Random Thursday

Did you notice that I posted three times yesterday? It's almost like I'm a real blogger. It wore me out, though, so don't get used to it.

This Random Thursday post is going to be a little different than most, because I'm going to freestyle it, sort of like Kid Rock on the CMT Awards last night. Which, by the way, I didn't see because Debbie was off partying at the country club and didn't remind me about it, but I have viewed a few clips via the CMT website. I know most of you country music purists think that pairing Kid Rock and Hank Williams, Jr. is blasphemy, but it's stuff like that that keeps the genre commercially viable and allows the more traditional musicians to keep earning a living. That's my story, anyway, and I'm sticking to it. (Whatever happened to Collin Raye, anyway?)

Race Across America (RAAM - Motto: "Where'd that "M" Come From?") started this week (or continues to start...the women started on Tuesday, the men started yesterday, and the team race begins on Saturday). In case you're not familiar with it, RAAM is a bicycle race across...well, you know. People claim that the Tour de France is the world's toughest bike race, but I disagree. RAAM racers ride further than TDF riders, and they do it in days, not weeks. There are no rest days, no drafting, and no team support for the solo riders. Even the teams ride relay-style. The course features a horrifying 100,000 feet of climbing.

A couple of the solo women are riding recumbents. Barbara Butois hopes to be the first French woman to complete the race, and Sandy Earl is an American.

In honor of RAAM, let's check out a couple of cycling-related resources. There's something about the bicycle that makes people want to customize or improve on its style. I think it's the inherent simplicity of the basic form, and the direct connection between rider and vehicle that stirs the imagination. Here are two articles that showcase some beautiful and/or bizarre permutations.

I particularly like the model with the square wheels (in the second article), and also the bicycling monorail concept in the first article. Here's the demo video of the latter:

However, given the weather we've experienced lately, the thought of pedaling inside a plastic box isn't particularly appealing.

You'll notice that a lot of the futuristic designs incorporate spokeless wheels. I believe the more proper term would be "hub-less" wheels, as there are actually solid bicycle wheels, without spokes but with conventional axles, whereas the concept bikes have direct attachment and drive via the wheel rims. I think they could actually incorporate spokes for additional rim strength while still keeping the rim drive. Anyway, here's an article describing in more detail a design developed by engineering students at Yale. It looks overly complicated and heavy, but undeniably cool. I just can't figure out where you'd attach the playing card.

In closing, I guess I really do need to post more often, given the obvious influence I have over, well, society in general. Yesterday, I was a harsh critic of the traffic light synchronization in Midland. Mere hours after posting that, I drove down Big Spring from Loop 250 past Florida Avenue without hitting a single red light. (A couple might have been orangey as I went through the intersections, but, still...) So,
if you have any social injustices or personal pet peeves you want addressed, just send 'em to me via the Gazette and I'll get right on it.

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This page contains a single entry by Eric published on June 10, 2010 9:38 AM.

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