Rants on Cycling and on Life


City Bikes Classified Ads

I am not sure if this is a new feature
it appears to be a less than used feature
it still remains to be a very cool feature

I may (just for fun)
put some of my stuff on the City Bikes Classifed Ad Page

check it out
post some shit
it is like a little local eBay!

There is something about the sports of skateboarding and surfing that just lure people. There is more to them than just the sport, but a lifestyle and an attitude as well. Every couple of years I go through this idea that I am going to go out and buy a skateboard and start skating again. I even slow down as I pass the skate park off Rhode Island Avenue and daydream about all the fun I could have slamming on the masonite.
In the not so distant future I will have to buy Dean and Grant Skateboards. Every kid wants a skateboard. It is part of growing up. And as an "alterna-dad" I will more than likely want to try and pretend to be hip and ride a skateboard with my sons (most certainly my wife and I will be getting his and hers casts on our arms after breaking our wrists doing something that we either shouldn't or can't)

With that notion in mind I must bring up that skateboards quite similar to bikes are not toys. It is unfair to think that a person can buy a skateboard at a department store. Foolish to think that the department store can sell a complete skateboard with helmet for roughly what it would cost for a set of bearings. The same goes for a complete full suspension bike costing less than my rear wheel....go figure!

with that said

for the kids there is TERMITE SKATES
my office connection is refusing connection so try this for Termite Skates
some moderately priced boards from EVIL SKATES
(link courtesy of GUNDOG99)
and of course I already have a long board that I have been meaning to swap the trucks on
as well as the bushings

my skateboard in the corner is like my guitar hanging on the wall
they are there for the taking
so I have no excuses
I can play guitar or go skateboarding any time I wish
only I don't
but at least I don't make any excuses
or have anyone to blame by myself

Which is worse...the symtoms or the cure?

this morning was not entirely unlike most morning
lisa was up and about the house already accomplishing more things in her morning than I will achieve all day
grant was back in bed napping after being awake half the night
while dean was well entertained by mommy once she got back from walking the dogs
dad (me) on the other hand was happy that Dean preferred Mommy on this morning as that gave me a few more minutes of sleep before staggered out of bed in search of a few gallons of coffee to jumpstart my system
once up and in the kitchen standing at the coffee pot the way a Barfly stands by the bar I could hear Dean complaining
this little three and a half year old man was trying to cure his hick-ups with a glass of water but having no luck
the holding his breath trick had not worked either
so I called him into the kitchen where I promised to cure his hick-ups
as I heard the footsteps growing more near I crouched down on the kitchen floor
then as he rounded the corner into the kitchen I leaped towards him unleashing a monsterous BOO!
Dean jumped out of his skin spilling his water all over the shirt he has chosen for the day
immediately the hickups were gone but tears were in their place
I picked him up and tried to apologize
large tears rolled down his rosie cheeks and he huffed and puffed
no so much from being scared but because his shirt was wet

we found him another shirt
got the tears to stop
and headed off to school

once at school I retold the story to Dean and his class
it was funny to tell it again
only to scare the class with that same BOO!
letting them know in the end the hick ups were gone


While I am out dropping names......

Never heard so much as a note of their music
yet I am confident that it is loud, powerful, and full of energy
ooodles of energy


during my early years of college when I was not playing soccer I was usually out riding my skateboard
on campus there was little or no terrain to ride, which was a bummer as I skated more street than vert
in the local area there were a number of ramps to be skated
all were owned by some really cool kids
all were pretty much open for public for use
Dave Bean and Trevor each had some sick ramps, Dave Bean's being more friendly for just dropping in and skating than Trevor's
during those times I became friends with a number of the local kids, townies as the college frat boy dorks of a college without a greek system use to call them

in that long list of locals were a few that stood out
Rusty Pistachio, Todd Morris, and Toby Morris
sure other names come to mind, my now dead once room mate Damian, Rob was a great guy, John from the local gas station was cool after all he did coin the phrase, "what are you trying to say?" but these guys as far as I know did not become famous so there is little need to drop their names

during those times skating was a movement that went hand and hand with PUNK ROCK
the music scene was growing in all sorts of directions
DC was producing it quasi-intellectual music with the various bands on Discord Records while Baltimore had a different vibe and other areas had an even more unique thing going on....

For Rusty and Todd it was the ROADSIDE PETZ and then later THE OUTCROWD
they played a brand of music that was known to some as CRAB CORE for its Maryland Roots
their topics tended to be about the things that go through most adolescent minds
the music was good
they had an pretty original thing going on with two singers
and they had enough friends that they could pack the house
(eventually THE OUTCROWD took it to NYC and gave a shot of it there....I remember some friends in LUCY BROWN playing some shows with them)

one thing that stuck out in my mind was Todd's younger brother Toby
Toby had so much energy
he was bouncing off the walls and landing on his skateboard 24/7
ollies and kickflips all day long
so positive
so energetic
all he wanted to do was graduate high school and get out of the county (St. Mary's County)
the morris brothers had an older brother Tracy who lived in NY
Toby was a ballistic missle headed that way
sure enough
I don't know if he graduated from high school
but I know he went to NY
all that he every wanted was there for him

he hung with people and roadied for bands that I only know by name
till eventually he became a fixture in the scene
an icon in his own way
with Sick of it All he was a roadie with a song
before he knew it he was no longer a roadie
but he was the singer in a band with his brother and Rusty, this band H20

it is so much easier to answer the question, "what every happened to...." if they became famous
or for people like me
the answer can be told if they are geeky enough to have a BLOG

oh...look at this The History of H20

time to close up shop and head home
I hate spending 10 minutes to put on cold weather gear so that I can ride my bike for 20 minutes
yes somehow I do not feel much like riding any longer than that

Rusty's Jewelry

he looks as mellow and as cool now as he did then

other names not worth dropping but perhaps worth mentioning
the kids from swiz are graduating from high school this year

just kidding of course
as the kids from SWIZ are old like me (only a few years younger)

this does remind me that I have a wedding present and an old COKE bottle I found in the woods for Jason Farrel (of swiz, sweet belly freakdown, and not RETISONIC)
and what the f--k is Shawn Brown up to now? hope his tattoo artist dreams have become a reality!

Funny Story
or at least I think if funny
could be a location joke

a long long time ago....
so long ago I still had hair, lacked a gut, could not grow a beard if I tried, and had yet fathered children....
I started working as a messenger for Apple Courier
I was 18 years old and was just looking for a summer job between semesters in college
rode my Mongoose ATB downtown with my old friend Lawrence helped me get a job
did not know where anything was or what I was doing
knew how to ride a bike and that was about it
I showed up early and the dispatcher thought I was cute so they hired me

not long into my day I met one of the "top dogs;" Tim Whistler aka PUKER

Puker came up and took a look at my chrome plated frame glistening in the sun and noticed all the POWELL PERALTA stickers decorating the frame
he asked if the bike was made by Powell
I said no and told him that I just took all of the Mongoose stickers on and put Powell Stickers on in the same style to customize it
Puker like this and said, "cool."
then asked if I skated
I said, "no, just pose as a skater to get the ladies" then rolled away ending our conversation abruptly
it was a strange first encounter
he was being cool
and I was being a tad dry or maybe obscure
he thought I was an asshole
he may have been right

the initial encounter did not hurt the chance of us becoming friends (or at least socially friendly)
we worked together on and off for years
at one point he was even my dispatcher

he was one wild dude
hope he is well
it has been years since I have seen or heard of him

although I did see former Apple Courier Billy Smith in that Gator Documentary
the only odd thing about him being in this documentary is that he was a classically funny guy
way funny whether it be telling anecdotes, telling jokes, or busting your balls
there were times when people thought that he should be doing Standup Comedy
he was that funny!
in the documentary THE RISE AND FALL OF GATOR he played it straight

in 1981 Puker was on the cover of THRASHER MAGAZINE
where is he now?

where is the story you ask?
I got lost along the way and forgot my point
guess I just wanted to type the word PUKER

some things I will unload that have been backing up in my mind.....
These are more topics I have wanted to discuss rather than actual Blog discussions on the said topics

Rays Indoor Mountainbike Park
Official Site
Posting about the site or


RAMPTECH (accept no imitations!)

a friend erin's design page



Katie Compton Cross Champion
CROSS NATIONALS RESULTS (scroll down to the bottom)
Tim Faia was out there representing!

thinking of messing with some MY SPACE stuff, but realizing that MY TIME is limited

I may add to this as I see fit
so come back
or ignore it

back with some images

if you want to know what this is all about.....CLICK HERE.

and this

first off
let me set the record straight....I do not skate and when I did....I did not do it very well
I to my credit I do still snowboard (again not very well)
an oh yea....I ride and race mountain bikers
which still makes me feel pretty punk
almost makes me feel like less of a poser when I wear my old school Vans sneakers

this image brings together a number of thoughts
the handsome guy on the skate doing a little lip trick in the pool is Mike Row....not to be confused with MICRO of RAMPTECH, similar yet different
(both friends of mine, never managed to confused them)

Mike Row, Micro, and the previously unmentioned Duck all represent a similar drive for FREEDOM
(the above images of the concrete bowl shows Duck's new project)
from what I can tell Duck has quit his straight job and is now putting his energy into what he loves; BUILDING
more than just building...Duck loves building shit that people can ride
by ride...I mean skate

freedom you ask?

what do these three guys have to do with freedom?

well, each one independently lived their lives the way they wanted to live pursuing the jobs/careers they wanted to pursue

Mike Row is a sick skater, snowboarder, and surfer who has been shaping boards for years along with making music, painting, and running various small businesses.
Free to do as he chooses. From what I have heard he is making it work!

Micro owns and operates RAMPTECH.
When no one skated Micro was still dreaming of building the sickest most solid most styli skate parks anyone could ever skate. No one saw his vision. Everyone said NO IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN! Micro refused to listen. Skate boarding did not was just sleeping in the skating is huge and so is MICRO.

Duck's story is similar.
Duck opted for a more simple life away from the city.
After college he moved to the outer banks where he could surf.....scored a job as a brew meister at a local brewery down there (a job that most mountainbikers would dream to have) recently Duck dropped that job so that he could build.
It is the early stages but with his work ethic and his passion for the sport of skating...he too will make it work!

HOT TIP for DC Locals who are either out all night or up real early!

They are imploding the old DC convention center on Saturday morning
12/18 at 7:30 AM. It sounds like a fun time for those of you with kids
and/or high speed photography gear. The best vantage point is supposed
to be from the north side (facing south) at 10th and 11th streets NW.
More info here:

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

got this via City Bikes Team Member.....Joe Foley

this seems like one of those many DC activities that I wish I were there with an 8mm camera in hand
another DC Classic that I always look forward to and always miss is the non-parade parade of the Circus as all the clowns and animals stretch their legs as they walk from their train at Union Station to the Armory at RFK

other things that I talk about and never do/did

photo essays where I take my sons all over town so that they can pose at various scultures about town like the Democrate and Republican PARTY ANIMALS or the more recent PANDAMANIA

I admit
in my life there is often a whole lot of talk and quite a lot less action
guess I am too busy blogging


Computers and Kids-

Dean is three and a half and Grant is only 10 months
each of them sees me on the computer
each of them wants to get on the computer
Grant at 10 months sits in my lap and slides the mouse around
monkey see
monkey do
Dean at three and a half understands the terms and makes all sorts of requests
tonight after a bath he asked if he could see a movie trailer
in pretty much those words
so we went to Apple Trailers and downloaded some sort of whinnie the pooh thing
I usually work the download
let him use the mouse to direct the cursor to the play button arrow
then he left clicks to get the film rolling
when the trailer is done
I have Dean hit the monitor power button as I mute out the sound

at such an early age they can learn so much
like sponges they can absorb it all

I got this REFUGE Flash Animation from SOOZ' site
definitely need to share this with Dean
I remember Dean and I having some real fun at this very rudimentary animal sound site


while on classic
it may be fun for some people to FLASHBACK/DISCOVER/REDISCOVER some CLASSICS
Joe's Cartoons
someone help me
what are some of the classics
and I am not asking about as it is just nasty
an amazing resource but nasty just the same

kindered spirit
this afternoon before grabbing Dean from school lisa, grant, and I went to Mazza Galeria/Friendship Heights to do some christmas purchases
while snailing along in the slow moving bumper to bumper rush hour traffic we watched as a very odd looking older woman strutted down the sidewalk with her skinny legs naked from her hiking shorts to her wool socks poking out of here well worn trekking boots. Our car stopped dead in traffic at the same time she stopped to chat up two flat foots....our traffic moved forward....then she passed us on the sidewalk then as she crossed the street in the crosswalk she made a kicking motion towards a car that failed to yeild her the right of way. It was a comical gestue over mimed by a woman dressed in apparrel like some german mountain climber in the 1930s.

Traffic stopped again....Grant had fallen asleep in the back.....I proposed that I walk the final block and head into the border's book store while she went and parked allowing Grant to sleep a little longer. Before lisa could pass me in the snailing traffic I was already face to face/toe to toe with an interesting older lady.

I started in by telling her that she should not go around kicking cars....and I know from experience......lessons learned.....the hard way. She tried convincing me that she was just gesturing....I joked on that she did come a little close and that she could get in touble. Then it all became more an almost unrelated way she told me that she was a cyclist

then it became more fun

we started in on exchanges about bicycles...the variety of cyclist.....the wrongness of letting one cyclist represent all cyclist is as foolish as on car driver representing all car drivers
we talked about people and polution and how each and everyone of us could just do a little more when i said that for some people it would be enough if they did not intentionally throw trash on the ground...
I laughed and told her that I blogged about these same ideas everyday
then I realized that pther people see me as I see her
as some sort of kook

and you know what
they are right
she and are are a bunch of kooks

Update to: Tech Tip: Handgrip replacement

GUNDOG99 seemed to have a good modification to the previously posted Handgrip Tip where he recomended the use of isopropyl alchohol over aerosol hair spray
makes sense all the way down to the thought that an aresol with more alcohol would evaporate more rapidly
not to mention a none aresol spray product is more enviromentally friendly
also we get to recycle another empty spray bottle
tonight I snagged an empty Spray and Wash squirt bottle for the purpose of the isopropel alcohol for the grips, this bottle is equipt with an ON/OFF nozzle

and yes I too have experienced the dreaded spinning anti-grips

gundog99-thanks for sharing

appreciate it

this is the type of stuff that gundog99 and gwadzilla could be covering on their transcontinental radio show....BIKE TALK

we could have guests and interviews

to give you an idea of the type of questions I would like to ask in an interview scenario I reference the Awards Banquet for the Classic Series presented by this banquet Trek Pro/Local Mountainbike Great Jerimiah Bishop did a little Q&A

this is cut and pasted directly from their web review-

Joel Gwadz, winner of the Andrew Mein Memorial Sportsmanship Award asked, "What's your resting heart rate, what's your heart rate at peak performance and what's your heart rate right now? Jeremiah responded, "Well, my heart rate right now is probably as close to peak training as ever " with laughs from the crowd. He mentioned that his maximum heart rate is in the mid to upper 190s, and his resting heart rate was currently at 43 to 44 beats per minute.

the other day as I hiked the dogs in the woods I daydreamed about making a short documentary on the creation of a one time radio show called BIKE TALK

in this day dream we used a local pirate radio show and had a few separate locations with gatherings of different people with different bike interests who were tunned in and who were there with a willingness to participate by calling in with questions or anecdotes

people called with questions about some sounds that their cranks were making
others called about winter gear (gloves and shoes)
there were some anecdotes as well


There is a simple formula that occurs each and every year and it goes like this....

In the spring I start to ride my bike with greater intensity and greater regularity, add a few races and a few long rides and I start to get down to what some call their "fighting weight." Well, I should really be fighting my weight right now as it would be easier to fight my growth now than to wrestle with my gearth later. I am just coming off several seasons of racing and riding and at an only slightly bulky XL Clydesdale Weight. The winter beard is back on and here comes that winter weight.

By January One I may very well make the move from XL to XXL. and It is not pretty!

It all starts with the wind down of the mountainbike season and the start of the over endulgent seasons....first Halloween, then Thanksgiving, of course Christmas and on into New Years. All the days squished between are filled with cocktail parties, family gatherings, and endless treats being passed around the office at work. Each and every calorie adds up, it can never be 'just one.". There is that catch phrase for the ladies..."a moment on the lips......a lifetime on the hips," while they need a similar statement for the men as it all goes from my mouth to my gut. Soon I will be sporting that oh so glorious body by Budweiser. It may sound like I am claiming that this is out of my control, when I entirely realize that it is fully within my control, yet I can not contain myself. I love the over endulgence.....all the chocolates...cookies....deserts....fancy meals....grazing at cocktail parties....MAN! I can not tell if it is Heaven or if it is Hell!

The converse relationship is simple no need for a calculator just listen......
I am riding less thus burning fewer calories.
While at the same time
I am eating more therefore taking in a greater amount of calories, most of those calories being sugar and fat.
Sure I can see it why can I stop it? or at least slow it!
I have seen this happen every year for years only to shave my beard and start picking up the riding in the spring when I get to hear that, "oh, you look good...did you lose some weight?"

(that backhanded compliment that says you were a fat ass now you are a slightly less than fat fat ass.....thanks for nothing!)

The bicycle does not get hung up for the winter, but I do not race so that removes weekend riding. And it gets so cold that I find it difficult to motivate to ride those post work rides everyday in the cold dark night without the goal of a race immediately in front of me. Yes, I do try to get a minimum of three nights on the bike through the winter with an occassional spin on the trainer (maybe more spins this year than last) But it is hard to stay on the bike for more than an hour in the cold, fingers and toes really feel that winter bite. And for those who did not know.....I am soft.

Cyclocross season has passed and I missed it across the board. I have that sort of depressing feeling like I missed Valentines Day without get a card or worse yet that I stayed home alone because I did not have a date to the PROM!


lunchtime and my ramblings

at times my brain can be quite scattered
most of the time actually
too many thoughts and not enough focus
perhaps that I why I love THE BLOG
THE BLOG is a way that I can just ramble on endlessly.....get these ideas out
in the blog there is no worry if the story comes full circle or if it runs into a dead end
after is just a BLOG

it is a strange Catch 22....
my boss more than likely does not understand or more importantly appreciate my need to BLOG, yet I am also sure that he does not want to hear my mouth running on about nothing all day

today at a fancy holiday lunch with some folks from work I failed to contain my mind wandering ramblings, well for the most of the lunch I listened with sincere interest as one of my bosses told various interesting and unique anecdotes

there was some talk about smoking and the movement of so many areas to go smoke free
I made an addition here and a comment there all worth sharing there
then I started in on a very GWADZILLA-ESQUE rant
started babbling about how smokers love to flick their filter filled cigarette butts into the street or onto the sidewalk
how there could quite easily be a measure of the average of each smokers litter of each day, each week, into each month, until it is finally a year
I made the completely random estimate that each smoker could easily create a trash bag full of polyester cigarette filters
most of which roll off the sidewalk into the street, only to rest in the gutter, to be washed down the sewer and into the Potomac River
there was no effort to get heavy handed with the rant, but we had all had seafood for lunch, 5 or the 7 of us ordered crab of one kind of another while I think that the others may have ordered Rock Fish....all of which were more than likely born, raised, and caught in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay, where the Potomac River would eventually dump all the polution that it can carry
I admitted to my own imperfections
there were a few questions which included the disposal of my used and chewed gum
but I thought it was all irrelevant as I was only talking about smokers
polluting is not one of my faults of which I have many

we also touched upon the topics of fuel consumption and commuting
again I was not making any friends

DC's Toke Team
not sure I can recall what their motto was
but I am sure that they lived it to the fullest

Earlier today I recieved a comment on my BLOG from a skater whose name I did not recognize, he made mention of his association with the TOKE TEAM but I was more on the periferry than at the core of the DC SKATE SCENE so all names were not known to me, many were just faces and reputations. In my mid-teens most of these guys were old enough to buy beer and to an early teen and a late teen there often seems to be a world of difference.

Skateing in the late 70's into the mid 80's was a rebellion not entirely dissimilar to that of the motorcycle of another era. In the metaphor of the skateboard and the motorcycle the Toke Team is the answer to the local chapter of the Hell's Angels.

These guys were....


the were rad.

My witnessing of their actions was less at the ramp but more in social settings. We shared mutual friends and mutual connections. Sure we may have sessioned the same curb or indoor garage. Where I tended to step back as my "rock-n-rolls," "50/50 grinds," or "bonelesses" were not much to look at unless you were entertained by seeing someone fall on their ass! Most of their legends came from the early days at the Annandale Ramp or at Cedar Crest. I never even saw the Annandale ramp and only stopped by Cedar Crest a few times when I was out riding my mountainbike on the trails at Bull Run State Park.

As I grew older the gap in our ages seemed to grow smaller. I was at the same parties as the Local Tokers; hitting on the same girls while drinking from the same keg. Our musical tastes overlapped and so did our choices in watering holes. Then later our associations began to overlap more and more as many people found messenger work as a good free living lifestyle that offered a decent handful of cash for little commitment. Our social interactions grew even more frequent as we not only attended the same skater based parties but also the showing up at the same courier company to work, hanging in the same urban parks between runs, and staggering about the same parties at night.

Each and every moment of each and every member of the TOKE TEAM was a story. Seemed that SKETCHY was a cloud that hovered over each and everyone of their moves. Had someone had the genius to create a documentary on the day in the life of a Toke Team member it would have blown away any reality TV show that has ever been developed. The group houses these guys lived in and the parties these guys attended would have entertained the world.

hold on
it is after 5PM
I got ta roll
more on this later

lets see where I want to take this

The TOKE TEAM was comprised with an ecclectic cast of characters, each having more outlandish personality of the next. SKETCHY would be the operative word when the tales were told. Sketchy and Decadent. These folks most certainly knew how to live. Excess. Total Excess, But at what cost?
Even too much chocolate cake has it list of negative side effects.
So we can only imagine what happened to these guys.
I heard that one of the members of the pack had some sort of reunion gathering....ah to be a fly on the wall for that event would have been a pleasure. A hidden tape recorder would have been enough to write novels. All these guys knew how to live and all of them knew how to tell a story.

In an effort to protect the innocent or at least to save myself from incriminating anyone I do not know well enough to piss off and be forgiven I will go no further. It seems that I would have to name names or tell tales, tales that could only be more believable to use names, dates, and details. I will leave the Tales of the Toke Team to the best seller list....maybe the next time they have a reunion someone will be wise enough to bring a video camera and once the juice and the stories start flowing pull each and everyone aside, alone to get a chance to tell a story or two. It would act as a wonderful oral history as well as have the power a beautiful power to entertain as the antics of the Toke Team most definitely were dangerous, foolish, wild, and crazy.

a post I made about the Toke Team at an earlier point in time that inspired the comment

bethesda created a generation of skaters that were in many ways similar to the Toke Team
there was that same creative cast of characters
many of which were not just skaters but were also artists and musicians (yes, the toke team did more than skate and party....occassionally)
the bethesda skaters just like the toke team grew together and grew closer out of endless decadent experiences, much of which took place in the shadow of the elder statesmen who were and are the toke team
there encounters covered love and hate, sex and violence, life in the moment
they too grew and changed
just as I do not know where the toke team has gone or what each member of the toke team has become
I also do not know what has become of so many of the folks from the b-town crew

TECH TIP: Hand Grip Replacement

I dragged on endlessly about air in the tires and a clean well lubed chain
these things are simple yet vital

here is a sweet little TECH TIP for those who are looking to replace their old or worn hand grips on their mountainbike....

I like to keep a bottle of hair spray in my shop area for just such an occasion!
Rather than scrapping up your handlebar or ripping your grips I recommend using a small spray of aerosol hair spray (aqua net...white rain...whatever is on sale at the local drug store) between the grip and the handlebar. It may be vital for you to wedge something between the grip and the bar length wise, preferably something made of plastic that will not damage the handlebar surface.

With the hair spray between the bar and the grip move that same plastic wedge from side to side and then try to make a full loop around bar. Now try to spin/rotate the grip while you work the grip off the end of the bar.

The hair spray works as a lube for removal of the old grip and for mounting the new grip, then acts like a glue when it dries.

*warning: use the hair spray sparingly as you do not want so much moisture in there that it never evaporates and never has that wonderful glue-like effect


Don't Need to Be a Mechanic to Feel Like One!

This morning before I left out for work I figured that I should make a few adjustments to my commuter rig. During yesterday's afternoon ride out to my dad's I could really feel the bike dragging, when headed home after hanging at my pop's place I paid closer attention to the friction and the resistance. It was clear that my drive train (a fancy word for my chain, free wheel/cassette, and cranks) was part of the problem along with low/insufficient tire pressure, and there was also a slight wobble in my rear wheel which was rubbing on the brakes. Most of what was done could be done by most any and everybody; air in the tires and lube on the chain are the most essential basics to bicycle maintenance, while the straightening the wheel can be a tad more tricky.

Without removing my helmet and backpack, which were linked by the cable of my Niterider helmet light to the battery stored in my pack. I was cautious not to hit my head on the basement ceil as the helmet makes me seem taller and I am already too tall to stand in one third of the basment. I spent less than 10 minutes to clean the drive train, air up the tires, and true the wheel. The improvement was noticed immediately as I rolled out the Norman Rockwellesque brick alleyway behind my house that feeds into 19th Street.

to really understand the significance of such a simple set of tasks
ride your bike as fast as you can around the block a few times
time your self
then lube the chain and put air in the tires
run that same course again timing yourself
I guarantee that you will go faster
or your money back!

I will not wax on endlessly about the benefits of a clean drivetrain, but rather just go into a quick three step process that I have develop over the years. It is quick, it is easy, and it is rather inexpensive.

You will need a few things in addition to your bike
a cloth rag
some degreaser
some lube
(for my three step process you will need a basic synthetic lube and a wax lubricant, both bicycle specific)

a repair stand is great
but if you lack such a rig you can do it 'old school' style and turn your bike upside down balancing it on the handlebars and seat
use the wisdom of the traveling mechanic and hang the bike from a tree branch by the bike seat
(be cautious that the branch is strong enough to hold the bike and be careful not to muscle the bike in such a fashion that it falls on your head)

For a rag I like to use some old underwear, but you can use any garment you choose, cotton would be the preferred fabric. For the degreaser I like SIMPLE GREEN,but there are various bicycle specific products that work just as well that may cost you a tad more. I usually save an old Windex spray bottle and put a Simple Green to water mixture (1:1) in for shop use. It is really quite handy. Spray the whole chain, cranks, and cassette with a healthy dose of the Simple Green degreaser mixture. Then use your old underwear to remove all the gunk. Removal of the rear wheel to get a good sparkling cassette is recommended and don't be shy about getting the solid greasy gook from the jockey wheels on the derailuer. Grab on tight to the chain with a fist wrapped around the chain with your cotton rag betwen the skin and metal; rotate the cranks to pull the chain through your cloth fist. You may be shocked to see that the cassette and chain may have once had a metallic shine.....and very well could have that shine again.

With the chain, cranks, and cassette clean of all that greasy build up no it is time to lube things up. I like to use PEDROS SYNTHETIC LUBRICANT, but FINISHLINE is also popular and the kids at the local shop may have some recommendations of their own. With the wheel replaced back on the bike in working order now it is time to add some lube. Normally I pedal the cranks with my hand and drip a generous amount of lube onto the chain, not a sloppy goopy amount, but no reason to be cheap. After I have applied the lube I give it 3-5 minutes for gravity to do its thing and let to sink in to the inner pins of the chain. Then I use that same old pair of dirty underwear to wipe the chain clean again. There is no need for lube to be on the exterior of the chain. Too much lube will act like a magnet for dirt and will bring the chain back to that dirty, gritty state it was in when we started, we are trying to avoid that. So we wipe the chain down with the same method of gripping the fist around the chain with the rag as we pull the chain through our hands by rotating the cranks. Again it is not a bad idea to clean the derailuer or other parts of excess oil/lube.

we are not done
I like to put a little icing on the cake
After the clean and lube process I like to lube it up one last time
this time rather than using the SYNTHEIC LUBE I use a WAX LUBRICANT, again I go with PEDROS, but WHITE LIGHTNING would work just as well.....
essentially repeat the process of the SYN-Lube, but only this time actually be patient and wait an actual 5 minutes before removing the excess
I also like to shift through the gears a little to get a little of the WAX LUBRICANT COATING on the cassette as well....

PSYCHO LUBE has a two step process that works quite nice
but can be a little less economical
remember RINSE AND REPEAT is what the shampoo people say so that you will use more product and have to be running back to the store for more

okay you are done with the chain
now onto the tires

for this class you will need a few things
a pump; preferably a floor pump
if your floor pump lacks a pressure gauge then you will want a pressure gauge
your bike
your dirty underwear

In this basic tire pressure discussion we will be offering this simple introduction to the of the tools of the trade and some of the language as well as stressing how vital appropriate tire pressure or PSI can be. (PSI=Pounds per Square Inch)

In short, when I ride around town I am always scoping out other cyclists and their rides. For the most part Average Joes tend to be riding without enough air in their tires. They are increasing the rolling resistance, putting themselves at greater risk of a flat, as well as creating a potentially dangerous situation due to the lack of responsiveness of the bike due to a extra squishy tire.
(the squeak of the chain is also a sign of the need for some basic maintenance....I always get a kick out of some body passing me with a squeaky chain, always make me laugh to myself how they would really be moving fast with a little less friction in the drive train)

No need for a bike stand here
No need to hang your bike from a tree
it may be nice to have enough light to be able to read the sidewall of your bicycle tires
Imprinted on the sidewall of nearly any and all tires (cars and motorcycles as well) there is a measure of minimum and maximum tire pressure; measure in PSI. Take a glance at your sidewall, spin the tire around slowly to find the correct information. You may also find the dimensions of your tire which is vital information when buying a spare tube or a replacement tire. If the information is not found, try the other side of the tire. Once that information is found try to memorize it.

Now take a look at the valve.
There are two standard types of valves, presta and shrader.
Now I am not going to go into great detail of how to use each of these valves as this topic is making me dizzy and it is almost time to leave work. In short, the presta valve is a thin narrow valve that has a screw mechanism at the top of the stem that locks down to keep the air from exiting, while the shrader valve is what was standard on your bike growing up as a kid or can be found on car tires. I realize that I did not go through a list of terms or create a glossary, assumed that you kids did your homework.
To close this topic up quick and fast.....
Most of the pumps sold today have an adaptor that works for both presta and shrader, but the old style pumps most normally could be modified by disassembling the pump where it would attach to the valve. That too is too abstract for me to put into words. The easiest thing for a newbie to the PRESTA VALVE is to get a PRESTA ADAPTOR for a buck at your local shop. When making your purchase get your dollar's worth of investing by asking the guy at the shop how to use it. Then give them a chance to giggle by asking if you can get a shrader to presta valve adaptor as well while you are in the store.

squeeze/pinch your tire with your hands
Put air in your tires
pay attention to the pressure gauge
fill it up to the higher limit
then squeeze/pinch the tire
feel the difference
now wipe the sweat off your brow with that nasty ass pair of underwear
feel the burn in your arms from the use of the pumps
check out your triceps in the mirror
well done, you worked hard
now go out and ride

now get that stop watch ready
race around the block a few times and compare your splits

*there is an upper division class called PSI 404 where there are discussions seminars on different surfaces, climates, weather conditions, and also different types of terrain....but this is the basic class. I am still learning to work with lower tire pressure in the right situation, but I always have to customize the rules for Clydesdale applications cause I can not ride 15 PSI on a cross bike and expect my rims to survive, sure I can avoid the Snake Bite with my TUFO Tubular clinchers, but.....there are other things at risk

***unrelated but on a similar tangent***
suited up and ready to leave my dad's I made a last minute decision to take a stuffed nutcracker figure that they had decided to give away or trash
I strapped him, I mean it, to the exterior of my backpack and decided that he would ride with me until Christmas
sometimes it is fun to ride with a friend
my father got a kick out of it
we had a laugh
we said our goodbyes, he went inside closing the door behind him, I went to the side of his house and grabbed my bike
before I had even rolled the bike far enough to throw a leg over I noticed the front tire was flat
hopes that it was just the wheel rolling into deep and wet sod were dashed
it was flat
so I unclipped the front v-brake
flipped the bike onto its seat and handle bars
spun the quick release open
then pulled the wheel out from the fork
took a seat on the winter cool, but not cold flag stone stair
I scanned the exterior of the tire for punctures
removed the tire from the rim with the aid of an old quick stick
man, if that quick stick could talk, what a boring tale it would tell of living in a bag only to come out and fix the seldom but occassional flat
then removed the tube from a tire that is well past its prime and began scanning the interior for the cause of the loss of air
only now I scanned delicately with my fingertips rather than my eyes
it is a process that left a finger tip bleeding more than once
but a thorn, a nail, or a piece of glass may be hiding in the tire
tucked deep in the rubber
something that must be found sooner rather than later after the next flat 15 minutes into riding after the original patch kit repair
came up empty
this case of CSI (a show I have not so much seen a commercial for) remains unsolved
fixing the flat is more important than knowin "why?"
so I went from the tire to the front pouch of my bag which was still accessible after the three and half foot tall blue Nutcracker leaned forward
with a deep reach into the bag I came up with a tube
it was thin, real thin, cyclocross thin, 700c thin
not only too thin with the thickness, but also wrong on the circumference/diameter depending upon the home of your measure
so I went for another grab
I feared the worst, which was most certainly the truth
sure enough I pulled out a tube for a 29er, the WTB valve stem cover gave it away
so I stood up from the cold stone stair and headed towards the front door of my dad's house leaving my bike, bag, three and a half foot tall blue stuffed Nutcracker scattered on the front walk
my dad came to the door and saw the wheel at one hip and the tire swinging at the other hip
immediately my father offered me a ride home
I figured that the flat would need to be fixed sooner or later so why not now
it was tempting to have the 20 minute bond session drive home
I also wanted to get that short pedal home
it is too easy to find a reason not to ride in the winter months
so to back off from riding with gortex head to toe covering an already sweaty layer of lycra seemed ignorant
my dad has a hybrid so no tube to loan here
so I resorted to old standby....the patch kit!
at least I had that
let myself down that I was without a patch kit
(next rant.....what to bring when you leave home on the bike)
my dad and I got that 20 minute bonding session after all
other than using a tad more glue than I had intended I was textbook on the usage of the patch kit all the way down to being patient and waiting for the glue to vulcanize and become "tacky"
put the tube in the tire and the tire and tube on the wheel
used my trusty travel hand pump to fill the tire to appropriate pressure
((now I can recall why my forearm is feeling fried today))
and got to take that quick ride through chevy chase maryland into chevy chase dc and down through rock creek park and up into mount pleasant
climbing park road past my house
not turning down 19th to the alley behind my house
but going the next two blocks to the top of the hill
a hill that I promised myself I would never back down from
I may take a different approach to the house so that I come downhill on the approach
but if I am going up
I go all the way
not depriving myself the pleasure of a climb, even if it is a short one
after all
life is cumulative
rolled into find an empty house
so I showered before the family came home
I think I lost my point

here are the boys Dean and Grant as we wind up our Christmas Adventure
after looping through the city past the Christmas Trees at the White House and the Capitol
missing the trains that circle the base of the White House Christmas Tree
but knowing we can see them again as we have already seen them before
then off to the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad
where the trees are beautiful and cheap
and there is always the opportunity for some excitement
both this year and last we have had the pleasure of getting a personal tour of the garage and several of the Emergency Vehicles
as the world knows
or was that Dogs love trucks?
either way
we got the tour; Dean was in all his glory

even scored a free rescue squad hat for the boys
grant refused to wear his

this was part of our Christmas Adventure
the shots of Dean in front of the Capitol Building were taken by Lisa
at that point I was hanging with Grant who was asleep in the back of the car
we then grabbed some sandwiches from POTBELLY's
and went to the Elipse grounds at the White House
lucky for us we snapped a few shots before we ate
as some dark clouds gathered above
and then the Secret Service cleared the area
I thought it was threat of lightening
but it turned out that the Presidential helicopter was headed back to drop off the president
these are the things people contend with in the city

lots of lawyers and presidential motorcades


Actions and Reactions
me and my impulse reactions to the same scenario each time

This morning I had to go into work for a few hours; now worries. Anytime I am in work for more than 4 hours on a weekend I earn a day off. And for those that don't know me....I like to have days off.

After handling a few things at work and earning that beloved day off I rode my bike to my dad's house in Bethesda where my wife and family were already having lunch with my brother and his family. When I arrived I went straight around back and found Dean and his cousin Eric on the back porch where they were dancing excitedly around their grandfather's new toy, one of those silver remote control robot things. We had all gathered at my dad's on this Sunday for lunch so that my brother and I were able to help my dad move some furniture so that he could have the house ready for the Christmas Holiday, everything is upside down and cluttered during their first floor addition/renovations. Prior to my arrival on my ride from Georgetown to Bethesda on the Capitol Crescent trail I was passed by a roadie on his fancy skinny tire rig. Even when not trying to go fast I hate being passed, although it does not always bring out the insecure male in me to pick up the pace and try to race. I was not moving all that fast and was not feeling all that spry had no desire for any game of cat and mouse. As the cyclist passed I made mention to him that I would appreciate "an audible," you know that annoying alert that is both the law and common courtesy when passing others on these multiuse bike paths.

Well, this guy like most tight assed roadies did not feel it was neccessary. And well, this being one of my pet peeves I had to say something. Me and my commuter rig with knobby tires and fenders, thumb on the front shifter held in place so the chain stays in the top ring, my backpack, and my chain with a month's worth of gross black grit, and a front tire that was soon to be flat alerting me to the fact that I have a 29' tube and a 700c tube, but not 26 inch mountain tube passed him on the left and said.."It is this simple, when I approach another rider I greet them while passing with a simple 'on your left.'" In any case, pet peeve as it may be this guy did not want to have the discussion and most definitely did not want to waste his prescious lungs on alerting other trail users to his approach. I can not read his mind so i will try to tell you what he was thinking. But I think that he thought that he may have been riding for so many years that he is grandfather claused on this whole audible alert or with common courtesy all together.

I arrived and told the tale, that oh so common tale of the trail to my brother as I jammed the table scraps that remained from everyone's lunch. My brother Marc and I discussed how I felt after such and encounter and whether or not I felt that if would make a difference. Marc can be quite the devil's advocate with his highly developed brain and all. Being stubborn as I am I gave him answers I did not feel and tried to make it seem that I had made the right choice. When actually it is so hard for us to change ourselves that it is foolish that I would think that I would be able to change anyone else. My final resolve is that I have to be me and no matter the outcome I need to share how I feel when dealing with others in public; whether it is my approach to the cigar smoking asshole at the national christmas tree, the speeding car on the road in front of my house, or the self centered cyclist on the multi use trail.

Traditions: Starting our own HOLIDAY TRADITIONS

This weekend Lisa and I had a little Holiday Adventure with Dean and Grant.
This Saturday past we loaded up the Honda Element with both boys and a holiday plan....everything went perfectly other than the weather and Grant sleeping through our first photo op.

Our objectives were to take some photos of the family for a Holiday/Christmas Card, to purchase a tree, and decorate a house. Unlike George Bush, I can actually say MISSION ACCOMPLISHED without my nose growing. We manage to make a loop down to The Mall to go to both the National Christmas Tree on the Capitol grounds and the White House Christmas Tree on the elipse before finally winding up at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad where we purchased a beautiful tree and several wreaths.

The highlight of the B-CC Rescue Squad tree purchase is not the beautiful tree purchased at a reasonable price where the money goes to a good cause, but rather the opportunity for Dean (and Grant who is too young to appreciate) to tour the garage with all of the Emergency Vehicles. We arrived at the Rescue Squad and managed to time things perfectly.....Dean and I both had to go to the bathroom...once inside the Rescue Squad we wandered around and looked to see if a friend of mine who is high in the chain of command was on site. Fellow B-Cc high school graduate and fellow news business employee Peter M. was not on site. But, once his name was dropped and we were a tad more familiar with one of the passing rescue squad volunteers I awkwardly asked if my son could get a tour. To our pleasure this retired diplomat with 8 years of volunteer on the force was more than excited to give Dean (and lisa, grant, and myself) a very intense introduction to all types of truck inside and out; all the way down to the JAWS OF LIFE!
It was great!


Dean was a little spooked as there was an accident just miles away which causes a little chaos.
Automatic garage doors raised, lights flashed, loud noises over the intercom, men rushing about grabbing jackets, boots, and gear. We had to rush out of one of the emergency vehicles before the rescue volunteers jumped in and pulled out of the garage. Lights, Sound, ACTION! It was all very exciting.

We thanked our gracious guide.
Went back to the parking lot out back purchased a tree, two wreaths, and all the trimmings lisa could fit into the back of the Element....scored two plastic rescue squad hats for the boys. Took a few shots of the kids with the trees. And went home to DECK THE HALLS!

This was year two of tree purchasing with a tour at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad...

I am not sure if we will score the tour each year, but no harm in asking.
But I am positive that this very well could be our Holiday Tradition for years to come.

pictures to follow

when the call came in and we stood beside the departing emergency vehicle
dean clutched my leg
and I spoke with our volunteer guide
I knew the intersection where the accident took place
two very fast roads
felt it could be a serious accident
on our way home we saw the car
a little honda civic
it looked like it had been chewed up and spit out by some ungodly beast
people need to chill
we have got to slow down

when I was growing up
this would have been an everyday scene
except the car was moving
seat belts?
car seats?
air bags?

Baseball and Steroids

In many ways this set of recent scandals in baseball could very well aid in dictating the future of sports as a whole. Baseball is considered the American Past Time. I have always felt that how people play games is symbolic of how that person lives life. As an athlete I would like to see the future of sports be be a clean future.

It seems pretty basic....
The athletes should be clean.
Just because everyone does it, does not make it okay. Yes, it is vital for all the players to be on an even playing field; I would prefer to see that playing field to be a clean one; for many reasons.

The protection of the health of the athletes and the health of future athletes is an ethical issues not entirely dissimilar to the notion of a motorcycle helmet or a driver using a seat belt. In some cases the government needs to take control of certain issues to protect a person from themselves. If people are proving that they can not make the correct choices then it may often be best that these choices are made for them. I am not for totalitarism....but more for libetarianism, but....there needs to be a time when the government needs to step in....this may be that time.

As far as roll models go....
Professional athletes as role models is a different issue.
I do not think that it is so much that these athletes are roll modest as much as it is the effort of a young athlete who is striving to compete in the highest arena. For them they need to get any edge they can to finish on top. If no steps are taken to stop the cheating through illegal supplements then there may be no way that a clean athlete can compete and win over the Steroid/Doping athlete, that unfair edge takes the elite athlete up to a superior level that the natural athlete can not contend with. It is the parents, the coaches, and the trainers of the young developing athletes that create the path that these young impressionable athletes head down.
An educated athlete who does not want to take the risks may have to choose to ride the bench clean of substance abuse, rather than be a starter who is cheating and putting their health and future at risk.

Nutrition and Training.....
the athlete should be able to find what they need in the kitchen and in the gym
(or on the bike, in the pool, on the playing field, etc.)
not in the medicine cabinet or in the syringe in the trainer's bag
it is such an odd ethical riddle that must keep athletes from sleeping at night
the pressure to succeed and to come out on top
as well as the pressure to stand tall in front of the world an claim to be clean when in many cases the athletes are not clean

how can someone be so arrogant and vain when they know that the achievements they have made have not been on fair terms?
I guess it is no different than a women feeling that she is beautiful even if her eyes, breast, and buttocks are not her own, but a product of doctor's knife in surgery
these are odd times
the public is looking for superhuman results, but at what costs?

Life and Goals...

In my life I have found that there are some simple rules that aid in achieving goals....

Give a little, get a lot.
There is a Correlation between sacrifice and achievement.
There is more to setting a goal than just setting a goal.
Attendance; there is more to achievement than attendance, but attendance counts for a great deal.
There are not shortcuts; Cheaters cheat themselves.

Before I go any further I have to admit that I have not lived the most prosperous life. I was never the best student. Which leaves me as a college graduate, but not the best educated or the most degree endowed person at the holiday party. While in the working world I have never been that driven to become a 'businessman' so I am a little slow out of the gate in getting started in a career. Which leaves me a little drab when I am stuck with that very DC question, "So, what do you do?" I have had moderate success in sports, never driven to be an olympiad or a professional, but as a recreational athlete I have had some low level success on the dabbler level. Even to achieve at this lower level there needs to be some application of these very simple rules.

Rule One: Give a little, Get a lot.
This rule applies in all aspects of life. It is more basic than Karma. Simply the most basic rule of everyday life, whether in the toddler park, on the sidewalk, in the work place, or on the playing field. In the game of soccer the "give and go" does not work if you do not "give." Sure there is no guarantee that you will "get the go," but you must at least try the "give" to see what happens.

Rule Two: The Correlation between Achievement and Sacrifice
This is very basic. There must always be a certain amount of sacrifice to achieve in anything. If you want to be thin, well, then you may have to forfeit the chocolate cake (maybe not all of it, but keep the intake to a rational level) If you want to participate in a sport that practices/trains in the mornings as swimming and crew most commonly are scheduled, then your late night social events may suffer. Otherwise the morning workouts will suffer. This is a simple example of what people call "burning the candle at both ends." And on the most basic you need to train whether it be running, riding, or double dutch...there must be time spent on the sport and that is time that can not be spent doing other things as there are only so many hours in the day.

Rule Three: There is more to setting a goal than setting a goal
I want to be faster on the mountainbike.
That is a goal of mine. I have set that goal to be faster, now I need to find ways to make it happen. The other described goals factor in how to make this happen.

Rule Four: Attendance; there is more to achievement than attendance, but attendance counts for a great deal.
Recently I have been trying to get more into Yoga. But, I have not been able to make it to class. So, attendance is vital, but when in class it is important for the participant to be there "in the moment." Not just going through the motions, but pushing myself. I see so many people out on their bikes or running and they have their headphones on when I think they should be listening to their bodies. I feel that they would get more out of listening to their bodies than listening to their iPod. Just as I would do better to focus on my Yoga pose rather than the occasionally distraction Yoga pose of the young ladies on the mats around me.

Rule Five: There are no shortcuts, cheaters only cheat themselves.
Pretty basic.
If a runner takes a taxi to beat all other marathoners to the finish, well, quite simply, they have not won. Well, it seems like it should be simple. If a sailor is racing their dingy around the buoys and they are rocking the boat and pumping the sails beyond the allowance of the rules it would be no different than a cyclist taking a shortcut in the Tour de France. So why is it so difficult to understand the current sports scandal of Steroids and Baseball.

Steroids (and the usage of illegal supplements across the board) usage in sports has grown to become a monster across the board. Baseball just happens to be in the spotlight, but track and field, cycling, and of course football are not clear from suspicion as well. The pressure of the public to break records at each event is so great that the athletes are no longer human, they have become super human; faster, stronger, a physique tailored to the sport, and a physiology fine tuned to operate at an unnaturally efficient level.

We are just starting to see the backlash of decades of dangerous supplement usage. Athletes are coming forward and slowly various athletes are showing what may be the negative side effects of toying with and tweeking the human body with such supplements as Steroids.

Lyle Alzado
Tyler Hamilton
Marion Jones

the list goes on