Loyce Harpe Park, Lake to Lake Bike Race in Lakeland, Florida

You know I've been thinking about doing this off and on for quite awhile. And I almost decided not to check out the Lake to Lake bike race, in Lakeland today.

But, I knew, if I didn't ... I would kick myself later.

And I'm so glad I did.

There weren't a whole lot of spectators. But it was great to see a large collection of avid bikers from around the area gathered together. And I was BLOWN away with the quality and caliber of bikers and bikes that were there.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to watch the whole race, nor was I able to get any video ... since I left my video cam at work. But, I did snag a few shots of pre-race preparation, and some scenes from the first corner of the race. In fact, I almost got run over, I was so close to the action (check out my camera angle, and the angle of the tire on the very last picture - I had to move pretty quickly to get out of the way).

Anyhow, I was totally happy with my short visit there. I would love to check out more races just like this. It was great to see, and be a part of ... even if I was just a happy enthusiast.

I even shared a few words with the local newspaper photographer. Super nice guy! He asked who I was covering the race for ... ha ... I only wish! I know I was sweating in that heat. I'm sure he, and the riders, were nice and toasty before it was all over.

Oh ... and one last comment before I cut out. A few posts ago I talked about new bike ideas that I had never seen before. In particular, there's a new front fork for mountain bikes, called a 'leftie'. You'll find a picture of what I'm talking about just below (see the 2nd photo). I couldn't afford it at this point, but I love the idea. Very cool!

And even a few kids got in on the bike racing action. Why didn't I ever have bike races around town when I was a kid? I could have been a contender back then.

Happy Trails!



what I have done with my weekend so far...

So I (Chris)have this really bad urge to bake for the last several weeks. So today I decided to go for it!
I actually made this yesterday for dessert. Blueberry Buckle!
And here it is with a little bit of cream cheese icing on it!
Careful don't get too close and drool on your keyboard.
So then today I made Cream Cheese Pound Cake with strawberries. Supper yummy!
But is not complete with a bit of that delicious cream cheese icing!
Both turned out so good. I just wish that I had added more strawberries to the pound cake. I could have easily doubled the amount and had it all fit in the pan. I was worried that it would overflow tha pan while it was cooking but it thankfully did not.
I guess that I Will have to lay off the baking for a few days. At least till Al goes back to work so that I can send him with the bulk of it. Many mouths make light calories, right!?!

Lakeland Mountain / Road Bike Race Tomorrow

You know I love biking. And I heard about this race over a month ago. Finally, this morning I remembered to look up the information on the race. Thankfully I didn't miss it ... but it's happening tomorrow.

I won't be racing, but I think I'll try and stop by the race to check out what it's like, maybe snag some video and pictures.

Anyhow, that's cool.

What's even cooler than that news is this sponsor for the event. Rather than explain it - I'll just show you the logo.

Pretty cool, right?

2009 Trail to Trail Race – Lakeland, FL

This event is a one-of-a-kind race that brings Mountain Bikers and Road Racers together for some great fun and competition. There will be team (up to 3 people per team) and solo categories. The race starts with a 35-45 minute off-road Mountain Bike race, with racers competing on a single-track. After completion of the off-road course they will then do a 30-35 mile road course that will bring them back to the park where they must complete another lap on the mountain bike course.

Event Info:
August 30, 2009
Loyce Harpe Park
500 West Carter Road
Lakeland, FL
View Map!!

Solo Classes: Solo Men, Solo Women, All Mountain Bike Solo, Clydesdale (200 lbs+)
Team Classes: Fun Men’s, Serious Men’s, All Women’s and Co-Ed (minimum of 3 teams required)

Copy / View this information on the PDF document.


Schwinn's Electric Bike ... A Video Review for Sissies

I thought that title would get you attention.

You sissies!

Actually, I would have NEVER thought of using an electric bike - BUT now that I've been riding to work for a while, and I sweat a ton, I've thought about this idea to help me stay a little cooler in the scorching Florida weather.

Anyhow, you only get the slightest idea of what this type of setup can do for you from this video. However, you do get a great view of what the batteries are like in these types of bikes. So, that was something I hadn't really had a good look at before.

This is a very cool idea, and in another article I'll link to in a couple of days, you'll see that these electric bikes are the hottest sellers in the biking market right now.

Talk soon,


Photo Tips for Kids

Now that cameras are starting to be available (in price) to average families, and their children. We were thrilled to pick up a camera for our oldest daughter this last Christmas.

So, when I stumbled onto this article the other day ... offering tips of advice for kids ... I had to share some of the ideas with you.
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Kids & Photography: Basic skills to get them off to the right start.

1. Have Fun
2. Experiment
3. Hold the Camera Straight and Steady
6. Find a Point of Interest

11. Review Your Children’s Images with Them
One thing that you can do to help your children drastically improve their photography is to sit down at the computer with them after they’ve been out with their camera to go through each shot. As you scroll through them have your child talk about their favorite photos and discuss why they like them. Pause to affirm them with what they’ve done well and to point out things that they could do better next time to improve their results. Pay particular attention to the shots that they do shoot well, as this will give them positive reinforcement and inspiration to keep going with their hobby. Remember be upbeat and encouraging! It is suppose to be FUN!


A Couple of Travel Photo Tips to Keep in Mind

When you travel, you always want to have your camera handy ... ready for the next good shot. You don't want to miss one single valuable image while on your trip, if you can help it.

So, here's a couple of good tips to keep in mind when snagging photos while you're traveling to new and exotic locations.

Lessons Learned: Photography Mistakes I Won’t Commit Again

988635 13930576 Lessons Learned: Photography Mistakes I Wont Commit Again
Backup your pictures every day
While living in London in 2005, my camera, including my nearly full 512mb memory card, got stolen during a burglary. I hadn’t even bothered to copy the pictures to my laptop, and now I’ll never know how all my photos from London, Paris and Lyon would turn out.
Photograph people rather than places

Taking photos of people make your photographs more alive. I realized this after my last trip to London when looking through my pictures. I’d mostly photographed buildings and empty cafes, restaurants and hotels. I couldn’t help but ask myself, “Where is everyone?”

Make your camera look ugly
to prevent it from getting stolen.
all digital cameras are worth money, but none of the film cameras are unless it’s an SLR.


Some Brighter Bike Ideas ... Good Safety Tips?

Here were a couple of bike reflector and light ideas I thought were pretty unique.

#1 Have you ever used this reflective type of tape on your bike? Does it work for you? Do you think it helps being seen when you're on the road?

#2 How about this throw back from the 90's - neon lights on your bike. I remember my boy Jason, hooking up this idea. This was SO COOL back in the day. How exciting to think about adding this onto our bikes today. That would be neat. To have a bike that was cooler than the cars on the road ... priceless. Or even to look like you have light-sabers attached to you bike.
Awesome DIY Bike Lighting Projects

The Bright Bike project involves wrapping your bike with 3M's Scotchlite Plus Reflective 680 Series Engineering Grade Vinyl (which can be found at sign supply distributors).

By day, your bike appears to be a solid black color...but when hit by light (like headlights or a camera flash), the bike shines a bright, high-reflective ultra white.

Cool Cathode Fluorescent Lighting For MAJOR Cool Points
one of my favorite and reminds me of my VERY brief gangsta rap phase from the late 90's when everyone was rockin' neon glow from under their chassis and thumpin' them subs while cruisin' the strip.

This project is DEFINITELY going to be turning some heads when you cruise down the moonlit streets...which is a good thing, since you want people to take notice of you on a bike.

As with many electrical DIY projects, some basic soldering skills will be required, but after a couple of practice tries, you'll have that down pat.



Pythons Running Wild in Florida

Here is one of Christy's absolute favorite creatures ... Not Really! However, this was so amazing I had to share it. In fact, although Christy can spend hours and hours in the blood, guts, and gore of other animals - she can't even stand the sight of snakes.

It's wierd - I know.

This is a pretty amazing tale right out of the rough and rugged Florida Swamplands. Also, notice the part about these snakes 'DON'T' have any natural predators here. And people thought the wild hogs were getting bad? These could be next.
Imported pythons
Joe Wasilewski holds a wild Burmese Python he recently subdued. Southern Florida has seen an increase in wild Pythons, a snake that is not native to the area

The largest python so far was captured on Thursday. It was a 207-pound male that measured more than 17-feet long and 26 inches in diameter; however, it was not captured by one of the permitted hunters. Instead, it was shot on the 20-acre compound of the Okeechobee Veterinary Hospital by one of the vets who was alerted to its presence by his nephew. It is illegal to shoot pythons in Florida wildlife management areas or federal lands, but the snakes can be legally shot on private property. The snakes are often abandoned by disgruntled pet owners when they become too large to handle and too expensive to feed. They can reproduce rapidly with female pythons laying up to 80 eggs at a time, and they have no natural predators in Florida.

It's not known how many pythons are slinking across South Florida, but state wildlife officials estimate at least tens of thousands.
nonnative Burmese python has no natural predator in Florida.
Staff of the Okeechobee Veterinary Hospital hold the python that was caught on the facility's property. July 30, 2009
Pythons running wild: a 2-year old girl in Florida was strangled to death by a 9 foot pet Burmese python

Fixed Gear Bikes ... Really?

Well, I must admit that I haven't really ridden a fixed gear bike since my BMX days as a teenager. And, truth be told, I can see the potential of having this type of set-up in a flat-landers state like Florida.

However, there is NO WAY I would be caught dead with a fixed gear bike in any location that has a single bit of terrain. I would be toast. And any rider who tells you different is full of it ... in my not-so-humble opinion.

Never-the-less this bike is pretty sweet looking, and I love the design. I especially like the blue rubbers. And the frame kinda reminds me of the old Sekai bike my Dad donated to my cause back in my college days.

What do you think ... fixie or geared?
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Fixed Gear Bike
carnival tokyo kinfolk fixed gear bike 1 Carnival Tokyo x Kinfolk Fixed Gear Bike
carnival tokyo kinfolk fixed gear bike 5 Carnival Tokyo x Kinfolk Fixed Gear Bike
carnival tokyo kinfolk fixed gear bike 9 Carnival Tokyo x Kinfolk Fixed Gear Bike
a co-branded fixed gear bike featuring a Kinfolk frame and Carnival Tokyo components. For more information on the brand, head over to


Bike / Scooter First Time View in the U.S.

I came out with a similar idea about 2 months ago - although mine will most likely NOT see the light of day. But I thought this was cool enough to share with you, especially since this is the first time I've seen it mentioned in U.S. circles.

It's a hybrid mix of bicycle and kick scooter. It looks cool, and strikes me as a throw back to some of the late 1800, early 1900 cycling ideas that were floating around back then. However this design gets the benefit of today's technologies to help it along.
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Half skateboard, half bike, Kickbike is a workout

I, too, would do a double-take if I encountered a scooter-like cross between a skateboard and a bicycle.

My guess is Kickbikes are a far more common sight in Finland, where they were developed in 1994 and continue to be built and raced. Around here, you can still only buy them online, at, at prices ranging from $250 to $500.

Like all Kickbikes, it has a large front wheel and a smaller rear wheel, and where a regular bike has a seat, pedals and gears, there's simply a horizontal platform for the rider to stand on. The entire thing fits easily in the trunk of a station wagon without any disassembly.

The perfect place, in fact, was a stretch of multipurpose trail in the Cleveland Metroparks. Paved and smooth, the route had everything I needed to try out my new toy: one or two steep hills, several gradual inclines and plenty of straight-aways.

All the benefits of cycling in half the time.


Images of Abandoned Cities

I've always had a fascination with ghost towns of the Old West. There's a rustic, old-world charm about the history they hold. But, there are similar forces at work today. It's hard to see sometimes, because it seems like there are so many people ... everywhere you turn. But it is happening in some places.

What's really interesting is seeing images of what these places look like now that they are being discarded. And, even wilder is that some of these will be destroyed to make way for new, more modern improvements. Check out the city in China, for example, just the character of the buildings speak of history. And yet ... they will be gone soon to welcome advancement. But will anyone want to come back? And what makes them come back?
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Abandonment: 8 Cities That Might Not Make It

Here’s a look at eight modern urban settlements that are either in danger of or in the process of losing their inhabitants - places that might gives clues about how to keep our cities alive.

For thousands of years, Kashgar has acted as an oasis city for trade and commerce is far western China, an important part of the famous “Silk Road”. The oldest part of this modern city of 350,000 people is the Old City - or rather, was, because the Chinese authorities are currently destroying it. Deemed to be a safety hazard and eyesore, the old quarter has been forcibly evacuated of the bulk of the resident 13,000 families - and approximately 85% of it is being torn down, despite its inestimable cultural and archaeological value. In its place, a new Old City - but who will return, and will old Kashgar still remain in any shape or form?

Venice is indisputably one of the loveliest cities in the world - all the more so because it’s disappearing


The NEW Official Bike of Surfers

I'm no surfer ... but this bike makes me want to go out and pick up a surf board, just so I can ride it.

It has a great, laid back cruiser look.

Love the idea!
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Surfer Beach Bicycles


The Wave Bike Concept Holds Your Surfboard so you Don’t Have to
Surfer Beach Bicycles - The Wave Bike Concept Holds Your Surfboard so you Don’t Have to (GALLERY) 3
Surfer Beach Bicycles - The Wave Bike Concept Holds Your Surfboard so you Don’t Have to (GALLERY) 4

The Wave bike concept is perfect for weekend surfers. The bicycle has a little console that actually carries a full-sized surf board so the user can continue to steer with two hands.

While most surfers are forced to take their cars to the beach, the Wave bike concept eliminates the need for a large vehicle and also helps reduce air pollution. The eco bike is available in array of colors, including blue, green and yellow to suit all surfers’ style.


And I thought Portland was a Biking town ...

But this ... this is clearly what I would call a bicyclers Capitol.

I've never been to Amsterdam, although I've met several people from there, and even a missionary who went there to try and help the younger generation connect with their spiritual lives.

But, I have ALWAYS been impressed with the biking culture they have there. This post, and these pictures goes a long way in describing it.

Mostly, I just loved the pics, and thought you might like to see what a LOT of bikes looks like.
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Is The Bike City An Alternate Universe, Or A Glimpse Of Your Urban Future?

In fact Amsterdam is truly a bicycle city, with every road containing bike lines – and even some with traffic lights aimed only at bicycle riders. Amsterdam has become a bike city for a couple of reasons: First, it's almost entirely flat; and second, many of the brick-paved roads and bridges are so narrow that they seem uniquely suited to bike and scooter traffic (though cars still zoom down most of them too).

Amsterdam bike riders do not fetishize their rides. Bikes are cheap, heavy, and practical, with wide, comfortable seats. Chains are surrounded by metal guards so that you can ride in pants or skirts, and you'll often see people riding one-handed, cigarettes or umbrellas held in their free hands. There are no fixies here, and no ultra-expensive made-to-orders. People hack their bikes together, adding saddlebags to the back or baby chairs and carts to the front.