Friday, 24 August 2012

Bend Over Bridges.

The athletes of the Paralympics have been warned not to do any boosting.  Have you heard of it?  I hadn't, till now. You injure or harm yourself in order to induce an adrenal reaction, and enhance your performance. Neat trick, I guess.  But if you break your bones (??!) in order to compete, aren't you actually shooting yourself in the foot, so to speak?  You want adrenaline? Why not try fear, instead?  You get everything you need to boost to your blood pressure and stimulate the fight or flight response without any splints, casts, or lasting damage.  And less pain, too, though if you're into boosting you might not be okay with that.

Boosting:  It's Fifty Shades of Performance Enhancement.

Pain?  Meh. I like to feel good. Life's all about the pursuit of happiness, joy, ecstasy even, from the beginning right through to the end.  Can you imagine what it would be like to be free from fear, anger and anxiety, so that every thought, every action, every word embodied peace and loving kindness?  They say that there are only two basic human, emotions, fear and love, and that you are always experiencing either one or the other.  I'm a happy person, but fear lurks in the shadows of my psyche, for sure.

What do you fear most?  Is it rejection, the dark, your dentist, flying, spiders, elevators, or even your mother in-law?  My biggest fear is dead simple, though sometimes it causes complications. A few months into the millennium, I fell ker-SPLAT-ski from waaaay up on high.  I did not land gracefully, and it took a fair whack of time to get my ass out of the wheelchair.  I was not afraid of heights the day I fell, just as in my somewhat simple mind I am not afraid of heights today, (I love to climb - you'll find me in trees and on mountains!) but sometimes my body has it's own opinion on the subject.  Sometimes it goes all


on me and things get messy.  It's mostly a physical thing, but there is a mental component to it and an emotional one, too.  You may know the feeling: hands hot and prickly, muscles tense, breathing ragged and uneven, heart pounding, stomach leaden, blood pressure rising.  If you've ever been in a truly life and death situation, then you know in a visceral sense how the body orchestrates a perfect storm of an electro-bio-chemical soup to empower you to superhuman strength and speed. It's true.

It's a smokin' hot day for Vancouver, which means we may approach a whopping 30c (86f), and I have the day off.  What to do, what to do...? On a hot day, there is nothing  like riding the trails down from the top the Seymour Demonstration Forest on the North Shore mountains.  It's car free zone where you ride a wide and winding paved trail through a gorgeous mature temperate rainforest, and then you turn around and FLY back down again. The abundance of negative ions in the cool forest air soaks the stress from even the worst state of mind like a sponge sucks up spilled milk.  Some people drive up to the foot of the trail and ride from the parking lot, but that's just no fun.  We rode there.  The best route from Kits to the Seymour trails involves the Second Narrows bridge, as seen in this video:

This link is misleading, because it doesn't show the whole span of the bridge.  That would make a great little clip.  If he had filmed the whole crossing, you might be able to appreciate the view, but you probably wouldn't be able to feel how big and bumpy those expansion joints are.  You wouldn't know how they rock your ride.  You might gain an understanding of just how much the bridge rattles and shakes when an 18 wheeler is approaching, and though you might have an inkling how close those thunderous machines are as they roar past, you probably won't be able to see how easily you could reach out and touch them if you tried.  Luckily for you, though, nothing in any video could inform you of the noxious, nasty, sick feeling you get as you mainline the exhaust from the tailpipes of those ginormous great beasts all up close and personal like that,  not unless you get on the bridge and taste it for yourself.

(The observant will have noticed that another of my fears is that I die of car exhaust before my scheduled appointment with the grim reaper.)

(Note to self:  Rob the sock monkey of  his gas mask...)

Speaking of the reaper, the second narrows bridge is also known as the Ironworker's Memorial Bridge, in memory of all of the ironworkers who died when the damned thing collapsed as they were building it in 1958:

That's ancient history, but that's not the end of our bridge woes.  Quite recently, A crane collapsed during construction of the new Port Mann bridge, sending a section of it into the drink.  Nothing they can do with the new bridge can make it any worse for cyclists than the existing bridge, though, so bring it on.  Then there's the Cambie St bridge.  It collapsed into False Creek in 1915 as a result of fire:

Today it has a great, wide pavement set aside for pedestrians and cyclists.  It's rather lovely to look at, and it's a great idea in theory, but there is no order to the chaos.  No one thought to stick a lick of  paint down the middle to indicate that perhaps pedestrians ought to stay to one side and bikes to the other. The fear factor never kicks in on the Cambie bridge, though perhaps it should, since the likelihood of a collision with a pedestrian runs high.

The Dunsmuir St Viaduct now has a separate bike lane:

Which is infinitely better than things used to be in days gone by, when you could either crowd in with the peds:

Or take your chances with the cars:

There was a sweet post on Lovely Bicycle last week about Cycling Without Fear.  In it, she mentions that fear can interfere with your ability to ride well, so as I rode the Second Narrows bridge, I took stock. My hands and arms are normally relaxed, but I was gripping the handlebars so tightly that I felt a wobble coming on when a big truck approached from behind (though goodness only knows how much of the wobble was the bridge.) My heart rate is usually a function of how fast I am travelling up what kind of incline, but as I crossed the Memorial bridge, there was no correlation to movement whatsoever. Even as I coasted down the far side, my heart was pounding so hard I could hear my pulse, and my hands were hot, prickly, sweaty and tense.   I got a total performance BOOST from the fear, for sure, for what it was worth, but it felt awful.  It didn't help that we were downwind from traffic. There wasn't much of a breeze, so the exhaust on the air was nauseating. It was a nasty crossing, through and through, but even so, it was well worth it in the end.

And that's the thing...

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."   (Nelson Mandela) I learned that there is no way to get to the North Shore, and some of Vancouver's best cycling, without crossing the Burrard Inlet. Until the day I learn to fly and land gracefully that's sure to involve a bridge, so I summon courage to conquer this fear every chance I get.

If you don't want to ride the Second Narrows' Dead Men Memorial, you can always try your hand at the Lion's Gate bridge.

Pretty, isn't it? This is a cyclist's approach to the bridge:

And this is how motorists do it.  Poor sods:

Once you're on, this bridge boasts a world class view as far as the eyes can see, which may distract you from the cold, Canadian waters clearly visible through the railings, reflecting the light hundreds of feet below. If you have any sort of reaction to heights, you may experience an adrenaline rush riding this baby. If you have any sort of sense of smell you may find the sewage plant underneath a little off-putting once in a while, though not often. After all, there's a lot of pacific air betwixt here and there.

Can you tell that this is taken from hundreds of feet in the air?  This isn't even the apex of the bridge.  In the olden days, bridges were covered to spare horses the panic and terror of knowing that they were way high up off of the ground, bless the poor dim creatures.

What does it say about me that I can relate?

Today's bridges have phones instead of covers, though I can't for the life of me figure out how a horse is supposed to open the box...

Dear Reader.  You have no idea how much I love you.  I rode this bridge of my own free will yesterday, not in pursuit of a great, endorphin-triggering ride, but rather to share it with you. It was an enlightening experience. I learned that a suspension bridge shakes and wobbles with traffic, and it does so much more in some places than in others.  Between girders along the very edges of the bridge, it bounces A LOT, which reminds me that I am in a place destined for the mother of all earthquakes.

Still, in the event of the Big One  I would much rather be on a suspension bridge like the Lion's Gate than on the Burrard St bridge. I ride the latter daily, and it never inspires my adrenal stress reaction the way the big bridges do, though perhaps it is the most dangerous of the lot.  No, this bridge has it's own set of issues...

This is what you'll find on the bike path underneath the Burrard St Bridge.  And if you look up, this is what you'll see:

Yes. It's a green net.  It catches the bits that keep crumbling off the bridge, like this:

The crumbling infrastructure curse of the developed world.  Not exactly confidence inspiring, is it?

"He who has overcome his fears is truly free."  (Aristotle) Fair enough. I am freed from fear every time I overcome and get off one of those big, scary, smelly bridges. Tolstoy said "happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them."  I do see those bridges as opportunities to ride the good ride, but that doesn't stop my heart from trying to pound its way out of my chest.  Is there a simple solution when it comes to overcoming fear?  Who knows...

Wayne Dyer teaches the orange analogy:  when you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out.  What happens when life squeezes you? When nasty man in an Escalade squeezed me in the intersection of Georgia and Hornby, the bird automatically popped out, and that's quite typical, really.  Acceptance is the first step to change, though, right? One day the world will squeeze me, only goodness and light will come shining out, because I am living in that exalted state of enlightenment where every thought, word and action is filled with loving kindness.

Till that day, thank Goodness my fingers still function.

Next time you're riding, and fear comes a'knocking on your heart's door, don't bend over. Just smile sweetly, go to your happy place, imagine your destination, and say "Kiss my sweet cheeks, Sucka!"

 "I ride on the wild side."

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Stiff Competition and the Rise of the Olympians.

On Wednesday, Bike Snob posted bright and early, and this is how it began:


Seriously, Why Not Just Spell It "Wensday?" I Mean Come On.

I used to think the United States in America was the world's bestest country in the world.  But then I got older and learned about this place they have up north called Canada, and it turns out that Canada is beating us at everything.  Their Pacific Northwest is more smug and weed-addled than our Pacific Northwest.  Their French-speaking population is vastly more pretentious than our French-speaking population.  And the Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, is a bigger idiot than any big-city mayor we have down here in Canada's scranus:
photo: @RyanGHaughton/Twitter    

Oh, it's true.  He is.

I try to get on with it, so we can talk about bikes and sex and all of the good things in life, but time and time again, that porcine politician and erstwhile evil-genius leader of the Jabba Wars keeps making headlines. Are you ready for the latest news? Jabba the Ford was captured on camera reading some important document or other while he drove his Escalade 70 km/h Eastbound near Jameson on Toronto's Gardiner Expressway.

And what does Jabba the Ford have to say for himself?

Reporter: "Sir, there's a picture that went out on Twitter this morning of you reading while still driving on the Gardiner [Expressway]."
Ford: "Yeah, probably. I'm busy."
Reporter: "So you read while driving?"
Ford: "Yeah, probably, yeah. I'm try[ing] to catch up on my work and you know I keep my eyes on the road, but I'm a busy man."
Reporter: "You don't see a problem doing that on the Gardiner?"
Ford: "Well, I'm busy. I got to be — I don't know what that has to do with a trade mission, but anyways. Ridiculous questions sometimes, seriously."

Seriously?  It would be funny, if it weren't so sad.  And scary. And sick. Remember, this is the man who said "Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks, not for people on bikes.  What I compare bike lanes to is swimming with the sharks.  Sooner or later you're going to get bitten. My heart bleeds for 'em when I hear someone gets killed, but it's their own fault at the end of the day." Liar. He has no heart.

I was deeply disappointed when those crazy Americans elected George Bush jr, stunned when they did it twice.  It took years to get over the shock.  I believed it was an American anomaly, a product of their system, but that's not it at all.  The truth is crystal clear now.  George Bush and Jabba the Ford are both members of an evil genius brotherhood which uses mind control to manipulate the masses.  They belong to the same sect of that damned cult, too, the one which hides itself behind the facade of an idiot.

What else could possess soooooooo many otherwise normal people to vote for such horrible men?  

His Worship Mayor Jabba the Ford has an Olympic sized ego (it takes one to know one and so I know) to compliment his generous waistline.  It seems 'poetically just' somehow that he should drive the very same wheels as  nasty man in an Escalade. He's special.  He's above the law. The rules don't apply to him. He's busy.  He's important.  
Jabba's much busier than Dutch PM Mark Rutte, seen here riding to work in the midst of  Euro Hell, 2012.  Odds are Rutte lives up to his name,  and is actually getting some.

In Ontario, His Worship Mayor Jabba the Ford is the biggest, busiest, most important shark of all, and if he wants a morsel of freshly snared cyclist caught in his own little bike-lane-free fish-bowl, well, you had better get out of his way, because if you don't, if he's busy and also driving and reading some important document and OOPS he hits you and you die? Well, it's your fault.

Quickly!  Someone give the man a gold medal for making a great big stinking turd of himself in the transfiguration event of the Evil Genius Olympics.  What a champ.

For the rest of us the Olympics are over for the moment.  All that's left are a few accounts to settle, some memories to share and some bits and bytes of energy scattered throughout the ether-sphere to spark thought.  Over and done once more are the ritual, the symbolism, the spectacle, the drama, the competition, the pageantry, and of course, the potential to make a great big splash on the world stage.
Not every athlete can rise to the occasion, you know, and some do it better than others.  Take rowers, for example.  Let's examine the men's coxless four.  I hear the teams facing the Americans  in the final were up against some pretty stiff competition.  Every one of the American team's members gave it all they had, but one man's achievement stood head and, erm... well, let's just say it stood a head above the rest.

The American team, receiving their bronze medals for the men's coxless four. Mr Henrik Rummel takes the salute to the flag very seriously, bless his patriotic heart.  I'd go on, but Colbert did it first. And best. As usual.

But why do the Olympics matter?  Why do we invest so heavily in our beloved games? 

Think about the ritual and tradition of the Olympics.  There's always a truce between warring nations during the games, a suspension of conflict, from which you might infer that the usual state of affairs was - you guessed it - conflict.  We give up the conflicts nearest and dearest to our evil human hearts for two weeks so that we can compete to prove who is fastest, strongest, best.

In the end, everyone just wants to win.  

People in the United States of America all want to believe that they live in the greatest country in the world, but they're always looking up to us, and that's gotta be, um... hard.   When Bush was elected even though Gore had more votes, I shook my head in wonder, but, hey, that was just one of the many miracles of American politics.  It seemed dodgy at the time, but in retrospect it was nothing.  Canadian cultists politicians do it right. There is a pall of criminality hanging over our latest federal election.  So there.

But that's nothing.  In the end, we'll always win, because we have the sickest sources of Haute Ice on the planet. And what will we do as victors?  How will we celebrate?  Here's a suggestion:

Image 1 of 6
Bradley Wiggins and a friend enjoy a crafty cigarette whilst on holiday in Port de Pollenca, Mallorca Photo: Aller Media AS / Rex Features

Crafty indeed... he's riding his olympic high.  He took a page, or maybe just a paper, from the book of Canadian Olympic gold medallist Ross Rebagliati, and it appears he is preparing to integrate himself seamlessly into Vancouver society.  

His Worship Mayor Jabba the Ford wins the idiot of the year gold medal award hands down, but that's just sheer talent and ability shining through.  He may have won a few battles in the Jabba Wars, but in the end he might as well try to stop the tides from turning, because cyclists are dedicated, disciplined and determined.  We lay it all on the line all the time, and if he thinks we're just stand around posing as shark bait, then he's got another thing coming.  

The games are over.  Let the fun begin.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Playing fast and loose...

Why DO so many drivers seem to hate cyclists?

Last week, the great guru of all things Snobical figured perhaps they envy our freakish quads, so of course I used that as an excuse to bare my legs and shamelessly flaunt them. Like this:

                                                               You see?  I did it again!

I figured for sure he's right, and further, that those angry, nasty motorists who do have a hate on for us are afraid they will never have freakish muscles like mine. Worse than that: they fear they will turn into their great leader, Jabba the Ford, Toronto's champion of all things car, who checked himself into hospital earlier this week. (May I point out that this is the second time this year he has had to do so?)  His distressed mother and his publicist visited him the very next day, but no sign of a happy wife in the picture anywhere.

All this controversy over whether or not his health is of public concern.  Legally? Surely it's none of our business, unless it prevents him from carrying out the duties of his office. But ethically?  Isn't he obliged to be of strong moral fibre, to be a good role model to his fellow citizens young and old? Silly sod. If only he had parked his car and got on his bike  when he started his weight loss challenge, he would never have failed.  His wife would be a happier woman today, for sure. All that sex could have triggered a moment of nirvana so blissful that he fully awakened to the error of his ways.  Imagine... Toronto's cyclists would no longer need fear the great Jabba Wars...

One kind reader allowed me a welcome insight into her experiences as a driver, and the root of her fears.

    • XXXXXXXXXX I will never ride a bike on a busy street in Edmonton...the driver's scare me as I drive my little Mini Cooper. What scares me about cyclists are the ones who are cars when it is convenient and pedestrians-on-wheels when it is convenient. I am truly terrified of killing another human being! That being said, I do like our new bike lanes in the city!

She is afraid of the other drivers - even within her car, bless her, and who can blame her?  Cars are lethal weapons for drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and planet alike.  She is also "Truly terrified of killing another human being." This is a wonderful coincidence, because we cyclists (who often qualify as human) would prefer not to die at the hands of a motorist, either.

For sure, almost all motorists do not, despite all appearances to the contrary, actually WANT to kill cyclists. Well.  Except for ones like nasty man in an Escalade, who hated me before he laid eyes on me and literally threatened my life. But really, if you're in a rush to get somewhere, and you go and kill some cyclist, well then you've got to deal with police and emergency services, right? It's not conducive to getting where you're going, even if you don't like bikes.

So fear of hitting cyclists makes drivers nervous.  If you're not happy about the prospect of encountering bikes and then a cyclist behaves unpredictably, perhaps by switching from the road to a pedestrian crosswalk, or by weaving in and out of parked cars, or dashing in front of them, or by turning suddenly without first signalling, you might get angry.  And if you don't have a constructive outlet for your emotions (like riding a bike and having sex, which is apparently a lot like riding a bike) then the anger simmers, boils, and bubbles, until it transmutes and hardens into hatred.

And that, dear reader, is a wormhole to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hatred, hatred leads to the dark side.(Yoda)  Hatred is exaclty where nasty man in an Escalade lived when I met him, and Jabba the Ford lives there, too.  You don't want to join them, do you? So what are you going to do?

Do you want to feel healthy, happy, and fit?  Wake up already, and join us in the bike lane! It will make you happy.  For real.  It feels good.  Make a habit of it. There really is safety in numbers, you know.  Surely you've noticed that there are more and more of us out there every day.
According to his Snobbiness, "Amsterdam and Copenhagen have long ago reached what the bike advocates refer to as "critical mass."  (Not the ride you do on your old crappy ten speed as an excuse to look for a date, but the actual state of having lots and lots of bike commuters, which is what ultimately makes cycling safer."

Plus, you'll have waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more sex.  See?  Win/win.

You probably have a bike in the garage.  Take it out, grease the bits that squeak, fill the tires, and hop on.  It's that simple.

Well, it's nearly that simple, anyway.  If you're going to go for a run, you're not going to don a pair of five inch stiletto heels.  If you're going to the opera, you're not going to put on a pair of Uggs, are you? (Well, maybe some people would, but that doesn't make it right.) You'll want to have just the right pair of shoes for every eventuality. A good basic pair of shoes will carry you through most of your days, if called upon, but there are times when a pair of Nike cross trainers simply won't do.

Similarly, almost any old bike will serve your needs as long as your intention is to casually ride the city streets.  If you want to go very fast, or really far, it would suit you to have a road bike. This one makes my heart sing:

If you prefer to teeter in tight places, or you can't afford a saddle, pretend you're Danny MacAskill, and try a trials bike.

If you want to fly off a mountain, pick a mountain bike.  Then, if you find yourself on one of B.C.'s hemp saturated Gulf Islands then you'll need an Island bike.  Simply add a basket to your mountain bike, et voila!

If you're ready to join the commuterevolution, but have to use public transit, pick a folding bike.

If you have a thing for bowling pins and scaring small children, you're a clown.  Get a unicycle.

If you're an eco-conscious adernaline junkie bike messenger from Berlin, this bamboo Ozon fixie is your baby:

If you have too many DUI's to ever take the wheel legally again, and if gangsta rappa is on your CV, you're a lowrider rider through and through.

                     If you wish to ride a Harley, but the wife won't hear of it, chop-chop, choppa...

If you like to eat drink and be merry with a hundred or so of your close friends, choose a cruiser community.

                                            Um.... Oh dear.  Hmm.... his and hers parade bikes?

                                                  Moving along then.  
But you see what I mean. There are as many possible bikes as there are personalities out there. Just like shoes..who couldn't do with an assortment?  You know, you'll want your heels, your winter boots for cold, your heels, your wellies for wet, your heels, your cleats for riding, your heels, etc... it's good to have a little choice, right? Life is way more fun when you have an assortment of bikes to choose from, too.  It's comforting. You get to feel like a boy scout: all prepared.

If you love all things beautiful, and you want  to wear gorgeous shoes astride a lovely bike, then pick a pretty city bike, like mine... :)  I prefer it for commuting and the rest of the daily grind, because it protects my clothes and my shoes, and it's easy to mount discretely in a skirt.

                                          This one? Not very discreet, but still the ride is worth it...

I like the Amsterdam for all sorts of reasons, actually.  It allows you to place your feet flat on the ground even as you sit on the seat, which doesn't sound like a big deal, but if you're a girl in a skirt, this makes the whole experience far more comfortable than it would be otherwise.  There are boy versions of this bike, too, for those of you who don't need to worry about a step through frame.

But here's the best bit:  This model of Electra has eight speeds, so it climbs Vancouver's hills without too much trouble, (if a bit slowly because it weighs a bloody tonne.) Yet because of the weight of this bike, it really moves on the downslopes and any time you manage a bit of momentum.  This is, in a word or two, great fun.  In fact, it moves so well that when I asked these messengers if I could take their photo, one of the guys in the middle said "I tried to take a picture of you in those heels of yours the other day, but I couldn't keep up."

High praise from a messenger, and music to my ego ears, for sure.  And that's the thing. As a girl who likes to go really, really fast, the heavy city bike has one absolutely fabulous value-added benefit:  it makes me a stronger, faster rider for those times when I ride the bikes that make my heart sing.

That which doesn't kill you, and all that... :)

Truth is, I'm not really all that fast, but I do know how to shift gears, and that makes me faster off the start than eighty percent of the riders I encounter.  You would never start your car in fifth gear, would you?  Why start your bike in tenth? Gears or no gears, though, it's just plain good to mount up and get on with it.  Does your brain good, does your body good, does your heart good.

 Here are a few tricks to riding safely and easily:

1. Keep it aerobic, with your pedal-stroke cadence high, so you're moving your feet fast, rather than straining and pushing the pedals hard.  This means shift shift shift for city riding.  Make a habit of it.
2. Stay visible. Cars will usually give you as much room as you give yourself.  Give yourself a few feet to move and the cars will, too. Do not weave in and out of parked cars.
3.  Stay away from parked cars period.  A few feet will do.
4.  Be predictable.  Signal.
5.  Love your brain. Wear a helmet.

and most importantly:


Thursday, 2 August 2012

The Gore-y truth: words of advice from a true wit and some from a half wit, too.

Who knew? Gore Vidal was a kindred spirit on the Bike Path to World Peace.  Whether he ever rode a bike is immaterial. Check out his delightful and supremely insightful secret to a happy life:

“Never pass up the chance to have sex or appear on television.” You see?  He gets it.

It's a good idea to get naked and sit in the sun when you can, too. That's why you might want to head to Wreck Beach every once in a while.  For you poor unfortunates who live somewhere (anywhere) else, Wreck Beach is the only 'clothing optional' spot in Vancouver.  It is also the only public space where the temperature is, on average, about five degrees hotter than anywhere else in the lower mainland.  Blessed be... When the tide rolls in, the water is warm and lovely from all that sun-baked sand.

It's gorgeous:

If you ride waaaaay up to UBC bluff, this is where you will probably park your bike: 

...before you embark upon the long trek down the 473 steps to Wreck:


On the way down, you can snicker at all those poor sods who had to pay LOADS for PARKING before they haul their gear, some of them from quite a distance, to the top of the stairs. Heh heh. That feeling? That's   the foundation of Bike Snob's new religion:  Smugness. Check it out. He's funny.  He's also one of those exceptionally clever people who can well afford to lose a few brain cells, so he doesn't like helmet laws.  Personally?  I've seen the effects of dain bramage, and I can't afford to lose any of mine.

Unlike expensive car parking, you will find FREE bike parking directly across the street from the top of the trail. Handy, that. :)

Note that a few clever cyclists have chosen to park their trusty steeds using the famous Hipster Highlock, and in some instances, this serves a useful purpose. With so many bikes crowding the limited available space, you can't help but appreciate those who manage to lock up so creatively, presumably in an effort to leave more parking space for everyone else.

Which may lead you to wonder what kind of thoughtful soul might be attached to this baby:

Actually, upon closer inspection, you probably don't have to think too hard to figure it out.

In case you're not big on extrapolation, this little gem reads "Fuck off, I'm racing." So in the end he may be somewhat self-absorbed, but hey - that's the least of my flaws, so I can forgive him that, and to his credit he doesn't drive everywhere.  He gets it on some level at least.

Gore Vidal, on the other hand, really got it.  Of the human condition, he said “"There is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise." Eggg-zaaaaactly.  My sentiments exactly.

(Oh yes, dear reader, Abundant Ego is another of my many flaws.) 

I have a SIMPLE plan.  (Remember, I am NOT the brightest penny in the purse, so I always KISS* when I can.) Abundant Ego aside, this is a good plan, and if everyone will simply do as I advise, we'll all be humming along with happiness in no time. Sigh... but no one appears to be listening. Looks like humanity will have to limp along as best it can.  (*KISS = keep it simple stupid!)

"Why limp when you can drive?" you might wonder.

Ask yourself this:  why are there so many miserable people on the streets out there, all fueled and fired up by hatred? Why do so many people have such a problem with bikes?  Bike Snob says “For years, I've struggled to understand why so many drivers seem to hate cyclists.  Is it our smugness?  Are they jealous of us?  Do they secretly envy our freakish quads?”

This strikes a chord on so many notes. I suspect that more than a few of those angry nasty drivers envy my freakish calves, but never mind.

Snobby nailed it again. I've wondered the very same thing for donkey's ears.  Why do they hate us??  There are loads of drivers out there who do, too, tons of em. The Nasty Man in an Escalade, the man who ran a red, cut me off in the middle of a major down-town intersection during heavy rush hour traffic and then got out and threatened my very life... he had a hate on for me before he ever laid eyes on me. He definitely doesn't get it. Why the hatred?

 “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hatred, hatred leads to the dark side.” (Yoda) So just as pain is a symptom of injury, hatred is a symptom of fear.


That's it! It's not just envy.  It starts with fear. Maybe those nasty car people are afraid that they might never ever have freakish calves like mine! They feel powerless to hold back the tide of encroaching obesity and ill health, and that makes them feel angry.  They steep in their anger daily as they sit in traffic congestion, sucking toxic emissions from the tailpipe in front of them.  Car people are contained, caged in, trapped and strapped in traffic, watching healthy happy cyclists whizzzzzzzzzz by, all carefree and well sexed, and that turns their anger to hatred.  Without once stepping out of their cars to even try life in the bike lane, they drive themselves directly to the dark side, where they end up waging war on bikes, all the while looking more and more like this:

                                             Toronto's own anti-bike mayor, Robba the Ford.

I would be afraid, too, if that's what I'd become. And do you know what's really frightening?  There's a tsunami of drivers out there, just like him, getting fatter and unhealthier, feeling meaner, nastier, and uglier by the day.

So listen to me already, people. Simply do as I advise.

Don't let this be you.

Park your car.

Get on your bike. Do it a lot. Get hot. Get happy. Do it daily.

Fer fuck sake already.