International Sign of Constructive Criticism

Well, the International Sign of Constructive Criticism made a rare appearance today, on my ride to work. I couldn’t help it — it just got out there.

I was early in my commute, on Olson Road. I was on a downhill stretch so doing pretty good speed, but slow, of course, compared to the drivers, and too slow, it seemed, for the tubby guy behind me.

I saw him back there in my mirror, and I wondered if he was going to pull an ill-timed maneuver. I should have waved him to stay in place. In fact, I should have been riding bigger in the lane, but I was out earlier than usual, so traffic was light, and I had let my awareness ebb.

The guy behind decided he just had to pass, but another car approached from the other direction. Though the car coming at us was in clear view — you could see half a mile or more — Mr. Impatient Driver could not be deterred. He came around, just as the other car reached us.

There we were, three travelers sharing two lanes. It got crowded, of course, so Mr. Impatient found room by squeezing me. Gave me a horn blast, too, as if to say, “Get off my road!”

He got a quick flash of the I-S-C-C for that.

I tried to catch him at the light at Centerville Road to, uh, offer more constructive criticism, but he scooted away. Just as well, as those on-road education sessions are never productive.

The interesting thing is that this was the first time I’ve been burned on the road in a long time. I can’t even remember the last time I invoked the I-S-C-C. It was months ago, maybe many months, perhaps a year or more.

Of course, had I been up on my commuting game this morning it wouldn’t have happened this time, either. Had I been riding big in the lane, there would have been no room for Mr. Impatient Driver to squeeze by. He’d have had to go wide, and with a car zooming his way, tubby would have waited for safe passage.

And had I took good notice of his can’t wait intentions, I could have swatted him back.

Instead, I got greased by a driver about to wet his pantsE2�™t happen very often, thanks to the calm, assertive riding method I’ve adopted, thanks to the CyclingSavvy courses sponsored by the Capital City Cyclists (I’m now an instructor). That stuff works.

I’ll use that riding style on the way home, and on the rides after, to keep me safe and happy on two wheels and to keep my I-S-C-C in its holster.

Submitted by Bill Edmonds
Cycling Savvy Instructor
Tallahassee, FL

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Lonely no more…

Looking back, I’d say 2012 marked the end of the lonely rider. Throughout the year, I saw more bicycle commuters than ever before, and rarely did I make it in to work or back to the homestead without giving a nod to another self-powered traveler.

This morning, as I climbed Miccosukee Road in what can be described as a formal pace, a couple — him with a backpack, her with panniers — came up from behind and quickly passed. So, there we were, three riders heading into town (at the Magnolia Drive light they told me they were heading to FSU), when on the other side of Miccosukee appeared a couple on a tandem, pulling a trailer.

Five riders at once! Never thought I’d see the day.

Further up Miccosukee, between Kate Sullivan Elementary and Holy Trinity Catholic School, we caught up with another backpack-laden rider.

That’s six riders on the ride in. Further evidence that more and more of us are using our bikes on Tallahassee’s streets for transportation, not just recreation.

submitted by Bill Edmonds

roger with sag

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Fern Trail Fun!

Riding Fern Trail is great fun! This trail has multiple bridges to cross, logs and roots to hop over and even a stream to listen to. There are a few alternate routes you can take that may lead you to Panera Bread for coffee and donuts. Check it out. Skill Level: Intermediate.

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Can’t we all get along?

This is not directly related to cycling but is very related to conflicts we encounter every day whether it is on a bike or on foot.  I thought I would blog it in hopes that someone will find it useful in their every day life.  The conclusion concerning “compromise” is extremely relevant when it comes to bikes and cars habitating the same space on the streets of Tallahassee.

When I was about 8, I was running down my street when all of the sudden from behind a dog grabbed my arm and literally tried to yank my arm out of the socket. He clamped down on my forearm and started jerking it’s head back and forth so violently he picked me up off the ground. My dad said later that it looked like he was flinging a rag doll around. My dad came running over with the rake he had in his hand and starting swinging at the dog. He never hit the dog. After what seemed like an hour the dog let go and ran off. I had two pretty serious puncture wounds on my arm and I was pretty darn sore and scratched up from hitting the asphalt.

Needless to say my dad took me to the ER where even back then they filed a “dog bite” report and the police got dragged into it. My dad wanted the dog destroyed which even then I understood that meant KILLING the dog.

I cried for three days straight. I knew this dog and even tho they didn’t call them this at the time it was a PIT BULL! I loved that dog! I got so upset over them killing that dog that my dad finally relented and agreed to let the dog live – and animal control went along with it under certain circumstances. Obviously there were different rules back then.

The dog spent the rest of it’s life wearing a muzzle that it could bark and drink water (and probably even eat) thru. It lived out the rest of it’s days happy but muzzled. I played with it even after all that. The owners were extremely responsible and never let it out again without it’s muzzle. It never attacked or harmed another person.

To this day I am not afraid of being attacked by a dog! I have NO FEAR of dogs!

So, what does this all say about me and about “THINGS” in general.

1. Banning PIT BULLS (or anything else that is perceived to be dangerous) is not the answer.

2. Making sure that dangerous things are controlled and “muzzled” is absolutely necessary.

3. Making sure that only responsible people are allowed to OWN and CONTROL dangerous things.

5. Dangerous things that are and/or have been made to be uncontrollably and overwhelming dangerous and serve no other purpose should not be allowed.

4. Enforce responsibility/control and take it away if it is not continued.

5. Just because something scary happens to you or someone you know, doesn’t mean that you have to live your life in fear and overreact!

6. Compromise is the answer to every conflict! and COMMON SENSE should prevail.

Merry Christmas!


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DeFeet for your Hands!


If you’re scrambling around for a last-minute gift for a cyclist, here’s one to keep in mind. Defeet’s Duraglove, in wool.

I picked up a pair last week, a recommendation from Karen Loewen, my Bike Eat Shop Tallahassee colleague, and I gave them a test ride this morning, with temps in the upper 30s.

I had been looking for some gloves for winter commutes. I typically use the ubiquitous glove liners. They work OK, but if it gets chilly the glove liners let in too much wind. Wind is the enemy of early morning winter commutes.

Other gloves I’ve tried, though, have been too hot. Sweaty hands! Man, I hate that.

So, on with the Merino wool, my first ever DeFeet product. These gloves are American made, in North Carolina. Good for DeFeet.

Out the door this morning, and right away I found the gloves comfortable. Snug fit, but not tight.

The fingers and the palms have some kind of gripper stuff. Not too much to make it starchy — in fact, you don’t notice the stuff is there when riding — but enough to keep the gloves from slipping around on the shifters. Works for me.

Now, the acid test — are they too hot? A few miles down the road, after several hills, I was working up some body heat, but the gloves felt fine. I never did get hot hands on my 10-mile ride to work. Never got cold, either.

My hands stayed cool, not warm, the whole ride. That’s how I like it.

So, if you are looking for some riding gloves for wintertime or a gift that a cycling loved one will come to use and appreciate, I recommend the DeFeet Durglove, in wool. Keep in mind that if you are buying as a gift, the gloves run slightly large. I have biggish hands, but the large was slightly sloppy, so I went with a medium, and it fits well.

I got mine at Joe’s Bike Shop, at Lake Ella (a Bike Eat Shop Tallahassee merchant). Joe’s sells them for $26, and they are worth it.

Other Tallahassee bike shops might carry them as well. Available online too, of course, but don’t forget — support our locally owned businesses whenever you can. That’s the credo of Bike Eat Shop Tallahassee.

Local first, local always. Shop online only as a last resort.

Submitted by Bill Edmonds

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BEST Business Alley Crawl 2012

On December 15, 2012, BEST held it’s first Business Alley Crawl.  This event was a combination of an Alley Cat and a Business/Pub crawl.  The participants had 6 hours to get to as many BEST businesses as possible….By bike of course.

All of the businesses were ready and willing to participate.  They were instructed that the racers would be coming between noon and six and that they could simply sign off on their manifest as proof they were there OR they could make the racer perform a task/challenge.  A lot of the businesses played along – Black Dog Cafe had people washing dishes and busing tables.  I heard rumors that Fermentation Lounge has sparkling toilets after the race!

The Black Dog Cafe really got into the spirit of things...they made the racers wash dishes!

The Black Dog Cafe really got into the spirit of things…they made the racers wash dishes!

The racers were given extra credit for taking and posting a picture to Facebook.  We got hundreds of pictures!

In all we had 25 racers and everyone reported having a blast!  Total miles logged amongst the racers was over 500 miles!

The winner was Mathew Paredes.  He visited 24 businesses!  Second and third place went to Richard Blasquez and Kay Keller.  Our businesses were so generous with the prizes they donated that all of the participatants ended up taking home a prize just for racing!  Thanks businesses – You are the BEST!

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