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Showing posts from January, 2010

2010 stretches out ahead

One of my favorite books of all time, one I've read and re-read many times, is David James Duncan's The River Why . The protagonist Gus is certainly a lot younger than I am. In the book, he is less than half my current age. In his youthful zeal, he set out to devise the 'Ideal Schedule', which was to focus his life as much as possible on the one thing he believed he loved to do above all else. Given many years and lots of time during which to contemplate the things I love, like the blind squirrel I've stumbled upon the nut of wisdom called moderation . I know now that I can't focus my life on one thing to the exclusion of all else. For one thing, my body can't handle it, and I have to find things to do during the down time. For another, I have to appear somewhat normal, and do things like hold down a job. And yet ... And yet, I still can not resist the urge to look ahead to the coming year and first list out the things I want to do on a bike, and begin


JRA. (AKA Just Riding Along). That was me last Thursday after leaving work. One minute I'm riding along on may way to complete an errand, and the next minute I'm finishing up a close inspection of the pavement on Stanford Ave., just east of Market. This change in status was unplanned, and a huge surprise to me. Right in the middle of this event I do recall thinking "I'm not going to like how this turns out". Sometimes I am just soooo right. I didn't like how it turned out at all. I know full well that a 53 year old body really doesn't do well in these circumstances, and I did a 10 count before I got up, first making sure that there were no serious alarm bells going off. I was able to sit up, and very shakily stand up, but walking was not going right. One big problem was that there was something on the bottom of my shoe. Turns out that only 99% of my bike was a couple yards away. The other 1% in the form of a pedal and a 2 inch long segment of the right

My bane

Bane: That which causes ruin or woe. Well, to be sure, it causes me woe, and often. Back in an earlier geologic epoch, when I was in my late 30s, I got a case of bronchitis that my HMO refused at first to accept for what it was. Since that time, I have gotten colds at a rate that seemed unfair, certainly to me. Every few years for a while I would get a cold that stood above all the others in it's intensity and duration. I would be tempting fate no doubt to say that the 100 year respiratory storms that I would suffer more often than once every 100 years have lessened, but I am going to say that. However, I still get more colds than I think a person should get. There have been some colds memorable if for nothing else than the timing, and the timing usually has ruined a ride that was weeks or months in the planning. I've had colds wreck riding the Terrible Two , The Death Ride , the Gold Rush (twice!), the 2004 version of the San Ramon to Malibu multi day ride, and countless cl

The long way

It's nothing like Ole Doc Bradford's commute , and while so many, many things here fall far short of Bernard Moitessier's grand voyage (including that I dutifully continued on to my appointed destination instead of rerouting to warmer, sunnier climates), I still refer to this commute route to work as the long way. Last year I managed to take this route 35 times. I live in Richmond, CA, in The Annex neighborhood which is pretty near to the Richmond segment of the Bay Trail. I work in Emeryville, CA in one of the few buildings that hasn't (yet) been completely taken over by an increasingly famous, and ever growing entertainment factory now owned by a company most often represented by a mouse who has a friend that is a dog that talks and has a pet that is a dog that doesn't talk. The straight line that connects these two locales runs pretty much due north and south, and my 'long way' route doesn't use even a block of the path between them. Many times th

Catching up on 2009

I was listening to some old broadcasts of This American Life recently and in one act of one of the episodes the correspondents from Planet Money (producers of a fabulous piece on the causes of the recession) interview an economic forecaster. Economic forecasting relies heavily on the output from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which issues not a set of results from previous fiscal quarters, but instead a three year series of estimates, each estimate revised since the previous one. In fact, results of what happened economically in this country back in the 1920s is still being revised today! Given that, I really don't feel quite so bad in waiting until January 8th to review my previous riding year. A lot of people think reflecting on the last year is arbitrary in the segment of time being reviewed. Maybe so. I don't think it is so unreasonable really. Our year is a close but not exact measurement of the length of time it takes to travel once around the sun, one trip through