Rants on Cycling and on Life


For those of us who grew up on EDUCATION ROCK....this cartoon short ROCKS!

check it out!

Pirates and Emperors

it is really quite clever!
and informative

it would be a great trailer to preface any Michael Moore film!
(I should not have said may desuade some from viewing it)

Screw Bush Alleycat!

Saturday Oct 23,04
Logan Circle 3PM

an alleycat is an informal urban race
often set up in a courier style format
all on open roads
all use at your own risk

cycling is a dangerous sport
I recommend that you stay in your car
drive home and play video games
cycling is not worth the risk

A few things to get you closer to that SINGLE SPEED that you have been craving....


close out on a SINGLE SPEED FRAME

SURLY BIKES, 29' Potential Karate Monkey or the standard 1X1

then there is the "poor man's single speed" (from the mind of Keith Bontrager)

or you could buy my old Huma Huma Nuka Nuka Apuha ah
make an offer!

what else is there in the world of single speeds?
oh course....Sheldon Brown!

that should be enough links to wet your appetite


St Mary's College of Maryland and St Mary's County....
where drinking and driving was a varsity sport....not just on the college level
but at the high school level as well
here is a Washington Post article on the subject
there is mention of the local "college bar" The Green Door

common courtesy...
or as they told us in bible study, "do unto others as you would like others to do unto you."
(okay, I went to catholic school, not bible study)

I have rambled on about the law and my interpetation of it
but it seems like people don't seem to get it
these laws were created because they can not behave

even the Ten Commandments were created to keep people in line
these laws were written by the same people who created god
sure....who knows....there could be a god...
but the idea of god is something that was created to help to control the masses
in the time before Big Brother
people had to create an idea that would keep people in check

the Ten Commandments are really so basic....I can not believe that we even need them
the same is true of laws
one would think that everyone would know the killing and stealing are wrong...but I guess not
so some religous folks told this story of some guy going up a mountain and coming back with some tablets
(we have all seen Charleston Heston portray Moses)

I do not have the time for this
some people are stupid
most people are stupid
empathy does not exist in all
how can someone think that it is okay to steal from another
what is the rational or the justification?
it is greed and nothing more

when working at a bike shop years back I use to pick the brains of some bicycle theives
some of them never realized that the prior owner had spent money on this bike
then no longer had the bike
and may not have the money to buy another bike
then there were those who bought the stolen bikes (bad karma bikes)
they could not make the logical leap that it was pretty much the same thing
if no one bought stolen bikes
there would be far less bike theft

but that is a soap box for another time
I have work to do

wish I could blog while I ride my bike

I own a car.... as a matter of fact I own two, along with my wife's car I have access to three cars!
(currently trying to sell the '84 Landcruiser...wanna buy it?)

It is interesting when I get into an arguement or a debate with a car drive or even a car driving coworker about cyclists on the road and the cyclist's need to obey the law these people fail to understand that I unlike them exist in both worlds....the world of the confinement of the cage we call a car and also the liberating machine that we call the bicycle. Being able to travel in each or the other gives me a perspective that these most people do not understand....I can see both sides! I live on both sides and understand both angles.

So when a car driver tells me that they are sick of cyclists running Red Lights or blowing through Stop Signs, well, I can see their point; no one wants to run someone over or deal with the hassle of wiping some random cyclist's blood off the windshield or pick flesh out of the grill. But, in the same respect I think it is ignorant and arrogant for them not to look into the mirror and see how they are driving. The cyclist has opted to modify the rules of the road to make their travel more safe and more efficient. While the car driver can not see that. This same driver that asks the cyclist to obey the laws fails to see that they are bending most of the rules themselves and asking for a more annoying delay filled situation. If I were to obey the laws as a car while on the bicycke I would take the whole lane, make complete stops at each light or sign and then block traffic as I moved forward accelerating at a cyclist pace. Thus forcing the cars to line up behind have asked the cyclist to obey the laws like a car which will dictate that the car is not permitted to pass the cyclist. Each and every day I ride to the right hand side of the lane, accepting that the car driver is going to go around me breaking the double yellow line to make their pass. This double yellow line indicates that this is infact a NO PASSING ZONE, but since it is a bicycle ...the car gets to re-evaluate the law to expedite things. Well....that is just what the cyclist is doing when they roll through a stop sign like it were a yeild sign...trying to increase rather than impeed the flow of traffic. Sure there are times where I take the whole lane, I feel it is my responsibility to protect my best interest, ME. So I take the whole lane removing the option to pass if I feel that there is not sufficient room for a car driver to make the pass. There are winding sections of road with blind curves where I feel I need to think for the thoughtless car drivers. There are also stretches of road where it would be unsafe for me to ride all the way to the left due to pot holes that would be a hinderance to a moon vehicle, so I avoid those as well, not to mention the gutters and grates that also exist on the right side of many roads.

It is true.... as gundog99 said yesterday
These car drivers do not realize that I am a person to them I am an obstacle and a hinderance.
In some cases the car driver may not even realize that they are acting aggressively to someone that they actually know.

I have had near death experiences with friends, friend's parents, and co-workers behind the wheel of an agressive car.....all in situaitons where I was in the right and they were in a hurry uncaring of that person on the bike, which happened to be me. In one case the driver of a Mercedes with Diplomat tags spared my life because her daughter was in the passanger's seat....
When the mother stepped into DEATHCAR 2000 mode the passanger Isabell said..."no, is Joel!" The mother asked...."What is Joel?" and Isabell motioned with her hands "This is Joel." My life was spared. Apply a French Euro accent and the conversation makes much better sense and then ask Isabell about touring with New Order and she will tell you how it was in a matter of fact way...."so and so (one of the nameless band Ian Curtis is dead) loved me." Okay, that story much like the first is a tad bit of a location joke. But, it gives an example of the dehumanization of the person on the bicycle, they are a faceless obstacle not a living breathing human being with family, friends, and a purpose to this world.

I still joke with one of the editors here at work about one of the times where he layed on his horn and moved to run over me and my friends as we crossed over a busy street on our bicycles in the crosswalk.

Years ago I had a long list of Public Service Announcements, one of them not unlike a commercial from the Church of Latter Day Saints. The one where a Jeep passes a cyclist too close and sprays mud on him. The cyclist gets a little angered and then catches up to the Jeep driver along side of the road in need of a repair. The cyclist considers taking the crow bar from the car driver's hand and beating the man to death, but instead takes a deep breath, removes his helmet, and offers what assistance he can. There are several messages there.....
maybe even the potential for an adult film found in the boy on boy section at your local video store.....but that is another story.

I think that this public service announcement should be made. People need to open their minds and realize that there is a human on that bicycle and that they are comprised of skin and bone, not surrounded by crumple resistance side panels with driver's side airbags etc. That person has just as much right to the road as the car driver does. I am sorry that this person is 5 minutes late to meet their friends for happy hour, but that should have nothing to do with me and my time on the bike.

enough on this
this rant went everywhere and no where
I have had blogger's block for some time
my posts have been meandering about a tad too much
need focus
must get focused

Public Service Announcement from your average housewife/homemaker....

It seems that the soccer moms are not all stupid security moms buying into all the propaganda and hype that the current administration is pumping out to try and convince us that we need them.

No, here is a mom who is able to speak some sense about how she feels about George Bush.


it is worth your time


Hang it on the wall....
Each day as I get ready to get on the bike I slip into the appropriate gear for the temperature of the day then head for the door....
bike with air in the tires....CHECK!
middle finger....CHECK!
mouthful of spit....CHECK!
chip on my shoulder.....CHECK!

The prior post about being a victim of terrorism is a post that can be written and rewritten everyday by each and every cyclist. On my urban rides I find that there are so many car drivers who intentionally pass me too close in an effort to make some sort of statement. Then there are the ones who take it one step further. As if it is not dangerous enough with people who are

(in addition to being forced off the road....I have been hit and given false over only to see the car burning rubber as I stumbled to my feet.....crashed on my own only to have my bike get run over by on coming traffic, only to see the car keep on going....the list goes on)

Most often it is the usual case that a car does not feel that the cyclist should be on the road, that the cyclist is holding up traffic. Well, the CYCLIST IS TRAFFIC. Ironically, cars do not get angered or frustrated at the illegally parked cars or the double parked cars as much as they get pissed at the cyclist who is going along following all the rules of the road. When the words are exchanged it is always funny that the speeding car that rolled through the stop sign feels so high and mighty about my need to obey the law on my bike that they failed to look in the mirror to witness their own set of infractions. The speed limit is 25MPH on most city streets. The sign says STOP, not SLOW AND GO!

this post is more difficult that I thought to bring to surface
best I try to write this at a moment when I have more time
lunch is coming to a close
and I have work to do

maybe a more clear headed reader can finish this thought in a more organized fashion in the comments section

thanks to all that reminded me to slow down and put it in perspective

more later


Victim of Terrorism?
What is terrorism?
If one group singles out an individual of another group and makes an attack upon them or there that terrorism?
Yesterday, Columbus Day, while I was riding my bike home from work I was directing myself towards the section of Beach Drive that is closed during weekends and holidays when I took my usual path through the tunnel rather than the bike path through the National Zoo. The sidewalk path in the tunnel is a tad narrow and it can be sketchy with the tile wall by your side, but I have gone through this tunnel so many times on my bike that I take it at full speed; always alert for obstacles (trash) in my path, trucks with obnoxiously wide side view mirrors, and bikers or runners who have also opted for this tunnel option. Yesterday was a day like any other, I made sure that there were no people headed my way when entering the tunnel and sped on through on my Jamis Nova Cyclocross bike. About half way through the tunnel I felt a whoooshing of wind past my face, heard a sound that resembled a rubberband wizzing by my ear, and felt something strike my left wrist. My body ran an immediate body check for damage as my eyes scanned the bike for damage, it was not clear if I had blown a tire or if someone had run over something that got crushed and shot inadvertantly in my direction. I checked my arm at the point of impact. Everything seemed in tact. Somehow I managed to stay on this path just wider than half a sidewalk. The bike was still rolling and so was I. As I exited the tunnel and merged back onto the bike path I ran an algorithym in my head of what could have just happened. With little more than guessing I decided that I had been victim of someone's idea of a prank. I had been hit by bb gun! Lucky for my it did not strike me in the face and only grazed my arm. Everything had happened so fast. There was no shout! No horn! No vision of a gunman. Yet, without any facts I maintained my hypothesis. Someone had shot me with a CO2 bb gun. This is not such a far fetched idea....especially in this town. As I rode forward I fantasized about what I would do if I caught them. I love these little fantasies, it can be quite a rush and cycling can have a bit of a mindless balisticness to it. Various fantasies all with the same superhero results passed through my head. As I approached runner and cyclist coming the opposite direction I watched for any behavior that may indicate that they too had been assaulted, but no one was behaving in any manner to detect such. Once on Beach Drive I considered going to the Park Police station to report the incident, but such things tend to take time and offer no change so I opted to spend my time pedaling rather than chatting up officer friendly. I have learned that they listen and they listen long, they may do this because they are really bored or because they want to inconvenience the complaintant so much that they never try such things again.
So I pedaled down Beach drive checking out the creek by my side wondering why the creek turns this deep dark black color in the fall and what someone would think would come of shooting a cyclist with a pellet gun.


the experience of a new car...
everyone talks about that "new car smell"
well, that smell can be purchased in an aresol can or the shape of a christmas tree
for me the experience of the new car is completely something different

as I walk to my new car I am not overly concerned about checking the area surrounding the engine for various leaking fluids thus accessing the problems of the day
when I go to unlock the door I can go directly to the driver's side rather than going to the passanger side unlocking the door then leaning over to unlock the driver's side then walking around
when I go to start the car I do not monitor the battery meter, cross my fingers, pump the gas, and utter the mantra, "come on....come on...come on...."

then once the car is started I sit
as the car warms up I program the stations on the radio
when I hooked up the radio I inverted the connection mistakenly so the radio does not hold the settings
once the truck is started I head down the road
like an airplane pilot I pay close attention to the gages
but not all gages are the gas gage telling the truth today?
is there really half a tank?
while checking the gages I listen to the engine?
is the engine running healthy today?
good, the engine does love the cool fresh air
then as I drive down the road I keep a safe distance from the cars in front of me
stopping distance in '84 was different than in '04
if the rain comes down the wipers do not quite clear things like I would hope
but that is how things are in this truck so I accept it and drive on the edge of my seat
then when it gets dark I turn on the headlamp
better use the brights....
not exactly the technology of today
just as my HID lamp for mountianbiking released in 2004 is superior to the head lamps of 10 years ago
the lighting technology of cars has also improved
this is driving a truck with character

currently I am pleased to have an '04 without character

Superman Dies...

This morning I was saddened to hear that Christopher Reeves had died this weekend past, Christopher Reeves was best know for his portrayal of SUPERMAN. As I sipped my coffee I listened to NPR's brief summary of the passing of Christopher Reeves; his life as an actor, his tragic equestrian accident, and life after the accident where he had to deal with full body paralysis....while the words played in my head my son's played in front of me....Dean with no irony was wearing his Superman PJs cape and all, completely oblivious to who Christopher Reeves was or even what the Superman movies are. It was not quite clear why I am so saddened by this passing....I was never a Superman fanatic, although I did enjoy the films, Christopher Reeves is not one of my favorite actors, although I did find him to be good in Death Trap, no perhaps it was just the notion of all the things that can go wrong in life. People have accidents and injuries all the time, for some reason it takes someone in the public eye to suffer such an accident for people to take notice. I looked at Dean in his Superman jammies and Grant in his green fleece and hoped that they could somehow be protected, that they could live long prosperous lives without illness or injury not to mention something as catastrophic as the injury that Christopher Reeves had suffered.

My next thought was fleeting. I thought of death and dismemberment on the bicycle, not to my sons...but to myself. This is a thought that should be fleeting as to over think it would act to keep a rider off the bike and on the couch. I thought of all my crashes and all my near misses and thanked my lucky stars with a superstitious sign of the cross. For years I moved through traffic like Superman racing the train, now as a father and a slightly more mature individual I take it a tad easier. Risks are still taken, both on the streets and on the dirt trails, I can not stop living for fear of death, but I need try to stay respectful of the risks at hand and be thankful for each crash that I walk away from. I want Grant and Dean to live full and active lives....they will take heart will stop....there will be trips to the hospital....skinned knees, black eyes, perhaps a broken bone...hopefully nothing is fragile. Live it Love It! Appreciate it while it is here, but don't let fear keep you from flying.

back to work
as I must appreciate my job
just as I appreciate life

I just remembered....
last night before I tucked Dean into bed I grabbed the digital camera
when we got into the bedroom I had Dean stand in a few Superman poses in his Superman jammies
all this super stuff and I had not known of the Superman death