Monday, December 28, 2009

Stunt-rider Danny MacAskill makes the NY Times

Here's the article. Pretty amazing kid. I posted a link to the You-Tube video a few weeks ago. If you haven't watched the video, there's a link in this article. He's a super rider and seems like a great guy too!

James Raia's Farewell of the Year - Tyler Hamilton

Here's the link. When Raia says that Tyler was one of the easiest guys to like in the pro peleton, he speaks for most of us who know Tyler. A crashing-down from the heights like something from a Greek tragedy....

A letter from an unlikely place....

This is a letter to friends from JVB, a '60s bike racer from the Bay Area.

Dear friends,
Roberta and I are in the last week of a 3 month trip to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. I thought it might be fun to send an email to people I know who are into bikes and the biking culture. I will illustrate with a story from each country we visited.
Not everyone knows exactly where all the countries in Southeast Asia are, but most people have heard of Ankor Wat, a huge Buddhist temple in the jungles of Cambodia. Its reputed to be the largest religious building in the world- and is the biggest tourist attraction in Southeast Asia (along with the beaches of Thailand). So imagine my surprise in going to see Ankor Wat and what is going on right in front of the place but a bike race. No, Lance wasn't there, but there were plenty of other competitors. We got there at the tail end of the race. A few stragglers were coming in.I checked out the bikes- they were serious racing machines. Talked with one of the guys and he said he was living in Cambodia, teaching English (he was American). I was curious how such a big field of riders could be assembled in this part of the world. He said a lot of expats, like himself, were into competetive cycling. There are also some Cambodians (but don't look for them in the Olympics). People are willing to travel a fairly long way from places like Hong Kong, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur, to be in a major race. Who wudda thunk?
We were staying at a small guesthouse in southern Laos, at a place called Tat Lo. There's a beautiful waterfall there, but mainly people go there just to experience the simple rural life. Its also not so oppressively hot there, as cooling breezes seem to often blow off a nearby plateau.Turns out our next door neighbors in the guesthouse are a Dutch couple touring around Southeast Asia on their bikes. They are in their mid fifties. He's an accout exec. for a company in Amsterdam. They do a three month bike tour every year in some part of the world. They've been doing this for fourteen years. He's going to retire soon so he and his wife will have more time for cycle touring.Everything we ask about their travels, his wife says yayayayayayayaya...She's a fountain of enthusiam.The punchline to this story is that we meet five other couples from Holland in this area during the next few days. They are not part of a big tour. They are all here by coincidence. We ask them about this- what is it with the Dutch? We just like to cycle they say.Roberta is very impressed. "These Dutch are really strong and brave to do this kind of thing!" "You shouldn't be so surprised " I reply. "After all, you married one".
Our Vietnam story concerns a remote border crossing. We have just returned to Vietnam and are caught up in some dodgy scam which has us stranded in a remote restaurant in the country. We are waiting for a bus outta there, when along comes a couple on bikes pulling trailers. They stop for some food and we get their story. They are from Mallorca, Spain. Roberta is excited to be speaking Spanish with them. I'm more comfortable in English. We drift back and forth in the languages. They are biking around Southeast Asia, but they started in Buenas Aries, Argentina. They rode up through South America, Central America, through the Rocky Mountains in the US and Canada. They've been traveling for a year and a half. This is the first bike tour they've ever done. They are going to ride across Asia to get back to Spain. Figure another year and a half. They're having a blast. They don't look tired.
I guess only our imagination holds us back sometimes.
Cheers, JVB

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thanks to David S, a short film about ghost bikes

This lovely short video from NYC focuses on those white bicycles that are chained to immovable objects at the sites of cyclist fatalities. It's sad and inspiring all at the same time.... A must-watch.

What's an "indicator jersey?"

Why, it's a jersey with turn signals built-in behind the shoulders! Here are a few new products from Taiwan featured on BikeRadar.com....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Go Amber Neben!

From VeloNews: Ben Delaney writes about super successful US racer Amber Neben, who has bought and given over 40 Christmas bicycles to homeless kids in SoCal. I enjoyed Neben's comments and those of her husband. What a totally cool thing to do!!

Forza Amber Neben!

Old British motorcycle safety film

Here, from the '50s, I'd say, is a short film by the British Ministry of Transport on road safety. It's charming because of its age and quaintness, and it's applicable to bicycling because when the film was made, motorcycle turn signals were the stuff of the future.

When I watch this video, it gets stuck as Tom's friend fixes his hurried breakfast. If I move the dot forward just a bit with my mouse, I can watch the rest of the film.

How 'bout that Tom, huh? What an example he is for the rest of us....

Thanks to Jim in "the Springs..."

Thanks to Big Jim down the highway, here's another of those brilliant do-it-yourself cartoons offering a super clear picture of some aspect of cycling life. This time it's a racer talking to the promoter of a cyclo-cross event at registration, trying to....take advantage. Imagine.

This cartoon features no violence or gratuitous sex, but the language is appropriately course, dude....

Christmas eve morning - and white, white, white

Sure enough, we'll have a proper Christmas here in Denver. Tamar and I are both sick with colds or sinus stuffages but we're surviving.

By the way, December here in central Denver is not nearly so difficult as it was in Mall Country. You don't sense the heightened craziness that you expect around the holidays. It isn't bucolic but it's not much worse than the eleven other months.

We'd like to wish you Happy Holidays and a champion New Year. Our holidays will be delightful if we can taper off the meds and stop coughing and waking one another in the night.

For unfathomable reasons, my interest in riding my bicycle has been at a low ebb. I follow the sport and cultural aspects of cycling same as always, but I've not been riding much.

Tamar and I went to Boulder last weekend and bought me a pair of running shoes at a cool running store. First pair of such shoes since the '70s, I'm sure. I've "run" a couple of times, walking and trotting really, trying to stay in reasonable shape. I hope the yen for pedaling returns with the springtime sun.

I have to think that the last paragraph is a year-end confession. Because I've ridden so few times in November and December, I feel inauthentic when I write about cycling. Perhaps I need to visit the Madonna del Ghisallo shrine and say 10 Hail Faustos. Kidding aside, I do feel a bit guilty.

Have a safe holiday season and a fine new year. Thanks for reading my blog over the months. I wish all of us good riding and good health this year and next!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

From Sam Abt via James Raia

Here, brought to our attention by James Raia's Examiner email, is a piece by revered, now sorta retired, cycling journalist Sam Abt. Abt suggests a largely unsung French racer, Stephane Goubert, for "Rider of the Year." Goubert enjoyed one victory in his long career in the saddle, and shared that one with his time trial teammates....

Thanks, James! Hooray for Stephane Goubert. And hooray for Sam Abt!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Share the damn road jerseys.... Pretty cool, I'd say

Here's a link to Sharethedamnroad.com. It's one page, offering for sale half a dozen jerseys, one or more of which may say precisely what you've wanted to say all along.

While Tamar and I lived in Tucson, I yearned for an Often Armed jersey. I was told that such a garment would offer police probable cause to stop me and engage me in roadside chat. I was never sure if that were true.

I am sure I'd have designed an ugly Often Armed jersey. These are pretty good-looking.

I wish I felt more optimistic about a cycling jersey asking drivers to slow down. After all, double fines or threats of imprisonment fail to slow them one mile per hour in highway work zones....

Copenhagen's cycling culture - text and a short film

Here's the link. I watched the film with the sound off (Tamar's still sleeping) so I don't know if the gentleman is speaking English or what he has to say. The article (from BikeRadar.com) tells the story well, I thought, and watching the images of so many people pedaling on what appears to be a chilly morning.... Inspiring.

I'll believe I'll ride down to LaMar's Donuts, lean my bike against the glass and order big. Maybe I'll have a Danish.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bike wheel stores energy while you're braking....

Here's the link - to BikeRadar.com. While you're there, check out the Gary Fisher (is skunk works the correct term?) one-off single speed, belt drive 'cross bike. Fancy fake lugs and one gear, correct twice a day like a broken watch.

Were we demanding a single speed 'cross bike? Belt drive? Were we clamoring for faux lugs? Whose questions does this bike answer? That said, it has fender eyelets and might be fun around town and on running trails in urban parks.

Would it cost $1,000? I'll bet it would. Would it be $800 better than a 1980 Fuji or Miyata? You decide....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Run 26mi? Race across America? Hey, do something sketchy....

Twenty-two year old woman from Ohio, never a jock, will row single-handed across the...wait for it...Atlantic Ocean! Here's the NY Times piece....

Just to be a crotchety old guy, I will say that each time someone raises the bar in these activities, it becomes less satisfying to do the hard but humanly possible thing: Ride a century, run a marathon or pedal the Continental Divide Trail. People train and run marathons to help them quit smoking.

Not that long ago we were in awe of marathoners. Now, thousands turn out and perhaps finish with an empty feeling.

"Well, I did it, but I'm no Forrest Gump. That dude was a real runner...."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In Austin, before lunch....

On the right, William Hudson, who's been riding for 100 years, and his wife Sharon. On the left, your blogger and his sweetie Tamar, enjoying their visit to Texas. I tell you what, y'all: We met a buncha nice folks during our visit. We will go back.

We want to go for a ride with William and Sharon.

We stuck our heads in Lance's shop and Freewheeling Bicycles in Austin. We were tempted by Freewheeling shirts with armadillos on them and by the many Mellow Johnny's logo items but we exercised restraint. Just as you would've....

In NYC, if your office is in a building with a freight elevator, you've got it made!

Here's a link to the NY Times piece. More employers are deciding that taking care folks who pedal to work is good business....

In China, pedal cycles are losing out to cars....and electric bicycles!

Here's the Washington Post piece, thanks to Donald, who useta live there.

Tamar and I are back from a terrific trip to San Antonio, including visits to Austin, Helotes and other metropolitan Texas cities. We like that Lone Star feeling! Yee-haw! Ciao!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Not in MY neighborhood, no way!

Here, from the NY Times, is a piece describing a squabble between local Hassidic Jews in Brooklyn and cyclists trying to ride through their 'hood. I readily admit: I never expected to read a story like this one....

Six-point-five in Denver this morning. Minus six-point-five....

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We pause for a moment of whining

It's 6.9 degrees in Denver at 9 this morning but it'll be 11 later, according to Weather Underground. There is a 100% chance of snow, maybe only four inches of it. There's plenty of snow already on the ground and on the roadsides, snow and ice and ugly brown slush.

Luckily, Tamar and I are escaping to San Antonio and Austin on Friday, staying with our friend Corey in San Antone. We intend to visit Austin, walk the River Walk in SA, attend a concert and visit an authentic TX dance hall in Gruene (Green). Perhaps we will forgo the wearing of fuzzy ear covering or boots-made-for-traction. Back Tuesday.

So...if you don't see new posts for a few days, no need to worry. We're in good hands in Texas!

Trek v Greg LeMond.... The wheels of justice are still grinding

Here, from VN Online is the story. Trek says Greg maligned Lance and abused privileges; Greg says Trek lost interest in his brand. The most compelling part: Greg is accused of criticizing Lance while both were contracted to Trek. Greg may try to prove that Lance was NOT beyond criticism.

The question: Why do we do it when we know it's wrong?

Here in today's NY Times Mark Richtel poses this question: Why do we use our phones while we drive, when we know we are driving less safely as a result? Is there a double standard? Do we imagine that it's stupid and criminal for others but okay for us?

There were about 25 responsive comments when I posted this. Comment #6, from Judy Johnson of Cambridge MA, speaks in our voice, I believe, as cyclists. Interesting stuff, or scary if you're a ped or rider....

Monday, December 7, 2009

Well, it's a guy descending the Stelvio Pass (maybe it's the Stelvio) on his belly....

Here's the link, sent to me by my buddy Jim M from Durango. A few minutes long and worth watching. Tamar felt it might be a digital creation but I think it's actual footage of this guy doing whatever it is you call what he does. It kinda looks suicidal and it kinda looks fun....

A attempt to cycle-commute for a week in Singapore - interrupted by the Singapore Marathon!

Here's Jeanette Wang's report on her mostly successful attempt to ride, not drive - in hot, humid, rainy Singapore! Nicely written and fun to read.... From the Straits Times, never before cited on my blog. Go, Jeanette!

Cell phones and driving - how much did the industry know?

It's a five-page piece from the NY Times about driver distraction and the cell phone industry. See if it doesn't sound remarkably like the tobacco companies just a few years ago....

Sunday, December 6, 2009

First it was book censorship, then music, then....

Tamar and I got to talking about book censorship. She works in a library, y'know, so she has to think about someone's exerting control over what someone else reads. From there, we went to music censorship or labeling, like movie labeling, and from there it was a short jump to Tipper Gore.

How'd she get that name, Tamar asked. I Googled Tipper Gore and found that Mary Elizabeth Gore's nickname came from a lullaby sung in an old movie - a movie from before Tipper was born. As I looked at the page, I saw that Tipper takes photos and has earned a living doing so. I clicked on the link to her own photo site.

I was impressed by her photos and found this one under Travel.

I hope you click around on Tipper's site and enjoy the shots. Before I end this post, though, have you seen capes like the ones in the photograph? I have seen "aprons" for motorscooters like the ones in the shot, but I cannot recall bicycle capes that extended forward over the hands, perhaps even over a handlebar bag.... Maybe I've seen hundreds and forgotten; write me if you suspect that I'm having a senior moment.

Aha! Thanks to Mike Smith at Liberty Bicycles in gorgeous Asheville, NC, here's the answer to my question.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

More abt Fame: Dick Cavett on Walter Winchell

Here, from the NY Times, for those of us who can no longer count the candles on our birthday cakes, is Dick Cavett on Walter Winchell, news broadcaster and maker/breaker of careers and men. When the two met, Winchell was "past it," as the Brits say, and Cavett, who is no longer a family name himself, is watching and remembering, decades later.

Fascinating comments as usual. I'm struck again by how fortunate we are in so many instances that we do not know our heroes. And...when fame flees, its escape is sudden and complete.... Gone.

From James Raia's Examiner.com post: Five minutes with Lance and Campbell Brown

I can't imagine why you wouldn't watch this. Much of it is about what it's like to be THAT famous and THAT suspected of abuse of drugs. Cool interview with (in my view) a cool guy.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tyler Wren's bamboo 'cross bike

Here's a link to a BikeRadar piece (with lotsa photos) about what appears to be a competitive cyclo-cross racing bike made (by Boo Cycles) of bamboo....and carbon...and boring old aluminum, just for the dropouts, y'understand. Fun to look at, I'd say. I love to ride it. Bamboo!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

While we're looking at John Maynard photos....(see previous post)

Here's a link to his home page. I clicked on People, Products and Places on the left side and looked at all the sample shots. Maybe 10% are cycling-specific, but they are all memorable and lovely.

Enjoy some more.... All this photographic bounty is thanks to David S, on a hill there in Seattle.

Are you an old roadie? Wanna treat?

These wonderful photos from photographer John Maynard, whose name I had never heard, are presented through the courtesy of Road Bike Action magazine. Shot at the Coors Classic in the mid-'80s and never published.... No need for me to tell you anything about them. Enjoy.

Thanks, David S!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Are cyclists a menace? Results of the debate in the UK

The article is interesting and the comments too. Watch the road, boys....

Plucked for your reading pleasure from BikeRadar.com.

A rock 'n' roll obit: Bob Keane; know that name?

Bob Keane, early in a long career of discovering great rock talent, stumbled on a young guy from SoCal who couldn't play or write music worth a damn, but drove young women wild. He formed the Del-Fi label, and found and promoted new talent for years. If you've seen Pulp Fiction, you've heard some of the songs.

Keane just died (at 87) but the young man he discovered, Ritchie Valens, has been gone for 50 years....

Life is just like a boxa chocolates, huh?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

From Philly to London: It's a global thing....

Here's a super piece by a London columnist who pedals back and forth to work. Busted for riding in a no-cycling area, she elects to go to bicycle traffic school - and it isn't what she thought it'd be....

Interesting comments as usual.

Monday, November 30, 2009

We need great equipment because...

I always thought that riding tools help create great rides the way writing tools help produce great writing. Other aspects of the ride or the writing seem far more important.

Here, from today's NY Times, is proof, if you want to think about it that way. Because I have no wish to sneak this up on you, I'll tell you that it's about Cormac McCarthy's typewriter. He bought it for $50 in Knoxville TN in the early '60s, but I tell you what - it's been a good ol' typewriter....

Brad Pitt, trying to Make It Right, almost gets it right

From slimy Las Vegas, we travel to sublime New Orleans, where actor Brad Pitt (yeah, that one) is having homes built for returning locals and perhaps others. The homes are cool and innovative, but they may not be what the folks had in mind...sigh.

Doncha hate it when you're trying to do something right and you get it wrong...? Hooray for Brad Pitt in any case. According to many locals, the article says, he's done more for the city's recovery than any gov't agency.

Still more from Philly: This time, it's an attempt to ban brakeless fixies

Here, from the online Philadelphia Inquirer's Philly.com, is a piece about new regulations to try to control those lovable but anarchical bike messengers, who feel put-upon and singled out for blame.

"Just enforce the existing laws," say the messengers, "and all will be well."

The messengers will demonstrate en mass this afternoon, perhaps disrupting traffic, to protest being confused with all those other scofflaw poser a--h--es with fixies and large, over-shoulder bags.

"We're the real Robin Hoods," they insist. "Those other guys just wear green."

Read it and...wonder.

From the Monroe, LA, online News Star, here's a truly mystifying op-ed piece. You can read it in a minute, then try to figure out what it's about all...day...long.

As I read it again, I see that it's a letter contributed by a News Star reader. That's an explanation, sort-of. Still mystifying, I'd say.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Problems? Right here in Interbike City?

I'll admit in front that I'm not a big fan of Las Vegas. But I've never ridden a bike there and only walked from hotel to hotel on or near the strip. Vegas's pedestrian/cycling problems aren't new, as you'll read in this Las Vegas Sun piece, and they aren't getting much better as our national consciousness (arguably) rises.

As bad as Vegas is for non-drivers, the annual biggest-in-the-world bike show remains there. I'm sure it's convenient for travel in and out and for lodging and convention facilities. Or if you want to lose your rent money or meet a hooker.

Otherwise, what has Sin City got to do with bicycling? Single-space your list and use both sides of the paper as necessary.

Added half an hour later: As suggested by my old friend Khal, here's a link to a Patrick O'Grady piece about visiting Vegas - for Interbike. It's an O'Grady piece; it's dependably terrific.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Evenhanded Examiner piece about cycling and road safety

Here's an Examiner.com piece (written by Meredith Sladek) about a series of similar bike/car accidents on Long Island in NY State. Avoiding outrage, Sladek, Examiner.com's NY bicycle transportation contributor, tells the story in a balanced manner. She finds no stones ready-to-hand and convenient for throwing - as I no-doubt would've. Not a happy piece but a well presented one.

A traveler's tale from the Times

From Maira Kalman in today's NY Times, a little story in cartoons, photos and handwritten text about our eating habits in the Land of the Free. I didn't read the comments (just got up) but I will.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Bike paths....or mixing it up with the cars? In Dallas, that is the question

This is a long but always interesting article from the Dallas Observer. Dallas has been the most cycling-unfriendly city in the US but is trying to lift itself up. But how?

Just as an observation, has anyone polarized US cyclists more than John Forester? And has anyone reading this (or anyone known to anyone reading this) ever ridden a mile with the man?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Winter, that other cycling season - from Maynard, Mass

This is a charming piece with a sad afterword. It's especially charming to me, your easily charmed blogger, because of its repeated mentions (hey, it's the first word in the article!) of my name. Well, the town's name....

By the way, and this is NO reflection on the linked article, do you think of a bicycle losing traction sideways as "skidding?" Did you always refer to falling off your bike as "crashing?" Do you call front suspension units "shocks?" Is the unit comprising hub, spokes, rim and tire called a "rim?" Can a bicycle's stopping mechanism be called a "break" or a "brake?"

Jus' curious....

More from Philly: Letters to Bykofsky

Here's the link. It seems that Bykofsky, Moulton and your blogger are not the only ones watching cyclists behaving outrageously and shaking their heads in disbelief. But one writer, Susan Shulman, rises above the spitting match and yearns for justice. We only want what's fair, she says....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tim Neenan's (he's the framebuilder) new Lighthouse fixie....


Note to recent converts to cycling: This bike is not tig-welded; it's fillet-brazed. That's why the frame joins are so smooth. Check out especially the bottom bracket area shot. Lovely, huh? Wanna see more about my old friend Tim's Lighthouse bikes?
www.lighthousecycles.com



From Dave Moulton's blog: He's pissed too

Here's the link. Better expressed than my own rant about scofflaw cyclists, it's from Dave Moulton, author, frame-builder and clear-eyed observer of cycling's big picture.

Let's "stop handing them the stick" that they beat us with, he suggests.

Why do we fuel the fire of bike hatred? I'm going to publish this post and log off before I'm driven to abuse italics again. Hey, I can quit anytime....

Danny MacAskill - watch with delighted amazement

Maybe everyone's seen this but me. It's Danny MacAskill, from Scotland, I believe, riding his bike in urban surroundings. I'm informed that it gets two and a half million hits a day. I believe it....

Monday, November 23, 2009

As we watch, it goes from bad to worse in Philly

Here's a Stu Bykofsky editorial. If it isn't YOU who's upsetting guys like Bykofsky, and it isn't ME who's upsetting guys like Bykofsky, who is it? If it's the New Urban Cyclist, and I understand that the NUC fad is fading at long last, how many years will their scofflaw memory linger?

Many of us have ridden for years, decades. We never provoked a column like Bykofsky's.

Leave no trace? Uh-uh. Leave a slime trail, that's the program. Poison the well. And for what?

Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk or running red lights or riding-to-provoke and attract notice is no different from riding an illegally loud motorcycle or doing a 100mph wheelie down the interstate. It's anti-social behavior - to no good purpose. It's tin-horn, cheap, adolescent theatrics.

"Green" defenses of obnoxious urban cyclists don't hold up to scrutiny any better than "loud pipes save lives" arguments. Both behaviors are about attention and attitude. They're all about me. Look at me, get mad at me, hate me....but don't you dare ignore me. I'm what's happening.

Note to readers: Evidently, when I get upset I resort to italics. No more italics today, I promise.

A NY Times editorial: NY State makes DUI far less attractive

Here's the link. As you'll read, NY State has stopped fooling around with drunk drivers. The hope is that other states will follow in the Empire State's footsteps.

Why have these laws taken so long to get on the books? Aren't lawmakers afraid of what could happen to their own families? There must be something about this drunk-driving thing that I just don't understand....

Well, I can serve my country in Iraq....or I can ride my bike in LA

Here's an LA Times piece focusing on how cyclists can keep themselves "safe" as they ride in Los Angeles traffic. It's full of good advice, no doubt. But does anything about its message make you want to ride your bike? Wouldn't you rather stroll through a market square in scenic Afghanistan?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cool wooden bicycles...in Atlantic City?

Here's the link from Press of Atlantic City.com. The article and photos feature new innovations in bicycles, some of which are familiar, but Max Samuelson's wooden bikes are fun to look at, doncha think? Check out the photos....

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Pine Library was closed, but...


It was after two Saturday afternoon, a dark and stormy afternoon, in tiny but scenic Pine, Colorado. The Pine Public Library, though closed after two, has three unlocked cabinets outside like the one you see me peering into.

The cabinets are full of books, paperbacks and hardbacks. If you see a book you've always wanted, you can put 50 cents (paperbacks) or a dollar bill (hardbound books) in a box outside the building.

It's a cute town and a cute library. Tamar, who's working on a Masters in Library Science, is doing a paper on CO libraries. She shot several photos, none more exciting than this one, featuring....sound of trumpets....me.

To see an old post with two of Tamar's photos of Pine, merely click here.

Trust me - you won't believe your eyes....

Received this morning from my friend Corey:

Check out this listing on amazon. Especially look at the customer-provided images and the comments from buyers. Pretty funny...

Corey, San Antonio TX

Friday, November 20, 2009

Who'd have known? Dennis Hopper's photos resurface

Here's a NY Times piece about a new expensive book of photos made by a young, crazed Dennis Hopper almost 50 years ago. The photos are cool, I'd say, and the people in them are fascinating. Take a look....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A snapshot: Cycling in its infinite variety - at Stanford

Worth reading, I'd say. It's from today's NY Times. Click here.

Check it out!

As you will notice, I got a comment from Steevo, who made the Hipsters Discussing Cyclocross video. I think Steevo attached the comment to the wrong post on my blog page, but I'm sure we can forgive him for that.

Steevo, thanks a ton for the comment and the kind words. I'm just as pleased to hear from you as you were to learn that I thought your cartoon was great! By the way, Steevo, David S sent me the link to your cartoon. He says he got it from Lennard Zinn!

Readers, if you have not watched Steevo's short video, it's two posts down on this page - and it's big fun!

License plates? On bikes?

I read this article (from Tamar's hometown) and had the same thoughts you'll have, I expect.

One, how can they register all those bikes? One point five, will compelling cyclists to register their bikes really cut down ridership? Two, how can they enforce this? And three, how else can they police the anonymous thousands of scofflaw cyclists on city streets 'n' sidewalks?

I wonder too how long folks thought they could get away with wholesale pissing-off of the public without a slap on the wrist or a traffic citation.

Will bare-bones urban bicycles now have plates but no brakes? Will riders protest by climbing off their bikes - as bikers did when helmet laws went into effect?

Note the comment about Minneapolis....

Coupla hipsters talking about cyclocross....

Here's a link to a cute cartoon. It's two faithfully portrayed hipsters discussing this strange and perhaps cool form of bicycle racing called 'cross.... Tamar and I think it's funny. See for yourself.... Thanks once again to David S for the link. Smoke 'em if you've got 'em.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rapha vs the SUV: two sides, same coin?

I got this comment from Anonymous to my "biking pants" post:

Better a few folks riding to work in $200+ "biking pants" than using hulking SUV's that burn up $200 worth of hydrocarbons in a week!

My first thought was, Is it the riding pants that got them on those bikes? Is the Rapha buying impulse the same impulse that spirited them to the car store to buy the SUV they've parked, at least temporarily?

Do extraordinarily expensive, stunningly dorky trousers make it hip 'n' happenin' to ride - unlike Lycra or denim?

We remember, many of us, when cycling clothing was dorkier than green service-station attendant jackets with a name patch over one pocket.... We didn't buy that stuff because it was dorky. We bought it despite its utter lack of style.

I'm pleased that these garments are covering the cadaverous white nakedness of these folks as they ride their retro-style velocipedes, but I have to wonder.... Would I like any of them? No, not the velocipides or the garments; I don't care about either. I mean the folks. Do you know any?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Two hundred and ten dollars.... Really?

From the NY Times, all the news about bicycling pants that's fit to print. Do not look for thriftstore Levi's in this article. These are commuting pants; that's why they're not $14.95. Any of my readers own any Rapha? Just curious....

We need help...but The Equalizer is gone.... Updated!

Edward Woodward, the busy actor who played the middle-aged but effective Equalizer on TV for several enjoyable seasons, has died. Here's a link to an AP obituary.

And here (added later) is a link to a YouTube video of the pilot Equalizer episode. It's 10 minutes long and you'll wish it were full length, but it gives you the feeling of the show....and of Edward Woodward's presence. Thanks, Schnitz!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

From bustling Harrisburg, South Dakota

A guy from the Harrisburg SD area got hit and killed by a van while riding in Iowa. A sympathetic SD legislator has proposed a law mandating a three-foot clearance between motor vehicle and bike while passing. The hue and cry has gone up over this outrage. Read the piece and the comments.

And correct me if I'm wrong. Are the commenters saying, "Those sons-of-bitches make ME slow down! What nerve! They deserve what they get."

We're talking about good South Dakota citizens here, readers. Not those frenzied New Yorkers.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Passo Gavia 1988: Eric, Andy....and Bob Roll, not at his best

This is epic footage, shot on the descent from the Gavia, the finish of the famous stage that won the Giro for Andy Hampsten. Bundle up before you watch it. It's cold out there....

Thanks, David!

From Cleveland.com: Motorist/columnist meets Brit round-the-world cyclist

This piece was published today, meaning the cyclist is on his way to Moab and then Denver as I type. Snow or rain is predicted today and my buddy in Moab said yesterday that the wind was blowing strongly there. I hope this guy gets safely to Moab and does not persist in riding over the Rockies in crummy weather...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

More from London's mayor

Boris Johnson, mayor of London, seems to be a genuine bike rider. He also seems to be at the center of a gaggle of finger-pointers, incensed because Boris has the nerve to admit that he's angry at irresponsible urban cyclists. In the UK, pavements are sidewalks. Why would you need to know that? Hey, I don't know.... It's illegal to ride on sidewalks, right?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Minimalist urban bike? I guess so...

Here, from GreenMuse, is funny looking bicycle. I wonder if this thing works....

London mayor, avid cyclist, saves damsel in distress! No kidding....

Here's the link. I suspect that no comment from me is going to add anything.

Well, maybe: Go, Boris!

Another move by bike, this time a cafe in Columbia, MO

Thanks to Amy, here's a link to another move-by-bike. Cafe Berlin moves with a little help from its friends....after a pancake breakfast!

Thanks, John!

Hiya John!

I read the review and found the movie company web site, then went to Netflix where there is no sign of "Cafe Society" the movie. But I'll be looking for it for sure. I think it'd be perfect for a wintertime evening showing at our local Triumph and Euro motorcycle shop. Thanks a ton for the heads-up!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fort Collins (CO) man moves into his new house - by bike!

Why, he even towed his Toyota 4-Runner from his old place to his new one (six downtown Fort Collins blocks away)! Fun to read, cool to imagine, here's the link - from the Coloradoan Online.

Lotta vowels in Coloradoan, huh?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Greg and Kathy and Lance and Kristin and Trek

From the NY Daily News.com, here's a kinda long but quite interesting article about Greg's finger-pointing at Lance, Trek's shutting down LeMond Cycles, lawyers and depositions and court appearances.... All the dirt.

There's a nice photo of Greg, and one of Greg and Kathy. Hasn't always been easy to be Kathy LeMond, but she's held up well, doncha think? And she's standin' by her man even now.

Greg'll be 50 before we know it, and his life has not been smooth sailing, huh? Still, he looks pretty good, I'd say. I know both those guys a little, Lance and Greg, and I've always trusted Greg. I hope he's wrong about Lance. I don't want Greg to be wrong - but I desperately want Lance to be clean.

Friday, November 6, 2009

This....is a helluva video

My friend Big Jim sent me this link from Manchester in the UK, where as the US Team mechanic, he's working the Track Worlds. It's a British video, 13 minutes long. It's about, well....it's about the journey of Odysseus and the preparation of a team pursuit athlete for the Olympic Games.

It'll remind old-timers of the '70s (that's correct, isn't it?) film The Incredible Hour, but it's 100 times better than that unwatchable flick. Maybe 100 is a low estimate. Your money back if not delighted....

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Just coincidentally....

Weekend before last, Tamar and I went to San Francisco, where her brother Ronnen married his sweetheart Robin. The wedding ceremony was outdoors, on patio on the fifth floor of the Hotel Vitale - at the foot of Mission Street just a few steps from the Embarcadero.

That's Tamar & I on the right in the photo with our friends Ray & Carrie.

During the lovely ceremony, written in part by the wedding couple, the rabbi's voice was made impossible to hear by the many Harley-Davidson motorcycles passing by on the Embarcado just below us.

I was inspired by the gross inconsiderateness of those riders (not only for the wedding, of which they were not aware, but for anyone or anything they may encounter) to write a column for CityBike and Motorcycle Sport and Leisure, the two motorcycle magazines that run my stuff.

I sent the article off last week. Just today, I learned about a recent South Park episode focusing on Harley riders and their amazing lack of consideration. It's a funny and accurate skewering of those callous promoters of hearing damage. Here's the link. Enjoy. Sorry about the ads....

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Even if you don't care about bicycle racing...

A high-profile court trial has just ended in southern California. A perhaps-retired emergency room doctor, Christopher Thomas Thompson, was charged with multiple counts of several serious acts. They were hostile, violent acts, done on different days in his car on the same road near his home - against cyclists.

The coverage in VeloNews has been evenhanded and readable; the letters in reaction have been well written and expressive. Makes you proud to be a bike rider. Afraid but proud.

If you want to follow the trial as VN has, click around at the site where it's all archived. I'd do it that way (watch it as it unfolded) and experience it as did those of us who followed it all along. Riveting, I'd say.

Here's a link to VN, but please....start at the beginning. Some of the descriptions and photos will scare you, but no worse than evening television.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A terrific piece about Greg LeMond....well, it's sortof about Greg

Here is a great New Journalism-style piece (I think) about Greg LeMond. The writer does not try to stay out of the story - at all. The piece is good and fun to read. The amazing aspect of it is where it ran - in Bicycling Magazine! Provocative, honest, recommended....

It's 10 short pages - betcha you read every one!

My friend Larry's take on Jim T's comment

Ciao,

Your pal makes some interesting points. Italians seem to have more than one cell phone per person and they yak on them all the time, even while driving (though it's illegal unless a hands-free setup is used) but don't seem to run over many cyclists.

I don't think super-harsh penalties for distracted driving are enough to protect cyclists. I believe what keeps Europeans from running us over is the popularity of the sport and the much greater use of bicycles in general, combined with the view that roads belong to everyone.

In Italy the automobile or motorist is not king, even if he or she is piloting a Ferrari. Sure, they have the right to use the roads but only the auto and super strada roads are exclusively for them, everywhere else people ride bicycles or motor scooters and even walk in the road.

We see folks walking in the road all the time when there's no sidewalk, even pushing baby strollers along! There's none of the "get off MY road!" attitude there, unlike so many places in the US.

Add in that lots of folks ride bicycles, including the local pro and amateur cycling teams along with most everyone's mother (who uses a bike to pop down to the bakery or butcher shop every day). You end up with motorists who generally pay more attention to other road users and give them respect.

Think about it. Who would want to be the motorist who ran over the local pro? Or their best friend's mother? More often you see the motorist waving to the local pro or friend's mother as they go by.

I doubt this will ever be the case in the US until traffic-calming devices are put into more cities and bicycles get used for more purposes by more people. Taxes on motor fuels could help but I don't see the political will to impose them on a society where we can't even get a decent health care reform bill passed over the special-interest group objections.

My answer is, as you know, to MOVE as soon as we can figure out a way to do it.

Best Regards, Larry

Cell phones and texting - the wider view

Many of us, I believe, look at cell phone use and texting as annoying and perhaps dangerous acts, because that's how those practices touch our lives. Here's David Brooks in the NY Times talking about how those new-fangled modes of communication have touched and changed society.

I would have no idea about these changes had not Brooks brought them to my attention. See if he doesn't open your eyes too....

Monday, November 2, 2009

Letter to me from Jim T: "How do we deal with texting, Jim?"

How will we deal with texting? The same way we SHOULD have dealt with drunk drivers, but never did.

Take a note from the Europeans -- I've NEVER seen anyone on a cell phone (or, heaven forbid, texting) in France or Germany. The only on-site phones are used by taxi drivers and they're hands-free. Otherwise, people actually DRIVE.

Personally I think that for a first offense the driver will face a 30 day AUTOMATIC suspension and a $500 fine.

Second offense, LOSE the car (seriously) and a one year suspension.

Third offense . . . hmmmm, do you smell prison?

As for drunks, I've had my attitude about drunks ever since taking a dead child out of a car, hit by a drunk driver, who was so drunk he didn't even know he had been in an accident. I got pretty good at catching drunks after that . . . but my feeling is that:

a) First Offense -- six weeks in a Marine Corps operated Boot Camp (located, naturally, in South Texas) - three year suspension (if you're caught driving on a license suspended due to DUI you spend the remainder of the three years in a State Prison) and loss of the car.

b) Second Offense -- permanent suspension of license (forever and ever, thank you very much) and three years imprisonment (mandatory).

It would be pretty brutal for the first few months and then NOBODY would do it, TOO risky.

more later.... your friend, Jim

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tough penalties in the UK for texting/driving

Here's the link. It's a NY Times piece. The photo of the victim's wrecked car is small but you can enlarge it - I did, and I don't recommend that you do. Bright yellow car on the road shoulder, flashers on. Should have been visible for 300 yards. "I never saw it," said the defendant....

Saturday, October 31, 2009

ugly to read....

Remember the excitement over the clever bike-share program in Paris, Velib? All is not well with that delightful convenient system. This NY Times piece is a bit of a heartbreaker to read.

PS At 5:30 Mountain Time on Halloween day, this above-linked piece was the Most Emailed item from the NY Times....

Friday, October 30, 2009

Well, it's Portland again....

But what can one do? Someone's always doing something blogworthy there. This time it's a "bicycle traffic advisory" about construction closing a popular bike route. It's on BikePortland.org, so there are many fun ads and links to entertaining web sites offering tempting cycling-related items.

Like many of us....

Here's a link to another wonderful NY Times "multimedia mini-biography" of a New Yorker whose life is not what we expect. Patrick Harris, like so many of us, tried to do what his parents and other well-wishing mentors encouraged him to do, and he failed. And went his own way.

By the way, I keep my computer's sound shut off. You may also. Well worth listening to Patrick Harris tell his own story during this presentation...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

News and an apology....

I'm sorry for the lack of posts this last week. Last weekend, I rode my motorcycle to a tiny town in Oklahoma - where the panhandle meets the rest of the state - for a m/c club lunch. About 30 of us showed up at that remote spot; the cafe was all there was in that town.

We milled around outside waiting for the lunch bell, and a young woman pedaled up on an Extra-Cycle, one of those lengthened bicycles with a platform on the back. Evidently not at all intimidated by the 30 "macho" (middle-aged, Cordura-clad, tea-drinkin') men, she stopped. A circle of curious guys gathered around her. One of the guys stepped up to buy her lunch.

She'd ridden from Washington DC to Gate Oklahoma! She didn't mention riding partners so I assume she'd done those miles alone, maybe 70 miles in a typical day. Her father rode motorized two-wheelers, she said, and told us she expects to own one herself one day. I don't believe she'll quit pedaling....

She's been headed for Denver/Boulder and then Oregon, but the premature advent of wintry weather drove her south. I believe she felt that further travel this year would be risky; I feel sure she'll find an airport and fly home - to resume her trip next year.

Vanessa - it was great to meet you! We all enjoyed your effervescent presence at our lunch!

Tamar and I are off tomorrow for San Francisco where her brother Ronnen is marrying Robin Rudikoff, a lovely Baltimore girl. They live in Mountain View. Should be big fun.

Sometimes after a journey on the motorcycle, I can't stop writing about this or that aspect of the experience. Other times it seems nothing memorable must have happened, 'cause I write not a word about it - for my blog page or publication. Why this happens or what it means is a mystery to me.

A couple of months ago, I rode to Indianapolis for the MotoGP motorcycle races at the Motor Speedway. I rode to Flint MI to try to find our old family home. I visited friends in Muncie IN and met author and car collector Clive Cussler and other really cool car-culture guys. I hardly wrote about that trip. Was it not story-worthy? It was.

Tamar and I will be back on Sunday after the happy occasion in The City by the Bay. I'll be back in touch soon after our return. Sorry for the lapse; I know I made at least one guy worry....

Thursday, October 15, 2009

That bicycling... "It's kind of a neat thing to do"

Here's a sweet, sort-of innocent article about a minor upsurge in cycling in Buffalo, NY. In Buffalo, it seems, if you ride on the sidewalk people yell at you to ride in the street. And when you ride in the street, people yell at you to.... From the Buffalo News "Life" section.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wanna see a lucky kid?

Here's the link. No explanation seems necessary.

Make it fun....and they will come...

I'll ruin this video if I tell you about it. Watch it, please, the piano stairs one, with your sound turned on.

Thanks, Schnitz!

Thanks once again to James Raia....

Here's a terrific little video of the 2010 Tour de France Route. I could ordinarily care less about these presentations, but this one is cool! After you watch it, you can subscribe to James's Examiner blog and you'll get these updates from him often. It's a great and easy way to stay aware of what's happening in high-level cycling.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Why we have a car...as if you cared

I've heard from a few blog readers who are surprised that after years of abstaining from car ownership, Tamar and I have accepted the gift from family of a...yes...SUV. Here's why we did it.

A year and a half ago, we moved Tamar's mom from Philly to Denver, where we live. Tamar's brother had migrated from Philly to the SF Bay Area and could no longer look after Rachel. So we uprooted her and moved her into an apartment house for older folks, some of whom need a bit of watching-over. The move has proved successful. Everyone's happier.

Just a few months ago, Rachel had a heart attack. She survived and is doing well, but she often visits doctors and other healthcare professionals. Because she does not drive, the responsibility of getting her to those appointments falls on Tamar.

We've been using share cars and that has been good, but now we have a car parked out behind our apartment building, our own car, and we hope that it will work out better.

I've owned cars in the distant past; Tamar has never owned one. We felt that our car-less life together allowed us to enjoy high-road feelings. Our road is no longer so elevated.

I'm sure that the commenters who chided us for selling out were teasing, but we fear that we've caved and disappointed ourselves and others. Watch, dear reader, for signs of encroaching main-streamity. God forbid....

Those damn cyclists! First they got bike paths...and now they get the entire street!

From the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, StarPhoenix, this writer is pretty fed up with trendy social engineering, and the inconveniencing of lots of car drivers to provide questionable security for a few pain-in-the-butt cyclists. Here's the link.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Nissan's tiny new leaning car

Okay, this isn't about cycling or motorcycling, but it charms the socks right off my feet....

From Dvice online (I think): the new Nissan Land Glider! Is it cute...or what? I watched almost the entire video, entranced by the music and the graceful moves of the little car.

Friday, October 9, 2009

From Slate: a near-poem about vintage Honda motorcycles

I'm just back from a very quick trip to Indianapolis. I flew there and drove back. My family in Indy, my niece and her husband, had a spare car....and gave it to us. So we have a white Acura SUV out in the parking lot. We plan to use it sparingly but we enjoy having it. Tamar has never owned a car and I haven't had one for years and years. We're in the lap of luxury now, huh?

This link will take you to a fine article from Slate about a man's love affair with Japanese motorbikes of the late '60s and '70s. Worth reading even if you could care less about Japanese motorbikes of the late '60s and '70s. See if I'm not right.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A British chap enjoys his cycling - from the Huffington Post

A bit of English humor....at the expense of almost no one but the writer....

Sunday, October 4, 2009

George and his lovely old Jaguar

Clicking on this will take you to the Auto Ego section of the New York Times, to an article about a guy from NYC who drives the same '68 E-Type Jaguar he's driven for decades. I love the car and I like the guy, but the audio slide show, if you listen to him talk, describes a condition of cool-vehicle ownership that I have struggled with.

George Sweeper is far more gracious with passersby who ask questions about his car than I can be. It's a gift, I figure, that I was not given. I want to be nice, and in my best moods I can be nice. But I am not dependably nice. Hence this post. Enjoy the slide show....

Monday, September 28, 2009

My buddy D's thoughts on bikes as fashion....

D forwarded me a link to a NY Times piece about Dutch bicycles and clothing designed specifically for folks who want to be seen cycling in the Big Apple. I wrote that all that had nothing to do with cycling as we know it, and asked him if he thinks this fashion spotlight is "good" for cycling. When the fad fades, will some of these folks keep riding? Here's D's response:

Hi Maynard,
I think it's good for cycling. Visability, celebrity-types pedaling, haute couture. I used to always say fashion knows no practicality, but now I have to re-think that.

While it doesn't have much to do with cycling as we know it, it does hark back to the days of yore (late 1800s, early 1900s) when cycling was new and fashionable. The fashion folks had to come up with new styles for the bloomers women were suddenly allowed to wear for riding. Folk were much more formal in their attire back then - 110 years ago - even for leisure and recreational activities - like the two-piece swimming outfits for men, bathing dresses for women - and suits and ties for picnics. So, in a way, we're back to the future.

If I were to clean up my mountain/city bike, I could see myself riding to church in my bow tie, slacks and sport coat. The helmet wouldn't go too well. It's only 3 miles, though 2/3 of it is up a 4% hill. I'd have to dawdle in the granny so as to not overheat too much. Ahh, the price you pay for fashion statements.

yours awheel, D

Downturn? Where?

From VeloNews, about notable stuff they saw at the just-ended Interbike show in Las Vegas:

Oakley introduces a new “Elite” line of ultra-pricey eyewear and apparel, topped by the $4500 “C Six” sunglass machined from carbon fiber (a 96-hour construction process!).

Blogger's note: It's my feeling that 96 hours is not nearly enough to make proper sunglasses for ME. I want sunglasses for ME to be somewhat special, so that I will know and passersby will know just how worth it I am. Because I am worth it, and don't you forget it, hear....

PS I sorta hate that it's Oakley making these things. I love my Oakleys. Both my riding pair and my casual pair are a decade old and doing nicely, thank you. I live in Oakleys.

Some folks are losing their jobs, homes and heath care coverage; other folks, luckier folks, are buying $4500 shades.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

From the NY Times: Cyclists vs peds....on the Brooklyn Bridge...?

Here's the link: Sidewalk Wars

Why we don't quit.... (those of us who don't)

Cadel Evans, after a season in hell, has won the World's Road Championships today in Switzerland. You couldn't write a more dramatic story than his 2009 racing year has been....with an ending worthy of a Rocky movie! Congratulations, Cadel Evans!

Here's a link to the VeloNews report.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Because you may have missed this comment....

Here's what Prairie Dweller had to say about the getting-more-folks-riding piece. The piece, if you recall, is about making riding feel safer and more appropriate for women. I have to tell you that because the comment comes from nowhere but Prairie Dweller's need to tell us just who he is:

"I'm an older guy and I commute on a 650cc dual sport motorcycle. It's inexpensive, fast, rugged, reliable, and runs on pocket change. It moves through city traffic like a greased weasel through a drain pipe. Pavement is a convenience, not a necessity. It sits tall in the saddle so you see eye to eye with the SUV drivers. It has a hoot factor no bicycle can match and no scientist can measure. Everybody should get one. 65+ mpg through your front yard.

Bicycles are speed bumps. The older you get, the meaner you get. Just one of the pleasures of aging. AHHHHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

Or so he says. The downside of reading this guy's comment is having to read it at all. The upside is that he's riding a motorcycle, not driving an SUV. Another upside is that we'll probably never meet him. The blogger and all the readers of this blog are getting older. I can't imagine that many of us are proud of getting meaner.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Suprising answer to the same old question....

How do we get more people riding bikes? That's the question, right? Here's an article from Scientific American that says the question may really be: What do women want? Thanks once again to my friend David S up there in Seattle, where the clouds may be closing in....

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Surprising cars clunked for credit

From the NY Times, who accurately call it mind-boggling, here's a list of a few of the cars turned in for Clunker Credit. Prepare to be amazed!

Yes, Jonathan Vaughters is cross-cultural

Here's a Vaughters Twitter quote brought to this blog's attention by David S of Queen Anne Hill:

"Fabian takes the corners like Valentino Rossi. He's gaining 1-2 seconds per turn... Not to mention he's going faster everywhere else too."

He's talking about Swiss ace Fabian Cancellara at the time trial World Championships today in Switzerland...

The furor in Philly....

When I told Tamar (she's from Philadelphia) about the streets in Philly that were going to be made bicycle safe by reserving their right-hand lanes for cyclists, she was amazed. That meant real progress for Philadelphia's growing number of riders. Just yesterday, the measure was enacted....and the protests started.

This Philly.com columnist, Stu Bykofsky, loves the idea of cycling as green and health-enhancing, but just hates cyclists. Be sure to read the comments. And please, stay off the damn sidewalks....

The Greatest Tour ('89, o'course) by G. LeMond, who was there and oughtta know...

From Pro Cycling via Bike Radar, part three of a three-part interview with candid Greg LeMond. In this segment, he talks about money, racing - and a mysterious, beckoning woman, clad all in black leather and riding a motorbike....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I would not have believed the reports....

...had I not seen these photos. From the current Interbike show in Las Vegas, here are photos of the most improbably cool urban or touring bicycles, replicas of French classics from decades ago.

Thanks to Bike Radar and Gary Boulanger, you can feast your eyes on these new Electras.... Be sure to click on the row of photos. Check out the cranks and the oh-so Campylike hubs!

Because you may not read cyclotourist's comment...

Here's a link to the Slate article about Born to Run - and a time when Bruce and the band's careers were swirling the drain....

Thanks, cyclotourist!

The Boss turns 60

And he made the cover of the AARP magazine too! Bet that was a rush for him. The NY Times reported on Mr. Springsteen's big sixtieth birthday and several people commented, many with expressions of support for the aging star: BRUUUUCE!, for instance.

My favorite comment, from Andrew, is:

Gramps like us, baby, we were born…to power walk in the mall!

Happy Birthday, Bruce! Many, many delightful returns....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Inspiring tale of a deaf cyclist who is no longer deaf

Here, from the Marion, Ohio, Star, is a short, cool piece by a guy who's been featured on my blog page before, I believe. He's a family man, a recreational cyclist and a hero, I'd say.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

David Bryne's "Bicycle Diaries"

From the SF Chronicle online, here's a review by Chris Carlsson, one of the founders of Critical Mass, of what sounds like a great new book.

Friday, September 18, 2009

It was better back when, part two

Here's a NY Times article and, if you're still skeptical, a video, featuring a 2009 Chevy Malibu and a 1957 Chevy BelAir hitting head-on. The video is a bit creepy: Dummies flopping in the cars and the collision repeated again and again as seen by various cameras inside and outside of the cars.

It's creepy - but it's convincing. Check it out.... It was made by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. I trust those people the way I trust big oil. Don't you? Hard to fake this film though, I'd say, and not much to be gained by scaring folks out of their old Chevys. Right?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

First Patrick Swayze and now Mary Travers...


Well, hell....

If you're under 50, Mary Travers' name won't mean much to you. She was the Mary in Peter, Paul and. If, as the NY Times obit says, P,P and M were the sex appeal of the folk era, Mary was the sex appeal of the group.

Here's a You Tube video of the three singing If I Had a Hammer, introduced by Pete Seeger, who wrote the song. You can see how the camera (and so many of us folkies) loved Mary Travers. Oh my: Mary Travers.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Do you NOT believe everything you read in the papers?

You can believe this. From the Tucson Citizen, it's a description of the perils of cycling in "one of Bicycling Magazine's Best Cycling Cities in America," Tucson AZ.

Tamar and I lived there five years plus. We owned a home there and figured we were there for the foreseeable future. We loved the desert. Neither of us suffered from allergies; Tamar liked her job; we had friends there and a support network of local businesses we trusted.

We both got so scared there that Tamar only cycle-commuted and I quit riding entirely for months and months. We feel that the cycling community there is in some sort of denial. It's scary on a bike in Tucson.

This gal's right.

Here's her final sentence: "I felt safer biking through the clogged and manic streets of New York City, which I did often, than I did once biking one mile in Tucson to the nearby Blockbuster."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Clinging to the past - from firearms forum The Firing Line

"Senior person" Jart posted this in response to a question about MIM parts, a widely despised, newish method of forming firearm parts by pouring molten metal into molds. I'll put explanations in quotes, if it seems appropriate. This is astonishingly well written and presented, especially for a forum of this sort, wherein many posters cannot be bothered with punctuation, spelling or grammar.

Here's Jart (he's from Grand Prairie TX):

I'm usually circumspect regarding stereotypes but I make an exception for many firearm enthusiasts, most especially revolver aficionados, who can lean dramatically in the direction of hidebound reactionaries. [Seinfeld]Not that there's anything wrong with that.[/Seinfeld]

This subset of revolver folks, if they were fishermen or golfers, would still be using bamboo and persimmon respectively. Fooey on carbon fiber and they would probably boycott Ruger if they learned Ruger was casting titanium heads for Callaway.

These are the folks you remember that griped and moaned at family reunions about the bean counters taking over when transistor radios started showing up in the '50s - they sounded tinny and were made by furr in oars. Clearly, vacuum tubes were superior to transistors and would remain so for for millennia.

Their great-great-grandparents stroked out when Eli Whitney started using black heart iron in firearms. Their grandfathers quit their jobs at Rolls-Royce when the automaker went from hand-cut to machine made bolts, stating that the auto was "no longer fit for a gentleman to drive."

They state emphatically that every single, solitary, change, without exception, that Smith&Wesson instituted since the Wright brothers flew at Kittyhawk was mandated by accountants in an effort to cheapen the product and intentionally reduce quality - partially to pad the bottom line but partially simply to irritate the speaker.

Any new material or process introduced in the 20th century was an indication of shoddy workmanship, the decline of civilization and the harbinger of poor personal hygiene on the part of our youth.

Worst of all, we have lost contact with the extraterrestrials that taught us how to erect the pyramids, render navigational aids in the form of pictures of chickens discernible only in flight, (space aliens are restricted to VFR) and taught us the mysteries of metallurgy - not since the first half of the 20th century have we even possessed the ability to forge metal with nobility, keeping it both tougher than Tonya Harding and harder than a thrice-divorced diamond.

I'm taking my yew bow, my hand-tooled boots, my 1958 Winchester, a life expectancy of 53 years and susceptibility to polio and going to catch the train. If I hurry, I'll get there before they transition to diesel.

Back to me now: I don't know what he means by VFR. I added nothing to the above after all, only changed S&W to Smith&Wesson; I'm sure Jart wouldn't mind. When we behave as Jart describes revolver nuts especially (and I'm among 'em) as behaving, are we rushing to catch the train before they transition from steam to diesel? And worrying about polio...? And furr in oars?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Yes, I bought a Harley...in 1970...

And here's the link to my piece in the latest CityBike about it.

My latest piece on Bicyclepaper.com

Here's a link to my just-published "chill, dude" piece in the Bicycle Paper. Hope you like it....

Friday, September 11, 2009

East is east....

As you surely know, I participate in and write about two sports/activities/hobbies, bicycling and motorcycling. Often, as I share the roads with the riders, watch the racing and read interviews with the stars of both pursuits, I'm struck by how seriously bicyclists take themselves and their sport.

At the right is Valentino Rossi, multiple times world champion of motorcycle road racing at its highest level. In dominance, he's more comparable to Eddy Merckx than to Lance Armstrong, but dominance is not what prompts him to put on bunny ears.

Rossi is having a good time. All is not perfect in his world but it ain't half bad either, and he's typically lighthearted - as you sense from the (Superbikeplanet.com) photo.

Even his nearly as talented teammate and rival, Jorge Lorenzo of Spain, climbed the crowd-control fence at Indy after his victory there, sharing his exultation with the fans. That's Lorenzo visible under Rossi's right arm.

Please feel free to send me photos of Lance (or any pro bike racing star) wearing a silly hat post-race or stopping at a portapotty on a victory lap or carrying an inflatable full-size replica of his rival's supermodel girlfriend on a victory lap....

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Canadian drunk driver gets life sentence...

I noticed this in the NY Times but it came off the AP wire. As you read the piece, think of how many times some judge had an opportunity to stop this guy before "he killed someone."

His lawyer, the article states, is considering appealing the sentence. One only wishes the guy had multiple lifetimes to pace his cell. One lifetime in jail doesn't seem nearly enough.

Everyone hates texting-at-the-wheel...except the millions who do it every day...

...and start fights with passengers in their cars who, duh, feel somehow unsafe....

From the NY Times

Monday, September 7, 2009

Not all easy rollin' in WV, is it?

This might've been a fun but unremarkable piece about a high-mileage rider from Charleston, WV - except that it mentions his Litespeed bicycle and how many miles he's ridden it. Makes you wonder how many bikes ever reach that kinda mileage. Hey, this guy's got his Brooks broken in...

Stargazing on Labor Day: Russell Crowe awheel....

Take a look. I don't know what I could add that'd cast any light on this piece.

Probably everyone's seen this but me....

Here it is anyway: The BikeGlow bicycle light - from Santa Cruz, CA!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A terrific NY Times audio slide show

Hi all!

I'm back from my trip, home safe, and I'll tell you all about it soon. Here meanwhile is a slide show from the NY Times featuring a woman in NY City who drives a 1971 Fiat 500.... Wonderful!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monroe Shock Absorbers "Save the Squirrels" Campaign

I'm of two minds about this. I love this ad. If you have to pitch your product, this is about as cute a way as can be imagined. Tamar and I love squirrels so we're sympathetic....and these squirrels are adorable, if you can hear that from a buff, macho straight guy like me.

On the other hand, why wouldn't Monroe suggest that you buy new shocks at 50,000 miles so your car will be more maneuverable and stop better - so you can avoid hitting one of those cute cyclists? Or motorcyclists?

Squirrels are cute, no doubt. Monroe's squirrels are super cute. But squirrels don't have a monopoly on cute.... People can be cute too.

Why ride all the way to Indy to watch a motorcycle race?














According to Superbikeplanet.com, nearly every intersection in downtown Indianapolis sports a banner like the one in the photo. Numbers of Indianapolis streets have been renamed - after great racing motorcyclists!

No telling from here in Denver if Kevin Schwantz Street intersects Freddie Spencer Avenue....

Last year, Hurricane Ike pounded Indy with wind and rain, shortening two of the three GP events and canceling the third. Even in the awful weather, 90,000 fans showed up to watch Valentino Rossi and his adversaries. This year? The Motor Speedway holds 250,000 spectators....

A reminder

Hi all!

FYI: When you post a comment to my blog page, it arrives blind, meaning your email address is not revealed. I can read your note but I can't respond. If you wanted a response, please email me at mhershon@gmail.com, and I'll get back to you. Thanks!

Out of office announcement....

I'll be leaving in the morning on my motorcycle for Indianapolis and the weekend of motorcycle racing there, the Saturday night mile dirt-track event at the State Fairgrounds and the Sunday MotoGP at the Indy Motor Speedway.

I plan to spend tomorrow night visiting friends in Hutchinson KS, near Wichita. I should spend Wednesday night somewhere in Missouri or Illinois and ride into Indiana on Thursday, stopping that night in Bloomington, where I started college and motorcycling.

I'll stay with my nephew in Indy. We'll go to the races with my niece and her family, constituting a reunion, I believe. I should be back home at my computer on the 4th of September or thereabouts.

If I have computer access on the road or in Indianapolis, I'll try to post a report or two.

Thanks for reading, as always.

Blogger sees the errors of his ways....

As I've learned and as you will learn in the comments to my last post, the rant about cell phone "service providers," I was not treating my phone's battery properly. I am sure I shortened its service life.

In treating that battery so callously, I played right into the hands of T-Mobile, who have never wasted an opportunity, no matter what my phone complaint may have been, to upgrade me as a solution, charge me more per month and extend my iron-clad contract.

I chose T-Mobile because they sponsored a fine cycling team. I am sure that the other "providers" do business in the same slimy manner, but I'd have to pay T-Mobile serious money to find out for myself. I'd hate to pay them good money for permission to jump from the cell service frying pan into the cell service fire.

I've found a cheap online source for batteries. I promise I'll be better to the next one.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

See below for rant. Cell phones this time....

This isn't my usual rant about cell phones, about people driving while chatting or texting. This is about the cell phone business, as close to outright deception and trickery as business can get.

Tamar and I have T-Mobile phones. We started by paying in front, so many minutes cost so many pennies. Worked out great, except that if you leave your metropolitan area and drive for an hour, you have no phone. Weirdly, coverage for pay-as-you-go plans is far worse than for monthly, on-going, this-is-a-holdup plans.

But you know all that. Probably. Here finally is the reason for my rant: The battery in my year-or-so-old phone, little used but never shut off, charged all night every night, is holding less and less charge by the day. It's on its way out.

T-Mobile doesn't sell batteries. T-Mobile, again, doesn't sell batteries. They don't feel the need. All their phones are powered by batteries but they don't sell them.

If you say you need a battery, they sell you a new phone (with a new battery in it) CHEAPER than a replacement battery - and they sign you up for two or three more years of their service.

Look on the T-Mobile web site. Look for replacement batteries. Click around there. Look, as I did, in Accessories. No goddamn batteries. Before you suggest it, yes I called Batteries Plus. No batteries for my phone model in stock. Come in and order one. Takes two weeks. Forty bucks.

To T-Mobile, the failure of your battery is not a loss, it's an opportunity! Why should they sell you a boring battery when you can buy a slim, powerful, omni-featured new phone? And more years of good service from T-Mobile? For less out-of-pocket today than a battery alone....

Are the cretins behind this con the same guys who give away printers and sell short-lived $100 ink cartridges?

My PHONE isn't broken, dammit. I don't need a new PHONE. Why is it okay for cell phone companies to mislead us and upsell us? If our local merchants did it, we'd never stand for it....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

PS: Another Pine Shot

The mountains you see in the distance are the Rockies, not far away. Tamar and I are south of Pine on the way to Deckers. You see very few road bicycles on Pine Valley Road, but lots of mountain bikes and motorsickles.

The mountain bikes are loud and the motorsickles are quiet.... Uh, have I got that right?

Lovely day, fine lunch at Zoka's. Wish you'd been there with us....

A motorcycle ride to Pine, Colorado

Tamar and I just returned from our favorite motorcycle destination, Zoka's Cafe in Pine, west and south of Denver off Hwy 285 in the Pine Valley.

Tamar took her digital camera and shot a few photos from the moving motorcycle. As you can tell from the clarity of the shots, the motorcycle wasn't moving too fast. Here are a couple of shots from today's lovely ride.

We think Pine is at about 8,000ft of elevation. It's 80 miles round-trip from our elegant digs in metro Denver.

Evidently there was a fire out there at some point before we moved here. The home you see above all those burned trees couldn't have been there then, could it?

The river in the lower shot is the South Platte. It runs through Denver about a mile from our place...and like us, enjoys its journey to Pine.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A heartwarming Costco tale

A nice story from an elderly gentleman forwarded by my buddy Jim in the Springs (that's what Coloradans call Colorado Springs):

Yesterday I was at COSTCO buying a large bag of Purina Dog Chow for my loyal pet, Biscuit the Wonder Dog. I was in the checkout line when the woman behind me asked if I had a dog.

What did she think I had, an elephant?

Since I'm retired and maybe a little bored, on impulse I told her that no, I didn't have a dog, I was starting the Purina Diet again.

I added that I probably shouldn't start that diet again because last time I ended up in the hospital, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before waking up in Intensive Care with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet. The way it works is that you load your pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The nuggets are nutritionally complete - so it works well and I'd decided to try it again.

I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with my story.

Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me.

I told her no, I stepped off a curb to sniff an Irish Setter's ass and a car hit us both.

I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard.

Costco won't let me shop there anymore.

Bicycle Friendly? Nuovo Ultegra?

My buddy David S, from Seattle, sent me these thoughts as part of an email note:

For a business to say they are bicycle friendly, that they accommodate customers arriving by bicycle, the business needs to have secure, indoor bicycle parking. That business should provide a space inside, out of the elements, devoted to receiving and storing my bike when I'm shopping.

Why do I need to carry an unwieldy lock? Why do I have to worry about banging the frame on a piece of galvanized pipe stuck in the ground? Why do I need to worry about which bike I ride to go to the store? Why do I need to have a clunker to get around?

Why can't I just stop on my way home from a ride and grab some groceries - without worrying about where I'm going to stash my nice bike for a few minutes? Wouldn't it be cool to ride in and hand the bike to a concierge who hands me my claim ticket? That's bicycle friendly, to me.

I rode into Gregg's Cycle yesterday to check out the new Ultegra group, see the stuff in person. Every slot of their indoor bike rack, the one right next to the door, was filled with repair bikes. I had to find a spare wall to lean my bike against. I stood there for a minute wondering what the hell.... Then I remembered- oh yeah, I'm just the customer. Who do I think I am?

The Ultegra stuff looks okay, by the way. The levers are great with both cables routed along the bars. The finish is nothing to write home about. Makes Dura-Ace stuff look spiffier than it already does.

From the Economist.com: How long does it take the average worker in these cities to earn the price of a Big Mac

The link....

PS From a comment to this post by Anonymous: They should do another chart showing the relative healthcare costs resulting from a diet of BigMacs in various countries!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I wouldn't go there, if I were you....

I was born in Flint, Michigan, and lived there until I was 10, when my family moved to Indianapolis. I've never been back to Flint. I've wanted, not so rationally, to stand on the corner where my dad's grocery store was - to see if memories would come flooding back, if clear pictures would replace gauzy ones.

But when I tell folks from Michigan that I'm tempted to do that, I'm warned away. It's a wasteland these days, they tell me. You've seen Roger and Me. You've read about the unemployment and crime. Don't go. You'll only be disappointed.

And maybe they're right. Probably they are.

In the early '60s, a buddy and I on two motorcycles rode from Indianapolis south into Kentucky, intending to ride east to Harlan County. That's infamous "bloody Harlan," where the violent labor unrest and a good leaving-alone by law enforcement created a badlands, a xenophobic area like the OK Panhandle. We were middleclass white boys from Indianapolis; we were curious.

In a civilized hotel near Louisville, the proprietor warned us away from bloody Harlan.

"Couple of strangers like you two, college boys on nice motorcycles, you ride over there and you're liable never to be heard from again," he said, shortening our journey considerably.

As you will see in this NY Times piece and slide show, not everything about Flint is bottomed out and still sinking. A neighborhood called Carriage Town is doing just fine.

I'm going to Indy next week to see family and attend a couple of bigtime motorcycle races. I can spend a day riding to Flint. I can have a coffee in the Good Beans Cafe and I can stand in front of my father's little market. Or whatever's there now.

I never did visit Harlan County. And I don't know a soul in Flint. I suspect I'll never have a better opportunity to visit if I pass on this one.

Will I go? I'll let you know....

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bored with the Conference Bike? Here's the PedalPub!

Thanks to an anonymous friend, here's the PedalPub....

Carla and Henriette Hochdorfer

Remarkable youtube video from my buddy Jim, who never misses a trick. Nor do Carla and Henriette....

And now for something completely different: the Conference Bike

From James Raia's Examiner post, here's the Conference Bike! Please, don't miss the video!

Friday, August 14, 2009

A very Special Olympian

As most of us know, we have lost Eunice Kennedy Shriver, among whose accomplishments was the founding of the Special Olympics. This NY Times farewell piece, by a brother of a Special Olympic athlete, seemed to me to be especially touching. See if you don't agree....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Les Paul.....

Les Paul and that other Paul. Les died today, 94 years old. I'm sure my buddy Phil will comment on this sparse post. I'm sure too that his comment will be far more meaningful than anything I could write. Godspeed, Les Paul....

When the light just WON'T change....

When you're on your bike, pedal or motorized, and it won't trip the light-change sensors, in eight states (now including Missouri) you can proceed cautiously.... No kidding! Here's the word from Kansas City MO.

The only Woodstock anniv article that's any fun

Here's a NY Times piece about the TOWN of Woodstock, NY, 50 miles away from the site of the concert, lo these 40 years ago. Unlike the several reminiscences I read about the concert, about what it meant or where we've gone since, this piece is kinda fun. The hero (a genuine rock star) runs a bicycle shop for chrissakes! Raise your hand if you remember the Blues Magoos....

Bravo, Montreal! (and not JUST Montreal)

Again from today's NY Times Online, here's a short piece from Green, Inc, a blog about living green with an eye on the bottom line. It's about Montreal's bike-share program - it's spreading to Boston and London! Be sure to check out the Related Posts at the bottom.

Retired pro athletes - Where'd all my friends go...?

Here's retired ballplayer Doug Glanville's NY Times op-ed piece about life after the big-league career...or after any sports career in the spotlight. All that money...you'd think life'd be a dream, huh?

Uh-uh.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Where does he find these things...?

My buddy Jim sent me this link. It's a bikie rap video, or whatever they're called today, by MC SpandX. I could not understand all the words through my $2.49 speakers, but you will, I bet. Take a look - it's pretty cool....I think.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Eyewitness rebuttal witness from Ogden

A second side heard from....

Maybe after she got hit by a full Big Gulp, the driver did get upset. Do we believe the writer when he tells us that Critical Mass is a family event, wiener roasting and kids in bike trailers, celebrating bicycle awareness? Or that the overreaction by the cops provoked the melee?

Do we trust our narrator?

What's the statement CM is making? If you ride in a (Friday evening rush hour) minefield, how surprised can you be when you hear explosions?

I'm sure CM is one of the things that's not too loud; I'm just too goddamned old. I flat don't get it.

Movies and the news from Ogden

I like movies that have at least one good guy in them, one character minimum with whom you can identify, maybe even like. Here's a news item from the Deseret News in Ogden UT. No one in it to like.

Gun to my head, I sympathize with the woman motorist. Who'd have thought that a buncha cyclists would act so badly that I felt sorry for a driver...?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Where have you gone, Alexi Grewal....?

This two-part piece from the Orange County (CA) Register gives us a peek at Alexi today. Click on the link at the beginning of part one to see part two.

It troubles me that Alexi's not better known here in CO where he lives. He won the Olympic road race in southern Cal; hence the media attention, I suppose.

I've seen Alexi behave badly and heard stories about his stubborn weirdness, but I've always liked him. I don't believe he does any of the outrageous things he does for effect. He's totally himself and nothing like anyone else. If he says he feels called to minister to his flock...I believe him.

Cycling in Boston? No way! No longer, maybe....

My old friend Addison alerted me to this NY Times piece. I've known Nicole Freedman for years but not seen her since she retired from racing and became Boston's Bike Czar. I've been seeing her name in the news in connection with positive developments for cycling in that great city. Here's what the Times has to say: Click right here.

The Monotones, Mickey & Sylvia...and W.H. Auden re: love

In 1958, the mono-hit Monotones (Thanks, Phil!) asked us, "Who Wrote the Book of Love?"

"Chapter One says you love her.
You love her with all your heart.
In Chapter Two you tell her,
You never never never never ever gonna part.

In Chapter Three remember
The meaning of romance.
In Chapter Four you break up
But you give her just one more chance."

About the same time Mickey and Sylvia sang:

"Love, love is strange
Lot of people take it for a game
Once you get it
You'll never wanna quit (no, no)
After you've had it (yeah, yeah)
You're in an awful fix."

In 1938, W.H. Auden published "O Tell Me the Truth About Love"

Our history books refer to it
In cryptic little notes.
It's quite a common topic on
The Transatlantic boats;
I've found the subject mentioned in
Accounts of suicides,
And even seen it scribbled on
The backs of railway guides.

Does it howl like a hungry Alsatian,
Or boom like a military band?
Could one give a first-rate imitation
On a saw or Steinway Grand?
Is its singing at parties a riot?
Does it only like Classical stuff?
Will it stop when one wants to be quiet?
O tell me the truth about love.

One year tomorrow....

Tomorrow marks a year elapsed since my crash and broken femur. I'm walking well now, thank you, and riding my bike as well as ever, meaning well enough but not super well. Everyone passes me these days, even when passing seems reckless or suicidal - approaching blind corners on busy bike paths, say.

My left middle and ring fingers have never shrunk back to pre-crash slimness. Tamar and I exchanged comittment rings; I wear mine on my right hand. Won't slide over my knuckle on the left.

I have good mobility in those fingers but not nearly what I had before. When I curl my fingers back into my palms, my middle finger cracks audibly, reminding me more than my leg does of that day.

My left leg, the one that was broken, looks like the right one now. I can't see the scars from the surgery and I never sense the presence of the titanium rod or screws in my femur. Weather changes do not announce themselves in my leg. Good as new, I'd say, or good as old-but-sound.

I'm spooked now by sand on the bike path, even sand of insufficient depth to cause a bike going straight to crash. Our paths here in Denver run alongside the South Platte River and along several creeks, so after a rain the water covers low-lying sections of the paths. When the water recedes it leaves gravel or sand or silt, making passage difficult for the fearful - like me.

We've had an extraordinarily rainy summer. It rains in the evenings typically, and the paths are dry by morning. But the sand remains. Most riders intrepidly blast through it. I can't do that yet.

I still owe a few hundred dollars on my medical bill - for the ambulance ride. I got help from the government and from the hospital with almost all of it, I'm delighted to say. Ruinous otherwise.

I'm enjoying my motorcycling despite a love/hate relationship with my Kawasaki, in many ways the worst executed bike I've ever owned. I enjoy my bicycling but I don't enjoy every ride. I feel sure I'll have to stop using bike paths on weekends until the weather turns cold, when many fair weather path-users return to their caskets in the darkened cellars of boarded-up Victorians.

What do I remember about my crash and the months of recovery? I remember an orderly, a black guy, offering to clean me up after one of my first forays out of bed and onto a toilet, an offer I hope never to have to accept. I remember my first shower on my own - able to climb into and back out of the tub.

I remember Tamar's visits and the good coffee she'd bring with her. I remember when she pushed me in my wheelchair to DazBog for coffee - how scared I was at the speed, how rough the ride up and down the access ramps and over the sidewalk joints. I remember how every person with a crutch or wheelchair or cane would say, hi, howya doin'?

I remember learning how to get around on crutches - first two, then one, and how mobile I was on them - eventually. I remember lying on my back and trying to lift my leg off my bed (even an inch) for my wonderful physical therapist.

I remember favors from friends, lifts here and there, taking me to coffee or picking up my bike at the firehouse where the EMTs took it after the crash. I remember the humankindness and efficiency of the Veteran's Administration Hospital here in Denver and at Denver Health Hospital where I spent eight unreal days beginning a year ago tomorrow.

Maybe I will, as Peace Nique suggests in his/her comment, ride out there to where I crashed and look the devil right in the goddamned eye - see if that sumbitch blinks....