Wednesday, May 28, 2008

i could make this stuff up, but i have perfect strangers doing it for me!

i was just going through the in-box at the orphanage, and these things rose to the top of the pile. unsolicited does NOT equal unwelcome. in fact, i LOVE hearing feedback, good and not-so-good. we read it all:
"mr kim-just a quick kudos on how cool your radio show continues to get. week after week, it's another fun thing for us bike folks to listen to. and bill and jeff, what great guys to hear talk about their paths to cycling geekdom. keep up the good work!!i WILL call in sometime.....but when i tried last night, i couldn't get through.......maybe it's the podcast.....?"
dear listener: you need a special phone to get through to me during the podcast. it's very expensive, but i know someone who can get you a deal!
"oh, i know, that podcast is MOST confusing. i thought that was your
home # and you were always there. suddenly i feel as if i've been slighted. and yes, i WILL listen live on sunday and hope several folks call in with good questions. looking forward to it."
dear listener: see how easy it is to communicate in cyberville via voice over podcasting phones?
and this from a young female listener in the land of maize and gold, or yella, or something:
"I too am a listener and I listen live when I can. Just go to the radio station's website when Kim's show is on in your area--it's on at 7 in Michigan on Sunday. Then just hit streamlining and viola you'll have Kim West live, which I admit freaked me out a little b/c I've never actually met Kim so I had this preconceived, imagined voice which was the exact opposite of what I heard on the radio. Kim, you sound like a refined NPR spokesperson and whenever I hear your voice your mustache is immediately gone and your hair is cut neat and I couldn't possible imagine you wearing a devil costume and chasing girls. I suppose living in Iowa will do that to a person, I mean look at Brokaw...Hope that helps! --huge fan in michigan
yes, i am a graduate of the "carl cassell school of how to sound like
carl cassell on the radio" and the mustache and devil costume? i fear you have me confused with someone else.
but DO keep those cards and letters coming! the orphans and i read them all, and in the winter,they burn well in the fireplace. we have a fireplace on the intertubes, and each email we forward to it make the fire burn brighter. i love the intertubes.
and this just in:
how cool is THAT to hear in your in-box. thanks, folks.
sincerely and seriously.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

most aggressive rider awards - quad cities crit [video links at end]

it was my distinct pleasure to award the highly-coveted kim west radio cycling show most aggressive rider award to several racers at the 2008 quad cities criterium monday, may 26. this prize--an award that money has not yet been able to buy--is the very rare and extremely kool kim west radio cycling show t-shirt, and is given to the rider who doesn't necessarily win the race, but who, through repeated aggressive racing, makes the race what it ultimately becomes. he or she might be the one who initiates the winning break, or who chases down an escapee for a teammate who eventually wins, or who exemplifies hard, gritty racing in the spirit of the person after whom the award is named:
ME, kim west, host of the kim west radio cycling show.
and yet i'm not the one who makes the decision; i turn that over to race officials or to the announceer. in this instance, former us postal team member and former winner of the old capitol criterium kenny labbe, whose insight to aggressive riding is no surprise to me, and it was no surprise to me that when i asked him who he thought should win at the conclusion of each race, we agreed 100% of the time. good hard racing DOES have its reward: several of the winners also won their race, but not all of them.
let this be a lesson to you slackers out there: hard work IS recognized and appreciated by others. and now, it is sometimes rewarded with a very kool t-shirt. someday we might have money and a podium girl. but it's a start.
the most aggressive rider award went to:
weston luzadder, iscorp/nova, carmel, ind, juniors 15-18;
sydney brown, team revolution, lincoln, neb, women's 2/3;
greg aronsen, team dice, bettendorf, ia, 30/40+ cat4/5;
chris wallace, mesa cycles, shawnee, kans, cat 3;
chris rat hayes, haymarket cycles, warrenton, va, 30/40+ cat 1,2,3;
sherri stedje, hub racing, lutz, fla, women 1,2,3; and
bryce mead, jelly belly pro team, sterling, ill.
congratulations to all of you aggressive rider award winners.
wear that t-shirt proudly.
and if anybody gives you grief about riding too hard,
kick 'em in the butt,
and tell 'em kim west sent ya.
several short videos from monday's criterium action can be found here:
1--juniors 15-18, 2 laps to go
2--juniors 15-18 bell lap and finish
3--juniors 15-18 podium and aggressive rider
4--women's cat 2/3 finish
5--women's cat 2/3 podium and aggressive rider
6--30/40+ cat 4/5 podium and aggressive rider
7--chatting with racers from indiana
8--a view of spectators [a9y]
9--cat 3 podium and aggressive rider
10--more cat 3 podium and aggressive rider
11--podium & aggressive rider, 30/40+ cat 1/2/3
12--b/n conrers 7 & 8, women's race
13--b/n corners 7 & 8, women's race
14--b/n conrers 7 & 8, women's race
15--mid-race interview about team revolution's chances
16--break laps field in women's race
17--finish to women's 1/2/3 race
18--bryce mead chats with bart
19--interview with women's winner immediately following her race
20--women's podium
21--bell lap and finish pro 1/2
22--men's pro 1/2 podium
23--chad vande lune receives his award

Friday, May 23, 2008

i've always said bike trails are dangerous

i received this email at, my radio show email address, and it deserves to be shared, especially in light of our recent discussions of safety, and for me personally, since a good friend of mine was the victim of a string-triggered pipe bomb on the inter-urban trail a few years ago. PLEASE exercise caution while riding on bike trails. just like wearing a helmet, the thought that one is safer while riding on a bike trail than on a city street or county road is no excuse for being constantly vigilant to your surroundings: potential danger lurks in the beauty around you.
and craig, thanks for sharing this with us.

I found out about your show through the RAGBRAI web site. I listen to your podcast, so I can listen to it over and over again. I love it. I heard this story on the Sioux City Public Radio Station KWIT this morning. I thought I would share it with you since you have been talking a lot about bicycle safety.

Craig Miller
Remsen, IA

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - An Omaha woman is warning bikers in the area to use caution after a trail prank turned dangerous for her husband. Pam Fusselman says her husband was riding his bike on the West Papio trail last week when he hit with a band of clear tape that stretched from one side of the bike trail to the other between trees. The impact sent Pam's husband flying, leaving him with a concussion, broken collarbone, broken ribs and a punctured lung.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

episode 5: johnny singletrack

after the show, in which andrea chase, ryan hanser and i spent a very fast-moving hour talking about the ins and outs of establishing, building, maintaining and preserving these trails, and the fights among interest groups who covet limited natural resources and even more limited government cash, i came across this video from local weatherman [a different connotation than when i was a weatherman back in the late 60s and early 70s] jason parkins, of kcci-tv8 in des moines. jason is a real friend of cycling, and has produced a wonderful clip for the des moines bike kollective, too.
but here's his piece about banner trails at somerset state park.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

the power of my microphone?

in episodes 3 and 4, i read statements from the candidates for congress in the district which includes the des moines metro area: ed fallon, the challenger, and leonard boswell, the incumbent. lest anyone think that no one listens to the kim west radio cycling show, and that what we say doesn't matter, check out this email sent out by the fallon campaign today--and then tell ME that bicyclists--and their votes--don't matter!

Ed's Personal Commitment
Ed has been riding his bike as a consistent form of transportation for years. It's his way of demonstrating his personal commitment and responsibility for reducing his carbon footprint. Here's Ed arriving by bike at his campaign office in the February snow.
Today, Congressman Boswell participated in a Bike-to-Work-Week event and included this photo in an email to constituents.

Personal commitment or photo op?

You decide!


i had the opportunity to speak with congressman boswell during his ride monday, and complained to him about the sad state of the road surface on the neal smith trail. i also asked him about the possibility of having input regarding the formulation of nationwide standards for rumblestrips, for starters. ahhh...the power of the media to shape the discourse of the campaign.