I Have Something I want to Say


by Mark Janz on Saturday, August 25, 2012 at 4:11pm ·


                I heard something today from Mitt Romney that got me thinking. He said in effect, he “didn’t want America to become Europe”. I know that was just a pandering statement made on the campaign trail, but let’s think about that for a moment. First off I am an American and glad I am. However my family three generations ago were all immigrants from Europe. Is America that much different? This country is as vast as central Europe and the regions here are as diverse as the countries there. Notwithstanding the major cities and urban areas of the world, rural communities (of which I consider myself) are highly secular and cultural. I came from Kalamazoo Michigan to Phoenix Arizona in 1978 at 24 years of age. The differences were apparent immediately. Old established small town community versus new and growing populace with many, many growing pains.

                I had visited and vacationed in parts of the USA before moving and got a taste of much of the eastern half of the country. Since moving I vacationed and visited a lot of the western half. In my experience the people of different regions can be as different as foreign countries, except they all speak a modicum of English, and sometimes that is debatable.

                America is no longer as unique as it once was. Although, we still live in a far freer society than anywhere else in the world. We have an innate sense that we can overcome desperate times. This may be changing. Education is the key. South Korea, Finland, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Estonia, Switzerland, Poland, and Iceland all outrank us in reading, math, and science education, in that order. Ever wonder why the majority of most scientists, doctors, and engineers of note are no longer of American decent?

                While religious intolerance fuels wars in the Middle East, the religious fervor of intolerant Americans permeates the politics of this campaign season. Truly sad, because, after all, this country was founded on the belief of freedom of religion. AND the separation of state and religion. Believe whatever you wish, but don’t try to enact laws enforcing a belief or secular tenet.

                Which brings us to the original statement, “America becoming Europe”. I truly believe that until we become involved in a peaceful and tolerant global community can the plight of America see a beneficial upswing in our daily existence. We are not that different. I see America becoming Europe, Canada, Mexico, South America, the United Kingdom, Africa, the Middle East, India, Asia, Australia, Greenland, Iceland, Russia, and Antarctica. And also them becoming America. This is a high hope that will take efforts from some very backward and liberty deprived world nations. It is hard to worry about the bigger picture when you are starving. So, I posit that famine must be eliminated first.

                The USA has farmland for great harvests, yet farmers are scraping by. Distributing grains and vegetables for food instead of fuel additives on a universal market might be a wiser choice.

                Climate change is looming and it might just take a rearrangement of agricultural practices worldwide to keep our food on the table. A generation or two will tell the tale. I trust we will set our priorities and realize that separation and intolerance is not the answer.

                Let us become an America with strong ties to our neighbors, in our neighborhoods and our global humanity.



The Bad Made Worse Turns Good

Today I went to the LBS and it was a great experience. Unlike times before when it was to say the least CONDESENDING.  The lady that helped me out was knowlegeable and more than willing to  suggest some help for my flat tire predicament.

Back on the Road Again– Willy Nelson

So I now have 2 rolling  tires w/ tire liners and 3 spare tubes , plus 2 valve extenders for my new wheelset. Which I tensioned and trued today




Here are the new wheels.

The Good, The Bad, and the Bad Made Worse

The weather was partly cloudy,and in the high 60’s yesterday morning. Perfect riding weather. Took my usual morning route and had a really enjoyable spin on the Talon. The one thing that really made an impression was how freindly everyone that I passed or met was. Maybe it was the lower temperatures but I had smiles and hellos from almost all I saw. Later around 4:00 PM I took a ride over to my sisters house. This is the bad part. On the way home I ran over a little clump of dead weeds growing from a crack in the street. Two blocks later I felt a wierd vibration, I had a low tire. Another block and steering got wobbly, now I had two flat tires and a little over a mile left to go. I limped home and made it without popping a bead off my rim. Once home I removed the tubes and luckily only had 3 small punctures. I patched them up and all was good. Or so I thought ! Putting the tubes and tires back on was a pain. Those Vittorrio tires fit very tight, and I inadvertantly poked 2 new holes in the tube with my tire spoons. Took the tube back off and saw it said “super light tube” stamped on it, oops I guess I was a little too rough for the thin rubber of the tube. So I had made the repair into a mess and will have to go out today and pick up a couple of new tubes. Dang, I hope my bike shop has the right size tubes in stock.

Now I also have a little rant.Why is it bike manufacturers chop the steer tube off so low? Not only BBB’s but the high end manufactures too. Is it really too much trouble to include $ 3-4 worth of spacers so we can adjust our bikes geometry for ourselves? The only bike I have not had to add an ajustable stem to is my Schwinn Solitaire and thats because it actually came with one. If you buy a new fork it invariably comes with a long steer tube to cut to length. I admit I am now 58 yrs old, and not as spry as I once was, but geesh! Get real! I am not a TT sprinter nor an all out mtb competitor, I like being comfortable on a bike and not having to practically lie down to ride. On the Kestrel Talon, I added an Origin8 stem riser. Went on a 20 mile ride and I feel great. My best guess is I have long legs in proportion to my torso and arms because I dont fit any contemporary fitting specs out there.