Top ten Wisconsin news stories – 2007

The Wisconsin Historical Society again produced its list of Wisconsin’s top 10 stories of the year. Although not all of it is good news, I’m glad that the Historical Society noted the accomplishments of Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers (item 3). It also noted the breakthrough on stem cell research (item 2) and the accomplishments of the UW Badgers men’s basketball team (item 6).

Cleaning your bike trainer roller

I recently put a new bike on my trainer and rode for 30 minutes. When I was done, I had black melted bits of tire stuck to the trainer roller. I was able to scratch some of it off with my finger, but I wasn’t sure what to use to remove it all.

I searched the Web trying to find a way to remove the black gunk from my trainer. I tried “clean,” “remove,” “bike trainer,” “tire wear,” and all kinds of other combinations. But I was unable to find anything that would indicate how to actually clean the trainer roller.

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Suburban teens bring holiday cheer to inner city youths

Given all of the bad things happening lately, it’s nice to know that there are still people in this world that have big hearts… especially when they’re teens. Students from Oconomowoc High School and Hartford High School collected all kinds of presents for students at Hopkins Street Elementary School in Milwaukee.

For many of us, it’s often hard for us to envision what it’s like to live without simple things like toothpaste or laundry soap. Yet many of the students at Hopkins Street Elementary live like that daily. To have strangers from 40 miles away come in and deliver not only toys but also necessities like mittens, hats, and soap is something of a Christmas miracle.

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My new bike, part 2

This is part two of a three-part series.

In part 1 of “My new bike,” I identified how I started riding a bike for the first time in years this past spring, how my first bike in years met certain needs, how those needs changed, and what I started seeking. As much as I enjoyed riding my Trek 7.3 FX, I was ready to take a step beyond casual riding… I’d been riding for fitness during the latter part of the summer.

In the previous post, I stated how I identified my riding needs. Once I had realized what they were and which bikes to consider, the next step was to actually do some detailed research on them.

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Former mayor slams bicyclists

Some people just take things too darned seriously.

Former Madison Mayor Paul Soglin slammed some die-hard bicyclists for riding in a snowstorm… the second one of the year. An avid bicyclist himself (or so he claims), he approached it with a tongue-and-cheek style. But his overall message was not without merit: bicyclists need to use common sense when riding in conditions that put them in as much danger as the vehicles that they’re driving with.

With the recent dumping we’ve received lately, I’m surprised that people are even out riding during a storm. The city’s ability to clear streets has slowly improved since I moved here several years ago, but when getting dumped by tons of snow, I can’t imagine being able to maintain control (I keep to four wheels in this kind of weather, and I have a hard time maintaining control). Although the streets do eventually get cleared (from additional plowing, people displacing the snow by driving over it constantly, or the sun), the real danger occurs when the streets have fresh powder on them and drivers are varied in their ability to control their vehicles in it (whether they have front-wheel, rear-wheel, or all-wheel drive).

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My new bike, part 1

This is part one of a three-part series.

Darned this whole bicycling hobby… I never expected to become this obsessed over it. But after reading this three-part series, you’ll realize that I’ve become pretty passionate about riding… and why I purchased a new bike recently.

I’ve ridden a bike since I can remember. I started on a tricycle like any other two-year old. When I was a about four-years old, I rode a used yellow steel-frame two-wheeler with solid tires and training wheels (the training wheels eventually came off). At seven, I got a cruiser with the hi-rise (or “ape-hanger”) handlebars and a banana seat (those seats were apparently cool in those days). I think it was a knock-off of the Schwinn Sting-Ray. At 12, I finally got a “grown-up” bike: a Kent 10-speed road bike. I rode it until I was about 18 (or, should I say, outgrew it?).

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My idea of a good smoking ban law

Wisconsin Governor Doyle recently called for a special session to pass a statewide smoking ban (among other things). I support one, but only as long as it is discussed and debated properly.

There is a lot of anti-smoking sentiment in the state, but there are also those that feel that their rights are being trampled. I’ve been on both sides of the debate. I smoked for 14 years, and quit almost 3 years ago. Although I can no longer stand the smell of cigarette smoke or odors, I also experienced how difficult it is to quit. I’ve seen many others struggle to quit. I don’t agree that the first amendment allows people to assemble peacefully for the sake of smoking… I never visited a bowling alley just because I was a smoker (I did it to bowl). But the reality is that smokers still have the right to choose to smoke… as much as I have a right to bitch about how much they reek (don’t get me wrong; I also complain about those that bathe in perfume).

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Brett Favre – Sportsman of the Year

Congratulations to Brett Favre for becoming the Sports Illustrated sportsman of the year. The three-time MVP has had a few tough years recently. But given that the Packers are doing so well with number 4 at the helm, watching him Favre fun is just truly exciting and, uh, well, fun. This post is dedicated to him, his supportive family, the Packers, and all of the fans.

Wisconsin State Journal/AP: Packers: Favre chosen Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year

Sports Illustrated: 2007 Sportsman of the Year