Tuesday, May 20, 2008


One of my favorite old photos. This is a happy mama the first time around when Sylvia was just a few months old. Sylvia wasn't yet walking. Our apartment didn't yet seem so incredibly small. We only had one little creature around the house to tend to. It sure puts things in perspective.

Perspective is usually granted me in fleeting moments of spontaneous clarity. They can neither be predicted nor planned. No spiritual hocus-pocus here. Label them however you will, but those moments when things slow down and all of a sudden you realize your thoughts are keeping pace with your breath and everything just, well, seems utterly synchronized.

Here are a few moments of perspective-defining clarity I've been blessed with lately:

I work for a company that dabbles in bike giblets. I answer a few emails from consumers asking about those morsels of bike goodness. Here's a quote from one: "My bike is my main vehicle - I do own a car, but I only drive it under great duress." Priceless. Sometimes the way I see people driving you'd think the majority of motorists are "under great duress." Maybe they don't even realize they are.

I blogged a couple times about the beating death of cyclist Mark Loesch and the MPD's bungling, "smear-the-dead-victim" media charade surrounding it. (Not the detectives, either -- the MPD political wranglers further up the chain.) A couple of days ago I got an email about a Crumpler Art Bag show coming up at One On One. It looks cool. I read deeper. The proceeds benefit the Mark Loesch Memorial Fund. Very cool. Mark left behind four kids and a wife. By all accounts they loved him deeply. It was a sad, senseless loss. This art show is just another symbol of the beautiful community of cyclists we have in the TC.

Over the weekend I saw several cargo bikes out on the streets and trails including one Big Dummy and a brand new Xtracycle conversion. I think these bikes are too big, heavy and expensive to be a fad. Plus they require more effort to pedal than the "skateboard of the new generation" -- the fixed gear. I believe people are buying cargo bikes to haul stuff, to explore the possibilities of leaving their cars parked more often (and maybe, eventually, for good). That is a nice thought.

Last Saturday I pedaled the Dummy over to Kowalski's for some dinner supplies. It's my least favorite local grocery that just happens to be located next to my favorite neighborhood beer vendor. I pulled up and an older gentleman was unlocking an aging baby blue Schwinn Varsity. He said, staring at the Dummy, "I've seen those bikes in the news lately." We chatted. I had to give him the usual explanation of how much you can haul on the bike and where to get one. (This seems to happen frequently when I lock up outside a store with the Dummy. It's a conversation piece for sure.) Finally he zeroed in on my 'I BIKE MPLS' sticker on the snapdeck. "Where'd you get that sticker?" he asked. "My friend makes them. I think you can get them at CRC Coffee," I replied, then gave him directions. He pointed to a fading sticker on the seat tube of his Varsity and asked if I recognized it. I didn't, but I couldn't hear him clearly as he looked away to explain its significance. He was proud of it. Then he turned back to me and said, "Some guys when they got back from Vietnam in 1972 bought sports cars and motorcycles. I bought this bike. Been riding it ever since. I put in 30 miles this morning around the lakes. It's the best time for me to ride." Those are the diehard cyclists most of us may never meet. What a happy accident and what a wonderful story he shared with me.

Pedaling home yesterday I was passed by a car with a trunk mount bike rack and a bumper sticker that read: "My other car is a bicycle!" That sticker always has tickled me. Park it, peel it off and ride your stinkin' bike already.

Also last night, cruising around Lake Harriet, I was thinking about LFOAB. I was in the road headed northeast. I looked up and, lo and behold, he was in the bike path headed southwest. We happened to both look at the same time, waved and smiled, as our drivetrains silently carried us in opposite directions. I like Scott. He has more heart than any other Mpls bike blogger I read regularly. I don't always agree with his opinions but he puts them out there, just like that. I've stumbled upon some other wisdom in my life -- if you talk to, hang out with and otherwise subscribe to the ideas of others you simply tend to agree with all the time (yep, that includes where you get your "news", too) you're not going to learn and grow much in life. We (as a society) need more free-thinking people to speak up. Corporations, governments, leaders -- heck, even your bullyish next door neighbor -- get away with too much shit because way too many of us are afraid to confront an issue and take on the responsibility to see it through. Have a voice, make a point, but dammit -- DO something. Thanks for writing with heart and passion, Scott. I know I don't have to say 'keep it up'!

Full moon tonight. Be well, friends -- and watch out for werewolves in black sheep's clothing.

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