Nerd Alert! Harry Potter now available on Kindle!

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

So I have been waiting for this forever. I bought the very first Kindle for the very obscene price of $400 when it first came out. Curse of the early adopter.

The one thing that bugged me from the beginning, is the author of the Harry Potter books, JK Rowling, was always dead-set against ebooks.  Every interview she came off, in my opinion, as very pretentious,  saying that books should always be read in their proper format, paper, and she didn’t want her readers to lose out on that experience.

Frankly, I thought that was crap. Anybody who reads a book on a  proper eReader will tell you that it is very easy on the eyes, and with some minor differences from a paper book, is quite enjoyable. I can read for hours on my Kindle, and I also use the Kindle app to read on my smart phone as well.

Let’s not forget that ebooks are “E” friendly! It’s just a heck of a lot better for the environment, no matter how you slice it. I use cloth bags for my groceries, I use my bike for all travel and grocery trips, unless the distance is too long, or the load is too big (Note to self: must get on that Xtracycle project.) So I just thought it was ridiculous that she refused to enter the 21st Century. Thankfully, she changed her mind.

So now I can dork out and re-read the series! The best part is, that like reading all books on an eReader, that nobody will look strangely at the 50-year-old guy reading a kid’s book…

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Commuter Bike Racing, or How to Feel Like a Man in Two Short Minutes!

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I have been guilty of commuter racing for some time now. I think the best part of it is that your opponent is usually unaware of the competition. It makes the inevitable victory so much sweeter…;)

But rarely do I get feedback from any of my valiant adversaries. I was fortunate enough to get such feedback this morning.

I catch a train at 6:14 am in San Mateo, California, which takes me to San Francisco, where I work. From the train station, I have about a two-mile trip to my office. Occasionally, I will engage in a friendly little race to my office. Again, the situation is usually that I come up to some carbon bike, or whatever, at a light and I think to myself “NONE SHALL PASS!” If you have ever seen the Black Knight from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” you know the voice I hear in my head.

I guess I enjoy it because I am riding my steel bike with fenders, front bag, trunk bag, and propeller helmet, and I know I they think I am  slow. I get a very rewarding, and completely underserved, ego boost when I blow by them.

So on the train this morning I engage in conversation with my new commuter friend, Kent. We’re both about the same age (I’m turning 51 this Saturday). Anyway, he noticed the Randonneurs USA logo on the back of my visibility vest, and was curious about the sport.

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Ty's RUSA visibility vest. I wear this always . Every little bit helps!

He  rides a nice carbon road bike with aero bars, and rides pretty regularly, about 40 miles every weekend, and was intrigued. I gave him my “newbie” perspective, and encouraged him to ride in the SF Randonneurs Populaire this Saturday, March 31st.  He is not sure he is quite up for that yet, but does want to learn more about it. I gave him my card, in case he has any questions, or has trouble remembering how to spell “Randonneur” when he searches for more information when he gets to his office.

So the train arrives, we both pack up, and leave separately. He was ahead of me at the first light. When I pulled away he said “Hey! I came up behind you the other day. I thought, ‘I can beat this guy, steel bike, fenders, propeller on the helmet’ … and then I couldn’t keep up! That wasn’t right!”

We both laughed and I told him that I did the same thing with my folding bike, a Bike Friday Tikit http://www.bikefriday.com/bicycles/commuter, as the smaller wheels actually accelerate faster from a stop.

I also told him that  in my opinion, carbon bikes don’t have all that much advantage in the scheme of things. He had asked me earlier if he needed to get a special bike for randonneuring and I had told him that though the classic randonneur bike is steel with fenders, there are plenty of people out there in full carbon bikes, etc.  It is really personal preference.

So yes, I am a commuter racer. I know it is silly, and I know my shrink would probably have something to say about it, but I do try to keep it safe. I don’t blow through red lights, and I don’t cut in and out of traffic. It makes it fun, and also makes the short ride at least a bit of a workout.

Funny thing, but with the randonneurs,  I’m pretty slow, a regular Lantern Rouge. But  on the wild and wooly streets of San Francisco, fighting the commuter biker wars, I’m Lance Armstrong… or maybe Bob Roll?

Why the Crazy Randonneur, and What’s with that helmet?

So I thought I should explain why I am calling my blog “The Crazy Randonneur.”

Well, there is a “Lazy Randonneur,” a “Daily Randonneur,” so why not a crazy randonneur? I really wanted to write a blog myself. I was very much inspired by  Vik’s “Lazy Randonneur” blog, so I hope he takes this name as a compliment!

http://www.thelazyrandonneur.com/

So why the name? Well, I pondered this for a while:

Here I am, very seriously, pondering why I named my blog the crazy randonneur. hmm....

So you probably noticed the propeller on top of my helmet.  So that is really the idea. I put this on my helmet a few months ago, and got big reactions to it. Usually, people will yell out ” I love it!” as I ride by, or “Where did you get that?” Occasionally, they will ask me if it helps generate power for my lights, and I reply, “No, it’s my smile generator!”

That is really what it is for. People can’t help but smile as I ride by as the propeller on top of my helmet is spinning furiously.

But really, the whole idea came from my dog Guinness. Prior to last Halloween, my wife and I were looking for costume ideas. Yeah, yeah… I know… Pretty silly, but don’t judge us!

Anyway, he is a therapy dog and we go to dog obedience class with our friends. Every year, there is a Halloween contest. So this year, my wife and I found this great hat for him.

Guinness wearing his propeller beanie for the first time. No, he is not saying "Pa! Why did you put this on me!""

As soon as I saw it, I said to Tanya “OOOHH!! I want that! I could find one, and cut off the top, and put it on my helmet with glue…”

Forgetting all about it, a few days later she found this website that not only sells propeller hats and beanies, but also one specifically designed to be mounted on a bike hemet.

http://propellerheadhats.com/shop/

So big shock, I ordered a couple…

I wear it all the time now. I sometimes forget I have it on my helmet now, and wonder why people look at me with a bemused expression on their face. Big shock, it makes people remember me.

In fact, after my last 200k, I was at our local REI, and was just leaving when a young man on a bike asked me, “Weren’t you at the Two-Rock 200k a couple weeks back?”

I said, “I was. I’m surprised you recognized me. There were 150 people or so?”

He said, ” I probably wouldn’t have, but I remembered the propeller hat!”

So the more  brevets I ride, the more my legend grows.

Now if I only I could finish in the middle of pack, instead of at the end…

 

Vik was kind enough to post this on his “Lazy Randonneur” blog. I thought this would be another good one of his to respost, while I am trying to figure all of this out!!

The Lazy Rando Blog...

Ty’s first Brevet, The Del Puerto Canyon 200K, or “Descent into Hell!”

“The day started out just fine. In fact, during the pre-ride introduction, Rob Hawks, the local SF Rando club president, introduced me as the newest member of the RUSA. as they had just processed my application last week. The whole group of 76 cheered and clapped. I thought it was a nice gesture, and I really appreciated it.

Left town and was quickly dropped of course since I was riding my under-geared 99 Specialized Hardrock mountain bike. I had done my best to make it suitable, by putting on Specialized Fatboy 216 x1.25 slick tires and fenders, but still very slow compared to the rest of the proper road bikes.

It started out with a slow climb out of Livermore. The descent was awesome! I was going so fast, that I thought “whew! I better slow down!” Literally…

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Here’s a great post by my blogging inspiration, Vik.

He and his gf Sharon did a 50k populaire on their Bike Friday tandem. Awesome job!

Now if I can only talk my CFO at home into letting me buy one…

The Lazy Rando Blog...

Sharon and I rode the 50K route at the BC Randonneurs Victoria Populaire Sunday. Add in ~20kms riding to/from the event and we rode farther than ever before on the tandem. Sharon also rode her longest ever distance on a bicycle. Obviously 70kms is not going to impress folks that ride 1200km events, but considering Sharon didn’t ride a bike when I met her this is a great achievement. Even better Sharon’s talking about riding the 100km route on our own this spring. Our distance riding progress may be slow, but it’s steady…=-)

We met up with Aaron and Laura at the start. They were riding Dahon folding bikes so we were all rolling on 20″ wheels. We were joined by Brian and Mike on their big wheel bikes. The day was sunny and there were something like ~140 riders joining us on the course. The organizers did a…

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The Newbie Randonneur

So I decided to start a blog. I like commenting on friend’s blogs, and thought it might be fun to try my own. I thought I would talk about a newbie’s take on randonneuring, plus go into other things that I am interested/involved in, like bike commuting, comics, pet therapy, etc.

I have a pretty goofy sense of humour, hence the title of my blog. I know I am going to run a fine line and don’t step on any toes. Suggestions are welcome!

Well, that’s it for now. Funny that once I decided to start, that I got a little stuck/paranoid about what to write about first. Any suggestions are welcome!