Rants on Cycling and on Life


The Notion of Safety-
so much attention to safety is based around protecting the people within the vehicle

yet there is far less concern for how the exterior of the vehicle will impact pedestrians or cyclists
in the case of the collision
the crumple resistant side panels and all the various airbags will do nothing for person on the outside who may be a victim of a Blackberry weilding car driver
Martino at
The Bike Diary posted this editorial about trucks and mandatory guard rails
Japan's technology leads the way in pedestrian concerns
Honda's G-Control Technology also takes the human element into consideration

exterior airbags to protect pedestrians

these adaptations would be less vital if people could be injected with a dose of common sense and a tad bit of empathy

Tom Cat and Jerry Mouse
it has been many years since I watched the
Tom and Jerry Cartoons
yet there are many plot lines or at least instances that stand out strong in my head
there is Tom Cat singing
"Is You Is" from the alley way trying to earn the affection of a cat in a house above
there are as many pans to Tom Cat's face as there are anvils to Wiley Coyote's head that stick out in my head.... sort of a precursor to the now epic
"Itchy and Scrachy Show"
then there is one episode where Tom and Jerry go to an uninhabitied tropical island to photo the never before photographed
"bip-squack bird"
this is how I am feeling
there are some people on their bikes I see in my travels
they pass before I have an opportunity to grab my camera
they pass at a point when I do not have my camera
I know where I may see them at certain times...
as I pass these points I look in anticipation
sometimes they are there
sometimes they are not

thus far all the photos have been taken after approaching the individual
then asking for permission to take the photo and post the images
for action shots...
these are more scenes of the city
no need for permission on those shots
they are just part of the backdrop which is life in the city


scanned my blog
looked to see what other people may be seeing
looked at the photos I took
looked at the images I created
looked at the words I typed

part of blogging for me is just a free verse experience
the experience goes the same for the images
there is very little structure
more of a natural progression
just putting together a puzzle

sometimes it works
sometimes it doesn't
sometimes the puzzle has balance
sometimes it doesn't

looked at the picture of my old friend Scott
wondered if he will look at the blog
wondered if he will laugh at what I wrote
thought about how Scott and I met nearly 20 years ago
thought about the rides, the conversations and the laughs

looked at the photo montages of my kids
but not for long
as I showed my kids the kid images before they went to bed
then more photos
then more words

checked for new comments
got fooled and checked old comments that I had commented upon earlier myself
then found a new comment
it was a comment from a person who calls himself Rogue Mechanic
the site is under construction
yet it sounds like he is in full operation mode for the "pick up and return bicycle repair" business
an idea that I blogged about last night
only to him it is more than an idea
the business is his reality

he has a link to his own blog
not sure if it is active
not sure if he has started blogging
it did not open for me

the ethnography of work is fascinating
shop blogs and mechanic blogs can be a hoot
even if they do not blog solely about work
once again... I think of a feature film or even a documentary for the activities within a bike shop
sort of a bike shop "Clerks"

it seems like he may be in Ohio
about a decade ago I ran into the Washington DC Better Bikes owner and operator
tried making small talk... but all I got was... "you tryin' to steal my idea? you tryin' to steal my ideas?"
I felt like I was curious more than trying to steal ideas

Rocco found the Rogue Mechanic Blog

Asgede out on the streets....
from messenger
to bicycle mechanic
to airplane mechanic
back to messenger again

DCBCA: The District of Columbia Bicycle Courier Association
DCBCA is having a Tax Filing Seminar
this is something that could be really helpful to the messengers who actually file taxes

I can recall having the IRS contact me

I can recall the IRS hitting me with penalties
I can recall the IRS hitting me with a list of add on fees


I can recall living with a Black Cloud over my head until I finally finished off my payment plan

a few added links
Bike Messenger Emergency Fund
demoncats (alley cats and other great stuff)

bike shops
the personality of a bike shop can be dictated by many things
the owner, the location, and of course the employees at the shop

so often a consumer goes into a bike shop looking to make a purchase
instead of getting what they want they end up getting all sorts of attitude
they leave with their money in their pocket and no product in their hands

this can happen for many reasons...
I am not a psychologist.... but I have witnessed this enough times to know that it does happen
it tends to happen for a variety of reasons
reasons I will not attempt to list

it is a shame
this is especially a shame when I send someone to a shop with a strong recommendation
that is way the worst
I hate when these people come back to me with a negative report
it is awkward from all ends
all these people want is some good advice and a good bicycle
they usually end up leaving without a bike and a poor opinion of the shop
these people may not buy the bike for months or a year after this experience
thus keeping them off the bike... allowing them to miss the glory that is riding a bike
a pleasure that should be mandatory in everybody's life at least once a year!

the bicycle shop tends to employ a colorful group of characters with an alternative approach to life
the employees of the bike shop tend not to be cookie cutter retail shop folk
but rather a variety of different types
usually they fall into a wide range of cyclists
then from there there they can be more colorful than the rainbow
this flare and this color often gets in the way of the objective... selling product

too often I watch botched sales
too often I question in my head why a sale is not being closed
it is good to give the shopper some space... I know... I hate being suffocated by the staff of a store, be that a bike shop or a book store
but... the employee needs to be able to read their shoppers
some people arrive to buy that day
others are comparision shopping
it is vital to get the impulse shopper to buy then and there
while it is important to win the comparision shopper over so that they leave with a good experience... a winning experinence over their next shop experience

years ago I worked for Mike Sendar of Big Wheel Bikes
he like many people has his flaws....
but, this is also a man with many strengths
business and sales fall within his list of strengths
although he can piss off and anger people at his whim
Mike Sendar also has a strange charisma that wins people over
his ability to remember people always astounded me... not just the person from the previous Sunday
but Sendar can remember someone who bought a bike from him in 1971

in addition to facial recognition Mike Sendar also has some serious sales tactics
his methods can be aggressive, but he has his successes
personally I think his "forced sales" can chase a few people away
but... the hit miss ratio seems to be in his favor
ontop of his effort to close the deal that day
Sendar also understands that with each bicycle purchase there are a list of vital accessories that need to go along with the bike
too often a bike shop sales person will sell the bike
but will not introduce the need to get a helmet, a lock, and some lights
sure.... the year of free warranty tune ups will bring the people back
but... the sales of these items is not just good for the register
the sales of these items is good for the cyclist

if a person is seeking advice on creating a commuter...
I would immediately sell them on the idea of fenders, rack, and rechargable headlamp system
this of course on top of the already obvious helmet, lock, and perhaps gloves and shoes

pep talks and incentives...
the employee needs an occassional speed check

coffee is gone
the tasks at my desk are complete
time to move on

Bike Nerd Knox Gardner and I have spoke on this topic
the City Paper has written some articles on Mike Sendar
and Robin Williams starred in Cadillac Man
Big Wheel Bikes
in the list of projects I will never do.... a collection of short stories from the various employees of many Big Wheel Bikes locations over the last thirty plus years would most definitely be a great read


The Used Bike Bike Shop

(a bike shop that sells used bikes)

in addition to the concept of a bike shop that subsits primarily on repairs
there is also the ignored market of the used bike
apparently there is a shop in the Other Washington, more specifically Seattle that develops this idea
the shop is aptly titled Recycled Cycles

during the slow months tor maybe the slow hours of the Coffee Shop/Bike Shop the idle time in the shop would be spent resurrecting old bikes into ridable machines
not Schwinn Varsities.... but something of that era just a little nicer
the bikes are out there
it would justify my dumpster diving and my never ending searches at yard sales and flea markets

there would be customization requestings
urban creations
and of course
lots of single speeds
and the urban favorite, "the fixie," would be a popular used bike dumpster dive creation

unique frankebikes would be built
maybe never sold
but fun to ride and definitely fun to make
maybe interesting enough to inspire people to customize their old rig

it would be a business
but as a neighborhood shop it would also be part of the community
this would be a biproduct of the Bicycle Coffee Shop
so, this would be a Bicycle Coffee Shop that sells Used Bikes*

*but does not buy used bikes
the used market is a strange place
best to know your source
as no one wants to ride a bad karma bike

Recycled Cycles
Logo was split....
check out their site for the whole logo and the whole deal
they even sponsor a cycling team
that is the type of shop I would love to see in this neighborhood or at least somewhere in this city

that said
I love my neighborhood shop
City Bikes is the shop that I shop at
and City Bikes is the shop that I ride for
I would still shop there even if I did not get a deal through them
they are a great addition to the community
they contribute a great deal to the cycling community and to the community as a whole
there is also Chain Reaction that works the .ORG angle of the cycling community
also vital
also a great addition to both the cycling community and the community as a whole
the idea of the Used Bike Bike Shop that sells Coffee is really something different
there is room for it all

bikes and coffee...
bikes and coffee...
a coffee shop/bike shop

it may be an original idea... but that does not mean it is not worth doing

this is an idea that should be done in my neighborhood
this is an idea that could work in my neighborhood
I would like to see this bicylcle/coffee conglomerant appear in my neighborhood

there seems to be a need for more bicycle repair options in this city
there may be a need for more bicycle repair options in many cities
people need to call ahead
people need to make appointments
this is for a bicycle... not for a dentist
what happened to rolling in... getting a claim ticket, getting your bike in two days??? if there is no need to order special parts of course
there should be a chance for a quicker turn around

on top of that
with people's busy shedule this repair only shop would have a pick up and return option
pick up and return for a fee of course
a pick up and return when a bicycle is being brought in for a complete tune up

there is definitely a market for this addition to the bicycle repair business
as we know that the time it takes to load a bike, go to an urban shop during the hours they are open, in the city finding a parking space can always be an issue, and the hours of operation may not always correspond with the time balance of work, family, whatever

there are those of us that like to go to the bike shop
those of us that like to soak in the bike shop
see what has arrived on the market
see what is coming down the road
check to see what has landed in the bargain bin
maybe do a little dreaming

back to the concept of delivery....
this pick up and delivery extends to the delivery of rental bikes
it makes more sense for someone to have a rental bike delivered to their hotel
rather than having the tourist or traveler take a cab or a rental car without a bike rack to the shop
they need to get directions to the shop
they need to drive around an unfamiliar city
then on top of that they need to arrive at the shop during the classic bike shop standard late opening hours and then return the bike during the designated closing time.... or risk a late fee
cab fee alone could justify the drop off fee

of course there are those of us that enjoy learning a new city
moving about the streets of an unfamilar town
meeting the locals
having an exchange with the natives

both of these ideas have been done
there is Bike and Bean in Sedona Arizona for a coffee selling bike shop
while locally here in DC there is Better Bikes rolling around town with a van full of bikes and tools
Better Bikes is dropping off rentals and doing the pick up repairs on the spot!

there must be more Bicycle Shops that double as Coffee Shops
and certainly the Rolling Repair Stand makes sense in many towns
but I am not the Yellow Pages so I will waste no more time GOOGLE-ING for any more listings
although it may be interesting to travel down that electric road

one last mention
there was once an attempt to have a bicycle shop in Mount Pleasant...
could have been too soon
the timing could be right
if I won the lottery... this would be a project of mine
but I would rather have someone else do this
so I could go hang out there rather than work there

sleep... better yet... sleeplessness
recently twenty one month old Grant has been waking in the middle of the night
we think it is his teeth
"we think it is his teeth" this is the type of thing that parents say

grant cries
he cries until we bring him down to our bed
then he stops crying
I know
I know
we are enabling his crying
we are rewarding his crying
but he stops crying
then he sleeps then we all sleep
he sleeps as he kicks each of us in the head
he wakes and he talks
he talks and he talks
he tugs and he pulls
this is a several hour process
till finally
one of us has to get up
well... with grant's preference
mommy gets up
actually to grant's demand... mommy gets up
daddy can not buy his son's attention away from his mommy at this time of the day
the final moments of sleep are a guilty pleasure

we are considering "the sleep lady"
this is what the readers say at

roll reversal...
this morning there was much on my plate
managed to achieve a number of the goals of the morning
perhaps I spaced on a few others.. ie. Brutus' ear medicine

the boys were dressed and fed by my over achieving wife
by her summons I stumbled into the kitchen towards the coffee pot
grabbed the largest cup in the cupboard and filled it to the brim
coached the boys as they finished up their Cheerios and strawberries
we all put on our shoes and went across the street with the dogs
everyone wanted to walk deeper into the woods
that was not an option
there were a few pauses on the way back to inspect some unique mushrooms

we marched back up the path
returned the dogs to the house
then we all climbed into the Honda Element
Grant's babysitter could not work today so I dropped the little man off at a neighborhood day care
interestingly enough.... our dog walker's mother runs a day care from her house
guess their family likes caring for other people's loved ones
both the furry and the fleshy

the drop off went moderately smooth
the dog of the house, Duke, barked at us which muffled Grant's crying
the crying is to be expected
I tried to explain to Dean why Grant was crying as we drove through the National Zoo to get Dean to school
as I drove I got to monitor the city activity from the perspective of a car driver
as I drove I tried to fight the driving impluses that make the streets so unbearable
after a few minutes at Dean's school it was off to work
rather than driving home and walking the 40 minutes to work I went ahead and drove into work
the traffic was maddening... how do people do this everyday?

found a pay lot with a daily fee
cringed each time my roof rack collided with the drooping overhead pipes

walking from the car to the office I felt tightly wound
more tightly wound then I already am
clearly the bike ride or the long walk is a more healthy approach to work
healthy for both mind and for body

had an MRI for my shoulder
will meet with the doctor later this week to find out my next step towards recovery
once recovered
back on the bike

sitting is a car can be nothing but frustration
the radio sucks
the car drivers around me suck
cars suck!
well, I love my car
the car is great for when I need it
I do not need the car to get me to work
there are far more pleasing options


monday is here
monday morning I tend to be slow out of the gate
coffee helps
actually coffee is mandatory... yes I am dependant on coffee
I drink what is in the coffee pot in my kitchen... just as long as it has a kick I am happy
no coffee snob here
no political adgenda as I start my day
there are those that.... never mind as the coffee rants are from previous posts

monday is here and we all reflect upon our weekend
this is a cycle I witnessed at a young age
we spend monday, tuesday, and part of wednesday relecting on the weekend past
then we spend part of wednesday into thursday, and friday planning for the weekend approaching
so many of my cycling friends are blogging as we speak, blogging about races and blogging about rides

here are a few

that should get you started!
take those links and run!

and this is a flash piece that I took off bike riding donut guy
(a link that I found on this blog, AlaskaBikeBlog)
((there was also this paris hilton flash piece that was clever enough)

and this
a very cool bike that is very inexpensive IRO Cross Single
snagged from here


product selection
taste... personal taste
so much goes into our product selections
it happens when we buy a bicycle
it happens when we buy a cup of coffee
sometimes it happens for good reason
sometimes it happens for little reason at all

there are some products that we like to be associated with for one reason or another
we become types
we become predictable

greenwashing is a notion I was introduced to as I scanned a dc birding blog
tonight I was reading through some bicycling blogs and I was at an old favorite, gundog99
on his blog there was an entry about a coffee advocacy blog
there was talk about the Starbucks Challenge

a short time back I saw some magazine television show do a piece on coffee shops and accuracy for caffiene and decafe coffees
it was disturbing
good thing they were not selling non-alcoholic beer
there were people skipping their 12 step meetings and going straight to happy hour

I blogged about a Starbucks Store Delocator some time back...
here is my archive for that page
it is fun to see what the direction of my blog goes through from time to time
I know... I like to push my blog from time to time

should I be eating Ben and Jerry's instead of Breyers just because I like Ben and Jerry's political and social stands?
I don't even know Breyer's position

not a birthday party
not a holiday event
no special occassion
just a beautiful fall day
just an average saturday morning

my wife thinks the leaves needed be raked, bagged, and put in the alley
while I think that the leaves need to be raked and carried up to the clubhouse
loaded into the clubhouse
then sent down the slide
then the children get to repeatedly slide down into a glorious pile of leaves


hot dogs fresh off the grill!

some time ago I created this little piece in Photoshop
it got a bit of a response
friends and e-quaintences flooded me with emails

there was much discussion back and forth on the issue

since then I have been more and more conscious of my criticism

this is what I have come up with...
in the heavily populated areas on the crowded multi-use trails...

in the city on the heavily trafficked streets...

in these places the variables are different than on the country road
or on a remote section of dirt in the woods
on the trail where a person will be passing people or where people will be passing them...
iPODs and other headphone devices are not a good iDea

too often I approach a rider (or walker, jogger, or rollerbladder) and they are maintaining a straight trajectory

as I get more near I give an audible of my pass

the person being passed may drift or may make an irrational movement into my path

the movement is not due to my audible alert

the movement is not due to an obstacle in their path

but due to their wandering mind
risking a crash that could easily avoided

then from the perspective of the rider with headphones

there are cars approaching that are counting on the cyclist (or runner or walker) hearing the approaching vehicle
the car driver expects the person to clear the path as they come barreling through
the headphone wearing individual may not sense the approaching vehicle and may not respond appropriately

one of the main issues of the headphones is not so much its removal of the individual's ability to hear

it is more the combination of the inability to hear and the lack of focus
instead of being in tune to the surroundings
the individual is focused on the music
letting the focus drift away from the variables around them

the same goes for mountainbiking... snowboarding... rollerbladding... whatever...

lately with my recent shoulder injury I have been walking to work
I own an iPOD and I enjoy music

as of yet I have not used my iPod on my 40 minute walk

to me there is enough around me to entertain me

it is not so much a safety issue it is more an issue of taking in the world around me
the sounds of the city...
every day is as poetic as Paul Weller's
"That's Entertainment"
which is a great song that rests on my iPod