Saturday, March 25, 2017


I believe I reached a milestone today.

I've been ill almost this whole year. Cold, cough, flu. It's been great! I don't know when I've had such fun.

Today was the first time in recent memory that I haven't had a sore throat.  I needed coffee beans, the roaster is only four miles away...back on the bike!

The milestone was nothing huge. I was just riding, observing things around me, and...that's all I was doing.  Normally I would have been concentrating on how much power I was putting out, on how my breathing was...but instead, I was just riding.

Of course, this moment of Zen was broken by my noticing that I wasn't noticing.

Well, that and that the theme song from the 1970's "Spider-Man" cartoon was running through my head.

And now, a gratuitous picture of a bike (a VSF Fahrradmanufaktur T-1000).

Yes, it's black. Like every other German bike that I've seen.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What's smaller than micro?

A while back, adventurer/writer Alistair Humphreys coined the phrase "microadventure", which Wikipedia describes as overnight outdoor adventure that is "small and achievable, for normal people with real lives."

I've been planning my own microadventure for a while now; it will start with a ferry ride, followed by a bike ride to and across the Golden Gate bridge, followed by a forty mile bike ride through some beautiful landscape and pleasant small towns, ending with a ferry ride to an island where I would camp overnight.

Today I did part of it. Not enough to even qualify as a microadventure. More of a nano-adventure. I was only going to go to downtown Oakland; but in the back of my mind, there was the thought that it would be cool if I went a little further.

I checked the ferry schedule. The next ferry was coming in twelve minutes. I took it, and that was the start of my nano-adventure.

Kona takes a ride.
The ferry dropped me off at the San Francisco Ferry building.  All I knew at this point was "walk out of the ferry building, turn right to get on the Bay Trail." This is where the adventure really began -- sharing the road with San Francisco drivers, even with a clearly marked bike path, is...well, adventurous. Fortunately it was early enough in the morning that most of the drivers weren't awake enough to react to the presence of a bicycle on their turf.
The joy of bicycling in San Francisco.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

How we see things

I'm currently reading Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide by Jill Homer.  It's about her "record-breaking ride in the 2009 Tour Divide." At one point, she writes about riding in the mountains, and the sentiment is so beautifully expressed that...well, I hope that if she ever sees this, she won't object to having been quoted at length.

She writes:

"...the injuries and the heat, the logistics and the repairs, the hunger and the fatigue, the distress about not having enough companionship and then having too much. These problems were all human failings, the outside world creeping in. Firmly locked in cruise control, I only needed to understand the fine mechanics of pedaling my bike. I pedaled my bike, and everything else fell into place, had purpose, and made sense."

That's a viewpoint, and a beautiful one. I don't know that that's my viewpoint, but I have felt that way some times. I believe that many people get this feeling. Some would say that those people are obsessed with riding, but I would disagree. I think that for them, riding is just a natural part of their lives.

My viewpoint is largely this: I get on my bike. I ride until I'm some miles from home, and then I feel I should turn back. But I don't want to. I want to keep going. And going. And end up some place I've never been.

And you?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Talk about suffering

In the bike world, particularly in the racing area, there is a lot of talk about "suffering."  Some events, races and whatnot, are called "sufferfests" and the voluntary suffering that happens at these events is worn as a badge of honor.

But there is the voluntary suffering that happens at these events, and there is the tragedy that arises from actual suffering.  I know, I know -- you're thinking, "OMG, is this about bikes or what?" Yes, it is.

In This Road I Ride, Juliana Buhring talks about the tragic and horrific loss of her lover.  She turned her suffering into a round-the-world bike tour.

The adventurer Jill Homer documents the end of a long-term relationship in Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across The Great Divide. Despite (or because of) the suffering resulting from that, she rode the Tour Divide.

You can draw the inference here that suffering makes a person want to move. To ride a bicycle for instance.

The inference I draw is that there is something about riding a bicycle that alleviates suffering. Moving quickly under your own power, being independent of anything else, feeling the wind...being out and about and in your own head at the same time. And also that we're instinctively drawn to it.

I know that many people have said much the same thing about cycling: that they feel more free when riding a bike.

That's really all I'm thinking about right now. I'll be funnier next time, I promise.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Bicycle un-chic

I really like colorful bicycles. For instance, this Marin Four Corners Elite:
Photo owned by Marin Bicycles.
That is a beautiful bike. Though honestly I prefer bikes of a single color. This is my bike:

I also like the splash of red the pannier adds. And the dirt on the tires gives it class.