Rants on Cycling and on Life


Top three CYCLING Movies.....
(and not in any order....everything is up to discussion)

1. Breaking Away

2. The Bicycle Thief

3. Pee Wee's Big Adventure

thought so
there are few things I am right about
but this is surely one of them

Everybody slept late!
Everbody! Lisa! Grant! Dean! Roscoe! Brutus! and ME!
It was awesome. Sort of cut into lisa's hike time, but we managed to get out of the gate in time for the day
started the day with hanging with Grant and Dean while Lisa did a loop in the woods with Roscoe and Brutus
then I mounted up the Blizzard, lock in pack along with some water, banana, Red Bull, and some other random cycling fuels
went off to Astanga Yoga Center at Tenleytown for some Yoga with Gail
it was a good class
I fear getting inverted
no hand stands
no head stands
yes shoulder stands
but not tripods with my head either
other than that things went well
not that I am flexible
it feels good just the same
after class no time to chat
already in cycling knickers and jersey went straight from class to a MORE hosted trail maintenance day at Cabin John
got outside the beltway from Tenly in less than 17 minutes
not bad for a fat guy on a fat tire bike
poked into the trails to see if I could lend a hand
the day for them had started at 9:30
I called the leader in the am to see if he thought things would still be going on at 12:30
he said yes
and they were
so I lent a hand and did a little John Henry with the ax
it was futile yet fun
after swinging that axe for over an hour with brakes I was informed by a Department of Recs person guiding the maintenance that the logs were going to be cut down with chain saws later that day
aided where I could after that
helped with the tools back to the trailhead
then back on the bike
backtracked in the woods to get to the C&O
took a link on the loop that is moderately technical
turns out to be a day of Goldie Locks and the Mountainbike trail
so much of that trail is too easy
much of it is too hard
and some of it is just right
but the proportion of too hard is enough for me never to dip in there again
sure there were a few meters of great rock gardens
but the hike to bike ratio was poor
pedaled down the towpath along the canal towards downtown
the tourists and the fair weather people were out in force
I joined in the madness and put on the iPOD
figured if I could not beat them
join them
got home a few minutes later than lisa had hoped
she was bummed that she missed YOGA due to a bruise on her back
and her mood was apparent
I grabbed Grant and went to grab Dean at my mom's
Lisa had dropped him off in the late morning
got there Dean was tired and hot, maybe not a fever, but not feeling 100%
it made for tough situation as I had planned on taking him to the barber
Dean tends to be a good negotiator
but sick
he wins everytime
no need argueing with him
we dashed over to my dad's instead
he was cleaning his Koi pond out back
and there was plenty of stuff for Dean to get into
we killed some time there
then headed for home
grabbed some stuff from the curb for Grant
an exer-saucer and a vibrating rocker
hope they were giving it away
either way thanks
and once back home lisa was refreshed
in the 2 hours we were gone she managed to go for a good walk on this nice day in the woods
Dean did not wake on the transfer
took him up to my bed where he continued his nap
Dave and Anna came over with their son Rowan
Dean was not getting up for the BBQ experience
finally he joined in on the fun
but he was in a funk
sharing was not his thing
he was overly possessive, beyond grumpy
with the guests still there I took Dean up to give him a bath
figured he could use it
maybe it will help him relax and help with his cough
dressed him for bed
and then here I am
back at work
taking a break
here doing updates on all the XP machines
not a bad gig
running around the building with my iPOD blasting
earning a comp day
after a wonderful day



apparently people do not care for long BLOGS



currently reading a good book METAL COWBOY
so far it is a good read
he is a talented writer with a wealth of experience
the tales are about the people he meets and the experiences he has as a he tours about the country and the world via bicycle....guess that will get me to try and put a rant on that topic
lets see if I can get a story to surface

here it is
the year is 1990
just graduated from St Mary's College of Maryland
in Europe with Rob Hardesty and our bicycles

We were just a week into a five week trip in Europe; three countries Holland Belgium, and France
it was set out to be a mixture of travel and touring
we were flexible
flow with the river
blow with the breeze
just a rough idea of places we wanted to go and things we wanted to see
a plan that could be revised at any second
maps purchased when we arrived
no Lonely Planet, nothing
there were a few contacts we had here and there
and the ground we wanted to cover
we opted to mix bicycle touring with riding train
each day was an adventure
Rob and I were young and wet behind the ears
neither of us had done much touring or traveling
nor had either of ever been out of the United States
sure there had been a few long rides to the beach or along the canal
but never more than a few miles from a Super Big Gulp at the 7-11
so one week into the trip we had already discovered that things do not always go as planned
sometimes they work out better
sometimes they blow up in your face
we had flown into Amsterdam, spent a few days tooling around the city
taking in the sites, some museums, and the culture
most of our days were spent in the park making our own sociological surveys
we rode from Amsterdam to Osterbeck (near Arnem) where we stayed with a high school friend's Dutch grandmother
actually, she was headed out of town for the weekend, so we did not stay with her, we stayed at her place
Rob managed to get her to entrust us with the keys to her home, or more clearly her home
in exchange we did a few chores around the house
nothing too taxing, just things she was unable to accomplish herself
even got proactive and switched her refrigerator door to open in a more logical direction
she returned happy to see that we had not robbed her and that we were leaving
from there we rode south towards Belgium
it was glorious riding
very flat
clean crisp air
a castle in the distance here and there
and canals everywhere
and very very green, wide open and green
the only thing more present than tulips and castles were the cyclists
people of all age on bicycles
all cruising at a leisurely pace
we passed them all with our heavily loaded aqua marine green Bianchi mountainbikes
then when we stopped to have lunch and refuel
these same cyclists would pass us
we were being taught the touring equivalent of "The tortoise and the Hare"
one day we set out for the next town on the map with a Youth Hostel
we made some calculations and set on our way
it was a long day
our course was clear
we got directions from helpful a cyclist or two and felt confident about our direction
as it turns out our course was correct
while our calculation of the distance was incorrect
the flat Dutch country side started to roll as we got closer to Belgium
never a climb
but with our untrained bodies these long rolling hills were taxing on our body
to break the monotony and to use a different set of muscles we walked our bikes for small stretches
as the sun set we contemplated sleeping under a tree on the roadside
but I figured we had gone that far, we could make the final 7-10 miles
Rob agreed, but he saw the measure in my eyes
he had to fight my desire to "just knock it out"
often spirit is as good as strength and conditioning
and I felt that a 7-10 ride could be an easy sprint, like riding from downtown to Bethesda after a long night of drinking
put the body on auto pilot and pedal way
the legs move with the ballistic power like the wings of a bird
rob was not ready for such an expenditure
we were a team
so we moved and worked as a team, settled in on an agreeable pace and made it to our destination

(here is where the story starts)

we were overjoyed
we rolled into a small quaint little village
what may have been considered a European city at one point in time
beautiful old architecture
we rolled in a little after sunset
too tired to do much more than check into the Youth Hostel, unpack our gear, and fall into a deep sleep
once in the town center we got our barings straight we went to the Hostel
or at least we went to the address where the Hostel once was
this was the second time we had arrived only to find that our information was not up to date
there had been a Youth Hostel there, but no more
the 6.95 we spent on the Youth Hostel book and the 20 dollars each for an American Youth Hostel membership was proving to be a waste
we pondered what to do
as we rested our legs and thought about our next move
just then a pack of teen age boys passed through the town square on mopeds
either a gang of geeks or perhaps some delivery boys just released from work and on their way home
the one in the lead of the pack came to a stop
threw down his moped and began stomping on it
we approached the young men and tried to make an introduction
we tried what Dutch we had learned in our week in Holland
rob tried his three years of French with Madame Kitze from high school
and we tried english
we got nothing but blank stares
very different from Holland where everyone claimed that they did not speak much English, yet were able to convey abstract concepts and talk about world affairs
here these boys spoke and understood nothing but Flemish
it was a frustrating moment
we were exhausted from a long day's ride
they were frustrated with their moped being out of gas
then the inability to communicate did not help matters at all
they went back to the bike and surveyed the situation
one of the young boys pulled out some beers and they started drinking
they were drinking a local beer whose name I can not recall
the bottles were small 7 or 10 ouncers, what may be known in the states as Ponies
rob and I watched as they fiddled with the bike
more kicking than anything else
as a man I wandered over to lend a hand
men are very good at giving advice
even on issues that they know nothing about
I walked over and stopped them from kicking their moped any longer
made eye contact with one of the boys
and gestured for his empty beer bottle
with the bottle in hand I walked to one of the other mopeds and pulled the fuel line from the carburetor and filled the empty beer bottle with gas
replaced the fuel line
then walked to the moped that was lying lifeless on the sidewalk like a beached whale
poured the gas into the tank
and fired the moped right up
there was a cheer
friends were made!
immediately we were each handed a beer
I took that small bottle popped off the cap
flicked the cap off into the far far distance with a snap of my thumb
and chugged that Pony in one gulp
respect was earned
the gaggle of boys stared in awe
this tall american man with long brown hair and a bright green bike was doing things that they had never seen before
things that are common place to any american playing drinking games in their parent's basement
and then we talked
there was no language so we began a game of Charades
I motioned that we were looking for a place to stay
with the universal sign for sleeping (hands together like in prayer, resting beneath the ear of my tilted head)
they understood and took us around to various hotels
no Motel 6 in this joint
not sure how costly things were
as exhaustion never helps with the conversion of foreign currency
we chased behind them on their mopeds in this little city in Belgium until we were back in the town square
the boys talked amongst themselves
they made an offer
one of the boys said we could stay at their house with their family
it was only 8 kilometers away
I was excited
the notion of being invited into their house and getting a taste of their culture and maybe some pancakes for breakfast was appealing to me
rob would not have it
from what we calculated once back in the states we had ridden over a hundred and thirty miles that day
with overloaded panniers
rob put his foot down
he was not going to ride any further
not for a free place to stay
not for a warm bed
not for a Belgian breakfast
he did not trust their rough estimate of distance
and was not confident that their parents would invite us in upon our arrival
rob has the stubbornness of a mule, the harder you work to change his mind
the hard he stands his ground
there was no effort made to sway him towards the moped rider's offer
so we moved back to the game of charades
we asked it there was a good hidden spot to sleep on the street
night prior we had slept in someone's carless garage
which was great cover from the rain
but they did not think that this was a good idea
one boy put his hand forward and close together as if in hand cuffs
that was a result that was not attractive to anyone
soon enough it was getting later and darker
they needed to get home
and we needed to get settled in on a place to stay
we meandered about the city
and found a dock near the river
I scouted out some small sail boats hoping to sleep in one of the cabins
it was starting to rain
the cabin of the sailbboats seemed like the best cover
rob was right in thinking that it would be an awkward situation to wake up to the enraged owner of the small boat
the image of the imaginary handcuffs was in both of our minds
so we opted to sleep on street
we found some large cardboard boxes and made shelters in a classic homeless style
we were tired
rain, cold, and wind were not going to keep us from sleeping
there was talk of one of us staying awake and sleeping in shifts to protect our gear and our lives
rob took the first shift
he was asleep before me
I was too tired to complain
and too tired to bring my lock out of my bag

that was just one day and one night of an adventure that lasted for five weeks
we learned a great deal about ourselves and the world on that trip
we are still great friends and still ride bikes together
even if we did part ways 2/3 of a way through that 5 week journey
lucky for us we made a pact to stay friends after that trip no matter what
it was a good deal to make and a great deal to keep


Michael Moore

need I say moore?



good morning rain!
another rainy day here in washington dc
it is not so bad, Rock Creek is getting green
obviously the rain has its merits
but as an avid mountainbiker I must say MUD SUCKS!
so no DIRT for me for a few days, hopefully this rain does not continue for the next few weeks

last night as the sun set the sky was ablaze
it was a wonderful site
the sky was a mixture of orange and pink with the rain coming steadily down
a glorious moment
lisa and I stood at the bay window of our glorious Mt Pleasant home and took it all in
it was quite a spectical with the mist and haze within the deep woods blurring the trees further away from the house

then this morning out with the dogs
the dogs running wild in the wet woods
breathing hard a visible breath
perhaps the last visible breath of the season, I hope

more gear
gortex down to the socks
on the bike
a short wet ride into work
with lights lights and more

back to work
big wigs in town
Dan is anchoring the evening news from the Russell building


Karate Monkey!
This is what happens when you leave your Karate Monkey Parked Over Night!
life for the owners of a 29 incher
(and I am referring to my bike)
are often like the life of Gulliver from Gulliver's Travels
(not Gulliver's Hair Salon in Hoboken, NJ)

this shot posted here at the BBC

while chanced upon here at this wonderful BICYCLEBLOGGER page or is that CYCLINGCLOGGER's page?

Funny Stuff...
Here are some great posts....
Not bitter angry rants, just the facts. So much of what is said here I have been saying for years. There are a few documentary ideas here that I will never develop that have been bouncing around in my head for years.
Eric Roman rants on his seasonal return to the DC Messenger scene.

Many years ago (perhaps that was 'back in the day') I worked as a messenger. There was a strange glory to this job. It offered a great amount of freedom, got paid to do something that I loved (ride my bike), and again back to the freedom. Showed up at an irregular hours, bailed out at irregular hours, took vacations without asking, it was an effort to be everything that a straight job (coat and tie) was not. And in many ways it was everything a straight job was not....there were not taxes taken out, there was no insurance, there was not a 401K, no paid vacations or holidays, no retirement plan. In the end the couriers who settle in as "set wage" or "guarentee" riders end up working harder and getting less than those people with the 'ties.' Sorta silly. The set wage guys end up showing up at regular hours and leaving at regular hours, but getting paid a substandard wage...

There were great days....Clear skies, warm breeze, and women taking long lunches and basking in the spring sun. Flowers in bloom. But the reality is that this is Washington DC, the land where the first question people ask is...."What do you do?" and if your answer is "Messenger/Courier." the only women who will light up will be the one who wants to get back at her dad, lucky for me there were many women looking to do just that. Date the bad boy, see how pissed of dad can be. DC has cold wet winters, if it were only cold enough for the rain to turn to snow it would be a tad less painful, but that is not how it is, the cold bites through the skin, deep into the bones, the water is colder than ice, the humidity gets the last laugh in the winter as well as the summers....AAh, SUMMER TIME! August in Washington is nothing shy of brutal, three quick steps and your average male is drentched with sweat, so hot, so humid that those roughing it without AC end up sweating in the shower, and when they go to brush their teeth they find that their tooth paste is not tooth paste, but tooth liquid. This is not prime riding weather. Pushing the bicycle through a thick wall of air, thick hot wet air. Drafting behind a bus in the winter may be nice, that gust of warm exhaust can be pleasing, but in the summer each piece of exhaust clings to the messenger's sweaty body....I remember homeless people pointing at me saying, "that guy needs to take a shower!"

back to my straight job
back to this blog later

read Eric's Rant
it is more clear than mine
perhaps I will get back to mine later
there is a great deal on this topic that I may want to get out
BLOGGING is cheaper than therapy!


I love email
yes, I know, okay...I will say it
nothing worse that BLOGGING about and hearing that audible signal that I have mail
no, not that classic AOL, "You've Got Mail!"
just a basic computer beep
although it would be nice to load that AOL voice
as I still have a Pavlovian response when I hear it
but as I stepped away from my iPOD playlist playing to check my email I was dupped
the email that was landing in my Inbox was just my most recent blog postings

made me feel pretty silly
if it were not for my two dogs, my awesome kids, and my wonderful wife I would be a big loser

As I download music to my iPod I am reading BLOGS as they pull up on my Mac
came across this random BLOG with this random little known fact

Apple or Bicycle