Friday, December 29, 2006

The Revolution Will Not Be Motorized

I rode in the Critical Mass ride tonight in Boston. Typically 100-200 bicyclists will turn out for these events, but the holiday week and tonight's cold weather kept most sane people home. Before the ride started I estimated the crowd at Copley Square to be somewhere near 50-60 people. This small crowd was less about the two-wheeled circus that usually defines a Critical Mass ride, and was more about keeping one's fingers and toes warm. Once the ride began, we circled downtown and Boston Commons twice, passed through the theatre district, down Newbury Street, and across to Fenway before finally splitting up near Kenmore Square. The police were out, but only once did they try to divert us from the financial district. It was a futile attempt really, they sent a few police cars down the street we were on, but I think it was more a show of force than anything else. I have to say that the solidarity of riding in such a group is quite empowering. Usually we cyclists are alone and vulnerable on the road, I know that I ride by myself 99% of the time. To be surrounded by so many other like-minded people gives you a feeling of power in a situation where the car and driver are usually in control. I met a guy who is now living in Portland, Oregon and we got talking about the differences between the bike culture in Portland and Boston. Unlike Boston, Portland has embraced cyclists of all sorts, not just students and the occasional commuter. He stated that Critical Mass rides in Portland have become something of a joke- hundreds of people show up, the cops plan for it, they know the usual routes, and for the most part leave the cyclists alone. Portland is such a bike-friendly town, and it is clear that Boston has more of a need for events like Critical Mass, even more reason to turn out for these rides. There is still plenty of work to be done here to make the public aware and the streets safer for those of us on two-wheels. There is quite a bit of controversy surrounding Critical Mass, and I can see both sides. Some argue it does little for passing new laws that help bicyclists, not sure if that is the intent. In the past some riders have been known to break laws; running red lights and confronting/harassing drivers. Not a good thing if you are trying to change the opinions of drivers and show bicycles as viable alternatives, but I also think that any attention to bicycle transportation is a positive move, even if some choose to bend the laws a bit while doing so. I didn't see any blatant breaking of laws tonight. We didn't move over for anyone who was over zealous with their horns (it's their way of saying, "Hi, I love bikes too!"), but we stopped at major intersections, and followed the rules of the road. Did we make a difference? Who knows. If one person thinks twice before cutting off a cyclist, then we did something positive. I would like to think so.

Luckilly, these guys were not leading the ride tonight-- insane stuff:

Listening to: My Morning Jacket- It Still Moves

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Wasting Time With LineRider

As if all of us weren't busy enough this time of year, but this is just too much fun to pass up. If LineRider had been around when I was in college, I highly doubt that I would have graduated. With the weather in Massachusetts in the mid-50's these days, this may be as close to sledding as I am going to get anytime soon.

And when you start feeling like a badass, check this out:

Happy Holidays to all of you!

Listening to: Los Lobos- Kiko

Monday, December 04, 2006

What I Really Want For Christmas

I love the holidays; time off from work, good food, and hopefully some playtime. For me, having a week off to spend with my family and friends is the greatest gift of all. You can keep your cable-knit sweater, I'll take a lazy week where hopefully I will get to stay in my pajamas all day. Tonight I was helping my three-year-old write a letter to good old Saint Nicholas, and out of nowhere she asks me, "Daddy, why don't you write a letter to Santa?". So here you go:

What I Really Want For Christmas

1 lb. of Stumptown Coffee
I've been living in Massachusetts for almost 7 years now, and I must say that I am close to calling myself a New Englander. I love the seasons, root for the Red Sox, and love living near the ocean, but one thing I miss about the northwest is the coffee (and the beer, but more on that later). Sure we have Starbucks, but I am talking about finding a cup of great locally roasted coffee that kicks you into high gear like the way a cup from Stumptown does. I drink Dunkin' Donuts coffee like everyone else here, but I do it out of necessity, there are just very few alternatives. It is cheap and available everywhere, and that is about it. Have you ever been in a DD store? It is like walking into a McDonald's, except McDonald's has better coffee now.

Tickets to My Morning Jacket the next time they come to Boston
My friends and I missed out on getting tickets for MMJ's show in Boston last Saturday night. We hoped to pick up some tickets from scalpers, but after about ten minutes of standing outside in the cold, we realized it was nothing more than an excercise in futility. Instead, we spent the night drinking beer and whiskey at the People's Republik in Cambridge. It was still a fun night out, but this morning I read in The Boston Globe that the concert may possibly go down as one of the best live shows ever to be played in Boston.

Burton Malolo 162 Snowboard
I don't snowboard near as much as I once did, I'm lucky if I get out once a year now, but this is one of the coolest looking boards I have ever seen- artwork by Thomas Campbell; self-taught painter, photographer, filmmaker, writer and surfer. Very cool.

1988- '90 FJ62 Toyota Landcruiser
This is my favorite vintage of Landcruiser, after 1990 they changed the body style and seemed more geared towards soccer moms. This car has soul.

The Bose Wave music system
Big things do come in small packages. In the age of digital music, I sometimes still want to listen to an entire album.

Circle A Cycles cyclocross frame
Custom bicycle frame building cooperative out of Providence, Rhode Island.

Six-pack of Deschutes Brewery Mirror Pond Pale Ale
There is no shortage of good beer here in New England, but I really miss Mirror Pond (and the equally outstanding Black Butte Porter).

1952 Vincent Black Lightning motorcycle
"Says James, in my opinion, there's nothing in this world
Beats a '52 Vincent and a red headed girl
Now Nortons and Indians and Greeveses won't do
They don't have a soul like a Vincent '52" -- Richard Thompson

iMac 2.33GHz with 24 inch widescreen LCD
Living the digital life pipe dream. Serious computer envy.

Barack Obama in 2008
'Nuff said.

Happy Holidays to you!