Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

05 July 2015

The Library Bike

The cyclists I've known tended to read more than most other people.  Perhaps that's peculiar to the US, or the parts of it in which I've lived:  Here, cyclists who ride to work and for recreation are more likely to be college-educated professionals or creative people.  That is a contrast to much of the rest of the world, where blue-collar and lower-paid workers pedaled and the bicycle was abandoned as soon as a person could afford a car.

Whatever the reasons, I find myself discussing things that involve reading--whether writing, literature, history or other related subjects--with cyclists when I get to know them.  Some of us, I think, would love to combine the activities of reading and riding.  

Some of us have tried.  I used to have one of those wire stands that attached to the handlebars and held a book as you rode on your trainer or rollers.  The problem is that if we're readers, we read faster than we ride, no matter how well-conditioned we are.  So we can't pedal very many RPMs before we have to turn a page.  That's very difficult, especially if you're on rollers, even if you're very skilled at riding on them (which I was, once).  It's also not easy if you're doing a wind sprint and pedaling at, say, 200 RPMs.

The best most of us can do, I think, is to combine books and bikes rather than reading or writing.  Someone, it seems, at the Cleveland Public Library understands as much.  So he or she created a bookmobile that's pedaled into under-served neighborhoods:


The Book Bike contains three levels of shelving that can hold 260 pounds (!) of books. It even has bookmark, brochure and umbrella holders.  


The trike has a double parking brake, three speeds--and a white racing stripe on a snappy orange finish.  After all, a messenger--especially one bringing enlightenment and education--must be speedy!

(Note:  Although I have provided a link to the website on which I found these images, I have not used the name of that website, as it might offend some!)

04 July 2015

Happy Fourth Of July!

Happy Fourth of July, a.k.a. US Independence Day!

There have been many, many bikes, accessories and articles of bike clothing adorned with the American Flag--or, at least, its color scheme.  (I wasn't about to spell "color" "colour" in a Fourth of July post!Many, of course, are cheesy or tacky.  But some are quite nice.

One is this US National Track team bicycle from the 1990s:

From Doobybrain

I think it would look good in almost any environment. But whoever took the photo really did the bike--and its setting--justice.  I love the way the "smoke" seems to come out of the front wheel in the mural.

Ironically, that photo was taken in Williamsburg, Brooklyn:  the home of the "hipster fixie".  Somehow, though, I don't think that bike was ridden by any hipster.

Anyway...Enjoy the day--and wish me a happy birthday.  (Yes, our Founding Fathers seceded from the Crown just to be sure my birthday would be a national holiday.  It says that somewhere in the Constitution, I think.)

03 July 2015

To The Beach, Gently Weeping

Tomorrow is supposed to be more like an early-spring day in Belgium or the Netherlands than an early July (i.e., The Fourth) in the US.  Not that I mind, particularly.  But today was beautiful:  a clear sky and a high temperature of about 26C (80F) with little humidity and a moderate breeze.  

I had a few things to do today but I was able to get on the bike by two in the afternoon.  Given that we are just past the longest day (in terms of the length of daylight) of the year, I figured I'd still have enough time to ride to Point Lookout and back before dark--especially if I rode Arielle.

Which is what I did.  Even though I pedaled into the breeze (which turned into a veritable wind by the time I got to Broad Channel), I made one of my better times going out there--and, of course, had an even faster ride back.  Without pushing myself and with a stop at Point Lookout to ponder and soak up sun and salt air--and consume a packet of Welch's Fruit Snacks (Cherries 'n' Berries) with a bottle of seltzer water--I still managed to get home more than an hour before sunset.  (If I were Jewish, I could've been lighting my Shabbos candles!)

Even though my logical mind told me not to go anywhere near a beach, I did.  I saw the traffic I expected.  Notice I said "I saw".  I structured my ride so I didn't have to spend much of it pedaling alongside rows of SUVs with cranky drivers and their spouses screaming at their screaming kids--or each other.  And those vehicles went to the places I expected:  Rockaway Park, Rockaway Beach, Atlantic Beach, Long Beach and Lido Beach.  I also expected to see some of those vehicles and crabby kids at Point Lookout, which is right across from Jones Beach, one of the most popular summer seaside spots in this area.

But I saw this:

That tree, or whatever it is, always looks the same, no matter the time of day or year.  I've asked a couple of people what kind of tree it is and how it got there; no one seems to know.  Next time I see a Parks Service employee, I'll ask.

Somehow it fits into my  "While His Fixie Gently Weeps" post-- or the spirit of Salvador Dali that helped to inspire it.  While a bare tree/Gently weeps.

Now I'll show you someone who gently weeps:

At least, that's what she did when I walked by.  She and the window are across the street from where I live.  I passed them after I got home, returned Arielle to The Family and went to the store.  

She gave a soft, rather forlorn, meow.  I think she knew she was looking at a friend but we couldn't get any closer than we were.  Perhaps one day...