Archive for the ‘Going off topic’ Category

Real Writing with Real Paper and Real Ink

January 18, 2014 7 comments

So the new year is here and my resolution to write 52 letters this year is off to a great start.  I sent off three so far, one to Hendrik in Finland (Hiking in Finland), one to my sister in Virginia and one to my boss thanking him for my bonus.  But now I need your help.  The United States Postal Service is insisting I put an address on each envelope, as if a stamp were not enough.

If you’d like to receive a hand written letter the way it was done ‘back in the day’, please send me your address via .  It would be helpful to put something like ‘send me a letter’ in the title.  You’d not believe the amount of email The Velo Hobo gets; mostly trying to sell me Viagra and hair plugs (who have they been talking to?).

Thanks, Jack


Categories: Going off topic

Why I don’t like people on Facebook.

January 14, 2014 2 comments

Just a quick note to all 36 of my Facebook friends who like me a lot but who I don’t like back.  It’s not that I don’t like you, it’s just that I don’t know how to like you.  I guess I’m saying that I just don’t know what it takes to like you.  God knows I’ve tried to like you, I just can’t.  It’s not you, it’s me.  I just find it impossible to like anyone but myself.

I think I must have opened a business Facebook account, or maybe I’ve set some setting where it shouldn’t have been set, or maybe I broke Facebook. 

Anyway, I’d like you if I could…it just ain’t happening.

The Velo Hobo

Categories: Going off topic

2012 in review ~

December 31, 2012 2 comments

Okay, you guys must really like polk salad.  Follow the link below to find out how many people wasted time reading this blog…mostly to learn about polk salad?

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 69,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Social Media

September 1, 2012 10 comments

As The Velo Hobo has just turned three, spoiled brat that she is, I’ve decided to connect her to, what tech savvy people call, “Social Media”.  What does this mean to you, my loyal demented reader, and to the public at large?  Not much; only that there are now two additional ways to stalk The Velo Hobo.

A handful of you are already Velo Hobo Twitter-heads, and I appreciate each and every one of you.  For those who’d like to join the fun, hit one of the Twitter links in the side bar.

The Velo Hobo now has a Facebook page and at the time of this writing, not one single friend.  Before this blog hurls itself off a cliff, would someone please like it?

So why all this for a bike-blog with no real redeeming value?  To feed my writing addiction and to cleanup the blog a bit.  I’ll use Twitter to point to things, news items, other bloggers posts, and to post an occasional Twitpic.  The Velo Hobo Facebook page (again, see the side-bar) will be for you dear reader, to splatter the wall with whatever nonsensical bicycle blathering you feel moved to post.  Feel free to promote your own blog, go off topic, rant, whatever.  Just please, keep it civil and PG-13.  I embarrass easily.

Here’s the Link: The Velo Hobo on Facebook

Thanks for your support in these troubling times, Jack

Categories: Going off topic

Tracking Goals with Myfitnesspal

August 22, 2012 3 comments

Myfitnesspal is a personal fitness journal which aggregates calorie, nutrition and exercise data available both online and as a phone app.  Once you’ve entered your personal information (height, weight, gender and such) and set your goals, Myfitnesspal tracks your progress.  You can also run reports of daily and weekly nutrition intake.  Available at a glance is a pie chart showing the ratio of carbohydrates, fat and protein.  Myfitnesspal takes the guess work out of eating a well-balanced diet.

Sharing your database with a friend (the pal part of Myfitnesspal) adds accountability and encouragement to achieving goals.  You can also grab data from your friend’s database.  So if you’ve both eaten a Big Mac, only one of you needs to enter the nutritional info; adding that information is a breeze using the search feature, or if you’re using your phone, with the bar code reader feature.  I’m spending about ten minutes a day entering food and exercise information.  Not a big deal and the pay-off is an accurate accounting of my nutrition and exercise.  After ten days of tracking my diet, I see I’m not getting enough Iron and that I’m achieving my goals of lowering sodium intake and losing a few pounds.

Join the Myfitnesspal community through personal blogs and message boards.

It’s free and available at:  Myfitnesspal.

This was a non-solicited review.  I just like it, Jack

Categories: Gear, Going off topic

Racial Profiling for Fun and Profit

August 21, 2012 8 comments

Attending the Blue Ridge Breakaway gave me the opportunity to take a quick gander at a large sample of the population of cyclists in our area.  I was shocked and amazed to see that most of us are still white.  We were mostly white at the Tour de Franklin, Tour de Cashiers and way back in the days of the Tour de Tuck, we were white then too.  We were mostly white at the Savanna Century and even in the culturally diverse Big Apple’s 5 Boro Bike Tour, we were overwhelmingly white.  I’ve been involved in a few gear intensive adventure sports throughout my life; from SCUBA diving to skydiving.  And there too, we were mostly white people.

So I have to ask, why are we so white?  Is it culture or socioeconomics?  Or am I wrong?  Is it just a matter of geography and I have a ‘southern view’ of cycling? (Although, like I said, we seemed pretty white at the NY 5-Boro too).  My wife, (full discloser here: She’s not white) has noticed this as well.

Why does it matter?

I would like our sport to be more racially and culturally diverse for purely selfish reasons.  We enrich our lives when we share it with a more diverse group.  We expand our minds when we challenge our unhealthy thinking styles of ‘Labeling, Generalizing and All-or-Nothing’ thinking.  As in “those people do that all the time” or “those people never do this”.

Any thoughts? Has anyone else noticed this?  Is this a problem?  How could we make the sport more welcoming to encourage a more diverse group to take up cycling?

Categories: Going off topic

Talking Ducks Should Always Wear Pants

Don’t be alarmed, but sometimes I wake up in strange places.  Last night I dreamt of talking mice and ducks and this morning I woke up in Orlando, Florida.  Please don’t ask how I came to be here, but in the chaos that was my yesterday at least I had the presence of mind to grab my bicycle.  Whoever put me to bed last night must have pried it loose from my fingers because it’s leaning against the wall near my bed; just leaning there as calmly as if this kind of thing happens to it all the time.  “Don’t look at me in that tone of voice!” I spit at it.  No reply.  A good indication that this is all real.  I close my eyes tightly and count backwards from ten.  Open my eyes and I’m still in Orlando.  Yep, this all must be real.  At least real enough to attempt a bike ride in.

So this is what I can say for certain.  I’m in Orlando and I have my bike. So I’ll be doing some exploring.  No, I won’t be visiting Disney World.  To be honest, I don’t think they will let me back in after the last time and I’m sure they won’t let me in with my bike.


E-Reader versus Tree Reader

June 29, 2012 14 comments

Romantics like me are still clinging to the dead tree variety of books and I suppose we will till those crafty inventors invent an e-reader with turnable paper pages you can dog ear and scribble in the margins.  Should we feel guilty because we have big carbon feet?  The definitive answer is, as always, maybe yes and maybe no.  I’m a big fan of used books.  These trees have already been slaughtered in the name of literature.  There ain’t no bringing them back now; they’re gone.  With a used book you never know what surprise waits the next turn of the page.  Suspicious crusty brown thing stuck to the page or a ten dollar bill used as a book marker, you just never know.  There are billions of them available for pennies and if bought in a thrift store, often the proceeds go to support some cause.

In my home office, book shelves sag with real honest to goodness paper books.  Probably enough to run them through a tree reconstitution device and make a smallish pine tree.  Ironically enough, some of them include Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Al Gore’s Earth in the Balance and a collection of Thoreau, Muir and Emerson (I wonder where they would fall in the ‘E versus Tree’ debate?).  Also in my office is a bin filled with old electronic devices, chargers, power cords and such.  Sadly there’s nowhere in my tiny mountain town to recycle this stuff, so to avoid the landfill they live in the bin, discarded and no longer loved, till I die and they become someone else’s problem.

I hesitate to buy an e-reader because I’m concerned it will end up in that bin someday.  And I think of the energy used to create the device and the energy it would take to recycle it.  I also wonder how clean the manufacturing process is for electronic gizmos.  There’s also the concern that Skynet will someday send a terminator back through time to snuff me out, so one less piece of electronics is a way to thumb my nose at the machine revolution.

But I do admit that on occasion I’m torn.  E-readers look so convenient and if you can download magazines and newspapers, would save tons of paper.  But like my vinyl records (yep, I’ve still got those too) there is just an unexplained charm and comfort to holding a real book.

Just blathering, Jack

Categories: Going off topic

I wish I were there: Bicycle Descending Tips by Pete Penseyres

Actually, I wish I were anywhere but my bed right now.  Although I’ve attended two physical therapy sessions since my ‘procedure’ I still don’t feel as if I’m on the road to recovery yet.  But I know cycling is going to be a big motivator to keep me on the right track.  Enjoy the video.  I’ll post soon, Jack

Categories: Going off topic

Remember the Removal: Cherokee Riders Retrace the Trail of Tears

Follow along as a team of seven members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee join Cherokee riders from Oklahoma to retrace the Trail of Tears.  This year’s riders are Jeremy Hyatt, Tatsi Nelson, Skye Littledave, Judy Castorena, Carmen Johnson, Chi Sawyer and Jeremy Wilson.  Over the next three weeks these intrepid travelers will ride close to a thousand miles to commemorate the forced removal of the Cherokee from their homeland via a deadly winter march in 1838 and 1839.  This was a dark time in American history that we should never forget.

Check out the Cherokee Riders here.

Be sure to visit Hugh Lambert’s blog as well.  I’m sure he’ll be posting the most current news of the rider’s progress.

Categories: Going off topic

The Most Generous Gift

Donating organs and tissue is without a doubt the most generous gift one person can give another.  Almost always the gift is given after the passing of the donor. My life has been touched by an anonymous and extremely generous person.

To the person who is now a part of me: Thank you very much!  I promise to do the same.

Categories: Going off topic

The Saga of Wounded Knee

May 27, 2012 13 comments

My summer touring plans have been dashed against the rocks of despair (In high school I was voted most likely to grow up to be a drama queen).  My wounded knee has finally given completely out, snapped like a dry twig.  Thursday I visited the hospital to try to convince them that I had every intention to pay for my needed surgery.  The first stop was to the financial department where a tiny bookish lady carefully scrutinized me for financial worthiness.  She paused when she noticed my tattoos and asked if I had a religious preference.  I told her I would like the kosher operation if it were not too much trouble. She didn’t even crack a smile as she glowered at me over her half-moon reading glasses.

Next it was across the hall to the surgical nurse to make sure all my communicable diseases were of the common variety.  Once again I’m asked if I had a religious preference. I must have had a befuddled look on my face because she offered an explanation. She tells me it’s so the hospital can provide religious or cultural support during “the procedure”.  I tell her “No worries as I have no religion or culture that I’m aware of”.

And then it’s down the hall and up to the second floor, all on a busted knee, for an EKG and blood test. Now the hospital knows I’m an impoverished agnostic non-contagious social worker with both a heart and blood.  They decided to fix my knee.

The surgery is scheduled for Thursday.  Since touring is out for the next many months, I’ll post on rehabilitating my knee, hopefully by cycling, and anything else bike related that catches my attention.  If this sounds a bit too dull for you, check back in a few months.  I should be back to close to normal.  Okay, close to my normal.  Your normal may vary.


Categories: Going off topic

Bicycle Traveler Magazine ~ 3rd issue

May 16, 2012 2 comments

The Third Issue of Bicycle Traveler Magazine is available online and can be downloaded as a PDF.  I really enjoy these beautiful and well written e-magazines.  The photography is stunning and the articles are inspiring!

Check it out here, it’s free: Bicycle Traveler Magazine

and be sure to sign up for email updates.

Categories: Going off topic

Chocolate Milk as a Post Ride Recovery Drink?

May 15, 2012 5 comments

First let me begin by stating for the record that I totally reject the bizarre practice of consuming a liquid that has been squeezed out of the bottom of a cow.  The underneath of bovines are not known for being particularly sanitary places and cows themselves, although very pleasant creatures to hang out with, lack the same hygiene standards as of most of us.  No judgments, I’m just saying.

But that said, chocolate milk is worth looking at as a post ride recovery beverage.  Before you start making that gagging sound, check out chocolate milks impressive numbers (impressive numbers thanks to Self-Magazine’s online data base).  As with many liquids, chocolate milk has high water content.  Water, as you may know, is an important nutrient you need to replace when dehydrated following a hard ride.  When compared to those nasty sports drinks, it has almost twice the protein and carbohydrates.  It also has calcium and a bit of sodium and sugar.

Unless I’m spending more than a couple of hours in the saddle I usually don’t worry much about a recovery drink or snack.  But if I’m spending the day or multiple days biking, I’ll make it a priority to replenish exhausted muscles.

Question: What’s your favorite recovery drink or snack?

 ~ Bonus points if anyone can name the first person who said, “I’m gonna squeeze those dangly things under that cow and drink whatever comes out”.

Categories: Going off topic

Happy Sunday!

Try some Cutthroat Shamrock till I can think of something bikish to post about. Enjoy, Jack

Categories: Going off topic

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