This afternoon I enjoyed a third post collision circuit of my loop.  The light is beautiful now.

Just as I was learning to turn my phone when making videos, I joined Instagram and unlearned it.

I pedaled a Rivendell Atlantis.  Stouter than the Rivendell Custom and the Specialized Allez SE, but I love the easy gearing.  Coming up the hill on Second Avenue was easy.

Tomorrow we will fast for Yom Kippur.  Sounds like it may be just Lacey and I.  Should be some good contemplation going on.  Looking forward to it.

That’s it!  Take care!

Loose Thread

Pull on the wrong thread and a sweater can come apart.  We are as delicate, or can be.  I have a friend who is in trouble.  He doesn’t have many people in his life.  I am going to do what I can to help.  I’m happy I’ve reserved space in my life to use when needed without upsetting my own equilibrium.  Please wish us luck and keep us in your thoughts.

This morning I pedaled the loop on which I was hit twelve days ago.  I’ve been out on bicycles three or four times since, but just around the city.  Those went well so I felt good about going further.

I picked my beautiful red Specialized Allez SE.  It is geared a bit taller (the easiest gear isn’t as easy as the easiest gear was on the Rivendell), but I was still able to make the climb up Second Avenue.  The first section just off Pearl is the steepest.  For a second I thought I was going to have to walk.  Just then Frida, who had been on my back the whole way, pushed a bit harder and up we went.

I got a new helmet.  Ordered it and received it just before I was hit (spooky), but wasn’t wearing it when I was hit.  I had to wait for a mirror to arrive before putting it in service.  Meet my Specialized Centro Winter Edition.


I like it.  Love the safety yellow color.  The Winter Edition comes with a winter liner that replaces the thin strips of padding you would normally get.  Mine didn’t come with summer pads.  Probably fell out of the box at the bike shop before they shipped it.  The winter liner isn’t as insulated as I thought it would be, but it is probably the right amount of warm for cyclists pushing hard.  The liner that goes  over your head is little more than football jersey mesh (you can see it covering the ear hole), but the ears have a circle of foam that seem cozy.

The built in red rear blinky is nice.  It isn’t super bright and you need to take it apart with a small philips to replace what I imagine are small button batteries, but it will always be there when I need it.  Still, I’ll bet there are people working at Specialized who wished they could have spent another $10 on a better blinky and passed along the cost.  I would have gladly paid a bit more.

You can see I zip tied my old Petzl climbing light on too.  That thing was cheap and is so bright.  In blinking mode, it is a real attention getter.  Front and rear blinkies on my helmet together with an orange tee should help me be seen.  I won’t wear the orange tee every ride, but I am going to buy a few more.

I also bought from Peter White a Busch + Muller Ixon Pure light to mount on my handlebars.  It was only $48 and it seems very well made.  I’ll post some picks of the light pattern in the next post or so.  IT is clearly way brighter than my ten year old LED Cateye lights.  I could have bought an even brighter light, but this one seems like it will be good enough for my intended uses.

I should go.  Just wanted to share my good feelings after getting back on the loop, but then, well, you know.fullsizerender

Check out those proudly upright brake cables!  Old school!

Don’t pull on any loose threads.  Carefully knit them back in place, instead.



Yesterday, as we drove to pick up a friend, Lacey pointed out that we hadn’t until then left the house.  Oops.  Not sure how that happened or how it escaped my notice, but there it was.  I was glad to be outside, headed to Troy Night Out.

Our mission was to see some of the Breathing Lights art installation.  My cousin, who spent a great deal of time and energy helping with this project, was stationed for the opening at Collar Works Gallery, so that’s where we started.

What a gallery!  The entrance is in the back of a beautiful industrial building on the Hudson River which has been repurposed as the Hudson Arthaus Apartments.  They accept dogs [heart].  The gallery’s new exhibit, Reclamation, was opening that night.  Guest curated by Ian Berry, Director of the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, the show dovetails nicely with Breathing Lights.  From the curatorial statement:

Artists see through everyday and discarded things accessing dormant stories within. The inventive artists in Reclamation are joined by a keen ability to refocus our world and make us aware of new possibilities. Like the creators of Breathing Lights, these diverse artists shine a light on what is usually passed by.

Reclamation is up until October 22, 2016.  Go!

Breathing Lights!  Windows in homes in neighborhoods with high vacancy rates have been illuminated from within.  The lights slowly pulse to suggest breath.  The effect is very engaging.  It stays with you.  Conversations are started.  bl1

Spread across three cities in the Capital Region, it isn’t an easy art project to take in.  Check out the map below.  Grey dots are vacant homes.  Yellow dots are vacant homes illuminated in connection with the project.  That’s a lot to see!img_4834

Walking tours seemed most promising, but inclement weather steered us onto a trolley.  The trolley stopped at three points to collect viewers, Collar Works Gallery, The Arts Center of the Capital Region and The Center for Independent Media.  Breathing Lights homes were pointed out in route.  Sad that the trolley didn’t even slow.  We’ll have to try again.img_4823

Projects funded by the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, like Breathing Lights, hope to enrich communities and attract visitors.  Second first.  This project will attract visitors.  It already has and will continue to do so.  However, I think the project will do even more to enrich the communities in which the homes are located.  Where there is breath, there is life.  The locals know their neighborhoods are alive, but having a major art initiative moving in next door, next door for so many families, should feel good.  The glowing lights are nurturing.  Like a warm hug.  We all need more warm hugs.  Huge thanks to Breathing Lights!bl2

Next up, dinner.  Lacey suggested a local treasure, Lo Porto Ristorante.  So many folks list it as their local favorite, but until last night we hadn’t been.  It is a delight.  The space, the staff and the food are all top notch.

I assumed the place was small and no tables would be open.  Lacey called from the trolley to ask for a table an hour hence.  No problem.  We arrived 30 minutes early, menus were picked up and we were taken to our table.

We walked through the fully packed front rooms into a long back room.  Three of the roughly fifteen tables were occupied.  Terrific murals lined the walls, but the lights were too bright (my looks improve as lights come down).  After the three other tables left, we asked our server if the lights could be dimmed.  Absolutely!  She also asked if we would enjoy having the ceiling fans turned off.  Yes!  Now the room was ours–cozy and dim.

The food!  Vegans will work to find critter free menu items, and I expect the choices narrow further if too many questions are asked, but we had been cold, tired and hungry and found dishes that worked for us for the evening.  Not only worked, but deeply satisfied.  Lettuce greens were crisp and dressed right.  Peppers and artichokes, too.  Three different plates of pasta were enormous but so delicious I wanted to make all three go away.  My fork wasn’t “minding its own business.”  As it is, the pasta remaining from my dish will be the centerpiece for three upcoming meals at home.  On our next visit we’ll order less and work harder to find fully critter free dishes.  I am confident the servers and kitchen will be happy to help.

We were the last table in the place when we left around 10:00.  I try hard not to be that table.  Keeping staff waiting to do their final chores doesn’t sit well with me.  Still, every single member of the staff gave us a very warm goodbye on our way out.  That says it all for me.  Five stars!

Time to go outside.  Enjoy your weekend.

Everyday Bicycling

Here’s a book you need to read–Everyday Bicycling by Elly Blue.  img_4776

No need to take my word for it.  You know Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly?  If you don’t, start here.  The guy is three steps beyond magical.  I was poking around his blog and then his online bike shop, Compass Bicycles, when I came across the book.  The shop’s blurb:

From a review in Bicycle Quarterly Vol. 11, No. 4 (Summer 2013):

If I had to select a “Bicycle Book of the Year,” this might be it. It’s a much-needed, easy-to-read and yet comprehensive primer about riding a bike in the city.

Bicycles appeal to many people, but few non-cyclists appreciate that there is more involved than balancing on two wheels and staying away from cars. There is much to learn about cycling, and Portland bike blogger Elly Blue sets out to teach you what you need to know.

The result is an insightful, balanced and eminently readable manual about cycling. For example: “Here are three maxims for riding a bicycle on the road: Put safety first, for yourself and others. Be courteous second. Third, be legal.”

Old me would have bought the book from Compass in a heartbeat.  Grant from Riv taught me that I should buy a book from the shop that brings it to my attention rather than heading off to a discounter.  The new me starts searches for books at my local library.  Sorry Jan!  The Voorheesville library had it and it was delivered to my local branch in a couple of days.img_4820

Plowed through the book in a couple of hours and I highly recommend it.  Much of it reinforced what I have learned.  That’s nice in and of itself.  But there was much to learn, too.

The Get Organized chapter was the most helpful to me.  You know I’ve been lone wolfing it while advocating for positive bicycle changes here in Albany, but this chapter reminded me of the benefits of working with others.  Might be time to reconnect with the Albany Bicycle Coalition (if they’ll have me).

People thinking of procreating will benefit from the chapter on Family Bicycling. I don’t have a kid but you know I want a bakfiets (which I now know is pronounced bock-feets).  I want to live in a world where folks buy bakfiets so they can be ready to carry stuff around that they never end up carrying around, just as too many people needlessly buy pickups today.

The traffic tips in How to Ride a bike are cursory, but Blue is smart to recommend reading John Forester’s Vehicular Cycling materials.  The subject is important and complicated and Forester does such a good job.  Incorporating Forester’s work by reference keeps Blue’s book readable, but this is one recommendation for further reading you should not skip.  Not a self directed learner?    Take a class from an instructor certified by the League of American Bicyclists.  Their instruction and Forester’s techniques are very similar.

I would have thought I’d be safe reading the chapter on Bicycle Adoption, Care and Feeding, but darn it if I am not now considering buying a folding bike!  Might be my chance to buy a bike from the Downtube.  They carry Bromptons and the clear lacquered floor sample really spoke to me.  I didn’t ride it (that would have been followed by throwing my wallet at the employee then and there), but I was impressed by the folding mechanism.  Not only was it easy and quick to fold, it felt very solid when unfolded.  Start an office pool on how long I will last.  Smart money will pick dates in the near future.

So read the book already!  Buy it from Compass so I don’t feel so bad or check it out from the library.  I will return it later today.

Take care!


Still Here

Feeling pretty well today, so I decided to pedal a few errands.  It wasn’t easy to get out the door.  I could run through the process, but the punchline is this–I was scared.  I hung a few charms on body and bike–a bright orange hoodie for me and blinkies front and rear for my ANT Light Roadster.  After adding some air to the tires, I was off.

Down Western to the library to return a book–a Murakami novel Lacey had finished.  Next northwest to my friend’s home.  I wasn’t able to say hi, but I am glad to have tried.  Then west to the garden.  Chill in the air reminded me it is about time to take the hoses home.  Peppers, tomatoes, crowder peas and greens are still producing, but the warm weather lovers are near the end.haul-09-24-16

Finally home.

Our driveway never looked so welcoming.  It was outwardly a very nice ride.  All road users were super safe and polite.  No racing engines.  No close passes.  No horns.  Thank you.  I needed that.

Inside wasn’t so tranquil.  I was on edge.  I did things like stop when I had the right of way to make eye contact with with a motorist before proceeding though an intersection.  Zero assumptions were made.  I can’t pedal that tentatively forever, but I hope I won’t stray far from it.

Although today’s ride wasn’t the most fun I’ve had on a bicycle, I was very glad to be out there.

I haven’t driven a car yet.  I’m as nervous about that as I am pedaling.  Those pesky things are simply too heavy and fast.  So much responsibility.  I’ve long felt that way but do a bit more so today.  But I will drive and I will do so very safely.  As I always do, but there may be a bit of extra caution added around the edges.  At times I may go a bit under the speed limit.  While stopped, I may look three times before traveling through intersections.  Etc.

Frida’s rememberation station is to my right as I type.  Lacey and I paid a formal visit to it earlier today and she asked if I had thanked Frida for helping me through my collision.  I had already bowed there in gratitude, but I spoke the words this time.  I will continue to thank her and the sum total of the world for helping me through that awful day.

I wrote to Joe Bell to ask if he’d repair and repaint the Rivendell.  He said it was toast–it would never be the same.  I appreciated his candor.  He suggested I remove the head badge as a memento.  It is a swell badge.rivendell-headbadge-09-23-16

I am going to get back to it.

Thanks for listening.  Be well.

Wrong Time

I enjoyed my loop again today until heading up the hill on 2nd Avenue at Elizabeth.  I was traveling west and a car traveling east turned left into my path.  I was going slow–it is one hell of a hill.  He was going pretty quickly, probably 25 or 30, and didn’t slow much to turn as the turn for him was more than 90 degrees.down-tube

I was hit squarely by the front bumper.  I landed on the hood, traveled to the windshield and ended up, somewhat mysteriously, seated on the roof facing forward.  The glass sunroof was closed, so the driver was subjected to a “glass bottom boat” experience that he never wished for.  At least I wasn’t wearing lycra.

I didn’t hit my head.  My mirror and glasses are fine.  Based on my minor aches and pains, and the fact that (I think) I broke the windshield with my left shoulder, it seems like I executed a pretty textbook stuntman roll.  Not taking credit for it.  Pure luck and physics.  I had all of half a second between the realization and the impact.  I just “went with it.”top-tube

After a minute or so I crawled down off his car.  I felt good.  Scared but good.  Nothing seemed broken.  Only a light abrasion on my left knee and a mild soreness in my right thigh.  I borrowed his phone to call Lacey who came to pick me up.  The driver waited with me.  He was very shaken.  I was in relatively good spirits.  Happy to be alive with working parts, right?

We had a nice chat.  Intense situations allow strangers to cut the bullshit and talk about good, deep things.  We did.  I harbor no ill will.  To my eyes, it was a mistake plain and simple.  I was starting to let it go before I got off the roof of his car.  Thank you, Buddha!  Hands palm to palm, as we say.

Lacey arrived and I made introductions.  Then I said good bye, loaded my bicycle into the car and rode home, where I had a shower, ate breakfast and headed to Urgent Care (out of an abundance of caution).

A bruise on my right thigh was was swelling, but I was pretty sure there were no broken bones.  Five x-rays showed no breaks or fractures.  Even though my head, neck and back felt good, they performed some neurological diagnostics.  Passed. I laughed to myself when they asked what I had for dinner last night.  That’s the kind of question I might not be able to answer in the best of circumstances.  But after one beat, I responded crowder peas, grits and kale.  Sounded good to me.  I was for a moment proud of my meal.

Eight hours later, I am still feeling pretty good.  My shoulder is sore, but not terribly so.  I took one ibuprofen, but probably won’t need another.  My left big toe bled a bit.  Saw that through the sock.  The nail was pushed into the nail bed just a bit.  The toenail may come off.  That is the sorest part on me just now.

Sound the trumpets for my beloved but probably deceased Rivendell custom.  Top tube and down tube are crimped.  One fork blade is crimped at the lug.  One seat stay is now gracefully curved.  The front wheel is out of true but I will try to correct it.  The Brooks Cambium saddle is abraded.  The rest of the components will come off the frame to be held in reserve for another frame in the future.  Rivendell Rodeo or wait and see?  The latter is probably best.  I have a few bikes in

I’ll sound like a broken record, but I’m pretty sure Frida was with me when I was hit.  She was certainly there as I pedaled (I felt strong today), so perhaps she laid her spine along mine to strengthen it during the impact.  Lacey reminds me she was a terrific jumper, and that maybe she carried me safely to the roof of the car.  Yes.  I think that’s right.  Thank you, dearest girl.

Huge thanks to nurse Lacey.  I’ll let the bike frame go.  I’ll try to let Frida go (later).  But I’ll hold onto Lacey, thank you.  Sweetest, lovingest, Lacey, caring for my mind and body.  My treasure of treasures.  Kisses!

That’s it.  I hope that’s the last of it.  Raise a glass for soft landings!

Take care.


I’m still enjoying pedaling the suburban, country, trail and urban loop.  Yesterday was dicey, though.  Dense fog had me going slow and on edge for sixteen of the eighteen miles.  Would have been better if I had lights with me.  As it was, I was solely responsible for my safety.  Kind of like always, but worse.  I won’t go out in predicted fog without good blinkies again.

The longer rides are giving me great condition for the only event I really care about–getting groceries by bike.  Today I hooked up my trailer, talked to a neighbor about his new patio, pedaled to the co-op, bought three bags of groceries (including a lot of bulk stuff which you know takes a bit more time), pedaled home and put the groceries away in under an hour.  Might be a record, but I don’t keep records.  It felt good and that’s enough for me.

Lacey and me recently enjoyed a week at Spitfire Lake with friends.  A magical place.  I was most struck by the quiet.  Motorboats are allowed but there weren’t many.  Maybe ten a day and none after five.  The loons were the loudest thing going most evenings.  It probably helped that it was late in the season and that we stayed Wednesday to Wednesday, but there is no need to analyze it too carefully.  It was perfect.img_4691

The camp is accessible only by boat.  Although our host would have run us to our car if we had wanted to buzz around on day trips, we didn’t want to leave the area and didn’t.  The furthest we strayed was in a canoe through a slough to the western edge of upper St. Regis Lake.  Two hours round trip.  We had set out to find, and found, a dock and a trail that lets visitors connect to a main trail up St. Regis Mountain.  We’ll do that next year.  There is also a nice three mile loop that leaves right from the camp.  Did that twice.  Self propelled adventures are the best.

We also took a small motorized fishing boat through a different slough to Lower St. Regis Lake to enjoy a lunch at Paul Smith’s College.  The cafe is staffed entirely by second year students who rotate through all the jobs.  The food was amazing.  A little too haute for every day eating but as a treat it was just the ticket.

The campers took turns cooking lunches and dinners, but I was happy to get to cook a nice hash in this beauty.  img_4671

The last two camps I’ve been to have had Griswold cast iron skillets.  That will be my next kitchen purchase.  Have to save up a bit.  They are well known and eBay prices are high.  The hash?  Potatoes, carrots, onions, a Padron, garlic scape pesto, tofu and a couple of spoonfuls of marinara gave me a heaping plate of hot, happy breakfast joy.  I should have taken a picture.  Thing was, I was parking my phone in our room and barely touching it.  It was used so sparingly that I didn’t have to charge it for three days!  Try it some time.  Amazing.

We are missing Frida so much.  We’ve set up what we’re calling the Rememberation Station.   Corny, but under the circumstances, we’re allowed.  It contains most everything Frida used during her twelve years with us.  Except her cart.  That I still use most every day.  Makes me sad, but a fella needs to haul things by bike, you know?


Although we’re not balling our eyes out, there is a baseline weight in my heart that hasn’t varied since we said goodbye.  It will subside but I am not anxious to feel well again.  I want to miss her.

Friends are sending pictures they had on their phones.  We’re loving seeing pictures we haven’t seen before.  Like this one.  img_4745

Send one or a hundred if you have any.  Each one is like a little digital visit from our beloved girl.

Hope you are well.  Speak to you soon.