Wednesday, June 29, 2005

An Argument and a Response

Kanishka, my faithful roomate and fellow blogger over at DCist and A Blog Mainly About Food, directed me to an interesting bike-related post. Tiffany, a blogger over at Metroblogging DC, seems to have had an unpleasant run-in with cyclists yesterday. She writes:

So stop at the red lights, use hand signals, and stop cutting in front of cars when they're trying to turn, and then maybe we won't hate you so much.

You hate us so much? Oh, that's fresh. Cyclists have suffered from a virtual dictatorship of cars on America's roadways for the better part of the last 50 years, and we're the ones deserving of your hatred? Please. We're forced to the fringes of America's transportation network, given slivers of road to navigate on (which are then take over by double-parked cars anyhow), pitted against tons and tons of steel and horsepower driven by people too lazy to rely on public transportation themselves, and suddenly we should be the ones getting shit on? Since when was today deemed Opposite Day?

I offer a more realistic response, written from a cyclist to a driver:

So stop at red lights, don't block intersections, don't speed, don't assume a bike lane is yours to park in, don't cut in front of cyclists or pedestrians, don't pour millions of pounds of harmful exhaust into my air, don't further this nation's unhealthy dependence on foreign oil, don't result in thousands of deaths each year, don't force the government into paving more and more of the country's landscape so you can get around more easily, don't lay on your horn in heavy traffic assuming it will suddenly move things along, etc., and then maybe WE won't hate YOU so much.

Seems a little more accurate, doesn't it Tiffany?

The Allure of Bike Messengers

Today the New York Times has an interactive feature on bike messengers. Six were chosen, photographed in full messenger glory, and presented as a specimen to be considered and studied. The feature is part of a larger series describing New York "tribes," subcultures that make the city as vibrant and unpredictable as it is -- missionaries, sandhogs, and 50 year-old women that wear red hats and purple clothes.

Bike messengers really are an interesting subculture. Maybe less so in D.C., a city smaller in population and geographic reach and less dependent on the immediacy of a messenger's speed and knowledge of the city's streets, but interesting no less. I have yet to meet a cyclist who hasn't expressed a desire to be a messenger for a day, just to see what it's like, similarly, I have yet to meet a non-cyclist that isn't fascinated by those who do chose to make messenging their primary form of employment. Hell, there have been times I have been mistaken for a bike messenger, only to be greeted with a certain inspired awe and appreciation. "You're a messenger? No way!" they would often say.

But why the allure? What is it that makes bike messengers so mysterious, so intriguing in an underground, insurgent sort of way? After all, there work must be similarly tedious and time-consuming, and if anything, significantly more dangerous and victim to the whims of Mother Nature. And delivering packages by bike and other means isn't so much special in other countries as it is simply necessary or common.

I think we ascribe special status to bike messengers because like most subcultures out there, they seem to live by an unwritten set of rules and regulations -- they tend to dress a certain way, ride a specific type of bike, and hang out with certain people, most often each other. They've established strict parameters that seem to limit access and acceptance to the general public -- hence our curiousity. But there is something more than that. They are the ultimate urban warriors, the last brave souls willing to strap boxes to their backs and wisk them to and from important offices and people through dense layers of traffic and obstacles so that the "real" work can get done. The may the lowliest cog in the working world's machine, but they are also the one whose failure would most likely doom all those cogs above. And they have battle scars to prove it -- this car did this, this curb did that.

Would I ever be a messenger? Well, I feel accomplished enough riding to and from work on a daily basis, so probably not. This isn't to say I don't think it wouldn't be a cool experience, but then again, I tend to idealize that which I have never directly experienced.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Morning Commute: Metro, Again

The bike is once again out of commission. I managed to install my new brakes, yet I did not have the tools to adjust the brake pads so they wouldn't rub against the rim of the wheel (which, if ridden, has the effect of making it feel like you are dragging a small army on your bike). Alas, I relied on the trusty Metro once again, which on a day as humid as this, isn't all too bad. Thankfully, there are two bike-related news snippets today that I thought would be interesting to share.

Warner Breaks Hand After Bike Fall: Virginia Governor Mark Warner, a Democratic presidential contender, recently broke two bones in his hand after falling off his bike during a 24-mile ride. The story has it that Warner was holding a water bottle with his right hand, which controls the rear brakes, and in a spur of the moment need to slow down, applied too much pressure to his front brakes. The result? A painful yet all to common and mildly acrobatic flight over the handlebars, known as an "endo" in cyclist lingo. The article points out that Warner is an avid and experienced cyclist, yet any "experienced" cyclist knows that your left hand is your lifeline, the only thing stopping you from running into stationary objects without launching you head-first over the handlebars. Governor Warner, you should have been holding your watter bottle with you left hand.

On a related note, this is another prominent politician who is an self-professed avid cyclist. Both John Kerry and George Bush rode over the course of the 2004 campaign, the former an expensive Italian road bike (Why not buy American, traitor?) and the latter an expensive American mountain bike (purchased from the store I currently work at). And if memory serves, Kerry is the only one of the three who hasn't bit it while riding. Not necessarily a news-worthy trend here, but an interesting side-note.

District Officials To Enforce Bike Laws: In news that is both good and bad, the Metropolitan Police Department has received additional funding from the District Department of Transportation to enforce traffic laws for the benefit of pedestrian and cyclists, four of which were killed last year. The program will include the enforcement of pedestrian and bicycle laws, and officers will target cyclists who run red lights, ride the wrong way down one way streets, or ride on sidewalks downtown.

This is undeniably good, in that safer streets tend to benefit pedestrians and cyclists. At the same time, so much of bike riding is the constant give-and-take between wanting to get somewhere safely and wanting to get there quickly. One of the benefits of riding a bike is that you exist in gray area when it comes to the rules of the road -- while legally speaking you are to obey traffic signals, you are similarly more mobile, of lower profile, and more able to respond quickly and dynamically to the ebb and flow of the city streets. Cyclists do not run red lights because they tend towards being anarchists, they do so because they can often do so with relative ease and safety. Of course, one stupid move by a cyclist badly reflects upon us all, so exceptions like these cannot be made by those committed to enforcing the law. A police officer cannot naturally assume that I run red lights safely -- he will simply assume that I ran a red light, a violation of the rules of the road regardless of whether or not I can argue that I did so quickly and in a manner that threatened no one else.

This ties into a larger philisophical debate that divides cyclists, whether they know it or not. Many cyclists believe that they have every right to use the roadways, but in so doing they bind themselves to obey the rules of the road in the spirit of reciprocity -- you don't want cars getting in your way, so why get in theirs? This tend to be commuters, recreational cyclists, and the faint at heart. They are the one likely to slap "Share The Road" bumper stickers on their cars. Then there are those cyclists who for some reason or another see the roads as battlefield between cycle and vehicle, who presume that there isn't enough room for cyclists and drivers to peacefully co-exist. These tend to be seasoned city cyclists, especially bike messengers. They tend more towards the school of thought that "We're not in traffic, we are traffic." I fall somewhere in between. I don't believe that the roads are the exclusive province of cars and their drivers, but I am also realistic enough to know that tons of steel moving at high speeds is much harder to stop on a dime if I choose to dart into moving traffic to gain a little time on my commute home. As I have said before, I am not content existing at the bottom of the commuting food chain, but I also recognize that in the Social Darwinist way of looking at the world, I'm the one most likely to be seriously hurt if push comes to shove.

Anyhow, I will say this much: I won't stop running red lights, but I won't run red lights when I know it is going to endanger traffic and/or pedestrians. I recognize that a tenous balance exists between those on foot, those on bikes, and those in cars, and that we've all established basic yet unwritten rules of conduct for the roadways. I'll do my part to uphold those rules, but I hope I'm not the only one.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Morning Commute: Not Today

Today I decided to rely on public transportation to get to work. The bike stayed at home for one reason, a reason that made my afternoon commute home last Thursday more challenging than it usually is: my rear brakes died on me.

Well, to be specific and technical about it, my rear right brake shoe fell off. The brake shoe is the cyclist's term for the brake pad, which is fastened to the brake itself by way of a two-pronged pin. I knew my rear brakes were due for replacement -- it was taking more and more pressure to slow me down, let alone bring me to a full and complete stop -- but I wasn't expecting to face an entire 5 mile ride home without the convinience of being able to stop. All seemed fine as I took the streets late Thursday afternoon, until I tried stopping on the corner of 29th and M Streets in NW. My brake lever hit the handlebars, a sure sign that something is amiss, and I found myself not slowing all too much. I made it across safely, only to find that the piece of rubber separating comfortable and convinient riding from unwitting bike death had fallen off somewhere down the road. Here I faced an obvious dilemma -- Should I take my chances on the ride home or head on down to the local bike shop for a quick repair? Most cyclists would have chosen the latter, but knowing that I had a brand spanking new set of brakes waiting at home, I really didn't want to have to spend money on having my shoe replaced (anyone who has worked at a bike shop knows that service charges are possibly the biggest bike-related racket there is). So, I pressed on, brakeless.

Riding without the safety of knowing you can stop on a dime -- a necessity in city traffic -- is like walking around your neighborhood at night, completely naked. You can do it, sure, but you probably shouldn't, for the obvious reasons. I pedaled on, praying to myself along the way that the gods of D.C. traffic wouldn't choose to throw any ill-timed pedestrians or cars in front of me. Approaching every red light became hoping in vain that it would turn green at the right moment, to spare me the indignity of relying on my front brake (which squeaks like hell and, if squeezed hard enough, would have the effect of launching me over the front end of the bike). I made it home safely, completely relieved that the worst had not come true, and convinced that it was something I would never want to do again nor wish on anyone else. Thankfully, D.C. is a flat city -- God forbid having to ride home, brakeless, in a city like San Francisco.

So the bike is at home today, and I am at the mercy of the Metro.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Morning Commute: The Perfect Ride

Today could not have been better for biking to work. The yin and yang of traffic and weather were in perfect harmony -- sunny skies with no humidity, less traffic than yesterday and no errant drivers haphazardly swinging in front of me. I knew it would be a good ride when the section of Massachusetts Avenue from 14th Street in SE to Union Station took less time than usual -- I hit almost every green light, and for every green light I missed, I faced no traffic coming from side streets, allowing me to coast through intersections unthreatened and unharmed.

Since a perfect ride doesn't offer much by way of blogging fodder, I may as well include mention of my ride home yesterday afternoon. It wasn't bad, but I managed to encounter the two things about biking in D.C. that drive me up the proverbial wall:

1) Security in front of the White House: Pennsylvania Avenue between 15th and 17th streets has been shut down to vehicular traffic since the Oklahoma City bombing. I remember playing pickup roller hockey games along this abandoned stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue while I interned here in 2000, and the prohibition on cars has allowed for Lafayette Park to flow seamlessly into the White House gates. Not to long ago Laura Bush spearheaded a $23 million renovation of the 900 foot long stretch, replacing asphalt with granite blocks and planting elm trees to take the place of traditional security barriers. For the better part of a year the area was blocked off completely, forcing me to detour up 17th Street and right along H Street -- a notoriously traffic-heavy stretch of road, not to mention some mean potholes at 15th Street. When they finally opened up Pennsylvania Avenue, it became a pleasure to ride through -- the car-free, 84 foot wide roadway served as a brief interlude in otherwise hectic commutes home in rush-hour traffic.

But that bike-riding bliss lasted all too short a time. As I approached one day, I noticed that the entrance to Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street was completely blocked off by security fences that stretched accross the road and onto the sidewalk. The avenue was barren -- not a soul in sight, spare Secret Service and Park Police. Annoyed, I asked why I wouldn't be allowed through. "The Vice-President is going home," was the response I got. Of course. Of course. His holiness, Dick Cheney, often ties up the city's traffic by demanding that his motorcade shut down key traffic arteries during rush hour so he can get home after what must have been a hard day's work defending the indefensible. The second most powerful man in the country can't bother to wait until 7 p.m., when most of who don't have the benefit of a traffic-busting police escort have gotten home. No, he needs to be home at 5:30 on the dot. I grumbled and made my way up 17th Street, down H Street, and onwards. Since that fateful day, there is at least one day a week where I stumble across similar security restrictions. The only thing that has changed is how they set up the security fences -- they used to block off the entire area, now they set up a mind-boggling maze that seems less intended to secure important government personalities than to piss off bikers like myself. And they have succeeded admirably at that.

2) Bike Lanes are not for cars!: Since I got here, the District government had been slowly designating bike lanes along major traffic arteries -- Massachusetts Avenue in SE up until Columbus Circle, stretches of New Hampshire Avenue NW, 11 miles total to date. These bike lanes are unmistakable -- they are clearly partitioned from the main roadways, and if the images of the cyclist painted every 50 feet or so doesn't give them away, not much can. Leave it up to crafty District motorists to assume that bike lanes can also be used for vehicular traffic or for double-parking. I mean, why else would someone set aside a stretch of pavement if not for the sole purpose of accomodating those drivers that seek to break the law? There really is nothing more enraging for a cyclist than to have to stop or swerve out of a bike lane into open traffic because some ass with a car has decided that their car somehow qualifies as a "bicycle." Do you often see pedestrian walking in the middle of lanes of traffic? No. So should you see cars hogging up what little real estate the District has set aside for us? Again, no. But it happens. Often. And when it does, that driver will get a piece of my mind. I often ride closely around their car, and lightly (by lightly I mean forcefully) tap their hood, give them the time-tested "What the fuck?" look, and ride on. They usually get the point -- whether or not it will change their decision to do it again in the future is a mystery, though -- but there are some drivers who seem to think I'm the one at fault. One guy even had the balls to scream at me for tapping his car. Me. He's in my lane, and I'm the one doing something wrong? It must have been opposite day and I must not have gotten that memo. Ass-hat.

Anyhow, by way of preview, I have some stuff brewing that will make its way up in the near future. I'm planning on a lot of Tour de France related coverage and commentary (yes, I will be watching the whole thing this year), hoping to once and for all characterize and classify District cyclists, and hopefully uncover some more bike-related mysteries.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

On Shaving Your Legs

Last Saturday I leaped into the world of hairless legs. Yes, I shaved my legs, and yes, I am now one of those cyclists that has taken his sport far enough to justify the constant upkeep of smooth, hair-free legs. This is the second time I've done this, yet this time I am planning on keeping these puppies hair-free until winter sets in and I once again am forced to wear pants. Each time I've taken a Mach 3 to my legs, I've received confused looks and questions from friends and families. It's not really much of a secret why cyclists shave their legs, it's more that few of them have bothered to fully explain themselves. Here I will do just that.

Why do cyclists shave their legs?

Practicality: Cyclists are constantly at risk of falling, be it by their own doing or the doing of a thick-skulled driver or pedestrian. Has anyone seen what pavement can do to flesh, especially while you slide across it at 30 mph? Yes, that god-awful grinding off of skin is called "road rash," and it is made particularly worse and significantly harder to deal with when you have the usual hair on the legs. Additionally, the dirt and grime that is commonly associated with biking comes off much more easily when you don't have leg hair to deal with. Whoever started that retarded rumor that cyclists shave their legs because it makes them more aero-dynamic should be lined up and shot. Leg hair does not, to my knowledge, do much by way of creating more wind resistance while you ride. Well, maybe it would if you were really hairy (think Grizzly Bear-like), but spare that unfortunate condition, losing leg hair will not make you a faster rider.

Vanity: Cyclists are, by and large, a vain bunch. We spend way too much time considering what we're going to wear on a ride. While much of this boils down to technical considerations, notice how cyclists who take their riding seriously tend to coordinate everything -- from bike frames to socks to jerseys to helmets and sunglasses. This is no coincidence. Cyclists like looking good, especially if they know they have the bodies to do so. Hence the leg-shaving serves another, much less practical purpose -- it looks good. As odd as that sounds, a shorn leg tends to look slimmer and lighter than a hairy one, and muscles and veins that characterize many cyclists legs are significantly more obvious without hair distracting one's view. Trust me on this one. I don't have cyclists legs, yet even I thought I looked a little better when I got rid of the hair. The feel of freshly shaved legs, especially the first time, is also shockingly refreshing. You realize how sensitive the skin along your legs is to pants, sheets, and wind, and...well, screw the other reasons, it just looks hot.

I'm happy to have cleared that up. The obvious downside is that I am spending much more money on razors than I used to, but I'm only going to keep this up for another few months.

The Cranky Monkey: Race 1

Last Sunday I made my debut as a mountain bike racer. I've always loved mountain biking -- hell, I taught kids how to do it for three years -- but had never considered myself the racing type. But, it was one of my biking-related resolutions earlier this year, so I made the leap. I registered to take part in the Cranky Monkey, a three-part race series that takes place at Wakefield Park and Fountainhead Regional Park, both in Northern Virginia. Race 1 was a run of the mill race against a field of competitors at Wakefield, Race 2 will be a time trial (you against the clock) at Wakefield, and Race 3 will be another run of the mill race at Fountainhead.

Race 1 involved 50 or so riders taking on a 9 mile course, the majority of it semi-technical singletrack. For the non-cyclists out there, this translates as paths wide enough for one bike which wind in and out of the woods and feature a variety of natural obstacles such as stream crossings, exposed roots, aggressive switchbacks, and log jumps. I arrived early for the race, which was slated to start at 8 a.m., and couldn't help but feel both nervous and excited. As I lined up at the start line with my fellow competitors, I did what most bikers at this level do -- I checked out what the competition was riding, who I thought I could take and who would probably take me, and fought the feeling of impending doom. So much of biking is image-related -- the clothes you wear, the bike you ride, whether or not you "look" like a biker, etc. For all I knew, the guy wearing tennis shoes, riding a discount-store bike, and looking like he had stumbled accross the wrong morning event could very well have been a world champion in disguise, but I managed to convince myself that I could at least beat him. The race's organizer gave us a quick rundown of the rules, and we were off.

For those of you who have never seen how a mountain bike race starts, let me say this -- it is the least graceful, least athletic event a human could ever witness. Everyone jumps on their saddle at once and tries to get a jump on the competition -- which is impossible, considering you're surrounded by other bikers trying to do exactly the same. There is a lot of pushing and shoving, you try in vain to keep your balance as riders in front of you haphazardly start and stop, riders to your left and right knock you off balance and riders behind you ride up on your rear wheel. The start was on a gravel road, with enough space for seven or eight bikers across. Twenty feet away from the start line and around a corner was a brief yet steep hill, which few expected and even fewer were prepared for. This is where the first thinning of the pack begins. The challenge here is to power your way up the hill while dealing with riders coming off their bikes left and right -- I managed this, and consequently, emerged in the group of riders heading up the pack. Fifty feet later came what I term the "funnel effect," or the second thinning of the pack. Essentially, this was where gravel road turned into singletrack. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that packs cannot all squeeze onto singletrack paths, much like three lanes worth of vehicular traffic cannot all get into an alley at once. This is where the real jockeying for position begins -- the more quickly you get through the funnel, the better off you are for the rest of the race. I got through quickly enough, preceeded by 20 riders. From this point on it was pretty much singletrack the whole way, meaning that spare any daring attempts on your part to pass riders in front of you, you were stuck in the position in which you entered.

This part of the ride featured some challenging singletrack, and towards the end of this first section I made my first daring attempt at a pass -- and thankfully succeeded. I was riding closely behind the rider in front of me, and as we reached a small incline, he slowed, and slowed, and slowed. Anyone who has biked knows that slowing down on a hill threatens your ability to balance on a bike, forces you pedal more slowly, and compromises the power you need to actually make it up the hill. In a rush of adrenaline I hopped to his left and powered by, leaving him and those following me behind. I emerged from this section of singletrack unscathed, raced back down the gravel road to a second section of singletrack, and felt a surge of confidence. At this point you could still see your competition ahead and feel your competition behind, providing a much-needed sense of urgency and motivation to not slow down or fall off.

And on I went, and the group thinned considerably. The closest rider in front of me was twenty feet off, the closest rider behind me was nowhere to be seen. I rode confidently the rest of the way, satisfied with the fact that I would not only finish, but may well finish near the top. Some forty minutes later I spied the finish line, made a last-breath sprint for it, and crossed it with a time of 53:53. I finished seventh overall -- way better than I would have hoped, and significantly more tired than I would have expected. While my legs are strong from my road biking to and from work, my arms aren't nearly strong enough to withstand the constant jitters and pounds that are part and parcel of riding off-road. The guy who finished before me was ripped in the arms, and now I know why I just couldn't catch him.

Race 2 is in August, so I have time to prepare. The course is shorter -- 1 mile -- and you are given 30 minutes to complete as many laps as possible. If I can start well, I'll ride like a bat out of hell, and maybe finish better than I did this time. All I have to do is work on these scrawny limbs I call arms.

By the way -- that guy in sneakers riding the cheap bike? I beat him.

Morning Commute

I tend to ride to and from work on a daily basis, spare those days when it is raining or snowing. These past days have been a godsend, weatherwise -- sun, blue skies, little or no humidity. My ride takes my from the eastern part of Capitol Hill down Massachusetts Avenue, past Union Station, onto New York Avenue by Mt. Vernon Square, onto I Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, and ending on M Street -- about 5 miles as the crow flies. Average ride time is 15 minutes, which beats the amount of time it would take on Metro or by car.

In terms of what type of rider I am, I would say I lean towards the aggressive side. I suppose I developed this style when I regularly commuted in New York City in early 2002, where traffic was worse, drivers less forgiving, and pedestrians much more numerous. Riding in NYC, and a style I have since adopted here, has a certain Discovery Channel documentary feel to it -- you either forcefully claim your territory or spend the majority of your commute feably defending it, a losing proposition when you consider that it's you on 25 pounds worth of aluminum versus them in 2 tons of steel and horsepower. In my opinion, drivers respect a biker that aggressively claims his or her space on the roads. After all, we're entitled to use them too. Then again, there is smart aggressive and stupid aggressive. Being smart while on the roads entails being constantly vigilant, making your presence obvious, and letting drivers know that you too want to get to work safely. I feel safer riding in the middle of a lane of traffic than I do riding far to the right of one, where I am subjected to cars trying to squeeze by, park, or swing their doors open in my way. And I won't lie -- I often run red lights, cruise through stop signs, and head the wrong way down one-way streets. While this is illegal no matter how you do it, I try and do so intelligently -- I make sure no cars are coming in the distance, and I make sure that pedestrians and other cyclists know where I am and what my intentions are. In the Mother Nature way of describing it, I'm nowhere near the top of the commuting food chain, but I also refuse to be relegated to the bottom simply because I choose to ride a bike.

As for today's commute, well, it was one of those days where either most drivers took an extra dose of stupid with their coffee or simply decided to conspire against those of us on two wheels. I left at my usual time but there was more traffic than usual. A mere three blocks from my house a mini-van decided that the use of rearview mirrors when suddenly changing lanes is passé, leaving me no choice but to slam on my breaks to avoid ending up a hood ornament. A quick tangent on this note -- in those circumstances where your crap driving endangers me, expect to hear about it. My personal favorite is to cut in front of the offending driver, slow down, give them that "You almost killed me" look, and leave them idling in the city's crippling traffic. I've seen bikers spit at drivers or throw water bottles at them, but to be honest, I'm not that combative. Anyhow, I continued on my way, only to suffer the same indignity a few blocks later when I entered the I Street corridor that stretches from around 13th Street to 21st Street, NW. This time it was a taxi, also known as the "See no bike, hear no bike, yield to no bike" class of motorists.

The rest of the ride was relatively uneventful. Of course, when traffic is heavy and backs up at red lights, bikers face the challenge of weaving through lanes of stopped cars. This is both fun and frightening -- the former because you feel sorry for the saps stuck in traffic, the latter because you imagine the god-awful scenario of any of those drivers swinging open a door or your bag or handlebars clipping a car's side mirrors. I usually take a deep breath, mutter a little prayer to myself, and head into those narrow vehicular corridors with reckless abandon. Emerging at the other end is always, always extremely satisfying.

Welcome!

I suppose it's my turn to join the ranks of my fellow writers at DCist.com who have their own personal blogs. I can't aspire to be nearly as interesting as they are, but I suppose I was feeling a little left out, a little short on an identity of my own. Now here I am.

The point of this blog isn't to comment on politics, necessarily, since there are legions of bloggers and journalists that can do that better than I can. It's more to describe, comment on, and follow the life of one of the many bicycle commuters in Washington, D.C. I'm more than a commuter, I suppose. Ever since I arrived in Washington in August 2002, I have used my bike to get to and from home, work, and play. I've ridden through almost every neighborhood in the 69-square miles that make up the city, and until now, done so without the horror of being hit by an errant driver or hitting an errant pedestrian myself (furious knocking on wood to ensue). I've purchased two bikes while in the District, taken a job at a local bike store, and recently became a mountain bike racer. Needless to say, I take my biking relatively seriously.

I think there is enough to be said about biking on a daily basis about biking to merit a blog. Hopefully I won't be the only one to think so.