Day 30. #30daysofbiking

If we give objects too much power, and we do, it’s because we invest them with memory.

So, what’s this bicycle about?

Chicago steel. Peoria rust. A four-year-old falling off a trike and, after getting patched up and reassured by a woman who no longer offers such reassurances, getting back on.

It’s about standing up to climb. A drum brake that works. A coaster brake that doesn’t.

It’s about sitting in a basement in a puddle that forms and evaporates every year for thirty years.

Remarkably enough, it’s about Benny Goodman. A 5,000-square-foot dance hall north of Peoria. And Dave Brubeck. It’s always about Brubeck and time.

Feel free to take five right now.

It’s about knowing there’s no such thing as a headwind if your entire upper body enters the wind at once.

It’s about other people’s memories. The stories we tell ourselves. The poet reminding us nothing gold can stay.

It’s about how to move forward, to maintain momentum.

It’s about to rain.

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Day 29. #30daysofbiking

Only one person is judging the effect of wind on play today.


This person is focusing on his core competency.

Making a couple of adjustments. (No different from any other law-abiding citizen.)


And considering the fact that when this frame was new, Nixon was not a crook.

Of course there are plenty more things that Nixon is not now.

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Day 28. #30daysofbiking

At one time, Gary Fisher considered this a mountain bike.

Then he grew his moustache.

And I changed a couple of parts.

Good times.

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Day 27. #30daysofbiking

Short rides this week. A couple of test rides, too. (Once you assemble them, you have to test them out.)

Today’s spin is on a bicycle unlike any in my stable: the Specialized Roll. 

(Just noticed my friend Kate has a photo of her new low-stepover Roll on her Facebook page.)

Wide tires, wide seat, pedal-forward design, BMX-inspired bars, disc brakes and valve caps that signal low inflation.

Great grab-n-go bike.

Which is exactly what I did.

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’…

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Day 25. #30daysofbiking

That’s one reason I call this website 16incheswestofpeoria.

Another reason?

Calling it bluebobthebellbottomedbananaboy would have been confusing.

Today’s ride: On the Rock Island Greenway, just south of Bicycle Safety Town.

And back to the shop.

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Day 24. #30daysofbiking

Lunch break. Quick spin down the Greenway and return on Heading.

Bike. Coffee. Blue skies.

As Phil Connors would say, a pretty good day.

Even without the sea otters.

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Day 23. #30daysofbiking

It’s amazing what people can do when they decide it’s the right thing to do.

Think about the transcontinental railroad, Hoover Dam, the Marshall Plan, the Apollo program.

Think about Chicago building a tunnel two miles out into Lake Michigan to bring clean water to a polluted city.

In 1867.

Think about the margarita. (It’s delicious.)

Now think about what we absolutely can’t do.

Levitate. Turn lead paint into gold faucets. Argue Arizona statehood with Elmo in a strip club. 

Elmo LIKE Sheriff Arapio.

And, of course, how we can’t fix a washed-out public right of way in central Illinois.

It’s been, what, two or three years since you could walk or ride a bicycle on the Rock Island Trail from Princeville to Wyoming?

Elmo LIKE linear nature of time.

This isn’t a closed trail. This is what 21st-century learned helplessness looks like.

Welcome to the state of Illinois.

Elmo LIKE Iowa.

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