I was on vacation for the last several days, so I didn’t get a lot of riding in. I did get to spend some time dicking around with bike parts, though.

One of the strange noises coming from the Cross-Check turned out to be a very loose spoke. I tried to true the wheel up, but wasn’t having much luck.


Turns out the rim was shot.


So, I took the wheel off the Karate Monkey and put it on the Cross-Check. This is a no bullshit, 48-spoke, Phil Wood, Zombie Apocalypse wheel. The Cross-Check gets more miles than any of my other bikes, and it deserves to wear the bling.


That took care of the Cross-Check, but now I had a mountain bike with no rear wheel. I could either build my old road hub into a new wheel, or buy a new mountain wheel.

I decided to go with a new wheel, but it felt stupid to not upgrade to disc brakes while doing it, so – discs on the rear end of the Monkey.


In the interests of symmetry, I put discs on the front, too.

In Summary:

  • Cross-Check now has a zombie apocalypse proof wheel.
  • Karate Monkey now has disc brakes.
  • Bike budget is blown for the foreseeable future
  • I have an Ultegra hub in the garage who wants a bike built around it. Having extra bicycle parts lying around your garage is a dangerous business.

#30daysofbiking – day 24 – Dutch Cemetery


A week or so ago, I was looking at maps, trying to plan out possible adventures to the West of my house, since my standard loop is getting a little stale.

I found a tiny little road that dead-ended in a farmer’s field. The road is called Dutch Cemetery Road.

I flipped over to satellite view, and wouldn’t you know it, it looks like it dead-ends in some ancient cemetery.


So, Sloth and I decided to ride out there to what there was to see.

We rode up the hills, and down the hills,

Sloth Rides down the hills

And up and down more hills.
We rode down scenic country lanes with evil, evil steep hills on them.


And, we found the old Dutch Cemetery. It was very spooky. All the tombstones were sinking into the ground in random directions.


A Veeeerryyy sppoooooooookyy Photosphere!

[sphere 4777 autostart]

After we took some pictures and ate some snacks, we rode back to my house. A hilly 21 miles all together. My legs are sore, but it was a fun ride

There are more photos in the Gallery, but be warned; they are all very spooky!

Ride Stats:

Books: Gospel of the Living Dead


Gospel of the Living Dead

Gospel of the Living Dead is a solid summary of the entire Romero Canon and the various remakes of some of the films.

The structure is very logical — Pretty much one chapter for each film. Each chapter begins with an extremely detailed summary of that movie, and ends with a discussion of the religious issues raised by that particular film. The religious commentary was essentially limited to comparing Romero’s vision for hell-on-earth with one of the various circles of Hell in the Divine Comedy.

Frankly, I was a bit disappointed. There is entirely too much retelling of the movie’s stories, and not enough religious discussion. If I’m buying a book like this, I think it’s safe to assume I’ve seen the films.

The author is a professor of religious studies, so I was expecting something with more depth than just Dante’s version of hell. Maybe I was in an overly analytical frame of mind from having just read The Undead and Philosophy a few weeks ago.

If you are new to zombie movies, and want to get up to speed on the Romero quadrillogy, this is probably a good place to start. If you’re looking for Romero’s take on the ontological argument, you’re out of luck.

There is a good discussion of the social criticisms in the Romero films. Racism, sexism, and materialism/consumerism are all discussed in some detail. If you think zombie movies are just mindless violence and escapism, you’re wrong, and this book will help sort you out.

Anyhow, I give Gospel of the Living Dead 3 Jihadis out of 5.

3 Jihadis out of 5

Books: The Undead and Philosophy


The Undead and Philosophy is volume 22 in the wonderful Popular Culture and Philosophy series.

The Undead and Philosophy

It’s a collection of essays by various professional philosophers about the philosophical significance of zombie and vampire stories, with a few digressions into specials cases, like bioethics of the Frankenstein monster and the problematic case of the not-quite-undead “Infected” people from the 28 Days Later films.

Some of the topics I found most interesting were discussions of the ethical considerations between zombies and vampires. Vampires are fully self-aware, so staking them without due process is somewhat problematic from a human rights standpoint. Zombies, on the other hand, are not “people,” and can be dispatched without ethical consideration. This, of course leads to discussion about why zombies are not people in a way that vampires are, and what exactly does it take to be considered a “person.”

There are also a few essays on political philosophy, which I found interesting. During a zombie outbreak, should you adopt an “every man for himself” individualistic strategy, or band together in more communitarian groups? The Romero films explore these themes in some depth.

Framing the obscure ideas of philosophy in terms of pop culture is a great way to make philosophy accessible to non-academics, and The Undead and Philosophy makes it fun and kind of silly.

Like the rest of the series, the book is not available for Kindle, which burns my ass to no end, but nevertheless, I give it 4 Jihadis out of 5.

4 Jihadis out of 5

If you want a taste of what the book is like, you can read Wayne Yuen’s essay on “The Bloody Connection Between Vampires and Vegetarians” online for free. It’s probably a representative sample of what the rest of the book is like.

Books: The Zen of Zombie


I found this book on the bargain table at the bookstore just after Halloween. The gimmick is that it’s a self-help book which will teach you how to be a total bad-ass just like a zombie.

The Zen of Zombie

As most of you already know, zombies posses many enviable qualities:

  • Zombies know what they want (brains)
  • Zombies are not racist (will eat black brains as readily as white)
  • Zombies are above bribery (will eat rich and poor brains)
  • Zombies are relentless, will endure gunshots and keep on coming for your brains
  • Zombies do not succumb to in-fighting with other zombies
  • etc…

Anyhow, the book presents several exercises you can undertake to become more zombie-like, with the idea that someday, if you are lucky enough, you will be “reborn” as a zombie in the next life.

I’m pretty sure the book is meant to be funny, but some of the arguments are so well made, that you might actually mistake it for a real self-help book.

It’s pretty funny, and since some of the self-help advise isn’t half-bad, I give The Zen of Zombie 3 Jihadis out of 5.

3 Jihadis out of 5

Why You Should Wear a Helmet


A fellow can scarce read a newspaper lately without being reminded of the imminent collapse of the petroleum economy.

It seems obvious that we will soon be building nuclear power plants at a frantic pace, which (I predict) will forestall the total collapse of civilization by about 15 minutes.

the total collapse of civilization

In light of these pressing matters, people are asking themselves all sorts of questions.

  1. “How much oil is there in ANWR?”
  2. “What is the half-life of Plutonium 239?”
  3. “How many cans of beans will it take to get through the winter?”

These are all perfectly good questions, but I think the question we all really need to be asking ourselves is:

“Can Zombies Ride Bicycles?”

If not, the masses can expect to flee from zombie-infested areas on bicycles.

If, on the other hand, zombies can ride bicycles (perhaps recumbent trikes or some such), then escape will be much more difficult, and you may expect to see widespread hand-to-hand combat (or bike jousting) between humans and zombies.


In either event, any reasonable person can agree that there can be no chance of survival without an adequate supply of bicycle helmets, as either eventuality carries great risk of brain trauma, either my pavement impact or by undead mastication.

Bike Helmet

I know many of you are hoarding rice and ammunition, and some are even starting their own vegetable gardens to try to survive the coming apocalypse.

All the rice and vegetables in the world won’t help you if your brain is splattered on the asphalt, or rotting in the innards of a putrid zombie.

Zombie slayer
Image shamelessly stolen from Post Carbon Comics

Unless you think the Bicycle Zombie Slayer is going to come to your rescue, stock up on bicycle helmets — before it’s too late!



It was pretty hot outside today, so I just stayed inside in the air conditioning, watching zombie movies until after dark.

After it cooled off, I took the Trek out for a ride. I have been riding the new Karate Monkey so much lately, the Trek was feeling neglected and the Nanoraptors don’t really care for the pavement anyway.

So, I’m cruising along a country road, watching the fireflies flicker across the corn fields, and generally having a lovely time. A moment later, the headlights of an overtaking car reveals three pairs of eyeballs in the roadway 50 yards in front of me.

The car passes me, and in a few moments, I see two pairs of eyeballs blinking in sync with my LED.

I flick on my “to see by” light, and behold a fearsome visage.

The two pairs of eyeballs belong to a pair of skunks, now about 10 yards off my front wheel.

A bad encounter with a skunk would definitely ruin my day, so I stop the bike and ponder my next move.

They don’t seem to care much about me, because in the middle of the road, sits the headless remains of a baby skunk. The other two are just sort of staring at their dead baby, seemingly not knowing what to do.

Now I don’t know what to do, because I don’t want to ride through freshly-dead skunk guts, nor do I want to get sprayed by the mourning parents.

I stand there for a minute or so, until another passing car chases the mourners off the roadway. Then, I ride on, trying my best to avoid getting any stink on me.

I thought I was successful, but now that I’m home, showered, and sat next to the bike, I can definitely tell that I’ve drug stinky skunk funk into the house.

My cats seem to find the aroma very interesting, my girlfriend… not so much.

Today: 16 miles
July: 70 miles
2007: 679 miles



“Father, give me the Bull of Heaven,
so he can kill Gilgamesh in his dwelling.
If you do not give me the Bull of Heaven,
I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld,
I will smash the door posts, and leave the doors flat down,
and will let the dead go up to eat the living!
And the dead will outnumber the living!”

— Ishtar to Anu, Epic of Gilgamesh

In the movies, zombie go around moaning that they want to eat your brains. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I’m 99% convinced that real-life zombies would not posses the language skills necessary to ask for their preferred food by name.

A zombie

Zombies are nonverbal

Actually, I very much doubt that brain tissue is any more nutritious than muscle, skin, or subcutaneous fat. Besides, brains are much harder to get at, being encased in a bony skull.

In summary, zombies do not eat brains, and even if they did, they couldn’t say so.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled bicycle blog.