This unraveled off the sleeve of my jersey, and I set it on the table and when I did I thought it was beautiful, because it was from my jersey and because it had unraveled.
yeah…so I killed all the abstract statements and brought back a couple dogs and a father and a daughter, who had all appeared earlier in the story, and if you have a good editor, hang on.
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Off Vera Cruz and through Powder Valley then past whatever the cleft beyond that is called, I take a turn new to me and ride into a hollow where the land lies in great greening billows to either side, and the yellow of the sun as it falls in widening beams seems distinct against the blue of the open sky. Up ahead on a beaten bridge connecting a gravel lane to the pavement stands a farmer in worn once-black wellies and in overalls faded as natural a blue as the sky. In front of him a dusty school-bus brakes and flings out its protective arm and flicks on its red lights then retracts all the actions almost before a girl steps out, the whole gesture of the bus so perfunctory I know this road must be empty every afternoon and would be today except for me. The girl goes to the father and stops, and the bus has pulled away already and passes me, and as I ride by, the father puts his arm over his daughter’s shoulders and leans his head in and touches his forehead to the side of her head, and they say something to each other, shift around, and start walking the lane to their home. His arm is still across her shoulders as they walk, then he reaches and takes her backpack off her and transfers it to his other hand then drapes his arm back over her and they amble off crunching gravel, and something in me moves, swells, pulses a few times then settles.
— finally got a readable draft of my August print column, which I want to be my last, in for edits. I knew all along I wanted this graph in there, but not sure what to do with the final words of that final sentence.
- — writes W.G. Karunasena, who suspected himself of such a title, and maybe accepted it but without acceding to it (and rightly so), and who is one of those characters I imagine I will stick with me for life.
The comma followed by a dash is probably a typographical error, but I hope not. I like odd punctuation, and this is a good one, creating for me a pause followed by a rush that is less verbal than cerebral, an ordinary space in speech becomes a catch of the mind that lasts just a moment too long then the words fill in the hole. What happens in that strange little gap?
…if I want, I can crisscross my way down the mountain or take the descent in one big gulp. I see some racing pigeons just about every day. I pass a daycare and a kindergarten, and sometimes a ballet studio, and a duck pond, and a quiet home where a murdered teenage girl used to live, and the combination of all of this makes me aware, every ride, that I am getting to ride.
— a little story about Bike to Work Day
The Tour of California was born the same year as Twitter, a coincidence that happens to be significant because it illustrates how thoroughly and pervasively we have been able to follow the race. It comes to us, and always has, in high-definition streaming TiVo plasma podcast coverage, and in likes and pokes and gifs and bit-torrented vids and hi-res flickers, and an approximately infinite amount of blogs. The riders tell us themselves what they’re thinking right before a stage, and right after, and on the rest days they share the rest. We can know everything about the race, and always have and always will. It is the first great tour of the information age, so thoroughly tagged, tweeted, totaled, transmitted, tumbled, and televised that our collective appreciation of the race is built not on hoary fables but on verifiable facts. Had he been at the crest of Diablo, ten thousand hashtagged instant communiqués would have told us that, actually, Bahamontes hadn’t stopped specifically to get an ice cream but, rather, only because his spokes had broken. There’d have been plenty of six-second videos to prove it, too.
the greatest of these, ignoring for a foolish interlude any and all context, is the chill challenge
On my ride home from the quick store or on the way to work from the post office or the pizza joint I would sometimes pass by this corner and tip my chin to the two old men who were generally sitting out there to take in all that might happen on their corner of Emmaus. They waved me over once years ago and asked where I was always riding to, and I said, “Up the hill,” and they chewed at the insides of their cheeks and considered my answer together, and because it seemed like I needed to explain more, I said, “I live in the old Doc Roland place,” and one of them, the older I think though who could know, said, “Okay,” then the other said, “That’s right,” and I rode off not knowing what it was that had been right. Today, I rode past the corner and it was like this. Maybe was what right that day when I stopped was the simplest thing, which was that I had stopped.
I have been told by members of my own family that there is no use or value in sports. I only agree with the first part…Of course there is little point to sports. But, at the risk of depressing you, let me add two more cents. There is little point to anything. In a thousand years, grass will have grown over all our cities. Nothing of anything will matter. Left-arm spinners cannot unclog your drains, teach your children or cure you of disease. But once in a while, the very best of them will bowl a ball that will bring an entire nation to its feet. And while there may be no practical use in that, there is most certainly value.
—reading, and somewhat understanding but for sure enjoying, Shehan Karunatilaka’s cricket novel, The Legend of Pradeep Mathew. The original title, “Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew” used a cricket term for a left-handed wrist spinner, but seems it was cut because the jargon doesn’t cross over well into common American language.
The glove has worn out; the leather shoulder of the jacket, scuffed mostly by the strap of a messenger bag, is wearing in. I think both are beautiful.
I’m a mess on a bike. But I’m my idea of a mess. That’s better than being someone else’s idea of perfection.
— really starting to figure out, I think, how and why cycling figures so in my life
I don’t know whether we need Style Man back or want him back, or need or want him to never have been. In any case: You are asking the right question with the wrong words: What you really need to know is that what is wrong is to not answer our wants.
…we must learn
to bear the pleasures
as we have borne the pains
— Nikki Giovanni gives it a go.
just about my favorite beer these days
Fitzgerald’s prose ﬂows as does a piece of elegant music, and his sentences ride upon this rhythm. Like a fairy-tale beanstalk, they soar endlessly into the air, carrying the reader with them. Each word gives birth to the next in a single, ascending stream. Searching for space to grow, they spread out until they cover the sky. It is a beautiful sight. Principles such as logic and consistency do not rule here; indeed, they may be banished entirely. When that happens, words are sucked upward with their ambiguities and multiple meanings intact, so that they bulge with implications and possibilities.
— Murakami, on translating Gatsby
- says Nick Carraway
Found the fox. Was looking for the pile of deer bones the dogs have been picking from for a month or so. I hadn’t seen her since just before Thanksgiving, when she showed up shivering and wet and desperate on our front porch, in the forty-degree rainstorm, and lay down right on our welcome mat at the door and bled, and turned her eyes up toward me and let me be there but told me not to come any closer but also not to leave. We shivered awhile together, and I figured she was dying, then thought that I am dying, too, we all are, just slower some of us than she was that night. She got up and went off into the rain, into the dark, giving it a lope even there at the end, death be damned if she’d limp devoid of all panache, and she vanished as she always had, as she could do so well, and I said whatever kind of prayer I can ever muster, and I shivered. There she was this spring, curled around the base of a thick shrub, half mummified by I guess the cold, teeth bared in a fine snarl, head tucked into her belly, and I hoped she’d just found her way there and gone to sleep and in her last living moment, in a dream had growled off for a few fantastic seconds whatever it was that had come unstoppably for her and one day would for me. I had to keep her away from the dogs, and I couldn’t bury her, so I put her up on the roof of the old goat shed, and thought, what an end, how could I have done it to her. But she was gone, this was only her skull and fangs and claws and a few tufts, and I would bury them soon enough, as soon as I had time, because I would have time later I told myself, knowing for a moment as I looked at her that I could not know if this was true, and now that I have found her, I miss her.
As I floated to the surface, he held my hand and floated with me. We were in a different world, where it was possible for a girl like me to like a boy like him and for a boy like him to like a girl like me. I was sad when we broke the surface. My chest was pounding so I took a deep breath and another deep breath and another deep breath. Jason Miller closed the distance between us and wrapped his arms around me. We floated together toward the edge of the pool but we never seemed to reach it. We didn’t talk but I wanted to say something to Jason Miller, something important we would both remember.
“People riding bikes get people riding bikes,” I said. That was kind of cryptic, so I explained that what I meant was that when people start seeing more riders more frequently, they’re more likely to ride. As W.P. Kinsella has instructed us, if we build it, they will come, but to get people to come along on a bike ride, you don’t have to wait for the building to be finished—or even to start. I then referenced Richard Ballantine, the author of the classic, Richard’s Bicycle Book: “The bicycle is its own best argument.”
—I set out to write about bike advocacy, but I think this one is about why people ride or not.