Saturday, August 29, 2009

If da Slippah Fits

A couple of people have made comments about my slippers. I suppose that since I have been trained to see scale and proportion, there might be something wrong with my choice of slippers. While my fashion sense, while ancient, is not completely off the board, my footwear may seem strange.
This is clearly a case of form and function.

The thing about this seemingly innocent pair of slippers is that they are large. The largest size I could find. I purchase the largest size of slippers on the shelf so I can skip the trying on process.
I have never felt comfortable trying on slippers at the store. Reminds me of wearing someone else's socks or shoes. I'll wear 'em, but I'll always be thinking about where they been.
Now, my slippers may look benign. They are in fact harmless. Here they are next to my cycling shoes:

As you can see, they are clearly larger than my feet. If you look closely, you can see where my feet actually reside in my slippers. Why so big?
Well, besides not having to try them on in the store, the over sized width and length give my feet extra protection from the elements. Think walking over rocks and hot sand. Making more sense now?
Maybe it's difficult to judge the size of my slippers, especially since I haven't said my shoe size, so here are my slippers next to some common household items.
My slippers and a fork:

My slippers and my old Specialized Allez front fork:

My slippers and a Kryptonite lock:

My slippers and a compact disc:

And finally, my slippers and a blueberry muffin from Safeway:

I know I may look a bit strange, flapping around town on my choice of footwear, but my slippers do their job and do them well. Besides, if I ever get stuck out in the ocean on a boat, I can use them as paddles.
Just think of the other uses:
Fan when it gets too hot
Trowel for concrete or drywall
B-52 cockroach deterrent
It is also a decoy of sorts: when people come to your house, they think an extremely large person lives there. I think of my slippers as a sort of secret multi-tool.
In fact, my choice of slipper size seems so practical, I have to wonder why everyone doesn't wear super sized slippers.
Maybe if everyone did, I wouldn't get so many questions about them.

Monday, August 24, 2009


The Flat Tire Staff

KAILUA- A cyclist was apparently involved in a one bike accident this afternoon at the corner of Mokapu Boulevard and Oneawa Street. Witnesses at the scene attributed the accident to inattention or lack of cycling skills.
"Yeah, I seen the whole thing while I was sitting in my car waiting for the light to turn," said John Smith of Aikahi Park. "The dude was coming up Mokapu in the other direction, you know, just pulling up to the curb when WHOMP! Down he went."
A large divot in the grass in the front yard of a home adjacent to the stop light marked the accident location.
"I don't know what the guy was thinking," Smith said, "he was going so slow and when he fell, he just sort of lay there, in shock like." Smith was on his way home from his work in Halawa. "I almost pulled over and called 911 cause I was laughing so hard and I couldn't catch my breath."
Traffic at the intersection resumed and no police or ambulance was called.
The description of the person matched that of another cyclist who fell in a low speed accident only two weeks ago on Diamond Head Road. The type of injuries the cyclist sustained matched also.
When Kailua Police were asked to comment on the accident they replied: "We hope this isn't the start of some kind of serial crasher. These bicyclist who ride around and crash for no apparent reason are a danger to themselves and to the community. Mostly to themselves. If anyone should see this person fall off his bike again, they should immediately call the authorities and we'll do what we can. Maybe even impound his bicycle for his own protection."
When asked if this was the same cyclist who crashed in town, the police said they had no comment.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

For Sale

Well, I have decided to sell off the display bike.
The more I stare at it, the more I realize how little I ride it. Part of it I think is that I don't feel it fits me quite well, the other part is that I'm just not into the whole "roadie" thing.
Yes, I wear bike shorts and a jersey. Yes, I have bicycle shoes (SPD). And yes, I ride mostly on the road. I just don't ride on the road with this bike.
It's a nice bike, don't get me wrong: 105 STI, brakes, front derailleur and an Ultegra rear derailleur. It even has a decent wheel set.
I just don't ride it.
I began to think about the kind of riding I do and where I ride.
Mostly it has to do with where I ride. Kailua has been under construction for about as long as I remember. Okay, not that long, but for as long as I have been riding a bike, which is not that long.
The pavement in some places has been ripped up and patched, sometimes more than once so finding clean smooth pavement is becoming rare. Once the crews patch up one street, they start digging up another.
Not that riding around on my display bike is all that bad. I mean I do have fifty nine miles on it, mostly on these very same roads.
It's just that I don't see the point of riding it when I have a bike that is more suited to the terrain.
I also began to think about why I got into riding. Part of it was fitness, but the other reason was to stop taking the car on short trips around Kailua.
I envisioned myself riding around with a proud smirk on my face knowing that I was saving gas and helping the planet.
Now, I come home from my ride and jump in the car to pick up something from the market.
So, I have decided that I would make more use out of a utility bike. Something I could hang some baskets from. A bike that I could install some lights and reflectors on, clip a bell to the handlebars and ride in comfort. I could put one of those three foot wide beach bars on it and some platform pedals so I could ride around in my slippers. I may even put some tennis balls in the spokes.
Okay, maybe not the tennis balls.
I don't want another show and go bike, I just want a bike to go.
I want to ride my bike to the beach without worry about it getting stolen. I want to make trips to the hardware store to pick up small things like stainless steel bolts for my other bike. I want a bike with big fat tires to cruise around with on my slow days.
The fact is, I would ride this type of bike more frequently than my display bike.
I usually have a hard time parting with things I've had for a while. For some reason, I have always been a bit detached to this bike so listing it for sale was not difficult.
I hope it finds a good home.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Author, Author!

In an effort to better myself and become a well rounded person, I have decided to join a writers group.
There was a time (another life actually) when I used to write about things other than cycling. I would write about anything that popped into my head.
Okay, kind of like now, but different.
I bring this up for tonight I was going through some of the stories I have on ice.
Like a stroll down Memory Lane, there are some good things and some bad. Maybe horrific is a better description.
I wrote so much that I actually wrote a book. Two hundred and eighty nine pages, single spaced in a ten point font. Unfortunately, I wrote it on an old Mackintosh and the only copy I have of it was done on an old Image Writer. I have thirteen pages of it in copied in MS Word.
I don't know what to expect from this group. I don't know why I joined. I don't know if I'll ever write another line of fiction again.
I think that it's time to air some of these stories out. I think hearing unbiased feedback will help me close some of these "open" files. And I think, after reading some of the submitted work, it will be fun (hopefully).
What most don't realize about writing is that it is an art. I don't think any writer is done rewriting and although a work may be done, it doesn't necessarily mean the writer is satisfied. It just means the writer is tired of looking at it.
Well, this is about writing, so I'll leave it at this:

A drop of perspiration slipped off my nose and onto the page of my book. I squinted through my sunglasses up at the blazing sun and looked back down at my book. The page was already dry. I opened the cooler that sat next to my beach chair and grabbed another beer.
The beach here at Lanikai was deserted at this time of the day. No one in their right mind sat on the beach at noon when this kind of sun was blazing down. The cloudless sky reminded me of a weekend I had spent in Sausalito doing nothing but drinking beer and walking the streets. The sky was clear and I was drinking beer, but there was not a designer shop within twenty miles and it was about a hundred degrees here on the sand.
I brushed the sweat from my face with my hand and looked out over the cool ocean. I had been on the same page for the last five minutes. The sun and Sausalito were beginning to affect my brain.
I put my book down and stood up. The shimmering ocean seemed to call my name as I slowly walked towards the small waves lapping the sand at the waters edge. Then, as if a gasket had blown in my brain, I ran full blast into the soothing coolness of the blue water. Diving in head first, I felt my chest scrape the sand before I came up for air.
Shaking the water from my hair, I made my way back up the burning sand and gathered up my things. I was just too hot to be out here and I was out of beer. I threw my stuff in my car and headed toward the boat ramp and the shower.
The cold water of the shower woke me up. I closed my eyes and let it rain down on my burning face. I almost jumped out of my shorts as the howl of a police siren wailed ten feet behind me.

The group meets at the end of the month.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Go Slow Down

Yes! It is the title to a Bodeans album.
It is also how I did my ride today. Slow.
I added a new flavor to my ride yesterday. Up Mokapu and around Kaneohe Bay Drive: a nice little five mile loop.
My legs didn't come back until I was back on Kalaheo, coming back into Kailua.
So today, I went slow. I found out that going slow is easy. The only thing is you must go real slow. Cut your cadence in half/up two gears slow.
Actually, I rode that way for while inspecting my bike the other day, I found that my chain skip is being caused by a worn gear. So before changing it out, I decided to ride today using gears I don't usually use (get my moneys worth don't ya know). Hence my tortoise like speed.
About half way through my ride, I began to think about when I first got back into biking. I started last June, so it's been a little over a year.
As I rolled down Kalaheo, I marveled at the fact that I wasn't even breathing hard. Okay, I was only going about fourteen miles per hour, but at this time last year, I was a huffing and a puffing my way out on the levee. I would look at my computer and marvel at the fact that guys could run a mile faster than I could ride it.
Today, I was effortlessly chugging along, seriously thinking about getting myself a cruiser. You know, a bike with some awesomely fat tires that would roll over the worst Lanikai had to offer. Something with ultra wide bars and a "I don't need to go fast" seating position. I mean when you are going nowhere, it doesn't matter if you get there fast or slow; it matters to get there in comfort.
So, I started thinking about selling my display bike. I think I've had it for three month now and it has 59 miles on it. Trade in the skinny tires for some really fat cushy ones?
The thing is, some riders in Kailua are trying to organize a ride. Check them out here. I am interested in it only because it would give me a reason to take my road bike out. I mean I like how it looks sitting in the middle of my living room, but I get kinda sad thinking about how it must feel with all that dust on it. I am sure my 29er sneers at it when I'm not looking.
There are times when I wish I had a bike I could just jump on go. It isn't practical to take my road bike or my mountain bike to the store or to the beach. I mean part of the point of riding is to not use the car right? Wouldn't it be nice to not have to put on your bike shoes or bike shorts everytime you wanted to go out for a ride?
Don't get me wrong, I ride to get a workout. I ride to get faster (not fatter). I ride so I can buy more bike bling (c'mon, admit it).
I also ride to get the hell out of the house. I ride to get out into the sunshine and enjoy the day. I ride to clear my head and burn off stress.
I mean, I don't have to go fast to enjoy riding my bike right? I take pride in the fact that I am faster than I was last year. I also weigh less than I did last year and that's related to how fast I ride I suppose.
Yet today, as I crawled around Kailua, it was great.
Every once in a while, perhaps it's a good thing to go slow down.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The White Rabbit

No, not the Japanese candy that was recently taken off the shelves.
More like the fuzzy white thing that dogs hopelessly chase around a track.
The white rabbit, that's my friend Hoku. And I'm the dog.
So, he says, I got my new bike, let's go out for a ride.
Sure, I say, it's Sunday, so let's take it easy.
Sure, he says.
Hoku is the same friend that went out with my brother and I.
This time, I am going to out for a warm up ride before I meet him.
This time, I am going to choose the route, kinda of sort of.
This time, I am going to set the pace.
This time, I only lost sight of him twice.
And I only almost died once.
The first time I lost him, it was because of a red light. I was also about a hundred yards behind him.
The second time, he went over the top of the hill as I struggled up. I told him to wait for me at the bottom.
I was feeling all right, but needed a pit stop after going up and over the Mokapu Saddle road. I even offered to go back up and over but instead we went along Kaneohe Bay Drive and stopped at Tamura's in Aikahi Park.
That's when it hit me. Like the proverbial ton of bricks.
I got light headed and my vision began to get loopy.
Dehydration and low blood pressure.
I had to drink a couple of bottles of water and lie down. Took me about twenty minutes to recover.
Sort of.
We got going again. My legs felt like a couple of noodles.
Maybe I needed to eat a Cup o'Noodles.
I slogged my way back to Hoku's place, my legs feeling like they were detached from my body. I felt fine though, all the effects of dehydration had passed. I felt fine except for the two long things dangling beneath my torso.
It's interesting how when you ride with someone, you end up pushing yourself harder than you think. I used to think I rode hard when I was alone; I now know having someone in front of you is a very different thing.
The good thing is that you get faster.
The bad thing is that everything else seems slower.
I went out today with newly restored legs. My pace seemed to be a couple of MPH slower, but a check of the evil speedo revealed my normal pace. The road seemed to go by a little slower, and things seemed to pass by in slow motion.
I picked up the pace a bit and everything went back to normal. But now, I was pushing it a bit.
Seems the faster you get, the faster you must go.
Taking it easy and going slow just seems so....slow.
Damn that white rabbit.