Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Flat Tire Acquisition Announcement

The Flat Tire International Empire announces the the merger, acquisition, rebranding, relocation, and liquidation of Chief Pedal Pushing Pottery Officer (C3PO) limom said, "Our initial efforts will be focused on rebranding the blog to be in line with our corporate communications design and messaging. To that end, I'm announcing its new name: One Speed: Slow. Maybe."

Company vehicle

The blog's former owner/operator, John Romeo Alpha, will be relocating to somewhere in the Hawaiian islands as part of this acquisition. Specific plans for his future role have not been determined at this point. His existing resume doesn't appear to have much to offer to the new organization, although his potential aptitude for digging up clay may be of some minor use.

Likely initial career choice for Mr. Alpha

The Flat Tire International Empire is opening a chain of Shave Ice stands across the islands, and Mr. Alpha has indicated some interest in manning one of them on the outlying islands, as long as he can ride his new company vehicle to and from work each day, and as long as his living quarters are within walking distance of a beach, any beach.

Tour Guide on the Mighty Mo is the other option

Mr. Alpha also expressed interest in a career as a tour guide on the USS Missouri. Lacking any qualifications except for a deep fascination with "the whole battleship deal," this appears unlikely, particularly since his initial site visit resulted in him locking himself in the machine shop and refusing to come out.

Hawaiian energy drink distribution: third possible career choice for Mr. Alpha

Likely location for new, temporary HQ for the former One Speed: Go! owner

When asked about possible locations for the relocation, limom said, "We're looking at Wai'ale'ale, since that seemed like a fun place to put someone from Phoenix. Maybe."

The merger, acquisition, rebranding, relocation, and complete liquidation is planned to occur whenever, sometime, maybe soon, bumbye braddah. John Romeo Alpha was unavailable for comment.

This Two-Wheeled Alternate Universe

New signage on an existing underpass

On a comment on a post a few days ago, Craig M. Brandenberg asked what alternate universe I live in, and that's the sort of question which initiates its own background process in my mind which runs on its own for a while until it bubbles up a result.

From science fiction to philosophy, a lot of thought has come out of the concept of the multiverse, none of which, unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, we don't know), has yielded either evidence that it's anything more than a mind-blowing idea, or provided for actual travel/shifting/warping from one set of space/time/laws/matter to another. It's a happy thought for me that there could be an infinite number of universes where, for example, the movie "Battlefield Earth" was never made, or that Phoenix had something more than 1% bicycle commuters, but as far as we know at this time (whatever that may mean), this is all we got.

Which is probably why, deep down, I tend to rank "what is" higher than "what could be in [imaginary] alternate universes on the other side of the wormhole," and also above "what garden of forking paths might become in the future." With that perspective, signs catch my attention because they would seem to be explicit indications of what is, or at least, what someone wants us to think is. Which is why, when new signage suddenly appears at an underpass I have been riding through frequently since October 6, 2010, I take notice. Has reality altered? Or, has someone in charge of signage altered their thoughts of what is important here? If so, to what end? What new path is this?

It's the "Charlotte's Web" phenomenon, right? Charlotte spun words in her web over Wilbur's stall, "SOME PIG" the example that sticks in my mind, and the mere presence of the webbed words over the pig altered the perception of those who saw it, to the extent that Charlotte's goal of steering events down a path which did not result in Wilbur's slaughter after the fair was accomplished. E.B. White nailed it, I think.

Typically, when lacking evidence of any sort to support an opinion, I will go into "hopeful optimist" mode, and take this brilliant green spider web hanging over this pig's stall (I mean that in a positive sense, I have an abiding respect for Wilbur's perspective and relationship with the universe) as a sign of things to come. What things? Who knows! More smooth rolling pavement along the canal, perhaps! More standardized signage for cyclists, oh oh oh, I can dream, can't I? A FUTURE UNDERPASS BENEATH SCOTTSDALE AND CAMELBACK ROADS??? pant pant pant

Seen within two minutes of the new underpass signage

Meanwhile, back in the current reality of this universe, it has to suck to be a motor vehicle owner/operator who parks in an iffy spot on a crowded street in an effort to get to a swank happy hour venue rapidly, only to return and find that Your Precious was ramped up, strapped down, and carted off to some empoundment facility, where you can only retrieve it by paying a ruinous fee. Which I am somewhat neutral on, since around here anyway the odds of my bicycle experiencing some similar removal appear vanishingly slim, although I realize that bicycle removal by authorities for various perceived parking infractions does occur in some cities, typically those with more bicycles than we have here. On another hand, with city revenues continuing to plummet, I don't know why a city seeking additional funding sources wouldn't make parking in the bike lane an instantly towable offense, and charge ruinous retrieval fees. That would be a SOME PIG type deal for me.

Speaking of parking, and towing...


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Napali Coast Wallpaper

I took this as the morning fog was lifting. Click goes to the bigger version.

I saw this emerging and knew that I needed a longer lens than I had, to compress the different-toned promontories a bit more, but this still turned out OK I think. The scene was nearly black and white anyway, with the morning light very gray.

Looking for something like this, this weekend. Not this, but maybe the feeling I had when I saw it emerging from the morning, out of the water, into the sunlight. Maybe that's me, or my feeling: emerging from the morning, out of the water, into the sunlight. Set as my desktop wallpaper, that fringe of white water crashing on the bottom of the rocks draws my eye instantly. Though small, it's the heart of this photograph. I may not go back to this place soon, not physically. But seeking a calm, single memory to return to, a center point, this one works for me.

Have a Napali Cost in the morning fog kind of weekend, maybe.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Zen of Gasoline on My Bicycle

With beginner's mind I sit on my bike before the sign, and breathe

Do what it says. Pay up. Or choose not to.

In my heart as well as my imagination I see the falling down of this particular cheap-oil-dependent way of doing things since the cheap oil is going going gone, and being replaced with wild profiteering price swings, and desperate expensive environment-destroying technological gambles in an era of ever-rising demand around the world, but: I observe my breathe going in, going out, as I spin my feet around a small circle and propel myself forward under my own power. 

I gaze on all the mind-blowingly expensive shiny ego-boosting metal boxes blasting down the road at high speeds with CO2 billowing out of their exhaust pipes moving 4000 pounds of steel and technology to carry 200 pounds of flesh to the store or work, and I think that soon, soon, all of it will be worth so very little, the market value of the gas fuelled vehicles will plunge as the oil to run them skyrockets in price, but I pause mid-gaze to observe the words themselves running around my brain, those fickle, unpredictable, unreliable, willful words bouncing around of their own dubious accord, and this much the still small voice knows: no one knows what the sunrise brings, except for light. Maybe it will all work out, maybe the dinosaurs will live on.

Though I seldom drive and haven't run my credit card through a pump scanner in months, I, too, recite the mantras to save the oily soul: Athabasca, Green River Formation, fracking, but they bring me no peace, and I fall back to sitting in quiet on my bicycle seat, assuming my semi-crouched position of meditation, breaking through the harsh vidiotic noise with the clear sounding of my dingy bell: ding ding. Here and now, the fact of cheap energy pumped easily from the ground is at an end. A hundred bucks a week is too much for gas. Five thousand dollars a year is too much to pay for something I can easily, and better, do with my own power, with my own two feet. The chain running through the sprockets does not drown out the sound of morning birds like an ill-muffled exhaust of an ego-boosting truck roaring past. The mockingbird rolls out his repertoire as I roll past, and it flows through me with words or mantra: morning music, true pure and noncommercial. 

If I divert my bicycle into the park in order to pause a moment to roll around in the grass on a warm spring morning, I make no excuses. I do not have to explain myself to you as you drive by in your car. I am I, here, in this park at this moment, rolling. There is no charge for doing so. It is free. I am unencumbered. Have you felt that lately? Whenever I drove past the endless signs like the one at the top of this post, with the price rising (and it may sting to consider how much that is market demand driven profiteering, plus taxation), it wasn't that I didn't have the money to pay for the gas, no. It was a feeling of being powerless and having to pay whatever was asked, whatever the profiteers and taxers demanded. I cringed, I died a little bit inside. Until I freely chose to drastically curtail my gasoline buying by drastically curtailing my driving. My choice. My decision to roll in the grass in the park instead, and spend my hard-earned money elsewhere.

I respect anyone's decision to do otherwise, to keep driving, to keep paying whatever price is demanded, but I do not respect many of the excuses offered, since anyone clearly has the opportunity to examine their reasons, to see if they are, in fact, excuses, for choosing not to get around under their own power: it's not hard, it's not expensive, it's definitely not all blood sweat and tears. The sleek and determined visages designed onto the front of our vehicles appear to offer the possibility of personal transformation, with the implied sexy promise that as they move us rapidly and powerfully from A to B, they also will remake us into someone or something better. With a good shiny new one we can do anything and be anyone. This is what we are sold. Then we arrive at our destinations, eventually, poorer of money, poorer of time lost in commutes down endless stretches of pavement populated with thousands of others doing the same, having added tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, and find that we are not transformed, merely lessened. But, go ahead, tell yourself the car story. 

My story is that I ride a bicycle, and I'm rolling around in the grass in the park. That sign above no longer gets me down, but merely serves as one more focus point for my detached meditation practice, since it signifies nothing to me any more. I won't do what it says, I won't pay up. Pretty white numbers floating on a calm blue background. A hidden, secret code which says: sell your car, ride a bicycle, and seek out a quiet spot of your own to enrich your inner life, rather than working another day to fill the pockets of some oil profiteer on the other side of the world. 

The bicycle story truly is one of transformation: of physical weight loss, improved fitness, economic advantage, and a lighter heart. I observe my own breath going in, going out. I am that, and it feels like smooth balanced motion.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rolling Oak

One more Wall Cycle to Ocotillo freeway pot, I think
Rolling down Oak
moving through this space makes my heart race
Because I feel connected,
knowing the place,
being in it.
Feeling without looking.
Understanding without considering.
Both what and who's around that corner,
and what their name is,
the intersection of their story with the arc of my own bicycle plot line, here.
I remember those who were here before,
also look ahead: to future VNSA book sale rides down Oak.

Got to work on the neighborhood proprioception, sometimes.

One tap, or two punches? A slow push, or a vigorous pop?

Inspired by a recent comment by ectogestator on my post about a former(?) Phoenix Crosstown Bike Route going down Oak and Encanto, I rode the Flatland Commuter to check out a portion of it. The verdict: Oak/Encanto is a mighty bike route, with much to recommend it. 

Soda fountain, future destination

Wait, another canvas duck bicycle bag made in Nelson, England? Well, yeah!

Arizona State Fairgrounds, site of the yearly VNSA booksale, right off the Encanto bike route. It is my destiny.
Not a lot of traffic except crossing the sevens and Central. Real life. Real people. Stand to push the fixed gear up and over the freeway pedestrian overpass ramp. Switchback with no dabs? Nah. But next time, with books loaded up in a black duck canvas bag.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Picnic With a Fish, Scottsdale, Soleri Bridge

That's amur: welcome to the Picnic With a Fish!

I rode over to the Soleri Bridge and Plaza in Scottsdale to attend a suitably surreal-sounding event: picnic with a fish. SRP pulled a few white amur catfish (the weed-eaters who keep the canals relatively clear) out of the water and put them into large tanks around the plaza. There was dancing, there was explanatory speaking about the Spring Equinox and the functioning of the Soleri Bridge itself (covered extensively previously on this blog, here), and plenty of actual picnicking. I caught some pretty surreal fish pictures, too. Photos and video follows. This was a terrific event by Mary Lucking and Scottsdale Public Art. And I scored a parasol signed by Paolo Soleri himself, so, yeah, all is right with the world, at the present moment.

Paolo Soleri, posing at his bridge with the Movement Source Dance Company

Fish encounter the first

Fish encounter the second

Balloon trees, featuring spontaneous heat-related popping

SRP White Amur Boffins showing off their in-depth fish knowledge

The magic near-equinox semi-overcast sky (Gobi aerosols were mentioned as the cause)

Parasols! Parasols! Parasols!

No explanation required

A large blue water drop and a man wearing a catfish crown crossing a canal bridge

Parasol signed by Paolo Soleri. I want to call it a Paolosol.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

You could have reasons for singing to fish

Signage for Mary Lucking's Amur Serenade on the Marshall Way Bridge

You could have your reasons for singing to fish.

The machine for singing to the amur catfish

Perhaps you want to sing them the song of the time you walked on thick ice on their namesake river, and slid down slopes constructed of it, in biting cold and stinging joy. And of the following night, blocks of it carved and built into castles, figures, fortresses, impossible frozen tableau filled with sparkling light, the festival of the ice lanterns held logically on the coldest night in the coldest place next to the Amur River.

Or of the bike ride you found this machine for singing to fish on. Or of the reasons you haven't been blogging much lately, but would if you could. Or of their canal food: do they truly eat the weeds, and if so, do they enjoy that? You ask if there's a song in that and I say that the question answers itself. Sure no song in the slime of their fins? Except that to a fish, a song of the slime of their fins is surely of interest, and if you are singing to fish, well, weeds, or slime, may be suitable subjects.

Something imaginative: Chansons d'amur perhaps?

Something appropriate to the dark swirling waters: Sing me to sleep, I don't want to wake up on my own anymore.... 

Close-up of machine for singing to fish

Sing to the fish at night. During the day, one may picnic with the fish, do yoga with the fish, or create arts and crafts, but singing to the fish, during the dark hours only, please. Reasons? You could have your reasons. Don't ask me. I have mine. You could hear it in my low quivering voice hovering over the dark waters, a cyclist bent over the fish singing machine in the wee hours when all are asleep, including the slimy finned ones, but I shall wake them with my sonorous, compelling melodies. For none may resist the power of the amur serenade. They do dart, and dive, and swim in dreamy swirls, as the notes pour down, down, around and under the bridge. 

You could have your reasons for singing to the fish, in the middle of the night, while riding your bicycle along a quiet canal, in the warmest, darkest place, this desert night. Don't ask me. I have mine.

and she makes other things of beauty, like ped/bike bridges, and a Tree Grows in Scottsdale... 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bikey St. Patrick's Day!

Even the bike is green!

Have a bikey St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Blog Break!

The new 7th Avenue underpass along the ACDC in Phoenix

I'm taking a break from blogging for a little while to take care of some stuff, and to gather up some stray thoughts for possible future blog usage. There's just a lot going on, which requires some additional time and attention. Some of my meatier recent posts have some indication of the themes I'm reflecting on. I plan on continuing to reading other blogs in the interim. Keep on riding, and writing. I will.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Moving, Encouraging Video from Brazil via Copenhagen

I found this video from both moving, and encouraging.

Moving, because of its portrayal of the enthusiastic young cyclists riding boldly and with ease and grace through a crowded, car-centric city. That, and it's just incredibly cool.

Encouraging, because some of the scenes reminded me of the car-centric city I live and ride in, and if they can do it, so can I, was my reaction. I am looking forward to seeing more about Mikael Colville-Andersen's trip to Brazil, hoping that he puts some of his presentations online to view. Since I live in a 1% bicycle commuting city (approx), more encouragement, and examples, and information about what it might take to really improve that extremely low rate, from someone who knows and has an extremely compelling messages, encourages me. 

This is a great video. The combination of music, flow, and joy of riding style gets to me. With this music and video playing in my head, I'm headed out for a ride, to see if I can find something like this in my city.

Sao Paulo Bikecapetas from Copenhagenize on Vimeo.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Welcome to Phoenix, Cyclists!

Lo the night was quiet and dark, as the beam from my bicycle headlight cast a warm and welcoming glow.

Go, ride, have an excellent weekend.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Proper Response to Motorists Yelling "Get Off the Road!"

With considerable deliberation I formulated a proper and effective response...

The motorist traveling the other direction yelled at my back, as he hit the gas and made his loud engine even louder, something angry, along the lines of "GET OFF THE ROAD!" I considered his apparent demand seriously. What should my reaction be? Should I reply?

My first reaction, which I quickly damped down, was to spin around, chase after him, and just ask him what he meant. No-win response, though, no chance of actually finding out what he meant by doing that, so I quickly ruled that out.

Next, I considered shouting back an anatomically impossible demand of my own. For, while being anatomically impossible for him to do, the demand seemed to satisfy some need I had to lash back out at him, as it queued up in my brain and headed toward my mouth. But, no, I damped that down, too, another no-win, as he was not likely to even attempt my anatomically impossible demand, but rather, would be angered further by it, if he even heard it. Which was unlikely, since he was speeding off into the distance. Probably the only person who would hear it would be some kid, who would then ask his parent what the anatomically impossible demand meant, and I didn't want that, either.

I considered actually doing what he told me to do, and get off the road. Immediately. This was hampered by practical considerations primarily, since I was riding in a bike lane on a street with no sidewalks. I pictured myself turning 90 degrees to the right and getting off the road immediately anyway, waving back at him, "Sure thing, mate! Any other demands?", and then just riding across the lawns, churning up the expensively manicured sod, hoping that someone would yell at me to get off their lawn so that I could go back to riding in the bike lane. "Why the hell are you riding on my lawn?" one of the lawnowners might inquire, to which I would reply, "Because a motorist demanded that I get off his road, and this seemed like the only alternative available!"

But no, I decided that I would not get off the road, and furthermore, that probably NO ONE EVER WOULD, in response to such a demand. In the history of bicycle riding, has anyone, anywhere, EVER, actually gotten off the road when a plain old motorist driving the opposite direction yelled at their back to do so? I think not. Furthermore, I believe that the motorist knew this when he yelled it, that there was no chance whatsoever that I would actually get off the road. So what would possess a motorist to yell such a thing, knowing that it was an absurd, impossible, and entirely unlikely to be obeyed demand? Desperation driven to such lengths of untoward impossible irrational absurd unlikely blurting and shouting is difficult to fathom, but I would wager some form of mental insufficiency, or personal frustration, or unresolved deep-seated emotional trauma, which just explodes out of him at the slightest provocation, and pushes him even further into the dark depths of dysfunction and failure.

On the other hand, I found that my previously advised response to such situations, to disengage, to take away the power, to escape, evade, and move on down the road, lacked a certain feeling of closure to me. It was unsatisfying, frankly. I was still simmering. It felt like I couldn't let it go, and shouldn't just ride on passively the next time someone yells something impossible at me, either in terms of anatomical impossibility, or as a demand that no one would accede to, ever. Put that way, there's a clear and simple response, that I will always have ready for now on, whenever a motorist yells something at me. This response also has the virtue of being appropriate for more or less any pointless, absurd, impolite shout or act by a motorist toward a cyclist on the road, so I like it. It feels like it would give me closure, while still accomplishing my desired end of not stooping to the depths of dysfunction despair and failure which lurk in the interior of the vehicle the shout or act originated from in the first place, no I won't go there. That's their zone, not mine.

Next time this sort of thing happens, which is infrequently by the way, people seldom yell at me, I have my reply ready. I will instantly turn, and shout at the top of my voice at his back (since that appears to be his preferred mode of communication, back-shouting), NO!!!!! That's it. Nothing more than NO!!!!! I have no need to dignify the dysfunctional back shout with further elaboration or action. Moving on now.

It seems perfect to me. GET OFF THE ROAD! NO!!!!! End of discussion. Having answered his impossible demand in a clear and logical, definitive manner, I will ride on without further ado. Useful in reply to any foul-mouthed, angry motorist, with a sense of closure and clarity. I like it. Let them roll on down the road with their full load of dysfunction intact and on board, since you reflected it right back where it came from.

I even imagined this becoming a sort of secret handshake greeting for cyclists who pass each other going opposite directions, one yelling at the back of the other GET OFF THE ROAD!!! and the other responding back at the top of his voice at the back of the first, NO!!!! a challenge-response style of greeting of mutual acknowledgement and confidence: in the face of absurdity and irrational demands, our unassailable, rational, and powerful response is known in advance: NO!!!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Commuting Heaven and Hell

Guess which one this is...

A coworker was telling me about his terrible former car commute in LA, 1.5 to 2 hours each way, parking lot mode, to cover 26 miles on the 405 or something like that. That is, without reservation, my idea of hell on earth. I would be driven to heights of creativity, and physical exertion, to do ANYTHING to avoid three hours plus per day trapped in a car in a simmering, polluted, barely moving parking lot, to move my 4000 pounds of metal 26 x 2 miles. No no no.

Compared to my bicycle commute, above (for example). Twenty-five minutes of pure bicycling pleasure in the open air, sunshine, and as fast or slow as I please. Heaven.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Nowhere Places I Keep Riding Back To

One nowhere place of return: ACDC canal path, next to the freeway frontage, across from the amusement park

There are some nowhere places I keep riding back to, and I'm not sure why exactly. I ride along the canal, up and back? Back and up? Out and down? Down and out? Along and along, really, from nowhere, to nowhere, from X1 to X2, turn around and go back, on a bicycle that feels right, on a warm (almost hot, 81°F) spring day. 

The bougainvillea do their level best to make it somewhere

Is it some kind of sneaky effort on my part to find a nowhere place, and make it into a secret somewhere, a small place of my own? If so, couldn't I chose a better place than this, perhaps one with shade, benches, water, away from the freeway and mall? I have those kind of places, too, but they already feel more like well-trodden somewheres, while this is still a random nowhere place. It's sort of an even number of miles from my house, but that ends up being beside the point, because there are an infinite number of nowhere points around the circular radius of that same even number of miles from my house, so why not one of those? Why this one? I don't really know. But if I count up the number of times I have paused in this spot, to take a drink of water, stretch my legs, ponder the ducks and the open sky for a moment, this spot starts to feel like more than nowhere to me. But it's a mystery why this one instead of the others. 

On analysis, I'm fairly confident in suggesting that it has more to do with the ride to get there, than the arrival. Which may not make a lot of sense unless you are a frequent practitioner of the Ride to Nowhere: some of my best rides have been precisely that.

I tidy up some nowhere places, merely because other people ride there, and I can't leave it alone

Some upstanding citizen left this shattered 40 of malt liquor all across the path with no real way around, so I paused to do the best I could without a broom to scoot and kick its sticky shards off the path. Now that I'm using the roomy Carradice saddle bag for more and more rides, it may be time to carry the little whisk broom/dustpan combo I picked up a while back, since bike shoes make very poor sticky glass shard path sweepers. But it was a job that needed to be done, such that my conscience would not permit me to ride on past it without taking care of that glass. While sweeping, I saw no less than five other riders go by in the space of a few minutes, so I must have saved a few tires at least. I wouldn't want to see such a fine day for nowhere riding sullied by the hissssssss [flopflopflop] of glass piercing rubber. The path to nowhere places should be free of such worries, so that one can maintain a state of mind appropriate for riding to them. Thank you for reading.

OSG mobile shattered 40oz malt liquor bottle path clean-up system (OSGMS40OZMLBPCUS)


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Road Rage: Auto Humanity Deficiency Disorder

Please help me. I need out. I want to run in grass, and chase bunnies. (seen at a stoplight)

What is it about being inside a car that makes people crazy? I don't claim to know, not really. Just that often, just getting behind the wheel seems to have a disinhibiting effect, appearing to undercut anger control, combined with a certain degree of dehumanization that permits beastly behavior. Possibly similar to, or parallel with, the online disinhibition effect. With no offense intended toward actual beasts, who sometimes find themselves trapped in the back seat, poking their heads through cracked windows, gasping for air, staring at concrete, and seeking something, anything, of interest, beyond the endless parade of similar metal boxes rolling along, piloted by humans operating on emotional hair triggers. BAM!! They are set off, and the rage is on.

Is it the high price of gas? Oil companies sticking it to them? Insurance and car payments? Emissions testing? Traffic jams? CHECK ENGINE light? Busted air conditioner? Strange sounds coming from under the hood? Mechanics ripping them off with unneeded repairs and outlandish repair costs? Construction zone? Tickets? The empty, lifeless hours wasted away staring at the inside of a windshield while gripping the steering wheel? The mechanical inelegance, the actual absurdity, of burning expensive fuel to move 4000 pounds of machine in order to transport a couple hundred pounds of flesh? Yikes, I'm starting to feel a little bit of rage myself, just reading this paragraph.

Constant vigilance of the sort required to safely drive an automobile at high speed is wearing, stressful, and difficult to impossible for humans for any length of time.

In marked contrast, constant civility while riding a bicycle at a medium speed is energizing, rewarding, and possible to sustain for hours. Provided there are generous coffee and snacking stops, of course. With time out to watch some birds in a park, or to read a book beneath a shady tree. Sure, this may mean I don't make it from A to B in record time. You might even say I'm dawdling a bit. But, wow, those are some sad eyes on the auto-entrapped dog.

Please. Take me for a bike ride. I can even sit in a basket. Just get me out.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Coffee Transport and Containment on a Commuter Bicycle

Bicycle coffee commuting: the beginning of a wonderful friendship

This week, I installed a coffee cup holder which came with an insulated mug, which I bought a long time ago on closeout for $5 or something like that. The holder itself appears surprisingly well-made for something so inexpensive, and I've seen it in multiple different brand incarnations including "Bell". For whatever reason, and you don't usually ever learn the true reason when you purchase closeout products, this one by default is made to fit a really fat bar, bigger than any of my handlebars, so part of the reason I delayed so long to install it is that I do have a deep-seated and I think not totally irrational dislike for shims and anything similar, and conversely, a deep-seated and I think totally sound confidence combined with satisfaction when part A attaches to part B with absolute precision and zero slop. If your job entails sitting in front of a computer engineering clever, safe, and workable designs such that part A fits part B with zero slop, just know that I have an undying admiration bordering on awe for what you do. Hard disk drive hub clamp designers, I love you.

Yes, I still do have some rubber coupler shimming stock leftover, but the cut of my jib is such that forever, as long as I am using this cup holder on my commuter bicycle, I will be yearning for a perfect-fitting (and black) Portland Design Works Bar-Ista paired up with an OXO Good Grips LiquiSeal Travel Mug, both of which by all appearances would deliver up the precision and exactness of fit to satisfy my questing soul. At a higher cost, sure, but we're talking about something I will be staring at every day and seething about just a little. If you integrate the seething function of mechanical slop over the lifetime of the cup holder, I could probably justify the additional cost. Added on to that, the likelihood that the Arizona sun blasting down on rubber shims will no doubt cause them to crumble and fail catastrophically and suddenly, similar to carbon fiber, which in my case would most certainly result in the cup filled with scalding hot coffee somehow tumbling into the front spokes, sending me over the bars while spraying my face and arms with boiling hot liquid. AKA, catastrophic loss of coffee containment. Put it that way, the PDW+OXO combo is sounding more and more affordable. It would certainly be less than the copay at the ER.

Yes, it mounts reflective tape perfectly

I'm certain I would instantly land on the ER list of "interesting" accidents if I showed up and gave that story. After I shimmed and mounted the el-cheapo second degree burn Superman crash coffee cup holder (EC2DBSCCCH), I noticed it occupies a prime spot for reflectivity, while also offering a panoramic field of reflection. BAM! on went the 3M reflective tape, and POW! I now offer additional front-facing retro-reflection to any oncoming lights from a wide variety of angles. And that may be the one redeeming quality of the EC2DBSCCCH: whereas the PDW-OXO combo is both black and visibly branded and would present a dilemma about sticking white tape on (can I get some black 3M reflective tape? checking now) the EC2DBSCCCH wears the white tape proudly.

In looking at the photo, it looks like the cup component of the EC2DBSCCCH could also sport a band of reflective tape. That way, I would potentially have a reflector in my hand to wave at drivers left hooking at me at night. Also, when the EC2DBSCCCH actually does its thing and sends me over the bars while burning me, it would at least offer some retroreflectivity to cars, hey look at that guy laying in front of his bike with the coffee cup next to him, while also giving paramedics something else to home in on with their flashlights.

Go here for more, much more, on Bicycle Coffee Systems.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Have a Bicycle Sandwich!

Mmmm tasty!

I'll have mine with a side of three foot law, and a hearty helping of awwww yeaaaaaaaa.

Cooperation, coordination, patience and practice: sweet happy relish on the side.

No cyclists were harmed or annoyed in the making of this sandwich. No yard guys were harassed. No motorists were angered, no middle fingers were displayed, no rage was displayed, no visible signs of anger, impatience, or irritation. Now that's a tasty bicycle sandwich to power you through your Friday sneak-one-in (twice) commute ride(s). Get out there. Your sandwich is served.