Archive for September, 2008

The Handsome Devil

Who wants a Mustache Ride?

I do, I do.

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Preparing for The Big Show

I’m going to InterBike in a few days.

In all my years in the cycling related industries I’ve never felt the need to attend, but this year i am going to press the flesh, ride a lot of cool bikes at the Outdoor Demo and check out what the cycling industry has to offer for the coming season.

Since signing up I’ve be inundated with invitations to dozens of booths to check out certain vendors.

Some I’m very interested in, others i would go near if you paid me.

But I’m getting the feeling that there is going to be a dramatic shift in the industry next year to create products for the utilitarian cyclist.

I predict Bakfiets sales are going to go through the roof.

or at least garner more interest then ever before.

Also destined to appear in a store near you are bikes you can ride in pressed trousers and still show up to work looking good.

Yeah, what was old, is new again.

Also, pedal assist bikes are going to take off as well.

Once they get REALLY smart and make a cargo version, you’ll even see one of those in my quiver

Believe it!

Expect a full report upon my return, and wish me luck. Las Vegas and I have never vibrated at the same frequency, if you know what I mean.

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Just so you know……(Short and Flat)

My friend Kristy RULES!

One of the best Chequamegon stories EVER!

And believe me, I’ve heard a few good ones before.

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Track Your Cycling Commuting Milage

I was working a booth at the Tour of Minneapolis on Sunday and met a gentleman who provides an online service to track you commuting miles.

Once signing in, you can track your daily mileage, whether you were cycling for work, personal errands, fitness or school.

There are also options for walking, or other non-motorized means of transportation.

I’ve set up a personal account, but haven’t explored a lot of the other links and services provided.

Check it out.

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Hit-and-run bike victim worked at private club for 45 years

On September 11, 2008 around 4:20 a.m. a 64 year old St Louis Park resident with cerebral palsy was struck and killed by a hit and run driver on Excelsior Boulevard less than a block from his place of employment. The male, who will be identified by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office, had been employed by the Minikahda Club in the same position since 1962 and rode his bicycle to work along Excelsior Boulevard almost every day around 4:15 a.m.

The victim, who was wearing a bike helmet, was struck by a tan vehicle and that vehicle most likely sustained right front damage. Investigators are asking that anyone with information about this case call Sgt. Bruce Folkens at 612-673-3410 or Sgt. Chris Karakostas at 612-673-3400.

The PIO contact for this case is Sgt. William Palmer.

Last update: September 11, 2008 – 2:09 PM

The bicyclist who was struck and killed before dawn this morning by a hit-and-run driver on a road near Lake Calhoun was a 45-year employee of the Minikahda Club who was on his way to work, the club’s general manager said.

Jimmy Nisser was just moments away from arriving at the club from his nearby St. Louis Park home, when a vehicle struck him shortly after 4:15 a.m. on eastbound Excelsior Boulevard near W. 32nd Street, said club manager Jim Jennings.

Nisser, 65, would ride to work during the warmer months and otherwise walked in the winter, said Jennings.

His minister, the Rev. Tim Rauk, said Nisser could not get a driver’s license because of his diminished capacity due to being born with cerebral palsy.

Nisser, one of the club’s most senior employees, did food preparation in his entire time at the club and “was one of the family here,” said Jennings. “It’s unbelievable.”

Jennings said that “it’s sick for somebody to just drive away. … Who knows what [the driver] is thinking. Not much character, that’s for sure.”

Nisser always wore a helmet and was a safe bicyclist, said Jennings, who added that he knew of no incidents Nisser ever had making the predawn ride to work.

He lived with his mother in the 3700 block of Kipling Avenue until she died about 12 years ago, Jennings said.

Nisser was a member of Wooddale Lutheran Church in St. Louis Park and started attending the church as a child with his family in about 1950, Rauk said.

Rauk said Nisser was deeply involved in the church, everything from preparing food to filling in as an usher to working the concession stand at Twins games on behalf of the church. “He loved the Twins,” Rauk said.

“I was always the first one here on Sundays, and Jimmy would the second. He’d make the coffee,” he said.

Police confirmed that Nisser was wearing a helmet when he was struck by a tan vehicle, which police suspect has right-front damage.

Having been the victim of a Hit-and-Run, this kind of thing outrages me.  A year or so ago my friend Chris was struck on Hiawatha and left on the side of the road, nearly being struck by other vehicles that followed.

I’m always taken aback by how news reports always make note of whether or not the cyclist/victim was wearing a helmet, as if that is actually going to protect you from bodily harm or death when you are hit by a car. If the cyclist isn’t wearing a helmet they make it sound as though then they were at fault, or that they deserved what they got.

It obviously didn’t help this poor guy.

My condolences to his friends and family.

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Do Not Panic

The two, formerly private home mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now under the control of the Federal Government.

Sounds kind of scary, doesn’t it?

But what does it REALLY mean?

Here’s the official party line for the National Association of Realtors:

What the Government Takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Means to Housing Industry

In short-term, home sales should improve as mortgage rates fall.

Washington, D.C. (September 8, 2008) — The federal government’s takeover of secondary mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should cause a drop in mortgage rates in the short term that benefits home buyers, but the long-term outlook is too early to call. NAR fully supports the action of the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The federal government had no choice. The capital situation of the tow companies was not enough to handle the fallout from rising mortgage defaults in the near future. In addition, investors who purchase Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt have lost confidence in the two.

In a statement, NAR commended the Treasury’s action, announced yesterday, to bring stability and continued liquidity to the mortgage market. “The plan will help restore confidence in the secondary mortgage market,” said NAR President Richard F. Gaylord. “We appreciate the steps taken to calm the market, make mortgages more widely available and protect taxpayers. We look forward to working with the administration and Congress to ensure the continued vibrancy of the secondary mortgage market.”

Summary of what the Treasury actually did and what it means:

In the takeover, Treasury placed the GSEs into a conservatorship — similar to a Chapter 11 bankruptcy — which fully protects taxpayers from conflicts of interest between taxpayers and shareholders or current management.

The federal government is authorized to take up to an 80 percent stake in the companies, will review their financial condition quarterly, and inject money into the operations as needed. That means the market for GSE securities will be treated more like Treasury obligations, which should push mortgage interest rates down. That in turn, is expected to speed up home sales and help stabilize home prices.

The GSEs will be allowed to increase their mortgage funding over the next year and a half to help stabilize markets. Starting in 2010, the plan calls for them to reduce their portfolios.

The heads of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been relieved of their duties. Treasury selected HErbert Allison, former Merrill Lynch vice chairman, to lead Fannie Mae and David Moffett, former U.S. Bancorp CFO, to guide Freddie Mac.

What I take from this is, investors who had previously been running from Fannie May and Freddie Mac, will now have the confidence in those companies that they will not go belly up, and will therefor invest in their mortgage futures.

In the short term, this will lower interest rates. This has already happened as I’ve seen rates drop below 6% for the first time since 2005.

Inventory on available homes is still at record highs, and sellers are motivated and pricing their homes accordingly.

In other words-Do Not Panic

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Powderhorn CycloCross-Canceled

From Joel at The Hub Bike Co-Op:

We got a visit yesterday from Obie Kipper, the Minnehaha District Manager for the Park Board, so that he could personally inform us that the there were no venues in his district that would be appropriate for a cyclocross race. We spent a lot of effort and time trying to convince the Park Board otherwise and have seemingly exhausted our appeals for now. Hopefully the bike racing community can organize around this and try to reverse the decision for future years. As the promoters we feel the location of our race was an integral part of it and so we have decided to cancel our race for this year.

Ye Gods!

I’ve heard tell that they have had a simialr problem getting a permit for the Boom Island race as well, which, if it’s true, would cut the local cyclocross calendar by a third.

I have trouble understanding how the city with the one of the best cycling infrastructures for commuters in the US (second only to Portland in a recent poll) can be so hostile toward supporting cycling sports in their park system.

Where’s the Mayor when you need him?

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