Thursday, November 22, 2012

And More Thanks ...

Continuation of More Thanks (Should be the last installment)...
  • For the push for electric cars and reducing dependency on foreign oil. I will buy one someday, I just need the range to be a little bit longer.
  • For Twizzlers.
  • For my wife's exceedingly thoughtful gifts.
  • For my wife in her yoga tights!
  • For my wife's consideration of forgiveness. I won't let you down!!
  • For people that respect cyclists that respect drivers.
  • For telling Verizon they can keep their TV service, the Sjoberg clan wants to experience the world first hand.
  • For the library, you provide so many lessons learned.
  • For power tools. In the words of Tim the Toolman Taylor, "ARGH, ARGH, ARGH!!"
  • For learning there is more to life than bringing home a big paycheck
  • For warm clothes fresh out of the dryer on a cold day.
  • For Kids having only to worry about how they are going to play.
  • For my boys laughter.
  • For understanding that some higher power will judge whether I left the world a better place.
  • For learning to live in the moment because our lives could be taken away from us in the blink of an eye. I miss you Julie Taylor (Frank) and Lemmy Kirkland. It is so easy to get caught up in stuff and forget this. Let's hope I can keep remembering to do this.
  • For punctuality.
  • For audio books and figuring out that mundane tasks (i.e. raking leaves, driving) allow for easy listening opportunities.
  • For trying to learn to do things in moderation. Very much a work in progress.
  • And lastly for the air I breathe.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

More Thanks ...

A continuation of Give Thanks ...
  • For having lots to be thankful for.
  • For songs and musicians that move me. From Garth Brooks to Pearl Jam to Techno to Peter Gabriel.
  • For learning from my mistakes. I have made some big ones. Unfortunately I can be a slow learner sometimes.
  • For Boy Scouts and the life long lessons it taught me. I wish I would have kept reciting the Scout Law over the years. I let you down on a few. Going to work hard to not allow that to happen again.
  • For the outdoors and camping and hiking.
  • For getting lost because it makes you want to stay found.
  • For home cooked meals that have lots of love poured into them.
  • For playing cards with my family.
  • For traditions.
  • For the internet. It is amazing how much information is at our fingertips now a day's. Who knew that duct tape could be used to remove a wart on my son's finger.
  • For the great schools my kids are able to go to.
  • For strong work ethics.
  • For my step-parents.
  • For my in-laws.
  • For my step-brother.
  • For my wife's organization skills. She is a labeling machine.
  • For my wife's seafood lasagna.
  • For people that don't text and drive. I am trying to stop this. Almost there.
  • For my weaknesses and identifying them and trying to improve them.
  • For my strengths, not always sure what those are but everyday is a chance for strengthening.
  • For those that serve in the military.
  • For some awesome teachers that I had growing up. Mrs. Bloomquist, Mr. Shaw, Mr. Davis.
  • For the summers I used to spend in Maine with my grandparents.
  • For the humongous Swiss Roll Grammy used to make.
  • For geocaching, although we don't do it enough but it sure is fun when we do it.
  • For scavenger hunts my wife has planned for me.
  • For learning to be myself and not what I think someone wants me to be. This is a work in progress.
  • For my boys that never think twice and always wear their bike helmets.
  • For different perspectives.

Probably to be continued ...

Giving Thanks

  • For great friends that you can always count on.
  • For books like 7 habits of highly effective people, 7 principles for making a marriage work, parenting that works, Scrum guide (Odd but has good stuff for all aspects of life).
  • For my beautiful wife that has put her individual life on hold for our family and is raising two amazing boys that she is very proud of.
  • For my wife that gets up everyday and feeds the boys, gets them dressed and then takes them to school
  • For meeting my wife.
  • For finding a goals list from 1999 that included "propose to Lyra" on it.
  • For regaining the focus and values I once had in life.
  • For a job that I enjoy.
  • For the community of Crofton.
  • For those that volunteer and don't expect anything in return.
  • For my two healthy, smart, loving boys.
  • For my mom.
  • For my dad.
  • For my grandparents.
  • For my other mom (Helen-Sue).
  • For my best friend (Wes).
  • For my therapist.
  • For EMDR, that stuff is bringing back some good old memories.
  • For the people in my past that gave me positive and negative experiences. For the negative things I have learned from them and forgiven you for those. For the positive experiences, I hold onto those and try to implement them in the way that was impressed on me.
  • For three stray cats in our backyard that we feed.
  • For all the animals that have been a part of my life and touched me deeply.
  • For leaves that provide shade during the summer eventhough you always fall to the ground and we have to pick you up every year.
  • For my hammock.
  • For my camera and the pictures it has captured over the years.
  • For Chimay, Rochefort, Westmalle, Delirium Tremons.
  • For unselfish teammates and to sacrificing myself for the greater good of the team.
  • For learning how to share feelings.
  • For patience.
  • For focusing on the positive. 
  • For my puffy coat that keeps me warm.
  • For the floor heat in my car.
  • For crossfit.
  • For my bike and the freedom and natural highs it provides me when I am rolling through the country side and the endorphins are kicking in.
  • For Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Not only are you beautiful but you have a very special meaning to the Sjoberg family.
  • Sadly I must admit that I am thankful for Taco Bell and Mountain Dew.
  • For a nice cup of hot Dunkin Donuts Original Blend home brewed coffee. Nothing smells much better than that in the morning.
  • For learning to support my kids in whatever they choose to do. I will not live vicariously through my kids and try to push them to do what I wanted to do. If you want to do the ribbon event in gymnastics, I will be right there with you and will love every minute of it.
  • For finally learning to appreciate my wife the way she deserves, sorry babe it took so long.
  • For friends that would rather go out rucking on Friday night then go to a bar.
  • For empathic people.

To be continued ...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Changing the Decline of Kids Biking to School

Did anyone know that it was National Bike/Walk to School Day this last week?

Pretty sad that the number of kids biking/walking to school has fallen off a cliff over the past couple of decades. Now we have a national day for this. Every day should be bike/walk to school day!

I remember when I went to elementary school in the early 80's, we had at least half the school biking/walking to school. I think we may have had a total of 3 buses. I had great memories of riding to school with many of my friends growing up. We would even leave early from home so that we could ride the long route to school. This usually involved a little dirt track fun. We would even meet up with kids along the way.

My sons local elementary school only allows the 5th graders to ride their bikes to school. Because of this it only has one bike rack and it isn't even full. So so sad. A vicious cycle has occurred whereby parents are concerned about kids safety. So they begin driving kids to school and put more cars on the road. Which increases congestion and potential for more traffic accidents. Some argue that riding distance was a barrier. Our school is right in the heart of our community. I think most kids are within 1 mile of the school.

Crofton Woods Elementary School SINGLE bike rack.

Here is a good article on why biking/walking has declined.

My boy absolutely loves riding to/from school. I go so far as to carry his bike back home and carry it to pick him up when we do ride back from school. It gives us some time to talk, get the blood flowing. We have great side walks (recently the corners were overhauled to ramp down to the street) and crossing guards that look out for our children's safety.

I am going to get active and change this at my local level. I already have a local bike shop, Family Bike Shop, willing to support us with additional bike racks. Additionally a local cement company is willing to dump their daily overage into frames that we construct.

Get active and educate folks!

Monday, April 30, 2012

How to save MOOLAH, so you can buy more bike stuff

I come from a long line of penny pinching parents. I don't implement all that has been passed down to me. Namely drying used paper towels on the clothesline (true story, Grandfather did this) but I try to pinch where I can. Because over time it adds up and then I can buy the fun stuff like Gucci Zipp Carbon wheels. And fuel my other vice, Belgian trippels (Bier that is). My grandfather would be rolling over in his grave if he knew that I have a set of wheels for my bike that retail for probably more then he collectively spent on vehicles in his lifetime.

Below is a list of various things one can do to save a little money here and there. Some of this stuff may be hazardous to your health, I will let you be the judge of that. Additionally you will have to ride a fine line to degree in which you implement any one or more of these without risking war of the roses with your significant other. 
  • Shelter
    • Hang paper towels (if you want to go extreme)
    • Dry your clothes on a clothesline.
    • Lower thermostat in winter and raise it during the summer. If you have a programmable thermostat, use it.
    • Replace incandescent with CFL or LED bulbs
    • Raise your home insurance deductible
    • Grab floor space in someone's hotel and split with the extra soap and shampoo. I traveled a ton for work a couple of years ago and every time I would take home the soap, shampoo, condition and anything else that wasn't glued down. I can say I haven't paid for a bar of soap or shampoo for about 5 years.
  • Gettin' Around
    • Own a fuel efficient car - better yet, if you can handle an electric car, go for it. This is certainly in my future, just want the range per charge to get a little better. <soapbox> I would love to never purchase another gallon of gas. Mainly because it would be good for America to significantly reduce its dependence on foreign oil. </soapbox>
    • WARNING Dangerous Tip - Draft semis. Come on we do it to conserve energy on the bike. Why not increase your MPG's. But please use caution, when they start veering off into the break down lane and turning on their flashers, it is time to back off and find another truck. Trust me on this one. I will tell you that story over a beer sometime. 
    • Carpool to races.
    • Ride instead of drive - great for training but make sure you shower, people at work don't want to smell you rotting in chamois creme.
    • Raise your auto insurance deductible.
  • Table Scraps
    • Make your own meals. Especially dinner but even make sandwiches instead of eating at McD's during race weekends. I do break this rule from time to time because it is good to support the communities that host events
    • Take your lunch to work - my great wife always makes enough food at dinner time for a family twice our size. I always bring the leftovers in to work instead of dropping 7 bucks at the nearest Taco Smell.
    • Let someone else keep starbucks in business and stop buying the venti double bubble caramel machimottos
  • Shopping
    • Sell your old stuff on eBay or craigslist
    • Buy stuff on ebay/craigslist but watch out sometimes you can find items cheaper at places like Amazon
    • Get on a great team (Bike Doctor rocks) that hooks you up with low prices on bike stuff! Unfortunately for me this doesn't lower my overall bike cost because I end up buying more cool things.
    • Buy generic and buy in bulk - you will eventually eat all 5 gallons of peanut butter.
    • Use fatwallet.com to find deals, coupons and get cash back on online purchases. I have probably received a couple hundred bucks in cash back from this site over the years. This is in addition to a cash back credit card that you can use to make the purchase.
  • Entertainment
    • Cancel cable - Who needs it anymore (aside from major league sports) with the internets. You can go to a local sports bar if you really got to watch the BoSox's tromp over the Yanks!
    • Completely turn off DVD players, TV's, game consoles. Can save 100's a year if you own a bunch of stuff that lies around waiting for you to turn it on. Either connect these devices to a power strip with an on/off switch or connect them to a wall outlet that has a wall switch.
  • Misc
    • Cancel telephone land line
If you got any more good ones, I would love to hear them. Add a comment.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Group ride junky!

The subject says it all. I live for the group ride. I am a friggin' junky for a leg breaking group ride. Like Charlie Sheen hitting another speed ball, I gotta have my group ride. And not in a way that I think of it as a race and try to win sprints and KOM's but that I look to punish my legs/lungs to the extent that I can barely walk afterwards. And the stronger the riders that regularly show up, the BETTER. I secretly start grinning when I see multiple fast dudes/chicks post up because I know we are all going to be in for a great work out.

Almost every group ride starts out with a pretty decent size pack that rolls together nicely for a few miles but then the speed in-evidently picks up and slowly guys start missing pulls. Then it is down to just a few to keep trading pulls until everyone explodes. When I have my legs back after a few months of getting dropped on the group rides, I love nothing more then for someone to keep pulling through. I will always dig a little deeper and try to be the last one to pull through.

The DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia (NOVA) area has plenty to offer in the group ride arena, here is a sample of where I like to get my group ride fix on:
Tuesday noon hill ride from Arlington Italian Store
Contes Tuesday evening ride (especially when the kegs are tapped and food is free on the first Tuesday)
Thursday noon Hour of Power from DC Cyclelife
Wakefield Tuesday/Thursday evening ride
The Point (a.k.a. Hains Point) anytime
Davidsonville 424 Park and Ride (Tuesday/Thursday)
Greenbelt race on Wednesday

New edition may be Westside Worlds hosted by Adventures for Cure.

I hear the Tuesday Night Worlds in Reston is pretty stellar but a long haul. The goon ride is a bit out of the way for me as well but I hear it is one of the fastest out there.

I can't wait to get my next fix. Hope to see you guys out there. Probably going to show up at 424 ride tomorrow.

Any other fast group rides in the Northern Virginia, DC, Maryland area? Leave a comment. I will tally them up and put them on my group ride page.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Carl Dolan Pics

I handed off the camera to one of the Bike Doctor "MABRA housewives" and she was able to capture some good shots of the 1, 2, 3 action. It is a little Bike Doctor focused. Congrats to team DC Velo for walking away with the 1-2 podium. Check the pics out in the link below.

Dolan Pics