Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Golden Age of Bicycles

I just returned from from three days in Chicago where I attended the "Park Tool Tech Summit" which is an in depth hands on seminar for Bicycle Mechanics. Before I go any further I would like to thank and congratulate Park Tool for putting on a first class event.
I attended seven different workshops that were put on by the Reps of each manufacturer. Mine were, Park Tool, SRAM, Shimano, Barnett Bicycle institute, Mavic, Fox and Rock Shox. They all did excellent presentations and I learned many things. What really struck me as we were working on the different systems, whether it was hydraulic Brakes, wheels, front and rear suspensions, was how precise the engineering and manufacturing of the parts was. It is amazing to me how much precise technology is packed in to a modern bicycle at what is really a low price for a fun and reliable transportation machine. Which is where the title of this post comes from. Right now really is a golden age for the bicycle. There are so many choices in styles, materials, components and price points out there that there is truly something for everyone. Now really is the time to go out and invest a decent amount of money in a good bike that fits you properly and that you like. You will ride so much more and have a more enjoyable experience if you stretch just a little and buy something nice. You will also get a precise and reliable mode of transportation that will take you where you want to go no matter how high fuel prices go and will do it for years to come. Do your self a favor and go in to a local bike shop now in the off season and ask questions, do your research and take some test rides. Then when you find that perfect bicycle buy it and take it home. You won't be sorry!

Monday, January 11, 2010


I got a notice the other day by e-mail that some of my outstanding Kiva micro loan balances had been repaid and that I had some credit to use. So I went to my Kiva account and found another person to make a loan to. It took a total of about five min and it was done. So far since I started doing micro loans through the Kiva organization I have made a total of eight loans. The loans have gone to people in Vietnam, Nicaragua and Africa.Four have been repaid in full, one is 91% repaid, two are 66% repaid and the last is a new loan. After the first loan I did I started up with a kind of theme. I loaned to women who were supporting family's in country's that have been in the receiving end of the US Govt and/or the Military.
So if you would like to help people without a big investment check out Kiva and give it a try. It is a great organization.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


The notice came in the mail this weekend and a phone call yesterday reminding me that the Red Cross was having another blood drive this week. It was today actually and I did what I normally do, rode my bike up to the community center, rolled up my sleeve and donated a pint. Not a big deal but it is an important thing to do.
They checked my donation record and I am two pints shy of five gallons, which I thought was a lot until I got to talking to the old guy next to me when we were done and drinking coffee. He was awarded his ten gallon pin today and he told me he started giving when he retired 21 years ago. That is A LOT of blood!
I have seen what a pint of blood can do for a person who is in need first hand and it is an amazing thing. So if you can, the next time the Red Cross is in town give them a pint and help somebody in need. And with any luck sometime this summer I will write about this subject again and I will be able to tell you that I got to the five gallon mark. ;-)