Just read this. I've admired LFOAB since the day I started reading his blog, but my respect and admiration for him just got ratcheted up a few notches. Good on ya mate! (I'm not australian, but that phrase just fits).
THIS article that I found through Oil Is For Sissies summed up the fuel efficient car thing pretty well. In fact, it put down in writing the thoughts that had been running round my head when I vetoed buying a hybrid. See, Hybrids aren't cheap. There are cheaper cars whose milage isn't that much lower. Wait, I'll just shut up now, because I'm just going to confuse you; go read the article. You'll see what I mean.
Oh, and you can safely exclude the bicycle or human/electric hybrid from this equation. It's on a whole different level.
If you haven't heard of Dave Nice and his misfortune on the Great Divide Race in 2006, then read Fatty's entry here.
I was incensed when I learned of Dave's misfortune in the 2006 GDR, so much so that I immediately went on the offensive and contacted everyone I knew in Montana and told them to be on the lookout for Dave's bike. It didn't help Dave get back in the race or get his bike back, but I felt like I'd done... something. Then after reading fatty's entry above, I really could do something to help Dave, so I dropped $100 on Fatty's raffle for Dave. I'm stoked that Dave will be able to race the GDR this year: losing one's whole rig like that has got to be bone-crushingly devastating. I know I would be tempted to enter a bad spiral of depression if I were him.
The selfish part of me was stoked to win a prize in the raffle, but I would have put in that money even if there wasn't a chance of winning anything. See, I used to enter every damn raffle that I came across, and I never won a thing. I'd enter to win raffles for things I could give a shit about. I never won. This was for something momentous. The GDR is an amazing race. Forget those asshats on "the amazing race". This is the real deal.
I dropped more than I should have, but I think Dave deserved another chance at the GDR, and I'm honored to help make it happen. The selfish part of me feverently hoped to win something cool and bike related. Fatty emailed me and informed me of my win.. WHEE. Ergon grips. I checked them out on his site (they're a sponser) and have been intrigued.
I found this travelogue tonight while reading a thread about touring/long distance bicycling on bikeforums.. A great great story and laugh-out-loud funny at several parts. If you've ever felt like getting some exercise, but didn't feel like getting off the couch, this is the way to do it for sure. You Burners out there will appreciate the applications of the vehicle design towards the 2007 "Green Man" theme... no polluting generators here!
So I ended up going to the North American Hand Made Bicycle Show after all. I didn't think I was going to be able to go, as the wife was out of town visiting her brother and I had the boy, and as much as I would like to hope that he would do fine at the show, I knew that it wouldn't be much fun for me, and I would have no chance of having any kind of conversations with any of the builders about custom longtails, nor would I get to drool over particularly beautiful lugged bikes, plus if there was anyone in need of custom CNC Woodwork, there was little chance I could peddle OUR services. Some close friends of ours came to the resuce & agreed to hold down the fort with the boy for a few hours so after dropping him off, I pulled a high speed burn down to San Jose (78 miles in 67 minutes... you do the math) to arrive at 2:05pm. It was just barely enough time; I could have spent 2-3 more hours there checking out bikes and talking to builders and staffers, but the show ended at 5:00, and it was enough.
I took some photos, but no doubt if you look around the web, you'll find better photos than mine. Really, mine were all snapshots; nothing was composed particularly well. I'll post them anyways for fun. Like an idiot, there were several builders and people I talked to extensively that I go no pictures of their stuff (Vanilla, Fraser and Old Man Mountain in particular). DOH!
I'm particularly torn between Vanilla & Fraser. They both make BEAUTIFUL longtails and are EXCEPTIONALLY nice people. At this point I can't justify another bicycle, so I'll have to sell a bunch of bikes before I can buy a custom longtail, but if you're ready for one now, I highly highly recommend Vanilla Cycles (Portland, OR), Fraser Cycles (So Cal), Sycip (Santa Rosa, CA) and Inglis Bikes (Napa, CA). Speaking of Inglis: I tried several times to talk to Curtis at the show, but he was always swamped so I never got the chance. He comes highly recommended by another Stokemonkey user Dave who has pictures of his Inglis made Xtrabike HERE. If the show is around here again next year, I'll definitely be going, as it's a blast and the bikes are just so heartbreakingly beautiful. One final note: A Rohloff hubbed mountain bike is being made by the guys @ Old Man Mountain, and if I had my drothers, I'd sell the Heckler and buy one in a heartbeat. Anyone want to buy a 2000 Santa Cruz Heckler (Medium) in Orange with a Polished Swingarm?