Saturday, November 29, 2008


I bought my Schwinn Super le Tour 12.2 road bike in 1976. Other than a few new parts (and a lot of new inner tubes) the biked remained the same and was a valued and trusted friend. But 32 years is a long time in bike years and it became more and more difficult to find parts. Sixty-three years is a long time in human years and my neck and back were beginning to balk at the idea of being bent over on a bike for a 30 minute commute.

So I began looking for a replacement bike that gave me an upright posture by reading on the Internet and prowling around our local bike shops in Eugene. So let's cut to the chase: After riding a 20" wheel folding bike from Dahon of Southern California, I was hooked. It felt like riding a combination of bike, unicycle and roller blades.

It gave me the upright position I was needing and provided a fun bike to ride. Actually, the fact that it could fold up was only a secondary consideration; but it will be nice to take it on the bus when I ride the LTD instead of mounting it on the front. It is easier to store at work and can easily and quickly fit into the trunk of the car.

IBecause I bought the bike on November 4, 2008, election day, I named the new bike "The Obamer". I hope this is my last bike. I think I'll be on this one as I ride off into the sunset.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I've always had problems with hay fever from about May 15 to July 4. This year was no different with the grass fields in full bloom. I was figuring I'd have to curtail or eliminate my bike commuting during that month and a half; but I remembered what Jon Kline told me last year. Jon said he often rode wearing swimming goggles during allergy season. I wear glasses so swimming goggles wouldn't work; but I found a pair of chemical protection goggles at a hardware store that were big enough to wear my glasses comfortably underneath. About the second day of heavy pollen, I donned the goggles and the symptoms I was experiencing completely disappeared. I wore them through the end of June when they started cutting the grass and my eyes weren't itchy, watery nor did they burn.

Well, it isn't a great fashion statement, but it worked!

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Monday, while riding to work along Barger, I hit some black ice and fell. Both wheels went out from underneath me and I landed on my left side first smacking my hand still grasping the handlebar, then my left knee, elbow, shoulder and finally the front left of my helmet. A motorist, traveling in the opposite direction stopped and helped me to my feet. My bike was pretty much unscathed with the exception of the handlebars being slightly askew. The fall took a hunk of skin off my knee and elbow, but didn't break the skin on either my hand or shoulder. I was wearing thick gloves that saved my hand from lacerations; but I jammed my middle finger causing my hand to swell. Maybe the most disconcerting part of this tale is that I ripped holes my brand new rain pants and rain jacket. Fortunately REI sells a repair kit.

This all brings back the reminder of why I always wear a helmet. There continues to be controversy over whether helmets actually help or not; for me, there is no question that I was spared a serious head injury because I was wearing a helmet.For the 32 years that I've been a bike commuter, I've always worn a helmet. Even back it the olden days when people laughed and asked me why I was wearing a salad bowl on my head ("It's not a salad bowl; it's a Bell bike helmet.") I never rode without a helmet. In those 32 years I've only fallen and hit my head twice; but both times the helmet was the difference between a mild headache and serious injury.I began wearing a helmet because I promised our two daughters that they would have a father who could work to help support the family and be able to talk in complete sentences. I've kept the first part of that promise and, to some extent, the second part as well. Today I promised Carolyn, for the same reasons as stated above, that I will never ride my bike again when the temperature is less than 40 degrees. I know many of you ride no matter what the weather and I hope you continue to ride safely. But for me, and Carolyn's peace of mind, I'll be a 40+ rider from now on.

I was going to post a piece today on why I ride my bike. It sort of turned into "When I ride my bike."Don't forget to strap that helmet on tightly!