Dummy of the Day

Showing His displeasure with psychos in minivans, God turns off the sun.

Showing His displeasure with psychos in minivans, God turns off the sun.

We’ve missed an installment or two of this special report, so here’s a Tuesday edition for you. According to the local gendarmes via the Gaslight, a Bibleburger who thought he saw someone he didn’t know riding his son’s bike  intentionally hit the cyclist with his minivan.

The cops say Timothy Hombs got something of a surprise when he stepped out of the minivan and approached the cyclist. First, he got punched; second, the bike wasn’t his son’s. Hombs was subsequently arrested on charges of second-degree assault.

If convicted, this pootbutt should lose both his driver’s license and his TV, as he has clearly been watching too many vigilante movies. Yo, Timbo, a Trek is a Trek is a Trek — there are only about a jillion of them on the road, and they don’t belong under the wheels of your soccer-mom shitbox, no matter what you thought you saw.

Jesus. And people wonder why I stick to ‘cross bikes and trails.

• Late update: I haven’t seen any minivan maniacs in Holland or Belgium today, but the Vuelta a España peloton is spending an inordinate amount of time on the rain-soaked deck anyway. More crashes than a Cat. 5 crit, including a Saxo Banker who rode straight into the back of a parked tanker truck. Owie.

• Dummy of the Day (Honorable Mention): As Freedumb Communications announces that it will indeed file for reorganization under Chapter 11, cutting its debt to a mere $325 million from more than $770 million, chief financial officer Mark McEachen proclaims, “This gives us a green light to operate the business as usual.” Oh, that’s reassuring. And what constitutes “business as usual” at Freedumb, where our Christmas bonuses once were $15 checks with the tax taken out? Why, stiffing 5,000 current and former news carriers, who were owed $28.9 million as part of the settlement of a class-action lawsuit. Notes The New York Times: “By filing for bankruptcy before a Sept. 14 deadline that would have finalized the lawsuit’s settlement, Freedom retains the right to reclaim those funds in the interest of all its creditors.” Lovely.

16 Responses to “Dummy of the Day”

  1. Larry T. Says:

    While another Iowan gets clocked from behind http://www.iowabicyclecoalition.org/node/189 Is poor ol’ Chris Horner the unluckiest guy in the pro peloton this year? Only way his year can bet any worse would be for his next Astana paycheck to bounce! Bravo to the mechanic earlier in the Vuelta stage who RIDES the spare bike up to his rider, makes the exchange, then pushes his man back into the race while hanging on to the other bike! Maybe Horner can take over the commentary on Universal Sports and spare us all the Aussie version of Paul Sherwen?

  2. khal spencer Says:

    I’ve given up on the old staple of the League’s Effective Cycling course (known by a bunch of names, latest incarnation being Traffic Skills 101) to wit, that there are not that many overtaking crashes. Frankly, there are far too many for me and the results have been major carnage due to the speeds involved. Too many drivers behind the wheel with their heads up their asses.

    Its getting to the point where cyclists are going to have to take the law into their own hands regarding the crap described in the link above. Sure as shit not worth prosecuting the criminal after your loved one is dead. Assuming he/she is ever caught. Malcolm X said it best: by any means necessary.

  3. Larry T. Says:

    All us old timers rode along thinking the convential “wisdom” ie that nobody but a homicidal maniac would run you down from behind. Since nothing much can be done about that (and my experience is rear-view mirrors are pretty much worthless, a lot of folks using them seem to be “run off the road” an amazingly large number of times, even while riding on the same roads ahead of or behind others within a 1/4 mile without mirrors who get passed by the same vehicles and report nothing) we just rode along and worried about the stuff we COULD see and avoid–the left turns in front of you, the car doors opening, the bozos who swerve back into “their” lane too quickly either because they were unskilled morons or jerks out to harass cyclists, etc. Nowadays it’s much different– with drivers playing with cell phones, TV’s, music players and gawd knows what else as they come up behind you at high speed. You may read about yours truly becoming a statistic before we can move away from here to Italy where cyclists have more respect on the roads, but DAMN IT…I’m not gonna be relegated to trails and bike paths by fear of motorists! Laws can be changed to penalize distracted drivers and the cops can be coerced into enforcing these types of laws once they’re passed. And if I get clocked from behind and killed, at least I’ll have died doing something I enjoy vs croakin’ sitting at a traffic light in a car!

  4. James Says:

    Amen to that Brother Larry!

    Just stay away from some others. They seem to take a different route towards enlightenment. Strange how that is at times, but that is what it is. Amen.

  5. Brian Says:

    We just got a law passed in Louisnan that states a passing car has to leave a safe distance between it and a cyclist but no less than 3 feet. I wonder if the Barney Fifes of the state will 1) read the new law or 2) enforce it before someone ends up a hood ornament on a Tahoe.

  6. khal spencer Says:

    Its a tough sell to pass these new distracted driving laws when the lobbyists for all the distractive devices are lining the pockets of Your Local Legislator. And then, there is getting people to take it seriously. Recall the decades it took MADD to get people to take DWI seriously. Like the booze manufacturers, these people are putting out desirable products. And I don’t mean the girls in the ads, but those too.

    Its not just the idiots in the cars we need to confront. Its the junk device manufacturers and the car companies putting distractive shit in the front dashboards. BMW’s I-Drive is an excellent example of a system designed to kill people. Perhaps a few critical mass rides surrounding our corporate offices of shit devices are in order.

    No, I am afraid we will continue to be the vivid examples of why we need tougher driving laws. As Larry said, at least I’ll die doing something I enjoy and will be a very fit specimen when wheeled into the incinerator or tossed overboard to be recycled as shark bait, which is actually my first request.

  7. Lindsay Martin Says:

    Yesterday in Toronto, the former Attorney-General of Ontario had an altercation with a cyclist. Michael Bryant sped away from the intersection dragging the cyclist down the street. Darcy Sheppard was killed after striking trees, a mailbox, and being run over by the rear wheels of Mr. Bryant’s car.

    http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/689220

    Here is a respected public figure using his car as a weapon. I’m sure all kinds of attention will be focused on the character of the victim, but still. Cyclists in Canada will be watching the outcome of this case closely.

  8. Larry T. Says:

    BMW’s I-Drive reminds me of a story my father-in-law enjoys telling. He’s got one of the huge 750’s with the monster 12 cylinder engine and a dashboard that looks like it oughta be in a 747. It’s an older, pre I-Drive model. His doc friends tell him constantly about how cool his car is vs the I-Drive equipped models they lease—they hate ’em! Cars, like bicycles, ought to be simple to operate with minimal distractions–no big thought required as to how to start it up, brake, turn, clear the windshield of rain drops, get heat or A/C, defrost the windows, etc. “Distracted Driving” should be part of the vehicle code in every state and the cops should enforce it, whether the reason for the distraction is the cell-phone, I-Drive or the screaming two-year old in the back seat.

  9. Ben S. Says:

    From the NYT. Read this as I was getting ready for a fast 40 mile group ride this morning.

    OTTAWA — As the high-profile attorney general for Ontario, Michael Bryant had championed severe and controversial traffic safety laws. On Tuesday, he was charged with criminal negligence causing death and with dangerous driving causing death in an unusually violent episode of road rage involving a bicyclist.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/02/world/americas/02toronto.html?_r=3&ref=world

    And here’s a link to a Toronto blog on the subject, got to love the hocky references.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/toronto-auto-safety-crusader-held-for-cyclists-death/

  10. khal spencer Says:

    One of the things I really enjoyed about my 1989 Porsche 951 was its relative simplicity. It had a stereo/receiver, heater, air conditioner, defroster, wipers, horn, lights. No other crap like Ipod plugin, Bluetooth, navigation systems, automatic stability systems, I-Drive, U-Drive, TheyDrive, automatic asswipers in the seats, or other crap anywhere.

    Went damn fast, too. And if you overcooked a curve, the car did not try to save you from yourself with electronic widgetry, just excellent balance. You overcook a curve beyond what you and the car could handle, you call the tow truck. There is something remarkable about accountability.

  11. Ben S. Says:

    Ah I miss my 1966 Land Rover. Fewer instruments than the Bike, fewer gears and at the end of the season less power too.

  12. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    I still have my 1983 Toyota 4WD longbed pickup. What a simple beast (not unlike its owner). Five-speed manual, hand-cranked windows, bench seat, manually locking hubs, power nothing, solid front axle and the fabled 22R under the hood, with its paint-can pistons. It goes uphill about as well as I do, and needs even more work, but like me it still starts, goes and stops.

    I drove it a short while today, just for giggles. Then I hopped on a carbon-scandium 2008 Jamis Supernova cyclo-cross bike with 10-speed SRAM Rival and went for a combo bike path/road ride.

    Got caught in a P.T. Barnum road-work detour (“This Way to the Egress!”) that interrupted my usual route and sent me spinning around in a very hilly circle before dumping me out at the foot of the very Col du Suburbia I had to ascend to take the friggin’ detour in the first place.

    I thought I saw M.C. Escher riding a high wheeler but it could’ve been an acid flashback.

  13. khal spencer Says:

    So what is Scandium like to ride? Sounds enticing esp. with the carbon.

    I like the Ox Platinum on that new Salsa. Much more refined than the Redline, and it is as fast as I am these days. Just finished frigging around with it for a couple hours dialing in all the stuff that one normally dials in so one’s ass, hands, and feet are in the right place relative to each other.

    The Mavic Speed Cities that came with the bike seem fine but a bit heavy, so eventually will have a set of Open Pros built onto decent hubs and DB spokes just for shits and grins, i.e., when doing the extended ride home from the Bomb Factory on fast rubber.

  14. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    Hey, Khal,

    Actually, I misspoke — it’s kinesium-carbon. Here’s a link.

    And it rides better than you might think. I’ve never been a big fan of aluminum bikes, preferring steel or titanium, but this combo provides a pretty cushy ride. You don’t feel every wrinkle on a road or trail.

    So far, the only downside is some wicked fork chatter under heavy braking, which gives me a bad case of The Fear on technical descents. I’m going to try swapping out the stock brake pads for some Kool-Stop Thinlines, which have always worked for me. Only question is whether I have enough fork clearance for them long ol’ boys.

    Glad to hear the Salsa is working for you. There’s nothing quite like a new toy, eh? As part of my new interest in cyclo-touring I’m taking a look at the Jamis Aurora Elite. Looks like a decent bike with OK spec’ at that price point. Dunno why they went with STI instead of bar-ends, though. But I could swap it out and save the STI for a ‘cross bike.

  15. khal spencer Says:

    Very nice looking frame.

    Seems more like a credit-card touring bike to me than what they advertise, “If you want to experience the cyclist’s version of backpacking you’ll want an Aurora, arguably the last of the true loaded touring bikes.”

    This might be a loaded touring frame (would have to load it up and check for frame stability), but not a loaded touring gruppo. The CXP 22s at 32 spoke are not touring rims and maybe someone else out there who has toured can comment on loading up a 32H aero rim with panniers. Also, the gearing is way too steep (30×27, 30 gear inch low) for true touring but probably fine for light touring by a fit rider. Not sure what the max cog size is for the Ultegra GS rear. I have a long cage Ultegra on one of my Cannondales. It is happy with a 27T but gets really bitchy if I try to put my Sheldon Brown Century Special (13-30 cassette) on it. But with the advent of compact cranks, the 13-30 is pretty much gathering dust. Might use it in the spring when my weight goes high enough to qualify for being in your Old Guy cartoon series.

    The Salsa I just bought came with a new XT rear. Its big and hefty and probably not as quick shifting as the Ultegra, but can handle an 11-34 cassette. I’ve thought about putting my spare 12-34 on it and doing some light touring with the 46-34 compact on front.

    Not happy with the 105 STI. Our Primera came with it and I am constantly getting grumpy comments from Meena about chainline noise, as the 105 doesn’t have derailleur trim capability on the front derailleur. Plan on upgrading next spring. Bar ends are excellent for touring and a lot cheaper. Still have them on two bikes up here including the Redline.

    Not pushing Co-Motion particularly, but check out the specs on these hussies just for comparison, if you already have not. Of course, the CoMo is a lot more greenbacks.

    http://www.co-motion.com/single_bikes/americano.html
    http://www.co-motion.com/single_bikes/norwester_tour.html

  16. Rush Says:

    Patrick,

    If you saw a bright green high wheeler you weren’t hallucinating… The guy from the Highwheeler place was out playing on one of his new toys.

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