01 September 2014

Whats do wazungu (white people in tanzania) and tandem bicycle riders have in common?

Week before last on the Saturday I was with Miku on the tandem.

 This is Miku at a tea stop.
 So later on when we are on busier roads he informs me that he doesnt like being on the tandem.  Everyone notices you and comments and stares.
Now he can relate to what i feel like moving around Arusha.

28 August 2014

There are nine million bicycles in Beijing , That's a fact, like the fact that I will love you 'til I die.

Great song.

What with all the "stuff" * going on in the world at present, it might seem trivial and frivolous to post a love song that mentions bicycles.  However, I believe a world with more people using more bicycles would be a better world, and maybe some "bad stuff". might get better.

One might immediately think I promote  bicycles for energy and pollution reasons.

No. I am thinking of how cyclists relate to the world,  not only during the act of cycling.  I define a cyclist as one who uses a bicycle for transportation at least part of the time. I am not talking about bicycle racers.  I have mentioned before how while cycling one is much more likely to communicate with other travellers, whether they be in cars, walking, or riding a bicycle.

But recently I discovered it is more than that.

For me ,  in Arusha, riding a bicycle forces  me  to be more humble and more in touch with other economic classes.   It makes me more aware what it might be like to be marginalised.  I become a better person, not always, but generally.

 On a bicycle I am immediately NOT part of the privileged class, that class that thinks because one is driving a motorised vehicle that their time , life, or space is more important than a pedestrian or a cyclist.  Bicycling I have a  glimpse of being discriminated by my class.  In some instances I the bicyclist don't seem to exist, or have little value to the other class.

I also receive acts of kindness by vehicle drivers.  Arusha drivers will be amazed but the mini bus drivers mostly,  they recognize my rights and often apologize for cutting me off.

I then have something to work on and think about  the rest of the day.   What about the times i misuse privilege, wealth, power?

 So a bicycle makes me love others better and more inclusively.  I hope to " love others (better) until I die".

*Racism in America, IS, Syria, Ebola,etc

27 August 2014

Is BBC News more "cycle friendly" than other mainstream news sites? AND my charging and lighting system

Maybe this article  caught my eye because of the nice legs, and maybe because it was about cycling.

But it seems BBC News has a fair amount of cycling news, anything more than 0 is a fair amount. 

I thought the items they previewed were interesting but most of the lights were kind of over the top.  The comments by the reviewers are good , real bike commuters talking about bike gear. 

They talked about a phone charging device.  Great but this setup is better.  It starts with a dynamo hub in front that produces 6v with very little drag.  It is not sitting out on the side and is very well made.  Unfortunately it is expensive unless you get second hand like me.  Next hook some lights to it, connected with toggle switch.  my lights are always with me and i never find myself without due to forgetting or not charging batteries.

Next add the E-werk voltage regulator.  Also very expensive, but it allows me to charge alot of different stuff from standard USB to 12v.

 Here I am charging a AAA battery, a USB battery pack, and my phone.  All this while riding leisurely to work.


First HNL Cycling group ride: Mnt Meru

First we ride for an hour through farmland.
We leave no one behind.
After an 90 minutes we stop in Sambasha for a cup of tea and mandazi.
Getting ready to roll again after a break.  We are in good company.  Saidi (in white) was National champion 10 years ago.  Sophia in blue was women's champion for many years until recently.  She is a grandmother now.
The last hill and arriving at the Meru Forest.
Taking another break before coasting home. 
Attracting  a crowd.
Everyone liked riding inside the Meru Forest.
And the start of endless downhill

We try a single track through the trees.
And some juice at the end of the ride at Erik's house.

26 August 2014

New Cycling Group

I have threatened in the past I would join other groups over the years.  This one sprang out of the company I work for, but has added people.

Above is the inagural ride.  Stopping at he big wild fig tree.

 Me passing through the tree.

It is awesome tree.

21 August 2014

Cycling in various cities

 I ride to work and to most appointments I have except family dinner outings.  I appreciated this set of news clips on BBC news.

Ninety percent of those who drive cars comment that it is dangerous.  I think it is not as dangerous as it looks, but i try to act like it is more dangerous than it looks.

I wonder how many are just looking for an excuse because they don't ride a bicycle.

Those who are walking accuse me of getting exercise.

29 July 2014

Growing up with a Tandem.

I bought the tandem maybe 10 years ago.
When Nashesha was this age she started riding with me with seat at the bottom.

a couple years later..

another 1/2 year later we visit Cunninghams

Yesterday, 6 years later ..... she invited Michelle. We traded off the three of us on tandem and another bike.

Same arch 6 years later.  I am fatter and Nashesha is sassy.  We rode here and there.  The young ladies had a gas.

19 July 2014

Not sure if serious or not.

A bit over a week ago I was riding close behind some inexperienced young riders on a Wednesday morning ride. We had just finished a down hill and there was a sprint announced 6 km up the road.  The pack was hyper.  The last thing I can remember was thinking " OH NO , I am going down and it will not be nice." No time to brake, no time to hop over the mess.   Blackout.

I must of ploughed into someone hit my head above my eye, then went over on my back and hit back of my head and my lower back and side of thigh. The first day I only was feeling and seeing this:


 I recall sporadic moments until we reach Arusha by car about an hour later.  Thadayo says I kept asking the same questions of what happened.  By the time we reach the hospital I was clear headed and in no pain.  We looked at the crowd of patients and decided to buy antiseptic and ibuprofen and have Thad clean me up.

I knew I had a concussion but had no headaches or nausea.

In my confusion and fidgeting I went out later in the day and tried to ride my commuting bike around the drive, and  then repacked a bottom bracket bearing.  I couldn't tighten the bolts by myself.

It  was day 5 of the Tour de France, and they were on and off cobblestones and it was wet. Many crashes so it was hard to feel sorry for myself watching so much misery.

The next day my ribs began to give slight pain and severe pain with a cough or laugh.  By two days turning over in bed was a big problem.  Only then did I realise the eye was minor.

 All during the next week I was still discovering bruises like this one on my thigh after a week:


 It took me a week to notice this one and others I won't show, granted at my age bruises form easily.

 I think I went to work on the next day. I went to a doctor eventually who said probably not cracked ribs and it would take awhile.  We figured x ray not worth the time.

One day I stopped the ibuprofen pain killers and that was a mistake, as I turning over in bed was an ordeal.

Without the exercise of commuting I find my mood low and I question my life,  about the accident and road bike racing.    Either my body is missing the exercise induced endorphins, or the concussion brings mood, or the constant ibuprofen taking, or being out of contact with acquaintances.  Too much time alone to think. Will I be able to give up road riding? should I? Is riding a bike really my best choice of  social outlet?   I show up at work late morning but I am not productive.

At least since day 8 I am riding the bike instead of burning fossil fuels.

09 June 2014

-47 percent grade.

You know it is steep when John lowers his seat .

Lots of stuff going on this weekend.  So Sunday only two John's show up at my house at 630.  White biker chick is out for awhile. 

We ride the normal route up to the west meru plateau.  As soon as we cross over the steep canyon we are in some dust.  A bit surprising.  Crossing the canyon I am convinced John can carry his bike faster than I can push mine up and down the rocky canyon track.

The air is clear and crisp and we have some amazing views. 

as we get on the edge of the plateau we can look west and instead of clear it is brown dust haze. Only the tops of mountains stick above the dust, but we see every mountain in northern Tanzania but Hanang.

I beg to stop and eat.  we have ridden fairly hard for 3 hours and have gained almost 1000m

We ride 30 minutes on plateau before turning off and are quickly in this open moorland. 

there is some cultivation going on, and this must be in the national park.

We ride on a faint track southerly until the end and find a single track.  John also turns on google earth and we are 2km  from other tracks.  Into the forest and immediately it turns  47 degrees down.  this is where we lower the seat post.  We have to walk over some roots and when it gets excessively steep.

From where we start going down it is only 18.6 km and one km vertical to my house, but we only average 11.3 km/hr and it is always down hill.  and sometimes I thought I was going fast.  I am amazed at the low average speed.

Below is after the steep native forest.  John is not smiling in this picture but wincing from running into stinging nettles and thistle.

It is a great route.

02 March 2014

Bikers' Wedding

I don't do many   weddings.  When two of your bike buddies get married, and to each other , I attend.  The ceremony was in their forest, in a place with no buildings visible.  It was mentioned several times during the service about them being avid mountain bikers.  The mother of the bride talked about Partnership, and she used a tandem to make the point and then gave them a little toy tandem to remember her talk!  Thomas was also there as part of the biker community.  Lovely service.  The vows were beautiful.

Above two of the wedding party held up their bikes for John and Amanda "white biker chick" to walk through and a few of the party.  It was a nice touch.

It was a wedding where we hardly knew anyone outside the happy couple but ended up talking to some interesting people.  The mother of the bride reads my blog!

John and Amanda may you have a long joyous life together with much tailwinds.