Monday, May 31, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
I met him a few times and he did seem like a great guy. David S and I had coffee with him the morning after the San Francisco GP a few years ago. We were sitting at Starbucks across the street from the race HQ hotel. Floyd walked in and sat with us. Again, I thought he was a great guy and David did too.
Now it's hard to know what to believe. Maybe I just want him to be an honorable guy, even when he's admitted that he wasn't. I don't see myself giving up on Floyd. If I'm honest with myself, maybe that's about me and not about Floyd at all.
Thanks, David S, for the link. I'm sure you're just as saddened as I am.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Next to last line: "In a car, a road is just a road, but on a bike, the world becomes a place to explore again."
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Look at all those people on that ferry going to the February Chilly Hilly ride. See all that raingear? Imagine how cold it was. Enlarge the photo. Look again at all those people....
Friday, May 21, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
The day Greg LeMond was shot was bad. The day Floyd was stripped of his Tour win was bad. The day Trek quit making/selling LeMond bicycles was bad. The day we heard false reports that Eddy had cancer was a bad day. So was the day long ago when we lost Jacques Anquetil. The Festina affair was bad too.
But this is awful on the grand scale. We should be flying cycling's flag at half-mast.
I have to believe that Floyd has been beaten down by losing so much that he is holding himself up on the ropes. I suspect that if we want to think the best of him, and I DO want to think the best of him, we must conclude that he's not emotionally together and knows not what he does.
Floyd's not dumb. Can he expect people to believe his accusations?
When we raced for water bottles and cotton musettes, most of us dreamed of watching the Tour de France. We never imagined that one or a few of us would RIDE the Tour or for chrissakes WIN the damn thing. Who'd have imagined guys making themselves rich by riding their bikes?
Now there's big money and big prestige. There's stardom at stake. And lots of men (and probably a few women) desperate for that money and fame. I wonder if some of us doped when we raced for water bottles or (if we were lucky) some dealer's oldest tubular tire. Maybe.
Maybe also my relationship with money is not so simple and transparent, but when the first guy suggested that we "follow the money," he probably spoke Sumerian. Maybe money does ruin everything.
With so much to be gained by pedaling faster than the other guy, can we look with scorn on athletes who can't resist buying themselves an edge? Can we be sure we wouldn't do the same?
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
That's the last paragraph in the Times piece about the 50th anniversary of Cafe Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY. If you're an old folkie, a fan of acoustic music or curious about how resolutely un-mainstream acts found places to play, read the rest.
Monday, May 17, 2010
As we walked in both directions, we'd approach intersections and find that a car would come to a stop at the corner directly in front of us, blocking the marked or unmarked crosswalk. The driver would wait for traffic to clear, ignoring or pretending to ignore us standing there, and proceed just as if we had never existed.
The same thing happened four or five times: the same thing. A couple of times we waited for the car to vacate the crosswalk. A few times we walked around the car.
We were not scofflaw urban cyclists nor were we outlaws of any stripe. We were a couple walking to breakfast on a Saturday morning.
I'm sure the same thing has happened to me dozens or hundreds of times in the past, but it struck me especially that day -- it was so blatant and so frequent.
Not one driver halted his or her imperial progress to let us walk across the narrow street in front of the car. Not one driver bothered to back out of the crosswalk so we could pass.
Rudeness is the default. Defensiveness is the default. Sharing roads is a fantasy. Merely acknowledging the presence of others in "your world" is rare good manners.
Maybe this is just 21st Century human nature. Maybe it's urban America in decline. Maybe it's individual rudeness multiplied a million times. How did we get to this place?
Sunday, May 16, 2010
When I reach middle age, I suppose I'll really have to worry about this stuff. Heh...heh.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
As some of you will know, Grant Petersen of Rivendell has fallen off his bicycle and broken his thumb. He is typing in a limited fashion these days -- in his ee cummings period, he says.
Even if you love your Scott or Cervelo, an occasional look at the Rivendell site will remind you that there is more than one way to do this cycling thing.
Added later: Another Roadeo, this one a bit more sanitary. If you check this one out, scroll down and look at the waterproof shoe covers...if...you...dare.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
This is Jim W of Bisbee AZ, on my old Honda GB500. The Honda is 21 years old and Jim is somewhat older yet, but both are doing fine, thank you. Jim and I became friends in 1970 or '71, when I owned a little motorcycle accessory store in San Mateo, California. We have ridden many hundreds of miles together over the years. He and his wife Irene are my oldest friends, I'd say, or certainly the oldest friends with whom I'm in regular contact.
I miss that lovely Honda but knowing that it's in the best possible hands is comforting. Before you ask, Jim is not in his riding gear. He's in his getting-photographed-on-beautiful-motorcycles gear. I feel sure he's in front of his garage in Bisbee (or Naco, to be precise) Arizona. In the background of the shot--that's Arizona. Behind the camera? That's Mexico.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Note the map, highlighting Bicycling Magazine's best cycling cities -- all are in the northern half of the country except Tucson. Perhaps a six-month riding season -- unless you're a die-hard -- adds points to your town's cycling-friendliness score.
Ah, Tucson. Tamar and I believe that Tucson's best efforts are aimed at lobbying and courting these awards, not at actualizing or enhancing rubber-on-the-road bike-friendliness. We looked carefully, as you'd imagine, for cycling friendliness in Tucson during the years we lived there.
You could say we looked under every rock, redneck and smug retired contractor from Omaha, yearning as we did for the fabled Tucson bike lanes paved with high-consciousness motorist gold. We came up empty-handed. Riding in groups was iffy; riding solo was just too scary.
The car is king everywhere in the US, and given our mentality as a nation, perhaps that's as it should be or must be. But that unthinking reliance on motor vehicles is worst, we feel, in new America, in areas where almost no one wanted to live before the advent of air conditioning.
It must be bicycle award season, huh? I wonder what these fetes are supposed to accomplish.... Do I want to pick up and move to one of the lauded cities? Would you?
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I'm not sure what I think about this (writes your blogger), but the numbers of responses to the stopping-at-lights piece and the Times's choosing to run it last week mean that lawless cyclists are on motorists' minds - well, those few who seem to have minds.
While the cyclists are hardly more lawless than the motorists, motorist scofflawing is the default; cyclist scofflawing is new and outrageous. We seem to be taking advantage, grabbing an edge on drivers sitting in line in their incredibly costly cars waiting, fidgeting, for the light to change.
Yesterday, as I rode my motorcycle along one-way, four-lane Eighth Avenue in central Denver, a guy on a bicycle (no helmet, one gear, Brooks, backpack - you know the dude) rode in the middle of the rightmost lane.
There are bike lanes on streets on either side of Eighth; I don't know why anyone would use Eighth. I assume he uses Eighth because the side streets have occasional stop signs or lights and he has no intention of honoring them in the slightest, no intention even to slow slightly so all the drivers can be sure to see him blow by, insultingly, illegally, up the right curb through the red.
I'm a cyclist and the guy's actions and evident intent angered me. He may not even be in a hurry. He may only be leaving signs of his presence, like a dog peeing on a post. He's poisonous for cycling's PR, but as someone said on a club ride on Sunday, he doesn't care about cyclists or PR. It's all about him, huh?
I wonder if one of the drivers who watched him yesterday will write the editor of the Denver Post. Wouldn't surprise me a bit. Maybe I'll write the editor of the Times.
Birds of a feather who'd never flock together: Guys who openly carry handguns in Starbucks. Guys who ride unsilenced motorcycles. Scofflaw bicyclists. All have reasonable-sounding explanations for their actions, weak explanations they use to mask their antisocial self-absorption. They want to make an impression. A negative one will be fine.
"It's our right, guaranteed in the Constitution. Loud pipes save lives. I'm a storm trooper in the anti-materialist, green revolt."
Those of us who think about how we can "all just get along" know that we're all in this getting-along thing together. Except for that guy on Eighth Avenue yesterday afternoon.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Five members of the women’s British national team were injured in a collision with a car while training in Belgium, the British Cycling Federation said on its website on Saturday.
Hannah Mayho, Lucy Martin, Katie Colclough, Emma Trott and Sarah Reynolds were involved in an accident that occurred between the towns of Brakel and Oudenaarde on Friday morning.
Mayho, who came into direct contact with the vehicle, broke both her legs, her right arm and wrist and was undergoing surgery,” the cycling fedeartion said.
Colclough suffered concussion and was staying in hospital overnight, Martin cracked a vertebra and has been advised to rest over the coming weeks, Trott suffered a broken collarbone and a black eye and Reynolds hurt her hand and split her chin.
The riders were accompanied by Olympic Academy Programme coach Simon Cope.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Should Stanford be listed as distinct from Palo Alto? Should the Presidio be listed separately from San Francisco?
After living in a southwestern city, Tamar and I are wary of the southern half of the US. We think of it as cycling-hostile "car country." So I counted the LAB-listed communities in that part of the nation. If Arlington, VA is in the lower half, and if we agree that Austin is a worthy inclusion and reluctantly agree that Tucson (bicycle-unfriendly in our opinions) is a worthy one, how many others are there? Is Columbia, MO, a southern city?
The weather's better in the south perhaps, but the car-culture climate sucks.
And we are amazed that Denver is missing from a spot somewhere high on the list. This place isn't cycling paradise, but it belongs up there. Its exclusion causes us to look at the entire project with skepticism.
Something's being sold here, m'friends.
Since communities realized they could attract fresh, talented young workers to their areas by advertising local bicycle-friendliness, these awards have become important to local Chambers of Commerce, meaning folks with money who could care less about riding a damn bike.
Another glass of wine with your dinner, Mr. Bicycle-Friendliness Judge, your honor?
If I'm wrong here, I'm sorry. If I'm right, we're being sold out wholesale by folks who claim to be our buddies. I'd rather be wrong....
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
But we have nothing to stop guys like this one until after the horror.
"...nothing left anywhere but sales and salesmen."
Written by Michael O'Donnell in Washington Monthly, here's a link to the complete piece.
This magazine’s readers answered that question for themselves long ago—if not during the 2000 primaries then certainly during the 2008 general election. Citizen McCain, with his expedient repositioning, ferocious temper, and shameless cashing-in on character-building experiences, made that easy. But in addition to examining McCain, "Up, Simba" also discussed the cultural forces that both produced him and revealed him as a fraud. The key was advertising—one of Wallace’s most animating topics. McCain ran for president in an era of marketing, and his vaunted authenticity itself became a product, with catchphrases like "Telling the truth even when it hurts him politically." Which, of course, helped him politically. McCain sought, Wallace observed, to reap political gain by affecting indifference to political gain. In the face of this confusing show, one could only feel "a very modern and American type of ambivalence, a sort of interior war between your deep need to believe and your deep belief that the need to believe is bullshit, that there’s nothing left anywhere but sales and salesmen."
Embarrassment, this piece asserts, guides us in our interactions with others. A valuable tool in our lives, it is in trouble - as we see every day. Half a dozen times this article will strike you as ringing absolutely true, as it describes us and our friends.
See if you agree that my preoccupation with riders who wave (and who do not) comes from a sense of membership in a group - "signals of the strength of our commitment to our social communities."
I believe you'll enjoy this piece. Written by Christine Rosen. Bravo, Christine.
Monday, May 3, 2010
This piece is about my accident in '08 and the changes it wrought in my emotional life since then.
Not the Same
As you may recall, I fell off my bicycle in August of '08, landed on a big trail-side rock, broke a femur and hurt a couple of fingers. I'm doing well, thank you: My thigh-bone has healed around a titanium rod and the two fingers allow most of their natural motion. The two knuckles remain enlarged and my left thigh is still visibly smaller than my right, but I walk without limping and hardly notice a loss of strength or fatigue resistance. I'm fine.
I say I'm fine but I'm changed from before I crashed. I have more fear. If you catch me in most situations and ask me if I'm afraid, I'll say no, or hell no. But I am more frequently afraid, more easily startled. I didn't realize it right away or even after a few months, but I sense it now. I expected to heal as thoroughly emotionally as I did physically, to be the guy I was before, but I'm not.
Just after my hospital stay, I remember riding in a car and reaching for the grab handles for security - on a one-way street at 35mph. When Tamar pushed me to a nearby coffee shop in my wheelchair, I was afraid the chair would turn over - or get away from her and roll in front of a moving car. The first few times I walked with crutches, especially downhill, I was afraid of falling forward, re-hurting my healing leg.
I thought: You just got hurt. No wonder you're afraid.
I am not haunted by the memory of pain from the crash or the recovery. I'll occasionally relive the moment when my bike's front wheel hit the deep patch of sand. The sand must have caught the wheel and flopped it to one side, sending me in a millisecond off the trail and onto large, decorative rocks, since removed. One of the rocks did my femur. I don't wince when I get that flashback but it's not comfortable, as you can imagine.
I do remember being helpless in the hospital and for a couple of weeks when I got home. Tamar had to help me over the side of the tub so I could shower - sitting safely on a plastic stool. I had to keep a jug by the bed because I couldn't get to the bathroom by myself at night. I wore shorts and my largest pair of clogs for weeks because my leg and foot were swollen ugly.
I remember being shocked by the amount of money it all cost: The ambulance, the surgery, the bed in the hospital, the meds, the physical and occupational therapy afterward, the frequent outpatient visits with my surgeon. But I got help from Medicare with the bills and help from the hospital. I paid my part of it within a year - not easily...but I did it.
When friends would visit, we'd talk about getting hurt. I was surprised how many of them had never been in an ambulance, never broken a bone, never spent a night in a hospital. I'd been hurt. I'd ridden in emergency vehicles and spent time in hospital beds.
I'd broken collarbones, falling off of bicycles and motorcycles, and fingers, falling wrong on my hand as a kid. I'd hit my head in a mountain bike crash and damaged a nerve that aimed one of my eyes. Lived with double vision for a few months. I suffered a spontaneous detached retina that had to be repaired surgically. Doctor's orders kept me from riding anything for six weeks while it healed.
But I got over each of those injuries. As soon as I could see correctly or took the sling or cast off, I was fine. Climbed right back on the bronco.
Maybe because of the severity of this injury, breaking the biggest bone in my body, or maybe because of the length of the hospital stay and the expense.... Or maybe because I'm older this time, I think I'm recovered...but now and then I act in ways I wouldn't have before the crash.
I'm uncomfortable walking on icy sidewalks or snow-covered trails. I like secure footing. When my foot slips, it isn't fun; it's a close call.
Even though I fell because of sand on a bike path, sand in the shadow of an overpass, even though no other vehicles were involved, I'm nervous now around automobiles. If someone across a narrow street remote-locks a car and the horn beeps, I flinch.
Even when I have the right of way I resist walking past stopped cars - in a crosswalk maybe. I wait and let them go. I don't like walking through parking lots behind nosed-in parked cars. I imagine their drivers backing out of spaces without looking behind them. When I walk on an urban sidewalk and cars come out of alleys or driveways, their sudden presence startles me. I want to hide behind a tree.
I'm far more cautious than I was, maybe so cautious as to be called paranoid. I'm especially afraid to fall and break a hip - surely a life-changing injury for an older guy. Maybe I think that I've been hurt and recovered enough so that I've used up eight lives.
I can't tell if I'm writing this for some sort of therapy - or if I'm reaching out to men and women like myself who've been hurt and are themselves experiencing lingering fear. Lingering fear isn't something we talk about, those of us who venture out on tippy vehicles. Maybe it's not a problem for most of us. Maybe it's just me.
If it isn't just me, if you got hurt or badly scared and you notice you're easily spooked, write me care of the editor. Or if you got hurt or scared and passed through a time of skittishness but you're done with it now, write and tell me how it went.
I'm functioning, no question, but I'm not quite the same guy I was. Especially if you got scared but got over it, please write me a reassuring note. Thanks for listening.
Click on this link if you haven't already, and sign up. You like this cycling thing, right? Help make the world, as Bikes Belong says, a better place to ride.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Here's a link to the story and the paper and many archived articles: