Archive for January, 2012

Giant City State Park Trails…..We gotta open them!

January 22, 2012


Please sign the petition to open Giant City and Trail of Tears State Parks’ trails to Cycling!

So Ill locals have long known that the best trails down here are off limits to cyclists. Part of the reason is the political domination of horseback riders, but that’s not really all there is to it. Horses are not allowed from October 31 to May 1, which is the prime period when people would want to ride mountain bikes down here in So. Ill. The real reasonĀ  is that the IDNR officials don’t want to generate tourism and park use, because it would mean maybe just a bit more work for them. Of course, that’s largely bogus since mountain bikes don’t hurt the trails (horses do….), and mountain bikers are famous for HELPING the trails.

I got busted enflagrante by the IDNR supervisor at Giant City last week. He told me that we can’t ride, and that he’s opposed to changing the policy. And, since some governor who is now in prison appointed him, I guess he can do that—even though he also could change that policy and help to stimulate tourism to our economically devastated region. But the IDNR good old boys are only interested in tourism related to hunting and fishing. They plant fields, build trails, and turn on the lights for the few weekends a year that a dwindling handful of heavy guys drink beer in the woods and shoot at each other. Then, they close the park. That’s a dying strategy. My analyses of General social Survey data show that the proportion of American households with a hunter in them has declined from 30% in 1977 to 17% in 2010….Hunting is a losing game. Our principle tourist draw down here is the Wine Trail, and Southern Illinois Vinters are getting more numerous, better at production, and more successful. When I mentioned this to IDNR-boy, he said “I don’t care what a bunch of business people want.” Across the border in Missouri it’s easy to see the symbiosis of wine and bikes, and I know several of the owners of So Ill wineries quite well, and they’ve even allowed us to have cross races on their property. They get it. The good old boys don’t give a fuck.

Sign the petition!


This Pegoretti’s Going to Heaven

January 16, 2012

1999 Pegoretti Duende, Best Purchase Ever

It is finally time. After 13 years of abuse, the old Pegoretti Duende is making noises which can only be explained with reference to potentially catastrophic issues. It’s all my fault. Rather than baby the Peg, I’ve ridden it into the ground. From 1999-2003 it was my only bike while I logged 10k miles a year, and after that it remained my first choice for training on the hard roads of So. Ill. It took a rock through the seat-stays which dented both sides in 2002, and I’ve neglected basic frame care. I raced it to a top 10 in the duathlon National Championships, and to a top 5 in Hillsboro Roubaix. The Peg was definitely an all-rounder. I once baffled the group ride when Lance sniffers were crowing about their Trek 5200s and we put them up on the scales…and the Deda SteelĀ  Peg was lighter even with training wheels.

I’ve always marveled at how lucky I was to get this bike in the first place. I was a runner and ultimate frisbee guy when my knees went and my surgeon told me to buy a bike. I got a nice Bianchi Veloce (9-speed) but wanted something a bit more racy after a year. I went to Lynn Greer, who was then at Bike Pedlar (he now owns the venerable Gran Fondo in Nashville, one of the best bike stores in the US), and I told him I wanted a Colnago. I liked the paint jobs. Lynn kind of knew me because his brother was one of my age group rivals in running, and he really did me right. “No, you don’t want that bike. You want this one.” And he pointed up to the Pegoretti handing on the wall. It was lighter than the Colnago, and made from better tubing, TIG welded by a fucking metal God; and this was a real race bike, not a show dog for rich guys. Lynn set me up with the Pegoretti with a Chorus/Record mix, open pro wheels, and a set of Rolf Vector Pros for racing. It was the best purchase I’ve ever made.

After over 70,000 miles and not nearly enough delicate attention, it’s time to retire the Pegoretti. Thankfully, my old buddy Jeff Williams, Punk Rock Superstar, Artist Extraordinaire, is going to help memorialize the Pegoretti on canvas. Jeff is an incredible artist, and his bike paintings are literally things that I dream ab0ut (he dreams about giant floating chocolate icebergs….go figure). I’ll keep it set up for a while and maybe use it on the trainer, but eventually I’ll mount the Peg on the wall next to Jeff’s painting….