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 develops 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.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Kzoo Bike Week

Our official Bike Week started on Saturday May 9th with a short city ride sponsored and led by the mayors of our adjacent towns, Portage and Kalamazoo.  It's helpful and reassuring to know they are not only supportive but, at least one, is a real enthusiast.  I opted for another event, the Kal-Haven trailblazer, a charity ride to benefit the the Trail organization.  
It is held each year as a kick off to the Bike Week celebrations.
I always make a two day trip of it and ride to the Michigan coast where I spend the night and ride back the next day. Each year at least one other rider will think for a minute then say, "The shuttles aren't running tomorrow, how will you get back?"   Isn't that cute?  
There was also a festival of short films about biking and several organized rides throughout the week.  I had too many conflicts to make most of the events,
but I did get to the more droll events like meeting the local luminaries in charge of designing
the infrastructure of our future.  There again, it is truly inspiring to know that this many people are actively involved in designing a Bike Friendly community.
Not only is it nice, some of these people are determined to reduce the use of cars in the world.
It makes us feel less alone, that professional city planners perceive the world we see.
 I spent Saturday with the club's Bike Camp again ths year.  We had about 30 some people show up for the first day of instruction and rides.   Everybody went through a professional bike fiting to be sure they were adjusted right.
Before going through a controlled course to be sure they have reviewed the basics of stopping, starting, signalling and avoiding rocks etc.
Finally the irony of this post capped off Bike Week.  
Scotty Bud Melvin, a local sportscaster and radio personality, is a long time and well known bike hater.  He made the post above to incite a stream of vitriolic anti-bike rants.  The irony of it all is that the bikers in question are not only completely legal, they are observing every extra safety protocol not required by the law.  The man is a sportscaster, complaining about bikes being ridden on the road.  Where does the moron think Greg Lemond learned to ride?  There's no closed course to prepare anybody for the Grand Tours.  Melvin admires competitive sports like fishing and 12 ounce curls.  His radio station WZUU has a website and a facebook page, @scottybudmelvin is a twitter account.  I'm sure they would be interested to hear public opinion on their sportscaster/program director's public stance against cycling.  If you feel inclined to reward his rant, feel free.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Rain

We are seeing rain or threatening all week.  It's more than annoying, it's really quite inspiring.  The rain washes all the crap out of the air, they call it ionizing the scientists do.  It's especially nice in the spring when the flowering trees get beautiful.  I like the sound as the water assails the pavement and splashes all around me when I pedal through a downpour.

 It provides another feeling of confidence and self-reliance knowing that just beyond some well chosen clothing the rest of the world is being inundated and subjugated by the most powerful compound in nature. Birds retreat to the cover of the trees to sit and sip the freshness from the drops on the leaves. When it's all over, I like the smell.  The air combed clean by raindrops and leaving a bright smell of growth and fecundity to coast through.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Shopping the "Metro Metric."

    Having been a single parent for nearly 20 years, I live with the dubious pleasure/responsibility of decorating any way I please.  While this does bring one a sense of stability knowing that the furniture does not require frequent rearrangement based on somebody else's whim, I have the responsibility of  making decisions.   I am looking for new window treatments. That means wandering around  in a department where men are completely ignored.  Most of the time I have the luxury of losing myself since the sales people in those departments assume that a man is not alone, but abandoned by a mate who actually knows the language.  It's not a bad life, and for a one who likes to spend a Sunday taking a long ride it can be a useful excuse.
     I have developed a route I refer to as the Metro Metric.   It's a long ride in which takes me on a figure 8 pattern through the whole town and passes two malls where I can take a break and do a little shopping.  It's not exactly suited for the spandex hamster and the pretend competition of the Sunday morning coffee shop ride, but it gets me a nice ride and I actually accomplish something in the bargain.  Here in the mythical borough of Kalamazoo we have enough infrastructure that I can cover a 60 mile route with only 5-6 miles on the streets. The rest is ridden over dedicated bike infrastructure; bike lanes, routes and mup's.

      While Sunday on the mup is not the best of all possible worlds for a cyclist, it can still be fun to take a moderate speed, enjoy the day and think of the multi-taskers strolling the baby while walking the dog, texting friends and listening to music on roller blades as a different tactical challenge than negotiating a 20 mph curve in the middle of a pack.
   As you can see, it was a beautiful day, perfectly temped in the low 70's with little to no humidity.  The multi-taskers were elsewhere.  There was a big plus to this afternoon.  A few weeks ago, I was in Washington and on the day THE cherry trees were at full bloom.  I was in  a hurry to catch my train, but did take a ride past the national mall.   There were throngs of captivated tourists with whom I could not relate.  I was so unimpressed that I didn't bother to take photos.Yesterday made me realize why.

I live where the springtime color rivals the fall.  Our town is covered with flowering trees of all kinds.  I was expecting too much from Washington. The cherry trees were pretty and all, but when I see it all the time I think my expectations were too great.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Grooming our pets

   It's the time of year  my cats start to shed.   They love the attention when I set them on the counter and brush out their coats with a Furminator, most of the time it helps prevent malfunctions, like hairballs on the carpet.  They purr and roll around on their backs to beg for it some days.
    After the winter and a tour like the GAP/CO (April showers version),  my Hunqapillar was screaming for a little grooming.  I don't know what a wholly mammoth does to look adorable and make you want to comb him, but he would if he could.  He was in a sorry state when I took him out of the box in Pittsburgh.
I should have gotten a drive side photo of this, but you can see from the tires and the bottom bracket condition that the mammoth was well ridden.  The derailleurs, cog and crank were horribly encrusted.
     As usual I tore him down to nuts, bolts and bearings.  Damn, filthy was not the word.  It can be changed with a little water, citric acid, patience and paint. Surprisingly, after the nasty winter crud from the the roads and the moist springtime journey, I could not find a speck of rust.  I took the bottom bracket apart and scrubbed it out with solvent, inspected it under a light and could not see a speck or suspicious pit to trouble me.  Kaisai Tubing must be the good stuff.
     I cleaned him up, readjusted everything and it makes me feel like a responsible trainer
and much happier rider.
     I thought it was time for a facelift, so I made my first attempt at the "harlequin handlebar wrap" technique.  I made a few mistakes, but for a first try it wasn't a disaster.  I not only felt like giving the Hunq a new 'doo, I wanted more of the bar covered since I use the flats quite frequently.  It extends the color scheme.   Like anything else,  it  becomes automatic if you learn the technique,. I made my mistakes on this attempt.  I learned not to expose too much  adhesive.  Take the liner off a few inches at a time and plan to sweep up the mess.  Basically you are wrapping each roll in opposite direction to overlap the other and exposing too much adhesive turns a simple operation into a tangled nightmare. I'll roll with it this year and plan to do a better job next.  If I get it right, I'll shellac it to keep it new.
     The day finished on another positive note.  A local journalist posted this op ed piece in our local news site.  She has found her 3 millennial children are rejecting the American love affair with the automobile.  It was a nice piece to see.  I can agree, the kids I see in schools seem to think my bike riding is nothing but cool.  They come up lists of reasons to use a bike rather than a car and very few, to choose a car.  My son likes his car, but thinks it's a damned inconvenience in town.  I get overly optimistic about this, but what will the world be like if 50% of the money spent on oil and autos was available for something else? Moving forward one pedal ahead of the other.