A Grand Literary Adventure

The nutters who put on the Lake Pepin 3-Speed tour like to talk about what it is to be a “Gentleman Cyclist©.” They have a sort of decalogue (a tredecalogue, actually) of such a cyclist’s attributes. One of these aphorisms in particular caught my attention.

A Gentleman Cyclist© is well reasoned, well read, and well intentioned.


There are three parts to this rule, but for now, let’s just to focus on the part about being “well read.” The Google Machine tells me that to be “well read” is to be “well informed or deeply versed through reading.”

So, if I’m going to be a Gentleman Cyclist©, I’m going to have to read some books. Which books should I read, then? I can’t very well just walk into a book shop and grab the first vampire romance novel that strikes my fancy, now can I?

Varney the Vampire
Not the sort of book I’m looking for
What I need is for some learned scholarly-type person to assemble a reading list for me. The trouble though, is that academically minded persons nowadays are so full of wishy-washy post-modern malarkey, that they might even tell me that randomly-selected vampire romance novels are just as good as the finest works of literature.

As it turns out, there was an academical person –The President of Harvard, no less!– who designed just the sort of list I’m looking for. Dr. Elliot drew up this list in 1909, so there is a World War or two between him and the post-modern chicanery I’m trying to avoid.

Tea candles for effect. I need to dust.

The collection is called the Harvard Classics, and I found a complete set on ebay for a bargain. (The entire set is also available to download for free.)

I’m slowly working my way through the entire 25,000 pages of it. I made myself a nice spreadsheet to track my progress, but I should have a blog-widget type apparatus working shortly.

At the end of this project, I think I’ll be able to consider myself well-read. I am probably not very well-mannered, and I am certainly not well-intentioned. These are virtues I can cultivate at a later date. For now, I have books to read.

©”Gentleman Cyclist” is copyright 2005 by Jon Sharratt

A Preview of Coming Attractions

What the world needs is an Open Source, Open Data, self-hosted replacement for Stava, Dailymile, Runkeeper, etc.

phpMyGPX as Ridelogger?
Using phpMyGPX as a ride logger?

I downloaded phpMyGPX yesterday afternoon. I was up most of the night studying the code. I’m not a very good programmer, but it seems possible that I might be able to modify phpMyGPX into what I’m looking for.

I’ve got a crude prototype of a ride report up and working.

Quick Ride down by the river


Distance: 6.31 mi
Time: 31:53
Avg Speed: 11.9 mph
Elevation Gain: 118 ft
Calories: 592 C

¡Viva la Bike Blogosphere!

Last week, Google announced that they were shutting down Google Reader. Upon hearing this news, I became agitated and behaved in a somewhat undignified manner on Google Plus.

After regaining my composure, I came to accept that Google is perfectly within its rights to shut down whatever services they want, at any time. In short, “the cloud” is unreliable. Google might decide to shut down Blogger tomorrow, and that would be the end of the Free Internet.

Fortunately, I remain in possession of this self-hosted WordPress blog. Unfortunately, I’ve been neglecting it for quite some time. After going through my blogroll links yesterday, it appears to me that many of you are neglecting your blogs, as well.

The reasons for this are fairly easy to deduce. We were all swept away by “social media.” To send a tweet, update your Facebook status, or post a picture of your victuals on Intagram is a trivial task. Composing a blog entry requires a modicum of thought, and at least several minutes of your attention. So, in abject laziness, we abandoned our duties as Jeffersonian Yeoman bloggers, and became digital sharecroppers, churning out content for Mark Zuckerberg and his Hamiltonian ilk.

This migration to content-peonage has forced our readers to submit to dreadful predations merely to stay abreast of our goings-on. If our grandmothers or our friends want to know what we’ve been getting up to, we force them to sign up for a service that will steal their personal information, violate their privacy, and rain torrents of “suggested posts” upon them.

To address these and other concerns, I resolve, forthwith, to write here, on my own self-hosted blog, and to extricate myself so far as is practicable from the myriad social networks in which I find myself entangled. I encourage you to do the same.

Social Media aggregatorWhile I seek out self-hosted replacements for these utilities, I have hastily thrown together a small compendium of my activities on some of these services. You will find it in the right-hand sidebar. I crafted it from a hodge-podge of WordPress plugins, and had to create most of the icons myself.

It allows anyone with an interest in my goings-on to inform himself without the need to visit the premises of nefarious rogues.

For the moment, its utility is limited to publicly available information regarding my bicycling adventures and reading habits.

In the short term, I may seek ways to include more of my activities in this list. In the long term, however, it is my intention that all information I elect to share with the public at large will originate here, on my own server, and not on the premises of some unscrupulous stranger.

These are dark times for the bicycle-blogosphere.

Go! Ride your bikes!
Update your blogs!
Subscribe to each other’s RSS feeds!

Actually, do whatever you want, but that’s what I’m doing.



These are monkeys riding a bicycle. More importantly, I am blogging from my phone for the first time ever. One small step for man, one giant leap for bicycling primates.

Pardon the Madness

I am reconfiguring the blog. Cleaning out old links, updating things, adding artificial-intelligent robot slave girls. Things like that.

Things may break over the next few days. Things may get a little weird over the next few days. Pardon the interruption. It will be worth it. I promise.