Thursday, September 10, 2009


It's a word we use a lot - as in "the cycling community". The memories of my summer travels are full of chance encounters, generosity and minor kindnesses extended by strangers in every city I visited, all prompted by the bike:

A nice woman in Portland, ME stopped me and Jenny as we rode down Main Street to ask us if she had done something wrong the day before and then proceeded to tell us the story of an aggressive driver who had shouted insults at her the day before as she rode down the street. Nothing unites like adversity.

Tim and Shira in Vancouver, BC loaned me and Jenny beautiful bicycles during our visit; they had never met us before, but we had a mutual friend in NYC who made an introduction. Tim works for MEC in Canada and is developing a line of bicycles for them. I got to borrow a prototype track bike that turned a lot of heads as we rode around the city, Jenny was loaned a beautiful road bike. Tim and Shira also welcomed us into their homes, took us to dinner, and gave us gift cards to visit the JJ Press coffee shop. Shira works with the folks at JJ Press and the coffee was fantastic.

In Minneapolis, a nice young man who was out for a morning ride with his young son rode with me and Jenny for a few miles and described where to pick up local trails, where to get good coffee, how to find Hiawatha Cyclery and then went on in loving detail about how much he liked living in Minneapolis.

While we were in Traverse City, Jenny's family hooked everyone up with bicycles and we went out for a group 30 mile ride. We had family and friends from Michigan, Chicago, New Haven, Brooklyn, London on a 30 mile ride. The mix of bikes, everything from old steel Treks to new carbon fiber racing bikes, was as varied as the riders. We crawled along happily through the countryside and suburbs, some of us in spandex, some of us in jeans.

The cycling community really exists; it includes a lot of generous, enthusiastic people. I think about cyclists I have met who are obsessed with their narrow sliver of the sport and wonder if they miss out by refusing to engage people who fall outside of their own demographic.

Monday, May 11, 2009


We all get to be ambassadors for the things we care about. I spent parts of last weekend introducing a friend to cycling in New York City. Slowing down my usual pace, pointing out the sights and the smells, trying to make the angry mash of traffic and pedestrians seem safe and comprehensible - trying to make cycling accessible. My guest, Jenny, was a little nervous at first but not as scared as I had expected - by the end of the weekend she appeared to be truly comfortable and safe in traffic.

I rode with Jenny to Grand Central this morning to see her off. She stopped at one point on 42nd Street in a stretch of the road between the Ford Foundation and the Chrysler Building and with a big smile said, "I can't believe I am doing this!" After putting her on a train and resuming my commute, it occurred to me that I had more firsts than she did over the weekend. I sang songs for her - out loud! While playing guitar! I have been playing guitar for 20 years and have never actually performed for someone like that. It seemed safe, because Jenny, who is a well-trained singer with years of experience, had sung to me and made it seem perfectly natural and maybe even a little silly NOT to sing.

Late at night, lying together on a wool blanket, I read my journal entries from a recent bicycle tour out loud to her - another first for me. You see, she had shown me her blog and some very personal, reflective articles she wrote for a local newspaper - which of course made it safe for me to share my writing.

I am struck by how we can expand the the things we love in this world by sharing them. I doubt my guest would have ridden to Brooklyn if all I had done was explain the directions. Certainly, I would not have sung if she had not done so first. It's a bit like being a religious leader - the effective ones gain followers and converts by example, not by preaching. We can all do the same for the things we value: one more singer, one more writer, one more artist.

We should keep this in mind as we think about ways to grow the community of cyclists, inviting someone for a ride will work better than any leaflet, bumper sticker, or preachy tee shirt - maybe our motto should be One More Cyclist, and not One Less Car.

[A final note - the picture at the top of this post was taken on National Bike to Work Day, May 15th. The groups pictured are fine organizations; I participate in activities of both Times Up! and Transportation Alternatives. Nothing in this post is intended to criticize either entity - I just wanted to use the picture with the "One Less Car" logo].

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Pulaski Bridge Up!

This disrupted my ride to the UES last night. I knew it was a drawbridge but had never seen it open. My favorite part was when the operator had to go jump on it to get it locked down.

Posted by ShoZu

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Frosty ride home

Met a guy named Eden on the W'burg bridge. He was riding a nice Kogswell.

I forgot how slippery non-fixed bikes feel in the snow.

Posted by ShoZu

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Panorama of J* & X10 working on fuglybike

Panorama of J* & X10 working on fuglybike
Originally uploaded by Blind Robert

Krispy and J-star were messing around with an old Univega that Krispy's dad gave to her. There was so much wrong with that bike, but she's going to make it work!

Tournesol Crashed

Tournesol Crashed
Originally uploaded by Blind Robert

Got hit from behind by a car in my first 8 miles of riding this bike. New and custom and totally screwed. Ah well - I think the best part about getting hit from behind by one car was being knocked into the other car which was conveniently parked in the bike lane.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Uploaded - 9\14\08

The bikes I rode yesterday. Casati road, 3rensho track, spicer track.

Posted by ShoZu

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Happy bike, sad Roberto

I can't seem to catch as pool break these days. I am enrolled to do the Brooklyn Bridge Swim on the 6th of September and these last two weeks I was trying to keep up my consistency and swim a bit more.

The universe is having none of it.

I left the house at 5:20 this morning and rode to the Bed Stuy YMCA; pool is closed for cleaning. Rode to the Atlantic Ave YMCA; pool is closed for cleaning. rode to McBurney YMCA in Manhattan; pool is closed for maintenance. Rode to the NYU Palladium pool and the guy seemed willing to let me in, but the pool isn't open until 7:30 - too late.

So I saw this happy little bike on 13th St. and got distracted from my unsuccessful hunt for chlorine. I decided to go sit in Union Square and watch the farmers market set up. At least I got some extra riding in!

Posted by ShoZu