Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
The Des Moines Register • July 14, 2008
Job description: I'm a barista, barrister, bicyclist, bug lover and bicycle radio talk show host. I host "The Kim West Radio Cycling Show" Sunday nights on KXNO-AM (1460), the only show of its kind in the nation.
Notable achievements: I was the single parent of a child who still loves me. I ran a nice little hippie coop child-care center in Iowa City in the '70s and managed to get through law school before discovering the joys of bicycle racing. I am one of three co-founders of the Des Moines Bike Collective.
Why I do what I do: Pretty much everything I do, I do to make others feel good, or at least better; I get my warm fuzzies that way.What I do to get away from work: Ride my bikes as far as possible and have as much fun as possible while doing it.
How I give back to the community: I do a little inspirational blogging on at theorphanageandyou.blogspot.com. I have ridden on RAGBRAI since 1974, and this summer I'll take my granddaughter with me. I believe that by getting more people on bikes, the world will be a better place a little bit longer. [NOTE: they edited out my claim that this ragby will be my 50th, the fun haters.]
Words to live by: "Treat your coffee maker well, and ride your bicycle with a friend."
Best business book I've read lately: "The Cat in the Hat," by Dr. Seuss, emulates my business model.
The best place to entertain clients or colleagues: On a bicycle, heading south through Cumming and Winterset and back up via Martensdale on an East Peru Loop. Gives me 100 miles of rolling and steep hills through the most beautiful scenery in central Iowa. Life is better by the time I return.
One thing I would change about the Des Moines area: The attitude of motorists, law enforcement, city planners and engineers, and others toward bicycles and the people who ride them. We're not going away, you know.
What Iowa can do to attract more people like me: Change its hostile attitude toward bicycles and bicyclists. Ask us what we want and need; do not assume that you know.
My mentor: My mother, Michael Fatka, the Youth International Party, Bob Newhart and George Carlin.
My leadership philosophy: Stimulate discussion, and stand back until the dust settles. If you don't know the answer, you haven't ridden long enough.
Monday, July 14, 2008
This news must have made Lee decide to wait for us, because he and Kurt came back soon after. At this point Jared-- our protected rider--was getting a little nervous. I could tell he was strong and could win the race if we timed it right. This is about when Clark decided he needed to get a chase going to have a chance to win. He finally got away, but by himself. It took the pack a few miles to decide who was going to chase, so he got a good gap.
Finally, Bikes to You decided they would help bring him back, so Dave, Kurt, and I worked with Walker and Tater. We caught him with about 30 miles to go. At this point we didn't know what the time gap was, but still couldn't see them. I talked to Walker, and told him we were pretty happy with our odds in the break, and we were done working. Dave, Kurt, and I had done the Lion's share of work, and i, for one, was starting to cramp.
Then Walker goes to the front and drives it for a good seven miles or so. We thought they were working for him, but it turned out they were trying to get Lee the win.
With about 15 miles to go, Lee attacked hard, right before the cross wind section, and Jared and I both jumped. This was our chance to get Jared across to Lane. Jared was very fresh, and took long pulls--but not too hard. I went to the front and pulled as hard as I could, and then let up to get Lee to pull.
Lee's pulls were very slow and short. I could tell that Jared could ride away from him at any time, but we didn't want to do it to soon.
Then we started seeing some riders up the road. We couldn't tell if it was the break, or some other category. The motor bike finally showed up and gave us splits: "1:15 to the break and 1:45 to the pack." At this point, i knew we could get Jared to the break to help Lane. Jared and I kept getting closer, and when we got within maybe 30 seconds, I told Jared to jump.
I knew he could ride across, but you never know about Lee. He is really good at playing dead.
Jared shot across to the break, and Lee couldn't make it. [This is where I checked out so you will have to get the rest of the story from Lane or Jared.]
LANE ANDERSON continues: When Jared got to us, I made sure he felt good, and then I attacked our group with about 1 mile before the tailwind finish section. This was my plan for 65 miles, even without teammates, because I had done so little work, but having Jared there guaranteed the win.
I got a good gap, and Bart let me know Jared had dropped Lou and was coming up alone. Jared got to me with about 1.5 miles to go and it was celebration time. Thanks, guys. That race was an excellent illustration why cycling is such a great team sport.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
you guessed it: it IS a huffy
notice the actually quite up-to-date brake levers, paired with stem shifters and foam grips. i'm a little baffled at the positioning of the handlebars, yet was pleasantly surprised to find NO redundant aero clip-ons added. the foam handgrips could serve as the arm pads of today.
sticker shock: $20.00 [too steep for my tastes, though]
what an at-times painful year it's been. curiously, much of last night was spent in a stunned-like daze. just a coincidence, i'm sure. but i had to go through the archives to verify my hunch: my body and mind just wanted to take the night off to reflect. it means it's been twelve months since the rabid raccoon incident, and six months since my last bone-crushing event.
i'm trying for a solid year.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Monday, July 07, 2008
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Saturday, July 05, 2008
Friday, July 04, 2008
[answers are given at the bottom of this post. for the love of god, DON'T CHEAT!]
Each year approximately 800 bicyclists are killed, and 600,000 are injured in motor vehicle-related crashes. A bicycle is not a toy: it’s a vehicle. Use the following quiz to test your knowledge of bicycle safety. Click on the following each question to see the answer.
Q1. Are there any times when you don't need to wear a bike helmet?
Q2. Name at least three safe bike riding practices.
Q3. Riding your bike in the dark is dangerous, but if you have to ride at night, what can you do to make yourself more visible to drivers? Name at least three safe bike riding practices.
Q4. What kind of things should you check before beginning to ride?
Q5. Where do most bicycle crashes occur?
Q6. When riding your bike, it is important to stay alert at all times. Name three road hazards you should watch out for.
Q7. Is it OK to ride a bicycle while listening to audio headphones?
Q8. What is the most serious type of injury for cyclists?
Q9. Always be a courteous cyclist. Remember, _________ have the right of way.
Q10. Be safe, Be _________ !
Q11. Always go with the flow of traffic, and stay to the ____________ .
Q12. Before entering a roadway, you should look ______ for traffic.
Q13. Always check _________ you before changing lanes.
Q14. Your bicycle helmet should fit __________ and cover your ___________.
Q15. When making a turn, ___________ your moves to others.
Answers to the above questions
Q1. No, you should wear a helmet every time you get on a bike.
Q2. 1. Ride single file. 2. Obey traffic signs, signals, and lane markings. 3. Signal your moves to others. 4. Check for traffic at an intersection; 5. Stay alert at all times.
Q3. Wear clothing that reflects the light; make sure your bike has a front headlight that is bright and white; and equip your bike with reflectors on the front and rear, and on the pedals and wheels.
Q4. 1. Inflate your tires properly and check your brakes before riding. 2. Always wear neon, fluorescent or other bright colors when riding during the day. 3. carry your books and other presentations in a bicycle carrier or backpack.
Q5. At intersections.
Q6. Potholes, wet leaves, storm grates, cracks, gravel, etc.
Q8. Head injuries.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
The Beer Czar’s evil black bus, with the thugs and the entire raccoon army on board, had
disappeared down the road, shrieking, howling, and tearing each other to pieces. The Des Moines Register’s
computer auditing system was no longer showing that Jack owed the paper any money.
The spare tire was installed and the Short Bus was ready to roll into Missouri Valley for the start of Ragbrai.Bowlingball’s truck made a wide circle in the parking lot and pulled alongside the Short Bus. Roger leaned out of the passenger side window shouting, “I know the back roads into Missouri Valley. We’ll avoid the traffic jam at the interstate exit. Follow us.”
They took a right turn out of the abandoned gas station parking lot and drove east under a narrow bridge beneath one set of railroad tracks before crossing another set. At the T-intersection, Kelby followed Bowlingball and swung the bus to the left. Jack looked out the window just in time to see a sign indicating that they were now on the old Lincoln Highway. Jack’s thoughts turned to
Sister Kim, who had told Jack many stories of how he had helped to build the Lincoln Highway as the nation’s first transcontinental route. Jack remembered how Sister Kim had told of the Lincoln Highway being built from the west coast and the east coast simultaneously, and how the two ends had finally met in the small town of Nevada, Iowa, and how Sister Kim had been chosen to paint
the ceremonial golden center stripe down the road at that spot.
Jack knew that it was a bunch of crap, but he didn’t care. Sister Kim had been like a father to him.
The Lincoln Highway followed the train tracks and the profile of the land the way old roads do, alongside
the Loess hills making graceful arcs just to their right. Then the old road turned, cutting north and crossing the Boyer River toward Missouri Valley. The town’s
water tower was in sight straight ahead, but Bowlingball’s truck turned to the right and Kelby’s Short Bus followed, keeping to the back roads until they finally emerged once again on the Lincoln Highway at the far side of town. They continued past a Pizza Hut and then slowed and pulled into the driveway of Roger’s boyhood home.
Jack climbed off of the Short Bus and out onto the driveway
with everyone else. Some other riders who had already arrived were sitting on
the big porch. Among them were Brendan and Mongo, who quickly introduced Jack toJimmy, Matt, Kristin, and Sherry as well asBeth, Amy, Kim and Chris. And then Jack finally noticed
Sister Kim, sitting with a quiet smile and a hot cup of good coffee.There were hugs and cheers and congratulations all around, and
Jack rapidly became the center of attention and had to explain to everyone all about his adventures since his escape from the orphanage almost a year ago.
When the story was finally wrapped up and everyone else began unpacking and setting up camp, Sister Kim motioned for Jack to have a seat. He introduced Jack to
Rick, and Lisa. “They have a surprise for you, Jack,” said Sister Kim as he pointed around the side of the house. Jack hopped off of the porch and looked around the corner.
There, leaning against the side of the house, was Jack’s old racing bike that he had lost in Iowa City. Sister Kim explained that G-Pickle had found the bike in the shrubs along the river the next morning and knew it belonged to Jack. He passed it on to Rick, who fixed it up again. “We brought it in our baggage truck from Cedar Rapids today,” said Cozad.
Jack thanked them over and over again and wouldn’t be satisfied until he had taken it for a little test ride. It was good to be back on his own bike again.When Jack returned from his test ride, almost everyone had already headed downtown for the evening’s festivities. But Sister Kim was still sitting on a lawn chair on the porch, admiring the sunset and the old Lincoln Highway that ran past the house. Jack carefully leaned his bike against the side of the house and sat down next to him.
After a long while, Jack finally spoke up. “I’m sorry aboutthe magic beans. I took them all the way to Kelby’s but he didn’t want them. Then I lost the beans when I made a stupid bet with the Beer Czar just outside of town. I don’t even know if they were magic beans.”
Sister Kim turned to look at Jack with his kind eyes and gentle smile. “The beans served many good purposes along the way, but the beans themselves weren’t magic. Your quick thinking, the friendships you made, and Ragbrai itself provided the magic. Now you are safe and sound and you have a whole week of Ragbrai in front of you to enjoy.”
Jack thought for a moment and then said, “That’s cool, but I was thinking of taking off about halfway through the week and heading back to Iowa City. I want to start a restaurant or something anyway, maybe go to Europe and see Jason. I don’t know.” A soft snoring sound told Jack that Sister Kim’s narcolepsy had put him to sleep in the middle of their conversation, just like the old days at the orphanage. Shrugging his shoulders, Jack quietly stepped down the porch stairs, took his bike from the side of the house, and headed for downtown. He had friends to meet up with and a red beer ticket to use.
to be read and shared...[a serial by little orphan dbax]--THANKS, DADDY!!
to read and enjoy the entire 43 installments [including the prologue and soon-to-be-published "missing link" chapter 18], go to the "magic bean bus blog" where ALL chapters can be found.