Rants on Cycling and on Life


Urban Fashion/Urban Sensibilities-
normally when I travel to the bars at night I tend to go "stealth" on the bike
yet there are times when I am moving on foot these times I like to travel light
before going out I remove my ID, one credit card, and my photo ID
these items all fit comfortably into a little business card holder
(there is even room for a few business cards in there as well... but other than my BLOG... I have no business to promote)

why do I travel light when on foot?

cause if a less than friendly stranger asks me for my money or my life...
well.... the choice is clear
without arguement I should hand over my money

that said...
I was held up at gun point one time prior
there were two of us on foot
I had ridden my bike to my friend Rob's house and we walked to the restaurant together
on our return two very angry and aggressive young males approached us with fire in their eyes and guns in their hands
upon their approach I tried to expedite things by offering my money rather than handing everything over
my efforts became more of a fillibuster than acceleration of the process
I did not want to deal with the hassle of canceling credit cards
worse yet I did not want to have to deal with the MVA (or perhaps what is known to some as the DMV)
it was a foolish interjection on my part
my effort to expedite things could have lead to my extinction
but... in addition to my wallet and its contents... this angry young urban gentleman wanted my whole bag which contained the basic bicycle tools, pump, and tube

come on.... a tube can cost me anywhere from 2 to 5 dollars!

that experience changed my behavior
since then I have wised up
I try not to travel with anything I do not need
more importantly
I try not to travel with anything I can not afford to lose
also learned on that night... do as they say... leave ego and other nonsense behind
if I live to see tomorrow I can buy some more bicycle tools

so I was thinking there must be a market for such a product
a niftly little wallet.... a sub-wallet of sorts
not the massive "BAD MOTHER F---ER" wallet of Pulp Fiction
but rather a small compact package that travels comfortably in a person's pocket
be that pocket the hind pocket, front shirt pocket, or front pant pocket

not to mention the wisdom in carrying something that would cause less pain to hand over...
there is not the discomfort of "wallet butt"
your manly bottom will be are attractive on the dance floor with just a slight container
rather than an over stuffed wallet that gives the appearance of "poopy diaper"

being that I am more an "idea man" than a "man of action"
I will leave my creation of the "sub wallet" along side of my double sided tooth past for morning and night (morning side having caffiene/night side containing some sleep aid) and my heated bathroom mat with timer
these are ideas
not pattented creations

the angry young urban gentleman would have served themselves better to chanel their anger into a Punk Band

bathing a cat
some mornings getting my son's dressed is like trying to bathe a couple of cats
although I am a dog person who has never tried to bathe a cat
I still feel that my measure of this experience is accurate

this morning Dean was a little slow out of the gate
he can dress himself... but there are days where I assist the process
Grant on the other hand... he needs my help
this morning he did not lend a hand
this morning he did not help
instead Grant gave me the pleasure of getting to know what it would be like to bathe a cat

tools: more specifically the specialization of tools
this morning I had some email correspondence with a cycling friend
in that email conversation this person spoke of some things he had witnessed while skating in a local skate park
he questioned the merit of a BMX bike whose seat has been lowered so much that the bike has lost its ability to do much more than jumps and tricks
he then went on to question the trials bike and other very specialized machines

well.... a Phillips head screw driver does not work in place of a flathead
a mallet is not used to pound nails
there is a saw for wood
there is a saw for metal
and it most certainly gets more and more specific than that

the specialization of the bicycle is no different
some bikes are "multi-function" while other bikes are designed for a singular purpose
here is how I responded in my email

the bicycle has evolved
the trials bike is not good for much more than trials
the downhill bike is not so good for anything more than downhill
a cross country mountainbike would not do well in a road race
while a road bike would fare no better in a XC event
the kids in LA make their low riders so low that the cranks can not turn
they need to kick their feet to move
but the specialization of the bike for function is different than adaptations for fashion

cars have dragsters that can not make a turn
sand vehicles that would not work well on the road
H2s that never do more than pick up the dry cleaning

the list goes on

as far as lowering the seat...
well there would be no other way for them to make the jump
I recall in snowboarding there was a movement that was very similar...
the removal of the "high backs" from the bindings made it impossible to carve good turn yetallowed for contortions on airs that could not be done with the rigid binding pressing against the calve
this was a change that I tried... enjoyed... then went to a lower back on my binding
so that I could still carve turns and still make grabs (what few grabs I was able to do)

I have no opposition to the specialization of each tool
there are skateboards for ramp
there are long boards for cruising
each may be able to attempt the task of the other but the specialized tool is the right tool for the task

the same extends to snowboards and of course bicycles

those who ride recumbents call standard bikes "wedgies"
try taking a recumbent off road
heck... try taking a recumbent off a curb

each specialized bike maximizes the potential for each task
pushing the limits of that discipline
we have seen that in the Le Tour de France there are different bikes for different stages
achieving the greatest speed with the greatest efficiency
should there be a rule that each cyclist must start and finish on the same bike with the same equipment?
I think not...

so as much as I can appreciate my friend's question of the BMX bike with its low seat and lack of functionality
I feel that not all bikes are designed to be utilitarian
I say embrace the differences
thank the specializations for their ability to expand the freedom of the bicycle
let their be competition
let their be solidarity

oh yea...
this friend also left the skate park craving his old BMX bike
which he may pull out of his parent's garage
which he may ride with the seat lowered such that he can not pedal comforably
but he will be able to play in the park with


stumbled upon this today
looks like it may be an interesting resource
I did not get into it... so I am bookmarking it for myself and others here
Jim Langley

Hurricane Rita, Floods, Landslides, and an Effort for Aid
Guatemala Death Toll Rises
there is a mountainbike tour company based out of Antigua Guatemala; Old Towne Outfitters
Matt Hartel one of the owners is trying to lend assistance to people in his community
he is asking for your assistance
contact him if you want to make a donation
every little bit helps

Matt Hartel:


organized rides are not entirely my thing
Rotary Rock Creek Ride

that said
I have had a great time at some organized rides
Bike DC and BIKE New York are always excellent events
(although BIKE DC does not seem to be happening any more....)

sad but true summer is over
fall is here...
my cyclist friends are talking Cyclocross
my children are talking Halloween
today I wore flannel
fall is here


Bicycle Images at

some bike links


alley cat/critical mass/ solidarity ride
it would be an amusing project to set up a race/ride through the city that links up a number of the locations listed on the DC Traffic Camera

DC Traffic Cameras

perhaps the event could select the safer intersections
choose the routes that would favor the speed of the bike
such as downhill leading to the intersection
or the bikes taking the route that tends to have the longer green light
there would be updates to the progress/leaders via the web
someone could record the streaming video
then splice it all together as a race video

take a look at the cameras
it is funny to see the urban activity....
-city workers sleeping in their trucks
-panhandlers doing their daily thing
and of course
-human traffic
-people in cars
-people on foot
-some people on bikes
not enough people on bikes

critical mass dc