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Monday, June 25, 2012

summer session

We seem to have just entered another one of those phases. When it’s really hard to be a bicyclist. When every car seems to be against you as they pass too close and ever too fast. Maybe it’s some sort of beginning of summer madness. Everyone shooting around on new routes doing different things than the last several months. I don’t know. But it’s hard. Because I can see it. I study it every day. Every day. Traffic. The car-bike relationship. And right now it’s whacked. And it’s tough to let it go. It builds up through the day.  And what is the cure? Certainly voicing an opinion or plea to any one driver does nothing – it’s no good for either party and no good for the cause. So, what? It’s tough, too, because I feel like as I’ve been learning all these years about the plight of the bicycle that somehow all those drivers have been absorbing something, too, but it just doesn’t seem to be the case. It’s as if with every car passing me the driver is seeing and trying to figure out how to negotiate passing a bicyclist for the first time in their lives despite their having just done it a couple blocks back and probably at least ten bikes (and growing) every day. They really are different worlds, the bike and the car. And it’s sad that people have such little respect or concern for the health and well being of their fellow humans as they’re all traveling down the same road to the more or less same neighborhood to do more or less the same thing when they get home at more or less the same time plus or minus a minute or two depending on their particular mode of travel.

(To be fair, there is some polarity happening out there, too. More and more there are people that are patient. So, thanks, to them.)

Just find some mellow and keep on mindfully riding on I suppose… 


Monday, June 18, 2012


Riding home late at night… I heard a saxophone flowing out from a parking garage. I thought for a moment that it was just some sort of canned music – I know of one parking garage that plays music so it wasn’t a completely left-field-thought. But there was a certain quality to this sound that gave me pause, thinking it was live, real. So I arced around on the deserted four-lane road (2+2) to investigate, rode around the gate-arm and started circling up through its floors. The garage was completely empty at this time of night. It reminded me of the days way back when my friends and I used to take skateboards up to the top of parking structures so we could speed down the spiral structures, the “road” surface in those structures always being super smooth and fast.

Up around the fourth floor I found my jazzman. He didn’t seem particularly enthused by my arrival. In fact, I think he was terrified of me. What kind of upstanding citizen would be riding around in the middle of the night on a bicycle in a parking garage stalking saxophone sounds?! To his credit, he kept his tune going without missing a beat. I tried to give him a positive thumbs-up and an enjoying smile but he only eyed me wearily. Oh well, I tried to make contact, and I wasn’t going to butt-in where I wasn’t wanted, so I rode back down the spiral and out into the night. I hope he put it together that I was just digging on his sound.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Early Breakfast Run With Carl

Waking up in a strange place… you start to piece together where you are – a hotel room – and what’s outside, what‘s been calling to you, what woke you up: a desert mountain. You watched it through the previous evening from your poolside recliner with a cool drink in your hand, priming your dreams. Quickly but quietly you throw on whatever clothes you can find at the top of your bag in the dark room and step out into the cool morning, a waning half moon hovering overhead. The morning mountain takes its place in the now, another layer over the memory from the night before, from the vision that called you out of bed. You’ve never been here before and you don’t know where you’re going, but you go, you just go, and you breathe and you run and you let yourself be led – and soon, after a few twists and turns you find yourself at a trailhead. The sun is cresting the eastern horizon, just warming up for its one hundred degree day, but there’re still shadows of cool behind the ridges of rock on the ascent. At a comfortable turn around point on the trail, a saddle, the golden valley stretches out forever, and you turn to notice a memorial plaque secured to what must have been a very special place: “Carl Rose, 1914 – 1988, He loved this place” – of course he did, you think, as a tear starts to well up. A quick peace sign to the heart for respect and love and then you’re running back down the trail, suddenly knowing this place, loving this place, too, and knowing you’ll be back again the next morning, to run with Carl again. And somehow those cups of coffee and continental breakfast bar back at the hotel feel a little more real or appreciated or shared, even though you’ve still got it all to yourself. 


Monday, June 11, 2012

I’ve been through the desert on a [bike] with no name

One day you’ll saddle up early in the morning and ride into the sunrise, continuing relentlessly through the day’s heat and sun, taking the road all the way to the end until it turns into dust before a desert sunset.

And when it’s done, you won’t quite know why you did it or exactly what was gained, but something will have been satisfied, something deep down will be content.

Perhaps long afterwards you’ll hear it’s song playing through your head again and know something more, something of the why, of the satisfaction, something of time and distance and space… something of a journey, of a ride… of a life.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

take two of these and call me in the morning

I’ve been having difficulty sleeping lately. And tomorrow at dawn I’m leaving for the longest, hottest, hardest ride of my life (tale pending). So I want to be able to sleep as well as I can beforehand.

Sometimes I lay awake at night going over the last minute details of the day(s) ahead. Just last night I was thinking through the contents of my seat bag. Everything checked out until I got to thinking about the inner tubes. Although there are two in there, one of them being my only backup for at least a year for rides near and far, I unraveled a few concerns. The one I’d been carrying with me had already been patched. I can’t remember how long ago. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time… wait, I better not say that. Anyway, today I inspected the inner tube and there were these tiny little wrinkles I guess you’d call them or cracks. I’m mostly sure that the inner tube is fine – that it would work – even if it had a slow leak it would get me going – probably.

As for the other inner tube, well, that one had been sitting around in the shed for a long time, too – tucked inside an old tire. It looked fine – no cracking. But the valve on that tube is slightly shorter – just enough to create a minor problem for the 1 cm deeper rims I’ll be riding tomorrow. Again, this tube would almost surely be fine and do the job if needed.

But it’s these little doubts that keep me awake in the night. They creep in after you think everything is fine and done and ready to go. So, purely as a sleep aid, I bought two new inner tubes – I’m pretty sure they have no known side effects. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

floating through epiphanies

Almost every night as I’m riding home I experience the grandest bicycling-induced thoughts. And I say to myself, Yes!, this should go right on the blog, this is what I’m talking about, this is the real deal, the essence of ride-life, or maybe even just life… then, I get home and put the bike away and enter the arriving-home-routine and before I know it, think about it, the vision is gone, nearly impossible to retrieve. But really, the epiphany, these epiphanies, their specifics, shouldn’t need to be shared. We all have our epiphanies, our visions, our experiences to enjoy and live with/through, almost impossible to express fully, like trying to relate a dream. The important, sharable moment, though, is that epiphanies happen, epiphanies happen on the bike, and it’s a great reason to ride, to ride, to ride…