Sunday, July 31, 2011

What Do Bike Helmets and Manicures Have in Common?

They're both shiny, and you can get them in almost any color, and pattern. I mean really, check this out:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Heat Again...

This kind of heat, where temperatures actually exceed 100 degrees, is more than just headline fodder. It's dangerous. It's the kind of day that normally sees reporters out on the street looking for folks who have to power through the sweltering conditions to do their jobs: paving crews, movers, letter carriers. And it has us checking in with local health officials to remind you that things like heat exhaustion and heat stroke can hit you hard, and fast.

But one of the things you're advised to do to keep you cool has it's own hazards, and I don't think I've seen a better, and more powerful explanation of the dangers of over-hydrating (hyponatremia) than the one offered by A Girl On Her Bike. Check it out: and take it easy out there.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

But Wait, There's More!

Yes, Capital Bikeshare bikes are growing in number, so perhaps they are in fact, coming to a neighborhood near you.

Check out the latest CaBi stations coming on line by Fall of 2011.

Will this affect how you ride? When you ride? How often or even whether you will ride? Inquiring WTOP reporters like me want to know...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hot Down on the Farm

Phew, it's not the heat...Barn again...Green and white and brightNot cooped up...IMG_2644.jpg Hot henLemonade, anyone?
IMG_2632.jpg Washing Eggs Rocklands FarmFarm flowersOK, reporter bias...Egg washFree range dust bathIMG_2686.jpg Tree Rocklands Farm
Sippin' at bells...Is it hot in here...Despite that look...Chicken mixChicken mix 2Sunflowers from the garden
Barn red-uxChicken shackNo, that is not one bird, but twoIMG_2693.jpg SunflowerFlowers and farmhouse

Hot Down on the Farm, a set on Flickr.

Not at all bike-related, unless you'll be heading out River Road to Poolesville in which case, Rocklands Farm has fresh eggs and produce for sale. They also head to local farmer's markets on the weekdays.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Colleagues on Bikes..

OK, they're not actually on bikes as they report this, but my colleagues here at WTOP are doing bike-related stories today. 

Michelle Basch is reporting on discussions between the folks at Capital Bikeshare bikes and the National Park Service regarding Cabi access to the Mall.

Also, Mark Segraves   reports on regulating pedicabs in the District of Columbia.

WTOP: it's not just (car) traffic and weather together on the 8's.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

So, Can They Get me a Bike Path to Belgium?

The Twitterverse is exploding with the news that bikes beat a flight from Burbank, CA to Long Beach, CA.

That's great news for cyclists in California. Now, what I want to know is,

Moonlit Nights Made Brighter

Dandies and Quaintrelles strike again with an event that features perfect weather and stylish cyclists, socializing in a spirt of fun and civic-mindedness.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tour de France, Coverage and Cars

While I work in news, I don't really follow sports. Sure, I listen to our reports on WTOP (we have the best in the business!)  but I'm lost when it comes to taking apart the stats and plays. 

That said, anyone who rides a bike --no matter how you ride and what you ride--has at least a passing interest in the world-famous Tour de France.

The cycling world has had its share of drama in recent years. I'm talking about the accusations and investigations into doping. But this year, the drama's been provided by what's been happening on the road, not off it. The crashes. 

And as someone who gets from point A to point B in the District by bike, I think about the risks I'm taking every time I get on the bike. I think about how I have to anticipate what a motorist will do, what the road conditions may be like and what obstacles may pop up along the way. 

But you'd think in the Tour de France, while the riders have to deal with steep climbs and breath-taking descents, cars wouldn't be an issue. Not this year.

It was a French TV vehicle that clipped two riders, reportedly ignoring radio instructions to hang back. 

Clearly I have no clue what was going on in the head of that driver...did he think he had to race ahead to the the footage he needed? Who knows. I do know that as a reporter, I've done some dumb, silly things in order to get the sound I needed to make a story or a beat a deadline. We do what we can to get the story. We try not to become the story. 

So while I understand the pressures onTV crews in covering a fast-moving event like the Tour de France, I was as stunned as anyone watching. And one cyclist, Jens Voigt, blogged about the day and expressed the thought: Isn't this one arena in which a cyclist should not have to watch out for cars? 

One of the cyclists who went down, Dutchman Johnny Hoogerland, displayed class along with guts. He and Juan Antonio Flecha got back on their bikes to finish the day, and according to Le Soir, Hoogerland took a very forgiving  tone. His take: "It's nobody's fault." This after he was thrown into the air and landed on his back hung up on barbed wire. 

Tough guy, and a magnanimous one too.  

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tomorrow's News Today

Guess what the topic is for Friday morning?
Be sure to tune in @WTOP 103.5 FM and I'll post more after that.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

On The Clock Today

This was the look on the Prince George's County Council dais after PG Council Member Leslie Johnson (District 6) notified the council members she would be resigning July 31st. 

Later, after executive session, they would state that the Council, as a body, wanted Johnson to make her resignation effective immediately. The remaining 8 councilmembers added that they would be revoking her access to her county-issued mobile phone, parking pass, access to county vehicles, etc. They also directed her staff to report to the County Administrator effective immediately. Interestingly, under law, they have no power to compel her to do any of these things. There was discussion of changing that law. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Rain, Rain...

Lost a colleague at our sister station, WFED. Suzanne Kubota was a tech wizard with an editor's sharp eye, a writer's deft touch, and a comic's timing. She was great and generous soul and could make you laugh so hard your coffee/beer/milk/beverage of choice would come out of your nose.

I have known her since we worked together at both WTOP and WASH-FM back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. How can so much time have gone by? How can someone be here one day, sharing a joke on the way in to work, and then be gone the next?

There are a lot of aching hearts in the WFED/WTOP Hubbard Broadcasting group right now.

When delivering the news to us last night, Joel Oxley, the Senior Regional VP for WTOP/WFED ended with this: "Be safe and please take care of yourselves and those close to you."

So this is one of those days where you hold those you love a little longer, a little tighter, than usual. And tell stories about this wonderful coworker you had...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Don't Talk, Just Listen...

My job isn't just about talking on the air. It's also about listening. And sometimes, that involves music.'ve seen--and I hope heard--the interview I did with musician Ben Sollee not long ago on WTOP, 103.5 FM and on this blog. If not, check it out. It was a really nice talk.

Well, I made sure I got to his gig at Iota in Arlington, and yes, I biked there.

Regarding the bike part:
Um, can I just say that leg of the Custis Trail from oh, Nash to Veitch St is not made for my heavy Dutch bike? Wish I'd taken my Jamis. That said, I did burn some calories, so thanks for that.

And folks, is it me? Maybe my expectations about bike-friendly Arlington were too high, but I didn't see many bike parking facilities along the stretch of Wilson Boulevard where Iota is located, just one or two U-stands. Let me know if I simply overlooked something, and I'll know where to look next time.

Ok, but this isn't really about me. Really. It's about the show that Ben Sollee put on. Wow. And I think the crowd was with me on that one.

What struck me was Ben's obvious generosity in sharing the stage with the super-talented Phoebe Hunt, a musician from Austin, TX who was a perfect complement to his style. She was new to me and the pairing made it feel like you got a two-for-one deal with the ticket.

During the interview I did with Ben about his Ditch the Van Tour, he mentioned how they hauled 'the merch', all the stuff usually found at tables as you head into a show.

Like every good musician, Ben Sollee sells tee-shirts, and CD's but unlike many, he also has bikey stuff. I couldn't resist a hand-made bike bell: a little work of art for my lovely Dutch Gazelle bike.

Thanks, Ben Sollee, for a great interview and a great show!

And yes, concert photographers: your jobs are safe. As a reporter on a hard news story, I have no problem making my way to the front of a pack to get the vital sound or--now thanks to the internet--photos--but when folks are trying to enjoy a show? I'm loathe to get in the way.

This Week for WTOP

I reported last week that Leslie Johnson had a plea hearing scheduled for June 30th and would be entering a plea of guilty to charges of witness and evidence tampering.

Daniel Valentine of the Gazette Newspaper in Prince George's got the story ahead of everyone else and had correctly reported that she would likely enter a guilty plea more than a month ago, (credit where credit is due) but that date was delayed.

I got word last week that the June 30th date was a go and broke that. After I reported it, the US Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland issued a press release.

This past Thursday, Mrs. Johnson, a Prince George's County Council member and wife of the former County Executive Jack Johnson, had her day in court. This photo shows her flanked by her attorney Shawn Wright and an unidentified man, heading into the courthouse.

I snapped this photo as Mrs. Johnson walked into federal court. No matter what you think of the person involved in a case like this, I can never help wondering; what is it like--on the basic human level-- to have the experience of walking past a crowd of reporters and photographers, head into a courthouse and stand before a judge?

Mrs. Johnson will be sentenced October 13th. Her husband, who pleaded guilty to taking more than $400,000 in bribes, will be sentenced in September.