Sunday, May 23, 2021

Another rare "Bike Nazi" post.  (Apparently I'm content to not blather on quite so much.  I said it and I stand by it... no point in re-wording and re-posting.  I would like to do some better organizing by topic, etc.)

Today - May 23, 2021 - is a good day to post, because I hit 2000 miles for the year.  Yeah, big deal.  There are probably 100 other guys and gals IN BOISE who have done the same and more.  2021 is the 36th consecutive year I've ridden at least 2000 miles; that might put me in more rarefied company.

It's conceivable that I could hit 200,000 miles on February 22, 2022.  That might be worth a little extra effort...?  200K on 2/22/22.  Has a nice ring to it.

One other thing that's worth reporting on - my Schwalbe Marathon Plus rear tire - size 700/32.  It recently occurred to me - hey!  I haven't put a new tire on the back, in quite some time.  I checked... I installed that tire on April 9th OF LAST YEAR!  It now has 4600+ miles on it... looks like it could go for another 1000... and I have not had a single flat tire!  Amazing and remarkable!  They're spendy - currently going for 50 bucks! - but that might be a price worth paying, for such a trouble-free tire.  My previous favorite was the Vittoria Randonneur, at half the price.  But each one seemed to go fewer miles than the one before it.  $25 for a 2000-mile tire, or $50 for a 5000-mile, zero-flat tire.  No brainer!  I've got one more on the hook... hopefully it will serve just as well, and in the meantime I can watch for a sale.

Ride safe, my friends.  And take some comfort in the knowledge that you are on what is STILL the most efficient people-mover ever built.  (The HUMAN-powered bicycle - that's what I'm talkin' about.)

Thursday, March 18, 2021

 Milestone on the Achilles Journey

No posts in a long time!  Not sure anybody has even noticed.  (I've been a little more active on the facebook since the pandemic struck; that's been sapping me a little.  But I'm going to work harder at it... I've had some notions bouncing around in my head.  I may post stuff here AND on the facebook.)

Update on the Achilles injury...

- Injury occurred on July 24th

- It was a month before I sought professional advice

- X-rays, MRI (my first-ever), scheduling, etc...

- Surgery to repair it on November 17

Dr. Kaitlyn Neary told me to wait five weeks before putting a load on it, so I hobbled around in a boot on crutches for awhile... seemed like a LONG while.  (Her assistant said, "That seems awfully soon... I'd say 6 to 8 weeks is more realistic."  I took her suggestion "under advisement," as they say.  It's the doctor's advice that counts, right?)

On December 22 - five weeks to the day after surgery, I went on a little low-load ride around the neighborhood.  Felt a little "ginger," but it felt great to be pedaling again.

Between then and the end of the year, I clicked 57 miles, in ever-increasing bites... and taking it very easy.  No risky routes, riding on ice, etc.

I went to 3 or 4 physical therapy sessions, where they gave me some useful ideas about exercises, balance routines, etc.  (All along, I've figured that cycling would be my primary strength-builder, and I'm more sure of that now, than ever.)

Well... yesterday was the 4-month anniversary of the surgery.

Since February 8 - my last follow-up with Dr. Neary - I've been cleared for unlimited activity.  I told her I felt really good about my progress.  She asked if I could stand on my right foot, and then raise up on tiptoe.  NO WAY!!  That's HER precision way of assessing full recovery.  She said, "It can take six months, or even a year, to build back up to full strength.  I'm heading in that direction, and that's good enough for me.

Today I hit 1000 miles for the year 2021 - right on schedule.  (Looking back six or seven years, except for one time I've hit the 1000 in mid-March.)  Strength is still on the upswing.  I'm focusing on using my right leg for most of the power.  The way I figure it, I gave my calf muscle almost five months of vacation - from July 24 to December 22.  No wonder it atrophied a little.  In February I went on a 25-mile ride; I've been on a 30-mile ride in March.  I fully expect to be able to stand on my right tippy-toe... not sure when, but it'll happen.

Sunday, December 13, 2020


I doubt it made much difference to anybody, that I haven't posted anything in 6+ months.  I've definitely lost some steam, when it comes to advocating, I must admit.  I'm still trying to practice what I very occasionally preach... but it has become very obvious that there are bicycle advocates who are considerably more "zealous" about it, than I am.  (I have been occasionally submitting something to the Facebook "Boise Bike Lanes" group.)

Part of that may be due to how long I've been at it.  I've been what I call a "dedicated transportation cyclist" since 1986 - that's 35 years.  Things have changed in that time.  There are far more striped bike lanes around town.  I believe the attitude on the part of both roadway administrators and the general public is more bike-friendly.  And the battles that are being waged on behalf of cyclists have also evolved.

In the late '80s or early '90s, cyclists were a pretty rare sight.  The vast majority of trips over the road were in single-occupant vehicle.  Since then, there have been developments that have made alternate modes of transportation more attractive.  Gas is more expensive.  People are far more aware of "climate change"... or at least it's discussed more.  The population has aged... and society doesn't seem to put as much value on car transportation as it did a generation or two ago.  (Our public transportation in this area has NOT gotten much better, unfortunately.  Primarily because of low ridership.  But the eternal question... Which comes first - the bus or the passengers?)

On the other hand, our area has continued to grow by leaps and bounds.  There are a lot more people living in the suburbs, with a long daily commute.  The roads are wider.  Places that used to be open fields and meadows, are now seas of rooftops.  (As a life-long resident, that breaks my heart.  It's pretty much impossible any more, to leave from my house for a nice "bike ride in the country.")  Riding a bike from home in Kuna or Middleton, to a job in Boise, is NEVER going to be a practical choice, for the vast majority of people.

Nowadays, bicycle advocates are measuring the width of bike lanes, to make sure they are up to code.  As I can still remember many a mile on a 1-foot patch between the fog stripe and the weeds, I'm still exulting in ANY bike lane!

They are demanding "protected" bike lanes.  You know... something more than a painted stripe.  A curb... or bollards... or separated altogether from the roadway.  Imagine!  While I totally agree that such an infrastructure would be ideal, and would attract new cyclists (many on their E-bikes, because let's face it... PEDALING IS HARD!), and would make it far more kid-friendly than it is now... there is a price to pay.  And the administrators are having a hard time accepting that price.  Less roadway width for motorists, who still make up the vast majority.  Increased maintenance costs.  (A protected lane is going to me more expensive to keep free of snow... or it might just be abandoned in the winter.)  Etc., etc.  I'll always favor such improvements... but I no longer have the energy or inclination to "die on that mountain," as they say.


On a personal note... I've had a physical setback.

July 24th.  I was on Bogus Basin Road.  Went up there to try to get some sunset photos... you know, with Stack Rock in the foreground.  It turned out to be an ill-fated trip.  I climbed up a gentle slope, to get a better angle for a photo.  Stepping back down... a brief moment of inattention... I stepped on a curb, landed awkwardly on the ball of my foot.  My ankle extended in a bad way... foot folded up into my shin.  I limped home... since I was able to limp, and didn't feel a sickening snap, crackle, or pop, I figured I'd just stretched things out, and some rehab would bring it back.  I "rehabbed" for a month... still couldn't put any weight on the front of my foot, run, stand on tippy-toe.  Went to the doctor.  It took her 2 minutes to diagnose a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Long story short... I had surgery to fix it on November 17.  Dr. Neary was very happy with how the surgery went, and she says I should regain 100% of function.  After 5 weeks... maybe longer.

So - I'm just about 4 weeks into that.  (But who's counting?  hahaha!)  On December 22, I intend to go bicycling!

(Between July 24 and November 17, I bicycled 1400+ miles... but it was more like work and less like play.  At first it was downright painful... by the end it was just drudgery... pedaling for the sake of pedaling.  I look forward to feeling the joy again - and soon!)

I hope y'all are still enjoying quality time in the saddle.  Watch for me - I'll be back soon!

Sunday, May 31, 2020


Some SAFETY philosophy for my bicycle and motorcycle-riding friends.

NOTE: I wrote this a couple days ago and posted it on a couple social-media (bicycle and motorcycle) groups I pertain to. But since then, I've thought about it... and a simple name for all of this, that to me is very meaningful: SITUATIONAL AWARENESS.

Let's talk about modern fighter jets. Built into the pointy nose cone of every one, is a powerful radar. It constantly scans back and forth, up and down, sending out a radar beam. It has two modes - "search" and "track."

Most of the time, it is "searching." If the beam bounces back, reflecting off another airborne object, a "bogey" (unidentified aircraft - could be friend or foe) has been located, and it goes into "track" mode. The radar beam will "focus" on that object, and the onboard computer will be able to determine its direction and velocity, and hopefully identify the type of object it is, long before it is within the pilot's sight distance.

It is amazing technology, and has completely changed the nature of combat, in the years since WWII or thereabouts. Generally speaking, the team that is able to identify the enemy target the soonest, and "neutralize" that target, will win the battle.

The technology has become so advanced, that a fighter pilot can be aware of the position and movement of multiple "targets," all at the same time.

(Passenger airplanes also benefit from the technology. A midair collision involving a passenger jet is almost unheard of, because onboard radar can detect other flying objects, and sound the alarm if trajectories seem to be converging.)

Now let's talk about 2-wheeled transportation, and operators of 2-wheeled transportation.

We don't have the benefit of radar... but wouldn't that be something! (We wouldn't be able to afford it... only the taxpayers can afford those fancy fighter jets!)

Which means - the operator has to use manual "search" mode to locate other moving objects, and "track" mode to determine the direction of that object's travel, AND engage "collision avoidance" if the trajectories seem to be converging. Most of the time, if you are bicycling or motorcycling, you should be giving a good part of your attention to scanning your airspace, looking for targets. The earlier you identify a "bogey," the more likely you are to win! (This is true whether you're riding a motorcycle or a bicycle... but it's even more important on a motorcycle, because "convergence speeds" can be so much faster!)

Once you have the "bogey," you focus on it to determine what it is, what direction it is moving, and whether it will pose a hazard. As a rule, I treat ANY moving object that is getting closer to me - no matter how "innocent" it seems - as a potential hazard. The stakes are ever so high! If it's off to one side, I look at the wheels to see if it's moving, and how fast. If it's a vehicle approaching on the highway from the other direction... it could drift into your lane, or make an abrupt and unexpected turn into your path. Your "collision avoidance" should be on high alert.

Our ground transportation has an advantage over fighter jets - most of the hazards will be on a horizontal plane. We don't have to pay much attention to the sky above, or the ground below (other than being aware of the upcoming surface quality). And - most of the hazards will manifest in the 150 degrees or so in front of us. (Although we need to "check 6" regularly - that's look to the rear. Easier if you have a mirror!)

The human brain is pretty amazing. IF WE ARE FOCUSED, in almost any circumstance our eye-brain interface will enable us to notice that bogey, and identify it soon after. IF WE ARE FOCUSED, once we are locked on target, we'll be able to track that target on full collision-avoidance alert, until it is no longer a hazard. If evasive measures are necessary, our brain-muscle interface will take over. (The earlier the bogey is identified, the more likely we are to deal with any hazard "gracefully.") It is quite remarkable, when you think about it, how much of that process is "automated," once you have the training and experience necessary to be in top tune, and IF WE ARE FOCUSED. If we are distracted - by a handheld gizmo, or the righteous tunes we're listening to, or the "pretty woman, walkin' down the street," or even by the leaky sink back at home - or if we are impaired in some way, we just might miss that bogey while we still have time to engage the system.

There are far more "bogeys" in urban environments, than in rural environments. That's why it's such a pleasure to be on a ride down a country road. But on the other hand, some "country bogeys" can appear almost before you can react! I'm thinking of YOU, Mr. Bambi! (Or YOU, driver of that ol' farm truck that's turned onto the highway 1000 times before, because traffic is so light!)

I get annoyed - and sometimes downright angry - when some other doofus makes me go into full collision-avoidance mode. But at the same time... isn't it mentally rewarding to avoid a collision that would've otherwise been caused by that doofus? (And - isn't it embarrassing to BE that doofus?!! I've been guilty of that, but thankfully it's rare.)

Well... that seems like a good place to end this stream-of-consciousness. BE SAFE! FOCUS!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020


In February, 1995, Greg LeMond came to Boise.

Remember Greg?  He was the first-ever American to win the Tour de France... several years before whats-his-name... the disgraced guy.  LeMond won three times in his career.  I stood in line on a gray winter morning to get an audience with him.  I got a photo and we chatted.  I told him I'd ridden 50,000 miles.  (Cumulative, since I started tracking in 1986.)  His jaw dropped... he interpreted that to mean I'd ridden 50k miles in a year!  I clarified.  He laughed, and gave me a signed poster - one of his moments of glory on the Champs-Élysées, with the Arc de Triomphe in the background.  He wrote on it, "To Steve, keep it up another 50,000! -Greg LeMond."  It's a prized possession, framed along with our photo together.

As it turns out, I did keep it up another 50,000.  On September 1, 2004, I rode my bicycle to the Statehouse and lofted it high above my head, in a lame imitation of Rocky!  Because that was the day I hit 100,000 miles.  My office friends were there to celebrate with me.

In 2004, another 100,000 miles seemed insurmountable.  Like climbing to a high peak, and seeing for the first time, the distant, even-higher mountain range.  Shades of Lewis & Clark!

Well... time marches on, and the miles keep rolling underneath me.

Yesterday, I hit 190,000 miles.  Now that tall range is much nearer to the view.  I should hit that peak sometime in 2022, based on current annual mileages.

(This may seem like a silly diversion to many.  And I'd still be riding, even if I didn't keep track.  However, I'd be lying if I said that "chasing those miles" wasn't a motivation for me.  Frosting on the cake.  I keep daily track in multiples of 5... you know 10 miles, 15 miles, 20, etc.  I put a checkmark next to 15, whether I ride 15.01 miles or 19.99 miles.  So if time isn't a factor, I'll almost always be motivated to hit the next higher number.  The Missus keeps things in perspective.  When I boast, "I've ridden 5000 miles this year!," her reply is "That's nice.")

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Ultimate SDV?

I'm really enjoying my choice of SDV (Social Distancing Vehicle) these days!

(For post-2020 readers, if there be any: As of April, 2020, the entire planet is under quarantine, in an effort to prevent spread of the Covid-19 virus. It is the first plague of the 21st Century... if you don't count terrorism or climate change, I s'pose. We are all advised to wash our hands frequently and try to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other people. PERFECT for bike riding... at least the distance part. (There's another recommendation that's plain DUMB... try to keep your group gatherings of less than 10. Futility! If each of those 10 people is a carrier walking away from that gathering, and meets with 9 other people, who in turn each meet with 9 other people... 1000 people infected in 3 "generations"!!) But I digress.)

Some people see cycling as a social activity. You see groups cycling together. To bring even more sense of togetherness, sometimes these groups ride together in matching costumes! (I wish they'd stay off multi-use paths, when they're riding together FAST in their costumes! They really belong on the street.) I've always been more of a "lone wolf" cyclist. Other than my grandkids, who I ride with from age 1 (when their momma will let them go) until they "age out" at 10 or 11 (WAY too cool to do something lame like bike-ride)... I go maybe 3 times a year, average, with other people. I generally enjoy my rides with others, but that means ORGANIZING... when solo, I can just go!

Today, I rode about 2 miles with granddaughter Bonnie at the park. (She's 7, and getting comfortable with starting and stopping. She's ready for expanded horizons.) Then I rode downstream on the Greenbelt, to the bridge a couple miles down from Glenwood. Except for a couple pockets of humanity (people who don't understand, and/or don't care, about airborne disease transmission), it was pretty darn easy to maintain that social distance.

"An Inconvenient Pandemic"

Talk about bad timing!

I just got my April Rolling Stone Magazine. It has St. Greta on the cover, and it's all about the Race To Save The Planet - NOW OR NEVER!

In the magazine publishing world, there are deadlines to go to the printer and such. And the April edition was obviously sent to the press before the "Corona Crisis," because there's not a word about it. Instead, it's chock-full of propaganda and society-shaming about "climate change." There's an interview with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a luminary of the "save the planet" movement, and co-author of "The Green New Deal." There's a scathing expose about Chase Bank, which is apparently financing Global Warming. There are photos of dead whales, forest fires, buckled streets... all just small snapshots of the disasters that await us if we don't do something now!

Here's a tidbit - a Call to Arms to RS readers, to "protest":
Earth Day Climate Strike
"For the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, activist coalition Strike With Us is calling for workers and students to stage walkouts across the U.S., demanding action before it's too late."

Um... where are workers and students going to walk out of? In the Twilight Zone of April, 2020, workers and students are pretty much holed up at home, awaiting an end to Covid-19! Bad timing!

But, maybe it will give people more time for getting educated and thoughtful consideration about other matters, like Earth Day and climate change.

I'm not sure what the Rolling Stone demographic is, but it's obviously aimed at people who will easily become alarmed, and perhaps manipulated. People who will see a photo of a dead whale, and decide they can "walk out" for a day to change the climate... and then go back to business as usual.  (Which is pretty much the modus operandi of the Climate Change hand-wringers and pearl-clutchers.)

Here's some documented history... the very first Earth Day, staged on April 22, 1970, was a result of increasing alarm about the upcoming ICE AGE! More detailed info HERE.

Why is Earth Day on April 22? That date is Nikolai Lenin's birthday. It's also "the day of Bernadette Devlin's maiden speech before the House of Commons." I have to confess, if I ever knew about Bernadette Devlin, that knowledge has been forgotten. But Lenin's name still rings familiar. No wonder Alexandra is all about Earth Day! (And it suggests that Earth Day is as much about political philosophy, as it is about the environment.)

I actually feel some pity for young Greta, from Sweden. Here's a teenager, who, like lots of teenagers is concerned about the environment. (And, I admire her, because unlike MOST luminaries of the "environmental movement," she actually seems to walk the talk. Evidently after her 15 minutes of fame at the United Nations, she was concerned enough that she didn't want to fly home to Sweden, and instead took passage on a boat. How often does Al Gore, or John Kerry, or Leonardo DiCaprio, or Jane Fonda, refuse to take the plane?) But, poor Greta is being USED by the Climate Zealots.

Here's what really chaps me... they are all talk, no action! They are "demanding action before it's too late." What are THEY doing, besides laying down their demands? How does the quote "carbon footprint" unquote of Algore or Alexandria compare with that of Joe Lunchbox?

Please don't misunderstand. I would like to sincerely thank my fellow Earth Citizens who are trying to live a low-impact lifestyle. I don't know how much impact you, or any of us, are having on the climate... but regardless, it's good to make an effort to leave our home at least as nice as we found it. I'm confident that the climate is changing, because it has been changing for the entire history of the planet. I have NO IDEA how much our modern lifestyles are impacting the planet, but I know there are a BUNCH of factors that are probably having much more impact, that we have absolutely no control over! (I'm far more confident in our ability to harness the Covid-19 virus, than our ability to control the climate!!! And I'm not willing to go back to a caveman lifestyle, because it MIGHT cool the planet by 1 degree.)

As for "now or never," for 50 years we've been told that if we don't do something RIGHT NOW, in 10 years it will be too late! SHUT UP!

(I'm trying to do my part! If you want to compare "carbon footprints," get in touch with me and let's talk!)