Monday, February 17, 2014

African Americans and Cycling

In honor of February being Black History Month we take a look at African Americans and Cycling. 

Most people don't associate black athletes with cycling, however they have a proud history. In 1899 Marshall "Major" Taylor won the world 1 mile track cycling championship. He set numerous world records and was the first African-American athlete in any sport to achieve the level of world champion.

Other sports not generally associated with black athletes are tennis and golf. But there are standouts.
Arthur Ashe- ranked world number one in tennis in 1968 and winner of Wimbledon, the US Open and the Australian Open.

Serena Williams- currently ranked number one in women's singles tennis, has won 32 Major titles and over $50 Million in prize money.
Tiger Woods- among the most successful golfers of all time and one of the highest paid athletes in history.

 Muhammad Ali. 
One of the greatest heavyweights boxers in history-crowned "Sportsman of the Century" by Sports Illustrated.  

Ali got his start in boxing after his bicycle was stolen. He was furious and a cop who overheard him say that he was going to "whup" whoever stole it told him, "You better learn how to box first." He took the advice and won his first bout within weeks. No word on whether he ever got his bicycle back.

#23 Michael Jordan- arguably the best basketball player of all time, also enjoys cycling.

Cycling is fun for everybody. You don't have to be an athlete. Here is a talented young African-American that also enjoyed cycling.

One of the biggest cycling stories of last year was when Oprah got Lance Armstrong to admit to using steroids.

There are a lot of famous black athletes. Many of whom like to cycle. This post is in honor of Black History Month, but to be honest I think Morgan Freeman had it right when he said: "I don't want a Black History Month. Black History is American history."

" I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."-Martin Luther King, Jr.

To realize Martin Luther King's dream we need to stop identifying people by race and judge them and appreciate them for their talents and character. Bicycling is to be enjoyed by everyone.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Boy Scouts and Cycling

February 8th is the birthday of the Boy Scouts of America. Scouts have been in America since 1910 and for all of that time they have been advocating cycling.

I have been riding a bicycle since I was five or six, but it was as a boy scout working on my cycling merit badge that I first went for long rides. To earn the badge a scout must, among other things, take two rides of 10 miles each, two rides of 15 miles each, two rides of 25 miles each and one 50-mile trip which must be completed in under eight hours. This picture was taken shortly after I completed my 50 mile ride.

 In 1911, 57 merit badges were issued by the Boy Scouts of America. Cycling being one of the originals.  Some of the original ones that have since been dropped are: Bee Farming, Blacksmithing, Dairying, First Aid to Animals, Taxidermy and (my personal favorite) Stalking. Haha. Times have changed, but the benefits of cycling remain.

The National Geographic Channel has a cool reality competition.

The BSA has always promoted cycling as a way to get fit and to have fun.

Here are some cool old ads:

At one time the scouts even had official bicycles.

This happened in July 2012:
Boy Scouts Vacationing In Key West Chase Down Suspected Thief On Bikes.
It's not often that a gang of teenage boys is celebrated by a city. But then again, most gangs aren't comprised of 17 Boy Scouts who've sworn to "help other people at all times."
Luckily, for a theft victim in Key West, Fl., just such a troop of Boy Scouts happened to be nearby when a man stole his wallet and iPhone. The suspected thief ran past the teens, followed closely by the victim calling for help.
The Boy Scouts, on vacation from New Jersey, hopped on their rented bicycles and pursued the suspect "I said, 'okay boys, let's go' so we took off after him,”  one of the troop’s scoutmasters reported. “The scouts take an oath... that doesn’t mean sitting on the sidelines and making a cell phone call.”
The troop followed the man from a distance and recovered a wallet they saw him throw into some bushes. The scouts then called the cops and waited until they arrived. CBS Miami reports that 38-year-old Jason Norwood was taken into custody and faces charges of grand theft and larceny.
While the group had recovered the victim's wallet, his phone appeared to be lost. The scouts then fanned out in a search pattern, found the phone, and returned it to the police intact with a fingerprint.

Norwood denied any wrongdoing, but troop leader Tim Spring explained: “The cops came and told the guy, ‘Well you’re going to have a difficult time in court because the judge is going to ask you what you did and then he’s going to ask 17 boy scouts, and who do you think he’s going to believe?”

The Boy Scouts teach you to: Be prepared,
 and to: Do a good turn daily. 

I'd like to suggest one more: 

Be prepared to take a daily bike ride.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

2014- The Year of the Horse

(January 31, 2014- Feb. 18, 2015)

Characteristics of those Born in the Year of the Horse
(1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014).

People born in the year of the horse have ingenious communicating techniques and in their community they always want to be in the limelight. They are clever, kind to others, and like to join in a venture career. Although they sometimes talk too much, they are cheerful, perceptive, talented, earthy but stubborn. They like entertainment and large crowds. They are popular among friends, active at work and refuse to be reconciled to failure, although their endeavor cannot last indefinitely. 

Celebrities Born in the Year of the Horse

Rembrandt, Teddy Roosevelt, Sir Isaac Newton, Barbara Streisand, Cindy Crawford, Denzel Washington, Harrison Ford, Jackie Chan, Jerry Seinfeld, John Travolta, Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Ashton Kutcher, Katie Holmes, Kobe Bryant, and Genghis Khan.  (Pretty good company I think)

General forecast for the year

2013 was the year of the snake. For most it was not a good year. The year of the horse is forecast to be much better. Luck seems to be the main theme from the forecasts I have read. Everyone should get some lucky breaks this year, or at the very least have less bad luck. Haha. Forecasters always cover their bases when making predictions. So you’ll either be lucky or not as unlucky as you might have been.  I’d say approach things this year as if luck is on your side, but also be sure to use your common sense and strive to create your own luck.

Horse or bicycle?

When bicycles were first invented they were seen as an alternative to the horse.  I thought it would be fun and timely to compare the two.  
Bicycle pros are that they are cheaper, easier to maintain, can be kept anywhere (even indoors), don’t get tired (though they can get worn out), don’t have to be fed, don’t poop, smell, or attract flies.
Horse Pros are that they have brains (which may prevent you going where you shouldn’t), they are able to reproduce, they provide manure for your garden and they can reciprocate your love.

Academic argument for bicycling:

 “Pedal power uses the most powerful muscles in the body: the quads, hamstrings, and calves. When pedaling in a circular motion at sixty to eighty revolutions per minute, with the use of toe clips, almost every muscle in the human legs can be used to make energy. Ninety-five percent of the exertion put into pedal power is converted into energy. The average rider at a continuous road speed of twelve miles per hour can produce a quarter horsepower, or enough energy to light two, one hundred-watt light bulbs." -David Gordon Wilson- Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT.
I’ve made my choice.
 I choose to ride a bike.
The bike I choose to ride is a Fixie.