Reading trees along the way

Trees along the way are signs that everything will be all right, even though you know everything will not be all right because everything is everything that is and isn’t right.

But as the trees and miles multiply, the signs seem to localize; everything everywhere becomes the everything immediately around you, and future tense becomes present tense, the only time that makes sense because it’s the only time you have.

Everything is you and the trees along the way.

And the trees along the way are green and old, evidence that the trees and the way are sympathetic, that the way here is no threat to the trees—indeed, that the trees so close to the way are not in the way but the defining part of it.

This is the way of trees.

Offering evidence that everything is all right.

Even though, when you think about it, when you crawl back inside that tiny mediated mind that holds everything you can’t see around you, well, it can’t possibly be true, this natural contention that everything is all right.

Still, there are more trees along the way, more signs to read and ponder.

Everything here is all right.

Ah, that’s what the the signs, the trees along the way, really mean.

What you need, what we need, is more of here.


Posted in Infrastructure, Off topic, Read and roll, Report from the road | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What do birds think of us humans? 30 days of biking, #30

What does a bird think of us? It’s all conjecture, isn’t it?

No bird uses Google search, which would then allow its interests to be tracked, thus exposing a pattern of thought, maybe something of its reactions to us.

Hard to blame the bird on this one. What does it need to know that it didn’t know before the computer came along?

We have the big brains, and the richest brains among us use algorithms to track to track all the brains with less money, though relatively few of the brains with no money.

That’s how the richest brains make their money. Focusing on the brains interested in money.

No redwing blackbird has bought into the monetary system, the human-based artificial storehouse of value. It has yet to enter its credit card information into its phone so it can use it to conveniently buy coffee and scones.

Imagine that: a bird that doesn’t drink coffee—even when it doesn’t need to brew it first.

It may not even have a credit card. It doesn’t seem to have a pocket for a card, and I haven’t noticed a card dangling from a claw as it flies along.

We may not be able to discern a bird’s feelings about us, but its lack of interest in caffeine and convenience seems readily evident.

Faced with the presence of an unknown human, most birds fly away. But the redwing sits on the handrail of the bridge as I pedal by.

Am I watching the bird? Or is the bird watching me?

If I ride by a redwing’s nest, the redwing will fly at my helmet, something I rarely see on a bird. Why, then, the interest in my helmet?

Maybe it thinks my helmet is an egg that somehow escaped the nest—escaped and quickly learned to pedal a bicycle, too.

That would warrant a closer look, I suppose.

What do you think, blackbird?

April 30, 1 mile.

Posted in #30daysofbiking, bicycle, coffee, Off topic | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Playing with gravity from allegro to molto adagio. 30 days of biking, #29

No two ways about it: I’m slow.

I’m slow to rise and slow to read. Slow to write, slow to edit, and even slower to delete what doesn’t fit. I’m slow over coffee, and slow in conversation. I’m slow to adapt and slow to adopt.

My favorite bit of musical notation is the fermata, the bird’s eye peeking over the top of the staff that signals me to take my time with a note or, even better, a rest.

Slow? I’ve taken decades to reach six feet tall, and I’m not there yet.


I’d like to write I’m slow to anger, but I’m not that slow. I wish I was—idiots don’t tend to adopt my hasty instructions. It’s pretty obvious I need to slow down and enunciate.

Then there’s my cadence. It’s been faster, that’s for sure. When I get back from a ride, the GPS usually reports my pedals traveled an average of 72 to 75 rpms.

Unless I’m riding my fixed-gear bike like I am today.

Three-quarters of a mile from home, I descend a hill that requires a decision. I can’t coast, so am I going to push back at the pedals to keep my cadence manageable, or let my feet spin as fast as the drivetrain is inclined to take them?

Remember, on a geared bike my average cadence is 75, tops.

I decide to let gravity take the lead, and I hit 135 rpm (26 mph) at the bottom of the hill. Twenty seconds later, my cadence drops to 35 rpm (8 mph) as I climb the rise over the BSNF tracks.

I lose 100 rpm, and I’m still pedaling.

Pedaling slowly, but pedaling.

April 29, 12.6 miles plus 1.

Posted in #30daysofbiking, Bianchi, bicycle | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Wherein the person awheel comes dangerously close to dissing all that was holy and good. 30 days of biking, #28

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” —1 Corinthians 13:11


When I rode seriously, I gathered serious stuff: a Silca pump, a CONI manual, a 13-19 freewheel, a racing license, crocheted gloves, tubular tires and other serious items.

I listened to racers, read about racing, trained to race, raced, thought about racing, and repeated all those activities.

It took me a few years to realize I didn’t actually like racing; a few more years before I realized that bicycle racers were not, in fact, the best bicycle riders in the world; that there wasn’t such a thing as the best bicycle rider in the world; that Merckx, the greatest bicycle racer in the world, had little to say about bicycle commuting; that LeMond, the greatest American bicycle racer in the world, had little to say about riding a recumbent; that Moser, one of a great line of Italian bicycle racers—Italy being, to my mind, the greatest bicycle racing country in the world (aside from Belgium, of course)—, had little to say about the pleasures of riding without a goal, of drawing coffee cups on a bicycle frame, or of coasting downhill catching the wind like a sail on a boat going backwards.

But my racing years were far from a waste of time. Just like my parents gave me something important to evaluate, to rebel against, and to add to my personal mythology of context, racing lead me to a greater appreciation of everything about the bicycle that didn’t involve turning a wheel in anger.

And, hey, I’ve still got the pump.

April 28, 1 mile.

Posted in #30daysofbiking, Becoming a bicycle, Equipment, History, People, Report from the road | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Read before burning bridges. 30 days of biking, #27

I’m back at the house no longer there and the flowers across the street from the house, the flowers that seem to follow the unattributable advice to bloom where you’re planted, though because flowers were blooming in place long before any human being thought to encourage such behavior, we might as well ascribe the quote to some uprooted flower that immediately gained the ability to move and feed itself and think, and create not just an alphabet but an entire language—as well as the means to express and record it.

Bloom where you’re planted, bastards. I’m shakin’ the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I’m gonna see the world.

A primitive flower. A flower from which all wanderlust flows. A flower that gave rise to the eternal struggle between the domestic and the foreign, the up and the down, the inborn tendency to shake it all around and the linear nature of time.

A flower you’ve never heard of because everything you know is wrong.

Unless, of course, everything you know is telling you to send today’s missive to everyone you know.

Everyone, everywhere.

I gotta go.

April 27, 12.8 miles.

Posted in #30daysofbiking, bicycle, History, Off topic, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment