Wednesday, July 15, 2009


This is a sternwheeler wheel.

I like this foot bridge. It's about wide enough for two people to walk close together. It spans the mouth of the Hood River just before it connects to the Columbia.

Someone spent a great deal of time and trouble building this. You have to walk your bike if you want to cross with one.

Here's the view from the middle of the foot bridge.

I've been thinking of getting a bike. I haven't had one in a long, long time.

I liked the reflection on the water in this shot. It's my bass fishing pond.

My town is only 3.5 miles long end to end. You can easily walk anywhere in town. Yet we drive way too much to save time.

Here you can see how the forest fire that nearly got my home a few years back burned out the lower part of the old growth forest and left the upper portions of the trees untouched. Weird huh?

If I had a bike, I could use it to get to work and around town. Save the car for trips out of town.

My first bike, the one I taught myself how to ride, was a women's Hercules three speed. You can see a photo of part of a Hercules bike on Braja's blog
LOST and FOUND in INDIA. (That photo makes me smile everytime I visit Braja.)

I wasn't tall enough to put my butt on the seat, so I had to stand up to pedal. The bike actually belonged to my bigger sister, Cinderella. SuzieQ had one exactly like it. They were 8 and 10 years older than me. Both bikes had sat for a long time collecting spiders before I came along to ride them.

I'm not sure what sort of bike to get now. Do you know anything about bikes? What do crazy old bats in your area ride?

I do not want one of those giant trike things that you see old people on. But I don't want a bike that has one of those goat skull seats on it. I think I need a nice cushie seat. We have no sidewalks in most of town and lots of pot holes and cracked spots on the Street. We do have a bike lane that goes the full legnth of town.

My worst bike crash happened a year before I earned my own bike in sixth grade by getting straight "A"s. Both of the Hercules bikes brakes had gone out by then. I was reduced to doing this weird see saw thing over the middle bar of my brother's bike, once more unable to sit on the seat.

I was at the college near my house following a friend on her bike. She could go faster. She could reach her seat. We were playing "Man From U.N.C.L.E." I was using a plastic box with a flip lid that straight pins came in for a communicator, standing up and hanging on to the handle bars with one hand.... talking into the box with my other hand.

She turned down to the rear parking area where the tarmac had deteriorated into as much gravel as street. I hit a pot hole and that was it. That rough old tarmac ate my skin like a cheese grater eats carrots. My friend was so busy flying that she did not notice my wipe out. Later she would call to see where I went.

I went home of course. I left the bike laying in the gutter. My brother went back for it when he saw me limp in. He wasn't even mad that I'd left it.

Both of my legs were skinless, as were my elbows and forearms. Even the sides of my hands were bloody and full of tiny rocks and dirt. My mother did her thing with the tweezers and a nail brush to get out the filth, then put tincture of merthiolate on it. I can't describe the sound I made. Let's say it was unearthly and leave it to your imagination.

When you get scraped that badly your body oozes clear sap. My mother, on constant guard for anything that might dare to mess up her home or furniture could not stand to have me sit anywhere like that. So I was ordered into the kitchen where I was wrapped in wax paper. I suppose the thought was that wax paper would not stick to me, while it protected the rest of the world from my ooze.

We had our annual school fair the next day. My scrapes were not quite crusted over yet. They still weeped. I went to the fair wearing wax paper. Yes, I got some good looks. But I rode the pony and won a gold fish in a coke glass. The other kids were suitably impressed with my absurd situation that they didn't even tease me.

I still have scars on my elbows and both knees from that. Twenty years or so after the wipe out, I was sitting in my living room and my leg itched so badly that I took a close look at my knee. Something black was under the surface of my skin. I got my X-acto knife and slit the skin to see what it was. A chunk of Fresno asphault fell out.

So does anyone know what sort of bike I should get? I'm thinking fat tires, good gear system. Nothing that is going to crap out when I try to shift. This will be a utiltiy bike, not a dream machine. I don't want to spend a fortune. Oh yeah and a nice fat bottom seat.

Enjoy a bit of Queen. Then have a happy day!

Oops! Braja changed her post banner today... of all days...the Hercules bike is now gone. hahahaha Oh well.
Sorry about that.

Return Of The Cicada Killers!


  1. Your post has reinforced my belief that my life has been dull when compared to other people's lives, including yours. I never had any terrible falls from my numerous bikes, but my little brother did break his jaw when he flew over the handlebars and landed, face-first, onto the street.

    My favorite bike had a banana seat and high riser handle bars. It had no gears, but I could still beat all of my friends in races, including one who had a three-speed. Those memories are wonderful. Thanks for reminding me with your post.

    If I were you, I'd try out a bunch of bikes & pick the one you feel comfortable riding. Screw what anybody else thinks of it.

  2. cube-- Oooooh poor brother! I feel for him.

    I was a mess as a kid, constantly stitched, cut, abraded, bruised, severed... you name it except breaking a bone. But I was also happy.

    Aren't bikes great? I was thinking it was so dumb to always use my car in such a tiny little place. Good advice on the bike. I will try out a bunch. I didn't know they let you do that. The bike shop dude can fill me in on which is easy to maintain too. Thanks!

    I promise not to give a hoot what others think. I'll just grin and know that I'm going to live longer... providing I don't get hit.

  3. I do have a collection of sternwheeler photos, old and new. But not off a separated sternwheel.

    Cube: Yes, she does have adventures, doesn't he? I can't help but think of the Peter Gabriel lyric, applied to this blog:

    "...I greet them with the widest smile
    Tell them how my life is one big adventure^
    And always theyre amazed..."

  4. dmarks: That works for me. It's Ananda Girl all the way.

  5. dmarks-- I'd love to see your photos of the sternwheelers. I think this photo gives a good view of how large those wheels are. That's two middle school aged kids and their mom standing next to it.

    Your comment to cube made me laugh. Partially because as soon as I saw the lone stern wheel, I wanted to climb it... and that's probably not the typical response. As a kid, you bet you would have found me up there on top.

    But the other reason I laughed is because it did not occur to me that other people didn't have lives like mine. Which is silly I suppose. But I just didn't think about it.

    I assumed that everyone has major bike wipe-outs, gets hit in the head with hard balls, whacks off a finger and a toe and runs over their own child... Max, I am happy to say is fine despite that fact.

    And as for cube... I have never been bitten by a shark! Don't tell me you have not had an interesting life! And you are a science wizard! Yikes. Sounds like a great life.

    Seriously, dmarks... thank you. The lyrics are a nice compliment. And I love that song. :)

  6. dmarks-- And you, sir, have an amazing adult life that I envy. You go to so many places and get to see so many things that I will only wish I could ever see. I am so glad that you share them.

  7. Oh sorry Ananda!! I swapped the photo, but it will be back!

    I love Queen's Bicycle Song...but I almost got a sore bum reading this post lol :)))

  8. Braja-- giggle. I actually love that today the bike was gone... it's a funny coincidence that today I wrote about it. Isnt it? You see how easily amused I am by life.

    Though I do think the reason I felt so instantly at home on your blog was because of the bike. A lovely and familiar thing to welcome me. How could I not love it there with your sense of humor and an old Hercules?

  9. Love your style. So entertaining.

    I'd like to get a bike like the ones from my youth, but the only place to get them is at some sort of retro shop and they cost squillions of dollars. You know, one with foot brakes and only one chain. I don't need twenty gears, and I have never gotten the hang of hand brakes. I always stop short and feel as though I'm going to flip over the handlebars.

  10. Jim--Thank you... quite a compliment coming from a master story teller like yourself.

    I agree about bikes that are too complex. I had a ten speed several years back that whenever you changed gears, it went into NO gear mode. I'd have to stop, get off, play with the chain and con it into working again. I do not need that kind of bike. I only want to go from A to B and back again. Sheesh!

    lol at the brake thing! I've done that. And skinny tires are a bitch when they suddenly stop in one of those cow catcher type grates... and you flip right over the bars then too, only you can also jam into the bars and a bruised groin is a very unhappy groin!

    There... you made me laugh again Suldog!

  11. You can buy a cool three-speed cruiser town bike with a nice cushy seat. My neighbor has one and she says it's very comfortable to ride. I love riding bikes. It's just hard to find the time sometimes.

  12. Churlita-- That sounds fabulous to me! Enough gears to get me up the hills here without killing myself but not so many that I need a degree in bikeology to work them. And the seat sounds divine! Cushy for the tushy. hee hee

    I know what you mean about time. Kids are huge time vacuums. And working just plain sucks when it comes to time. I have lots of time in the summers. I am very lucky.

  13. Ananda: Thanks for the compliment. Imagine if that stern wheel had a working axle. Kids would have a lot of fun... .and many of them would get hurt. And thanks for the compliment.

    jim: There are a lot of fans of simple "Fixed gear" bikes like you describe. Check this web site:

  14. dmarks-- I would laugh all through that! Ask my poor children.

    You are certainly welcome for the compliment.

  15. Ouch! I had a few wipeouts like that. Still have scars, too. Please post a picture of the bike you end up getting. Inquiring minds want to know!

  16. crazy4coens-- I will do that. But I think I'll skip posting any with my butt on it. ;)

    bam, bam, bam,bam...bam, bam, bam, bap... I wannna be sedated! Ramones are playing here.

  17. Thanks, dmarks! I'm off to check it out now!

  18. Excellent photos as always. We don't have nearly enough scenic footbridges around here. They did build two down a ways, but they only cross busy streets.

    Find a bike you like, but pay no attention to the seat. You can easily buy a different seat, so that's not a problem.

    I've fallen off my bike my share of times. I don't have the scars anymore, so that's always a good thing.

    Ah, yes, Bicycle Race, gotta love that song. The original promotion for the song was a bicycle race consisting of fat-bottomed girls through the streets of London.

  19. aliencg-- Thank you. You're right... I had not thought about that, but I can put any seat on it that I want! Great idea.

    I love everything Queen did. Especially '39, which you probably know by it's name. Night at the Opera was my favorite of their albums. '39 is a wonderful sci fi song for those who do not know it.

    I bet that race was a hoot. I wouldn't have wanted to enter my own rear though. Yikes.

  20. Always love your photos, especially the ones of the beautiful spots around your town.
    I don't have a bike, but if I were choosing one, I think I'd look for the same things as you...comfort and ease, baby!
    You know, I was a rather cautious child and rarely got injured in any memorable way. Your stories always make me cringe a little, but in a good way! It is like I'm there :-)

  21. laura b-- Thanks. The area here is beautiful. Town itself is ugly as sin. It has the oh-my-god-what-were-they-thinking flavor. There is a local movement to fix that.

    I was too stubborn and impulsive to be cautious and even when warned had to learn the hard way. I think that's why I am so fond of the "bad" kids at school.

    I'm glad it has the "like I'm there" affect. I'm an okay writer in a homey sort of way. I have friends who are much, much better at it. My main aim is to entertain. If I can do that, I'm happy.

  22. I recently drove over the bridge near that...over the Columbia River,It is just amazing how devistating and giving a forrest fire can be....

    I say get one of those granny bikes, with a basket(complete with flowers) and the chiming/dinging ring bell!

  23. Hooray for getting a bike!! (and boo for that terrible story of you getting injured)

    Brooks make really comfortable bike saddles. Not sure how much they cost though. I would consider getting a sort of cruiser bike, something sturdy yet still sleek. Or a mountain bike, and get a custom saddle that you like (maybe like a nice wide Brooks saddle I mentioned)


    This folding bike looks intriguing:

    I have mostly ridden road bikes, I love fixed gear road bikes, but that is not what you'd want, especially if you are just getting back into biking around.

    There are tons of great cruiser bikes out there, this one looks fun, but I think it's fixed, so you can't change gears:

  24. Superstar-- Hello! Yes, it could have been one of two bridges that I claim as my own. Everything near me belongs to me, you see. One is the Bridge of the Gods, which is very much mine. The other is the Hood River Bridge... a big green thing that makes a horrible yucky sound as you drive across it and is so narrow that some folk refuse to drive across it. Both are toll bridges. Both are giant erector sets. Aren't they fun?

    Ooooh... I do want a bell! What a great idea. hahahaha... Maybe some silk flowers on my basket. ;)

  25. Sebastien-- Ha! My father had a folding bike that we all rode for years and years. It was very funny looking. White. People stared at us. It was so much fun!

    Oh... I just looked at the cruiser bike... I love it! It even has flames! I am such a flame kind of gal too. What a hoot. And I could actually afford it. How cool is that?

    Max says I need the flamingo pink one... it's more of a peptobismal if you ask me. But both boys say they can see me on it in their heads already. What a fun idea Sebastien. Thank you for the link. I love this, truly. Some of the beach cruisers have speeds too.

    Very cool beans!