Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Harold Grey Bond

Harold Grey Bond

My father-in-law and friend. We'll miss you Grandpa.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Saturday several of us headed up to Greenbriar to a bit of trail maintenance before the race in two weeks. 13 of us showed and got a bit done. I was with the folks doing mostly drainage issues on in the lower elevations. Hiking in, I found that when I favor my left ankle, I get rubbing on my right heel. Not quite a blister, but I'm glad I didn't hike much more. After that I headed home and did the dreaded summertime chore for the first time in 2007. I mowed the lawn. The temperature didn't feel too much like spring, but the grass seems raring to go.

Sunday the dreaded Nor'easter came through. Despite the media hype, it is a pretty big storm. This area mainly got heavy rain and some wind. There were some downed wires Sunday night. Sunday afternoon I went over to the Bicycle Escape for a Single Speed Outlaw Factory Team meeting. It's an honor to be invited to be on the team, and I hope to make the most of it.

Monday, April 09, 2007


So yesterday I'm in the car taking the recycling to the collection center and I'm still in the driveway when I look over at the neighbor's pond and see a huge bird with white tail feathers. I'm thinking "Woah! That can't be a bald eagle, can it?" when it turns in flight and I see that it is indeed a bald eagle. So I back the car up the driveway to the house and run and grab my binos and tell the kids. The eagle is higher now and going over the house, constantly circling and heading northwest. I'm watching him when BAM! I stepped into a hole dug by our irritating, but lovable, dog. Down I go, feeling the twinges in the ankle before I even hit the ground. Ouch. I'm pretty lucky, it isn't too bad and I can walk on it with pain, but I'm afraid I exposed my children to some intemperate speech.

In other news, it snowed on Easter. Haven't seen that for a while. I remember growing up in Alaska and taking photos in the backyard in our easter finery with several feet of snow on the ground. My mom stepped off the packed path and one leg went in the snow to hip depth, while the other went out straight. My dad was laughing so hard it took several minutes to get her out. She may have forgiven him by now.

Last Thursday was Cory's last Booze Cruize for a while. In a couple of days he heads of to live in Europe for a couple(?) of years. We hit the Alley for a bit before heading over to his shanty and hanging around his poor man's chimenea drinking beer for a while. It was way too cold to do much riding, but it was good hanging around for a bit. Since I didn't have to work Friday, I stayed until the beer (and much of the firewood) ran out. We'll miss his trying to kill us lesser mortals on rides. Best of luck over the pond, Bro. A couple of photos on flickr. when I remember to post them.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Sometimes I can't stand how some simple activities get tied up into 'activism.' I love to ride my bike. But for me, It's pretty much about just riding my bike. There are some various side benefits involved, but generally, if I didn't enjoy riding so much, those other benefits wouldn't make much difference. I think a lot of folks are like this, and they don't like riding as much as I do, so they don't.

So, locally, there are two things which I'm having trouble signing on with. One is a local attempt to do something like a critical mass ride. I want to support bike culture. Heck, I think I am bike culture. But maybe I'm not the part of bike culture which looks like childish acting out. I've been riding a bike for probably 38 of my 44 years, much of that in traffic, with the last 12 of them in Frederick County, and I can count on one hand the number of incidents I've had where another vehicle driver has caused me trouble. Many of my friends' experience mirrors mine. Additionally, the relationship between bikers and the city police and county sheriff's departments is OK. So if there isn't a genuine issue with the traffic, why is there a need to have a critical mass? Especially one in which tickets were handed out like last month. WTF? In Frederick!?

Here is a quote from somewhere about it:

"any way the cops started giving citations to the "leaders" of the group so we now have to raise $160 for some bullshit. anyway we were about to keep riding and then the cop said my mistake it has to be single file so we were quite heated to say the least. we eventually had a meeting to see what we could do and still hold up traffic. so we had two big lines about 100 yards apart but that wasn't fun so we just played games in a park" (spelling corrected and emphasis mine)

The point wasn't to show that bikes have a role in society and on the road, it was to HOLD UP TRAFFIC! That isn't something of which I want to be a part.

Kent Peterson, a blogger whose opinion and outlook I respect immensely said it well in a post this week:

"We notice bad behavior, not good. In the classic movie Casablanca, Peter Lorre's weaselly character Ugarte says, "you despise me, don't you?" and Humphrey Bogart replies "If I gave you any thought I probably would."

As cyclists, I'm sorry to say, we are often the Ugartes of the roadway. We like to think that we are cool, or noble, preserving the planet, setting an example and sharing the road. The truth of the matter is that much of the time we are ignored. We don't even register in the consciousness of many of our fellow road users. And, unfortunately, most often the cyclists who are noticed are the ones who are behaving like jerks.

Some drivers are jerks. Some cyclists are jerks. I have very little control over anyone's behavior but there is one person I try to control.


I try not to behave like a jerk."

I believe he also coined the phrase "Not anti car, just pro bike." How refreshingly adult.

Here is an example of the negative press those jerks can get:

Now its likely that both sides in that issue had a role in the blame, but who takes the brunt of the blame in the public eye? And, by extension, how does it make all cyclists look?

My other issue I feel less strongly about, but since I'm whining....

Using bikes as a prop in non-bike related activism. Step it up Frederick is part of a larger national organization and is going to have a bike parade on April 14th. Dress up as your favorite alternative energy form and parade to the rally where speakers (who will most likely arrive via SUV) are holding forth on the evils of carbon dioxide. Huh?

Maybe I can't get behind this because I'm not convinced in the claims behind the cause (that is a whole other post). However, my goals and theirs are aligned on some issues, related to bikes as transportation. So, even if it were something I strongly believe in, I'm not sure that using bikes as part of the platform to call attention to the issue is the way to go. Maybe a better goal would be for everyone taking part to ride from wherever they are coming from, and skip the parade. It least it would be an honest attempt,that wouldn't make bikers look stupid. I'd like to see a lot less of the "do as I say, not as I do" kinds of activism I see going on, and maybe more of the lead by example work that people like Kent do.

That leads me to the kinds of activism I can get involved with. Join your local bike club and/or trails organization. Work from within the system to get change, if you feel change is needed. Volunteer at your local shop to do seminars about those cycling topics in which you have an interest. Encourage others to ride, without being preachy. (Uh, unlike me in this post)

Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Marines from Bravo Company, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, currently attached to Dam Security Unit 3, returned home today from their deployment to Iraq, where they have been providing security to Iraqi waterways and the Haditha Dam region.

Thanks for your service guys, and Welcome Home!

Update: A quick search turned up some info on what these Brave Marines have been doing.

First Commute 2007

I rode to work yesterday. I'm getting started a bit later in the season than last year, but I hope that I'll be a bit more consistent this year. I'm a pretty sporadic commuter, easily lulled by the temptations of just 15 more minutes sleep in the morning, and ready at the drop of a hat to give up if the weather looks the least bit threatening. Neither has been the case the last two days. The mornings have been cool but beautiful, yesterday afternoon was spectacular, and today looks to be as nice. Perfect riding conditions.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Quick Ride on the C&O Canal

As is the usual pattern, Saturday is work and Sunday is play around the old homestead. Unfortunately, the weather was better on Saturday. However, I had promised the Princess Stoker a ride this weekend, and she opted for single bikes instead of the tandem. We headed for the C&O under threatening skies. We drove through a couple of drizzles on the way, but when we arrived at Noland's Ferry, things were relatively dry. The Princess chose downstream as the first direction and we rode to the Monocacy Aqueduct at the point where the Monocacy joins the Potomac. After a short break we headed back, passing where we parked to go upstream for about a mile before turning again stopping at the car. Quality time, you bet'cha.