Underground Railroad Ride...

John Shack lead the Underground Railroad Ride from Alabama to Washington DC

Story in Bicycling Magazine


mention of Shack on the Gwadzilla Page




DCCX September 11th 2021

Trek Store in Wilmington Delaware...

Katie Compton\KFC...

yesterday my friend TJ was running up to Wilmington Delaware to swap out a new but damaged in shipping Trek eBike for a new\never ridden\never broken eBike of the same make\model...

having no plans on this day

I figured I would go along for the ride... or the drive... there was promise of a free lunch... thought it would be good to get out of DC for a minute... 

the drive was trouble free... 

when we arrived we were greeted by the friendly Trek Staff... they had been expecting TJ and this bike... it is an expensive rig... and well... they wanted to help to make things "right"

as TJ went over things with the mechanic I strolled about the shop's show room...

it was a nice space... decent size... nice layout... the shop was experiencing the same issue as most bicycle shops... there was a shortage of bicycles for sale... 

the shop was a nice set up... lots of breathing room... no clutter... not an excess of bikes or accessories... I like the area dedicated to local bicycle routes (maps and information)... the wall decorations were colorful and full of energy... it was a nice looking shop... much like most Trek Stores... as I think there is a bit of a formula... it most certainly is a formula... 

the exterior could use some help... the shop itself sits on a space that looks like it was once part of a Hotel No Tell... the building itself is on a busy road that is flanked by all sorts of commerce... long strip of commerce.. a taste of Anywhere USA... personally I felt the facade could have done more to alert the passerbys that this is in fact a bicycle store... maybe a color different than the surrounding set of beige buildings...  to paint just the road facing side of the building TREK BLUE could help... that is neither here nor there... the building has an address and we used that to find the location...

while browsing I made small talk with the various employees... "what do you ride? where do you ride? have you heard of Katie Compton?"

Never heard of Katie Compton?

Hold on... TREK STORE in the birthplace of Katie Compton and they do not know who Katie Compton is? I suggested to google the name and chase down some links... mentioned cyclocross... mentioned her local racing... her international racing... and her 13 National Cyclocross Titles... 

in my mind I imagined having a wall space dedicated to Katie Compton... it seemed like something that Trek and the Owners could easily throw together... it could be a slight draw and a massive conversation piece... 

if you are gonna have a photo of a person on a Trek bike... why not have it be Katie Compton?





after a wonderful fish taco lunch at Iron Hill Brewery we returned to the shop... at the shop we learned the repair was not yet completed... the manager offered up some loaner bikes... I would have loved to borrow some mountain bikes for a tour of White Clay... Fairhill... Iron Hill or whatever local stuff they had to offer... but alas no... no mountain bikes to loan... all they had were a few Trek eBikes... with little hesitation I accepted the offer... why not check it out?

so... I borrowed a helmet and an eBike and TJ and I took to a sleepy neighborhood that backed up to the bike shop and took a casual loop around the golf course... 

it was a nice little ride... but at this stage in the game... eBikes are not for me... I like motorcycles and I like bicycles... I just do not feel I need a motor on my bicycle... it seemed to me that the eMountainbike makes much more sense... if someone is looking for a car alternative... a standard motorcycle or Vespa style scooter would make more sense...

when we got back the shop manager asked about our ride... I simply told him that eBikes are not for me... then mistakenly I got into a conversation with a woman who worked in the shop... she spoke about the advantages... getting people out in nature and all the other things that eBike sales people say... it was an argument like many arguments... it was an argument that I had heard a thousand times before... a series of ideas that I do not agree with... an argument that does not sway either party in either direction... both the male and female store managers were not particularly fit... neither appeared to be cyclists... which is fine... but their perspective of bicycles was clearly different than mine... which is fine... and well... I feel it is unfortunate... eBikes are expensive... so... of course they want to sell that crap... I mean those eBikes... but it seemed clear to me that bikes are fine as bikes... and people are more capable than we give them credit for... eBikes are the bicycle version of a participation trophy...

I tried to be gracious... made sure to thank them again for the loaner bicycle... 

the eBike repair was finished... TJ gave it a quick test ride before loading it up and returning to DC to pass this bicycle of to its owner..

I wonder if these people at the Trek Store will consider the Katie Compton Shrine in their shop...

it seems like an obvious thing to do...

KFC... an inspirational athlete to all... but especially to woman

an athlete with class and poise

an athlete with a winning history 

it just seems logical to me to have some sort of space dedicated to this amazing (Trek Sponsored) cyclist from the town of Wilmington...

Trek Bikes Wilmington 



ah... I really have no dog in this fight... B-CC and its antiquated Mascot...


Petition to Change the B-CC Mascot

B-CC aka Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School has the "Battlin' Baron" as their mascot
it is a mascot that is reminiscent of the fighting Irish of Notre Dame
not sure how this mascot was selected
honestly... the school colors or the mascot were not that important to me as a student in the '80's
not sure why I would care as an adult

people care
people care much more than I do
people care
much more than I would have ever expected 

yet here were are...
this is what many are calling "Cancel Culture"
well... I am not offended by the mascot or the notion of changing the mascot
and as far as "cancel culture" goes... I think that there are many things that are ready to be canceled or at least modified\changed

my older son is a graduate and my younger son is a junior at Wilson High School in NW Washington DC
Wilson High School recently changed their name
Wilson High School was named after the former President Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson was a segregationist
and well...
Wilson is a culturally diverse institution
so... it was felt that the name was not fitting

they changed the name of Wilson HS to Wilson HS
keeping the name but altering the namesake
rather than Woodrow Wilson... now the school is named for August Wilson 
sort of like my DC street being Quackenbos...
they just needed a three syllable Q name... no historical significance to anyone name Quackenbos

so... Wilson looked for someone named Wilson who fit the bill...
or at least that is my take
keep Wilson Alumni happy with Wilson remaining Wilson
while removing the negative association with racism 

WaPo Article about Wilson HS Name Change


I have B-CC Pride from my high school experience...
but the Mascot or the school colors have nothing to do with that emotion
I do not bleed Blue and Gold
the mascot change has no effect on me


the Wilson HS name change is subtle but entirely justified 
and well...
I think it makes reasoning for valuable conversations while also allowing people to maintain their association with the Old Wilson and the NEW Wilson high school

DC PS has Served our Family Well!

Thank You Washington DC for being my home and for creating an environment that my boys have been able to thrive in...

as far as "cancel culture" goes
well... I agree that many things need to change
somethings are long over due!


What happened to New Belgium? What happened to the Tour de Fat?


where to start... where to start...

have you seen Smokey and the Bandit?

Sure... that is Coors... but the notion of alcohol sales and distribution plays into this story

New Belgium Brewery is in Fort Collins Colorado

for years you could only get Fat Tire Beer if you were in Colorado or in one of the western states bordering Colorado

it was not uncommon for people visiting Colorado to bring this beer back home from visits to share with friends... as there was no other way for East Coasters to get to sample Fat Tire Amber Ale

over time... New Belgium expanded its distribution to other parts of the United States

when the sales of New Belgium beer expanded around the country... so did the Tour de Fat!

What is the Tour de Fat?

that is a question that is harder to answer than it should be
The Tour de Fat is a one day bicycle themed festival hosted by New Belgium Brewery
the day involves an assortment of bicycle themed activities and entertainment

The Tour de Fat is a day of fun and frivolity
the day beckons for people to let loose and have some fun
costumes are not required... but costumes are encouraged
as are bicycles
bicycles are not mandatory on this day... but bicycles are also encouraged

so... The Tour de Fat is a one day bicycle themed festival
a carnival of sorts
there are all sorts of side show acts
various odd ball games and activities
and then a main event

the Tour de Fat is trip around the United States where New Belgium brings its Fat Tire Beer (and other beers now) on tour...

it is really quite a day...

a day that at one time happened in Washington DC in a time when the Tour de Fat was going to over a dozen cities all over the United States

the Tour de Fat grew and grew and grew
then changed...

There is more to the Tour de Fat than meets the eye...
sure it is a one day party
a festival of sorts...
but there is more

the Tour de Fat was a philanthropic event
all of the proceeds of this event go back to the various bicycle Not for Profits that volunteer to host the event

here in Washington DC I worked with the mountain bike advocacy group MORE to be the liaison between MORE and New Belgium
I organized and ran the Bicycle Valet at the Tour de Fat
while also working to promote the event

in the months leading up to the event I handed out flyers... put up posters in bars around town... and blasted Social Media with updates about the event
my efforts were so great that I won a promotion contest where I was awarded a New Belgium beach cruiser

but... What happened to New Belgium? and what happened to the Tour de Fat?

it was here... it was magnificent... now it is gone...

in short... I really do not know
I never asked... I never really looked into things

New Belgium Brewery was an "employee owned" business
the event was what it was and it grew organically 

I saw the Tour de Fat change...
they tried to change the format
the event became more of a live concert than a festival
a change from a family fun day... to an adult early evening event
the day became a ticketed event rather than a free event
which in my mind... made the day much more difficult to sell

it was like they were trying to reach out to a different demographic
rather than feeding on their fan base... they tried to attract a different group or an additional group 
this change along with some unfortunate weather changed things

two articles about the sale of New Belgium Brewing and the end of the employee owned business

I hope this was a win for the workers...
I hope in the long term... that this is a win for the fans of New Belgium Brewing
but really... the company identity was so much of the product
and... as said...
there seemed to be some major changes
changes that did not seem positive to me

if it ain't broke... don't fix it!

but... what do I know
New Belgium was not entirely on my radar before The Tour de Fat came to town and well...
New Belgium is not really on my radar now that Tour de Fat is no longer passing through DC...

for several years New Belgium Brewing brought its bicycle themed circus sideshow to Washington DC...
it was really quite a day
a day were the uptight DC types loosened up a bit
people dressed up and had fun

it was a giggle... a laugh... a hoot, a holler, a scream!

all sorts of people came out to volunteer
while so many others came out to experience the Tour de Fat
it was really quite special
New Belgium and the Tour de Fat was a day not like any other
were... well... yes... were...

honestly... I never really got to experience the Tour de Fat
my duties on that day were to lead a color cast of characters to run the bicycle valet
with thousands of people coming and going all day long on their bicycles
there is no way there are enough bicycle racks and No Parking signs for people to lock up

so... each year as the Bike Valet Team Lead I gathered volunteers... set schedules... and guided the action at Bike Valet on the day of...

bicycles coming and going all day...
from open to close...
a sea of bicycles...
it was really a site...

volunteering at the Tour de Fat is a Tour de Fat experience in itself

I really enjoyed it... everyone who volunteered really enjoyed it... even in the rain

the music and entertainment were both eclectic and top notch
there was spoke word by THE MOTH
there was comedy by Reggie Watts
each year had a musical headline that was unknown to be but so spectacular that my mind was blown

have you heard of Mucca Pizza?
neither had I... they are awesome!

in addition to the event itself...
New Belgium took on the role of mentor with the various advocacy groups
there were events that brought local bicycle advocacy groups 
advocates where shown ways to be more effective advocates
it was a great gathering of people and various advocacy groups

so many bicycle minded people with a love for their bicycle community
doing what they could to make their bicycle world better

hard to believe so much time has passed since the last Tour de Fat
the change of the event was a sad way to wind things down
the last a final year in DC it rained
I can not recall... but I think the last year was "a wash"

although the event was fueled by beer
it was really a good day for family fun
my boys would go to the event each year
much like myself
the corral with the kinetic bicycle sculptures was one of their favorite parts of the day

the New Belgium "carnies" are a clever bunch
over the years they have created dozens and dozens of bicycle-like contraptions
there is a pit where people take turns trying out these various rideable pieces of art
it is chaos
it is cool

over the years of volunteering at these events I made many new friends
friends with the New Belgium staff that was coming to town
while also getting to know other advocates and cementing friendships with them
and of course
the Bike Valet Volunteers

I am forever thankful to any and all that assisted with the TdF Bike Valet

thank you New Belgium 
or at least...

photos and words about the Tour de Fat on the Gwadzilla Blog

this links are rich with images, words, and memories...

one year I was gifted the assignment of making the "Slow Ride" Championship Belt
it was fun to get to play "New Belgium Carney"

below is my older son Dean displaying the Slow Ride Belt...
it was really something
brake levers that activated the bells...
Scrabble letters...
bottle opener on a retractable chain...
a DC flag created out of New Belgium Swag

and a cowbell... we always need MORE COWBELL!


Golf... Disc Golf... Frisbee Golf!


Monday... Memorial Day Weekend!

oh man... as this three day weekend approached I thought...
Triple Crown?
Is Memorial Day weekend the three day weekend where the messenger community hosts its Triple Crown?
that would be messenger Races in neighboring cities...

I think that the Triple Crown Usually includes Philly, Richmond, and DC...
but not this year

Triple Crown mention on the Gwadzilla Page

well...  the weekend approached faster than expected
I had thought that I might host an Alleycat
I did not present the idea to the DC Bike Messenger Association DCBMA
and then...
that notion passed

before the weekend started I got a text from Bruce
Bruce is a long time DC Messenger
Bruce has a love for many things
Disc Golf is one of those things


Bruce sent out the invite to meet up for some golf on Memorial Day
10 am meet up Calvert Park Road Disc Golf Course in College Park

this course roughly a half hour bicycle ride from my house
but I would drive so I could bring my dog

Didg is a good dog and can hang out while we play a few holes of golf

so... normally I play disc golf with an Ultimate Frisbee
and well... I have a long history of doing pretty okay with a standard disc
sort of like riding a single speed with someone on a full suspension bike
but on this day I decided to try the golf disc 

my old friend Peter Wilborn have a long history of playing frisbee together
for years Peter has tried to influence my golf game by gifting golf discs to me
and well...
the discs gather but I never use them
well... I decided that on this day I would try to use the golf disc

so...  I drove over to College Park with the dog
showed up a few minutes late... but pretty close to 10
all the players were already at the tee and ready to play
the score card would include - Bruce, DannyK, a kid named Joe, and Chris P aka Step Dad

the play would be unscored... accept by the individual for the individual
it would not be a contest or a competition
it would be a get together and a game
that said... we all threw our best and I kept a tally of my score 

after a few warm up tosses... I figured I would try to learn how to throw a golf disc

to avoid some of the morning golf crowd we started on the back 9
teeing off I heard some advice from everyone on how to throw the disc
I spoke out and said... that I was gonna try something

I was not sure how the small weighted disc would respond to my angled shot
I threw the disc high and away... thinking it would drop towards the hole
it was amazing
the frisbee did exactly as I had intended
the small pink disc went far and away at an aggressive angle
then cut back and dropped towards the basket

then it happened!
the disc hit the ground just a few feet from the basket and skipped up
the angle was perfect for the skip rather than just dropping to the ground
the little pink disc skipped up and slammed into the chains of the basket

what a great way to start the day!
I should have packed my bag and gone home just then
as it would not get any better than that!

the day went on to be a struggle...
never quite getting the small firm golf discs to do what I intended them to do
my drives were decent in distance... but not any further than I think I could huck an Ultimate disc

I started strong... but could not finish strong...
shot Par for most of the day
with a few flubs... ended up 6 over par
not better than I would shoot with a standard disc
but... I figure once I learn how to use a golf disc I will get some consistency

and well...
as they say
"drive for show... putt for dough"
I need to work on my putting game!

good times!
Thanks Bruce for the Invite!

then went home and did an afternoon road ride
an Alleycat would have been nice
but Disc Golf with friends is not a bad option

Alleycat on the Gwadzilla Page


Cicadas... They're Here!!!


Cicadas... They Are Here!

it is intriquing 
the cicadas evoke a strong emotion
there are clearly two camps
people either love them or hate them

the whole process is so fascinating to me
nature and all of its splendor right in front of us
a lifecycle as curious as that of the Butterfly or the Jellyfish

this is the year of Brood X
the Year of the 17 Year Cicada

in much of the Mid-Atlantic these interesting little creatures are waking from their 17 year slumber and crawling to the surface
all over there are hundreds and hundreds of little holes revealing the path that the individual cicadas crawled from beneath the surface to then climb up trees and molt into the next stage of their lifecycle

or at least curious or fascinating!

each day as I walk my dog I try to better understand the pattern of these curious creatures
where are the greatest concentration of cicadas?
do they like the deep forrest or the neighborhoods?
where do they thrive?
where do they suffer?

the song or songs?
to me... that techno chorus that hums high in the sky and in the background of our day is awesome 
to me it is wonderful 
it amuses me the great number of people who do not care for this spectacular event 

it is the marvel of nature 
there are far more benefits than harm

what? too noisy?
what is the worse that happens... you need to wipe your feet before going in the house because you may have crushed a few? maybe you might need to sweep your sidewalk or patio?

I say... if you do not care for them... just give them space
they will be gone soon enough 

as said...
I am of the camp that is intrigued by the cicadas
excited by the cicadas
amused by the cicadas

to me this is a wonderful event to experiece
something to mark time with
something to yearn to experience again

hopefully I will be alive in 17 years to experience this phenomena again! 

Cicadas are benign...
harmless to humans!
harmless to our pets!
and a huge benefit to the world they exist in 
their crawling out of the ground will create ways for air, water, and maybe even seeds to go into the previously compressed soil
the cicadas are food for the animals around us
allowing birds to focus on the cicada snacks... perhaps allowing other insects and plants to thrive as they are less of a concern
and then the bodies
the bodies are rich in nutrients and will fertilize the soil when they die
it all seems good to me

Cicadas are here now... but soon they will be gone!
so... if you love them... love them while they are here!
if you hate them... just ignore them... they will be gone soon enough!

here is a great video

The Doors and The Shed...


the shed in the back yard needed some TLC
there was a massive hole in the roof
and... well...
the shed was too small for much more than the lawn mower and a few tools...

there was an incomplete foundation set for a larger foot print for a shed
so... I figured instead of just fixing the shed's issues
I would increase the functionality of the shed by increasing its size!

an old friend had posted on Facebook about a shed project he had just completed
we talked... he said that he could help me with my shed for pizza and beer
estimated two weeks... well... has taken longer than two weeks
but has not cost me much more than pizza and beer
things are really moving along 

not moving along as rapidly as I would like
but I think that is the nature of construction
build estimates for time and cost are usually lofty ambitons
things tend to take longer and cost more than anticipated

this project is no different...
sure... coating the exterior in doors has saved a buck
yet there are still many building supplies that need to be purchased
and right now... there is a spike in building material costs

this is Memorial Day Weekend... raining now...
would have like to have had a socially distance gathering with some friends by the completed shed this weekend
but alas no... the shed project is still not yet finished
looking great... getting closer... but still pretty far off

which brings me to the question...

Do you have any old doors that you want to donate to my shed project?



Queens of the Stone Age

there is that question... now that things are opening up... what band would you like to see live?
live music does not carry the draw for me that it once did
I still like to catch a few shows a year
well... pre-covid I liked to catch some live music

Tool was the last large act in a large arena for me


Queens of the Stone Age