Sunday, November 30, 2008

Common Ground

"I sat outside on the green slab next to the oil drip, and the window. 4 riders approached from west on University, but they were unlike any riders I’ve generalized about before. The leader sported a flat-brim white Yankee’s hat, sagging pants, White belt, white puffy gansta jacket and big shoes. The rest that followed him, looked same same but different. Rolling bright deep dish rims on white frames, the only thing separating them from typical, was that the were all rolling fixed. Hip-Hop-Deep-Dish-Fixed… It was a sight for sore eyes. Hoods on bikes. Indeed things are changing."

That was a quote I took from Gnome's write up over at Drunkcyclist, about this year's Flight of the Pigs ride. It was my favorite paragraph in the whole ride report.

While I'm not one of the activist types that thinks bikes will solve the petroleum challenges of America, solve world hunger, or end global warming, I do think they can change an individual's outlook. Bikes bring many things to many people. They bring freedom to a 7 year old kid, who can now easily explore the whole neighborhood. They bring transportation to those who have no other way. They bring stress relief to those of us who can let our blood pressure alarms ring too easily and too often. To some, they bring something as simple as a new fashion accessory.

The big thing is, they bring a commonality. They bring one more facet that can bind vastly different people. I've said it a thousand times, my friends walk the gamut of life. Age, gender, economic and social status, religious background; cycling has bridged a lot of barriers to tie crews together all over the world.

Again, I don't believe that cycling alone will bring to bear a bright shining light of perfection on the world. She's more like a well cut diamond, when the light hits her just right, she sure does sparkle.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's Useless to Resist

I keep seeing more and more changes in my direct, and indirect life. Some of them eye opening, and some of them just plain scary.

I was just over at Drunkcyclist, and saw a new post from Big Johnny. For those who follow, Big Johnny was the main guy behind DC, but he hasn't posted much in quite awhile. His buddy Gnome, has been picking up the slack. I've been wondering what happened to the guy. Is he just over it? Nothing to say? I knew he recently moved to another part of Arizona. Did the absence of his friends kill his muse? I just found out, through this last post, that he moved to start law school. He was hit by a car a couple of years back, and spent a lot of time healing a broken back. Now he's started law school so that eventually he can help others like him, who just get screwed by some jackass's lack of control. I hate that he's not on the site, constantly berating the world with his caustic sense of humor, but I'm glad he found a path to walk. He seemed to be just floating after the accident.

I first heard about Drunkcyclist through, Kevin Noble, our Kona rep when I worked at Joe's. Kevin is still at Kona, but his rowdy days have calmed too, I think, with a new kid in the house. Kevin seemed surprised that I had never heard of the site, but I was pretty much internet challenged back then. All I'd heard of was ebay, and as a shop guy, that was the devil.

Just for a little more indirect weirdness, my favorite cycling writer is Mike Ferrentino, over at Bike Magazine. His first, or maybe second, Grimy Handshake article fully reflected my understanding of bike shop customers, from behind the counter. I realized he was a greasy handed, kindred spirit. Another sucker working in his passion, to satisfy the not so thankful public. I couldn't have been happier when he was named editor for Bike, But alas, it was short lived. He took another job, I think with Santa Cruz. Now I'm just glad he still writes his column. Bike just wouldn't be the same without him.

Over the years of reading Bike and Drunkcyclist, I found out that each of these guys is about my age, all worked at one time or another in bike shops, and still carried a torch for the two wheeled, self propelled world. Even better, I found out they all knew each other. At one of the big 24 hour races, there was a media division. Big Johnny, Ferrentino, and Nobles, all on the same team. Sometimes it's just strange how the world ties things together.

On the homefront, my buddy Paulie is leaving on another African adventure, soon. He's pretty amped, and I like to see his enthusiasm. He called me up, all excited, and asked if I would mind being a reference, for this job with Tour de Afrique. Sure enough, I get a call a day later, from a super heavy french accent, presumably based out of Canada. He asks a lot of questions about Paul's character and demeanor. His last question was "What would you say Paul's weakness would be on this trip?". I told him" I know it sounds like I'm just singing Paul's praises, but the truth is he's hard working, self motivated, a strong cyclist, can talk to most anyone, and has spent several years in Africa. What else would you want? The truth is I hate to see him go." The interviewer says the trip is only for a few months and and that Paul will be back. I told him, "Yeah, that's what he said when he joined the Peace Corp. I'm going to spend a year in Africa!" Four years later, Paul found his way home. I think this job is perfect for Paul. And I look forward to following along on his blog.

I guess this issue with my foot/ankle has opened my eyes lately. I was faced with the thought of never riding again, and the fight isn't over, and that spooks me. I'm 38 years old, and have been riding since 1990. 99% of my friends and acquaintances were met through, or are tied to, cycling. The thought of possibly losing something this intertwined with my life really kind of freaks me out. I realize that life would not be over, just a lot different.

It would be time for the next big chapter. I like to think that I like variety, but the truth is, I'm not so down with BIG change. Small changes are nice to vary the ride, but big changes rock the boat. In the meantime, I'll be fighting the good fight, trying to reconcile the thought of change in case of failure, or maybe I'll just be looking around for a good life preserver.
***Big thanks to Juancho for catching an error. I'd cut 10 years out of my riding career.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Whose Line is it Anyway?

"My momma makes baked beans! I love shag carpet! Now you boys need to get the f*(k outta here!"
I'm dying to post on this event, but the truth of the matter is, I'll never do it the justice that the author of the above quote most certainly will. In the meantime, this quote just had to see the light of day.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It was just a matter of time...

Some wise ass finally went and named a hill after yours truly. T-town is lucky that way, we have a plethora of wise asses. That's good for me, though. Lets me blend in.

All wise ass shenanigans aside, what are you doing this weekend? Sitting around, watching the boob tube, eatin' cheetos, wondering why your nether regions are turning orange? Get up off the couch, and head over to Rickards high school on Saturday afternoon, or Sunday morning, or both! Folks will be in town to rail their skinny tire bikes at the speed of light. And when they can't rail any faster, they'll jump off and run! How can this not be entertaining. Skin tight clothed, body shaved, skinny people, doing their damnedest to purge their last meal, with the help of two wheeled machines. You know the rule. We like two wheeled machines. Lots of them. So hopefully I'll see you out there. I'll be on top of my hill, making as few trips to the bottom as possible, except maybe to heckle those who falter.

Here's the link.

Monday, November 3, 2008

One of these riders is not like the others....

This one goes out to my buddy, Big Jim Slade, the one guy who didn't get wood this weekend.