Posts Tagged ‘ pics ’

Good morning, Monday.

Monday, March 29th, 2010

That is all.

Solidarity… a little TOO solid mayhap.

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

I was at the Stop and Shop on Harvard St. last friday during lunch hour; just slouching around the store looking at yogurt and soda and postponing my return to work, when I noticed a ruckus in the front of the store. Well, more of a hubbub. A bunch of employees were clustered around a dude walking a bike into the store, helmet on head. I figured they were giving him ish about bringing his bike into the store (he clearly had a lock), and so I didn’t have an opinion on the situation either way; I did wander over to observe, because I’m just a naturally curious person. When I got closer I realized this biker (mild mannered helmet wearer with cargo-ready hybrid) was visibly upset – he had entered the store chasing after a man that had knocked him to the ground as he entered the parking lot on his bicycle. Just body-slammed him, out of nowhere.

This is the point at which I get a little steamed.

As I am questioning (to myself, I’m still just an observer) why someone would just knock a biker over in a Stop and Shop parking lot, and what Mr. Mild Mannered Biker did to deserve it, the group of us finally overtake Mr. Shove. The group confronts him and Mr. Mild Manners recounts the incident in the lot, with a query as to what brought that on. Mr. Shove barks something that sounds very much like what a cop would say when confronted, but it’s not intelligible enough for me to remember. Not really complete sentences. He may be disturbed, or he may not have had his coffee yet… but either way it’s clear that this guy has a problem; he’s a bully and a jerk, and he is STILL making threatening gestures. At this point I think , “ok here’s where Mr. Mild calls the police and reports him.. maybe gets him arrested”. But no! Mr. Mild Mannered backs down and takes his bike outside, riding away.

This is where I kind of freak out, because I feel that this is EXACTLY the kind of behavior (by cyclists) that allows us to be such easy victims of other people’s belligerence and frustration. I am feeling the flame of bikey solidarity boiling up in me, and I am pissed.

So I followed Mr. Shove outside and set my phone to take his picture. He noticed me doing this and barks “You take my picture and I’ll break that camera!”

So I took his picture, and I barked right back, “He should have called the police and had you arrested.”

Arf arf arf!

In retrospect, I question the prudence of this. Sure, I was in a public place with access to immediate assistance if he’d done something, but this guy was clearly not quite right in the head. And ALSO… this wasn’t my fight. Just because Mr. Mild Mannered was on a bike doesn’t mean he and I are part of some exclusive gang; I didn’t know him from Adam. But then again… I would likely have done the same thing even if he WASN’T on a bike.. the bike is just what attracted me in the first place. It’s easy to back someone up if you have some immediately recognizable kinship to them. Sometimes we identify with people because they are the same age group, or they wear similar clothing (all it takes is someone sporting a Death’s Head motif), but what if we all had this immediate ‘tend and befriend’ reaction to someone in distress, despite the lack of social indentifier? I’d like to see that happen, in myself and with the community.

Where’s the Little Cyclist?

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

For as long as I’ve been Cycling the streets of Cambridge, the east end of Cambridge Street has had two perfectly serviceable bike lanes .. but with one conspicuously absent feature.

Where's the little man?

Where's the little man?

Or the 'cyclist' diamond?

Or the 'cyclist diamond'?

I’m no expert, but I hear tell that unless these little icons are present in the lane, these lanes are not lawfully bike lanes, and cyclists using them are therefore not subject to the same protection that they would be in a true bike lane, or even a ‘squeezeway’! The horror! To be bamboozled into thinking we’ve got the protection of the city when the lines mean nothing at all!  And this is a road where lanes like this are truly necessary – double-parking is at it’s worst here on Cambridge Street, meanwhile cars blast by at speed, trying to make it past the next yellow light. Aggressive driving is rampant, and motorists in this area are none too kind to the average cyclist – I’ve learned this the hard way.

Another thing I noticed was a significant lack of bicycle parking… and a suspicious coating around all the meters.

What and why?

What and why?

This black plastic coating made it very difficult for me to use my ‘fun size’ Kryptonite U-lock. Is this thing here to help or hurt cyclists? For the love of Gond, what is it? There are scores of businesses on Cambridge Street that can, will and do benefit from the patronage of cyclists, but sadly this fact seems to have gone unnoticed.

My tobacco plants are flowering!

Monday, January 25th, 2010
wee little ‘baccy flowers

I have no idea why this happened… or if it’s supposed to happen…

This is my first attempt at growing my own tobacco, and unfortunately the light table really wasn’t big enough to house as many plants as I wanted or get them as big as they need to be harvested. This means I’m going to have to transplant them to the garden some time in April so they can mature fully. I didn’t expect them to start wanting to have sex first! The flowers are sticky and smell like… tar, kinda. Not that great. But not terrible, either.  I wonder if I’ll get viable seeds out of this. Exciting!


Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

I’ve been AWOL lately, but with good reason.

It’s Slutcracker season, of course! I’ve been busting my behind keeping all those sluts in line! If you haven’t seen it, there are still tickets for 8pm at the Somerville Theater on Thursday and Sunday, with a matinee on Sunday as well.

Krank and I have been fairing quite well so far this season. The New England weather has been crazier than usual, if that’s even possible. We’ve been as high as 70, as low as the teens and had all sorts of precipitation so far this month. I rode through all of it, but I must say I prefer straight snow to rain or a ‘wintry mix’ (NE weather’s equivalent of diarrhea ).  Last year’s coat is working fine for me, and with the addition of some extra gear, I’ve been a snug bug even in the freezingest of temps.

First off, I got a cheap pair of goggles to keep the cold/precip out of my eyes. They’re not perfect, but they match Krank’s brushed chrome details!

The Sneer

The Sneer

Also, because my blood pressure is super low and my body temp runs low, I tend to lose blood in my hands during really cold rides. I call this ‘Zombie Finger’, and it is not fun. I’ve found that the only way to combat this issue is the CLAW.

the CLAW!

the CLAW!

These power gloves are so good, my hands are sweaty even on 15F days. I haven’t bothered with any special footwear yet this year, but once it gets really gross out there I’ll probably start wearing my Apocalypse Boots with a couple pairs of wool socks inside. I miss having clips on my pedals, but the freedom of wearing whatever I want on my feet far outweighs the inconvenience of not adding the ‘pull’ to my ‘push’. So far my eight speeds have been working ok, with slight grinding in the low end probably due to cable relaxation. I’ll have to bring it back to Ace Wheelworks for a tuneup soon, since all these parts are new and liable to have settled, and I want a professional hand to finagle the spokes, the cables, etc. Until then, Kranky and I will continue to plague the motorists of the greater metro.

Also, despite the fact that I haven’t had any really BAD experiences with the local police, I’m seeing more and more that cycling related incidents are not on their ‘high priority’ radar, whether it be responding to a parked vehicle in the bike lane, a theft of cycle, or an act of aggression by motorist (even if it involves a hit and run, police won’t respond unless you or your bike are damaged). I’m working toward creating our own version of Dorchester’s  ‘Angels’ – where rather than fight drug crime, this would be a group that advocates for, draws attention to, investigates for and supports local cyclists in a very aggressive way. I already do a share  of this on my own, and if we could get as many cyclists as possible working in a network, I think we could make a big impact on the way local authority views the cyclist’s struggle. It’s about time crime against cyclists was taken seriously.

So anyway, more on this after the XXXmas season!

Venturenaught: Krankenberry

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009


Mercurial Panniers

Happily Ever After

Monday, November 9th, 2009


My beloved H-Bomb and Pugatch finally got hitched last weekend. I don’t usually do weddings, let alone cry at them, but this one… well, I guess you’d have to know the history of Grimlocke and Princess Pink Shoes to understand. Heather and I go back a long time. We met when I was just out of college while working at a designer jewelry company, and began a fast friendship based on lots of nights in the big city, blind dates and ill advised hookups. Eventually we both moved into town and got rid of our cars, becoming perma-pedalers in the Boston area. Together we’ve been members of the Boston Cyclistas, SCUL, The As Yet Unnamed Bike Gang for Cool Kids, among many other fly-by-night gangs, and spent a good many hot summer nights biking,  skinny dipping, running around getting bitten by mosquitoes in city parks and drinking under bridges and playing crazy games. I can only hope this is just the beginning of our fun together.

Congratulations, Heather and Dan!


Venturenaught: Krankenberry

Friday, November 6th, 2009
Venturenaught: Krankenberry

Venturenaught: Krankenberry

I selected all the bits myself and purchased them on the internets, but major thanks to the super helpful and mega knowledgeable people at Ace Wheelworks in Somerville.  They put the whole thing together for me, since I don’t have any tools beyond your average chainbreaker or pedalwrench-con-bottlecap-remover. Now all I need is a set of neon green or magenta panniers! Someone link me, I’ve been looking everywhere!

I see more and more bad cyclists these days. For shame.

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Death by Misadventure

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

I know it may not come across, but the truth is that my greatest fear on the road is not the other people.  I understand human nature, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that the next douchebag is going to act like a douchebag, much like the last douchebag. This is why I’m still alive (knock on titanium). What I fear the most is the great and unexpected Falmunction. The unpredictable structural discombobulation that can happen at any time but most often happens at the VERY WORST POSSIBLE MOMENT, and sends you spinning off into oblivion with no control and no way to save yourself.

This has happened to me a couple times in the past few months. Once while cresting the Harvard Ave. bridge – I was riding my chopper and the internal hub just… disintegrated. leaving me with no forward gears and no coaster brake. I had to Fred Flintstone myself to a stop to avoid coasting right into traffic on frantic Memorial Drive. The second time was just last week, when the gear cable on my Liesurenaught went kablooey right in the center of the intersection of Harvard and Cambridge (the site of another bicyclist’s death, ugh). Luckily I had learned from my last mistake, and my coaster brake and hand brake were in fine condition, so despite my lack of forward momentum I still had enough control to get myself to the curb.
When I read about the death of Tracy Milillo, particularly the statement,

Capt. Michael Gropman said the vehicle may have never made contact with Milillo’s bike.”

I was struck by how many times I’ve hit the bricks… or the curb or whatever, without ever having been threatened by a motor vehicle. Just yesterday, on my way into work I was welcomed into Allston by this little gift, which instantly deflated my tire and sent me wobbling into the right hand lane of traffic.

1 1/2" wood screw. Screw You.

1 1/2" wood screw. Screw You.

Good old Allston, always good for some road confetti.

How many times have people been chucked under the wheels of oncoming traffic because they installed new brake pads and forgot to loosen the calipers? How many cool kids on fixies with no brakes and no helmet (see: me last year and for 3 years prior) dropped a chain and then panicked, rolling right into oncoming traffic? And how would anyone know in the aftermath? How can you check a bike for ‘defects’ if it’s been rolled over by 2 tons of steel?

I used to foam at the mouth over drivers being let go without being charged after having been involved in cycling accidents, particularly when a cyclist is hurt.. but now I’m not so sure of myself. Particularly after my own recent experiences, which all happened, I might add, after I’d gotten my bike worked on by a local shop. Mishap due to pilot error is one thing – you can plan for that, you can mouse around and ride like Grandma taught you. But if your cable breaks, or your ball bearings go ‘KLONK!’ and seize up, or your brake pad shifts and rips out all your spokes… it’s the stuff of nightmares. Better wear your helmet.