Thursday, October 22, 2015

Blind Ultramontane

Probably ought to read more than write. Can turn to interesting blogs, nonfiction, or novels to break up monotony of dogmatic how-to’s and textbooks. Reading lets you passively absorb information you might eventually use effectively or profitably. Many books merely pick a topic and vegetatively quote others who commented on it. Blogs might offer a sentence or two but principally exist as click-bait for advertising pennies or cookie downloads with trojan horses. Real content serves both community and self, but wastes author’s effort and time when editors or readers don’t reciprocate. The social convention of authors providing information of value with societies caring for their welfare, as if horticultural specimens, seems to have fallen by the wayside.

People appreciate ancient evangelists and prophets because they codified religions, expected nothing, and got martyred for their trouble. Authors today expect the same credibility for living dangerously and spewing contrary filth. Monarchists and ultramontanes condemn separation of church and state and rather confer absolute power to a king or pope. They are blinded by their chance to control and dominate through the power of words. Uniformity of belief or practice leads directly to fascism. Diversity of opinion, while apparently wasteful, does create markets, expand economy, explore alternatives, honor all sides, and offer hope. Diversity is mankind’s survival mechanism. Why theocracies fail is that some neighboring ruler devoted to another inflexible religion routinely disagrees and wars commence. The bitterest fights are fought over flavors of the same (Christian Catholics kill Christian Protestants; Moslem Shia kill Moslem Sunnis). Constitutional democracies don’t run well, but at least give citizens who vote a small say in life threatening policies and historically last longer than any other form of government.

Readers seek Top 10 lists as ways to hack through dense detail, mental machetes in a jungle of falsehood. Just as in this metaphor, each such complied list foists unfounded opinions, further confuses issues, skips relevant input, and surrounds obvious facts with phony hype, what greedy conservatives rely upon when duping masses into sacrificing themselves. For once, however, Labann will relent, toss readers a bone, undertake unbiased cycling tips, and won’t further bitch about it.

10. Before each ride, check tires for integrity (no cuts or imbeds) and pressure. If you must fill rear, also top off front. Otherwise, skip front to save time and valve wear.

9. Store cleats, glasses, gloves, helmet and pump in same spot, ready for next ride, but not where subject to bugs, bumps, damp, direct sun, and falls. Try a mesh bag hung on bike or open shelf unit.

8. Carry cash, cell phone, credit card(s), keys, and small tools in a ziplock baggie; keeps them collected and dry.

7. Pay the extra fee (if any) to make sure your new bike exactly fits you; use your regular apparel, cleats and saddle during fitting, which should include handlebar adjustment, laser leg alignment, and saddle positioning. Expect small tweaks thereafter to perfect.

6. Wash bike often with soap and water; use an old toothbrush for tight areas, like chain links and derailleur cogs. Especially clean brake pads and wheel rims. Wipe dry while inspecting frame for cracks and noting damage. Once fully dry, again lubricate chain.

5. Now ride with knees in to spare later pain; flailing is only okay to get balance right after mounting. Cleated pedals help guide legs into efficient positions over long distances.

4. Change hand positions on bars frequently; grab brake hoods to rest wrists, drops to get low into wind.

3. Wear a helmet. Doesn’t make you invincible, but does provide cheap insurance against concussions and skull fractures. Wear padded gloves for safety, spandex shorts and wicking jerseys for comfort, or whatever you want that won’t later deter enthusiasm.

2. Stick to white line at road’s edge; weaving in and out of shoulder confuses motorists and obstructs visibility for both them and you. Tuck in on curves where clipping might occur.

1. Hour for hour, bicycling is more fun than working. Bike commuting avoids driving stress, jettisons your burdens, and restores mood so family won’t suffer, as long as you don’t obsess over it.

These are not 10 commandments, just suggestions shared from 10,000 hours in the saddle. You are entitled to compile your own list, dispute, or ignore, because, when you embrace a bicycle as transportation, “This machine kills fascists,” figuratively speaking.

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