A couple of weeks ago as I rode along a 4-lane boulevard, there was a guy on a bike riding along the sidewalk up ahead. Now, I say 'guy on a bike' because I hesitate to call him a cyclist. His saddle was far too low, so he pedaled with his legs sticking out to the sides. I could easily hear the chain squeaking from about 50 feet away. He rode sans helmet, of course, but he did have the requisite cigarette dangling from his lip.
Maybe an un-lubricated chain on a ***Mart bike is a safety item. Whenever this guy rides along a sidewalk at night, we'll hear him coming. We won't see him because except for the glowing cigarette, he won't have any lights.
Tour de Owasso...
The weather is warming up, though it's raining here on Friday morning as I write this. Naturally, as it gets warmer the neighborhood garage sales go into action. I've watched the ads in our newspaper as the column grew. There was a lull last weekend because of Easter, but this weekend looks promising. So it's time to start up the Saturday morning 'Tour de Owasso'!
Spring is always the best time to go to the garage sales. People are cleaning out their accumulated junk, so us bargain hunters can cart it all home to add to that junk pile in our own garages. My strategy is to ride around town on my bike so I can't haul anything big. I usually go looking for old books, old tools, or old bikes. Maybe I'll find a squeaker.
My neighbor has a male pit bull named Lucky. Another neighbor has a female dog in heat. Lucky squeezed out under the fence last night, crooning the canine version of “I'm In The Mood for Love”. He's a large, strong dog and he seemed completely unaffected by the lacerations inflicted from the chain link fencing. When he discovered that the female was safely out of reach, he came to our house looking for a snack.
He's an over-grown puppy at heart. His tail wags furiously at the mere sight of Mary because he knows the source of all that food. I went outside and clipped a lead onto his collar, then tried to walk him back across the street. Lucky wasn't having any of it. He wanted to be with Mary. This dog is so strong I could only hang onto the lead. I couldn't budge him. Finally, Mary walked with us to the fence. Lucky went along willingly. She opened the gate while I controlled Lucky as best I could. We got him back inside, but minutes later he was out again.
That's when Jordan noticed someone walking another dog along the street. I grabbed Lucky's collar with both hands and sat down on the driveway. I don't know how he'd react to a strange dog, and I really didn't want to find out. I was afraid that he could pull me off balance and get away if I tried to hold him by the lead. Jordan warned the dog walker off and Lucky discovered I was down on his level. He climbed onto my lap! He has very bad breath.
My biggest concern is that this dog could hurt someone simply by jumping up on them. He's big and heavy. He almost knocked Mary down in his exuberance, and he could certainly bowl a child over. Lucky isn't aggressive or mean. He's just BIG.
There's no way I could out-run a dog like Lucky if I were on my fixed gear. He's just too fast. But I have a new appreciation for the sheer power of these dogs. Lucky has dense musculature and his huge, square head is equipped with jaws that could easily break an arm or a leg.
Mary phoned earlier this morning to tell me that someone was working on the fence in an effort to keep Lucky contained. I hope it works.
Good Knee/Bad Knee...
I took the car to work all this week. I know, I know, it's a bad example for someone who's a bicycling advocate. But there's a good reason or two for it.
I tried to sprint the Centurion across traffic last week, aiming for a hole in the stream of cars. My left knee seemed to snap with a sharp stabbing pain near the kneecap. I made the turn, but when I tried to climb the hill to our house, the pain was just too great. I got off and walked.
Since I was diagnosed with pseudo-gout some years ago, I've had chronic problems with my right knee. Gout and pseudo-gout have symptoms similar to arthritis. My right knee can be swollen and painful at times, but the left one has been a rock until now. This week, the right knee was my good knee.
I've been taking ibuprofen for inflammation and I've been sleeping in sweat pants to keep my legs warm and promote circulation. I've stayed hydrated too, meaning I've been up several times during the night. Yesterday, I stopped at the pharmacy for an Ace bandage. It seems to help, because the knee is feeling better.
I think that as I get older, this body will increasingly be held together with tape, bailing wire, and wishful thinking.
“If no one bought anything...I ever did, I'd still be writing. It's beyond a compulsion.” Tennessee Williams
Boy howdy – can I relate to that! CycleDog clearly doesn't pay any of the bills, yet I don't ever want to stop writing. It truly is a form of compulsion. I think that we all yearn for some type of intellectual pursuit, a life of the mind so to speak, and writing fulfills that need for some of us.
My day-to-day life is a simple routine. I'm sure some would find it humdrum and dull. I make the rounds between work and family life, with little in the way of challenge or excitement. That's not implying that my life is unrewarding. I feel contented and serene – most of the time. CycleDog merely adds to that.
I was reading about the blogger's code of conduct earlier today in Ellen Goodman's syndicated column.
“...internet gurus Tom O-reilly and Jimmy Wales proposed a Blogger Code of Conduct to encourage bloggers to voluntarily ban anonymous and abusive postings. They also introduced a second rule that might well be adopted as the Golden Rule of Civility” We won't say anything on-line that we wouldn't say in person.”
I believe that negative emotions are socially and personally destructive. A hateful person shortens his own life and disturbs the lives of those around him, the negative energy spreading like ripples on a pond. Hate and it's lesser cousins incivility and rudeness, are the antithesis of serenity. So it seemed absurd to write about that Golden Rule of Civility in conjunction with CycleDog. I write because I want to, and I attempt to influence how you think about bicycling. If your thinking changes, your behavior will change also. But I'm not going to influence many people if I'm writing hateful diatribes.
So...I'm saying here that I truly believe in being civil and reasonable when it comes to writing CycleDog. It's a two-way street. I get to retain as much contentment and serenity as I can, and you get to read columns free of personal attacks, hateful diatribes, and the other detritus.
But even more to the point, I expect that if I cross that line by posting something hateful, I fully expect that those of you reading this will call me on it.