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Friday, September 13, 2019

Strata Overlain

Pick up Companion Reader, 4th [and likely final] Edition, now available for free downloaded by simply clicking on its image on right or title here. It’s been augmented with latest posts, edited for content, and laid out same as Bike&Chain, which it now exceeds in detail and girth.

Labann asks, “I wrote all this? Do I agree with it entirely? Can I endorse wholeheartedly? Who IS this crusader for human rights and social justice? Surely not the easily distracted, instantly frustrated, severest critic of the overly long, pathetically meaningless, and seriously stupid that surpasses even the most ungrudging futility tolerance?” Could claim someone else composed, some gung-ho invisible instigator with poor impulse control who intermittently possesses fingertips on keyboard, surely a brittle bicyclist beaten about by abusive automatons and belligerents with baseball bats and motorized turbo cats. Have never been so clever in person, instead minded own business and roamed withdrawn around society.

Does it matter whether selective mutism derives from dementia or indifference? Already way past what was originally intended, never meant to repeat self so often, even though withering bicycling does imply repetitive pedaling. Regret sharing 2,000 pages on bicycling culture... dumbest thing ever personally did. No good reason for it, simply saw a hole in society's swing and succeeded in pitching strike after strike for 3 decades. Yet game was rigged; those who outperformed still lost while slackers stole billions and wrecked environment. Although beaten into abject submission, did once rise against cruel domination, and imagine others so inclined. Saw it return and tossed in own two curve balls. But the older one gets, the slower both body and mind; now it’s bullpen time.

Layer upon layer of digital streams and wordy dreams fused into inseparable strata akin to what archeologists encounter at prehistorical sites where habitation existed for millennia, cities built on ruins of villages built on camps along river banks.

If anything, both Bike&Chain and Companion Reader prove bicycling culture not only exists but thrives despite all attempts to eradicate it irrevocably. Automotive interests wanted to clear streets of impeding bicyclists and walkers. Instead they distributed too many vehicles and installed road furniture as own obstacles, so they sit motionless fuming with emotions amidst exhausting fumes, fatiguing billboards, and limiting controls among hundreds of millions of fearfully likeminded. Some motorists are so witless they stop in crosswalks and intersections which they aren’t supposed to enter unless clear to proceed. Then they assault you with verbal obscenities for squeezing carefully around them. From a bicyclist’s viewpoint, it’s a war fought daily in surprising skirmishes pitifully concluded. Hard to fathom how anyone waxes enthusiastic about exercise that punishes more than rewards.

Summer is when automotive lobbyists escalate their anti-bike rant: “Bike right! Get out of my away! Watch out lest you become roadkill!!” It’s tantamount to confessing, “We don’t know what the hell we’re doing yet will never stop, so you better perform extra well to allow for our incompetence.” Presumes bicyclists can while motorists can’t.

Bicyclists retreat to back roads or wooded tracks, along with deer or other wild animals guided by instincts alone, though nowhere is totally safe. Don’t ever call for roadside service, since even though covered for first 10 miles, bicyclists will be extorted dearly for more cash than they carry for any mileage beyond. Drivers fear open spaces between car, home and office, spend <1% of their time outdoors, where they’re statistically safer by an enormous factor, and might soak up oxygen and sunshine for health’s sake.

Bicycling elevates one's brain derived neurotrophic fact (BDNF), dopamine, number of brain cells, and serotonin. According to prestigious medical journals, as little as 15 minutes a day, perhaps a short commute to work, fights ADHD, Alzheimer's, cancer, cardiovascular, fibromyalgia, Lou Gerhig's, and Parkinson's diseases. Furthermore, pedaling boosts mood and fights depression, main manifestation of mental illness considered nearly nominal since it’s so prevalent. Being in best of health benefits entire society, reduces demands upon doctors, hospitals, insurers, and nurses, which thereby elevates level of care for all. In this among many other ways, bicycling fosters better citizenship and opens eyes to cruel reality.

Meanwhile, insane terrorists spread germs and tamper with unsealed foods and products at points of sale for viral hits. Cybercrooks and scam telemarketers work nonstop to cheat rubes from ready cash. Websites pose as government resources or innocuous portals, then phish for details or identities to steal. Promise of an internet that offers free information to enlighten curious has long been betrayed by greedy businessmen, corrupt politicians, and dastardly predators. Even stalwarts, especially saints, can’t be trusted, because all have agendas against injustice and hate vulnerable you in lieu of unassailable enemies.

So what’s the point in trying to share relevant observations? Only going to attract miscreants or be ignored or misinterpreted by audience you hoped to reach. Nobody believes in friendly, platonic relationships; all mistrust anything different and suspect underlying sexual urges. Seeing world as it is and stating how it disappoints leaves you angry and bitter. Sometimes saying nothing serves you better.

In the end, what you did and you yourself will be overlain by depressing strata. Maybe some future archeologist will dig up your primitive artifacts and find a cherished gem while sifting through tons of wasteland overburden for bits of bone and specks of metal.

“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius , 121 -180 AD. Not much changes among men over 2 millennia, but tough to stay balanced when crowded by eight billion among whom two billion are mentally disabled.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


Pedaled backwards along a long forgotten lane; decided to relent to assumed duties one last time. Googled current bicycling culture. With internet now heavily populated with facts and folderol, these searches have become too easy. Wasn’t at all so during mid-90’s when Labann began; meant going to college libraries and retail shops, and interviewing other cyclists. While bike musical compositions have trailed off, probably because no global heroes have emerged from America since Armstrong’s disgrace, new topical books overflow, including several about enduring Tour de France, more than you’ll read in 10 years and not mentioned. Here’s a significant smattering of late breaking others (does not constitute an endorsement of any):

Anonymous, The Secret Cyclist: Real Life as a Rider in the Professional Peloton, (Random House, 2019, 224 pp.) - “...try write a warts-and-all blog about your office. Question how the business is run, make sure you remember to call your boss a moron, and then tell me how it goes.” Management dissatisfaction probably applies to every team sport, as it surely does in most businesses, until some board or committee members, stakeholders, or whistleblowers wise up and work together to end tyranny. Can be projected to a national scale, since, as Peter predicts, incompetents rise to their highest level, though you’d overlook and tolerate them on their journey there until damage is already done.

Evan Friss, On Bicycles: A 200-Year History of Cycling in New York City (Columbia University Press, 2019, 264 pp.) - Reminds readers that no sooner than the first laufmaschine arrived from Germany its use in Manhattan was banned in parks and on sidewalks, only to return 50 years later as French boneshakers that captivated public and paved streets for motoring.

Harry Pearson, The Beast, the Emperor and the Milkman: A Bone-shaking Tour through Cycling’s Flemish Heartlands (Bloomsbury Publishing, for release February, 2020, 272 pages) - Accounts of Belgian racers of yesteryear, such as The Beast Eddy Merckx, and Jules Vanhevel, who led a World Championship drive until he collided with a cow.

Jet McDonald, Mind is the Ride (Unbound Publishing, 2019, 368 pp.), non-traditional bike book of the mental journey, not a travel guide, during a tour from England to India. “The Virtual Triangle... A bike shadow is a cyclist’s best friend. It’s an X-ray of the rider’s imagination Its never -changing geometry follows just behind or ahead, on an icy road, a desert plain, a dual carriageway. And at the peak of hunger and the depths of exhaustion, it begins to talk with you. It begins to turn you inside out.”

Jools Walker, Back in the Frame: How to get back on your bike, whatever life throws at you (Little, Brown Book Group, 2019, 368 pp.) - Autobiographical blogger Lady Velo compiled her trials as a black woman fighting depression, prejudice, a stroke, and such tough stuff to suffer from.

Lorenz J. Finison, Boston’s Twentieth-Century Bicycling Renaissance: Cultural Change on Two Wheels (UMass Press, 2019, 304 pp.) - Chronicles challenges and revives disavowed voices of black cyclists, environmental and social justice activists, and women breaking into male-dominated professions of bike messengers and mechanics.

Michael Kranish, The World's Fastest Man: The Extraordinary Life of Cyclist Major Taylor, America's First Black Sports Hero (Simon and Schuster, 2019, 384 pp.) - Whatever complaints the Secret Cyclist may have, none could match Marshall Taylor’s struggles as a black champion during Jim Crow era. This new biography was unknown to Labann when he wrote a recent article after a personal visit to Taylor’s old haunts.

Somehow also stumbled upon an old song that suggests, though never specifies, bicycling per se. Journey, Still they Ride, Escape, Columbia, 1981; subsequently released as a single, hit 19th on Billboard Hot 100.
"Jesse rides through the night / Under the Main Street light
Riding slow / This old town, ain't the same
Now nobody knows his name / Times have changed, still he rides
Traffic lights, keeping time / Leading the wild and restless through the night
Still they ride, on wheels of fire / They rule the night
Still they ride, the strong will survive / Chasing thunder
Spinning ‘round, in a spell / Woah, it’s hard to leave this carousel, ‘round and ‘round and ‘round and ‘round
Still they ride..."