Thursday, December 22, 2011

New York City

Ah, New York City.
Years and years (and years) ago I lived in Manhattan for about 18 months. At the time I rode a motorcycle and was young and stupid, meaning I did stupid things on that motorcycle. Things I wouldn't dream of doing today. Anyway, I took the dreaded car up because I was going to be going back and forth between Manhattan and Williamsburg for a few days with passengers on board.

Before arriving I was sure I would observe bikers doing stupid thing all through New York City. I was sure I'd be annoyed that they just don't see that they're total and complete tools. And I was sure I going to write about it.

But I'm not. What I'm going to write about is the ungodly amount of cars going in every which way as fast as they can while pretty much acting like you ain't there and if you are there and that is where they wanna be in a second or two then you'd best be moving along.

Now, I've been known to get "vocal" at times. Pretty much every day presents a situation where I can call out a tool and I'm not one to let these situations go without some quality "vocal" time. But New York City. The last time I was this "vocal" was when I picked up a rental car in Paris a few blocks from the Arc de Triomphe at rush hour. Within minutes the window was down, the finger was out and the language was colorful.

You think of red light runners and you think of a car running a light after it's clearly turned red. In New York City the only time they stop running a red light is when the cars with the green light fill up the intersection. It's not one or two, it's as many as can get out there before the green lighters hold them back.

No sooner have you figured out how to be aggressive and assertive then you find yourself slamming on your brakes because yet another stupid pedestrian has emerged between parked cars and is going to cross the street in front of you. And best not to take any turns to tight 'cause the pedestrians ain't standing on the sidewalk, they're out in the road waiting for the light to turn cause they gotta be like the first ones to cross the street. Does everyone in New York City have tattoo's?

After 3 days of this zaniness I was simply flabbergasted that anyone could possibly be upset at the way a biker, any biker, behaves in New York City.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Those folks over at Momentum magazine, that same site that helped me find my "lifestyle" have an article on Greenville South Carolina. New home of the center of the bicycle universe. Yep, these good folks want to rename their city Bikeville.

Cities are often naming themselves after this or that. I come from a little place that named itself after prehistoric circular earthworks. It hasn't changed much since those long forgotten days. Sometimes they just steal the name of another place and put "New" in front of it. I guess the founders were too lazy to come up with something on their own.  Countries will change their name after independence or civil war and then go about changing the names of their cities. I don't think one often hears of a little place changing it's name because of a mode of transportation. Usually a nickname will suffice. Detroit, the motor city, things like that.

They have the first bike shop just for women in the country and a few trails, one that is 13 miles, and biking is arguably the most popular sport in the area and there are beaucoup de arts and culture. 

However I am a bit concerned. There is no mention of a tattoo parlor. They do mention that it's the home of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge but that ain't exactly screaming out a big welcome to the fadsters. You can't go calling yourself Bikeville without catering to all the CAT-0's (Costumed And Tattooed). Gourmet chefs and upscale boutique's do not a Bikeville make. You need to provide for the tools on fixie's who have a side to them that can only be expressed through a tattoo.. 

This also raises the question of who will own the road. If you're living in Bikeville can a car yell at you for being on the road? Will bikers really own the road AND the multi-use trails? Yes yes yes, they already think that they do, but if you live in Bikeville then is their claim more legitimate? Will cars be ostracized? Will every car that runs a red light be debated in forums ad nauseum? Will cars be allowed rolling stops?

I don't know how that will all play out but I reckon that there will still be lots of confrontations. Being cranky and all I often find myself yelling at some tool, whether they be bike or car tool, and sometimes those things can escalate. What I need is some proper training in the technique of bike combat:

For $2 American dollars you can take that thousands of American dollar state of the art two wheeled wonder and kick some royal behind. I don't know about you but I've always felt that if I only knew how to wield my bike as a weapon that any gun toting thug would soon find himself on the wrong side of the whatfer. 

I haven't been to Greenville Bikeville, it's, uh, in the south, but if I could rule the roads and the pathways and take a few names it may be the ideal place to retire.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tools of the tirade

Two summers ago I was at a stop light waiting for it to change. Across the street was a Jeep and in the jeep was some big hairy tool with several dogs in the back.

Soon I was off on the green. The big hairy tool was turning left and apparently I wasn't moving fast enough because he gunned it directly at me and at the last second swerved to miss me, giving me the finger as he passed.

Considering how many incidents occur as one rolls along you might wonder why this particular one sticks out in my mind. As the fates would have it me and this same tool with the same jeep and (I'm assuming) the same dogs had a chance to cross paths again.

I'm returning from the store in the dreaded car and stopped to back up into a parking space when this jeep comes racing toward me, comes inches from my mirror and the driver is giving me the finger. Well I'll be damned. I recognize him and the jeep and I'm all beside myself. I just thought he was just another tool towards bikers but apparently he's all about equal opportunity.

So this tool passes on and a few houses up pulls into a parking space.

Ever have those moments when all goes black and you don't really know what you're doing? Where you're rabid and foaming at the mouth and you're not even aware of it? That was me. I had somehow parked, left the vehicle, marched up to his jeep and had my face inches from his through his window. I'm guessing that's what happened but I can't say for sure.

He was muttering something but I can't tell ya what because I was too busy screaming "GET OUT OF THE FUCKING CAR!". Why I wanted him out of the car I hadn't a clue. Was I intending to fight him (uh, what? Fight? WTF?)? Sure, I was in a scrap or two back in high school but that was when you could throw a punch and not get shot. Besides if I threw a punch it would be an old man's punch and nobody wants to see that.
As mentioned he was a big hairy tool, and though I wasn't sure if I could take him in a fight (ok, I was sure I couldn't) I felt quite certain that if he emerged I could outrun his fat ass. Did I want him out of the car so we could engage in a foot race?

It was all quite confusing to me as I repeated my mantra and he kept muttering something about why would I want to fight him for giving me the finger. He seemed genuinely shocked by the very idea. Actually, so was I.

Well, as these things are wont to do, the crazed anger was quickly subsiding as he kept pursuing the "let's chat" avenue and I was loudly repeating my increasingly pathetic battle cry. While my mind was trying to maintain some kind of tough guy persona and deal with the subsiding craziness I was also struggling with the dogs in the back whom were panting and looking at this spectacle with mild curiosity. Being a lover of the 4 legged creature I was mightily fighting the urge to go "who's a good boy? who's a good boy? you're a good boy! yes you are, oh yes you are! what a good boy!".

All of it proved more that I could take. I knew that I was in a no win situation. I didn't want this crazed anger anymore, he, thankfully, wasn't going to get out of the car, the dogs looked so darn cuddly and I wasn't about to chat. So I decided to just walk away. I reminded him that he was a goddamned candy ass, a phrase I once heard from an Admiral that I swore to use some day, and headed home, feeling quite pleased that I got to use it and not get my ass kicked because of it.

As I walked home I saw him get out of his jeep, drop something off at the house he was parked in front of, get back in his jeep and just as I was about to go in the door he honked as he was passing. I turned and he was giving me the finger.

And just when I was starting to feel stupid for acting like a total tool.  I'll be damned.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I love the fall. Love the air and crispness and the colors.

Having just finished a long project at work I've now officially semi-retired. The free web dictionary defines that as working part time because of health issues or advanced age. Merriam-Webster says because of health or age. I'm going with Merriam.

Isn't advanced age some kind of a health problem by definition? My knees have hurt for years. I can't hear, I can't see that well, my back hurts, my neck hurts, parts are failing and I'm not anywhere near advanced. I swear.

Anyway, now that I'm semi-retired I can do some serious rides. I'm all about the serious rides.

There's nothing quite like a frisky ride on a cool morning. You start out with a lot of clothes and 5 miles later you've opened up the jacket and a few miles after that you've switched from the 35 degree gloves to the 45's. Soon the ear band is gone and the outer layer is tucked away.

There's something different about the effort. The attention you pay is more focused. The cat and mouse between sun and shadow make cracks and pothole spotting a thrill ride. The low sun blinds you, and more importantly the pilots of those 1 to 3 ton missiles. A blinded pilot will grab your focus quick.

Soon the weather will impact the time out and miles gone by. The summer goals not achieved this year will have to wait. Soon I'll semi-retire the trusted steed and spend long cold evenings in magazines and articles on what the new year holds.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Oh my bike and me

Ah, the work day. Actually the work day and night as a big project has kept me from all things bike (except for the commuting). This is what happens when one goes off to foreign lands for weeks at a time.

Speaking of projects there's more news on the "Bicycle" album due out this winter. It features an 18 year old singer. They've put up one of those Facebook things. I don't do Facebook and don't understand it but apparently it's all the rage.

My sister tried to get me to do it so I joined and 3 days later I was gone. Cousins, whom I didn't know existed, contacted me. People whom I haven't seen in decades wanted to catch up. This mystified me. If I had wanted to keep in touch I wouldn't have waited decades. So, catch up on what exactly?
Some requested a "chat". Me don't chat.

It all proved to be beyond my social ambitions so I abandoned it.

Anyway, if you're interested in hearing some home samples and early studio stuff head on over and have a listen.

Nora and One Left

Kinda cool actually.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Foreign tools

 Give me land, lots of land...

My ex is from Spain and since she has a brother in Pamplona and a sister in Madrid and her parents are in La Rioja I made sure that when we went our separate ways that we went with a smile on our faces. One has to keep ones priorities right and having a place to keep a mountain bike and to stay is a priority I wasn't about to mess with over a little thing like divorce.

So every year I go visit the ex-laws and pick up my bike in Pamplona and head on out. There's a couple of pilgrimage trails that cross Spain and it's almost entirely off road.

Used to be that the trail, about 500 miles, was pretty empty but since the Pope visited the final destination back in the turn of the century it's picked up. Doesn't matter 'cause once you leave a place it's easy to pass the pilgrim walkers heading out and then you don't see anyone most of the day.

Biking the route has also picked up and you see a bit more bikers but most of them do the road route so it's not often you see other mountain bikers. Basically you've got an entire day of mountain biking all to yourself, occasionally passing a few pilgrims.

Depending on my destination for that day a ride can last anywhere from 7 to 10 hours.

Now, you might think that going through villages where there's live stock in the middle of the main road one would learn to speak to the locals. Well, I'm an American so I never bothered learning the language. I simply say "soy Americano" and the people shake their head in that kind of exasperated yet understanding way as they either try to speak to me in English or ramble off to find someone who can. It's a universal thing and it explains everything and we're all instantly on the same page.

Long climb

On this particular day I had just finished this hour long climb and got to the top and there were a couple of pilgrims from the Netherlands up there resting and we got to chatting. In English of course.

and down the other side

So we started down the other side, me walking my bike, enjoying a pleasant conversation for a few minutes before I would say goodbye and mount the trusty steed. We've reached the bottom and are going along laughing and carrying on when suddenly a ruckus behind us made us turn. There were two bikers barreling down on us, maybe 20 yards away, giving no warning and hauling some foreign ass.

They buzzed us as we just stood there too startled to move.

I can't tell you how comforting this was. I'd been out for almost a week and was kinda getting homesick. Getting buzzed by tools was like getting a little taste of home. It's that universal thing. Just as no one expects an American to speak another language, you don't expect to encounter bikers without a tool emerging.

Tools or not, it's a wonderful way to spend a couple of weeks.

Monday, July 25, 2011


I spend a lot of time wondering what to spend money on since I have no life. Not that I have any money either but that appears to be a non-issue and I'm all about the non-issue.

Recently I've been drawn to the new MacBook Air because it's the new MacBook Air.

I have no need of one. I have 3 computers and an iPad at home. I pretty much don't use any of them.

So the last week I've been contemplating that. Should I or shouldn't I?

It's all in the never ending search for a "personal statement". Since I've discovered my "lifestyle" I think it's very important that I complete this v2 of me. I need a personal statement and the faded t's, wilderness pouch and ratty old bike shorts circa 1970 ain't getting it done. And I can't get the obvious "personal statement", the tattoo, because, well, it's a tattoo.

Today the MacBook Air fell by the wayside and now I'm drooling over the Frii.

I'm all over this one:
Though I'm not so sure about that plastic seat and I'm wondering about the brakes.

What's not to like here? I'm sure there are those that say this screams "DORK!". If I wanted dork I suppose I could go out and buy a camera and some white socks and black shoes and really ugly shorts and stroll around the nations capital but this thing! Where some might see "DORK" I  see "ECCENTRIC".

This could really be a boon for my "lifestye".

Speaking of which, I can see me here someday:

New York RideStyle Fashion Show 2011 from New York Cycle Chic on Vimeo.

Me and my "ECCENTRIC" bike would fit right in. I don't have any pumps and I can't do the closely shaven beard thing cause I can't grow no beard but I'm sure I have a tie laying around somewhere. v2 of me. It's starting to come together.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why don't they run?

I bike a lot and play a lot of tennis. Not as much as back in the day but still I get out there and grind it out.

Several years back when I belonged to the Sidwell Friends tennis club I was playing a match while the school's baseball team was playing a game. After my match I moseyed over to have a watch and a girl came up to me and asked, in some foreign accent I couldn't place, "why don't they run?".

You see, she had been watching this thing and couldn't figure out what the hell was going on. The pitcher throws to the catcher, the catcher throws to the pitcher. Every so often that guy standing there will swing a stick and sometimes, though not often, he'll make one of those other 7 people out there move while he makes a dash down the line.

This goes on awhile and on occasion a whole lot of commotion will come from the stands as there is a brief bit of activity but no sooner than you think you've got a bead on something when suddenly they're all standing around again.

Then out of nowhere they'll all go running off the field while the other team goes running on the field and take up the exact same positions and the pitcher starts throwing to the catcher and...

So she just couldn't figure out why there were all standing about.

Then there's football, where large men stand around an awful lot of the time and explode into a brief bit of groping and whatnot and then gather around a circle and discuss the entire affair only to start it up again. And there appears to be teams of gropers as some are on the field for extended periods while others only appear briefly.

I was thinking about this because some tool named Michael Smith over at ESPN seems to think that cars plowing into professional bikers is amusing (hit and runs are always amusing! really. every. time.) but these two sports are treated with serious thought and analyses. He is apparently some kind of football expert so I'm assuming he knows all about this groping stuff.

Anyway, he and another ESPN tool by the name of Tony Kornheiser seem to have some thing against people who ride bikes, like it's some kind of child's play or something whereas with the real sports there is cause for endless discussion.

Of course we don't expect these tools to be athletes so they have no idea what it takes to ride in the Tour de France or even to commute year round in all kinds of weather. I doubt that either of them can manage being out of the reconditioned air long enough to find out.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Within about a dozen years of the Wright brothers flights there were war planes and commercial flights.

The Russians put Sputnik up in 1957 using computer power that is dwarfed by todays home computers.

You can take almost any smart phone into a store and scan an items' barcode and see how their price compares to others.

The reason I'm thinking about all this technology and marveling at the advances that are made every day is because I'm just finished the first physical I've had in a very long time and I was wondering why the hell I was bent over some damned table.

What, they don't have an app for that? Somebody could make a fortune. They could call it the Apphole.

After this guy does this he hands me a box of tissues and says "wipe yourself". Now, I've just been probed and I'm searching for some kind of way to man up and for a brief moment I contemplate telling him "you made the mess, YOU clean it up!" in my most menacing, yeah, that's right, MAN here! voice but then I realize him wiping up the mess isn't going to improve the situation.

So I clean up while he's still in the room and we finish up and I'm heading out to get on my bike.

I ride to the closest corner and stop to watch the women go by. Cause that's what men do. I give my best deep voice "How you doin" to a couple of them til one says "asshole" which doesn't improve the situation.

So I head on out for a bike ride. Rats.

I decide to go to this Italian deli to pick up some homemade pasta and I'm bombing down Connecticut ave. cause I'm standing up and hammering cause I got no interest in sitting down, and I'm making most of the lights when I finally miss one and come to a stop. And some tool behind me bombs right through it weaving between the crossing cars. He wasn't costumed and I didn't get a good enough look to see if he was the other half of the CAT-0.

While I'm standing there waiting for the light along comes a girl on one of those cargo bikes and she slows then dashes through the intersection as well.  Dammit.

I ride awhile and a light changes and I'm in a bad mood, and I am man, so I slow but dash across at the first opening and I'm going along when a cop pulls me over and yells at me for running a red light. I never run red lights dammit. This is like the first one ever!

The guy let's me go without a ticket. Nice not to get it stuck to me twice in one day.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fadsters part Deux

Over a million Pet Rocks were sold. Rocks the guy got from the local rocks r us shop and sold them for $4 each. Without Fadsters the guy would have been stuck with a truckload of rocks. Fadsters have made possible banana-seat bikes, mood rings, muppet babies, beanie babies, slammer whammers, tie-die, polyester, blue suede shoes, slinky's, the boufant, Pee Wee Herman, silly putty, the British invasion v. 1 and 2, spud guns, platform shoes, the macarena, flappers, suv's, magic 8 ball, grunge, lava lamps and hipsters.

Not that long ago the bicycle was the thing you got when you were a kid and soon forgot about when you weren't. Or those rusty things in the garage that you and the little lady got so you could go and have some "exercise" together. 

That's all changed (unless you live in like some small town in Ohio, like where I'm from, where they're still in the garage).

Now there's designer bikes and designer helmets and designer clothing and designer bags and designer accessories, and the Fadsters can't get enough of them. And there's Cycle Chic sites and bicycle blogs and magazines that praise the utilitarian bike. We're in full blown bicycle Fadster mode. 

And what would a good fad be without some music? Some Fadsters are making an album called "Bicycle" that will be comprised of songs about... bicycling! The singer is a 17 (soon to be 18) year old girl with a "sweet" voice and the songs will most definitely not be for the CAT-0 crowd. 

Being privy to the process I have access to early home recordings of the songs. I had a choice of several to pick from but I just had to go with one named "Cycle Chic". 

(©2011 Patches Publishing/ASCAP)

Th head Fadster says it probably won't be released til the fall. Not very "now now now!" generation but I guess we'll just have to wait.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


If you are a member of CABI, the DC bike share thing, then you can get a free cupcake at Sprinkles Cupcakes in Georgetown through this week.

Cupcakes stores have been popping up for a few years now. This appears to be a hot fad among those that follow fads. I'm guessing there are people who follow fads because there sure is a line of 'em lined up outside of these cupcake places and just as there is no way a sane and rational person would mount a fixie there is no way a sane and rational person would stand in line for a cupcake. No, this is the realm of fadsters.

Of course it helps to have a TV show. Georgetown Cupcake has a show on TLC (DC Cupcake).

Georgetown Cupcake

With a line of fadsters

What surprises me is how far cupcakes had fallen out of favor. That they have made a comeback to the point where you can make a career out of them and even get a tv show is a testament to how much we have missed and longed for them.

I certainly had no idea. I don't recall there being a shortage of Little Debbies on the grocer shelf but surely there must have been, no?

With all the health food diets over recent years I would never have imagined a baked cake topped with gobs of sugary frosting would line 'em up. But then the last and only fad I can recall participating in was bell bottom trousers.

Hey, if they were good enough for the King...

As all fads, the cupcake will again fall out of favor for no other reason than fads change. I predict that macarons will be the next fad. By that time brakes will be the "new" fad for bikes and, to draw them in, the macaron stores should offer free macarons to all bikers with brakes. The fadsters will line right up.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Too sexy for NY

In case you're not aware NYC has been brutal on bikers this summer. Bikers getting tickets are becoming as common as tattoos on bike mechanics.
As this young lass from Dutch country learned.

Apparently the men in blue of NYC think that a woman wearing a skirt is a danger to others and could warrant a ticket if they go about looking too good.

I have to side with the officer on this one. We should have a standard in which bicyclists present themselves. However it should be based not on simply good looks but looking good in general and with some style. To start with we need to establish a baseline:

Going from here we can take a sampling of todays bikers and see if they're ticketable.

Goofy looking - ticket

Goofy looking - ticket

Goofy looking - ticket 

Ass holes - ticket

 Riding a clown bike without a clown costume - ticket

CAT-0 - ticket

CAT-0 - ticket

Cell phone - ticket

Shopping cart and sandals - ticket

Not enough threads. Ticket.

No ticket

Exposed crank and tattoo's - TICKET TICKET TICKET!

No ticket

Swim trunks - ticket