Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Done with August, on to the Fall


Well August has come and gone. Biked 31 days straight, rode to work when there was work, rode for no work when no work, borrowed a kid's bike from a cabin in Port Refrew, BC to keep the string alive>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

It's too bad we couldn't ride bikes all the way to Canada, but time is a thief.

So besides the little bike rides (I didn't ask permission, and I didn't want anybody to call the RCMP on me, so the rides were short...10 meters or so. I would have written "10 yards or so" if this was done in the USA, but it wasn't. So when in Rome...... actually, if it was in Rome it would have been "XI gradium or so "; if if were Scotland it would have been "a wee pedal eh wot?")

Anyway, Alindo, Tyler, Max and I slaughtered the halibut and the salmon.
I chummed a bit on the first day, but Alindo and I split a patch after that and although the seas were lumpy, our breakfasts stayed down.

Alan and Tyler are great hosts, an Alan is a great chef. I was relegated barbecue duty. Maybe if I do it again, I'll use a pedal-boat like on the canals in Amsterdam?

Canadian beer, in Canada, is expensive. But tasty. Lucky Lager, the bane of my young, impoverished, alcoholic youth, is different in BC. It's got good color and decent hops. And, it's 5.5% ETOH. That's right. But Alindo took us shopping in Belvue before the trip and we stocked up on Kokanee, figuring the Mounties wouldn't bust us for smuggling beer back into the country of origin. And we had a 6 pack of Blue Paddle pilsener.

Our reasoning was that if the motor failed on the boat, we would "break out our Blue Paddles" and head for shore.

Of course, our guide was all-business. We found out that his nickname was "Cougar Hunter". We thought that meant that he was into the whole "Peggy Hill is a hottie" thing (although Peggy Hill and Sarah Palin are pretty much interchangeable, and Peggy can speak Spanish)
But he was "Cougar Hunter" because he shot a mountain lion. (I once shot an elephant in my pajamas, but next time I go elephant hunting I am going to do it in Alabama, with Captain Spaulding, the African Explorer)

So I timed my rides to work. It takes me 5 minutes to get there, and I only have to crank the pedals 26 revolutions! Three when I hit the County bike path to gain a little elevation, four along the mobile home park, four more to gain some elevation onto Shady Lane, and then the rest in the County parking lot. But coming home, oy! It only takes 16 minutes, but it's a grinder either up highway 207 or through the woods.

Below we'll do an update on the Blacksheep/New Belgium bike, But first, another plug for Susan's trip on bike through Viet Nam to Cambodia.

We are doing this in February. It will be fun (Bia Hoi? o, yeh) And it's only about $70 a day for the hotels, bike and a local guide so we don't get too lost. ("I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks," Dan'l Boone)

The bike portion will end in Phnom Penh, but from there we will take a riverboat to Angkor Wat, home of the temple complex, happy pizza and the namesake of Angkor Beer (My country, my Beer! Seriously, that's the stupid slogan of the Angkor Beer Company.

I think it's a partnership with Carlsberg. And it's really no more a stupid slogan than the 21st Amendment Brewing Company's "Brew Free or Die". I mean, the 21st Amendment is located in San Francisco and it cans its IPA in Minnesota. So what's with the New Hampshiresque threat to commit suicide?

Anyway, once in Angkor Wat (or Siem Riep, the town) the guesthouse gives bikes to all the clientele. But if you go, take a pump and a crescent wrench. The tires are all low and the seats are all 'Cambodian-sized"

After the Tour-de-Fat in Truckee, a very nice journalist from the local paper interviewed me for a piece about the Tour, the philosophy of TeamWonderBike and cycling in general. She was headed for a vacation with fam/friends in Luxembourg. I told her we were all rooting for Kim Kircher to take the yellow jersey in La Tour, and that if she got to Bruxelles or to Bruges where to go for a good bike ride. I thought I may have infected her with the appropriate spirit. She emailed yesterday:

"Hey,I just wanted to let you know that I traveled to Bruges and took your advice about the bike riding there. We bought the Cyclo-3 Pass, and it was great. The sun came out, and biking along the canal to Damme was fantastic. I loved seeing all the people fishing along the way. We also biked around the perimeter of the city, which was beautiful. I wanted to thank you for the advice and tell you that biking in Bruges was the highlight of our stay there. Thanks again, and I hope your biking adventure has been going well."

See? It is infectious. And no plug for that Brendan Gleesan (no relation) film, but it was a good flick. And Meg and Beto pedaled from time to time while going coast-to-coast, including rides in Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and Chicago ("Let's leave Chicago to the Eskimos -- that town's a little too rugged for you and me, babe")

OK. What about the Blacksheep, New Belgium bike? I did change out the handlebars. I used a "Crowbar" from the box-o-bones, repainted to look nice, and added cut-off climbing sticks, painted flat back to match the bars and the bike. It really helps on the hills. But this bike is headed for a home in San Francisco, to be my commuter there. So the original bars will probably go back on. The hills can be avoided there, and they are all short ones, anyway.

And I had a contest to name the bike. My entry won!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

First Post for August

Hello, Ann, Klaus, Isabelle and all my two-wheel, three-wheel and other bike-riding friends around the planet! Here is my first attempt at a blogging, which isn't my style at all. But I thought I should give it a try. So here, and an update for May through July, and a third of August. You’ll have to wait until September for the next episode, but it will be better then. Nah, that's not likely, I am bloggeriffically challenged.


First off : We were in France for a while the latter part of May nad early June. We saw the French open at Roland Garros in the Bois du Bulogne Velo week in Paris was just such a great time, particularly because of the wonderful French (and Armenian) people. Isabelle got us all set up, and we rented bikes from Gepetto & Velos:

in the St. Michel district. Very helpful and knowledgeable. They were the ones to turn us on to Velo week, along with “Paris Rando Velo”

The “Rando Velo” is like a cross between the SF Bike Coalition and Critical Mass. They have a night ride every Friday that meets at 2130 at the Hotel de Ville and goes until about 2 in the morning. We tried it. Very well organized and no incidents, but the French motorists are polite and nowhere near as rude as American drivers. There are outsiders that help keep the group bunched and moving, but you do cover some ground. You can find their site at: there may be some way to view it in English. I don’t speak any French, but I read the language just enough to get almost lost. I mean, I wasn't really lost, just confused for about 5 hours.

Velo week had a great exhibition with a lot of cool bikes and self-wheeled transport. Those Chistiania Bikes (DK) were the best. Hooray for Danmark -- best designs, best Vikings! Best
ǾL and PǾlser as well!

And then Isabelle came with us for the Velo Week ride (3 cheers for Isabelle!). Wow. Police escorts and a motorcade. Free phlorescent riding vests. They stopped side street traffic and had a rear guard to keep away the autos. We rode at sunset through the Eiffel Tower, Champ du Mars, Invalides, across all the bridges (but not Lloyd Bridges; he picked a bad week to stop sniffing glue). And even that tour didn’t start until 8 pm and it was still going strong when we stopped for beers at 2230.

Paris has great bike lanes and are adding a lot more. Some are really wicked. Bikes and busses get to go the wrong way down one-way streets. That’s a pisser! And the roundabouts are a challenge but once you get the hang of it you can get pretty aggressive (Look kids, Big Ben! Parlament! Oh, wrong city, right movie)

We stayed in friends’ apartment in the 20th Arrondissment, between Belville (les triplettes?) and Cimetière du Père Lachaise, where Chopin is buried. We have to put in a plug for our favorite Polish guy.

A very cool neighborhood, and very bike friendly. All over Paris there are “Velib” stands.

You pay by the minute via your credit card for the bike, then return it to any one of at least a thousand stands. Or you can use your ‘Navig” metro pass. Here’s a photo of the bikes and the check out stations for Velib: But Gepetto had better bikes and rates, if you want the convenience of your own wheels.

Numero Dos: Bike to work day in May has become for me “Bike to Work EVERY DAY”. And I am really trying. If I don’t feel like riding my bike to work, then I just don’t go to work at all. Actually, it’s really easy to ride to work. It’s coming back home that gets sweaty. It’s 10 minutes downhill to the Courthouse, 20 minutes home. I have tried it on the road and through the trees. It’s longer, but faster both ways on the road. But if Champ

wants to come with me, then it’s through the forest. He’s a good dog, and we don’t want to lose him to an errant motorist, or to a country music idiot like Toby Keith, who killed our last dog. Bastard. But I never bought his CD’s anyway.

Riding to work has a few drawbacks such as having to wear shorts, but I’m getting a front fender for the mountain bike. And I have fenders on my commuter/road bike (see below!) It’s good for health and wallet and better for the planet. And there is always something to see. Last week Champ jumped a couple of mulie bucks in the lower meadow, one of them was a good, 4 points a side.

Batting Third it was time to say “Adios, amoeba” to our tall bike. I think it has a good home. We rode it to GG Park in San Francisco for the Tour-de-Fat.

A fellow fell in love with it. I let him take her for a ride, and after a few mishaps (nothing too bloody) he handled her well. He promised to give her a good home and he’s taking her to Burning Man, so Shawn will have to keep his weather eye skinned. IF you have never seen the tall bike, there is still a video of it on the web:

Batting Third: Thanks to the excellent folks at New Belgium Brewing Company of Ft. Collins, Colorado, USA,

we have one less car.

That's right, I traded the old AMC Jeep Cherokee for a new bike. The New Belgium people are really copacetic and they get it. Besides making some awfully good beers (or ǾL, for you Viking-Gypsies) like Fat Tire Ale, Skinny Dip, etc, they understand all things bicycle. It was at the Tour de Fat several years ago that we decided to join the SFBike Coalition. And as a result of a 3 way trade, I got a new bike (Itraded the Ranger to Meg, she traded the Taurus to Max, Max gave me back the Jeep and I swapped that for the coolest commuter bike ever. But I'm no journalist, here's what the Tahoe Newspaper said:

Sierra Sun Newspaper

Trading in fossil fuel for pedal power

Man trades car for bike at Truckee Tour de Fat event

By Karen McIntyre
July 30, 2008

On Saturday, 55-year-old R G drove his 1988 Jeep Cherokee from his home in Stateline, Nev., to the New Belgium Brewing Company’s Tour de Fat festival in Truckee. There, he handed over his car keys in exchange for a bike and pedaled it home — the first of many future rides on his new bike.

“It’s about rediscovering the cultural thrill of public transportation,” the Tour de Fat Web site said. “It’s about weaning yourself off the petroleum teat.”

RG, the third of this year’s 11 Tour de Fat car/bike swap winners, said he is glad he finally met some people who are as passionate about bike riding as he and his wife are.“We just love bicycles,” he said as he finished his peanut butter, banana and raisin sandwich on rye bread during lunch Tuesday.The South Tahoe judge said he sent New Belgium a YouTube video and essay once he heard about the car/bike trade, which challenges people to ditch their cars for bikes and supports bicycle and environmental charities.

“It’s good, certainly for the planet,” he said. “And it’s good for the people now riding a bike.” The brewery later notified RG to tell him he was chosen to receive the new bike in an excessive ceremony at the Tour de Fat.

“They embarrassed the heck out of me,” he said.

RG said it was easy to get rid of his car. The once-grey Jeep was mostly chipped of its paint and had driven a quarter million miles. It belonged to his son's grandfather, and had been well used for his son's high-school and college commuting at the University of Washington in Seattle. But it had fallen on hard times: the driver’s door didn’t open, and RG said he had to crawl through the window or enter from the passenger side.

“It was cancerous, that car,” he said.

His family was ready to donate the Jeep to charity and had given some parts away on Craigslist, so RG was happy to trade what was left of it for a New Belgium, fully-loaded, hand-crafted, Fort Collins-built commuter bike from Black Sheep Bikes.

“It’s a tremendous bike. It has 27 gears. This thing is a work of art,” he said. “That bicycle is worth 10 times what that car was worth. I can't wait to take it off some sweet jumps.”

RG said he is definitely going to buy a heavy-duty bike lock. In the 50-plus years he has been an avid bike rider, five of his bikes have been stolen.

“Bicycles are the most efficient method of moving humans,” he said. Bikes are faster than walking and sometimes driving, he said. They’re fun, healthy, don’t require insurance and can be fixed by the rider.

RG and his wife have ridden bikes around in Southeast Asia and parts of Europe, and he has been bicycle communting 2.5 miles to work since May.

New Belgium challenges the car/bike trade winners to ride their new bikes twice a week. RG said he is going to exceed the brewery’s expectations.

“My goal is to bicycle every day for 365 days — someway, somehow,” he said. When the snow gets too deep to bike, RG said he will snowshoe or cross-country ski to work and ride a stationary bike at home.

“It’s gonna be a pleasure. It’s not gonna be a challenge,” he said. “It’s a blessing to me, and it’s a blessing to our planet.”

Ok, now Max and I are off to Seattle to go catch a mess of Salmon (Chinook and Coho) and some tasty Halibut with Tyler and Alan Yee. Alanido Yee is a great guy and an excellent fishermanist.

OK, now check back later to see what I do with the new Bike:



  1. Got to think of a way to re-mount the saddle bags so that my Side-Show Bob sized feet don’t keep slapping them on the uptake. Maybe a longer rack to move the bags back?
  2. Maybe change out the handle bars to something straighter, then add climbing sticks? It's a little hilly here