Category Archives: Bicycling

Eulogy for a Bicycle

my old bicycleMy purple, steel frame Fuji Roubaix of 24 years died October 4th at 5:15pm of a broken down tube. 
I loved my bike. 
It, my bike, my steel steed… We’ve shared over 150,000 miles. Epic journeys, and cold, lonely, scary nights. Miles of hot pavement and crushing traffic, hard sprints, hard braking, hard corners. We’ve explored endless trails, rocks, dust, gravel, and dirt. We’ve ridden places maybe we shouldn’t have. We’ve seen almost everything together. 
My bike was my best friend. 
24 years, two complete drive trains, a dozen wheels, countless tires and inner tubes. 150,000 miles. Every day, day in, day out, I rode it to work. Two different cities, five different jobs, six different houses, each route worn so familiar we could do this in our sleep. As tens of miles, hundreds of miles, thousands of miles added up, my bike was almost always just THERE for me. 
My bike was an amazing workhorse. 
On long, lonely rides, my bike gave me solace. The rhythm of the pedals gave a reassuring pattern. The balance, steering, direction, melted into my being, becoming my thoughts. My spirit moved forward with my body, all carried by this simple, magical machine. At the end, I feel cleansed, refreshed, and whole again. 
My bike loved me, too. 
Goodbye, my best friend. I will ride you again in my heaven. 

Year-End Reconciliation, Goals for 2013

Yes, New Years Resolutions. No, I am not immune. After all the crap that’s happened to me in 2012, I am resolving to put the year behind me, and put even more hope, more importance, and more emphasis on a better 2013. 

But first, a reconciliation of last year’s goals. What were my goals for 2012 again, and how did I do? 

1. Play at least 60 hours of footbag. This is the same goal I have set for myself for the last several years. I came roaring out of the gate in 2012, racking up over 50 hours of play in the first 5 months, with freakishly warm weather. I was on pace to double my goal. Unfortunately, I got taken out in turn two, with chondromalacia, and in turn four, with a twisted ankle. The last 7 months saw less than 30 more hours; I finished with 79-1/2 hours in 2012. 

In one sense, it might look like my goals were way off. I was pacing 120 hours for the year. But in the other sense, it’s obvious my goals are, in fact, very realistic, taking into account the unknown, but almost inevitable hiccups throughout the year. 

2. Ride at least 2,400 Km on the bike. My bike goals have fluctuated a bit; the previous year I had set a goal of 3,000 Km, but missed that. I lowered my goal for 2012, but ended up riding 3,125 Km this year. I’m pleased with my final distance, and very pleased that these are mostly “car displacement” miles, too. That’s another 1,500 pounds of CO2 not released into the atmosphere this year. 

3. Do something kinda crazy, to be determined rashly. Um… I think getting hit by a bus and getting fucked over by insurance companies on the deal is pretty crazy. Maybe not something I actively did, but… definitely crazy, and has certainly created an irritating rash of disappointment in my life. 

That’s it. Those were my goals for 2012, and the final reconciliation of achievement. 

So, without further ado, here are my goals for 2013: 

1. 75 hours of footbag. Yes, that’s right, I’m finally bumping up my goal a bit. I’ve done 75+ the last 2 years, despite setbacks, and I’m just gonna turn the heat up on myself a bit: an average of an hour and a half a week, every week, all year. I’m actually planning to change my kicking habits just a bit, too: I’m going to try to kick more than once a week, but for shorter periods of time per session. I believe this will help keep the chondromalacia at bay. Although I’ve come to the disappointing realization that my ankle may take 6 months to a year to really heal, and I’ll still be feeling the pain this spring, I am determined to recover.

2. 3,000 Km on the bike. Another aggressive goal, but I believe I can. I might even get a new road bike for my 50th birthday! That might give me a reason to pound out a few more kilometers. 

3. Bring my business online, and ship product by fall 2013. This is a way new and different goal for me, but I’ve been developing and testing these things for years, and I have a plan to make it a real and legitimate side business. 
4. Go on a rip-snorting canoe trip for my 50th birthday, hopefully with my brother. I did a canoe trip with the Bro & some friends for my 40th, it’s time to do this again. Not on the Big Piney though; I don’t like that river anymore. Whoever wants to share an epic birthday canoe trip with me at the end of August, start making plans, because I’m doing it. 
5. Take a “Picture a Day” series on Flat Branch Creek. I’m hoping to take the exact same shot from a camera jig almost every day of 2013, and develop it into a photo series detailing the seasonal life of the creek. 
6. Take the Wilderness Ridge Resort owner to small claims court for loss of my minivan. This will take a lot of work and effort, and some legal advice, but I have a plan to get a real legal ruling in a court of law (as opposed to just a bullshit insurance determination), assigning liability to the  bus driver, and awarding monetary damages for loss of my vehicle. If I can win this case, I will use any money awarded to fund my reflectives business venture. 
That’s way more goals – larger, and more complex – than I usually set. But if 2013 is even a fraction as good, as 2012 has been bad, it’s gonna be an awesome, excellent, most wonderful year. 

Here’s wishing you a most excellent and wonderful new year too: 


Bicycling: The bad year

I set a goal of putting in 3,000 kilometers (~1,875 miles) on my bicycle this year. It didn’t go well. My final tally is 2,515 kilometers (~1,570 miles). At least I think that’s it; it’s hard to read the screen on my crappy cyclocomputer. That’s a fitting end to this year in bicycling: 

January 2010: Weather hits. Snow, ice, more snow, more ice… Riding my mountain bike, which doesn’t have a cyclocomputer, to cope with nasty street conditions. Mileage is estimated, but when the weather’s bad, I take the shorter route to work. 
January 2010: The “Old Route K ” bridge, which was used for the ~8km bike route I frequently take on a lunchtime bike ride, has been shut down and demolished for replacement. Estimated re-opening: September 2010. The next closest alternate loop adds almost 4 more Km, and another brutal climb on a narrow, busy road. So much for lunchtime bike rides this summer.
January 2010: My frame breaks. Very. Seriously. Breaks. My right rear drop-out cracked apart. Amazingly enough, there’s a welder in town that might be able to fix it. I check my bike into the shop, and accidentally leave the cyclocomputer on it. In the meantime, back to my mountain bike. 
February 2010: Road bike still in the shop. Weather still nasty.
March 2010: Road bike still in shop. At least the weather is improving a bit finally.
April 2010: My road bike has been at the welder’s for over 2 solid months. The shop warned me the guy wasn’t fast. But… the bike finally comes back, with the most incredible weld job imaginable. It’s whole again! To bad the crown of the cyclocomputer got all scratched up in the process. 
May 2010: POW! Front rim on road bike totally blows out, ruins tire and tube too. Dang new wheels and tires are expensive… back to the mountain bike.
June 2010: Finally found a killer deal on a new front wheel from Walts Bike Shop. The road bike rides again! But boy am I behind on my mileage by now…
June 2010: No sooner do I get a new wheel and tire, than I get a pinch flat from a rock on the trail. I spend the next 2 weeks getting flats every other day. Finally discover that my brand new tire has a cut in it just big enough for the tube to start bulging out after a couple days of riding. I fix it with layers of cut up piece of tube, mr. tuffy, more tube.
June 2010: Shifter cable on mountain bike breaks. Coming to the conclusion that the universe does not want me to meet my cycling goal for the year. 
The summer: No lunchtime bike rides. Old Route K bridge still out. More footbag, less riding. 
September 2010: New “Old Route K” bridge finally open! Lunchtime bike rides commence!
October 2010: Poor weather and a crushing workload pretty much put an end to lunchtime bike rides. I officially give up on even thinking I’m gonna be able to meet my mileage goal for the year. 
December 2010: Weather, weather, weather. Mountain bike it still fried, doing the minimum route on my road bike. 
So yeah, it’s been the worst bicycling year I’ve had for a while.
Looking forward to 2011: You bet your ass I’m setting my goal at 3,000Km again. I can do it if I don’t suffer an endless chain of breakdowns and other disappointments. The challenge will be the fact that funding for trail maintenance is drying up. Trail conditions will continue to deteriorate, and flooding will really put the whammy on it. I may be forced to do vigilate maintenance on the trail this summer.
Best wishes, lots of miles, best of everything. Here’s wishing you a wonderful and prosperous 2011! 

Bicycle License Plates

One argument commonly heard from motorists who complain about the presence of bicyclists on the roadways, is that they do not have license plates for identification like cars do. OK. Here’s my answer to that…


8″x5″, 5/8″ orange diamond-grade border, white engineer-grade background, 2-5/8″ tall blue engineer-grade lettering. Cross references to Columbia Missouri USA city bike license E-5209.
Jump those through your fiery hoops and smoke them.