In Retrospect of Bicycle Month

77.61 miles traveled this month by bicycle.  So, I think it should be mentioned that PBM had a lot to do with the success of this month.  He found a sweet bike for me, fixed it up, fixed it again, fixed it some more, and reminded me that it’s all worth it.

He has a lot more to say on this subject than I ever could.  So I asked him to write about bikes.  No other rules.  Just write about bikes for my blog.  Knowing PBM, AKA Scott Baker, I half-expected to get a stack of damp pages, poured over on a typewriter.  Each letter of each word carefully thought out and put on paper with only the power of his elegant machine and his twisting fingers, fighting to put the thoughts to paper as fast as they come.  Thankfully, he knew I would have to re-type whatever he gave me, so he was kind enough to email it to me.

I think it should be mentioned that in addition to saving young women from the perils of bikelessness, he also makes pretty amazing music under the name Simple Heart.  If nothing else, you should open another tab  and play “Lucky Strike” while reading his musings.  But seriously, he’s a bike mechanic.  So you should totally buy the album, and also take him out and buy him a drink and/or a hot meal.

The Bicycle. By Scott Baker

Of all the analogs of movement that I find the most difficult to ignore, it’s the bicycle.

The bicycle has propelled me from hobby, to career, to lifestyle. It’s daunting to say that the machine has always been an inexorable part of my ontology, but it’s more difficult for me to name a passage of my life where it wasn’t. There have been times where I’ve felt a sort of guilt for this, moments of personal reflection where modern paradigms and conventions of employment impose their judgments on my psyche, feeding feral neuroses about climbing certain ladders and, as some may say, growing up.

Of course, there is an inherent innocence to its mechanism that yields itself to casual dismissal as a youthful plaything, a sort of modal cryogeny in the evolution of human movement. We have since distracted ourselves with lessons of combustion, the pornographic explosion of propulsion born of the lust between fire upon fuel. We’ve taken to the heavens with this power, moving through the boundless dimensions beyond our sphere, as far as we’ve dared to venture.

But there is yet a complexity to its iterations that demands the most celestial of adorations. Could the bicycle have taken us to the moon and back?

It did when I first learned to ride it, and every time I’ve ridden it since.

At its most rudimentary and elemental it can be described as circles that turn circles, that turn circles… a brilliant implementation of the most fundamental of physical principles; Cycles of cellular momentum that leverage and bend our own bodily redox into a slavery of angular velocity. A terrestrial lesson borrowed from sidereal principles, put into motion eras and eons before we found the corporeal cognizance to capture its essence in a mechanical system. Cosmos, turned common.

Of course, the wheel was invented ages ago, revealing its prowess as magistrate of leverage, cantilever, and commotion. But it took time, experience, and experimentation to establish its supreme reign over the kingdoms of friction and force. Eventually,through veritable revolutions of ratio and reduction, the modern bicycle was born. Man’s most perfect and personal transmission, powered by pistons of flesh and bone.

The contemporary cyclist has oft skewed this eloquence and economy of travel into timbres of status-riddled posturing… poses of accomplishment worn proudly like a badge of rank. It is confined inside this graduated caste- scored by spandex, Strava, and superlative parlance- that we work far too hard to occlude one simple truth of modern travel: It’s really fucking rad to get there under your own power.

Me? I still wear jeans. I don’t track miles. My bicycle was born a couple of years after me. Because it’s not about anything other than the feeling that you get when the road unfolds before you, a conduit to the core of where our anxious, electrical complexities unfurl and only one simple, empowered emotion remains. Delight.

A Poem About Bikes In Downtown Portland

i take to the night in cadences unexplored
i do not pioneer or arrive in prime
it feels a sort of slither,
a waltz swung out of time
a dog that catches his own tail
an eighth of a measure
before the metronome breaks the spell.

tonight is a magpie stood in front of a mirror, wondering
how handsome
how black
how near

the wind rushes
(but I do not)
my patience is rewarded
and the city bows at my request,
its green lights flowing
to the emperor in my chest.

of the somnambulisms that I wander there is one I cherish most,
its path a plain, pinched charity to its walking, waking host.


Scott Baker, PBM

Get a sweet bike

Good thing I made a friend who’s been in the bike business for his entire life.  Good thing he’s generously offered to assist in goal numero uno – get a sweet bike.

He found a mixtie on Craigslist that he loved.  I don’t know jack about bikes so I took his word for it.  This bike was pretty sweet looking, though.  An old Frenchie from the 70s.  Meet Rue.


Too bad the first time I took ‘er out around my neighborhood the back wheel went wonky and I had to carry her home.  Did I mention I have a bike mechanic friend?

August – Bike Month

So, I’ve had a bike in the past but never really lived in an area that has a lot of places you can bike to and never had a car that could fit a bike.  Well, hot dog!  Now I do.  I just need a new sweet bike and all the gear to make Bike Month a success.

Goals this month:
Buy a new road bike
Get all the accoutrements (lock, helmet, lights)
Go on a long ride at least once a week
Go riding at least 3 times per week