Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My first meeting with a Motor Maid

When I began riding motorcycles and went to major flat-track races, I'd see a group of women riders doing a parade-pace lap of the track on their big Harleys. They were called Motor Maids. It was and is a national club of women-who-ride, formed in 1940.

I've been told that in the beginning, it was girlfriends and wives of guys who owned motorcycle shops or worked as mechanics or parts people. Today, it's women of every sort from all over the US and Canada.

On my trip back from Indianapolis, I ran into Dotty B and her husband somewhere in Kansas. We rode a couple of hundred miles together. When I got home, I checked out the Motor Maids, Inc, web site and found these photos and lots of other cool ones.

Are these shots atmospheric or what? Here's a link to the site....

Bartonsville TX bans cyclists in groups larger than nine

Thanks to old friend Mark M, here's the link.

Blackhawk, CO; the state of Iowa; Bartonsville TX. Do we detect a theme here...?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday morning 6/27 post reunion post

Hi all!
I've been to a breakfast and two dinners with my old classmates and had a terrific time. Please don't pass on your own reunion because it seems like too much trouble or you don't want to relive your old unsatisfactory high school experiences. I've been to two reunions, years apart, and both were richly worth the travel and tense anticipation. Go for it, as someone said. Lao Tsu? Can't recall....

The last few days have occupied my mind with things other than the usual. Although I rode my motorcycle to Indy for the reunion, I parked it and drove to the festivities so as not to walk in carrying my helmet, silently screaming Look at Me, I Rode Here. I haven't thought about cycling or motorcycling for days, but my head is spinning from accumulated brushes with old memories and old friends.

I'll be leaving for Denver this afternoon, trying to ride a couple of hundred miles so the following days are a little easier. It's hot and humid here; I hope the breeze on the road cools me. It was still 80 when we left the final reunion dinner last night at maybe 11. Denver has softened me up; I'm used to cool evenings.

I'll post when I get home, I promise. I'm sorry I've been uninspired to do so while I've been here, but as I mentioned, my mind's been elsewhere....

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Assembling a Flying Pigeon....

Apparently not as easy as it might seem....or is it? From a NY Times blog....

VERY nice slide show.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Off to Indianapolis

Hi all!

I'm leaving tomorrow, Sunday, for my high school reunion in Indianapolis. It's just over a thousand miles from Denver to Indy, two days hard riding each way on the motorcycle. I'll be gone until the first of July, give or take. If I can get online during the trip, I'll post a little update.

My class at Shortridge HS, the class of 1960, had over 500 graduating students. I suspect two or three hundred will attend. I'm only in touch with a very few of my classmates and haven't seen the rest (except for an hour or so at our 25th reunion) since we graduated. I moved away from Indy later in 1960 and only returned for a short time in the mid-'60s.

I'm riding Highway 36, the "shortest route from Indianapolis to Denver," as the sign says. It's the old road, not as acclaimed as Route 66 but not so different in character. I may ride 36 in both directions...we'll see.

I plan to see old friends in Bloomington and Muncie, both smallish towns an hour from Indy.

As I said, I'll try to post as often as I can....

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Volvo offers free helmets for some European kids protect the kids from Volvos?

Here's the piece. Be sure to read the comments.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Returning the rental truck

Teddy H is perhaps my best Denver friend. He's the manager of our condo building three days a week. We have lunch once a week and have been doing so for about two years.

Teddy graduated from U of CO with a business degree but retired last year after carrying mail for 30 years. He's a few years younger than I am. He's black and wears his hair in dreadlocks. He's a vegetarian and a meditator and a damn good guy.

We were scheduled to have lunch today. When I went to his office downstairs at the appointed time, Teddy said he didn't think he could do it. He had to return a rented truck to Home Depot. I asked if I could go with him to return the truck; we'd have lunch on the way back. Super, he said.

We drove the rental flatbed to Home Depot and went together into the tool rental area. Teddy and I stood at the counter. Teddy dealt with the Hispanic guy behind it who was doing the paperwork. The building board was paying for the truck rental.

Teddy had forgotten to fill the tank so the guy went out to look at the gauge and add something to the bill to cover fuel. When he came back, we were standing there at his counter. I had said nothing at any point. The guy finished typing in the figures; the printer spat out the invoice...

And the guy put it on the counter in front of ME!

I immediately knew that without thinking he'd handed the invoice to the white guy. Teddy, he knee-jerk figured, was the worker, the hourly guy. I was the guy with the credit card.

I slit the invoice to Teddy, who took care of the charges. As we walked out to his car, I said, Did that guy just hand the invoice to the white guy, the guy "in charge?"

Teddy told me that's exactly what had happened. I shook my head. He told me he's gotten used to it. It's just how things are. His son would get upset about it, Teddy said.

I'd get upset about it, I said.

Used to be worse, Teddy told me. When he was a kid in Arkansas, if you were a black man walking down the sidewalk and a white woman was walking toward you, you crossed the street so you were sure not to meet her eyes. There were doors for blacks, drinking fountains for blacks, and no way at all that you'd ever be the boss of even one white guy.

Most of the time, Teddy and I are two guys going to lunch together. Sometimes we talk about the "black experience" and I'll hear stories of intentional or reflexive racism, almost always told with a sense of humor, and an appreciation of human folly.

I'd never been in a situation like the one today, when my skin color made me the boss, and Teddy's made him a guy who couldn't be trusted with a credit card.

From the Denver Post this time: Tickets written in Blackhawk!

They have really done it, outlawed cycling in Blackhawk, and they are enforcing the ban! Is this amazing or what....

From the WSJ! Scott Adams, Dilbert cartoonist, on investing

Adams advises us, in this hilarious piece, to invest in the companies we hate the most. The paragraphs on Apple are really funny - as is the rest of the piece. It's all really funny.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sure enough, says the Huffington Post, Blackhawk has gone and done it!

Yup, the nervy slimeballs have banned cycling in Blackhawk, CO - not that anyone was excited about pedaling through there anyway. I wonder if casino employees canvassed their customers, typically Cadillac-driving high-roller lowlives, and the nice folks encouraged the ban.

Wouldn't surprise me. Or you, I'll bet.

I could not fail to note...

that it is 31 degrees cooler this morning in Denver than in Baltimore. Our predicted high is 70; it's already 10 degrees above that in Baltimore. We've had warm days here, no doubt, but it's been wintry since October. Argh....

Locals think the weather is wonderful and brag about it. They have short memories, in my NorCal and SE Arizona view. Tamar and I had family visiting for the weekend; it rained almost all the time they were here. I can't recall when I rode my bicycle last. It's been days, certainly. Ugly again out the window this morning....

We were told that even in winter we could bundle up and ride perhaps four days a week. If you're brave in my opinion you can ride four days a month in Jan, Feb and March - in the city. You can commute if you use big, fast, snowplowed streets that are inappropriate for cycling.

Thanks for allowing me to vent. I'm all done now.

Michael Dresser in the Baltimore Sun

This is an unusually balanced piece by a mainstream newspaper columnist about urban bicycle safety. Dresser rode an electrically assisted bicycle around the city, so he knows a bit about what he speaks.... Please read this article all the way through; its conclusions surprised me with their reasonableness.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Just yesterday...

My buddy Denny was in his car following another car on one-way Washington Street here on Capitol Hill. Both cars were under or right at the speed limit: 30mph. As Denny watched, the car in front of him (driven by a 60ish woman) hit a cyclist.

The car hit the woman cyclist as she was crossing Washington. The rider flew up onto the hood of the car, hitting the windshield but not breaking it. Freaked the driver right out.

Denny watched it all, noting that the woman had an earbud in her ear. She'd been looking down at her iPhone, texting as she ran the stop sign, right in front of the woman DRIVING THE CAR.

He stayed to tell his story to the attending officer.

Denny felt that the officer was not present, not really listening to the participants and witnesses. So he asked the officer to summon his superior, who appeared in no-time. That officer dealt with the cyclist's husband, who showed up and announced to one and all that he is a lawyer - and that his wife would never focus on her phone as she rode.

As they all stood there, cops and citizens, two cyclists rode the wrong way down the one-way, brass-bold in the middle of the street, giving them all a good reason to shake their individual heads.

Boycott BP stations? Tricky business....

Better to get Beyond Petroleum.... From the NY Times "Your Money" section.

Friday, June 11, 2010

More threats of bans

From the same British online magazine,, this time it's Iowa....

Bike Ban in Blackhawk?

Here's a piece from a UK publication about a town just 45 minutes west of Denver. It's a casino town, nearly no locals, no reason to go there except to gamble. The mayor sounds like a notorious crook, as you'll learn if you read the piece to the end.

As a gambling town, Blackhawk represents America at its worst, I'd say. I don't care if I'm banned from its streets on my bicycle; I don't want to be there anyway. Still, it's another nail in the coffin of public friendliness to cyclists. As Jim T says in his comments, we're soiling our nest, huh?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Remember this guy?

He's Stu Bikofsky, the Philadelphia columnist who wrote angrily about cycling scofflaws and new on-street bike lanes in Philly. Seems the local bicycling coalition has asked for donations - in his name. Maybe, as a few of the comments suggest, his ideas and theirs are not so different...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bicycling's for kids, says this dude

From the Republican American, here's the cold side of the pillow.... This guy's ideas give us good reason not to fuel his fire. Not that he or his friends need our help.

"There is something profoundly wrong with a nation where more adults ride bicycles than children.

America might now be such a nation."

Ohmigawd. Help us, BP; save us from ourselves....

From Slate, a review of an out-of-print book...

...about three men (in the '50s), each of whom believed he was Jesus Christ, and the doctor who treated them. Fascinating reading, or my name's not Je.... Jus' kiddin'.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Think US drivers are bad? You could be riding in INDIA....

No comment needed, I'd say. Click here if you want to feel good about Main St USA....

Floyd's new legal eagles - Greg's old crew....

Here's the story from

Monday, June 7, 2010

So there were these two women mountain bike racers, see....

And the younger one thought it'd be cool to ride the Leadville Trail 100 in the older woman's class....

A coffee and a doughnut. Sounds simple, huh?

Again from the Guardian, about city life and our secret small obsessions....

Added later: Tamar, on reading this post, tells me that the Doughnut Plant was originally the Doughnut Guy. The Doughnut Guy pedaled a bicycle around NYC delivering his products to cafes. Tamar adds that the Doughnut Guy's doughnuts were indeed special: While eating one you had an almost irresistible urge to shout out to your neighbors your disbelief at how great that doughnut was.

Here's a link to the Doughnut Plant's charming web site. Click on History and look at the (mostly) family photos. Thanks, Tamar, for the heads-up!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

From the Guardian in the UK; Swingin' '60s photographer Brian Duffy's signature shots

Photographer Brian Duffy has died. Here are thirteen of his photos that will take you back to the 1960s: Models, actors, gangsters, politicians and rockers. You want nostalgia? We got nostalgia....

Mr. Colnago, Mr. Serotta, this is Mr Carter

Mack Carter is known as "the bicycle guy" around Iowa Park, TX, and no wonder.... From the Wichita Falls (home of the Hotter-n-Hell Hundred) TimesRecordNews.

"Carter has built more than 50 unique bicycles in the past seven years. When not building bikes, Carter is a Licensed Vocational Nurse, plays bass and sings in a band."

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The electrically assisted racing bicycle....

This story has been around for a few days but it seemed so unlikely I posted nothing about it. Now it's made the NY Times. The racing organizers are developing tests to detect bicycles with cheater motors in the seat tubes. Who'd ever have imagined...?

Glenn in SC, thanks for the heads-up!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Your Favorite Uncles - from the Bicycle Paper

Here's my latest deathless prose from the Pacific NW's Bicycle Paper. It's an offering of advice to new bicycle commuters - from their doting uncles Phil, Corey and Maynard.

Hit/Run driver on rampage in San Francisco

From, here's the sad link.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Washington Post interview with the new Wash Area Bicyclist Assn chief

This guy, Shane Farthing, sounds great. See if you don't agree....