Friday, May 10, 2019


Hey, so I know I've been living the bummer life lately.
And while I get that this may turn off some of my readers, I'm not sorry.
One of the beautiful things about getting older is when you reach the point that you stop worrying about what other folks thingk, and you simply live your truest life as your truest Self.
I'm in that time now. Fur sure, I pay a price for this, but it still feels good. Grounding. Worth the cost.
Gonna ride my bike today, and maybe hit some high points along the way.

Cheers, and happy riding!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019


I'm at a coffee shop, and it's staring me right in the face.
And what makes me furious, what makes me incredibly sad, is that all the bike rides and refillable cups and home gardens in the world won't change this.
In the history of the world, species have come and gone forever. It's just never felt like it was happening so fast before.
And I know -- I have to admit -- that the conscious choices I and a million other individuals make won't make a dent.
In a world of billions, a million decisions are a drop in the bucket.
The wealthiest few on the planet make decisions every day with the capitalist machinery they own. Each of their decisions impacts billions of human beings, and permanently alters the biology of our planet.
I'm going to a little boy's birthday party tonight. And I cannot help but wonder how many birthdays he'll celebrate before we industrialize ourselves into extinction.
I am sitting with this moment and will see what else it has to tell me. Stay tuned.

 No photo description available.

Friday, May 3, 2019

That's MISTER grumpypants to you, buddy

Yeah, I know. I'm a really grumpy, old fart bicycle rider who's lived in Portland
too long and has seen too many things come, become cool, and then become trendy.
Well, here's another precious trend about to hatch.
Once a grassroots celebration of alternative transportation makes it into the pages of a
it's over. I'm gonna watch as the grassroots fade away while the kids who are running the show now look for corporate sponsorship to keep their festival going.

Meanwhile, I think I'll just ride my bike.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

30 days of biking: that's a wrap

I ended #30daysofbiking the way I began it: a bicycle meetup with my sister. We met for cheap sushi (at Sushi Ohana: get the spicy tofu. It's everything), talked for over an hour and had Awesome Sister Time together. We've promised each other to keep riding, and to ride together whenever we can this summer.
Along the way, I've had a chance to find plenty of interestingness around my fair city, including beautiful spring flowers, little bits of history and other slices of life.

You can find them all at the Joyful Riders Worldwide FB group, along with amazing photos by other Joyful riders from around the world.
I hope those pictures will inspire you to get out and ride more this summer, and beyond. Wherever you go, Happy riding!

(Shown here: a few photos from the month, some of which didn't make it into my ride reports because I simply took too many. Go for a ride and find the beauty where you live.)

Friday, April 26, 2019

bike builds: some things just won't change

The bike on the top is my current beast of burden, the bike that carries things. It's a 1989 Bridgestone MB-4 that I've built up and rebuilt four times since I got it eight years ago.
The bike on the bottom is a Peugeot Orient Xpress from the mid-1980s. I got the frame at Citybikes, built it up as you see here, and rode the crap out of it for four years -- until I tried to use it in an Xtracycle build and discovered that, at 21 inches, it would be impossibly big for me to mount and dismount safely. So I stripped off the parts and sold it back to the shop.
I suppose the way we build up our bikes says something about us, if we're daily bike riders and tinkerers; and clearly my default is comfort and stability.
I might ride the Bridgestone to shul tomorrow. I need a ride, and won't have time later in the day. Happy riding!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

A prayer for right now

Dear Is-ness: As I count each day of these seven weeks from Pesach to Shavuot, let me find the proper balance between abject fear and lightheartedness.
No. Strike that.
Let me instead find good people to surround myself with, who will understand why I need to lean more heavily into the fear and eschew a little more of the frivolity. Because the former is urgent, and too much of the latter a distraction.
There is a time and place for everything.
Right now, I cannot escape the direness of the world, of my city, of each day. So if some of my friends think I'm becoming a bit of a downer, well, I hope they understand.
Let me find the strength to do my small part to make things more fair and to push back -- for however many years, days or even hours -- the date of our human extinction so more of us can live well, and live in peace.
Who knows? If we can add hours of peace to the Earth's timeline, we may live to see it -- and all of us -- last a little longer.
If that means that some parts of my own life will have to change, to evolve -- well, okay then. Help me to be discerning and to know what to let go of, and what to make more room for.
If my friends who think I'm living The Bummer Life can't wrap their heads around it, sorry-not-sorry.
Shit is real and there is not another day to waste.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Cross-post: Somewhere between freedom & enslavement

(A post from my Music blog: Notes From The Road)
Hours before our outta-town family arrive for Pesach, I am finishing up the last of the cleaning and compiling additions for our haggadah, the book that provides the order for our seder (which is redundant, since seder means "order.")

At the same time, friends and family are sharing their preparations for the holiday via social media. And as I view these, I cannot help but ponder our individual and collective choices in our observance of this -- and every -- Jewish holiday.

It has become impossible for me to walk into a store and see fresh produce without considering all the steps required to get that produce from the farm in California, or Mexico, or wherever, to my dinner table. I can't help but consider the energy, in human and environmental terms, required for me to wear clothes that fit well, to eat good food and to travel to the places I go for work and for play.

This recent post on social media (below) stopped me cold.
Someone who traveled from one coast to the other on a sightseeing trip with their family, posting about how easy and cheap it is to obtain everything one needs for Passover in New York City. Of course, not everything in the photo was made in New York City, or even in the United States.
There are so many different choices reflected in this photo, so many cubic inches of particulate in the air, so many thousands of gallons of fossil fuels pumped out of the ground and converted into jet and auto fuel.
And for reasons I cannot begin to describe in detail, this disturbs me almost as much as the sight of veal disturbs my vegetarian friends. Because I cannot see this image without also thinking of all the resources used up to make it, and the travel and consumerism it reflects, so readily possible.

I am still trying to figure out what to do with my discomfort.

I don't know if this is turning me into one of the most strident and boring people ever (like Thoreau, one of my childhood heroes), or if it's just another layer of personal awakening.
And I won't yet take a guess. Not here, not today.
Because I have cleaning and cooking to help with, and family to welcome with a warm embrace. And at least some kind of freedom to celebrate.

But as we celebrate our freedom story, I think we must also remember that the price we pay for that freedom takes many forms, including the potential for other kinds of enslavement. And I think that Pesach may be a perfect time to ponder the relationship between our various enslavements and freedoms, to sit with the tension found there, and to think about how and why we might want to reconfigure ourselves and our understandings. How we might want to reconfigure our lives, even a little, after we safely reach the other side of whatever chasm we're trying to cross.

Chag Pesach Sameach!
A zisn Pesach to all who celebrate.