? $$$$$.

Now that I have it. I'm loving it. Once the guys at Sunshine Cycle Shop had my crank put in the frame things were just about ready to go. Some advice should you get the CinQo...

1) Read the directions. Make sure you upgrade your Garmin to the latest firmware.
2) Pay attention to the illustrations in the manual.

Once I had the firmware updated I was ready to get the two devices to talk to each other.

1) Click on "Settings" in your Garmin menu screen. Follow the menu through the "Profile and Zones" to the "Bike Profile" choice. Once there, make sure the "Power" check box is checked. Then go back out to "Settings".

2) Choose the "ANT+Sport" option.

3) Click on "Accessories".

4) Here is where I messed up earlier. I left the "Cadence Sensor Present?" choice as "Yes." This needs to be turned off or you may get some really weird speed readings.

5) Make sure the "Power Meter Present?" choice is "Yes".

6) Turn the crank backward about five times and then click on the "Restart Scan" button. You should see a message saying "Power meter detected".

7) You can then "Calibrate" the unit by clicking on the button, or you can simply turn the crank backward five times to zero out the unit to the factory calibration.

8) Hop on and ride! You'll see your power come up in the field you designate to show the power. Actually, you could fill the screen with current, average, and max power fields.

9) Upload your information from the Garmin to your computer. I have a copy of Ascent for Mac and WKO+ for Windows. The data is great for both.

The Quarq CinQo appears to be a pretty solid option for people looking for a lower cost option for measuring power. Time will tell whether it holds up to a full season of cycling. The construction seems solid and I'm looking forward to what it can do.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Hincapie Dedication

George Hincapie has left another mark on the City of Greenville. Under beautiful blue skies, the Tour de France stage winner and Greenville resident lead dozens of cyclists for a ride along the newly dedicated Hincapie Path.

The Hincapie Path is part of the Swamp Rabbit Trail which many hope will someday run from Conestee to Travelers Rest. The section of the trail bearing his name stretches from Woodland Way in Greenville's Cleveland Park to East Faris Road near Greenville First Baptist.

Greenville mayor, Knox White, began the event explaining some of the vision for trail. George Hincapie said a few well received words following the unveiling of a trail sign bearing the name "Hincapie Path." The Hincapie family then joined him and city officials to cut the ribbon to officially open the path.

Those attending with bikes then had the opportunity to ride the path with George. The ride included a loop through some Greenville streets before returning to Cleveland Park. Following the short ceremonial ride, George headed off on a ride with friends including fellow Columbia rider, Craig Lewis.

Many members of the Palmetto Peloton Project's Challenge to Conquer Cancer riders were there to support this great addition to an active Greenville community. These riders recently returned from a week long cycling trip to Austin, Texas to participate in the LiveStrong Challenge.

Check out the pictures from The Greenville News at


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

From cool to hot

Saturday's Hour of Power started with leg and arm warmers along with a vest. The morning temperatures are definitely getting cooler. However, even as we waited in the parking lot the sun came up over the trees and you could tell things would get warmer soon.

We started with a good number of riders. One of them was a colleague of mine from work. I was kind of surprised to see him there because he had just gotten his bike and probably had only ridden it for 50 miles before that morning.

We rolled out a little late headed out on our normal route. I talked along with some of my riding buddies and stayed close to Mike, the new one to the group, to help encourage him along should the time come. So far, so good for him.

I warned him about the sprints. "When you see several of us take off," I told him, "don't chase us. Let us go and hold your pace. We'll wait for you at the end of the sprint." I'll be honest, I figured he would need to head back at the end of Meece Bridge Road.

It was during a conversation about gearing that I noticed Peter up ahead making a move toward the Tanner Road sprint line. Fifty yards separated us, but I thought I might be able to get him if I could sneak up on him. It almost worked. He got me though with my front wheel up to his crank.

Mike wasn't the one I needed to worry about at Meece Bridge. It was me! John and Bob got the train moving and I did my best to jump on to follow. It just wasn't there. I was spinning and I could feel the effort needed to keep the pace escalate. The feeling that I was about to blow came over me and I felt very tired. I sat up and eased to the finish.

There are several miles between the Meece Bridge Road finish and 290. As we pulled up for a stop to regroup, I saw Mike coming along after just a short wait. He was doing very well!

Then we started the engine again to chase up the quarry road. About ten of us hit the bottom of the climb. After my feelings on Meece Bridge, I wasn't so sure where I would be at the end!

The speeds were pretty fast going up. Peter and John were two of the main players -- as usual. John jumped out to take the lead. Just over the false flat, John pulled over to the right. Since he was the rider I was most worried about, I eased up with him.

"If you slow down," he said, "they'll come back to you. You need to keep going." Of course, I felt like saying, "You just eased up. Aren't you afraid they'll come back to you?" Problem was, I don't think I had the breath to say it!

I kept pushing it and was getting a pretty good speed. I could tell there was someone right behind me. How many were there, I didn't know. Then John came around me. Grrrrr. I knew he was going to do that to me.

Then John eased up just as we neared the finish line. I went around him. He explained, "I felt bad about telling you to go on back there. I didn't realize there were only three of us in play at that point."

It wasn't long after we finished that Mike came up the road. Now I was really impressed. Obviously, he had a good level of fitness before picking up the bike. He would have no trouble making it from here.

Just before the climb, we had two other riders join us. Daniel, the son, was riding a steel frame Specialized. It was obvious by his gear and bike that he was just starting to ride. However, he certainly had the strength!

He was staying right with us up to the state park entrance sprint. I felt sorry for him because his bike was simply in need of a tune-up. He defnitely had a chain problem. Still, he was right there.

My plan was to pull at the front on the sprint. However, Peter and Anthony came around us early and took off. I was just doing well to hang on to the caboose of that train!

We settled down to a 30 mph pace and I was able to recover a little. Then John, who was right in front of me, moved around the two in front. He was indicating for me to follow. He was going to lead out.

I had no idea what was going to happen at the bottom. Would my legs be there? John moved over and I started to sprint up the climb. As I started, Peter came right up beside me. For quite a while we were neck-and-neck. Then I started to lose my punch.

Perhaps my body is getting tired after a summer of riding, but that feeling came back. It isn't a feeling pain, just a feeling of no power. I putting out effort that normally would have propelled me to the front, but I just watched Peter ride away. He beat me by about ten yards.

After that, it was just a goal to ride into the shop. I did Oak Leaf and watched Bob blow everyone away on Nature Trail. We rolled in for coffee and donuts.

Mike came in pretty pumped about his ride -- which he should have. "I have a new respect for cyclists!" he said. I think he's hooked. Bet we'll see him out there again.

Turns out Daniel had a stiff chain link. I'd like to see him ride on a nice bike. I bet he would be in the mix after a couple of times out there. Maybe he'll join us again.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Quick turn around

Last night I went out on a night ride for group training before heading out next month on the Challenge to Conquer Cancer rider. We did 44 miles and finished up shortly before 10 PM. By the time I got home and in bed, it was after 11 PM. The morning came early!

Still, I rolled out of bed and got myself ready to head over to Sunshine Cycle Shop for the Hour of Power. Thankfully, I had left my bike and everything in the truck from the night before. Instead of riding my bike over to the shop, I just jumped in the truck to drive.

Right before getting to the truck I realized I had left my water bottles at home. Turning the truck around, I headed home to grab the fluids and rushed back to get to the shop. I arrived to find just a couple of riders waiting.

We waited until about 8 PM and finally decided to roll out. The group was small with Art, Web, Peter, Owen, and myself being the "old-timers." Paul, Anthony, (and I ashamed to say) one more rider whose name I can't recall right now, were the newer riders who have been on some of the more recent rides.

Peter and I led the group out and the speeds picked up right away. We were making a pretty good pace until we reached the sprint up Tanner to Reid School Road. Things didn't slow down much after that! Here is a rundown of the sprint zones....

Tanner: Peter took off and Anthony followed. I followed Anthony's wheel until he brought me up to Peter. Peter launched and I went with him. I was able to push the ol' Tarmac up to the line first.

Meece Bridge: The group riders would know this sprint as the "Pee Tree Sprint." On this one Web and Art made a move a little early coming up to the attack zone. I stayed with them until Peter and Anthony once again moved to the front and started the attack in earnest.

Unfortunately, I had the earlier problem of getting my chain on the big ring. Peter and Anthony had a 20 foot or more gap on me. Still, there was enough road left that I figured if I could get up to them, I could recover a little for a final kick.... and that is exactly what happened. I moved around Peter following Anthony and then pushed to finish ahead of him.

Quarry Road: At the end of the pace line on 290 I found myself in the front turning on the road to take us to the climb. I argued with myself whether to attack or wait. I ended up just holding my position and getting the heart rate down.

Art came around and then Owen. I stayed in the big ring and started a steady pace up. If Art made it, he deserved it. However, in case he fell back, I wanted to be in position.

Owen faded and then there was just Art ahead. I could tell I was starting to gain on him and I was climbing the grade at about 14 mph. Once I got past the false flat, I started moving into the 20 mph range. I realized I had a real chance to beat him.

Closer and closer I moved up to Art. I knew he could see me in his mirror, so there would be no element of surprise. Sure enough, he started reacting. I had to pick up the speed some more, but was able to get around him just in time to cross the line first. Wow, I really didn't expect that!

Fire Hydrants: Art got revenge there. He took off and I didn't even try. Peter did, but didn't catch him. Art passed the first hydrant and then the second. He basically looked like a speck in the distance.

State Park: I had planned to do a lead out on this one. John had told me I needed to do some more of that to work on my sustained speed. Unfortunately, I was at the back of the group and as I moved into the group on the right side, I found myself boxed in with Web to my left and Anthony and Peter in front of me.

We stayed there well past the point where I could have started the lead out. Then the line stretched out and I found myself behind Peter. He looked back and took off. I figured he was planning to do another one of his lead outs.

Ahead of us was Anthony and Web. Peter and I dropped down to the base of the hill. As we did, Peter moved over... sooner than he normally would on a lead out. That moved me forward as we went past the two riders ahead.

I knew Peter was back there, but I simply did not feel like killing myself up the climb. Still, I went into the climb participating in the sprint. Peter was still on my wheel. Then my legs just quit. Yes, I could have ridden through the pain and pushed it, but my guess is the result would have been the same.

"Oh, come on!" Peter encouraged me to race him. I even tried it, but my legs yelled at me louder than Peter. "I can't do it. I can't do it," I told him. I sat up and Art came around me. Peter took the sprint easily with Art in second.

Oak Leaf: I followed Art and Peter up this steep but short climb. I wasn't in the picture for the top though. I'm not even sure who took the climb. From my vantage point suffering behind them, it looked like they reached the top together.

Nature Trail: I recovered somewhat before the stretch of road I hate the most -- Nature Trail. Anthony took off and got a huge gap right off the bat. Then he slowed, but I figured all he had to do at that point was maintain the gap. Peter and I commented on his attack and just kept our pace.

Peter moved away from me and I kept a distance of a few yards behind him. I wondered how my legs would do this time. They did feel better than they did at State Park. Perhaps I could make this work.

Anthony was falling back to us pretty quickly at this point. I moved up closer to Peter and followed him up to Anthony. Then I jumped first leaving Peter and then overtaking Anthony. At that point, that old pain came back. However, this time I decided to ride through it. I just aimed for the manhole cover that marked the end and pushed for the top. Whew, I did it!

Then it was time to head back to the shop. Once there, I started to feel that shakiness that comes from major exertion. Those two rides bookending my night, really wore me out. Tonight I think I will sleep like a baby!