Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Five things....

(Image from Wooster Collective: five tips from public ad campaign)

I was thinking about writing a list of five things I'm proud of doing. But on reflection, I decided to make it a narrower list. So it's five things I'm proud of writing, both here on CycleDog, and in a few other places. I'm not limiting this to individual posts since there are a few themes I'm very happy to write about.

First, there's those two wonderful characters, Dr. Walter Crankset and his hometown of Broken Elbow, Oklahoma. Wally is a good-hearted guy very loosely based on a friend back in Pennsylvania. I wouldn't embarrass him by giving out his name, so it will suffice to say that they're both generous schemers with a wealth of tall tales. Broken Elbow doesn't exist any more than Lake Woebegone, of course, but it provides a suitably nutty background for Wally. Doctor Crankset is deliberately trying to provoke laughter, and I'm truly happy if you get a chuckle or two from him.

Then there are those posts that promote bicycling education. There's no better way to get people to use their bicycles than by empowering them. If you return to read CycleDog for the humor and get a dose of BikeEd along the way, well, I'm doing what I intended back when all this started. Sure, CycleDog originally began as a launch pad for ideas, a writing project that was meant to provide content to a regional newsletter. But like Topsy, it just sorta growed.

Twilight of the Demi-Gods was my revenge for being stopped by a local county sheriff's deputy for "impeding traffic". If 'demi' means reduced in size from normal, the deputy I had the misfortune of meeting was demi cubed. Humor is a way to channel and dispose of anger or frustration, and there's no denying that the encounter was frustrating. Some people are impervious to education or information contrary to their preconceptions. In this case, his boss the county sheriff was likewise impervious. You can't win 'em all, but you can convert them into convenient targets for sarcasm.

De-lousing Susan wasn't a post here on CycleDog. It was a comment on another blog. The author discovered small, white bugs on his tires. Like me, he hates bugs. He wondered what to do about the apparent infestation when I stumbled in the door. He referred to me as a 'gentleman'! Little does he know...

The first message in reply consisted of a quip, and a confession of ignorance regarding the substantive problem I face. The second, however, from another gentleman, suggested experience, and warned of pestilence. He wrote:

Those are most likely Vittoria beetles, commonly called tire ticks. The only solution is to replace every tire on every bicycle in the immediate vicinity. If you ignore them, they'll suck all the air out of your tires.

Granted, if you are, like me, still fairly naive to the nuance of bike maintenance, you might wonder, as I do, whether I'm being had. (Vittoria, of course, being a tire manufacturer.) But at the end of the day, does it matter? A) If CycleDog is so clever as to invent that on the fly ("tire ticks!?"), I deserve to be had; and B) even if he is pulling my leg, the fact remains, in whatever way, for whatever reason, and to whatever degree, one of Susan's tires plainly is infested by something, and one reasonably can assume that whatever the vile creatures are, they are more than prepared to, and certainly will given sufficient time, infest the other tires and only God knows what else.

I are a bad, bad man. And I'm perversely proud of that simple, devious reply. I truly hope he didn't end up replacing every tire in the immediate vicinity. I could blame it all on Wally, but that would be wrong.

Wally make me do it.

Finally, the fifth thing that I'm proud of is being able to bring you timely news and information about the Tulsa region. That may seem like a small thing, but when I'm able to sit in a meeting and learn more about how government works and how all of it can benefit area cyclists, there's both a responsibility and a kind of satisfaction in being able to provide that information here. I'm hardly the consummate insider with numerous ties and extensive contacts. I sit, listen, and very occasionally ask good questions.

Now, my original thought was to write about 5 things I'm proud of doing, but as I said, that would have been too broad. All five would have been about my wife and kids, all of whom I'm extremely proud of, and while that's something I could write about at length, this is supposed to be about cycling.

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Blogger Fritz said...

Hoo boy, I remember that de-lousing Susan post! Tire ticks indeed.

I like Wally, too. You're doing a great job. I even (sort of) follow the Tulsa news. My dad was there early this week -- my grandfather was hospitalized.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Ed W said...

Thanks, Fritz. You're a pal!

A couple of local advocates are getting fired up because the Tulsa Tough requires the kids receiving free bicycles to go through the training process. When people have to 'pay' for something, even if the payment amounts to nothing more than their time and attention, they value it more.

We're on the very brink of something momentous here. It's an exciting time.

5:56 PM  

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