Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

18 September 2017

Lady Godiva He Ain't

When I was writing for a local newspaper, I was talking to a police officer when a call about a robbery came in.  The caller had gotten a glimpse of the suspect, so the officer asked for a description.

"He was wearing a T-shirt, blue jeans and sneakers."  As the officer wrote it down, he repeated it to the caller, just to be sure--and asked for more detail which, apparently, the caller couldn't (or wouldn't?) provide.

He hung up the phone.  He saw that I was just barely suppressing a laugh; his knowing smirk was a signal that I could release it.  "How many other guys fit that description?," he wondered aloud.

I'm recalling that incident after seeing a news story out of Fort Worth, Texas.  Apparently, at around 5:45pm on Saturday, a man on a bicycle chased down a female jogger and assaulted her.  

Now, my heart goes out to that woman and I hope the guy is caught.  He, however, might be as difficult to spot as the perp in jeans, T-shirt and sneakers, although his apparel was entirely different.

The difference was, well, that he had no apparel at all.  That's right:  He rode his bike naked. According to a witness, he'd been sitting on a park bench before he took off his shorts, hopped on a bicycle and pedaled westbound on Rogers Road.

Police say that the suspect is a white male who's about 5'10" tall with a slender, athletic build and short brown hair on his head but none on his body.

The woman, thankfully, escaped his clutches.

I hope he's caught.  If he's riding around naked, he probably will be, very soon.  Somehow, though, I doubt that he is:  For all we know, he might be wearing jeans, a T-shirt and sneakers at this very moment!

17 September 2017

How Many Tubes?

Almost everybody loves the look of a twin top-tube mixte frame.  I own two. (You're going to hear about them very soon.)  They are practical and stylish, and in the days when Reynolds, Columbus, Ishiwata and other tube manufacturers made the skinny top tubes, could be made with the same quality as the best diamond-frame bikes.

They can be a lot of fun, too:

I have to admit: At first glance, I thought it was one of the stranger-looking mixtes I've seen.  But I love it!  I think if there were no limit (due to space limitations and finances) to the number of bikes I could own, I'd want it!

16 September 2017

What Does This Shop Have In Common With The Packers?

In My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Toula (played by Nia Vardalos) falls in love with a non-Greek American, Ian Miller (played by John Corbett). When he has dinner with her family, he mentions that he's a vegetarian.  The entire family stops and gasps.  Toula's Aunt Voula says, "That's OK. I make lamb."

A former co-worker of mine told me that was pretty much the definition of "vegetarian", a term of derision or approbation in her hometown of Green Bay, Wisconsin.  She insisted she wasn't joking when she told me that Jell-O with mini-marshmallows and Reddi-whip is considered a "salad" in "cheeseland."

She also affirmed another stereotype:  People in her native city live for football (the American version).  As it happens, Green Bay is the smallest city in North America with a major-league sports team.  (Between 1972 and 1995, that distinction belonged to Quebec City, where the Nordiques of the World Hockey Association and, later, the National Hockey League played.)  The object of Green Bay denizens' affection is, of course, the National Football League team known as the Packers.

Interestingly, the Green Bay Packers hold another distinction:  They are the only North American major league sports team that is publicly owned.  As I understand it, the Packers are, in this sense, no different from a public utility like an electric or water company.  

Or the city's newest public enterprise:  The Green Bay Bicycle Collective's new Community Bicycle Shop, which has just opened in a city-owned garage at 418 4th Street.  This shop will hold bicycle maintenance classes and allow people to come in and work on their bikes for free.  "If the garage door's open, anyone can come in," explains Heather Gentry, the Collective's president.  She says the Collective also plans to launch an "earn a bike" program, in which students and other young people can learn volunteer at the shop in exchange for a bike, in the spring.

Rebecca Nyberg of  Brown County Public Health describes this new venture as one more piece of her organization's effort, begun in 2004, to get more people, especially students and the young, to cycle and walk for transportation as well as recreation.  Part of the effort, she says, has involved making bicycles more readily available and easier to access, and cycling safer and more practical.  "We realized that if we don't make the right thing easier to do, we won't get anywhere with people," she explained.

And so her organization and the Collective have worked together to create a public good in a city that has a surprisingly (at least, to those who aren't familiar with it) rich history of communal effort and community ownership.