Here are a few bike facts and feats for 2018:
Fastest circumnavigation by bicycle (male)
- Butterfly Trek Madone – $500,000.
- Trek Yoshitomo Nara – $200,000.
- Aurumania Crystal Edition Gold Bike – $114,400.
- Trek Madone 7 – Diamond – $75,000.
- Rare Tiffany & Co. …
- Chrome Hearts X Cervelo $60,000.
I wouldn’t pay that much for a car, why would I buy a bicycle at those prices???
Fastest? John Howard, Olympic cyclist and Ironman triathlon winner, reset the record to 244 km/h (152 mph), also at the Bonneville Salt Flats, on 20 July 1985. Fred Rompelberg from Maastricht, Netherlands is the current holder of the motor-paced speed world record cycling with 268.831 km/h (166.9 mph) since 1995. I met John back in the 70’s.
Most Powerful: Ever wonder what kind of power the top sprinters in the world can generate? After gathering metrics from the top cyclists in the world in 2017, it was determined that Peter Sagan unleashed his best sprint of the year on stage five of the Tour of Switzerland. The three-time world champion rode at 1,220 watts for 18 seconds, topping out at 1,417 watts with a speed of 47.5 miles per hour for the highest output of any professional for the year. In contrast, I can only do about 19 mph.
But this is totally crazy: For anyone who watches the Tour de France, you can imagine how grueling riding 2,200 miles over three weeks can be. Two-time cancer survivor James Golding recently put this total in perspective by riding 1,766 miles in one week. Golding slept for five hours each day and averaged more than 250 miles per day. Crazy man, crazy!!!
I knew about a man, Jim Rogers, who drove an old Mercedes sedan around the world. But on a bicycle? Though the previous record was 123 days, 34-year-old Mark Beaumont set a goal of 80 days for his round-the-world trek and knew he needed to average 240 miles per day to reach his goal. By the time he arrived in Paris, he was one day ahead of schedule, cycling the 18,000-mile route around the world in a truly amazing 79 days. Beaumont rode his bike 16 hours per day and slept an average of five hours per night. During his trip, he also broke another record — riding the highest recorded mileage for a month at 7,031 miles on his way from Paris, France, to Perth, Australia.
I have no desire to set any cycling records. But this one just makes me dizzy: When Kurt Searvogel broke the 75-year-old annual mileage record by riding 75,065 miles, few thought it would soon be conquered. But in 2017, 24-year-old Amanda Coker rode her bike the equivalent of four times around the earth, smashing the previous record by riding a whopping 86,500 miles from May 15, 2016–May 14, 2017. What makes the record more amazing is Coker rode all the mileage on the same seven-mile loop around Flatwoods Park in Tampa, Florida. She rode the loop almost every day, averaging about 13 hours and 236 miles in an effort to raise money and awareness for those who suffer from traumatic brain injuries.
I have given thought to riding across parts of the U.S. I no longer have those thoughts, ever. But this? Many cyclists complete the annual Race Across America (RAAM), but no one has done it as fast as Christoph Strasser from Austria. Riding from Oceanside, California, to Annapolis, Maryland, Strasser completed the trek in 7 days 15 hours and 56 minutes. Strasser was also the first cyclist to break the eight-day barrier, and his average speed of 16.42 miles per hour is also a record.
So, you see, riding my 25 to 35 miles each day is no big deal. It gets me moving, and I feel good after. I have met some really wonderful people on two wheels. And I have seen some pretty terrific scenery as well. My favorites? How about the countryside in Vietnam, the dikes of Amsterdam, the vineyards of Napa Valley, and the red rocks of Sedona?
Since this has been an annual trip for so many years, I really am at a loss as to what to say or write about this fine American city. Our dear friends are in Italy, so I will not be visiting them. And a few folks from back home will be around for a few beers and laughs. Mostly, I am here for the Giants short two game series against the Padres.
The trip is a little different, in that I am flying down from home, rather than driving. I am staying in the Gaslamp area, using public transportation, and walking most everywhere, once I land. When we drive, we usually head out of the city for shopping, wine tasting, beaches, and other points of interest.
I have listed the famous people from San Diego previously, many times. But one in particular stands out to me, Dr. Jonas Salk. From his biography: “Jonas Salk was born October 28, 1914, in New York City. In 1942 at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, he became part of a group that was working to develop a vaccine against the flu. In 1947 he became head of the Virus Research Lab at the University of Pittsburgh. At Pittsburgh he began research on polio. On April 12, 1955, the vaccine was released for use in the United States. He established the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in 1963. Salk died in 1995.”
Most of you reading this are much younger, and perhaps do not recall the period around 1955. The polio vaccine developed by Dr. Salk was approved for general use. President Eisenhower gave him a special citation at a ceremony held in the Rose Garden at the White House. And of course, President Franklin Roosevelt had contracted polio in 1921, while on a summer vacation on Campobello Island, his summer vacation home. He also helped crate the “March of Dimes Foundation” that became the primary funding source for Salk’s studies and vaccine trials.
But what makes this most memorable is that we received the vaccine at school. Back in 1955, I would have been about 9 years old, and attending Lincoln Elementary School in Kingsburg, in the 3rd or 4th grade. I can recall lining up like we did for lunch, alphabetically, of course. We marched over to the cafeteria/multi-purpose room for our shots. This was before the oral vaccine was available.
Obviously, there was no controversy about vaccinating children, much less at school. There was no choice. And for the most part, polio became an afterthought on the American health scene. Despite this, I found out later that several of my classmates actually contracted polio prior to this period. In 1952, there were 57,000 cases of polio. The number dropped to less than a thousand a decade later.
Thankfully, the oral vaccine came along about a decade later (1962), when the live virus replaced Salk’s vaccine. Dr. Albert Sabin developed the oral vaccine, which was both less expensive and easier to use. A drop of vaccine was placed on a sugar cube. What a great idea! By the way, Sabin and Salk were rivals as you might expect.
People probably don’t know that, in 1952, Salk tested the vaccine on himself, his wife, and his three children. He actually boiled the needles and syringes on his kitchen stovetop! And to his credit, he did not feel justified in patenting the vaccine, since much of the studies were publicly funded.
Salk went on to establish the Salk Center for Biological Studies in 1963. He went on to study both multiple sclerosis and cancer. He moved on later to HIV and AIDS. He died of heart failure in 1995 in La Jolla. But he will always be remembered as the man who stopped polio!!
So, while I am here for baseball, I try to remember hat the area is known for great scientific breakthroughs in the biological sciences. Now they need to control the Hepatitis outbreak here. The homeless situation here is staggering!! The weather is too good, and the streets are too friendly.
Here in the Valley, and other “hot” spots around the world, there are some wise things you can do to keep the temperature inside of your parked car a little cooler. Here are some ideas and facts (from Popular Science) to back this up:
A study in Pediatrics found that cracking the window 5 centimeters lowered the temperature in a car by about 28°F on a 98°F day . The interior air was still hot—it reached a stifling 122°F—but that’s still better than the 150°F they measured with the windows fully closed. Another study found a smaller drop in temperature on a cooler day, so the actual change in temperature will vary depending on the outside weather.
Opening the windows halfway kept the vehicle much cooler than opening them a crack, but this also makes it a little too easy for thieves to break into your car. So it’s best to settle for a smaller opening unless your car is parked in a very safe location.
Idea 2: Sunshades:
A series of experiments at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a research institute run by the University of Central Florida, found that these shades can reduce the interior temperature of a car by 15° to 20°F. Researchers obtained the best results with shades that contained a reflective surface turned to face the interior of the car (yes, the interior).
That’s only a mild improvement in air temperature, but their real advantage lies in their ability to shade your dashboard: The FSEC found that sun shades cooled the steering wheel and other surfaces by a whopping 40° to 50°F, allowing drivers to touch them without burning their hands.
The windshield is just one of the entry points for sunlight. If you can get shades for your windows too, all the better, although removing shades from all your windows can be a bit of a hassle.
As a more convenient alternative, if you’re willing to spend more, a good ceramic window tint will also cut down on incoming light. It may run you a few hundred bucks, but if you live in a perpetually sunny area, the investment may be worth it. I might do that on my next car!
If you find sun shades too expensive or annoying to wrangle, you can at least keep your seat, dashboard, and steering wheel from getting searing by keeping a beach towel or other cover in your car. Just drape it on the seat or dashboard when you exit to shield them from the sun. The air in the car will still get hot, but you’ll at least be able to sit down without burning your hands and legs.
If you want something a bit more elegant, cloth seat covers can protect your bare legs from sizzling leather seats.
Even if you forget a cover, you can try this trick to protect your steering wheel. When you park, turn the wheel so its top faces away from the direct sunlight coming through the windows. That way, you’ll have a relatively cool spot to grab when you return to the vehicle. Some people I know drape a towel over the steering wheel or buy a nice steering wheel cover.
Idea 4: Force some of that hot air out before you get in.To do this, open the driver-side door, roll down the passenger window, and then “fan” the driver’s door by opening and closing it several times in a row. This will recirculate the air quickly, making the interior comfortable enough for you to get in and start the air conditioner. Aaron Miller, cars editor at Thrillist, found this cooling method to work even faster than driving with the windows down. Sure, you’ll look a little silly in the parking lot, but it’s a small sacrifice compared to melting in the driver’s seat. Not crazy about this idea!
I think they forgot a few. Here are mine!
Park under a big shady tree.
Only go out in the morning or evening when it is not as hot.
Ride your bicycle (only in the morning).
Have a cold beer once you finish driving!
I hope you have found the previous eleven days of Christmas helpful for your future travel and good health. There are many items I have left off, due to either personal preference or lack of space in my travel bag.
Here is a brief summary of the previous 11 days:
Day 1: Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
Day 2: Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
Day 3: Hydrocortisone cream 1%
Day 4: Saline nasal spray
Day 5: Non steroidal anti-inflammatory (Motrin, Advil, Aleve)
Day 6: Hand Sanitizer (high % of alcohol)
Day 7: Anti-diarrheal medication (loperamide, Lomotil)
Day 8: Artificial tears
Day 9: Probiotics
Day 10: Electrolytes
Day 11: Bag or container for your Days 1-10 items
Day 12: Your choice!!!
What might some of these Twelfth Day items consist of?
Ear plugs (or noise cancelling headphones)
Disposable face mask
Condoms (and Viagra)
Pepto-Bismol or Antacids
Antibiotics (from your travel doc)
Antibiotic cream (double antibiotic)
Pedialyte (or other electrolyte drink)
Motion sickness medication (meclizine or dimenhydrinate)
BTW, feel free to share your own favorites.
Of course, much depends on where you are going. Our trip to Africa required bringing many meds and first aid items. Obviously, a trip to London or Paris requires much less. But whatever you do, and wherever you go, always expect the unexpected. And I always buy travel insurance!
The chances of dying in a road crash in Africa are 26.6 out of 100,000—the highest in the world. Next on the list are Eastern Mediterranean and Western Pacific countries, with respective fatality rates of 19.9 and 17.3.
Avoid these two countries: For every 100,000 people in Libya , there are an estimated 73.4 road traffic deaths. The next most dangerous country was Liberia, with a death rate of 33.7. And I thought South Africa, home of Barry the V was dangerous?
With information from 180 countries around the world, WHO determined that low-income countries have the highest rate of road traffic fatalities. About 90 percent of all road deaths occur in these low-income countries, even though they only have about half of the world’s vehicles.
Western Europe has the safest roads. In the U.S., the most dangerous states for drivers are Montana and Arkansas. The largest number of traffic deaths in these states were caused by NOT wearing a seat belt!!! Shame on my friends in Montana and Arkansas.
Someone dies on the road every 25 seconds, or 1.2 million people per year! The World Health Organization is hoping to reduce this number by half by 2020.
Compare that to bicycle riding deaths. The most recent data is from 2015 (the most recent), 818 cyclists died on U.S. roads, an increase of 12.2% from the previous year. The average age of the cyclist death was 45. Included are 70% in urban settings, 61% were not at intersections, and 3% were in bike lanes. Half of the fatalities were during daylight hours. Disturbingly, 27% of cyclists killed were drinking alcohol.
Helmet use has been estimated to reduce the odds of head injury by 50 percent, and the odds of head, face, or neck injury by 33 percent. I just hate too see anyone riding a bicycle without a helmet. Eighty-six percent of bicyclist deaths are persons ages 20 and older. During the past few years, no more than 17 percent of fatally injured bicyclists were wearing helmets.
A total of 720 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2014, a 4 percent decrease from 2013. Clearly, a flat tire is not the cyclists only issue, as the automobile or truck is the main predator. Florida leads the way with 5.7 cycling deaths per one million residents. They are followed by Louisiana (3.8), New Mexico (3.1) and Arizona (3.0). California has the most deaths, with average annual death of 113.
In 2015, 18,844 cyclists were injured in reported road accidents, including 3,339 who were killed or seriously injured. Bicyclist deaths occurred most often between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. (20%) and in urban areas (71%). The vast majority of bicyclists killed were male (88%) and the largest number of males injured were between 20 to 24 years old.
Contrast this to motorcycle deaths, which have averaged over 4,000 annually since 2004. Operators of sport motorcycle models had a higher rate of death compared to other motorcycle types, and speeding was noted in roughly half of fatal sport and super sport accidents compared to about a fifth for fatal accidents of other types. Helmets do not seem to be required in Europe, cycles or bicycles.
Nearly half of all deadly accidents involve only the motorcycle (so-called single-vehicle accidents) and a major issue is the loss of control during a bend in the road. There is a reported 80% chance of injury or death on a motorcycle in the event of an accident, compared to about 20% for passenger vehicles. In raw numbers, almost 5,000 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2015.
So, pick your poison: drive, walk, cycle.
Manzanar National Historic Site
The sprawling desert site was the first of 10 camps used by the U.S. military to confine Japanese Americans and their families during World War II. A marker near the entrance says, “May the injustice and humiliation suffered here as a result of hysteria, racism, and economic exploitation never emerge again.” The visitor center has 8,000 square feet given over to exhibits and offers an outstanding 22-minute film called “Remembering Manzanar.”