Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bates: It only took a decade

Many years ago, I posted a picture of this frame. It’s a 1960 Bates.

I bought it in London circa 2007. It was a sad, rattle-canned mess. I dropped it off at Argo, a shop that specializes in painting bicycles in the UK. Two years later, they still hadn’t completed it, so I out of frustration, I had them send it directly to Brian Bayliss in California. He had it for…many years and then, sadly, he passed away. Several years after that, Joe Bell contacted me, as he was going through Brian’s estate. He sent it to me for shipping cost + a 12-pack of fine beer (he didn’t insist on the beer, I did–it was the least I could do!) So I finally got my frame back!

I made the decision to use modern components. The folks at Bicycle Depot in New Paltz built this up for me. I was sure that there was going to be some weird things that would interfere with my plans, but other than the dropout screws, everything worked quite nicely. Still looking for some dropout screws that will fit.

I haven’t weighed it, but just hefting it, it doesn’t seem like much more than 20 lbs, maybe even a little less. I’ve only ridden it around the block, and not even in proper shoes, but it rides exactly like a modern steel bike. The bars need to come down another couple centimeters, but the bike otherwise rides like it was built for me.

I’m agnostic about bike materials–I’ve had titanium, carbon, steel, aluminum. But steel really is real…I doubt there will be many 2019 carbon bikes that are still rideable in 2079!

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A Note

Hi!

Been a while. So long, in fact, that I forgot how to start a post on Word Press.

Just a note that I’m still here. I’ll have some reviews for you shortly and maybe even some bicycle-related content.

If you’re here to read about, you know, bikes: go to the month-by-month menu to the right (if you’re on a desktop at least) and work your way back from May 2015. Yes, it has been that long since I’ve routinely posted cycling-related content other than a review here and there. I have no idea why or how this site is still getting hundreds of views a day?

Even better, if this is the first time you’re here, start at the beginning and work your way forward. Everything is still relevant if you’re planning to ride up here. Except for the fact that they paved over all of the nice dirt in the Olivebridge area. Which I suppose is good news for some of you roadies!

John

Invenit et Fecit

So…I’m back on the bike full time, after almost a year off because of the neck injury. I have adventures to report!

In the meantime, I wanted to show you my first fully executed furniture design of the many I have drawn out.

I designed the piece and produced it in collaboration with Pascal Knapp, a sculptor and expert metal worker, and John Moore, an amazing woodworker. We now have templates and process in place if anyone wants something similar.

jferguson@medicalwriter.net

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Open Invitation for Submissions

Hi everyone,

I’ve been ignoring the blog recently. Mostly because my rides have been strictly for exercise–no real adventures other than a couple of trips over the ridge (which actually wouldn’t count as an adventure in any other year!) All my time is spent hiking right now, both because of the new dog and because I do not want to aggravate my neck injury.

So…if you have a story you’d like to tell, preferably with lots of pictures and a link to GPS (RideWithGPS preferred), please feel free to submit. Any ride in the Catskills, surrounding area, or Dutchess and Columbia.

All submissions will be posted, although I reserve the right to edit. E-mail me here.

Here’s Shay, my new Ridgeback and the cause of all the hiking:

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…and yes, I was actually taking a picture of my new lamps. Shay moves around so much that it’s difficult to get a good awake picture, so this is the best I have right now. You’ll be the first to see it when I manage to capture one.

John

Lasagna: The 1967 Time-Life Recipe

Hey!

Still riding! Got a new dog, so my exercise time has been tilted more toward hiking and running. She’s very high energy.

This is the magic lasagna recipe from the 1967 edition of “The Cooking of Italy.” I read over and over on cooking sites that this was the best lasagna ever, but as far as I know, this is the first time it is appearing online, as I’ve been unable to find it anywhere else.

So I went to Abe Books and bought the book from ’67, scanned it, text recognized it, and here it is. The book is long out of print, so I hope the lasagna copyright nazis don’t come after me for this.

It is the most amazing thing you will ever eat. I mean come on, chicken liver, smoked ham, ground round, and ground pork?

You’re welcome in advance.

UPDATE:

  1. I suggest going much lighter on the chicken liver; as the recipe is written below, you’ll end up with what basically amounts to liver lasagna. Cut it by half or even to one quarter.
  2. This isn’t enough for a conventional 2017 lasagna pan. Double the recipe if you want to use a regular-sized Pyrex.

Ragu Bolognese
To make about 2 1/2 cups
1/4 pound smoked ham, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
1/4 cup coarsely chopped carrots
1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound round steak, ground twice
1/4 pound lean pork, ground twice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups beef stock, fresh or canned
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 pound chicken livers
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the chopped ham, onions, carrots and celery on a cutting board, and chop them together into very small pieces. (This mixture is called a battuto, which when cooked becomes a soffritto.)

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over moderate heat in a heavy, 10- to 12-inch skillet. When the foam subsides, add the battuto and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, or until it is lightly browned. With a rubber spatula, transfer the soffritto to a heavy 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the same skillet, and in it lightly brown the ground round steak and pork over moderate heat, stirring the meat constantly to break up any lumps. Then pour in the wine, increase the heat, and boil briskly, still stirring constantly, until almost all of the liquid in the skillet has cooked away. Add the meat to the soffritto in the saucepan, and stir in the stock and tomato paste. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, over high heat melt 2 more tablespoons of butter in the original skillet, and when the foam subsides, add the chicken livers. Cook them for 3 or 4 minutes, or until they are firm and lightly browned. Chop the chicken livers into small dice, set them aside, and add them to the sauce 10 minutes before it is done. A few minutes before serving, stir in the cream and let it heat through. Taste the ragu and season it with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Serve the ragu on pasta or, without the cream, use it in lasagna pasticciate.

Lasagne Pasticciate
To serve 6 to 8

LASAGNE
6 to 8 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 pound lasagne

Preheat the oven to 350°. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-12-by-3-inch serving casserole or baking dish. In a large soup pot or kettle, bring the water and salt to a bubbling boil over high heat. Add the lasagne, stirring gently for a few moments with a wooden fork to be sure the strips do not stick to one another. Boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the lasagne is tender, but still al dente-the time may vary between 10 and 25 minutes, depending on whether you use homemade or commercial lasagne. Set the pot under cold running water for a few moments to cool the pasta. Then lift out the strips and spread them side by side on paper towels to drain.

BESCIAMELLA FOR LASAGNE
3 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups ragu bolognese
1/2 cup freshly grated imported
Parmesan cheese

In a heavy 2-to-3-quart saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat and stir in the flour. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the milk and cream all at once, beating with a wire whisk until the flour is partially dissolved. Return the pan to high heat and cook, stirring constantly with the whisk. When the sauce comes to a boil and
thickens into a smooth cream, reduce the heat and simmer, still stirring, for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with nutmeg and salt.

Spread a layer of ragu bolognese about 1/4 inch deep evenly over the bottom of the buttered casserole. Spread over it about 1 cup of besciamella. Lay one third of the lasagne on the besciamella, overlapping the strips slightly. Repeat the layers of ragu, besciamella and lasagne. two more times, then top with the rest of the ragu and a masking of besciamella. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling hot.

PSA: Get your flu shot, 2016 edition

A brief digression from your regularly scheduled programming.

Those of you who know me know that I do a considerable amount of work on vaccines. In fact, I’d say that it is the work that I’m proudest of, and it is truly a privilege to work with people who develop and train on vaccines (plus they are some of my favorite clients!)

Among all the revolutions that have come over the past century in modern medicine, I think I can safely argue that–at least from a public health standpoint–vaccines have had the greatest impact on disease burden.

Although this post is about the flu shot, just a note: not vaccinating your kids is an antisocial act. In fact, New Paltz is in the middle of a mumps outbreak. Yes, mumps. Nobody should be getting mumps in 2017. Dear dimwits: Jenny McCarthy is not a reliable source for health information.

I got my flu shot last week. I had a day of lethargy that may or may not have been related to the shot, but certainly nothing that impacted my regular activities. If you are afraid of needles, I should note that the needles on most vaccines these days are so fine that you barely feel them. Really!

John

medicalwriter.net

Lessons Learned (Personal)

Hey all,

In the spirit of being completely open, I’m going to admit that I did something stupid.

I’ve been setting up a fancy audio system in my office–after all, I listen to music 12 hours a day (at a minimum) so it’s a very worthwhile investment. I’m driving a Peachtree Nova from the digital coax output of my computer; I have the Peachtree set up as a preamp (even though it has an amplifier function because I’m using a McIntosh MC275 tube amp. All of this is going to Lipinski 707 studio monitors on my desk. Yes, they are enormous. I have a Y connector from the preamp outs so I can simultaneously run a sub. As nice as the Lipinskys are, they are a sealed-box design, so they have little bass.

 

The other day I decided to try the Toslink output (I had tried the USB output previously, but I can’t get the driver to work on my shitty Windows 7 computer. I had an optical cable still in the package because I was going to use it to drive the audio from my television, but I later found out that the optical out doesn’t work if you are using HDMI in. Why, I don’t know, but that’s what it says in the instruction.

I plugged in the cable to my computer, noting that they fit poorly, and then into my preamp and listened to some music. It sounded subtly crappy. The balance was off a little to the right, the bass was flabby. So I went on a hunt for the problem, switching around tubes, plugging and unplugging things.

Well, I FORGOT TO REMOVE THE LITTLE CLEAR RUBBER CONDOMS FROM THE END OF THE TOSLINK CABLE.

That is all. There goes a couple hours of my life (and 2 minutes of yours for reading this)!

Good news though: I managed a 9.5-mile hike up Gertrude’s Nose in the Shawangunks. A+ hike, a little hard climbing all those rocks with one fully functional and one partially functional arm, though.

John