Friday, April 27, 2012


The thing about life is that no matter how long you’ve been living it, there’s always something you’ve never lived through before.

Like the vision of a vertical rainbow column, as fat as your thumb on the horizon, rising straight up to the taffy-pulled clouds, or the long patio of a new old bar which turns out instead to just be the sidewalk.

Sublime and ridiculous merge where heaven and earth come together, so that even those on the lam from themselves can’t help but be entertained by the route, familiar though it be.

One goes on the lookout for the past and finds instead, the present, suspended above a Superfund with the city’s best tableau in the background.  Where else in the world does the amazing appear so commonplace?  No wonder you better guard the jewels; who can pay heed to safety where such scenery abounds?

Moreover, snaking through Mother Earth’s womb never fails to delight; trail all the memories you can, the wonder keg still gets tapped; familiarity may breed contempt with families and food; on bikes, though, the old never ages.

In dog racing, the greyhounds despair of catching that mechanical rabbit, no matter how often they run, but run they still do, seemingly content with the chase—and after all, isn’t that plenty?

It’s not how far the ride goes but how far it takes you and sometimes that’s all the way back to where it began; I’m sure there may have been earlier events but none with such impact, so we’ll call it the first.

All I know is that life’s too short to be filled with so much; there must be an alternate universe where doppelgangers rack up miles in our memories for all these scenarios to unfold over and over again in new ways. 

Perhaps it’s happening between the superstrings of reality like water molecules dividing the sunset into separate distinct hues.

Or maybe it’s just another spinning of wheels.

Monday, April 23, 2012


A couple times a week somebody driving a car does something that, were I not paying attention on my bike, might result in my death or injury or perhaps just a closer call than the one I had.

Usually, when the person realizes that he or she has almost creamed me in a crosswalk, or turned left into me broadside, or right-hooked or door-prized me, or just basically squashed me flat like a bug, I get this sheepish reaction, with a shrug of the shoulders, and more often than not, a little wave of the hand intended to convey that it was all unintentional and had I been killed or maimed it would have been an accident, “Oh gosh, sorry, I didn’t mean it; I’m still a good person and bikes are cool, okay?”


But next time, pay a little more attention, whydoncha?

It’s lovely that drivers recognize their mistakes and divorce themselves from the people they’d be had they committed vehicular homicide, but it would be nicer, wouldn’t it, if that tiny embarrassed wave were unnecessary altogether, that the person behind the wheel could have been driving in a manner that wouldn’t have led to the near-miss in the first place.

I understand the human element: nobody wants to be considered a clueless maniac (except perhaps clueless maniacs); the wave is meant to be an indicator of the driver’s basic humanity; that’s all well and good. I’d do the same thing were I the one on the two ton gas-guzzling death trap bearing down on a vulnerable member of my own species.

Still, it seems to me that something more than a simple hand-gesture is in order. Perhaps instead of waving, drivers could lob a package of twenty-dollar bills in my direction.

Or maybe they could turn their hands around and choke themselves, while simultaneously banging their heads on the windshield AND lobbing a package of twenty-dollar bills at me.

If so, I’ll wave back.

Friday, April 20, 2012


There comes a time, I think, when bicycling just turns into something like Heavy Metal and its popularity achieves a kind of homeostasis where there are periods when everyone’s into it balanced with stretches when only those into it are into it and that’s fine because it means you get to enjoy quiet evenings when it’s neither drizzly nor rainy and never quite dry until the last leg home which, although early, had a full complement of greatest hits, including fire, noobs, and the outdoors in a park.

Andre remarked that 10 degrees makes a huge difference and he’s right: wait until it’s 63 Fahrenheit and that’s when our beloved tourist population comes out in force—which isn’t to overlook those who did the winter tour at 43—nevertheless, it’s clear that the difficulty of making either fish or fowl out of the conditions was somewhat confounding, at least if turnout is any gauge.

All I know is that the ride remains an intrigue even if that’s because it isn’t: at least you’re still out on your bike at night, looking at things a little differently and without hardly a worry.

And even though I know the route up through the trees well enough to be the one who first started plumping for it, I remain amazed by what a magical marble raceway it surprises me with every time. All of a sudden, there we were, in the shelter, and even the slimy wood was crackling merrily.

Nothing really happened but that’s the appeal. You talked to someone and wondered aloud. You stood around the warmth of a fire. You saw an owl.

It’s not what all the kids are doing all of the time but some sure do it most of the time and most probably will do it some of the time again but in the meantime, my time was all a local could need to make him wonder why anyone would ever just tour.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


There was a moment, at the after-party for Filmed by Bike’s opening night, when—even though I was standing outside, drinking beer, surrounded by bicycles and bicycle riders—when I thought that maybe cycling’s done, or at least that it’s gone from being all about that delightful combination of rideable art that just might save the world with stickin’ it to the man simply for the sheer joy of it and I felt a little nostalgia despite (or perhaps because of) enjoying the company of two-wheeled ghosts from the past.

But that’s when the cargo bike stereo began blasting away and slowly, but surely, the magic pedaled into gear and we were off in a long line along a river and eventually to exactly where I want to be in Portland on an April evening after midnight: under some soaring elevated roadway whose massive trestles make a concrete forest in which you mingle about for a bit before dead reckoning back to your hotel in the wee hours, filled to the brim with what still remains among the best the world has to offer: bicycles and bacchanalia, all wrapped up in cinematic glory, one more time with feeling.

I kept being unable to tell onscreen where the irony left off and sincerity began and it was sorta like that all around: things seemed like versions of themselves and then they were the thing itself all over again.

There are times when time doesn’t really exist and if you aim your headlight just right, you can find that path along the railroad tracks that leads where you’re going even if it takes a couple tries.

The awesome Ayleen Crotty deserves a century’s worth of gratitude for her decade of masterminding FBB; there've been several lifetimes of fun in my five years of playing along, which just goes to show that it isn’t the end after all but only just begun, unspooling in darkness, all eyes wide on screen.

Sunday, April 08, 2012


Now here’s a day for you: softball practice at noon, a Resurrection bike race all afternoon, and fIREHOSE live in the evening!

My heart’s fit to burst at the fullness of it all.

I’ve signed up at least two other times for Go Means Go’s annual pre-Easter alleycat, but this is the first time I’ve finished. Not that the route was any less daunting this time around, it’s just that, with a teenaged child, preparations for Bunny-Day aren’t as involved as they were with a young’un and so Dad can find time to engage in some bicycle-related shenanigans rather than having to spend the whole day secreting eggs around the living room and other such festive activities.

I hit all the checkpoints in ample time and finished, I’m pretty sure, in the top of the bottom third, an accomplishment made slightly more impressive, I think, by the fact that I actually did go to a graveyard for my crayon-rubbing while others, I’m told, took more creative approaches that included using a fire hydrants or street signs for to fulfill that task.

And then, an occurrence I’ve often fantasized about but never thought I’d ever get to experience again: fIREHOSE live in concert! Watt, Hurley, edfromOhio together again on stage, ragin’ full on just like in the old days.

Plus it wasn’t some creepy nostalgia thing; they tore it up for real, getting down with the bass just like two decades ago, and even though Ed’s voice wasn’t the searing knife of sonic beauty it once was, the raw emotion still rode high above the greatest bass and drums rhythm section in any trio I’ve ever heard, anyway.

Even after two hours of softball and three hours of cycling, my feet lifted off the ground again and again; I saw Watt loading his gear after the show and he looked like an old man; me, too; I’m sure, but I sure felt full of 27 all over again.

Sunday, April 01, 2012


I’m pleased to say that nobody put salt in the sugar bowl today, not that it would have made much of a difference given that I’m no longer drinking coffee even though it would make sense since I’ve taken up smoking cigarettes, but only while driving my brand-new Hummer; it’s cool!

I was on my way to church this morning when it occurred to me that I’d better start campaigning harder for Ron Paul if I’m going to do my part to get him elected President in November; perhaps my new friends down that the gun range, where I spent a few restful hours last night will join me in the effort.

After this morning’s service, I drove the two blocks to McDonald’s; you know, a Big Mac with an apple pie goes down really nicely with a Big Gulp from 7-11; I don’t know why I’ve resisted them all these years; now that I’m a three-times-a-day meat-eater, though, you can be sure I’ll be making up for lost time.

Speaking of which, now that I’ve bought a new Android smartphone, which connects seamlessly to my Window-based home computer, I can get a lot more done, especially on my morning commute. No more bike and bus for me; I’m driving!

If I seem a little distracted, I apologize; I’m just so excited about the Academy of Country Music Awards on TV tonight; I sure do hope Kenny Chesney wins the entertainer of the year; I have all his albums and videos and would really like to bear his children if I could. I admit that I’m being unfaithful to Carrie Underwood, but I still love her to death, too. If only they both could win!

I think I’ll settle down with a cup of chamomile tea; I’ve been drinking it pretty much non-stop ever since I went on the wagon last week; it’s really good with Splenda as a sweeter.

Anyway, happy April, everyone, and Go Yankees!