2014 Seasons in the Sun

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cycling Claremont: State Farm is There

Did you know that Aflac first used a duck in their advertisements? The darned thing got too cocky, all full if itself, being a big television star and all, that they cut the contract in two, and gave him a swift kick out the door. The rest, they say, is history. The goose took over, and now, when ever anyone says Aflac, either to themselves or out loud, they say it with a croaky voice.

Anywho, this evening, when I came around the corner at the end of this street, that duck there, was standing in the middle of the street staring intently at (or staring down) the State Farm vehicle. It was an almost perfect Aflac moment which needed to be photo-recorded. Unfortunately, in the process, I scared the duck out of his trance, and he waddled out of the way.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Monday Blues at the Green Bike Program

Disgraceful. As a local blogger I, from time to time, receive chatter about things in the community. Sometimes I retell the information through the blog, others I keep to myself. For instance, over the years I have heard disparaging things about the Green Bike Program at Pitzer College. In each of those instances I have kept mum for a couple reasons: First, I have always, and still do, consider the program to be a worthwhile endeavor on the part of the students, and second, I have had no first-hand experience in the matters being discussed.  

But, Sunday morning I came upon such a scene of disregard that it made me shiver at the callousness. Bikes in various states of disrepair were strewn about the gravel and piled up in ignominious abandonment outside the GBP's brand new facility. I mean, if this is how you treat the bikes that next year's students will be riding…

I will be diplomatic and let you form your own conclusion. And who knows, maybe there is even a perfectly good explanation. If so, lets hear it. I am guessing that the students who make up the Green Bike Program are now gone for the summer, so maybe these were collected by college maintenance crews who, not knowing quite what else to do with them, simply piled them up here? Maybe they are unredeemable junk beyond hope. There are many possible reasons, but I can't thing of a single good one.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Up the Road: Plain Wrap Ride 2015

Sign up online, or in person at the shop. A good ride to benefit worthy organizations; best of all you can choose where your donation goes. Don't forget to check out the Plain Wrap Bike at Coates - it is a sweet machine.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


My line of descent is tentative and wary. The damage to thumb and wrist from a crash, now a month and a half in the past, has been slow to heal and the steepness of the grade, the looseness of the trail surface exerts extra and unwanted strain. It is a pain that could be avoided if I simply kept to the road; it is not the pavement itself that seems to cause a problem, but rather the way the bars are gripped. The extra wrist twist of the flat bars on the mountain bike seem to be the source of the aggravation. Not that the trail surface helps matters, mind you. Recent rains seems to have washed some of the soil away, exposing more rocks than ever. Normal, relatively, bump-free lines are anything but now.

Then there are the clouds. They are just a complete distraction this morning, swaying my eyes to wander away from the task in front of my wheel. Unlike the white rabbit (seriously) that darted out of the way as I careened down-trail into the Jungle, the movement of the clouds proved to be other than fleeting. Their masses seemed to slowly rearrange, and each time I chanced a glance their way revealed altered forms, shifting shapes.

Yes, the clouds were the main attraction this day. Bonus points to whoever can tell me this authors' name: "Another midday cloudland, displaying power and beauty that one never wearies in beholding, but hopelessly unsketchable and untellable. What can poor mortals say about clouds? While a description of their huge glowing domes and ridges, shady gulfs and canons, and featheredged ravines is being tried, they vanish, leaving no visible ruins…"

Friday, May 22, 2015

Crazy Legs: I'll Be Around, Yeah

I fed the Hakkalugi a little dirt yesterday, in the evening. Once a week on the green machine, that is my goal. That little bit seems to keep it… well I was going to say happy, but that is not right. It keeps it satisfi… no, that is not it either. Once a week keeps it from rebelling. That comes closest, I suppose.

As the thought settled in, it brought a song to mind, one I had heard earlier in the day and, though it is ostensibly a love song (or failed love song), I realized it is actually about bicycles - a special kind of bike, the kind that has not been ridden for far too long. The kind waiting patiently in dusty corner of garage, or dark basement. The kind of bike that will always be there, when you are ready to give it a spin. The Spinners (I'll Be Around): 

But I know there's always a chance
A tiny spark will remain, yeah
And sparks turn into flames
And love can burn once again
But I know you know

Whenever you call me, I'll be there
Whenever you want me, I'll be there
Whenever you need me, I'll be there
I'll be around, yeah

Anyway, I don't think any of the bikes belonging to the Crazy Legs riders have that problem; they get plenty of use.

Mine on the other hand, came dangerously close to being turned into those bikes. In fact until two weeks ago, I came close to devolving into one of those riders, the kind who shows up to rides but somehow, and mysteriously, never actually manages to ride. That is how mileage-deficient I had become. Thank goodness Bike Week helped to set me straight, and things are looking up once again.

the Euro

lets go already

Coates. Riders.

pewter sky

Thursday, May 21, 2015

2015 Ride of Silence

One was a young child riding home from school. One was a middle aged man riding his bike home from work in the evening. One was an older woman crossing the street on one of her daily errands, walking because she no longer drove due to age. None of the three knew either of the others, they lived in different parts of the city, came from different socio-economic backgrounds, yet all shared one overriding commonality. Each was struck and killed, or critically injured, by the driver of a motor vehicle. One driver was allowed to drive even after receiving multiple citations for speeding and reckless driving. Another drove negligently, by paying more attention to her phone than to the road. One was so morally deprived that they did not bother to stop and render aid, did not wait for the arrival of either law enforcement or emergency medical personnel, but chose the cowardly way and ran after striking his victim. 

Hundreds, thousands of similar stories play out around the world every year. Each of these violent ends leave multiple times those numbers, family and friends, with sudden and gaping holes in their lives.

see the duck. not sure if there was some hidden meaning that escaped me, but she was not afraid, and was welcomed into the group

Cecil reminding everyone why we were gathered

This is the reason the annual Ride of Silence has evolved into the worldwide day of remembrance that it has become. I hope you made it out to one of the many that took place across the Southern California region, or beyond, where-ever you live. It was worth shrugging off any other ride you may normally do on this one Wednesday night in May.

We were fortunate to have two local Rides of Silence this year - the long standing one organized by the Cycling Connection in Rancho Cucamonga, and a new one right here in Claremont. A third, in Pasadena, was far from distant as well.

Big thanks to Ben (I believe it is Ben), who suggested the Ride in Claremont, to Cecil for leading, and to the Claremont Cycling Club (CCC), with whom both Ben and Cecil ride, for hosting. Once we had all gathered Cecil reminded everyone why we were there, why we were riding. It was good to see so many clustered around, listening intently, then setting off and, true to the intent of the Ride, pedaling the fifteen miles in thoughtful silence.

heading west along Baseline

gathering at San Dimas Canyon Park

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cycling Claremont: The Pitzer Multi-Species Commons

I was originally just going to post a photo and call this one done. Maybe make some reference to Pitzer putting the "liberal" in liberal education. But I was curious about what a multi-species common is. So I looked it up. What I found was certainly more complex than what I imagined. I am not going to go into detail, but will provide a link, so you can explore at your leisure. Of course if you live nearby, or plan to be nearby at some point, you can conduct your exploration in person. 

While reading through all that information on the Pitzer website, a couple things struck me - first was the whole idea of foraging on campus, and I am not talking just plant materials , I read about trapping rabbits and squirrels to take back to the dorm room for the evening meal. Curious idea but, I wonder, how many students would it take before the campus commons became denuded of anything edible?

The second interesting tidbit I noticed relates to everyone's favorite weapon of choice, in this instance turned into a tool of the hunt, the humble automobile: " One of the major predators in our modern entangled ecosystems is the automobile. Their hunting practices provide an easy way to track what other species are living with us… Cars are certainly one of the most pervasive of modern predators in our urban ecosystems…" Do you see where this is going yet? Continuing, "walk or bike these edges of your area [roadsides] every month or so and make notes. Come fall when the weather cools and hovers just above freezing it is time to get some roadkill." I guess that last part there suggests they are not really talking specifically about Pitzer students at this point, but rather the more general populace. I mean freezing in the Fall? Not around here.

Anyway, read as much as you want, there is a lot in there that is both informative and entertaining. That is some liberal education, and practical at the same time.

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