Sunday, December 24, 2006


It's morning on Christmas Eve, and for once, my family has not gotten spun into the usual holiday tizzy. Sure, we bought a few gifts, had a couple of nice celebratory meals, but mostly our lives go along as normal.
The weather in Madison has been warm enough that I rode my bicycle to work a couple of times last week. Once, I rode my customary route through the University of Wisconsin Arboretum. A low-lying fog made the ride a little spooky. The wet and the chill discouraged all but a small handful of the runners and cyclists that I regularly see enjoying this wooded island in the midst of the city.
Another time, I skirted Lake Wingra on its west side. This route is a mix of low traffic streets and bike path, but is marred by an uphill three blocks on Monroe Street, one of the main arteries into the UW campus.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Madison is now caught up in the fixed-gear craze, and it is funny to watch from my vantage point [in a downtown bike shop, with 29 years of fixie riding under my belt]. Newbies pride themselves on their skid stops and brakeless riding, and then are shocked by the fact that $20 tires shred at the first long skid, and $40 tires last a month at best. GET A CLUE! Brakeless riding is dangerous, stupid and costly, besides being slower. My own experience is that I can get years of use out of medium priced tires ($35 or so) and ride faster because I have a front brake and use it when I need to stop. Slowing down, of course, is done by slowing down my pedaling, just like the brakeless guys. And for newbies to ignore the experience of people who have been doing this for decades instead of months is just as stupid.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

New blogger

I set up in this blog when I tried to comment on Blind Pig Records' announcement of signing John Nemeth to a record contract.
I first saw John in May of 1998 when I was in Boise, Idaho, on a job interview. My affection for the job I took faded a lot faster than my enthusiasm for John's music. I had left Oakland, California, and a group of friends who played great blues, and was stunned to find a 20-something white guy who could have hung with the Oakland crowd, despite their decades of experience.