Two wheels cut both ways

September 9, 2016 § 50 Comments

Something that bothers me about cyclists also bothers a lot of cagers, but it bothers us for different reasons. Because this is a family blog, and in addition to false dichotomies, vulgarity is also eschewed here, I will politely refer to this problems as “biker dicks.”

What is a biker dick? To certain cagers, a biker dick is someone on a bicycle. Simply riding makes you a candidate for punishment. To these folks, a biker dick is someone who takes the lane, slows them down, wears colorful underwear, imagines that each pedal stroke saves a baby whale, and of course threatens our American Way of Life and Making Donald Drumpf Again by running stop signs.

I’m not concerned about those biker dicks, because they’re not dicks. They’re moms, dads, prison releasees, kids, hipsters, bums, employed people, and other ordinary humans going about their business, just going about it on a bike. Carry on, you angels of awesomeness.

The biker dicks that bother me don’t really happen much in traffic, although plenty of cyclists get irate and do things that you won’t find approved of here, and use language and gestures that you won’t find approved of here. They also salmon, don’t wear helmets, and blah blah blah. Hey, if you’re dumb enough to seek death like that, seek away.

The biker dicks that bother me are much worse than those who go off on cagers or who scofflaw through traffic control devices at 6:00 AM with no one present.

I’m talking about the biker dicks who are abusive, threatening, and, yes, even injurious to vulnerable road users. When bikes are the vulnerable road user, the cagers who have the ability to crush them get zero slack in my book. Your car is bigger, heavier, deadlier, and your risk is close to zero. So slow the fuck down and show some respect for human life. If you can’t chuckle when some tweezly wanker shows you the middle finger and calls you something you normally giggle at when Bill Maher says it, take a breath or a bong hit or whatever.

But what about when the shoe’s on the other foot or, more aptly, when the wheels are on the bike path? I’ll tell you what. There is a whole slew of assholes on bikes who treats vulnerable road users, and by that I mean pedestrian meatbags, moms with strollers, old people taking a walk, kids on skateboards, and small people learning to ride tiny bikes with training wheels, with the same contempt and disregard for safety that many cagers treat us with when we’re cycling in the roadway.

How many walkers, hugging the right side of the bike path, going in a straight line, not bothering one single human being, have been accosted at the last second by some screaming, snot-blowing, wannabe jerk on a bike with the immortal shriek, “On your left!”

I wish I had a nickel for every skidmark that’s been created by these biker dick war hollers.

What’s worse, some nasty, aggressive, and potentially violent cyclists seem to have an affinity for being especially abusive to women. A friend who is a cyclist and a runner (we forgive you your jogging transgressions, DP), was on the bike path a few days ago with a cop friend. Cop had big quads and looked coppish as they jogged. Bikes gave them room and said squat even though they were two abreast. This reminds me exactly of how cagers behave when there’s a pack of cyclists. STFU and keep moving.

As soon as the cop jogged off, though, my friend, an Asian woman now jogging alone, became the target of endless last minute “On your left!” screams and even of a vile racist insult by one passing biker dick.

What is wrong with you assholes? When you are on the bike path it isn’t the autobahn, and every fool with tri-bars or a TT rig who’s trying to set the land speed record on a multi-use path with pedestrian meatbags is by definition an asshole. The same thing that cars have to do when there’s nothing but your underwear between you and two tons of steel is the same thing you have to do when you’ve got 200 lbs. of mass going 23 mph hurtling towards a 120 lb., slow moving meatbag: SLOW THE FUCK DOWN.

And don’t tell me that the meatbags don’t belong on the bike path or that they’re unpredictable or kicking a ball or walking a dog. Who cares? They’re there and you know they’re there and if you hit them you’re going to do horrible damage. SLOW THE FUCK DOWN. And once you’ve gotten off your Strava pace you won’t have to shriek at the last second, scaring the crap out of the walker and possibly causing them to veer into you.

At bottom, the irrational hate and disrespectful treatment shown by cagers to bikers on the streets is the same narcissistic, selfish nastiness that lurks at the bottom of the cycling psychopathletes who terrorize helpless bike path meatbags. Meatbags are people too, so SLOW THE FUCK DOWN, and don’t get me started on “Why are you even on the bike path to begin with, especially on the weekend or at other high-use times?” The bike path is sandy (bad for carbon), packed with erratic meatbags (causes carbon to break when slammed into), slow (takes away the millisecond benefits of carbon), badly paved (makes carbon ride uncomfy), and no more safe than the surface streets.

Empathy doesn’t grow in a vacuum or, apparently, when you’re racing along the bike path to get to work, make a group ride, or set some stupid PR on some stupid Strava segment. Put yourself in the meatbag’s shoes, even though they’re jogging shoes and even though your colorful underwear is way sexier. Get out of your rush mode, quit yelling like a jerk, and treat the vulnerable meatbags the same way that you want to be treated when they finish their jog, hop into their SUV, and, boiling with rage at your bad manners and dangerous habits, see you again when you’re off the path and pedaling down the street.

Because the victim you abused a few minutes ago is now a cager with a grudge and you’re the biker dick in the crosshairs. Is that really what you want?

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The PVE Traffic Safety Committee Grand Prix

September 8, 2016 § 41 Comments

Before the race we all pinned on each others’ numbers, which looked like this:

sb_patch

The ref blew the whistle but before we could get going they had to neutralize the race. A gaggle of ancient retirees, all of whom had lived in Palos Verdes Estates since 1978 and were still wearing the same shoes, did a parade lap around the course.

Each angry resident did a mini-ragesprunt, where they harangued about parking. Elbows were thrown, headbutts lodged into ribcages, and one old codger whipped out GoPro footage of *CARS RUNNING STOP SIGNS* and *GASPY GASP GASP* a white vehicle that REGULARLY PARKS TOO CLOSE TO THE STOP SIGN NEAR THE INTERSECTION ON THE STREET THAT GETS 183 WHOLE CARS A DAY.

Fortunately, the parking club riders were not as fit as the SoCal Allstar Race Team, so after they ran out of electrolytes and Depends, the parking club riders shunted off to the side and wrote nasty emails to each other on NextDoor.

The whistle blew and the race was on. Dashing into the first corner was Jay “BMUFL” Yoshizumi, who attacked hard up the gutter, battering into the wind while pointing out that safety was paramount. He swung over just in time for G3 “Data Boy” Seyranian, who unleashed a flurry of softening-up punches over the short cobbled section, stringing out the peloton, making the watt meters crackle, and pointing out to statistical data points that validated the BMUFL signage.

One of the riders on Team Lunada Bay Boys on Mom’s Couch, Doper McWanksalot, got caught up against the curb, threw a chain, and dropped his fake petition with 83 bogus signatures just as Michael “Call Me Claw” Barraclough came up hot and inside to set a course record for the first lap. Claw also let the refs know that if the Allstars didn’t sweep the podium with BMUFL signage, they would continue to show up to every subsequent race and stack the field until justice was done.

Shrimpy McShrinksabunch, team leader and designated sprunter for Team Lunada Bay Boys on Mom’s Couch, roared briefly to the front and sputtered on about delaying BMUFL signage until the year 2082, when all of the ramifications and data and GPS coordinates could be algorithmized, logarithmized, digitized, and mesmerized, but was quickly chopped hard by Kristie “All Aces” Fox, who blew him up against the barriers with a hard-charging citation to traffic counts related to Terranea and The Donald Drumpf Golf Club.

Now the Allstars were warmed up and a series of brutal attacks began, headed up by Pete “Older Than Dirt” Richardson and followed by Jon “Same Shit Sounds Smarter In British English” Phillips, who hit it hard at the bottom of the small cobbled climb that had been slickened by the snot, spittle, and Internet ugliness dribbled out by the NextDoor Wankers On The Bay Boys’ Moms’ Couches.

One Lunada Bay Boy on Mom’s Couch slid out in the turn and caught his monosyllables on his poor syntax, making a fool out of himself and going hard into the hay bales, where he was forced to pay rent and get a job sacking groceries at Von’s.

Suddenly the weather turned nasty and a foul gale blew in. Our heroes, who had been driving it at the front with relentless accelerations by Victor “Don’t Fuck With Me” Cooper, Delia “These Are The Facts And They Will Hurt You” Park, Doug “The Motor” Toland, and a vicious move that split the field by Tom “One-Handed” Duong, the peloton began to crumble.

A breakaway formed with Claw, Park, Fox, G3, “Gizzards” Jim Hannon, and “Bronx Bomber” Julian Katz, as the Allstars back in the field sat up to block the weak, ineffectual, incoherent, and disorganized attempts to bridge by Team Lunada Bay Boys on Mom’s Couch Who Mostly Complain on the Internet but Don’t Have the Balls to Show Up.

Just when it looked like the break would go clear, Norm “Video Production” Zarifsky of Team LBBOMCWMCOTIBDHTBTSU made a daring move out of the field and, stuck in no man’s land, seemed set to bridge. However, he began to huff and puff as he spouted anger at cyclists, reviled bikers who ran stop signs, and declared that all PVE stop signs should be removed, buried, and shot as his FTP of 12.2 watts was immediately exceeded now that he was out in the wind and unable to suck anonymous Internet wheel.

Moreover, he had failed to notice that Dave “Video Allthetime” Brinton had latched onto his wheel, and as Norm began flicking his elbow, drooling in desperation, and begging everyone to condemn that terrible pro bono lawyer blogger dude who is in cahoots with the cops and judges to get bikers out of citations, Brinton came around, dropped Norm like a big turd from a tall horse, and bridged to the break.

One by one the tired, unfit, tactically incompetent, and strategically defective members of Team LBBOMCWMCOTIBDHTBTSU came off the back while, back in the peloton, the shrewd, handsome, beautiful, fit, happy, and cagey members of the Allstars took turns pounding the BMUFL haters into paste. John Cayon, Joann Zwagermann, Larry Lem, Dave Terrell, Joey Cooney, Don Wolfe, Jaycee Carey, Wendy Watson, John Wike, Mark Maxson, Michelle Landes, Brent Davis, Allison Vought, Les Borean, Gary Cziko, Andrew Nuckles, Craig Eggers, Sam Gengo, Tara Unversagt, Sherri Foxworthy, Kevin Salk, and Brian Gee set a blistering pace that Team LBBOMCWMCOTIBDHTBTSU couldn’t begin to follow until, at the bell lap, there was no one left but the Allstars and five BMUFL signs which will be co-located with existing “3-Feet It’s The Law” signage.

The traffic safety committee voted 4-0 in favor of the Allstars when, post-race, a challenge was made due to alleged irregular sprinting by Wike, but the commissars concluded that not only had Wike won the field sprint clean, but that the complaining wankers who lodged the protest would, as punishment, be grounded until next Thursday and limited to $150 in gas charges on mom’s credit card for the rest of September.

After the race, the Allstars modeled their sexy BMUFL signage and prepared for the final race of the season. The next race in the series is the finale, the PVE City Council BMUFL Grand Prix. Be there!

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September 7 at 7:30 PM

September 6, 2016 § 22 Comments

There will be a traffic safety committee meeting at the Palos Verdes Estates city hall tomorrow at 7:30 PM. The traffic safety committee has recommended that the city install six signs that say “Bikes May Use Full Lane.” The full agenda is here; the address is 340 Palos Verdes Drive West, Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274.

Sounds like glacial change that couldn’t possibly be controversial.

However, a handful of NIMBYs think that this is outrageous and will spoil the peninsula. So, in typical NIMBY fashion, they have cobbled together a petition that urges the city to delay putting up Bikes May Use Full Lane signage even though such signage has been approved by the city’s traffic safety commission and is completely legal. I’ve heard but can’t confirm that there is also a petition to limit cyclist usage of certain sections of public roads. This isn’t on the agenda, but we’ll see at the meeting if that’s in fact what some of the NIMBYs are advocating. I won’t urge you to show up and make your voice heard. Everyone has their own to-do list. Families, kids, jobs, fantasy football, and the all-important rest time for the next big group ride. I get it.

But for those who think that democracy only happens when people show up, please take a few hours out of your lives to help the traffic safety committee do what it already knows is the right thing to do.

And the right thing to do, as a very first step, is to install signage that will encourage motorists not to behave like this 14-carat asshole driving in Palos Verdes Estates who almost killed one cyclist and almost injured many more yesterday:

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We are concerned about cyclist safety

September 1, 2016 § 24 Comments

This was the claim of the entitled NIMBYs in Rancho Palos Verdes last month who advocated banning cyclists from public roads. They are a splinter, ALT-Trump group of ultra-socialists, i.e. people who believe the means of production should be subjugated to the wants of the lazy class, and they have their counterpart further down the hill in the Lunada Bay Boys on Mom’s Couch.

They are concerned about cyclist safety, they say, as they focus on regulating every behavior but their own to achieve their life’s motoring goal, which is to have as much empty pavement in front of them as possible, paid for with other people’s tax money. They are the people who scream incessantly about cyclists who run stop signs but who don’t even know that the 3-foot passing law exists.

My response when they insincerely claim to be concerned about safety? No, you aren’t.

You don’t give a rat’s ass about cyclists, cyclist safety, or anything other than squelching the cognitive dissonance you feel at seeing strangers pedaling happiness machines on “your” roads because inside you are a miserable, envious, unfit, unhappy sack of tax dodges.

You don’t care if people get hit, killed, injured, maimed, terrorized, or traumatized, and you don’t care if the collateral wreckage includes kids who grow up without parents, spouses who spend years or decades caring for the shattered mind and body of a loved one, or individuals who get, in an instant, reduced from active, healthy, productive lives into badly broken, dependent shells.

Fortunately, in a couple of weeks you will have the opportunity to prove me wrong. The same stamping, champing, foaming, finger-pointing lardasses and potbellies who railed against Big Orange at the last Rancho Palos Verdes City Council meeting will have their second of six chances to actually do something about cyclist safety thanks, of course, to Big Orange, the group they so hate for insisting on doing something for cyclist safety that actually includes cyclist input.

On October 8, a Saturday that conflicts with football, pre-football, post-football, and, worst of all for the Lunada Bay Boys on Mom’s Couch, a 2:30 PM start time, which gives them only twelve minutes to put on sandals, roll off the couch, eat some dry Cheerios, and drive to the El Segundo Public Library, a place filled with books, (after filling up with mom’s gas card), yes, on October 8 Big Orange will sponsor its second Cycling Savvy course, taught by none other than Gary Cziko, Dude Who Used To Ride The NPR With A Giant Sign On The Back Of His Bike Saying “Bikes May Use Full Lane.”

That dude.

The Cycling Savvy course teaches bikers how to safely ride their bikes in traffic. But it does something else. It teaches cyclists, who also happen to be cagers most of the time, how to safely drive their 4,000-pound inflammable steel cages in the vicinity of underwear-clad people pedaling happiness machines.

In other words, every worthless Lunada Bay Boy on Mom’s Couch, and every dishrag-for-a-brain, bike hating NIMBY atop Crest has the opportunity to come and see what real cyclist safety measures look like. What they’ll find is that bike riders are ordinary people who just want to keep pedaling their happiness machines, and what they’ll also get is a sense for is how easy it is to accommodate the underwear-clad class without even being late to check out the shitty surf at the bluffs and key someone’s car who hasn’t yet heard that Lunada Bay doesn’t like you.

Oh, and it’s free, just be sure to get there at 2:00 PM (course begins at 2:30) because seating is limited and the venue will fill on a first-come, first-served basis. Courtesy of Big Orange.

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Lighten up, dummy

August 28, 2016 § 48 Comments

Dear Wife of Cyclist:

Your husband is a dummy. Not a bleeding idiot or a complete maroon, but a dummy. That’s actually a good thing because dummy is repairable. Dummy can be taught. To be sure, he can’t be taught much, but a few simple tricks are within his feeble mental range.

And this trick will keep him alive.

Wife, I’m writing you because he has read this lecture a bunch of times but it hasn’t sunk in because after scanning the first couple of paragraphs and seeing that he’s not mentioned, he goes back to http://www.allcarbonstuff.carbon.com. This inability to focus is related to that thick layer of concrete surrounding the somewhat smooth cerebral cortex which in turn covers his pea-sized brain.

Wife, here’s what happened yesterday, and it’s the same thing that happens every day. I showed up for a bike ride and I was the only one with headlights and taillights. That probably doesn’t mean a lot to you because it was, you know, daytime, and we know that no one ever gets hit during the day.

But consider this: Among the countless cyclists I’ve represented for being hit by cars, only two were ever hit while Christmas treed. That’s right. Except for two people, all the others were hit while riding without lights.

That’s an ersatz stat, I know. Personal experience. Anecdotal. But it is common knowledge that most bikers get hit because the cager doesn’t see them. And you know what? It’s a lot easier to be seen when you’re riding a Christmas tree. Please don’t send me links to lit-up riders who’ve been hit and killed. This is a question of probability. Just like you’re more likely to smash into something when drunk, you’re more likely to get creamed when the cager doesn’t see you until the last second, i.e. the moment your head is coming through the windshield.

If your hubby drank a fifth of bourbon and then asked for his car keys, would you let him drive? If he loaded his 2nd Amendment Accident Device and suggested that the family sit down for a fun game of Russian roulette, would you agree?

But that’s what happens on practically every ride I’m on. Your husband shows up without lights. What’s worse, he gives me shit for having them.

What’s worsty-worst, when pressed he admits he actually owns lights!

“I use them when I ride to work,” he proudly but stupidly says.

“I use them when it’s dark,” he explains, even though he only rides during the day and even though he ignores the fact that dusk and dawn are notoriously dangerous times to be cycling.

Why is your husband such a dummy? It’s simple. He doesn’t ride with lights at all times for these reasons:

  1. He is cheap. He’d rather buy $2,000 wheels for the races he’s never going to do than spend $500 on something that will keep him unmaimed, alive, and able to waste the day watching football.
  2. He is lazy. Lights require charging. He can barely keep gas in the car. How’s a dummy like that supposed to keep a front AND back light powered for bike rides? He’s almost always late to the ride anyway, scurrying around like a crazy person trying to find the other matching armwarmer and skidmark-free chamois.
  3. He is a sheep. The people he admires and fears don’t ride Christmas trees. Why should he?
  4. He is an aero nut. Lights aren’t aero.
  5. He is a weight weenie. Lights add precious grams and he’s already pouring out his water bottles at the base of all the climbs.
  6. He is vain and lights look goofy. (Remind him that feeding tubes and wheelchairs are even less fashionable.)
  7. He is a dummy. Dummies would always rather pay a lot more later than a little bit now.

Wife, can you help me in this endeavor? Before Dummy leaves the house can you please say, “Hey, Dummy, where are your lights?”

When he retorts with “It’s daytime,” tell him to either lighten up or he’s not going.

Better yet, the night before can you please say, “Hey, Dummy, are your lights charged?”

Best, can you please put your foot down and refuse to let him out the door unlit? He may be smelly, talk too much about bikes, be inconsiderate, drink a bit too much, be occasionally impecunious, etc., but he’s your dummy and he deserves to live. More importantly, you deserve to not have to spend the next year rehabbing him out of a fucking wheelchair and teaching him how to walk again and not having to carry his turds out of the bedroom on a tray.

In the event that he really doesn’t own any lights, make the next birthday the equivalent of receiving socks and a tie. Buy for him:

  1. The Diablo headlight, made by Exposure.
  2. The Serfas Orion taillight, made by Serfas.

Lights work, honey. So help a brother out, willya?

END

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Old marines never die, they just dig in

August 27, 2016 § 4 Comments

I haven’t done Eldo in several years because it’s too far away in Los Angeles County miles. A Los Angeles County mile is unrelated to the standard English measurement of 5,280 feet. An LAC mile is measured not in distance but by the hour of the day.

For example, a Texas Panhandle Mile measured between Pampa and Canadian (this unit is kind of like West Texas Intermediate Crude, the world yardstick for oil), which is also 5,280 feet (the mile, not the oil), takes roughly one minute if you are traveling 60 miles per hour. There is some math here but I can’t explain it. Ask your father.

However, the same “mile” in Los Angeles County, although theoretically the same distance as a Texas Panhandle mile, changes drastically based on the hour of the day. An LA County mile between Palos Verdes and Long Beach on Tuesday around 5:00 PM has a time value of about 10 minutes rather than one.

I can’t explain that math either but I can explain this: I haven’t done Eldo in Long Beach in years because even though it’s only 20 minutes away measured in standard Texas Panhandle miles, it take about 300 years in LA County miles. Plus, here in the South Bay every Tuesday at exactly the same time we have the Telo crit which, I’m real sorry to inform you, is a lot fucking harder than Eldo. You can laugh all you want, but that just means you’ve never done both.

Eldo has gone through some changes in ownership, but what has continued without interruption is a first-rate bike race that stretches back decades. The difference in the new management and the old management is that unlike old management, there’s no screaming and cursing and hollering and berating, and more importantly it’s a USAC-sanctioned race where you can get upgrade points and huge bragging rights, and most importantly it attracts some of the best crit racers in SoCal like Charon Smith and Dave Koesel, and most-most importantly it has categories for Cat 4’s who can have their own forum for massive braggage and victory salutage and Facebag postage. Cf. Ivan Fernandez.

But most-most-most importantly, the Eldo Under New Management has, for the last three years, provided a forum for the development of junior bike racers, for which we have two people to thank.

One of them is Gil Dodson, a very old marine who is old enough to be your grandfather’s grandfather. He’s so old that when he takes off his helmet you wonder if he remembers the signing of the Declaration of Independence. But then he puts his helmet back on and drops about half the riders who are one-fifth of his age and you STFU. Gil’s foxhole buddy has been Steve Hegg, gold and silver medalist at the 1984 Olympics and current holder of the Genuinely Nicest Guy in Long Beach Award.

Gil has poured money into Eldo by paying for every single junior rider’s entry fee for three years and ending each season with a free bike frame giveaway to the junior at the top of the standings. It’s been a huge investment and it has paid huge dividends. Eldo provides the only regular venue for young riders to compete, earn upgrade points, and sharpen their skills before being tossed into the shark pit. Thanks to Gil, or rather no thanks to Gil, we now have a crop of young riders who show up at other group rides and smash their elders with glee.

The other person who has made Eldo a success is David Wehrly. Like Gil, he has provided significant financial support, without which the race simply couldn’t continue. Unlike Gil, Dave is so far in the background that you might think he’s with the Israel cyber ops NSO Group. But like all of the good works that David does, although he himself may be deep cover, the results and the beneficiaries are out in the open for all to see.

I’d better stop here. This is starting to sound way too happy.

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Giant of a man

August 26, 2016 § 24 Comments

Marshall Perkins has been around a long time. “How long, Wanky?”

Well, one time we were sitting around and I asked if anyone remembered when coffee became part of cycling. In Texas there sure as hell weren’t any coffee shops in 1982 where you could swing by and get a quick cup before or after the ride. The closest thing I remember was Sweetish Hill Bakery in Austin, but nobody sat around drinking coffee pre- or post-ride.

Marsh remembered, and he even remembered the first couple of shops that served espresso, some joint in Santa Monica back around the time they invented tectonic plates. I got a great education about coffee-shops-back-in-the-day and we all agreed that they were a massive anomaly, but then again, so were bikers.

Marshall is a giant of a man and not just physically. He’s always stood up for the downtrodden, always been ready to lend a hand, always taken the side of the underdog. In our cycling community, he and his wife are pillars of support for those who wind up in need, especially when winding up in need is the result of a biker winding up on someone’s bumper.

I always wonder about what makes people good. Then a few days ago I saw a magazine article from 1982 about a guy named Captain Jim Perkins, California Highway Patrol commander of the Ontario office.

Here’s the link to the story, which is even more relevant today than it was in 1982. The entire article by Captain Perkins is typed out at the end of the document for easier reading. Captain Perkins is, of course, Marshall’s dad. The apple stayed pretty close to the tree.

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