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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tandem Travails

I'm sure many a first-time tandem rider can relate to this video from KTVI-TV, Channel 2, in St. Louis.

While doing a preview of the St. Louis Regional Bicycle Federation's Midwest Bike Expo & Swap Show (Jan. 31 in Collinsville, Ill.), KTVI personalities Tim Ezell and April Simpson attempted to ride a tandem down the studio's hallways.

April's cries of fear and loathing are just precious! Tim's not a whole lot better!

Fortunately for the Bike Expo, the Federation's Joe Torrisi did a fine job of getting the facts out of the event.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

UPDATE: Matt Wilhelm's parents on Oprah

UPDATED (JAN. 18): The parents of Matt Wilhelm. the Champaign-Urbana area cyclist who was killed in 2006 when he was struck by a car driven by a woman downloading cell phone ring tones, appeared on today's episode of Oprah Winfrey's TV show.

Gloria and Chuck Wilhelm briefly described how their son died and how they worked to get Illinois laws changed, culminating in the texting ban that went into effect Jan. 1.

"If you get a ticket, you can blame it on us because we were the ones who went to Springfield to work with the senators," Gloria said on the show.

You can see the video of the Wilhelms and other families who lost loved ones in accidents involving distracted drivers at Oprah's Web site.

Oprah launched her "No Phone Zone" campaign on Monday's show. According to an Associated Press story last week, Oprah said she wants people to know "how absolutely stupid it is that we continue to text and drive." She's asking drivers to take a pledge to avoidt text-messaging or talking on cell phones while driving.

Oprah's show is aired at 4 p.m. CST on KSDK-TV, Channel 5, in St. Louis and WCIA-TV, Channel 3, in Champaign-Urbana. You can check where the show appears in your area here.

Matt Wilhelm's death prompted some changes, including better education about cyclists' right to the road and a task force that recommended more laws to protect users of Illinois highway. While progress has been made, more progress needs to be done, including laws that would make it a felony if a distracted driver kills or critically injuries a cyclist, pedestrian or motorist.

You can see a public service announcement about Matt at the News-Gazette.

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Former 'Saved by the Bell' star is a bicycle racer

Admit it, you probably know actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar from his role as Zack Morris in the high school sitcom "Saved by the Bell."

It turns out he's a bicycle racer, too.

In a story this week in The New York Times, Gosselaar talks about his other life as a Cat 2 bicycle racer on the Amgen-Giant Elite Masters team.

In his last recorded race at USA Cycling, Gosselaar finished 25th in the Dana Point Grand Prix in the 35-39 Masters division.

“He’s a really good rider,” Chris DeMarchi, a teammate on Amgen-Giant, told the Times. “It amazes me, with all the hours he puts in with TV time.”

These days, Gosselaar is playing a lawyer in the TNT show "Raising the Bar," and he's appearing in the Off-Broadway play "The Understudy."  The Times article hints that Gosselaar can't let himself get too lean, otherwise he might lose out on some roles.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Tour of Missouri: TV coverage

UPDATED: In case you can't make it to the Show-Me State for this year's Tour of Missouri, you should be able to watch some video of the action.

Versus is planning coverage for each stage of the race. The cable network plans half-hour segments at midnight CDT following each stage. Expect to hear a familiar voice behind the microphone. Legendary cycling commentator Paul Sherwen has confirmed on his Twitter page that he will be on site during the race, and Frankie Andreu will join him

Universal Sports will have streaming video available from the Tour of Missouri. Throughout the week, streaming video also will be available at the Tour of Missouri site, and Here are the times listed for coverage:
  • Stage 1, Monday, Sept. 7: 3:30 p.m. CDT
  • Stage 2, Tuesday, Sept. 8: 2 p.m. CDT
  • Stage 3, Wednesday, Sept. 9: 2 p.m. CDT
  • Stage 4, Thursday, Sept. 10: 4:30 p.m. CDT
  • Stage 5, Friday, Sept. 11: 3 p.m. CDT
  • Stage 6, Saturday, Sept. 12: 3:30 p.m. CDT
  • Stage 7, Sunday, Sept. 13: 3:30 p.m. CDT
KMOV-TV in St. Louis will air Stage 1 of the Tour of Missouri on one of its digital channels. KMOV's coverage is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. CDT Monday and will be aired on Digital Channel 4.2 (Channel 154 on Charter Cable in the St. Louis area). KMBC-TV in Kansas City plans to cover Stage 7 live from 2-5 p.m. CDT on Sept. 13.

Fox Sports Midwest and Fox Sports Kansas City will air the Sherwen-Andreu highlight show. Some of the times are approximate because of broadcasts of St. Louis Cardinals (FSM) and Kansas City Royals (FSKC) baseball games and post-game shows or of college football games. Here's the schedule:
  • Stage 1, Monday, Sept. 7: 10:30 p.m. CDT (FSM and FSKC)
  • Stage 2, Tuesday, Sept. 8: About 11 p.m. CDT (FSM). About 10:30 p.m (FSKC)
  • Stage 3, Wednesday, Sept. 9: 10:30 CDT (FSM). About 10:30 p.m. (FSKC)
  • Stage 4, Thursday, Sept. 10: 11:30 p.m. CDT (FSM and FSKC)
  • Stage 5, Friday, Sept. 11: About 11 p.m. CDT (FSM). 11:30 CDT (FSKC)
  • Stage 6, Saturday, Sept. 12: 12:45 a.m. CDT Sunday (FSM and FSKC)
  • Stage 7, Sunday, Sept. 13: 11:30 p.m. CDT (FSM and FSKC)
Cycling TV's schedule makes no mention of the Tour of Missouri.

I'll update this post when I hear of more opportunities to see the race.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Phil Keoghan is riding across America

rogerkramercyclingI've always liked The Amazing Race more than any other reality show on TV, and host Phil Keoghan has given me another reason to enjoy the show.

Phil is in the midst of a bicycle journey across America. Phil is riding to raise money for the National MS Society, and you can donate money to the cause through his site.

Phil has made his way into Nebraska and is riding today between Holdrege and Sutton. He will ride through Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio on his way to his final destination, New York, where he's expected to ride May 9. His journey began March 28 in Los Angeles.

Phil is doing a video blog of his journey, and you can view it here.

You actually can ride with Keoghan if you want, but you have to sign a waiver to do so. Here's the starting points for Midwestern cities:

4/16 Sutton, NE
4/17 Lincoln, NE
4/18 Omaha, NE BIKE MS
4/19 Atlantic, IA
4/20 Des Moines, IA
4/21 Iowa City, IA
4/22 Davenport, IA
4/23 Rochelle, IL
4/25 Chicago, IL BIKE MS
4/26 Plymouth, IN
4/27 Fort Wayne, IN
4/28 Lima, OH
4/29 Columbus, OH
4/30 Dennison, OH

I'm sure he'll enjoy your company on his amazing ride! I only wish I could get away for a while. I have to pay the bills, you know, plus I have to get ready for Tour de Stooges.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Is bicycling bad for the environment?

On his new show "Stuff Happens" on the Planet Green cable network, Bill Nye the Science Guy has reopened the debate about whether bicycling actually is bad for the environment. One of my friends from the Belleville Area Bicycling and Eating Society, Thomas Carter, has this to say about a recent episode of the show:
"Well, the other day the show was based on things in garages. And where do
most people store their bikes, but in a garage. So. ...

He also mentions an amusing University of Pennsylvania study that claims
people who ride bicycles on a regular basis were actually harming the
environment. This is because bicyclists live longer, and by doing so they
are around to consume more and produce more waste.

Okay... bad idea or what."
The study Nye speaks was written by Karl T. Ulrich of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and it's titled "The Environment Paradox of Bicycling" (PDF file). In short, the study suggests there is an immediate energy savings by bicycle riding, since a cyclist is up to nine times more energy efficient than a single-occupant car. However, the study suggests cyclists increase their longevity by 10.6 days for every year of cycling. Because of that, they consume more energy over their lifetimes, thus doing more harm to the environment.

Back in 2006, several media outlets wrote about the study, including NPR,, the New York Times and Salon.

It should be noted that some of those media sources also describe Ulrich as an avid cyclist and that he admits, "Those who adopt the bicycle as a means of transportation could potentially develop an increased awareness of the environmental impact of their actions and may over their lifetimes reduce energy consumption substantially in their other, non-transportation activities."

I don't know about you, but I'm going to keep on cycling!

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hooray for the sun!

It's good to see the sun out today for Stage 4 of the Amgen Tour of California as the cyclists make their way from Merced to the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, but still a distance from the glory of Yosemite National Park. I remember the stretch of California 140 the cyclists are on now from my visit to Yosemite in 2004, when I took a bus from Merced to Yosemite.

Unfortunately, the weather has almost been as big of a story as Levi Leipheimer's effort to win a third straight Tour of California or Lance Armstrong's strong fourth-place showing.

The San Jose Mercury News noted the sogginess has led some to suggest switching the event to spring. A window has opened in April or May with the recent cancellation of Tour of Georgia, one of three major U.S. tours. But moving the Tour of California to spring would force a scheduling conflict with many of the world's best cyclists. It would dilute the field and diminish the tour's prestige.

"One of the most important races in the world should be in North America," said Andrew Messick, president of event owner Anschutz Entertainment Group. "That's our journey."

The wretched weather also has played havoc with Versus' coverage of the event.
For three straight days, the race's fix-winged aircraft carrying the communications and broadcast technology couldn't fly. As a result, Versus hasn't been able to provide the expansive live coverage it had planned.

On top of that, it slowed the rides down so much that the race wasn't finished when Versus broke away to NHL coverage at 6 p.m. Central Time. That drew an angry response from Armstrong on his Twitter site.

I heard from lots of folks that Versus cut off Tour of California coverage for hockey. Lame!" Armstrong wrote.

Sadly, it's proof cycling still has a long ways to go on the American sports scene.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tour of Missouri to get airtime on NBC

National exposure for the Tour of Missouri bicycle race is growing.

This Saturday, the Jeep World of Adventure Sports will do a segment about the Tour of Missouri that will air Sautrday on NBC (1:30 to 3 p.m. CST on KSDK-TV, Channel 5, for those of you who live in the St. Louis area; check your local listings for other parts of the country).

The segment will include behind-the-scenes footage from Team Garmin-Chipotle shot throughout the seven-day race. Garmin-Chipotle rider Christian Vande Velde, an Illinois native, was the overall winner of the 2008 Tour of Missouri.

(Note: Garmin and St. Louis-based Energizer are partners with Jeep in sponsoring the show.)

Saturday's episode is the final episode of the 2008 season and marks the debut of the Jeep World of Adventure Sports “Green” initiative. Segments dedicated to raising awareness for the issues affecting our environment globally will continue to air throughout the 2009 season.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

FSN Midwest, FSN Kansas City to cover Tour of Missouri

For those of you who are fortunate to have either FSN Midwest or FSN Kansas City, the two regional cable sports networks will be airing highlights of each stage of this year's Tour of Missouri.

Highlights of Monday's first stage will be shown at 10:30 p.m. on both networks. Highlights of Tuesday's, Wednesday's and Thursday's stages will be show in the neighborhood of 10:15 (FSN Kansas City) to 10:30 (FSN Midwest). The start times for those shows are at the mercy of Kansas City Royals baseball (FSN Kansas City) and St. Louis Cardinals baseball (FSN Midwest).

Friday's and Saturday's highlights are slated to begin at midnight, and Sunday's highlights are scheduled for 11 p.m.

The half-hour shows will be hosted by Steve Schlanger and eight-time Australian national champion Nathan O'Neill.

FSN Midwest operates in eastern and central Missouri as well as much of downstate Illinois, southern Indiana and Iowa. FSN Kansas City, of course, operates in the Kansas City region in Missouri and Kansas.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Tour of Missouri coverage on Universal Sports

For those of you wanting to watch freeonline video of the Tour of Missouri, it looks like Universal Sports will be the place to go.

Here's Universal Sports' schedule (All times Central Daylight Time):

Mon, Sept. 08 Stage 1 St. Joseph to Kansas City 1:45 p.m

Tue, Sept. 09 Stage 2 Clinton to Springfield 1:30 p.m.

Wed, Sept. 10 Stage 3 Branson (Time Trial) 11:15 a.m.

Thu, Sept. 11 Stage 4 Lebanon to Rolla
1 p.m.

Fri, Sept.12 Stage 5 St. James to Jefferson City 3:30 p.m.

Sat, Sept. 13 Stage 6 Hermann to St. Charles 1:30 p.m.

Sun, Sept. 14 Stage 7 St. Louis circuit race 2 p.m.

A while back, Gene Bisbee of the Biking Bis blog reported that Universal Sports is making a foray into cycling coverage to see whether there's enough interest to expand its coverage in 2009. Universal Sports has video on demand for the Tour of Germany, and it will cover the UCI Univest Cycling Grand Prix (10 a.m. Saturday) and the Doylestown Criterium (10 a.m. Sunday). Later this month, Universal Sports will cover the UCI World Championships in Varese, Italy.

The Versus cable channel also plans to air hightlights of the Tour of Missouri at 3 p.m. Sept. 28 as part of its Cyclysm Sundays bicycle racing coverage.

It appears from looking at the schedule for and, which provided onlne video coverage of the 2007 Tour of Missouri, that neither outlet has coverage of this year's race. is pouring its resources into the Vuelta a Espana.

The Vuelta a Espana has most of the top European riders, but the sole American in the race, Levi Leipheimer, is making an impact. After six stages, Leipheimer is second in the overall classification, 10 seconds behind Sylvain Chavanel.

I'll keep you posted of other outlets for video of the Tour of Missouri when I learn of them.

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Online coverage of Olympic men's road race: A quick review

Some quick observations about the online coverage of the Olympic men's cycling race:
  • If you haven't already done so, the first time you click on the video for Olympic coverage, you will have to download Microsoft Silverlight. If you run a PC on XP or Vista, you should have no problems. If you run a Mac, you'll be OK if you have an Intel processor. If you have any other kind of Mac, forget it. Although I run OS X at work, my G5 does not have an Intel processor, so I couldn't watch the race.
  • I am impressed with the video quality -- the sharpness is wonderful compared to some other streaming video pictures I've seen, and the color saturation is superb for online video.
  • You will be watching a feed with no audio commentary; you'll have to wait until the race is broadcast on NBC or its sister networks to hear it. NBC's commentary team consists of Pat Parnell, play-by-play; Craig Hummer, play-by-play; Kenan Harkin, analyst; Paul Sherwin, analyst; and Marty Snider, reporter.
  • The Live Commentary feature is similar to commentary features seen on other online video sites such as that for the Tour of California. Be sure to click the "More" tab from time to time. The Live Commentary did not report that American David Zabriskie has dropped out halfway through the race, but a story under the "More" tab did.
  • The Play-by-Play feature was broken during the men's road race. Hopefully, it can be fixed before future races.
Have fun watching Olympic cycling!

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Olympic cycling TV times

Here's the list of TV coverage planned by NBC and its sister stations for the St. Louis area (all times Central Time Zone). You also may want to check for your community because the coverage times may vary. In most cases, the cycling coverage will be included among coverage of other sports, and times are subject to change:

Saturday, Aug. 9
9:00-9:30 a.m, 11:30 a.m.-noon, 1:30-2:30 p.m.: Men's road race (NBC)

Sunday, Aug. 10
Noon-5 p.m.: Women's road race (NBC)

Wednesday, Aug. 13
4-10 a.m.: Men's time trial (MSNBC)
7-9 p.m.: Women's time trila (NBC)

Friday, Aug. 15
9-11 a.m.: Track events (USA)

Saturday, Aug. 16
1 a.m.-1 p.m.: Track events (USA)
11 a.m.-noon: Men's individual pursuit (NBC)

Sunday, Aug. 17
1 a.m.-1 p.m.: Track events (USA)
11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Women's individual pursuit (NBC)

Monday, Aug. 18
4-11 a.m.: Men's team pursuit final (MSNBC)

Tuesday, Aug. 19
1-7 a.m.: Track events (USA)
9-11 p.m., 11:30 p.m.-1 a.m.: Men's BMX (NBC)

Wednesday, Aug. 20
7-10 p.m.: Men's and Women's BMX (NBC)

Friday, Aug. 22
4-9:30 a.m.: Women's mountain bike (MSNBC)

Saturday, Aug. 23
11:30 p.m.-4 a.m.: Men's mountain bike(NBC)

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Catching up

Tour of Missouri on Versus: Highlights from the 2007 Tour of Missouri will be shown from 3 to 5 p.m. CDT Saturday on the Versus cable TV channel. If you missed the live video feeds last week, it will give you a great chance to see how hilly Missouri really is, not to mention to see Discovery Channel's last race in the United States. The two-hour show also will be broadcast from 3 to 5 p.m. CDT Wednesday, Sept. 26.

Floyd Landis: It was a shame, but not all that surprising, that Floyd Landis lost his 2006 Tour de France title. I really don't know what I can add to what's already been written in The Associated Press, VeloNews and other sources.

Late-night cycling in Collinsville: The 19th annual Italian Fest Paisan Pedal Push will begin at 11:59 p.m. Saturday for a short, leisurely ride through the city of Collinsville, Ill. The event begins at the Collinsville Memorial Public Library, 318 W. Main St. The cost of the ride is $12, and registration will close at 11:45 p.m.

Legislation update: Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich used his amendatory veto on a bill that would require bicycle and pedestrian ways to be given full consideration in the planning and development of transportation facilities, including the incorporation of such ways into state-funded transportation plans and programs in urban areas. Blagojevich said he would sign the bill if the wording is changed from "shall" to "may." The League of Illinois Bicyclists says the amendatory veto "gutted" the bill.

Break-in at Old Chain of Rocks Bridge: Bill McClellan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had a column in today's paper about a Charlotte, N.C., couple on a cross-country ride to raise awareness of brain injuries. Unfortunately, someone broke into their support van, which was parked Wednesday at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge parking lot in St. Louis. Here's an excerpt from the column:
Ben and Lee Ann Berry parked their van at the Chain of Rocks Bridge and pedaled toward the Arch, By the way, at the entrance to the bridge, there is a banner. "It is quite possible that your unattended car will be broken into while you are away including your trunk."

While Ben and Lee Ann were away, somebody broke into their van.

The thief or thieves took Ben's computer, Lee Ann's cell phone and her purse, which had her credit cards, her personal identification and a number of coupons from the Cracker Barrel Restaurant chain, which is one of the Berrys' sponsors.
Sadly, break-ins aren't anything new at that parking lot. Trailnet, which maintains the bridge, provides
secure vehicle parking at the Missouri entrance, but it's available only on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. until Nov. 1. After Nov. 1, the Missouri entrance will only be open for vehicle parking during special events.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tour of Missouri Live TV coverage

Watch avflive live video and chat on
Updated Sept. 16: Today is the sixth and final stage of the 2007 Tour of Missouri. If you can't be in St. Louis today. you still can watch it here. Barring a major crash, you'll likely see George Hincapie close out his tenure with the Discovery Channel with the overall title. I think it's most fitting, giving all the loyal service he's given to Discovery Channel/U.S. Postal Service, that he wins the Tour of Missouri.

If for some reason you can't get the video to work above or you want to join the chat about the stage, you can go to this link:

You also can find the video, along with other race information, here:

Today's Stage 6 will start at 1 p.m. CDT at St. Louis Union Station.'s coverage of the race begins at 2:30 p.m. CDT if you want to watch it there today. is free, but you'll have to register before you can see the video.

I want to thank all of you for visiting this blog this week. I will post some closing thoughts about the event either tonight or Monday morning.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Bicycle racing on network TV

I know this is short notice, but for those of you who are bicycle racing junkies may want to watch the U.S. Open Cycling Championship today on NBC. Same day coverage of the race will be broadcast from 1:30 to 4 p.m. CDT.

VeloNews reports that this is significant for U.S. cycling fans because it is the first time since the 1996 Tour DuPont that an American cycling event will have same-day national network coverage. In recent years, U.S. cycling fans have had to rely on cable networks to get same-day coverage of events such as the Amgen Tour of California.

Let's hope the broadcast gets decent ratings so the networks will increase their coverage of cycling.

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