Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wintry Recap

    So, once again, I've been delinquent with my blogging.  It's because with this shockingly nice weather, the old bike shop has been pretty darn busy.  One of our mechanics is on a 10 day vacation too, so that adds to our work load a bit.  Hope you're enjoying sunny California Jonathan!  I know you are.                  

Yup, this was December. No coat needed!

 While it hasn't been quite CA weather, it certainly hasn't felt like winter in Nebraska these last few months either.  I've been riding off road a whole bunch, loving my new Stumpjumper and getting to the trails as much as possible.  Sadly, Vince can ride his Surly fat bike, that tips the scales at a beefy 38 pounds, and I am cruising along on my 22 pound SJ and we've found the equalization point.  Yikes.  He's fast or I'm not...or something.  Super fun, irregardless.   
And so was this.  Been riding off ro-ad a bunch lately.

The weather has been so hit and miss this 'winter' it's been challenging to find the right layering to stay comfortable.  I have been enjoying my new (aka freshly stolen from Vince) Bern helmet even though I kind of have my eyes on that mint Bern Brighton...

Yup, the ol' nose drip.  Officially cold!

The Ladies Ride is still going strong!

Today, snow finallllllly!!

Today was the first day that actually felt like winter, to me.  Wintery conditions, snow flakes falling, chilling winds.  This is what I've been waiting for!  Bobby (my Bianchi snow-ready bike) has been getting antsy!  He's just been hanging out in my basement, under the stairs, waiting like a troll for some kind of weather that would justify the studded tires that he sports year round. Well, Bobby, welcome back!  I've missed ya buddy. The ride down today was fun.  Icy side streets and slush elsewhere: the full fenders and grippy tires were appreciated on today's commute.

My 2 favorite winter commuting accessories: Sorels and studded tires!        

Aside from riding, I've been fighting the ban on the pedicabs and talking to the media about my thoughts.  So far, so good.  Mostly.  The ban hasn't been completely squashed, or filed, so this isn't ideal, but I'm hopeful that the OPD and the concerned citizens of Omaha can reach a compromise that benefits everyone while still maintaining the safety of the event.

Speaking of talking to the media about my feelings, I had a little run-in with the lovely and charming Tom Becka. 

We were both patronizing one of my favorite little wine bars, the Cork and Bottle in Dundee, when I spotted him and couldn't help but approach.  As he was leaving (after he finished talking to a few large-chested blondes about their, um, attributes) I engaged him in a friendly (at first), yet spirited, little chat about cycling in Omaha.  Now, for those of you who don't know this fine fellow (*sarcasm dripping*), he's not exactly a fan of cyclists. Formerly a radio personality of KFAB, he's been known to encourage his listeners to run cyclists off the road.  Our conversation was hysterical, in my opinion anyway. He seemed to be less amused.  

I walked up to him outside as he was walking away from the buxom blondes and said, " Hey Tom, my name is Sarah Johnson and I manage Greenstreet Cycles, a bike shop downtown. I ride my bike every day and have heard that you're not much of a fan of cyclists. I'd like to come on your show and talk to you about that." He informed me that he'd been fired (moving to Fargo, woo hoo!) and so I wouldn't be able to  come on his show, but he was interested in telling me how arrogant cyclists are.  Then he started going off about how cyclists have a pseudo-superiority complex and we're all the same red light-running, wrong way-riding, idiots. He then informed me that he wants the city to build him a golf course on Dodge Street because he thinks that cycling is fun, so is golf, and he should be able to play where ever he wants to since we ride where ever we want to.  He told me to stay on the trails since that's where his money was going, not on the streets, since I didn't pay taxes (right).  He was pretty worked up at this point and I was just standing there beaming ear to ear, basically in awe of his shoddy argument and all of the holes I could shoot through it.

I started into the whole transportation alternatives thing and how cyclists are actually helping the city save money (not creating pot holes, helping the environment, health, yadda yadda yadda...my usual soapbox) and he kept doing his weird breathing huffy puffy thing.  At this point, I realized that he wasn't a big fan of logical, rational discussion, so I'm afraid I stooped to his level and dealt a bit of a low blow. I poked him in his big, round, chubby belly and explained that he should appreciate the fact that I rode there that night because I saved him a parking spot!!

Wow, was that a reaction-getter!!! I started wondering if the headlines of the paper the next day would read, "Tom Becka Killed by Cyclist-Induced Heart Attack" since he was nearly hyperventilating at this point and his face matched my tail light.  I just chuckled a bit while he stood there muttering nearly unintelligibly.   All I understood was something about how I was reinforcing stereotypes about the arrogance of cyclists.  Oh well, at least I wasn't reinforcing the stereotype about overweight, white, right-wing, cyclist-haters.  

I told him that I wished him nothing but success in Fargo with his new job; we shook hands, he said happy holidays, and we parted ways.  What a rush.  I floated on an argument-high back to my bar stool and laughed with my buddies who got a kick out of watching from inside.  

A few days later I got a long bitchy email from him basically restating all of the things he barked at me the night in front of the bar.  Oh what fun.  

Since I can't end the post on that sort of note, here's a picture of something happy:

 Over and out.