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Archive for October, 2008

I for one am sick of politics as usual and have been for quite some
time now.  Democrat or Republican?  Conservative or Liberal?  Why
did Both Obama, and McCain vote for the recent “bailout”?  Republicans
are not idealistically supposed to vote for things like that.
Democrats are not either, but for different reasons.  What a shame.
Ideals, along with dignity have been flushed away.  Corruption is the
norm, and $$$$ runs the show.   I have a problem with this, and the
two-party political system as a whole.  I was going to vote for Obama,
but now I’ve changed my mind.  I am an advocate of bringing a third,
fourth, or even fifth party to the House, Senate, and Executive
Branch, and my vote will show this.

Do we only have two choices?  Both parties are corrupt, and bloated.
We always seem to settle on the person who is better and not the
person we WANT to be president.  I would like to due my duty and
remind everyone that you can vote for who you WANT.  There are many
other parties out there.  Constitution, Libertarian, Green,
Independents, etc.  The list is VERY long.  There is bound to be
someone in there aligned with your ideals.  This is the person our
constitution wants you to vote for.

I like Cynthia McKinney (Green), Ralph Nader, and Bob Barr.  We’ll be
seeing more of McKinney in later elections, but if you don’t know who
she is, think strong, committed to justice, and fierce.  An excellent
candidate for a party that typically has weak candidates.

I also think Ralph Nader is a strong choice.  I align myself with many
of his “talking points”, but I’m not sure if he can cut-the-muster.
I leave that choice up to you.

My favorite is Bob Barr of the Libertarian party.  I’ve been following
this guy and he is smart, well spoken, a reformed man, an idealist,
and he knows what role the government should be playing at home and
overseas.  He’s a stronger candidate than the previous Libertarian
Candidate (Michael Badnarik), and is on the ballot in 48 states
(including Massachusetts).

If your sick of politics as usual and want to bring REAL change to
this country, think about voting for someone you actually WANT to be
sitting in the whitehouse.  When it comes down to it, Obama is a
Democrat.  He’s a great guy, and will make a better president than
McCain, but better is not good enough for me.  I want to vote for who
i actually WANT to be president.

If you think your vote will be wasted, your wrong. Voting for who you
want is less of a waste than settling for the better of two.

Read Larry King’s interview with Michael Moore, and pay attention to
what he says about the bailout. I agree with him on this. Remember
that Obama voted for the bailout.

Listen to what Bob Barr has to say about the bailout, the war in Iraq,
among other things here: http://www.bobbarr2008.com/media-center/

Here are a few:

http://www.votenader.org/
http://www.gp.org/index.php
http://www.constitutionparty.com/
http://www.sp-usa.org/
http://www.populistamerica.com/ (watch this if you think you like
Campaign finance reform!!!  gotta love John Stossel!)

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Let me introduce you to my new bike.  I’ll add it to my slowly building collection.  For some reason I can’t get enough of these old, quality bicycles.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with it, but I have a few options.

Some of this is a repeat from my posting on Bike Forums.  I have been keeping an eye on craigslist and ebay for a frame swap for my Merida Road bike.  Its a tad big, so I’m keeping my eyes peeled for a smaller no hassle swap.  A 90’s Specialized Allez would be perfect, so if you got one, let me know!  I came across an ad on CL that said “Bike for Sale – $100”.  I click the link, and it says “Mid 70’s Bottechia, Campagnolo Components”.  I call the guy and he happens to live down the street and the bike happens to be my size.  I go to check it out.  I get there and it is NOT a Bottechia, but I don’t say anything because the headbadge says Super Mondia and I immediately see the chrome ornate lugs, the campy drops, campy Nuevo Record rear derailleur, and campy everything else.  I see the seat stay caps wrapped around the seat cluster.  I knew I had something nice here, so I bought it.

After a little research (still on going) I find that it is a Swiss made bike called the “Super Monida”.  Its either a 1972 or a 1973 model and is made from Reynolds 531 butted steel throughout.  They are a well regarded touring style bike of the time.  Chrome Nervex lugs, and maybe some more chrome under the paint.  Maybe she’ll be a restoration project.  I’m not sure whats going to happen to her yet, but whatever it is, I look forward to it.  Here are the photos:

1972-73 Super Mondia

1972-73 Super Mondia

Headbadge

Headbadge

Chrome Nervex Lugs

Chrome Nervex Lugs

Campagnolo Nuevo Record Rear Derailleur

Campagnolo Nuevo Record Rear Derailleur

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I’m fairly new to the world of lets-go-out-for-a-ride style of cycling.  Most of my riding is done in the city for utilitarian purposes, and most of my time spent with bikes is in my little home shop.   Before leaving for the Big Easy I had only been on a handful of rides longer than 20 miles (not including linking 5 or 6 destinations in Boston for over 30+ miles.). I actually started doing this because I wanted to ride more with Syrah and she likes to go out for long rides on her bike.  I ended up buying a 1979 Raleigh Team Record (Love the story behind this one) from a nice man in Beverly, MA.  It had been built up with the best Suntour components of the time and Mavic tubulars laced to Normandy Competion hubs.  So, I had a nice road bike now.  I eventually ended up acquiring a Merida road frame in a trade and building it up with modern components.  (I’m looking to swap out this frame for something smaller.  I’m on the lookout for a steel 57cm, english threaded, clamp on derailleur, 1″ headset frame if you know of any.)

The Boston area and northeast in general has hills scattered all over the place.  The reason you need a bike with gears on those long country rides is so you can work yourself up the hills and then fire yourself down the other side as fast as you can go!  Man, what a thrill!!!  I love bombing down hills as fast as possible!!!  Louisiana is a different story.

I’ve been looking for a job at bike shops as well as tying to volunteer at Plan B so I have been talking to a lot cyclists around here.  In the northeast, and I’m sure other hilly places, the talk of the ride is mostly about distance, and the hills involved.  Speed is sometimes not mentioned at all.  Someone might say “I was hitting 35 down that last hill!” or “oh man, I was crawling up that last hill!” or rarely “I hit 25 in that stretch of flats!”  But for the most part, speed is sort of in the back pocket.

The first couple cyclists I talked to here in New Orleans recommended group rides that Syrah and I should look into.  I heard things like: “…They ride 15’s or sometimes they’ll have a group doing 20.”  or “…They have one group that does 28”  or  “we’ll go out and do 20, maybe 23, or even 27 if we’re up to it”.  So at first I’m thinking to myself that these guys are going on really short rides, or I’m not catching the lingo.  Well, I wasn’t catching the lingo.  This place is FLAT.  Everywhere.  its flat everywhere.  So far we’ve ridden on top of the Mississippi River levee, and the Tammany Trace.  Check it out:

Mississippi Levee Bike Path

Mississippi Levee Bike Path

The path along the Mississippi is part of the Mississippi River Trail project.  It goes all the way between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.  Eventually, it looks like the goal is to have a path from Minnesota all the way down to the gulf!!!

The Tammany Trace is an old rail road bed that runs along the north shore of lake Pontchartrain.  At some point they put a bike path on it.  You can read more about it on the website if you like.  Please support Rails to trails.

Tammany Trace Sign

Tammany Trace Sign

FLAT!!!  Tammany Trace

FLAT!!! Tammany Trace

It didn’t take me long to realize that the locals were talking about speed.  The riding is very consistent.  You can keep a very consistent cadence the entire time you are riding.  There are no up hill battles, and there are no super fast and crazy downhills.  This makes for riding that is a bit boring, however, its a different beast all together.  To maintain a certain speed becomes the goal.  Can you maintain 20mph for 30 miles?  how about 25mph for 20miles?  I’ll have to get a watch to ride with or get one of those cycle computers.  (This reminds me of going from cross country in high school to track.)

We rode about 25 miles along the trace. I rode my fixed gear.  Syrah didn’t change gears.  For the first 6 or so miles I was riding at about 50%, the last 19 I rode at about 70-80% and had a trance like cadence and speed.  Just like the trance feeling one can get when running in circles around a track, but better because it wasn’t a track.

Enjoy the Ride!

Tim

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This post originally appeared on a yet to be named website.  Once we have a name, I’ll come back and put it in.

New Orleans, being the birth place of Jazz, is widely known for its music. The volume of extraordinary musicians this city produces is staggering. Being a recent transpant from Boston, I’m still in somewhat of a culture shock, but I am getting along just fine. My first time seeing Rebirth Brass Band was at Harpers Ferry in Boston, Massachusetts back in the spring of 2007. All I knew of them then was that they were fun to see and layed down a groove you didn’t have a choice but to dance to. The rumors were right! I couldn’t stop moving my feet! They are a brass band consisting of a tuba, bass drum, snare drum, saxophone, two trombones, and three trumpets. They are each talented, and they are as tight as clockwork. These guys have ben playing together for 25 years and made there start in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans. The have a regular gig at the Maple Leaf Bar every Tuesday night and this Tuesday I went.

Who's playing on Tuesday?

Who's playing Tuesday?

The Maple Leaf has three areas inside. Upon entering there is a dimly lit, long, thin bar room that has a beautiful bartender (when I was there anyway), $2 PBR’s, and a comfortable pub atmosphere. A large dance hall room adjacent to the bar that had the stage, benches lining the wall and a small platform just big enough for someone to stand on with paint all over it. I found out what this was when the music started. Behind the dance hall there is another bar room, with a smaller bar, pool table, and garden seating. The garden seating was dark and full of glowing cigarettes and joints (I could smell it….mmmmm). Even though the showtime was 10pm, Rebirth started playing at about 11:30. That gave me plenty of time to throw back a few PBR’s and chit chat with some locals. When the band got on stage, an artist who signs “Frenchy” on his paintings, got on top of the platform with paint all over it. He brought a canvas and paints with him, and readied himself. Earlier I had seen a painting behind the bar of band playing on the Maple Leaf stage, so I suddenly realized what he was up to! Check out his progress at set break:

Set Break Progress

Set Break Progress

Turns out this guy is a local artist with a gallery next store! Rebirth was much different here. They were more comfortable on stage. They were greeting friends all over the place, and were just having a really relaxed time while pumping out tunes that were making everybody move. There was a group of dancers that looked like they dance there every Tuesday. They had routines for the different songs! I tried to get a video but it was too dark. The second set ended just before 2am. I was beat and headed home. I’ve heard that they sometime play right until the sun comes up. I’m not sure if they did this last Tuesday, but if they did, I’m sure people were dancing! This following picture says a lot about the New Orleans Music scene. I want to show it to you so you have an idea of the difference between whatever place your at right now. This is how it is all the time down in the French Quarter.

Busking on Royal Street

Busking on Royal Street

Some Rebirth Videos:

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