Friday, October 17, 2014

Final Frame/The Donut Lover's Guide to Bicycle Commuting Returns

August 22, 2010: the first photo I took of my (then) new 19" aluminum bike frame.

Several years ago, I built my own mountain bike. I used a plain black aluminum hard tail frame I bought online. 

That bike went on a lot of adventures - The Kingdom Trails in Vermont were especially grand - and I went over the handlebars a few times. Still, I didn't have that frame in place very long - for I eventually switched over to a full suspension frame and the black frame was turned into a single speed.

My workshop is like The Giving Tree in reverse. 

But that frame wasn't in place very long either, for I raided that bike for parts for other projects, and the frame was eventually stripped completely - and looks like this today. 


That frame made me the person I am today, for building a mountain bike - or building any bike for the first time - was just a great experience for me and unlocked something in my creativity. The photo of the down tube was even the logo of this site for a couple years. 

However, I need more space in my shop and, still unable to weld aluminum, that frame just had to go. So when I put together a box of pedals, seats, cranks, tires and other things to donate to the Bridgeport Bike Co-Op, that frame was added to the pile. 

I'm not very sentimental about physical objects - if I did I'd become a hoarder - but I suddenly, today, realized that the black frame with the red and silver DIYBIKING.COM letters (hand placed, like on every bike I have) missed out on a lot. My recumbent. The Dahon Matrix. The Mystery from South Norwalk. My Bike Friday New World Tourist. The Bikeducken. And, most recently, my city bike. They've all experienced the city of Stamford and the wonder of travel more than the Founding Frame, and I felt like the black frame needed a final journey - like the tribute show Ed Sullivan never got. 

I never even brought it to Lorca, so today I decided to do just that. On foot.


Moments after entering, I learned that the rumors were true: Lorca is creating its own apple cider donuts in-house, and will be doing so at least through November. The black frame and The Donut Lover's Guide to Bicycle Commuting: both are roots of this web site, and both were coming back into the spotlight. 


Also, I'm not sure if you follow me on Twitter or not, but as you probably guessed from my reaction to Tim Cook's presentation this week: the only 'apple' product that interests me is followed by the words: 'cider donut.'*


I was also thinking about buying a Samsung Galaxy Tab S and taping $100 to the back instead of buying a new iPad but that's neither here nor there. 

I bought four donuts and walked down Bedford Street carrying the frame and the bag of donuts in the same hand. I wasn't sorry I was giving the frame up, but rather hopeful: it's a great frame, it got to go to an outstanding coffee shop - and I'm sure someone will soon turn it into their own bike.

Because I don't have a bike trailer big enough to carry everything safely,**, I was forced to bring my car to Bridgeport. I still used my homemade bike trailer as a hand truck to drag the parts to BPT Creates

                      Oct. 17, 2014: the last photo I've taken of the Black Frame.

I dropped everything off inside, and it wasn't until I was dragging the empty trailer back to where I had parked my car that I realized I had taken the last photograph of my black frame. Great memories, and I think I'm honoring the frame the right way by allowing someone else to get the same joy I had when building a bike. 

If you live in the Bridgeport area and want to donate some used bikes or bike parts to the Bikeport Co-Op, please let them know at bikeportct@gmail.com. Also: they are doing their monthly Big Bike Ride tomorrow at 1:00pm (starts at McLevy Green) so check it out. 

Also: go to Lorca and have some of their apple cider donuts. I have no experience with the latter product but Leyla (the owner of Lorca) is to baked goods what Walter White is to meth. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding.


*and pie.


**I will remedy that problem. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Biking Nations: Paraty, Brazil, Part I


For the fourth summer in a row, I got to ride in a new country thanks to my wife's appreciation for the Urban Sketching Symposium. It's a great experience for us both as she gets to take workshops and sketch an exotic and interesting city while I ride. At the end of the day, we share our adventures - often over dinner with some old and new friends. For instance: simply approaching a woman sitting alone with a sketchbook at a restaurant in Rio allowed my wife and I to meet Rita Sabler of Portland, Oregon

The symposium attracts artists from all over the world, and a surprising number of people don't tag along with the artist they partnered with. Hopefully, that will change. Yes, non-sketchers: you'll have to listen to conversations about pens, ink and (gasp!) diminishing paper quality but trust me: it's well worth it as long as USK organizers pick interesting cities. And they have a good track record. Three years ago, the USK was in Lisbon, Portugal. The year after that, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Last year, Barcelona, Spain. This year: Paraty, Brazil.


These USK trips, from my perspective, share several common characteristics: Flat tires, a bad area map not drawn to scale, a language barrier, and of course, cobblestones.

Cobblestones…why did it have to be…cobblestones.

I thought my experience with the flathead screws of terrain would prepare me for Paraty. However, no amount of experience with cobblestones prepared me - or would prepare any seasoned cyclist - for the horror I saw on arrival. 


There's a fine line between 'cobblestone' and 'boulder' and Paraty, Brazil is sitting several miles into the 'boulder' territory. This is where cobblestones have been fed a diet of deep fried Twinkies and Chili's appetizers for generations. Either that or Paraty is where cobblestones go when they want to spend a semester abroad.

My wife tried to comfort me by explaining the town center of Paraty -  which is where Cobblestones 2.0 were located - doesn't allow cars. I was sure it was because one too many Kias had fallen sideways between the stones and gotten wedged. Aron Ralston - who continued mountain climbing after his self-amputation after having his arm pinned by a massive chockstone - would probably take one look at old town Paraty and turn back saying "Whoa, no way! This place gives me the willies."


If roads paved with rocks larger than some of Jupiter's moons wasn't enough: the town floods at least once a month. 

On purpose. 

Paraty is just about at sea level in the first place, and the high tide comes in through special openings that were put there so six to ten inches of seawater can get in. During these periods, a new level of difficulty in getting around town is introduced. 


When the tide recedes, it apparently takes with it all of the people who fell between the mutant cobblestones and became trapped - as well as act as a crude cleaning system for the streets. 


Sketchers were advised to bring hiking boots. They should have each brought a moon buggy (I found out at the end of my first full day of riding that several sketchers, including my wife, had to flee the rising floodwaters. I only wish an artist had immortalized the scene in a watercolor). 

As unwelcome as the center of town looks, I have to say that paradoxically, Paraty is a biking city. Like Delhi, India, in the center of town I saw heavy, big wheeled bikes.


Next time, I thought, I'll bring a suitcase full of Cane Creek Thudbuster seatposts and make a fortune selling them. 

When you get to the main thoroughfare, you'll find a huge number of men and women biking as well as three bike shops not more than three-fourths of a mile from each other. That's always a comfort for any bike traveler. After all, even if you don't speak the language, there are shapes that don't need any translation.


Paraty Tours - the same company my wife and I used to take the five hour van ride from Rio to Paraty - offers rental bikes and tours. I had no need for a rental bike since I had my Bike Friday New World Tourist but I borrowed their tour maps - where I saw something most unsettling.


I'm used to maps not being made to scale, but the fact that the designer selected a full-suspension mountain bike with knobby tires to represent bicycle made me worry for my skinny, 115 psi road tires.

If you pile mistakes on top of each other, give 'em a polish and photograph them in just the right light, you get wisdom. Everything that went wrong on previous adventures fed into this trip: I brought no fewer than four tubes. Thanks to the embarrassment at Barcelona, I made sure to buy new patch kits days before the trip. And just due to general annoyance: I brought along the frame pump that came with the 'Make Offer' bike I bought in New Hampshire (that has since been built into a city bike) to make inflating the tires less difficult in the first place. I hoped I only needed one hand to count the number of flats I was sure to get here.  


For this trip, we stayed at Pousada Pontal Gardens, a lovely bed and breakfast not far from where the picture above was taken. See the bike path on the far right? That was exactly where I tested out the New World Tourist to make sure it had survived the flight from New York okay. 


I wasn't even ready to start my first full day of biking and I was already grinning: Brazil was now on my list of places I've biked (and it was a new continent for me, too). 

As you can see, the bike path stretches along the waterway and points toward a mountain in the distance. You can see it there making out rather aggressively with the cloud. 

After only going a few miles, I was confident I was going to have fun here. I had three days, and as there were only three roads out of town I decided to explore each one. While my wife (who has posted her sketches on her blog, SUMACM.COM) and the other USK sketchers were going to sketch the center of town, I was going to pick a road and put as many miles between me and those mutant cobblestones as possible. 

To be continued. 


Monday, October 13, 2014

The Mill River Greenway Ride: Two Final Words


As regular readers know, the Mill River Greenway Ride & Rally, which was presented by People Friendly Stamford, was this past Saturday. Possibly related to my involvement in planning this, Mother Nature went for the whip and Connecticut forgot the safe word.

Actually, the rain could have been a lot worse, but a lot of us showed up and some even did the (rain cancelled) ride from Scalzi Park to Kosciuszko Park anyway. As you can see from the great photographs taken of the event by Bob Luckey at the Stamford Advocate, my head stayed warm and dry thanks to the hotel shower cap I stretched over my helmet - which is THE fashion accessory for fall. 

Mayor David Martin was there and gave a nice address - which was easily heard in the crowded pavilion thanks to SpeakerBike. I'm thankful Renee Chmiel from News 12 came as well - you can check out her excellent coverage of the rally; taken with a news camera covered in a black trash bag to keep out the rain.

I'm also thankful for the band, Institute of Rock, for making the rain go away while they played under the pavilion at Kosciuszko Park. Actually, they may not have made the rain go away, but it felt like they did.  


I'm also thankful for the food trucks that were at the event: the Meltmobile ("To the Meltmobile!") sold me some pretty extraordinary tomato soup. I'm also thankful to one of the co-founders of Bike Stamford who fed me the soup one spoonful at a time while I fixed her flat tire. I'm equally thankful for the tacos I bought at Taco Loco/Crazy Taco Mex. 

I would write more about this great event, which I was very thankful to take part in, but I am suffering badly from jet lag (more on why later) which kicked in at 7:25pm on Saturday. I know the exact minute because that was the time I tweeted that "Bicyclists braved the rain" were the "best five words ever" (referring to Renee Chmiel's News 12 story) and I didn't notice those were only four words until the following day. 

But for now and going forward: if you are a cyclist from Stamford, please thank anyone and everyone who supports cycling in our city.  If you need a place to start, I suggest the sponsors of the rally, for the money, time or both they gave to this event was what made it a successful one. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding - especially if you live and work in Stamford.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Mill River Greenway Ride & Rally Tomorrow


Before I begin, I must give thanks to the Stamford Advocate and reporter Elizabeth Kim for the front page story on cycling activism in Stamford. Please head to your newsstand while there is still time and buy a copy. 

Additionally, I must thank photographer Lindsay Perry (who I met last year during the Cycling with Candidates project) even though she, along with the paper's editors, ignored my warning of a decline in circulation and included a photograph of me in the story. In spite of that, if you do not subscribe to the Stamford Advocate, buy today's paper. Well worth the $1. 

Now: let's move on to tomorrow: the Mill River Bike Ride & Rally.

Pacific Swim Bike Run, located at 575 Pacific Street, is among the great businesses in Stamford that are sponsoring this event and will be found at Kosciuszko Park tomorrow.  

After looking at the weather forecast for Stamford - and thinking about the wet but ultimately successful Bike to Work Day 2014 - I decided I might move to California and plan a variety of bike-related events all over the state in order to end the drought. 

Even though the weather in Connecticut is officially 'iffy' on yet another outdoor bike event I am involved with, the three-mile ride from Scalzi Park to Kosciuszko Park is still, as of this moment, on. But if you can't ride safely in rain or wet weather safely just head to Kosciuszko Park (200 Elmcroft Road) and pick up the event by 11:00 at the pavilion.  

And it goes without saying: if you have a bike and can ride it safely, bring a helmet and wear it properly.


Let's hope the weather gods smile upon us all tomorrow - and stretch a hotel shower cap over your helmet if you must. I'll be bringing a few just in case. Hope you come to the event to support the Mill River Greenway and a more bike friendly Stamford. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Need Help Launching Town Hall Meeting Curmudgeon 2.0



(Please attend the Stamford Master Plan Meeting on Tuesday, October 7th at the government center - 888 Washington Boulevard - at 6:00pm). 

I've been to a lot of town meetings - including the Merritt Parkway Trail meetings of Westport, Stamford, and, most recently, Greenwich. 

It was at the Greenwich meeting a couple of weeks ago I recognized a familiar sight: Town Hall Meeting Curmudgeon 1.0. 

No matter what town or city you live in, you know who I am talking about. Town Hall Meeting Curmudgeon 1.0 can't say anything without first relating the number of decades they've lived in the place they live in. They wag their index finger like it's a bodily function. They ignore facts that don't support their own assertions and use fear as a kind of constructive Play-Doh to build their own reality. If Town Hall Meeting Curmudgeon 1.0 hears anything he or she doesn't like, THMC1.0 will sit and cross their arms like a sulking child.

Sometimes this will be preceded by a brief, talk-to-the-hand gesture directed toward the person they want to tune out. 

This was on full display at the Greenwich Merritt Parkway Trail meeting. Now as you know I have no love for that project but I have to take issue with a couple of THMC1.0's at the meeting who insisted the trail supporters from out-of-town who were attending shouldn't be speaking because, well, they don't live in Greenwich. Of course, at least one non-Greenwich resident that I know of spoke out against the trail and yet that person wasn't scorned or rudely interrupted (and state and federal tax dollars are everyone's business no matter where the money is spent). 

After having a finger wagged in my direction at the Greenwich meeting for committing the non-pardonable act of riding a folding bike there and talking about it, I decided that I've had enough of THMC1.0. It is an antiquated piece of equipment that inspired the creation of the town leaders from 'Footloose.' It is time to build an alternative, and I need everyone's help to do it. 

To be clear I'm not suggesting THMC1.0 should go away. Their voices count just as much as anyone else's. But it is time for cyclists in Stamford (and everywhere else, for that matter) to launch Town Hall Meeting Curmudgeon 2.0.  

If I made it an app, I'm sure I could get funding.

Here are some of my proposed specifications of Town Hall Meeting Curmudgeon 2.0:
  • They put down Candy Crush and Zimbio quizzes to attend town hall meetings in the first place. 
  • They post about upcoming town hall meetings on social media and tell everyone and anyone they are attending.
  • They raise their hands at town and city meetings to speak up. And when they introduce themselves they often say how many weeks or months they've lived in town - and how many years they want to stay in town. 
  • They talk about how they want their town or city to look in the years to come instead of being nostalgic about the way the town or city they live in used to be. 
  • They have a firm command of the facts - but know how not to use them in a patronizing way. 
  • They talk about economic benefits of important improvement projects like bike lanes and bike parking - and also gently remind everyone that cyclists don't drop out of the sky but instead give out car parking spaces as gifts.
  • They respect the opinions and voices of others and don't ever get personal or patronize those making dissimilar arguments.
  • THMC2.0 takes many forms: a young apartment dwelling woman who frequently loses track of how many roommates she has. A frustrated commuter who has his or her folding bike at their side. A cool mom with two well-behaved kids seated next to her. A dad with two well-behaved kids seated next to him. A new voter. An intern. A person born after 'The Goonies' was in theaters. High heels. Sneakers. Dress shoes. Only the T-1000 can take as many forms as THMC2.0. 

The most important distinction of THMC2.0: They outnumber everyone else and they are the ones most remembered when the meeting adjourns. 

So Stamford, with its patchwork of bike lanes and little in the way of infrastructure, has a Master Plan meeting on Tuesday, October 7th. This is where we turn things around. This is the Adlai Stevenson at the UN during the Cuban Missile Crisis Moment. But like the robotic lions in Voltron, we must all join together to become a powerful force. 

Are you too young or too old to understand that reference? Substitute 'Voltron' with 'Constructicons.' What about now? Still don't get it? Good. You're the one I want at the meeting. Wait. You're forty and wearing a 'Voltron' T-shirt? I want you at the meeting too. 

Seriously: you need to bring a crowd to influence one. If THMC2.0 outnumbers (and outclasses) THMC1.0, it is THMC2.0 that will be remembered - especially when zoning boards, planning boards, and town representatives sit down to talk afterwards. 

Please attend the Stamford Master Plan meeting on Tuesday, October 7th at 6:00pm and form THMC2.0. And, a few short days later, go to the Mill River Greenway rally. After all, cities are built by the people who show up. Thanks for reading and thanks, more than ever, for riding.



Friday, September 26, 2014

Connecticut Cyclists: Mark Your Calendars

   Cyclists in Stamford, 2014 

I hope you all noticed the ear-to-ear grin of Gil Simmons on News 8 today. That's right: if you're in the Connecticut area, summer has been granted a stay of execution for at least the next couple of days. 

But now, while you're still at work dreaming of what you're going to do when you get off the clock, you're reading this blog, which is cutting into your productivity. However, if you want to look busy in case the brass strides around the corner of your cubicle, get out your calendar and jot these things down. Better still, jot these things down on social media so you can tell your friends.

1) Bridgeport: Bikeport Co-op Bike Ride (Saturday, September 27th, 1pm at McLevy Green)


If you live in or near Bridgeport and like cycling, ice cream, or both - this is the ride for you: At McLevy Green at 1pm on Saturday, the Bikeport Co-Op is having its monthly bike ride - and given the lovely weather forecast they are lucking out with the destination: Timothy's Ice Cream in Black Rock at 2974 Fairfield Avenue. All riders of all skill levels are welcome, and if you want more info email them at BikeportCT@gmail.com or use The Twitter: @BikeportCT and follow Bikeport on Facebook here

The people running Bikeport understand that bikes lift cities - and a community development bike program (similar to the Ohio City Co-Op I volunteered for in Cleveland) is just what the city needs. If you want to help raise funds for the Bikeport Co-Op in Bridgeport, visit their Indiegogo page and make a donation (read: difference). 

2) Stamford: Hearing on High Ridge/Long Ridge Study (Tuesday, September 30th, 7:00pm at 888 Washington Boulevard in Stamford)

I will concede this probably will not nearly be as much fun as the Bikeport Co-op ice cream ride. This is the equivalent of the Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts Ride that takes place annually in Portland, Oregon.* But it is a follow up on the crowded rally for bike lanes in June. 

   Rally for Bike Lanes on High Ridge Road, June 2014 

And this hearing isn't even a ride unless you pedal to the Stamford Government Center at 888 Washington Boulevard in Stamford: Simply turn right into the parking garage and you'll find the bike rack near the door. Try not to scuff the bike Stamford Downtown gave Mayor Martin during Bike to Work Day

When you do lock up, head inside and be ready to talk about the benefits of bike lanes. 

                 Scale model of road with 12' travel lanes (left) and 11' travel lanes (right)

This hearing starts at 7:00pm, and I urge you to be there with your bike helmet sitting neatly in your lap. And when the time comes for public comments about whether or not the city should proceed to install bike lanes on High Ridge and Long Ridge road, make them. Don't assume someone else will put their hand up. Remember: there are a lot of people in Stamford (or, any city, for that matter) who'd be much more inclined to choose the bike and leave the car at home if they knew they could do it safely. That would mean we'd all make it to work or back home faster. 




3) Stamford: Mill River Greenway Bike Ride & Rally (Saturday, October 11, 10:00am - 2:00pm. Optional ride starts at Scalzi Park/event takes place at Kosciuszko Park)

     Cyclists enjoying Mill River Park, Stamford, Fall 2013
If you're going to build car-free bike paths, the place to start is in the shadows of skyscrapers. That's where most of the people are and where bike infrastructure can do the most good. 

And like the beautiful Mill River Park in Stamford, it can really improve the look of a city. Who can forget Philadelphia: the city of brotherly love, cheesesteaks, and Bruce Springsteen shuffling around with his hands in his pockets? 

     From DIYBIKING.COM's Philadelphia Trip, Fall 2013

That music video would have been different if The Boss was riding a Cannondale, wouldn't it?

But back to Stamford: if you didn't read my post a couple of weeks back and haven't been paying attention to the text on the right of your computer screen, here goes: This family-friendly event, aimed at showing support of the Mill River Greenway and a more bikeable and walkable city starts at 10:00am with an optional 3-mile bike ride that starts at Scalzi Park and ends at Kosciuszko Park. 

At Kosciuszko park, there will be live music, games and food trucks. All our welcome - including all candidates for public office. Much like Cycling with Candidates, this is a Bikepartisan event. 


The Oct. 11 ride is presented by People Friendly Stamford and was created by the Mill River Park Collaborative, Stamford Downtown, Regional Plan Association and Harbor Point. The sponsors include the four great Stamford businesses of Lorca, Exhale, Pacific Swim Bike Run and Danny's Cycles as well as Purdue and Hampton Inn & Suites

4) Gun Buy Back Program (Stamford Police Department, 805 Bedford Street, Saturday, September 27th 10:00am - 2:00pm) 

Other than the fact the best ones are made out of high-quality steel (in your face, carbon fiber fanboys!) guns and bikes don't have a lot in common. 

But no matter how you feel about firearms or the second amendment I think we can all agree that if you have a gun in your home and…I don't know…don't want it there, you can turn it in to the Stamford Police Department on Bedford Street tomorrow (Saturday, September 27th) between 10:00am and 2:00pm. If you bring in an operational firearm, you will receive a gift card for $75 (rifles or shotguns) $100 for handguns and $150 for assault weapons. Guns have to be unloaded and carried inside in a box or a bag; more information can be found in the Stamford Advocate. 

Not only are initiatives like this one of those things that helps keep cities safer, but you also might have some cash to spend if you want to buy a bike at, for instance, Danny's Cycles or Pacific Swim Bike Run. Bikes are better than guns for a lot of reasons - and I'm not even counting the fact that if you're cleaning a bike and it slips out of your hands there is no chance it will kill or injure your next door neighbor. 

So mark your calendars, wear your helmets properly, drop your weapons, raise your voices, eat that ice cream, apply that sunblock and have a fantastic weekend. Thanks for reading and thanks for riding.  


*There is no Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts Ride in Portland, Oregon. I made it up.**

**However, knowing firsthand how weird Portland is, it may actually exist.***


***And if it does, it wouldn't surprise me at all if the words 'organic' or 'vegan' were thrown into the mix.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dear Scotland: A Cyclist Pleads for You to Stay With the UK


Dear Scotland,

Hi, It's me. The American bike blogger you welcomed with open arms last year when I rented a Brompton and toured Edinburgh

Let me start right off by saying: I love - and respect - Scotland. I never believed Mike Myers' assertion in So I Married An Axe Murderer that most Scottish food is based on a dare. I didn't laugh at Renton's anti-Scotland rant in Trainspotting. And I never, ever found Groundskeeper Willy from The Simpsons to be funny.

Well, maybe only a little. 


Now I can't speak for cyclists everywhere but I have to weigh in about the vote you're going to make tomorrow: I'm asking you to stay with those crazy and wonderful Brits. 

Come on, it's a great match and you can do a lot worse than Britain: London's got Transport for London's Cycle Hirea great bike share program worthy of study, they've got Top Gear, the English countryside is wonderful and you both share a  passion for cycling and…paradoxically…cobblestones. 


But here's my real issue: in addition to the children's book I want to publish I am trying to find an agent to help me sell Biking Cities, which will feature the cycling adventures I've done and bike culture observations I've made in cities around the world: Brazil, India, Great Britain, the Dominican Republic, Portugal, Spain, Canada, the U.S. - they all get at least one chapter. 

If you guys go independent it will totally mess up my proposed table of contents. I can just see the agent telling me that I have to leave my Edinburgh trip on the cutting-room floor because of the circumstances. How is it going to look?

Cleveland, United States of America….Page 14

New York City, United States of America…Page 63

Edinburgh, TBD…Page 89

I read that if independence goes through it will take effect on March 24, 2016. If I find a publisher right away, I'll probably have the hardcover come out during this 'TBD' period and the paperback might come out after independence - which means I'd have to change the Edinburgh chapter or, even worse, write an 'afterword.' I'm sure I'll be too busy writing other things to take the time out and write an 'afterword' about Scotland. 

You're worth more than an 'afterword.' After all, any city that has breathtaking castles (and a bagpiper playing the theme to Star Wars in a public square) is a city that deserves significant page space. 


Prime Minister David Cameron is offering you incentives to stay united. I can't match what he's offering, but if you decide to stay with Great Britain and I get that book deal I'll be sure to add a special section about riding in Edinburgh - and will even lobby the book designer to use this image as the cover.


Oh, wait: that's the sign I saw blocking the road to Holyrood Park when I went riding before sunup. I carried the Brompton past the sign and eventually saw the sun rising over Edinburgh - and that's the picture I'd lobby to use as a book cover. 


Now there's more to think about here other than my book project, I admit. There are a lot of worries if you go independent. For starters, does that mean the London-made Blaze bike light now has to be imported to Scotland instead of shipped? Must you make it harder for Scottish cyclists to be safer and for Scottish cats to be entertained?


Will domain names need to change from '.co.uk' to…'.tbd?'  Will you start having to listen to crazy constituents who want Scotland to start driving on the other side of the road just for spite? And will British citizens need a passport when they want to visit the Loch Ness Monster? 

See: you never really stopped to think about these things, did you? 

There are other unknown dangers involved with independence. If the graphic I saw on Monday night's NBC Nightly News story is to be believed, banks will move back to Great Britain and Scotland will crack off and drift into the ocean. Equally unsettling: CNN's graphic indicates there is a giant pair of scissors floating just offshore to east - in the open position. 

Yes. Open

I'm not sure if those are real dangers or lost artists working in graphics departments, but either way you've got another reason why you should do the right thing and stay united - cobblestones and all. 

There you have it. Stay with Great Britain. I hope when I find you on Friday morning you will have remained the outstanding cycling destination that you are - and, just as important, I won't have to learn a new country's quirks. 


This is a picture I took leaning out the window of the Raddison Blu the day I returned the Brompton, only hours before my wife and I were due to leave. I was told they were soldiers who had just returned from Afghanistan. I was in awe of how perfectly they marched. 

So Scotland, march on. March with pride. March with purpose. And above all: march with those Brits. 

Thanks for reading and thanks for riding. 

Yours truly,


Mike