Rants on Cycling and on Life


I crack myself up...

respect is letting an old man rib you for how young you are.... and you as the young person do not rib them back about how old they are....

at work I get this all the time
there are these guys who are a tad older, okay much older
not only are they older but they have been in the business since the beginning of time
they are pre-technology
we say animals are pre-historic,well, these guys are pre-technologolic
so I let them rib me
I think once I learned that it is disrespectful to rib an older gentleman about his age
or was it his weight.... or was it his height
or yea.... it was his height
I figured he knew he was short by now
okay... I do not need people reminding me I am bald
it is not that I forget... I just do not need to be reminded
what was my point
oh yea

at the shop today one of the mechanics was helping me out with a tool
the technology has changed
there are more words to describe more types of things
this was for a crank puller
aparrently there is this new type
mike knows my bikes
mike knows I don't know my bikes or the new technology
(disc brakes are new to me... still trying to figure them out.... I am not old school..... just old)
back to my point
I wanted a classic old style COTTERLESS CRANK REMOVAL TOOL
yes... that is what we called them in my day KIDDO!
(I hate when people call people kiddo.... I hate when people call my kids, KIDDO.)
I did not call the tool that
I used the term Crank Puller
and well
Frank and Mike got a laugh out of the tool confusion
I lacked the language to tell them which one I needed but I knew it on sight
so we walked back to the tools and Frank handed me what I needed
then he kindly offered me a lesson in how to use the tool
that is when i broke it out
"excuse me.... I was using this tool before you were born.... ((hold on... I am thinking: light bulb above the head: mouth opens to wide gap toothed smile)) yes.... I was using this tool before you were born."
apparrently I am hard to read
hope frank read that I was joking and that i appreciate his offer
on a day where I did not have one kid asleep in the burley trailer and the other kid tearing down the bike shop I would have love to see the professional way of using this tool

I actually own this tool...
maybe even two of them
but over the years the threads get worn or torn out from missuse
my first cotterless crank removal tool was a tool that needed the assistance of a 15mm wrench
most of the time I used a big set of adjustable knuckle busters
remember... I come from a time when bottom brackets tool grease had a set of free floating bearings
there were adjustable cups and lock rings to deal with
I thought that the Suntour grease injections were a gift from the gods

if I had videos of myself working on bikes without all the right tools and without a stand
those were the days
try putting in a headset without the proper tools
without creating your own press with some large washers and a long screw.... turning bolts on both ends
NO! I used a mallet and a board
this caveman has evolved
far less BAM BAM in my fix it projects

getting late
gotta roll


starting to feel better
starting to feel good
starting to catch up after a bit of a set back
this broken finger put a little bike of a wrench into my machine
actually nothing more than a speed bump
but that bump took away some serious momentum
it may have been as much as two months off the bike
then getting on was slow
now I am slow
but starting to pick up the pace
starting to increase the miles
forty-five minutes are not enough base for an hour and a half race
then how do I expect to perform at the 100 mile off road experience known as the Shenandoah Mountain 100

I do not expect to be anywhere near Jeremiah Bishop at the finish
I would like to match my personal best from last year
my intention was to beat my time from last year
with the recovery from the broken finger and such
there just has not been the same amount of riding and racing
there has definitely been a drop in my personal intensity on the bike
my techincal is even more shy than it usually is
this is not a course where you want to be without your legs, lungs, and intensity

The Paper Boy
a children's book by Dav Pilkey
this book was most certainly written by a person who worked as a paperboy as a child
the book is written in such a simple and plain fashion that it delivers the clarity that only a Paperboy could deliver
although my experience as a paper boy was with an afternoon paper, the Washington Star
there were still the weekend morning deliveries and I have memories of assisting my brother when he delivered the Washington Post
everytime I read this book it is as if I am back in time feeling those same emotions as described in this book
the cold mornings... even in summer
the task of balancing the bike with papers
the freedom of riding with the papers gone
the ballistic motion of having the route committed to memory
the quiet world as everyone else is asleep
it gives me great pleasure to read this book to my sons and to get to experience those emotions again and again
sure it is a book of few words
it is a book that delivers a wonderful story
perhaps that is why this book was awarded the Caldicott Medal

it is sad to think that this world exists in a more complex time
a time where tasks were once character building money makers for children are jobs for adults
I grew up delivering papers, cutting lawns, doing yard work, and babysitting
even our babysitters are adults
these are different times that will most certainly produce a different type of adult

I have always wanted to write a children's book
write and illustrate
maybe writing this notion down will make me accountable

Memories and Sense of Smell
when we deal with memories nothing is forgotten....
it is more a matter of failure to retrieve those memories than things actually being forgotten
or so one of my professors told the class in one of my Psychology classes in college

there seems to be something to this concept
in my personal experience I have found that my sense of smell has the ablility to draw out certain memories

this morning while riding my bicycle before work I was taking in the scent of the humid morning and the freshly cut grass as I pedaled along the Potomac River on the Mount Vernon trail
there is a certain smell to cut grass that is still moist from the morning dew
this smell is not just one smell but many subtley different smells... each having the ability to bring back various memories.... so many memories
this morning as I took in the scent of the lawnmower's exhaust and the damp clippings I was delivered the memories of various soccer practices and soccer try outs
so often we would gather in the morning just after the fields had been trimmed
that combination of the dew with a hot August morning where the humidity is just starting to build
so many great memories of so many great experiences
experiences of triumph and experiences of failure
making the team and getting cut from the team
making friends and well... you can reverse the statement yourself

those memories are part of my past
I treasure those memories
and I thank my sense of smell for returning those memories to me

this morning as I rode it was not so much a blend of memories
but rather one memory of one time
then my rational mind carried that specific thought into something different
just like a dream... so often when we wake rather than trying to remember the dream we try to rationalize the dream
causing us to forget that dream never to be retrieved again

okay I am babbling....

other scents that bring back memories
the scent of tar on railroad ties when the temperature is just right often brings back memories of childhood in suburban Boston or other random Tom Sawyer Huck Finn misadventures from my childhood

the smell of excessive car exhaust and burning rubbish can remind me of travels to distant third world lands... bet those lands Nepal, Costa Rica, or Peru

the smell of dried pines often remind me of Northern California or even more local terrain with similar flaura (or is it fauna) that causes the earth to give off that certain scent

perhaps that is why perfume is so popular
women are trying to captivate an emotion in a scent
these women are trying to implant a memory
trying to immortalize themselves by sense of smell

enough with this
better things to blog about


this network of communication can be nothing shy of amusing
people blog about anything, everything, and nothing
there are blog circles that expand far beyond the media's definition of the BLOG

this being the year of my 20th High School Reunion has got me in touch with a variety of people
when reviewing our Class Reunion Site I was pleased to catch up with a few people
some people I knew and others I did not know so well
there is a fellow graduate that has an entertaining blog... Clark has a wide variety of interests
it seems that he takes his interests to the passion level

when going to Clark's blog I did what I tend to do when I check out people's blogs
I read.... I comment.... and I went to some of his links
in addition to links he has a lot of pictures
his images from the Star Wars Convention are definitely worth a look
anyone who makes fun of this stuff is just jealous!
Clark's pictures from "on the job" are a tad scary
it is great to know that someone with such passion may be at the other end of the life line when we are reaching for help

within his list of links were some very popular BLOGGERS
there was the Mom who talks about POOP and there was the stewardess who likes to flaunt what she go.. both of which got fired from their jobs for BLOGGING
a fate that I try to avoid
such actions guide both my behavior and the topics I tend to blog about

usually my blog circles cycle around the bicycle

to name a few
use my links
use their links
there is so much out there
you will find something that distracts you from what you should be doing


in reference to my prior post.....
Minor Threat with Trouble Funk at the Lansburgh Culture Center for the PUNK FUNK SPECTACULAR ranks as one of my top five shows of all time
it was an awesome show
it was an amazing experience

Main Entry: 1stop
Pronunciation: 'stäp
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): stopped; stop·ping
Etymology: Middle English stoppen, from Old English -stoppian, from (assumed) Vulgar Latin stuppare to stop with tow, from Latin stuppa tow, from Greek styppE
transitive senses
1 a : to cease activity or operation b : to come to an end especially suddenly : CLOSE, FINISH
2 a : to cease to move on : HALT b : PAUSE, HESITATE
3 a : to break one's journey : STAY b chiefly British : REMAIN c: to make a brief call : drop in

(and no... on the bicycle I do not stop at Stop Signs)


this should actually read
but that way is not a hyper link

and on a non-political note
two blogs worth checking out


Discord vs. Nike
Minor Threat vs. Major Threat
from PUNK

Pitchfork Media's response
and GOOGLE it for more repponse and more opinions
more Pitchfork

and the Rock and Roll perspective
sorry if my news is a month old
similar to GOOGLE EARTH
I am out of the loop
this news was shared with me from old friend FALK
we skated together years ago
he was always a far superior skater (and skim boarder)
we spent a fair amount of time listening to music together while drinking and hanging together
minor threat was a topic of discussion and a classic on the turn table
so was joy division

what I really love about this whole NIKE advertising error is that they profoundly made this same mistake some years ago
flattering and true there is some great parallel with the abuse of the Minor Threat 7" cover and the use of the song Revolution by the Beatles

but in the same respect
there is something PUNK about ripping off a design or a logo
skateboard decks have had spoofs and plays on existing designs for fun or for a statement
when it becomes an issue of profit
an issue of major profit for a huge company
then it becomes something differently completely

a pleasant day on the bike path
yesterday after work I took a quick spin on the Capitol Crescent Trail
being able to get out of work 10 minutes early allowed me to hit the trail before the afternoon rush
was able to take my pace up a notch
not bothering with a fast or aggressive pass
went from Georgetown to Connecticut Ave then back to the DC line only to turn back around towards Bethesda again
once pointed north towards Bethesda I felt some riders approaching behind me
then there was a pass
as per usual a roadie passed without an audible
not only did he pass without warning
but he made the pass obnoxiously close to me
I refrained from getting angered or involved
then I glaced back at the person on his tail
without hesitation I recognized the face and the figure
it was Rich... a fellow mountainbiker.... and a person I had seen around at various local races

the last we spoke there was some tension
I had BLOGGED about him after our battle for 3rd Place in the Men's Vet Class at the 24 Hours of Snowshoe in 2004
it is in the GWADZILLA ARCHIVE 3/4 down the page
(an interesting archive as it touches on Lance, Sue Haywood, and other issues of the day)

our last encounter left me wondering how he would respond to me now
to my pleasure there was no ill will
I was greeted with a smile
he released his fast pace on the rear wheel of the road bike in front of him
and dropped his pace to a social side by side pace with me
we talked about things
mainly we talked about the birth of his first son
then we talked about the effort to balance riding, mountianbike, and mountainbike racing as a father

it was good to catch up
it was good to see that there was no tension between us
it was good to see that he and his wife were enjoying life with their young son Miles

I rode out to Conn Ave one last time to continue our converstation
then turned back towards Bethesda where I was meeting my wife and my family at my dad's for a little poolside fun
storms blew in as I arrived
not even enough time to dip in the pool
my brother and his wife showed up with their kids
which was great for the boys
we ordered pizza and had some fun before bed time

only to ride my bike back downtown for a few extra miles

these little rides all add up
the question is
will these little rides add up to be enough to make me strong enough to handle the Shenandoah Mountain 100?

ICE Your Cell Phones
ICE stands for In Case of Emergency

this is a trend in London which is finally traveling across the pond
everyone should do this...
not just in case of an injury resulting from a terrorist attack
also in the case of any other personal injury

as a cyclist I think this should be the least of our precautionary measures
I may expand my personal protection to a sticker on my bike and on my helmet as well

I remember back in my misspent youth going to DC Punk Shows on my motorcycle
there was one rider who always wore full leathers even in the summer heat
I took his precautions to heart and tried to wear helmet, jacket, and studded gloves all the time
in addition to his body armour this rider also had messages on his helmet


was one message I remember... other message of similiar self protection have been forgotten

accidents... crashing... getting hit
it is part of the two wheeled experience
maybe I should prep myself for the worst
as morbid or perhaps fatalistic as it may seem
if unconcious we can not tell those around us who to call or what medications we may be allergic to

Article on ICE on
and an article on

my iPOD is naked
so seldom do I add music to my iPOD
I need some G0-Go on my iPOD
some Chuck Brown
some EU
some Trouble Funk
and of course the Junkyard Band that played on the corner right down the block from my work
(now known as Backyard Band)
here is someone's page on GoGo... it has some good links
I am bookmarking it for myself for later




it pleased me to see GWADZILLA on the list
also fun to read BLOGS that focus on my region of the world



BK's Blog
bk is kemler




Race At RFK
sean bega's favorite bike
bike cult


Tour Fever and the Bike Path
and a good ride for someone getting ready for the Shenandoah Mountain 100
this Sunday past I took the boys out in the Burley Trailer for a long ride
attached the trailer to the geared Surly Karate Monkey and pedaled away
it was Grant's first ride in the trailer
which would make it Dean's first ride sharing the trailer
Grant was alseep before my house was out of sight
Dean was not pleased with how little space he had when he was sharing the trailer
yet he was quite accomodating to his younger brother
at this moment he was playing the role of good big brother
a role that can go the way of Jeckyl or Hyde

it was a long hot pedal
did I mention slow
it was a long hot slow pedal with 70 pounds od kie and 30 pounds of trailer
the boys both slept for most of the ride and complained for the rest of the ride
it was hot
it was dam hot

we rode across the river and then out past the Airport a little bit past Old Town Alexandria
the boys woke in Old Town so we stopped in at Big Wheel Bikes for a few minutes
the kids love to wander around bike shops
it was good to catch up with the manager Bennet for a few minutes
after a little stretch of the legs it was back in the trailer pointed to Bethesda
more specifically.... pointed to the pool at my dad's house
days like this are for the pool
only a fool would be out on the bike in this heat and humidity

the kids were both asleep before we were out of Old Town and back on the bike path
we passed the airport which had been selected as a fun destination
planes landing and taking off entertain children of all ages
with both of the kids asleep there was no reason to stop and wake them
so we rolled forward and further
once on the Capitol Crescent trail Dean was awake again
he was hot, sweaty, and complaining
I tried to get him to mellow out
he wanted out of the trailer
so we pulled into Fletcher's Boat House so dean could strtch and I could grab a Gatorade
with the trailer stopped Dean then corrected my actions... he wanted to stop at grandpa's not here
I got a couple of Gatorades just the same
Dean and I refueled while Grant continued to sleep

ready to continue my ride I went up a wooden boardwalk ramp back up to the Capitol Crescent Trail
atop the ramp I looked one way then the other to see if things were clear
unable to see past the couple with a stroller to my left
I had to take a step forward to see if it was safe to pull out
it was not clear
so I stepped back
while stepping back I saw the on coming cyclist brake hard with a look of panic in her eyes
behind her so close that I thought it was a tandem was another cyclist
at first I thought a tandem bicycle frame was cracking in half
then I realized that the following cyclist's front wheel had collided with the rear wheel of the bike he was drafting off of
the first cyclist was able to recover
the second cyclist went down, but not too hard
the water bottle from the second bike rolled up to my feet

I picked it up and handed off to the rider who had fallen

at this point the cyclist in the lead was yelling at me
I accepted the words and agreed that I should be more careful
she continued to yell
I agreed that I should be more careful and listened on
then having heard enough I moved on my way
it was a quick exchange

certainly I had contributed to this incident
by no means had I caused this accident
the accident was caused by two cyclist going too fast through a heavily trafficked section of trail
drafting and pace lines have there place
yet there place is not on the multi-use bike path

it seems that these folks had TOUR FEVER
but they were not a break away group
they were on the bike path
the multi-use bike path should be seen as an individual time trial
in this event drafting is forbidden

the bike path is not the place for training or racing
we all often feel the urge to ride fast and hard on shared trails
it is important for all trail users to be familiar with their bikes and their bodies
be familiar with stopping distance and control
always anticipating the worst
always slowing for certain variables


courtesy of my brother


locked and loaded chip on my shoulder
yesterday in the premature August heat and humidity on a July afternoon I went for a post work spin on the bike
with flat tires on both Karate Monkeys I went out on the Jamis Nova cross bike again
with Tour Fever still burning strong I wanted to ride fast and far so the cross bike was my best option
but of course
I do not have the time to ride far
I lack the ability to ride fast
so I went for a post work spin instead

out from work through Georgetown traffic down M Street
the predictable behavior is just that... predictable, but dangerous just the same
it boggles the mind that these drivers test the performance of their cars and their luck each and every day like this
woth little concern for the possible results of such aggressive actions
some cars show the scars of battles lost in the past
these cars are given greater distance

as I weave through the bumper to bumper traffic on M Street I am trying to balance my concentration between the congestion of cars on the street and the collection of shoppers on the sidewalk
ah.... window shoppers
cars running lights, passangers getting in and out of cars stuck in traffic, pedestrians crossing where they choose...
finally safely onto the bike path as I cross Key Bridge into Virginia and onto the Mount Vernon trail
in the afternoon heat the trail seemed vacant
the water alongside the path did nothing to minimize the heat
the temperature was brutual
only made worse by the thick haze in the air created by that nasty DC humidity

out past the airport then a random turn around point
not distance
not duration
just time to get back to the other side of the bridge
need to swing by the house to grab some stuff before I meet Lisa and the boys at grandpa's backyard pool
it is starting to get late
worked a few minutes late and added a ride... best to get where I need to go

into the city back onto the aggressive streets
everyone is on their worst behavior
the heat brings out the worst in everyone
it is hard to be pleasant on such a day
up 16th Street on into Mount Pleasant I dash into the house

down some water and grab what I need and get back onto the hot city streets

the rush hour drivers have little tolerance for the bicycle commuter
there is some sort ignorant notion in this society of my SUV can crush your SUV where the bicycle is a toy that has no right on the road
one would think that a car that seats 7 comfortably would be banned from the road if it traveled with just the driver and no passangers

onto Beach Drive and into Rock Creek and I am already being tailgated not just seconds into my turn
then the fast aggressive pass into oncoming traffic by the car traveling behind me
it is only a matter of time before there is a head on collision
this I do not wish upon anyone
especially me

a left turn onto Broad Branch where the turns and curves are blind to what is around the bend
cars follow close looking for a chance to pass
the ignorant aggressive pass of one driver initiates the action of the following drivers
the cars pass in a pack like a herd of buffalo following the pack blindly off a cliff
not one knowing if safety or danger exist ahead... just following the pack
the last driver nearly nicks an on coming car

in packs the cars repeat the same obnoxious passing behavior
I am not a person to them... I am an obstacle
they pass too fast and too close
the speed limit is 25 MPH yet they pass me ranging from 25-35 where the curve allows such acceleration
some pass closer than others
some pass further away granting me more space... but creating a greater opportunity for danger for themselves and traffic coming from the opposite direction

where are they rushing off to so fast?
how much time do they actually save with their dangerous driving styles?

as I the road moves towards the residential Chevy Chase DC the road straightens
cars pass at an annoyingly fast pace
estimating 45MPH on each pass
I grit my teeth as I feel the wind of their pass pulls me around on my bicycle
each car rolls speedily through the stop sign ahead
no one makes a complete stop
nor do I.... but at least I have made an good assessment of the other cars

there is a traffic light ahead
most of this last pack of cars make this light
but get caught at the second
I dip through the Red Light when it is clear
and pass the line of cars that just passed me
I refrain from gestures and/or comments

the light turns green I go
these cars then get one more aggressive pass
one car in line with all the rest passes fast and close
they all roll through a Stop Sign
then this one car with personalized tags pulls to the side to parallel park
I can not contain myself
I launch a wad of spit onto the driver's side window as I roll pass
I am not sure.... sometimes I just do these things
as always
I regret this immediately

in my youth this was usually a fun game with the Metro bus driver
the bus would pass and cut me off
run me off the road and into the curb
pick up its fair on Conn Ave and I would race the climbs to catch them
as I passed I would spit through the window and into the face of the driver
then letting the race begin
up the hills
down the hills
racing to the end of their route at Chevy Chase circle

on this day I regret my actions immediately
I alter my pace
battling the exhaustion induced by the heat and the humidity I go faster
taking an occassional glance back to see if I have enraged the parking driver
a mile down the road I figure that there has been no initiation of a cat and mouse game
I am relieved
I again question my own behavior

eventually arriving late to meet up with lisa and the boys
feeling shame for my action
regret or an altercation that could have been
fear for retailiation that never happened
after dinner and a swim I scribble down a note to be dropped on this parked car's window

it was a simple apology for my inexcusable behavior
brief mention of my frustration of the fast and aggressive pass by the multitude of drivers
then a repeat of my apology

I find the car on my pedal home
fearing that I may have a face to face with the car owner I act quickly
as I pull away from the parked car after putting this note under his windshield wiper I see a bike rack and a volleyball in his hatchback
a bike rack?
this guy like so many just got caught up in the momentum
when he could have been a pace vehicle and lead a pack of positive drivers
instead he joined the masses and drove wrecklessly past me on his own street
I check for a child seat.... no such thing
the soccer mom is always the greatest irony of aggressive drivers

to be a fly on the wall
I hope that my actions of the note have repaired my actions of the spit
when will I learn that I can not change people
and that altercations just lead to greater altercations and not revealations
when will I grow up?