two wheeled venting

May 5, 2011

The days are longer and getting a little dryer and a little warmer so fair weather bike riders have started taking to the streets. Lots more commuters on the weekdays and leisure riders on the weekends. It’s heartening and maddening at the same time. Critical mass is supposed to make it safer for all of us bike riders, but about 75% of the time bike riders do insensitive and jerkish things.  I’m not excluding myself. I do jerkish and insensitive things on my bike too sometimes. More riders means greater potential to experience someone behaving badly on his or her bike. I’m struggling to adjust to the increased odds.

Here’s a list of my pet peeves (the jerkish and insensitive behavior that drives me crazy). It’s not in any particular order, as in the the first item does not peeve me off the most. If anything, it may be in order of frequency. The "you" is intended to be generic. I guess the me is too.

  • Not indicating when you’re gonna pass on the left
  • Passing while pedaling as fast as you can at a pace you can’t maintain and then slowing down to a pace slower than, me trapping me in a narrow bike lane with lots of car traffic so now I can’t pass you.
  • Talking on your hand held cell phone.
  • Checking your voice mail or ipod at a red light and not noticing it’s turned green.
  • Turning up the music so loud in your ear buds or headphones that you can’t hear me signalling to you that I’m passing and you don’t move over or you pull out into me or another rider or pedestrian.
  • Yelling at me when I signal to you with my bell that I’m passing you because you don’t know bike etiquette.
  • Blowing through red lights when there’s lots of car traffic.

I realize this makes me sound grumpy and self-righteous. I admit that I tend to be self righteous when I ride. But sincerely I believe when we ride, we are sharing public space and most of my peeves have to do with behaviors that make it safer and more enjoyable to ride. For all the riders on the road.


dark and dfw

November 1, 2008

It was dark and rainy this morning.  I like riding in the cover of it when it’s not cold. It’s like riding in a dream but being awake. I remember being wistful last spring as the days got longer and brightened up my morning ride because I had like pedaling in the darkness so much.

The worst question you could ask David in the last year was ‘how are you?’ And it’s almost impossible to have a conversation with someone you don’t see regularly without that question.” Wallace was very honest with her. He’d answer, “I’m not all right. I’m trying to be, but I’m not all right.”


see some stuff

October 1, 2008

A little taste of what it looks like to bike in Portland.

I uploaded some photos from the rest of the summer and short backpack trip up to Indian heaven.


flat line

September 16, 2008

Yep, today I almost bit it. I’m dead serious. Dump truck almost took me out. I was braking hard, dragging my feet, anything to stop before this fucker, who I don’t know how he didn’t see me except that he wasn’t looking, plastered me to his grill. And believe me, there would have been no walking away from it. Dumb luck for me that the dumb ass stopped his 5 ton vehicle at the last minute.

It was super fucking weird, though. The feeling I had staring at the truck and trying to stop. Not like the movies at all. I felt flat, underwhelmed, kinda pissed. A huge sense of “No way, man. I can’t believe this is it.” Had that same feeling years ago in a car accident. I was driving back from Indy to Btown with Licia and my jeep spun out on an ice patch on 67. It was so damn quiet in the jeep while we spun around. And I remember thinking, fuck, we’re gonna roll. Could die. Could very well die.


the world was moving, she was right there with it

July 2, 2008

Summer here sure is sexy.  She lulls you into forgetting about the other 8 or 9 months of the year. I’d say she’s got a bit of a siren’s call.  I finished up Pedalpalooza by going to the Multnomah County Bike Fair on Saturday and the big bike party later that night hosted by Portland’s own Sprokettes.  The attendance at both events was skewed toward the hipsters and bike freaks, a bike cap appears to be di regueur for this crowd.  But it was fun all the same.  The party included a lot of live entertainment by these bike related dance groups and some non-bike related acrobats, who were very good.  It was kind of like a high school talent show for adults.  Or maybe a county fair talent show. And it was fun.  It reminded me that there must have been a time when folks relied much more on other folks in their community for entertainment and the connection there feels different than say paying to see a band.

I’m gearing up for another butch blog or darkness blog or maybe I’ll try and string the two together. Ha!

This girl I like, the one I’ve mentioned here before, the one who lives really far away, well yesterday she told me, “you’re so fucking sweet”, and I think that might have made my day today.  That comment in isolation is likely not the best representation of why she moves me, but she does and one of these days I think I’ll talk about her a little more here.

I know the title of this post makes no sense, but the lyric popped into my head and I liked how it sounded.

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June 24, 2008

I did a butt load of riding this weekend, both just to get where I needed to get to and as part of Pedalpalooza. On Sunday I , along with about 15,000 other people, attended on of the most terrific events I’ve been to since I moved to Portland. Inspired by CicloVia in Bogota city officials organized Sunday Parkways in which six miles of local streets in North Portland were closed to traffic from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

I’m pretty sure it’s been over a week since I’ve been in my car. And I count my self as lucky on that note, especially when I’m feeling so lost and being on my bike almost always feels so right.


get yer freak on

June 17, 2008

Taking a break from writing about darkness and neurosis cause this weekend I got my freak on. It was first weekend for Pedapalooza and it was also Pride here. The two events crossed paths on Saturday when I packed (translation for folks who don’t know what packing means, it means I harnessed up my nice big bendable cock under my pants) and rode my bike down to the Dyke march and then pedaled over to participate in my first Naked Ride. I heard that Portland had about 2600 riders, which means we might have topped out with the biggest ride. Topless dykes in the sunset and bare asses in the moonlight. If Portland’s got one thing going for it, it’s that it’s not uptight about nudity. And while I’m not a naked enthusiast, I think it’s nice to lighten up a bit on our bare bodies. Anyway, a little freedom and a little freakiness – I’m gonna call it a good day.


sixty miles later

May 20, 2008

I did Reach the Beach on Saturday.  My legs and lungs were fine, but that much time in the saddle and bent over my drop bars sure lent to some soreness and I was happy for the breaks we got every 15 miles.  The breaks also helped manage a beautiful but hot day. One of the other riders said at one point the thermometer on her bike registered 96 degrees.  But all in all it was a great ride.  I’ve hiked quite a bit around here, but I’ve never ridden so close to the land and it was moving to do so, on many levels. Thanks again to everyone who donated some money toward the cause.

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what if it’s joy in the details and not the devil

February 15, 2008

I had this realization last night riding home from yoga. As much we make might make plans to mark events or celebrate the milestones in our lives, ya know that trip to Europe you’ve always wanted to take or your big 40th birthday bash, much of life is about the getting from here to there, taking things out and putting them away, saying good morning and good evening to your co-workers and students, washing your clothes, wearing them, and then washing then again. And it’s best to find some way to bring meaning and joy to that minutia. The grand stuff is icing on the cake of a life that doesn’t owe us a damn thing.

I think that’s why I like being a bike commuter. It brings some meaning to getting from here to there and back. I notice things, like the way the new glass towers on the waterfront rise up like a sci-fi poster behind the old Victorians that line the streets of my yoga studio. I feel the weather and when it’s raining and everyone’s griping I get to be the badass that shows up in the grocery line, wet and splattered with some grime. And even when it kicks my ass like it did last night, I get grounded in my body, heart beating, lungs breathing, legs pumping as I move myself through space on my elegant, efficient machine.

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February 14, 2008

I love riding into work in the dawn when it’s not raining.  The sky is all hazy, mixed in purple, blue, grey and black, and everything in the distance is soft and dreamy. The office and street lights have not quite yielded to the morning, so in pedaling over the river, the Willamette shimmers and looks almost romantic.  This morning I heard birds reminding me that Portland’s spring, as understated as it is to me, is starting to show itself. By the time I arrive to the big building where I work on the edge of the  industrial section in the northwest, the blanket of daybreak is nearly lifted, and I slip upstairs in relative quiet and sometimes watch sun-up’s ending.

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