The Boy Who Cried Wolf, or BFD

This will be one of my rare blogs outside the field of cycling.  I’m reflecting on our unusual experience of emergencies this week, seismographic and meteorological.  In the post-9/11 world of America, everything even slightly upsetting makes us jittery.  We have taken to telling people to “take care” and “be safe” as routine expressions of concern.  Emergency Preparedness experts thrive, taking up valuable positions on staffs of institutions like the federal government or the local community college whose salaries could otherwise be spent to further the actual mission of the institution.  When a potential emergency arises, such as the Tuesday earthquake or yesterday night’s tropical storm, the media coverage is over the top, before (except for the earthquake), during, and after the event.  Do adult human beings need this much “alarming,” “disturbing,” and condescending information and advice?  Does an objective assessment of events justify such a level of ginned-up anxiety?

When the earthquake hit Jane and I were enjoying a late birthday lunch on the screen porch on a perfect August afternoon.  The whole think lasted 30 to 45 seconds, but it seemed longer because it took a few seconds to realize what was going on.  Here “back East” we have little personal experience of earthquakes.  Jane had been in a small one years ago; I had never been in one.  So everything happened in slow motion, as they say it does in critical moments.  We began with immediate reflex reactions:  we grabbed our wine glasses and the wine bottle so they wouldn’t spill.  (First things first.  And anyway it was good wine, a Linden Avenius Sauvignon Blanc.  We weren’t about to let all of Shari’s and Jim’s hard work go to waste.)  As the rumbling got more and more intense, we began wondering when and if it would lessen.  About the time we were starting to conclude we needed to “do something,” it began to subside.  All this in a matter of three dozen seconds.  Later we wondered what we should have done.  I would have gone for a door frame, but it turns out that’s an old wives’ tale.  (Guess those old wives were Easterners too.)  Jane has a couple of friends who were lunching together at a restaurant, and they both immediately dove under the table, having lived in earthquake-prone regions earlier in their lives.  They were apparently the only ones who did the “right thing.”

Rightly or wrongly, life in our region was essentially back to normal in a matter of minutes.  Yes, buildings had to be inspected and cleared, but no public buildings around here were found to be uninhabitable, except the National Cathedral, built according to medieval design and construction principles.  But Emergency Preparedness concerns resulted in the dismissal of all federal workers for the day, the closing of many institutions, including the community college, the creation of major traffic congestion, loss of time, and disruption of routines.  “Did the earth move”?  The kind of answer you get to that question depends on whom you ask, and under what circumstances.

As for Hurricane Irene, she did not live up to her billing, and we’re all glad of that.  Every TV station in DC sent a reporter and crew to each of a series of strategic points along the coast, from Kill Devil Hills in NC to the Jersey Shore.  All last evening they were on, preempting the entire broadcast schedule to report in turn, south to north, that “the storm is easing up here,” “the storm is pretty bad here right now,” and “the storm hasn’t really gotten here yet.”  Oooh, aaah, eeeh?  There were the usual cuts in and out as the power supply to the cameras and mike fluctuated, the attempt to make a breezy rainstorm look like a gale-driven deluge, and the like.  Long story short,  we watched empty and wet streets, swaying traffic lights and flapping stop signs, boardwalks getting pounded by surf, and sand blowing.  It was as bad as the usual banal reality show.  After a half hour you had seen everything there was to be seen, and updates from the studio were accompanied by the endless loop of file footage that usually repeated three or four times during each update.

Meanwhile, the Emergency Preparedness gurus had evacuated over one million people along the east coast.  The Governor of Virginia threatened criminal charges against anyone who refused a mandatory evacuation.  I could see his point obliquely when two kayakers had to be rescued from the waters off Staten Island, NY.  People like that should be fined the amount of their own rescue expenses.  Most of the storm fatalities were people doing unsafe things.  But I guess my thought is that adults have the right to be unsafe, as long as it doesn’t deplete the public till.  Safety is not the ultimate criterion for happiness or fully human living.  In fact, crouching in fear as a response to every threat robs people of their humanity.  I applaud the spirit that motivates surfers to don their wet suits, kayakers to take to the water, walkers to stroll under swaying tree limbs.  Even when disaster is the result, they have challenged their limits, lived life to the full and without fear.

So we are fascinated by the very dangers we fear.  Most of us are drawn to them vicariously, by watching TV reports on disasters.  And because Emergency Preparedness has primed us to expect the worst, we are disappointed when we don’t get that.  On Friday I was in Home Depot, and noted several crates of sump pumps being moved into position to sell.  New supplies of water bottles were set up.  The battery supplies had been wiped out.  I didn’t even investigate the plywood situation, being there for non-emergency purposes.  EP wanted us to have three days’ supply of food and a gallon of water per person per household.  We were fine in each regard, except that for us it was wine, not water.  The reality of the storm was that the highest sustained winds in the western suburbs were never above 30 mph, that the total rainfall in Vienna was about 2 1/2″, that Saturday night was just a breezy, rainy night like many another.  Now that’s how we saw it, but people without power (we had one evening flicker and one longer outage during the night), or the folks on Ross Drive whose house was badly shattered by a falling tree, would have other ideas.

Even along the coast, Irene was never more than a Category One storm.  Forecasters were saying that it was a Cat. 1 storm with Cat. 3 pressure gradients.  Since gradients create wind, I don’t see how that’s possible.  At any rate reportage was trying hard to make the storm sound worse than it was.  When it neared New York City this morning, Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm.  The disappointment in the voices of the TV anchors was audible.  “What, I’ve been up all night just to report on a freakin’ non-hurricane?”  “Better emphasize the local flooding or folks will think we’re making too much of this.”  Al Roker was on some splashy boardwalk on Long Island doing his weather shtick, but I have observed bigger waves and more dangerous winds as a passenger on a ship in New York Harbor.  So EP shut down the entire East Coast for a Category 1 storm that didn’t even make it to New York City as a hurricane?  What happens when a real Category 3 or 4 storm comes along?  Are people going to take it seriously, or in the great phrase of Washington Post columnist Jeanne McManus are we suffering from too much “preparedness fatigue.”  Perhaps the dire measures taken for this storm should be saved for truly dire circumstances, and people should be allowed to make freer adult choices about lesser emergencies, without the hectoring, nannying hyperbole of those obsessed by their own expertise or having a vested interest in communicating “alarming” phenomena.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2011.

New Shoes

I’m falling into a rut.  Every fifteen years or so I get new cycling shoes whether I need them or not.  My old pair, my first real cycling

Touring Shoe sole

New Touring shoes: smooth sole

shoes, a gift from Andrew, were really beginning to show their age.  Broken laces, worn soles, tattered velcro.  For me, they had been the perfect shoe, neither too heavy nor too light, perfect for toe clips, stylish, and durable.  I struggled to replace them, and tried a couple of options that were divergences rather than replacements.

Shoes like this are truly difficult to find.  I even had a couple of inquiries about when and where I bought them while riding on the trail, the latest from a woman who was disappointed when I apologetically turned off at the Jackson Parkway right-of-way.  She’d been looking for the right thing for months.  Both inquiries were, in fact, from women, supporting the Deborah Tannen theory that women tend to solve problems collaboratively; if you need an answer, ask people.  Men problem-solve on their own.  I’d never ask another guy on  the trail where he got his shoes, much less a woman.  What if my motives were misinterpreted?

The thing about cycling shoes is that there tend to be two kinds, more or less the way there are two kinds of bike: “road” and

My new touring shoes.

My new Specialized Touring Shoes

“mountain.”  The former are lightweight, sleek, built for light weight, and designed for road cleats only.  They are difficult to walk in.  Mountain shoes have huge treads on the bottom, almost like soccer cleats, are built for strength, and designed to take mountain-bike style pedal cleats.  That’s partly because a rider’s feet may have to be on the ground from time to time in some mountain-bike environments.  There are also spinning shoes for indoor exercise riding, but they lack the strength and/or lightness for outdoor applications.

What the curious women and I were looking for is a good shoe for toe clips: not the lightest weight, but with a nice smooth sole and heel, and a capability of being walked in with comfort.  I finally found just the thing at my local Spokes Etc. store.  It’s a “touring shoe.”  As the name implies, it’s great for riding and for walking into a deli or a bar to freshen up on a long jaunt.  Heavier than a road shoe, and smoother than a mountain shoe, this was just what I needed.  My pair are specifically Specialized bodygeometry Sport Touring shoes, black, size 47 (that’s size 13 in American money).  I fell in love instantly, went home and suggested a neat and useful birthday gift could be found, and with Jane’s approval went back and did her birthday shopping for her (I always strive to be considerate).  I’m including a couple of shots of these beauts.  I wouldn’t dare not to, After Andrew’s apt lament that I hadn’t included photos when I wrote about my shades.  Hope you appreciate the prop, Andrew.

Today was their debut, as i took the Trek out to Herndon.  The shoes proved to be the epitome of comfort, as they had seemed in the store.  They have an all-season feel to them, or maybe all but the hottest weather.  They’ll be visually great with my winter-weight black socks, too.  Sturdy, elegant, why they’ll probably last 15 years or so, by which time I’ll be past needing a new pair, in all likelihood.  Great!  A lifetime of shoe satisfaction awaits!

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2011.

Birthday Ride

Yes, it’s my birthday today.  The stock market went way up, boosted no doubt by the confidence-building fact that I’ve made it through another year.  This makes about as much sense as the other explanations we’ve gotten for the fluctuating market.  We also had a 5.8 Richter Scale earthquake here in Virginia.  The Honshu Earthquake that hit Japan in March was a 9.0.  Since each whole number on the Richter Scale equals a 100-times increase over the last number (logarithmic progression), the Japan earthquake was over 1 million times as intense as this one.  A vase fell of a shelf. A lamp was toppled. A picture fell and the glass broke.  A pinnacle snapped off the central tower of the Washington National Cathedral.  it lasted about 30 to 45 seconds.  Life immediately resumed its normalcy, except of course the Emergency Procedures called for the evacuation and shutdown of all government buildings and many private businesses.  Unexpectedly much of Washington, D.C. headed home from work at 2:30 p.m., and immediately demonstrated once again that in the case of a dire emergency it will be utterly futile to try to evacuate the District in a timely way.  If there is a mortal attack on our city, people will die in their immobile cars on the main traffic arteries.

I won’t even address the following topic, but think about it:  Why do the media assign earthquake news to their staff meteorologists?  Seismology is geology, not weather.

But this morning, long before any of this happened, I went on a birthday bike ride.  Just an ordinary ride in many ways, it nevertheless made me feel great.  The weather was fine, as described a couple of blogs ago.  Perfect late-August, dying-summer beauty.  I had to wait a while this morning for it to warm up to 70°.  First, I put on my birthday suit, or at least some shorts and the cycling jersey given to me two birthdays ago by my son Matthew.  it was intended for the 1997 New England Mountain Bike Championships Race Leader.  I rode my oldest bike, the pink Bianchi (see the Specs page), figuring the “elderly birthday” theme should be respected.  I took it on the Custis Trail going down to Rosslyn, along the Potomac on the Mount Vernon Trail, and back along the Four Mile Run Trail to the W&OD Trail.  It’s always a great ride, with a few semi-challenging short climbs, vistas of the Potomac and the splendid government buildings and monuments beyond, especially the Lincoln, Washington, and Jefferson Memorials.  Then back past the scenic Four Mile Run, a short river that takes the warm but purified waste water from the Arlington Sewage Treatment Plant down to the Chesapeake Bay via the Potomac River, its wafting fragrances making the ride even more piquant.

I noticed a couple of things today.  First, the ride was slowish.  Partly it was the headwinds, because however the wind is blowing elsewhere, it’s usually upstream on the Potomac, and I was going downstream.  partly it was my relative lack of conditioning for this time of year.  Partly it was that I made a deliberate effort to take it easy and enjoy the sights on this leisurely, gorgeous day.  But also, I was aware of being more than usually cautious.  I hope I am not succumbing to elderly fearsomeness, but only taking due precautions.  I’ve not ridden the Bianchi much lately–a long and different story, but basically it needed a handlebar tape job and I procrastinated–so I’ve had to re-learn the art of smooth shifting using the downtube levers.  And I just need to regain the feel of how the bike handles.  Second, the ride was different.  Collectively the last couple of years have seen big changes on the local trails.  One is some long overdue repaving work.  The completed portions are great, but the portions still undone are increasingly bumpy with tree roots undermining the asphalt.  I had to detour onto North Arlington streets for a few blocks today, either for repaving or for I-66 widening construction, I’m not sure which.  Also, they’ve made it impossible to “cheat” at Roosevelt Island by riding through the parking lot.  This is done by  barricading the trail all the way down to the crossing point.  If you head out from there on the parking lot side, you end up at the pedestrian-only bridge to the island.  And the “Humpback Bridge” is no more.  I will miss the dizzying northbound exit and curving descent past the lady Bird Johnson Memorial.  And a few of the greatest benches along the river are harder to access.  But the new bridge is wider and much safer, with a broad trail path separated from the roadway by a solid cement barrier wall.

All the trail changes are for the better, and as I enter a new annual cycle of life, I anticipate the same for life changes as well.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2011.

The Axle

The Fuji (see Specs page) has always been a bike with rear-wheel problems.  When I first bought it eight years ago, broken rear spokes soon ensued.  I tried replacing the rear wheel, which repeatedly bent out of true, with a similar low-end product, and it also kept breaking spokes and bending out of true.  Now, while I’d paid only $150 for the whole bike at an end-of-year sale, the replacement cost per spoke was then $20, an intolerable fee for something that had never happened to me even once on any other bike.  (Since then, two other bikes have broken one spoke each.)  I remember one embarrassing occasion when a passing rider had to tell me that the rear wheel, bent out of true, was pushing the rear brake to the side with every revolution.

Finally I took it to a more competent bike repair shop (Step One: you get what you pay for).  They assured me that there were sturdier rims (Step Two: you get what you pay for), but that in my case it would be almost imperative to build the new wheel around the existing hub and cogs.  Why?  The Fuji has the old-fashioned threaded freewheel hub, and no modern pre-built wheel will accommodate it.  Partly that’s because the cogset is an archaic 7-speed group, including one ridiculous “granny gear” of 32 teeth.  If you got into replacing all that, you’d have to rehab the whole drivetrain, definitely not worth it in terms of the original cost of the bike.  And yet I like the old Fuji for comfortable cruising, rainy days, and even the anticipation of a time when my body may demand an “easier” ride.  So they rebuilt the wheel on a better rim, and I have had nary a broken spoke since.  Just one liiiittle problem: the “new” rim was originally bored to accept a Presta valve, and my old tubes were Schrader.  Rather than providing a Schrader adapter for a Presta valve, they re-bored the hole.  But they made it just a hair too big, and so after 80 miles the tube slipped inside the tire enough to “decapitate” the valve against the edge of the hole, thus flattening the tire.  I home-engineered this fix with two or three revolutions of electrician’s tape around the base of the valve on a new inner tube.  It’s worked perfectly for five or six years.

About six or seven months ago, the Fuji started making a new noise, a kind of periodic clicking.  I can’t pinpoint when it started, but it kept getting louder.  About three months ago it was really loud and persistent.  I checked out the bike after the ride and found the rear wheel  drastically askew, but in a way that did not result in rubbing against the brake.  Unmounting the wheel from the frame, I discovered a lot of play in the axle.  Then I quickly saw that the play was independent on either end: the axle had broken.  How long had it been that way, or nearly broken?  Goodness only knows.

It looked like a straightforward thing to fix, even assuming what I always take for granted about any repair, namely that there will be some unimagined complications.  So I proceeded to take the thing apart.  First I removed the skewers, and then went after the visible and accessible lock nuts.  Once they were off, that was pretty much it.  On the side with the gears there was a spacer and then a ball-bearing “cone” that holds the bearings in place.  On the other side there was just the locknut and another cone.  The ball-bearing race on the hub body was fairly accessible on this side, the left side of the hub looking forward on the bike.  The race on the other side could only be wholly accessed by removing the cogset.

I decided to try a “lite” repair, not removing the cogset.  The difficulty here is that the bearings are loose, not caged.  So I took out the “left” bearings and put them in a jar, all nine of them.  I had visions of servicing the old Dawes (see Home page) as a kid, chasing rolling bearings around a basement floor covered with sawdust and shavings from my airplane model-making.  I removed and laid out in sequence all the parts: lock nut, bearing cone, bearing cone, spacer, lock nut; skewer set with springs and nuts; two pieces of axle.  Shortly afterward I went to the bike shop with my two pieces of axle, asking if they had one just like it in one piece.  They did.  Then they gave me the shaft, or sold it to me for $7.99 plus tax.  (Sorry; couldn’t resist the bad and not wholly apt pun.)

The situation stayed at this point for some time while I attended to more urgent matters, such as paper grading and book reading.  Finally, though, I screwed up the courage to attempt the repair.  Yeah, I know it’s a little silly, but I feel a certain amount of incompetence even with such simple matters.  I turned to one of my favorite reference tomes, Complete Bike Book by Chris Sidwells.  It addresses all aspects of cycling, from touring to descending to nutrition and exercise, all with great color illustrations.  But 19 times out of every 20 when I open this book I am looking up something in the “Maintaining your bike” section, with its step-by-step pictured instructions and clear explanations.  Nothing about bike maintenance is rocket science, but it’s all about precision–“touch.”

So actually doing the repair was fairly easy.  The one definite glitch was that three of the greasy ball bearings from the gears side had left their race and worked down into the middle of the hub body.  I retrieved them by sticking a pencil covered with heavy silicone grease into the hub body, capturing each fugitive bearing and lifting it out separately, and then using more grease, the pencil, and a deft hand to replace them inside their race.  After that I left the wheel horizontal, gear side up, until that side was safely reassembled.

When the last lock nut was tight the wheel turned freely with very little “play.”  It all went back onto the bike properly, and I rode the Fuji 24 miles to Herndon and back without incident last Tuesday.  I’ll continue to monitor performance closely, but I think the repair is good.  Never too late to live and learn something new.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2011.

August

I’ve just returned from vacation in the Pacific Northwest.  As it turned out I did not get a chance to ride out there, though I was prepared with helmet and light gear.  Envious feelings passed through my soul whenever I saw a rider, or a group, on the beautiful winding country roads among Douglas Firs, vineyards, ocean vistas, salt marshes, or wheat fields.  Especially evocative of a crie de coeur was the group of riders doing a benefit, I think for breast cancer, on the flats and hills along the Puget Sound between Fairhaven and Everett, along the Chuckanut Bay road.  They were cranking up some pretty good hills, and I would have enjoyed the challenge, at least my mind would have, if not my body.  In Seattle and Eugene alike the bicycle is in widespread use for all sorts of things, from commuting to recreational riding to local errand-running to serious competitiveness.  Eugene is noteworthy for its bizarre bikes, constructed in a welding shop from old frames.  A number of them are double-decker, with two frames, or parts thereof, welded on top of one another, with the chain running diagonally upward to cranks that are a few feet above the road.  Some have cowcatchers or barbecue grilles attached to the front in flamboyant displays of fantasy.

We had left home in the throes of a terrible heat wave, day after day in the 90°+ range, and humidity enough to choke your lungs.  We returned to a gracious climate of mid-August, worthy of New England.  Bright, sunny air, low humidity, downright cool overnight temperatures.  We came in Monday morning on the red-eye, having given up our seats on an earlier non-stop for $400 each in vouchers, plus an upgrade to Economy Plus, which gave us the leg room necessary for actual sleep on the return flight.  Instead of cycling Monday afternoon, I napped.  But yesterday I was out there, in the intense blue sky, the warm sun, the cool northwest breeze.

I know this weather.  It is New England in August, somehow displaced to Virginia, the place where the Pilgrims in the Mayflower thought they were headed, until the stormy North Atlantic winds blew them off course and delayed their arrival until early November, when they anchored in what later became Massachusetts Bay near the outer arm of the Cape.  Riding yesterday on the W&OD, I could picture myself on the road near Sudbury, or Barnstable, or dozens of similar towns.  The angle of the light tells you it’s not mid-summer any more, as does the firm coolness of the air.  The sun may make it feel warm, but underneath there’s that breeze saying “enjoy this, because winter is on the way.”  Yet every nuance of landscape and atmosphere sings of the carefree openness of summer, a song we all pray will never end.

My birthday is in six days, and I know the omens.  The local tomatoes are at their best, a far cry from “those hard round orange things they strip-mine in Texas,” as Garrison Keillor once put it.  the local corn is at its peak of sugary goodness, and you don’t even have to run in from the garden and thow it into already-boiling water to preserve its goodness.  But the shadows lie longer, even at noon.  Isabelle, our cat who loves the sun, can find a good rectangle of it inside the front door by mid-day.  The Trail is less protected, ironically, because the sun shines from a more southerly direction and shades the pathway less.  At the same time, I have a bit more discretion about when to start off in the morning.  The sun rises later, and nights, because they’re longer, tend to cool down more.  Not that we can’t have more hot spells, but in less than five weeks the nights will be longer than the days, and the heat can’t win that battle.

Meanwhile, I’ll revel in the glory of late-summer pleasures, the best balance of summer and moderate heat the year has to offer.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2011.

Thoughts While Cycling

Way back in my youth, when Boston had at least five daily papers (The Morning Herald, The Evening Traveler, The Globe, The Post (hey, tabloids are newspapers too), and The Christian Science Monitor), the Globe had a column called “Thoughts While Shaving.”  This column was of special interest to me, because I was at the age of imagining what it must be like to shave, and how any man could scrape sharp steel across his face without inflicting mortal damage.  And America had entered the safety razor era [Look Sharp!  Feel Sharp!  Be Sharp!  Gillette Blue Blades!], so it wasn’t even a matter of a naked straight razor, though my dad still had the leather strop he once used to keep the edge sharp.  None of that anxious ballet that W. C. Fields did in It’s a Gift.  How could one think about anything while shaving, except not cutting oneself?  What did men think about in those moments?

“Thoughts While Shaving,” by sports columnist Ernie Roberts, expressed those random, brief, reflections and observations that drift through your mind when you’re doing a simple, repetitive task.  In that spirit I offer the following, gleaned from my musings over my last few rides.  In no particular order:

  • In the underpass beneath Wilson Boulevard a woman was pushing a baby carriage on the left-hand side of the trail going westward, against the flow of bike traffic.  She was halfway through the underpass when I approached going eastward.  In the underpass there’s no place to go if you leave the trail; a cement wall is on the south and rocky Four Mile Run, unguarded by any railing, is to the north.  Going downhill toward the underpass, I had passed a westbound rider coming uphill at a good clip.  So when I passed the woman by going into the westbound lane I thought: (1) I can understand why she’s doing that.  She thinks she can see oncoming danger instead of letting it approach her, perhaps unaware, from behind.  (2)  She is a fool.  If that guy I passed on the way down comes along about ten seconds later, when I am in the underpass tunnel approaching the woman, I have nowhere to go.  I can swerve to miss her and collide with him, each of us going 20 m.p.h., or I can slam on the brakes, hit the carriage and the woman behind it, and hope for the best.  By instinct I would probably do the latter, but the baby is the most likely to get hurt in that scenario.
  • They were taking surveys at the Wiehle Avenue crossing a couple of weeks ago.  They seduced us riders with bottled water and energy bars.  The survey was about crosswalks.  The survey takers were an independent contractor hired by the Park Authority.  One question was about under what circumstances traffic has to stop for me.  The correct answer is whenever I am in the crosswalk stripes (the crosswalk at Wiehle is about 15 feet wide, by the way).  The reality is, though, that the Wiehle crosswalk is odd because it’s so near the corner of Wiehle and Sunset Hills.  It’s not a corner crosswalk, but it’s heavily influenced by the lights at the corner.  In reality, I cannot cross the crosswalk when oncoming traffic either way has a green light at the intersection.  The cars just don’t stop.  I am also subject to non-stopping traffic that’s just turned off Sunset Hills onto Wiehle from either direction.  I suggested on the survey that maybe the crosswalk needs its own traffic signals.
  • The old Trail bridge at I-66 is now entirely demolished, and they’ve almost got all the repaving and safety fences completed for the new bridge, which has been in use for about a month.
  • On a less happy note, trucks from the Beltway construction project seem to be using the downhill section of the W&OD from Virginia Avenue westward for a couple of hundred feet.  This is horrible for cyclists encountering them from either direction.  You’re either speeding downhill and have to slam on the brakes, or you’re chugging uphill and have to stop, then get started again on an upward slope.  These trucks should not be granted exceptions to use the trail.
  • There were an ambulance and a fire truck about a mile west of Vienna on the W&OD last week.  They were responding to a woman who had fallen off her bike.  To echo Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, “I do happen to believe that she had a problem with her collarbone.”  But from the calm way she was talking to her rescuers, she did not appear to have broken it.   Now I know it’s probably some kind of protocol, and I also know how those rescue jocks love to go out on call and drive their shiny, loud equipment, but darned if I don’t think it’s idiotic to send a fire truck along with the ambulance on a call on the W&OD.  It’s amazing how seldom a damaged bicycle leaks flammable fluids.  The bloody thing had to go past the accident (lucky it went in first) and back into the parking lot at the foot of Clark’s Crossing Road.  I hope it returned via the roads from that lot.
  • Also recently seen on the trail:  a two-point buck, antlers still fuzzy; another Kelme team jersey when I was wearing mine; another 2009 Trek 2.1 while I was riding mine.  Funny thing, the other Trek was faster than mine.
©Arnold J. Bradford, 2011.