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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Around the horn

The publication design class I'm teaching this semester at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville continues to gobble up vast quantities of my time, thus I've been lax at both cycling and writing about cycling.

Anyone who thinks teaching is easy would be wrong. It would be safe to say that I'm basically earning minimum wage this semester because of all the prep time needed when teaching a class for the first time. Because this is a visual course, I've spent hours creating visual presentations for the students.

For the most part, I think the students have responded well to what I've tried to do. I have one student who probably needs a swift kick in the butt -- figuratively, not literally -- strong words of advice to motivate her to work up to her potential, but the vast majority of students are working hard and trying to improve their skills.

I must say that this has been a learning experience for me as well, especially because this is the first time I've taught a class at any level. I've had to learn that I need to be as specific as possible in writing tests and assignments, and I constantly have to remind myself that these students are still trying to learn a complicated software program, QuarkXPress, that I've been using for more than 10 years.

Here's some other items of note about the world of bicycling:

BUBBAFEST KICKS OFF: When I scheduled my vacation time for 2008, I fully intended to be on BubbaFest, the weeklong ride my longtime cycling friend Bubba Barron puts on every November in the Florida Keys. However, the class and the higher cost of living we've all experienced this year prevented me from making the trip.

One of my college buddies and longtime Tour de Stooges volunteer Doug Kaufman is making the trip, and I'm sure many of my cycling acquaintances are along for the ride. This morning, they are riding 52 miles from Key Largo to Knights Key Campground. After a layover day Monday on Marathon Key, they'll ride 42 miles Tuesday to Key West.

As I write, it's 39 degrees in beautiful Belleville, Ill. By contrast, the temperature in Key Largo is 75 degrees.

Man, I wish I was in Florida right now!

IOWA BOWLING ALLEY WINS COURT BATTLE: A bowling alley owner in Wall Lake, Iowa, who faced suspension of his liquor license after a half-naked customer slid down a beer covered bowling alley during RAGBRAI in 2004 will be able to keep his license, The Associated Press reported.

The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division threatened to suspend Darrin Boger’s liquor license after the incident at Lake Lanes, but the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled in Boger’s favor. The case revolved around rumors that Boger planned to sponsor a naked beer slide for riders on the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.

The man was arrested for indecent exposure and state regulators wanted to suspend Boger’s license for alleged violations of a law that deals with nude peformances.

Court records show a state trooper stopped in Boger’s business and was monitoring the crowd when a man dropped his shorts and ran toward the beer-soaked plastic.

“Having a liquor license doesen’t give you the God-given power to know when someone is doing to take off their clothes,” attorney Robert Tiefenthaler said. “So this was a good win. And it was a long time coming.”

50,000-MILE BICYCLE NETWORK IN U.S. WINS APPROVAL: A few weeks ago, fellow cycling blogger Gene Bisbee reported on his Biking Bis blog that the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials approved a National Corridor Plan that sets the framework and guidelines for developing the U.S. Bicycle Route System.

One of the fascinating facts about the route is that many of the proposed route corridors parallel old Route 66. The proposed Bicycle Route 37 going from Chicago to the middle of Oklahoma, Bicycle Route 80 would take cyclists through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, then Bicycle Route 70 would complete the trip to Santa Monica, Calif. Maybe the people developing the route system should consider calling that corridor Bicycle Route 66.

As you may be aware, the League of Illinois Bicyclists has developed the Route 66 Trail, a network of roads and bike trails along the state's Route 66 alignments. Cycling advocates in my part of Illinois are pushing to create a system of bike trails that link St. Louis and Springfield, Ill.

Meanwhile, the St. Louis-based Gateway Council of Hostelling International is planning a weeklong ride next year along the Missouri alignments of Route 66 that would start in the St. Louis suburb of Eureka and end with a jaunt along Route 66 alignments in Kansas and Oklahoma.

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