Monday, December 20, 2010

No sympathy for Christian's who feel Christmas is cheapened

Matt Yglesias says he feels sympathy for Christians who feel that Christmas has been weakened by meaning so much to so many different groups. I on the other hand feel no such sympathy. Christmas only exists on Dec 25 in an attempt by the Catholic church to take over the pagan holidays celebrating the Winter Solstice. Most scholars pin Christ's birthday somewhere in September.

In other words the entire point of Christmas for the Catholic church was to muddy the waters and take over the celebrations of other religions. I feel no sympathy that this policy has come back to bite Christianity.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Republican's and Science

Dougj from Balloon Juice wants to kill the idea that Republican's are anti-science. Unfortunately for him this goes to one a series of simple empirical tests.

1- Which party reliably attacks science?
2- Which party funds scientific endeavors?
3- Which party support religion vs science?

1- Which party reliably attacks science?

Republican's have a long history of attacking science. In Texas they are trying to remove scientific discoveries from textbooks. There is an entire industry that is dedicated to attacking climate science. The history of pro-tobacco misinformation is very illustrating here as well. Some Democrats do have a history of falling for health cons and the anti-vaccine craze infected both Democrats and Republicans. This category is given to Republicans.

2- Which party funds scientific endeavors?

The race to the moon which JFK supported has paid dividends for the US. We have a large number of satellites that are vital to our communication technology today. Look at the funding history for NASA and physics in this country. You will see Democrats paying for the essential research that fuels our economy. Republicans sometimes appreciate engineers but only when the Republican in question is investing in a company that employs that engineer.

3- Which party support religion vs science?

Doug wanted to dodge this question.

First off, I’ll admit there is some real hostility to science from the fundies. But I don’t think that conservative opposition to stem cell research is rooted in hostility to science, it’s rooted in the (admittedly non-scientific belief) that Jeebus loves 5-celled blastocysts as much or more than he loves post-birth human beings

Christianity has been attacking science since Galileo. Astronomy, Cosmology, Biology, Climate Science, and Medicine have all been targets of Christianity. This isn't limited to the recent Catholic belief that all sperm are sacred, it is a full frontal assault on knowledge. Republicans are the political party of choice for the religious Christians in this country. It is one of the ways Republicans use to control the downtrodden.

To sum up, it is pretty obvious that Republicans are the enemies of science. Any professional scientist would shun Republican leadership out of simple self-preservation. Engineers are a different animal and at engineering schools you often hear the joke that business majors are just second year engineering majors. The joke is that when you fail at engineering there is always business school. But the meat behind it is that you go to school for engineering when you want money, you major in physics or math for a love of science. It is pretty clear why you might see engineers in the Republican party.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Optima Voyage

Optima Voyage, originally uploaded by Watson House.

The Optima Voyage is a version of the classic Baron lowracer that folds. There is an awesome video of this at

This is very cool and I am happy to see recumbent bikes finally coming up with a fast folder that is a decent bike as well. I would happily use this for either travel or urban mixed mode commuting.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Route-08Aug10, originally uploaded by Watson House.

Today I did a bit of exploring and tried a new route (on ridewithgps here). It was pouring rain and I got lost a couple of times but the Mango was great.
Avg Speed: 14.7 (blech)
Distance: 42.3 miles
Elevation Gain: +1769ft

I ended up using both the foam cover and my STP jacket on this ride. I didn't expect it to be so wet and chilly.

Here is my slideshow of pictures from the ride:

Friday, August 6, 2010

New Routes

Tomorrow I am going to try a new route. The route above is a 60 miler that goes up to Snohomish, over to Monroe, through Duvall and then to Carnation and back to Woodinville.

I loaded it into my Garmin and will see how the navigation works out.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Quest for Speed.

parked 2
So I am getting used to the Mango Sport ("The Carrot"). I am now logging new speed records on my commute. My average speeds are going up which is making me quite happy. I think I will start doing Washington Lake loops on the weekends since that is the route I have the most recorded history on. If all goes well I can get some record times on my Lake loops. I want to get my century speeds up and do some 200K permanents without officially logging them with RUSA. So first I will train, then when I feel ready I can try a 200k permanent.

I might even be able to get some respectable times, which would be very nice. My eventual goal is to finish the STP one year BEFORE Jim Broadus (a co-worker). It would be nice to not be passed :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mango Sport on Week three.

My Mango Sport has 500 miles on it over three weeks of ownership, 215 miles or so of which was the STP. Most of last week I didn't ride at all. Today was my first day back commuting with the Mango.

My impressions remain great, I am faster, more comfortable and safer riding the Mango. It really is a joy to ride and it is very easy to carry stuff. I am considering what it would take to do a weekend camping trip. Lately I have been looking at Hennessy Hammocks. They are lightweight, pack small and would easily fit into my Mango Sport. Add a small sleeping bag, and some food, maybe a camp stove and I can tour.

I also want to train more for fast centuries. I can work on speed loops of the lake as well as some nice hilly loops in Redmond/Issaquah areas. The Mango feels nice and light, I am climbing hills well on it. In my reduced state I am as fast on hills as any of my other bikes. I suspect this will change as my power to weight ratio changes but I think in general my speeds can only go up. At the moment I am 10 lbs lighter than when the Mango Sport arrived. The uptick in riding and change in my eating habits paid off quickly. Only another 40 lbs to go :) All in all I think the increase in acceptable riding conditions that the Mango brings will pay off with a fitter, happier me this time next year.

The Mango Sport has been getting a lot of attention. I am enjoying that and learning how to deal with it. Lately I have found that a brief wave and keeping pedaling is a nice polite way to acknowledge the interest without losing too much time. I have noticed a number of other Mango Sports lately on the Internet. There are some really nice tips and videos out there that I am enjoying.

All in all my Mango Sport is wonderful and I expect to continue to grow into my velomobile. I do think I need a name for her, saying my Mango Sport is a bit cumbersome. I am considering calling her "the Carrot" since she is orange and faster than the "White Rabbit" my raptobike.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Prepping for the STP

Duncan's STP
So I am less than one week away from the STP. This year I plan on doing the one day version and start from my house. This means I will be riding 224 miles, my first double century, on my brand new Mango Sport.

I am nervous and have a bit of anxiety since I didn't train as much as last year and I will be riding a bike that I have only put 210 miles on. But putting that aside, I have the base miles from commuting to work with so I should be good.

I am not sure what my average speed will be but my hope is 16mph. Last year I averaged 16.9 mph on the Raptobike but I was in much better shape and weighed 14 lbs less than I do now. The Mango Sport has been faster than the raptobike at my current fitness level and the STP is well suited to speedy velomobile riding. My plans include a 14mph average speed. I have allocated 50 minutes to rest stops. Last year I spent a lot of time at rest stops but this year I am solo so plan on approximately five 10 minute stops. Given an average speed of 14 mph, the ride will take 16 hours from my house. Add in 50 minutes for rest and we are at 16:50. If I start at 0300 then I will get to the finish at 1950. That is my worst case and gives me 1:10 of buffer. If I average my target of 16mph then I will finish at 1750. That is a great time to finish. Keeping the rest time down is key, but I do have some buffer zone time.

The question is what to bring. Since I haven't trained with any new food solutions I will go with my tried and true.
  • One 2L bladder of Cytomax, refilling as it empties
  • 5 baggies of cytomax, sized for mixing with 1L of water
  • two 500 mL water bottles, initially frozen. I will refill as necessary. I will also douse myself with water as needed.
  • 1.5 lbs of dried cherries
  • 6 packets of cliff shots gels (black cherry with caffeine)
  • spare tube, spare tire, patch kit, pump, tire levers, towel
  • sunscreen
  • sunglasses
  • camera
  • gps
  • gps battery extender
  • phone
  • hand cleaner
  • 2 small towels to keep hands clean and wipe down the mango
  • Imodium tablets
  • Aspirin
  • rain jacket
Since I will be riding the Mango my concerns about rain are nearly nill. I am more concerned about heat than wet. The jacket will be all I need if it rains and only for rest stops.
Velodog tryouts

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Velodog tryouts

Today was a rest day for training on the STP. So we had an impromptu Velodog tryout session. Here are some of the photos.

Casey was calmer inside the velomobile but he didn't want to put his feet down on the side. Lucy was a wee bit more excitable but she was happy to put her feet down. Once she was set she didn't want to get out. She loved it and wanted to nap in the sun while I rode around with her. I think with a little work I have a Velodog!

Of the pictures taken though, I think this one is my favorite:
Velodog tryouts

Sunday, July 4, 2010

My Mango Sport arrived

My Mango Sport has arrived. With just 2 weeks to go for the STP I now have to ride a lot to get used to the mango. I spent Saturday tuning and riding the Mango. I took her to the Farmer's Market in Redmond:
Mango Parked

I saw a number of exotic cars and found a car gathering, they decided that the Mango was an exotic and placed her on display with the Ferraris:
Mango with Ferrari

After I took my groceries home, I headed out on a ride to Seattle. I stopped at Matthews Beach:
Mango Ride

I then continued on to Gasworks Park where I saw some of the Zombies from Fremont. Unfortunately I didn't get any good zombie chase pictures. The mango did escape the zombies and we took a rest at Log Boom park on the way home:
Mango Ride

So far the Mango Sport has been a dream. The suspension is great and really smooths out any chipseal, potholes or railroad tracks I find on route. I am slowly getting use to her handling. For the first 30 miles or so my cadence was much lower than my regular cycling cadence. But now after some seat adjustments and getting used to the velomobile I find my cadence going back up again. The gearing is great. Everything fits so well inside, I love to run errands with the Mango. I am very happy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mango getting closer.

Mango Sport 003
My Mango Sport has returned from Garsthuizen with the frame and drivetrain installed. It is now at Sinner where they plan on finishing it this week. I am super excited and though I don't expect it for PIR it may still make it in time.

There are more pictures in the set if you click through to flickr above. I am so happy with the service, support and communication from Sinner. They have been amazing.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cycling and helmets

Helmets discussions bring out the worst in people. You can find people saying things like "Maybe he (the cyclist) doesn’t want to waste good money on his useless brain!" when discussing the most innocuous video of cycling. Helmet advocates get quite upset even at helmets that are worn but not tight enough. They bring all sorts of arguments to the table.
Kitsap Color Classic 007
My own helmet use has been spotty. While discussing this issue with some friends I remembered that when I lived in Munich I didn't wear a helmet. In fact I don't think I wore a cycling helmet at all until 2000 even though I have been cycling regularly since 1975. After I bought my first helmets in Oregon when I moved back to the US I wore it 90% of the time. Though I refuse to wear a helmet while doing maintenance on my bike and test riding it in a parking lot or around my block.

Even when rock climbing I haven't been 100% on helmet use. I used my helmet mostly when climbing longer trad climbs or even three pitch trad climbs but for sport climbing I often didn't wear a helmet. In fact when climbing I often found I bumped my head quite a bit more when wearing the helmet.
Smith Rock 2000

I have to admit that though I do wear my helmet regularly now, if I didn't have too, I probably wouldn't. It is very convenient not to have to carry this ungainly artifact. And I like to use my bikes for getting around, not just for events, charity rides and racing. And the arguments you often hear about how little you value your brain are easily disarmed when you realize the person talking to you isn't wearing a helmet while engaged in the dangerous activity of going down stairs, crossing the street, or driving their car. All of which have higher fatality rates then cycling measured as deaths/hour of activity.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Waiting on the Mango

I am waiting on my Mango. Most of the wait in administrative in nature. Dealing with Banks, international wire transfers and such. Sinner has been great and I can't recommend them enough. But I admit I am eager for my Mango to move on to the next step and ship. I keep dreaming about it and what it will be like to ride.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Too Funny

I haven't been posting much but this clip is too funny. John Stewart addresses the RNC using donor money to take their Christian Right groups to a Lesbian Themed Bondage Nightclub. It is actually funnier that they didn't tie Michael Steele directly but instead the Christian Right group Young Eagles. I love those values, I believe they are best stated "I've got mine, none for you!"

Ah well, now laugh it up at Stewart and crew, this one is a classic.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
2 Girls 1 GOP
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Reform

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Memorial for James S Watson

My Father's Memorial will be on March 21st, at 12:30pm. It will be at
The First Congregational United Church of Christ, Phoenix
1407 North Second St,
Phoenix, AZ 85004

We will have a small ceremony and a reception afterward.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

James S Watson

My father James S Watson just passed away. It happened at about 1am March 13th, my Mother's birthday. I will be in Pheonix for the near future.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Mango Sport and my fickle desires

Sinner has introduced the Mango Sport a 60 lb Velomobile. I am blown away by the idea of a 60 lb velomobile. This is 15 or so lbs lighter than the Quest Velomobile. Just yesterday I was dreaming about the Musashi as a go-fast bike in my stable since my raptobike has commuter duties now. And now today, I really want a Mango Sport. I spent a few hours talking to other Velo owners (Zyzzyx) and debated the pros and cons of the Mango Sport, the Quest, the Glyde and the Go-one and the Versatile. In the end for me it comes down to the Mango and the Quest. With the Mango Sport edging out the Quest due to the weight. I want to talk to David Hembrow, he has been riding a Mango the past year and works for Sinner so I can get some indirect feel for it, but I am smitten.

I could stand to lose 40lbs from my engine right now. So if I shed the weight and have a mango, I should be as fast up the hills with the Mango as I am today with the Raptobike. I can handle that, especially since that means I can take any hill, any road etc. Suspension and three wheels stability means I can ride the gradually worsening Seattle roads with aplomb in nearly any weather. The Mango Sport will allow me to race, to do fast century rides and commute in the same vehicle. I can use the Raptobike for brevets, hot weather and fun.

So it is time to sell the pile of stuff in my garage so I can afford a Velomobile. I don't think I can resist the allure of this siren call.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Some thoughts on the Musashi

Catrike Musashi
I have been staring at this bike since the video was released. I like it. The 451/622 wheel combination is obviously a performance choice. The SRAM Rival components is also performance centric. The gear range is on the high side, which is appropriate for a fast bike at 32" to 122". I believe that in the summer version of myself I would be able to ride a low gear of 32" up hills in the Puget Sound. Riding this bike would get me into performance shape for sure. I would most likely run this with the SRAM Rival 11-28 cassette, I am not sure which is the default for this bike, but the 11-28 would be great for me.

All of my current bikes are setup with fenders, dynamos, lights, and lots of luggage. I could set up this bike as a lean mean century machine. A couple of frame bags to fit behind the seat, a few water bottles, a pump, a cycle computer (the garmin will work) and done.

I like the idea, I think I need to sell the Corsa, sell the Vivo, clean up my garage and get one of these beautiful bikes.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Catrike Musashi Lowracer

Catrike Musashi

Catrike has released teaser video of their new lowracer. At the moment we just have what can be observed in the video. SRAM Rival components, Carbon Fork, Front Wheel is 451, rear is 700c. Spacing on the fork is very tight so basically this will be running with Schwlabe Durano 28mm 451. The Rear tire will have the typical large selection common to 700c wheels.

I love the rear end geometry. The stiff seat, the solid back end both look like they will contribute to excellent power transfer and provide a great way to mount bags and accessories. In fact I suspect a tailbox would be great on the Musashi.

Congrats to Catrike, a wonderful design.
h/t - BROL blog broke this story, thanks Bryan

Saturday, January 9, 2010

SIR Winter training ride #1 in 2010

SIR Winter Training ride.
I rode with SIR and CBC today. We did the first of the Winter Training Series, it was a great ride and I am happy with my performance given my current winter weight. It was a lot of fun and Russel came out from Seattle to ride it with me. I also ran into Bill Gobie, and made a few new friends.

I think I want to get a cue-sheet holder that I can drape around my neck. Digging in my pocket was annoying. The Garmin Edge on the other hand performed flawlessly and kept me on route even when I made mistakes. I am happy with the way it follows courses. All in all a great start to the season.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Rohloff US Service partner

Cycle Monkey
Performance Cycling Services
713 Solano Avenue
Albany, CA 94706
Tel: 510 868 1777
(US Service Partner)

I promised someone I would post this information here. Finding the current Rohloff partner has been a bit interesting these past 6 months.