Joshua Tree

[Originally posted on Monday, September 30]
We arrived for a vacation week at Palm Springs on separate flights, amazingly well coordinated considering that Arn was coming from Las Vegas and Jane from Los Angeles. The last leg for both of us was in small propeller-driven aircraft flying at relatively low altitude over desert terrain. So we got a good look at the unique topography of the Southern California deserts. Palm Springs sits in the Coachella Valley, whose springs have been a source of life for indigenous peoples and indeed pre-human life, including a specific species of palm tree.

sunset

Palm Springs sunset, from our balcony

The Oasis Resort turned out to be about five minutes away from the airport, a straight shot down East Palm Canyon Drive. It is a quiet gated condo community, and it does not appear to be very busy in this in-between season. Palm Springs’ peak season is winter, but by now the sizzling three-digit temperatures of summer are gone, the weather ideal.  Our one-bedroom condo unit is on the second floor, with a garage and a outside balcony (where we are sitting now). It has morning and late afternoon shade, so it’s a nice place for breakfasts and evening appetizers. We have great views of the mountains, the landscaping and palm trees. We’ve sighted several kinds of hummingbirds, a Red-tailed Hawk and several other birds, some related to our familiar eastern species. We have our choice of nearby swimming pools, some with hot tubs. The pools are sparsely populated, so there’s no fighting over saved lounge chairs. Although the temperatures are in the 90s, it does not feel that hot because of the low humidity. And the morning temperatures are in the mid-60s. We discovered a grocery store five minutes away, and are finding it liberating to eat what and when we want, in our own home away from home.

joshua

Joshua Tree

Yesterday (September 29) we decided to visit Joshua Tree National Park, knowing that it might be closed if the House of Representatives shuts down the government on Tuesday. The park is part of the Mojave and Colorado Deserts. Its entrance is about 40 miles from Palm Springs. On the drive we were happy to see huge wind farms, with hundreds of windmills and fields full of solar panels generating needed energy. As we neared the park entrance to the we began to see Joshua Trees, unique to this area. The Visitor Center ranger explained that they are a type of yucca. She showed us a cross section of a Joshua Tree trunk; they have no growth rings and feature a sponge-like center, where moisture is kept in reserve. These trees may be hundreds of years old, but are not easy to date without rings; they grow a modest 1″ a year.

boulders

Typical pile of boulders in Joshua Tree National Park

Once inside the park, we drove through areas with large loose-boulder rock formations. The shapes were rounded and fantastic, the product of a complicated subterranean erosion process. Some of the boulders were balanced precariously on top of others, some had features like “Skull Rock,” “Jumbo Rocks,” etc. What makes these rocky desert outcroppings, like the surrounding mountains, different from Eastern topography is that there is virtually no vegetation. The ground itself is desert sand, and only a few hardy forms, such as sagebrush, cacti, mesquite, creosote bushes, and small scrub vegetation grow there. Only 2 to 5 inches of rain fall annually. Most blooming is erratic, following rare rainy periods. Only a few blooms were visible during our visit, through recent heavy rains had washed out one of the park roads and covered others with sand. One bloom we did see was a yellow ground cover that was widespread in a few areas. The only wildlife we saw, except for some ravens and small birds, was a Antelope Ground Squirrel and a lizard with an amputated tail. (We had hoped to see a roadrunner going “beep-beep.”)  We learned that there were seven kinds of rattlesnakes as well as killer bees in the park, which certainly discouraged off-trail adventures.

ocotillo

Ocotillo in the desert

We stopped at various viewpoints and hiking trails, but did not venture off on any of the hikes, though we did one quarter-mile jaunt in the Cholla Cactus Garden. Another large flora grouping we stopped to see were the Ocotillo patch. They’re tall shrubs that form leaves whenever it’s wet and drop them whenever it’s droughty. Their long spindly shape reminds one of aquarium grass, through they’re 20 feet tall. We did not see Prickly Pear or Saguaro cacti here.

One of the highlights was the Keys View overlook, which provided a sweeping vista from 5185 feet. We could see a mountain on the Mexican border, the Salton Sea, San Jacinto mountain (10,861 ft.) with Palm Springs nestled under it, and most of all the San Andreas Fault, very visible at this point, running up the middle of the Coachella Valley. Our side of the fault is moving south at 2″ a year, while the coastal side is moving north at the same rate. The atmosphere in this area is perpetually hazy because of the dust and natural and man-made pollution, despite the low humidity. Heading for the southern “Cottonwood” park entrance, we noted the climate and temperature change as we approached the valley. We drove through a huge wash area typical of a region where it seldom rains but has deluges when it does. We also learned of amateur archaeologists who discovered an early Native American culture that thrived 9000 years ago along a long-gone river bed. In the 19th century this desert had pioneer prospectors searching for gold and other minerals; several active mines were in production in the area then.

We were thrilled to see something so different from anything we had ever seen before. The vastness of this wilderness, and the scale and forms of the geology, were amazing. We felt the thinness of the air as we walked in the highlands; it took its toll.

All in all, this was one of the most unusual anniversary days ever for us. it far exceeded our expectations.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2013.

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Bonk!

Thursday was a beautiful day!  The sky was blue, the air was cool, the variable wind not very strong, just a breeze.  Having ridden on the exercise bike the day before, I was really ready to go out on the trail.

I’d have ridden the trail on the day before too, except that I’d gotten a 24-hour heart monitor attached Tuesday morning.  The doctor said I could and should be able to do all normal activities during the 24-hour period; frankly, I’d hoped to get a ride in then, at least indoors.  But the device came with a lot of intimidating instructions.  Couldn’t get near any electronic signals that might interfere, so I’d have to avoid the exercise bike, and not use my usual bike computer if I went on a ride.  In fact, the bike setup would have a signal generator whether the computer was mounted or not, so I might have to remove it to take the ride.  Further, the instructions said not to shower, take a bath, swim, “etc.”  I wondered if the “etc.” included sweat heavily, which I would do if I rode.  And finally, the technicians who installed the monitor did not, in my view, do the right thing when attaching the monitor’s electrodes.  They could have shaven my chest hair to give the thing a good connection, but they didn’t.  They swabbed the area to remove skin oils, and attached the electrodes over the hair.  They used tape to secure the electrodes better, as well as the adhesive on the device itself.  The central of the five electrodes was so loose that I thought that it wouldn’t take much at all to dislodge it, and the instruction sheet spoke in dire terms of having to re-do the test if that happened.

By Wednesday morning I was unhitched from the monitor and I guess I could have ridden.  My legs were aching the way they paradoxically do when I do not get enough exercise in them.  But I was feeling still a bit out of sorts with my cold, and decided an indoor ride would be a better fit for my degree of health and fitness.  Did 30 minutes, and noted afterwards that my weight was down by 4.5 lbs. from when I last rode indoors about 10 days ago.  I chalked it up to an anomaly based on all the variables of time-of-day, last meals eaten, and the like, that can account for daily weight variance.

Beautiful Thursday was the ideal day.  With an indoor ride in my legs I could extend my range to Ashburn, enjoy the great weather and early autumn sights, and improve my conditioning.  So off I started, feeling most of the symptoms mentioned in “Riding Ill,” but generally OK.  I’d eaten half a Clif Bar for a little extra energy, just in case the light breakfast of Wheat Chex and milk ran out before my need for energy did.   Rolling out to Ashburn felt fine.  I was deliberately holding back a bit, thinking of the distance and the few recent miles in my legs.

My “Ashburn” turnaround point refers to a barbecue restaurant and general store right where the W&OD crosses Ashburn Road.  On the north side of the trail, opposite the store, are benches to rest and soak in a few rays of sun before heading home.  It’s about 18 ½ miles from Academy St.  I remounted for the return, a little surprised that I was heading into the prevailing wind.  It felt like it had been in my face coming out, though sometimes it’s hard to tell when the breezes are light and variable.  As I hit the checkpoints homeward—the Route 28 overpass, Sterling Boulevard, Elden Street—my legs were getting heavier and heavier, and I was craving another rest.  That was unusual, I thought.  I’d managed for several years to ride my range of regular rides with set pauses, usually about halfway along.  The rides under 25 miles long didn’t usually require any rest stops at all, unless it was very hot or very windy.  But somewhere east of Herndon I began to lose the energy to travel on.  I was drinking more liquid, but I was also fantasizing about crawling into bed and sleeping once I got home.  My neck and shoulders hurt.  I stopped at the bench at the top of the hill down to Hunter Mill Road.  I considered calling Jane for a ride, but since I was about 5 miles from home I thought I would soldier on, even at a reduced pace.  This after all was not a race (I have to remind myself of that frequently, since I tend to race against my own sense of how I “should be” performing).  Once down the hill (where I only hit about 26 mph instead of my usual 31 or 32) the trail is an uphill false flat most of the way to Vienna.  Going forward was quite an effort; if one could assume the fetal position on the bike I would have.  Hot baths and warm beds floated through my mind.  I considered another rest at the Vienna Community Center, but decided that I could more easily take the last two miles right now than get going again after a rest.  On the uphill after Vienna I could only give minimal effort, and surprisingly it went well.  Usually I really push it here, and the climb seems like a monster.  Lesson learned: if you don’t attack the gradient, it will not try to hurt you.

When I got to the foot of Academy, my usual all-out charge to the top of the street was out of the question.  I meekly wheeled around the dump truck and flatbed that have adorned our street ever since our driveway/retaining wall project began, and slowly up the drive.  Home at last!

Whether this “bonk” was just running out of energy, or dehydration, or an event triggered by my erratic heartbeat I am not sure.  I did not have the symptoms that accompanied the earlier erratic-heart episodes: sudden sweating and short-term loss of breath.  But aching neck and shoulders were the same.  And I had lost 3 or 4 more pounds.  At any rate, it was one of the rare times that I have felt worse after a bike ride, and I’d rather never go there again.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2013.

Thoughts While Cycling

  • My last two rides have involved rolling down the concrete of our brand new driveway.  We’re having cement work done, and it’s been a long job, contracted at considerable expense.  The workers came a week ago Tuesday, and probably won’t be done until the end of this coming week.  But the driveway is a beautiful new thing, easy to back out of from either side.
  • Yesterday I saw a doe, a deer, a female deer, standing by the side of the trail.  She was youngish, and worse yet completely unafraid of me.  I would never characterize any deer as “curious”; they all seem a bit dim.  And they’ve been doing their annual number on our backyard plantings.  This one seemed characteristically incurious as I zoomed past.  She just sized me up in case I looked like a hosta-planting kind of guy, which I guess I must.
  • I am very happy about the apparent victory in the Tour of Spain (Vuelta Ciclista a España) by American cyclist Chris Horner, who calls Bend, Oregon his home.  The Vuelta is the third hardest stage race in the world, and well suited to Horner’s skills.  He does especially well on steep gradients, and the Vuelta offers some of the steepest in the world.  Today’s course, on the last stage before the ceremonial closing race tomorrow, featured sections of 15% up to 21% on the final climb.  Going into today, Horner led Vincenzo Nibali by all of 9 seconds.  Today he put 28 seconds into Nibali, all during the steepest final kilometers.  So he now has an unchallengeable 37-second advantage.
  • Horner gives hope to all of us older guys.  He’s now 41 (older than Lance Armstrong), and is riding as well as he has at any time in his bad-luck- and injury-prone career.  He wore corrective bandages throughout this race to help rectify lingering muscular problems from a bad knee injury that has kept him out much of the year since late spring.  But he seems to have been able to build upon a couple of strong domestic performances late this summer and arrive at the Vuelta in prime condition, at a time in the race calendar when most European riders, including his rival Nibali, have lots of kilometers in their legs.
  • My joy in his victory would be less subdued if there weren’t that lingering doubt about PEDs.  How can this guy be beating riders that he is old enough to have fathered, in some cases, when most such geriatric pros have waned or retired?  Except for his hard-man, formidable teammate Jens Voigt, who turns 42 in three days.  But Horner’s biological passport must have passed muster or he wouldn’t be riding at all.  So hats off to Chris Horner, now on top of the cycling world!

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2013.

Riding Ill

That’s “ill.”  I know it looks almost like the III that is the last part of the Redskins’ quarterback’s initials.  I had first thought of using the title “Riding Sick,” but quickly realized that this was full of peril.  In my adolescence the word meant perverse, twisted, socially or morally subversive, as in the “sick humor” of the early Mad Magazine (“Tales in a Jugular Vein”), or even more the tone of that other EC Comics fave, Tales From the Crypt.  Mom probably called it that too, but for her it was “oh, horrors!” while for us it was a term of approbation.

These days I observe that “sick” has a wholly different slang connotation, that of straightforward approval of some extraordinary style, look, or achievement.  One could say that the movement a baseball pitcher was putting on the ball was “sick,” meaning devastatingly effective, unhittable.  Or a recent Jimmy Fallon hoax video about an apparent twerking [spellcheck doesn’t recognize “twerk” yet] accident was so hilarious and deceptive as a hoax that it was “sick,” over-the-top successful.

The perfect fusion of these two meanings is the scene in Cool Hand Luke in which Paul Newman eats 50 hard-boiled eggs.  That performance is my adolescent “sick,” the new hip “sick,” and also, unless Newman was using a stunt double, literally how he must have felt after shooting the scene.

But I have been ill.  Today marks the fifteenth day of my cold.  It’s almost gone after two weeks, because I’ve been medicating it with Afrin and Ibuprofen.  Had I not, it would have lasted a fortnight.  In these two weeks I’ve had, turn by turn, all the symptoms: the watery eyes, the sore throat, the runny nose, the stuffy nose, the fever chills, the general achiness, the laryngitis, the coughing, the phlegm.  And all these things have conspired against my motivation to ride my bike.

One can ride with a head cold, because one can breathe through the mouth.  But one really cannot ride with a chest cold, because the lungs just don’t process enough oxygen fast enough to keep up energy.  And this cold was more savage than most of mine in creating those debilitating physical symptoms of chill and ache.  Not to mention coughing.

The weather, of course, has chosen this time to become idyllic.  Well, actually not all that idyllic for about the last three days prior to today, when summer tried its best to administer one final dose of the Hazy, Hot, and Humids that we know so well here in DC.  But overall the summer of 2013 was not more successful than the Washington Nationals of 2013 in fulfilling predictions of blazing success.  And so we’ve generally enjoyed a gradual, calm, descent into fall.  The squall line that came through yesterday cooled things right off into a 75˚ day today, after decommissioning BWI Marshall Airport in Baltimore for a few hours with a lightning bolt.  No 80s expected for the next week.

The ironic mixture of great weather outside and under-the-weather health can be a downer.  I have found my resolve and morale fading a bit, especially with my body’s sometimes-insistent screaming to take it easy, rest, get all better.  It’s a voice I hear often, but most on those two or three nights of every cold when my nose is really stuffy and/or my muscles ache and I don’t sleep well.

But the warm sunshine makes me champ at the bit to ride.  I can get out now and then by promising myself not to overdo it, taking an Ibuprofen or two when I wake up, taking a shot of Afrin just before I take off, and leave it to instinct to just work into the ride and live in the moment.  Along the way I will be spitting mucus, my nose will be dripping, I will not be a pretty sight.  I can’t blow my nose constantly when I’m in the saddle.  But the riding actually forces my respiratory system to clean itself out much better than it would do at home.

Today’s weather was splendid, with a bit of a post-cold-front breeze from the NNW.  The sun was bright, the air clear, the trail abloom with all those fall flowers that are predominantly yellow: goldenrod, black-eyed susans, primroses, and a couple more I can’t name.  I didn’t set any records for speed or distance, but I did a nice 24 miles at almost 15 mph out to Herndon and back.

And as has been the case in almost every single bike ride I have ever taken in my life, I felt better when I got home than I felt when I left home.  Tomorrow the high temperature is supposed to be about 70˚, with full sun.  I am SO going to be out there.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2013.

Our Month? Our Year?

The Red Sox fan in me does not greet September with joy.  It’s when the Sox have often withered and fallen, like the leaves after a blistering July and August.  In 1946 they clinched the pennant on Friday, September 13, and finished 104-50.  But Ted Williams hurt his wrist in an exhibition game, had a quiet Series, and the Sox lost to the underdog Cardinals—their first loss ever in a World Series.  In 1948, the Sox were tied with the Indians at the end of the month and the end of the season.  Sounds good, but had they won one more game they wouldn’t have gotten embarrassed by the Tribe in the tiebreaker game, 8-3. In 1949, the Red Sox entered October with a one-game lead over the Yankees, but lost their last two games in New York to finish a game out.

In those three years I was 7, 9, and 10 years old in September, and those failures meant the most.  I could go on, and mention among other things the 1978 season in which they lost a huge lead in September and lost the “Bucky F. Dent” playoff game, or the 2011 season when they were the best team in baseball for four months of the six month season, but went 7 and 20 in September and finished a game out of the playoffs.  But I won’t [sorry; I didn’t study Cicero in high school and come away with nothing].  By then I was a grown man, and too old to cry (except inside), because you don’t want to admit that a mere game can mean so much.  And of course, it really doesn’t, except that it sort of does.  Being a fan of your old hometown team can validate your native community, revive your childhood experiences, boost your ego vicariously.  You’ve emotionally cast your lot with them, through thick and thin.  It’s been thin often enough, so when it’s thick, whoopee!

And that’s why it was so great to see them land on the Detroit Tigers 20-4 a couple of nights ago, and then just yesterday beat the Yankees 9-8.  The Detroit blowout was the rubber game in a series billed as a match between the “two best clubs in the American League.”  But it was at home, and afterwards they had to go to New York to face a Yankee club that has been improving over the last month.

Last night was as good as it gets for the fans of the team that wins the game.  At the start, the Sox gained the upper hand, and halfway along they seemed to be on autopilot, with a 7-2 lead and the gritty Jake Peavey on the hill. But the Yankees pulled off a 6-run inning and looked like they had it in the bag.  In the top of the 9th they had their all-time great closer Mariano Rivera on the mound, two out, and nobody on.  And then eight or nine small things happened that made winners of the Sox and losers of the Yankees.  (1)  Mike Napoli was the last batter before Rivera could ring up the Save.  But with two strikes, Mike came up big, as he has done so often this year.  He lined a soft single to right-center.  Big kudos there to a gritty guy who was going to make the most of potentially the last AB of the game.  (2) The Sox sent in a pinch-runner, one Quintin Berry, fleet of foot.  But Berry hasn’t been in the bigs much (97 games over two seasons), and maybe the Yankees didn’t know that.  At any rate, the game situation dictated that he wouldn’t steal, because getting thrown out would end the game.  (3)  Rivera never looked at Berry as he took his lead.  Berry thus got a huge jump, and (4) the surprised catcher, Austin Romine, young, anxious, and inexperienced, bounced his throw, which slipped under the glove of Derek Jeter, Yankee shortstop, who covered on the play.  (5)  Berry got up, saw the ball rolling into the no-man’s-land of short left center, and took off for third.  Center fielder Brett Gardner charged over to play the ball, as he was in a better position to make a throw to third.  But second baseman Robinson Cano signaled for him not to throw.  Berry arrived at third uncontested.

Being at third rather than second makes all kinds of difference.   A balk, wild pitch, or passed ball means a run.  On most singles, there’s no play at the plate, because with two outs Berry is running as soon as the batter makes contact with the ball.  Being at third rather than first is huge, obviously.  (6)  Rivera left a slider over the middle of the plate to the batter, Stephen Drew, who hit another soft liner to right-center.  The Sox had the run and Rivera had his sixth blown save.

The Sox let one of their strong set-up guys, Craig Breslow, pitch the bottom of the ninth, but the Yankees had to go with Joba “The Hut” Chamberlain in the tenth.  While the Yankees had gotten back into the game thanks to a couple of weak Sox relief performances, reciprocally Joba might not have been the ideal hurler for a tense, all-or-nothing situation.   Jacoby Ellsbury singled, and (7) went to the well again by successfully stealing second off Romine.  He thus became a RISP (Runner In Scoring Position), the kind of thing a team is supposed to cash in on if it’s to be successful.  Shane Victorino (8) held back a temptation to swing at a Chamberlain third-strike pitch just in time, according to the umps; Joba and other Yankee partisans thought he might have gone too far.  On the next pitch Chamberlain threw it up and in, and Victorino fought it off well enough to send it directly to that same spot in shallow right where Drew’s hit had dropped.

Ellsbury, the AL stolen base leader, tested right fielder Ichiro Suzuki’s arm by rounding third at full speed and heading home.  Suzuki had good outfield assist numbers early in his career, but the last few have seen a dropoff.  (9)  His throw last night, had it arrived on the fly, might have nailed Ellsbury.  But he bounced it, and Romine muffed the bounce.  Relieved a batter later, Chamberlain got an ejection as he was heading for the showers anyway, apparently for expressing disagreement with the arbitrators’ interpretation of Victorino’s swing.

And here’s one more detail, the rest of the story.  (10) Koji Uehara, Sox closer, didn’t give the Bombers a whiff of hope, snuffing the last one with a K. This year it’s the Sox, not the Yankees, who have the drop-dead closer.  Uehara has the 1.14 ERA, the 0.60 WHIP, the 27 outs since his last earned run.  And he wasn’t even on the Red Sox horizon as closer at the beginning of the season.  They had acquired Joel Hanrahan from the Pirates to complement the often injured Andrew Bailey, acquired the year before from the A’s.  Both of these immense under-performers gave Sox fans reason to worry before they went safely on long-term DL status.

When it’s “your year,” even injuries work in your favor.  That’s why I’m liking where this season is going.  Who knows where it will end up?  But the way the details are sorting themselves out makes me optimistic that, despite the fact that the Sox play 18 of their last 20 games against division rivals, there will still be baseball at the Fens well into October.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2013.

Thoughts While Cycling

Andrew
A week ago I had the rare opportunity to ride with Andrew when he came for a visit.  We went out to Herndon on the W&OD, then through some residential streets, back to the Trail on Dranesville Road, and back home.  You never talk or ride bikes with Andrew without learning something.   This time he showed me the adjustments I needed on the brakes of the Coda.

Snake
On the same ride, we saw a garter snake crossing the trail.   A good sized one, maybe 20”.  A snake out on the warm asphalt might be an omen that summer is coming to an end, that the cool night before the ride (mid-50s F) encouraged the snake to seek the heat.

Repaving
In an amazing span of just a couple of days, the Park Authority repaved the trail from Crestview Drive all the way in to Old Reston Avenue.  That means that the entire part of the Trail that I ride between my house and Crestview has been resurfaced within the last two years.  It’s a good thing, too, because there were getting to be some nasty cracks across the asphalt out near Ferndale Avenue.  About a week and a half ago I had to turn back at Ferndale because the Trail was blocked by a truck.  Now I know what that was about.  I guess I could have gone right on Ferndale and worked my way back to the Trail, but I just looped back via Elden and headed home.

True Grit, Pro Peloton Style
My current inside workout video is the 2007 Tour de France.  In this one, the mid-race overall leader Michael Rasmussen is pulled out of the race near the end because of suspicion of doping.  He failed to report his whereabouts for a critical period, thus avoiding out-of-competition testing.  The result is that Alberto Contador wins the 2007 Tour, his first overall victory.  But where I am in my watching this hasn’t happened yet.  Rasmussen is leading, and his teammates are doing a great job of setting a high pace in the mountains to protect him and exhaust his rivals.  One of the best of those pace-setters is a young Thomas Dekker, who is riding his first Tour.  The commentator, Phil Liggett, keeps saying how a team “rises to the occasion” when one of them is the top competitor, comparing Rasmussen’s team’s powerful performance to the same relentless surge that Lance Armstrong’s team used to show.  (When the commentary was broadcast Armstrong had been retired for two years, and the scandals were still several years away.)  The huge irony is that we soon found out that not only Rasmussen but also Dekker and other team members were doping, just as we later found out that Armstrong and his team were.  Dekker, in fact, served a two-year suspension and is now riding, irony of ironies, for Garmin Sharp, one of the self-righteous anti-drug teams that has fired people after they voluntarily confessed to have doped in prior years.  But Dekker is too good a rider to dismiss on mere principle, I guess.  Anyway, it is very disillusioning to be reminded once again that what I, and Phil Liggett, once assumed was true grit, determination, and glory was in fact EPO and transfused oxygenated blood.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2013.

“Machines,” by Michael Donaghy

I’m sharing a link to a short lyric poem that appeared on yesterday’s Writer’s Almanac, a daily posting from National Public Radio.  It compares a bicycle to a keyboard composition by Henry Purcell.  Most apt.  Note that it was published in 2000, and the reference to the “racer’s twelve-speed bike” was archaic even then.  Further, the poem’s identification of Schwinn as the builder who perfected the design of the gears or the bike frame is radically misplaced.  For an American audience, however, it resonates more than a relatively obscure European name would.  I especially love the comparison of the concentric sprockets of the drive train to the old geocentric universe.  Anything that helps me think of my ride in terms of Dante’s heaven is spirit-lifting.

The Writer’s Almanac, “Machines”

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2013.