Not your typical ride

I should be asleep because I work at Oh six hundred hours tomorrow, but I was catching up on blogs and came across this at citizen rider's:
"Last Sunday, the unflappable Marine mentioned that, on the morning ride, "Steve ran over a dead porcupine on Route 28 and went off the road. He decided to drop out of the ride and go home."

This is a rough year for porcupines. Their defenses don't work well against hurtling tons of inanimate metal, unfeeling cyborg composites of vestigial human consciousness merged with powerful machines that thunder down the darkened highway crushing anything small enough to fall below bumper height. You don't turn a charge like that by turning your back and erecting your quills.

Porcupine corpses litter the side of Route 28. I've been watching them go from black, quilly corpse to gut-pile to darkened leather, one every couple of miles, since early June. I didn't happen to see the one Steve hit. It's on the northbound side of a section I usually miss, because I turn off to my alternate route before I get there.

Steve's account is much more colorful and gripping. He was at the back of a pace line, pushing fairly hard up this grade at about 12-15 miles per hour, when he heard someone say "oh shit" or something, and riders started swerving. When he could see the road kill, he found himself set up to pass to the right of it, on the side with the gut-splatter. Others had gone around the head end.

"I couldn't believe how slippery it turned out to be," said Steve. "I thought I would just cut through it, but the front end washed out immediately. I was going down."

Remember that Steve crashed 14 months ago, broke two ribs, collapsed a lung and fractured his scapula. He's a little sensitive.

"The front tire slid sideways on the guts. The bike was laid right over," said Steve.

"Suddenly the tire went off the pavement onto the dirt. The bike stood right up. I figured I was going over the bars then, but instead it suddenly flipped about a hundred and eighty degrees and I headed down the ditch.

"I never noticed how deep that ditch was along there. I figured I'd flip when I hit the bottom of it, maybe even fold up the fork. But the bike made it through the compression at the bottom and rolled up the other side. It just came quietly to a stop.

"My bike and my legs were covered with porcupine intestines. I emptied both my bottles trying to wash it off."

Thus ended Mr. Steve's Wild Ride.

Everyone who rode around the head had no problems. Porcupines have a lot of guts and very little brain. We all know someone like that.

Steve didn't just limp away home. He went off by himself and found a nasty puking hill to charge up "to calm down." Then he went home to clean himself and his bike thoroughly.

Some things you just can't practice for."

check out citizen rider's blog.



Check out walkscore.com. All you do is enter your address and it maps out all the restaurants/stores/schools/etc. in your area and then scores your house location on how "walkable" it is. This is the map that came up when I entered my address. I only scored a 9/100 so it's a good thing I have a bike!

My new "whip"

Mid 80s lugged steel. Scored on Ebay. Just got it today; assembled it when I got home from work and rode it around the back-yard and the street. Can't wait to take it off-road...


Bicycle Shame

"Funny how I feel like less of a man when I don't ride, but the motoring public thinks I'm less of one because I do." -citizen rider
I laughed when I read this because it's so true. There's a great article at grist today discussing this very sociological quirk: Bicycle Shame.
"....To be a successful adult, apparently, you have to drive. Cycling is for children; cycling is for losers. In this view, it's fitting that the pinnacle of the sport of cycling is the Tour de France. (Implied snicker about France as a symbol -- unfair, of course -- of all that's cowardly, effeminate, and weak.)

Call this Bicycle Shame...."


Dopers REALLY suck.

Read the latest doping scandal?

They say the death penalty really does deter. So maybe pro-cycling can still be saved if all this year's dopers are handed over to all the poor schmucks who bet on them to win the Tour and lost their asses because of the cheating... just an idea. Short of that, I'm done watching. If I wanted to watch druggies duke it out I'd rent bum fights.

Vino, Rassmussen, Ullrich, Basso, Hamilton, Landis, even Bjarne Riis. Kind of makes you wonder if a rider who wasn't cheating could actually win. Hmm Lance?


A few interesting facts:

Chuck Norris' hand is the only hand that can beat a royal flush.

In an average living room there are 1,242 objects Chuck Norris could use to kill you, including the room itself.

Crop circles are Chuck's way of telling the world that sometimes corn needs to lie the f%#k down.

Chuck Norris is not lactose intolerant, he just refuses to put up with lactose's shit.

Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.

A blind man once stepped on Chuck Norris' shoe. Chuck replied, "Don't you know who I am? I'm Chuck Norris!" The mere mention of his name cured this man blindness. Sadly the first, last, and only thing this man ever saw, was a fatal roundhouse delivered by Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris is so fast, he can run around the world and punch himself in the back of the head.

When the boogeyman goes to sleep at night he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

Check it. http://www.chucknorrisfacts.com


Why I'm a damn cyclist.

People are almost always surprised to find out that I ride my bike to work/errands/etc. instead of driving a car. The question I'm asked most frequently is WHY? I always pause before answering, hoping that, given a second, they'll think of at least one of the thousands of compelling reasons why one might choose to ride a bike. So far, no one has, but I'll keep trying. Most of the time I'll try and cater my answer to the person asking the question. For instance: if the person is gym-rat or otherwise health conscious I'll mention the hundreds of calories burned, muscles earned and endorphins released during every ride. If they're frugal zealots or simply poor like myself I might tout the potential for saving hundreds of dollars a month. If they're thinkers I'll talk about the beauty, rich history, efficiency and simplicity of the bicycle. And if they're conservationists I'll mention the fact that cars are a completely gratuitous evil. And I always add that it's also a helluva time. I'm almost always smiling when I'm on my bike. With the myriad reasons for riding a bike, I'm never at a loss no matter who I'm talking to and yet, most of the time I'm still met with a blank stare. In a few cases people have agreed that yes, that sounds good, maybe I should try it, but that's about as far as it goes. Other people just end the discussion by telling me I'm crazy. But if I'm crazy, then sane is over-rated. Peace, I'm out. I've got a bowl of steamed edamame calling my name.


Bat for Lashes - What's a girl to do

This vid has been on every other bike blog, so I might as well share it too. Good music, creeeepy video - really well done for an indie video.


wind sucks.

Despite the gail force winds today I decided to go for a ride before work. I rode north into town and started a loop along the levee that goes all the way around Marysville. I didn't know how fast I was going because my bike-computer is still broken (I really need to get a new one). When I got to the point where the direction goes from north-west to south, I realized just how swiftly the wind was moving. To that point I'd been moving mostly with the wind. I also realized that I had 15 minutes to be at work and a long way to go, and into a stiff headwind. I cursed, shifted up and hammered on the pedals. Normally I wouldn't worry about being a couple minutes late but the head-honchos were supposed to be in town and they are intense. Riding in the drops, I whizzed along the levee; sweating, swaying and leaving the occasional hobo mystified. As I approached one of the three railroad crossings on this particular stretch I thought about blowing through without stopping, but there have been a few people hit by trains in the area recently and I didn't want to join them. I slowed down enough to see around the hill that was blocking my view and sure enough, there was a train, not 20 yards away. I hadn't even heard it in my haste (and Simon & Garfunkel's "Bleeker Street" playing through my ipod didn't help). I had plenty of room so I crossed, but when the train whizzed past me seconds later I thought about how stupid it would be to get hit by a train. My lungs and throat burning I continued on my way; under the 5th street bridge, then the 10th, down a ramp to the river-bottoms, into the gravel to avoid a shady-looking character leaning against his car which was parked on the bike-specific trail and then up over the levee again. Round a couple corners and there was work, complete with company car in parking lot and with one minute to spare. I locked the bike up, grabbed my panniers and ran in the back door. No boss. He was at lunch. AND I still had five minutes by the work clock. So I sat in the bathroom and drank ice-water until I could quit panting like a dog. And changed. And wished I didn't have a heart-shaped sweat-mark on my butt. On my way home my legs felt like sandbags and I was still fighting a headwind, but at least it was cool out. At least I'll sleep well tonight. Today made me feel like this guy.


Borat @ TDF

See you later, Stinktown!

Yesterday I left work an hour early so that Amanda and I could zoom down to SF for a Spoon show at Cafe Du Nord. Unfortunately there were no advanced ticket sales, and even though we arrived at the venue 3 hours early we were around the 260th people in line. Du Nord's capacity is 250. They also gave out 150 tickets in various promotions (in the Bay Area) before the show. In order for us to get tickets, in other words, roughly 160 people in front of us would have to suddenly leave and give up their spots or die. We liked our odds so we stuck around for about an hour chatting with the people around us about how lame we were and drinking 40s from paper bags. Nobody died, though one fellow in full hipster attire was coughing a lot. When the bouncers came-round and told us for the 25th time that we would not be getting into the show so would we please piss off and die, we threw our empties at the door and cursed the band and then headed down the street toward our hotel; leaving behind a still-growing crowd of losers like ourselves. For lack of any back-up plans we checked out various dives and at some point picked up a third wheel named Eric (a self-proclaimed Pro-Surfer turned banker from Santa Cruz) who desperately wanted to show us the "best bars in the city" and later a fourth named Jimmy who was an elevator repairman and asshole. When that whole scene grew stale we ditched the hangers-on and found a breakfast joint where we picked at mediocre eggs that took an hour to be served. This morning we woke up at the crack of noon and headed to the Mission District for coffee at Philz and an always amazing breakfast served up by the tattooed and mulleted sweethearts at St. Francis. Both on 24th. Try the City-Lover. After breakfast we headed east and met Mom, Dad, Max and Isaiah at the UC Davis Arboretum where we wandered the trails until the heat became unbearable and we headed home.

I want an AirZound Horn

Some time ago I read about the Delta AirZound Bike Horn. I looked it up on amazon and added it to my wish list. I saw one in SF today and when I got home I looked at it online again, and this time I noticed this review by Patrick S. Pope "Scott Pope" (Chicago, IL):

"Extremely Loud, Bulky

As a consummate cyclist of Chicago, Boston and New York, I have experienced the dangers of urban riding for nearly fifteen years. Not being seen or heard leads to many hazardous, and sometimes life threatening, situations. The Air Zound horn will announce your presence to any driver of any vehicle, including eighteen wheelers and Brinks armored cars, within a city block. However, at 115 decibels, riders run the risk of being ticketed by the police. But more importantly, unleashing the Air Zound horn can inspire road rage. Clearly, this is not for alerting pedestrians or drivers of vehicles in non-emergency situations.

The Air Zound horn achieves its intended purpose. Be aware, however, you could seriously upset drivers, residents, and police in the vicinity. This potential danger leads to one of my main arguments against the design. Delta chose not to employ consumable gas cartridges, presumably to save the user money. However, I doubt this horn could be frequently implemented without the rider getting arrested or assaulted. Hence, it should be seen and used as an emergency tool powered by a compact CO2 cartridge....

In summary, the Air Zound horn is an incredibly loud bicycle horn for unique situations. If you can tolerate the size and exposure to animosity from police and civilians alike, use it with care."

Now I really want one! So buy it for me using this link to my wishlist. My Amazon.com Wish List


I want to go fishing.

Amanda and I went on a long ride up in the hills by her house again this morning. I forgot to take my camera once again. I looked for old pictures of Loma Rica on my computer to give some idea of what it's like, but this is the only one I found. Now I want to go fishing.


I'm on a baking kick.

Amanda and I have been watching the Sopranos on DVD recently. We're on season three right now. Yesterday she called from work and suggested that we watch a few episodes when she got off. Encouraged by the successful peach-muffins I'd baked for my BBQ on the 4th, I decided to make pizza from scratch (Sopranos, pizza... get it?). I found a recipe for dough and assembled it, made some pizza sauce while it was rising, punched it down, preheated the oven, threw it all together and bang: A lovely asparagus and onion pizza (with half-cheese for the picky-missus). When she got here she was pleased as punch and ended up eating the asparagus side anyway. Soooo, today when I was watching the Tour de France highlights, I decided to bake another themed recipe... FRENCH bread. I found a recipe that looked good, made my dough and waited for it to rise. While it was rising I took advantage of the already messy kitchen and made a batch of peanut-butter & chocolate cookies; also from scratch. I took them out of the oven and ate three of them while forming my loaf and then went for a walk while it rose again. Got home, threw it in the oven, waited for 15-20 minutes and BAM! Fresh, hot french bread. Sliced a piece off, dipped it in some olive oil and balsamic and loosened my belt. What does this all have to do with biking? Or for that matter, anything? Well, because I ride my bike a lot I can eat all this crap and not get fat. Can you? For recipes or to invite me to your next dinner-party, send me a message.

The Ghostface of you Lingers

All the cool kids got their copies of Spoon's new album Gagagagaga yesterday. But the COOLER kids are listening to Spoon VS. Ghostface Killa. For those that need it spelled out for you, that's the second song from Gagagagaga mixed with a song from Ghostface Killa. Amanda and I are going to try and see Spoon on Sat. in SF but there are no advanced ticket sales so we'll see. Also, Spoon will be on the Letterman Show tonight, so watch it.


Driver Speak - A translation guide

Every cyclist with a few miles under their belt has been yelled at by passing motorists at least a million times. Sometimes they throw things too. I can't do anything about that, but I can help you to understand what they are trying to tell you with their seemingly meaningless outbursts. You see, the motorist, in choosing a method of transportation that requires only the faintest amount of input, allows his brain to partially atrophy; unfortunately the first brain function to go is reason, then self-control and accountability, and finally coordination. His lack of exercise and the driving position he spends his days in causes cramps and general discomfort that makes him irritable and unpredictable. A passing cyclist makes an ideal target for his angst as he is the very opposite of the driver; smart, fit, and smiling. Most motorists are able to refrain from driving their cars into the cyclists, but many of them cannot help but to scream at the cyclists in a vain and awkward attempt to transfer some of their anguish. The following is a list of some of the more common phrases used by motorists, along with the message they are actually trying to convey.

MOVE OVER ASSHOLE! - Excuse me please; one of the hemorrhoids I've accumulated from sitting on my ass so much has popped and I need to get home and towel myself off stat!

WOOOOOO! - Wow, you inspire me so much I just want to shout; if only I wasn't completely retarded and lacking in wit I would say something worthwhile.

GET A CAR! - Pardon, but your choice of transportation makes me look lazy and stupid, could you please get a car so that I don't look like such moron while I'm paying $3.75 a gallon for gas.

NICE ASS! - Nice ass.

FAGGOT! - I'm sorry but your sculpturesque physique makes me happy in my pants.

GET OFF THE ROAD! - see "Move over asshole"

I hope this has helped. Happy biking.

The Tour

I haven't been paying much attention to the tour hype this year. The fall-out from last year's tour is still fresh in my mind. They're all dopers. But... after catching some of the prologue yesterday and watching the highlights from the first stage -including Robbie McEwen's amazing 25km catch-up-sprint through the entire peloton after his crash and his surprise win - I'm getting kind of excited again. It's such a beautiful sport. I don't have any delusions of ever winning a bike race myself (I enjoy food and beer far too much) but I think I would enjoy entering an amateur event or two. Just for the thrill of the ride.


Ali G - Buzz Aldrin

The moon does exist.


Stop and smell the roses. Or goats.

Or, at the very least, stop and look at the cow. Amanda and I rode from her house in Loma Rica to Bangor and back this morning. It's a VERY HILLY 25 mile ride. We both wanted to keep going to Oroville which would have made it 55 miles or so, but I had to work at 2:30pm and we didn't start the ride until 11am. It's a very scenic ride, passing through several farms, surrounded by hills, pastures, trees and stinky farm animals. There's one olive-tree grove on the way that always has a GIANT blue ox walking around in it. Another farm has tiny little goats about as big as a Jack Russell. We stopped to pet one such goat because it was staring at us through the fence and bleating something fierce. I fed it some grass while observing that it's full utters dragged on the ground. Hence the fierce bleating perhaps... Oh yeah, about 5 miles into the ride Amanda got stung in the throat by a bee. The following few minutes were sort of nerve wracking as we waited to see if her throat was going to swell shut. It didn't. Over the course of the ride Amanda and I made loose plans to take a bike tour down the coast. I think it would be a good idea to maybe do a couple 2-3 day trips beforehand to prepare, so hopefully we'll be making some definite plans for one of those soon. I will keep you, my adoring readers, updated. During work I thought about how tired I would be on my way home from work because of all the climbing in the hills today but I hauled ass home. I think I set a record. I don't know for sure because my bike computer is still broken.


Jay Wins, nobody notices.

Jay Petervary won the Great Divide Race by more than 20 hours to little fanfare and Matthew Lee also broke the previous record with a sub 16 day finish. Congrats to all the finishers and happy thoughts to those still riding. "Reverend Billy" was arrested... again. I'm headed up to Loma Rica with Amanda, tomorrow we're going to ride around up in the hills. I'll try to take pictures. Who's BBQing for the 4th? Am I invited?