Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Path of Least Resistance

Other places have more bike paths, or more developed bicycle infrastructure than Phoenix or Tempe, but these cities do possess some notable cycling advantages. The weather, for one thing, along with some excellent cycling paths and bike lanes, too, with more on the way. One of my favorites runs along the Crosscut Canal, which is one of the legs of my fantasy commute to my ideal job as an apprentice to Paul Davies at the BEYOND Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science. Today, the ride down was a bit of a challenge with a steady 10 to 20mph headwind. But the return trip was boosted by a 10 to 20mph tailwind, which rocked--my tires were singing on the pavement on the ride back north.

The video above starts on the bike path as enters the tunnel and skirts Papago Park. In the center of the path is a work of art called "Centerline" by Arizona artist Barbara Grygutis (moar Grygutis! moar Grygutis!). It's made from green granite from Lake Superior cut with a freakin laser beam, and set in patterns to complement nearby features, like the triangles near Hunt's Tomb (the white pyramid on the mountain by Papago Park). I thought showing the work from a bike in motion would give a sense of its flow and rhythm. The end of the video is down by the Salt River and Tempe Town Lake, with water still going over the rubber dam, as well as a little plunge at the end. The latest SRP daily water report (hola canal boffins!) has the Salt River reservoir system at 99% full from all the rain and runoff, with the Verde pretty full as well. Any more water in the system will be coming this way. It looks like we currently have 737,565,621,454 gallons of water in the bank.

On the way down, I really felt the wind in my face and the effort that it took to ride against it. On the way back, I felt the push at my back, and noticed how clear the air can be when the pollution is blown out by the wind. I did a 180 and the world seemed like a better place. Imagine.

I'm Drawn to Historical Plaques Like This One


Here's a second glance at "Tree of Life" by Marilyn Zwak. The leaves of the cement trees are spaces to put the names of people who donate to a program to greenify the area, and it really needs it, as you can see in the video. I hope they xeriscape it to greenify it, but at this point even painting the dirt green would help. There's a lot going on here: a linear construction site that will be a park-like setting some day, beside an artificial lake which becomes a river at the push of a button or pull of a lever, under some soaring concrete arches of bridges which cross the lake/river, in an area where the Tohono o'odham dug canals and grew their desert-adapted crops a thousand years ago, stands a concrete sculptural expression of "tree" featuring a list of people ("leaves") who donate money to plant stuff. They should plant some tepary beans and mesquite up in there, as part of an exhibit of how the Tohono o'odham lived. Get up. Go ride.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Textures and Snacks in My Bike Lane

I like the textures in this picture from my bike lane this morning. Mysteries wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a snack food product left for the mockingbirds and cactus wrens for breakfast. But I shall write no more of snack food products after this. Limom got me interested enough in shrimp chips a while back to run a couple of searches on Amazon. Now Amazon's target marketing engine believes me to be some sort of snack food maniac, because it won't stop sending me emails for fried things in bags in a variety beyond imagining. It seems like I have about 18 emails from them that all begin "As someone who has shown an interest in chips or dips," and now I rue the day. Rue the day. Don't want to stop all emails from them; sometimes they do send me interesting stuff. But I am not interested in "Corazonas" or  "Nong Shim Shrimp Crackers" or "Marco Polo Shrimp Chips Snack-Original." For the love of vegetables make it stop. Get up. Go ride.

Friday Stroke of Genius: The BOBBIC Ratio

A long time ago, eons in Blogger time, I posted about the BIMBIC ratio. This work-related, not at all funny, ratio doesn't have much to do with cycling, but it seemed to me at the time that there might be a tie-in. Didn't know what it was (other than the sheer genius of the concept), but this morning, in a lighthearted Friday mood, almost suitably caffeinated, it came to me: the BOBBIC ratio is an expression of the number of minutes your Butt is On your Bike divided by the number of minutes your Butt is In your Car, per week. I've seen quite a few blogs where people post their daily or weekly mileage, which is awesome, but I wonder if BOBBIC wouldn't be a more interesting stat to review regularly.

In the last seven days, for example, and including an estimate for today, I put my weekly BOBBIC at about  9. Not bad, not bad. I recognize that many people will have a BOBBIC where the denominator is 0, yielding a BOBBIC of infinity or undefined. Which is even more awesome than 9, since I hear Buzz Lightyear: BOBBIC, to infinity and beyond!!!

Have a rocking good Friday. Boost up your BOBBIC. See you in the weekend. Get up. Go ride. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Shreds of Hope


This blog is more or less a record of me riding around searching for shreds of hope that the world won't come crashing to a radioactive, fire-bathed end sometime in the next twenty years in a World War of Us Against Them over who gets to pump the last gallon of gasoline into their SUV when it becomes unavoidably obvious that there's none left. This written on the day that GM announced that since not even China wants the Hummer brand, it would be shut down (the Hummer brand, not China). Which I actually take in this context to be a possible indicator of moving one step closer to not having enough gas to go around to stave off global conflict, since at a minimum a widespread market for monster-sized gas guzzlers would appear to indicate that people believe that there's enough gas to guzzle. Then I came across a father commuting by bike and dropping his kid off at school, and I pondered the thought that our course to destruction is not immutable. The future is decided by thousands of tiny decisions we make every day. This morning, this dad chose to be one of the 1% of his fellow citizens who ride their bicycles to work, and one of the .001% who ride with their kids to school (an estimate). A fanatic's fanatic. One tiny choice to make a difference. I said a lot of words today, and others said a lot back at me, but none spoke as loudly or clearly, or made as big a difference, as this person's tiny choice. Get up. Go ride.  

Wrap Me In Your Spiny Embrace

Wrap me in your spiny embrace,
Tell me that you'll never leave,
Armed and rooted in this place,
Dream of showers on a summer eve. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Passing the Legacy

To the left in this photo is "Passing the Legacy, Hashknife Pony Express Commemorative Monument," by Herb Mignery. This statue near the Scottsdale Fashion Square / Waterfront complex commemorates the old Pony Express as well as the yearly reenactment called The Hashknife. On the right is I don't know exactly what, but could be a Gen1 Segway rider passing the Segway legacy (in the form of a spiral notepad and slip of paper) to a fancy new mountain trail-worthy X2 Segwayist. It looks like the X2 goes for over $5000. While I admit they have a certain geeky charm, especially when ridden by two attractive people such as these, I would rather spend the money on a people-powered two-wheeler, or several. SHOCKER, I know. Get up. Go ride. 

A Beautiful Network of Bicycleways and Wide Sidewalks

The phrase above and what should be a video is from Enrique Peñalosa and "A World Without Cars" on Big Think. Enrique Peñalosa waxes optimistic about bicycleways and sidewalks in a way that makes me hopeful for the world of 2050 that my kids will inherit from us. Get up. Go ride.    

Tuesday, February 23, 2010



I stopped to linger a moment in the small park with no signage that I have called Lafayette Parkway to enjoy a few minutes of peace in the sweet sunshine. To gather my thoughts. To clear my head for the rest of the ride. Not much happened, which was the point: some doves poked around in the grass near my feet, a couple ran past along the canal with their dog, a woman jogged up to the bridge, paused, turned around, and ran back. I think an occasional unscripted, unscheduled, no-deadlines stop in a small park can do wonders. A pause, a moment of clear mind in the sweet sunshine. Get up. Go ride.

Yasuko Drenched in Sunlight

Monday, February 22, 2010

Canti Advantages

Cantilever Brakes May Have Been a Better Choice

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I Had a Bike in China

Worker ID Card and Bicycle Key

A long time ago, another lifetime really, I had a bike in China. It was a green Phoenix (Fenghuang) with iffy rod brakes that was made of stout steel and weighed a ton. The rod brakes were so tentative that emergency stops were usually achieved with feet rather than brakes.

I rode it all the time, along with everyone else in the country, in the days before cars took over China's roads. It was so boringly normal to ride a bike everywhere that I don't think I even took a picture of it. What I have left is the key, above, which secured the flimsy rear wheel lock when I dropped it off with the bike warden and paid her the couple of pennies that she collected, rain or shine, summer or frigid north China winter, to allow me to search for a place for my transport among the thousands of other similar bikes. It had no lights on it but that was OK since most of the cars and trucks drove around at night with their lights off, too. I was given various explanations for this, the mostly plausible-sounding were that lights blinded cyclists, or that headlights were expensive and hard to get. But you could ride the city streets at night back then and not see a motor vehicle for long stretches of time. Because car drivers represented a tiny minority.

This was going to be my Chinese New Year post, but I couldn't find the items in the photo last week. So belated Happy Year of the Tiger! Now that I'm cycling in a time and place that I am by definition a fanatic (David Hembrow is correct, as usual), I fondly remember a time and place where it was quite the opposite. In particular I recall my Fenghuang bike and the miles I rode on it, as if it were quite unexceptional to be one cyclist in the midst of hundreds of millions of others. 

Sometimes, you don't know what you've got till it's gone. Get up. Go ride.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Stormee Daze

It Starts Like This

It starts as an easy spin on a Saturday afternoon, with clouds. Then: crack of lightning, peal of thunder, patter of rain, and the mood starts to turn. Things are pretty sedate, but something is brewing.


Rollin With Milk Crate

I even ran into my old EZ floatin friend, Duck Dawkins, out floatin' his groove thang.
Duck Dawkins Rides Again. Hi Old Friend!

And then the winds begin to pick up, straight at me, and the rain begins pelting down. And a transformation occurs, with some deep-seated, ancient biochemical mechanism triggered by water in my face, the sizzle of ozone in the air: I transform into Crankasaurus Rex.
What a Crankasaurus Rex in the Wild May Look Like

I start spinning a 100+ rpm cadence, my 700x30 slightly knobby tires sing on the asphalt path. I wish that the single speed had a little higher gear, but to spin faster means to go faster. High spinning, try not to bounce, smooth it out, bend a little lower. Wind at my back helps a lot, too. I reserve enough phlogiston in the tank for the one mile stretch of gravel at the end that I call the Dad Memorial Sprint: pedal slow across the spillway, breathe deep and slow for what's about to come, then open up and push with everything for one mile, VO2 max and beyond, I'm feeling my living heart pounding in my chest, push all the way through to the end. If I can stay upright I question my level of commitment. I make it, and coast to the stoplight, breathing heavy, feeling great.
Piestewa Peak w/Clouds

After crushing an all-out sprint like that, I feel like doing more, something like the ride that MtBikeAZ wrote about recently, the WestSoMo loop that includes a dream trail called Alta. That's definitely not a ride that rational John Romeo Alpha would normally attempt; it's way way way over my head. But it may not be over the head of Crankasaurus Rex. And it may storm tomorrow, awakening him again. Get up. Go ride.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Lean!

Two friends on a Friday morning ride, leaning into the turn. Hi guys!

Two friends, riding out of the sunset along the canal. Nice purple basket dude!

Came up with a name for my commuter bike tonight, too. Henceforth, the Fuji Suncrest shall be called Yasuko, in honor of the lead singer of the band Melt-Banana. Not because I am their biggest fan (I actually thought they were a rather odd choice to warm up for the Tool concert I saw in Richmond, VA) but for her plucky, energetic, original style. Go Yasuko!

The weekend is now. The plan for tomorrow (after the morning coffee guzzling) should be obvious, but it bears repeating: Get up. Go ride. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Pecan, the Geese, and the Ferrari: Decision Time

Yesterday I had to put gas in my car. I drive a car sometimes, but because I've been riding my bicycle so much lately, it's been a long time since I had to pay the petroleum piper. So as I was standing there watching the dollar-o-meter spinning its crazy dance, and breathing in the perfume of gasoline, I was thinking about the choice I was making. I am not completely anti-car, but I believe that we would all be better off if more people walked, bicycled, or took other means of transport than a car, particularly in crowded cities, particularly for trips of about five miles or less. This belief lead me to feel reluctance about gassing up. But as I mentioned I haven't given up the car, and it didn't make sense to me to leave it parked in the driveway empty or to run out of fuel somewhere else. But there was reluctance, doubt, concern, questioning that stayed with me. Yes I had to haul stuff that would have been essentially impossible to manage on the bike. Still, it grated on my nerves to be locked up in a shiny metal box in mighty pretty country on a mighty pretty day*.
*expression once used by a man on a horse near Peter's Canyon in the Superstition Mountains to describe where I was about to hike. He was correct.

This morning while commuting by bike to work, I came across this pecan posing on the pavement. When I stopped to take its portrait, I had no idea what I would do with the photo, but it interested me anyway. Possibly a continuation of the consideration of the comestibles that can currently be found on the ground around here. Just as I clicked the shutter release, some of the geese that winter in Phoenix and spend their summers around the Madison River in Montana flew low overhead. I assume they were part of the migratory group of geese that David Quammen wrote about in The Flight of the Iguana, although I have no tracking or other evidence for that, it's my blog and it pleases me to believe so, and it's not really material to where I am going with this. I paused in my commute to listen to the haunting honking of the geese, who were probably just flying from where they spent the night snuggling with their mates-for-life to where they were going to spend the morning eating. Just as they flew out of sight, a Ferrari F430 rolled by. I didn't take a picture of it, partially because I was in awe of its mechanical perfection and mesmerized by the musical purr of its engine, and partly because this is not a car blog. I knew there would already be plenty of other, better images out there anyway.

I mentioned my feelings about filling up my car the day before to give you an idea of my mindset when I encountered the pecan, the geese, and the Ferrari. When I pose the question in just a moment, though, don't get me wrong: that bright red, shiny F430 took my breath away. The mere sound of its engine kicks my heart rate up a notch and I don't think that can be helped. As I watched it drive off down the street, a question posed itself to me. I remembered (don't ask me how these things work, I have no idea) that in Mexico the word for both pecans and walnuts is nuez. The question: if someone offered you a free Ferrari F430 OR a free, fresh nuez right off the tree, which one would you accept? Wow. Crazy question, right? Totally obvious? And if you don't choose the car, how to explain that to pretty much anyone: you chose what??? Maybe I just needed an espresso at Chestnut Lane or Trailhead Bike Cafe to think it over. But no, these choices lose impact, authenticity, if delayed, so I made my decision right there on the side of the road, got back on my bike, and rode into work with a smile on my face. Get up. Go ride.
  Better than a Ferrari

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Long Shadows of Morning

Morning throws its long shadows down the street. As I wheeled my under-caffeinated self out of the driveway this morning, my intent was to think about writing about listening while biking, about how being in the open on a bicycle affords the chance to hear things that you miss while boxed up in a car. But what does listening look like? Well maybe something would come along. Then this happened and I had to consider what shadows sound like. A few seconds later I caught up to the woman on the bike (I was wondering what the flag and frilly stuff was all about) and discovered that she was towing an empty outrigger.

Possibly just having dropped off the kid at school. Which is awesome, but left me wondering, what is the sound of an empty kid's outrigger bike being towed home? Apparently I chose an exceptionally quiet morning to listed closely. Maybe I needed to listen to other ideas, and save the "listen to the neighborhood" theme for another day. So doing, I recalled that I wanted to snap a shot of a painting on a block wall along the canal. So I took a little detour (yes on the way to work, much recommended) and got it. This is it, below. I have no idea what the heck is going on with all the tandems suddenly filling my world. It's great, it takes all shapes and sizes to make the bicycle world turn around, but it seems like I had gone for months without seeing any, and now it's one a day. Get up. Go ride.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Thank You George Washington (plus Lincoln, Jefferson, et. al. )

75 degrees and blazing sunshine on February 15 brought out lots of people on two wheels and on foot this afternoon. I am still learning how to use my point and shoot digital camera for quick shots while in motion on the bicycle. I used various SLR 35mm cameras for years. I kind of feel like all that darkroom experience is archaic and useless knowledge now. Although if/when the zombie apocalypse occurs, and an unexpected side-effect is that the zombifying virus also eats the CCDs of digital cameras, I'll be ready with my enlarger, chemicals, and red lights. Bring it, zombies, I'll still be there to record the mayhem for posterity. I mention the acclimatization to the digital camera because although my Canon SD850 IS is a great little camera, it does not by default or without some prodding and fiddling set to a fast shutter speed, nor does it have a "sports" scene mode which would probably help. So, while I hammer out various workarounds to achieve fast shutter speeds, like "HI ISO AUTO" and "KIDS& PETS" setting, I will keep wrecking great shots like the following, which I'm sure you'll agree is a damned, crying shame:
  The pink bike: photographic tragedy #12

Tandem Couple: in focus

I used to love to use a 400mm Spiratone telephoto lens that I'm sure would alert security personnel within a half-mile to profile me these days, but dang that thing was (or is) awesome. I had a 2x converter that made that bad boy into an f12.6, 800mm optical cannon. I bought it myself in New York City, then walked around shooting seagull and ferry pictures from a mile away. The lens had a manually closed diaphragm--you set the f-stop, focused, then turned a ring to stop-down the diaphragm to the setting you chose. And the point is, with practice, I could take a grab shot with the Spiratone 400mm lens, shutter speed set to 1/500 second, in bright daylight, with no blur, faster than I can successfully grab an action shot from bike with the digital camera. I'll figure it out with practice it, or I'll just get a better camera (DSLR anyone?). Know your equipment, I guess.
400mm Spiratone Optical Cannon (NOT FOR SALE)

I don't advocate using the 400mm while riding a bicycle, although its Deluxe Tubular Carry-case w. filter compartment would look rad zip-tied to the seat stay.
And imagine the reaction of neighbors as I point the thing up and down the street, preset the f-stop, focus, and try to shoot. Heh. All my shots would be blurred, flat colored, tele-compressed perspectives of people running away, lit by police lights. Maybe. Although you never know. The lens uses a T-mount, which I think can be easily adapted to some DSLR bodies. And thanks to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, et. al., I can at least contemplate the possibility of trying it. Free to try out freakishly long telephotos lenses on modern digital cameras to explore the possibilities. What a country. Get up. Go ride.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Books: A Contact Sport, VNSA Book Sale 2010

Books books books. It's only 11:30 am and it's already been a perfect day. I stood in line for a couple of hours waiting to get into the 2010 VNSA Used Book Sale with my friend, HBob. I perused, previewed, and picked through books for over an hour, purchased said books at very affordable prices, and then retired to a nearby diner to review the morning's loot.
Sunrise at the Fairgrounds
After shooting the video above and pillaging the science section, I headed to the Sports department to find bike books. I found none for some time. Then, digging through the boxes under the tables, I found the Bike Department. 
After the sale I gathered my haul and went back outside to reconnect with HBob. As I feared that the waiting masses were regarding my well-chosen and substantial haul of books with envy, I moved quickly back to the parking lot. We then retired to Mel's Diner nearby, to eat brunch. Not that we "do" "brunch". But it was halfway between breakfast and lunch when we sat down.
 HBob ordering
I had a Gyro Omelet (first time for that) and endless cups of good diner coffee. He got biscuits with his meal, but rather than ordering them swimming in what would probably be a sausagey salty gravy delicious at a cosmic level, HBob chose to get them dry (yuck), and instead used them as absorbent hockey pucks to sop up the juices on his plate. It takes all kinds I guess.
Here's my haul. I'm pretty happy with it, and anything else I do after this today will be pure, wonderful gravy. The kind that HBob should have had on his biscuits. Thick, with chunks of sausage floating in it. It's sunny and 70 degrees out, though, so not-riding would be a tragedy. I'll be on the road soon. If I ever tear myself away from this stack of wonder. Get up. Go ride.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Treats for My Sweet

Carried by my feet through the streets.
And proof, circumstantial at best, that someone read my plea for oranges in my bike lane. The fragrance of newly picked citrus is exquisite and ephemeral, exceeded only by the scent of citrus blossoms in the spring as you fly down a bike lane at night. That's still a few months away. Happy Friday and Valentine's Day to all. Get up. Go ride.

Debugging Friday

Friday crashed.
I got a long stack of exceptions when I tried to run it.
The error stack reads like some kind of zen koan.
It could be hardware or software or both.
I rebooted three times but Friday still won't run.
I recited the Out of Memory Mantra oom oom oom oom oom but no go.
Hard drive read error?
Network issues? Power surges?
Garbage collection? User error? Ancient malloc insufficiency?
I'll just keep debugging Friday until I get to the root of the error.
Friday has a looooooong error stack. I think there might be a memory error that is obscuring some exceptions.
Or maybe the log file for Friday ran out of disk space or logrotated before I could catch the relevant details.
The details spin by pretty fast sometimes. I probably missed the actual error.
Logging level set too high maybe.
Or else I forgot to log that process at all. Hmmm.
The thread dump utility is refusing to respond. Not good. Friday is in a hung state.
But I don't know what's blocking.
Riding still seems to work, so I'll give that a shot. Get up. Go ride.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

We Yield to Strollers

When rush hour is three friends on bikes and a women with a stroller, life is good. Get up. Go ride.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

C'mon Let's Go

Easy riding down the canal with Mom. Awesome. Get up. Go ride.


There's a forklift in mah bike lane. Pretty sure he was operating his machine in order to haul pallets of recently picked citrus around as part of the anti-roof rat harvesting frenzy. Anyway, although the photo shows us approaching a potentially contentious traffic circle scenario, he was super-chill, and waved me by. It's probably my first clean forklift pass in a bike lane. Never driven one myself, although I once passed the basic certification test just to demonstrate that I am an excellent test taker, no matter what the subject. But, I pose a query out to the sign erectors: since I saw your gorgeous "SWEEPERS AHEAD" signage out on Pima Road recently but with no sweepers, could a cyclist get a few "FORKLIFTS WORKING" signs around? How about "BOXES OF CITRUS AHEAD"? It's nothing like a BIMBL, which was probably one of those once-in-a-lifetime type deals, but if I was in the mood I might appreciate a free orange on the way in. What do you say, citrus picking crews? Get up. Go ride.  

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Spokes and Stems

Wildflowers after a wild ride

Living in the Fisheye Lens

The setting sun shows up in the fisheye at just the right moment. With the angle and the glass block behind it, it was gone right after this shot. Thank you, rusty fish sculptor, for the glowing sunset rusted fish effect. Get up. Go ride.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tandem Teamwork

This couple looked great, pedaling down the path together. Twice as far, half the effort, multiples of fun? Never tried it. They made it look easy, though, just hop on together and go. One person could watch for coffee stops while the other steered away from the sweepers ahead. Get up. Go ride.


Sweepers. They are ahead. Except I didn't see them. Sweepers sounded like something that might present an interesting challenge to a cyclist. Have you run into sweepers? Were they large, medium, or small? Were there clouds of dust? Brooms which threatened? Were they fixed in place, or mobile? Did they move in a pack, or singular (SWEEPER AHEAD). I may have to go out there on a work day, to see them in action. Get up. Go ride.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Head in the Clouds

In sixth grade PE, Mr. K yelled at me at this time of year, during basketball, because I wasn't paying sufficient attention, in his mind. "ALPHA!" he yelled, "Getcher head outta the clouds!" I think I took it pretty hard. Head in the clouds? Not paying enough attention to the game? Got to focus more. Got to kick it up a notch. I was a tall kid, and Mr. K felt deeply that I should be using my height advantage to score points, grab rebounds, dribble to and fro as if my life depended on it.

Well, so many years later, I have a message, a shout out, a final confession to Mr. K: my head is in the clouds, and I like it up here. Today, the day of the sports spectacle of all spectacles, the super duper galactic bowl championship of the universe, a tense contest to determine who is the best of the best at moving the brown oblong leather spheroid up and down the 100 yard demarcated playing field of honor, guts, and glory financed by ads that cost millions of dollars per minute, my head is way in the clouds. I am a confirmed and unapologetic cumulonimbus cranium, through and through. I got so much more out of riding my bicycle today, taking a few pictures, and staring at the clouds than watching some game on the television, there's no contest. I love the clouds and the wildflowers. All clouds are perfect. All wildflowers are beautiful. What game? Who's playing? Get up. Go ride. 

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Five Stars (only the best)

While shopping for Schwalbe Marathon Supreme Tires

Friday, February 5, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Saguaro Stop

Carnegiea gigantea standing on the corner, chatting with me while I wait for the light to change. Our topic of conversation: THE THING IN THE TREE. It was there yesterday in the Lafayette Parkway. Today it was gone, so I couldn't get a closer look to see what it is. All I have is this part of the photo I took for the Little Parks post. What is it? I am guessing some sort of insect sample collector. But actually, I have no idea, and now that it's gone, my neighborhood proprioception is missing a piece of explanatory data. Must make sense of all man-made artifacts within the neighborhood radius in order to place myself within life's rich catalog of local stuff. A mystery like this can cause a critical disconnect in the sense-of-place. Any ideas what it might be? Time to go for a long ride to see if there are any more hanging around. Get up. Go ride.