Laps and Laps in a Tiny Circle

My bicycle riding career began on a loop of sidewalk connected to our pull-through driveway. I would ride after school from 3:15 until dinnertime; laps and laps and laps in a tiny circle.

Yesterday's idea of riding 100 kilometers in 70 laps around a 1.4392 kilometer neighborhood loop came from my childhood and two questions:

How can I atone for not riding for nine weeks?


How can I make my neighborhood more bicycle friendly?

Riding to Mt. Spokane and back is just over 100k, but that wouldn't leave bicycle tracks in the gravel leftover from the winter.

Riding round-trip to Coeur d'Alene is just over 100 kilometers, but I wouldn't have talked with an older woman planting flowers reassuring me that riding laps around your neighborhood for seven hours is no odder than sitting on your knees in your yard gardening all afternoon.

SFF -> GEG round-trip twice is 100 kilometers, but I wouldn't have conquered this mf-er 70 times.

Feeling 100 okay after 100k.

Best Move aXcross

Walking home on the sidewalk for lunch on Riverside, I saw an older woman nearly get taken out from behind by the BMX bicyclist Spokane's collective stereotype would expect to nearly take out an older woman from behind on a sidewalk.
"There's a really nice bike lane across the street," slipped out as he rode past me. Immediately, I heard his feet hit the concrete (freewheel and no brakes, yo!) and turned around to see him complete his circle back to me.
Definitely thought I was going to be on the receiving end of the third sucker punch of my life; instead I received a hearty "FUCK YOU" and the accompanying spittle from three inches away.
I got the goose-neck intimidation stare for another few seconds before he rode off.
I'm speaking from a straight, white, alternative-transportation-using male experience, but even when I thought I was having a knuckle sandwich for my amuse-bouche, I was less scared than any average "close call" with a car on a bicycle or as a pedestrian.
Because, honestly, when I heard the smarmy comment slip out of my lips, this is exactly what I expected that dude to do, right or wrong.
Close calls involving cars almost always involve a driver doing something they're not aware of or are fine with: going to quickly, eschewing turn signals, facing forward while driving backward, tweeting, makeup-ing,...
For the health of The City, the best thing one can be is a predictable variable. 

Your Yearly Reminder

How serendipidous Carter asks this a day after Coeur closes its doors.

All this talk about "letting the market decide" and "laissez-faire" is code for "where you spend your money and how you spend it creates choices." We are the market. The market notices the sacrifices you choose or do not choose to make as a customer.

If another coffeeshop is closer or cheaper and you go there regularly instead of Coeur, it's hard to complain when Coeur closes.

If you didn't go to rocketmarket a couple summers ago because the road construction made it more difficult, it's hard to call yourself a "supporter of small business."

So how do these mom and pop small business's survive for next 6 months?

By you going there and spending money at Bennidito's, Vien Dong, Sonnenberg's, even if you might have to use the less-than-perfectly-direct route.

Your dollar is your only vote!


In sixth grade, presumably to prepare us for learning from multiple teachers, we spent three days a week learning old school grammar from an old school teacher. Nouns weren't only "people, places and things," they also included "ideas, qualities and feelings." We took a massively intimidating test four times that year. Half of this test involved throwing all the grammar rules we'd learned onto a copy of the exact same test sheet the teacher had used for over 40 years. As in, photocopied ditto pages that had years of reproduced smudges, folds and staples. The other half was sentence diagramming. Ms. Riggs claimed no student could be tricked by any grammar question, so long as they understood her lessons. Grammar was easy.

She wrote "the easiest sentence in existence" on the overhead: "Go!"

Before any of us had a chance to steal her thunder, she diagrammed the sentence on the overhead.

"The thing is, this sentence has an implied subject; none of you know about that yet, because I haven't taught you."

(you) | go

Ms. Riggs didn't teach us much about the real world, but she did show us that grammar and language (even English!) generally have a pattern. These patterns can be seen anywhere we use language.

Just as our minds imply the subject "you," our minds generally imply a bright orange sign reading LEFT LANE CLOSED AHEAD means a driver should pay attention, because the left lane will be unavailable soon.

Our minds generally imply a bright orange sign reading BUMP means a driver should be wary of an upcoming bump in the road.

Our minds generally imply a bright orange sign reading ROAD WORK means the road is being worked on ahead.

Each of these construction signs are informational, offering a heads-up as to what to expect so drivers can, ideally, plan ahead based on the new, likely revised, traffic patterns ahead.

None of these signs give a command.

So what information does the sign SLOW offer?

SLOW (machines in the way)?

SLOW(ly making progress)?

(You're going too) SLOW(, speed up)?

None of the other signs have given a command; why should we assume SLOW has?

So bless this young hoodlum's vandal heart:

(YOU) SLOW DOWN is a command and clear; SLOW is informational and equivocal.

SLOW DOWN offers a beautiful example of an implied subject.



From the tall neighborhood dude who walks and bicycles everywhere to the un/sub/conscious word warrior with a spray can: Thank you!