Saturday, April 12, 2014


It's been a long, cold, lonely winter. At least long and cold. But it's starting to really feel like spring. Yesterday, after work, I was able to get in a 20+ mile ride with temps in the mid-70s, and winds that could actually be called breezes. The few warm days we've had lately have been accompanied with gale force winds that sap the fun out of a bike ride, or half of a bike ride. ;)
My training has been so sporadic, and I really need to get it in gear as I look forward to August and the Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour. As usual, there will be climbing. I'm looking forward to revisiting Monarch Pass, 11,345 feet, and Cottonwood Pass, 12,156 feet. But those won't be the literal high points of this tour.

On the final day of CRMBT 2014 we'll have the chance to ride up Pikes Peak! At 14,105 feet it's the 2nd highest paved road in America. The 2010 version of this tour featured a ride up the Mt Evans, which is a little higher, but not as well known to those outside of Colorado.
That was hard! From what I hear Pikes Peak is harder. Some tough grades on top of almost 7,000 feet of elevation gain will challenge all riders. The start of the climb is only 10 miles or so from where we'll stay the night before. So, when I get there I'll have 20 miles to go, and all morning to get there.

I wonder if the donuts at the Summit House are vegan?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014



[hyoo-meyn or, often, yoo-]  

-characterized by tenderness, compassion, and sympathy for people and animals, especially for the suffering or distressed

Many think membership in the species "homo sapiens"  gives us the right to use other species any way we see fit. For entertainment, for testing beauty products, for food. While it may be a thought shared by the majority, I think many of us have not really thought about it at all. It's just the way it is. Does that make it right?

Of all the species that evolved over millions of years, humans have come to see themselves as special. Instead of seeing ourselves as stewards, of our planet and all its inhabitants, our selfish interests lead us to take what we want with no regard for consequences. I lived most of my life without thinking about most of this. Now it's hard not to think about it.
Factory farming has taken the animals out of the barnyard and put them in battery cages, gestation crates, and windowless prisons worse than you can possibly imagine, all for our palates. Agribusiness has ensured that we know as little of what takes place on the farm as possible. Is it because they don't trust us? No, I think they trust that if we saw the truth, we would do the right thing, we would change the way we eat.

We owe it to ourselves and all those with whom we share this earth to know where we get our food. To be fully aware, we should know about the life of a dairy cow, and her male calf. We should know the conditions in which a laying hen spends her life, and what happens to her male offspring. And beyond deplorable conditions is the simple truth that we deprive another of life, for a moment of pleasure. There is another way.

Here's a few suggestions to take the first step:
-Food, Inc

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I love all kinds of music

Well, most kinds of music. There are some genres that I just don't get, but I'm willing to give a good listen to anything that captures my attention. I admire singer/songwriters who can craft a good song. I'm a sucker for a good lyric, melody, rhythm, a good hook. I wrote a post a couple weeks back about hearing a song as background on a TV show, or in a commercial, and doing a little research to find out what it was. That's one way I've been introduced to new music.

Another is Muzak at work. No, not elevator music. A variety of old and new songs that make me envy whoever it is that gets to decide what to put on there. I'll hear a song, make note of some of the lyrics, and when I get home I'll use a site like Lyrster to try to find out the title and artist. With a little work I've discovered artists like Republic Tiger, Alela Diane, The Thrills, and Jupiter One.

Another way I've discovered new music (at least new to me) is Lost & Found Radio. Driving across KS from a bike tour in CO a couple years ago I found a program playing lots of interesting music. Luke Crampton hosts the show and plays hidden gems from artists you've certainly heard of, and some you've probably not. It's music that Luke thinks should have been a bigger hit. I was a faithful Sunday morning listener until Cumulus Radio dropped the show. Now it's back on Live 365 with new shows each Sunday, and podcasts of old shows available anytime.

When I lost Lost & Found, I found another radio show which I enjoyed too. This one's called The Acoustic Storm, and it's just what it sounds like; acoustic versions of some great songs. I don't like all the songs, but the ones I do like, I really like hearing this way.

Lastly, when we were convinced to re-install very basic cable from the folks who supply our internet service because the price would be less than just internet????????, a bonus was the Music Choice channels. If I'm home alone I'll turn on the adult alternative channel, turn the volume down low while I read, and if something catches my attention, write down the name of the artist and song.

If you turn up your speakers you can hear some of the music I like in the box in the sidebar under Road Tunes. If there's something you like that you think I might like, let me know and I'll check it out.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Tomorrow, March 20, is the day to pledge to go vegan, even if it's just for one day. "Meatout" is a campaign of Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM).
There's lots of reasons people choose a vegan diet: health, the environment, and to lessen the suffering of so many animals in factory farms. Can you go without meat for one day? Take the pledge!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Here's a link to some of the items available to take the place of animal products in your favorite foods. I've tried several of them and they're pretty good. Vegan versions of taco filling, ground sausage, and meatballs are all quite good. I've used Ener-G egg replacer and earth balance spreads in baking. Daiya makes some good vegan cheese and Go Veggie parmesan style is great with pasta sauce. Tofutti makes great vegan versions of sour cream, cream cheese, and ice cream treats.
Some of these items I've found at Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Natural Grocers. But many of them are available in the health market sections of your favorite grocery stores. The Hy-Vee stores here in the middle of the country have a great selection. Take a baby step and try a substitute next time you're going to use an animal product. That's how every journey begins.