12.31.2010

paying it forward... getting it back...

as Christmas approached we went through the standard routine in our house
we bought a tree
we hung lights
an assortment of nut crackers were put on displayed and played with
and
the Lionel train was set up so that the boys could play with their Christmas Train

one afternoon I was over at a neighbor's house grabbing my younger son who was playing with the neighbor's older son of the same age
when I got there the boys were gathered at the base of their Christmas tree
guess what they were doing... yep... you guessed it... they were playing with that families version of a Christmas Train... only their train is a TYCO HO scale train instead of a Lionel train like the one we have

I admired their train as it did its loops beneath a well decorated tree
then it occurred to me... I have a number of old HO scale engines and cars from my youth
so... without grabbing my son I rushed home and went down to the basement
to my surprise I was able to locate the shoe box from some very large shoes that now housed the said Tyco engines and Tyco cars

like a proud Labrador with a mallard in its mouth I returned with the shoe box in hand
then there was hesitation
it may not have been visible... but I felt it
before handing the box over I opened it
like opening the briefcase in Pulp Fiction magic filled the room as its contents were revealed

an onslaught of memories came my way as I looked at each engine and then each car

before handing over the box filled with an interesting assortment of trains I took one last look
a strange feeling entered my stomach
the feeling grew stronger as did my hesitation
finally... I broke the possessiveness and I passed the box off to my neighbor

it felt good... there was a strange hint of anxiety
yet it still felt good... it was like a release of some excess baggage
baggage that I did not even know that I was carrying
then my younger son saw the assortment of engines and the wide variety of cars
I stayed strong as Grant uttered one word... "Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad?!?!?!?!"

"no... we do not need them... we do not want them...
we were not even using them... we do not have enough track or even a transformer to use them...
isn't better for them to have them so that they are used
rather than to just have them rot in our basement"

young Grant agreed
the words were true... but there was still some hesitation

we tried a few of the engines
the small transformer was not able to power more than two of the six engines
and even those engines were powered at half speed
in the box was a small tube of lubricant
I passed this off as well... thinking that this may revive the trains

maybe it was not such a great gift
a nice gesture... but maybe not such a great score

but then... sure enough... on Christmas Eve I saw my neighbor through the window
I thought that I had caught him in the act of playing Santa Claus
thinking that this was fun... I went and knocked on his door
I had just put my kids to bed and his kids had long been asleep
no... he was not filling stockings or putting wrapped presents under the tree... no... he was up by himself playing with the trains... my old trains... my old engine was pulling some of my old cars under his tree
or should I say... his new engine was pulling some of his new cars under his tree
sure enough... a little lube in the right places was all that these engines needed
these toys of my childhood had been given a second life

I had not paired this event with a separate unrelated event
but days prior I had been at a holiday party at a neighbor's house
on this evening I was talking bikes with another guest at the party
during our conversation this man was telling of this dream bike he had received from his brother
apparently his brother had bought himself an ultra elite racing machine and had given this man his old bike... a bike that was pretty special itself
having scored this wonderful bike from his brother he made mention that his old bike was no longer needed

without knowledge of the size or quality of the bike I said... "do you want to sell your old bike? I will give you a hundred bucks for it"
to my surprise... this man said sure
knowing that people often think that their bikes are nicer than they are we did not discuss specifics
we talked about it... but I was not so concerned with details
I gathered it was a road bike with aluminum frame... then I learned it had a carbon fork and STI shifter... I was excited... it sounded promising... even if it was just a beater... it would be a good score

at the end of the evening... I gave him my number and he said he would give me a call and drop the bike off the next day
sure enough... the next day... Christmas Eve I get a call... a call I was starting to doubt was going to come... it was Dave... Dave asked if I was available for him to drop off this bike
OF COURSE I WAS!
I was at home cooking Christmas Eve dinner while my family was with my mother at Christmas Mass

when Dave arrived I was pleasantly surprised...
the bike was righteous
it is a 60cm frame that is pretty close to my size
a good size bike that has been very well kept... beautifully kept... clean and crisp
sparkling chain and straight wheels
tuned and ready to ride... even the tires were pumped to maximum capacity

it really was a shocking site
aside from the 3,000 plus miles it looked show room new

WOW!
I tried to be gracious as the money changed hands
knowing that this bike was more a gift than a purchase
this man felt the generosity of his brother and shared that generosity with a virtual stranger

Dave hung out for a few minutes as I returned my focus to the Paella on the stove
we made more small talk
then we parted ways
promising to go out for a ride
this man brought some serious Christmas cheer into my often Ba-humbug world

days later I felt good...
I felt good about the gifts I had received and I felt good about the gifts I had given
it is good to pay it forward
and it does come back
not always this immediate
but it does come back

the bike is a TREK 2.3
not sure of the year... but a few years old
it is red and black... not the blue and black like in the photo
I rode the bike on Christmas Day and then again the day following Christmas
each day I called Dave to see if he wanted to ride
that ride will happen... if he is not so fast that the ride is not fun... maybe there will be a number of rides
www.trekbikes.com

Save the Governor's Cup

Save the Governor's Cup
I just heard that there is a risk that The Governor's Cup, a sailboat race from Annapolis to St. Mary's City\St. Mary's College of Maryland, is at risk of ceasing to exist
www.somdnews.com

Save the Governor's Cup on FACEBOOK
www.facebook.com

it is a boat race
it is a party
it is a cultural experience

sailing is not my thing...
but when I was at St. Mary's College of Maryland this event acted as an unofficial reunion for graduates
it was guaranteed good time
then after I graduated... there were a number of times when I rode my bicycle down from DC to St. Mary's and then camped at Church Point
I have fond memories of that sailboat race weekend and the festivities that surround it
it would be sad if this 37 year old tradition were to discontinue

it should not be canceled
there should be a way to make this event sustainable

SURVEY: Philadelphia Indoor Mountain Bike Park Survey

got a minute...
I have been asked to share a survey with my readers
here it is

SURVEY: Philadelphia Indoor Mountain Bike Park Survey
https://spreadsheets.google.com


I love this idea... I have never been to Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Park... but I will go there
maybe when both my boys are old enough to enjoy it... or maybe I should go it alone?

What is Ray's? this is some of what I have said about it in the past
http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com/search?q=ray%27s+indoor+mountain+

a father's knows best moment...

this post has been started but the story has not finished
today we returned one of the adult cruisers, the kid 24" cruiser, and the trail-a-bike
I have held onto one of the beach cruisers so that I can take a ride one or two more times before we leave
this all means what?
the bill has yet to be paid... I do not know what the final tally will be
but... if it costs me what I expect
it is a small price to pay for a clear conscience

photo to go with the story to come later...

today I had a "Father Knows Best" moment...

it is winter break for the kids and we are visiting the grandparents in Florida
not my parents... these are my wife's parents
the grandparents
the inlaws

so... we are down in Florida and the weather is a little less than beachy
our days have been occupied
there have been hikes in Everglade like terrain
there have been putt putt style golf games
there have been a few dips in the pool... heated pool
there have been long walks on the beach

me and the boys even stepped into the gulf... but only my older son had the "huevos" to go fully in
really... it is a bit less than beachy
so... today we rented bicycles
lisa and I got standard beach cruisers
dean got a 24 inch beach cruiser
and grant got on the trail-a-bike
although we retired our trail-a-bike and sold it last year
it made more sense for him to be on the tag along instead of me having to play drill sergeant with him

the kids were not so excited about the idea of renting bikes
they were not adverse to the idea... yet they were not all that excited
but... they were excited about the idea of going for a ride on a four wheeled pedal machine that would seat the whole family
so... I promised them that I would ask the guys at the shop if we could take the four wheeler around the block before we took out the bikes

so... we went to the bike shop and scoped things out
the boys got a serious thrill riding the adult tricycles while I handled the paper work
then before rolling off with two adult beach cruisers... one kid beach cruiser... and one trail-a-bike we all climbed into-onto the four wheeled bicycle (quad-cycle?)

so... with dad steering and the feeling as if no one else was pedaling we rolled out of the driveway
seeing a bit of car traffic and feeling that this vehicle has a seriously slow maximum speed I opted to hang on the sidewalk
the axle width was such that the quad-cycle just fit on the sidewalk

it was great... it was perfect...
it was everything that the boys had hoped for
and it was pretty much everything I expected as well
really... it was fun...
not all day fun
but definitely a novelty fun

we were all rolling down the sidewalk
I was trying to be in control while still having fun
when all of a sudden there is some noise

shocked and a bit scared
I am not sure what is happening
a quick glance that everyone was okay... felt like were were good yet something felt wrong
I look back and I see some leaves floating about notice that the canopy seems a little closer to my head
then I realize... or maybe I figure I clipped a low hanging branch

I pull over and check things out...
sure enough
the canopy clipped the low hanging branch
I bent things back in place

noticing that there was some damage to one of the four supports of the canopy I verbalized my frustration
I worked it out in my head
bracing myself for the worse

"oh man... oh man... what a bummer
this really sucks (I am not sure what I really said)"

"this may cost us..."

then my six year old son Grant chimes in... "lets just return it... they won't notice"

I try to explain to him that would be dishonest... then Grant tells me, "if you do not say anything... it is not lying"

I agree... and I disagree
I tell him that it would still be dishonest
Grant gets a little explanation on the topic of honesty
then I expand on this trying to express the basic notion of "manning up"
I tried to explain to him that is is better to "do the right thing" even if it costs you
rather than to sheepishly do the wrong thing... even if it saves you a buck

we ride the four wheeler back...
the ride back is not as fun as the ride out
when we get back to the shop I look around
there were two guys manning the shop... an old guy and a young guy
the old guy was a bit of a grouch... so I scan the shop for the young guy
no where to be found... I go out back... still do not find him...
so... I wait for the old guy... well... the guy who is more likely my age... to get off the phone
once off the phone I tell him that I had a mishap
I tell him that the canopy clipped a tree as we were riding down the sidewalk

we walk out together and look at things
really... this can not be the first time that this has happened
more than likely this has happened before
but this time it failed

there is no talk about the cost for repair
we mount up on the bikes and take off

the ride is fun... we try to find some stuff to see
it is fun... but not exactly a life changing experience
Dean is frustrated... Dean wants to go to the beach... as much as I tell him it is too cold and not worth it
he is being stubborn... he is fixated on the notion of going to the beach... it is rational... we can ride bikes at home... but we can not go to the beach at home
yet I know... it is too cold and windy to enjoy the beach
even the pool is not warm enough for a good time

we continue our ride which is pretty much a forced march
these are my prisoners
they are going to have a good time MY WAY
we break for lunch
after lunch things are a little better
finally we go to the beach... it is way too cold for hanging on the beach... going in the water without a wet suit would be a fools game
Dean and I end up taking a long walk on the beach... a really long walk... maybe four or six miles long... it is good... we talk about a whole lot of nothingness... it is fun to hang out with one of my sons at a time... together they focus on the other... together they fight with each other

the next day comes and we wake up slow
there is no rush
I knew that there was no real beach potential for this day
we eat breakfast and then we go for a bike ride... another forced march
when we get to the bike shop the boys verbalize that the bike ride was short... so we extend our bike ride for another day
back on the bikes we tool around some more

when talking with the younger of the two shop employees
while we are there we take out the four wheeled bike again... the boys are excited... this time I give them each a turn behind the wheel
when we get back I ask the younger of the two employees if he heard about the damage... he had... he mentions that it is going to cost us 25 or 30 bucks
I agree... that sounds fair

they are a business... no reason for them to take a loss... they were good enough to let us ride this thing... we broke it... we buy it... or something to that effect
coming clean and manning up was the right thing to do
25 dollars is a small price to pay for a clear conscience

okay... another long post
another post that may not get read by my readers
I have no idea what people see when they look at my page
all I know is that these posts are a wonderful reflection on things
I enjoy them... I will be able to read this even with its inaccuracies I can get the story
photos to come later
photos of the boys on the bikes
and
photos of the boys pedaling the four wheeler

Marginal Man


have I blogged about Marginal Man before?
I know I tossed an image of Kenny on the page...

12.29.2010

it is true...

it is true... I am a professional FACEBOOK Profile Pic Photographer
I started off as a MYSPACE Photographer
but I moved with the times... now I shoot shots for FACEBOOK
if you want your photo taken for FACEBOOK by me... simply ride your bicycle around downtown DC
you keep riding that bike
I am confident that I will take your picture

I was on the Inter Web this evening... go figure... and I saw this picture
it looked familiar
I recalled the moment I snapped it
do I know her?
no... I guess that is why I have yet to receive her check!

DCMTB... over a decade of racing and serving the cycling community

DCMTB... DC Mountain Bike Team
I am not a founding member
I am not even an original member
but... I have been on the team for roughly a decade

DCMTB... serving the cycling community for over a decade
ah... DCMTB... in our years as a cycling team we have done far more than the DCCX Cyclocross Clinics at FORT RENO and the DCCX Cyclocross Race at The Armed Forces Retirement Home
for years and years members of the DCMTB squad has worked doing trail maintenance... bicycle rodeos... volunteering at Bike to Work Day and Bike DC

each year each of our members has logged numerous volunteer hours for bicycle related causes

AMAZING!


yes... AMAZING!
it has been an amazing ride... and that ride is far from over

DCMTB
we have morphed... we have changed... and we have grown

and we have grown in more than just numbers

DCMTB
www.dcmtb.com

DCMTB once had the shop sponsor of City Bikes
now DCMTB is associated with The Family Bike Shop
as well as a number of other awesome sponsors
http://familybikeshop.com/

about to watch a somewhat random video

Video from the 24 Hours of Snowshoe 2004
well...
maybe a video of the drive up
just got this in an email from former DCMTB Team Mate Brian Kemler
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0Ol9j9khGQ

Granny Gear 24 Hour Race Results and History
http://www.grannygear.com/Races/history_results.shtml

lots of great memories of racing the Granny Gear 24 Hour Races!
if I recall... and I do recall
we got third... barely... just barely beating the 4th place team
a win that brought drama
a side note... I held the fastest average lap time on what is a pretty solid team
it was by a hair... but... those are the numbers... just slightly faster than Dave Wotton... but still the fastest average

Brian Kemler's write up about this race in DIRT WORLD

www.dirtworld.com
this short blurb on the Gwadzilla Page
another short blurb

then this... a PRE BLOG RANT by ME on the DCMTB Page!

www.dcmtb.com
(this may be worth a glance... I used to be more into my writing)

nothing to do with SNOWSHOE on this scan... but a timely piece on SNOW ETIQUETTE when dealing with hiking and cross country ski tracks
http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com/search?q=snowshoe



RESOLUTIONS.

I know that The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) has its RESOLUTION TO RIDE RESPONSIBILY
well... I think that it would be great for all of us to take a similar pledge
only... when we get in our cars... a personal pledge... no need to sign on the dotted line
personally... I do not think that riding a bicycle responsibly means following the rules of the road to the letter of the law
but that is a blog post for another time

A SIMPLE NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION
the change to the new year always comes with hope and promise...
people make efforts to make themselves better people
there will be those that will try to eat better and exercise more so that they live a more healthy life
and
there will be those that will try to kick the cigarette habit for the list of obvious reasons

now... those things are all well and good
but really... those resolutions are moderately selfish
how about a resolution that will benefit more than just ones self?
I think that people should make a resolution to be a more courteous car drivers

that would be something that would benefit more than just the driver... but also those around the driver

interestingly enough... if people were to drive in a more courteous manner they would find that they enjoy driving more
sort of like holding the door open for someone... not just the right thing to do... but also something that makes both parties feel better afterward
yes... the action is also an interaction and a positive interaction at that

and well... that little positive interaction feels good
yes... holding the door open for someone does feel better than slamming the door in a person's face
try it.. I am almost certain you will agree

years and years ago when bicycle roof racks were rare there was hope that the passing car with the vacant roof rack would pass the cyclist with a certain amount of courtesy
well... somewhere along the line that notion was lost

we as cyclists should drive our cars in a fashion that we would like car drivers to drive when we are pedestrians or cyclists

what if... now get this... what if... what if people behaved around others the way that they would want others to behave around them?

yes... I know... I know... this sounds like that biblical catch phrase
"do onto others... etc... etc... etc..."
not familiar with that one?

here... the Wiki Page has some information on this... apparently this is called THE GOLDEN RULE
... hmmm... not a bad rule to follow... even for atheists and agnostics
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Golden_Rule

so in plain everyday terms...

how does this apply when driving your car?
if driving through a residential neighborhood... drive how you would like cars to drive through your neighborhood... or more rationally... don't drive in the fashion that pisses you off when others drive through your neighborhood

when approaching a four way stop in you car...
slow in advance... make a complete stop at the stop line... then review the situation... give others their right to space... give others their turn... factor in pedestrians and cyclists... and go in turn

when approaching a cross walk...
very similar to the four way stop... take account of the situation...
give special attention to people who take more time to cross... be that car that blocks for the little old lady or the mother pushing the stroller... be considerate of people... it will feel good and it is the right thing to do
try it... you will like it
and those around you... they will like it as well

but really... I can not and will not go through each and every possible scenario that you may encounter
er
simply apply The Golden Rule when behind the wheel

okay... one more tip
try to be less competitive when driving your car... I know... this would require altering your nature... yes... I know... competitive driving is The American Way... well... again... just as it feels good to do the right thing... there are aspects of competitive driving that compile to make you feel bad, angry, frustrated, and even aggressive

let it slide... cut people some slack... let the assholes be assholes and get their way
allow the merge... let that car in... and of course DO THE RIGHT THING
it feels better than trying to block people out
sure... I know... that car is not waiting their turn
just let it slide

this is for all of us that spend time driving...

really... if professional drivers were to exhibit some proper behavior we would have safer streets
it seems that professional drivers drive in the least professional manner

all of us drive tend to drive in AUTO PILOT... take it out of auto pilot and take control of the situation
driving in a calm courteous manner feels better and does not get you there any more late
leave five minutes earlier if you think driving aggressively is getting you there on time
sure... Let God be your Co-Pilot... you can even let Dog Be Your Co-Pilot
but when you drive... don't drive in a mindless fashion... be mindful of those around you

here is a trick that works for me... especially in the winter
start the car up... let the engine warm up for a minute
spend that minute putting on the seat belt, find the right station on the radio, if you have kids make sure that they are buckled in, clear the windows, and then... go on your way
slowing the process is a much more healthy start for the driver and for the car

I find that if I get in the car and turn the key then push the pedal it puts me in POLE POSITION as if I am racing Lightning McQueen for the Piston Cup

so... as a New Year's Resolution... RESOLVE TO DO ONTO OTHERS ON THE ROAD AS YOU WISH OTHERS ON THE ROAD TO DO ONTO YOU
just like many good things
the byproduct will be a positive one for you and for those around you

12.27.2010

I grew up playing soccer... and I love to travel...

sure... I played soccer my whole life all the way through college
and... who doesn't enjoy travel?
but I am not sure if my tastes are POSH

POSH BROOD
http://poshbrood.com/

and they have a blog
POSH BROOD BLOG
http://poshbrood.com/blog/

and this page about DC Start Ups!
http://proudlymadeindc.com/

PUBLIC BIKES

PUBLIC BIKES
the founder of Design Within Reach has reinvented himself and has formed PUBLIC BIKES
http://publicbikes.com

anyone who knows Design Within Reach knows it is not just hip, cool, and functional... it is also a bit pricey
that said... I would expect the same of Public Bikes
http://www.dwr.com/
I have a wall of these in the kids' toy room

Copenhagen Cycling Chic... always worth revisiting

ah... Copenhagen Cycling Chic
www.copenhagencyclechic.com

easy to like

lots of nice images of images of people grabbing their tree on the bike
years ago... I remember buying the tree and riding home with it over my shoulder on the bike
it was not a novelty
it was not for a photograph
it was just a logical way to get the tree home


American Pickers...

American Pickers
www.history.com

I am about to crack open a beer and watch American Pickers on The History Channel
not sure why... but I can not get enough of American Pickers


but first... some fat guys doing some running on that pawn shop show

Bike Lanes 90210


Bike Lanes 90210 in 2011
www.bhcourier.com

frustrating... it can be frustrating...

the other day I was talking to someone...
I can not recall who it was... I can not recall where it was
in fact... I can hardly recall the gist of things
but... I can recall my frustration
often it can be frustrating

I think that we were discussing the transition from Adrian Fenty to Vince Gray as Mayor of Washington DC
we may have also been talking about the removal of Gabe Klein as the Director of DC's Department of Transportation
all of which brought about the topic of bikes... bike lanes... and the bike share programs

now... this conversation should be a fun conversation
as these are exciting times
all over the United States... in fact... all over the world people are working to try and lessen the negative effects of car dependency
people are working to inspire people to walk more and ride their bicycles more

what was interesting... and what was frustrating about this conversation was that this person seemed to thing that the idea of bike share and the placement of bike lanes was something that was only happening in the DC area
they had no idea that this was happening simultaneously all over the globe

I tried to express that this is a pet topic of mine
I tried to point out that I read on the topic and have been reading on this topic
yet they held their ground...
so often when I am at a party or in a social situation I have little tolerance for the conversations going on around me
so often people are talking about something and basing their ideas off what information they each possess
when really... ONE OF THEM MUST POSSESS A SMART PHONE WITH THE TECHNOLOGY TO RESOLVE A DISAGREEMENT OR FIND A MORE SOUND idea to support their notion

my opportunity to travel in my life is limited
but... in my limited travel experience I have witnessed these changes
more bikes... lots more bikes... people of all ages on bikes
and bike lanes
bike lanes where bike lanes were not before

my GOOGLE ALERTS send me emails each day supporting my point
my limited experience traveling with my family reinforces my feeling that things are changing


12.24.2010

BMX... I missed it... it never happened for me

FAT BALD MEN
a BMX era that happened without so much as a bleep on my radar


I LOVE MY BICYCLE: The Story of FBM
http://prollyisnotprobably.com

not a badge of honor

YELLOW CARD
http://gizmodo.com

anyone have information on a downed cyclist?

yesterday I ran into a friend from the neighborhood...

we exchange holiday hellos and caught up
both being cyclists she shared with me an incident from the other day...

apparently on her way to work she rolled up on what looked like a car to bike accident
there was a person on the ground along side their bicycle
my friend stopped and offered assistance and asked questions
the police would not share any information

while she was there she saw them put a blanket over the cyclist's body and face
my friend thought that this was an indication that the cyclist had died at the scene
but... the police would not even give that much information

has there been a report on the death of a cyclists downtown... maybe on Florida between Connecticut and Massachusetts?


Kids and Bikes... Sidewalks and Bike Lanes

let me try to get this out quick
yes... I know this is the same set of images from a previous post
but... you get what you get
let me start typing and see what comes out


Kids and Bikes... on the streets... on the sidewalks... and yes... in the bike lanes...
the other day when I rode down to The National Christmas Tree with the boys we took the CONTRA FLOW bike lanes on 15th Street all the way down from Malcolm X Park to The White House
NICE!
our ride involved alleyways... streets... sidewalks... and then also the bike lanes
pretty much no matter where we were... if we interacted with another person... I got the vibe that they felt that we should not be there

in some cases... the people verbalized things... in other cases I could guesstimate their feelings by the scowl on their face

oddly enough...
this disfavor often comes from people who are putting us at risk
the judgment comes from people whose actions are a danger to those around them
speeding car drivers passing us fast and close telling us to get off the street or to ride single file
come on... I am doing what I am doing to protect my children from YOU

sure...

when I am riding along side my six year old on the street I can understand why people "may" think that a six year old should not be riding their bicycle on the street
but... with me riding with them... my son Grant is in the right place doing the right things
he is where he is most safe and where he is most respectful of the rights of others

and of course... we are slowing them down...
but really... are we slowing them down?
they may need to slow down for half a city block
slow down from their above speed limit pace
then after they pass us... they can resume their scoff law behavior
in the end... we do not alter their travel time... they will still get to their final destination at pretty much the same time

when on the sidewalk... we are on the sidewalk because that is the most logical place for us to be
we are not riding at race pace... but we do move
we each weave through... normally with me leading the pack and setting the pace
when this happens... it is usually a very predictable situation


the people moving on the sidewalk are as ignorant and as obnoxious as the people in their cars
people on the sidewalk do not do anything to anticipate the variables around the
their "sphere of awareness" is limited

rather than looking ahead they are all looking into their iPod or Blackberry... and I guess even their Droids

we ride our bikes riding through the mass of people
it is chaos... complete chaos

we fit right in
the boys take their own path and I take mine
all of us dodging pedestrians that move about like brainless zombies

we are riding and my younger son tells me by spelling it... "Dad, you use the word B-I-T-C-H too much"
he is right... I do... it may be inappropriate... but that is what people get

when we are doing our bike on the sidewalk thing it is not uncommon for someone to mouth off to me or my boys... "GET OFF THE SIDEWALK!" or "SLOW DOWN"
well... I am not riding on the sidewalk that fast... and... I am riding with my kids... so
... really now... where do you want me to ride... where do you want US to ride?

sure there are bike lanes... but we do not go a mile out of the way with a six year old on the bike so that we do not rub some joker the wrong way?
and really... if these people expanded their sphere of awareness and looked past me... they would see the two boys... one nine and one six
not really ready to be riding with traffic on Connecticut Avenue downtown

now... really... if these people were to EXPAND THEIR SPHERE OF AWA
RENESS they would be able to anticipate the world around them
the 6'4" man on the bicycle with 29 inch wheels
in most cases... the irate pedestrian was agitated because they got spooked... they stepped in front of one of us... altered their trajectory from walking straight to turning towards a store front right in front of one of us on their bike
only... they never looked up from their electronic device until one
of us was underfoot

I have little tolerance for them
for them to bark at me and my boys... well... I do not have the time to get into it
normally I do not say anything... normally I keep on rolling

as I have come to learn that these conversations never go well
but sometimes when it fits... I say BITCH

or so I have been told by my six year old son

people need to realize their contribution to the equation
in this situation the people are not angry by the biker on the sidewalk or the speed of the bicycle
they are spooked
they have been surprised

they are reacting... they are over reacting
their response is misplaced and inappropriate
if these people were aware of their surroundings then there would be no encounter
we would pass without conflict

but... since they are surprised
since they are spooked
they must find someone to blame
and well
no one ever blames themselves
it is always a case of someone else's fault


imagine in if I slapped cell phones out of people's hands as I went down the sidewalk

maybe that would get their attention
maybe that would help them to be more aware of their surroundings

enough on this...
I am spent
no time to proof this... just PUBLISH AND POST

Capital Bike Share Adds 20 MORE BIKE STATIONS!!!

Gabe Klein puts his last punctuation mark on his statement as the Director of DC's Department of Transportation by adding 20 more Capital Bike Share Stations!
(or maybe it is 200 bikes either way... keep the momentum)
http://greatergreaterwashington.org
www.wtop.com

Good Luck to Gabe Klein and his next adventure...
thank you for your vision
hopefully his replacement continues with his momentum!

12.23.2010

FREE SKI PASS FOR 4th and 5th Graders!

WOW!
This is a great program to help skiing families afford the sport of skiing

FREE SKI PASS FOR 4th and 5th Graders at Pennsylvania Ski Resorts
http://69.195.74.236

we got it for our older son...
it is a coupon book with three coupons for free skiing at most every PA Ski Resort
today he is using his second WHITETAIL coupon!

the boys and bikes in the colder months...

this post is a few days old
much like many posts... it was started and never finished

part of the issue... I started with an idea and never got things to wrap around to that idea I had intended
having a free moment... I think I will revisit this post
I will try to see if this makes any sense
then throw it on the page

WINTER BREAK!

ah... winter break is here and the Christmas Holiday is approaching
school is out and the kids need to be entertained

it is cold outside which makes it difficult to motivate the children
one error I repeat over and over again with my children is asking my boys if they want to do something

ASKING?!?!?!?

asking does not usually go as planned
asking is met with denial and refusal
options can be better... but still... the kids can refute any and all options

options for the kids are better than telling the kids what to do
sometimes it is best for the father to tell them what to do
after all... FATHER KNOWS BEST!

the house... the house is a vortex of nothingness
in the house it seems that time can only be spent watching movies or playing Wii
although
I am not adverse to what has come to be known as "screen time"
I do not want the kids to spend the whole day in their pajamas camped out in front of the television
there needs to be some sort of physical activity!

so... I create a plan
in this case the plan came without consent... no options... just a presented plan
I allowed the boys to wake at their leisure
they were able to watch what television shows they wanted and play some Wii if they so desired
I even brought them each a bowl of cereal and some sliced apples... in the television\toy room

I sipped my coffee and did my morning thing while they got to experience the first day of vacation as they wanted

as they continued to play their games or watch their shows I got up from the computer and got ready for an adventure
I prepped their bikes making sure their was air in the tires and lube on the chain

helmets... gloves... and the essential cold weather gear was located
I even pulled out some of those chemical hand warmers
then I broke up their little electronic tea party

I swooped in and told them we were headed to the National Christmas Tree

no asking... no options
just commands in a drill sergeant tone of voice

I told them to dress warmly and get ready to go

to my pleasure they were dressed and ready to go without much argument
each of them dressed in what I thought would be suitable attire for what was a FREEZING COLD day in the District


on the bikes we weaved the standard route through the neighborhood of Mount Pleasant

I issued orders trying to explain what I believe to be the proper instructions for them to be safe on the bike
always trying to teach the boys to put themselves where they are most safe
always trying to teach the boys to look and listen for cars around them

we rode a mixture of alleys and streets and then took to the sidewalk when we got to 16th Street
the boys asked to cut through Malcolm X Park (Meridian Hill Park) which worked out fine

it was my intention to try and travel on the new 15th Street Bike Lanes

the boys each fought to go first
I tried to settle things by letting them know that they could each lead at various times... this did not do much to limit the conflict
again I spoke about trying to be safe... more than likely the wind whistled through their helmets and muffled my sage advice
yet I spoke just the same

trying to teach them to expect the unexpected
always trying to teach them to be smart and safe while also being respectful of others

trying to help them to anticipate the variables around them

the new 15th Street Bike Lanes were a little narrow for out family experience... but they felt like a safe way to go
definitely better than traversing the sidewalks

at The White House I had the boys circle about so I could snap a few shots
helmets came off and santa caps went on so I could get a few seasonal snaps
once at The National Christmas Tree with the bicycles locked up I pulled a few thermoses from my pack
and poured each of the boys some hot coco

the stale marshmallows softened up nicely as the coco cooled

the boys enjoyed their coco as they scoped out the tree and the toy trains set up at its base
we looped around the tree then finished up the coco
once back on the bike I witnessed a bit of crankiness starting to develop in young Grant...
both the boys were hungry

I promised the boys that we could get lunch at Moby Dick
... not in Georgetown... but at Dupont Circle
it was a tough urban trek
young Grant was in a mood... each city block involved an excess of discussion
finally we ate our promised lunch... then as a surprise bonus went to Krispy Kreme for desert
Grant was still grumpy... I think six year old Grant had bonked
I had thought that the sugary goodness would pull him back... alas no
Grant's mood improved but his strength was gone
like a trooper young Grant muscled his way home with a minimum amount of complaining

sure there was the requisite cajoling... there was the need for me to give him a "turbo boost" push up 16th Street Hill
I even allowed him to stop and take a break
after all... he is only six

once home... the boys were once again reunited with the television where they got to play Wii with their friends and then watch a Christmas themed movie after dinner that evening
it was a good day

it was cold... but with the right gear it was alright!

the following day we went back to the National Mall and went ice skating at the Sculpture Garden
that day was fun packed with each of them having a friend from school to join in the fun
after skating we had hamburgers on The Hill then we walked on the ice at the reflecting pool outside the US Capitol building

each day followed the same routine

EVACUATE THE HOUSE!
GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!
STAY OUT OF THE HOUSE!

good times for sure.

12.22.2010

look more closely.... or expand the image

a beautiful setting at Eastern Market on Capitol Hill
a woman rides home with a freshly purchased Christmas tree slung over her shoulder

had I not been with my boys and one of their friends I would have hustled to put myself in a better location for a closer shot
instead of shooting from the distance

yet still... it conveys something
and it is still a beautiful moment

A Ride to the National Christmas Tree




my boys at the National Christmas Tree
hot chocolate in hand
a smile for the camera
the stale marshmallows were great once they soaked in the hot chocolate for a few minutes

everyone was dressed well enough
no complaints about being cold
well... except for Grant who spilled hot chocolate on his glove and had a wet glove for the ride home

it was a good day
time well spent


The White House

funny... every time I try to take a photo
there is a bicycle passing in front of my shot

The White House

misunderstood... nothing short of ignorant

an article in The Gothamist
Cops Blame Cyclist Fatalities on "Catastrophic" Bike Lanes
http://gothamist.com


I do not live in NYC... all I know is what happens where I live... here in Washington DC

the bike lanes get no respect...
ironically... UPS Drivers and Police Officers may be on the top of the list for failing to respect the bicycle lanes
then... meter maids and taxi drivers would come in following close behind

there may need to be a few classes in logic for people to better understand what is at play here
first off...
here in Washington DC police officers... meter maids... postal workers... and UPS drivers
each and every day I see these vehicles double parked and parked in the bike lane rather than taking the vacant parking spaces at the curb...
then when driving... the bike lanes are used as express lanes and turning lanes

who is being arrogant?
who is doing whatever they want?

there needs to be an education
some people could use an introduction to logic
or better yet
a mirror and an injection of common sense

as far as the fatalities and injuries...

enough on this...
it is too frustrating to deal with

VELOIST PICS for the iPad!

Link to the Veloist Pics iPad App on the Apple App Store:

http://ax.itunes.apple.com/us/app/veloist-pics-world-of cycling/id400876322?mt=8#ls=1

Green Christmas!


MERRY GREEN CHRISTMAS!

Colby of Gripped Racing