Gray gutter goo

Today’s morning commute went less well than planned.

Rounding a gentle bend, I detected a squishy wiggle from the rear tire. After biking a short, hopeful1 distance I stopped. Squeezing the rear tire confirmed my suspicions — I had a flat.

And it was covered in gray gutter goo. Ugh!

After fixing the flat2 I had plenty of time to think of alliterative adjectives for that gross, greasy, grimy, gritty, gray gutter goo.

Looks like it’s time to do some pre-winter bike maintenance, replacing my tires and brake pads, and cleaning my running gear. And time to refresh the wipes in my seat bag. Sunday is coming…


  1. Denial isn’t only a river in Egypt. 
  2. With only a patch, thank you very much. 

Foggy Morning

You smell that? Do you smell that? Fog, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of fog in the morning.1

Condensation formed on my handlebars during this morning’s ride. Either that, or the fog was a lot thicker than I thought.

Regardless, the fog was dense enough to smell. Mmm… I love that. :-)


  1. Do I really need to cite the source of this “quote”? 

Why Bikes Make Smart People Say Dumb Things

Why Bikes Make Smart People Say Dumb Things. A good discussion on why those who drive cars think those who ride bikes are scofflaws and some good arguments why we’re not. Money quote: “The likely conclusion is that people riding bikes don’t break more laws or fewer laws than when they drive cars, but they do break different laws.” Well worth a read, whether your drive or bike.1


  1. Yeah, this article is almost a month old (though I did tweet about it when it came out). I ran across it again today and felt it was worth sharing here. 

Dear Motorist

While biking to work this morning, a white pickup truck nearly ran me over. It would have been his1 fault and done while he was breaking the law.2 Fortunately I saw it (him) coming3 and was able to avoid the collision.

I considered a chase,4 but know road rage never goes well for anyone. Instead, I noted the truck pulled into a parking lot near where I work. I wrote a short letter, printed and signed it,5 then walked and stuck it under the truck’s wiper blade.

July 1, 2014

Dear motorist,

Your life almost got a lot more complex this morning. Mine could have ended.

When you turned left from 48th Avenue onto Cornell you were in the left turn lane. There was a car to the right of you, which is a lane that can either turn left or go straight. I was behind that car on my bike.

The car in front of me went straight. Maybe that confused you into thinking that yours was the only lane that turned. Maybe you knew both lanes could turn left but only saw the car beside you go straight so you thought you had a clear path. You knew you wanted to turn right on Elam Young Parkway and had limited distance to merge right. So you did it in the intersection.

In either case, it’s clear that you didn’t see me, on a bike, turning left, next to you. Only because I braked and veered6 did you not run over me.

Please be more careful next time.

Sincerely,

I hope this makes the motorist think,7 and maybe, just maybe, be a little more careful next time.


  1. Her? I never saw the driver. 
  2. ORS 811.340 
  3. It’s amazing how many stupid driver tricks I’ve been able to predict or detect and avoid. I guess it’s true: the one that gets you is the one you don’t see. 
  4. Adrenaline is an amazing performance enhancing drug. 
  5. Yes, there was a real human being on that bike. Not some anonymous nobody. 
  6. I’ve replayed this incident over and over in my head, trying to remember exactly what happened. It’s still fuzzy, and I’m unlikely to make it more clear. My normal route is from the middle lane (the rightmost lane that turns left) across the intersection and ending up in the bike lane exiting the intersection. It’s normally a fun intersection on the bike because Cornell’s banking makes this route downhill. I don’t know how much I had to veer to avoid a collision, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. For example, a couple of weekends driving up the Gorge, a vehicle driving next to us drifted into our lane. Next thing I knew, we were moving left, automatically and without thought. The brain is crazy cool that way. This morning I remember looking left and seeing the truck really close. This was confusing as normally there’s nearly a full lane of blank space between me and the car to the left as I turn. Veer, dodge, just luck? I don’t know… 
  7. And I hope this blog post makes you think. Let’s be careful out there

Biking Recap for June 2014

It’s the end of the month and time for me to recap how far I’ve biked this month and any major accomplishments. Sorry, but this was a fairly boring month on the bike. A little midday rain stopped me from riding as much during lunch,1 yet I didn’t get rained on during commuting, just a little heavy misting on a couple of mornings.

My June Bicycling Accomplishments

Mileage Summary

Distance Time / Bike
306 Biked in June2
1,369 Biked in 20143
3,366 Biked on Sage4

How is your 2014 so far on the bike?

Keep pedaling!


  1. I don’t like having wet feet at work and don’t have dedicated cycling shoes. 
  2. 3,291 – 2,985 
  3. 3,291 – 1,922 
  4. 2,985 + 75 

One Year On Sage

One year ago, my family surprised me with a new bike for Fathers’ Day. They’re pretty awesome that way. :-)

Since then, I’ve ridden “Sage” quite a bit1 and bragged2 quite a bit on the way. Here’s my year in review.

  • I biked 3,207 miles. The number seemed really big to me, but then I looked at some math. At nine miles each round trip, I get more than 2,100 miles just on my daily commute. With lunch rides and a family vacation where I rode 200 miles in a week, the miles really add up.
  • I went through some parts: 1.5 sets of tires, 1.5 sets of brakes, and a chain. Rotating the tires probably could have made them last longer, but it’s amazing how much broken glass was embedded in my tires3 by the time I swapped them out. I probably should have gone through more brake pads. I’ve heard of going through a chain, but had never done it before. I do clean and oil my chain at least once a month, but in the winter, should probably do it a lot more often. Oh, and I broke a spoke. When I had it repaired, they were surprised it had been my first.4
  • We went “low car.”5 When our family minivan finally died after 295,502 miles, we didn’t replace it. Suzi now drives the CRV; I bike.
  • I slowed down a bit. I used to think I commuted at 15-18 mph. Yeah, maybe. But that was in a more hunched down, uncomfortable posture. Now I sit up and enjoy the view. I stop at Starbucks on the way.6 I take a bunch of pictures.7 And when someone blows by me, I think of Linda Ronstadt.8

Year two starts now. I wonder where Sage will take me. :-)


  1. I guess I’m awesome that way… ;-) 
  2. Or “shared personal accomplishments with close friends and family.” I like it! 
  3. And not causing flats. Bike commuting tires are awesome these days. 
  4. I didn’t take it as a weight comment, I’m just tall. And I’ve stopped jumping so many curbs. 
  5. Well, as low car as a family can go when all the kids have their own cars. But they use them. 
  6. Yeah, I’ve done that for a while, not just the last year… 
  7. Ditto
  8. Yup, and her song, “Blew By You.”