Thursday, April 27, 2006

Amaze Your Friends!

Most of my friends over the past few years probably wouldn't be all that surprised about what I'm about to write, but those who have known me since childhood would probably fall over and clutch their chest: I'm going to Lay Speaker training for our church. Yes, that's right, I'm going to be in charge of giving a sermon from time to time.

On June 23-24th I'll be going to training sponsored by The Dakotas Conference Board of Laity. It's a big step in my faith journey, but I've been thinking about this for some time, and it's time to stop thinking and start doing.

I'm sure most people are not surprised by this move, but there may be a few "old" friends who may need the paddles to restart their heart!

Book Review: The Gutter: Where Life is Meant To Be Lived

People have callings for all sorts of things.  Imagine having a calling to go "into the gutter" that is Porn?  Although the book is about much more than porn, these two pastors definitely are taking a chance going to porn shows, driving the "porn mobile" around town, and taking a very fresh approach at ministry.  Pat Robertson wouldn't put them on the 700 Club (they ended up on when Pat was off for the night) so that right there endears them to me.

Overall a good book and worthy read.  If you want a preview, go to - #1 Christian Porn Site!

Book Review: Under the Overpass

This book was one of the best spiritual reads that I've had in quite some time.  Those who go to church regularly, myself included, often hear the sermon about taking care of all God's people and putting our faith in action.  Now imagine hearing that sermon and doing something about it.  I mean REALLY doing something about it. 

The author of this book and another young man went homeless in five different cities for five months.  Living as they live, eating as they eat, and sleeping as they sleep.  It is a great read and a great website to check in on once in awhile (  I could go on and on about this book but don't want to spoil it.  Just go get it.  You won't regret adding it to your library.

They All Sound Like Excuses To Me!

The Volante didn't print a paper last week due to Easter break.  This gave them extra time to receive at least five known Letters to the Editor about their abhorrent article about cyclists.  Of course, they printed none.  Some of our members are pushing further to see why none were printed and the answer was "they ran out of space".  Well, that may be since we tried our best to push them over their USD email quota.  I personally think they were hoping that things would blow over.  Little did they know that they have now incited the cycling community even further although I'm beginning to question if they really care.  Eric definitely has the best arguement when he says that this was not written as an editorial, but as part of the Verve section of the paper.  It will be interesting to see how it plays out and I'm sure I'll blog more about it later.  I need to catch up on some other blogging as well, but this has consumed my life as of late.

As I was looking up things for my Letter to the Editor, I ran across the quote below that seems to say many of my own thoughts about this article.  It is now my tagline on my email :-)

"It should be the judgment of each cyclist as to which road to use or not use.  If appropriate and useful alternatives are available, then cyclists will use them.  However, these attempts to restrict cyclists without providing a free choice are simply attempts to deny our right to free travel based on the bigoted notion that people who drive automobiles have superior rights.  Our society needs to get past prejudice, recognize the healthy lifestyle that cycling offers, and make the improvements to our roads and highways that are necessary." -  Ken Kifer (

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

One More Response to the Editor - Eric Mosterd

Thanks to Eric for allowing me to post this!

Over the past few years of reading the Volante, I have grown accustom to the more salacious—Mr. Fischer's writings spring to mind—and even downright fallacious publications in the editorial section, but I realize that at least on some level, this is a means to an end: to get the students to debate and take action. At least from this perspective, I commend these people, even though I do not necessarily agree with them.

What concerns me is when opinion spills out to other sections of the paper—opinions that must have been condoned by the editors in order to appear outside the editorial section—then I grow concerned. When such opinions encourage violence against others, then I grow outraged and such is the case with Kerry Hacecky's "Reasons We Have Sidewalks" article in the Verve section of the April 12th edition of the Volante.

The Volante editors have, on occasion, published some bad things in the past, but they should be ashamed of this article. Ms. Hacecky's article was misinformed, under-researched, uneducated, and even worse, incites intolerance of, and even outright violence toward, a group of people. Would an article have been published that proposed such acts against a religious group or ethnicity? I think not.

As the secretary and ride coordinator of the local cycling club as well as and an avid cyclist, who puts in around 2,000 miles per season, I have to deal with too many drivers like Ms. Hacecky, who think they own the road and that nothing should stand in their way in getting from point A to point B. I have had both insults and objects hurled at me as well as other cyclists, have been run off the road on occasion, have watched aggressive drivers run oncoming traffic off the road while trying to pass a pace line, and have even been grazed by traffic not moving over to pass me. Encouraging such dangerous and even deadly behavior as this article does simply cannot be tolerated.

Let me address Ms. Hacecky's points one by one, as she obviously did not take the time to research her arguments. First, when she tells cyclists to use the sidewalks, she did not bother to check the fact that in many cities—Vermillion included—it is illegal for cyclists to ride on sidewalks. Perhaps the next time she is downtown she should take a moment to notice the big signs stating this above her beloved sidewalk. And just in case she is interested, the reason for such a law is that, according to the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission, it is nearly three times more dangerous to ride on the sidewalk than it is to ride on the road. Sorry if that is just a "grand old excuse," but I am sure every pedestrian, or "two-footed fool" as she so kindly referred to them, appreciates it.

In terms of taxes, it should be no surprise that cyclists pay taxes too, so we have just as much right to use the roads, as do drivers. Furthermore, even though the bicycle is not a motorized vehicle, it is a vehicle as defined in SDCL 32-14-1 and in the eyes of the South Dakota Highway Patrol, it is a vehicle just like a car so all the rules of the road pertain to bicycles as well; ergo, they must be treated like any other vehicle, motorized or not.

Grouping her next few statements together, like "following too closely," her admittance to not understanding official hand signals—something she would have learned in driver's education—and her implied talking on the cell phone while driving, according to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center & the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the majority of automobile-bicycle collisions are caused by drivers and most of these accidents are caused by not obeying the rules of the road (e.g. following too closely and hitting the cyclist from behind), being distracted (e.g. talking on the cell phone), occupying the same lane as a cyclist instead of waiting until it is safe to pass, or the driver not understanding signals given to them by the cyclist at intersections.

As for the cyclist in her story, just like there are bad drivers, there are bad cyclists as well. I cannot condone such actions as the cyclist in the article was purported to have done; however, this does not warrant such action as to "follow them and run them over," nor does it justify an outright attack on cyclists. Even the ones too slow for Ms. Hacecky's taste.

What strikes me are the many similarities this article has with an incident a few years ago in Ohio when a DJ at Cleveland radio station WMJI stated many of the same inciting remarks on air—encouraging people to run cyclists off the road, run them over, take out a whole pace line, etc.—after being stuck in traffic behind a cyclist. In that case the station fired the producer, disciplined the DJs and donated to local cycling organizations. In that vein, I believe such action should be taken against Ms. Hacecky. Furthermore, both she and the editors of Volante should publicly apologize to all cyclists for publishing such an abhorrent article.


Eric Mosterd
Coordinator of eLearning &
Manager of TechFellows Program, Center for Teaching & Learning
Instructor, Music History, Department of Music

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Volante Letter from Brian Forney

I admit it, I'm a little nicer than most people. When I sent my email in the previous post, it was tamed down from my real feelings. However, Brian's letter to Kerry Hacecky below is priceless. It is used by his permission. Thanks Brian!

I honestly can not believe that you wrote "Reasons why we have sidewalks" in April 12ths issue of The Volante. I wish my life was going so well that all I had to complain about was cyclists on the road, which is where they are supposed to be by law. It is pretty obvious that you haven't taken drivers education, because if you did maybe you would have known that it is against the law for a cyclist to ride on the sidewalk. Bicycles are deemed a vehicle and have just as much right to be on the road as you do in your "Monte Carlo". Sidewalks are not "paved for my own safety" they are for pedestrians, and cyclists are not pedestrians. As much as you may not like that fact that the way it is. Your whole article was based on something that is illegal. People ride on the sidewalks all the time, I will admit that I am one of them, I often cut across campus on the sidewalk, but try that in a city. I have been given a ticket for riding on the sidewalk before. You complain about cyclists on the road and that we should be on the sidewalk, but you are wrong and maybe you should have bothered to find that out before you wrote an article in the paper that made you look like a stupid ignorant hick.

As for your hatred of cyclists I am not really sure where it comes from. How often and for how long are you stuck behind a cyclist on Clark street? I bet that most of the time it may take five to ten extra seconds at the most for you to pass the "fellow on the bike" in front of you. Maybe you should just plan on not driving your lazy ass to school so late and in such a hurry. Those stupid hand signals that you made fun of are real and maybe if you would have gotten with the program and been educated about how to drive that "Monte Carlo" of yours you would have found out what they mean, and how cars use them as well, when they don't have working blinkers.

It seemed pretty callous to say that you want to give cyclists a love tap on the road and that is what helmets are for. To the question: "Am I cruel?" YES! I have personally have been hit by cars when riding and have been pretty messed up. All because you were lazy, had to drive to school, and were annoyed that you were late. I can't tell you how many times I have been out for a ride and will have a car speed past me hardly getting over at all. I was clipped by a car several years ago just like that. I was out on a long ride and one of you stupid people that shouldn't even be allowed to drive didn't move over on the empty county road at all and clipped my handlebars at 55-60 miles an hour throwing me and my bike into the ditch and knocking me out cold. The asshole didn't even stop. I was found by a farmer over an hour later and he rushed me to the hospital. Do I deserve that, just because I'm a cyclist riding on the road? I don't think so, but according to you that is what helmets are for? Right? Stupid bitch. I have just as much right to the road as anyone else and I am going to be there. I don't care if you think I am making you a little late for class or that you have to exert that little bit of extra effort to shift your hands and arms to the left to pass me. I don't think cyclists are the problem on the road, I think it is stupid people like you behind the wheel that are the problem. Maybe we should write an article complaining about you.

I admit that several times cyclists will do things that may make you upset, like rolling through a stop sign, but I am willing to bet that you have done the same thing in your car. If a cyclist does not stop at a stop sign he can get a ticket for it just like you can if you ran it in your car. Other than that though, you have not given any reason why cyclists should get off the road, except that you do not understand them. Which is your own fault, because those stupid hand signals that confuse you so much are common knowledge to everyone else. Maybe you should hang up your keys and walk to school. I promise I won't run you over.

I hope that in the future you will take the time to actually think about what you want to write and possibly do a little bit of research about it before you go off making an ass out of yourself, your paper, and your department. I used to hold the Mass Communication majors in a decent light, but if this is what is coming out of that department, then maybe I have re-evaluate how well they are preparing you for the real world.

Brian Forney
One cyclist that isn't getting off the road for you

My Letter to the Editor of the Volante

The USD Student Newspaper recently released an article from a student saying the bicycles should stay on the sidewalk. Needless to say, she picked the wrong group to go after. Here is the article (Reasons why we have sidewalks) followed by my reponse below.

Dear Volante Editor and Ms. Hacecky:

As the President of the local bicycle club in Vermillion, I have a few comments on my own behalf, not those of the club, to Ms. Hacecky’s article “Reasons why we have sidewalks.” However, don’t be surprised if you have enough “filler” for your newspaper for quite some time as cyclists are a very passionate group that believes strongly in a simple credo: “Same Roads, Same Rights, Same Rules.”

I will say one positive thing about Ms. Hacecky’s article: Bicycles should NOT blow through stop signs. That being said, we have all done it, cars and bicycles. Every chance I get to pay attention to cars at stop signs, with nobody coming, rarely will a car come to complete stop. This is the point where we no longer see eye to eye however. Your comment about following the biker through the stop sign and running them over is absolutely juvenile. YOU can write whatever you want in the paper, however YOU also have a responsibility to your potential readers. Had you made a disclaimer that this article was for “entertainment only” I wouldn’t even be writing this, but you seemed fairly serious in your comments.

Maybe you should have taken Drivers Education. Then you would know what proper hand signals are all about. Here is a quick recap for you: Left turn--left arm straight out pointing left. Right turn--left arm pointed straight up or right arm straight out pointing right. Stop or slowing--left arm pointed straight down.

Now that you have had your opinions about bicycles on the road, let’s talk about how cars treat bicycles. There have been at least two bike/car accidents in Vermillion recently that disprove your “bicycles are safer on the sidewalk” theory. IF (big IF intentional) cars were to stop before the white line at a stop sign (yes, this is part of Drivers Ed) both accidents would not have occurred as bikes coming off the sidewalk ran into the car.

How about your precious cell phone that you HAVE to have glued to your ear while driving? Just a couple of months ago at the intersection of Dakota and Cherry I was heading north at a decent clip of speed. A clueless and quite oblivious young lady turned East on Cherry right in front of me and I had no choice but to lay my bike on its side or else she would have hit me. Then she realized to her “surprise” what almost happened and when I raised my arms in a “why” motion her mood turned sour and she chose to point a “happy finger” at me. My bad, obviously this was my fault.

Drivers who speed to the corner ahead of me and turn right as I’m trying to go straight annoy me more than any other. If I have to slow down because you HAD to pass me and turn, then you are wrong, plain and simple.

Do I wear my helmet? Absolutely! With people like you making threats of running me over I would encourage all other cyclists to do the same. That helmet just might save my life and keep you from a charge of vehicular homicide.

I’ll leave you with a quote that you should print out and paste everywhere as it might help you make better future decisions in journalism. Abraham Lincoln was once quoted as saying "It is better to remain quiet and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt". By the way, we really are the “funnest” bunch of people you will ever meet.

Kevin Brady
Vermillion, SD

Friday, April 07, 2006

On the Road Again and Gutcheck Update

You wouldn't know it by the 45 degree, overcast, windy, rainy day we are currently having, but it's OFFICIALLY biking season! Wednesday night, Cindy L., Craig D., and I trekked to Elk Point and back for our first "LaneHogs" group ride of the season. It was a typical South Dakota wind of 15-20 mph, but it just felt wonderful to be out on the road again! Biking Season is upon us once again!!

Update on the Gut Check Ride. I did a little Excel Spreadsheet action and came up with the following chart for completion of the ride:

Breaking it down like this definitely makes it a more "doable" ride, but that is a lot of saddle time in 48 hours time!