Rants on Cycling and on Life



this VIDEO will get any and all cyclist pumped!



David Chappelle's RICK JAMES Soundbites.....


What is this?

I am not sure what this is....check out the video and tell me!

is it a lawnmower that is missing the blade attachments?
it looks cool
although I feel I would never need one
I also get a feeling that I have to have one

Laws and the Bike....

It is strange how there are these "alledged laws" for the bike. Like the idea that they can take your bicycle away for commiting a traffic violation or for riding your bicycle on trails that are marked NO BIKES.

Here is an article about some disgruntal Critical Mass riders who had their bikes taken at a protest at the RNC in September, New York Post article

stumbled on this from the HIPPY CYCLIST

what are the real laws?
what are a person's real rights?

There is an age old question...
How many bikes does a cyclist need?
the answer is simple
Just one more!

(this same measurement has been known to work for musicians and guitars)

This guy who goes by THE WEASEL wrote briefly on this topic. I thought that I would expand...

I have been riding bikes for years, many years, nearly my whole life. Now I do not have all the bikes that I have ever ridden, but I do have a collection of bikes and parts from riding over the last decade. Just as a photographer may have a variety of photo related devices, the cyclist may have a different bike for each scenario....

There is the video camera, the 8mm film camera, the Polaroid Land Camera with its PACK FILM, and the new age Polaroids that shoot the color pictures and the minature photos as well, then there is the 35mm and then maybe a 35mm that is used for strickly manual operations, then a Pin Hole camera, then a few old Brownies that collect dust on the shelves right next to the.....


I am not a photographer but I was able to create a simple metaphor for people to understand why it is impossible to walk in my garage or basement without literally tripping over a bicycle or some random bicycle parts. Each and every bicycle has a place and a purpose.

With that said....

I want a new cross 59cm Jamis Nova is a tad too small
the proper fitting of the 29inch wheels and the 22inch frame of the Karate Monkey has ruined me on the sizing of all my 26inch mountainbikes and even my road bikes!

New Car and a New Way
Peanut Butter and Honey
recently I purchased a new car
it is a great feeling
walking in
then driving away
no money down
financed the complete purchase
how liberating....

after looking at my current savings I have decided a few things
I need to stop spending so much
I need to start bringing my lunch and breakfast
(peanut butter and honey, yogurt, and some fruit)
I need to put some of my crap on eBAY


Last night Lisa and I went to a "function" at the City Museum
our original intention was to get a baby sitter and go to view the exhibit while shaking hands, mixing, mingling, and eating free food

we were less than prepared
tried to arrange a sitter
but my mother was sick and the other standby had obligations
so we went to this function with the boys; Dean and Grant
going to a cocktail affair with children is a different experience than going without
instead of looking people in the eye while talking to them my eyes are on my wandering children
instead of grazing and feeding myself I am gathering food and trying to feed my sons
instead of reading and learning about the city, I am trying to teach my sons about the city and about how to behave in a museum (just because you can climb and jump off something does not mean that you should or are allowed to)

so our stay was short and moderately sweet

we are members of this new City Museum so we will have to go back again
it seems like they made some very strong efforts for an interesting and interactive museum experience
looking forward to diving deeper into it
would love to stuff some of that information into my brain




Fall is here
the leaves are changing colors
leaving a carpet of multicolored slickness for hikers and bikers alike
the dogs respond to the change of season with a crazy dog smile and a heightened energy as they race to catch the squirrels one last time before they hibernate for long cold season
winter is creeping in
the days are growing shorter
I am already getting fatter
starting to ride less
already eating more

packing my headlamp for that post work ride, yet riding straight home just the same

as usual I have lost cycling momentum
burn out?
or maybe just shuffling my priorities
lisa is supportive of my interests
but no need to take advantage of her generosity
time to get her back into YOGA
been able to force her to go a few times
soon she will be able to motivate herself

Halloween is around the corner
already been sneaking some snacks from the sugary snack packs purchased for the would be trick or treaters!
looks like I will be plump like Tom Turkey for Thanksgiving
fat like Santa for Christmas
right on time to be cherubesque for NEW YEAR"S EVE; oh how delicious I look as the BABY NEW YEAR in a depends undergarments and nothing else!

last night I tuned my Geared Karate Monkey with front shock for a 6 hour duo relay race in Charlottesville this weekend
racing with Chris Redlack
it should be some healthy competition
if not just between us
Chris unlike me has not been slowing his riding, as a matter of fact his speed, strength, and endurance are still climbing
that is why I will send him out first!
I am imagining the first rider will do one more lap then the second
which is just fine by me!
working on a bike....even if it is the most simple of adjustments has a great organic pleasure to it

I have been on the cross bike
have yet to race
once again spokes need to be replaced on one of those none Clydesdale Specific road/cross wheels
always do this same thing....hop into cross late and wish there were more races for me to do

my favorite part of the season....PUMPKINS!
last night I carved my first pumpkin
then I baked up and toasted some pumpkin seeds
half of the seeds with Olive Oil and Salt
the other half with Olive Oil and Old Bay
OLD BAY! not just great on chicken, corn, and crabs
with Dean a few times already

The Pumpkin Circle is a great book and video written, directed, and staring a friend of mine's father inlaw; George Levinson
it is a great little piece of educational entertainment
with a great Seasame Street flavor
wonderful for parents and children
Dean and I watch and read the video and the book, and not just at Halloween time
as Dean grows older, old toys, old books, and old videos become new ideas as his concept of the world around him has grown and changed
Grant is at the earliest stage of understanding.....mostly tasting and smiling
Grant is not only crawling....but climbing the stairs...with an intensity that you would think he was training for an assault on Everest!

that is my day
this is my life

it all pays off

this morning Dean snacked on the toasted Pumpkin seeds
tonight as he and his diminutive friends gather in costume for an evening approach to the National Zoo for the Halloween spectacular....BOO AT THE ZOO
there will be seasonal decorations on the windows and a carved pumpkin on the porch

can not wait to head to the ZOO tonight
for some reason it is fun to go in the ZOO at night
even more fun when you are allowed to go in at night and are not in fear of breaking some sort of Federal law

CHECK OUT George's films online

another Bush Bashing Animation piece....

More Harm than...

this one is by my friend Rob Myers
he created this for the campaign
it is worth a look
a nice little tribute to SOUTHPARK
all the voices are actual sound bites of the current (and hopefully soon to be former) president


Landcruiser....BE GONE!
it should be that easy
but for some reason it is not

last night I had my time wasted yet again
some poindexter with his son came by to waste my time and try to nickel and dime me
a total waste of my time
I held up sending in the TITLE to the American Kidney Foundation for one day because this loser sounded so interested
he was interested.....interested in wasting my time

(already forgotten)

this guy came over with his son and a flashlight
they looked this thing over
all over....every inch of this old truck

and then offered me half my asking price

when my asking price had already dropped to half of my original price
at 3,200 I had a mess of interested buyers
had I tried for 1,000 even (like my brother had recommended) this truck would be out of my life
but the slow decline in price did not help to draw in customers
what an asshole!
in the process he was trying to justify his low balling offer by explaining to me what my tax deduction would be worth in cash
I don't give a rats ass!

perhaps in the future I agree to meet with any interested buyers
but ask for a viewing/test driving fee
20 bucks each for an opportunity to climb under the truck, sit in the truck, and have me drive the truck
for those who want to drive it....40 bucks!

would anyone do this?
I think not....
well, maybe the actually interested few....
there would be a clause that the 20 dollars would be part of the final payment if and only if that individual decided to purchas the vehicle for the agreed price

now I am dreaming
but at least there would have been less time wasted with jerk offs whose time would be better spent channel surfing between PIMP MY RIDE and AMERICAN CHOPPER!

now I need to send in this TITLE
and hope that I do not get another ticket before this wonderful old truck gets towed away!



Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): tipped; tip·ping
Etymology: perhaps from 6tip
Date: circa 1610
transitive senses
2 : to give a gratuity to
intransitive senses : to bestow a gratuity

and then this

Pronunciation: gr&-'tü-&-tE, -'tyü-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -ities
Date: 1540
: something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service; especially : TIP

somewhere along the line society has forgotten the meanings of these words; TIP and GRATUITY

not sure where but somewhere in recent history the notions of voluntary and beyond obligation have been forgotten

don't get me wrong....I tip....but, not in all cases
and in many cases I tip when I feel it most definitely is not deserved

Coffee Shops have to be the biggest extortion artists out there when it comes to tipping...

Explain to me why I need to spend a super inflated price for a cup of coffee and then tip the worker on top of that? Sure the HIPSTER with all the tattoos and piercings at STARBUCKS is doing a wonderful job of pouring my basic house blend....but what are they doing differently than the person behind the counter at McDonalds who is also serving food and coffee with the same robotic smile? At McDonald's they want you to give the money to the kids at Ronald McDonald's House....not into the employee's pockets. Yet, for some reason or another we all feel this great social pressure when we are in coffee shops to give the remainder of our change to the Cool Cats behind the counter.

I have to deal with a smarmy attitude and give up my change!??!?!
and I do!
cause I am scared!
scared that people will think that I am not a good member of society

Now there are other areas of the SERVICE INDUSTRY where tipping makes perfectly good sense....but is so often overlooked by average consummer. I will dip into my personal ethnography and recall two jobs that I worked that often got me tips....but not often enough; working as a mover and as a mechanic in a bike shop.

Gulliver's Movers
To all those who do not know; it is customary to tip a mover. It is also customary to tip a furniture delivery person or anyone else who is doing a similar type service; (as in this morning I tipped the guy who delivered the wood for my deck, I did not tip him for the delivery, but rather for him helping to move the wood and concrete bags from the alley into my backyard. For this he earned ten dollars, which is not much, but if he gets 10-20 bucks for each of his deliveries that day....well....he may have earned himself an additional 50-100+ dollars; as a mover we were happy to get 10-20 for 6-8 hours of exertion; no tip after a 12 hour day...that hurt) When working as a mover I was often the guy who headed the crews. So when it came time to handle the paper work I usually had a good idea of who was tipping and who was not. Either way things were going I tried to slip in as tastefully as I could that it is customary to tip the movers. Phrases like, "Oh, you are writting a can include the mover's tip in the final tally and we can get the boss to settle up with us back at the office." or if there was damage done and they were trying to weasel out of some of the final billing...."oh, mam, I am sorry about the scratch on your floor..we try to avoid such things, but these things do happen....maybe you can take a percentage of the tip for the workers and use that money to buff out the scratch."

You get the basic idea, the phrases were all customized to the situation. As a crew leader I was well liked....everyone was treated fairly...the tips were always spread equally (some crew leaders did not split the tips fairly...some kept the tips for themselves) And the workers always like to hear me come up with these lines in the end, in the background I would hear, "oh, cool, joe (L implied) is gonna take care of us!" The boss back at the office frowned on such fact I got reprimanded indirectly for such things....but in the end I felt it was my obligation to educate the public one by one on the customs of using a mover. Remeber these people use a mover once every 7-10 years, while I was a mover everyday. They knew to tip in a resturant....some had to learn to tip when using a mover as well.

at times on a big move....

I would try and get a subtle hint that "pizza and gatorade" often aid in the moral of the larger moves. With a little skip in the worker's step things move quicker with less error (damage.)

Big Wheel Bikes; Capitol Hill Location, Eastern Market

The bike shop was a tad different...

Each day, mostly on weekends there would be a parade of weekend warriors with their low end bikes looking for a quick adjustment. After the first couple hundred of free adjustments I realized that these people had purchased their bikes elsewhere....were getting free service from our shop....and were more than likely never going to spend any money in the shop. The tighening of the handle bars, adjusting the seat, fixing the front wheel were all done with a smile in the hopes of earning their future business. Till finally I realize...this is taking time away from sales and repairs....something must be done. So I came up with a little phrase, "our repair minimum is seven dollars an fifty cents, I don't feel that this adjustment merits that, but if you want to contribute a few dollars to the mechanic lunch fund we would be very grateful...."

The repair was done, two or three dollars came our way....and we had pizza or subs headed our way come lunch time.... The potential customer left feeling good about the situation as 3 dollars is better than seven fifty and we got a rapid increase in our hourly wage. This barter system extended...there were locals who had services...and we did fair exchanges for services. I gave the local sports club big discounts and serious hook up in exchange for a free gym membership. The girls down the block at the coffee shop got free adjustmenst for an occassional free coffee...and so on...and so on....and so on....

what is my point?

is it that I like to get tipped
but that I do not like to tip?

no, not at all
as a matter of fact I feel I am a good tipper
as a father of two I realize that our table can often make more work for the bus boy or the waiter
so we tend to be generous with our tips, even after we try to clean up some of the damage

but there are times where I feel that tips are not needed or services are unnessecary

the coffee shop is one
when lisa and I go to a nice hotel....I hate using the Bell Hop
it blows my mind that I need a dwarf with a hump to carry my bag and hold my key
while I a young and strong and could carry this guy and my bags to the room with no hassle at all

where am I going with this?
back to work
where I do not get any tips!
but do not expect them either
although it would be nice


Cross Race Practice
Wednesday of last week I got an email inviting me to an informal CYCLOCROSS practice with my brother and a friend over at an elementary school in Glover Park right by my brother's house after work on Thursday. The meeting time was 5PM. I get off work at 5PM. It is seldom these days that I leave until shortly after 5pm. Last Thursday was no different.

Thursday's quitting time came around and I figured that even if I showed up late I could still get a few miles in on the bike and it would give me a different route home than I usually take. With the whistle blowing I slid down the dinosaur and onto the street where I mounted my Jamis Nova Cyclocross bike and headed down M Street towards Georgetown. It my hands on my brakes and my eyes on anything and everything around me I split lanes and ran lights until Georgetown proper was behind me and I was ducking into the woods of the Glover Archebald trails. The trails were fast and hard, but I took them at a moderate pace to avoid injury to myself and the bike. Rode a few sections of these urban trails and popped out just two blocks from the Stoddard field where my brother Marc and his old college buddy Mark Drajem were already racing around the unmarked course. Without time to think my brother came straight at me and between breathes uttered, "we have already started....hop in!" With my backpack still on my back I jumped on my brother's rear wheel. I did not stay there for long. Quickly I dropped a few yards back, then a few more, tried to get into a groove and stay close enough behind him to get an idea of the course layout. A few laps into this cross race practice I found myself a tad further behind my brother, but still gaining ground on Mark Drajem. My objectives changed, now i set my sites on a more rational goal, to reel in Drajem. I maintained focus and picked up the pace where I could. Tried to stay fast and efficient on all the tight turns and stay fluid as I cleared the various barriers with a classic Cyclocross dismount and mount. With salavia blowing from my lips like cob webs I mahsed on forward and further.

The setting in the park was a tad humorous.

In addition to Marc, Mark, and myself all dressed up in our lycra knickers, skin tight tops, and mushroom helmets there was a women's rugby team practicing, couples picnicing, dogs running leashlessly, and the standard park dwellers reading their papers or paperbacks. In this mix of urbanites doing their urban thing we were clearly the weirdest of the weird. As cross bikes are such a small subculture of the cycling world it must have been a tad amusing for them to see us on grass and dirt on what appeared to be road bikes. Then add in the dismount/mount steeple chase manovers over the barriers or running up the stairs with the bike on the shoulder...well then things are definitely looking a tad weird...but only slightly more weird than women playing rugby. Then it must have been more funny for them to see me try to make a tight turn around a rear wheel started to slide out...I managed to regain stability....hammered the pedals down to keep momentum....and clipped the fence sending me flying off the bike and making a loud cymbal-like sound. I tried to regain my rhtym, but my front brakes were no longer working....I was out of the game.


I managed to mix up two 25 minute warm ups into one story


this story is not so vital that it merits a proof read
as my job has job things to do
not just blog things

back to work

just to let you know
bikes are still part of my day to day life

Political Cartoons: Best of....Top Ten (but only have three or four so far)

Leave it to Bush

(funny, very odd, yet funny still)

This Land is Out Land

Pirates and Emperors

an awesome commentary and great entertainment for grown ups of the Schoolhouse Rock Revolution

some of these were nothing shy of awesome

these guys make intellegent and entertaining FLASH animation movies

in the comments sections please add to the list
would be fun to get a greater compilation of the Internet Movies that entertained us
and kept us from doing our duties at work

this is a piece by my friend Rob Myers
he created it for the competition


"back in the day"

I always feel sorry for the people who use this "back in the day" saying...
and if you do not feel that way
you may want to try to tweek your daily program to feel such
life is cumulative
those days are part of who you are
and if you want more days like them....
they are there for the taking!

Courier Days...."cool times?"

There was a comment to an earlier post from a friend out in Colorado, Tim Faia.

Tim and I have known each other for years, we have managed to maintain contact through different stages of our lives even with 2,000 plus miles between us. In the earliest stages of our friendship Tim was living in Ocean City Maryland just a block away from a house the was the summer home to a gathering of my college friends. During this time I was working as a bicycle messenger in Washington, DC. Those were wild times, but honestly....those times would have been just as wild had I been painting houses or working as a short order cook at the Tastee Diner. A great deal of the energy and passion that surrounded that job had to do with the energy and passion that a person in their early 20's carries. Being that it was summer I managed to spend a fair amount of time at the beach, enough time that some of the people down there thought that I was living there myself. Tim who was a cycling surfer was always intrigued by the occupation of the bicycle messenger, as a competitive racer Tim currently maintains a curiosity for this occupation. All of his ideas are correct....there are great things about this job....other than the pay check and the risk. There is a great freedom to riding around on your bike all day, but....

let me post Tim's comment...for a direct response

Are you longing for your courier days? Seems like a cool time, the crew down in Denver is less core than the D.C. group I met through you and Markus.
Tim | 10.15.04 - 7:18 pm | #

No, Tim, I am not longing nor have I ever longed for those courier days.
I can ride my bike through the city and take those same set of risks any time I want. I left the courier industry to be a mover....a job that offered similar freedoms, but gave me money for the hours I was there. As a commission courier there were times when the hourly average was low....not just for me....but for all....I hated being there and not making money. For the last year or so as a messenger I was working for two companies simultaneously to make sure that I was not riding around without packages in my bag, but even that left me hanging in the park more than I felt I needed to. Some couriers live for the endless hours in the park, head to Dupont Circle or Farragutt North and by 10 am you will see some gatherings of messengers, some of them will already be toasting the day with a 40, others may be rolling a joint, while some are just waiting for their pager to go off or for their name to be called on the radio. It always seemed like there was plenty of time after work for hangin with the fellas....I did not need to start catching up with my bar buddies first thing in the am and my bar interests could wait until the sun set.

There are some people that make money as messengers, but they are few and far between. For the most part messengers are living hand to mouth, in small apartment, in group houses, Washington DC is a very expensive city. It is unlikey that very many messengers could own a house and support a family on their messenger income. There are those that do make it work, but many of them have an additional source of income. Very few of these people will ever see a retirement check, the paybacks of a 401K or even an IRA. Many of these people live off the radar....many not paying taxes and even more living without health insurance....can you imagine living such a dangerous lifestyle without health insurance?
(I I did!)

Sure there are the couriers who work as a messenger so that they can stay fit to race bikes, live in this fine country of the USA without papers, have the freedom to play music and have their band tour when ever they choose, stay home and paint or write when they wish, stay in bed and sleep off a painful hang over, or live, act, and dress as they wish. But, for the most part, these people are showing up for work early and staying late, with more commitment and less freedom than your average businessman with a tie. Rain, Snow, Sleet, or Ice and the courier needs to be there....if they are not there....they are not getting paid or they may lose their position in the hierarchy of their company. Consistent couriers are giving steady work, flaky couriers are used to pick up the slack, and the friends are fed and get to ride the Gravy Train!

In a personal email with a friend who owns a Courier Company in San Francisco (pete's blog about his business)we chatted about his dream job; Pete has just started a MUSIC BLOG, where he reviews bands and shares his opinions on vary artists with his readers. This is a just for fun, but Pete would love that to be his feeling is that most any dream job over time becomes just a job.

In some ways I feel that the messengers who are still out there "doing it" would not mind having other options. The "Lifers." as they are often called, are not all wrapped up in the romance of the career, but rather are showing up to work to make money and pay the bills. There are some great things about the messenger industry. It is a colorful gathering of personalities. Many of these people are making the world a better place by sharing their artistic talents, voicing their political opinions, contributing to the cycling culture, or just by being good people. But, more likely than not these people would still be colorful contributors if they were working another job.

There is a sad fact that our time at any job has it cumulative advantages. At any job the longer a person is there, the more they learn, thus the greater possibility of advancement. A laborer shows up on the site and starts by carrying boards and nails, then starts to swing a hammer and use a saw, before they know it they are framing a house and so on and so on.... In the industry of the messenger the employee learns the city, memorizes the clients, gets more savy and more strength on the bike...and then what? There is very little room for movement...a courier can shoot for the "TOP DOG" position with their company, but what next? Dispatcher? Sales? Who knows? There are so many companies out there because at some point the presidents of these companies were working for a messenger company and felt that they could do this all themselves...Now there are a hundred companies....and not quite enough work to keep them all busy.


this BLOG was yet another topic that could not be tackled in one post
this is a topic that could be a complete sociological work in itself

I do not have the experience or the know how to write this work
but I do have an opinion
and well....
since I have an opinion, as unthought out as it may be, I shared that opinion with you


a poem...

"I think of days of yesterday
with nothing better to do
than ride a bike and have some fun
and drink a couple of brews...."

the poem went on along the same lines
the message was far more poetic as it rolled off a stranger's tongue as we did tequila shots at the "Deuce" (the 2AM club in Mill Valley, CA)
this odd drinking partner had just been released from prison earlier that day
on his trip down the coast from Northern California he passed through Mill Valley and settled in for the night
where he joined up with me and another for a night of excessive drinking

I have the complete poem written down
it was an eloquent piece that summed up his life locked up
and stressed the pleasures of life that so many of us take for granted
the things we can do, but don't
these are the things he wanted to do, but couldn't

it was a strange passing
short as it was
I reflect back on that meeting from time to time
somehow it helps to keep it all in perspective