My White Bicycle (1967)
This groovy song about a bicycle will blow your mind, man. So wear your helmet.
A McKinleyville-based repository for ruminations and assorted rubbish.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
The Portrayal of Bicycles and the People Who Ride Them in Modern Film
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.