Sunday, 30 June 2013

He is the Lorax. He speaks for the trees, but I am the horned devil, so listen a minute, please!

Bikes are my therapy.  You know all that muscle mass in my legs?  It's just a physical manifestation of my many deep-seated issues. I might look like a mild-mannered woman, but looks can be deceiving. Personality flaws?  Sure, I've probably got all of them. That's why I ride. Without regular rides, I grow horns.  It's as simple as that.  

Don't make me horny. You wouldn't like me when I'm horny.

I ride as a public service.

Also cause it's the right thing to do.You know it's true. The Lorax knows it, too.

la presse
Oh come ON. I can't be the only one who sees it.
(That's what you call non-plussed.)

You'd think the Lorax would be ALL ABOUT bikes, wouldn't you? NATCH. It's a perfect fit, isn't it?  He is Daddy Green, after all.  But no. This week he said "Cycling is smart, but some cyclists need to get smarter."  

O RLY?  

Do you mean as opposed to all those brilliant motorists out there? The ones actually killing people?! Really?  And from the mouth of the Lorax himself...  :(   He is a great man, a true blue hero, so there's still hope. Maybe one day he'll have his Spitzer moment and admit his mistake. In  English, the word but negates the phrase which preceeds it.  Kudos if it was simply an article cleverly designed to hook your average motorist into reading and thus understanding the many benefits cycling infrastructure bestows upon the community at large, but please.  Of Cyclists he says "Many seem to have a sense of entitlement compelling them to ignore laws."

We have a sense of entitlement.

Do I have a sense of entitlement?  Yes, yes I guess I do.  I feel entitled to jump the light once the intersection is clear because a) the accumulated exhaust from cars at the intersection is a direct threat to my health and well-being, and  b) it's safer for me to be in front of traffic because it makes me more visible (and as you know, the Lorax himself said it's the cyclist's responsibility to make themselves visible). I DO feel entitled to treat stop signs as yields, too, because I can stop on a dime. (Unlike all of the cars I see daily rolling through stop signs!) So I stop if there's traffic, or a pedestrian near the intersection, but otherwise, no.

And no. I am not sorry. The Idaho Stop Law has been proven to reduce accidents. It works for a reason, and it's proof positive that I am doing nothing wrong. 

I have done nothing wrong, but tell that to the officer who gave me the $167 ticket (on Christmas Eve!!) for failing to obey a red light.  I stopped.  The intersection was clear and so I proceeded. That's when he nailed me.

It's not right. Do you know what else is NOT right? Translink buses regularly speed up, honk their horns, and blast through red lights. That is a much bigger risk to public safety than my rolling through stop signs. After noticing eight bus drivers doing it in the space of six weeks, I mentioned it to Bill Yearwood, the head of the Transportation Safety Board, and he has noted it, too. Ask him. Why would our bus drivers take such HUGE risks with people's safety? Because they can, I suppose, and because they don't have to pay any fines when they do.

We have a duty as good citizens and active members of society to fight for fair and just laws.  We must stand up and fight for legislation designed to protect the people's best interests, and the planet's best interests, too.  That's why Canada's First Nations have taken a stand with Ilde No More. They want to protect our vulnerable waterways from Stephen Harper and his dastardly schemes. 

Why? Because it's the right thing to do.

And I am here to insist that we must amend our legislation and policing practices to protect the most vulnerable road users, too, because we ARE ENTITLED to safe passage on the roads, and to the special consideration of lawmakers and motorists alike, because it's the right thing to do.

This was one of those more-challenging-than-usual weeks, and so I needed more therapy than normal. Only the weather wasn't having any of it. Rain was forecast all week long, so every day I played that daring and oh-so-much-fun Vancouver game where you SHOOT FOR THE SUCKER-HOLE!  

Some days I come out on top, and even manage to find a spot of sunshine along the way. Other days are not so good, and I end up looking like nothing so much as a big, sopping wet sucker. That's alright, though.  At least it's a warm wet. Besides. It's better to be a soaking wet sucker than a horny devil, right?

Right. Except maybe sometimes at night... but never mind that.

Happily, the rain has passed for the time being, and with it the need to SHOOT FOR THE SUCKER HOLE! 

It's water under the bridge now, unlike our need for improved cycling infrastructure and for legislation and policing policies which are fair and just. That's never going to change, but if we're lucky, the universal perception of cyclists as the problem will one day be a thing of the past. Help make the shift, please, by signing this petition, mmmmkay?

Trust me.  It's best for everyone this way.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Mooning over Hot Nights and Summer in the City? Come out, come out, get dirty and gritty.

Now the Lovin' Spoonful will be stuck in your head, too, and no, I'm not even a little sorry.

The Donald was in Vancouver this week to promote his new 63 storey Arthur Erickson tower

How do you Trump that?

 With the Ride to Conquer Sobriety, that's how. 

The Vancruiser's annual Summer Solstice ride is dedicated to eradicating stone cold sobriety wherever it crops up, and it's the best thing I can think of to wipe that infamous orangutan over-do out of my mind. 

We met at the London Pub at five for a bite and bevvies and the chance to have a chin-wag with a few mates.

It's a big, super social event, and yes there is a lot of stopping along the way, but it's not actually ALL about the booze. This ride is about the bikes.  

All the best old bikes come out to play when the Wheelmen are riding.

This sweet little baby was made in 1948, back when an aluminium frame was really something special.  It's like a mid-century modern crabon bike.  Sooooo pretty. You know how much my inner magpie loves shiny things...

Yep. It's all about the bikes, and it's about seeing and being seen, too. 

Nearly six thirty and we're almost ready to roll. The bells become insistent.  Finish your drinks!  Pay your tab! Tip your server, not your bike!

Aaaaaaand we're off!  We rode east from the London Pub on Main St before we circled south and west again toward False Creek and the Dragon Boat Festival.  Then we carried on towards Kitsilano and points further west.

Do you ever get the feeling you're riding in circles?
I do, more often than not, but that was something else entirely.

Still, you've gotta love the simple things in life.

And the simply wonderful things.  I couldn't help myself.  This bad boy was just begging to be mounted.

So I had my way with him.

I love the big boys.

Magnum PI didn't make it, but Higgins was on hand.

We're not all a rough crowd, either, you know.  Some of the gang are very well-spoken.

And we're well represented, too. This being Canuckistan, one clever clog thought to bring a little NHL play-off themed entertainment along, bless him.  

Plus he scores points for the unexpectedly creative, North of 40 use of his surfboard rack.

We rode along the shore, stopping to enjoy the scenery along the way, 

rolling along again whenever the spirit moved us.

We watched the sun go down from Locarno Beach, then turned around to find this year's supermoon.

Yes, it's a full moon, but maybe not quite the one you were hoping for.  Still, it was a night well worth remembering.

Seriously. Life is good here.  The Donald gets it, and you know if he's figured it out, it's a plain-as-day no-brainer. You've gotta love this town.

Friday, 21 June 2013

The rebuttal: I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

Canadian cyclists kick some serious ass, no ifs, ands, or rock hard butts about it.  Well, OK.  There are a few solid butts about...

Yeah, sure, the US has Lance Armstrong, and sure the world knows his name, but we have hard-core heroes here in the Great White North. Don't believe me? Here's a tale of a guy who can heft an artisinal axe as well as he pilots a 'crabon' crotch rocket.

BC boy Svein Tuft is making his Tour de France debut this year at the tender age of 36.  Why? Cause he rocks, that's why. You won't find any EuroPussy here.  He's a man's man.  He's not afraid of a little muscle mass; he's the rider with the Paul Bunyon biceps. Sez the Times:

Though upper-body weight is taboo for bike racers, he worked out so hard in the off-season that he would thicken to 190 pounds, from 170.
Kevin Cunningham warned him: “Do not do another push-up. You gain muscle so quickly, you will look as big as a grizzly.”

Tuft could crush Cipo with one flex of his mighty pecs. You won't find any pigeon-chested pantie-waist here, no sirree.... it's all that wood-chopping he's doing in the winter, you see.  Keeps a man in fighting form.  

It's in his blood, cycling. He lives 45 kilometers (28 yankee miles or 224 artisinal douchebag furlongs) from Vancouver, and if it's a local event, like say the Gastown Grand Prix, he rides to the race and home again when he's finished, bless him.  Training camp in California? No problem. He rides there, too.  And yes, he smells every inch the man when he arrives.

How does that biblical verse go?  
Knock and the door will be opened unto you, 
Seek and ye shall find.
Ask and these things shall be given unto you...

Just ASS.  K?

For a long time now I've wanted a real riding hero I can hold up for the kids to see, 
someone whose integrity is beyond reproach,
an honest rebuttal to the corruption rampant in our beloved sport today.

So now I'm just ass-king:

Can we see more of Grizzly Svein Tuft, please?
Much more.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Pedalling my ass along the way to Car-Free day.

June 16th was Car-Free day here in Vancouver.  You've gotta...

I sure do.  Almost all of my days are car-free, and that makes me happy.
It's not that I hate cars.  Not at all, and in fact, some of them are gorgeous.  
Like this one:

soooooo pretty. And perfect for highway miles, too.
But cars aren't exactly useful for city living, so you can understand why I was excited to hear that Vancouver was hosting Car-Free day.
Lots and lots of people came to Main St to see what all the fuss was about...

old people, young people, fat people and bone-thin people, too.

There was free parking for those who  came by bicycle...

and there were a few interesting bikes on hand, too.

What would you like, plywood, plastic, or titanium?
You know which I prefer, but to each her own.

Whichever bike you choose, you can always crochet a little something to dress it up a bit.

Why not blend your own bike-powered margarita? 

I was a little disappointed with Car-Free day, though. It just seemed like a big, open-air market, when it could have been a great opportunity to show people how good life can be when you live it right, how strong and fit and healthy you will feel if you just park the damned vehicle already, and get about under your own steam.    


These days you'll find me pedalling my ass, Pacific Spirit style, trying to find a way to get the message out to the masses. Why?  

Just trying to spread the joy, baby.

Friday, 14 June 2013

The world is going to hell... quick! Head for the hills!

I  missed the memo. You know the one.  Apparently I skipped the day where we handed over our collective soul to the dark side, but somewhere along the way it definitely happened. Some people say that it's just human nature, that greed and corruption are the very essence of who we are, and there is probably some truth to that.  This sums it up quite nicely, I think, as long as you keep in mind that many members of humanity appear to be stuck at an early stage of development:

But there is more than human nature at work here. Earlier this week, I was riding down a pretty steep hill, and there was a 30 km/hr sign followed soon after by a cross walk.  A boy and his grandad were standing at the crosswalk waiting to cross so I slowed to a near stop to let them cross, and they stepped onto the road, too,  and were directly in front of me, when someone behind me sped past on my left and sailed through the crossing, forcing the pedestrians to stop in their tracks.  As she passed I caught a glimpse of her face and was shocked to see a woman with a solid twenty years on me.

You see what I mean? Since when did little old ladies on road-bikes start running over little kids in cross-walks?  Hmm?  And it's just sick and twisted, cause normally if I see a little old lady hauling ass bent over a bike like that, I'm the first one cheering her on.  I love seeing women on bikes. I love seeing anyone on bikes, really, but little old ladies more than most, 'cept when they're terrorizing small children, of course.

I wanted to climb a real hill today, not my usual little bump up to UBC, so I went up Cypress Mountain.
UBC is on the right. See?  The hill I usually climb isn't even visible to the naked eye.

It's 30 miles (50km), with a 3700 ft (1200 m) elevation gain riding from my place in Kits to the top of Cypress Bowl Rd. It's a spectacular ride when the weather is clear. ( Listen. Do you hear the sound of gunfire? That's the Yankeeland you can see off in the distance.  It's also Satan's primary weapon of mass consumption.)

Spectacular, isn't it? I saw all sorts of beautiful women on the mountain today, way more girls than guys for a change.  It was fabulous! They appeared to be some sort of team in training.  Couple of them handed me my ass, too, which was humbling, though not even a little surprising.  My hillsuckingness is the reason I climb.

That and the views.  Yes, those are clouds down below, and under that you see the Burrard Inlet snaking it's way to Coquitlam.

As I was taking that photograph, I was marveling at the heady spring scent of cedar sap, and the fact that I could see so far. I stepped out into the road in my funny shoes to capture a different angle.

I could hear cars in the distance before I snapped this shot, but I looked up and they were quite a distance off.  I snapped it and suddenly they were right on top of me, and they weren't giving any quarter, either.  They must have been going twice the speed limit, so I had to dive to save my stoopidass, and when I did I scraped my knee. 

 Every car I saw today was speeding down that road, but these three were just ridiculous.  

The Burrard Inlet and SFU Mounain seen from 600 m.
That's the thing.  Between those cars and the mad demon little old lady earlier in the week, I caught a glimpse of a world gone horribly wrong. Where does that sick sense of entitlement come from, anyway?  I was upset that my knee is road pizza yet again, but it was the flagrant disregard for the safety others which sickened me. It brought to mind the interview Rick Cluff did with Preston Manning on the Early Edition in the wake of the massive dead-water Zama spill up near the Alberta/NWT border.  Mr Manning says " despite opposition to oil and gas development, millions still buy gas every day."

Isn't that the truth? :( 
We can see how we're destroying our world, and ultimately signing our own death warrants, and yet we continue on unabated, damned for all time. We've a fatal addiction, like the cigarette smoker with a lung cancer diagnosis who lights up anyway.  BTW, the Alberta government sat on that little gem of an environmental disaster for 12 days without telling anyone.  Count em. Twelve.  And if you drank that stuff you would die. Where there's smoke there's fire, right?  Yes. There's something foul in the United State of Canada.

Alberta's fire is just fruit of the poison tree, anyway, a symptom of the sulfur smoke and brimstone spewing from on high in Ottawa. There is a criminal investigation into the secret fund at the disposal of the Prime Minister's office itself. I'm just a simple girl with a very small brain, but clearly something is very wrong in Ottawa.  There has been the smell of election fraud hanging over this mandate for some time, and now this?  Have we really no legal re-course, or is this nasty little despot going to continue unchecked, unsatiated, and unabated as he sells Canada off  to the highest bidder?

Do you really want to lay down and die in the name of profit and greed?   Really?  Will history note you only for your apathy? We owe it to ourselves and our children to change course now. Each and every one of us has a moral obligation to defend our world from corrupt and morally bankrupt politicians.  You might have thought yours was a democratic nation, but think again. The New World Order is a Corprafuckingtocracy, and the only way to change it is to refuse to buy in.

What are YOU going to do to save the  world today?

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Wanna get lucky? No time like the present.

My best mate and I have an ongoing argument.  She thinks she's the luckiest girl in the world, only it's me.  I'm right for lots of good reasons, too. For one thing, I've survived myself and my many and wondrous boneheaded mistakes, which is really saying something.  For another, my muscles.  A life-time of bicycles hasn't hurt any, but calves are largely genetic. Lucky me.  My eyesight is better now than it was ten years ago, if you can imagine, and so far I haven't had to dye my hair, either, fingers crossed.  How lucky is that? Most importantly, though: if I'd been born in almost any other time or place, someone would most certainly have burned me at the stake before I turned of age.

Goodness knows mum sure wanted to a few times.
Bless her.
I'm proof positive that while you're only young once, you can remain immature indefinitely, so you know that I take real glee in saying

I.  Told.  You.  So.
times two.

That's not the half of it really.  Sex doesn't just make you look younger, you actually
 live longer if you do it every day..  

You see?
Yes, of course I've said it before and since I have the memory of a goldfish I am going to enjoy telling you all over again sooner or later, too.  (It's always interesting, always new, for me if not for you.)

Number B, and by some strange coincidence,
cycling also makes you live longer!

Et Voila. I might just live forever, lucky me.
At the very least it's sure to be a long, happy life full of copious quantities of sex. I don't know about you, but that sounds a lot like Heaven on Earth to me.

imagine if you could do both at once in a naked version of the bicyclesutra!

 I'd injure someone. I can't walk across the room without stubbing my toe on something,
but I can dream!

Don't worry. Being awkward and simple is a blessing in its own way, too, you know.  It affords me the ability to remain an eternal apocaloptimist.  Despite the overwhelming evidence that the world is on the express train to Hell, I still think everything is going to turn out alright in the end. (!)

Whenever things get stressful for me, I remember that I always have everything I need.  Then it becomes easier to notice opportunity when it appears.

I taut I taw a puddy tat!

Hey!  Did you know that it's Car Free Day this Sunday, June 16?  It's an opportunity to connect with other switched-on people.  I grew up in Alberta, so I learned to drive young, and cars really were a way of life.
  How else could a girl get to Banff to ski weekends?  This little sweetheart and I saw a lot of Rocky Mountain miles.  Of course cars have a time and place, but life is sooooooo much sweeter when you don't often need them.

Lucky for me, I toured the Rockies on bicycle even before I started driving, and as far as experiences go they don't begin to compare.  I tired of cars early on, blessed be.  You see?  I win again.  :)

Fortunately, I'm not often alone on the roads these days, because when it comes to cycling, there is definitely safety in numbers.  I don't know about how many of you are having lots of great, life-elongating sex, but there are definitely way more of you out there on bikes these days. Bikes have taken over a third of the floor space at Mountain Equipment Co-Op, too. That's really saying something, cause MEC sells all things outdoor, really, from tents, backpacks and sleeping bags to kayaks, paddleboards, skis, climbing gear and more.  There is a proliferation of other bike shops around town, too, each with its own niche.  

It used to be that many buildings wouldn't let people bring their bikes in, but now they all have bicycle storage.  Despite the bizarre situation in Troublonto, Ontario, many workplaces are becoming savvy to the benefits of a healthy, happy workforce.  They used to forbid bikes inside this particular facility, and now they have a gym, showers, and this:

Yup.  It's getting better all the time, specially here.

The boys in the hood are fully switched on.  Sure they're hip,

but they're cool

... and I was happy to meet them.

 No, I wasn't hoping for lift-off.  I wanted them to ride by the camera so you could see all of the pretty bikes up close, but these guys are super chill, and that's ok, too.

There are a million reasons why I'm the luckiest girl in the world.  Sometimes people say "Oh!  But look what happened to you then!" or "Look at how terribly that turned out...!" and really, that's the point.
Luck is a funny thing.  Sometimes it arrives in disguise.  Sometimes it looks unfortunate in the beginning, though luck is luck is luck in the end.  Whether it's good or bad is up to you.

The trick is in appreciating the present in the moment.