What I say here has little or no impact on the rest of the World, but
that’s of no importance to me. My blog and my choice of what to say;
simultaneously the biggest plus and minus about the internet.
I read numerous bicycle oriented blogs and websites. Learning about the
extent of the bicycle culture and subculture is fascinating. Usually I
agree with what is said and sometimes I don’t. I don’t, for instance,
care to assert my right to be on roads when confronted by a ton or more
of steel and plastic guided (or misguided) by someone whose point of
view is me as obstacle. I favor coexistence, though, like the turmoil
of the 60s and 70s of which I was a part, I know that there are too
many opinions to have riding be as I wish it to be.
I have a difficult time understanding the idea that riding in America
should emulate how it’s done in Netherlands. Never been there and
unlikely I’ll ever get there, so it’s impossible for me to have a valid
opinion about the superiority of the infrastructure that permits the
apparent bicycle haven that is Amsterdam. French Indochina
(after they changed the name) plus brief visits to the Maritime
Provinces of Canada and border towns of Mexico are the limits to my
world travel and bikes were not part of my reasons for being there.
Maybe I am too ethnocentric or unaware to comprehend the more worldly
view of how riding should be done. Or, maybe I am justified in
seeing it from my anecdotal perspective.
I think I used up all my activist desires “back in the day” and that’s
why I cannot relate to some of the ideas proffered for how to deal with
automobiles and their drivers and our current way of doing things. I have a
long history as a gearhead and accumulated vast numbers of miles behind
the wheel of cars ranging from eccentric to desirable. I once
calculated that I’d driven in excess of a million miles since passing
my drivers’ test in 1962, so I know a little about driver mentality.
Fifty thousand miles a year was commonplace.
For me, the most important thing that I can do as a rider is to protect
myself when riding among cars by accepting the inherent danger of being
there. That means putting aside angst and anger, concerns about
yesterday’s argument and this morning’s breakfast while taking my
presence in the line of cars seriously; not fearfully, not lost in
music flowing from earbuds; and not with the idea that my rights exceed
the damage that’ll be done to me if I assert my rights to the wrong
person or ride carelessly. Being in traffic is a full time activity
whether on a bike or in a car.
Living successfully is a matter of finding balance. Riding a bike is
the same, but it’s not solely about remaining upright. Among the best
things the average rider can do is to emulate good drivers, meaning
yielding when it’s the best choice, observing rules of the road (as the
law expects) and using our presence to demonstrate that coexistence is
possible even in the face of those who ride through stop signs, ride
two or more abreast, ride without lights or ride the same foolish way
that some people drive.
Recently I've read several bicycle related articles dealing with
"issues" related to riding bikes. They are; defining who is an "avid"
bike rider, "fashionable cyclist shaming" and how to get more women to
ride bikes. An avid cyclist is someone with a great interest in bikes,
a rider should wear what he or she chooses and everybody should ride
bikes. <shrug> I don't see the conflict. Apparently,
Why mention this now? Because I witnessed a convergence of all three of
these issues in an unusual context; the 6th Annual All Florida Bike
Polo Championships that happened at Kanapaha Veterans Park on
the roller hockey rink. Four on four competition was intense and testy,
fast and exciting and well worth the price of admission which was
For now, a few pictures will suffice to turn the above words into tens
of thousands because seeing is the only way to fully understand the
grassroots passion of the avid and fashionable women (and men) who
thrashed, bashed, swung, slipped, won, lost, and had a helluva a time.
It wasn't about who had the right bike, correct attire or whether a
team was comprised of men, women or something else. It was handlebars,
pedals, spokes, tires . . . all the truly good stuff.
If you have any interest come on back occasionally 'cause I'll add
links to larger images and post some more, also.
One of the recurring activities of the Gainesville Cycling Club is the
annual ride during Veterans Day. The first stop of this year's Poker
Run was at Veteran's Park in advance of the Veterans Day activities.
Registration fees will be donated to Fisher House now under
construction at Randall VA Medical Center.
The event was well attended, the weather was fine and the riders added
a wide range of color options to the pre-event activities.
Below are some photos from the event. Clicking images will open a much
The first arrivals.
And then the Peloton . . .
Being patient for a good cause.
Parking made simple!
Fashion sense, two-wheel style.
Preparing to roll.
On the road again.
And event is only as good as the people who help make it happen.
If you take enough pictures eventually you get one that's okay or maybe
even a little better than okay. I like the ones below and have turned
them into 1366 x 768 JPGs and use them as backgrounds and
screensavers. The images below are PNGs of those images.