Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Sound of No Turkeys Gobbling

Yesterday I pedaled the same loop I’ve been pedaling for days in a row, this time aboard the ANT Balvenie truss bicycle.  A very fine bicycle.  Every single motorist was as safe as can be.  It was fun.  Thank you Albany.  ATB

Before the ride I spoke with a neighbor with whom I am familiar through the dog walking scene.  For him, yesterday (now two days prior) was extraordinary.  A tanker truck carrying 1,700 gallons of home heating oil landed on his front lawn.  His wife was home and upon hearing the noise gathered three dogs and fled to a neighbor’s house half a block away.  The fuel didn’t ignite.

A neighbor who witnessed the event said the tanker was traveling north on Rosemont and didn’t touch the brakes as it continued through the stop sign and into another vehicle.  The collision flipped the tanker and it skidded into the lawn.  Stopped six feet from the house.  None of the heating oil spilled, but some of the tanker’s diesel ended up on the lawn.  Both drivers were sent to the hospital.  The homeowner’s insurance company will send an inspector to check for structural damage to the home.  Its was a heavy truck with a heavy payload.  The accident was like a small earthquake.  Less than 24 hours had passed and he was calm and understanding.

Frida and I headed home.  On Western, as Frida sniffed something for a very long time, I watched the speed indicator in front of the school zone.  The limit is 30 but drops to 20 when school is in session.  Schools was in session until 11:15 am so the limit was 20.  No car travelled through at less than 30.  One car registered 40, earning an ADP cruiser in hot pursuit.  With the cruiser on its tail, lights flashing and sirens blaring, the speeder didn’t slow for about five blocks.  Seemed like a longer chase might happen, but finally the car pulled over.  It wasn’t a good place for a high speed chase.  Where is?  Speed cameras popped into my head.  Officers wouldn’t have to race through school zones chasing speeders and all speeders could be ticketed.  I know traffic control drones are far from universally loved, but it still surprises me.

Some folks believe they can safely run red lights and exceed the speed limit.  Experience supports their view until it doesn’t.  You remember that my sister died in her truck?  About a block from her house in the dessert outside of Lancaster, California.  If you need an incentive to slow, stop fully and look carefully when on the road, come to my place.  I will pour you a scotch or an oolong and tell you about my sister.  I can shorten a new pair of pants for you on her sewing machine while we chat.  She learned reiki so she could help dogs feel better.  She loved all dogs, but long haired dachshunds were her jam.  She had a small heard of them when she died.  She cut dog nails at the shelter because no one else liked doing it.  All in all one of the sweetest people I have known.


I am going to stop abruptly.  This post got away from me, but now that I have it typed it is going up.  My apologies.

Take care.


Yesterday?  The same loop as two days prior.  I believed it to be roughly four miles.  Nearly six.  A distance for which I don’t need to prepare, but long enough to make me feel good.  I wonder how long I can keep this up? 93xo1im

Two days ago I enjoyed my 1992 XO-1.  Today the 1993 (the year in which the XO-1 turned orange and sprouted bosses for cantilever brakes).  1,000 were made and many remained unsold.  Bridgestone stopped selling in the US the next year.  In May of 1994, members of the Bridgestone Owners Bunch (BOBs) were offered new in box 92 and 93 XO-1s at 1/3 off retail.BOB6

I remember thinking about buying a 1993 XO-1 and an RB-1 as well, but I was at that point too sensible.  Nothing wrong with my 1992 and no need to have a duplicate.  Today I’m less sensible. Given the chance, I’d buy three without blinking.93x01

My 1993, acquired lightly used in 2010, is 3 cm larger than my 1992.  The extra size brings the bars up in relation to the saddle, but 3 cm is not much (I still sit with a bent over posture).  In 1993 I would have loved it in comparison to my smaller XO-1 or my Faggin racing bicycle.  Nearing the door to the exit of my 40s, I enjoy the bars higher still.  Tomorrow I may ride my 54.5 cm Atlantis.  The tall headtube, together with a stem with less reach and more rise, result in bars that are above my seat and 1cm closer.  Just right (for now).

The ride yesterday was perfect.  100% sweetness in road sharing.  I waived motorists to pass when it was safe for me to move right and they passed with plenty of room and light feet on gas pedals.  Again, please!fp1

That’s all I have.  Be well please.


Yesterday I inflated the tires on my 1992 Bridgestone XO-1.  They’d been left to deflate for at least a year.  The 23-year old original tires popped and pinged with each stroke of the pump.  Despite their symphony of complaints, the tires seem to be in good shape.  Still, I kept a close eye on them as I brought them up to 90 psi.


I love this bicycle.  I bought it new in 1992 at Olympia Cycles in Omaha.  Its first years saw it transported in or on a car to local trails built on unused railway lines.  Then it was my primary fair weather commuter for two years starting in 2003.  I knew people liked XO-1s but I didn’t know how much they liked them.  If I did, I may not have been as carefree when I rode it.  Even so, I use all things gently and it shows in this bicycle.  It rarely saw wet roads and I parked it carefully, so the paint is in great shape.  All parts are original and the chain is within spec.  It rides like a dream.

I pedaled it for four miles yesterday.  At 52cm, this bicycle is too small by my current thinking.  The bars are significantly below the seat, resulting in the raciest position of any bicycle in my collection.  I was surprised at how comfortable I was, but more than four miles would have changed my mind.  I enjoyed crisp indexed shifts.  The high pressure slicks roll like crazy.  The caliper brakes with original pads stop well.  The pearlescent paint sparkles in the sun.  The Avocet Racing seat is so very comfortable (this was my first Avocet and I now buy most every good example I notice on eBay in order to have a good supply of them).  I am a fan of Nitto mustache bars.

It was a perfect ride but for the truck that tried to herd me into the curb in Washington Park.  The driver started a safe pass with a generous move to the left but as he pulled alongside me he moved sharply right. He snuggled up to within six inches and was still coming so I slowed to get behind him and avoid a bad ending.  No oncoming traffic or other hazards, so it felt intentional.  I asked him to stop and he did.  He said he didn’t nearly run me off the road.  I admitted my inferiority and fallibility and carried on.  It wasn’t as tidy as this, but that’s my story.  Myself and my XO-1 were untouched.  My anger quickly dissipated.IMG_1962

[Not my sign, but I like it.]

Each day I find myself less surprised by self-serving perceptions and carelessness.  On my part as well as on the part of others.  I have not devolved to the point of expecting bad behavior, but the trend line is troubling.  I work to see clearly, from perspectives other than my own, and care deeply.  I work to stay positive.  At the end of each ride, I try to remember that all but one or two motorists passed safely.  Most people care enough.  I should give equal or even proportionate space in my mind to my good and careful neighbors, but it isn’t easy.  I’ll keep working.

Should I stop writing about scary experiences while pedaling?  It helps me to write about them but how does it make you feel?  Does it make you scared to pedal in your city?  While it is good to be ever vigilant, good to know you have to look out for yourself, it isn’t fun to be scared.  Pedaling can and should be fun.  I enjoy it so very much and want you to as well.  If these kind of posts bum you out, say the word and I will skip over them.  Maybe I will even if you don’t ask.   There is enough fear out there without me adding to the pile.  Onward.

Happy?  Lacey and I just made a donation to the Farm Animal Sanctuary.  They have an adopt a turkey program designed to grab your attention at Thanksgiving.  It got mine.  I loved reading the story of Turpentine the turkey.  You?

Another beautiful fall day is on tap.  I will leave you with wishes for good health and boundless joy.

This is a thing starting now

I am going to say I invented sikil pak fritters.  I searched only that term and only looked at the first page of hits.  Nothing.  So I’ll declare it mine and now proudly share it with you.  fsp

I’ve made two test fritters.  The first was just a dollop of sikil pak fried in a pan with a tablespoon of peanut oil.  To the second I added a bit of chickpea flour.  The addition wasn’t necessary but I wanted to dry out the fritter.  It helped.  Eat them as they come out of the pan dipped in a soured cashew cream with fresh herbs, make a falafel like sandwich or fry up a big patty and enjoy the worlds first sikil pak burger (better cook fast–I am headed back into the kitchen now).  Sikil pak recipe?  I wrote mine down while watching Rick Bayless’ One Plate at a Time, but the internet is lousy with recipes.  Here’s one (Rick’s recipe adds lime and omits garlic and I usually use jarred tomato sauce instead of fresh tomatoes–this stuff is bombproof so adjust at will).  For fritters or patties, consider reducing the amount of tomato in your recipe to end up with a dryer dip.  Or don’t.  Mine was pretty moist (one cup pepitas and one cup tomato sauce were the main components–so a roughly one to one wet to dry ratio) and it still worked.

I made it to  Laurie Anderson’s Heart of a Dog.  Ms. Anderson did a great job of balancing her poignant personal story with the universal wisdom she tapped into.  See it if you get the chance.  I also made it to Cars vs. Bikes at the Linda.  Think carefully before you see this one.  Although it was well made, I am pretty sure the makers thought they were ending on a happy note but for me the happy was lost under a fairly heavy blanket of sad.  I failed to make it to the Bicycle Engineering Symposium at RPI.  Did you go?  I really wanted to see the vintage bike show they added.  Oh well.  fib

Frida continues, making everyone in this house very happy.  Even though I know how this story ends, I am enjoying for the moment not knowing when.

I’ve been biking a few miles every day.  The weather has been unbelievably pleasant and I want to soak it up.  I’ve recently pedaled a Rivendell custom road, a Rivendell Atlantis, a Bridgestone CB-O and all three of my ANTs.  Too often I get lazy and ride the same bike over and over, usually the bike the tires on which were most recently pumped up.  Glad to have bothered to pump up the tires on all of these.  As I type I can say I love them all equally, but as I pedal, it is the one carrying me that I love the most.  Every day I get a little closer to realizing I need only one bicycle.  Or maybe three.  But I can’t imagine letting go of enough to leave me only with six.  They are all too special.  I’m hopeless.  Happily hopeless.

How about a dose of Fred Rogers?  Here is a nice article.  I’ve requested the book mentioned therein be sent to my local library branch.  Can’t wait to read it.

Please take good care of yourselves and those near you.

Remembering Bicycles

I spent an equal amount of time yesterday watching auctions for motorcycles as I did riding my bicycle.  I regret neither but enjoyed one more.  I spent more time yesterday walking Frida than I did watching auctions for motorcycles and riding my bicycle combined.  She walks slowly but rarely wants to go less than 1.5 miles.    Frida.  I bow to her.  Heart of a Dog

You’ve surely heard about the sale of the Spectrum Theater.  Makes me sad, but I am assured by a reliable source that the programming will continue to be excellent.  The buyer is retaining all of the staff and the current general manager will keep the spirit alive.  Want to say goodbye to the founders and see a cool piece with local ties?  Go see Laurie Anderson’s Heart of a Dog at the Spectrum on November 17, 2015.  That’s the day of the sale.  The last day the founders hold the keys.  Tears!

Albany Bicycle Coalition continues its excellent work and provided notice that the documentary Bikes vs. Cars will be shown at WAMC’s The Linda on November 19, 2015.  Reception at 6:00 pm and film at 7:00 pm.  Again with the tears as I watched the trailer.  I love a good trailer.

Larry Ruff and friends are putting on their most excellent Bicycle Engineering Symposium at RPI.  Not an engineer?  Fear not.  Smart people explain things well and these people are as smart as they come.  I made it once a couple of years ago and can’t recommend it highly enough.Symposium Flyer 2015

Time to walk Frida.  What a lovely day for it.  Be well!


Snooty Glasses

I drink most everything out of diner style juice glasses.  The form brings back such happy memories and the small size makes reasonable servings seem bigger (an old Weight Watchers trick–shout out to Oprah!).  Still, I recently wished into my computer for a set of Glencairn glasses.  Drum fingers for two days and here they are.  Designed for appreciating whisky and patterned after nosing glasses used by high end winos, the tulip shaped bowls concentrate aromas increasing the chance you’ll notice a couple or more of the scents offered by a good malt.  If I only had a working nose!FullSizeRender

What’s in there now?  Speyburn 10–a Speyside single malt with flowers and citrus fruit “on the nose.”  I won’t argue and at $35 bucks a bottle I’ll be a repeat customer.  To be clear, I returned the pour shown above to the bottle–three hours shy of whisky time.  Cheers to you in advance.

We’ve been enjoying a string of seventy degree days.  I’ve tried my best to make use of them before the cold and dark times slink in.  Today I pedaled the ANT Roadster to Healthy on Lark.  Would of been my first time.  I arrived at 11:00 (posted opening time) and a sign asked me to wait thirty minutes.  No problem.  I popped next door to Stacks Espresso Bar for a cup.  They are always so sweet and I never pass on a shot from a Synesso machine.  Good stuff every time.  Then back to Healthy on Lark, where I stood at the door from 11:28 to 11:32.  Thirty minutes is all I had in me, so I crossed the street where The Brakes made for me a delicious seitan chicken club.SCC

Crispy pan fried seitan, a couple of strips of fancy faux bacon, lettuce, tomato and house made mayo played nice together between a beautiful roll baked by Bread and Honey.  Blessings on the collaboration of The Brakes and Bread and Honey.  Both sides bring good things to the plate and the customers are the winners.  Today that was me.  You could be next!FIL

Frida is into the long walks of late.  I’ve been giving in, even enjoying them, while the weather holds.  Not sure I’ll do as well on two mile walks at walking meditation pace once the cold arrives but she is very persuasive.  To be determined.

I should go.  Have a great weekend.


It is a band.  It is a user name on Twitter.  It is not in the Scrabble Dictionary.  That I know and share these three facts is testament to my patheticism.

[Apologies to Lacey.  She is sometimes uncomfortable when I “put myself down.”  She knows me better than anyone, but still may not fully appreciate how deeply into my DNA self deprecation has been wired.  It is a reflex.  A useful reflex.   A few carefully placed remarks about my low energy lifestyle go a long way toward  lowering the bar so that I may, from time to time, if the mood strikes, more gracefully shuffle over it.  What was that?  A bar or an expansion joint?  No matter, I am over it and lived to tweet the tale.] [Aside, I’d share with you the origins of the word testament but I learn from the mistakes of others.  I once knew a summer associate at a certain midwestern law firm who did the same in an email to the entire firm.  This at a time when email was new and few popped up on your screen.  The story he shared featured balls that most frequently come in pairs.  He thought it would be funny.  It was, but not in the way he thought.  He didn’t get an offer to join the firm.  Probably a mistake, but who am I?]

Back to patheticism.  Examples?  Have you read any post on this blog?  Seriously.  Pick any one.  I do things like clean bicycles, cook food and walk our dog.  All blog worthy after a day like today when I (a) cut Frida’s walk short because of light rain, (b) made for the fourth time the same granola recipe–but this time added CINNAMON that I bought already ground and know not its origin (Ta-Dah!), (c) gathered a collection of 11mm wrenches (combo box/open end, socket driver and ratchet) to loan to a friend suffering from a complete lack of 11mm wrenches and (d) moved so little Siri asked if I was ok.

What’s up with this post?  Or at least why now?  I’ll blame it on the weather.  It is changing here.  Looks like I am between the high output summer time, filled with lawn care, gardens care, bicycling to get groceries and general getting out and about often, and the great darkness that is winter.  It sucks.  What sucks worse than winter?  Waiting for it!  Until winter arrives there is no snow to shovel.  See, shoveling will be my principal form of exercise in the coming months.  I like it, but until the snow arrives I should take out the rollers and consider doing a few burpees.  AAHHKK!  The thought of it!  Exercise for exercise sake!  How does Lacey do it?  Three times a week she disappears into the basement for an hour or more of intense aerobic exercise.  That or a run.  I am so impressed.  Dearest Lacey, what is your secret?  She invites me to join her most every time.  My answer is always the same.  Thanks, but no.  When will I learn?  When will she stop asking?  Please, oh please, do not stop asking!

Athleticism and dynamism are words.  Oh sure.  Everyone wants to talk about high energy states of being (Donald! Trump!) so of course these words were added to the dictionary long ago, but maybe it is time to talk about those times, or even years, when you are simply not feeling it.  I say the time for patheticism has arrived.  Period, no exclamation point.  I hope the band and tweeter will forgive me for jumping, ahem, I mean schlumping, aboard their wagon.

I wonder how many of the words/ideas I just wrote are to be found in the greatest of all books the name of which shall not be spoken?  I read it so long ago.  I still have it.  I should probably reread it.  Concepts therefrom pop into my head most every day.  Might be due to the stamp I had made in college that to this day I place on all important correspondence.jrbd

P.S.  Omnivore food writers should stop sharing rationalizations for eating animals.  That they know they are undertaking an indelicate ethical dance highlights the fact that what they are doing, and promoting, is wrong.  Besides, vegan gravy is the new bacon so you are cordially invited to leave the pigs be.