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dtbrookes
I just discovered there is a sector of the bicycle commuting world who hate/despise hybrid bicycles. Their argument goes something like: "If you're riding a hybrid, why don't you just use a racing bicycle? You're basically taking a racing bicycle and slowing it down by putting straight handlebars on it." Well idiots, the reason to put straight handlebars on the bicycle is because when you're commuting on a racing bicycle (which is something I actually do) you NEVER EVER ride on the drops. Why? Because a) you're looking straight at the ground, and b) it takes too long to move your hand from the drop to the brake. When I ride my racing bicycle, I spend all the time on the hoods - for both reasons a) and b). So the drops are completely useless, which is why we replace the racing bars with straight handlebars. Jeez. Get a life.

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Turns out, the majority of people who are walking away from their mortgages are the rich, not the middle class. Well duh. That's why they're rich. They're clever enough to NOT listen to some asshole on TV telling them that they should never ruin their credit score. What a load of shit. Why are people so stupid as to keep paying money when their house is worth less than their mortgage??? ARG!!!

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I'm trying to work through the pros and cons of using a rear-view mirror on a bicycle. Just some random thoughts, bear with me.

Why do cars have rear view mirrors and side mirrors? To change lanes, for reversing, anything else? But, a good driver should always turn and check their blind spot anyway. So there's always a head turn involved irrespective, when changing lanes.

On a bicycle we don't have a reverse gear and we almost never change lanes.

A bicycle requires a different pattern of attention as compared to a car. You need to look forward more because that's where the accidents happen. Only 8% of car-bicycle accidents happen from the dreaded "strike from behind."

I've tried a handlebar mounted mirror, I hated it. There was too much vibration from the road and so the image was unreliable. I found myself having to look around anyway to make sure that there weren't two identical cars stacked on top of each other behind me.

Maybe helmet-mounted mirrors are better?

My gut reaction to rear view mirrors on the bicycle is that they're being used for something other than navigating traffic, they're being used as a placebo for the cyclist's fear of the dreaded strike from behind.

I don't believe that a mirror is going to save you from that dreaded event. I wonder if anybody has done a controlled study of bicycle commuters who do and don't use a rear view mirror. I'm willing to bet there will be no statistically significant difference in strike from behind accidents between the two groups.

The other day, I passed a cyclist who had a helmet mounted rear view mirror. He was weaving in and out of the gaps between the parked cars in a most dangerous manner, trying to keep to the right as far as possible. I can't see how his mirror was going to keep him safe. The simple act of repeatedly entering and exiting the traffic flow must surely place one in more danger than simply placing oneself in the middle of the lane and cycling steadily down it.

I'm trying to be fair to the mirror side of the argument. I don't buy this bullshit from the anti-mirror crowd that "oh, I know I guy who lost his eye because he got shards of glass from his mirror into eye when he crashed." I'm trying to see any point for having a rear view mirror on a bike and I just can't justify it. I think at best it can't do any harm, but I suspect it may give people some false sense of security which is probably not a good thing, but probably doesn't do much harm either. I half wonder though if a cyclist spends too much time looking in the mirror, they may be missing the more important stuff happening in front of them? Again, somebody needs to do a proper study on that. I'm just speculating.

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Note to self, I've just discovered "Panarchy" theory. There is an article about ithere. I haven't read the article in full and this may all be a load of hooey, but it looks interesting. Unfortunately the rush of selling our house and looking for another in Miami is consuming all of my time and attention, so I don't have time to pay attention to the article or the concept. However, when things quieten down, I want to go back and read about this.

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The guy who wrote that Kansas City Star article on Michelle Obama's potential squirrel problem has a vegetable gardening blog with his wife here. Definitely a couple of folks after my own heart. The first article that pops up on the pages is a serious rebuttal of the Topsy Turvy planter, a device I have long been skeptical of myself. I think I'll be visiting there a lot.

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This is my third year of trying to grow vegetables in the company of the pesky squirrels. I never has this problem in Durban, South Africa. There, our problem there was monkeys, but squirrels are an even more persistent menace of the temperate climates. Well, if you've done battle with the squirrels like I have: watched them eat tomatoes covered in chili pepper spray, chomp straight through chicken wire, this article will probably make you cry with laughter. It certainly touched a nerve with me.

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Just finished a good article published here.

People are wondering what to do about the low energy future. Somebody says put up a clothes line. But this is some sort of stupid home owners association community, so they won't allow it. Then somebody else says "So we won’t call it a clothesline, we’ll call it a solar dryer." I like that.

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Finished watching "An Unreasonable Man." Note to self, don't forget this amazing line: Ralph Nader's father talking to Ralph: "So what did you learn at school today? Did you learn how to believe or did you learn how to think?" What a perfect question! How many can honestly answer the latter rather than the former? Not many I think. I was lucky. I had one math teacher in grades 9 and 10 where I could say "I learned how to think," but that's it, apart from my history teacher, maybe.

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Here I am, bitching about no tax breaks for commuter cyclists and lo and behold, I run into this article. Jung called it synchronicity, but I say "ask, and the universe shall provide."

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Two of my bicycles. The ciocc (pronounced "choach," rhyming with "coach") was for racing, when I used to race, the bianchi is a hybrid cross bike for commuting.

When the weather is decent, I ride to and from work every day, need I say more?

I do have to rant a little at this point, but don't want to offend any Prius drivers, nudge, wink. So it's great that drivers of hybrid cars get a tax break. People should be encouraged to save energy. However, how is it possibly fair that a driver of a hybrid car gets a tax break and I don't get anything for riding my bicycle? I feel like I should be protesting on the mall in Washington DC.

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