Rants on Cycling and on Life


the blog

the blog... my enemy... my friend
trying to sum it all up in words
finding myself at a loss of words
too many words
too many thoughts
hard for me to pull it together

what is this thing the blog?
what is a cycling blog?

someone help me here



this week I had the pleasure of attending two nights of the touring Banff Mountain Film Festival at National Geographic here in Washington DC
each and every film was special in its own way
I could rant about each film longer than that particular film's duration
I will spare you the pain
but... I will say
the shortened version of Off Road to Athens was a treat
like an old man at the track I had bet on the horse named Jason Berry
having seen his film last year I knew it was destine to get positive reviews at Banff
sure enough it did

next week in Baltimore the Off Road To Athens film is playing in its entirty
it is a wonderful saga
a saga's whose spin favored no one as much as it did the film maker
head over to The Charles Theater in Baltimore to see the film for yourself
feel free to leave a review in my comments section

as I type various names pop into my head
the themes of the movie follow close behind
chris sharma, grandpa, anatoli boukreev...
the red bull rampage...
off road to athens
and of course
the lost people of mountain village

tar again?

there had been a request to see the images of Tar again....
which makes me think....
it has been a while since I have seen Cargo Mike and his Cargo Bike

Tar and his fixed gear

idiot or asshole?

in our simple day to day travels we encounter people that are doing things that annoy us....
there are people who fail to yeild passage to the users of a one lane bridge...
there are people who start to get onto the elevator or subway car before everyone gets off...
there are those that make an aggressive turn just as they are about to miss the exit...
there are those that park in front of a fire hydrant when there are legal spaces across the street...
parking and waiting in a NO PARKING/NO STANDING zone during rush hour...

those are just a few examples of things we see each and every day
people doing something that throws off the rythym of life
somehow their puzzle piece just does not fit... so they force it

I see these people as fitting into one of two categories
they are either idiots or assholes
the majority of the time.... they actions are intentional... which clearly marks them as assholes
most of these assholes are repeat offenders
making these moves daily

last night I came home to find a car in front of the hydrant in front of my house
there were numerous spots across the street
as I came up my front stoop I saw that the person in the basement apartment next door was having a party
a number of women were smoking out front
I had already decided to put a note on the car
even if it may piss my neighbor off
it is about action and reaction.... and hopefully about education and changed behavior

so I wrote a quick note...
much like my blog it may not have made compete sense

I see from your sticker you got into YALE
yet, you are a dumbass parking in front of the hydrant

or something to that effect

parking in front of a hydrant is not about whether or not a police office would chance on catching you and giving you a ticket
parking in front of a hydrant just is not done for the obvious reason
the hydrant is there just in case
in case of a worst case scenario

too many people bend or break the law accepting the consequences of a ticket
not realizing that there are actually much greater consequences than a ticket
excessive speeding? speeding ticket or maybe fatal car crash
running red lights? more of the same
you can figure it out
no need for me to go through the list

that said...
am I an idiot or an asshole for running red lights on my bicycle?
I am a citizen who is aware of the laws
and I understand that there are accepted parameters for extending the law
just as a car may drive 35MPH in a 25MPH zone
I on the bicycle have re-evaluated the STOP SIGN to work as a yeild sign
yeilding the right of way to other users
granting people their right to safety and their right to move fluidly without stopping or changing their pace for me

so many laws are made and ignored
again I make mention
if people lived by common sense and common courtesy we would not need laws
laws were created to guide people to exist in a world with common sense and common courtesy
since everyone is either an idiot or an asshole we need government to monitor our behavior
I would prefer less monitoring
but... beyond that... I would prefer more common sense and common courtesy

Airline Ride Across America

I know as much as you about this
my friend CITYBIKESMIKE is involved in it
I will link to it here so we can all check deeper into it

it is a busy corner

it is a busy corner
here at conn and k

tape recorder

I have been thinking of getting a tape recorder
it is something that I have been meaning to do for some time
it is not like it would be expensive
I just have not done it yet

there are a great number of things that I have been meaning to do
always the best intentions
not always the best with the follow through
well, this tape recorder is on the list

the tape recorder could document some great things...
I could carry it with me as I ride
on long rides as I get hypoxic and my mind wanders... for me that happens pretty early in the ride
I could do my talking to myself out loud... instead of just in my head
when I walk the dogs in the woods and I get these ideas... I could harness them
when grant is quoting the trailer to Over the Hedge
when dean is singing along to bob marley legend
when I go see my 96 year old grandmother in florida this weekend....

I should just hit staples around the corner from work and grab a thirty dollar digital recording device
I should also get myself some under water disposable cameras for the florida trip as well
I should keep the promise to myself.... no coffee after 6PM

old leather

common sense

it is a recurring situation
I get up in the morning
my son wants cereal
today he wanted sugar cereal
I do not think we have sugar cereal right now
I think I ate all the sugar cereal
while trying to diffuse this four year old bomb I reach for a banana
as I take a bite dean asks if he can have a banana

I pause
with a mouthful of banana and my arm out streched
I ask if he wants this banana
dean says no... he tells us that he wants a whole banana

very simple
very american legacy foundation
very simple
the imprinting is clear
they want what we want
they do what we do

this goes for what we eat
how we drive
how we treat other people
and of course
with most anything else that we do

bikes passing at lunch time

I think that the bike from the blurred image was displayed some point prior with a bumper sticker or a spoke card... I can not recall what it said
it sits in my head like a familiar face
it will come to me

not bad for a thursday

it was a standard thursday
well, maybe it wasn't
maybe it was a thursday plus

did the standard routine
morning with the boys
a quick walk in the woods with the dogs
a little more than letting them lift their leg and drop their load
then on the bike
not enough to get a workout
just enough to break a sweat when I stop

rolled out of work as the whistle blew
go into the gear and onto the bike with maximum efficiency
thought I could sqeeze in a quick one before heading out with the wife
with the wife without the kids.... almost a date

felt pretty good on the bike
not fit
not fast
just feeling good
feeling that natural rush of riding a bike
decided that my short time on the bike could be best spent hitting a quick section of hills in Rock Creek Park then the hill in front of my house leading me as close to 6 as I can reach
rode the bike path and the eroding earth along side of it on my half a decade old jamis cross bike
dumped off the path and into Rock Creek on the road
just as I started the first hill I saw a familiar face
one of the members of my mountainbike team was doing some hill repeats
he slowed
I turned around
I joined him for a few hills
as expected he humbled me
no excuses... he is faster and I am slower
he was out there for more hills after my quick two
as I still had to walk the dogs before lisa and I left for the movies

got in the house
lisa was already at home entertaining dean and grant
she offered to walk the dogs
allowing me to watch the kids
turns out GI Joes and Power Ranger action figures are more interesting than dad
so.... I actually just "watched the kids" as they played

time passed and the attention of the boys moved from the fantasy to reality
the reality was were all very hungry and the pizza man had yet to arrive
time was passing for our departure to the movie
for a 7 pm show it was already 6:30
lisa still out with the dogs
pizza man still on the streets
so to entertain the boys we all went out front to wait for the pizza man

with children distraction is often the quickest route to diffusion

we sat on the cold concrete stoop and looks at the planes flying in the distance
and scanned the immediate sky for bats
dean and I talked about the bats being nocturnal
dean added that owls were also... nocturnal.... not struggling at all with the word he just learned
grant content to sit in my lap and listen
occassionally interjecting

lisa came home
put the dogs away and joined us on the cold concrete
almost as lisa sat down the pizza arrived
I corraled the boys inside beckoning the need for help to set the table
just as we set the table and handed the boys some pizza the door opened
grant hears the noise of the door and then the voice... grant then asks.... soledad her again
that is one smart little monkey
at two his speech is only surpised by his understanding

with soledad to watch the kids we made our escape
amazingly enough we were able to get into the auditorium before the pre-film comericials played
the pizza was consumed on the road

lisa and I settled in as the lights dimmed
no time to people watch
the banff film festival at the national geographic was about to start

the setting took the same course it has taken for the last 7 years that lisa have gone on a date to see some of the Banff Film Festival as it tours through National Geographic

the movies were great
a wide range of movies entertaining and inspiring the body and the mind

the pizza tasted great on the drive there and once we got home

eric not only goes up and hills
eric works at chain reaction
eric was the one who humbled me on the hills

a fairly standard thursday
well, actually it was a thursday plus


the simpsons


joe foley has this really cool simpsons thing
apparently everyone has seen it but me
well, I have seen it now


Car Culture is Cheesy, but this is cool


once again I am forced to ask myself to put things in perspective...
last night I had some friends over after a City Bikes Mountain Bike Team meeting
we were hanging out
I was getting some consultation on a frame that I thought was broken
also on a few bolts that seemed to be too small for a bottom bracket spindle on my fixie project
in our conversation... I felt like I was gravatating towards the negative
felt like I had morphed into an old crumudgen

after my friends departed I went upstairs
there were some messages on my Blackberry
so I check emails as I watched some television
the emails were mostly responses to my endless effort to get friends to read my blog
well... one response came from an old friend

while I had shamelessly been plugging my blog to this random old friend
this old friend responded back with the news that she is currently being treated for cancer
my heart sunk
I had not heard
I thought of all my day's complaints
all my issues rapidly became non-issues
my self absorbed world and its non-issues paled in reflection to what this friend and her family may be going through

my slowly healing finger and my recovering shoulder along with whatever woes I may have had were no longer significant
no... cancer trumps any and all issues I may have with my day to day life

I paused
I thought
I email back...
so much to cover in a simple email
I emailed back something short and to the point
leaving room for response
leaving room for me to send another email

I sent good thoughts
then against my disbelief I prayed
I hoped and I wished
then I did my therapy exercises for my shoulder and went to bed

it turns out the frame is in fact broken
the bolts are the right size even with the play
that it is good to know when a friend is in need
not sure what I can do
hopefully what words I do share help rather than hurt

joe jackson was right

Rell Sun: Heart of the Sea

gwadzilla archive on Heart of the Sea

skating with the kids


they rode with ned... I went to work

citybikesmike blogs about his ride with mountain bike legend Ned Overend
ricky d was there
19 others as well
just as well
that many people in a race can be fine
but for a group ride?
too many people for me

not to mention adult responsibilities

Q Street Bridge

as with any image on a BLOG
scroll over with the mouse
right click (or Mac: Hold and Click) and select OPEN IN NEW WINDOW
in many cases you can then scroll over the image in the new window with the mouse again
if the pointer turns into a magnafying glass with a plus sign, CLICK AGAIN
and the image appears large enough to try and make sense out of it

this is just one of the many beautiful bridges in the sometimes understatedly beautiful city of Washington DC
under this bridge is Rock Creek Parkway, the Rock Creek bike pathk, the creek itself, and an asian homeless man

car culture?

the notion of car culture is not far off from the idea of mullet fashion

the connection of those words fits into that long list of clever oxymorons
you know the list....
naval intellegence
jumbo shrimp
government worker
this list goes on.... feel free to add to the list in the comment section

here... I will add those two ideas to this list
car culture
mullet fashion

fast cars...
fast cars
driving fast
excessive love for your car
all these things are cheesey
vanity plates... ULTRA CHEESEY
almost as cool as a huge OAKLEY STICKER on your windshield

don't get me wrong
I have had a fondness for each and every car I have owned
I believe that everyone should buy a car that they do enjoy
the Honda Element suits me... as does each and every other car I have ever owned
the cars may be an extention of me
but no car can define me
unless you are on the NASCAR circuit.... I hope your car does not define you
and if you are not on the NASCAR circuit... why do you drive like it?

the BMW is the new CAMERO
Ultra Cheesey with its Ultra-Performance
so many goobers in their Obnoxious Driver's machines with the same David Schwimmer haircut that only worked for Pee Wee Herman

too much acceleration
too much top speed
it all adds up to cheese

okay, driving on a winding stretch of road... hugging the curves
there is a certain pleasure to it
but in the city or in residential areas
or while passing a woman pushing a stroller or a group of kids crossing the street?
nothing is achieved by reaching for the power band from each stop
no one is getting anywhere any faster by rolling through stop signs and stop lines
efficiency beats speed every time
I think that the tale of the Tortoise and the Hare should be required reading for Driver's Education
well, I also think that an IQ test should be administered as well
oh, and remove credit from the car purchasing situation
that would put less cars on the road
people may realize that they have other options than driving
other more sensible options

temporary blog? or the start of something big?

my brother is out west on a ski trip with some old college buddies
it is one of those situations where it would be fun to be "a fly on the wall"
or by modern day standards... a reality show

it is always comical to see these guys get together
they are a colorful bunch
there are always quasi intellectual debates about nothing
there is always some sort of game or physical competition
whether it is croquet, basket ball, or four square.. it is played to the death!

there is always a story that comes away from the gathering
it seems that one member of this party has BLOGGED about the happenings
so, the fly on the wall is not a camera... but a monitor and keyboard

Kahlil's blog from Tahoe... 827STPETERST

as the younger brother
my brother's friends end up being my friends
as the younger brother
my brother's friends end up treating me like I am their younger brother
an odd set of rolls for all involved


off the bike

dressing it down

going through the long list of digital images
thought I would put a few more images from the WABA Silent Auction on the blog
the vest was a creating to dress down the whole tuxedo thing
I took an idea and a City Bikes Dickies shop shirt to my neighbor Daisy's house
she converted the shop shirt into a vest
moving the pockets down
increasing the button frequency
yes... she turned a shirt into a vest
it turned out pretty good

take a look at Daisy's Uterus Tote Bag

New Camelbak

I love gear
new gear can be really refreshing
there is not anything much more refreshing than a new bike
no, I did not get a new bike
but I did get a new camelbak
the camelbak talon to be specific
the new bag is refreshing and not just to my sense of smell

as a commuter there is an evolution of gear
tricks are learned
tips are shared
lessons are learned
bad habits are shed

an individual may develop there own style and system

I am pretty straight up
I like fenders
permanent fenders on the year round commuter
currently I am not sporting that option
although I still prefer it
for lights I wear several flashing lights that exist on my backpack
the lights are there no matter what bike I ride as long as I ride wearng that backpack
that backpack always has a multitool, a 15mm wrench (in case I am riding my single speed,) several tubes (usually a road and a 29er... a cross tube could work for either...... but I tend to travel with both just the same,) and of course a pump
sometimes a patch kit
the pump selection may also change
there usually tends to be some change and maybe a little cash
my rechargable battery headlamp is worn on my helmet
but does not travel with me all the time
time pedals of which I have two pairs that rotate on several different bikes
and of course
several pairs of shoes... pretty much just winter mountain biking shoes and standard mountain bike shoes

so I got this new Camelbak Talon backpack
immediately I got excited
there are functions and versatility that will never meet my needs
the gas mask adaptor and other military adaptations do not fit into my list of simple needs
but there is much that I already like in my limited days of use

there are several pockets
on top of the various pockets there are sub pockets within the pockets that really make it happen
there are many adjustment straps
the chest strap is vital
and the waist strap is removable... and has been removed

so far so good...

already transferred my blinking lights and the monkey and the frog that moved from Grant's crib to my old commuter camelbak a year ago

after some thought I am thinking I should keep a AAA battery operated Petzel in my pack
there is room and I do not mind the weight
sucks to get caught in the dark
hate being a hypocrite
I cuss at every lightless asshole on the bike path
then my battery burns out because I tried to get to nights riding out of one charge
then I am the asshole playing chicken in the dark

the camelbak talon has some military issue funtionality to it
functionality that I already mentioned I wil not need
the bag landed in my hands as it was given to someone who gave it to someone
who did not feel they needed it so they gave it to me
looking at the pack makes me realize how little we think of the reality of the soldiers over seas

the day to day life of a soldier in Iraq is so different than anything I have ever experienced
so different than anything I ever wish to experience
had me thinking of a documentary on HBO

HBO: Last Letters Home

Arrow Advertising

these stills do not do this guy justice
then again... I am not sure that this gimic is worth mentioning
there is a new form of urban advertising
these guys roam the city spinning your ads
the "No War" is a good pitch
but, they most certainly would carry any other message if you wrote them a check
basically these guys are well versed in 70's style freestyle frisbee moves
quite stylized
perhaps I should have just posted a squence shot
would link to their page... but do not have the Arrow Advertising URL handy

Beatles Revolver

my head hurts
too much whiskey
why must I consume like Homer Simpson
good party
but was it all really neccessary?
the foot long fish sub from YUMS with extra hot peppers and MUMBO SAUCE
I question if it is the whiskey or the midnight snack that causes me this pain

my head
my body
every inch of me

coffee and the sounds of the beatles revolver bring me back to life
cleaning up all the legos that grant just spilled
more pain to an already hurtful situation
lots of little pieces
like an obsessive compulsive fool I try to file the little pieces into a great tackle box
back to the morning

good thing I rode and hiked yesterday
today I will use all my strength just to stay upright