Who am I to argue with God?
Sunday, October 30, 2011
It was nice to get back on the bike for the annual MCM this year. For the past several I've been running my own personal mini marathon. And yes, I do get a medal for it.
Chasing Marathon Bob around the course on foot is beyond my athletic ability. Riding with him by bike is almost beyond my athletic ability. Oh, I wish I was exaggerating.
I must say, I've become a huge fan of riding marathons. Not a typo, riding, was intentional. Running them, not so much. I gave it a go...once. That was enough. Since then, my body rules.
See, turns out we had a conflict of interest, me and my body. I thought I wanted to run 26.2 miles. It knew it didn't want to. I was clearly out of my mind, but unfortunately there's no out of my body. And for that one very long day, very long, we agreed to disagree.
Since then we have come to a mutual compromise. I'm allowed to run HALF marathons, but FULL marathons must be done by bike. We couldn't be happier. Me and my body and my bike! Closed roads, no traffic, inspiration around every corner, NO entry fee.
Helmets off to those who try. Especially those, like me, who spend the day pounding the pavement...Five plus hours, running more miles than many people can bike! Think about it. A 25 mile bike ride for many is unimaginable. And these folks are running it! Cue the tears....
Friday, October 28, 2011
But I don't really feel like drinking again tonight. Not that it was that much, but apparently it was enough. And it's not like I didn't consider the consequences; I passed out clutching a bottle of Gatorade.
I know the importance of hydrating throughout the night. Dehydration is a bitch, like detoxing the toxin. But I only had two beers. Two. Okay, twoish beers and twoish near beers. That's not really four. No cause for alarm.
But a friend told me later you have to alternate. Beer, water, beer, water. You can't just catch up mid-night. I thought that's what I did? Near beer, as you well know, comes with a water chaser, right there in the same glass! But I still chugged the gator as I slept, just in case.
Didn't work. Still woke fitful and tossing as the headache engulfed my vice. Fine. I slugged myself downstairs and grabbed the magic elixir. The amen in a bottle. The pill in my pillow. And oh what a pillow it was. I can still feel it pulled close nuzzling against my groggy face.
The Excedrin did its job; did it real good. It washed out the ache like a tide pulling back to sea. In 10 seconds flat. Like Percocet with an E. Just five more minutes....prrrrrrrr
Thursday, October 27, 2011
I just can't keep up. Feeding my 'engine' just got expensive again. What once was gas now comes in a plain brown paper bag (and btw we are going to be paying for that soon too!)
In the beginning I had hefty start up costs for sure...gear, bags, lights, bike bling...it was expensive. Eventually, however, commuting by bike made me money. My insurance rates dropped, I never went to a gas station, and I hadn't seen the inside of a Jiffy Lube in a lot longer than a jiffy. It was like a 5% raise, which unfortunately still left me 5% in the hole, but whatever....
But now I'm upside down like a well intended home owner in an unfair, mismanaged mortgage. My grocery bill is thiefing my wallet! I dread the necessary routine of watching the register roll faster than a gas pump. And I just can't figure out how to exist without food. But if I rode less, I'd eat less, and bingo bango have more money. My starving food bill trumps my gas budget like a cribbage Lurch.
THAT'S TOO MANY!
Monday, October 24, 2011
While on vacation, my mother lost her car keys. On a trail. While hiking. If you ask her, it was my fault. You see I was on another trail with a busted chain and I made the mistake of calling her so she wouldn't worry. My mistake.
Her version from here goes like this: I called. She pulled out her phone like a rabbit out of a hat TADA! And she says this must have been when her keys made their daring escape. Hurtling amongst the woods, foliage, and wildlife.
Like a needle in a haystack. She says, but a key is much bigger than a needle. To which I responded, yes, and the WOODS much, much bigger than a haystack!
Meanwhile in the city....an out of towner experiences a parallel universe. Well, it wasn't her keys, but a license. And the woods were cars, the wildlife people, and the foliage...well that was still foliage. And my chain...fully in tact, thank god.
And I rolled up on her license and threw it in my pocket. This wasn't my first ever find but the easiest reunion I ever made. Consult facebook. Match name and picture to license. Confirm hometown. BINGO...it's a match! Send message. License and owner reunited.
Back in the woods....Ranger Nick was making the rounds. And you'll never guess what was found... Now my mom says her keys must have been stolen by a cheeky chipmunk. See, it's never her fault. Still, in her defense, those chipmunks were a bit unruly.
Whilst I was reading one afternoon, one jumped right up on my arm and stared me in the eye. It may very well have been the same one that kept jumping in my crate and chirping around my digs. These crazy critters were worse than a cat cruising an ice cream bowl.
But like the one staring me down on the edge of my sleeve, they wanted food, not keys. I can't imagine why they'd shove a key to a Toyota in their expandable cheek. Unless....do you think they knew it was stashed with food?
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Chris Core is constantly on the attack for why cyclists ride on the road, “when there is a perfectly good trail RIGHT there”. Now I’ve met Core, he’s a nice guy. We even had a nice long chat about bikes on the road. Most of what he says is reasonable.
Most. Some of what he says is ridiculous. Take his Share the Road, Share the Rules rant. He wants cyclists to behave like every other vehicle on the road. Well, I wish we could. But until EVERY vehicle on the road treats EVERY vehicle on the road equally that’s just not in my best interest.
He also believes we should wait our turn at a traffic light. Meaning, if there is a line of cars at a light we, as cyclists, should not proceed to the front of the line. Here’s the obvious issues with that…you push me all the way right on the road and then take it away at the light? Why shouldn’t I proceed in ‘my lane’ if no one else is in it? I will respect your turn signal if and when you use it.
Even if I arrive first at a light, cars don’t respect the fact that I am standing there. I have been honked at, cussed out, cut off, turned into, and even hit while waiting for the light. If we are treated equally and I am in front NO vehicle should be allowed to turn right on red IN FRONT OF ME. That would be like making a right on red from the left hand lane in front of other cars…it’s not legal. But perfectly okay, if said vehicle is a bike.
Lights are not timed for me. I cannot trip the sensor on some lights. I am not yielded the right of way at four way stop. I am afraid when I enter circles, pass by on/off ramps, travel some high volume roads.
I am cut off by buses, taxis, and drivers turning right. I am pulled out in front of. Pedestrians step out in front of me. Parkers open doors into me. Drivers park in my lane. There is debris on the shoulder. The trails are unplowed.
I am unprotected by a thick coating of metaled armor. Preyed upon on poorly designed trails. I am refused service in drive thrus. My speed is misjudged and drivers continue to make poor decisions that affect me.
Sometimes I choose to ride on the road and sometimes I have no choice but to. No matter which, I always have a right to ride on the road. And let’s be honest, we all break the law, riders and drivers alike. But believe me, when I do it's for the sake of my safety not to spite it.
Friday, October 21, 2011
And again, I was out on the trail without the proper tool. So I thought what the hell, I can't ride, how 'bout a game of Operation!?
Yeah, the childhood stresser a little like Perfection. In Perfection you put odd shapes into teeny tiny holes. In Operation you took odd shapes out of teeny tiny holes. As a child I played with both.
Good thing cuz now I needed a little bit of both. So I borrowed a friend's needle nose...I know, who brings needle noses (I think that should be needlenice right?) anyway, who brings pliers on a ride? Smarter people than me that's who.
So I borrowed some pliers and went to work on my personal version of Cavity Sam. Take the brake pads out. Remove the spring I just learned all about from Patapsco Pete. Bend, twist, flatten, bend, twist, squeeze. Place pads in spring. Replace pads for rotor. BUZZ. BUZZ. BUZZ. Minus the red light.
I was desperate. I'm just really not good enough to be flying over Patapsco with only a front brake, you know? Not interested in joining the OTB club. That's Over The Bar and it's not good. It usually ends in a broken collar bone. They weren't odds I was willing to take. I didn't want to become Cavity Sam.
Yes, I realize you shouldn't need to adjust brakes on a ride, but you might. You shouldn't really break a chain either, you know what I'm saying....? So if brakes aren't seated correctly and they jostle and twist, and you end up shredding metal and then bad things happen.
Shredding metal. I like. How was your ride? Yeah, dude I was soo smokin the trail I was totally shredding metal....
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The Ford Giveth and The Ford Taketh Away.
Riding the high of last night's lane discovery, I was sideswiped at the bank. Figuratively...literally would prove the money mongrels right.
For 6 months I've been taking the trail to the bank, going through the drive thru, and making deposits. Without incident or accident.
Today my streak struck out. Oh, they took my money, but then refused to serve me. Ask the guy in the pickup. In between hitting on me he noted the rudeness of the teller. He asked about my socks. Oh watch this, I'm about to go Alpha Bitch all over their Benjamins.
They said something about the use of a vehicle. I looked down at mine and said, yeah, and? Your point is what?
Liability, my sweet biking ass! You've got three relatively unused lanes and a parking lot spilling into the trail. Not to mention I ride in traffic. The drive thru red tape is crap! And if your business abuts a bike trail I think it should be a law that your establishment is bike friendly.
You can take that to the bank! Just leave your bike at home. Next time I'm saying it's a scooter. SunTrust. Kemp Mill. Lamberton Drive. Silver Spring. Biker Beware.
Monday, October 17, 2011
At first I thought I was mistaken. But it's striped, newly striped, from the top of the hospital to the bottom of the hill. Right there on the dangerous part of my commute, right outside the ER. Holy Cross Batman! A lane just for me. Me and all the other bikers.
Maybe that CYCLE sign really was for motors and pedals alike. This is a much needed addition, a welcome change. First the lights were timed differently, now this! What the hell is going on?!?
There I was trying to be cranky about my miserable day and the most amazing day of the year silently crept up on me! Silver Spring is showing the bike love! What's next? A bike rack at the gym? Yeah, I know, probably NOT. That's okay, I'm still grrlcotting them.
But thanks for the lanes! And the lights.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
The thing about rain on a bike is, you get wet. Really wet. Really, really wet. It attacks from above and below. And this was one of those rains.
Oh, you think I'm kidding. Take a look at that picture. That is what your phone looks like as it's about to fritz. It didn't exactly die right there in my hand, but it might as well had.
It rained so hard...how hard was it?
Ha, it rained so hard it turned my phone into a vibrator. No more calls, no more texts, no more pix. Perfect. What I needed was a phone, what I got was a no frill, cheap thrill, sex toy. I always thought the wet part came last. The first pun was intended, the second accidental.
With a phone that did nothing but vibrate, I searched for a public pay phone. They are obsolete dinosaurs now you know. Back in the day I always kept a dime in my shoe. Then a quarter in my Roos. I knew numbers and I had the change to prove it.
But this day left me high and not so dry. I finally found a pay phone and was itching to use it. Problem was, after seven separate searches, all I found was forty-six cents. Four cents shy of the inflated fee for a local call.
I guess I'll just take my vibrator and ride....intended.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Except maybe a broken chain link. What am I gonna do, blow air at it!? YES, my chain broke. There I was skipping over a stormy rock garden when *PING* like a hamster on a wheel... Not a toothbrush in sight.
This is the second time I've scared a chain right off a bike. The third will come later today... A friend told me a vice grip will get them back on, but not so much off. It's all good...I can get them off *PING*, I'm just not so good with back on.
Color me fantastic! I actually had a chain tool with me on the trail. What are the odds? Oddly enough, no allen wrench...again. I didn't guess I'd need it to change a flat, I had no idea I'd be performing an emergency chainlinkectomy right there on Stony Trail.
I quickly surveyed my surroundings and made a mental inventory of supplies. I considered my teeth more than once, but even the thought made my root canal ache. I tried a tire lever, like that's gonna fix anything. A stick. But the darn chain tool ain't gonna twist without an allen wrench.
Don't think I didn't consider dental floss. I thought, if only I could tie the links back together...just to get back to camp. A tube. Those chainless bikes are looking a whole lot more appealing right about now. If only I had duct tape, that cures everything.
Thanks to a well marked map, I quickly bailed on the trail and hoofed it on the street. That way I at least had the downhills. And boy, did I coast them like it was my job and I worked on commission! I blew right past my family parked at the trail head.
The day didn't go exactly as I planned. A little later on we'd be playing a new version of an old classic...Dude Where's My Car Keys? At least I can push my bike when it's not running.
How many links do you think I can remove before it's too short? Four and still counting...
Sunday, October 9, 2011
All dressed up with somewhere to go. There I was with my 'don't shoot me tires'...really, please don't shoot my tires! Been there, done that, don't have a pump.
What did I say about should? That pump that should have been in my commuter bag was not. And my options are now this: don't ride. Not. Strap a floor pump onto my camelbak and head out to the trail. Pause for mental image. Perhaps Not. Make like I'm 10 and just go. Done.
What do I always say...never camp, bike, or boat alone. Well, I'll be sitting here waiting another year if I wait for that! What could go wrong, really? It's a holiday weekend, there are tons of people on the trail. If I need help I'll just ask.
I've got the tube, tire levers, tools....I can change the tire I just need to stop someone for a pump. Or use my pen casing to blow the air into the tube directly. I've seen it whisk patients away from a flat line on TeeVee, surely it can revive a simple flat.
Turns out none of that stuff made it in my pack. Oops. I had a pen and a knife. I could either carve petroglyphs in the pine trees depicting the saga of my ill fated trek...or Specialized as the bike may be (should something happen) or I could take notes for my blog, on my arm.
OR perform a tracheotomy, should the occasion arise...maybe in exchange for a pump?
Saturday, October 8, 2011
You should have heard it go. Maybe you did? There are rumors they heard it all the way in Japan. Thought it was a nuke. My neighbors had no idea what it was. Maybe a drive by?
Sounded just like a shotgun to the temple. Well, I assume that's what it might sound like. I've never had a shotgun to the temple. I don't know maybe you don't even have time to register a sound like that before, you know...
So I was getting ready for my next big adventure and decided it was time for the noticeable red tires. They were free, mine were shot, the price was right. I wasn't overly keen about turning my bike into Ronald McDonald but did I mention they were free?
I changed them out, repumped the tires, and let it sit. In the sun. Getting hot. Expanding air. KAPOW. (And not the yummy thai dish I'm crazy about.) Now in my defense, it shouldn't have happened. According to the gauge I was well within range. On the high side for me but still around 50 PSI.
Should and did are the stuff blogs are made of. So they should have been fine, but they did blow up. Must be the pump. The tires did feel overly inflated at a mere 50 PSI, but just to be safe I'm going well under this time. Don't need them blowing up on the freeway doing 75mph. (On top of the car silly, not on the bike! geesh.)
I thought I might double check with my fancy car gauge, but as it turns out even with the adapter the gauge doesn't actually engage the presta tip. Maybe my portable pump? That has a nifty gauge attached. Well, I'll check it at the campsite, it should be in my bag.
This is what writers call foreshadowing...go on you should really keep reading the blog...
TO BE CONTINUED....
Friday, October 7, 2011
So they attack us. Because they can. I'm not sure if or how it helps. But I'm learning how to ignore it. It's rather easy when it lacks sense.
Have you heard about one in ten? It's a term used to describe homosexuals. You know, one in ten people...well you can figure it out. My point is that's 10%.
Now I just read on one of these bully the biker blogs (and it's on the Internet so it must be true) that bikers only make up 1% (of what I'm not exactly sure). And I was thinking if one in ten is gay and one in one hundred is a biker, then someone is clearly LYING.
Think about it. 1% of road users are bikers? Just ONE PERCENT? Are you sure? The economy is in the toilet. Jobs are hard to come by. Brick and mortars are closing. Small businesses are failing. And there are over 15 bike shops INSIDE the beltway.
Christ on a Kestrel...another one of those headache causing word problems. Tell me how you get one percent? Wouldn't some of those shops be bankrupt? Who is spending money in a bike shop if not cyclists? That's a whole lot of Energy Beans fueling 15 shops. Or a handful of cyclists frequenting a shit ton of shops.
I believe maybe 1% drive Arks. Oh and LOOK, you can stash them at the Whole Foods in Georgetown, perfect!
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
If car C leaves the home at 7AM and bike B also leaves the home at 7AM what time do they both pull into the station? Exactly 4 minutes apart. That's the answer, 4 minutes.
What's 4 minutes get you? FAT. Sure, I saved 4 whole minutes, but got zero work out. So essentially I LOST 40 minutes. Grand. I was never good at word problems.
It's cool, it's been a long day. I'm deliriously tired. Not a good idea to teeter on two wheels to get home. I thought I might get a nap today. That's also why I drove. Sleeping on a bike makes sleeping in a car feel like bunking at the Venetian (minus the second floor).
I knew it was going to be a long, hard day. In the business we have our tip offs. This morning I quickly noticed the hovering helicopters circling the city, like guard dogs. Us TV geeks are tuned into that. Oh man, that isn't a good sign, I thought. Must hurry to work.
For a city known for its terrorism, I couldn't help but notice all the cars still moving TOWARD the impending danger.What is wrong with these people? Have they not had enough drama in the workplace?
Turn around! Go home young man! Run. Flee. Be Free. Don't you see those helicopters dotting the horizon? There beneath the clouds. The F16s are probably just above, waiting for word. To attack. The copters watching patiently, perched on the edge of the city like....oh, right, n.e.v.e.r.m.i.n.d....
Us TV geeks sent them there. Traffic choppers. Right. Of course. That's all it was. Every day, ordinary, morning activities. Things I usually sleep through. Here I thought it was terrorists coming to destroy our day, and disrupt our lives, and cripple our city. Roger that.
The copters dangling in the sky like a participle. Like a Miami-Dade chiding chad. Shooting menacing, gruesome pictures of a typical morning commute. Like you haven't already seen it. Like you want to see it right before you walk out the door. Like you won't see enough of it sitting in it. Thanks for that!