Friday, August 29, 2008

STreet Kings welcome a new member



what a ride last night! A full compliment of Street Kings took to the streets and bars of Tempe to welcome a new member. The ride started out a bit rough, two mechanicals before we could get out of site of the start point. The SK disc is officially dead. I took an evening to strip and repair the hub, redrilling the slip pins with bigger pins and reposition the disc, all to no avail. The thing wobbled like a drunk sorority girl. Members in attendance last night:
SK (bet on it)
St Paul (working on his beer tolerance for the upcoming Chimichanga race)
James T. (Had to race the rain home after the ride)
Jackson (lost a pedal early but recovered nicely)
Agent Orange (Always on, always ready to go)
Bucket (The Brett Favre of Street Kings is out of retirement)
Clifford (Requesting a reassessment of his gang status/title, was not voted on last night)

Others in attendence are not named on this site for legal and moral reasons.

We did discuss the possibility of a state championship alleycat later this year. I would put together another online map to save people from getting lost. If you are ever in an alleycat in Hanover, this is the girl that you would want to suck a wheel from.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fixed gear bikes are going to be the ruin of us all

I recently came across a pair of editorials in Velonews where each side debated the merits and drawbacks of the recent popularity of fixed gear bikes. Much like the rigs Street Kings ride. The two points of view are taken up by two of the staff of said publication and voiced two separate thoughts on the matter. The first point of view was voiced by a gentlemen named Maynard Hershon. Maynards take on fixed gear is spelled out in the title of his article clearly and without pulling any punches. “Fixed-gear bandwagon is hurting cycling.” In 25 point Helvetica screams across his half of the page along with a picture of Maynard that I would say puts his appearance conservatively at around 74. I only mention this as a point of reference, hear me out. His article is well written and he doesn’t mince words when expressing his concerns for cycling as a whole. His debate seems to center around the welfare of the band-waggoners and their inherent lack of cycling skills. He adds the ubiquitous; “when I was a boy” speech that includes logic such as: “there was less traffic, and, “…the handful of racers using fixed gear bikes were ultra-skilled” He doesn’t qualify the “ultra-skilled” comment but I came to the understanding that he is surreptitiously referring to himself. He goes on to lump every fixed gear rider as incapable morons and “first time riders” that not only eschew functionality for style, but refuse to put lights on their bike. The final insult he takes a psychology 101 approach and tries to somehow make the bike dealer feel guilty about selling a bicycle to person that would; GASP “lock the bike to two or three similar bikes in front of a neighborhood tavern after midnight.” He challenges the bike dealer to “feel good about selling (sic) the bike” after he realizes she is in there drinking with her friends on a bike he sold her.

(Cue the 1950’s dramatic instructional video music and the unseen deep voiced announcer.)

“It’s supposed to give you a good feeling, seeing it. Does it? Stick your head in there. I’ll bet she and her friends will buy you a drink. You’re their dealer after all.” ???

I cant even reach a cynical enough position to try and defend that last quote. I was expecting his sign off to be something like; “I’ll bet they smoke marijuana cigarettes too, that’s right… reefers. And if you asked her parents, I’ll bet they think she’s actually studying at the library right now and don’t even ask them about that rock and roll music she has come to enjoy.”

At his age I am assuming he sat through enough cold war, public service videos in school that the fear propaganda machine is the only form of motivation he understands and sadly still is clinging to. To bad he wasn’t reading or writing about cycling as a kid, he would have heard people in his same profession (sports writers) his age at the time, debating how adding derailleur’s to fixed gear bikes ruined great races like the Tour de France. I wish you well Mr. Maynard Hershon, your struggles will continue as a man with a name from five decades removed and a dated point of view to match. You just made the short list of cyclists not welcome in Street King territory



Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The horror.



The quick answer to that is; "Then they would all want to be Street Kings and they cant all be Street Kings sweet tits" Its an exclusive club. Street King ride this Thursday. (Dependent on weather)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Innocent until proven guilty



Why the hell anyone would pay $250 for a pair of jeans at any point is beyond me. However if the urge dues strike you to own a pair of Rock Republic Jeans; i mean if you just HAVE to have a pair. Why not buy from this pair instead for $38 ?

I fouind this pair of Rock Republic jeans on a legitimate website: HERE Yes i realize the possibility (however slim it might be) that these jeans are not actually made by Rock Republic, and that purchasing them does nothing to support Rock Republic or its racing team. But dont be so quick to judge. Everyone, even websites named: Fake Replica Rock Republic Goods, is innocent until proven guilty. Until someone has irrefutable proof, witnesses and can show beyond a shadow of a doubt that these indeed are not Rock Republic jeans, i suggest taking advantage of this deal. Even if they did have irrefuable proof, witnesses, and could show beyond a shadow of a doubt that these were not legitimate goods, they still get their day in court. Just like Michael Ball is doing for Leogrande's defense in a lawsuit brought against USADA that had initally named the rider only as John Doe.


Leogrande is a member of the Rock Racing team, which is owned by Michael Ball, the CEO of jeans-maker Rock & Republic. His bio on the team website said using the "same signature aggressive approach, he now plans to change the face of the racing world."


The suit alleges USADA notified the, then unamed plaintiff last Nov. 15 that the 'A' sample came back negative. Despite that negative finding, the agency directed the UCLA testing lab to test the 'B' sample, "thereby violating the applicable rules and regulations governing anti-doping control and testing."



Do you think these make my ass look fat?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Flat tires suck.

In the world of cycling there is nothing more disheartening, other than a crash, than a flat tire. Enjoying a bike ride only to realize your tire has gone soft, is alot like having a softy while trying to enjoy riding your wife (or girlfriend). Or so i understand, i have never had that problem and anyone that says otherwise is a loudmouth liar. There are basically two schools of thought on tire flats and how to deal with them. The first is an ill advised attempt at making the bike impervious to flats. The thought proces being; simply eliminate the ability for the bike to lose air in the tires by making them impervious to punctures. Sounds simple doesn't it? Well the devil is in the details my friend. While you can make your tires/tubes LESS susceptible to punctures, you can never make them puncture-proof. And the trade off for making your bicycle puncture resistant is the same as with every good idea that ultimately gets shot down by the masses of bicycle riders; the solution will invariably be too heavy or GASP not stylish enough. Yes you can run Kevlar walled tires, yes you can run slimed tubes, yes you can double up a 26c tire with a 23c inside with the bead cut off, but you can still flat. I have searched the interwebs database of bicycles that are actually "Flat proof" and was able to come up with only one example. See below.



Don't let the brakes fool you, this bastard is running this rig fixed with horizontal drops, solid aero wheel up front, the brakes are just to keep the cops off his back.


"Fo sho babee"



If you are unable to get a hold of the equipment necessary to convert your bike to a true flat proof setup, i recommend taking the second of the two options; preparing for the eventuality of a flat and being emotionally and physically prepared for that situation. In other words, carry a blowout bag and be informed of its use and capable of using it should the situation arrive. You can usually spot the uninformed riders, as they will have the bike placed in what is commonly referred to as the "BMX" position for repair. Placing your bike on its saddle and handlebars to the wheels stick straight up, is NOT an acceptable position for flat repair. These are usually the same riders that somehow manage to remove every bolted on components on the bike just to change a rear flat. I cant tell you how many times i have been on a group ride and someone has exclaimed with no small amount of glee in their voice; "Look a yard-sale and the guy has a bunch of bike parts!" only to find upon closer inspection, its just a confused rider assuming the BMX position and wielding a multi tool like a machete wielding Malaysian drug lord clearing rain forest. If in your travels you happen across one of these creatures, (and you will) i suggest taking the high road and throwing out the standard "Got everything you need?" question as you ride by. The statement leaves you an out and doesn't wholly imply you are willing to help with the reasembly of their bike, you are just making sure they have enough rope to hang themselves with. Keep the black side down, unless your bike is black, and then keep the shiny black side up, whether riding or repairing.

SK.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Race report and the state of the union



Arizona trail lit off on time ( a first for any alleycat i have attended) and was a fantastic race. LBDM (Los bicicletas de muerto) ran a clean event with no incidents or accidents. 30+ racers, started on Mill avenue and University in the heart of Tempe ASU and tore through the surrounding streets for about an hour. The first stop created some seperation as it had a bit of a climb on the bike to get there, and then a climb off the bike once you did get there. The second stop was flat ride but a bit of distance, At The Wagon Wheel mobile home park, you had to remove and then replace your front wheel. Thirds stop along Tempe Town lake you were given the choice of eating beans or Beef Jerky then head South again to Tempe Tack and Feed to pick up a gun (water gun). Back to Tempe town lake to ford a river of filled, inflatable pools, and then a tricky stop off of Rural that took me some time to negotiate. St. Paul and James T were one, two going into the final stop at bike saviors. The final obstacle was a water and whiskey and then shoot a buffalo with your obtained pistol. Upon completing a "kill" you were then given the final manifest destination. Due to some confusion the boys missed the final stop, once they got turned around and made it back, they were somewhere around 5-6 instead of stacking the podium. Such is the way of the alleycat. Legs are half the battle, direction is the other half. There was a spirted footdown and, trackstand competition to follow and then drinking at the local bar. A good time was had by all. Viva los bicicletas de muertas! Viva los Street Kings.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Street kings are news.

Supressing news and information about the clandestine, uber-secret, underground, Street kings is a full time job for this propganda machine. Eventually natural selection will happen and one of the slower or older members can and will be drawn from the herd and picked off one by one. In this case, Clifford gets cornered at an industry event and questioned about his knowledge of the historic "Cactus cup" that took place right here in sunny Arizona back when North Scottsdale wasnt all Gucci and glass. From the online article: Popular Desert Race Makes Comeback


found on Bicycle retailier. The article looks at the race from a historical sense, quoting a number of local bike legends and their rememberences of the race.


“We were all racing for second,” said Dave McCall, mechanic for Landis Cyclery in Scottsdale, Arizona, mentioning the names of legendary racers Tomac and Juarez. “Tinker would hammer us.”





John Tomac, Ned Overend, Tinker Juarez, Missy Giove—they all competed there.





“To see all those heavy hitters, and say, ‘Wow, they’re here racing our race,’” said Jon Milliken, who works in sales for Bicycle Haus in Scottsdale. Milliken interned for Specialized in 1993, helping put on the Cactus Cup, and has attended every Cactus Cup in Arizona."



Clifford is a hitter. lets leave it at that.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What passes for style these days

As the leader and mouthpiece of a cutting edge and stylish group like the Street Kings I, routinely come across bicyles that are built with the best intentions but oft times miss the mark. Putting time, money and effort into bike and meeting absolue failure is a lot like that MTV comeback Britney Spears tried a few years back. The experience will either bring you and your creation closer together, or drive you into a downward spiral much like that young starlet that included a shaved head, public snatch exposure, and an overuse of the label " psychoctic episode". If you are thinking to yourself: “it’s a bike, how bad can it really get out there?” I can only assume you have not been privy to the sorted world that is the fixed gear phenomenon of late. With that I give you a bike that i have come to call: "the bicycle of the damned" or;“PENGY”. Pengy was posted recently on AZFIXED under the thread "hot bikes". Moments after my initial viewing and subsequent dousing of my eyes with a vinegar based solution to remove the image from my retinas. I inquired as to the legal status of the bike; i.e. was it stolen? When i was informed that it was not assumed stolen, i immediately revoked the membership of the poster and filled his contact email inbox with a stern lecture regarding his responsibility to the youth of American that look up to posters like himself as informed experts. If he had made the mistake and posted the bike as "hot" meaning stolen an exception could have been made. This was clearly not the case. An excerpt from the diatribe that followed is shown below;

"This, Mr Pengy, is blasphemy and if you had any part in the construction of this bike I strongly recommend you wash yourself thrice in the river Jordan or what ever the religious equivalent would be for your demographic area You have spoiled my goodwill and the trust of other posters on the "Hot bikes" thread. I hope you can sleep at night, i for one cannot close my eyes without seeing visions of this monstrosity burned into the darkest recesses of my mind ."


This bike fails on so many levels I can only scratch the surface using the limited space we have here. If you are interested in a complete description of this bikes impact on the modern movement of cycling please pick up my book due out this fall; "The rise and fall of the Fifth Reich, or how the bike; Pengy and others like it nearly destroyed Western civilization.

Lets begin shall we?
Firstly: Yes i have said before that orange is the new black, but nothing says Halloween like orange AND black. Pick one and use it sparingly.
Secondly: Frameset=frame and fork. These should match, hence the use of the term "set"
if you forget what should and shouldnt match, you can always refer back to this helpful alliteration.

(sung to the tempo of Camptown races)

Remember when you pick your frame, doo-dah! doo-dah!
the fork should always look the same. Oh, doo-dah day!
The saddle matches both as well. doo dah! doo dah!
an accent color? that looks swell. Oh, doo-dah day!

(chorus)

this bike looks good all night,
this bike looks good all day
too many colors and Ourys grips...
and suddenly its all gay.
(not that theres anything wrong with that)


Stem and seat post, matching set, doo-dah! doo-dah!
What the hell is it you dont get? Oh, doo-dah day!
Silver is a color too , doo-dah! doo-dah!
pink is for chicks, think it through, Oh, doo-dah day!


(repeat chorus)

Matching colors is a necessary evil, but throwing shit on the bike simply because it matches is walking a thin line between style and the ridiculous. (see below)


All the mis-matched components aside, this bike clearly does not fit its owner. I don't even have to see Pengy to know once he has this monstrosity snugly tucked under his prostrate, he looks more out of place then a bad toupee. Using kinesiology, or the study of how human body measurements fit into physics and movement, I was able to reverse engineer what exactly a body type would look like that requires such a large bike (long torso) , short seat tube length (short or non-existent legs) , and has the bars raised like a piece of playground equipment (hyper length arms) . Now keep in mind its not science, but I think its quite telling in its accuracy once all the data is input.




Uncanny isnt it? The bike looks like it was made for this rider and vice versa. I hope you find yourself pedaling this bike through the rocky roads of purgatory my small mishapen friend. Its where the two of you belong.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ride scheduled



Street King ride 8/14/08. Alleycat strategy to be discussed for upcoming event this weekend. Leaving from the Haus at or about 6ish so dont be late. AZ alleycat state championships to be discussed and debated. Possibility of a new member bidding for inclusion into the states most exclusive cycling club. Due to security concerns i cannot reveal that persons true identity.

I recently came across a group from LA calling themselves the Midnight Ridazz bicycle club that made me pause for a moment to consider and compare our own chapters direction. First this excerpt from the "About the Ridazz" link:


What Midnight Ridazz is:


-Fun-


Friendships-


Non Confrontational-


Family-


Compassionate-


Open - Minded


-Multi-cultural



What Midnight Ridazz is NOT:


-Mean Spirited


-Political


-Commercialized


-Non-inclusive


-Abrasive


-Protest



I began my own list for the Street Kings:


What the Street Kings are:


-good drinkers


-fast as shit


-stylish


-Semi abrasive (like 400 grit though)



What the Street Kings are not:


-Political (there is no room for that shit on an SK ride. Pull the curtain, vote and then shut up about it)


-Commercialized (this is not for lack of trying. The sales on the SK hand towels tanked and no one is buying the logo covered dinner plates due to some silly lead paint concerns)


-I could not with a clear conscious include mean spirited in this list but we are trying.


-Protest (Anyone that says otherwise will find a crew of bike riding hooligans on their front lawn with sharp objects and bad intentions)



Friendly... shmeindly


Street Kings for life!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Arizona trail This weekend

This Saturday the local crew; Los Bicicletas De Muerto (the bicycles of death) will be hosting an alleycat starting in Tempe ominously titled; The Arizona trail. I for one plan on rocking this joint with a quickness (that means trying to go real fast if you dont speak Tucsonian) . I am calling all StreetKings to arms for this one. The Olympics being on TV has my national pride meter bouncing off the red and i expect to see a Street King take this event. I might bring a rifle even though the pamphlet seems to discourage it. Speaking of rifles; someone snatched a mountain bike (among other things) from St. Pauls house this last weekend. I spot anyone on that 1X9 with stronglite cranks they better have eyes in the back of their head.

PBR

After racing in the darkened streets of Tucson over the weekend, I have come to the conclusion that somewhere between Phoenix and Tucson there is an inter-dimensional worm hole of some kind. I can find no other explanation for the staggering differences between the two locals. Nothing is the same. The two cities couldnt be more different and not necessarily one better than the other, just different. Whether i was sitting at a cafe, or lounging at the eclectic Hotel Congress, or riding the bike, i felt like i was in a different country. Maybe something in Europe like Belgium without the water or a suburb of London without the cockney accents. It seemed like no one is afraid to be creative or express themselves in the big T. Every wall has posters for local bands and there are dozens of them. Every other corner downtown has local art or people hanging around giving the appearance of being starved artists. The club we went to after the race (Che's Lounge) was covered with original oil paintings and occupied with just as original locals. In a scene out of a dream, somewhere around midnight, a band of twenty or so people dressed like circus clowns came honking and twirling down the street outside the bars windows. In any other setting clowns en masse' would have moved my personal alert level from yellow to orange, but here i found their runnny makeup and shabby outfits amusing and whimsical. It should also be noted i was drunk at the time. I eneded up fairing better than i thought i would in the race. 4th overall and the first Phoenix participant to finish. The race was stacked for a local only to win as their was no map and the manifest had no addresses,

Stop#1 Far end of Campus.

Stop #2: Uri's House.

Stop #3 The park. ???

Luckily i was able to hang with some locals and grab a wheel. A good time was had by all. I will be back for the next race armed with some knowledge of the streets and a better appreciation of European/Tucsonian culture.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Vision quest.

There is a very good chance i had what Louden Swain (Matthew Modine) referred to as a "vision quest" in the 1985 movie of the same name. Mine came not whilst wrestling for a state title and sleeping with a supermodel runaway my dad took in as a roomate. Instead a simple dream whilst sleeping, two nights ago. In my dream (vision) i was riding in Tucson at tonights alleycat. I am racing down a poorly lit street tucked as aero as possible on Lucky's bullhorns. Like most of my dreams I am watching myself instead of first person. This time from the same angle as the motorcycles that follow the Tour de France with cameras, except there is no sound of a motorcycle engine. There is no traffic at all in fact. Just the sound of me breathing and my wheels as they are cutting through the dusty night air. Its fucking beautiful. Instead of my normal unsightly gait, my body sways only slightly as i pedal. My legs pistoning like they are powered via internal combustion. I am moving quickly from the dark shadows to the cones of light thrown by the underpowered street lights. The moment is perfection. My cadence is workable, i am on top of the gear inches, and my stroke is precise and smooth. Then i spot a rider in front of me. He is tucked like me and moving fast. A single thought repeats in my head; "One man to beat. One man to beat." I am gaining. The question is; can i keep my effort up long enough to overtake him? The scene resembles a time trial as we race down the empty street together. One man running, the other in pursuit. I gain enough on the rider to realize I can indeed overtake him. I am stronger then him. I tuck my head down, pull my lips back into a tight smile and dig a little deeper. As our machines even up i glance over at him to see if i can gage his effort, see what he has left in the tank. He does the same to me. I smile. He grimmaces in pain. He cant hold my wheel. Gone....

I often wake from dreams that involve my participating in sporting events of any kind thinking that perhaps I am watching myself from my fathers point of view. If i could add up all the hours my father spent on sidelines or bleachers watching me compete or practice in any one of a myriad of sports, it would probably equal 5 or six years of his life. Quite a commitment. Louden Swain didnt have the benefit of a network of support like that. When his father figure does arrive for his wrestling match one of the most beautiful and poignant moments of the film transpires. A moment where you see a hard man admit that he finds beauty in the transcendence of the human condition through sport and mans struggle to ultimately define himself through that sport.


Excerpt from the movie Vision quest:
Louden Swain: You never took a night off to see me wrestle before. They'll dock you for that.
Elmo: Hey, kid - money ain't everything.
Louden Swain: It's not that big a deal, Elmo. I mean, it's six lousy minutes on the mat, if that.
Elmo: You ever hear of Pele?
Louden Swain: Yeah, he's a, a soccer player.
Elmo: A very famous soccer player.
[pause]
Elmo: I was in the room here one day... watchin' the Mexican channel on TV. I don't know nothin' about Pele. I'm watchin' what this guy can do with a ball and his feet. Next thing I know, he jumps in the air and flips into a somersault and kicks the ball in - upside down and backwards... the goddamn goalie never knew what the fuck hit him. Pele gets excited and he rips off his jersey and starts running around the stadium waving it around his head. Everybody's screaming in Spanish. I'm here, sitting alone in my room, and I start crying.
[pause]
Elmo: That's right, I start crying. Because another human being, a species that I happen to belong to, could kick a ball, and lift himself, and the rest of us sad-assed human beings, up to a better place to be, if only for a minute... let me tell ya, kid - it was pretty goddamned glorious. It ain't the six minutes... it's what happens in that six minutes.

Perhaps that "one man I need to beat" is actually me.
I will see you on the road in the old pueblo tonight.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I see London I see France...

...I see a guy that cant stand not being the center of attention named Lance.



I came across this recently published book titled: Lance in France. The online excerpt reads:

The biggest bicycle race in the world is about to begin—the Tour de France. Lance Armstrong is the fastest, most famous bike rider in the world, so what could go wrong?
Plenty!
From rainstorms to crashes to cows in the road, Lance goes the distance to show that winners never quit. And—while Lance pedals—you'll enjoy discovering funny details and recurring characters in art that gives a spectacular view of the race.


Some excerpts from the book:

page 3:

"...Tyler crashed his bicycle into the ditch with a bang! Thats what you get for cheating, Lance says as he pedals by."

page 7:

"Lance speeds past the broken down (Cofidis) team bus. Its radiator hissing steam. Uh oh! he exclaims. Looks like they wont be finishing the race today. Maybe next time they will be better sports."

page 9:

"...now he (Lance) has to pee into a cup of all places! Dont try this at home kids."

page 14:

"Now he (Lance) is the most famous bicycle racer of all time! Now I can date movie stars and pop singers if I want."


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The good doctor

The Doctor involved in the road rage incident mentioned here earlier was arraigned in court today in LA. While a local traffic pleading wouldn't normally have much press (unless it was a drunk celebrity behind the wheel) there appeared to be cameras and news stations out in force. The accused doctor brought not only the obligatory attorney, but a publicist, two bodyguards, and a chauffeured SUV that was surreptitiously pulled behind the court house so the entourage could escape without interacting with the public.



This photo carried the caption: Dr. Thompson's attorney, Peter Swarth, and his shy publicist



Can you imagine how bad your public image must be if the person you are hiring to stand in front of the camera on your behalf is hiding his face like he doesn't want to be associated with you? By my estimates the attorney is approximately 5'3" which is big for vermin even in the citrus state.



The attorney spoke to the press after the pleading and asked the communty to "Lower the heat" on the doctor as he has received numerous threats on his life and limb via email and phone. This is the second road rage incident the doctor is accused of against a cyclist.

Dr. Thompson appeared in court w/his attorney and a publicist, both of whom helped him navigate the press by dodging out the side door and into a chauffeur driven SUV.

As of this report the doctor was able to make it home without another road rage incident.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The measure of a man.


"Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown."


Shakespeare.





Aint that the truth? Being the guy at the top isnt easy. King Henry (IV) of course the cat lamenting that position in the lines above. I often wondered when reading that line how he knew the difference between what the "simple" man had to endure and his own struggles having never been a common man. At times I feel alot like Henry; Some days its hard being king.

Return visitors might note the promotion of two street kings to the rank of Street Soldier. (congratulations boys)


It appears i will be solely representing the street kings this weekend in Tucson for Eat Eat oh Eat (8/8/08). I will be tearing it up so dont sweat that. I didnt get this crown from a crackerjack box.


Riding vs rolling


One of the first landmarks i pass on my way to work is a mens community center situated on a county island about a mile and a half from the house. Probably the only place they could run a place like that and avoid the scrutiny of homeowners and business owners alike. The slump block nondescript building is sandwiched in between the "Asian touch" massage parlor and a sand and gravel operation. The average passerby probably doesn't take a second thought on the place or even realize that its there, but i look the place over every time i pass it. Whether i am on a bike, or car, headed North or South, i take a moment to look over and take note. Not because its a men's shelter, not because i am worried about the place being that close to my house. I look it over because the parking lot out front. The parking lot could easily hold 30-35 cars but the only vehicle parked outside is a 15 passenger van with an official state logo on its door. The remaining space is filled side to side, front to back with bicycles. Around 7AM there is a steady stream of them leaving the parking lot for local work sites and by noon there are only a handful left. The entire process happens in reverse every evening around 5:30 through 7. Each morning i pass at least one of the early risers headed to points unknown on an ill-fitting bike making noises like a miniature steam engine. I wonder if any of the commuters that pass me during my ride in mistake me for a resident of the C.A.N (Community action network) East Valley Men’s Center. as i ride into work in the morning. Maybe they are looking me over and wondering if they locked their patio door or if they should get a dog. To them a guy on a bike is just a guy on a bike. The nature or type of bike is only important to a cyclist. Only a guy that rides a bike would be able to tell the difference between the sleek fixed gear i am on and the squishy big box bikes that roll out of that parking lot enmasse each morning. I realize in a moment of clarity that the outsider just sees a man on a bike. A man on a bike headed to work. It doesnt matter if he started his ride at a comfortable home with cable TV and a microwave with that glass dish in the middle that spins to cook popcorn without leaving unpopped kernels or if he spent last night on a cot with a plastic sack tucked under it with everything he owns stuffed into it. We are all part of the brotherhood of the bike. Just maybe for different reasons.