Thursday, June 25, 2015

My Ess's Eff'd Up.

Shim got me thinking today.  That is all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

5 Minutes an Alley Cat

So there's this guy, Lucas Brunelle, who makes these films about people who ride their bikes around New York.

These are amazing films.  Possibly some of the most irresponsible bike riding ever.  The cyclists weave in and out of traffic.  They run red lights without slowing down.  They "calculate" the response of the motorists.  Somehow these guys (according to themselves) can find the safe line in an instant. They can make impossible maneuvers and stay alive in thick, unpredictable traffic.

Even though I think it is one of the stupidest things I've ever seen, these guys do have talent.  And luck.  Definitely some luck.

They even have a bike messenger race.  It involves a bunch of stupid dangerous riding through busy streets.  These are called "Alley Cat" races.

When I ride around our small little town here, I avoid any heavy traffic areas.  Even then, I obey all the traffic laws when it's convenient and safer than breaking them.

There are times when not obeying the rules of the road is better for a bike.  I'm not going to go into it or argue about it.  If you ride around for enough years and pay attention, you'll know when laws should be ignored.

But I don't run red lights unless nobody is around.

If nobody is around, you have to run red lights.  Or just wait at the light for however many minutes it takes for a car to show up.

 If all you do is drive a car, you probably don't realize that a red light at a minor street that crosses a busy one never changes unless there's a car there.

Yes - most lights have buttons you can push to get a "Walk" signal and cross.  I have a problem with this in theory, but ...

Oh wait. I'm not going into this.  Sorry.

Anyway - sometimes the laws are stupid.

When I was a teenage bike rider, I broke many traffic laws. I thought I was being safe.  I wasn't.  I shudder to think about the things I used to do.

I would blow through stop signs or red lights at full speed, but only at night when it was safe to do so.

We never had helmets or lights.  If we were approaching an intersection and didn't see the side of a pole lit up (presumably by an oncoming headlight), we didn't hesitate.

As an older man, I think "What if the headlights are off?  What if there's a bike coming from that way?"

So yeah, I ride much safer now.

Even if I wanted to ride like one of those idiots in Lucas Brunelle's videos, there's really not enough traffic here in Omaha to do a lot of that stuff.

Not normally.

To get the kind of traffic that jams up a few square miles of road in all directions, we'd have to have some kind of special event.  Maybe a sporting event.  Something like the College World Series.  Even then, with it located in South Omaha at the Blatt, there's really only one busy street.

What's that?  They moved the CWS to the downtown area?

Well, I guess I'd better avoid that area for a few days when the CWS comes to town.

What's that? It's in town right now?

So last night, I was headed back home after a brief little ride in Council Bluffs.  I came up Abbott drive to Cuming.  You know, the street where the CWS stadium is.

I ran into all the traffic deadlocked in every direction.  I would either have to obey the laws and wait a long time, or pretend I was in a Lucas Brunelle movie.

Had it been a normal night, I had just enough time to get home to take Jack to his Parkour class.  As it was, even if I played alley cat, I might not make it home on time.

So I made my decision.  I really wasn't surprised by it.  There was somewhere I had to be and I absolutely hate being late.  I had made a promise.

But - I'm not a rule breaker.  I decided to wait it out and be safe. Maybe I could call home and ask Jill to take Jack to his Parkour class.

But then I heard a voice.  Not like the sort of inner voice that goads you on to do things you might not ever dare. This was a different kind of voice altogether.  It was the voice of a cop leaning against a building.  He had on the neon green vest of a traffic cop.  I'm guessing he was assigned to direct traffic at the intersection I was at, but had given up.  The middle of the intersection was packed with cars.

He said, "Go ahead Boss, I'm not going to stop you."

I looked up at the red light.  I looked at the cop.  I said "thanks" and took off.

I figured the cop just gave me permission to do whatever I wanted until I got clear of the jam.

So I rode on the extreme right of the cars as fast as I could.  I was passing a car about every 2 seconds.  People were screaming at me and calling me terrible names. But for once, I didn't care.  I had cop endorsement.

One car must have seen my approach because the driver kind of veered right to block me.  I hopped onto the sidewalk and rode through the throng of happy/angry cws pedestrians until I got clear of the car.  I jumped back to the road and went over to the left where there was more room.

After a few blocks, I came to a traffic cop who hadn't yet given up.  I considered slowing for him, but when he saw me coming, he changed his hand signals.  He stopped the line of traffic and waved me and my newfound enemy motorist buddies through.  As soon as I was past, he switched again.  Maybe 3 cars and me got through that intersection.  I was able to pass cars until the interstate entrance at Cuming.  Then the traffic cleared up and normal speed was resumed. Everything was back to normal for me too.  I hung up my Alley Cat ways, finished my ride and took Jack to Parkour with a good 2 minutes to spare.

While I was blatantly breaking the law, I realized why the cops were cool with it.

The cops and I would like the motorists to understand something.

The bike isn't in your way.  The bike isn't slowing down traffic.  It's you and all of your big car buddies.

It made me think back to every time I used to ride through UNO during rush hour.  There was always a guard directing traffic at the entrance to the parking garage.  Whenever I rode by, he'd say "Thanks for riding a bike."

After yesterday, I understand.  Traffic cops hate cars.  If it wasn't for cars, they could do more meaningful police work.  When they see a bike, they think "Bless you, you sweet sweet gift from the precious lord above," or something like that.

Every time a bike slows you down and you get mad about the stupid bike in your stupid way, what you don't realize is that you could easily go around the bike if there weren't a bunch of stupid cars in your stupid way.

Oh yeah and you are stupid.  Just like your car.  Just ask me and the traffic cops. We're experts on the matter,

Thursday, June 11, 2015

So I'm the asshole?

When somebody asks "So I'm the asshole?", the answer is always "Yes."  Well, maybe not "THE" asshole.  But you're definitely "AN" asshole.  Yeah, I like the sound of that.

The trick is to not say "So I'm the asshole?"  Just think it.

I thought "So I'm the asshole?" last Sunday evening.  I was driving to the Lewis and Clark Monument in Council Bluffs Iowa.

My wife and 2 sons were also in the car.

It turns out that my younger son Abe loves to hike in the woods. I found this out by accident a couple of weeks back when Jack had a Devo Dirt Militia practice at L & C but Jill was busy so Abe had to come with us.

Abe has no business riding a bike at L & C, so I told him we could hike around for a while.

We have struggled for years to find some form of activity that Abe really enjoys.  I couldn't be happier.  L & C is beautiful and he just gets a thrill out of tromping around out there.

We were hoping to get a hike in early Sunday afternoon, but it was pouring rain.  That night Abe expressed sadness that we didn't get to go.  It was about 6 PM and I said we still could.  Everybody thought it sounded fun so we piled into the car and drove over to Council Bluffs.

When we got off the interstate at 25th Street and were heading toward Big Lake, I saw a big huge obese woman riding her motorize cart thing down the sidewalk.  She was heading Northeast.

I said, "I bet she's going to Wal-Mart."

"Nice," said Jill.

"Dad, that's rude," said Jack.

"What?" said I.

"Making fun of that woman," said everyone.  They didn't know there was a Wal-Mart right around the corner.  Also, I was making fun of that woman.

But it seemed unpopular, so I just said, "No.  I mean there's a Wal-Mart right here," as we rounded the curve revealing the big huge obese "Wal-Mart" sign, "That's all I meant," I said. "Oh you thought ..."

"Shame, Shame," I continued.

"Oh.  Sorry Dad.  We didn't know there was a Wal-Mart right there."

"Oh, I see.  You saw a big fat obese woman carting her ass down the sidewalk and thought I was comparing her to your average Wal-Mart customer.  But now that you know she's going to Wal-Mart, it's ok."

In conclusion, the only thing wrong with "So I'm the asshole?" is the question mark part.

Also - on Monday night, a few of us were sitting on my sister's porch.  We heard some people talking from half a block away.  Their voices projected very well.

I don't know if you've ever noticed that people with unbelievably loud voices are usually missing some teeth.

I wondered aloud if maybe teeth normally hinder sound's progress.

Most of the people on the porch thought I was being an asshole, but my Daughter put forward another fascinating hypothesis.  She said maybe their loud voices have caused them to lose teeth.

Brilliant.  The good news is I'm not "THE" asshole.  Just "AN" asshole.  But it is genetic.

Thursday, June 04, 2015


You know, I never really wondered or cared about cave droppings.  Or drippings.

A couple of weeks ago, I made a commitment to post on Wednesdays instead of Thursdays.  Well, as far as I'm concerned, if I can squeeze it out on Thursday, no problem.

There was no Devo Dirt Militia practice tonight (rain), but there is a code promotion.

So while that's going on over there on the Bill Gates, I'm writing to you from the Steve Jobs (R.I.P.).

I did the WNW last night for the 4th or 5th time this year.  Up until last night, I had never (this year) stayed in touch with the main group to the finish of the ride's first challenge.  I would have last week, but I had a flat tire.  Oh yeah and by the way: FTG.

Anywho's, there's been some serious racing and some high quality extra elite crashing going on for these guys.  There's another big race weekend this week, so they're taking it easy.

This means I get to hang with them on WNW for the most part.

For me, it's still like the hardest ride ever, but at least I'm mostly with them.

Once the ride was coming to an end last night and we were cruising back to the shop, I got to ride with my good friend Brady for a while.  Anymore, it's a rare treat because his riding is mostly dedicated to a specific purpose - and it's working.  Good on ya' mate.

But we were on the trail chatting away about the god particle and stuff when we went under a bridge that has a slimy wet stream running across the path.  Brady warned me that it might be slippery under there.

I said "Under where?"

Then he pointed at me and laughed. I have no idea why.

But then I said, "Yeah it's like stalactites are forming under there."

But he didn't bite.  He just said, "Wait.  I think that would be stalagmites."

I said, "You're probably right.  I think stalactites are what german cyclists wear and stalagmites are what they get when they don't wash their stalactites between rides.  Real itchy, those stalagmites.  A scourge to be sure."

Stupid, I know.  But way funnier after a long hard ride.  Well, hard for me anyway.

Thanks guys for taking it easy on the beaver last night!  Oh yeah, and screw you.  Jerks.