5.31.2010

ah... why not go for the short list... Who is clean?

ah... Valverde Valverde
www.guardian.co.uk

but no one should be shocked
not sure anyone is shocked

what would be shocking... the list of people who are clean!

I took so many photos as per usual at BIKE TO WORK DAY!









it is tough for me to tell what I posted... and I what I have not posted
at risk of reposts... I think I fail to share some shots with you

GWADZILLA ON FACEBOOK is a more simple way to load the images for me
foolishly... I FLICKr is not part of my digital routine
there is not enough time in the day for any more digital in my digital routine

so.... hopefully that is the last post of images from The 2010 Bike to Work Day

Hopper.

that is jack nicholson on he back

you should know that
if you did not know that
then you do not know jack

I bet dennis hopper was on more goul lists than gary coleman's

dennis hopper died this weekend past

dennis hopper's movies were a big part of my pop culture interests growing up

go down the list...
scroll down the Wiki Page for the low down on Dennis Hopper's film contributions... and yes... it goes beyond SPEED
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Hopper

bit part contributions in classic films like classic films like Cool Hand Luke or lesser known classics like River's Edge
each as much of every must see list as Apocalypse Now or Easy Rider
sure he may have played the same Bukowski-esque character in Hoosiers and Rumble Fish
but he played it well

thank you world being such to create the opportunity for dennis hopper to become the man he was
am I a better man for his work?
no... but I was well entertained

bravo... good show.


SUPERDAVE!



SUPER DAVE

in Washington DC it was BIKE TO WORK DAY... at John Eaton Elementary School it was BIKE FRIDAY

BIKE FRIDAY
earlier this season my family decided to "try" something
we "tried" to work a system where our kids got to ride their bicycles home from school
we "tried" it... it seemed to work... so we continued "doing it"

since riding "to" school may not be a feasible option for us due the madness of mornings, the long hills we would need to climb to get across town, and the question as to whether or not our kids would pass out and be unable to participate in school if they were to complete that cross town ride before school
so, we decided that we could work a system where we would drop the kids off at school with their bicycles three days a week then in the afternoon rather than driving to school to pick up my boys my wife Lisa or I would ride to school to meet our boys and then ride bikes home with them


THE BOYS LOVE IT!


the boys love it
the boys look forward to it
We love it and We look forward to it as well
it has been a great event in our day to day lives

it is like a mini adventure in our day to day lives

the bike route home is not always direct

the boys usually want a longer ride with a little "action" tossed in
there are moments where we stop at scenic overlooks to refuel with water and snacks
there are parks with stairs or other obstacles that get looped multiple times by the boys

there are short sections of dirt trails that the boys like to test their mountain bike skills on as well

it is AWESOME!
the post school bike ride is a FANTASTIC adventure as well as an AMAZING additive to our lives!

our actions on the bike seemed to elicit interest
the action of our family on bikes had other families thinking that the
y could ride their bikes to school and from school
it seemed that our efforts were inspiring people to consider a similar effort
seeing this interest I decided to organize a BIKE FRIDAY

I felt that hosting a post school bike ride may aid in taking these other families interests from thought to action


BIKE FRIDAY would be a day where other families "try" to ride their bikes to or from school with their kids

in this I shared our system of morning drop off with the car and the afternoon post school bike ride together
that idea seemed to work for a number of families
I selected a date where I would host a bicycle ride after school with parents and kids from our elementary sc
hool

so... I approached the John Eaton principal Mrs Gartrell with my idea
she was in support of it
after a few more discussions and some email correspondence BIKE FRIDAY got Mrs Gartrell's stamp of approval
I was committed... I would make it happen... BIKE FRIDAY at John Eaton was scheduled
Bike Friday would happen on the same day as DC's Bike to Work Day

in the weeks leading up to BIKE FRIDAY I handed out flyers and talked to other parents about the idea of biking to school

I printed out small posters and placed them around the school
and of course I sent out electronic messages to various school email groups

honestly... I was not sure of the interest as very few people RSVPed as requested
this of course brought additional anxiety to the experience of the unknown which was going to be BIKE FRIDAY

the morning of BIKE FRIDAY I attended the Bike to Work Day Rally at Freedom Plaza
while at the Bike to Work Day festivities I thought about the afternoon Bike Frid
ay
at a number of the BTW DAY sponsor tables I approached the people at the booths and told them about my afternoon ride and asked if they wanted donate some of their SWAG for the kids who participate at The John Eaton Elementary School Bike Friday

it was awesome... everybody I asked was happy to donate to the cause

there were colorful bicycle pins from The League of American Bicyclists
there were reflective leg bands donated by Embassy of Switzerland

the folks at SMART WOOL hooked me up with a handful of bicycle bells
and the Bike to Work Day hosts WABA gave me a stack of spoke cards with all sorts of helpful tips for cyclists

SWEET!

I WAS FULLY STOKED!

the SWAG would be an excellent additive to the juice boxes and fruit snacks that I would be bringing for the participants of our John Eaton BIKE FRIDAY

so.... after the mixing and mingling at Bike to Work Day I rode home and loaded the car with my kids' bikes, helmets, safety vests as well as the snacks and swag and then drove to my kid's school
when I arrived I was pleased to see that the bike racks were filled with far more bicycles than I had ever seen
at John Eaton Elementary School

after dropping off the goods for the event I drove home to get my bike so I could ride back to school to lead the ride

I arrived at John Eaton with plenty of time to set up
there was anxiety because I was not sure who would show up... how many people would show up... and ex
actly what I was going to say or where we would ride

my words and my actions would be determined by how many kids showed up

the ride would also be determined by the size of the group and the varying bicycle skills of the group

FRIDAY AFTER SCHOOL CAN BE CHAOS!
I KNEW THIS... I BRACED MYSELF FOR THIS

I had a little table set up by the bike rack with our juice boxes, fruit snacks, and BICYCLE SWAG

there was a Popsicle sale going on which fueled the chaos
kids were lining up trying to buy our stuff... I had to try to be polite and let all the kids know that our stuff was not for sale
and that
our table was for kids involved in the John Eaton Bike Friday


any and all kids with bikes were given a drink and snack to fuel up
there were some some families who rode their bikes but were not participating in our ride, they were also given snacks and bicycle SWAG

it was not fun turning the other kids away... but... our stuff was to reward the kids on bikes
our stuff was to make the BIKE FRIDAY more fun
NO BIKE... NO FREE STUFF!

the post school madness started to mellow out
the cluster of cars picking up kids had left the area
walking families had made their way towards home on the sidewalks
and the popsicle stand had finished it sales
with the ring of a cowbell I had the kid's attention

there was a short pep rally discussion
a little over view of our objective

it was decided that we would break up into two groups

a training wheel group that would take a short three block sidewalk ride to a neighborhood park lead by another parent
I would lead the second group through a neighborhood ride that would involve sidewalks and streets

we left off as a group and I tried to corral the kids
the event was parent-child which took some of the pressure of individual safety off my shoulders
I had two kids in addition to my kids under my win... which would be hard enough

within my group there was a bit of a rush to see who would lead the ride
while there were some families that were less experienced on the bike and trailed behind at a slower pace

I tried to dissuade the leading riders from racing ahead

as we rode I instructed the kids and families on the dangers of the road

trying to educate both parents and children about being alert when on the bike and the effort to put themselves where they are most safe
we were cautious of the cars around us
most of the cars were respectful of us and gave us our space

we rode as a group
when the children tried to race ahead they were instructed to stop at the stop sign or to stop at the corner allowing the whole group to catch up
the kids were having fun... the participating parents were having fun

we were all having fun

I rode with a cowbell dangling from my handlebars
as we rode down the sidewalks and streets of Cleveland Park I rang the cowbell to alert cars of our presence
at four way stops we gathered and waited for our turn to cross
I blocked car traffic so that the full group of bikes could pass

for the most part cars were pretty accepting of us
for the most part there were no cars that I felt did anything to put us in danger
there were no close calls... but there were a few moments of anxious frustration

our mini tour took us around the neighborhood of Cleveland Park on the streets

then on Wisconsin Avenue we took to the sidewalk
on the sidewalks I tried to instruct the children to be respectful of pedestrians

on our loop back we did a few loops out in front of The National Cathedral
then back to the streets of Cleveland Park then on back to John Eaton Elementary School
once back at Eaton the kids all got to refuel on the remaining juice boxes and fruit snacks

STAGE ONE OF BIKE FRIDAY WAS FINISHED AND WAS A SUCCESS!

some of the families peeled off and rode on towards home
while other families rolled on to afternoon baseball and soccer practices
thanks and goodbyes were exchanged as some families loaded their bikes back in their cars
within the remaining kids and families there was a small group of people that had scheduled their day such that they would be doing a longer ride from Cleveland Park... down to Adams Morgan... and then onto my house in Mount Pleasant

YE HA!

the smaller group was easier to manage
this group was comprised of my two sons Dean and Grant and some of the kids from their class whose parents had asked if they could attend without their assistance
then one family of four
this was also the group of kids that was rolling in the front of the pack in our Cleveland Park Ride


the kids impressed me
they were able to complete both rides with minimal complaints
there were some tired kids with sore legs who asked the requistie "how much further?" and "are we there yet?"
luckily those questions came when we were just a few city blocks from my house
once at my house the kids got off the bikes and started to play
as the kids played I fired up the grill and cooked up some hot dogs

THE HOT DOGS WERE A HIT!
HUNGER MAKES THINGS TASTE THEIR BEST!


after the kids were refueled they all got back on the bikes and rode up and down the alley
the kids from the John Eaton Bike Friday joined in with the neighborhood kids on the block
I pulled out a wooden ramp for the kids to ride
on the first few attempts I spotted them as they rode
then once they showed comfort I left them alone

it was great... sure there was some chaos... but the kids were able to find some order
after a good number of races up and down the alley the kids took it upon themselves to make another wooden ramp
unlike the ramp I built that is a simple up and down
they built a classic ramp jump
I was really impressed

it pleased me to see the kids take it upon themselves to build the ramp
then it also pleased me to see the control to which they attacked the ramp

the kid rode their bikes until it was dark
parents started to pick kids up and the attention of the boys moved from bikes to water balloons

BIKE FRIDAY WAS A SUCCESS!
the kids left smiling

one of the kids approached me and asked me to start a Bicycle Club at their school
all the kids were polite and appreciative

it gave me joy to see the people on bikes who do not normally get on their bikes
it pleased me to see that people saw that the bike could be a bigger part of their lives
but most of all
it gave me satisfaction to see the kids having fun on the bikes
bicycles are fun!
we had fun

BIKE FRIDAY WAS NOT ONLY A SUCCESS!

BIKE FRIDAY WAS FUN!



5.25.2010

more photos from Freedom Plaza at the 2010 Bike to Work Day












an over inflated sense of entitlement...

it is not only that I have a bit of a temper
it is also that I am not shy about conflict

I hate conflict

yet... I hate avoiding things even more
so... I approach people... I create conflict
then I seek resolve

conflict is not my intention... but when you approach a stranger after a situation with opposing view
well... conflict is only natural

sadly... conflict seldom leads to resolve

it is the post conflict apology that brings the resolve
there is not always an opportunity for the post conflict apology to allow for that resolve

it is awkward
it can be painful
it is the process
incident... conflict... apology... resolve

I think that the conflict can be cathartic
without the conflict... there is no apology
then there is no resolve
so... conflict is part of the equation

this is nothing new... this is the way if has happened over the years
on bike... on foot... in the car

yesterday after dinner the boys saw some bikes buzzing up and down the alley behind the house so they asked if they could go outside and ride their bikes with the other kids on the block
what could I say?
so... after we finished out dinner I pulled the boys' bikes and helmets from the garage
then I put the two wooden ramps in the alley

after watching a few of the kids take the jump I decided that I would fix the flat on my Karate Monkey Single Speed and then join in on the fun

back in the house without much time passing I heard it... the sound of a crying child
at first I could not tell who was crying or why... then it became more clear
I could hear it was my younger son Grant... I tried to decipher what was causing these tears
I heard words in between the tears and the breathing... as Grant cried he uttered... "he broke the ramp"
the shakiness in Grants voice sent me rushing out to offer aid to whomever may have been hurt

he broke the ramp?
I rushed out to check on things
as I ran out onto the back deck I was intercepted by Grant...
I asked him... "is everyone okay?"

Grant tried to explain things... but was too filled with tears to really make any sense
or maybe in my haste I could not piece it together
so... I ushered past Grant worried that someone had crashed hard and could be hurt
when I got into the alley my heart was racing
a cluster of small school children gathered around the crushed ramp

all the boys tried to explain what had happened
they pointed down the block to the car that had rolled over the ramp and broke it

no one was hurt... that was a relief
the tears of my six year old son were due to the destruction of his new favorite toy... the bike ramp

with my heart rate already up from the fear of an injured child I foolishly took that energy in the direction of the driver of the white car
protective father and chip on the shoulder cyclist is a dangerous combination for a car driver

when I got to the car down the block I saw it was an elderly gentleman who splits his time between his house in DC and his house in Pennsylvania
I tried to ask him what happened... but I really did not care
all I knew was someone had broken my kid's toy and made my son cry
sensibility was blocked by adrenalin

we shared a few words
his words of course backing his actions
my words of course defending the actions of the small children
there was failed logic from his side that the kids should not be in the alley... that the alley is no place for the kids on the bikes... there was mention that in his twenty plus years of living on the block he had never seen kids ride their bikes in the alley

I stormed away saying that I could not have this conversation... that he would have to be thirty years younger for me to talk to him... I was too angry to try and dispute his failed logic
I told him that he needs to give respect to get respect
that it is his duty to go apologize to the children for breaking their ramp

I then went and repaired the ramp for the boys
the ramp repairs were finished in the time it took this man to complete a three point turn into his garage
my repairs were assisted by my two boys... it was not an immediate process
this old man's driving was such that his right to be on the road may be in question

his three point turn took one hundred and five turns
while my boys each took many attempts on finishing the deck screws I had started with the cordless drill

more facts were revealed
I already knew that this man in the white car had not waited long for the boys to move the ramp
how long could he have waited?
I was not in the house for more than a few minutes before I heard the wailing of my younger son
then my older son told me that the man had already driven up on top of the ramp when he told the boys to move the ramp
then it appeared that the man was grunting and making noises
that the kids could not tell what he was trying to say

my older son Dean tried to give his account of the situation
although I did not get a fair sense of how much time the man waited
Dean did tell me that the man did not ask the kids to move the ramp until after he had actually rolled on top of and crushed the ramp

oh man... the details are skewed
the perspective of the small boys matched up to the account of this elderly man
I wondered... did this man even see the first ramp
was he telling the boys to move the second ramp without knowing he had driven on the first ramp?

with the ramp fixed the boys got on with their riding
they rode for a bit... I never brought my bike out to join in on the fun
I was not feeling very fun

after my heart rate dropped I walked down the block to apologize for my actions
my approach was a bit rough
I had been angered... I had calmed down
I knew that I had been a bit emotional feeling as if I needed to defend my children
so... I walked down the block and knocked on my neighbor's door

I was invited in
this elderly gentleman was smoking his pipe in the front room along side of his wife
I re-introduced myself and made mention of how I had shoveled out his wife's car during the great snow storm of the winter past
I tried to make him understand my being overly excited for fear of an injured child and how the adrenalin of the moment carried over to our conflict

we spoke for two seconds about the kids in the alley and the damage to the ramp
all was resolved... all was forgotten
in a matter of minutes we were onto another topic
I sat and listened to my elderly neighbor tangent hop from one political idea to another
all sorts of information from all sorts of directions
eventually I had to break free and head home
peace was made... the goal was achieved

I asked him to expect the kids on bikes in the alley and to try and be more patient with them

again... I do not feel that it is the obligation of the people in the alley to clear out of the way of the oncoming car as if it is driven by the King of Siam

I asked him to understand that these are children... and that it takes them a few minutes to sort out the situation
their first objective is to get clear of the approaching car
then... moving the ramp is their next consideration
adults need to be patient with children... children do not respond with the snap of the finger
moving the ramp... knowing to move the ramp... well... it is all part of the developing process

honestly... the ramp was placed enough to the side that the car should have been able to slip in between the ramp and the trash cans

the car driver often has an over inflated sense of entitlement
this man driving down the alley had this over inflated sense of entitlement
OUT OF MY WAY!

for some reason the car driver feels that they have a greater right to space than anyone outside of a car
yes... basic physics gives them a bit of an advantage
what about shared space? what about the rights of others?
for the car to demand that the pedestrian or the playing child needs to clear the way because they will run them over... well
... such behavior is that of the bully
bully behavior is not to be tolerated

on the bike I experience the aggressive car driver and their emotion induced fast and close passes
that... "I will teach them a lesson" mentality

this is a shared alleyway
there needs to be a more neighborly approach to things
people parking in the alley need to come to expect that there may be children playing in the alley
they need to be patient
adults need to be patient with children
just as people need to be patient with the elderly

we all need to respect each other
no one has any greater right to this space
the space is shared

respect should be granted
and
respect should be met with respect

two posts about prior conflict with a neighbor who was impatient with the kids being in the alley

http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com/2010/05/issue-resolved-hopefully.html
http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com/2010/05/i-have-tried-to-lessen-bitching.html


BIKE STOLEN...

this sucks...

Emily McDonald was involved in the GO BY BIKE CHALLENGE
an effort to live CAR FREE!
http://gobybikechallenge.wordpress.com/

well... last night Emily's commuter bicycle was stolen
THAT SUCKS!

in the DC Area?
keep your eye out for a

Trek Valencia - 17" - pedal assist


http://gfkracing.blogspot.com/


June 12th: Big Bear 2X12

OH MAN!
there is a DUO Clydesdale... but I have prior obligations

in the absence of the 24 Hours of Big Bear there has been an effort to FILL THE VOID

sure enough... a multi-lap relay race has been taken both the time slot and the location

THE BIG BEAR 2 X 12
www.bigbearwv.com

register at Bike Reg
www.bikereg.com

The Making of a Brooks Saddle


The Making of a Brooks Saddle
Video on YOUTUBE

saw this on the Harris Cyclery Blog
http://blog.harriscyclery.com/

Tweaks to the Bike Lanes

Tweaks to the Bike Lanes
www.wtop.com


this is true...
Bike Lanes have to be more than throwing some paint on the road
there need to be adjustments
there needs to be thought to the effectiveness or the ineffectiveness of the bike lane efforts
in so many cases it seems like there is an effort to have the stripes for the Bike Lanes put on the road... then it is all forgotten

it should be an evolution

it is not as simple as striping the lanes and calling it a day
this project is not finished
there should be an assessment of the effectiveness
there should be a follow up to see how the cars and bikes are responding to the changes
what is working... what is not working... and what needs to be done to make things better

several years ago I spearheaded a TRAFFIC CALMING EFFORT on my city block here in Mount Pleasant
knowing that this street was a logical location for Bike Lanes I pushed for Bike Lanes
early in my efforts I learned that this block was already on the city's Master Plan and bike lanes were slated for this block
so... I pushed for Bike Lanes to happen sooner rather than later

Jim Graham... Jim Sebastian... and others responded

there was some discussion...
people met on the block to access the situation
council members... DDOT representatives... DC Police... Eric of WABA... MikeK then of City Bikes, and a handful of representatives of the bicycle community

I had big ideas... ideas a little more than just the bike lanes in the door zone
but no... they were not looking for big ideas... they were there to make the bike lanes happen
which they did... the lanes were put down in a less then logical manner
I was pleased with what was done... even if the efforts were less than perfect
something was better than nothing

after the lanes were there there was no more discussion
I am not sure if the city ever took a glance at the effectiveness of the changes
there should be an assessment
the lanes should have been the first step in an evolution to safer streets

BIKE BOXES at some intersections
PAINT THE BIKE LANES a different color
in this case... there are a number of things that could be done

PAINT IS CHEAP!

consult the people on what is working and what is not working

the block continued to meet years later on the topic of Traffic Calming
it was interesting... the people who opposed the Bike Lanes for bike sake embraced them as a Traffic Calming Effort
as a father with young children I see the street in front of my house as a hazard
a street in great need of some TRAFFIC CALMING
our block met with DC DOT representatives
we got things to a point.... and now everything is halted

DOT needs to connect the DOTS

consult the residents... find out the danger zones... make those areas more safe for pedestrians, cyclists, and well... those in the metal cages as well
it we fix the trouble spots
then the DOTS WILL BE CONNECTED


5.24.2010

DC and the arrival of Farmer's Market Bike Clinics and Open Air Bike Swaps

at Bike To Work Day there was mention that I should plug the DC Farmer's Market Bike Clinics on my blog...
there was no need for discussion... I agreed... I should... I should have already posted something
I also felt that I should check out one of the DC Farmer's Market Bike Clinics
I should have checked out one of the DC Farmer's Market Bike Clinics by now

there it was Saturday... Saturday afternoon... after an already hectic Saturday morning
to my pleasure I had a window of opportunity between kid's soccer games an
d family bike rides
so... I grabbed my camera and walked on over to the Mount Pleasant Farmer's Market Bike Coop
and what did I discover... providence... I had timed it such that I was there in time to check out the Mount Pleasant Farmer's Market Bike Clinic and the DC BIKE SWAP!
people were just starting to set up as I arrived
my timing was good

SWEET!
GOOD TIMING!
I LOVE GOOD TIMING!
it all unfolded in front of me

The Farmer's Market Bike Clinics are EVERY SATURDAY May through October
the DC Bike Swap is not as regular

Farmer's Market Bike Clinics
Mt Pleasant

Mt. Pleasant and Lamont St NW
10am-1pm

Glover Park-Burleith

Wisconsin and 35th Street NW
10am-1pm

14th & U
14th and U Street NW
10am-1pm

Bloomingdale
1st and R NW
10am-2pm

the Mount Pleasant Bike Coop was still up and running when I arrived
Ben West the Master of Ceremony had a bike in the stand

then things started to set up
some people showed up with tables
several people with several tables
some people with bikes, wheels, and frames... but no tables

there were complete bikes and there were parts
lots of parts
a good assortment of parts
parts reasonably priced

the Bike SWAP had a light social feel to it
people were milling about
shopping... buying... socializing...

it had me thinking I would do well to get a table and sell some stuff

google it... check FACEBOOK
ask them to create a blog or have a page

a few shots from the Mount Pleasant Bike Swap




wow... The Mount Pleasant Bike Swap had some stuff...
people showed up to sell stuff... stuff priced to sell
and
people showed up to buy stuff
and guess what... a number of people bought what they needed

impressive showing at The Mount Pleasant Bike Swap!