“What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more’ … Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science
I’ve been riding my bike every day – keeping up pretty well. For July and August I met my goal of ten miles a day and so far in September I’m twenty miles ahead of the pace.
The other day, my son borrowed my road bike which is my go-to ride (my vintage 1987 Cannondale Touring bike, with slightly more modern mountain-bike drivetrain) so he could ride around the ‘hood with his friends. That was fine with me – I haven’t ridden my XOOTR Swift folding bike for a while and I wanted to get it out for a spin or two.
Let’s see, when did I buy that bike – let’s see (the good/bad thing about a journal like this is the past is fixed like a butterfly on a pin) – the box arrived on March 25, 2014 – and I rode it for the first time the next day. So that was eight years ago – the only new bike I’ve bought since 1985. Unfortunately, the bike is no longer manufactured, but it uses standard parts (I have added a 2X front derailleur and done some repairs – no problem) so I can keep it going for a long time.
I pulled the bike down from the hooks in the ceiling of the garage, pumped up the tires… and I was off. It took a little while to get used to the twitchy steering of the small tires and narrow handlebar, but after a few blocks I was enjoying it.
Now I need to get off my lazy ass, fold the thing into my trunk, and go somewhere farther away for a bike ride.
“Louisiana in September was like an obscene phone call from nature. The air – moist, sultry, secretive, and far from fresh – felt as if it were being exhaled into one’s face. Sometimes it even sounded like heavy breathing.”
And now the temperature has climbed into the triple digits (102 Fahrenheit today – in Centigrade that’s… too damn hot) making it a real challenge.
I was up before six this morning and ready to go at six-thirty, as the sun was barely rising. That was actually pretty nice – not too hot – not too much wind – not a lot of traffic – at that ungodly time of morning. I carry a change of clothes in a garment folder and change into my business attire once I’ve sat at my desk long enough to stop sweating.
The trip home was a beating. It wasn’t so much the heat – I was worn out – I’m too old for this – and the south wind was strong and hot. There was some unexpected construction along my route and that added another mile to the ride.
When I made it home I was exhausted. So I’ll leave all you fine folks and go off to sleep now.
“Ever bike? Now that’s something that makes life worth living!…Oh, to just grip your handlebars and lay down to it, and go ripping and tearing through streets and road, over railroad tracks and bridges, threading crowds, avoiding collisions, at twenty miles or more an hour, and wondering all the time when you’re going to smash up. Well, now, that’s something! And then go home again after three hours of it…and then to think that tomorrow I can do it all over again!” ― Jack London
So, May was bike month and in honor of the times the City of Richardson, where I live, sponsored a bicycle parking scavenger hunt. The idea was to track down bike parking (bicycle racks) throughout the city and report them on an interactive digital online map. Despite the possibilities of actual prizes, I sort of ignored the thing.
Until our quarterly meeting with the city on transportation alternatives – where we were reminded of the event and encouraged to participate. There was only a week or so left in the month, but that included a three-day weekend and I decided to give it a whirl.
I became sort of obsessed. I planned out bike routes through the city – guided by searches I made on Google Maps. My eyes became accustomed to the tell-tale shapes of the various types of bike racks. I’d stop and take a photo with my phone, then post them on the web site.
Here’s the final map (I’m not sure how long it will stay up, hopefully, it will be a permanent reference and we can add useful bike parking outside the city). The various participants logged 250 or so bike racks during the month.
It was fun and a good excuse to explore the city on my bike.
“The worse the country, the more tortured it is by water and wind, the more broken and carved, the more it attracts fossil hunters, who depend on the planet to open itself to us. We can only scratch away at what natural forces have brought to the surface.”
― Jack Horner, How to Build a Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn’t Have to Be Forever
Spring Creek, Garland, Texas
The bicycle bones are exposed yet slowly sinking into the muck along the flowing creek. Like a fossil from the recent explosion of eighteen thousand dockless shared rentals the bright yellow steel attests to the (possibly) well-intentioned insanity that swept suddenly then faded even faster. No mastodon skeleton could be a better representative of the once-swarming extinct than this pile of tattered metal.
“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods
Campsite, Lake Ray Roberts, Texas
Nick and I had a desire to go on a simple camping trip for one night. We packed up and went to a campsite on Lake Ray Roberts, not very far north of the city. It wasn’t much of a wilderness adventure – but sometimes it’s a good thing to get out and sleep on the ground. I rode my bike around the paved trails in the state park – the route was surprisingly hilly. It also was pretty cold at night. I’m getting old.
“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle
Vintage Peugeot converted into a single speed. Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas
“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”
― Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
Nice Tribe Urban Bike parked outside Braindead Brewing, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas
That’s one way to store your cleated bike shoes while you go in for a beer.
“I had to ride slow because I was taking my guerrilla route, the one I follow when I assume that everyone in a car is out to get me. My nighttime attitude is, anyone can run you down and get away with it. Why give some drunk the chance to plaster me against a car? That’s why I don’t even own a bike light, or one of those godawful reflective suits. Because if you’ve put yourself in a position where someone has to see you in order for you to be safe–to see you, and to give a fuck–you’ve already blown it… We had a nice ride through the darkness. On those bikes we were weak and vulnerable, but invisible, elusive, aware of everything within a two-block radius.”
― Neal Stephenson, Zodiac
Bike Corral, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas
Most people will say there isn’t enough parking – especially in a popular destination like Deep Ellum, especially on a weekend. I, however, think there is too much parking… at least too much car parking.
“The measure of a country’s prosperity should not be how many poor people drive cars, but how many affluent people use public transportation.”
― Michael Hogan
A long time ago – five years or so, I rode my bicycle to the train station and the train to Fort Worth. I made that trip in order to buy some waffles. There were repairs being made to the tracks for a few miles and everyone had to get off the train and ride a bus over the closed section. I had to attach my bike to the front of the bus and I wasn’t sure if I did it right. The ride was fast and rough and sitting in the bus I had a frightening image of my folding bike falling off the rack and crushed beneath the speeding wheels of the bus.
It didn’t happen – but I haven’t had the nerve to put my bike on a bike since. Shame, because the DART buses are actually nice and go a lot of interesting places. On item on my extensive list of things to do is to make better use of the bus aspect of local public transportation.
I was very happy at the public opening of the Greenville Avenue Improvements that the City of Richardson has been working on they had a DART bus on display so you could practice putting your bike on the front rack.
My bike on the front of a Dallas DART bus.
The rack on the front of the bus holds two bikes.
It was really easy. And quick – which is important, because I never want to hold up the bus and all the other riders while I fumble with my stupid bicycle. Most important, once you swing the little arm over the front wheel – it seems really secure. I can relax and not freak out every time the bus hits a bump.