Sunday, July 17, 2011


Compare and contrast:

Minneapolis/St. Paul:

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam:

Operation Crabbypants will commence until mid September...

God, I hate this fucking weather

Friday, July 01, 2011

New bike

I've scored a new Pugsley from Surly.

I've recently injured my back so I've been not able to ride it until today. My trip to work was uneventful, but enlightening, but my trip home was eye-opening. I typically ride city streets to work and back and this morning I did my typical morning commute at a pace that seems to be a fat-bike speed. Slow.

On the way home I decided to take a "short-cut," a way that is not ridden by anyone. I took the train tracks from 70th to where they end at 60th.

Pugsleys and train tracks are made for each other. Bumping on the tracks on fat bike tires is a treat that few will ever know and when the tracks are less close, the ability to ride on the rocks, weeds, crap and other surfaces without a second thought are a treat that few will ever know. I repeat myself because I believe it's true.

When was the last time you felt like you were five? I learned to ride a bike early and the freedom that gave me was, uh, heady. I know that bikes give a feeling of freedom, but that initial hit, that world opening, stunning, I can go anywhere feeling, has been repeated with the Pugsley. I have the ability to go places a middle-aged man probably shouldn't go.

That last bit is the important part. Sure, when you're 12, you can ride your bike where ever you'd like, but a 46 year old man isn't really expected to be there. You should be in a car and passing over this without looking a second thought.

This is freedom, the ability to explore, the chance to go where you're not expected to be. Our society allows 12 year olds to go there, but if you're older than that you are a bum and not really allowed to be there.

Really? I can't see my city?

Bikes give a mobility that even cops admire/hate/use. The ride along the train track showed me that people walk along the tracks, the garbage they leave, the desire to move and be where sidewalks are not places. I saw a mother and her child coming back from the store along the tracks probably for the same reason I was there; it went places that streets didn't.

The ability to ride on tracks, rocks, dirt and weeds is a treat that I figured the Pug was good for, but to actually do it, to hover past the neighborhoods and the traffic, to effortlessly rumble over tracks and rock was a near spiritual experience.

I felt the thrill of going places I wasn't allowed. To be where you needed permission to exist, to use the place that was there for only someone else.

I felt new, five, illegal.

It was exhilarating. Perhaps because of, or despite of the 95 degree heat the discovery made for an Independence Day. I've had my eyes opened on my first ride. Is it like this for others? Have your rides on fat bikes been as awakining as mine? Am I so doltish as to have missed the whole thing (initial answer from me: yes) Where have y'all taken your bikes? Where do I need to go?

I like the feeling of exploration. What do y'all get from your fat bikes?