Friday, March 19, 2010

50 Cents Richer

Last night I found myself stitching up my sketchers and trying to clean poo off one of the chickies behinds. The shoes are the main pair I wear with shorts and since it's almost shorts-wearin' season again I gotta patch these puppies up one more time - I swear it feels like I'm living in the corporate equivalent of East Berlin circa 1965, the way these damn shoes keep falling apart, the way everything produced in the world these days seems to break down quickly. Like, the infrared heat lamp I bought for the chickies brooder burned out after a week. *sigh* Maybe I'm just getting poorer...

Anyway, I'm failing at getting the poo off my chicky but it's cool cuz' the vent is technically still clear and she's really not enjoying the bide treatment. The water heater also broke so I got no hot water which means after approximately 2 cumulative hours worth of riding yesterday, I couldn't take a shower. And the $20 bike I bought from the Bike Church at the beginning of this month got sold cuz' I left it there for a week without working on it; and my wool gloves have a gaping hole in the middle finger that I also gotta patch up lest I become a full time hobo; and the Surly cross-check in black I ordered and plan to pay for via a Bike Loan is out of stock, so I'm stuck riding clunkers; but check this out:

Last night while riding back from the pet store w/ another infrared light bulb, I found a quarter - Rhode Island, "the ocean state." Score! Then again this morning, between trying to pull slack wool over my bare middle finger with my teeth, another quarter! This time Colorado - former Cheyenne country. It's been a rough week, but hey, I now got 50 cents more than I had 24 hours ago, I'm reee-atch!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Arana Gulch

Rode out to Arana Gulch late last night to watch the stars and say goodbye. See, it's one of the few places in town within easy riding distance and not a ton of light pollution. At the entrance there was a big sign by the Friends of the Arana Gulch making one last ditch effort to stop the city's plan to pave a bike path through it. The Coastal Commission had met earlier that day and I was all but sure, they'd give the green light for the "development" which was cause for my visit.

And ah, how wonderfully the stars shine! Orion and Leo and Canis Major, vast, epic constellations - The same ones that watched over all those who have come before us. How capricious, how arrogant the street lights seem by comparison. Bah, the ground is muddy and not great for riding but I'm okay with that. I get off my bike and walk, listening to the night birds, watching for shooting stars and the skunk people. I like wild places. I'm okay with sacrificing a little bit of my own convenience for the sake of total freedom.

Arana Gulch, the good folks of People Power want a paved bike path through you. One with little street lights and easy access for pigs to chase me down. I don't know if this is a good thing. Won't the rail trail accomplish the same goal? And yeah, I'm a bicyclist, and I guess I'm suppose to support any bike-oriented development but I just don't, cuz' I can't say riding a bike is the only thing that defines me. I could be wrong though, I could be wrong...

On that note, this morning, the headline from the Sentinel reads: California Coastal Commission delays Arana Gulch vote, asks city to study other option

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chicken Ride

I've hauled a lot of strange things with my bike trailers - lawn chairs, wine barrels (for gardening), and a conga but I think yesterday took the cake. In retrospect, I probably could have used the basket on the Townie for the little peeping box containing 4 baby chickens but you know, new parents are always real protective. So, I clipped on the Burley and made my way to the post-office.

The line is long and I'm annoyed as the postal service drones initially said the package would be delivered to my address but then said I needed to come pick them up. They also had called me from Watsonville and told me a truck wouldn't be out to SC until 2:30 but then I got another call at 1pm saying my package had arrived in SC - WTF? *sigh* Thankfully a mail clerk picked me out of the line, had me sign a slip, and I gently carried my new babies to the Burley and strapped them in. Had I taken streets with less auto traffic (i.e. less noise), I would have been a sight with a baby trailer behind me cheep cheep cheeping.

At home, I search for a proper brooder set up. The heat lamp can't be left on cardboard and I need something as a buffer. (I've also been told baby chicks can fly pretty high so putting a lid on their cage is a good idea). I rummage through the garage, try a myriad of methods, and finally find something that works.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bike Advocacy Groups Weigh In on Cell Phone Laws


"A bill introduced last month by State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), who has been a steady advocate for reducing the dangers of distracted driving, would increase first-time and repeat fines for drivers who text while driving or who don’t use hands-free devices, and would extend the prohibition of cell phone use to cyclists. This last move has cycling advocates baffled and on the defensive."

My initial thoughts after reading this piece are it's good to see mainstream bicycle advocates like the California Bicycle Coalition and SF Bicycle Coalition being more than a tad skeptical over Joe Simitian's silly law, even if they use nice measured terms like "premature" and "theoretical risks" versus "actual risks." Why not "excessive" or "superfluous" or "fucking stupid"?

But yeah, it's good to know I'm not completely insane for calling bullshit on Joe Simitian in the first place. I suspect the CBC may get behind this proposal if it gets watered down enough, like, they'll be okay with lesser fines for bicyclists riding w/ cell phones or texting. Hell, they may be fine w/ putting points on one's driving record too.

In which case, I suspect the legal precedent for licensing bicycles will be set. And with it, all the other parasitic industries that follow - insurance companies, dmv registration (though, they'll have to call it the "Department of Motorized and Non-Motorized Vehicles"), and tons of lobbyists. ugh.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I bought a bike.

It would seem fitting that the first and only bicycle I've purchased in my adult life would be a twenty dolla' clunky-ass beach cruiser from the Bike Church. Everything else I own has been a hand-me-down or donation, all of which, were in better shape when I received them than the one I just purchased. It's faded red, with a step through top tube, the tires are cracking, the wheels need truing, the chain isn't too rusty but the chain wheel scrapes the chain stay like grinding teeth. It needs work like a contestant on extreme makeover (this reference is further proof you don't need to watch television to know what's on television...mainly cuz' most americans only talk about what's on television).

Now, you're probably wondering - why buy a crappy slow bike when you already have a bunch of crappy fast ones? Well, it's like this, the crappy fast bikes serve various commuting purposes. The townie has fenders and a basket while the Bridgestone is faster but lacks a rack or fenders (i.e. I have to ride w/ a backback...ugh). And the Trek is for the occasional low-intensity off-roading-get-me-to-the-base-of-a-hiking-trail. But the cruiser, once I bring it up to speed (no pun intended), will be reserved for Burning Man.

For those reading this from the Bay Area, no explanation is needed. If you took UC Davis and wiped out the buildings and all the pavement, erected tents and giant art sculptures, and turned up the heat and music, you'd have Black Rock City, a.k.a. Burning Man - the only "city" in the United States that explicitly states no automobiles allowed on the "streets" - bikes and pedestrians only. Think about that - A place dedicated to moving people via their own body energy (and yeah, I know there are exceptions for the "mutant vehicles" but humor me). If that doesn't say a lot about this fading republic, the fact that Black Rock City only exists for a week out of the year surely does.

And so, the crusty red cruiser will be brought to Black Rock City as a sacrificial lamb. For as the rumors go, the climate there is particularly harsh on a in the dust gets into every orifice and is practically impossible to get out. Well, I got a low-income ticket, and now I have a low-income bicycle. Now I just gotta find a low-income way to get there...