Wednesday, February 26, 2014

California Beach Ride: For Memory

This bike, made for beach riding

Some bicycle rides are great just because of the setting and the day. Where "setting" covers everything including state of mind, and "day" covers everything else including the weather. Blog posts have different purposes, as varied as bloggers themselves, but this particular one has a singular reason for being: to remind me of this ride.

Hello memory, this happened. You needed it. It was not long, or strenuous, or particularly epic, just a meander along the beach path for a couple of hours, along with lots of others who appeared to have exactly the same goal in mind. 

I want to fold this ride up, carry it in my back pocket, and pull it back out at certain times, for the positive effects it had on me. The agenda: ride along the water, stop here and there to watch the birds, or to have a coffee, or to grab a snack, then ride some more. That's it. Excellent, an afternoon to remember in more hectic, less beachy times.

Yes, this is Venice, CA in February.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sick Ride

Why is this picture a sick ride? I was sick. I was riding. QED.

When you commute by bicycle, and you're only slightly ill, you ride anyway. Slight fever, stuffy nose, OK really stuffy nose like my whole head feeling like it could explode with mucus at any moment, slight cough. I don't catch a cold very often, but on the rare occasions that I do, and I go into work anyway, I wonder if riding in has any effect on the course of the illness.

I know it doesn't feel particularly comfortable in the breathing area. I'm not saying it was hard to breathe, that would be foolish to continue riding, just that the change in breathing mechanics makes it uncomfortable. But, anyway, I haven't seen any studies that found that you get sicker if you continue your nice medium speed commute rides, and other than the slight discomfort from altered breathing mechanics, the ride overall still makes me feel better. Sunshine. Fresh air. Motion. Outdoors. A sick ride.

The ride did make me want to ask what-if this question: if you had a cold, and your nose was 100% stuffed up and swollen shut, and you sneezed really hard anyway, could your head actually explode? I've known people who've cracked ribs while sneezing, so, could it? Sometimes it feels like that.

Dude, that's a sick ride. Thanks. Do you ride sick? Or is it a bad idea?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Microdwelling Pt. 2: Where Do I Put the Bikes?

I want a microdwelling! Great, hope you like your pizza oven steam shovel.

This is part two of the serendipitous Sunday ride which looped up to West World on the new-to-me path connecting the Scottsdale green belt with the paths up by Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, then back to the Shemer Art Center for hotdogs and microdwellings.

There were a bunch of bicycles there, which I unaccountably neglected to photograph. They were lined up along the fence, and locked up where they could be. Not only was the weather perfect for an art ride to the Shemer, but also there were many more cars there then I expected, parked in the street out front, and filling the auxiliary lot out back. The Shemer is in a neighborhood of macrodwellings of grand proportion, which I suppose provide interesting contrast to these tiny structures.

The people here this afternoon seemed incredibly convivial / friendly. The hydrogen shack guy seemed willing to try to answer just about any question I threw at him about the solar-powered hydrogen generating shed: How many therms does it make in a day? How does the fuel cell work? Did you build that Stirling engine yourself? How many neutrons does a hydrogen atom have, anyway?

Many photos follow. I enjoyed perusing the tiny buildings immensely. As I finished though, and just as I was thinking I might want one, I realized that the lifestyle changes entailed in a switch to microdwelling, include some major divesting of stuff and cruft, while laudable in general, would mean reducing or eliminating most of the bicycle fleet. Unless alternative arrangements could be devised, which seems at least possible, since these structures seemed all about innovation and imagination.

The Beadle Box!

Shipping container, coated in reflective ceramic intended to reflect solar heat

Much glass

Nice space

Repurposed cotton wagon

Within the cotton wagon: the bedroom

Stryo-futuristic pod action

Really micro

Steam shovel pizza plans

Igby brat close-up, non-micro


Monday, February 17, 2014

Microdwelling in the House of Bike: Scottsdale Connector Path Pt.1

These. Everywhere. A perfume like black pepper vanilla.

When I read about the connection of the Indian Bend paths with paths to West World, I knew I had to go and ride them as soon as possible. A warm, near record heat long Sunday afternoon presented itself, and I rode. Then, on departing OSG Global HQ, word of an event going on at the Shemer called Microdwell 2014, w/ food trucks.

It sounded very likely that I could carry myself away on a 40 mile bike ride, then top it off with tiny houses and Short Leash hotdogs.

If you moved the hot dog truck next to one of these microdwellings, put me inside building stuff related to bicycles, and surrounded it with flowers and mountains like the ones featured on the blog recently, you could sum up how I wish life to be.

This post is a bit photo-heavy, and it's only part one. It's a show don't tell type scenario.   

Seriously, these rendered the path redolent with pepper-vanilla

Junction. Signage. Sunshine. Bicycles. Architecture and hotdogs 30 miles ahead.

Native trees staged for path enhancement

An established native tree, providing the type of path shade that is heaven on a summer day

New (I believe) underpass. McDowell mountains in the distance

Scottsdale Arabian library, near the turnaround point. Striking desert steel architecture. Put my microdwelling here.

Turned around here, now looking for a shady bench near drinking water to refill and refuel

Ahhhhh. Water, shade, mountains, quiet. This spot. From here head south to microdwellings and hotdogs.

New-to-me fuel, chocolate cherry shot bloks with caffeine. Tasty, but I would like more electrolytes in them.

Construction zone in the new path connection zone

Existing path art which still delights

Consistent path signage providing useful information. This is getting serious.

I believe me and Mrs Alpha would park one of these next to the microdwelling

Igby Brat, Mexican Coke, at the Shemer. Part 2 with microdwellings, coming up

Heading out to West World, then looping back to the Shemer, or continuing southward for the full pull to Tempe Town Lake, may become a new standard route for me. If it could be arranged to park a Short Leash truck along the way, with a couple of local coffee shops, it might make me get really carried away with riding. 

Part 2 with the microdwellings up next.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Yield to Roses

Phoenix, Feb 14

I yield to roses though it slows me down. I can't see lashing out at roses. Or: at random strangers, spiders, cyclists, drivers, or trees. Particularly not trees. Even if they cause me to stop my relative forward motion briefly to ponder their bark's crenulations. O the world tends to lash out at delays. At the collective woes and wrongs and injustices which consciously focus somehow collectively multiplied to harm purposefully individuals who for example in America-2014 would not appear to have it that rough but must be deep down raked with unknown badness to lash out with such rage at such trivialities as the perception of someone rolling peacefully along on two wheels causing a brief delay to their headlong dash for home.

An odd and possibly inappropriate target for blind rage

I yield to roses though it slows me down. I gaze into its heart-stopping depths and think of alternative choices that one might make (freely):

cosmos: cold/indifferent, hot/cruel, only/is
life: short/bitter, long/painful, now/beautiful
me: anger/rage, lash/fight, open/clear
moving: fast/direct, fuel/smoke, balance/flow

Strike out for a wild land of conscious choice and focused conscience. Assertive suggestion that lashing out at roses is a you-problem. Offer of listening and conciliation. Instant Alternative Dispute Resolution of the street. Choices that somehow cut the universe some slack while taking responsibility for the power and opportunity to choose. And power through, power through. 

Shut your eyes: there's perfume in the sunshine.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Art Instead of Gasoline

Painted pumps in Venice, CA by Jules Muck

Attention patrons of art, grant funders, possessors of excess disposable income, foundation executives, and the like: when we don't want the gasoline any more, or when it runs out, this is an excellent alternative. Seen while walking around Venice, CA, late at night.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Flower Power 2014 Spring!

Switching the blog to a flower theme, in celebration of Spring, and sending out some bright happy warm thoughts of long bicycle rides, and short sleeves, and summer will be here soon. African Daisies: wow.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Carbon Fiber Cormorants Against a Titanium Sky

The carbon fiber cormorants were silhouetted against the titanium sky light 

The perfect line of cormorants provided a reference for aligning my handlebar

Their quiet squawking was like a poorly lubricated bearing scratching against a dirty race

The cloud formed a shark's tooth profile of the worn tooth on a cog

One in a chain of posts demonstrating a mind saturated with bike.