Wednesday, October 29, 2008

You probably think...

I'll bet you think - because I haven't posted a personal update for what seems like years - that very little is happening in my life. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Here's a list, pared to the bare essentials so it'd fit on the Internet:

1. I'm riding my bicycle. Four days now. I ride maybe three miles to the REI Flagship Store at the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River. I enjoy a Grande coffee and perhaps a Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin. I gaze across the water and think profound, writerly thoughts. 

Yes, I'm riding, but oh am I weak and scared. Everything on the bike path that moves is a threat. I have not yet stood up to pedal and I have to use bottom gear to climb the ramp from the bike path up to the surface street. Luckily, the Olympics are four years away.

2. I have stepped out of the shower without sitting on the side of the tub and lifting my legs over. No kidding, stepped right out. Ten weeks and a day since I crashed. We athletes are fast healers, huh? 

3. I'm riding my motorcycle. I have to sorta climb onto and off of the seat, but once aboard I can ride and ride - slowly and tentatively. I have to come to stops carefully so that I can support the bike and me with my good foot. Watch me and you'd conclude that I've been riding for two or three weeks. Hey, gotta start somewhere...

4. I'm doing exercises to increase the range of motion in my left middle and ring fingers. Progress is so slow as to be almost unmeasurable at my occupational therapist's office. Femurs heal fast; fingers (on the other hand) do not. Was that "other hand" bit a cheap attempt at humor, or what?

5. The MotoGP season is over as of Sunday. Valentino Rossi is world champion again - as he certainly should be. Living in the age of Rossi if you are a motorcycle road racing fan is like living in the age of Eddy Merckx if you're a cycling nut. You are watching the best who ever lived. I missed the Merckx era but I'm no-way missing Rossi's career. 

6. I see my orthopedic surgeon early in November. I expect that he will free me from my crutch and I will be able to figure-skate every bit as well as I could before the crash. 

Maybe that's all the news. Pretty riveting stuff, huh? Check this site often for further exciting developments as your blogger resumes his life of passion, creativity, athleticism and afternoon naps. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wooden bicycles? Seriously? Seriously...

My pal David called from Seattle and mentioned that he'd driven to Portland a week or so ago to attend the hand-built bike show there. Not the national hand-built show, but a more local one showcasing the work of Oregon framebuilders and other crafters of cycling gear.

Before I had a chance to ask him what he'd seen that turned him on, he told me about Renovo Bikes. So I won't mislead you or try clumsily to make up your mind about wooden bicycles, click on this link, read the text and look at the galleries. See for yourself.

I feel sure that I'm one of those people who are too shy to ride a Renovo bike. Even my blue 'n' white Rivendell attracts more attention than I like. Doesn't mean I don't want a Renovo. Check out the site and the bikes. Then write a comment telling me you don't want one. Try to make me believe you...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Harshness explained: "just a joke..."

I've just heard from cyclotourist, who writes that the Angriest Pharmacist blogger has chided us for our misreading of his post (check out yesterday's link). It was "just a joke," the A.P. tells us, and suggests that we "get a sense of humor."

Cyclotourist did not find the A.P.'s post funny. Nor did I. Did you? I didn't think you would.

There must be a problem, huh? I don't think the problem is with cyclotourist's sense of humor. And mine works all right, I'd say.

The problem must lie elsewhere. Is there a pharmacist in the house?

You know, I gotta say: I've written stuff that just didn't come off, didn't work. I thought that any reader would take away from it just the feeling I intended when I wrote it. And many, many did not. Later I'd be baffled. How could folks misunderstand so thoroughly? 

So I'm going to try to cut the Angriest Pharmacist some slack here, not that he cares. If you will, cyclotourist, check in with the A.P. now and then and let us know: Whose perception lapsed here? Thanks!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This link is Rated H - for harsh

I just received this comment from cyclotourist in response to my recent post about my neighbor. The neighbor was upset and confrontational about cyclists on sidewalks, riding the wrong way on one-way streets, etc, etc. The link leads to a blog post full of hate and viciousness. The post is not easy to read if you're a cyclist. 

Where did people like this "Angriest Pharmacist" come from? Wherever that is, Thanks, Cyclotourist! 

From: cyclotourist 
Date: Tue, Oct 14, 2008 at 10:19 PM
Subject: [] New comment on My angry neighbor, part two.

cyclotourist has left a new comment on your post "My angry neighbor, part two": 

Hey there Mr. H., here's another person planning on murdering cyclists:

He must have talked with your neighbor... 

Posted by cyclotourist to at October 14, 2008 10:19 PM

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A mystery and a surprise

Just in the last few days, I've received unexpected comments on my blog - comments not so much about what I'd written - but imparting information. Most of you surely know this, but I didn't know it until after I'd begun my blog: Comments are blind. I cannot respond to your comment as if you'd sent me a personal email.

I can add a comment below yours, but otherwise I am helpless to continue our contact. If you never look at that post again - and never see my comment-to-your-comment, you will think I didn't care about what you said or who you are. Not so.

First, just this morning I heard from a guy who emailed me after I described (in the Rivendell Reader) how I'd been scared off my bike in Tucson. I was straining at the leash to get out of that town. Rivendell Reader readers, 50 of them, wrote me with comments and suggestions. One of them, Don Weinshenker, wrote glowing reports about cycling in Minneapolis.

Now I hear from Don (in a comment) that he has moved here to Denver this year. Don, if you read this, send me a note at and let me know where you're living and when we can get together for a Welcome to Denver coffee. Thanks!

More mysteriously... In the early-mid '60s, I lived in Bloomington IN and worked in the motorcycle business for Fox's Cycle Sales, offering at that time BSA, Yamaha and BMW.

I'll waste a sentence to remind you that 1964 was a long time ago. Someone who has discovered my blog (and was a motorcyclist in Bloomington in those primitive days) has posted two comments, both provocative and revealing insider knowledge, both posted anonymously.

Please, Mr or Ms Anonymous, write me at the above email address and reveal your identity. Almost no one in my life now except my old boss Boyd Fox remembers those days. Be great to hear from you...

It's cold here in the Mile-High City. I have to wear tights and long sleeves when I ride the trainer out on our patio, even with no forward motion, no breeze.

You know, I feel that I appreciate my friends as much as most people do...maybe more than some. Get hurt, become not-so-mobile, and you rely on your friends more than you ever imagined you would.

A certain amount of helplessness repositions us in relation to your world. Might be good for us once in a great while.

I've given some thought to my levels of happiness and sadness during my hospitalization and recuperation. On balance, I don't think my average relative state of happiness has changed much. I don't know that I'd have believed that about myself. Remarkable, huh?

We're far more resiliant that we know, I'm delighted to say...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Not that you'll notice a difference...

I have cast off the chains of a slow, cranky computer. This is my first post written on my new, much faster PC. Tamar urged me to step up for a Mac, but certain aspects of making the change did not appeal.

And, I have a friend/computer tech who lives a block away; he sets up programs on your computer so he can clean it up and keep it healthy from his own desk. Great guy.

He helped me choose a new CPU and transfer my files to it. So far, so very good.

David Garbs is his name, and GruntPC is the company name:

Those of you who read this because you like me (and generally agree with me) will be pleased to hear that I am making steady if unspectacular progress. I can walk around the house with ONE crutch! I no longer have to take an anti-coagulation pill each day; I'm mobile enough now so that blood will not pool in my legs and form clots, which may then rise to my lungs and hurt me.

I have acquired a Blackburn fluid trainer and installed my Rivendell bicycle on it. I'm riding it every day. I can't tell you how satisfying it is simply to pedal again. To reach out and grab the bars and drop your back down closer to the top tube. To begin to sweat in the sun that warms our patio, nine floors from the street.

I don't yet dream of riding down there, actually on that street, but the movements, the action of riding... wonderful.

My friend Brian and I have been following the comeback to road racing of 44 year-old Raul Alcala of Mexico, a star on the old 7-Eleven team. Sadly, Alcala fell yesterday on a descent and finished the stage (and his race) in a team car. Keep trying, Raul!

Back briefly to my recovery: My left middle finger, dislocated in the crash, is still swollen and not the lovely graceful digit it was. Sigh. I have now seen a hand surgeon, who told me that it is not damaged, only swollen and stiff, and it should respond to therapy. I'm seeing an occupational therapist who has given me a daily regimen of exercises.

I can grab a handlebar easily, but substitute a pencil and I cannot close my fist tightly enough to hold it.

I'll try to write further posts soon...on my whiz-bang new computer! Wheeeeee....

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A note from my friend Donald

Here's the note:

Hi Maynard
You've probably already seen this, if not go here and click on the upper left box marked "Austin, Tx".  Don't close it when the credits start to roll, wait till the video stops.

Thursday morning


I heard from my doctor yesterday that I am able now to put 50-75% of my weight on my hurt leg. I still have to use crutches - for another four weeks - but I am able to walk much more normally between those crutches. I cannot dream of auditioning for the can-can line, not yet, but I am walking better. 

I am not riding but I am thinking about riding. I am acquiring a stationary trainer, a magnetic one, I believe, and will put a bike on it on our patio. I'm sure that pedaling will hasten my healing. I hope it will take down the remaining swelling in my leg: my left foot is still fat. I've only worn one pair of shoes this last seven weeks - my loosest pair.

I also put the battery back in my motorcycle after two weeks of trickle charging. I plan to haul a gauge and bicycle tire pump down to the garage to check the tires - a largely ceremonial act.

My x-rays looked good, the two doctors told me. I could see the two long screws holding my upper femur together and the single shorter screw anchoring the titanium rod not far above my knee. I can SEE them but not feel them. Still, SEEing them is a bit creepy.

I'm sorry that my thoughts do not seem to range widely. I don't get far away from our place and my cycling and motorcycling lives are on the shelf for the moment. Forgive me. I appreciate your continued support of my blog despite the narrow focus. 

More soon, I promise                                      Maynard