We had the pleasure of meeting Eben Weiss (aka BikeSnob USA) last week while he was in Vancouver for his book tour. By 'we' I mean my boyfriend and myself. I had to do it cause it's my job. The BF on the other hand took time off work to tag along for fun. Not that I minded this particular working day because we rode bikes all day and it's our fave thing to do!
For those of you who don't know who Eben Weiss is, he writes the emencely popular blog bikesnousa and wrote a couple of books.
We had met him at his hotel where we all biked over the Caffé Musette for a nice cup of coffee and some snacks while we waited for legendary Amy Walker and her crew to get suited and booted for their Eben interview for bicycle.com.
Essentially they ride around town showing people riding in
real-life situations - on the streets, trails and bike routes of our city from the back of a Yuba Mundo cargo bike. It looks pretty tricky to handle but these two had the down packed.
After a couple hours of riding around beautiful Vancouver (oh and the weather was awesome btw!) we were starved so stopped for few tacos at Taqueria before heading over to Bike Dr. for the group ride.
We ended the night at Chapters where Eben answered questions from the crowd and signed stock. We talked about everything from biking and rainbows to religion and salmoning. (Grab the book, you'll know what I mean after reading it)
Following morning Eben graced our local TV waves at BT. Here's the link.
I'm pleading to get Eben up to Toronto.
I'll keep you all posted on if and when that happens.
When I was asked to list my top books for this season I was at a loss. Working at Raincoast for all these years the seasons seem to mesh together so I thought to let you in on some books that mirror who I am and what I'm about...
My Last Supper by Melanie Dunea. It's a truly awesome coffee table book filled with not only beautiful photographs of some 50 top chefs but includes their recipes as well. Truly, it's a gem. When I blogged about this book this season I had let readers know what my last supper would be.
"I'd like to eat steak, good steak. Ones we bought from the market. Baked potatoes with all the fixings and a yummy beet salad. And chicken wings from grain fed chicken too (hot of course)." You can see by the pic this is exactly what I love to eat when we're camping in the Okanagan so if I would have to choose this would be my 'last supper' as well.
I was lucky enough to attend quite a few hockey games this past year. We were able to go to the Western Conference finals where the Canucks beat out the Sharks. We had a blast. When Portable Press decided to update their Uncle Johns Shoots and Scores, with 70 all new pages I might add, I was quick to take a flip. I'm a bit of a poser when it comes to the game so by reading up I can hang with the boys and show off with som fun hockey facts and stats.
When the sun is shining and I'm in need of getting fresh air what better way to get out and about than riding around town. In my house we love to ride so Cyclepedia made my list. A book for any bike enthusiast.
If you know me, I'm a bit of a cat person. So this is why Meow made it on my list. This book's full of pictures of these adorable creatures with cute captions. Easy. Oh this is Dash -
Did you know that the biggest sports tournament in the world is going on right now in South Africa?
What? You haven't heard the vuvuzelas?
OK so the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa has been kind of hard to miss since it kicked off on June 11th. It's the first World Cup ever to be held in Africa so it is a big, big deal!
Football is, of course, a global game however and if you're looking for an international perspective on the tournament or just trying to understand what all the fuss is about, our friends at Lonely Planet are collecting together posts by their global band of bloggers to highlight the best of the World Cup around the world on their website.
Now, if someone can just tell me how to watch the England game this afternoon at my desk without anyone noticing, I'll be set...
In an article posted on their website today, the WSJ claim that the 'Snob' is none other than former New York literary agent Eben Oliver Weiss:
He's 36 years old, grew up riding BMX and is not a stranger to the media world. After a brief stint as a New York City bike messenger, he spent more than a decade in the publishing industry, working as an agent with the Ralph M. Vicinanza, Ltd. literary agency. His wife, Sara Goodman, is an editor at St. Martin's Press, and the couple are expecting their first child in May. Mr. Weiss races locally on an amateur bike team sponsored by Gotham Bikes, a New York City shop. But by his own account, he's a mediocre racer.
"I'm just a regular guy," Mr. Weiss said.
Since the blog launched in 2007, The Bike Snob has become a must-read for both urban cyclists and international racers (including Lance Armstrong!), and although his true identity has been something of a guessing game in the cycling world, The Bike Snob has stayed decidedly in the shadows.
With a book about to published, the Snob finally decided it was time to ditch his anonymity, and face the bicycling public.
Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling, to be published by Chronicle Books in May, promises — just like the blog — to catalogue all the missteps, pretensions, and absurdities of bike culture while maintaining the Snob's contagious enthusiasm for cycling itself. But according to the WSJ, Eben has no intentions of ending his blog:
"The book and dropping the anonymity pretense is a little celebration," Mr. Weiss said. "And then it's back to work."
Good news for cyclists everywhere!
The Olympic spirit is hitting me hard today. I found out over the weekend that the Olympic torch is going right down my street today at 1:00! I can stand on my deck and watch the whole thing! Since it is such a once in a lifetime experience I am working from home today so that I can watch the Olympic torch go by our house with my 18 month old daughter during my lunch break.
I keep taking quick peeks out the window to see if any festivities have started up yet and keep wondering about all of the amazing Olympic activities that must be going on all over this beautiful city of ours.
Then "Bing" an email arrives in my mailbox from Lonely Planet! It says:
In honor of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, Lonely Planet is offering a free iPhone city guide application to the host city! Travelers can get the low-down on all Vancouver has to offer in the mobile app "Vancouver Travel Guide: The Sights". This free application can be downloaded via the iPhone's application store or on iTunes. It is available now through March 1st, 2010.
As this spectacular city gears up for the games, there is no better time for visitors to have all of its sights at their fingertips. From UBC Thunderbird Arena and the Pacific Coliseum, to the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Capilano Salmon Hatchery, Lonely Planet has listed over 70 top sights and shows where they are using location-aware maps. Plus, by tilting the iPhone, users have access to fun facts on Vancouver, special tips on what to do, see or eat, photos and much more.
-List of Top Vancouver Sights
-Fun Vancouver Facts
-Integrated Google Maps
Sadly I do not have an iPhone... but I know that some of you do and I would love to hear what you think of the new Lonely Planet App! Share it with your friends who are coming to Vancouver for the Olympics, play with the application, spread the word, rate it and come back here and let me know what you think of it!
Comment and then on February 11th I will pick one of your fabulous responses and I'll send the winner a free copy of Lonely Planet Vancouver City Guide!
Happy Olympics everyone!
BBC Sport has unveiled a rather wonderful 40 second animated trailer for their coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics featuring "the story of Akiak and his quest to find the missing head of Ilanaaq, a stack of rock in human form, which sits on the mountain above Whistler, where the skiiing and sliding events will take place":
LOVE & BLOOD: At The World Cup With The Footballers, Fans, and Freaks is the new book by Jamie Trecker, senior soccer writer for Fox Sports.
In 2006 Jamie, based in Chicago, Illinois, travelled with fans, footballers, journalists for the world's biggest spectacle: The FIFA World Cup. With the kind of tragedy that can only be found in soccer and Shakespeare, LOVE & BLOOD is an irreverent and intensely readable account of the finals in Germany, examining the passion, politics, controversies and economics of the beautiful game. And drinking a lot of beer...
Dan W: What surprised you most at the 2006 World Cup?
Jamie Trecker: The overall quality of play in the first phase of the Cup was poor and the hard corporate sell that surrounded the Cup was at an all-time high . Both were a bit off-putting and detracted from what is the greatest spectacle in all sport. The former showed just how overworked the players really are in today's hyper-competitive global soccer market and the latter showed why the global soccer is so hyper-competitive.
DW: Who was your player of the tournament?
JT: Fabio Cannavaro of Italy. Zinedine Zidane was a close second.
DW: At the 2002 World Cup, the US reached the quarterfinals. Why did a seemingly better-prepared US team under-perform in 4 years later?
JT: Well, they weren't better prepared - as it happened, they were pretty poorly prepared. The difference is that the USA was sold as "being better" and that just wasn't true. In 2002 the USA benefited from being a) an under-rated "unknown" and b) playing on neutral ground. They were well-known by the time 2006 rolled around and the USA have historically struggled on European soil. Fact is, getting that single point against the champs was a major achievement, but because of all the overblown hype, it felt to many fans like a failure. But the team is not able to handle true tactical football, and that's a failure of development and the American training system.
DW: Can you see the day that a North American team will win the World Cup?
JT: Yes, but it may not be in my lifetime. Certainly both the USA and Mexico have the population bases and interest to produce top-level athletes, but whether either of them can is an open question. I think Canada, with the emphasis on hockey and its smaller population, is far less likely to be competitive outside of the CONCACAF region.
DW: Soccer is a popular sport for young kids in North America, but this hasn't apparently translated into a successful adult game in the US or Canada. Why do you think this is?
JT: I think soccer is successful in both countries, actually; it's just not a "major" sport. North America is such an inflated market because of the huge revenues from baseball, basketball, NASCAR and the NFL, so it's easy to overlook the fact that getting 15-20,000 a night is pretty good for any sport.
Why is it not a major sport? For the same reasons boxing, horse racing and tennis aren't--you didn't have a league for a number of years and that took it out of the public eye. Boxing and racing were the two big sports at the turn of the 20th century, but they faded--the same thing might well happen to any one of the top sports today.
One thing that has contributed to it is that soccer has been thought of more as a pastime for kids than an actual "sport." That's slow to change.
DW: England recently played Russia on a controversial artificial turf instead of grass. The surface has been approved by FIFA and many MLS teams (including Toronto FC) use it, despite widespread disapproval within the game and fears over injuries. Should FieldTurf be used for soccer matches?
JT: I don't like it, personally. Having said that, there is a need for some surface for very cold and very arid climates. FieldTurf seems to be the best of a bad bunch right now, and soccer players are going to have to get used to it.
DW: What is holding the MLS back from reaching mainstream success?
JT: Bluntly, the quality of play. Americans demand the best in sport, and it's pretty obvious that just about anyone that cares to can see top-quality soccer--for free or the cost of a cable connection--virtually every day of the week thanks to networks like Fox, TSN, ESPN, Rogers et al.
MLS has done a good job building up its infrastructure, but a poor job actually building up the player base. Salaries are paltry, rosters are thin, and good young players from Latin, South and Central America are not being tempted to come and play here as a result. It's very disappointing.
DW: Has the arrival of David Beckham at the LA Galaxy been a good thing for the MLS?
JT: It was illuminating, but no, I think it proved to be a public relations disaster. MLS rushed him out too early, on an injured ankle, and the folks in LA were woefully unprepared to deal with the pressure and attention they got as a result. It's interesting that as soon as the hub-bub died down in LA that the Galaxy started to win again, isn't it?
DW: How would you evaluate Toronto FC's first season in the MLS?
JT: I think it went as well as one can expect, honestly. Anyone who has followed MLS knows that it's very difficult to assemble a team via a dispersal draft, and it became very clear that many of the Canadian internationals were not ready for this level of play. But TFC's fans have stuck with the team, and the stadium has the best atmosphere in the entire league by my reckoning so I think that they've laid down a real solid base for next season.
DW: Would the MLS benefit from more Canadian teams?
JT: Absolutely. I'd love to see a team in Montreal, myself and I think Vancouver could be a good addition. Canada has been a great host for pro soccer at every level, and I can't see why that wouldn't continue.
DW: Thanks Jamie! I can almost forgive you for being a gooner....
The Maple Leafs might be having a tough time right now, but if you live in Toronto then you can win even if our team can't! Five copies of MAPLE LEAFS TOP 100 by Mike Leonetti are up for grabs over at insidetoronto.com! You have until November 4th, 2007 to enter!
To find out more about the contest, click here.
OK, so the Toronto Maple Leafs may have got spanked last night by the Carolina Hurricanes, but even the most depressed Leafs fans should find something to cheer about in Mike Leonetti's new book MAPLE LEAFS TOP 100: Toronto's Greatest Players of All Time.
A beautiful hardcover book full of colour photographs, MAPLE LEAFS TOP 100 explores the team's rich history and profiles Toronto's greatest players from 1927 to 2007, ranking them from one to 100.
A year ago I was asked along with 13 other gentlemen to choose a top 1 hundred Maple Leafs of all time--I handed my list in almost ten months ago, and now the results are in bookstores everywhere.
It's entitled "Maple Leafs, top 100, Toronto's greatest players of all time". The photos are terrific and the essays by John Iaboni are bang on. In other words if you're a Leaf fan it's a must to possess, and even if you're just a hockey fan it's a great book to own considering it's a basic history of the best known franchise in this country.
I guess only the question is, will you agree with the selection panel? Who would be in your Leafs Top 100?