Colorado Thistles, Trike speed and Rumble Strips

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Cycle America/N

Mighty Muellner or Iron Jim, take your pick, is once again way ahead of schedule. He's in Colorado
suffering thru the infamous rumble strips that their bike advocacy groups are so tortured by. And
he's day's ahead of his scheduled arrival in Longmont. It's a good thing NBG Sponsor High Gear
Cyclery has an apartment above their store that Jim can regroup in. Enthusiastic owner Buzz Feldman,
even has set up a send off ceremony with the Longmont mayor before his club cyclists then ride the
15 miles to Boulder. There bike coordinator Marni Ratzell has set up a reception to go along with
the festive Farmers Market, complete with music, that they have there!


Howdy Folks (have to change my greeting -- everyone is wearing a cowboy hat)!

I doubt that many of you know about thistles. They are always the first thing I pull out or cut off
anywhere around me. Well, I may have to reconsider this. They have the most beautiful flowers. When
they first start to open the bud is deep red surrounded by a green fringe. As they open further they
turn into the most beautiful light purple, delicate and fragile. It is almost as if they are begging
us to give them a chance. Look for them.

This morning as I looked at the map and asked myself a few questions I knew breakfast was going to
be 37+ miles away. I could bike back a mile or so for a real one, but I always hate going back. So I
had a black cup of coffee and a packaged slice of apple pie. Not the ideal, but hey, I'm tough.

There was no wind so I thought it might be fun to see just how good a shape the old body was in. I
got up to 17 mph (with ~100 lbs worth of bike and gear, ed) and maintained that for 12 miles to
Merino, where the only thing in business was a pay phone. Everything, I mean everything, was boarded
up or deserted. I called Paul at my business for some parts and resumed my ride. At 9AM I rode into
Brush. 37 miles in 2 1/2 hours. Not bad for this old body. You would almost think you could go
faster after all these miles. Now where is that breakfast?

The trike is operating very well. The shifting gets a little stiff at times, but that is partly from
all the road dust and my not shifting for long periods of time. I love the fact that my steering is
very easy, no wiggling back and forth when going slow as I see two wheel bikes do when climbing
steep hills. That has got to make car drivers nervous.

The bearing on one wheel is still bad, but I have been unable to find a repair shop or a replacement
yet. Repacked it tho and so far it has been making less noise.

Earlier in the ride I broke a seat weld and was able to repair it easily. Now I broke a second tube
on the seat and will have to decide wether to replace it, weld it, or leave the improvised repair in
place. It is interesting how creative one can become when you have no shop to walk into. These
repairs are important to me so I can correct them on future models.

Now, however, I have run into those terrible, terrible rumble strips, intended to keep sleepy
drivers from running off the road. I personally can attest to the fact that they do not work. I once
had to check the lifeless body of a woman, whose husband had fallen asleep and drove right over
these strips. His comment to me was, I just dozed for a second. Ironically it was here in Colorado.

Anyone who would install a beautiful highway and then deliberately ruin it so bikes cannot ride on
it, wasting tax payer money, has got something very wrong in their logic.

Some are about 18 inches wide next to the highway leaving 4-1/2 feet of rideable shoulder. These
are reasonable Some put the strip about two feet from the highway leaving only two feet of debris
filled shoulder away from the cars. This makes using the shoulder even less likely. Then there are
the worst that make the rumble strips a full six feet wide so it is impossible to use the
shoulder. Where are bicyclists supposed to bike? On the main highway? Maybe that will help keep
those sleepy drivers awake. Or maybe they can kill a biker or two before they kill themselves
driving into the ditch.

Please forgive my comments, but it is a senseless act going on all over the country and someone has
to point out how foolish it is. If a driver is capable of driving a car, it seems senseless to try
to keep them on the highway, by ruining it. There has to be a more reasonable way. Why not a series
of little plastic poles that hit the car and can be easily replaced?

Better end this before I say any more. Jim

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Jim Muellner can be found at His email on
the road is: [email protected]

MARTIN KRIEG: "Awake Again" Author c/o 79 & 86 TransAms, nonprofit Nat. Bicycle
Greenway CEO Ever wanted anything so bad U were willing to die for it? Really die? By moving thru
clinical death and reversing paralysis, *I saw God* when I answered that question.
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