We’ve been trying to get the two Boulder Housing Coalition co-ops a little bit more sociably integrated lately. Making sure that we invite them over whenever we have a get together, doing dinner guest exchanges back and forth, and the occasional joint outing. More than half of their household (7 of 13) is turning over this lease cycle, which is hard on a co-op’s social fabric and institutional memory. It also makes the membership process pretty daunting. Zac planned an afternoon of volleyball. It was blazing hot, but with a little shade and a lot of lemonade, it was fun. Definitely looking forward to future cooperative mingling.
Kurt and Kerry and I went on a week long bike tour from Boulder to Elk Mountain, Wyoming and back, with about half the miles on dirt roads. It was 800 km in all, with sun and snow and mud, as well as a cracked rim, elk, moose, and antelope. We took 4 epic days to get up there, and Kurt made it back in 2. Kerry and I came back via North Park and Cameron Pass, skipping the last leg from Ft. Collins by taking the bus, and it still took 4 days. Four nice, non-epic days. This was not a gentle introduction to touring! Thankfully Kerry still thought it was fun and wants to go again.
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I’m an emphatically utilitarian cyclist. My bike is my only ride. It is my way of going. It is point A to point B with a pile of stuff. But that’s not all it is, and sometimes I forget.
I started biking 20 years ago when I was 14 and living in Japan as an exchange student. It was how everyone got to school. Every morning was a flood of blue wool uniforms on classic bikes going clickety-click and ding-ding. Baskets, fenders, and not much in the way of gears. So it was utilitarian there too, but I also used my bike as an anti-depressant. I didn’t speak Japanese when I got there. My family didn’t speak English. All the other students were always busy with homework. I was lonely to the point of tears. Sometimes I’d ride around after school until dark. Sometimes beyond dark, in the rain and the wind. I discovered fireflies in a peace park one night. I let a typhoon blow me across the plain. I climbed hills and had crashes. It was a kind of love affair, it was something I could feel unabashedly good about, even if my host family thought I was crazy for staying out and getting drenched. It was deep rhythmic breathing and endorphins. It was still lonely, but at least I was focused. I felt free. When I came back to the US, I traded the circuitous hour and a half long school bus ride for an additional seventy nine minutes of sleep and an eleven minute bike ride each morning.
Michelle and I have wanted to do an overnight bike trip near by for a while. Something that doesn’t involve those infernal machines, but that lets us get away from the city, just a little bit. A S24O as it’s sometimes called. The only option for such a trip out of Pasadena is the San Gabriel Mountains, which are criss-crossed with hundreds of miles of fire roads. Mostly steep and unpaved, mostly waterless, but nearby, and scenic. On the north slopes, you can almost convince yourself LA isn’t there anymore.