Life is a crit, not a stage race

There are so many clichés about it. Buddhism and Hinduism both teach the concepts of the circles we travel through the course of our life. Bands have devoted entire albums to the concept. And for most of my life I thought this was all total crap.

I always looked at life as more of a meandering journey. To me, life was like a stage race. Each day is different. Sure – there are general categories. Some stages are for sprinters, like first love: long hours waiting and preparing in the peloton until a final, quick culmination in sheer joy for a few, bitter defeat for others. Some stages in life are long grueling climbs punctuated with decisive, strategic attacks (*ahem* my professional life). Of course the climb is then followed by blistering fast descents where your tires are barely holding on to the edge of the tarmac – sounds like high school to me.

10683671_709453322442017_4224128923658989640_o Keep reading →

Cycling through a midlife crisis

car-n-chick
Hey – you better not scratch the paint!

When I was a kid I actually looked forward to having a midlife crisis. I’d have a societally accepted excuse to buy a dangerously fast car and hook up with a young blond (of course at that time in my life ‘hook up’ loosely meant getting to second base.) Those of you that have followed this blog over the years may be surprised to know that I actually was quite a motorhead when I was younger. Classic American muscle cars were my thing. And I poured ridiculous amounts of money into making sure they would suck up as much gasoline as possible. All speed limit signs read “As fast as you can go and still keep it mostly in your lane.”

But I digress…

Somewhere between then and age 40 – which is when I’d always planned to have my midlife crisis – that passion for cars switched to a passion for bicycles. Well – first I bought a Prius in a lame attempt to somehow atone for all the carbon I’d dumped into the atmosphere drag racing on the streets of my home town through high school. That pretty much cured me of the fast car midlife crisis cliché. Instead, my first step in my midlife crisis was to open a bike shop. It failed. And being the silver-lining guy that I am, I’m kinda glad. In an effort to recover from the debt incurred running a failed, unprofitable bike shop I looked for expenses to cut. One of my larger monthly bills was my damned car payment.

So instead of buying that incredibly fast car, I did just the opposite and became car free.

Turns out I was right in line with what I was supposed to be doing. For me part of the point of a midlife crisis is to reset the clock and roll back to a mental attitude of half your age – hopefully taking along some of the good wisdom with you. It is the realization that, yea, I probably did waste my youth, but that doesn’t mean I need to be a boring old man. Many people lament “Gee, if only I could go back then knowing what I know now.” Well that is exactly what I planned to do.

And what does that have to do with being car free? Well, turns out the people that are chronologically half my age don’t much want to drive either. With improvements in health care and quality of life, more and more people are doing things in their 40’s that were previously reserved for those in their 20’s. Since 40 is my new 20, I’m off to do slightly reckless things in the pursuit of happiness, with just a slight tinge of older wisdom. In my case doing something new means, among other things, riding one of those funny bikes with knobby tires and squishy forks on dirt. And getting faster on the road. I ditched the car addiction, but not the addition to speed.

And the tempered with wisdom part? Well, that involves watching guys like this and realizing “That looks like a ton of fun – but you guys are fucking nuts…”

Are Police Electronic Device Laws Justified?

California, like many other states, has laws on the books to control the use of electronic devices while riding. As in most (all?) jurisdictions with such laws, there is an explicit exception for operators of emergency vehicles – which on the surface makes sense to most. While the intent of this exemption makes sense to me, a recent case has caused me to seriously reconsider the implications of an unrestricted exemption.

It started when former Napster COO Milton Everett Olin Jr. was struck and killed by a LA County Sheriff’s patrol car. Keep reading →

Attacking Bike Thieves

bait_bike_stickerBike thieves suck. Plain and simple.

A recent article on Gawker tells the story of one unique approach to the problem – public shame and fear. But does this approach actually work?

San Francisco Police Department has been using this approach for some time now in full force. Part of their active approach involves the deployment of bait bikes – bikes locked up around the city with GPS tracking devices in them. This program has been coupled with a PR campaign run in conjunction with the nonprofit Safe Bikes in an attempt to erode the brazen attitude of serial bike thieves. Local cyclists have snapped up the free stickers, placing them on their personal bikes. This proliferation serves as a constant reminder to bike thieves of the presence of the bait bike program.

Only time (and statistics) will tell if these programs have an impact on the alarming number of bike thefts occurring here in San Francisco. Until then, of course, the best action to take is to learn how to protect yourself and your bicycle.

Pacifica woman to marry her bike

20140201145400-Semester_on_Cycle_generalI know… it sounds like one of those annoying meme-style headlines. “This Pacifica woman to marry her bike – and you won’t believe what the honey moon will be like!” But this is actually something that someone is actively promoting. I know that the anti-marriage equality crowd has been warning us for a while that gay marriage will lead to marrying animals – but marrying a bike? Well according to a campaign recently posted on indiegogo, that is exactly what Lisa Nelson is trying to do. Keep reading →

The fastest bicycles in the world

Optum Time TrialistSpeed and competition seems to exist in some form in all of us. I’m willing to bet that even the most casual of casual cyclists has, at some time, felt the urge to go faster than someone or something in their vicinity. It seems to be a universal constant. For some, that urge is a lifelong passion, and those folks have come up with amazing ways to make the bicycle go faster and faster. Keep reading →

Stealing a bike: not always as bad as it sounds

Pro bike wrench Josh Boggs just posted a link to a Craig’s list posting. I now share it with you – without comment *snicker*

I stole your Trek Madone road bike near 33rd and Vine (33rd and Vine)

Well actually I stole it from the guy who stole it from you so that I may give it back to you.Sunday afternoon there was a homeless looking guy rolling a bike by the back wheel down the alley. The u-lock was still around the front wheel and downtube so I stopped him. It was clear it was not his bike so I took it from him.

Please contact me to describe and claim.

Yes, the key you bring must fit the lock for me to turn the bike over to you.

What I know about you:
You bought the bike at Turin within last few years, you are over 6′ w wide shoulders, you have a kid, and you don’t ride as much as you had hoped.

Mike

Twitter for Cyclists

Ahhh Twitter. One could create a pretty strong argument that Twitter’s popularity among cyclists is a direct result of EPO. One could also argue that it is simply the easiest way to share your race success with your friends and fans while still gasping for air at the finish line.

So, in a fashion not unlike Follow Friday (but clearly not #FF, because that is all messed up lately) I thought I’d throw out some of the names I follow. This list is by no means complete, nor should you assume that someone that I do not follow is not worth following. But of you are looking for something else to consume data on your smartphone’s data plan, here’s some good ones to follow:

Pro Cyclists and Teams

  • Jens Voigt @thejensie – #ShutUpLegs had to be a thing.
  • Chris Horner @hornerakg – Because who doesn’t want to wonder why the hell ‘akg’ is in his handle
  • Emily Kachorek @EmilyKachorek – Bad ass cyclist from VanderKitten
  • Vanderkitten @vanderkitten – Because they’re full of bad ass cyclists like Emily Kachorek. And they also seem to have this whole social media thingy nailed.
  • Jonathan Vaughters @Vaughters – Has some funny stuff to say sometimes. And knows a thing or two about cycling
  • Johan Bruyneel @JohanBruyneel – He says a ton of funny stuff too. Unfortunately it is usually when he is actually being serious.
  • Alberto Contador @albertocontador – We all need a reason to work on our spanish.
  • Team Sky @TeamSky – They taught me that Brits race bikes too.
  • Fabian Cancellara @f_cancellara – Apparently his tweets are sexier than everyone else’s.
  • Cadel Evans @CadelOfficial – It is fun to read his tweets with an Australian accent.
  • Phil Southerland @PhilSoutherland – Because diabetic cyclists kick ass. I know from personal experience.

Cycling Media Folks – Bloggers, journalists, photographers, etc

Tweet away folks…

 

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

29_smrightturnWe’ve got our winners in the “How do I signal a right turn” contest. The question was regarding how to properly and legally signal a right hand turn while riding a bicycle.

In truth, the question was kind of a gimme – there are two correct answers. The first, which most people gave as their answer, is by holding the left arm out, bent at a 90 degree angle pointing up. This is the signal required by the DMV for use in automobiles – which makes sense. This is also what motorcyclists use, so the right hand can remain on the throttle. So yes – right arm at 90 degree angle is correct.

However, the DMV also has this to say: Keep reading →

Do you know how to properly signal a right hand turn?

putthefun_sticker_white_smHand signals. We all use them when riding on the roads. Right? Right?!? But do you actually know how to do it properly?

Between now and noon Feb 1, I’ll be taking your answers to the following question. 3 random folks will be selected from the correct answers and get a complimentary “Put the fun between legs” sticker. Postage paid. $0.00 out of pocket. Just answer this question correctly: Keep reading →