10 Gifs From The #Festive500

For a number of years now, Rapha, a clothing manufacturer, and Strava an online data tracking service have held the Festive 500—500 kilometers between December 24th ad December 31st.

Here are 10 images that defined the riding for me. It’s a great way to divert my attention from the stress of the holidays and a last great challenge before winter really sets in (usually). This year’s edition was also marked by the poignant loss of Tom Palermo, a cyclist who was hit by a driver in North Baltimore. His death shocked the cycling community in Baltimore and led to a memorial ride attended by perhaps one thousand riders, including myself. The loss, which happened midway through the challenge, made finishing all that more significant, as a proof of life, if nothing else.


Training Wheels

I’m thinking of it as a bit of a microcosm that my son (3 and 1/2) fell off his bike because of the training wheels, as opposed to not having them. The fall was particularly hard because he was going somewhat slowly at the time.

I told him that we’re just gonna go out and learn to ride the bike. I mean the training wheels give him a sense of what riding is, not actual riding, you know?

It makes me wonder how much we limit ourselves in aspects of our lives when we have “safeguards” that allow us to do things — but prevent us from, say, getting hurt or getting in too deep — and in the end, we don’t actually experience the thing in its true nature.


I finally fixed my primary bike — which cost me a little bit, but kudos to my older bike which I’ve been riding for some time now.

I bought it at a yard sale about ten years ago now, that $25 bike (circa 1993 Specialized Epic) was high-end twenty years ago and a ride the other day gave me this revelation: “… if you ain’t in shape you can talk all you want about the newest bells and whistles, deep-dish carbon fibre rims, aero modifications, lightness and the like, but if you’re not in shape, beyond a certain point, you might as well be riding a tricycle.”

… And the return per mile on that used bike albeit about ten years old when I bought has to be astronomical: $25 and it’s put in mile after mile without complaint or problem.

Enough Already Complaining About Off-Season Sports

“Personally, I got about ten solid reasons why I’ve tried to stop playing sports in the off-season (which, in this case, is football): I say this because:

a) there are too many sports to worry about when that sport ain’t on …
b) while I recognize the value of the off-season in football (learned through getting boos in the Franchise Edition of Madden, oh-so-long ago last I played, can’t we just wait for them to actually win or lose?
c) not appreciating the off-season is exhausting …
d) takes away from my ability to appreciate Kobe possibly missing the playoffs (or his team’s subsequent impending first-round exit from the playoffs)
e) Formula 1
f) UEFA Champions League
h) real-life
i) teaching the kid to hit without using a tee by increasing confidence and pitching at the bat (this is actually “a” I think) …
j) impending arrival of the Orioles and if that’s not enough, the frenzy around how dominating the Yankees won’t be, which for me is sometimes enough.”

Recent post highlighting the complaints that local football fans have about the local football team’s roster moves and free agency losses and gains and in the end, isn’t a bit much? Isn’t it like political coverage on the weekend after an election?

Wearing A Helmet or Not, It’s Not Brain Surgery …

Or… Well maybe it would be.

Right now, in Maryland, a proposal in in the legislature that would make riding a bicycle without a helmet illegal. While from the outside, landlubbers might be surprised that there is opposition to a law supporting cycling, coming from some cyclists themselves, but sure enough. Some of the state’s bicycle advocacy groups are opposing the law as evidenced in the editorial section of The Baltimore Sun, published February 17, 2013.

Cycling groups have said that forcing helmets may limit the amounts of cyclists who would ride, thereby bringing less “critical mass” and thus making cycling less safe. On the other hand, a sponsor of the bill–among them, Delegate Maggie McIntosh believes that as a rider, she has witnessed the evidence of an injury that could have been prevented by use of a helmet.

Personally, I have a hard time believing that anyone who rides out on the open road, and can do anything to mitigate injury would not want to avoid such by doing anything especially, something as small as using a helmet in the prospect that it would avoid an injury to one’s head. I’ve had a fall at thirty miles an hour where I felt the helmet bounce off the ground. I got up (relatively) happy that wasn’t my noggin wasn’t getting a bouncing … Relatively… I had a driver to curse out. Seriously. Anyone riding in a hostile environment like Baltimore City or many other big cities should be keenly aware of the dangers, with eyes wide open.

Legislation may not fill all the holes in the adhesion to such values to an issue such as cycling safety. On the other hand, while a “critical mass” of cyclists is certainly an element helpful in changing the culture of drivers’ sense of entitlement to all of the road surfaces–often stoking their subsequent intolerance of cyclists–groups of cyclists can be and are sometimes are hit, and mere numbers is no guarantee of safety. In fact, it’s deceptive to feel safe in a group when the experience of getting run over or falling is very personal, no matter how many people are out there.

Focusing on more consistent enforcement of speeders(which Baltimore doesn’t do), enforcement of the three-foot “halo” around cyclists (a spanking new law that is not greatly promoted or consistently enforced), better road surfaces (hellooo?) and increased co-habitation education ($!) would be a more comprehensive way to create a safer environment for riders. In my view, if you build that they will come.

If I could get a guarantee of those elements for the small price of wearing a helmet, I’d consider it a good deal.