3.31.2011

it is funny... I have more to day... so much goes unsaid













The 2011 Mount Pleasant Bike Swap
I am not sure... maybe this all got dropped into the GWADZILLA FACEBOOK page
I am not sure what I have posted and what I have not posted
and don't forget
follow GWADZILLA on TWITTER @gwadzilla

I am sorry.

yes... I am sorry
I apologize

I apologize for flipping off, cussing at, spitting on, spitting at, you as you passed my on my bike or when I was crossing the street with my dog

to the guy tonight who ran the red light at the top of the hill and then sped down the hill as I crossed the street with my aging dog
I am sorry I flipped you off
yes... I know you did not see it because you were going so fast and in the middle of a phone call
but I realize I was wrong
it is inappropriate behavior

the same goes for every car that past me dangerously close and dangerously fast when I was on my bike
it is not so much that I can not deal with the fact that you went by me fast and close
it is more that you fail to respect that I have a right to safety and a right to space
I realize that you feel that you are more important than me
I understand that you feel that your need to be in the space that I occupy is more important than my right to life

okay

enough on this
it is not helping to calm me down
this is just making me more angry

a comment brought to the surface to share... so I can grow from it... so others can learn from it

this is a message I received on a random post the other day
the author did not spend any time looking at my blog
the author should have just sent me an email directly
the email would not have been shared
but since it is a comment and could be see by any reader any time I am shuffling it from the background to the foreground

my aim is not to incite rage or anger in this person or myself
this is an effort for me to better understand myself and this situation
and then maybe
maybe for this person and other people to better understand what is happening here...

Joel, You were extremely rude and hostile to me one morning a few weeks ago when I believe we were both commuting to work. My 8 year old son and I are your neighbors in Mt P, we normally ride bikes to work/school, but that AM we were in our Prius when you pulled out directly in front of us, got in middle of the street and proceeded to hog the road going about 9mph. I went around you, giving you a VERY wide birth. I even thought that your bike with the wheel barrel in front looked kinda cool. My little boy admired it as we drove by you. My son's fascination with your bike quickly turned to fear when you began aggressively pounding on my driver's side windshield. As I woman I was shocked and offended by the nasty comments you made about my face( nothing to do with "share the road" but to an 8 year old boy in back seat very frightenning to see an "old guy with a beard" pounding on his Mom's widow. "can he get us,Mom" YOU NEED TO GET A GRIP ON YOURSELF DUDE...and what is with your anger towards women?? I hear you are married and have a kid. Is that right?? Do you share your hostile side with your wife and bare that kind of anger in front of your child? Not to mention: bad way to establish a share the road culture!


Colleen


I remember that morning...

this incident occurred a few blocks from my house just minutes from leaving off to work
I turned right off Monroe onto 18th...
there was plenty of room for me to take the right before the car traffic from the left came into play

there was less than half of a city block between me and the red light ahead and you felt the need to pass me way above 25 MPH in between me and the cars on the left hand side of the road

You were going so fast that when you were finally able to stop you were well beyond the stop line, blocking half of the crosswalk

When I got to you side I tapped on your driver side window to get you attention. Until this point I did not know if it was man or beast that had passed me... all I knew was that the action of passing me was without reason. When I spoke to you... you mocked me. Since you not only threatened my life by entering my space and then opted to mock me... I mocked you back.

I thought it was unnecessary for you to pass. Yes, I was going slow... no need to get the bike up to speed when I know that I am going to have to slow and then stop at the Red Light. I am not sure of my speed and not sure how you could estimate my speed with such precision driving past me as you did.

back to the point... You are the hundredth monkey... each day I drive through the neighborhood and the city... cars take up more than half the lane coming towards me and then aggressively pass me on the left when coming from behind. It is anxious, yet I deal with it. It is my reality. I grip the handlebars and I grit my teeth. I hang on and cross my fingers. I have been hit... I have been run off the road, both intentionally and unintentionally.


When I am responding to you... I am fed up and responding to all the drivers who pass me that way.
There were 99 monkeys that passed me in the days prior... I let them pass and said nothing. But when the hundredth monkey passes... they may get the finger or a word or two. I approached you calmly. Looking to talk to you... you treated me with the same disrespect face to face as you did car to bike.

Had you opened the window I would have asked, "What is you hurry? Why are you speeding through this residential neighborhood?" I can ride no further to the right because of the risk of car doors opening... so I ride here. The Speed Limit is 25 MPH... so my going slow is more within the limits of the law than you speeding"

or something to that effect
but... you did not listen... so we did not have this conversation
instead of having a conversation that could have resolved our disagreement to the use of space... your opted to disregard me and mock me. That is why I was so rude to you. It was action and reaction... your obnoxious set of actions and then my over reaction.


When Bush was in office I hated people with their W Stickers and their Ford Explorers

Now with the change of power in the executive office the people passing me obnoxiously fast and obnoxiously close are in Prius' with Obama stickers

Yes, I am married. Yes, I have kids. I would be less angry if people in the wrong were less self righteous. If you had taken less than a second to read my blog you would have had more insight into who I am.

Look in the mirror. See your contribution to the situation. My action may have been inappropriate. But it was just an over reaction to your inappropriate reaction. I may have been wrong... but only after your wronged me.

Sharing the Road does not mean me getting out of your way as you barrel through a residential neighborhood. You would not want me driving my car past you or your child in that fashion... would you?

I am not Ghandi. And why is it me that needs to be subjected to abuse then turn the other cheek? I have been riding bikes for my whole life. Well... since I was younger than your son. In that time I have have had more than my fair share of incidents.

As for your son's fear? Kids says stuff. My younger son says similar stuff when cars tailgate behind us as we ride down residential streets.


Not that I want to be enemies, as a matter of fact I hate confrontation. But, until you realize your contribution to the situation we can not even talk.

Maybe when you ride your bike to school with your child you can watch how the cars around you behave. You can get a chance to look in the mirror and see things as they are. I exist in cars and on bikes. When on the bike I am very defensive... especially with my children. When in the car I over exaggerate appropriate behavior around pedestrians and cyclists. Maybe... just maybe... you will have an epiphany and realize that you were wrong in your effort to pass me... wrong in your inability to make a complete stop at the stop line... then wrong not to allow there to be a discussion between us... and then wrong to mock me as I spoke.

I was just riding to work and well... had you just looked ahead and seen the red light in front of us and then waited your turn behind me... well, I would not be typing this message on the keyboard right now.

have a nice day
maybe we will meet one day under different circumstances and talk peacefully about our love of life, love of bikes, and love of family


nice smile... she is really enjoying the day


she is really enjoying the bike

another rainy day...

raining today...
another rainy day

it does not always wait for April for the showers to start
which is fine... the plants need the water
but me... I NEED TO RIDE!


it has started to warm up...
well... actually....
it warmed up and it is cold again
yet we are still in spring mode
no matter what the weather is

with spring here I have tried to re-institute the bike in our school drop off and pick up situation

a few times a week if my work schedule permits I drive the kids to school with their bikes
the boys ride a few blocks to school while I walk behind

the boys are coached about complete stops at each corner
the boys are told to look at the car drivers to be sure that they are seen

the boys do a good job of following directions
if only I could get the adult drivers to behave in their cars as well on the roads as my seven and nine year old sons do on their bikes

each day it is the same thing...
cars making aggressive left hand turns into the crosswalk

fast approaching cars not making their stop until halfway through the crosswalk way past the Stop Line
seldom do the car drivers give my boys their RIGHT OF WAY

ah... parenting is a lesson in patience

dealing with the other people on the planet... another lesson in patience

my kids are pretty solid... but they are kids
they forget stuff... they slip up...
but really... parents forget stuff and parents slip up
then when a parent slips up... it is a lesson in life
just as the children can forget stuff so can the kids


on this morning I forgot both Grant's helmet and the key to the bike lock I keep attached to the bike rack at the kid's school
ooppps!
this was not the first time... and sadly not the last

the boys arrived at school safely and I left off back to the car

making a mental note to bring Grant's helmet in the afternoon
then when I got home I took my rapidly aging dog for a very short walk then started my day

my work day was abbreviated so I could handle drop off and pick up of the kids
this is the silver lining of being "under employed"
this is the fun part

but really... unemployment is not fun-employment

before getting the kids I thought about what bike I wanted to ride
I had recently acquired a Bob Trailer and linked it up to my Specialized Tri-Cross
but I felt that I needed to fix my Franken-Bakfiet
it was running... but I feared it was about to fail

it is funny...
there is reason why old crusty parts are not on a bike
I built the Franken-Bakfiet with an assortment of bike parts off of old bikes in my garage and old pa
rts I had in bins
quickly I realized that if I wanted things to work... I would have to swap a few things out

the drive-train was replaced within hours of the first trial run
the old cassette and old chain were replaced with sparkling new parts I had ordered and was hoarding for when I "needed" them
this seemed like a case of need
although the XT quality seemed like a little much for this big rig and its around town functionality

then her it is a month later and I felt a shimmy and a shake in the rear wheel
there was a slight oscilation of the wheel being out of true

although I am not the master mechanic
I can true a wheel that is not too far gone


I took a glance

before I pulled the wheel I noticed it was not a loose set of spokes

but rather a well worn rim
although this wheel was running the disc brake

the rim was well warm from its previous life on my Surly Karate Monkey with gears
a bike that was raced and ridden hard for years

I rode the bike with the thin worn cracking rim in the back a few times

each time with fingers crossed on both hands
every time I rode this bike I braced myself for the rim to FAIL

dreading the walk home knowing a short bike ride can be a long walk
fearing the failure to happen at the wrong time putting me into a dangerous situation

so... having a solid rear wheel with disc only rim that I had bought from fellow DCMTB team member Darren Biggs there was no excuse
the process was not difficult

infact the process is quite easy
well... easy for someone with the right tools and the basic knowledge on how to use them


easy enough...
I hung the tail end of the very long orange Franken-Bakfiet by its seat on my repair stand
then I removed the rear wheel
the horizontal drop outs of the rear triangle from my Jamis Exile frame had the awkwardness
of a removable derailleur hanger and one "monkey nut"

with the wheel off the bike I made fast work of the process
removed tire and tube...
with a chain whip, a large adjustable crescent wrench, and a bicycle specific cassette removal tool I pulled the cassette
lastly I located a star shaped allen key on a multi-tool and pulled off the well worn Avid Disc


then I reversed the process

putting these parts on the used but still healthy and usable rear wheel
disc... cassette... then tire and tube
with air in the tire I put the wheel onto the Franken-Bakfiet

ah. satisfaction.

after tightening down the quick release I spun the wheel
STRAIGHT!

with no more thought I was on the bike and rolling to meet the boys at school

amazingly enough...
I had known that there was threat of rain but it had been clear all day

not even a block from my house and it was lightly coming down
not rain, but rather a wispy wintry mix

I was not dressed for this!
in a sweater... still wearing my bicycle repair apron... with shorts
I thought about the weather and if it was going to turn such that I should go back and get my car


no... it did not seem to be picking up
the snow and rain let up... stopped... and started again... I figured I would be fine
even in my custom tailored Carhardt knickers I would be fine
cold at the shins... but fine
the kids are sturdy... they should e fine as well

I crossed the park and cut through the closed section of Klingle Valley
having to get off the bike at two points to cross fallen logs
this is the best route for me to avoid the hills to get to my kids' school
on the Franken-bakfiet it is best to avoid the hills


at the school parents arrived
the orange monster caused a bit of a stir
all sorts of questions and comments from various parents

then the kids came rushing out of the building
more questions and comments... only this time from the wildly enthused smaller set

when my boys exited the school I pulled a burger and fries from my bag
FIVE GUYS!
I braced young Grant that I had mistakenly eaten the wrong burger and that this one had jalapenos on it
which was fine... he took a bite and moved to the fries
Grant loves fries and Dean digs jalapenos

sort of win win for the boys

the boys ate their post school snack as the other children were ushered off by their parents
into their cars and onto their afternoon activities

when it got to be time for the boys to put on their helmets and get on their bikes I realized that I had forgotten to bring Grant's helmet
SPACE CADET!
which meant Grant would be riding helmet-less
this gave me a tab bit of anxiety, but really more than likely their will not be a crash
hopefully


the wintry mix had come and gone, then come and gone again

gone to the point where the kids denied that there had been snow minutes prior to their evacuation from school

riding the bikes home from school is fresh again

now seven year old Grant is as enthused to ride his bike now as he was in the beginning
as we neared Thanksgiving Grant was seeing the post school bike ride as a chore rather than a positive experience

one the bikes we took the less direct route home
a route that traverses the city and goes around the massive downhill into Rock Creek Park that forces us to climb our way out of the Park
instead we go down and out of Cleveland Park... into Woodley Park... over the Ellington Bridge into Adams Morgan then over to our Mount Pleasant
except on this day... we were making a quick stop at the box stores in Columbia Heights to grab some stuff from Target

the boys mixed wildness and order

screaming down each block then making a complete stop at the corner
at the corners they wait and they look
then they go when I say it is safe and clear

really... the variables of urban driving are more than most adults can handle

I watch adult cyclists each day and I watch adult car drivers each day
and really... it amazes me that there are not more accidents each day


we meander or ride that crossed through multiple zip codes but did not cover more than 4 miles getting home not so wet but a little cold
we had what we needed from Target and we were ready for the next adventure


homework!
homework and then soccer for my older son which conflicts with my younger son's karate
so young Grant was given a "pass" and play with his neighbor while Dean got to play soccer on the turf field in the rain!

images from two different rides home
yesterday and one day last week

Darren Bigg's Blog
http://thebikeandmore.blogspot.com/



3.30.2011

DC Downshift has some photos from the Bike Swap


DC Downshift has some photos from the Mt Pleasant Bike Swap
http://dcdownshift.wordpress.com

I think I have more as well

Dirt Rag Cover Story...

Dirt Rag has a cover story... TICKS SUCK!
this is interesting
as I had considered this same topic for our local print magazine SPOKES

we had a LYME scare a bit back
http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com/search?q=lyme

here is the main story about my family's dealing with lyme disease
http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com/2009/12/cheering-for-lesser-of-evils.html

Dirt Rag Magazine
http://www.dirtragmag.com/

image by frequent Dirt Rag cover art contributor Kevin Nierman
www.kevinnierman.com

HANDBIKE FOR BORROW?

this is an odd request...

in case you did not know... I LOVE TO RIDE MY BIKE!
in case you did not know... I BELIEVE THAT ALL KIDS SHOULD GET TO EXPERIENCE THE PLEASURE OF RIDING A BIKE

there is a young boy in my 4th grade son's class who moves about with the assistance of a wheel chair... his arms are strong but his legs are weak... I am not sure of what his medical condition is... but I know he is a pretty normal kid except for his body's limitations

on a few occassions I have spoken to his mother about HANDBIKES
she is interested but apprehesious of the price

Does anyone have a handbike in a smaller size that this family could borrow so that they can see if this is something that could become part of their child's life?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handcycle


3.29.2011

like looking at photos of people on bikes...

Here are some classic images by photographer Kent Barker from a photoshoot for Regardie's magazine in 1987

Regardie's MESSENGERS OF THE GODS 1987 photoshoot!

http://citybikesdc.tumblr.com

great opening shot of Jim Rapp aka Featherhead
http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com/search?q=featherhead
sometimes truth is stranger than fiction!

3.28.2011

Tonic



TONIC
http://www.tonicrestaurant.com/

I have never been to the TONIC at Foggy Bottom
but Tonic Mount Pleasant... yes... I have been there a few times
back when I lived up on Lamont Street I was closer and younger
so I spent more time at Tonic

a further away father of two finds it hard to drink so far from home

maybe I will head up to Tonic and get a couple of beers and some tater tots this week
tater tots and lots of Ketchup

and yes
I am drooling thinking about the tater tots
nothing would make Sam Plots more proud
except for ice blocking on his lawn

suit

shooting from the middle of the street

don't try this at home

if you do
get the shot
I did not get the shot
it was not the camera
it was me
I missed the shot because I could not commit
I chickened out
rather than be patient and wait for the shot
I took an early one
then... afraid I was going to miss the intended shot

I shot early
which of course... prevented me from getting the shot
the first shot is fine
that is the shot posted second

but really
I want a fisheye lens
and I want to hit the shutter with the rider on top of me
I know this is in front of Camelot
and yes
I realize that Beavis and Butthead would laugh at certain word usage
but I can not control their behavior
I do not draw them

starting to like my results with the camera
the reset seemed to help

still not entirely comfortable with the camera

these are some of the first and last shots of the day

snapped a few shots before walking into the door at work today

snapped a few shots as I walked to get my lunch and then walking back to my office with my lunch

which may explain why all the shots from today are on M Street

these shots were some of the first and last shots of the day
both on M Street
blocks away
hours apart

the same day just the same

the same street just the same

these are solid shots

the camera did what it was supposed to do

yet... I missed a number of shots that I framed similarly
framed them so much the same
yet the camera did not respond for me
the photos came our blurry




POTHOLEBUSTERS!

2011 POTHOLEPALOOZA!
http://ddot.dc.gov

this is cool... follow the above link
apparently you can TWEET or EMAIL the information

Pothole Repair
http://ddot.dc.gov

the camera did what it was supposed to do


the camera captured the moment

in strong light I am getting good shots
but in low light I am still getting some shots out of focus

today I did a "hard reset" by pushing a button on the base of the NikonD70 with a paper clip

not sure...

I am not sure
I think it is "Scott"
or maybe it is "199"
either way

he has been on the page before
as he has been on the streets for a long time
which has him passing in front of my camera all the time



breakfast

breakfast.
before stepping into work after a little over than an hour on the bike I stopped for breakfast

it was not to save time
it was not to save money
it was because I love it!

it is true... I loved the boiled hot dogs from the sidewalk vendors on the streets of dc
I also like the CHUCKLES

I did not have CHUCKLES
I just had one of the specials

his hot dogs with everything are amazing
two dogs-soda-and chips for four bucks
that is with everything
including crushed red peppers and sour kraut

FANTASTIC!

I am salivating as I type

my friend Mohammad calls me "Camera Man"
I am not certain where he is from... although it has been discussed... but in his country he was a cameraman


coloring book... not my project... but it should inspire others to go forward with their projects

Kate passing off her book as she takes my five dollars
thank you very much!

Buy My Coloring Book - The World Around Biker 253
http://biker253.posterous.com

this weekend was The Mount Pleasant Bike Swap at Lamont Park
there were all sorts of people selling all sorts of bike stuff

selling stuff
trading stuff
talking about stuff... lots of talking about stuff

Kate was selling her coloring book
Kate was giving away crayons
the crayons were gray, black, and brown

no anodizing your components in Kate's book
this is not the 1980's!

Kate downtown at work
apparently in between runs
taking a call or taking a break
either way she is not in the saddle

all sorts of people moving about the Mount Pleasant Bike Swap
Kate holding her ground

the Bike Swap can be quite the social scene
another shot of Kate
I was down the block from my office grabbing lunch
Kate was in her office

messengers tend to have a "base"
but the streets... the parks... and the coffee shop of choice tend to be their office options

Kate is selling her coloring book to raise enough money to go to the World Messenger Championships
or something to that effect
chase the link for the full information

http://biker253.posterous.com/

a few years back there was this thing...



a few years back there was a writer
he wrote this thing
it was moderately clever
not life changing
but entertaining just the same

Malcolm BMX
http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com/search?q=malcolm+bmx

http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com/search?q=bmx

I am not sure about you...
but I really enjoy the tangents that the searches on Gwadzilla bring!

Heller's Bakery in Mount Pleasant