Archive for February, 2009

Cycling: City Cyclists Look for Momentum

Posted in Bicycle Commuting on February 26, 2009 by Sarns

Long-awaited bicycle transportation plan finally goes to city council.

Vue Weekly

From: Scott Harris / scott@vueweekly.com
After two years of planning, cyclists in Edmonton will finally learn next week whether city councillors will support an ambitious new plan aimed at encouraging more Edmontonians to get out of their cars and onto their bikes.

Cycle Edmonton: The Bicycle Transportation Plan, which will be presented to council’s transportation and public works committee on March 3, is the first major update addressing cycling in the city since 1992.

The plan proposes spending $100 million over the next decade to create a comprehensive city-wide network of multiuse trails and bike lanes linked by neighbourhood connector systems. The plan envisions adding 489 kilometres of bikeways to the existing network and calls for an expansion of end-of-trip facilities for cycling, increased integration with transit and improved signage along bike routes.

Zoe Todd, project coordinator with the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters’ Society, says its time for Edmonton to take a major step in cycling infrastructure given how much the city has expanded since 1992.

“Right now cyclists are benefiting from those changes that were recommended and implemented in the ‘90s, but there are certain issues that are arising that are preventing some people from seeing cycling as a viable way of getting around the city,” she says. “The recommendations they’re making will help ensure that Edmonton moves forward and continues to invest in cycling infrastructure. We are a big city, we’re expanding and we need to revamp cycling infrastructure to ensure that it isn’t left behind as we grow outward.”

A 2005 household travel survey conducted by the city showed that cycling trips increased by 150 per cent between 1994 and 2005. While cycling still accounts for just over one per cent of all trips in the city-up from 0.4 per cent in ‘94-some 25 000 trips are now made by bike every day in Edmonton.

Todd argues that if it’s passed by council the updated strategy will encourage other Edmontonians who may be nervous about riding in the city.

Tim Nolt, a bike mechanic at Edmonton’s United Cycle, agrees with Todd, calling the plan a “once-in-a-decade opportunity to change the city of Edmonton in a profound and dynamic way.”

Nolt says that he frequently hears from people who are discouraged from cycling because they don’t feel safe on the routes that are currently in place.

“It’s something that I’ve heard for a number of years because I work in the bike industry,” he says. “So to build this bicycle network and make it so that the average person can travel from one sector of the city to another in relative ease and safety is really important, because I know that riding on the streets and commuting in Edmonton can be quite difficult. In fact, depending on where you’re going it can actually be treacherous.”

While she is excited about the potential of the plan, Todd recognizes that the pricetag might be a tough sell for some Edmontonians given the current economic turmoil.

“I am concerned, given the economic climate, that it will be passed without adequate funding and that it will just sit on the shelf,” she admits. “But I’m hoping that there’s enough momentum in Edmonton towards investing in green infrastructure, and I think citizens are becoming more aware of the costs of relying solely on vehicles as a way of getting around the city that council will hopefully look ahead and invest in this, put money into the plan as well as approving it.”

An amendment made during last year’s budget deliberations added $10.8 million over three years to the city’s capital budget for all active transportation, which includes sidewalks, multiuse trails and bicycling infrastructure, bringing total funding to $17 million over the next three years. The total budgeted for roads over the same period was $350 million.

Ward 5 councillor Don Iveson, who has been an outspoken proponent of active transportation on council, admits that even though the ammendment was a major step, it’s not enough to make the bike plan, which calls for $100 million through 2018, with $34 million for the period 2009 to 2013, a reality.

“We more or less tripled the funding available for the next three years, but that isn’t going to fund the whole thing,” he says. “That was to get some of the basics moving as a minimum. Just the existing program of works with the backlog of broken links in the sidewalks, the backlog of multiuse trails in the network and even improvements to the existing bike routes, that would soak that up. So it’s just to ensure that those existing commitments that we have we can begin to move forward on.”

Iveson says that while it may not seem like the ideal time for a plan like this to come forward, the current recession might actually make the plan more feasible.

“I would argue that it’s a great time to be investing in this kind of infrastructure,” Iveson says. “We’re seeing costs come way down for the first

time in a few years on concrete and asphalt and the labour to put it in the ground, so now’s a good time to be making all kinds of infrastructure investments.

“Some people would say, ‘Well, fix my roads before you put in the bike infrastructure,’ but we need to provide transportation alternativesm because there’s a demand for them, on the one hand, from elements of the public, and two, we have a need to diversify our transportation patterns in the city to reduce our emissions and potentially even achieve some good public health outcomes with more people cycling and walking and so on.”

Kim Krushell, one of the city’s Ward 2 councillors, agrees that cheaper costs mean now is the time for infrastructure investments, but argues that demands for everything from LRT expansion to fixing crumbling neighbourhoods means that the city might not be in a position to fully fund the plan, which she says she supports. It’s a concern Krushell raised during budget discussions last year.

“My issue was we only have so many capital dollars to go around, and my top priority on the capital side would have been the north LRT line, because that’s a lot more people,” she explains. “So what I said of the bike plan was the thing that I really wanted to see get funded, the component that I thought was more on the critical side was to look at some of those big bikeway paths, to finish off the rail corridor line, because that gave us the biggest bang for our buck in my opinion, because it took the bikes off those downtown routes where they’re interacting with cars.”

While the ideal is obviously to have the plan fully funded, Claire Ellick, a sustainable transportation engineer with the City of Edmonton, says there are elements that can go ahead as soon as council approves the plan, even with current levels of funding.

“Certainly we’ll work with what we’ve got to start implementing the plan. It has a lot of different components because it’s the comprehensive document that says ‘Here’s how we want to get more Edmontonians cycling more often.’ So there are a lot of different aspects to how you would do that and certainly the more complete the approach the better it is,” she explains.

“It won’t be a one- or a two-step thing, we’ll try and do what we can to continue to expand our bike parking program, to continue to expand some of our on-street routes. Another thing that we’ll be looking at doing is marked-on-street routes, which is pretty different from what we’ve done in the past, where we’ve got shared-use lanes but they’re not marked so they’re not that visible. So it’ll be several different things just maybe on a smaller scale depending on the funding.”

While Zoe Todd recognizes the budget constraints the city faces, she hopes more funding can be found as the plan moves ahead, arguing that it’s an investment that will pay off for the city in the future.

“On the surface $100 million seems like a lot of money, but over 10 years its really just a drop in the bucket,” she says. “The mode split for cycling in the city is only one per cent, so even if we were able to shift that to two per cent we’d have 256 000 fewer car trips per day in the city and that adds up over time and could help the city save money in its road repairs and building new roads and all the things it does to accommodate cars in the city. So it seems like a lot, but if you do the math and you look at the long-term it’s really not a lot of money. Cycling infrastructure is a lot cheaper to maintain and there’s also the health benefits-a healthier city is a cheaper city. There are all kinds of other benefits that come out of it, so it’s worth putting in that $100 million.” V

Individuals interested in presenting to the committee on the proposed bike plan can register to speak at the March 3 public meeting by visiting edmonton.ca/bikeplan.

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My Cycling State of Mind – Thoughts from Jeremy Goertz

Posted in Cycling Bloggers on February 25, 2009 by Sarns

With the looming economic crisis, our family, as I’m sure with most everyone else’s, have started to really cut back on our frivolous spending. We’re even going farther than cutting back on our spending, we’re trying to rid completely all of our debt. Everything. Including the Mortgage. While it’s a good looking plan, and it will come to fruition in the foreseeable future, there are definitely certain sacrifices that are being made in the in term. One of them being the amount of money being spent on non-necessities. In my particular case, bikes. I’ve got plenty of great bikes, and I pretty much have a decent bike for any type of riding that I may want to to. So why would I have to keep spending anyway? Well, like most bike geeks, there are always little tweaks here and there, new products to try and upgrades that can always be made to the collection.

All that is being put on hold for a while, and it’s actually quite liberating. I’m finding myself forced to the parts bin more often to re-use old items, and quite often I’m surprised at just what I have in there. Stuff I’ve forgotten about for even years. I’m learning to make due with what’s on hand, built from scratch other items and generally just using more of the stuff that I already have. It kind of makes sense.

Sure sometimes there are certain upgrades that make a big difference and you need to adjust this and that to find the right fit and function, but often, I change things for the sake of change. That’s a little crazy. I don’t know of a single bike or bike component that I’ve actually worn out (except for tires). I’ve begun to notice that I was devoting more of my time, researching, upgrading and fussing with bikes than I actually was riding them. It is obviously easier to spend more time thinking about bikes than actually riding them, but when is that ratio out of balance?

Does it make sense to spend hundreds of dollars changing a bike, countless hours working on it and tweaking it numerous times, and only a fraction of that amount of time riding the thing? I don’t think so. I’m starting to tell myself, “Just ride the bike for Pete’s sake.” Bike tweaking and modifications shouldn’t become the primary activity that makes up your cycling life should it? For me, it all comes down to this simple questions: What does a cyclist do?

Rides a bike. Simple isn’t it?

To read more about Jeremy’s thoughts on bikes & life check out his blog:

http://www.jeromes-bikes.blogspot.com/

Bike Calgary Update

Posted in Bicycle Commuting on February 24, 2009 by Sarns

“Calgary’s Commuter Cycling Voice”

February 2009
UPCOMING EVENTS
Go Green Choices – March 16 Bankers, 17 NEXEN, 18 Spartan 19, City of Calgary, Alternative
Transportation Fair.

Earth Hour – March 28

Bike for Breakfast – April 24 – Bike Calgary

Suit Pursuit – April 24th – Lonny Balbi’s, Prior to the Bike to Work Day, event involves a celebrity cyclist (last year it was Ralph Klein who rode on the Sunday prior to BtoWD). Contact Paul Stanton

Earth Day – April 22

Earth Week – April 19, 25

Bike to Work Day – May 1 – Lonny Balbi’s

Commuter Challenge – May 25 – 29, Go to three Commuter Challenge workplaces 10:00 – 1:00. The City
TDM dept. will deliver “Alternative Transportation Fair” with company prizes, volunteers, buy-in from staff.

Commuter Challenge – May 31 to June 6 – Sustainable Alberta Association

Clean Air Day – June 3

Mayor’s Environment Expo – June 2, 3, 4

Dreams on Wheels – date? – Tour De Nuit
Bike Shorts Film Festival – September 19 – Bike Calgary

On-Street Bike Routes in 2008
11 Street SE
The 11th Street SE bicycle facility connects to the south with the Bow River pathway via Heritage
Meadows Way, and to the north at 46 Avenue South and Highfield Crescent.

11 Street SE was overlaid with new asphalt in 2008 and an opportunity was created to change the pavement
marking without incurring the costs to eradicate the existing pavement marking. Bicycle lanes now run from
46th Avenue South to 64th Avenue South along 11th Street SE.

There is some congestion building in the afternoon peak hours in the southbound direction at the intersection
of 11th Street and 58th Avenue SE for motor vehicles. The signal timing at that intersection has recently been
changed to ease that movement. We continue to monitor and make changes as necessary.

The On-Street Plan for 2009
The bicycle route improvement plan was co-ordinated with the West Hillhurst Community Transportation
Study in 2008. Based on the feedback from the community and Calgary cyclists, here is the final plan:
5th/7th Avenue NW from 29th St

W to Crowchild Tr

19th St NW – Broadview Rd to 4th Av N to Crowchild Tr

A few highlights of the plan:

Bicycle lanes on 5th Avenue N.W. from just east of 14th Street West to 19th Street West.
Shared lanes with bicycle stencils on 5th Avenue between 19th Street N.W. and Crowchild Trail.
Bicycle lanes on 5th Avenue N.W. for eastbound and westbound cyclists approaching Crowchild Trail.
Shared lanes with bicycle stencils on 19th Street N.W. from Broadview Road to 10th Avenue N.W.
An off-street bicycle lane northbound (up the hill) on 19 Street N.W. to provide more comfort for
cyclists.
Alternative routing along 17A Street N.W. for cyclists who want a more gradual hill with less traffic.
A half signal across Kensington Road at 21st Street N.W. that can be activated by cyclists (push
buttons).

Next Steps
Our next steps are to determine improvements along:
5th Avenue N.W. from 14th Street West to 9A Street West; and,
19th Street N.W. from 10th Avenue North to John Laurie Boulevard
NOTE: The above on-street information was taken from the City of Calgary website.

8 Avenue NE – Phase 2
Phase 2 will extend through Mayland Heights (19 Street NE) to cross Barlow Trail at 4 Ave NE (pedestrian
and cyclist crossing only – not open to vehicles) and continue east along Marlborough Dr. to 52 Street NE.
Some highlights of the bicycle route plan:

In addition to the on-street bicycle route, the Parks Department will investigate the feasibility of integrating their proposed pathway into a continuous route for cyclists.
A signal will be installed across Barlow Trail at 4 Avenue NE for pedestrians and cyclists only. This is not a vehicle connection. The signal can only be activated by pedestrians and cyclists, and will be co-
ordinated with the signals on Barlow at 7 Avenue and at Centre Avenue NE.

SIGNS OF PROGRESS

Cyclists take the lane!

bikesign1
This is a new sign on the 8 Avenue NE bike route at the east side of the Deerfoot Trail overpass. The bridge is not wide enough for a dedicated bike lane and a “Share-the-Road” configuration.
This type of signage is long overdue and should be installed at approaches to the numerous narrow railway underpasses in the City (and many other locations as well).

Trans Canada Trail
The sign on the right is one that was recently installed on the Nose Creek pathway between 8 Ave NE and
Memorial Drive. The Nose Creek pathway, the south Bow River pathway and the Elbow River pathway form the Trans Canada Trail through Calgary. This designation has long been shown on the City bike maps but only this week was it visibly recognized with signage. The remaining signs will be put up by the Parks Department as time permits.

biketrail

Hats off to Guy Beavers and Tom Camac of Calgary Parks!

Euro Beat w/ Spencer – End of Season Report

Posted in Cycling Bloggers, Racing, Road on February 21, 2009 by Sarns

Our apologies to Spencer as we were a wee bit delayed in posting this for him….

It has been months since my last post, but this one has been in the works and I needed to knock it off before 2009. I guess I have left it a little late, but no better a time than right now. So, the nature of this post is an end-of-season wrap as the title gives away, but I have been stuck trying to find the aspect of my season I want to capture in this post.

To be blunt, my season was not what I expected, and a bit of a let-down. I over-trained in February and continued to do damage without rest well into April. In May, after some time off the bike, I had some successes, but never had a feeling of freshness again in the season and my form was all-over, with excessive fatigue being the main feature I could bring to the bike. I did not reach a new potential that I was excited about leading into the season and it took Track Nationals to bring my love of the sport back to the forefront. Now that I have covered that, I can leave negative-town behind and move on to what I really want to say.

Going to France this year was an experience right from the moment I met the new team. It was unexpected and a new approach to a sport I thought I knew really well. We all hear about how European racing is the ‘real deal’ and here I was about to join a high level amateur team and experience a season learning my trade. The racing and atmosphere were pretty removed from what I had done in the South of France in 2007. First of all, I was no longer a junior and second of all, the team was large jump up from the Sprinter Club de Nice. The biggest thing I can take from this season was learning to race. I say that with all respect to the strong and developing Alberta scene. Competing against ex-pros and riders who will have professional contracts with ProTour teams at the end of the season, in an environment where you must attack, be a strong climber, and be tactically astute to finish in the top 15 on any given day. It is apparent that this will teach you how to race. Beyond that, my time in France taught me the cultural differences and how they relate to cycling in a broader sense.

So now is time to move on to next season. I spent the latter part of the season talking to team directors domestically (North America) to see what options lay in front of me for 2009. I ended up settling things with the Los Angeles based NOW MS-Society. The team caught my eye with results in the Tour of Pennsylvania and after talking with team director Eddie Monnier, their goals and focus on development were in line with what I was looking for. One title sponsor is “No Opportunity Wasted” (NOW) run by Phil Keoghan (host of “The Amazing Race” reality TV show) with the philosophy of ditching excuses, living NOW and with few regrets. The other sponsor is the MS Society who is more of a reverse-sponsor as we raise money and awareness for them. The team has produced 6 professional riders in four seasons and in 2009 we will have two previously professional riders joining the roster, one from Successful Living and the other from Rock Racing. As well as myself, there will be another few international riders with Dutch rider Michael Van Eerd and possibly Kiwi Peter Rennie and Australian Chris Steffanoni going stateside with us for part of the season.

I am excited to join the new team and am leaving for LA in a few weeks. The race schedule set in front of us is something I look forward to with some very high level races planned. Something I am really happy about is the ability for me to continue to train and race on the track as Los Angeles has two velodromes in the area, one an indoor 250 m of UCI standards. It will be another new experience, but I am more motivated than ever, and feel that I can use 2008 as a superb launch pad into a stellar 2009. I have set my eyes on some meaty goals and I believe that with intelligence, strength and desire I can achieve them and do some real damage.

Spencer

09nowms_kit_preview

RMCC looking for Kid’s Mountain Bike Summer Camp Coach

Posted in Bike Clubs, MTB on February 11, 2009 by Sarns

The Rundle Mountain Cycling Club (RMCC) is seeking an energetic and committed Mountain Biking Coach for its summer programs (end of June to mid August).


The Rundle Mountain Cycling Club is a registered non-profit society. We are a cycling club in Canmore, Alberta and our membership is growing steadily. The club’s mission is to function as an organization through which people of all ages may pursue their passions for cycling in the many forms of the sport, including road riding, mountain biking, racing, training, skill development and social riding.

The adult candidate must have great leadership skills and experience working with kids and youth aged children. The primary responsibilities are to implement kids and youth mountain bike skill programs as well as providing supervision and a safe environment for participants. Candidates should possess strong communication and organizational skills, a good knowledge of mountain biking, and current First Aid/CPR. Programs take place at various locations throughout the Bow Valley from Monday to Friday and will total about 35 hours per week. Only applicants chosen for interview will be contacted and the successful candidate will need to produce a police check. Compensation is commensurate with experience

Please forward your résumé, including references, no later than April 15, 2009, to:
Alain Parent
Tel: (403) 678-0266
Email: alain@rundlemountaincycling.com
http://www.rundlemountaincycling.com

Job Opportunity – Alberta Provincial Head Coach

Posted in 'Cross, Bike Clubs, MTB, Racing, Road, Training on February 5, 2009 by bikealberta

February 5, 2009

Position Purpose:

The Provincial Head Coach is responsible for the development of competitive cyclists in Alberta, both at the provincial team and at club levels

About the Alberta Bicycle Association:

The Alberta Bicycle Association (“ABA”) is the affiliated provincial branch of the Canadian Cycling Association (“CCA”). The ABA is responsible for facilitating introduction to organized cycling and to develop a strong competitive cycling program, while protecting and advocating the rights of cyclists and acting as the organizing body which promotes all aspects of cycling in Alberta. The ABA is a not-for-profit association run by volunteers, relying on membership fees, fundraising, and government support for operating funds. ABA members include road, track, BMX, cyclo-cross and mountain bike racers, recreational and transportation cyclists, educators, coaches, officials, administrators, enthusiasts, volunteers, and advocates of the sport.

Supervision Reporting Relationships:

The Head Coach reports directly to the Executive Director of the ABA and liaises with ABA sport coordinators, other coaches, the ABA Racing Committee, and athletes to encourage and facilitate Alberta cyclists to reach their potential at all levels.

Location:

This position may be based anywhere in Alberta, however the Provincial Head Coach will be required to travel within the province and nationally. Travel is inherent to the nature of the position, and thus willingness and ability to travel is a condition of employment.

Key Responsibility Areas:

The key responsibility areas (KRAs) are the major outputs for which the position is responsible and are not a comprehensive statement of the position activities

1. Provincial Team

· The Head Coach is responsible for the ABA’s provincial team programs. The ABA sends provincial teams to selected out-of-province and national events. The ABA does not develop international level athletes but works with the CCA to ensure that opportunities are available to highlight the talents of provincial athletes who may be good candidates for CCA projects or teams.
· Develop annual and long-term objectives for provincial team program
· Maintain a talent pool of athletes eligible for provincial team projects, and maintain contact with those athletes (and their coaches) on an ongoing basis to advise them of upcoming provincial team projects. The Head Coach will also assist athletes’ coaches to ensure that the athletes’ programs prepare them to excel at provincial team racing projects.
· Coordinate provincial team camps, and, in areas where the Head Coach is an expert, provide coaching at those camps.
· Establish selection standards for provincial teams.
· Make recommendations to the Racing Committee for the provincial team program in each year. Development of riders to compete at Canada Games and Western Canada Games is a part of this program.
· Recommend provincial team candidates to the Racing Committee for all projects.
· Coach athletes at provincial team projects in disciplines where the Head Coach is an expert.
· Select coaches for provincial team projects. If not acting as the coach on a provincial team project or camp, the Head Coach will be responsible for the contracting of the selected coach(es) with relevant expertise, and their performance at the provincial team project or camp.

2. Athlete development

· The development of high level athletes in the province requires a pool of athletes at all levels to provide competition for current and future provincial team athletes. While development of such athletes will be primarily provided by their clubs and individual coaches, the Head Coach is to manage this process by:
· Developing a program of provincial camps to assist athletes develop specific skills and
· Contracting qualified coaches to conduct these camps and ensuring that their performance fulfils the objectives of the camps.
· Developing talent identification programs

3. Coach Development

· The Head Coach is not expected to coach individual athletes except at provincial team events. The Head Coach is expected to have skills to mentor all coaches operating in the province.
· Coordinate and, where appropriate, deliver courses for NCCP and evaluate coaches for qualification recommendations
· Organize periodic coaches’ conferences to provide networking opportunities and skills upgrades
· Be available to advise coaches in the province on their own development and the organization of the programs they operate
· Promote the CCA Long Term Athlete Development Model

SECTION C: Key Selection Criteria

A suitable candidate for the position will have a post-secondary degree in Sport or Recreation, or related experience. Candidates must be comfortable working with computers; experience with Microsoft Excel is desirable. The ideal candidate will be an effective communicator, and bring a high level of energy to the position.

Experience / Qualifications / Attributes: Required by the incumbent to successfully perform the positions key responsibilities.

Candidates must be registered in or have completed NCCP Level III (or international equivalent). NCCP Course Conductor Status for cycling components of the National Coaching Certification Program is considered an asset.

Closing Date: Interested candidates should apply on or before March 6th, 2009 at 4:00pm MST. Late applications will not be considered. Only candidates selected for interview will be contacted.

Submit Resume and Salary Expectations to:
Kipp Kaufmann
Executive Director
Alberta Bicycle Association
11759 Groat Road
Edmonton, AB
T5M 3K6
kipp@albertabicycle.ab.ca
780-427-6352

Canada House in Holland Update

Posted in 'Cross, Racing on February 1, 2009 by Sarns

Provided by Tim Heemskerk

Hello Everyone,

Yesterday both Brian and Andrew raced their last race of this cross season at the World Championships in Hoogerheide (NL).

Brian did not have the race he was waiting for and just got lapped by winner and world- class racer and pro Philip Walsleben from Germany who has been dominating this season and who is able to race the big pro’s like Nys, Albert, Stybar and Boom.

Photo provided by Pedalmag.com

Andrew somehow did not have a good call up and had to start near the back and worked his way up during the first 200 meters but was involved in a crash about 1 km into the race when 3 other riders when down with him. He had to start from dead last and again worked hard and passed some riders to finish 47th BUT more importantly he was ONLY 4 min down! Yes only 4 minutes to this World Class racer and that with a bad start position and with a crash! I consider that a great race and it shows how important it is to race over there for a few minutes and gain fitness week after week and this is what has been happening for him. He had the best legs of the entire trip in this race!

Photo provided by Pedalmag.com

Watch an interview with him by clicking on the following link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDYUlar3ocQ&eurl=http://www.canadiancyclist.com/dailynews/January/2.1.095.21AM45.shtml

I am proud that we were able to pull this cross project off in such a way with all team support and support from Dutch sponsors and TTP willing to support the team. Almost everything we needed was provided by the team, see www.cyclocrossteam.nl
It has been quite the journey and thank you for everyone that has helped us. From Debby and Lukasz helping organizing a cross race with me back in September: GP CHAMPION CITY, with proceedings going into rent for our bungalow in Holland and other expenses, to team management in Holland. Special thanks to Maarten Kemperman who at the age of 22 years has been managing things in an excellent way and very professionally.

Preparations for Canada House in Holland #2 have started today and it is important to get support from within Canada as well. My wish is to have 4 to 5 talented and young racers over there racing cross and gaining experience and fitness and have one or 2 Canadian racers being competitive at this level in the next few years, and show themselves to the World instead of being made fun of by some drunk spectators when they are racing at the back of the field.

I will ask Brian and Andrew to write and post their own race report of the World Championships, stay tuned!

-Tim.