Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Very Brady Christmas Rhyme

As sure as I’m almost positive that my name is Kevin,
I bring you our abbreviated news from two thousand eleven.
A crazy tradition that was started in a far distant past,
This is not my first rhyming Christmas letter nor be it my last.
Let’s make this letter crazy and stir things around,
Instead of bottom up, let’s go from top down.
It’s been an interesting year for the Dad of this place,
busy and crazy, but filled with God’s grace.
From biking to work stuff, to church happenings and more,
it seems nary a day could be considered a bore.
Bicycling this year was again good, and before I forget and further digress,
I lost a fundraising wager on the MS150 and donned me a dress.
Okay, it wasn’t a dress but merely a skirt,
But I did receive some catcalls and a couple of flirts.
It’s time to move on to the story of the boss of the house if I may,
Laura is God’s gift to me and our household in every way.
She keeps us all going in every direction known to man,
Making sure that we get where we should be as best that she can.
Busy giving massages all day where many agree she’s the best,
With ten magic fingers with which she’s been blessed.
Austin is fifteen, a sophomore and is nearly as big and tall as his Dad,
which during our remodeling and moving of stuff makes him a quite helpful lad.
He definitely seems to be taking a liking to all things of great geeking,
from computers to gaming systems his interest doth be piquing.
Here’s hoping his love of all these things that cause him interest each day,
bring him a career that can turn that love into pay!
Marissa is thirteen, an eight grader with more interests than time,
her writing talents are awesome (hey she should be doing this rhyme!).
Another hobby is photography with which she has a great eye to set apart,
most things we take for granted around us, to her becomes great art.
You never know from one moment to the next what will excite this girl,
but there is little in life she will not chance to give a whirl.
Eight years old, in third grade, and moving from morn until night,
Carson’s a blur of a child that entertains everyone in sight.
He’s into baseball, biking riding, basketball and more,
there’s always something that awaits out the door.
I’m told the greatest curse is to have a kid who behaves like you did throughout life,
and now I’m reminded “He acts just like you” or so I’m told my wife.
On a sad note, this year we had to put down our dog Buddy of fifteen years,
It was an incredibly hard time, and we shed many tears.
After grieving awhile the void he left was driving us crazy,
so away to the pound the family went, coming home with our Daisy.
Our home is as chaotic as it’s ever been, and there isn’t a day,
that’d I’d change a thing, not in one little way.
You may find our lives may be crazy, but it causes us no pain,
for we are not crazy, you’re just overly sane!
If you’re not smiling by the end of this letter,
take two of these and I hope you feel better!
May God bless and keep you all the year through,
and know that we’re proof that He loves us all too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Testing The Streak

It's hard to believe with the current 70-90 degree weather that this is coming, and I hope they are wrong, but this winter could be a brutal commuting winter. I refuse to let my commuting to work streak go down without a fight, but I may need to think about adding to my winter clothing collection.


Respect the Blinky

As many of you already know, my bike IS my transportation 95% of the time. This means often riding at night. That's pretty much all the setup you need for this post.

After the USD/SDSU Volleyball game (shameful plug - USD wins 3-1 !!), I was on my way home, riding safely with my reflectors off my Timbuk 2 Messenger Bag -- aka "the man purse" or murse if you will -- and my front and rear blinky lights. It was a beautiful night and I was just enjoying the ride.

I admit I was cruising right along, but wasn't focused too heavily on anything when a car turned in front of me from a stop sign. It was no major thing, they had plenty of space and I was never in danger so I didn't think about it. Within a half block, I see them tap the brakes once, then again, and then pull over to the side of the road. As already stated, I wasn't too focused so I didn't think too much of it until I passed them and then they started to pull out behind me again. It was then the I realized that the car must have mistaken my blinky light for the police. It was the only explanation that I could come up with. Due to my lack of overall focus I don't know if they may have not completely stopped at the stop sign and thought they were busted or what, but I enjoyed a good laugh about it.

They didn't pass me for the two blocks until I turned towards my house and then drove merrily on their way. After posting a shorter version of this on Facebook, somebody stated that a "Respect the Blinky" t shirt campaign is in order. It could happen. Lord knows we need more people to use them in Vermillion. With the beauty of having many people on bicycles in this town, comes the issue of no lights with those riding at night. A campaign may just have to happen. All you designer types mock something up and send it to me.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Old Guys Win Intramural Bike Race

As temperatures dipped into the 50's only the hearty (crazy?) showed up for the USD Intramural Bike Race. The race consisted of, well, Team Barking Dog Cycling Club! Craig D., Randy R., and I had a personal bike race that took some of the fun out of an actual race, but hey, we get Intramural Champion T-Shirts for our effort! I edged Randy R. by a little over :20 seconds, but it wasn't exactly a glory victory as I sucked his wheel for a good eight miles before trying to give him a little draft. He fell back and I just kept going and he never caught back up. In Time Trial mode, I probably wouldn't have won.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Best 10K Time Trial Yet

I took the Bacchetta Ti Aero to a new low on the 10K Time Trial route. Official Time (according to the timer) was 14:46. I don't think I went sub 15 on the diamond frame even. I love this bike! Now to learn the fine art of turning around at the midway point, get clipped back in and up to speed faster.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Captialization IS Important

In the world of hi-tech gadgetry, I've noticed that more and more people who send text messages and emails have forgotten the Art of Capitalization (using Capital letters properly); for those of you who fall into this category, please take note of the following statement:

Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse, and helping your uncle jack off a horse.

Is everybody clear on that??

LATE EDIT: My friend Snakebite also reminds me of the extreme importance of punctuation:

Proper punctuation can save lives, too: It's time to eat, Grandpa! It's time to eat Grandpa!



Thursday, August 11, 2011

MS 150 - Riding for MS - Not Ourselves

This last weekend I had a great time on my 14th Multiple Sclerosis 150 Bike Tour. On a fundraising ploy, I made the challenge that if I raised $2500, I would dye my hair orange and if I raised $3000, I would dye my hair and wear a skirt on the ride. Care to guess how that turned out?





As of this posting, I have in the neighborhood of $3400 raised. I'm quite happy to do silly things to raise a little money for the MS Society. For those of you who gave me the wonderful whistles and the one marriage proposal, sorry, I'm taken.

It seemed that the banquet is where things went wrong for some. You see, the MS Society did a couple different things after the ride this time. Upon completion, you received (a very useful) head/sweat band from the MS Society. It was a trade off for patches for riding the century loop on the ride. Seriously, you would have thought that you was physically taking money away from people from some reactions.

The uproar from not getting a "patch" for the century ride -- of which I have a stack of -- somewhere -- actually caused at least one person to tell one of the MS ladies that he wouldn't return next year. *pause for effect* Yep. That's right. Somebody actually said they wouldn't come back because of the century patch. Seriously. Oh yes, it was an adult, just in case you were wondering.

I do admit, there were some 'traditional' things at the banquet that didn't happen this year that I missed: Recognition of top teams, top fundraisers (although they were on the video), rookie riders, and riders who have participated in multiple years. Missed, but nothing that would cause me major panic.

Maybe I'm 90% optimistic and only 10% pessimistic, but something really has to set me off to get THAT excited over anything. We need to remember why we are there. It isn't about us. It's about the MS Society. We are raising money for the MS Society. It isn't about a self gratification. We should be thankful for all they do for us on this ride. The support, the cheering, all the things that happen behind the scenes: It's simply incredible!

My rant is coming to a close but this has been eating at me all week so it had to come out. If the person who actually told the MS Society they wasn't going to ride over a patch is reading this -- and I hope they are -- sit back, relax, and think about it. Why are you riding this ride? For yourself or for the MS Society? Is a patch worth upsetting the wonderful ladies of the MS Society? What do you do with the patches anyway? I will gladly give you my stack of patches that are somewhere in my garage. Also, if you are reading this, I hope you are person enough to send an apology to the MS Society and plan on riding next year. It isn't about the patch, it's about people living with MS.

Get Bent

Yep. For those of you who are friends on Facebook you already knew this, but now the rest of you must know. I have this:



...and it's fast! My back really thanks me for this purchase.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Bike Commuter Moment

You know you're a bike commuter when you go to get into a car and you still tie your pant leg back so it doesn't get caught in the chain.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ignite SD Speech

Kevin Brady at Ignite Yankton from Ignite SD on Vimeo.



This was my first attempt at an Ignite speech in Yankton, SD on May 31, 2011. In retrospect I should have actually practiced and not made my topic so broad, instead of just winging it. You know what? That just wouldn't be me. I may have to give this another shot someday.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Tour de Kota '11 - Sioux Falls to Brookings


Tour de Kota 2011 started with an unusual late start for me as I didn't hit the road until after 0730. I rolled out alone and after skirting traffic and other bicyclists leaving Sioux Falls I stepped it up a notch as I knew it was going to get pretty warm and I wasn't too excited about spending my day out in the hot sun. I was sporting my USD Coyote jersey to make sure everybody I rolled by, got to be passed by pure awesomeness. I moved on through Brandon as I was just getting my legs warmed up. Garretson was about 25 miles in and by then the hunger pains started taking over so I wandered downtown to find the American Legion serving Biscuits and Gravy, Eggs, Ham, Toast and drink for $5. It’s hard for me to say no to two things: Military based fundraisers and biscuits and gravy.

I had a usual occurrence at the Legion though. I washed my face and in doing so, set my rather old head wrap down. Realizing I had forgotten it, I went back in less than five minutes later and it was gone. This gross, sweaty, old, ratty, head wrap was gone. Somebody was either a) a klepto, b)¬ in desperate need of a head wrap or c) a little of both.

About half way between Garretson and Dell Rapids, I slowly caught a couple gentlemen that I had met from San Antonio and New Orleans. Shortly thereafter they hooked on with me and we pounded a stretch north in the 22.5 mph range and then in the 25-27 range heading west towards Dell Rapids. One fell off and his buddy dropped back to him. Alone again.

I stopped in Dell Rapids and caught up with some friends, including my friend Valerie who I hadn’t been on a ride with since our BRAN (Bike Ride Across Nebraska) days. After a bit of chit chat, I left to move on again. On my way out I rolled into the heard of FAB riders that made me feel like Norm from cheers. Many shouts of “Kevin”, “Brady”, “k-BiLLy” made me feel the love.

On the way to Colman I ran across a few of the local riders proudly sporting their USD jersey as we moved into SDSU territory. Upon stopping in Colman I caught up with the Wynia family and Derek asked if he could ride the last 26 miles with me. I instantly warned him of what happened the last time a young Wynia decided to ride with me for the first time. I was a little more accommodating to young Derek as I backed off a few times to when I caught glimpses that he might be suffering a little.

Derek and I rolled into Brookings with both bagging any ideas of riding the century loop. I pulled off and met Laura and Derek went on to SDSU. After Laura had a couple hours of working her massage magic on a few friends, we headed back to her sister Dulci’s house for the evening.

Stats of the day:

Different College Jerseys that I spotted: University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University, Augustana, University of Sioux Falls, University of Northern Iowa, Montana State University, Kansas State, Nebraska.

Funniest add on to a jersey: Seen strapped to the back of a jersey: “I’m old so don’t hit me. Push me!”

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A New Joy and an Old Rant Revisited

Oh Barnes and Noble Color Nook, how I love thee. You have made reading enjoyable for me once again. You see, I've always loved to read. However, I have a visual tracking issue that makes reading print that is close in proximity difficult. I can still do it, but I often have to reread things as words try to change positions or I track to the wrong line. It makes reading for enjoyment, well, not enjoyable.

Enter: the Nook. I can change line spacing, text size, brightness of the screen and life is once again good. Since the Nook has entered our household, I have enjoyed reading a great deal once again. I know there are many people who still need to "hold the book in their hand", but in my case the Nook was something I wish I had checked into long ago.

One great thing about the color Nook is the ability to read magazines that are published in electronic format. I decided to see what was available out there and much to my surprise, I couldn't find any bicycling publications available.

Back in November of 2007 I had a bit of a rant against Bicycling Magazine that you can read about HERE. Here we are, over three years later, and it's still hard to find a bicycling magazine in electronic format.

Many of us in the bicycling world tout ourselves as living a pretty "green" life, but still our industry is failing to offer an electronic option with most of its magazines. Even the magazines that have print only options tout our green ways. I find this disconcerting and a little more than hypocritical. I know it's a small thing, but for some reason it really doesn't sit well with me. How about you? Want to change our little corner of the world? Let your favorite bicycling magazines know that you would like to see them offer a digital option.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

CARtoons


An Obvious Question That I've Never Been Asked

Out of all the questions that you get asked by people, sometimes it's the most obvious that can throw you for a loop. In my case, it was for an upcoming article in a local newspaper mainly discussing my commuting to work by bike streak. The question:

How long do you plan to continue this biking lifestyle?

I know you must be asking yourself how such a simple question could throw me for a loop? Well, I've just never thought about it I guess. Three years ago I made a lifestyle change to commute by bike every day. Two years ago I solidified it by selling our second vehicle. Commuting by bike is such a part of me that I can't foresee the need to go back anymore. Sure things can change, and they probably will. When/Why will the commuting streak end? Your guess is as good as mine, but know that I'm VERY stubborn when I put my mind to something.

So my official answer to the interview question? Here you go: "Amazingly, this is a question that I have never been asked and never thought about. Unless something unforeseen happens, I’ll do it as long as I possibly can. That’s the beauty of bicycling, it truly can be a lifetime activity."

For those of you who could commute by bike easily but make up excuses not to, please try it. You'll feel better and be a better person because of it. Soon you may be like me and it will be tougher for you to think about using a vehicle than hopping on your bike, especially for short trips.

Have two vehicle payments and your budget is tight? I've got a solution!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Attention Cyclists With Any USD Affiliation (Past/Present)

June 10th, the last day of Tour de Kota, there is a plan in motion to ride from Vermillion to Sioux Falls en mass wearing this one of a kind, special order jersey. There will be no ability to order these EVER again so you will own part of history.

Requirements you ask?
1. Sign up for Tour de Kota (all week or just the one day)
2. Get me your t-shirt and jersey size via email (bikingbrady AT gmail DOT com). Do this soon as we will be ordering within the next week or two.
3. Ride on June 10th (at least).

Let's have a sea of Coyote jerseys fill the rural landscape!

LATE EDIT FROM USD EMAIL: Team USD members will also have the opportunity to purchase, at a reduced cost, a one of a kind, limited edition USD bike jersey commemorating the event. If you are interested in riding as part of the USD team, please go to http://link.usd.edu/3563 by February 25th to sign up and order your jersey.
****For this you will need a USD Email account. If you don't have a USD email account but would like to ride with USD pride, email me.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Obligatory 1000th Consecutive Day of Commuting Post

Why Did I Get Started on the Streak?
Simple answer: I’m not sure. More likely answer: I wanted to encourage others to try it. I already had a pretty good following on my blog and decided to try my hand at making them commuters.


Worst Weather/Coldest Day:
The two are actually mutually exclusive. The coldest air temp was -28F. The coldest wind chill was -58. Neither was the worst day of commuting. Unexpected cold rain sucks the absolute worst. Getting caught without rain gear and soaked wet, cold clothing. That friends, is the worst.


Number of times I’ve crashed while commuting during the streak
In the 5-7 range, usually on ice: Three times hard that come to mind. A couple times where I crashed “gracefully” and the bike took off on the ice for a good distance longer. One crash on the “post winter gravel” last year was actually one of the hardest on my body. The concrete was the only thing to hit and I went down hard and fast.


Things I’ve been asked/told:

1. Did you get a DUI or something? Um, no.
2. Did you ride today? Usually a question asked on the nastiest of days, testing to see how psychotic I truly am, or secretly trying to be the first one to ask me on the day that the streak ends.
3. How was your ride in today? Also usually asked on the nastiest of days, but by people who have long since accepted the fact that I undoubtedly rode by bike to work.
4. I’ve been asked numerous questions about the best gear for commuting. This is always encouraging as it means people are actually considering commuting by bike.


Random Thoughts

The streak would be 49 days longer, but right as I was getting ready to leave on March 2, 2007, a good friend of mine called and offered to pick me up because she was worried that the conditions were too nasty out. They’ve been worse on numerous occasions since.

There are two types of commuting I have counted during this streak: My normal commute to work (.92-1 mile depending on the route) and my “second” job with the production team with the Daktronics Scoreboard at the Dakota Dome (1.6 miles one way). I have commuted to Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls (a 66 mile commute) to work Daktronics equipment for track meets. I’ve never counted them directly, but I usually commuted to work for a couple hours on those days also.

I have had to push my bike part of the two blocks to Main Street on three occasions (that I can remember) due to snow that was just too deep. Once on Main Street, I hit emergency routes.

Because of my use of the bicycle to do everyday tasks around town, I made a decision to sell my car. When I brought it up to my wife, she didn’t even flinch. Within a month it was sold. We’ve been a one vehicle family since March 8, 2008. I can honestly say there has only been a couple of times since that having a second car would have been handy.

Use of my Burley Trailer, aka “The Grocery Getter”, has been part of a number of conversations. I’ve often posted about the contents of my Rubbermaid container that I use on my trailer. Yet again erasing excuses for people who say the bicycle isn’t practical.


This isn't the most exciting post I've ever written, but to me the 1000th day is just another day. Is it cool?? Sure. I remember when I was excited about my 300th day. Now they just seem to be another day in a great way of life.

I will allow you this opportunity to ask questions you have about commuting or the streak. I'll do my best to answer.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

As I Continue to Grow Up

I never want to totally grow up. I love my ability to act 12 years old from time to time....Okay, often. However, I will never do things that will potentially make bicycling more dangerous or give cyclists the perception of being completely arrogant. We have enough issues on the road without furthering a stereotype of arrogance. Where am I going with all this? I'll try to make sense of it now.

Understand that I've been sitting on this blog post for over a year now. Partially because I was upset over a website and wanted time to think about my response (really? you needed over a YEAR?) and partially because I didn't really want to draw attention to said website that caused my angst.

Cyclists are an expressive bunch. I completely get that. From my single speed friends who proudly announce their pride with a "One F**king Speed" sticker on their chainstay to those of us who have at least one very loud, and often many, obnoxious jerseys. I want none of you to ever lose that expression. You can even disagree with what I'm about to say (and many of you will) and I'll still consider you a friend. Really.

Get to the damn point already! Damn, yes, that's a good place to start. There is a website that promotes some jerseys that I have a personal beef with. Sharethedamnroad.com started with a jersey that, as you may have guessed, is emblazoned with SHARE THE DAMN ROAD on it. Since then they have come out with the equally subtle DON'T RUN ME OVER, I'M A TAXPAYER (share the road), and others.

DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A VIOLENT PERSON AND DO NOT CONDONE HARMING ANY LIVING PERSON FOR ANY REASON.

For just a minute, let's pretend I don't bike (Hey, I said pretend). Furthermore, let's pretend that I HATE cyclists with a burning passion. I'm out driving in the country in my SUV all by myself since it would be absolutely incredulous to have more than one person in this size of a vehicle. Suddenly, there they are, those hated cyclists in a pack spanning the whole road. What's that? They are wearing jersey's saying "Share the Damn Road" and "Don't Run Me Over" and others. I think I need to show them who really owns the road and go by as close as I can and maybe throw something at them. BINGO! Drilled one with my pop bottle! That'll teach 'em!

Okay, that was over the top, especially from me. Do you see my point though? Even for those who support us on the road but don't bicycle, don't you think that such messages might cause damage to our hope of their ongoing support?

While I do understand that is NOT the message intended to be portrayed on this website, I think they are failing. There are blogs who readily link to the site and their jerseys. There are also blogs, who like I, think a few of the jerseys do a great disservice to cyclists. I've had my say on the subject. I now jump back off my soap box and return to normal living.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Car Free America Day

Today is Car Free America Day. I did my usual short commute, but I definitely didn't bundle up quite enough. I needed a couple more layers as all I had on were jeans and tennis shoes from the waist down. My Helly Hansen Parka sufficed but I had a few frozen whiskers that were exposed from my balaclava. It's hard for me to proclaim this, but today was beyond chilly. Today my friends, it officially hit COLD.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Really - It's NOT Me!

A friend of mine sent me a picture of my brother-from-another-mother in Milwaukee. See Mom, I'm not the only one. Long live the year round bike commuter!!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Dear Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,

You can't defeat me, you can only hope to contain me.

Sincerely,

Biking Brady

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

USD Wellness Center - First Impression

I just had a sneak peak into the USD Wellness Center and all I have to say is: AWESOME! I'm very impressed with the setup and the way things look. Things are being unpacked at the speed of light. It's going to take awhile to get the "new car smell" out of the building, but it's nothing too toxic.

The two basketball courts are much larger than I expected and the multipurpose court definitely should be cool as well (volleyball, tennis, other sports). Two raquetball courts, two fitness rooms (Yoga and other fitness classes), climbing wall, walking track, and LOTS of exercise equipment. It was a whirlwind walk through, but I'm very impressed that Vermillion will have something of this quality.

Oh yeah, I forgot one thing. Although this probably will not be the final set up of the room, I'm sure you might have an idea what room this is:

Wednesday, January 05, 2011