Thursday, January 29, 2009

My White Bicycle (1967)

This groovy song about a bicycle will blow your mind, man. So wear your helmet.

Morning ride


It was cold and foggy on the road to the Lanphere Dunes.


For the first time I traveled on a section of Jackson Ranch Road located on the bay side of Samoa Boulevard. This is a good way to avoid the traffic if you don't mind a rough road.


I love my 35s, especially on a road like this.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009



A new owner took over Tastebuds in McKinleyville this week, so I needed to use up my trade credit with Debbie. I decided to order the mother of all sundaes.

Tastebuds offers eight different flavors, so I ordered a scoop of each – vanilla, chocolate, mint chip, bubble gum, rocky road, strawberry, blackberry and cheesecake.

The upper-right quadrant was covered in blackberry sauce. The upper-left quadrant was covered in butterscotch. Hot fudge was liberally applied everywhere else. Then came the whip cream, nuts and maraschino cherries.

And so began another week of gluttony and unbridled hedonism.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Life of Leisure

As a self-employed, big-time publisher, it's luxurious to actually take off an entire day. Kim fueled me up with an omelette stuffed with bacon, onions, mushrooms and cheese on Saturday morning. I washed that down with extra-strong coffee with a shot of Carolyn's Irish Cream. Then it was time to pedal into the hills.


It drizzled on my way up Fickle Hill. I was glad I had my gloves.


I stopped at the Lazy L Ranch. That was far enough up for the day. The trip home was wet and cold. I met up with The Goddess for lunch, then it was time to go treasure hunting at the local thrift stores.


I scored this cool tin for 49 cents. This work of art incorporates some of my favorite themes. Kim got a vintage hat, a silver olive spoon and some other weird stuff.

Later Kim whipped up some fantastic eggplant parmigiano. Then it was time for Canasta, martinis and then a movie featuring vampires and werewolves tearing each other apart.

A good time was had by all.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Video of Today's Bike Ride

I almost forgot to post this video of today's bike ride. It includes instructions on how to fix a flat,

Free Man on Saturdays

Due to a sudden change in my print schedule and postal delivery rules, my newspaper will now come out on Wednesday instead of Tuesday. That means for the first time in 12 1/2 years, I can take Saturdays off. Yee haw!

Now, let's not waste this opportunity.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tour de Arcata

Oh Humboldt! So sunny you were today, teasing us with spring-like weather, tempting us to foolishly plant vegetable gardens, and luring us outside for lazy, rambling bike rides.


The landlord trimmed the dead nasturtiums that greet visitors to my groovy love pad, where my trusty steed awaited me.


My lily white, pale feet felt good in Teva sandals, which are currently my bicycle shoes of choice.


I made my way across the Arcata Bottoms to the Hammond Bridge. A short distance before the bridge, I saw a dazed and confused looking fox meandering down the road, probably mad with rabies. I kicked the bike into high gear and got around the beast quickly. Seeing a fox during the day is almost always bad news,

After the bridge I turned around, made my way to Valley West, cruised by the flake board factory then went to Humboldt State.


I imagine that inside this building they're working on the first generation of cyborgs.


I suddenly had a craving for some second-hand smoke, so I jetted on down to the Arcata Plaza. William McKinley held out his hand and admired my bike. Then he whispered to me that he felt uncomfortable with so many anarchists around.

I tried to put him at ease, explaining that most Americans – for better or worse – are anarchists at heart and wish him no harm.

I then cruised up G Street to Sunset and made my way home.

Hail to the Chief

Rock on, Mr. Obama! Rock on!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

For MLK Day

In the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, here's some music about liberation featuring my favorite female vocalist.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Rendezvous in the Slough

I spent the morning kayaking with my super-hot Sicilian lover.


There she goes! Wait up, Kim!


There was a rendevous in the slough.


We soaked up the sun, just like these ducks.


We photographed lots of wildlife.




This fella swam by me.


Then he turned around...


...and disappeared.


It was beautiful.



Friday, January 16, 2009

A toast to my new bike

Introducing the REI Navara Randonée


Meet my “new” bicycle, the REI Navara Randonée. I bought it used on craigslist and recently finished outfitting it with all the bells and whistles from my old Cannondale.

This purchase is the culmination of months of shopping and lots of thinking about what kind of bicycle would best suit my needs. There are several notable features.

It has a steel frame designed for touring. The frame geometry helps absorb the shock from Humboldt’s notoriously crappy roads. Plus, there are lots of brazons for connecting water bottle cages, racks and fenders.

The bike has a big frame, 59 cm to be exact. Some might consider that too large for a fellow who stands 5' 11", but I subscribe to the Rivendell philosophy when it comes to frame sizing.


The other feature I wanted in a bike was gobs of clearance so I could use big, fat tires with fenders. The bike came with these spanking new 35 mm tires.


I wanted old fashion index shifters, but the bike came with these super fancy STI shifters. You click these brake levers side to side to shift gears. They’re luxurious and they work great, but I hate having something I don’t know how to fix. So I’ll enjoy them while they last, then I’ll simplify.

The seller gave me new handlebar cork, but I'm waiting to install it until I'm sure I don't want to make any more modifications.

The bike came with simple platform pedals, which I’m enjoying for the time being. Eventually, I may install my old-school toe clips, but maybe not.

The Randonée is the kind of bike you could load up with gear and pedal around the world, although crossing the oceans would be somewhat daunting.


So what’s up with the name Randonée?

Here’s an excerpt from, the website of Randonneurs USA:

There is no direct English translation of the French term “randonnée”, which loosely means to go on a long trip, tour, outing, or ramble, usually on foot or on a bicycle, along a defined route. A person who goes on a “randonnée” is called a “randonneur”. (The correct French term for a female participant is “randonneuse”, but such distinctions are often lost in America, where we tend to lump everyone together).

In cycling, it means a hard-riding enthusiast who is trying to complete a long randonnée inside a certain time allotment. Note that a randonnée is not a race. Overall, about the only thing being first earns is some bragging rights. It is not uncommon for the last finishers to get as much applause as anyone else.

Indeed, there is much camaraderie in randonneuring. One does it to test oneself against the clock, the weather, and a challenging route - but not to beat the other riders.

In comparison to other forms of competitive long-distance cycling, such as at the Race Across America (RAAM), where there are following cars with crews supporting the riders every inch of the way, randonneuring stresses self-sufficiency. Help can only be given at the checkpoints along the route, so support crews (if there are any) must leapfrog the rider. Any rider caught receiving assistance from a support crew in-between checkpoints (or, “contrôles” as they are commonly called) will be subject to a time penalty, or even disqualification.

Randonneurs are free to buy food, supplies, or bike repairs at any stores they encounter along the route. Once riders have successfully completed a 200-kilometer “brevet”, they are entitled to be called a “randonneur” or “randonneuse”.

Well, if I'm going to ride a bike called a Randonnée, it only makes sense that I be allowed to call myself a randonneur. But to do so, I'll need to complete a brevit, which is about 120 miles. More on that later.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How we put out the McK Press Part II – Off to the printer...

After we work our magic at the McKinleyville Press office in McKinleyville, we send our finished pages to Western Web in Fairhaven to be printed. Here's some video of Arkley's crew working the state-of-the-art press, which also produces The Arcata Eye, NCJ and Independent.

It's awkward to shake hands with the Western Web employees, most of whom are missing a few fingers.

Monday, January 12, 2009

How we put out the McKinleyville Press

A lot of my readers probably wonder what's involved in putting out a weekly newspaper. Rather than tell you how it's done, I decided it would be better to just show you. So with the help of Assistant Editor Karol Wilcox, I shot the following video during last night's deadline. Enjoy.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Graduate Thesis

The Portrayal of Bicycles and the People Who Ride Them in Modern Film

Once completed, I'll make a diploma on my computer and grant myself a degree from the RJL University. Before embarking on this project, I'll will need a corduroy blazer with leather patches on the elbows and a pair of Hush Puppies.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Riot by the Dead Kennedys

Music to go with the news.

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Year's Day Kneeland Climb

The hardest part of this year's Kneeland Climb was getting out of bed and leaving a warm, comfy house. Hot coffee was brewing, the Rose Parade was on TV and there was a beautiful, smiling woman on the couch. Oh, and I had a flat tire and it was raining outside.


I forced myself to go. Here's the view from across Humboldt Bay in Manila. Kneeland was shrouded in clouds. It was cold and wet. I pedalled over the Samoa bridges to Myrtle Avenue and Old Arcata Road. At Three Corners Market I headed east and made the ascent.


It was kind of miserable, but in a fun way. I reached the Kneeland Post Office, ate a peanut butter sandwich in the rain and then turned around. Just as I began the descent, the cable on my front brake broke! Bonsai! The ride down was freezing.


When I arrived at Kim's, I defrosted in a hot bath. Then we made burgers and watched the USC game. And so began I very, very happy new year!

2009 is all about love, peace, fun and happy riding!

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