Thursday, July 28, 2011

National [Bike] Night Out

No... it's not an opportunity for me to announce that I'm gay. (Ha!)

N.N.O. is, according to the website, "an effective, inexpensive and enjoyable program to promote neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships in our fight for a safer nation."

And - it's almost upon us again! Tuesday, August 2.

I'm participating! A neighborhood group has invited me to come and talk about bicycle safety. An active member, who is very interested in bicycle safety for various reasons, heard me on Doug McConnaughey's "Weekend Idaho" radio program a few weeks back. And apparently my wild-eyed zealotry didn't seem totally nonsensical to her.

I'm even invited to enjoy some potluck beforehand! Sweeeeeeet! (I love to "fuel up"!!)

If things go according to plan, I'll share some notions about bike safety with the group for 7 or 10 minutes, and then entertain questions and discussion. I'm really looking forward to it. And, unless the temperature is oppressively hot, I hope for Mackie to tag-a-long with me, because there are 3 or 4 playgrounds in the neighborhood, that we haven't visited yet. We can do all of that, and still be home before dark!

(I love the concept of promoting neighborhood spirit. We've lost a lot of that, just during my lifetime. When I was a kid, we knew pretty much everybody within a half-mile radius. Now I'm barely acquainted with my closest neighbors. We all tend to just hunker down in our bunkers any more. Of course, unlike driving a car, riding a bike at least gives me an opportunity to say "hello" when I ride by and see a neighbor out-of-doors.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Moment of Clarity

Epiphany: the sudden realization or comprehension of the larger meaning.

I've been seeing a lot of this, the past few days.


A week ago, granddaughter Mackie was reluctant to ride. I believe it's because she's outgrown her 12" bike, and just never got comfortable on the next bigger size. (Going from 12 inches to 16 inches is a huge commitment!)

But after some coaxing, she got on board. We rode a lap around the park - about 1/2 mile of nice, smooth sidewalk. She wanted to go another lap... and then another.

Since then, she's been very persistent in her efforts to talk me into going riding with her. Every night, we've ridden 3 or 4 loops around the park. Every lap, she's a little less wobbly and a little more confident. When we get home, she rides around and around and around in our driveway, until I insist that it's time to stop. This weekend, I hope we can expand her horizons by getting on some paths a little farther from home. She's excited - I'm excited!



Monday, July 18, 2011

Bike-commuters beat Jet-commuters

This is pretty funny.

In the great Los Angeles Basin - not exactly a stronghold for transportation cycling - JetBlue Airlines was promoting a $4 fare (!) for a flight from the Burbank Airport to the Long Beach Airport. (I'm assuming it must've been some kind of promotion, since I can't imagine a plane even taking off, let alone going someplace, for $4 per passenger.)

Somebody threw down the gauntlet - challenged cyclists to race the airplane from the one airport to the other.

A cycle group called the "Wolfpack Hustle" made the trip in about an hour and a half.

The advertised flight time for the JetBlue is 20 minutes. But then factor in the trip to the airport, the arrival at least an hour before departure time, etc., etc. - "by the time the plane took off, the cyclists were already in Long Beach." Sweeeet!

Story HERE.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

9 Months Straight!

October 10, 2010 thru July 9, 2011 ... that may be the only episode of my life in which I accumulate some bicycle miles every single day for nine consecutive months. I haven't left town for more than 1 night in all that time, and unless I spend the whole day "abroad," I've lately been trying to ride every day.

Now I admit... a few of those days have seen rides that were only done to "keep the streak alive" because of time constraints, conflicting duties, etc.

Of course, all streaks eventually come to an end... and today is the day. For you see, the asphalt ribbon beckons seductively. I'm going to straddle the other 2-wheeled contraption that vies for my attention - the motorcycle - and spend some "quality time" rumblin' down the highways and byways. (Specifically the Oregon and NoGollyfornia coast and points in between.)

[NOTE: If you're one of those Facebook burglars we've heard about, who preys on the folks who announce their departure and burglarizes their houses during their absence... fuggeddaboudit! The house will be occupied for the duration. And the occupants are heavily armed, with clear instructions to make sure your body falls into the house instead of ouside the house... for legal purposes, you know.]

Hasta la vista, baby. I'll be bach.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hawk attacks cyclists in E. Oregon

I've commented before on my bird observations. Audubon I'm not... but every now and then, a bird and bicyclist cross paths in interesting ways.

On July 4th I was riding east of town, when an enthusiastic blackbird aggressively defended his nesting area. I tried to reason with him, in English, explaining to him I wasn't there to rob his nest.

Over in Pendleton, cyclists are being targeted by a bigger and scarier aggressor - a hawk! Story HERE. A swainson's hawk swoops down on 'em and smacks 'em on the brain bucket. One guy said it was like a baseball bat whackin' his lid. Another guy is sporting talon-holes. (Better the bucket than his skull, huh?) One more reason why a helmet is a good idea!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Boise is #1 for skin cancer

According to The Daily Beast, Boise is the number-one skin cancer city. (Based on number of sunny summer days - 51 - and instances of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.) Interesting, and a little disturbing, since I do all of my bike riding in the great out-of-doors.

I haven't heard the mayor, or Chamber of Commerce, excitedly declaring "We're number one!"

Do you sunscreen before a ride? I don't, but probably should. (When I take the granddaughter and we're anticipating being gone for more than an hour or so, we'll grease up. But usually I don't take the time.)

Since I ride year-round, and since the intensity of the sun builds as it gets higher in that summer sky, I rationalize that I get naturally and gradually accustomed to those more intense summer rays. My exposure to direct sunlight is most often limited to an hour or less at a time. And I rarely get sunburned... when I do, it's almost always when I'm working in my garden or some such activity, rather than cycling. (And it's usually my head that gets burned... because when I'm riding, I'm wearing the brain-bucket. The top of my head doesn't get much sunlight at all.)

A good friend, Damon, developed melanoma 15 years or so ago. (He lived in Boise, but moved to the Sacramento area.) It really changed his life... whenever he's outdoors now, it's with a wide-brim hat and long sleeves. He scrupulously avoids direct sunlight whenever possible.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Summer Tires

A couple days ago, my daughter saw me mounting my new white Vittoria Randonneur tires, and commented, "Oh! You're putting on your summer tires!" Yep! Of course, they'll have to come off after Labor Day...

I acquired some white ones, just for kicks and giggles, because they were the same price as the black ones. (And possibly they might contribute ever so slightly to my being visible.) After a couple days, I'm a bit disappointed - I didn't know the roads had dirty stuff on 'em! At least the sidewalls are still pretty white...

The old tire finally came to the end of the line... when the tread of your [black] tire is no longer black because the stuff underneath the tread is showing through, that's the sign. (That tire - a 700x32 Vittoria Randonneur - lasted an incredible 4016 miles... on back! And on top of that, in all those miles I had two flats TOTAL!! Yep - definitely my favorite tire.) (Anybody wanna buy a tire pump? HAHAHAHA!)