Trek Demo Days in Loves Park, IL

I have always wanted to go to Ocala or Alafia in central Florida to attend a Trek demo days, but my schedule has never really allowed me to.  Until today!  In Loves Park, IL.  I know, it isn't the same and that is true.  But, it was a demo days none the less.
Trek Bikes Demo Days - Rock Cut State Park

After flying to Chicago, I drove over to Rockford, IL for a business trip.  While here on a Sunday I decided to go over and check out Rock Cut State Park about 2 miles away.  As I pull in and drive around, what do I find but a Trek tent set up in the park.  It was quite a fun time and tons of new 2012 bikes!  They had a rack of Cronus CX and some Fisher 29ers.  Personally, I zoned in on the Madone 6.9 SSL - all 14 pounds of it.  I took it for a ride around the park and the first thing I noticed is this Tampa, FL boy is not used to the rolling hills of Northern IL.  It would have been nice to be in my cycling gear as well, but even in jeans and Merrill's, the Madone is a sweet ride.  With full Dura Ace components, this was easily the smoothest shifting bike I have ever ridden.  And this thing flew down the hills; once I climbed up and then got rolling.  I hit the drops and hung on around the hills and curves -- easily hitting 30+ mph. 

Larry with Ken & Lauren from Trek Bikes
This particular bike was a compact set up with 53/39 double crank and 11 - 25 10 speed cassette.  Ken and Lauren from Trek set the bike up for me, 58CM frame with a Race XXL saddle.  I had to ride on some simple nylon pedals since I didn't have my shoes, but the bike was simply made to race and she quickly jumped out and screamed at me to ride faster.  I definitely look forward to the day I can upgrade my 7.3 FX to a pure road bike, but this bike is not for commuting.  She wants to race!

Trek Shop Towel and Winter Cap - Thanks Trek!

If you get the chance, hit a Trek Demo days and check out the 2012 line of bikes.  You will NOT be disappointed.  I can't wait for my next chance to go to a demo days.

be safe!


Vehicular Homicide: Car vs. Bike

Jury Duty: I Was Actually Seated!  Then I was dimissed just prior to deliberations as I was deemed an alternate.  Now why is that amazing?  Well, I am a full-time bike commuter and the case was Vehicular Homicide; Car v Bike. 

I have to admit, when the Voire Dire started and they asked if anyone rode a bike I figured I would soon go home.  I raised my hand and I was questioned at length about cycling:
Do you have a light on your bike?  Do you have a tail light that blinks?  Do you stop at stop signs?  Do you stop at red lights?  Do you ride on the road? Do you talk on your cell phone?  Blah, blah, blah...
I was completely surprised when we came back in to learn I was on the jury.  I was more surprised at the legal process in the state of Florida.  I can tell you without a doubt that the 2009 Toyota Yaris did in fact hit the cyclist.  I know the cyclist died.  I know the cyclist was crossing the street at an angle, against the traffic signals.  I also know the cyclist was impaired (drugs and alcohol).  What I don't know?  I don't know who was driving the car and I don't believe the prosecution proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt!  Why you ask?  Well, let's go over that.  But first - I can tell you it was a young black man on trial and the only black person on the jury was also dismissed as an alternate just prior to deliberations.  I know that we both felt, based on the evidence presented, the young man on trial was "Not Guilty."  I also know that the jury of his six peers, all white, convicted him of vehicular homicide, fleeing and alluding and leaving the scene of an accident involving injury or death.  I also know this young man is facing 60 years in prison.  So why do I feel they got it wrong?

Well, let's start with the evidence.  First off, the eyewitness of the police officer, who gave a positive ID of the driver of a car, that the officer acknowledged was driving in reverse at 25 MPH; at a distance of 20 - 25 feet.  So, there was a positive ID of a black driver who was not facing forward, at night, from 25 feet away, in a black car. The original description called in was a "light skinned male with short hair."  Doesn't sound real black to me.  Also, I struggle with the fact that the officer changed his description 3 times over the first nine hours after the accident.

DNA evidence showed that the driver was NOT a potential contributor to DNA taken off either the drivers door handle or the steering.  However, the DNA evidence shows that the driver was a potential contributor to the DNA sample on the gear shift.  Oh, there are at least 100 other males in St Pete who also matched the sample.  It also showed it could have been a white male or a Hispanic male.

Finally, the car was found in an abandoned house in the defendant's neighborhood.  WOW - and that convicted him.

Don't get me wrong, I want justice for the cyclist.  But I want fair justice.  After three days of the trial, I am convinced he was not the right person.  So what to do?  Really, there is nothing I can do.  Except continue to be safe on the streets, continue to pursue cyclist rights.  More importantly, I can pursue fairness in the legal system.  As long as folks are railroaded, there will always be animosity between parties.

As always, be safe!

Is It a Bike Lane or a Gutter?

The things you find on the streets of St Petersburg!  These two little guys decided to hitch a ride with me to work by embedding themselves in my rear tire on two different morning commutes.  Which got me to thinking - is it a bike lane?  Or, is it a gutter?

I don't want to take away from what the city of St Petersburg, FL is trying to do, but there is not much effort it seems to keep the gutters, err bike lanes, clean.  Currently I am riding on Continental Gatorskin Hard Shell tires, so they do a really good job of keeping my tires inflated.  However, I know of no tire that can match 3 inch nails.  I also seem to always grab them on my rear (drive) wheel.  I have never understood that. 

Regardless, I will continue my commute and look for ways to avoid road debris, but you also, be safe out there.  There is likely a few items waiting to "nail" you too!

be safe

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Rainbow over Tampa Bay!  Leaving for my commute home, after a few hours of thunderstorms in the Tampa area, I was greeted by this sight.  This time of year can be very taxing for bike commuting because of the lightning, but what a way to start a ride home!  Nothing says "enjoy the ride" quite like a nice big rainbow arching over your route.
Be safe folks and peace out!
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