Rants on Cycling and on Life


parked vehicles

some everyday images around town

teasing... everything in moderation

this saturday morning went as most planned saturday mornings go...

there was the early morning evacuation of lisa for her Ashtanga Yoga class
which leaves me in roll of mr. mom
where I scramble about trying to get the kids, clothed and fed
trying to get the dogs walked
while trying to keep the boys from killing each other and tearing the house apart

this morning went along better than most saturday mornings go
the boys were clothed and fed
the dogs had been walked and fed as well
our evacuation was ahead of schedule
I gathered a toddler survival kit that included capri suns, diapers, and wipes
tried to scramble together a digital camera
was able to find a blank SD card but was unable to find double A batteries

as it got closer to our scheduled departure time I started scanning for my car keys
in the morning's adventures I had seen the keys sometime somewhere
but now I had forgotten where I had seen them
so I scanned everywhere

time passed and my anxiety increased
my loops became less scattered and more methodical
I checked my yoga bag and my toddler survival kit
then looped the house from top to bottom again
this process was repeated several times
all the while breaking up fights between the boys
and trying to server their individual needs
more peaches
milk instead of apple juice
those sorts of things

the time was passing and yoga was starting to seem less likely
I came down from one last loop only to find I had to gather the children from the basement
once in the basement I asked the boys to come upstairs and aid me in one last look for the keys
as I plotted morning alternatives for entertaining myself and the kids

before heading up stairs from the basement I asked the boys to check their pockets for the keys
with a grin as wide as the montana sky dean smiled
then like a magician he pulled the keys from his pocket

I was tricking you dean said

yes, I was tricked
I was tricked into scanning the whole house
running about like a chicken with my head cut off
digging in the trash
starting to question my own sanity

I laughed with dean and then told him
teasing is fine
but you do not want the joke to go on two long
if the joke goes too long it is no longer funny

this little trick has had me grinning all day
also has me thinking I need to make a back up set of keys
as I think the boys teased me once before with the other set of keys
that teasing has gone on long enough
those keys will more than likely show up after the purchase of our next car


mom and the boys

a man at the farmer's market


a ride synopsis

this has been a tough week
a combination of factors
sick/the kids are sick, the kids are not sleeping/we are not sleeping
and well
the job can be a swift kick in the groin sometimes

today I was able to get out of work early
guess I can not complain too much
got out of work early and got on the bike
did not feel like riding at all
but... just like a kid going to school
I got to do it
there just is no choice

rode the my six year old cross bike to work thinking I would be able to fit in some loops in the hills of rock creek park
although I do not use heart rate monitors or power taps
I know that I suck at climbing and well... if I am going to want to ride my bike up the hill on dirt I need to ride my bike up the hills on pavement
so I left work and headed for the nature center in rock creek park

I had left early enough that I thought that I would have time for some ups and backs on Ross Drive and still be able to intercept my babysitter and snag my younger son and pick up my older son from school
well... as my 45minutes of hills was growing to be more of an hour I recognized a familar form

although I had never seen this man on a bike before we had talked that he was a cyclist
he fancies himself a former commuter
so rather than floating down the hill and continuing straight towards home
I turned it around and started to reel him in

this was a classic humbling moment
so I am doing this hill one more time after a handful of times
I pass on man snailing along in his lotto peacock suit

just as I am feeling smug I feel that I am being passed
a rider moving effortlessly moves past at twice my speed
this rider drifts into the distance and passes the person I was seeking to catch
this pass of the faster rider alters the pace of my rolling destination
so I need to pick up my pace
as my reel him in pace was no longer fast enough

without the passing of too much road I am approaching the rear wheel of my destination
with an upbeat tone I ask the rhetorical question.... is that jack lastname?
sure enough it was
I moved along side of him and we paced with each other
he was on a newer fresher jamis nova
we talked about bikes then I reintroduced myself

I am that guy sending you emails about the traffic on blah blah blah street
the man I have just reeled in is a representative of our neighborhood on some level
we chat about the "study" that is going to happen
I am pleased to hear that there is some sort of consideration
although a "study" could be a discussion
and well... then the next day there could be some action

we ride along side of each other
the topic changes
we talk bikes
I kid him about the guy who he had passed us both
and how his pace changed after the pass
it was a good ride
I altered my route and rode for maybe 30 minutes with him
his fitness impressed me
apparently he was even faster and stronger prior to a spinal injury that occured in a bike to car incident
an incident where he was on the bike
that incident had kept off the bike for a few years

it was a good ride
with some pleasant conversation about life and gears
cycling gear and the state of the the world and how it views bicycles

our final blocks into the neighborhood cause us to split
he is going a few block longer to avoid traffic and the steep climb
I roll back to a lump of trash under the bridge
someone has dumped some trash under the bridge
a rusty adult bike of no interest has already been tucked aside by someone who will more than likely return for it later
there is a 12 inch children's bike that I can not resist taking home
I ride the last mile or so home with a pink and white kids bike on my handlebars

I get home and walk the dogs
then I join lisa and the boys for a trip across the alley for a friday night bbq fest
it is a friday night alley thing
no bikes for the kids on this night
it is all about swords
lots of swords
lots of sword play
lots of kids crying from having their knuckles cracked by a friendly whack of a sword

a great start to a long weekend

the idea of the "study" has me excited
maybe they will actually do something
but I am sure that there will have to be all sort of bureacracy before they can sweep the leaves off the sidewalk
too much talk....
not enough action...
I hope this study takes into account the major cycling traffic on this road

guess I will still draw up some of my ideas for correcting these speed problems
as it can not hurt

fat across america

washington post article about steve vaught and his walk

his journal/blog

the journey is the destination....
and well...
I think he needs to tell the tale as it happened
hitching a ride in an old pickup can be as valuable a moment as walking 100 miles in the desert
he needs to just tell it as it happened


emapthy is a learned emotion

it is my contention that empathy is learned emotion
the sad thing
not too many people are teaching this emotion these days

in a simple example
the absence of empathy can be seen how car drivers treat pedestrians and bicyclists
on a more child-like level I see it in my two year old son
grant will approach me
daddy I broke your sunglasses
daddy I broke your computer
in each case he is correct and cute
the information is there
but there is no emotion
not trying to guilt trip this kid
but I will try to teach him to be considerate of others

when I drive I try to empathize with those around me
even the other car drivers
I can not read their mind
but I do know how I would feel in thier situation

penn and teller: manners

penn and teller are doing their bullshit thing
this week it is something on manners
it is a trip
I saw a guy with the same anger disorder as me
and they showed that queen of the sky blogger lady
very funny stuff
I have not used the television as a mirror so much since the last time I watched the larry david show
no that is not good

the shows are good
but having them work as a mirror
well... that is not so good
okay... it is good to look in the mirror
we all should look in the mirror more often
no... not to fix our hair or brush our teeth
but so that we can police ourselves

the cycling cog
some of this stuff may have been stolen from an old favorite.... tino's place

love your bike


a blog that I just been reading
oil is for sissys
yoga for cyclists


that is why we are here...
to share information and ideas

here is some information

and this
transportation alternatives

not sure of the pound to dollar conversion
not sure of this product
but it seems to follow a decent philosophy
I think there needs to be an inexpensive bike with a minimalistic view
a single speed not for the single speeder
a single speed for the around town rider who would not change gears anyway
history of edinburgh bicycle coop

bikes for everyday...

I am always amazed at people's notion of what a bike should cost
there is no logic to it
they just feel that a bicycle should cost X amount of dollars
which is usually a few hundred dollars less than a bicycle actually costs

these same people may buy a hundred dollar tie, a several hundred dollar sweatshirt, or think nothing of a several hundred dollar dinner for two
at times you can reason with this type of shopper
talk of name brands, quality, you get what you pay for... that sort of think
then they can pull out the Gold Card and make a purchase... maybe even after some slick kid with some shop speak talked them up to a level that they do not need
but... what about the common consumer.... the everyday person looking for the everyday bike
the person lured into the sub hundred dollar purchase because that is all they can afford
what about them?

I think that the bicycle manufactures should be more considerate of the consumer when designing bikes for this market
all of these dual suspension bikes for a hundred buck could have put their energy elsewhere
rather than weighty suspension systems
these bikes could have been simple machines with utilitarian design
as these riders are not looking for a mountain bike
they are looking for a way to get to and from work

why not offer them a bike with less gears?
zero suspension?
a rack and some fenders?

why not a single speed with moderate gearing and these commuter features?

are the people on the flashy Huffy Bikes and Paciffic Bikes drawn towards the look of these machines or are they drawn to the price of these machines
I think it is the price
if the dual suspension bike was removed from the market and a more sensible craft were in its place
well, the low end buyer would be riding a bicycle instead of a rocking horse
energy would be going into forcing the bike to roll forward rather than boucing back and forth
there would be less to break
there would be less un-needed weight

the low end market is a vital market
so many people need an affordable bike

but... why is the affordable such a piece of crap?
a mountain bike that can not be taken mountain biking?
why not an around town bike that can be ridden around town?

another morning blog entry created while my little blonde monkeys splashed in the tub
they got five more minutes
I got to blog for five more minutes
they got to splash all the water out of the tub
I got to finish my entry
we each got what we waneted
well... I wanted them TO KEEP IT IN THE TUB
but... that may be asking too much


always curious about this sort of stuff

this guy erwin bakker alledgedly raced in europe under a different name
this is with a lifetime ban from racing

the curious thing...
is he still cheating?

if he is banned
why does he have sponsors?


that whole rosie ruiz thing is weird to me

in college I played soccer
our team was not so good
I was a starter but clearly not the best man on the team
we lost almost all the games we played
all I could do was my part
my part and more... all I could do was play every minute as if the score was zero zero and we had a chance to win

during this time I had a variety of friends with a variety of interests
most of us shared one great interest in common.... drinking
along with drinking came talking shit

there was this guy on the sailing team who had a pretty solid record on the sailing team
he sailed collegiately
he sailed internationally
I knew nothing about sailing
so little about sailing that I often toss it into the lump with golf and that question...
is it a sport?
any way... not hear to push buttons and ruffle feathers
back to my drunken point
so.... this guy went to europe and where ever to race dingy sailboats

somewhere along the line I had heard about some rules to sailing
something about physics or kinetics
something about rocking the boat and pumping the sail
apparently this guy was caught breaking these rules

we talked about winning and winners like rosie ruiz's
a combination of being drunk now and being drunk then has the memory blurred
but I think he felt win at any cost
that would be like snatching the king before starting a game of chess and running away
that would not be winning in a game of chess
would it?


yesterday work held me late
just a few minutes late
yet late enough to deny me anything more than a straight shot home on the bike

I rolled into my alley to get swarmed by an assortment of small children screaming out my older son's name
after breaking free of the mob I got home to find the kids having dinner
or maybe an afternoon snack
so I allowed them to eat

as the momentum of ingestion slowed I made mention of the kids in the alley
the theme was swords
the time it took to get dean and grant focused enough to gather swords and shoes
we arrived to a vacant alley
we found one boy standing by his back gate.... locked in... with his mother yelling from inside the house that dinner was ready
we had scheduled things wrong
we ate while they played
everyone was eating while we wanted to play

in an effort to entertain the boys I proposed heading up to the corner store on the bikes to get a replacement candy necklace for the one that broke earlier that week
the boys agreed
no helmet
no bike
the boys got their helmets on and got on their bikes

each boy has a bit of a cold
the slight weakness of the cold made the slight climbs tough for the boys
dean complained grant moaned
soon dean was riding
while I was carrying grant's bike
dean rode up and back as I alternated between pushing grant on the bike, carrying grant's bike as grant walked, and carrying grant's bike with grant on my shoulders

that is how things go sometimes...

we got gummy bears instead of a candy necklace
just as well
the candy necklace was not available

no photos
not everyday is a photo day
would have been tough to take pictures and carry my son and his bike all at the same time

back to finish this thought

on this sidewalk/alley tour of the neighborhood I tried to help my children to listen for the cars
listen for a car with a running engine ready to back up in the alley
listen for a car headed down the hill towards the intersection
so much can be learned from listening
listening is a key to anticipation

more on hot dogs....


from redlack
in today's washington post
enjoy the dogs



bike collectors


a bike collector's blog
this was shared with me by hound dog
although I went to high school with one of the contributors of the ebykr site
I am not sure I know him
although is very attractive older sister was in my graduating class

check out the images and the words


track stars

a closer look
or a look through the gwadzilla archive will show some sweet custom stars on an already sweet classic bridgestone track bike

the purple pig


bookmarking this for myself
feel free to take a look yourself


some snap shots

while I drank my coffee

here is a blog I went to via Faia
coffee gone and so is the time
best I put on some socks and walk the dogs
as it is near the time to punch the clock

not a bad night

had plans to go to a friend's birthday party
wanted to go to the party
not just for the beer and the crabs
but to gather with friends to celebrate a friend's birthday
well... adulthood shuffled the schedule
had to go into work tonight
but.... did not have to go into work until after I got home

rode the fixed gear for a little over an hour
the low gear spin is good for the multi-use bike paths
too slow to get mixed up in any tailgate racing

more about my evening...

the little prince

the little prince

this book was read to me as a child
saw the film in the theater as a small boy
read the book again in my youth and then my teens
never studied french so I did not have to read it in french
but I did read it again as an adult a few times
I think I need to find it and read it again
as I still do not understand it


harold and maude

harold and maude
a fantastic film
a wonderful soundtrack

a must see
a must see to be seen over and over again

a recommendation from a friend


I have seen a movie based off one of his books
books are usually better than the movies
that movie was pretty darn good

his books are also better than his blog



while road riding the ability to hear what is around you is part of feeling what is around you...
that is really two senses... not one
cranking music directly in your ears will not only remove the ability to fully take advantage of those senses
but the music in your ears will also rob you of your focus

while mountain biking the dangers will vary...
sure there is not the fear of a soccer mom wiping her skirt clean because she spilt her coffee while checking her blackberry
there will be cyclist trying to pass you as well as cyclist heading your way around that blind curve
seconds could be the difference between a clean pass and locking handlebars thus locking horns

in addition to crashing into another cyclist, a hiker, or any other life on the trail
there are the sounds of the bike
that clicking of a derailer mal adjusted, pulling slowly into the spokes as the limit screws are poorly set....
the first two clicks are warnings
the next sound will be your deraileur being drawn into your rear wheel killing your wheel and your deraileur hanger
or a stick in your wheel....
the hiss of a slow leak...
the popping of the chain...
the bike makes noise
much of the noise is a good warning
listen to the bike while on the trail
listen to the music when headed to and from the trail
or better yet
put the head phones on and stay on the trainer in your basement

riding at schaeffer

out at schaeffer farms I had a great ride
broke my own personal rule of the buddy system
but.... I have been breaking that rule for some time now
normally the solo dirt rides are because I am riding home from work
no.... I am not perfect... I am flawed... but I am trying

while at schaeffer I was amazed at how many people had headphones on while riding
the risk of a head on collision on these popular trails is high
headphones increase that risk

I had a few near head on collisions with the same guy with headphones
he did a little trail blazing to avoid me
don't kill a plant to give me more space
stay on the trail
but more importantly
keep your focus
do not risk another person's safety because you need to hear Poison's Greatest Hits while you are looping around the trails
leave the iPod at home
the sounds of the trail around you are enough to entertain the brain

Heller's Bakery

I wonder....
I wonder if that wheel was stolen off that bike?
odd to think that someone would climb up there to snag a rear wheel
but... it could happen

no helmet.... no bike

there are some basic rules in my house...

one simple rule is
the kids love their bikes
little grantman loves the bike as much as dean
but unlike dean
grant is adverse to the helmet
yet I impose the NO HELMET... NO BIKE rule on him just the same
unless... it is just a little set of circles on the back deck

I think we may need to get Grant a new helmet
maybe the one he has is not comfortable
or maybe he just likes the wind in his hair

riding around the neighborhood


schaeffer farms

when lisa got back from bruch with friends this afternoon I was feeling pretty lazy
feeling classically male lazy
thinking that while she took the boys to back to back birthday events I could take a nap
but... I knew that my time is more valuable than that
the window of opportunity was large enough for a trip to Schaeffer Farms

although I was nearly dozing off with grant in my arms as dean woke me every three seconds to show me the latest development of the Mr. Potatohead he was constructing I knew that I should uses this time more wisely

so whle lisa headed north in the element with the kids I jumped into some city bikes orange and gold lycra and slid the geared karate monkey into the back of her passat wagon
sure the element would be easier with the roof rack but passat will get me there
lisa prefers the element for the kids... why argue?

my efficiency amazed myself
usually my inefficiency amazes me
just as I am at the door ready to roll off I wake up to the absence of my cycling shoes
that would have been a serious bonehead move

click here to hear more

a pretty darn good weekend

the weekend went by pretty fast
it often amazes me on saturday night that it is only saturday night
then when sunday night comes I think... it is sunday already... the weekend is over?

here if is only sunday night and I have a hard time recalling what happened friday night

friday night was pretty standard
as I think of last friday night I get the image of many of the last friday nights

friday is a big night of the week on our block
or at least fridays have been a big night of the week at this point in time
friday is cook out in the alley night
the parents sip drinks while the kids ride their bikes
or hit each other with swords
or climb and jump on and off of stuff
while the parents sip drinks
everybody eats hot dogs

there are races
there are hikes in the woods
there are races in the woods
the ages vary so I stagger the starts
it amazes me how the staggered starts chance on the kids all arriving into my arms at the same time
it is always more simple with a tie than with a definite winner
they all want to be winners
the winner of different age categories or congratulations for racing hard usually works well enough
but there are races with false starts and sore losers
it is all part of learning to life life and play games
everyone is fast
everyone is smiling

for more about the kids... click here