Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Seattle Bike Expo: The Future of Cycling is Compostable

I made good on my threat the other day to attend the Seattle Bike Expo. And I'm glad I did because I was able to put to rest a sneaking suspicion that had been lingering in the back of my mind for the past, um... week or so, that I would find a bike expo to be extremely boring. Indeed. Honestly, I swear I'm not making this up, in the few minutes it took to walk from one end of the show floor to the other I heard the phrase "laterally stiff yet vertically compliant" three times. Well actually not the whole phrase, I just heard parts of it like, "...and that improves the lateral stiffness while.." Or, "...without sacrificing vertical compliance..." And all that without ever stopping to talk to any of the vendors.

I'm about as in to cycling as anybody I know, so I find it strange that mainstream cycling stuff like bike shows and magazines have virtually no appeal to me. I guess I must be more of a retro-grouch than I know. Oh well.

The bike show wasn't completely without items of interest. I was intrigued by these bikes with laminated wood frames.

Sure, they're a bit heavy and they cost several thousand dollars, but they're made out of a renewable resource, right? And if you get snowbound in a cabin and you're running low on fuel, you can always bust up your bike and throw it in the wood stove.

And after you've thrown your last wood bike on the fire you can resort to the bamboo bikes.

Gilligan and the Skipper would look right at home on one of these. I'm sure the Professor would appreciate the vertical compliance.

And I did enjoy listening to the BikeSnob's talk.

However I was disappointed to learn that in real life he looks nothing like Rip Torn

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Community and Synergy

It's been ten days since I FOOSHed and my arm is still quite broken. As a matter of fact, I'm really just beginning the real healing process today. I had surgery this afternoon to reduce (aka "set") the fracture and install a metal plate and some screws that will hold it all together as it heals. It had been set a few days ago but it was still a bit misaligned and unstable so surgery seemed like the best option to get me rolling again as soon as possible.

While this experience has been a bit of a downer overall, I'm also impressed with how an injury like this can turn your life sideways and help you to see and think about things in new ways. For instance, I've been riding with the Seattle International Randonneurs for two years now. In that time I've met a lot of great people and I've made some friends. But I mostly saw SIR as a group of folks to go riding with. But after the FOOSH SIR people came out of the woodwork offering sympathy, stationary trainers, suggestions on how to get moving quickly, encouragement, and the stoker position on a tandem. I realized that it's not just a cycling club that I belong to. I belong to a community. I can't begin to express the gratitude I feel for those who have reached out to me. Thank you all so much! It feels good to be part of something bigger than yourself.

I guess some of the other things I've learned over the past few days are not quite as profound, but still somewhat interesting. Like this:
  • Two useful hands have a lot of synergy. A good example is typing. One handed typing is not even close to half the speed of two handed typing. Maybe that's obvious but it had never occurred to me before.
  • Starting a coat zipper with one hand is nearly impossible.
  • Same with tying shoes.
(Hmm, maybe those last two are just extensions of the synergy thing)
  • One can ride a stationary trainer with one arm. And while it's not nearly as much fun as flying down High Bridge Road in the Snoqualmie Vally, it's still better than not riding at all.
Back to the two handed synergy thing, I haven't been blogging because my typing is ridiculously slow and frustrating. But I should be receiving a copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking in the next day or, so stay tuned for some Kerouac style rambling stream of consciousness blog posts in the coming days.

In the meantime, play safe and by all means don't FOOSH.

P.S. By the way, this coming Saturday is the first SIR brevet of the season. I'm going to have to stay off the bike for this one but I'm looking forward to cheering on my rando friends from the safety of one of the controls. See you out there!

Monday, March 7, 2011


What's FOOSH, you ask? FOOSH is the sound that a big goal or dream makes as it rapidly deflates. FOOSH is also an acronym used by the medical profession that stands for "Fall On OutStretched Hand" and is often the cause of a wrist fracture. And it's a shockingly powerful energy mint.

This weekend Sarah and I went to the Oregon coast with some friends for a fun relaxing weekend on the beach. Saturday afternoon while Troy, Dave and I were walking on the rocky jetty at the end of the Nehalem spit, I slipped on a rock and landed on... you guessed it, my outstretched hand. On impact it made a sickening muffled crunch noise like breaking a 3/4 inch stick wrapped in a piece of flank steak. I knew before I looked at it that it was broken. But I still had to look, and a quick inventory told me that I had one new elbow in middle of my left wrist that didn't belong there.

The next thought that entered my mind a half second after the realization that my arm was broken was the realization that my chances for making the Charly Miller society at this summer's PBP were also broken. I let out a stream of obscenity that caused nearby barnacles to blush.

From where I fell we had to walk a couple miles to where Sarah was able to meet us with the car. As we walked, my friends Troy and Dave tried to convince me that I would still have time to recover from this injury and train for PBP. I appreciated their efforts to cheer me up, but finishing PBP in 56:40 was always going to be a long shot. This injury will probably keep me off the bike for at least 4 - 5 weeks. Then it will take me a while to get some strength and mobility back in my arm, not to mention regaining the cardiovascular fitness and leg strength I'll lose while I'm off the bike. I haven't given up hope completely on PBP yet, but at this point just finishing may be my new stretch goal.

Friday, March 4, 2011

We've Been Snobbed

This just in: Bike Snob NYC will be making an appearance at the Seattle Bike Expo on March 12th and 13th. While no expert on Pacific Northwest history, BSNYC does write the best bicycle related blog in the blogosphere (believe it or not that's the first time I've ever written that word, and I'm kinda hoping it's the last).

I've never been to a bike expo before and I don't exactly get goose-pimply with anticipation when I imagine the scene. Still, a chance to see BSNYC in the flesh (not that I expect to see him naked) may be enough to get me there. We shall see...