Rants on Cycling and on Life


so my wife set aside an article from the Wall Street Journal
she is really good at setting aside articles that would interest me
that is just one of the many things I am thankful for
all in all I got a pretty good deal with this marriage thing
sure I have my complaints... but even a millionaire wants more money
okay... back to my point
this article was about young toddler cyclists
the new market
the new breed of children riding younger and sooner

in this article there was mention of this great bike-like device that aided in the young children's learning to ride without ever using training wheels
so I went online to buy this LIKEABIKE machine

it is pure
it is simple
it is beautiful
it is Euro
it is cool

it is $ 279.00

I could buy a bike and remove the cranks for 60 bucks at my local bike shop!

maybe I should do a little PAYPAL thing where friends of GWADZILLA buy my little GWADZUKI a LIKEABIKE!


this is classic
glad to see that SMC has not changed that much
here is the SMUT page I was directed to
(that is St. Mary's Ultimate Team)
at least it looks like the Ultimate Team is not working on a double major
in my day...
it was an achievement to graduate in 4 years... double major?

it does not look like there is much recognition for Ultimate on the main site

life's little ironies
last weekend after yoga I was playing out front of my house with my wife and two children
down the sidewalk there were various neighbors doing various weekend things
coming and going
rushing off to do whatever people do on weekends
whatever people do on particularly beautiful spring weekend days
a number of people were doing yard work
others were stuffing their children into their cars for some less than local adventure
I noticed down the block that one of my neighbors was lugging arms full of yard clippings across the street and into a section of park land across the street from her house
Rock Creek Park one of our National Parks

being who I am I had to say something
I spend a fair amount of time picking up trash in the woods across the street from my house
people often dump their Christmas Trees and engine blocks into Rock Creek Park
people park... take in the view... enjoy their lunch... then toss their trash out the window
and of course
it is also not uncommon for people to dump their leaves, lawn trimmings, and trimmed tree limbs
so I walked down the sidewalk
as I got closer to her front walk I watched as this woman crossed the road
although I can not read minds it seemed as if she had seen me see her and she was fighting eye contact
as this neighbor of mine awkwardly tried to find her way up the stairs to her front walk without raising her head I began to speak... "you know... dumping your lawn clippings in the woods is no different than dumping an old washer or dryer... it is illegal... it is dumping..."

she responded with an, "oh yea..." to which I said, "yea."
she then tried to tell me that it will compost (decompose)
I assured her that the pile of leaves would not break down.... that the leaves would remain in a stack as an eyesore for years
that... an eyesore that makes others who consider dumping to do their actions with less guilt
that it reinforces people's mistaken justification for using the park as a landfill (perhaps not my exact words as I do remember part of her arguement was that it was better in the park than in a landfill)
our arguement went down a path that was all mouth and no ears....

she told me to call the cops...
I told her that "calling the cops" was not my style
but... that if I were to call the cops she would regret it as such a visit would be a pain in the ass which would include a trip to the dump, a reciept from the dump which would have to be taken to the police station... etc... etc... etc....


she continued to put leaves in the woods.... excuse me... national park across the street from her house

I immediately felt bad
after the dust settled I went back to her place to try and let her know that I did not enjoy how the exchange went
there was no answer...
so a few days later I dropped her an email apoligizing for the negative feeling our exchange

in that email I asked her to walk out her back door
have her take a look in the alley behind her house
for her to walk down to where our alley meets a section of the park
there she will see piles of logs, piles of leaves, piles of rubbish
all put there by people that believed that they would compost (decompose)
that this stuff would break down.... that they would become part of the park.. part of the earth

it just is not so

leaves fall one by one
leaves fall a few ontop of each other
leaves do not fall into large heaps
even the leaves that collect naturally into a pile take nearly to breakdown

either way...
I felt bad
like a hypocrite....
I was more trying to let her know that what she was doing was wrong
not telling her what to do
more just trying to share some information

as a person who walks their dogs leashless and takes an occassional spin on closed trails
I have no right to pass judgement on others... I was not passing judgement on anyone
it was more an effort to pass on information
to help her finish an arguement that she has
already had in her head

the encounter did not go as I felt it should
it was a difficult issue to approach
another person would have let it go
another person would have know that there are two ways this exchange could go... good or bad
the odds were stronger in the favor of things going bad
another person would learn from this experince and try not to say anything in the future

well.... I am not another person
I am me

sometimes I feel that my size works against me
that people will already take an agressive defensive stance
standing poised and ready
locked and loaded
ready to argue
ready to fight
although I hate conflict... I create this situations of conflict for myself all the time
although I want to avoid contact
I still have to be me

next time I need to figure out a way to approach waving a white flag

new link , a friend of a friend

IF Roster:
hey... I know some of these cats! but, where is SWAMPY?

yesterday I renewed my IMBA Membership
(and bought a jersey)
perhaps I should do the same for MORE
(but their cool jerseys did not seem to be available online)
you should lend your support either by hand or by check!


tired again
I am sure that people have heard the stories of people having bags under the bags under their bags under their eyes
that is where I am at right now
morning coffee is unable to break me from this haze
more sleep is what I need
don't see that happening today or anytime soon
back to the grind
need to knock out some stuff
yesterday was a long day... still have not finished the tasks and projects of yesterday

so much to do
no time to BLOG
mind not working fast enough to create a creative topic anyhow anywho

there is hope that the activities of this weekend will break my older son Dean from his current routine of waking up at 5AM
he wakes up
he makes a fuss as he meanders downstairs
he makes so much noise that he wakes his brother
Grant starts to cry
then we have a bed filled with two dogs sleeping soundly
two kids wide awake
two parents doing their best to fall back asleep

too bad I am too big to comfortably fit in the tub

we script our own misery
we enable bad habits
we foster these undesireable routines


blogging is an addiction
it is about reading blogs
it is about writing blogs
it is about finding blogs and finding those blogs again

there are a few sites I go to to read
after I have read I borrow the links
so I can tangent hop from blog to blog
only to have the safe return to the blog with all the links

here are a few favorites
well lets see....





there are more

there are the colorado kids...
my old buddy from the beach, from the mountains, and from the bars; tim
an electronic friend but friend just the same; timmyp
and DCMTB gone west, rocco

then more local there are too many to name...
do a google for fat marc, joe foley, ricky d, arsbars, should I go on.... I feel like I should concentrate more on this glass of wine and a few seconds of tube
oh man.... single speed outlaw...
go to any of the blogs
read some go to some links
see where they take you...
come on... fixed gear..... fearless and gearless... crash jason.... look for them
there are more


stumbled on this fun stuff here
no... I did not intentionally screw up the STARBUCKS logo


Ever since I first read about this PUMP TRACK from LEELIKESBIKES I have been obsessed with the notion that we need one in our area!
here is one in COLUMBIA!
now we need one in the DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA!

check out Lee and his talk of MASTERY
or skip the BLOG and go to the BOOK

yesterday on my short ride home I experienced the normal car to cyclist bullshit
the buses and the cabs did their normal thing
I did my normal thing
among the cars that did their obnoxiously aggressive stuff
again there were a disproportionate number of BMWs running me off the road
gotta love it when someone fits into a STEREOTYPE

better yet... DON'T BE AN ASSHOLE!


the seasons seem like they are finally changing
so I am going to put the LAKE MX300s away and start back with the SiDi Dominators
knickers or shorts... no more tights... no more GORTEX (unless it rains)
the fingers can start poking out of the gloves
the change of season... the rotation of gear
a good time for some SPRING CLEANING and maybe some SPRING PURCHASING!


it is a dog's world

headed home from work I spotted a phone on the trail
rather than run it over
rather than do a little kick with the rear wheel
rather than leave this phone to get soaked in this evening's rain
rather than leaving this phone on the trail never to be spotted by its owner again
I picked up the phone and left a few messages
even tried to call the owner's home number in character... from the perspective of the phone
apparently I am not a good actor... could not play a cell phone for more than two lines
left a message with my cell number then went about my evening
after a pizza dinner with friends, kids, and friends' kids, after baths and bedtime stories
the found phone ring
oddly lisa finds the ringing phone that would have surely been lost in the children's toy box by tomorrow evening
the owner comes by and grabs the phone
we have a nice conversation
turns out she is a dog trainer
perhaps roscoe and brutus could use a little training
she did make mention of showing her thanks by giving the dogs one free session
maybe we can take her up on that...

what aspects of my lovely little dogs need attention?
the bed hogging?
the sleeping in the bed after swimming in the creek?
their begging is a legit issue that should be approached
their inability to be content outside while we are inside
brutus' nervous behavior?
sounds like they could use more than one session
maybe we will have to arrange something

while on the dog note...

a friend of mine
an old friend of mine has just purchased a Dog Boutique in Baltimore
it is a crazy concept
but sounds like it could be fun
they seem very excited

if I were to live the world of retail... I would open a used bike shop that makes its money off repairs and special orders that doubles as a Coffee House.... movie night... you know... couches... a place to hang... a place for people to meet for pre-and post rides
then on Tuesday nights there would be that yet to be created Public Radio Talk Show Bike Talk (the cyclist version of Car Talk)
but this is not my fantasy
this is Rob and Lori's real life
they are busy baking home made dog buscuits and doggie birthday cakes
it sounds like the start of a Disney movie... did I mention they are getting married this year
oh man....
who writes this stuff?

trying to GOOGLE his Dog Boutique's presence on the web
but... not finding it
seen the site
but can not find it now

got it
well... did not get it through a GOOGLE...
here it is just the same
Lucky Lucy's Canine Cafe

frozen in time... BREAD AND PUPPET
(official bread and puppet)

bread and puppet... it was a time warp when it happened
as the world changed... bread and puppet changed
change is not always for the better
the changes of the world along with the aggression of the world ended it all in the late 90's
the whole event was a spectacle
it was a volcano waiting to errupt
organized chaos can only stay organized for so long
the death of one is a tradgedy... good thing it was only the death of one
with the direction of the energy of this event things could have been worse

in this era of Girls Gone Wild and the never ending international frat party it would be lame anyway
the spirit of the event was soon to be lost with people crashing a party that they were invited to
the modern age with all of it reality tv has killed so much of what was cool

they tried to do Woodstock again...
the modern age showed that such a time had passed

this post was about people... not hippies
I grew up listening to the punk side of things
those events were about people
hard to explain
very complex set of events
guess you had to be there
bread and puppet... not woodstock... I went to neither woodstock
but went to a several bread and puppet festivals

those were great pre-dog/pre-child/pre-marriage trips
lisa and I brought our bicycles and our tents
rode and camped at various places along the way
then settled in at the B&P Festival for a few days
it was time well spent
glad that we caught it when we did

one of my many paradoxes... I am a very positive person with a very negative outlook

there was a time in my life where a friend and housemate dubbed me Bitterman
this wild character was convinced that if I were a superhero... that I would be known as Bitterman

not sure where my anger comes from
it is not clear why I have a chip on my shoulder
but both the anger and the chip are very much there

so often in life when a thousand random thoughts race through my brain
most often the thought that gets selected to come front and center is the negative one
recently I told myself to narrow the thoughts down and re-evaluate my final selection
thus altering my emotion by consciously selecting the positive thought rather than the negative

this sounds easy
but it is hard for a person to fight their nature
over the last 37 plus years of my life I have developed a certain perspective
dubbed cynical in by a seventh grade teacher that everyone thought was cool
behind dubbed cynical before I even knew its meaning

life shamefully presents paradoxes that allow me to waiver between the ultra-positive and the ultra negative
cycling, more specifically commuting can be one of these paradoxes of nature
the commute to and from work can be one of the greatest releases of my anger
while this same commute to and from work can also be one of the greatest source of my anger

on each daily commute I get to push the pedals around and around
traveling along on a beautifully efficient machine
on these rides I get to experience the season of the day
I love to experience of the day
hiking the dogs gives me an opportunity to experience the season of the day
then on top of that my daily commute gets to extend that experience one step further

so just as I get to breath in the spring air, get my heart rate up, move my legs, and take in a vision of the season around me
I also have to contend with people doing stupid people things
mainly people moving about in their cars
it would be fine if they were just moving around
it would be fine if they were just moving around and going around me
but too many cars each day try to go over or through me
it can really get to be rather tiring
the bumper pushing close to the rubber of my rear tire
the sound of an engine revving and a horn honking
all very aggravating for a situation that has enough aggravation as it is

so the paradox continues
each day on my short commute I have several incidents that show me that people are either idiots or assholes
most of which are assholes...
most of which are not complex enough to experience empathy
most of which are not bright enough to understand efficiency
most of which do not care if I live or die

so on these rides I ride defensively
often my defensive efforts are done in an offensive manor
offensive driving often offends the car drivers... especially the ones who were already trying to go through or over me
so I am forced to make decisions for them
making it clear where is safe to pass and where they must follow behind me
it is so tiring thinking for so many people other than yourself

so the negative and the positive thoughts battle it out in all aspects of life
never allowing there to be a perfect moment
being too realistic to ever pretend that there is ever a perfect moment
maybe a near perfect moment, but never a truly perfect moment

this negativity permeated into my Ashtanga Yoga class the other morning
it was a good morning
I was having a solid class after a pleasant morning
the morning had included children sleeping late (7:45), some fresh coffee (a morning must every morning) and a quick hike in the woods with the dogs (another every morning must)
as the class was winding down the session was closed with a little meditation
as we all were flat on our backs resting lifelessly on our mats with our eyes closed our instructor took us to a relaxing place
with a soft soothing voice she walked us by the cherry blossoms in full bloom then down to the white marble Jefferson memorial
from there we got into paddle boats and drifted
it was all very relaxing until we got into the paddle boats
she wanted us to drift and I wanted to paddle
then when I was not paddling my attention went from the inability to paddle to a dead fish floating beside my boat
all the while our instructor is taking us further into the meditation and relaxation with a distant perspective of the cherry blossoms in full bloom from the tidal basin
but my bitter cynical mind controls all thoughts... even my imagination
my imagination
my relaxation
my meditation
all infected and all poisoned by my need to stress the negative

this is something I aim to change

must control to make sure that a part does not control the whole

my life rocks
I am on a roll
currently riding the biggest and best wave of my life
my life is to be envied and coveted
yet somehow I know that if I won the lottery today... tomorrow I would still find something to complain about


another day... another bike ride
another biker and the right thing

today I worked the late shift
(still working the late shift... killing the last minutes of the day with a little BLOG SESSION... racing through a quick read to see if this entry makes any sense)
working the late shift allows me to enter work late
leaving a few hours in the morning to do with as I please

there was talk about driving Dean to school, but Dean failed to comply with my deal to get dressed with some immediacy
once he put on his Spiderman underwear... he morphed into a little superhero and started sprinting around the top floor
rather than argued I accepted it...
entertained Dean and baby Grant till our babysitter arrived
she is always ontime
she is always a welcomed site

once our babysitter arrived to take care of Grant and drop Dean off at school I stepped out the front door
I walked the dogs while drinking my coffee leaving me plenty of time for a pre-work spin
the dogs got their's
I wanted to get mine

having worked the road on the cross bike the day prior I felt that dirt was in order
so I plotted a cross town urban assault
aboard the Surly Karate Monkey I worked the dirt with great pleasure
encountering only one person on my cross town excursion
once out of the woods I looked at my watch and plotted my next move
there was still more time for more spinning on the bike

before I could get any closer to any more riding I saw what appeared to be a homeless man walking his bicycle
he stalled his movement and rotated his front wheel with the front end raised
it looked like a brake issues
I rolled up and asked him if he needed any help
easy enough... he had a flat
I stepped in close then stepped back... the smell was strong
even with the breeze he was unbearable
figuring he had more time than I
I asked if he knew how to use a patch and glue... he did
so I dug through my bag
to assure myself this man did in fact know how to properly use the glue I told him how I had rushed through a flat repair just last week, not waiting long enough for the glue to get tacky
as I told my retorical tale
my stinky santa-esque acquaintance assured me he knew to let the glue sit till it started to "vulcanize"
I passed over two patches, my remaining glue, and a little square of sandpaper then rolled along my way

I pedaled away with my bag feeling a little lighter
or maybe it was just a a breath of fresh air from feeling I had done the "right thing"

without much thought I worked my way through traffic
trying to time lights
trying to dodge cars
trying to have fun.... while trying to stay alive
just trying to get some exercise before I arrive at to work for my 11 o'clock in time
my subconcious guided me to where my time could be spent best
down by Haines Point for a little spin in the spring air with a glorious view of the Cherry Blossoms
this is a spring time spectacle that has a very short window of opportunity
tourists were just starting to gather
shutterless digital cameras were clicking left and right
rental cars were rushing to steal that last vacant parking space

just as I started to circle the golf course at Haines Point I found myself making small talk with a fellow cyclist
we laughed at the idiots and assholes who were speeding past us
a stretch limo passed us very close... nearly clipping an on coming Park Police car in the other lane
we made the turn past the golf course entrance where the road becomes two lanes
more cars passing
some faster and closer than others
all cars moving too fast to soak in the sights that surronded them
this other cyclist had a good outlook
sort of realisticly negative understanding with a smile on her face
judging from her old, not old school, Bridgestone MB6 she has been riding for some time
her Suntour thumb shifters were quite classic
she was somewhat Zen in her understanding that her anger and frustration would not change the car driver's behavior
that after this obnoxious driver there would be another obnoxious driver right behind them
I tried to breath deeply... second nature got the best of me as I flipped off a car driver who did not even exit my lane to pass

as we rode I shared with her the various bike alternative routes and how they interconnected
she knew some of the paths
while she was less familiar with others
with more time I guided her towards the Key Bridge which brought me closer my destination on M Street

we each had to go to work
with a smile and a handshake we went our separate ways
another kindered spirit on the bike

it was a good way to spend my moments before work on a Monday morning
some time with the boys at home in the morning
some time with the dogs in the woods
some time on the bike
and it is only Monday

on my way home minutes after PUBLISHING THIS POST
I passed an older rider with a silver beard

he was walking shoeless with his cycling shoes dangling around his next
his bicycle was along side of him with a flat tire
in a second effort to get a foot in heaven or maybe to at least balance the scales of my wrong doings I stopped for him
went through my bag for a road tube....
sure enough... I had a 26 inch mountain tube, a 29 inch mountain tube, and what appeared to be a road tube....BUT WITH A SCHRADER VALVE
my stopping was not without value
the rider was content to walk his remaining 3 plus miles home
but at the point where we met we were just three blocks from P Street Hardware
which also has a fully functioning bicycle shop
it was after 7 PM, but.... I felt that there was a good chance for it to still be open
it was worth a shot

he thought it was a good idea as well
I thanked him for pointing out the abscence of a road tube and rolled home

another weekend past
it was a good weekend
a healthy and wholesome weekend which included two different trips to two different toddler parks, a number of walks with the dogs in the woods, a beautiful wedding of two very good friends, many sessions on the back deck in the fort in our backyard with various neighbors and various neighbor's children, also some grilling with friends, and even a quick little road spin on the Jamis Nova on Beach Drive
of those highlights there were some great moments

while at the toddler park in Adams Morgan... Grant played self sufficiently... doing lap after lap up the ladder then down the slide... laughing and grinning all the way only to be repeated over and over

my friends shared a set of well thought out wedding vows as the evening sun blessed them with a gentle rose colored glow as they stood in front of a glorious historic building in a deeply wooded section of Bel Air, Maryland

and on that little road spin I had the pleasure of various riders endulging me in a little cat and mouse... well... most were dropped without me having to alter my pace... except one... there was this older gentleman who similar to the other riders did not care much for being passed
so he passed me back
unlike the other riders...
when I returned the favor... he gave it right back
and again
and again
we chatted for a bit as we spun on the flats
then we picked up the pace for the last stretch of Beach Drive
only for him to kick it in on the last 100 yards
whether or not I could have dropped him is not the issue
the question is... whether or not I will still be riding at 64
in the last yards I rolled past this gray haired cyclist I thanked him for his inspiration

the walks with the dogs were less than eventful
but at times it is good enough to have a stroll through the woods that is "incident" free