Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I don't have an ACL. I mean it's medically unconfirmed, but I watched it pop up close and personal. I'd bet the health of my 'good' knee on it, which as of late, ain't that good.
So, while I'm in, can you take a look at that good knee, Doc? It's been causing me some discomfort when I get up on the pedals--
Stationary bike? A WHAT? Is that a proxymoron? That's not a real bike! No, I REALLY ride. A REAL bike. Bike to work, work to bike, bike to live, live to bike.....et cetera and so forth.
"Patella Femoral Syndrome." Patella Who? The Spanish rice dish, in my knee? Go on. "Drugs, brace, weights"--Okay, sounds familiar. "Too much bicycling." I'm sorry, come again. Too much WHAT!?!
Sir, I mean no disrespect to your medical expertise, but perhaps you could reconsult your PDR, MRI, GFA (Grey's Freakin' Anatomy)! Google me an alphabetic trio that's simply cyclesomatic and tell me to suck it up.
Lemme get this straight--
Aerobic exercise is good for your health; you should bicycle.
Running is bad for your joints; try the bicycle.
Driving is bad for the environment; Go ByCycle.
PFS; bye-bye cycle?
Can I get a second, second opinion? "Oh, and about that dangling ACL...."
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
When down every street
Not a motor was whirring
Just my pedalin’ feet
The tango of tiny twinkling lights. The purr of a finely lubed chain. The tickle of one overly flirtatious Jack Frost nibbling upon my ear. Forget the holiday romance, get Parson Brown TOUT de SUITE!
A nip in the air? Wintry precip falling from above. Man's antithesis splashing 'round underneath! The hint of toxic salt kissing my lips, assaulting my mouth, mauling and molesting my precious frame. Cancel the flowers; Silence the bells! Call in Officer Krupke.
Oh, the weather outside was indeed frightful. But my ride was oh so delightful. I hate when it's wet when I go. Yo Shutt, can't it change o'er to snow?
Well deck the halls, great boughs of holly! This carolin' commuter is on a roll.
Nary a single bi-cycle would be found 'neath thou's boughs, of that I am sure. For upon laying a choice finger aside of his nose, the gas guzzling scrooge conveyed tidings of ill will as he drove out of sight. It did not at all resemble, "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!"
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Cold rain running down your leg and puddling beneath your increasingly arching foot--not exactly a thoughtful Hanukkah present. The swelling sensation of wanting to gnaw off your own bitterly cold, wet toes--not the teensiest bit like sucking on a peppermint stick.
Literal freezing rain though, ahh, like a vanilla bean cheesecake tucked away in a fruitcake box. Don't judge a cake by it's cover.
Comes down wet, goes on hard -- HO! What the ??? --Work with me here; and get your head out of your chimney ash!
There's no running, no puddling, no liquid of any kind. It freezes on contact, forming a protective outer shell if you will. Like magical chocolate sauce on a sweet hand-dipped dish of double churned ice cream. D. Licious.
Gortex, Vortex. One needs not a hi-techni-colored raincoat with the likes of a Natural Magic Shell. Like Superman and his flying cape. The Hulk and his bulgeous green skin . The Twins and their power of awe and wonder. A dramatic blogger and her liberal creative license to make up words.
Faster than a falling rain drop. More powerful than spittle off a fender less tire. Able to leap through puddles unscathed by menacing wakes and half pipes. Look! Out in the nigh! It's a turtle? It's a bike! It's Opal and Her Magic Shell!
(Beware of the frozen deck; it's a bit like kryptonite. And I don't mean the bic-able lock.)
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
I'm no Paul Harvey, but here's The Rest Of The Story....
It was a perfectly de-lovely winter's day despite the occasional 'fill in the blank' driver and malnourished Jack Frost noshing on my toes.
The air was crisp. Holiday shoppers milling about. Tourists taking in the Blue Spruce. There was even the sparse snow flake drifting by my nose. I love a good December spin night or day.
As I approached the Washington Monument I found a peculiar sight. Red, red, red. Everywhere I Iooked I saw red. Not in an angry-road-rage kind of way, but in a rosy-cheeked-bowl-full-of-jelly kind of way.
Jiminy Christmas Batman! That's a lot of Santas! Musta been a hundred of 'em. I approached cautiously. There's nothing worse than a scary clown, except maybe an angry Santa. And every DC local knows when a group of people gather on the Mall a protest is sure to break out.
But something seemed askew with this mob. I mean despite the red suits and floppy hats. That's it! Not a single sign. Not a single chant. No wait....what are they saying....Silent who?....Christmas what? Are they caroling?!?!
The Pack-o-Santas began to disperse, or rather swarm. They were marching on...to, of course, the White House. Ah, right, here is where the protest will get ugly. I am wise to your black trash bags ways, slung across your backs just so. Wink, wink. Sack of tricks I bet. Your placards slyly hidden from Park Police.
The Santa Jam politely waited for the walk signal and purposely used the cross walk to traverse Constitution Ave. Huh? One Santa standing in front holding up traffic amongst the shouting and honking. Everyone LOVED the traveling Santas. They were honking in support. DC traffic, happy? Everywhere you looked, everyone supported this ONE cause. The Santa Cause. Jesus Christmas! A Christmas Miracle, Washington style.
Armed with a camera I snapped some photos. I crossed to the Ellipse and watched them go. Upon checking my watch I noticed time was running out; I needed to get to work. I crossed in front of them, there on the wide sidewalk. Me in my helmet, they in their hats.
That is when it happened. That is when my name was displaced. In an instant I went to naughty from nice. Or was it them?
It was a Santarchy. I read the rules. Santa Claus is friendly, respectful, and cooperative. By definition even, Santarchists should disown Government regulations. But not these felted fellas.
"Bikes belong on the street!" I heard it plain as the nose on Rudolph's tiny reindeer face. Well that's not very friendly. I simply waved and thought to myself, "and Santas belong on the North Pole, but you don't see me whining about it"
Welcome to DC, HO.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
About one hundred Santas donned the suit of red and pranced between the Washington Monument and the Ellipse. Oh yeah, THAT Mall.
Tourists cheered and snapped photos of the caroling Santas converging on the Mall. Motorists honked in support of the Santa jam crossing Constitution Avenue en masse.
Not often in DC do you come across such a big group marching on the White House without an angry word or raised fist.
The 'impromptu' Kris Kringle Critical xMas bared no placards, no political unrest, no protesting of any kind. Just a jolly ole group of Santas, and a few elves, spreading holiday cheer.
Santarchy, as it's become known, has been breaking out the world over every December for the last 15 years.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Google Maps is a great tool to find your way around town, but they don't have a 'Safest Route' or 'Bike There' option. Choosing a car-free alternative often brings added complications.
The District of Columbia has a solution.
DC's Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) recognized the lack of neighborhood specific interactive maps available on line and offered up a challenge.
Together with iStrategyLabs, DC's OCTO recently sponsored Apps for Democracy, an innovative contest to visualize DC's Open Public Data.
OCTO's Data Catalog provides real-time data from multiple agencies to citizens, ensuring agencies operate as more responsive, better performing organizations.
The Apps for Democracy contest challenged innovative technologists to use this information coupled with applications available on line to create unique interactive maps for use in DC also known as mashups.
Apps gold medal winner iLive.at is the perfect mashup if you live in or plan to move to DC. Simply enter a DC address and iLive.at will present you with information tailored to that exact location, cleanly organized into categories.
Many of the 47 entries offer fun and exciting map mashups to help live a greener life in DC. Find a carpool, bike lane, metro stop, even a sidewalk.
All entries are listed on the Apps for Democracy Web site along with a link to each interactive map.
"The Apps for Democracy contest is part of our drive toward digital democracy in the nation's captial," said District CTO Vivek Kundra. "Apps for Democracy produced more savings for the DC government than any other initiative."
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
But how do you keep your ride from being 'recycled' while you sit in your cubicle at work? Arming yourself with a few simple tools will make your bike less vulnerable and your mind more at ease.
Be prepared. Take a picture of your bike and record the serial number. If you ever need to report a bike stolen these will be the first items the Police Department asks for. Also, if you are looking to report the theft for tax purposes and you have put money into upgrading parts, BE SPECIFIC. Your ten year old bike will be greatly depreciated in the police report, so if it has a new $100 seat make a note of it.
According to the Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD), "The entire national Capitol Region has experienced an increase in bike thefts. These thefts may be contributed to the high cost of fuel or the large number of bike couriers in this region." Over the last two years, 18 bikes have been reported stolen from the Takoma Metro station alone.
The MTPD has made several arrests recently for bike theft. The MTPD does not use cameras specifically targeted at bike racks, but they often deploy plain clothes officers at stations where bike thefts occur more frequently. They also use web sites and check pawn shops for stolen merchandise. You can call 202.962.2121 to report suspicious activity around Metro's bike racks.
The MTPD recommends Metro customers use WMATA bike racks and a high quality cable lock. In the District of Columbia, you can request a bike rack directly from WABA's website.
Some bike owners swear off cable locks since they can easily be cut with bolt cutters. Check out SmartLock, the latest innovation in locks specifically designed to deter bike theft.
SmartLock has cores of compressed air and liquid running through the cable. It works a bit like a dye pack used in a bank robbery. If the cable lock is cut a combination of colored dye and an invisible forensic property marking liquid is sprayed on the perpetrator.
SmartLock is not yet available to the public. In October 2008 it was featured at the London Bicycle Film Festival and it has been shortlisted to exhibit at Innovation Nation - an exhibition at the Ideal Home Show in March 2009.
In the meantime, be smart when you leave your bike. Use a bike rack, a good lock, and secure or remove loose items such as the seat and wheels. Consider 'booby-trapping' your bike to make it a little less convenient for a thief to jump on and ride away.
For example, as you are coasting to your stopping point, shift your bike without pedaling. When a thief jumps on and tries to pedal, the gears go nuts, the chain drops off, and hopefully the thief runs away.
Or, loosen the wheel skewer. The thief jumps on, the wheel starts to wobble, maybe falls off, the thief gives up.
Perhaps, loosen the seat post. The thief jumps on, the seat falls down, you can imagine the rest.
Just remember what you did so you don't hurt yourself when you go to ride home. Okay, so maybe those options aren't exactly ideal, but it sure would be fun to watch!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
This move offers an opposing view to the Save the Trail organization which has been very vocal along the Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) through Bethesda.
Save the Trail states the Purple line, as it is proposed, will destroy the heavily used CCT. Pro CCT activists cite the impact the light rail will have on the environment, the neighborhoods, and the safety of future trail users.
WABA claims that supporting the Purple Line will not only save the trail but also improve it. WABA stresses the importance of completing the Bicycle Beltway around the District of Columbia.
The CCT is an eleven mile paved multi-use trail that runs from Bethesda to Georgetown. In a 2007 survey report completed by the CCT Coalition, the estimated weekly users topped 23,000 at the Bethesda location.
The trail connects with the Georgetown Branch Trail east of the Air Rights tunnel that runs under Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda. This section of the interim CCT is crushed gravel. A completed trail would connect with downtown Silver Spring.
In the 2007 survey, the Coalition found trail use dropped significantly at this unpaved section of the trail suggesting a need to pave the rest of the trail.
WABA believes that the trail improvements that will come with the Purple Line -- especially the construction of the long-planned segment into downtown Silver Spring and the protected intersection crossings that will come with a light rail line -- make this a win-win project for both trail users and the people who will ride the new transit line.
WABA also points to the proposed Metropolitan Branch Trail (MBT) as an example of rails and trails co-existing and providing a valuable tool for reducing traffic congestion in the DC area.
The MBT is a proposed 8-mile multi-use trail that runs from Silver Spring in Maryland to Union Station in DC. Combining these two trails will give bicycle commuters many options into and out of the city.
Friday, October 3, 2008
How green is your ride? Forget Hybrids; a group of Arlington teens wants to know, how green is your bicycle?
You've heard of Craigslist. Maybe you've tried Ebay. But have you checked out Phoenix Bikes?
Located on the edge of Barcroft Park in South Arlington, Phoenix Bikes is a non-profit organization that takes donated bicycles and raises them from the ash of the dump, or the dust of some garage, and gives them a second chance.
Second chances are what define a Phoenix after all. Once a county run program called Community Spokes, Phoenix Bikes was reborn when a group of citizens and committed cyclists fought to bring back the program.
Phoenix Bikes serves as an after school hub for tinkering teens looking to tune up their bike mechanic skills and help their community with affordable alternatives.
Program Director, Colin Dixon, says the middle school and high school cyclists gain valuable management and leadership skills in addition to learning about social responsibility.
Through their Earn-A-Bike program, Youth Mechanics earn points for skills learned in the shop, hours worked, and even good progress reports at school. After completing a checklist, students can redeem those points for a refurbished bike or parts to upgrade their own bikes.
Other programs involve the participants in community service by teaching their neighbors road safety skills and mechanics. Phoenix Bikes also offers an Adult Instruction Night open to anyone. Kids are encouraged to take part in weekly rides with Team Phoenix.
Phoenix Bikes serves the Arlington biking community by offering tune-ups and minor repairs at a low cost. The shop also sells the bikes it rebuilds as well as used parts. The program receives some grant money, but operates largely from donations and proceeds from shop sales.
Phoenix Bikes has been operating out of a small building right off 4 Mile Run trail since March of 2007. They are currently looking for a larger space to accommodate the 60 or so Youth Mechanics that drop in and out of the shop.
To make a donation, shop the store, volunteer, or join the program check out www.phoenixbikes.org
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Brita Climate Riders rolled down Constitution Avenue today completing a 5 day, 300 mile ride from Manhattan to DC. The cyclists left New York September 20th to raise awareness of global climate changes.
The riders took their message of change to the streets, educating communities along the way about the benefits of a cleaner, healthier climate.
Climate Riders raised funds for Clean Air-Cool Planet and Focus the Nation, two organizations working to engage Americans to share responsibility in reducing fossil fuel energy consumption.
The main sponsor, Brita, supplied riders with filtered water along the route, eliminating the use of disposable plastic bottles.
Plastic water bottles produced for U.S. consumption use 1.5 million barrels of oil per year, according to a 2007 resolution passed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. That energy alone could power 250,000 homes or fuel 100,000 cars for one year.
38 billion water bottles end up in landfills per year. That's over $1 billion worth of plastic.
Some cities, including San Francisco, Albuquerque, Minneapolis and Seattle, have banned city purchase of single-serve bottled water because of waste impact from the bottles.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I believe you can get me through the ni-ight
ooh Dream Weaver
I believe we can reach the morning li-ight."
If only I could successfully get you into West Virginia. It began hours before on US RT 50. I awoke to find the RV travelling as if it were fleeing a crime scene. I poked my head into the cockpit to find my Mother strewn with maps and cue sheets mumbling something about crossing a bridge four times. After confirming the only law broken was speed, I hopped down and relieved my mom of duties she wasn't responsible for when I went to sleep. Seems her navigator fell asleep and they wound up lost. And so did H2. Lost that is not fell asleep, despite the Navigator's name. But let's not blame the Sleepigator. We consulted maps, cue sheets, even GPS; clearly Farson St was right there off Route 50 and yet it clearly wasn't. Brenda never saw it and kept asking what to do. I was at a loss; Sit tight. But what should we do she repeated? SIT TIGHT. Leave it to Sylvia to employ a 'local' to the rescue. She and this New York native 'local' found them on 50 and directed them to 7. It seems a brand new road opened just last week. Bugger. They successfully escorted our weary crew home.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The race was on, no joke. The congestion seemed to get worse as night fell even though by now we had gotten far from the unsupported race route. It became a cutthroat competition with 2,710 miles to go! On the sweltering pitch black desert floor, teams jockeyed for position for the legal five foot pull off. The long, straight road offered few pull offs and was tightly sandwiched between deep loose sand. The battling teams ate up the possibilities and created a chaotic scene. Many teams were executing dangerous transitions as bikers and cars tangoed along the shoulder of Highway 78. Teams were now closely followed by their support vehicles and were riding up on top of each other rather than allowing the 100 meters required by race rules. It seemed like everyone except us was doing rolling exchanges although not very well. I think they meant to be legal, but needed more practice or didn't anticipate the chaos of other riders. I for one did not expect it to be this tight this far into the race. It was pretty exciting, but I'm not sure if I could have handled the intensity for seven straight days. If everyone continues to use two vehicles eliminating the need to stop to do a transition we could end up dropping more than 30 minutes every single night. We'll see how it plays out, but I'm afraid our strategy might be too conservative in this tight a race.
Slamming success. The route restrictions can be challenging but we strategized, practiced, and executed. No stress; no penalties. It didn't seem all that difficult really. Just get out of town early and don't worry about your riders. The unsupported parade route went off without a hitch with Mike leading the way. Denise, Brenda, and I left the start line and headed for our first legal exchange point to wait. Hummingbird One picked up the other team of Bob and Robin after the ceremonial ride out of town and zipped to Time Station #1 to also wait. The RV skipped the gnarly glass elevator and went all the way to Time Station #2 per Bob to...of course wait. The mood of the entire race would be, you guessed it, HURRY UP AND WAIT.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Four days in Oceanside without organization or a clear agenda. I was very jealous of the riders who just got to hop on their bikes and enjoy the sea air. I constantly felt like there was a ton to do but very little was getting done. First of all it was overwhelming to have a bucketful of things left to do that should have been done at home. Tasks became more challenging with limited time, supplies, and space. This was most often due to a control issue and it's just something we had to deal with. Things within our control, however, were also just left hanging. There was no formal agenda, no start time, no scheduled meetings. Even when there were, they were often overrided. Within our team there were three separate entities operating around our own central hub, creating conflicts and future confusions. Decisions were made separately, times decided independently and no concise way to communicate between the groups. Our ideas were constantly overlapping and conflicting. We were subconsciously outlining our destiny to fail, or at the very least building up the wall in which we would eventually need to climb over. Sheer grit, determination, and a dedication to our goal would be our only hopes to pull us through.
Just a side note, this isn't just a bike race across the United States. I am never far in thought from my personal mission on this trip and that is to raise money and awareness for the DC Firefighter's Burn Foundation back in DC. Please take time if you are following our progress to remember those local heroes. Thanks!
Let's Get It ON!
Monday, June 9, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Team Cycle Smart is now complete (minus Feather, who will be joining us day 2). We had a productive day, stickering the vehicles, discussing the first couple days' strategy, and even getting a tiny mechanical lesson from Matt. It's a lot smoother than I thought, but it's still a bit hectic. There's a ton of things that need to happen in the next couple days that are fairly critical to our success.
So far the team is great, but we'll see how we do on zero sleep. The best advice I got for this thing from someone who's been there, done that is "always say please and thank you, even when you are too tired to do anything else"
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
THIS is WAY better than newspaper in the shoes. Marshmellows in the bag! YES! Okay, the cotton balls were super nice too, but you can't snack on them once you get to your destination. This looks like a trip to the store, but it's really just another day at the office. That 10 mile hike home is fine with a coat stuffed in the bag, but I gotta say those bags of cotton balls were extra special. I just might keep them in there forever.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
Shout out to Mom Flowers. Newspaper in the shoes, really? Should I stuff my bed with it too, because I'm not sure I'll ever dry out. So thanks for the advice, and being there, and all that mom stuff. I love you. Maybe you could have picked a name that rhymed with 'dry' though? I'm just sayin.....
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Saturday April 12 9:00am - 7:00pm
Sunday April 13 9:00am - 7:00pm
And it's FREE!