31 July 2008

hewo there

hey people. it's been a little bit, or, as the kids say in socal, "a hot minute," since i've posted. i haven't been home very much lately. i haven't even seen my roommate in 8 days. weird.

anyway, lots has happened in the biking community. critical mass was last friday, and i managed to avoid it successfully on my way home. yes, on purpose. i just want to get home man. however, an unfortunate CM participant in nyc got tackled by a rookie officer. in case you haven't seen the youtube video all over the internets, here i am to bring it to you.

the cop hadn't been on the force for even a month, and now he's been stripped of his badge while they conduct an investigation. the most egregious thing, and i'm including the linebacker-style tackle, is the officer's own account of what happened. to put it briefly, his statement differs greatly from what you can clearly see on the video.

nytimes brings up this phenomena in an article as video cameras are becoming rather ubiquitous, so are scary pictures that starkly contrast officer reports. first to my mind is the LA may day protest disaster last year. my mom on her cell phone could capture this, just as i could, and just as my 14 year old cousin with his little sidekick3. but not my iphone carrying family member. but i do believe there's an app to adapt the current shoot-only camera. anyway, this relatively new technology of a portable video cameras may just force officers become more accountable in their actions and statements. yes, i know i'm rather hopeful in saying that. i wonder what my DA/PD friends have to say about all this. i shall ask and report back.

but luckily for humanity, but perhaps not for media outlets, the biker is back to work, lacerations and all, and he's refusing to talk to the press. he's got a nice smile, and he works at the farmers market! how effin cute: a guy who likes things i do. and in drama-free packaging. refreshing these days.

an quick aside, i love what the bikesnob has to say about it. of course, he goes on a tangent. he acutely states my exact reasoning for despising crowds (see above and see below). when people would visit me for new years while i lived in nyc, they wanted to go to times square. i would rather poke my eyes out with a rusty heated fire poker and then hear it squish as someone steps on it than be in that crowd. one reason being is that i have to pee often, and that is just a logistical nightmare in such a crowd. but, and, more importantly, because i feel crowd mentality has a sense of crazy instability to it. like anything can happen at anytime and no one knows how anyone is going to react. this is why i despise getting off the train on game day as the train station is right next to the ballpark. the cars and people multiply by literally thousands and you can just sense the CRAZY in the air. i try to get out of that area as fast as i can. i'm even thinking of getting off a stop earlier the next time there is a game just to avoid all that nonsense even if it is quite out of my way.

now i've been away for a reason. my lovely bici was in a minor accident. totally my fault. i was, in a crowd, but this time people needed to be looking after me. i was rather unsteady on my feet walking with the boo. well, i was stumbling next to the boo. the boo was being rather gentlemanly that evening and was walking my bike. we had just seen a movie in the park and we were walking home. there were a lot of people headed in our direction. i stumble into him, he falls, hard, on my bike. i fall on him. where we live, there are lots of driveways just off of the sidewalk. driveways go down slightly. you can fall even if you are paying attention. i was not.

so bici just took a 250+lb pounding. :( she wasn't working very well until today. the boo got it into working order enough so i could take it to work today, a full 5 days later. i noticed it was skipping a gear and there were some strange clickings. so i went to the bike store close to work. thanks god there is one nearby. i have been there before to purchase a soma water bottle (they sell it for cheaper too!!), and they are very friendly. they adjusted the gears a bit and i was back on. as i was riding home i noticed they aren't quite right, so i will probably go back during lunch tomorrow to have them finish what they started.

my newish and pretty handlebar tape is all cut up and full of grease though :(. i think the boo put on some grease when he fixed it. i don't mind the scrape, it's like a scar for bici, and this chick digs scars.

i also purchased a new water bottle. same kind. apparently my water bottle cage was loose one day and i didn't notice. i remember feeling a little bit of water on my leg, but i didn't really think anything of it. turns out my water bottle completely fell out while i was riding down a super busy street to pick up my paycheck. how dangerous! i also can't believe i didn't notice it fall out. but it did. i'm actually wondering if it has anything to do with the plastic actually being a better grade. it's not as flexible, so it wouldn't hug to the sides of the cage as i was riding, but rather just flew out as i presumably went over one of the many large potholes on market street. who knows.

i also picked up something i've been wanting. part of my diabolical plan to be a bike commuter who does NOT wear all black. i can't help it if i have a lot of black clothing. i like it. however, i do want to be seen and after hearing multiple stories of people running red lights and hitting friends on bikes, i just want to be seen. i also don't want to look like a complete dork if i can help it. so i've kept my eye open for a reflective NOT yellow, but bright, but not red, wind/water resistant jacket. the northern california mornings and evenings are rather chilly, slightly misty and as i've mentioned before, the afternoons are definitely windy.

i have said many times i'm 1/2 dude. this dude doesn't mind smelling like outside. in fact, i rather prefer that more natural smell than smelling like some crappy ass perfume. that stuff just makes me sneeze. however, i don't want to entirely smell like BO either, and i've noticed my cotton (black) hoodie does. oops. so out of practicality and vanity (or is it courtesy to others?), i purchase this little number from the bike store. it caught my eye as he was fixing my gears. so i tried it on. it's light, it's bright, it's NOT yellow, and it looks like it wouldn't smell after two days. maybe after a week, but not two days. and...dum da dum dum duuuuum, it's WAY lighter than my cotton hoodie. it's definitely something much brighter that i'm used to wearing, but i guess i don't like to stand out too much. combined w/ the jeans, you might think i had a smile in here somewhere.

i took it for a test ride today on the way home. it was so great. it was windy, of course, didn't feel the cold seeping through the knit of cotton...cause it's not! it was rather warm today in the afternoon, didn't feel hot while wearing it. and, since it's super light, i could also wear it to run. i think this jacket is my new best friend. and even though my job will eventually end, my wearing of this jacket will not since i ride my bike absolutely everywhere.

which brings me to my next topic. i. hate. muni.

i had to resort to buses to get to the train from home/work. both here and there. over there the buses are much better. you know, they actually follow the schedule they provide online. here? nah, they just don't. i have to walk about 10 minutes to catch the street car that goes directly to the station. that's fine w/ me. sure it takes me 10-15 minutes to get to the train by bike, but hey, who's counting?

so i get on the street car. plenty of time to get to the station. i give myself 20 minutes more than i think i need. train leaves at 744. i'm there at 730. oops. guess i left later than usual. train comes. i make the 759. fine.

that night i have dinner with my friend. he waits with me for the bus to take me back to my neighborhood. we probably wait nearly as long as it took us to eat dinner. god. hate muni. all i want to do is sleep.

the next day, i decide i'm going to make the 814 because i figured out how to do this w/o the bike and get to work sort of on time. street car is impossibly slow when i'm on it. the street car gets to the stoplight one turn away from the stop. and when i say one turn, i mean after the stop light, it needs to turn left and there's the station. we are waiting there for 4-5 minutes. i know this because i listened to two songs while waiting. i had had tea, so i was not only suffering from my regular lament over not having my bike and frustration with seeing the train station across the street, but now i had caffeine impatience. that's the WORST. i also tend to have some control issues, but seriously. it was 8:09 when we stopped at the light. i was already anxious then because the train was taking a long time at certain stops. here i could see the train station, where i wanted to be, the stop which was across the street, and we were in the middle of both. i couldn't go anywhere and just saw the minutes click silently away on my ipod. when we finally get moving, i see the train roll away. i get on the 819. it leaves 5 minutes later, but gets there about 15 minutes after my other train because it's not a local. grrrrrrrrrrr. pulling hair out frustrated!
believe me. i'm a strong believer/advocate of public transportation. it just has to work efficiently and effectively. but catching a bus to a train has too many variables that even waking up early can't ensure that one will get to work on time!

so, while bici and i were apart, i got to thinking, what if someone steals bici or she gets in an accident i can't save her from? what would i do? first of all, i would hope to be able to buy a new bike. but which one you ask?

well, if i had to...i would get a mixte frame. i'm very short. frames are hard to come by. getting easier, but still hard. mixtes are basically extremely sturdy step through bikes.

mixtes are just friggin cool, and very me. mixte means unisex in french. um, yes. i'm 1/2 dude, 1/2 chick. i would get either moustache handlebars or bullhorns. i rarely use my drops to their full potential. but i only know that from riding around so much. i would probably either get the same seat i have now or see what all this brooks fuss is about. i would also like to try out making it a single speed (as seen in the bullhorn pic). but i would also take a 10-12 speed one as well. beggars can't be choosy. oh, and it has to be used. there's an absolutely stunning one that is new and close to me, but, um, it's also $1600. that's JUST the frame, fork and headset. sigh. besides, i said i like scars...old bikes have got em.

point is: my love, bici, and i are reunited. i love my new cycling/running/you-can-see-me jacket. i hope my new water bottle stays in the cage. oh, and my boo knows how to take care of me and my bici.

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