Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
This being the last day of 2008, you'll need a new calendar, starting tomorrow. There are a bunch of interesting bike-theme calendars available, in addition to the usual not-all-that-interesting bike-theme calendars produced by mainstream publishers.
- Cyclofiend's Current Classics 2009 Calendar.
- Ibike's Solidarity Calendar, 2009: human rights by bike (also works for 2015 and 2026)
- 2009 courier calendar (a free PDF download)
- The northside ladies bicycle calendar: "Urban scrapes, vibrant costumes, kinetic energy, exertion" from amateur photographers in Melborne, AU. Proceeds benefit breast cancer research. Nothing risque here.
- Cyclepassion, various European champs in risque get-up.
- The Ladies of Team Pegasus Calendar, the fairer members of an amateur/semi-pro team, in risque get-up.
- The Copenhagen Cycle Chic Calendar 2009. Copenhagen loves you. And your bike. But mostly you on your bike.
- My cousin gave me a 2009 Planner entitled Holland by Bicycle, Agenda 2009. I believe it was issued by the Dutch government, maybe. I snap a pic, maybe.
- The Pinups for Pitbulls Calendar 2009. Nothing to do with bikes, but a good cause, and kinda funny. And yes, I heard about it on NPR. I'm a caricature of myself.
If you know of more interesting bike-theme calendars, let me know.
This is the Smart Cycle, made by Fisher-Price, purveyor of fine plastic to children around the world. While riding a real bike outside is leaps and bounds better than riding just about anything inside while staring at a video screen, this thing deserves at least a nod. Ideally, the first thing a kid would learn would be the "rules of the road," but how likely is that? Not very: the Smart Cycle appears to have applications for learning the standard "three Rs," but none geared toward traffic safety. What an oversight! Also, I could do without the Dora, Diego, SpongeBob, Barbie, et al. tie-ins. I guess I'll have to start coding myself...
This reminds me of a question I've had for a while: Wii cycling?
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Last month's sale was a huge success for everyone. And so we're going
to try it again.
Starting tomorrow and running through Monday we have sale prices on ALL
P/R 650B frame/fork combos: $449 (all sizes in stock!)
P/R 650B fender sets ($29 when purchased with a frame/fork)
P/R 64cm x 700C SL frame/fork combos: $169 (all sizes in stock!)
(remember: if you don't like the frame we'll subtract your purchase
prices on the sale of a replacement 64 when they arrive)
Kalloy SP-375 (BIG offset) setposts ($15 when purchased with a frame/fork)
Kogswell 9/8" headsets (black): $5
Tektro R556 brake calipers (front and rear): $34
Kogswell Kompact Krankset (includes matching bottom bracket)
170mm - 50x24 - 110BCD - Black ED finish - $29
Kogswell 9-speed (Shimano) 135mm, 36 hole, high flange,
disc brake hubset with quick releases and 7-speed cassette: $12
Shimano Dura Ace 16 tooth, 3/32" track cogs: $15 (qtys limited)
Purchases can made via credit card by calling: 952-288-6165
Thanks for your continued support and patronage.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
On Monday the Montgomery County Gazette wrote about a study indicating chronic time and cost overruns on major Montgomery County (Maryland) road projects. Gee wiz, we have a culture of slack. Now, I'm no stranger to slack, but I'm haven't sought responsibility for civic infrastructure. Hey-Zeus!
The first line suggests that the study itself is behind schedule. It would be funny if it wasn't sad.
But not the projects in the study, apparently. And the bridge didn't collapse because it was built under an incentive contract. The Gazette Story is here.
County Committee Tunnels Into Roads Report: Looking into why cost and completion projections are inaccurateby C. Benjamin Ford, staff writer
Montgomery County has moved slowly on a study that showed county road projects often cost more and take years longer to complete than their initial estimates.
The County Council's Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee followed up Monday on a Feb. 5 report from the county's Office of Legislative Oversight that studied 14 county road projects. The report showed that studies before the projects were undertaken often proved too optimistic on costs and how long the projects would take to complete.
"People want to protect their turf, they want to make sure their project is not elbowed out," said committee chairwoman Nancy M. Floreen (D-At large) of Garrett Park.
The February study of 14 county road projects showed that the average cost was 54 percent higher than initial estimates.
In addition, the initial estimates predicted an average of 4.7 years to complete the project — from initial study, design, land acquisition and permitting. Instead, the projects took on average 7.5 years to complete.
The county is continuing to look at why projects take longer and cost more than the initial estimates, said Aron Trombka, senior legislative analyst with the Office of Legislative Oversight, but significant changes in the capital improvement project process have not been made yet.
No single factor explains why the costs rise or delays occur, Trombka said. Costs increased, in part, due to inflation and variables in market conditions, as well as the unknowns involved when land has to be acquired or utilities have to be relocated, he said.
The county's Department of Transportation bases project estimates on the costs of materials such as asphalt and concrete over the past one to three years and then projects how much the materials will cost about halfway through the project, he said.
The project estimates also are based on similar past projects, using the best available information, Trombka said.
Floreen asked why penalties were not assessed contractors for cost overruns and project delays.
When they are their fault, contractors are issued penalties of $50 to $1,000 per day for delays under some construction contracts, said Department of Transportation division chief Bruce Johnston.
The county is looking at adding incentives for earlier completion of construction projects, he said, adding that incentives have been used at times to minimize road closings, but can carry their own risks.
"The bridge that collapsed in Minnesota had an incentive contract," Johnston said.
The county's performance in projecting costs and the completion schedule is "pretty typical" for counties nationwide, he said.
"Most of our projects come in within 5 to 10 percent of the estimated costs," Johnston said.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Okay Obama, nicely done. You're on the right track and we're behind you. But don't forget to be smart. Americans love to say, "We're number one!" Well, news flash: America's transit programs are THE WORST IN THE DEVELOPED WORLD, and many so-called "developing nations" have bus and rail programs that put us to shame (and the only SUV's on the road are olive drab, if you know what I mean). Bust a move, my friend:
BUILD NEW SMALLER SCHOOLS
INSTITUTE FULL-YEAR SCHOOLING NATIONWIDE
TREAT TEACHERS AS THE PROFESSIONALS THEY ARE
Reduce the length of the work week
Increase mandatory vacation
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Breath easy, they're so far off on a starboard tack and no one's with them - we've got the tiller now, and we're on a broad reach to BRT and lightrail!
There's no such thing as "global warming," our scientists deserve equal time...
...the future competitiveness and standard of living of America depend on our peoples' skills, their capacities to communicate and solve problems, and innovate -- not their ability to borrow money.
It's our human capital that's in short supply. And without adequate public funding, the supply will shrink further. I'm not saying funding is everything, but without it we can't attract talented people into teaching, keep classrooms small and give our kids a well-rounded curriculum, and ensure that every qualified young person can go to college.
So why are we bailing out Wall Street and not our nation's public schools and colleges? Partly because the crisis in financial capital is immediate while our human capital crisis is unfolding gradually. But maybe it's also because we don't have a central banker for America's human capital -- someone who warns us as loudly as Ben Bernanke did a few months ago of dire consequences if we don't come up with the dough.