My name is Jason and this blog is about bikes and biking, plain and simple. I don't claim to be a gear head, a former pro, a hipster or an afficionado. I just like to ride my bicycle.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Squeaky Wheel...

When I was in second grade I got a hamster from a litter of hamsters born to our class pet. They were long haired, fuzzy and cute from a distance:  I named him (it could have been a her for all I knew) Buddy. In my second grade way I really hated Buddy because he bit me the first day I got him. I tossed him across the room and my mom had to find him and put him back in his cage. Wearing rubber gloves and swearing she tossed my room and complained about having to touch what she at the time regarded as a rat. In Buddy’s short tenure on this earth we had a pretty lukewarm relationship. I fed him and gave him water, admittedly not as often as I probably should have or he might have lived longer, and watched him through the glass of his cage as he did hamster things. In stereotypical hamster form Buddy had a wheel in his cage that he loved to run on…at night when I tried to sleep. He never touched the damn thing during the day, but he’d run for hours on it at night. Are hamsters nocturnal, where was Wiki in second grade? The incessant squeaking kept me from sleeping on a number of occasions and I would lie in my bed and curse the day Buddy was born; both for biting me and for running his stupid wheel. This morning I got on my bike and my front wheel began to squeal in a manner I’ve not heard before from the Cannondale, but one vaguely reminiscent of Buddy’s wheel. All the way to work, squeak, squeak, squeak: the bearings must need lubing. The cold night and excessively heavy, damp, morning air must have finally caused the nearly 20 year old hubs to start seizing. The whole way to work as I rolled up behind cars and passed people walking through neighborhoods I cursed my obnoxiously loud bike and how conspicuous it made me feel, very similarly to how I cursed Buddy those nights in bed. Unless there’s a miracle or the angel of Buddy comes down from hamster heaven to fix my sticking bearings, I’ll squeak the entire way home tonight as well. Buddy’s angel probably doesn’t give a rat’s ass about me anyway: he did bite me and I did subsequently toss him and now he's haunting my wheel so I guess we’re even. Stupid wheel: I hate the sound of squeaking and apparently always have.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Trainer (aka Start Playing with Yourself!)

As a 9-5’er the winter affords few opportunities to log any sincere form of training miles. Weather permitting, the weekend generally offers the best shot at any extensive base miles, and aside from regular commuting and riding to the store (with coats, gloves, shoe covers and the like) the miles are hard to come by. Fortunately for the eager cyclist in training the great almighty gave us trainers. Riding the trainer equates nicely to running on a treadmill or other activities one might do by themselves to get by until the real thing. Like running on a treadmill (or whatever you may do alone), no one enjoys having to do it but it gets the job done when you’ve got few other options. The worst part about riding on a trainer has to be the sheer boredom of being locked to a machine flailing away with little to show of your progress. Bikes are made to go places! There's no wind on the trainer, no speed, no coasting!  So to help with the monotony of trainerdom I’ve compiled this list of things one can do to spice up that time in the basement while you play with yourself.

1. Train with a video or workout routine. This helps simulate actual riding or helps to keep your mind focused on actually working.
2. Watch TV. You can sprint during the commercials or do intervals until commercials.
3. Watch a movie. This helps if you’re going for serious length…try Dances with Wolves or Titanic or some other 3+ hour film if you can make it that long (not due to the riding).
4. Watch old race videos (bike porn). This can be very entertaining if you can get past the idea that you’re not actually in the Giro, you never will be, riding your 53-11 while your dog stares at you is not the same as sitting in with the Schleck brothers and that blonde just doesn’t have any interest in you…she makes those noises for everyone.
5. Listen to music. Music can assist in varying tempo and cadence. Listen to music you can’t stand…it makes you ride harder.
6. Sit in silence. Silence is golden.
7. Sit in silence in the dark and pretend you’re riding at night…or in a cave.
8. Read a book or magazine. I sweat like a beast no matter what so this really isn’t viable for me unless I read those 10 page plastic baby books that you can sweat, drool or chew on.
9. Share your pain with a friend. Why suffer alone? Invite one of your cycling pals over to sit on their trainer with you: misery loves company.
10. Create an inspirational PowerPoint and play it through your TV. Images could include the sad, cherub like expression of World Champion Cadel Evans; a crack pipe and 40oz bottle of Colt 45 to remind you of the fun you could be having with Tom Boonen; a picture of Jens Voigt’s scarred face to remind you you’re not even half as tough as Jens—maybe not even a quarter as tough; highlights of Alberto flying up TDF mountain stages humiliating both you and the peloton; images of 14 year old Little Aussie kids who are already better than you will ever be…ever…even with rockets on your bike.
11. You could update your Twitter account every 5 min in Lance Armstrong fashion: “I’m still riding on my trainer.” “Mary Kate’s coming over in an hour.” “We’re having sandwiches.”
12. Close your eyes and imagine you’re being chased by Dodge Ram pickup trucks, rabid dogs or triathletes—“No Mr. BadForm McTriBars you will not pass me…You will not!
13. Listen to a book on tape, like “Its Not About The Bike” or “Harry Potter” or “I’m Not Riding By Myself In The Basement Because I’m A Loser With No Friends…Really.”
14. Get some Rosetta Stone CD’s and learn Italian or French so you can impress your local group ride with how Euro you are. And then when they drop you, you can say “Merde!” with a great accent.
15. Ride in TT position. Then after a half hour remind yourself how stupid you are to be on a trainer in TT position—stupid but aero!
16. Put your trainer in your garage or on the porch. Then it is like riding outside but sort of cheating.  But while freezing your ass off you'll remember why you got on the trainer in the first place.
17. Ride your trainer while you play Wii games…then its double the illusion of exercise.
18. Ride your trainer and watch non-cycling sports. This is actually very interesting because you see other people exercising, but they’re not doing your sport, yet you feel strangely connected to them...even though you have never figure skated in your life.
19. Put some cookies in the oven and ride your trainer in the kitchen. This is much like that sect of Catholicism that believes in self flagellation: you should be punished for your sins.
20. Put your bike on the trainer and then go do something else. This accomplishes little to nothing in terms of working out or training…but really it’s the only way the trainer is even remotely enjoyable.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Most times cars and bike pleasantly cohabitate the same spans of pavement with little to no incident. Most times bikes can ride home from work in the bike lane with little care or concern for the traffic streaming by them. Sometimes, however, people decide they need to take short cuts through residential neighborhoods, like the side streets along Colfax Avenue. And sometimes these people decide that their need to get somewhere in a hurry supersedes the rights of others to share the roadways with them. Sometimes these people hurtle their P.O.S. late 90’s white sedans down these residential streets easily 15-20mph in excess of the speed limit. Sometimes they roll almost through the stop sign on 14th before noticing the bicyclist entering the intersection. And sometimes their tires squeal to a halt. And sometimes the cyclist gives them the WTF hand wave and glares at them while riding around the hood of their car, 3 feet into the 2.5 foot wide bike lane. And sometimes behind that incredulous and unknowing cyclist sits a Lakewood police officer in an inconspicuous SUV. Sometimes this officer gives the white sedan driving, late stopping, reckless speedster his own WTF look and flips on his lights. And sometimes, just sometimes the cyclist rides by the driver of the sedan and looks through the thin window pane of glass between them and smiles with the smug, contented smile of the vindicated. This never happens most times, seldom happens oftentimes but sometimes…just sometime.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I am the Napster!

Today I managed to make it home without stopping at any of the 4 lights along the way. I love rides like that, I feel like that scene in the Italian Job where Seth Green’s character ‘the Napster’ hacks the traffic system and changes all the lights so the crew can make their escape and they're like driving down stairs and through subway tunnels, and shooting at stuff...that's exactly how my ride home was today. Ok maybe it was not quite like that, but I did hit all the lights...and shoot at some stuff.

Sunday there was unfortunately no shooting and plenty of lights as I shamefully ditched out of the team ride departing from Parker and joined one of the local group rides (the MOB ride) for a loop up Bear Creek Canyon, Kerr Gulch through Evergreen and back via Lookout. As bad as I felt for not doing the team ride, I felt great about not making the 25ish mile drive down to Parker for a training ride. The pace of the MOB ride kept me working hard and the route featured some sustained climbing, which my climb-less legs sorely needed. It didn’t take long for me to notice that my descending skills have suffered greatly after my wipe out during the descent from the Bob Cook Hill Climb last year (front tire blew at speed…ouch). I just couldn’t grab the nerve to close the gap during our twisting descent through Red Rocks, but fortunately made up for it quickly on the climb up Bear Creek. With more practice it will come back. Surprisingly I felt relatively good climbing, though I’m sure I was pushing it much harder then some of the other guys. Still, it shows I can get close to the pace I want to get to and hold it: I just need to build the endurance back up a bit and should be ok. Considering Sunday was nearly 60 degrees here in Denver, upon returning from my ride Kate and I decided we needed to do more riding!

We hopped on our commuters and rode down to the Clear Creek path to head towards Golden for some lunch/dinner (whatever you eat at like 2:30 in the afternoon--linner.) Sunday afternoon simply could not be beat in terms of January afternoons. The sun felt truly warm, not that fake, half-assed, its 5 degrees and sunny warmth that the winter sun sometimes tries to deceive us with.
Riding out to Golden: 1/17/10
Riding out to Golden: 1/17/10
We ambled out westward and cruised up to Woody’s in Golden for the sweet all you can eat Pizza and Salad deal (nothing like burning calories and then packing them back on!) Maintaining some sense of decency I didn’t gorge myself like I have in the past, instead we hung out, watched the Jets beat the Chargers and then rode home.
Riding out to Golden: 1/17/10
Our ride home was pretty entertaining as we had contests on who could manage to coast the longest. I think if we’d started with more speed we practically could have coasted the entire length of the path from the bridge over 42nd to the exit for Youngsfield. I’m not sure coasting and wobbling a nearly stopped bike for momentum counts much in terms of quality bicycling of any kind, but I’d challenge anyone to come up with a better way to end a day of riding and pizza eating.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Now You See It. Now You Don't. The 2010 Triple is Closed.

Today for just a brief moment you might have been fortunate enough to glimpse a rare and fleeting thing: open Triple Bypass registration. Hopefully you didn’t blink, the registration remained open for only 30 minutes before the 3,500 rider cap was hit and it closed again for yet another year. For those of you who might have missed it, or who don’t know what the Triple Bypass is, the Triple is a large group ride here in Colorado sponsored by Team Evergreen. The supported 3,500 member group ride traverses a winding 120 mile route over three passes including 10,310 total feet of climbing from Evergreen to Eagle, Colorado. Its not a race, but despite the lack of a competitive element (which surely one can add themselves), the Triple commands a large degree of respect for the sheer amount of climbing undertaken while on the ride.

I’ve never done this ride. Typically the ride is only open for registration for a handful of days. Last year my race season took priority and I didn’t even consider entering. The year before I tried but was too late. This year I decided to make the commitment and thanks to a reminder from my friend Aaron, I logged in and signed up right at noon when registration opened. Good thing too: it closed 33 minutes later. This year the Triple falls on July 10th, which should offer a warm, but pleasant day for riding in the high mountains of Colorado. It also lands 2 weeks before the Bob Cook Memorial, Mt. Evans hill climb, which is one of my higher priority races for this year. I came in 9th last year in my first CAT 3 race: this year I’m determined to do better. The climbing provided by the Triple should go a long way to helping me prepare for this event.

Although July is a long way off, I’m already excited for this ride: 3 passes, 120 miles, 10,300 feet of climbing, equal likelihood of snow or scorching hot sun (or both), a commemorative jersey and what I’ve been told is a killer BBQ and party afterward--all of these are good things. Plus I’m now registered for my first event of the 2010 season. The calendar was looking a little lonely and sad with no dates marked off for training, racing, or riding. But now July 10th is booked solid. So is May 9th for Kate’s first marathon effort (its running but we don’t discriminate here…too much.) I also started scouting out some dates for other events (not posted or open yet) but they’re lurking out there on the horizon: Deer Trail, Bob Cook, Dead Dog, Hugo...its going to be a great season.

--Images and info courtesy of and the Team Evergreen Bicycle Club

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Zen and the Art of Bike Commuting

I got out of work about 45 min later than I planned. A flat front tire greeted me when I walked in to the bike room after work. Did the pump and ride up the Platte bike path up to REI, navigating the remaining icy, slushy spots of the trail which helped break up the monotony of what was otherwise a continuous puddle of water. Rode up 23rd and almost met the grill of an oblivious motorist attempting to make a right turn through me. Yet despite what would otherwise be a bullshit ride home, l I found myself in unflappably high spirit’s the entire ride home. It was 45 degrees when I passed the big digital thermometer by Crown Hill…in January…at night! Can you beat that? I cruised the loop past Sloan’s lake. Meandered my way up through Edgewater and coasted down 26th towards the light at Kipling. As crappy as commuting by bike can sometimes be, what with the flats, the cold, the wet ass, perpetual snot flow, narrow misses with cars and the rest, sometimes the bike just balances all that stuff. There are times where you need the bike and you get a frozen brake and yelled at by some chick using the bike lane as her personal passing lane…but there are other times when you need the bike and it delivers. The stress just fades as the miles roll by. The mind zones out and escapes the jungle of the day to day. A smile appears once more and its almost like being a kid again. The road is yours and yours alone, and with that kind of clarity and control of one’s destiny, all is again right with the world. You just pick where you want to go and you‘re off. If only all days could end this way.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Not again...

It’s a sleepy eyed, rusty chain, stuck brake kind of a Monday. Slow going this morning and I struggled with my neglected bike which seemed to want to stay in the garage today…as did its owner. This really seemed to be a continuation of my struggles from Sunday. Yesterday, in true absentminded style I forgot my shoes for the big 2010 season kick off ride with the team. That's why I prefer rides to start where I don't have to drive to them...I'm bad in the morning on little sleep and one cup of coffee.  Fortunately Kate met me downtown and I was able to catch the group after about an hour of hammering it. I put in much more of an effort than I really was planning, but had a good time once I caught on to the pack. The slightly sore legs today only added insult to injury, as I kneeled in the 20 degree garage trying to force some life into my commuter’s drive train. It feels like I’m starting the week a bit behind in the count (to switch sports metaphors.) Oh well, I suppose I’ll just stand in and swing away. At least for the ride home this afternoon it should be near 50.

Friday, January 8, 2010

-3.5 degrees...that's all I have to say

The week evolved into a bit of a roller coaster in terms of riding. It started out at a high point, pleasant temps, clear streets and light post holiday traffic. Then it quickly plummeted into a winter, freezing mess of snow covered ice, congestion, multi-modal navigation and arctic temperatures. Fittingly, today marked the high point of the work week; the last little dip before pulling into the station for the weekend. Here’s my homage to today’s ride.

• 10 year old pair of blue REI long underwear tops and bottoms, with a hole in the right leg where I cut myself almost clear to my femur while skiing 4 years ago--$2.00
• Striped red REI base layer, one of the best base layer shirts I've ever worn--$15.00
• Pair of expedition wool, SmartWool socks with the heels practically worn through--$.50
• Neon-yellow Gore Windstopper Cycling jacket given as a birthday present by my lovely wife for my 30th, now complete with some stubborn grease stains--$50.00
• Fleece balaclava that's actually too big for my gigantor head--$5.00
• Cheap glove liners that won’t last an entire season but fit comfortably inside my outer gloves-$.10
• Manzella rancher glovers with a bit of crustiness on the right thumb (it washes out, it washes out)--$10.00
• Shimano mtb shoes I got from Doc’s Ski and Sport for %75 off when I worked for almost 10 years ago…I can’t believe these shoes are still functional…$1.00
• Neoprene shoe covers with some knock off Italian name on them, which I pulled out of a grab bin of miscellaneous used crap at VeloSwap 3 years ago for $1.00 --$.25
• Carrera ski goggles snagged on a sweet deal at Sniagrab 4 years ago--$5.00
• Rudy Project HART team helmet from the 2008 season, for me $0, for you--$20.00
• 1984 Cannondale touring bike picked up off Craigslist for $85 complete now with rear racks, panniers, lights, same foam wrapped bar tape now nearly falling off, new VeloSwap drive train and a frozen rear brake (its a classic)--$20.00
• A 7 mile, 18mph average speed, all out TT to work on relatively carless streets over glare ice, slush, mag chloride and other gross on a -3.5 degree morning---priceless.

If it actually hits the 33 degrees they said it would be this afternoon, the ride home might seem anticlimatic by comparison.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Lone Ranger and Cadel Evans Fist Fight in Fort Collins

Today 9 News featured an article about Fort Collins adding a ‘surcharge’ to tickets issued to cyclists for running stop signs. How timely! I just posted the other day about stop signs (that universe sure is clever.) On top of the fine, cyclists will now be expected to pay a $35 surcharge comparable to motorists who apparently have been paying this fee all along. The notion of a traffic ticket ‘surcharge’ conjures up interesting images of blue uniform clad Ticketmaster employees running around beating concert goers with Billy clubs. Apparently the surcharge helps to raise money to fund traffic enforcement officers.

Now after having written one post about stop signs just the other day, I don’t intend my next post to rail on about the same subject, however I do find it intriguing that the City of Fort Collins adds surcharges to its traffic tickets, and additionally has been levying them discriminately against motorists and not cyclists for the same offense. For starters, if you need $35 more bucks just raise the fine $35. Doesn’t that make more sense than adding a ’convenience charge’ or ’handling fee’ to the ticket itself? Who are you really fooling with that? Secondly, if the law states that cars and bikes are to have the same access and privileges to public roads then why on earth would you ever enforce the rules differently for one group over the other? As if car-bike relations aren’t already strained enough. It is exactly this sense of inequity between the two groups that rises to the top of the car vs. bike arguments most often.

One of the chief complaints frequently tossed out there by the ‘bike detractor’ faction alleges that cyclists want equal access to the roads yet do not abide by the rules the same as cars do. (I’m not even going to go down the rabbit hole of assumptions implied in this sentiment, insisting that cars are somehow proportionally more law abiding than cyclists. To me the cyclist running a stop sign is the equivalent of the motorist’s speeding. It can be dangerous but generally is harmless enough and enough people do or have done it to make complaining about it just a wee bit hypocritcal.) To the point of the matter, however, this complaint often is supported by numerous claims of cyclists running lights, weaving through traffic, not stopping at stop signs, killing babies, dealing drugs, ruining the traditional American nuclear family and generally carrying on as if better than everyone else in 4 wheels. Given the tone of some of these arguments, one might ask, "Why such a sense of indignation at these actions?" I would contend that the primary motivation for this particular sense of injury stems less from a consciousness of right and wrong and a desire to uphold the letter of the law, but rather comes from sheer, bitterly green envy. Car drivers aren’t appalled at the shocking disregard for the law manifested in the behaviors of some cyclists because they are so endeared to the law itself. No one loves following the rules that much! They’re jealous that inside their conspicuous, license-tagged, 4 wheeled contraptions they cannot pull off similar displays of carefree capriciousness.

Americans love their bad boys: James Dean, Elvis, John Dillinger (movies about John Dillinger), Bat Man, every Bruce Willis movie character, Jules and Vincent from Pulp Fiction, the Terminator, that Johnny Depp Pirate, Dirty Harry, etc. At some level we all have a deep seeded dislike for authority. It is in our heritage, this is after all the country that told Britain to F-off in the great revolution of 1776, and we light off millions of exploding homage’s to these rebels every year on the 4th of July . Once we moved beyond the Lone Ranger, Zorro, Davy Crocket era of lone wolves on horse back, we replaced the horse with Easy Rider, the Bandit, Magnum PI, Knight Rider, Ricky Bobby: we love our daredevils to drive or ride big powerful machines. Trans Am’s with V8 engines or fancy new Audi’s transporting and ninja kicking the shit out of Europe: we are too fast and too furious bitchezz you better recognize! What’s the best part about James Bond? The brand new $1M car and the requisite chase scene through traffic in exotic, foreign locales where he summarily crashes the hell out of it. And as much as Americans have an affinity for the wonton reckless renegade, our inner Mad Max if you will, most American motorists I would argue, secretly want to slip into this persona and become these characters each and every time they get into their car. If it weren’t for Gone in 60 Seconds sales of the new Mustang would not have been so high, likewise for the Fast and the Furious and the Mitsubishi Evo or Subaru STI. I have no data to support these observations but it seems pretty closely linked to me. So when sitting in traffic, caffeinated out of their minds, revving the grossly unnecessary 420hp engine in their new 2 ton Infinity SUV, the American motorist literally red lines at the sight of some spandex clad, hipster, punk ass cyclist cruising by and blowing a stop sign. Their inner Mad Max goes ballistic “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! I WANT TO DO THAT TO, I HATE EVERYTHING, I HATE THOSE CYCLISTS!” Essentially, ‘cyclists don’t obey laws’ translates to ‘why do they get away with the crap that I want to do but can’t.’

So the idea of enforcing this division by having two separate ticket or fine structures only engenders more hostilities and resentment (just read the comments under the article to see for yourself.) Placing cyclists and motorists onto an even plane in the eyes of the law will at least start to help reduce the perception that one group is getting away with something the other group is not. This unfortunately will still not address the sense of entitlement that some motorists have for public roads that they for some reason cannot see extending to cyclists, but that’s likely a topic in response to a future 9 News story. In the meantime, don’t run any stop signs in Fort Collins or it could cost you $35 more bucks and I might have to come up there and ninja kick your ass.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Stop Lover's Manifesto

I once heard a wise man say that all of the stop signs with white around them were optional. This might be true: I am not a lawyer or a police officer. However I’m going to assume that the great wizards of urban planning and traffic management had a little something different in mind when they put all of these red and white signs up in our neighborhoods. So if they aren’t optional, whatever are we to do? Apparently the jury seems to still be out on that one.

Take the example of the timid motorist: they willingly sacrifice their right of way to just about everything: cars, trucks, bikes, zombie bunnies

(ok, I’d gladly let the zombie bunny go too.) It is not quite clear why one would voluntarily forfeit their right of way to a bike of all things, yet it happens quite frequently. Occasionally the driver is distracted and misses their turn or they’ve never seen a bike before and they want to take a picture. However more than likely they hesitate because it appears courteous to wait or they think the bike won’t stop. While courtesy is nice, as in giving 3ft to pass, excessive courtesy above and beyond the letter of the law just isn’t necessary. Cyclists count on cars to stick to the game plan; that being the normal rules of driving. Doing so helps them navigate that crazy asphalt jungle out there in the safest manner possible. If the bike doesn’t want to play by the rules, well courtesy’s probably the last thing they deserve. In most places the law says stop and yield to traffic already in the intersection (cars and bikes); sticking to that game plan is courteous enough.

As the timid stoppers are wont to approach the line, the rollers on the other hand love the line. They’d park their car on top of, or preferably beyond, the line of the intersection all day if they could: the view must be great from 10 ft past the stop sign. There are various typologies of this behavior, including:
• The slow roller: they pull up and stop briefly and then start inching forward almost imperceptibly; practically the track stand of the automotive world.
• The late stopper: they miss the stop completely but are socially conditioned enough to know to stop no matter how late. Interestingly, these drivers will often look at you from mid-intersection like you are the asshole.
• The slow roller, no looker: a variation on the slow roller, these drivers pull up and start moving forward all the while not looking once in the direction of oncoming traffic. There could be an entire bus full of George Hincapies bearing down on them and they wouldn’t ever notice until it is too late.

Last but not least are the stop runners. Everyone has run a stop sign at some point in their life either in their car or on a bike: there’s no piety in the realm of stop signs. Sometimes you miss it because the sign is lurking behind a large bush or parked car. Other times you just glance down and whoops…

Unintentional stop sign running I suppose constitutes an accident, the consequences can be severe but everyone can make mistakes. On the other hand there is intentional stop sign running: gunning it to beat someone to the line or just blatantly disregarding anyone else potentially entering the intersection. I’ve seen cars do it and I’ve seen cyclists do it. In the French Enlightenment sense this violates our Social Contract in a seemingly small, yet significant way. If everyone were to just quit stopping at stop signs traffic would go much slower, accident rates would increase, people would never get to work on time, pizzas would always be late and hipsters would be everywhere. No one wants this pandemonium (except for maybe the cyclist, weaving through traffic is much easier with the cars all jammed up and stopped…but I digress.)

So as a driver approaching that intersection or stop sign, take a good look at that cyclist heading your way. They could be someone’s father, mother, daughter, son, neighbor, teacher, best friend, team mate etc. Or they could be a prick who wants to run the intersection too. Or they could be coked out of their mind, on their way to a really big party, too drunk to be sure what is happening to them, as you can see in the example below. Why hit that person, they’re in enough trouble as it is? 

But all that aside, they’re likely just riding their bike and chances are they will stop too if needed or at least ride past soon enough and the world won’t have spun out of orbit in the meantime. So give that Stop sign a little love next time, play by the rules, lay off the nose candy and it should be smooth sailing….or driving….or riding—whatever.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Shoe Monday

Nothing quite like heading back to the 9-5 after a long weekend to boost the spirits and make you realize how much fun working really is. On top of all this post-holiday season let down is the fact that today was a Shoe Monday. One of my clever tricks for regular bike commuting is to leave all of the staples of my work day persona at work in a drawer. I bring a fresh change of clothes each day and pair them with either brown or black dress shoes and a reversible belt…yes, yes say what you will about reversible belts but I still maintain they are one of the greatest creations of all mankind (Pyramids of Giza, Golden Gate Bridge, Hot Pockets, Reversible Belts). I can pull this off because I seldom use ‘dress shoes’ outside of work and therefore rarely miss them by leaving them in a drawer. When I do need them I just bring them home, bringing me full circle back to the concept of the Shoe Monday: the Monday after a weekend of swanky to-doing where you schlep your heavy dress shoes back to work adding insult to injury on top of the act of going back to work itself.

Moving on past these doldrums, I did get a bike computer from REI this weekend: a Sigma on clearance (thanks Jill and Matt) and finally have the power of information at my disposal while commuting to and from work or wherever. For the past couple years I simply estimated my daily mileage based on a Map My Ride estimate of the distance between our house and work. Each day I rode would be that distance even if I rode downtown, to Kate’s work or to McDonalds to eat several Big Mac’s. I discovered today that my estimate was nearly .5 miles off (one way!) which means I’ve had a skewed perspective of time, space and distance somewhat on par with thinking the Earth the center of the universe. Armed with my new computer I’ll now calculate my mileage electronically thus leaving the dark ages behind. I’ve put an ‘Odometer’ to the right under my profile information to track my mileage for various kinds of riding…it’s a bit rudimentary for now but will hopefully evolve. So according to my Dark Age finger counting and chest beating, I rode 201 days to work last year bringing my mileage to over 2,500. (This is really just a fact, not a goal. Beating this mark would mean going to work more which is really a feat I’m trying to avoid.)

Finally I would like to regress back to the doldrums ever so slightly to add this following piece of wisdom: there really shouldn’t be a place in this world for a pick-up truck with straight pipes mounted vertically out of the bed next to the cab. What does this accomplish? What message are you trying to send to the world? “I hope one day when I grow up to be a truck driver.” Its called a CDL: take a class and go play trucks with the big boys if you really want to. I can respect the utility of a truck, the level of comfort of driving one of our modern sedan-like trucks and all of that, but the Ram 1500 with straight pipes is a mystery to me and really serves no conceivable purpose. I suppose some birds attract mates by throwing up on their feet and stuff like that, so if it works then by all means go big.

And to the lady in the white Saturn who threw her trash out the window of her car, but politely waved me through the stop sign at Perry: you are a true American and a model citizen. May your courtesy forever be rewarded…there’s someone with straight pipes looking for you.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Let's Get This Party Started...

Today being New Year's day it seemed appropriate to go charging into the new year all half-cocked and full of vim and vigor...and what better way to do that then a team ride with the lads on the Primal/First Bank Team (Haulin' Ass Race Team).  The morning started right with delicious pancakes for fuel and a Vanagon ride down to Bang Salon...since I woke up late and had a headache.  Too much wine before bedtime means a slow start to the day and a lame drive to the group ride. Redemption awaited as we rode forth up through the industrial oasis that is north Denver and Commerce City, eventually making our way up Rivendale Road towards Brighton. It was cold. There was a lot of shit talking and general festive merriment and even a pace line and speed limit sprint or two.  Yes, after falling asleep pathetically at 11:45pm that crappy old 2009 got tossed out and 2010 came roaring in like the metaphoric lactate threshold max wattage extravaganza that it truly promises to be.  (Or a long slow day sitting in the saddle behind a man with a spandex mesh window on his ass...) Things are lookin' up, cheers!
All the makings for a good time
All the makings for a good time...if only it wasn't 20 something degrees.