6.30.2005

Shop Class: Bicycle Shop Class

in high school I never took shop classes
yes I took art classes.. but I never took any of the Industrial Arts Classes or Shop Classes
sure... I should have taken shop
there are lots of classes I should have taken and did not
it was less the stigma than the guidance of my father
as my father had some sort of idea of what and what should not be studied
I adhered to his guidelines
looking back I should have ignored him and spend more time in the Industrial Arts building
there was Wood Shop and there was Auto Mechanics
but there was also B&W Photo, Print Making, and other specialized art classes
all of which would have been far more interesting and far more appealing to me than another elective that I slept through

I feel that just as high school has a mandatory Sex Education Class
there should also be a mandatory Bicycle Class.... yes.... MANDATORY!
there would be a short 2 week Mandatory Class... and then a full semester class for those who wanted to learn more
the basic class would cover the most simple mechanics... air in the tires.... lube on the chain.... and fixing a flat
so much can be learned from the basic concepts of fixing a bicycle
there is basic logic
stuff many people take for granted
stuff that many people just do not get
kids would learn that there is a right tool for the job
that a pipe wrench has no business being anywhere near a bike
that a 15mm wrench fits snuggly on a 15mm nut
sounds obvious
but these are things that are going unlearned
these are things that everyone should know

In the semester long class students would take things to the next level
there would be a complete disassembly and rebuild of the bicycle
the class could operate its own little bicycle store
kids would learn to work on bikes which could change people's lives
if nothing else... a flat tire would not leave them stranded

most of all....
this class would introduce people to the world of the bicycle
it shocks me how few people use the bicycle for everyday stuff
why would someone take a bus when they can ride a bike....
certainly the bike is faster for anything for 7-10miles and less
certainly the bike is less expensive than paying for the bus over time
sure there is an initial investment
but
there are always used bicycles
which would be perfect for a program like this

from the bicycle class
there would of course be a bicycle club
maybe several bicycle clubs.... there would be racers and riders...
there would be organized rides and tours
there would be the mechanics that like to design stuff and trick stuff out....

why does this not already exist?

oh... yea
we live in a car culture
not a bicycle culture
when a kids gets a driver's license he or she hangs up her bike and never rides again

Physical Terrorism: The Movie!
okay
so at my PT session on Tuesday I discussed with some of the regulars about who would play each person if our little PT Group were a Sit Com or a Movie
this was definitely harder than I thought....

the leader and main character my Physical Terrorist would be the most important person to cast
as she sets the tone to the show...
one of her patients was convinced that the blonde from that old series WINGS would be good
but the Physical Terrorist was convinced that she was walking with the assistance of a walker by now
so that was out....
as a joke I opted for Shaq to play me.... as I am White Shaq... shamefully that stuck....

then for my surgeon... well... if Neil Patrick Harris is not looking too old... then we most certainly would be booking Doogie Hauser to play the surgeon... a character that is seldom there

like the opening line of the great american novel.... if I could just figure out who the Physical Terrorist would be then the rest would all be cake!

Holly Hunter could work.... she would pack that cute/strong/smarmy punch that is present in my Physical Terrorist
who else is a little sprite?

everyone is such a character....
if you knew them you could help... but I guess not
suppose this is less interesting than some of my rants

ah...
the things that occupy my brain...
kids these days....
yesterday I was talking with some Summer Interns here at work
some of which were born the year I graduated from high school

seeing that they are here for the summer I was trying to give them some tips for DC's Fourth of July Experience
after giving them a build up of more "ohhhhhs and ahhhhhs" than they had ever heard I then asked if they had bicycles
the trio laughed in harmony as if I had told that that they could just pop those roller skates out of the bottom of their earth shoes and roll down to the mall....

man!?!?
is riding a bicycle really that out of the ordinary?
some random thougths from this morning....

Assertive vs. Asshole
there is a fine line between the assertive car commuter and the asshole car commuter
right now I can not tell the difference
at times when in the car I am trying to be assertive... but end up being an asshole
as a rule... when I drive aggressively I am being assertive while other aggressive drivers are assholes

WARNING:
warning when approaching or when being passed by the "short bus"
the person driving the short bus was once a passenger on the short bus
stay clear of the short bus

WARNING:
bus driver's in urban areas are driving around breathing in fumes all day
thus causing their brains to be oxygen deprived
most of them were not too bright to begin with.... watch out
DC Metro drivers make riding a bicycle in traffic like Superman racing the train

and another message to Marvin's Producer at WAMU

David
last night I had an incident with a car driver while on my bicycle
once home when my heart rate settled I reflected on things...

the words of the car driver's sounded so much like Marvin's
either he was quoting Marvin
or somehow there is some mass misunderstanding of the cyclists rights to the road

sure I can see how Marvin was attempting to be clever or cute with his little radio rant
but
his voice over the airwaves could have a negative backlash
not unlike someone telling an Anti-Semitic joke
those who are anti-Semitic would not only find humor, but would feel that their hatred or generalizations are justified

riding a bicycle is dangerous enough as it is
such a radio broadcast can not help things one bit
this whole thing has me more on edge as a commuting cyclist than ever before

maybe this is a chance for listener supported WAMU to aid in the education of car drivers
not just in this Friday's rebuttal
but maybe there could a series of stories that aid in opening people's minds to the rights and perspectives of the cyclist on the road

who knows....
maybe WAMU can start their own "Bike Talk" with Spoke and Spare Tire

thanks for listening

joel


6.29.2005

this is too F_CKING cool!
Maps are Cool!
I am going to trace my route home
you can toggle between a Map and a Satelitte image
it is pretty much in that Bladerunner feel
I am sure the geek that developed this was inspired by such Sci-Fi technology

is that the same as GOOGLE EARTH?
another rant just like any other rant
JRA: Just Riding Along

this is a story like so many of my other stories...
I was just riding my bike home from work
me just doing my thing
there was a BMW
there was an incident
then of course there was a near altercation.... okay... a verbal altercation
not a physical altercation
but no altercation can be good
no matter how it ends*
*I have been lucky so far that no one has shot me or run me over

the problem with these altercations is that I am a beast in a civilized world
not a bad ass
but a beast
then on top of my beastliness... there is my anger
well,
not so much my anger
but, the volume of my anger
it is not my anger that is inappropriate
it is the volume of my anger that is inappropriate
tonight I had my volume turned to ELEVEN!

there I was.... on my bicycle.... right in front of my house
that same intersection
only a different person on a different day
I was working the hill
going through some urban hill repeats
not something I read in some book
something I do because it makes it more fun to mountainbike when the hills don't hurt so much
the only way to get good at hills is to do hills
I am not good at hills
but everyone would like to be better at climbing hills
so that they could go down more hills
like most mountainbikers I like going down hills

so I am in a groove
headed up the hill for what was to be my last ascent
it was rapidly approaching time for me to put down the bike and pick up the kids
there was a cyclist climbing up along side of parked cars
so I took the center of the lane just to the right of him
then as the road began to split I continued to fade left as I was wanting to make a left hand turn
seeing that the light was soon to change I slowed for the red
part of me slowed for the red to appear righteous in matters of the law
part of me slowed for the red to be annoying
sure enough there was some screaming and hollaring and a cherry red bmw inches from my rear tire
then the other cyclist reaches the top
I ask if that guy had said something to me
he was not sure
behind the bmw was a police car....
so I waited on the light
the police got a green
my right turn arrow was red
figured I would rather keep riding than to be a nat swarming about an ass
so I went through the red light when things were clear
two blocks further up the hill I am moving at a moderate clip
the spidey senses are tingling
sure enough
it is the gentle hum of that fine Bavarian machine
purring quietly
so quietly it almost goes unnoticed

I signal that I am going to take a left at the light
again there is a red light ahead
then I get more words
it is of course the same guy
not sure what he is saying
so I turn my bike around and coast up in front of his car
apparently he is
finishing the arguement that I had not heard him start

there were words
there was anger
words and anger at this point from both sides
there was talk about the law and my behavior
I said I knew the law
he said he knew the law
it went back and forth on that
he said he rides a bike
I said not enough.... cause he is a fat ass
more about the law
there was spouting off from me about taking a left from the left lane
my right
then me staying as far right as I felt safe....
which with his fat ass behind me was the middle of the road
then again with the left turn
to turn left I can not be all the way to the right

I said some mean things about his weight
he said something about my weight
I said some mean things about his sexual orientation
I said some mean things that his tag implied that he gave good blow jobs
well
he had no child seat in the car
these things may have been a compliment

then I let him go
then for some reason I got pulled into following
old habits....
old habits that never got me anywhere
never got me in a fight
but always had me backing away from a fight

he gets out of the car...
he is flexing like he is a chicken hawk and I am a chicken
I am still straddling the bike
never does his puffed chest really say fight to me
guess a few knuckles to the jaw would have proved my guess wrong
he goes to his car
this is all happening very fast

he is going through his car
I am looking over his shoulder still straddling the bicycle
waiting to see what sort of weapon he is going to get out of his BMW wagon

nothing
there are more words
no hug
no resolve
he speeds away
I tell him not only can he not ride a bike but he can not play soccer for shit either
he gives me the finger
more then likely never hearing a word I said
but knowing that it was not nice

both of our hearts rates were raised
there was no fight
there was no physical exchange
just ruffled feathers and elevated heart rates

there was no fight
not because I am a husband and father who knows actions have consequences
not because of the law or what the law would do to me
not because I still have no use of my left hand due to a broken index finger
not because I was afraind of getting my ass kicked
because this incident did not merit a fight
because there was never a moment where I actually wished harm on this person who is still a stranger
because fighting does not prove anything but who is a better fighter
because of more reasons I can name

honestly I have considered PROZAC
I am also considering accupuncture
sure more cycling helps.... well there is that source and cure of anger relationship
then there is the yoga I have not done since the break of this finger
all these things do help to curb my anger
but
I think I need a more serious approach to controling my anger

these outburst are serious
and
as lucky as that man in the BMW was that he got out of his car and rushed someone like me
I was even more lucky that I mouthed off at someone while I stood at his mercy in front of his 6 cylinder sports car

he like me did not wish ill upon the other
he like me let his emotions get out of control
he like me may have some anger issues
he like me is dealing with some of the issues of being a modern man

I feel a little better now after BLOGGING
I hope that he has a resource to work things out....

what really pissed me off....
this guy sounded just like Marvin
I feel better now..... but I fear that if I do a proof read of this I may get angered again
so I will publish and post and pour a glass of wine


This image was borrowed from Martino's Bike Lane Diary
A Photo Blog that is well worth viewing from time to time
His collection of images always entertain and inspire
this image of the warning sign goes well with my rants of days past

there was a link associated with this thought
TAKE THE LANE

those wacky Canadians.....
make me proud to say I am an American!
(American's of course being anyone from North or South America.. not just the United States)

every good BLOGGER knows to go to the links on another BLOGGER's page
from Martino go to Velorution
travel on from there
who knows... these BLOGs may take you around the world!
WAW: Bummer.... no race... no race report
last week I felt like a real live super
my racing, my riding, and my form were not exactly where they should be for this time of year
but
it was great to be back on the bike
more specifically
it was great to be back on dirt and great to be back into racing

work did not allow for me to get over to Annandale for the second race in the Wednesday at Wakefield Series...

but
if health, work, and family allow.... I should be back next week to slug it out with the locals on a roller coaster of a course!


as it turns out the Honda Element is now going to be sold with a SCION option...
as Element owners were discovering it was tough to store their bread without the appropriate bread box!

okay... my bad Photoshop has gone past "bad"
Bicycle Blogs and Bicycle Blogging Coops

it is interesting...
this whole BLOG thing has really grown to be a monster
the Media is always talking about "the blogs" as if each blogger were typing away on some sort of political adgenda
but Blogs are not all trying to get to the political truth....
most blogs are simply web journals... a text version of a personal web page
there are blogs on every topic imaginable... blogs are a form of forum

here are two Bicycle Blog Coops...
multiple writers... or should I say... multiple contributors

Crookedcog
Bike Centric
FatGuyCycling (which once included FIXEDGEARCYCLING)
and of course
SingleSpeedOutlaw

and I am sure there are more
it is interesting to get multiple contributors...
as it will alter the perspective and the focus
sometimes reading more like a magazine.....
or at least that is the goal of some

Blogging to me?
therapy...
a great way to release the steam from my pressure cooker of a brain
quick ride with a friend
last night I left work and I headed strauight home like a responsible husband and father
my trajectory was direct

DO NOT PASS GO.
DO NOT COLLECT 100 DOLLARS.

taking what would be the nearest to immediate path home
not 16th Street... but the bike path in Rock Creek
but what happened?
when dropping down into Rock Creek Park to access the bike path I saw a familiar form
it was fellow Cyldesdale Chris Redlack
so instead of turning left... I turned right and grabbed his rear wheel

he was meandering about the city on his single speed
spinning fast and hard
pushing a gear that seems a little large for the single speed

we exchanged hellos and started chatting
I opted to talk while we pedaled
so we moved towards the Capitol Crescent trail
all the while I was torn
one eye on my house and the direct route
while the other eye was on the trail in front of me taking me in the opposite direction

Chris and I caught up...
he told me of the Big Bear Course
never boasting about his lap times or his victory
then we moved to the topic of Wednesday at Wakefield
we talked about the single speed class and the clydesdale class
and the idea of racing both in one afternoon
it was clear to see that Chris is in a riding and racing groove
as happy as I am for Chris... it is all bitter sweet
it is painful for me to watch people blossom while I lie dormant

after a handful of stories I took a look at my watch (AGAIN!) and re-evaluated my path home
it was getting late
there were children to tuck in and an over worked wife to releave
I opted to bisect my route by cutting through Chevy Chase Maryland onto Chevy Chase DC over to Broad Branch
yes... Broad Branch
that same stretch of Broad Branch Road that Marvin has told the cyclist to "watch out"

I rolled down through neighborhoods
enjoyed the fast pace of the curves on the road bike as I moved through the tree canopy that is Rock Creek park
pedaled up Park Road past my house...
I always pedal to the top of Park Road and turn back to my house
so even the shortest bike ride has a hill climb tossed in
contemplated doing the hill a few times to aid in the starting of my season
but responsibility got the best of me
after pedalling up the hill I rolled back down... cutting into the alley behind my house
entering through the rear of my house

inside I was greeted by three smiling faces and two wagging tails
it is good to come home to such a greeting
Lisa was reading to Dean and Grant
Roscoe and Brutus were marching about each holding a shoe in their mouth in that classic "man's best friend" here is your slipper sort of way
we all went up stairs where I started the bath for the boys
boys bathed
books were read
the kids were off to bed
there were left overs for supper
my day was done

nothing to do but put me feet up
well actually.... very much to do...
but I could do nothing but put my feet up

with the day behind me I reflected on things
thought about Chris Redlack and his fast Clydesdale Times
thought about Chris some more
being the competitive beast that I am I thought about Chris and the SM100
figured that I best set some goals for myself or this season will never start
as things never start themselves
getting fast is a goal
but without a tangible goal it will never happen
signing up for the SM100 will create another goal

too bad I am unavailable for the Wednesday At Wakefield Race today...
that would be a good chance for me to go against Chris
maybe next week

maybe tonight will get rained out....
giving me another opportunity for racing this whole series

Like a Ghost
whether I like it or not

when I ride my bike through traffic I move through the traffic like a ghost
people pass me as if I am not there
I pass people before they can react or respond to my presence...
all they feel is the wind of my wake

never would I ask a car to stop for me as I am doing my thing
just as I have learned to never expect for someone to yeild to me when I have the right of way
with muscle and guts I take what I can
never given and inch, I am taking a little more than a foot
with elbows out and eyes alert I box the cars out of my space
sure I am thankful for those who stop, yeild, or avoid running me down
but
I have learned to always anticipate the worst
this way I get less angry
this way I stay more safe
this way I know not to depend upon anyone but myself
no one is looking out for me but me

this ghost is forced to think not just for himself but for all of those around me
lucky for me people are simple and easy to predict
always dumb it down for the driver
the driving style of a tourist is different than a transplant
the driving style of a Virginian is different from Marylander... which is different than DC driver
none worse then the other
all bad in their unique sort of ways

just because the turn signal indicates right.... does not mean that they are not going left
most of the time I know what these drivers are going to do before they know
the pedestrian hailing a cab is seen by me before the taxi driver makes his erratic cross lane shift and panic stop
the tourist hitting the brakes to gape at the Washington Monument or the gum on the sidewalk
the person looking for that open parking space
these things can be identified by the tilt of the head, the placement of the hands on the steering wheel, the rev of the engine, the style of car, and the license plate

paper tags are a thing I have come to fear
the Caprice Classic gets something that is misconstrued as respect
the roar of an engine combined with the pump of excessive base cause my spidey senses to tingle
I know that this is not a fight to choose
this is not the time to muscle for some space
this is the time to duck for cover and escape the cow catcher of a run away train

that is enough for now

6.28.2005

this little photo montage proves one thing....
BAD PHOTOSHOP RULES!

but honestly
how do I feel about Marvin?
well...
I think I feel about Marvin the way I feel about a lot of people
he thinks that he is open minded
he thinks that he is a stand up guy
but I think he needs a little education
perhaps he is a symbol of the American people....
they all need an education
there needs to be some Public Service Announcements to educate our society
empathy needs to be taught
the bicycle needs to be seen not as an obstacle keeping people from the next Starbucks
but rather as a person who has as much right to the road as anyone else
not just a right to the road
but a right to their safety


image from Chico Velo Cycling Club
SHARE THE ROAD
this whole concept of Share the Road is a tad confusing....
so often I get yelled at by the car driver that is passing me too fast and too close that I need to "share the road"

well....
I do share the road
for the most part I ride to the right of traffic....
how far right?
as far right as I feel I can ride and still be safe
there are times when riding in the middle of the road is as far right as I feel safe
often I will ride taking the whole lane.... forbidding following cars to pass
this is intentional
this is to protect my safety and the safety of others
so often I give the following cars the respect that they possess some basic common sense
so often the following car drivers prove me wrong

you would not believe how many times I have been passed a a tight winding road
where the passing car is forced to come into my lane due to oncoming traffic
thus putting me at risk
so to avoid these "worst case scenarios"
I have to think for all parties involve
cause believe you me....
if it is a choice between a head on collision with another car or killing the cyclist
the car driver will chose to kill two cyclists just to make their point

so at times I will take the full lane
preventing the pass...
this does not always stop the following drivers
I have had drivers sneak through on my right...
oh that makes me mad
scares the shit out of me too

so when a Journalist like Marvin Kalb write about cyclist on MacArthur Blvd or Broad Branch Road I picture myself
I picture myself on either of those roads
as I have been on both roads on my bicycle within the last 72 hours
I picture myself giving the car drivers the benefit of the doubt
then having a near death experience
and then having to punish the following drivers...
punish may be the wrong choice of words... but I end up punishing the following drivers for the reckless actions of another
my actions are not to punish the drivers but rather to think for those drivers
to make a decision for them
to make it impossible for them to pass
because it is unsafe to pass

if car drivers were to factor bicycle traffic in account before departing their house
well
they would not get so frustrated
everyone should leave a few minutes earlier for work
rather than rushing late for work
image from BIKE MAINE.org
Bicycles and Red Light Running
(or Stop Sign Running)
My friend DT loves to play Devils Advocate
frequently he responds to rants (whether in person or online) with an eye opening suggestion
well...
not this time
the issue of running a Red Light or a Stop Sign is something I have taken into account when I make my attacks on car drivers and car driving behavior
my issues are not with the law....
my issues are with Common Courtesy and Mutual Respect!
F-an-A
toss in some Common Sense while you are at it

when I speed on my bicycle or run a stop sign on my bicycle I am putting one person at risk... myself
on the other hand.... when some joker is cranking his AC and blasting his tunes while exceeding the speed limit he is putting others at risk...
the focus of the driver tends to be on most anything other than driving
there are countless electronic devices that people use to entertain themselves while they drive
all of which should be outlawed behind the wheel...
many of which have been outlawed.... but the law is never enforced
sure this joker's air bags and his crumple resistant side panels are sure to keep him safe for his next adventure... insurance will cover the damages.. but the car he runs into, the kids on the sidewalk he runs over, or the cyclist he forces off the road are not surrounded by the same set of safety mechanisms
no insurance will replace any lives...

my running a Red Light while on a bicycle is a slight modification of the law....

being on the bike I have learned that it is safer to view Stop Signs and Red Lights as YIELD SIGNS
rather than rules for complete stops....
making a complete stop puts me at greater risk as well as makes me a greater hinderance to the flow of traffic behind me
if you think a bicycle pisses people off in their cars...
well, lets see how pist people get when the bike makes a full stop.... puts their feet on the ground... looks both ways... then gets back on the pedals and makes a resonable acceleration to top speed

heck... making a complete stop in my car puts me at risk
try it some time
stop your car a the stop line and make a complete stop
you just might find the car behind you in your back seat.... imagine taking that risk on your bicycle
don't try this on your bicycle
in the dual between the bicycle and the car.... the car tends to win each time
I know
I fought the car and the car won

car drivers modify the laws of the road all the time.... not always with a clear head
the speed limits are viewed as absurd
most people tend to come pretty close to doubling the speed limit
car drivers are likely to be more irrate by seeing a driver going the speed limit than when they see a driver doubling the speed limit
give that a try
go 25 MPH in your car.... people will honk at your.... people will flip you off... you will insight ROAD RAGE
when going 25MPH in a 25 Zone you will most certainly be passed whether it is a safe passing zone or not
then try going 50MPH in a 25MPH Zone.... for the most part... business as usual
there may be one concerned citizen who tosses their bag of dog poop on your windshield, but for the most part the speeding car would go on by unnoticed

so often at a party someone will try to do this little Devil's Advocate arguement about me and my red light running....
but it all comes down to the fact that I am giving people the space and respect that they need and deserve
I am not buzzing pedestrians by inches
I am not putting families lives at risk
I am simply riding my bicycle
sometimes fast
sometimes slow
but always with concern for the rights of others

6.27.2005


This ANTI-CYCLING Radio Piece really has me steamed....
first some ranting
then some back and forth from the folks at WAMU

sometimes I wish I had the right to issue traffic tickets

sometimes in my head I do issue those tickets
as I move about the congested streets I see a violation and with a blink of an eye I issue a ticket
but honestly.... I do not want to issue tickets
I want to see a change in behavior

what people do not realize is that this is a de-evolution
that the drivers of today are breeding the driver's of tomorrow
and the example of the parents is bad... real bad

cell phones....
well, those are the least of our worries
communication has moved to laptops, PDAs, and BLACKBERRIES
people are focused on an 8 point font rather than the road
if they are not on their BLACKBERRY then they are killing time watching DVDs or the paper...
come on.... this is not the time for multi-tasking... you are not doing such a good job that you can take focus off the task at hand.... DRIVING!

Stop Signs and Stop Lines....
this is something that is really basic....
people are failing to stop at Stop Signs
people are rolling through the Stop Line
then... there is no complete Stop and there is no time to evaluate whether or not the road is clear
if the light is red.... you are going to have to stop.... don't block the cross walk!

Speed
People drive way too fast
it is far too easy to drive fast
our cars are designed to go to the next gear
it is not comfortable for our cars to cruise at 25 MPH
people have lost perspective of speed

Parking/Double Parking
not sure about your home town
but here in DC it is common place for people to illegally park in the RUSH HOUR NO PARKING ZONE
then
also durning RUSH HOUR... people are double parked
this is why there is traffic.... cause someone is there everyday stopped in the left hand lane waiting for his or her's his or her to come out of the office
everyday the same people clog up traffic with drop off and pick up....
and not in a timely manner....
these people are camped out there
I think that the Death Penalty may be the best resolve for such an issue

once again people fail to realize.... laws were created because people could not behave
if people would just behave in a manner that is courteous to others than we would not need laws...
the golden rule could cover it all... you know... "do unto others...."
and for those that need some more clarification....
there are those "Ten Commandments"
you don't need to be Catholic to be able to name 5 or more of those rules
let me paraphrase the Ten Commandments for you.... don't mess with anyone else's shit.... don't mess with anyone else's woman.... don't kill anyone.... and be nice to your momma!
that is about it

Common Courtesy and Basic Respect....

how does this apply?

well...
junior learns to drive by watching dad and mom...
if dad and mom roll through the stop sign.... why would junior do any different?
same goes for speed...
same goes for attention paid to things other than driving....
it is called imprinting!
it is called leading through example!

saying.... "do as I say not as I do" simply does not work

I have typed enough
people are such assholes

here is some more back and forth between me an the Producer of WAMU's Metro Connection

from the mind of gwadzilla...

WABA should have a good answer to Marvin's questions....

why were the cyclists on the road and not the bike path on Mac Arthur?

easy....
they were going faster than it would be safe to travel on the bike path
and
because it is more safe on the road... for the cyclist and other trail
users
car drivers tend not to yeild to the user's of the bike path...
cars pull out of roads/alleys/and driveways over the bike paths... never
yeilding to what should be the expected trail user
and
the speed limit is 25 MPH
how much slower is the legal lower limit?

and on Broad Branch...
that road is a "bike route"
unexpected? he may want to pay attention to the signs
and it is marked as such
has he heard of commuters?

Marvin needs the education and training....

my last thought

is Marvin threatening cyclists that they better stay out of his way?
and the response from David Furst of WAMU

I truly do not believe that Marvin was threatening bicyclists. A huge
number of listeners believe that he was, so at the very least the writing
could have been clearer. But I think the line where he said cyclists
better "beware" was meant as a warning to cyclists to be careful around the
OTHER drivers out there with road rage issues... and about the very real
dangers on the roads. I do not believe that he was issuing a personal
threat of physical violence to cyclists.

When he says "please, please, stay out of my way" at the end... I take this
as a plea - - not as a warning that he is planning to mow anybody down.

That's the way I see it, but again... the fact that the perception is out
there that Marvin was threatening cyclists with real phsical violence...
means the writing could have been clearer. I plan to chat with Marvin to
clarify that my perception is correct.

Thanks again,
David
his responses may or may not be a simple "cut and psate"
either way...
this

Commentary by Marvin Kalb - bikes & carsCommentator Marvin Kalb has some thoughts about cars and bicylces -and why it's a good idea they should never meet on our already crowded local roads.

Ah... Marvin... Marvin... Marvin....
yesterday you did not exist.... now you have more enemies that you could have ever imagined
so many enemies...

How is it that a journalist could be so single minded?
Was this WAMU or was this FOX?

and WAMU.... you misspelled BICYCLES!

I am waiting for your response
you now sit in the same class of journalists as Bob Levy and Dr. Gridlock (Ron Shafer)
other idiots who have been paid to give an uneducated perspective on cyclists and the road....


I am too angry to type
my mind is locked up
blood boiling till steam is coming out of my ears!

okay
serenity now
serenity now!
SERENITY NOW!
okay... I am better now
take a listen to this short little audio clip

Anti-Bike Commentary on WAMU Radio in DC

The current edition of WAMU's weekly Metro Connection radio program ends
with about a 3-minute "commentary" by former TV network correspondent
Marvin Kalb, arguing that bicyclists belong on "bike paths", not roads
such as MacArthur Blvd in Montgomery County, MD and Broad Branch Road in
Rock Creek Park (DC).

Here's the segment description posted at
(http://www.wamu.org/programs/mc/index.php):

"Commentary by Marvin Kalb - bikes & cars Commentator Marvin Kalb has
some thoughts about cars and bicylces -and why it's a good idea they
should never meet on our already crowded local roads."

This program will air again from 5-6 AM on Saturday morning and 2-3 AM
on Monday morning.

To listen to the Real Player audio for this segment, go to:
(http://www.wamu.org/audio/mc/05/06/mc050624-8041.ram)

To provide your feedback, call WAMU's Listener Comment Line at
202-885-1213 or send an email to
met-@wamu.org; dfurst@wamu.org


please give this a listen
and then send your comments to the email address posted above
another rant from the mind of gwadzilla

here is how I responded to this sound bite
sending now... so no response to post

Hello WAMU-
Earlier today a fellow cyclist shared with me an ANTI-BICYCLING piece that aired on WAMU.
Without hesitation I went to the link and downloaded the piece.
Needless to say I was steamed.
Two seconds into the Real Player sound bite I had to hit pause... I could not listen.
My blood started to boil.... my heart started to race at an unhealthy level.
The radio piece evoked the exact same feeling that overtook my body as I was nearly rear ended yesterday on my bicycle by someone who apparrently has the same ignorant perspective to bicycles, the road, and the law.
Once calmed down I then went back and listened to the full radio program in its entirety and then again several times throughout the day.
Each time I listened I managed to get just as aggravated as the time before.
So I write to you now....
If Marvin looked at the signs on Piney Branch he would see two things....
a sign that warns drivers that cyclists will be on the road
and
a sign saying that the Speed Limit is 25MPH
It boggles the mind that he has never seen either of these things before.
Had Marvin been going the speed limit there would not have been a PANIC situation.
Had Marvin anticipated what the signs had predicted.... then no one would have been at risk.
As far as MacArthur Blvd. goes....
that section of road has been a cyclist playground since I was a kid in the 70's.... out riding my bicycle with my fishing rod to Old Angler's Inn
If these people did not expect the cyclists then they were driving in unfamiliar territory.
Seeing cyclists on this stretch of road is to be expected.
As far as "a traffic jam" created by two cyclist riding side by side....
Cyclists do not create traffic... cyclists are traffic just like any car.
If a cyclist breaks the law... they are subject to a penalty just like a car driver.
People on bicycles are just that... people. People who are someone's father/mother/son/daughter/friend.... just like the people in the car.
It is vital that such journalism is avoided because if fuels an anti-cyclist fire. It dehumanizes the cyclist.
People in such a position should think before they speak.
this is an issue that is close to my heart
it is an issue that is difficult to discuss... my rights to my safety are so simple that I can not put them into words
I could go on and on and the go on some more on this topic, but I will refrain.
What this Radio Piece shows me is that we need some Public Service Annoncements to educate the car drivers of bicycle safety, bicyclist's rights, and the human element of the cyclist. Then on top of that people could also learn that bicycles are not creating traffic... they are eleviating traffic... I own a car... I choose to ride a bicycle
thanks for listening...
joel gwadz
husband
father of two
dog owner
and of course a cyclist

and here is the response from David Furst of Metro Connection
Joel,
Thanks for the e-mail. As you would expect, we have received loads of
complaints about this piece. I was on vacation for the last week and a
half, so the first chance I had to listen to this piece was Sunday night.
We'll be discussing the commentary at the station this week and I have
already asked WABA (Washington Area Bicyclists Association) to write a
rebuttal. We're running the response on Metro Connection this Friday.

Thanks again,
David Furst
Producer, Metro Connection

6.26.2005

This is a great shot from Mt. Pleasant Day a few weeks ago....
I was up there with Lisa and the boys...
we timed it right to chance upon running into a variety of Dean's friends from the block and from his pre-K class as well.
We moved about as an ameba mass from activity to activity....
here we are all at a section where there are all sorts of science displays....
the kids were into that stuff to a certain degree
but
they were much more into seeing how a magnifying glass can be used to burn a dried up leaf.

Is this a bad thing to teach a 4 year old?

6.25.2005

Tour Fever Building?
Lance on Discovery

looks like they are going to have some good shows on the topic of cycling and the topic of Lance

there are some clever videos/advertisments
and
I have seen some interesting bits on the Discovery Channel
makes me wish I had TEVO!

are we going to be tested on this?

the videos are great... although I can do away with the non-discovery promo ads that need to be downloaded then need to be viewed


City Bikes
after work I did a short ride before meeting up with Lisa and the kids at my dad's house in Bethesda
it was a mellow ride... just from Georgetown to the Chevy Chase City Bikes location
there I had to order a few things
as always I got sucked into the Clubhouse vibe of the bike shop
Mike K. and I talked about all sorts of things.... bikes... kids.... whatever
I placed an order for a Thule rack for my Element
and bought a few shirts; a red City Bikes T and a Dickies Shop jersey with an embrodiered City Bikes Logo....
saw DT sporting the mechanic's shirt at the Wakefield race and felt I had to have one....
they only had as large as Large.... but I was able to squeeze into it
thanks Mike and City Bikes for the hook up...

finally got to my dad's to find Dean not feeling well enough for the pool
so it was a drive by
back on the bike and back home
once home I got on a MORE flyer project that I have been procrastinating on
note to self
tomorrow's comic is bicycle relate
rhythms with orange

6.24.2005

.

book about lance
snagged this off lee's site


.

so often I bitch about BMW drivers
so that when last week a driver in a BMW decided to yield to me rather than intentionally running me off the road
well....
I figured it deserved mention
it is great when someone does not fulfill a stereotype
thank you lady in BMW for not running me down
thank you for letting me have the right of way which was due to me
thanks for letting me live to take my next breath
just thanks
Schooled by Coppi

last night after work I debated if I had enough time for a post work ride
the combination of the late shift on Tuesday/Thursday and the Wakefield race on Wednesday
left me feeling like I best rush home for some assistance with the kids...
but....
only after a short ride
if I want to start this season... I need to start it now
after the reminder of the great feeling cycling gives me I felt I had to get back into riding
I know that if I stretched my ride out a little I still had time to be home to dress Dean, tuck him into bed, and read him a story or two while lisa does the same for Grant

so I weaved down M Street
passing the bumper to bumper traffic
splitting lanes.... hands always on the brakes.... eyes always on everything
eyes trying to ignore the eye candy on the corner
trying to anticipate the next move of each unpredictable driver
always expecting the worst... always expecting the illogical and the ignorant
always putting my bike and my body in the location that is least likely to allow me to be harmed
zig zagging from what I feel is the safest line to split
always riding defensively in a manner that that is offensive to some
always trying to keep speed
always trying to ride that perpetual wave

knowing I need to be back in time for Dean's wind down to bed time
I pointed towards the Capitol Crescent Trail for a sprint up and back to Bethesda

K Street under Whitehurst Freeway was as blocked up as M Street for the first many blocks
as the traffic thinned I was moving as a pretty strong clip
feeling a bit of a rush from the post work race the day prior
ontop of the pleasure of splitting traffic fast
starting to feel like a cyclist
starting to feel cool

then out of no where a roadie passed me fast and close with no warning.....
his eyes were locked forward
never paying the fred with the backpack any mind
seeing the petite lean man in his Coppi jersey and his Coppi shorts.... I let him go
I was off doing my own thing

then several minutes later I was on the Capital Crescent Trail 10 yards behind this same roadie racer type
so I decided to hang 10 yards back and borrow his pace

in no time at all in a frustrated way I was waved on by the "Koppi Kid"

like I were an insect buzzing by his ear he motioned me past
so... I rode past him at pretty much the same pace

keeping the same strong pace
staying clear of the big ring
I spun nice fast circles in the small ring in the front and the small cog in the back
paying no mind to much other than the sites around me
college girls jogging...
commuters riding
roller bladders complaining that there feet hurt

after some time I glance back....
the Koppi Kid is pacing off me 10 yards behind
no change in pace
I continue doing my thing
over time I forget that he is there and keep doing my thing
trying to stay fast
trying to stay safe
giving an audible on each pass of fellow trail users
slowing at any point that I felt merited such

then out of no where the Koppi Kid comes rolling by
again with the same postition
like a machine locked forward he moved past me
no warning
no comment
no glance
no wave
just eyes locked forward and legs spinning

I let him go
did not change pace
just accepted that he is faster and stronger

fought the impulse to justify things
made no mention of the knobbies on my cross bike
never did I try to weigh his bike against mine or his body against mine
nope
did not try to make it clear that he is schooling me on pavement and that I would school him on dirt
nope
did not do it
there was no panicked justification of my return from an injury
nothing... just this day... just this reality
just let him go
watched his petite little body spin faster and forward into the distance
eventually the trail turned
when I entered and exited that same turn
he was then completely out of view

I was SCHOOLED!
it is good to be humbled
it is good to be schooled
there is always someone faster
there is always someone stronger

if this were the old west
I would have learned long ago that I am not the fastest gun
that is a lesson that can only be learned one
thank goodness this is not the old west
thank goodness I like bikes and not guns

thanks Koppi Kid for showing me up
thanks for helping me to pick up the pace
see ya on the trail

6.23.2005

.


someone please get me drunk and ask me about Jim Weaver!



.
Honda Element-
I am getting a little sick of hearing people tell me that my car looks like a toaster!
that is on the same level as my classic response to the Mini Cooper...
when someone tells me that have a Mini I usually come right back with an enthused response...
"Mini Cooper! I love the Mini Cooper! as a matter of fact I am thinking of getting two Minis with sun roofs and using them as roller skates!"

well...
now I know why people make that face
cause I am starting to make that face when people tell me that the Element looks like a TOASTER



yes....
some Elements look like toasters...
but mine is the Deluxe Model....
it comes with the Washer/Dryer feature!



maybe I can get two Mini Convertibles
wear them as thong sandles
I could use the seat belt for the split toe

I am no Super... but I can relate to Bob Parr
last night after my trip out to Wakefield I felt invigorated
my blood was pumping
I was alive
cycling is part of me
cycling is vital to my health and well being
much like Bob Parr I returned home feeling a greater sense of self
this burst of self confidence overflowed to my family
it is good to start coming back from my forced retirement
lets see if I can pick up the intensity and make up for lost time
only not so fast.... my finger still will not allow me to make a fist
nor can I grip the handlebars

let me keep things to "baby steps"
Wakefield for now... rock gardens of the Watershed later

which reminds me of a Anecdote from a fast team at the last 24 Hours of Snowshoe
Team: All American Bicycle Club
Class: Men's Veteran (35+)
We are Carl, Roger, Merrill and Ron. We strive to keep balance in our lives. Family - Work - Cycling. This weekend is all about Cycling. Does it offset the balance? We know we return as better cyclists, but what about Family & Work? Do we return as better husbands, boyfriends, fathers, co-workers, employees, employers? You bet your ass we do. Everyone should have an event like this in their lives.
saw roger at Wakefield which may have also added to the anecdote on the brain
I definitely want some GRANNYGEAR-ESQUE events in my future

and here is DT's recap of his Fixed Gear Wakefield Experience
my Wakefield experience is below
funding for NPR and PBS...
for what we spending a day in IRAQ we could fund NPR and PBS for a year
okay.... I don't know the exact numbers
but
it is pretty darn close
I say lets give the folks in IRAQ a week off
save a few bucks
save a few lives
and
save PBS and NPR
.



Organized Ride to Cannes
(fun flash animation is the only reason to look)




snagged this of adrants.com
.
Race Report: WAW/Wednesday at Wakefield #1
Summer is Here.... time for watermelon, corn on the cob, steamed crabs, and Wednesdays at Wakefield!

As per usual....
a mad dash from work to home on the bicycle...
to lighten the load of my wife's post work responsibilities I walked the dogs in Rock Creek Park... then I packed up the car and zipped across town towards I395
my cross town zip brought me to a halt in Georgetown where sat in bumper to bumper car commuter traffic
watched storm clouds gather as I crossed the Key Bridge into Rosslyn
then watched rain on my windshield
contemplated turning back... but pushed forward
it took 45 minutes to travel 16.1 miles from my house
a frustrating experience
an experience that would cause many to move to public or alternative transportation
an experience that only gave me greater superiority to the car commuter culture

arrived at Wakefield with just enough time to register, jump into my City Bikes race apparel, and spin the Karate Monkey Rigid Single for a 5 minute warm up before lining up for the start

the Clydesdale field was small.... three deep and the third was no where to be seen at the start
as the few... the proud.... the oversized we waited at the back of the queue and started after everyone else
not sure what my body was going to be able to do after a few months off the bike and a finger still on the mend from surgery, so I did not stress my starting position

the race was pretty much all smiles
it was great to be out there
it was great to be racing
my legs and lungs felt good
my immobile index finger was not as much a hinderance as I had feared
there was a tad less control.... but on a non-technical course I was able to ride strong

the race course at Wakefield had some welcome changes
sometimes change can be good!
there was the addition of several wooden bridges... some Paris Roubaix stone sections... and some interesting chain link fence stream crossings
the alterations of the course made Wakefield more of a ROLLER COASTER RIDE than a mountainbike race
each time we exited the woods the course would switch back and take us into the woods for some more
the whole experience was a HOOT A HOLLER AND A SCREAM!...perhaps a REBEL YELL!
I was so happy to be out there!
it was good to be back out on the bike
it felt amazing to be back on dirt
and
it was fantastic to be racing again

the rain did not effect the course with any significance
the moisture in some areas caused me to corner with caution
as well as my approach to any log crossing or wooden bridge was done in the most stable and upright position as possible

managed to finish the race without any crashing or any trauma to my injured index finger
my right/healthy hand was worked
clearly I was compensating for the injury by having my right hand do the majority of the work

coming across the finishline at the end of the race was exhilerating
it was great to be racing again
it was great to be reunited with so many friends within the cycling culture

if I can I will try to head out to a few more of these Wakefield races....
maybe I can steal some of the Clydesdales from the other classes to make more of a race out of things
but in the end.... I am racing myself
it is all about personal best
that is was the splits are for... that is what the final time is for

WAW#1 Results

6.21.2005

hang onto some heritage
or steal some from your neighbor

sure the kids had a blast playing my home made version of Pin the Tail on the donkey...
not sure if the Pin the Tail on the Shark and Pin the Tail on the Elephant were Martha Stewart getting crafty... or Martha Stewart on crack in the ghetto with some duct tape (duck tape)
either way....
the lack of interest in the activity by Marcos got me thinking...
is Pin the Tail on the Donkey some lame activity proper white people play at their parties?
would a pinata been much more fun?

that said....
the majority of the children playing were latino....
all of them had fun
no one complained
never was there mention of the missing pinata
although a pinata would have been cool

one thing I forgot to mention....
all the children cheated other than one
Donald's mom was convinced that he had not
but the shark's tails were stacked as if no blindfold were involved

I have vague memories of being sent home from a party when I was four
I seem to recall my inabilty to not peek while playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey

oh
actually...
I have done the pinata before
.
if I recall correctly, it started to rain on Dean's birthday just as we were about to move to the Pinata
so the pinata stayed in the back of my truck
later that year I crashed countless kids' birthday parties always looking for the appropriate time to use this yellow paper mache teddy bear filled with dime store toys and penny candy....
I think this teddy bear lasted till 10 months later
at Dean's cousin's birthday party
it was the classic scenario as portrayed by John Hughes in parenthood where the kids lose interest unable to make a dent in the solid structure
and the adults take a failing wack at things
until finally there were broken toys and shattered candy all over the yard

I think I will hold onto my
Pin the Tail on the Shark and Pin the Tail on the Elephant
but maybe add the Pinata from time to time
Self Medicating
self medication is a funny thing....

we live in a society where we no longer fix anything
everything is disposable
everything is made so that a specialist must be called in for the repairs
many things that people did themselves 10 or 15 years ago are now out sourced
we are now a few generations away from a time when everything could be fixed with a little tinkering
heck... slamming the side of that old television set really did fix the picture

there was a time when a man changed his own oil, cut his own lawn, and even fixed his own bike
holes is socks were sewn
rips in jeans were patched
and
lost buttons were replaced... sadly... I lose a button... I lose a shirt

yes... now it is all a little different
paper routes and dog walks are no longer chores or jobs for young kids looking to develop character
no.... these are jobs held by adults
no longer do pre-adolescent kids mow your lawn or shovel your walk
don't be foolish...
the landscapers needs year round employment.... they will shovel your walk when there are no hedges to trim or weeds to be plucked
there are now professional gutter cleaners, window washers, and car detailers
we don't even wash our own cars anymore?

there is one thing that remains in the hands of the Self Helper and the Do It Yourselfer!

SELF MEDICATION!

angry.... sad.... depressed..... lonely
you name it.... there is a bottle at the corner store that will fix ya right up


okay... you got me
that bottle from the corner store is no closer to curing a persons woes than those bottles at Track Auto that are sold to "seal your radiator" or "clean your carborator" or whatever else these products may claim to do
I know.... I have tried them all!
well... you got me... Fix a Flat works!
so that bottle from the corner store may fix some minor stuff like a teen heart break
but for the most part those quick fixes are just band aids
band aids that just cover up the wounds and do nothing to cure them
yet we use them just the same

come on.... if you are having that drink before bed to help you sleep
why not seek out something that is actual designed to help a person sleep?
Hornets or Wasps?
I really don't know
I really don't care
all I know
is I don't want them there!

there was a small nest developing on the side of Dean's Clubhouse
(correction: Dean and Grant's Clubhouse)
several children have already been stung... only once on my clock
we should have taped off the area after the first instance... but I had not looked close enough to find the nest

after work I went to several local stores
all with empty shelves where my HORNET/WASP Nest Spray should be
finally I drove off to Strohsniders's in Bethesda.. a "real" hardware store
returned and I sprayed the nest with some instant resolve in a can
not sure if it worked
not sure if it worked any different than my grandfather's efforts with the garden hose
we will learn tomorrow
last night I left it there were piles of toxic foam and a swarm of angry Hornets
or are they Wasps?

this morning I surveyed the area and did some clean up
my only hope is that the remaining stinging insects don't decide to all start their own individual communes!


baby center on bee stings
lenny was right


(Grant appears only on the two side images... the other boy in stripes is not mine)
while my wife was at a party with the two boys...
I was blogging
the party was at Lenny's
should have been riding
but I was blogging
okay... maybe I should have been at the party... but I feared I would be "partied out"
so I spent my time setting up for Dean's Pool Party at his grandparent's house
those are a few shots from the party...
in reality... by the time I had purchased the final items from the list and had the coals going on the grill... the first guests were arriving
Computer Guy... Not Water Boy.
Office Politics.

Throughout our little office building there are various water coolers.

So often I go to get a cup of water and find the cooler empty.

Most of the time I take it upon myself to replace the empty receptacle when I stumble upon it... while sometimes I feel that my actions are performed disproportionately to my intake of water so I shirk the responsibility.

After all... I am the Computer Guy... not the Water Boy!

I am sure there are other things in the office that aggravate me.

I feel that my actions enable the office workers lazy behavior.
If the bottle runs dry as I fill my cup... sure I will change it.
But it is not my duty to walk the building making sure the water coolers are full and operational.

I am sure that people are tired of hearing me tell them to take the stairs.... as our building is three stories high... I have measured the stairs in this building against the stairs in my house... but I risk to say that there are not so many more stairs here that make me feel I need to take an elevator.

oh... my office is SNACK CENTRAL
there are always snacks on the main reception desk
during my daily duties I frequently make a pass through this location
it is not so uncommon to see the empty container from what was once offered to the swine
it seems that they are consistent in their neglect for common courtesy

6.20.2005

Back to the Bike: Teaching a child to ride without training wheels

here I am back on this topic
Dean is now 4 years old... he seems to be getting too large for his first bicycle
I have a larger bicycle for him... but am thinking of only giving this bike to him without the training wheels
work is calling
Sheldon Brown's take on various ways to teach a child to ride without training wheels


(spoke borrowed from the Sheldon Brown page)

there have already been a few comments on this topic....
for which I am thankful
one issues....
teaching a person to do something always has one difficult variable..... THE STUDENT!
ever try to teach an adult male to SNOWBOARD?
that can be fun!
they always want to apply what they know from something else rather than listening to the instructions
so whe n I approach this task of teaching my son to ride a bike without training wheels I have to take into account him and his intersts
as well as his abilities....

I am going to try and work on this this evening...
or some of the evening this week
will let you know how it goes
I am going to try and do the basic removal of the training wheels and running along side my son
then
mix it up with the PEDAL REMOVAL SYSTEM.... which makes sense... except for having to stop the bicycle
hope he learns fast...
hope he wants to take the training wheels....
hope I win the lottery