Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year

Since getting waylaid by a cold I've been doing some reading on this and that and a little bit of riding.
Today was beautiful and I went out for about 4 hours of leisurely riding around the city. I was particularly interested in watching my two wheeled brothers and sisters since reading WABA's "Resolve to Ride Responsibly".

From what I can tell nothing has changed. I'll be queued up with the cars and some "scofflaw" biker will dash down the middle into the intersection while he does his oh too cool balancing act before darting across the intersection at the first opening.

The entire day I saw no bikers stop at stop signs or red lights (except when they had to so as not to get flattened).

On the other hand I saw the usual amount of cars turning right on red without stopping, speeding, dashing through the intersection hoping to beat the red light...

Usually I get a lump of coal but not this year. I must have been a good boy 'cause I got an iPad for Christmas.

So off I went reading reviews of the thing and comments to see what people thought of it and how they use it. Oops. The comments were a war zone with one group calling it a toy and style over substance and the iPad users defending it. Geesh.

I did learn one thing. I've learned that this group of people are as focused on fashion and style as teenage girls. Apparently this subculture exists to bash Apple and think all users of Apple products use them to make some kind of statement about fashion or to be seen with them to be cool or something. 

Well, I'm not about to look a gift horse in the mouth. I am now stylin', fashionable AND cool! Who woulda thunk it? Certainly not me, and I can't take any credit for it because it was handed to me. But here I am all cool and shite and I still don't know how to use the thing. This is like totally awesome!

Came across an article about Pirate Bay and how those boys are up against it. Again the comments were unreal. I remember the argument for "free" music by these tools but now they've passed that on to the movie makers as well. 

I guess when you're looting you look for any justification you can but these tools are short on critical reasoning. Reminded me of some of the comments about the WABA pledge. Some of those tools actually used the argument that until the laws are enforced for cars they'll continue to break the law anytime they want. 

I don't like this reading thing. Makes ya realize there's a bunch of bozo's out there among us more reasoned folks. I'd rather be out riding and ignore them.

Tomorrow brings a new year. I predict not much will change.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


As much as I dislike riding in the cold I dislike getting a cold more. I haven't had one for years but I got a whopper a few weeks back. Kicked my butt good. Don't know if it was flu or even if it's flu season. Then we had snow and by the time I felt like riding again it's all icy and crap and I'm finding it difficult to get going.

That's a picture of a big snow storm. If I showed the snow we had that kept me from riding I'd be admitting to wussing and that's not happenin'.

I know there's folks out there that will take that kind of down time and read up on quantum mechanics and other quality pursuits but I'm a country boy and spent most of my time watching YouTube and iJustine and lousy action movies on Netflix, browsing the web and doing my yearly winter site search for the best way to ride in the cold.

A well prepared rider.

There are many reasons to dislike winter riding but co-workers snide remarks are near the top. Every time someone asks "did you ride today" there's the unspoken "you moron" at the end. They really want to say it but a sense of propriety keeps it in check. 

There's never a problem of warmth as there's plenty of heat from the toes up, the problem is always the fingers. The palms rest on the handle bars and cut off the blood flow and those digits are just sittin' out there waiting to turn black. I've tried about every glove there is and found the lobster style works best for me.

My current glove, the Pearl Izumi lobster glove.

The other option when riding in below freezing weather is to not wear head covering, just the helmet. This allows the brain to freeze and then you don't much care what the heck the temp is. Try it. You'll roll along thinking "Dude, this is like a totally awesome day!". A cold brain is a numb brain and a numb brain is a happy brain.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fall down go boom

My riding technique is nearly flawless and my "bike awareness" level is top notch. I'm as good as it gets. That's to say as good as it gets as long as I never do anything where I could possibly lose control of the bike. When it comes to the "take no risk" theory of biking I stand without peers.

So, being the master of the bike with near perfect form, I'm always surprised when I crash.
Now I haven't crashed in a few years but I read this article in the New York times and I got to thinking. Have I ever crashed bad enough to make me think of quitting the bike?

The worst injury was several years back when I was riding to the ear doctor's office and I was going along a path I often take when suddenly a big ol' hole (BOH) appeared.

Some one had decided to put in a new bit of sidewalk right at this particular point where I switch onto it for a block or so and hadn't bothered to inform me. The metal plate that was supposed to cover the BOH had left a bit of a gap off to the right which I was able to find without any difficulty.
My front wheel disappeared into the BOH and I was airborne.

Being of sound mind I analyzed the situation and decided a roll was in order. My analysis of the situation had taken longer than I thought and my roll was a tad late. Instead of landing on my back left shoulder and rolling with it I landed square on my left shoulder and only managed a good thwack. There was no roll.

After a once over I figured all was well and was off to the doctors but there was this growing pain in my shoulder.
The ear doctor asked me what was wrong and after telling him he took a look and told me that I'm an idiot because I clearly had broken my collar bone, there being a big lump there where bones were trying to make their way to the surface.

The emergency room was packed and I was impatient and thought, hell, I'll go to my regular doctor. Well, a week later I finally called since I could no longer sleep and the pain was getting worse.
A reprimand, sling and pain pills and a few weeks later I was back on the bike.
I never thought of not riding again.

There was the time I was mountain biking and over cooked a sharp downhill turn to the left and landed in some thorn bushes. That wasn't so bad actually. I lay there thinking, ok, I'm in one piece, this could have been worse.

Here's a tip on thorn bushes - once you've made the decision to enter them it's best to just keep going til you've reached the other side. Don't linger.
After I managed to free myself I still had to get my bike out. Blood was spilt.
A pretty miserable several days followed but all's well that ends well.
I never thought of not riding again.

Then there was the spring where I broke my foot playing tennis. Yes, it's true. Hard to believe I know.
Spring is not a good time to find oneself on crutches and I never thought of not riding for 8 weeks. I got some bungie cords and rigged up a little system where I could attach the crutches to the bike and get to where I needed to go, remove the crutches, and hobble about.
Worked great.
After being reprimanded by my doctor I reduced my riding to a few times a week and didn't mention it to him again. He thought I was being a good lad and laying about all hours of the day.
Worked great.