This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Friday, December 2, 2016

The liberation of rain.

     Rain is  a regenerative experience, romanticized by novelists as an agent of rebirth and omen of growth and fertility.  The science people talk about the the ionization of the low level atmosphere, poets and normal folk think "it" smells cleaner.

 Most cyclists avoid it like the plague.  I love rainy days when people ask if I had ridden my bike.  "Why waste a beautiful day sitting in a car?"  They stare.  Cars have trained us not to experience weather, thanks to the advertising campaign shoved down our collective throats during the past 4 generations, .  Most people in 'Murica are not aware they can dress for it.  It seems they haven't found that an umbrella might be useful.  They sit in parking lots staring at their AccuWeather apps, tracking the minutes of rain left until they can get out of their cars.
I smile and wave as I ride by dressed in wing tips and slacks all protected by spats and a rain cape.
Its another opportunity to express my overdeveloped smugness.   I guess you can't really expect a cyclist to understand the sense of superiority you experience in conquering the weather.  They would rather enjoy the virtual world on their wind trainer than ride a comfortable bike in adaptable clothing.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Will vulnerability be more important than social entitlement?

    I'd like to know the name of the bitch who flipped me the bird before squealing her tires while cutting me off by inches when I crossed a street at a signaled intersection within a marked crosswalk.  I mean really!?  The most basic rule of the road is to yield right of way to somebody in a crosswalk before turning right against a red light.  There is no end to stupid out there.  I'm sure that some sort of social code entitles her, in her late model Mustang, to challenge the safety of a vulnerable crosswalk user.  I wonder if she does that to somebody in a wheelchair.
    It wasn't but a few days after  that a cyclist was hit by a car while crossing in a crosswalk connecting two parts of an MUP.  The cyclist suffered minor injuries but what can the driver be thinking to ignore somebody in a crosswalk at a signaled intersection?
    Not a week before, a few friends were struck from behind in a hit and run collision while enjoying an innocent group ride.  Fortunately, there were no life threatening injuries but the pickup truck is still at large with it's presumably inebriated driver at the helm.  It's really time to focus on the penalty for leaving the scene of an accident.

    All of this after both municipalities in the area have passed laws requiring 5 feet of passing space for a cyclist.  It's almost as if the cagers are revolting against common sense.
     Fortunately, I have found the "powers that be" are moving to our side.  Traffic engineers have bought the idea of road diets incorporating bike lanes, calming traffic and protecting vulnerable users on  roadways.  I'm finding from being around teenagers the next generation of drivers are not looking upon autos as an expression of social acceptance but responsibility.  Hopefully the next 60 years will not produce more traffic deaths than all the combat fatalities in the history of our country.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The more things don't change, the more they stay the same.

    Lately I've been reading Plutarch's Lives.  The election made me think of this because, despite the thousands of years of experience things haven't changed.   Many of them, back in the day, were guilty of corruption, rape, illegitimate children, enriching themselves at the expense of the public and creating unnecessary wars to ingratiate their egos.  
       But now we have bicycles to help us ignore the bad people.  One of the latest diversions I have found is black reflective tape.  It's a really cool thing, 
It looks black under normal indirect light
but shows up bright white like the bejeeezus under a headlight.
The tires here have normal reflective sidewalls and the frame has one 
1/4 inch strip along the frame.  If you have a black bike around,
 a roll of this could be handy and lifesaving.   
One other cool thing has  been the fall weather.  Here in Michigan, the weather has been intoxicating.
We still have leaves on the trees, temps in the 60's and plenty of sunshine.
So I get to pedal my ass on the street more often than normal.
For those into the advocacy game, there is a pretty good video on Netflix.
I know it's preaching to the choir but "Bikes vs Cars" is probably a good film to recommend to your non-bike friends.    It might help them crawl out of their steel trap and stand in the sunlight.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Clipless is a misnomer so why bother?

     It seems like years since I quit using clipless pedals and cleated shoes.   In fact it has been over 5 years since I quit using them on my road bike.and nearly three years since I replaced them on my touring bike.  It wasn't difficult at all the roadie pedals broke, I put platforms with regular toe clips on and realized I didn't miss anything but the pain of hotfoot.  Linguistically it was an insult, after all, they do have clips, that's what holds the cleat. In fact having gone several years completely detached from my bike, I think clip less pedals are the single greatest deterrent to cycling.
Really, how often do people think of riding their bikes but change their mind because they don't want to dress for it?  Now a pair of shorts or a golf shirt will work, but what about the shoes?   I know all the sales people will tell you there is nothing to compare to them.  Most riders claim a 20% increase in efficiency.  They may be helpful in a race, there is data and tests to the contrary, but how many people race anyway? Is the questionable and negligible efficiency working for you when you drive to work?  Or when you drive to the movies or dinner?  I have found platforms with little spikes (actually set screws) work just as well for me.

I've had roadies worry that they look heavy, but even the MKS Grip King 
only weigh an ounce more than the Wellgo clip less pedals I used to use.
With spiked pedals your feet don't slip, you lose little or no efficiency and
 can just jump on the bike and ride with any pair of shoes you are wearing.