America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

29 September 2008

Requirement of the Boy Scout Merit Badge for Cycling: Average 5 mph for 10 hours

This blog post has been incubating all day, beginning with the moment I lazily flipped open a tattered Boy Scout 'Handbook for Boys' from the 1930s and started to paw through it.. It was something I picked up a few years back, probably part of an auction lot that I won at an Antique Tool Auction. At the time, I didn't think much of it and threw it on the bookshelf. Today I discover that there is a Merit Badge for Cycling, and that the requirements for earning one were set forth 80 years ago, thusly:
How times have changed- check out the current requirements for the 2008 Cycling merit badge:
1. Show that you know first aid for injuries or illnesses that could occur while cycling, including hypothermia, heat reactions, frostbite, dehydration, insect stings, tick bites, snakebite, blisters, and hyperventilation.
2. Clean and adjust a bicycle. Prepare it for inspection using a bicycle safety checklist. Be sure the bicycle meets local laws.
3. Show your bicycle to your counselor for inspection. Point out the adjustments or repairs you have made. Do the following:
a. Show all points that need oiling regularly.
b. Show the points that should be checked regularly to make sure the bicycle is safe to ride.
c. Show how to adjust brakes, seat level and height, and steering tube.
4. Describe how to brake safely with foot brakes and with hand brakes.
5. Show how to repair a flat. Use an old bicycle tire.
6. Take a road test with your counselor and demonstrate the following:
-Proper mount, pedal, and brake including emergency stops.
-On an urban street with light traffic, properly execute a left turn from the center of the street; also demonstrate an alternate left turn technique used during periods of heavy traffic.
-Properly execute a right turn.
-Demonstrate appropriate actions at a right-turn-only lane when you are continuing straight.
-Show proper curbside and road-edge riding. Show how to ride safely along a row of parked cars.
-Cross railroad tracks properly.
7. Describe your state's traffic laws for bicycles. Compare them with motor-vehicle laws. Know the bicycle-safety guidelines.
8. Avoiding main highways, take two rides of 10 miles each, two rides of 15 miles each, and two rides of 25 miles each. You must make a report of the rides taken. List dates, routes traveled, and interesting things seen. The bicycle must have all required safety features. It must be registered as required by your local traffic laws.
9. After fulfilling requirement 8, lay out on a road map a 50-mile trip. Stay away from main highways. Using your map, make this ride in eight hours.


I've never been a boy scout or cub scout or eagle scout, but this book informs me of an institution which I feel completely deprived from. Do people still send their kids to be scouts? Is it safe? and I mean that in the "are the adults in charge trustworthy?" kind of 'safe'? I guess I'll think about it for our 5 year old son Reis.. While you think about the duration of a 50 mile bike ride being cut from ten to eight hours, please enjoy this assortment of high resolution advertisements which I scanned from the back of the 'Boy Scout Handbook for Boys'. I love old advertisements- they're the main reason why I own a 60 year collection of National Geographic magazines which I can't bear to part with. Click to enlarge:

27 September 2008

24 September 2008

Lance Armstrong: 38 and going for number 8 in 2009

(CNN) -- Cycling superstar Lance Armstrong stunned the sports world September 9 when he announced that he would come out of a three-year retirement to attempt to win the Tour de France for a record eighth time.
The 37-year-old Texan said he was returning to raise awareness of cancer, having survived testicular cancer to triumph in cycling's most famous race.
Money quote: "Physically, at 37, I'll be almost 38 when I start the tour next summer. That's slightly different, but ultimately, I believe that the mind powers the body, and once the mind says we want to do it, then the body will follow." Full story on CNN

Well said. Lance and I are almost the same age, and his announcement gives me and my bike racing aspirations a much needed shot in the arm. In fact, there are probably thousands of masters (30+ competitors) who are inspired to train a little longer, suffer a little more, race a few more years because of guys like Lance and Eric Zabel and Joop Zoetmelk and Andre Tchmiel and David Rebellin... More importantly, I hope that Lance gives hope and strength to those who are now fighting the disease to survive. At the end of the day, what can you do besides salute the guy for trying?

22 September 2008

This idea was incubating in my head for the past year or so and I finally did it. If you are thinking that I did it just to make a few bucks, you're mostly wrong. I want smart people who receive these bogus solicitations to [hopefully] Google them and find my site, perhaps averting financial disaster: Check it out and please visit my sponsors. Every nickel will help put our little one through college T-minus 13 years from now.
I hope it rises quickly on the Google ranking totem pole and gets a zillion hits, don't you?

21 September 2008

Stop me..

For the first time ever, I am considering asking my doctor about anti-depressants. I wonder, is there also a pill for curing the self-hate and loathing which I feel because of the thought of wanting to use them? The change of seasons is always hard for me, no matter how perfect my life is..

15 September 2008

Signs from a Turkish Woodworking Shop: Cemal Tokgoz Mobilya

Cemal Tokgoz was the first person I wanted to see on the day after my father was laid to rest. He was the man who my father apprenticed under when he first learned to become a carpenter and a cabinet maker. He was the person who my father always referred to as his best friend and mentor. The day after the funeral, I took off on my bike in search of some relief, or pain, or whatever the hell the road out of Mudanya would lead me to. I ended up at Cemal's cabinet shop. At the sight of him I fell apart completely, grabbed and pressed him against me while my heaving sobs resonated throughout his shop, my tears soaked his shirt and his startled apprentice looked on emphatically, bewildered. Cemal is about 4-1/2 feet tall, and for this reason, he avoids going out into social situations. People point, stare, make jokes. He missed the funeral for this reason, and I forgive him completely. Besides, he saved me from crying like a baby in front of 100+ people, by not showing up. So here I feature some of the signs on his walls, and the plaque bearing pictures of all of his old friends. Cemal is in his 70s.. so many of those who are pictured and long gone, including my father. I left Cemal Bey with an 8x10 picture of me in a bike race, and I added my own wallet sized picture to the plaque before leaving. The Pony clamp pictured above on the table was my father's last telephone request made to me. He had let someone borrow his clamp and it was never returned.. So he asked me to bring him mine, which I was happy to do. I showed it to him but I can't be sure if he really saw it through all the pain. I gave it to Cemal to keep, as it should be.


Timing is everything. Just last week I was tinkering with my 401k allocations. I liquidated one position into my cash account, and left the other 9 alone, though I did change the ratio of future contributions, from being spread among ten funds, to being split evenly across only five. I wish I could have foretold today's melt-down! I would have liquidated everything! .. Hopefully those who manage my 401k funds know what they're doing, and took steps to mitigate the damage.

12 September 2008

Do you see a difference?

The Blogroll has been put on a diet, and all of those who I never read, or who couldn't be bothered to reciprocate a link, or whose content sucks or was otherwise incompatible with my taste, were deleted. Buh-bye! So the logical conclusion is that if your blog is still listed, I check on it regularly, you reciprocate links, and your blog doesn't suck. Enough said! I'd offer more superlatives about the bloggers who survived this mass deletion, but then their heads might explode.

08 September 2008

Blogger sucks balls

By changing my Adsense settings, I managed to F-up my blogger template royally, requiring me to tinker with it for the past two fucking hours. I ended up re-loading a virgin template and copy/pasting my personal enhancements. It's not all there yet, but close. I need a good laugh, do you?:

07 September 2008

Turkey wins World Cup Qualifier match with Armenia 2-0

We attended the Greek Festival in Cranston last night and had some great food and listened to live music while our kids danced and played for hours. A copy of the Festival program book found me at one point and as I was pawing through it I noticed an advertisement by a local deli/grocery which sells foods of the "near east". In the full page ad were the flags of the countries which I presume were the target audience: Lebanon, Syria, Greece, Armenia.. but no Turkish flag. Fine and dandy.. Our meandering in between rain showers today brings us close enough to this store that I can't resist visiting and checking it out. We go inside- not a single Turkish product- just lots of lesser quality knock-offs. We settled on some frozen lahmacun, Bulgarian cheese and Syrian bread. $31. Then I double back to buy my son the ice cream which I promised him and forgot about. It's from Lithuania. Of all the places from which to import ice cream.. Lithuania. Yikes. It was good and all, don't get me wrong.. but where does Lithuania fit into the 'near east' theme when there are about five world class brands of ice cream offered from Turkey?.. What can I say? At the Greek Festival, our party of five adults and two children attracted the attention of the vocalist, a heavy set pear shaped man of about 65, who tirelessly belted out Greek songs for hours on end... From a distance he could see that we all danced and moved a lot differently than all the others [who seem content to simply hold hands and run and skip around in circles]. At the end of his last piece, we all applauded with our hands over our heads and he blew us a kiss. A little later [I'm sure it was] Father Andrew E George [who] came by our table under the tent and thanked us for coming. A good man.. and good times were had by all.. Back to the Armenian grocery.. would we be shoveling shit against the tide if we asked them to bring in some of our favorite Turkish products? They even had fake 'Gazoz', which is just wrong. Did I mention.. Gyro farts are the absolute worst, bar none? Thanks for reading.