Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Harry's Courier Times response to anti bicycle letter

It’s quite distressing that anyone (Mrs. Abrams in a previous letter to the editor) would feel animnonisity to someone simply because they are riding a bicycle. Perhaps Mrs Abrams in miss-informed. A bicyclist has the same rights to the roads and is committed to following the same rules and regulations as a car by law. Simply put, bicyclists have the same rights to the road but should stop at lights and stop signs, ride as safely to the right as possible, simple common sense. Yes there are some cyclists that act like idiots but aren’t some motorists guilty as well?

Ironically Bucks County roads that were designed for horse and buggy years ago are at capacity with lots of huge cars and trucks witch makes it sketchy for everyone, all the more reason to drive or ride cautiously. As an avid cyclist I have changed the roads I ride on because of this fact but occasionally must ride on a busy road to get where I got to go. All I ask if I’m ahead of you please slow down and pass when safe with caution, it literally will take seconds in most cases!

Here’s an idea, pretend that that bicycle rider member of your own family, wouldn’t you treat them differently?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bicycle and car conflict

Cut me a break

As I commute to work on my bicycle, unpleasant encounters happen sometimes to dampen my confidence in the human race. Being on a bicycle does not make me a lesser person. Maybe by writing this short essay, I can educate motorists as to what it’s like to commute in a manner other than by the automobile.

Pennsylvania law states that bicycles must follow the same rules and regulations of the road as cars.

I ride my bike to work simply because I live close enough, it’s cheap and it’s good exercise. Generally it’s a wonderful way to start off my day, although I’ve had many a nice ride tarnished by aggressive motorists.

It’s moronic behavior to beep your car horn from behind me. I guess you want me to move out of your way, so you can to aggressively speed ahead of me to save a second or two. It’s ironic that I usually meet you at the traffic light that you rushed to get to. Blowing by me and then cutting me off to make a turn is unacceptable and rude, not to mention dangerous. I get angry when people treat me like a second-class citizen because I’m riding a bicycle.

For those people in a car that don’t understand, think about this: I have a family and a job just like you. I must be at work at a designated time just like you. The only difference between you and I is the method of travel - I choose to get to my place of employment by bicycle.

I realize that the automobile is the chosen method of transportation for the majority. Henry Ford was a genius, but I’m sure he’d be surprised at what the automobile has done to some people. Entering a car turns some otherwise nice people into self centered, rude and aggressive beings- but that’s a topic for a different story. I do appreciate the people who are courteous of me on the road, waving me through intersections and waiting for oncoming cars to pass so they can give me a little room as they go by.

I do realize the risks of cycling on the same roads that are inhabited by people hurling in thousands of pounds of steel. All I ask from motorists is respect. Maybe slow down a little. Give me a few inches of the road to which I legally have as much right as you. Have a little consideration for your fellow man.

Remember that I’m someone’s husband, son, brother, just like you. Treat me as you would like your husband, son or brother to be treated on the road. Think about that the next time you gun your engine as you pass me on the road.

Harry Betz

Newtown, Pa


Hi, This little essay was written with my wife’s help, Rebecca Borsavage-Betz.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pa fracking

As Japan recovers from a terrible earthquake we here in Pa are close to allowing big business to fracture bedrock (fracking) to extract natural gas. I’m no geologist but it seems to me that if I wanted to start an earthquake fracking would be a technique I would employ.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Iron Cross 2009

My 4th year of doing Iron Cross didn't disappoint as every year its different and special. This year would be especially challenging, no longs ride in the legs - a potentially fatal error with such an undertaking but heck, whats the worst that could happen - stuck in the middle of nowhere or a drive back in the meat wagon.
Procedure was the same, get up at 4am, meet George at 5am for a 3 hour drive to Michaux State Forrest, the starting point. I think next year I'll go the night before to save having to get up so early.
300+ of us started on a glorious fall day in the Spiral of Death. After getting kicked out of the spiral the ride dumps us out on a smooth gravel trail for about 10 miles with only a sandy beach to that had us dismount. Smooth sailing - till the 1st of many hills. After going up a long hill on the gravel we get dumped out onto the road for some up and down for 7 miles. At 16 it's into the woods for the 1st of a number of knarley mountain bike sections. The 1st starts easy enough, slight uphill single track over rock gardens then it's downhill a steep rocky trail with riders lining the sides. Are they resting or watching the carnage?, I never did figure it out. Happily out of the woods intact onto some smooth pavement for a couple mile long downhill that was tempered by a stinking cross wind, but heck at least it was going down.
Now for the guts of the ride as that was the last easy part. Long fire road climbs, mountain biking takes us to the infamous 'walk ups". The 1st is especially steep and long that gets your heart rate to red line the whole way. Once at the top it's down a sandy trail to another one that has a welcome check point at the top, not as bad but difficult just the same.
At this point the legs are starting to feel the effort and worry sets in - still 35 miles of ball busting terrain to go! Eat, drink, go easy up the hills and maybe you'll have a chance to complete this ordeal says the little man on my shoulder.
The little man was right and hacked through the next 30 miles including the 5 mile never ending gravelly climb. This was the next to the last worst section leading up to the last "walk up".
But wait, there's more. Long zig-zaging single track sections through the woods, cross a couple streams, some more climbs, by this time it's a blur. Yipee, long knarley up hill opens up to the last walk up. When you have to crane your neck to see the top you know you're in trouble. It's different this time, vegitation is growing and looks normal, not like a luner lanscape devoid of any green or growth. At the top is's a long, fast descent on the road with a couple small climbs back to the start that are quite a chore due to limp legs.
Happy to finish this ride again without mis-hap and even enjoyed the scenery at times. Those of you that want a cycling challenge that has it all, check Iron Cross out!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ride to see the Acela

As a fan of big fast things I figured it would be a neat thing to combine a bike ride down past Morrisville on the canal trail to see these big suckers fly by. For those that are wondering the "Acela" goes from Boston to Washington, DC and is the fastest train in the US and can go upwards of 140mph on certain stretches of track.
From Morrisville the canal trail breaks up here and there but if you just go around the break it starts up just fine. Just about 2 miles south of Morrisville the train seems to dead end at a junction of train tracks. The track that the Acela runs on is to the left and about a 10 yard walk down to the tracks.
1st a woosh then a rush then its by you and you're stairing at tail end of this rocket ship of a train - quite impressive. Tried to take some pictures but the darn thing was too fast, I'll try next time. I want to go for a ride some time!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Chilly Cheeks trail run 2008

You're probably thinking what is a cyclist doing trucking through the woods without pedals between his legs. One word sums it up - challenge.
Chilly Cheeks trail run is another perverse product of Ron Horne, race organizer from http://www.pretzelcitysports.com/ based in the Reading, Pa area. There's a whole series of them with wacky names, Chilly Cheeks, 7 miles or so of hills hills, hills.
Starting off with 462 runners, the 27 degree January day was perfect for a run through the woods. The fun ends when ascending one of the many long hills that has everyone panting with delight. Some ice and snow made for some interesting footing but heck, if I wanted safe conditions I'd go for a run around my block.
All in all got through the run intact and even saw the famous Reading pagota (I ran past it previously and didn't notice the 10 story pagota due to my delerious state). Only fell once witch is good.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Where's my baleout?

Once upon a time there was a young man who decided that he would pursue what some called the “American dream”. He decided to open up his own business and be responsible for his own success or failure. He would sink or swim based on his work ethic, integrity and perhaps a little luck. Through hard work and perseverance the young man became a pretty good businessperson who made a darn good living and contributed to society and the local economy.
Although it hasn’t been easy over the years- and certainly there’s been some ups and downs- he always managed to keep things on track by keeping on top of his business and in touch with his customers needs. He was rewarded with a profitable business and after all the taxes were paid had some left over for his family. This was the “American dream”: capitalism at its best. The system worked.
Recently there’s been a disturbing trend in the good old USA. Things have gone awry, going against all business principles that this businessperson learned. Can you say “bailout?” Money collected from the government is being redistributed for things than its intended use. That’s not all bad if used responsively but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Our tax money is going to businesses that are failing because they’ve lost their way or sadly have been run into the ground by dishonest and greedy CEO’s. This tax money and debt have been taken on to help businesses that have failed because of unsound business principals.
The businessman always thought that you would be rewarded for doing a good job and penalized for not. In this case those businesses that were not doing a good job still get rewarded with loans so it can be business as usual and continue to do the same poor job. And to further confuse the business owner it’s HIS (and your) tax money going for this preposterous use.
Well the system is broken and our politicians are searching for solutions how to get our financial situation back on track. Maybe it’s too late and time to bag capitalism as we know it and move over to a more socialist society.
The fairy tale may soon be over. This businessperson hopes not.