Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Clothing List by Temperature

Always: helmet, sunglasses
Items not worn should be taken

white kerchief on head and neck, soaked with water
white jersey, long sleeve
ventilated gloves if desired
socks and most ventilated shoes

SS jersey
ventilated gloves if desired
socks and shoes

SS jersey
jacket if cloudy or altitude
gloves if desired
socks and shoes

ear band
LS jersey
convertible jacket
leg warmers
wool socks and shoes

insulated long-finger gloves
ear band
SS jersey
LS jersey
wool socks and winter shoes

winter gloves
ear band
LS jersey x2
wool socks and winter boots

glove liners
winter gloves
wool hat or balaclava
face protector
LS jersey x2
winter tights
wool socks and winter boots

glove liners
winter gloves
wool hat or balaclava
face protector
SS jersey
LS jersey x2
winter tights
wool socks, plastic bags and winter boots

add ski goggles
Mukluks and insulated pants

are you out of your mind?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I complain some, I guess, but there's not another job I'd rather have. The finest people frequent my bicycle shop, brothers and sisters all, a list by no means complete:

C, who brings me cookies every Christmas.
D., who knows that cycling is beautiful.
D., who helps the unfortunate.
C., who lives to ride.
H., who rides to live.
B., who is sharper than you think.
S., who is always right.
P., who keeps me in home-made jam.
D., who has turned sadness into hope.
H., who pushes through adversity.
P., who has never seen a storm he didn't like.
T., who understands.
P., who rides anyway.
E., who can't stop.
T., who always keeps me late.
X, who buys anyway.
S., who always has a good story and a laugh.
F., who crashes too much but keeps on riding.
X., who won't stop despite the surgery.
D., who respectfully disagrees.
X., who teases me.
R., who is too old to ride but to hell with it.
J., who is patient, demanding, and appreciative.
X., who prays for me.
Y., who also prays for me.
T., whose enthusiasm is boundless.
E., who got right back up again.
G., the old coot.
R., the champion
B., who likes my car.
D., who wants my bike.
S., who loves French bicycles.
S., who has more bicycles than he can count.

And some only in memory:

H., killed by an enraged driver.
X., killed by a drunk driver.
J., killed by a texting driver.
J., heart failure while riding.
T., killed in a collision with another cyclist.
X., aneurism while riding.
M., surrendered to chronic depression.

The athlete must love his bicycle. -C.O.N.I.
Love one another. -J.
Rage, rage, against the dying of the light. -D.T.

Another Crazy

Hello, how can I help you out?

Hi. I think I want to buy a bicycle to ride around...I want to test-ride that bicycle (road bike) and ooh, look at that one, I want to test-ride that one (too big), and that one (fixed-gear), and that one too (comfort bike). And I like that color (white), I want to test-ride that one (town bike, too small).

What do you think you'll want to use the bicycle for?

-blank stare-

Do you have a bicycle now?

No. Why do you think I'm here?

Well, there are different bicycles for different uses, for example, a road bike like this is for long or fast rides primarily on pavement, mountain bikes are for off-road use, and comfort bikes like this one for short rides around town and are also a good choice for people new to cycling. And they all come in different sizes; I fit all my customers to the proper size for comfort and performance. I'd like to start by showing you a bicycle that is the right size, and most importantly of the type that might meet your needs.

Well, I just want to test-ride a bunch of bicycles, to see if I like them.

OK, what bicycle would you like to try?

All of them.


Uh, well, where will you be riding your bicycle?

-blank stare- (aroundyoustupidmanhaventyoubeenlistening?)

Do you think you'll want to just ride around the block, or to the market, or perhaps commute? Triathlons? Will you be riding with other people? Ideally, you should have similar bicycles for riding together. Would you like to test-ride around the parking lot or go on a longer ride on the Platte River Trail?

I just want to see if I like riding a bicycle. (imheretowasteasmuchofyourtimeaspossible)

Here, how about if we start you out on one of these, it's a pretty versatile machine, good quality and easy to use...let me get one ready in your size.

I don't like that one.

What don't you like about it?

What's your problem? I just want to test ride a bunch of bikes.

(what's going on here?)

I'd rather not waste your time with test rides on bikes that aren't the right size or type-if you could give me a little guidance, I'll try to move you toward a bicycle that you can like.

-incredulous stare-

-pregnant pause- (I'm looking at her, waiting for some sort of coherent information. Something? Anything? What now? Hello?)

All I want to do is test-ride a bunch of bikes, and I don't know what your problem is but I don't think that this is going anywhere and I just don't know why I can't just ride some bikes I haven't ever been treated like this ever I just can't believe you won't let me ride some bikes I just wanted to test-ride some bikes I'm never coming here again I have to go now I don't think I can buy a bike here I (sob)....

I think she's crying. What the?

And then she turns away and leaves.

And I'm dumbfounded. There's a factory rep (who will remain nameless) who has witnessed the whole thing, and he asks, "What was THAT?"

I don't know. I don't think she's herself today.

And a minute later, she runs down my sidewalk, pushes open the door and yells, "You're an AsshxLE, FxxK you, I hope you DIE you ASSHxLE!, etc. etc." And then she's gone again.

This has been a couple of years back. I seem to get one of these people every season, or maybe two in three years, for the whole time I've been working in a bicycle shop. Seen it happen to other salespeople, too. Boy, I could tell you some stories...I don't know just what to do about it, maybe nothing can be done. Study sales technique? Take a counseling class? Talk less? Listen more? Is it possible to be more understanding with incomprehensible people? I don't think I'm a scary or rude person, or insensitive necessarily, or a bad salesman, and I definitely don't call people names or swear at them. I'm just trying to help...where do these poor people come from? Do I need them as customers? Can I help them at all? Is it worth the effort?

The rep and I look at each other, and neither of us knows what to say. What can you say? Maybe I should have let her test ride a bunch of bikes.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Suicide Bike

A machine recently posted on Craigslist:

vintage raliegh 54cm frame and fork 52:15 gear ratio fixed with wienmann dp18 deep v 700 wheels, no brakes the hub is threaded on both sides for freewheel

No brakes. No toe straps. Gear too big to control. Cog that spins off when I stop pedaling. Gotta get me one.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Smooth rolling

Two more surprising traffic occurrences today: driver A, we shall call him, yielded to my right of way and waved as I went by, and Driver B didn't cut me off.


Waiting at a stoplight, sitting perfectly comfortable on my top tube, fat and cable-less so it doesn't pinch my loin, no saddle poke, no silly wobble. Looking down my line, ready to take my lane. At ease, but ready. Look out the corner of my eye at the traffic light. Green? Yellow? Flashing ped? Don't turn your head, they'll think you are signaling. Hello? Should I use my "go straight" signal now? Anybody in there? The attentive ones judge me. Staring. Geek. Nice paint. Will he go straight? Fast? Can I beat him through the intersection if I stick my foot in it? Will he kick my car? Duh?

My shifters are finally working right, which, they being a fickle mix of Campyshram Noplastic, is a kind of predicted surprise, a light snow is on everything above road level, dry and clear, with no wind or heat or cold or rain or dark, all in perfect mid-season grey neutrality. Still. Quiet. Nature could care less, and lets me slide right on bye. Finally.

For now.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bicycle Tour of Colorado

My bike: a. creaks, b. clicks, c. squeaks, d. rattles, e. grinds, f. makes noises, g. doesn't climb well, h. my cleats are dirty, i. doesn't descend well, j. is new just last week and now my derailleurs and brakes don't work and the wheels are out of true and the saddle hurts and my hands go numb and I just don't feel so good do you have any aspirin can I borrow some WD-40 why does it always rain here at 1:00 they never said anything about that in the brochure!!!

Aid station on McClure Pass. Good luck with that cel phone.

McClure Pass.

Aid station on Independence Pass. Paul's Mobile Cyclery nearest, with Rich wearing three jackets, the 500-gallon water truck next, then the food court and d.j. Twenty toilets on the right, out of view. A guy on a recumbent trike showed up here mid-afternoon after cartwheeling down Cottonwood Pass the previous day. He was wearing at least three large bandages, one sandal, and his hospital gown, and his big chainring was ruined. I think he was on painkillers of some sort.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bike to Work Day 2009

The Table. Thanks Peach and Ed, couldn't have done it without you. And also thanks to Starbucks and Entenmann's for the goodies.

The Handoff. Thanks Pat!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Great Things Gone Away

Thing was so big that I'd have wrecked had I run over it. Right there in the middle of the trail, the size of a golden Costco ham. A humongous frog. A bullfrog, I think one would say. A damned huge Arapahoe County Grand Champion Jumping Frog bullfrog. I didn't know they grew them that big around here. Amazing, green, wet animal, holding his ground. Top of his food chain. Frowning. Drooling, maybe. Waiting for a squirrel to get just a little too close.
I stopped to observe, and to wonder. Where is he going? What's he doing here? Should I move him? What if someone came around and ran over him? Why here? Why now? What does this mean? Who am I?
I stood there transfixed, and at the moment I thought to reach down and touch him he was suddenly flying through the air, all legs and arms flailing in a fifteen-foot Superman leap down onto the rocks, with a quick recovery and then another stupendous jump into the river. And then he was gone. And I, inexplicably, thought to myself that no-one would ever see him again.
Next time I was there, that path was gone. The great old timbered walk hanging out over the rocks, with the splintery rail and the fifteen-foot drop into the rapids, ripped out and hauled off, the trail moved up-grade away from the river and paved with nice smooth safe boring blacktop. With a painted centerline. Improved, as they say. And as I rode past and looked through the fence to where there was no longer a trail, I remembered that frog, and I understood.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

F**king cyclists

Driving my car, I pulled up to a stoplight the other day. Two vehicles in front of me, another behind, at least two on the other side of the intersection, all of us waiting for the red light. A cyclist pulls up to the front on the other side of the intersection, slows down just long enough to look both ways, then crosses under the red light. Right in front of at least five drivers.
As he is passing me, I say out the window, "Sir, that's a red light and you have to stop and wait for it."
He couldn't believe that someone would chastise him for exercising his right to do whatever the hell he wants, so he pulls around my back, circles the car and comes up to my window, just out of my reach. He says, "Is it any of your business how I ride my bike?"
I say, "Yes, it IS my business how you ride your bike. I own a bicycle shop, I contribute to bicycle advocacy organizations who lobby for YOUR RIGHTS, and I ride around this city all the time. And I'm telling you with great certainty that YOU MUST STOP AND WAIT FOR THAT RED LIGHT."
He just stood there, dumbfounded. Surprised, that it really IS my business how he rides his bike.
Now the light is green, and he's stuck there in the wrong lane and people are honking. So I turn away from him and drive off.
Amateur. Selfish clown. Does he have any idea how much damage he does with a stupid stunt like that? Does he realize that he makes us all look bad? What does he think all those drivers are thinking when he blows off the red light?

I'm riding to work one morning, and I pull up to a red light westbound at Chenango and Broadway. It's one of those intersections that aren't timed-if you're a pedestrian you punch the button and if you're in a car the sensor in the concrete picks it up and you're in the system. If you're on a bicycle you are screwed-the light doesn't even know you're there-you either have to go over and hit the button (leave your bike parked in the street, because you can't have a vehicle on the sidewalk) or you wait for a car to pull up and trigger the light, or you wait forever. Or you blow off the light. Tough choice.
On this particular morning, a car was opposite me waiting for the light, so I knew that it would turn green soon. I'm in my lane, there's no doubt which direction I'm going, and there's another car pulling into line behind me. We're all waiting patiently for the light, when another cyclist pulls up beside me. On a fixed-gear, with cards in the spokes, stupid-narrow handlebar, dirty little bikey cap, faux-broken-in messenger bag, cutoff plaid pants, tattoos, piercings, chains, the whole poser deal. He touches down, he's looking both ways and inching forward like he's going to just go on through, so I say, "How are you doing this morning?"
This puts him off his guard and, surprised, he looks over at me with a "you talking to me?" look.
"Where you headed?" I ask.
"Downtown" was his curt reply. And he's inching forward again, looking both ways.
"How long you been riding a fixxie?" I ask. He gives me another one of those "why the f**k are you wasting my time?" looks.
I smile.
"Seven months," he says. A real pro. And he starts inching forward again, in a terrific hurry to get to the coffee shop I guess.
I know what's going on here, and so does he, so I'm ready now to stop messing around. "You need to wait for that red light," I say, "we don't want to make a bad show for these drivers."
Which he did.
The End.