Category Archives: bicycles

A Hitchcockian Evening

It was a not-that-dark, clear and cool night two and a half weeks ago, before the first snow. I was riding my bicycle home past the NEW! IMPROVED! Pine Hills branch of the Albany Public Library.

Then I noticed a presence. Well, it wasn’t a singular presence. Rather, I could sense a whole bunch of creatures seemingly peering at me. I noticed that the trees were filled with black birds, crows or ravens. It was eerily like that Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds, which I saw decades ago and which terrified me, except that film used a flock of seagulls, if I recall correctly.

Suddenly, the birds were on the move! Were they going to attack?! Well, no. But in traveling from tree to tree, they were going to poop. I heard the plop, plop of bird droppings all around me as I rode feverishly the last few hundred yards to my house. Fortunately, I made it home without pelted. I called my wife to see the hundreds of loud, cawing birds in our tree and the trees of our neighbors.

The next morning, they were gone. All that remained were their “gifts” all over the sidewalk, the road, and notably, all over the cars on the street, including ours.

I will remember the evening that I was almost murdered by crows, figuratively..

Crow in birdhouse at the Bronx Zoo.
Location: New York, NY, US
Date taken: 1942
Photographer: Alfred Eisenstaedt
For personal non-commercial use only from

Strange Questions Meme, Part 2

Back to Sunday Stealing, whose motto is: “Cheers to all us thieves!”

26. What color is your watch?

Seriously, I kill watches. I think it is in my DNA that whatever watch I own dies in four months. I have a brown-strapped watch around somewhere; doesn’t work.

27. What do you think of when you hear “Australia”?

Sydney Opera House. I blame the Wonder Pets.

28. Would you strip for money?

No. You should be pleased.

29. Do you go in a fast food place or just hit the drive thru?

Generally inside. Something ecologically and aesthetically even worse about the drive through than getting fast food inside.

30. What is your favorite number?

37. It’s my birthday. Once, when I was commissioner of a college election, in order to stop voter fraud, I had a friend mark the 37 on the back of the students’ ID cards. And yes, quite a few people had tried to vote more than once.

31. Who’s the last person you talked to on the phone?

Time Warner cable. Wanted to know why it is that when I look at the next six days ahead on the DVR, there is NO information for Monday. Last weekend, there was NO information for Tuesday. Had I not specifically checked this, I would have missed not only those days, but also subsequent days.

32. Any plans today?

Same as it ever was. “Water dissolving… and water removing. There is water… at the bottom of the ocean.”

33. In how many states have you lived?

Two, North Carolina (4 months), and New York (the rest of my life).

34. Biggest annoyance right now?

Might be the New York State legislature for all sorts of reasons, not the least having to do with cuts to education and libraries.

35. Last song listened to?

Oh Bess, Where Is My Bess by Frank Sinatra. This excludes songs at church yesterday.

36. Can you say the alphabet backwards?

Yes, and so can my five-year-old daughter. In fact, she was my motivation.

37. Do you have a maid service clean your house?

Someone does come by some Saturdays for an hour or two. In fact, when she does not – and this past Saturday was one of those times – I clean obsessively thoroughly. Cleaning the spaces between the radiator folds. I don’t enjoy it, as I take forever, but if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it well.

38. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time?

Red Chuck Taylor sneakers. I have a Christmas ornament that someone gave me that looks like red Chucks. Apparently, I was a great disappointment to my fellow JEOPARDY! contestants in 1998 when I DIDN’T wear them on the show after I had been wearing them during the warm up.

39. Are you jealous of anyone?

Anyone who can type.

40. Is anyone jealous of you?

Seriously doubt it. I could be surprised.

41. Do you love anyone?

Quite a few, actually.

42. Do any of your friends have children?

About half of them.

43. What do you usually do during the day?

A working class hero is something to be.

44. Do you hate anyone that you know right now?

This seems to be a very popular question on these things. No, but there are certain people that, if they just all developed laryngitis, or failing that, fell off the face of the earth, I’d be mighty happy.

45. Do you use the word hello daily?

Hello, hello. I don’t why you say goodbye. I say HELLO.

I was once working at the voting polls, which involved being there at 5:30 a.m., so I was walking there at 5:20, and this guy says, “Hello.” I say “hello” back, but I haven’t talked to anyone yet, so the vocal chords weren’t really warmed up. He didn’t hear me, evidently, and he said, “Don’t you say ‘hello’ when someone says ‘hello’?” I said that I DID say hello, that he hadn’t heard me. Yeesh.

A few years ago I made a mixed CD with songs with “hello” in the title: Hello, It’s Me; Hello Hooray; Hello Hello…

46. What color is your car?

Some boring silver gray that is so damn generic that I never recognize it except by the license plate.

47. What size wedding ring do you wear?

No idea at this point. But it hasn’t changed.

48. Are you thinking about someone right now?

Yes, whoever asked such a lame question.

49. Have you ever been to Six Flags?

Well, yes and no. There is one not that far from me, the Great Escape in Lake George. I was at a conference at the lodge, and walked around the closed amusement park – it WAS November in upstate New York.

50. How did you get your worst scar?

May have told this story before: When I was 16, I had borrowed someone’s bike. My friend Carol and I were going to ride over from our part of town, Binghamton, NY’s First Ward, to the South Side to a friend’s house. We managed to go the length of Front Street without having to stop or slow down.

However, as we were going across the Riverside Drive bridge, I found myself gaining on Carol. Every bike I had had up until then would brake by essentially peddling backwards, but this was not working; I would later discover that it was one of those new-fangled bikes with hand brakes. Anyway, in order to not run over my friend, who I had known since kindergarten, I put my foot down on the sidewalk to slow me down. The bike somehow flipped over.

After recovering from the fall, we rode the rest of the way without incident. It was only there when Carol and our friends Karen and Lois looked at my arm and saw the gash in my arm, full of blood, dirt and pebbles. They cleaned it out, but the scar lasted. Although with my vitiligo, the scar has virtually disappeared; hey, an upside!

That was the day I first heard the first Led Zeppelin album, incidentally: “Good Times, bad times, you know I’ve had my share.”
Record producer Bob Keane died last week.
For no particular reason, save for the whimsy that comes with fatigue, above is a picture captioned: “Served at dinner for Captain Richard McCutchen, winner of the $64,000 question, on TV quiz program, a large basket of fruit which was part of the dinner.” (September 1955; photographer: Yale Joel for LIFE).


Now greener ogre

I came across this software that takes phrases and makes several anagrams. One of the samples is the title of this piece. It also took the line “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” and changed it to “Neatly weighs up mawkish philosophy about unforseen reality”, which I thought was rather funny.

Saturday, we had plans to go to a museum a distance away, only to discover that it was unexpectedly (and illogically) closed. Plan B involved the usual housecleaning and shopping. But there came a point were my wife was going to take a nap and the daughter had fallen asleep on the sofa. Could I go to the grocery store to get some things?

I was surprised a bit by my disappointment. The idea of being in my own house, well not alone, but with it to myself was SO tantalizing. Going out to the store seemed counterintuitive, but go I did.

On the way back I run into five boys, maybe aged 14, on bicycles; no helmets, BTW. I too was on my bike. one asked me where Central Avenue was. Central Avenue is only THE main street in Albany. The answer wasn’t that simple; if they wanted a low number, it would have made sense to head east on Western Avenue, but the higher numbers would suggest going straight (north) on West Lawrence, ignoring the fact that the road seems to end, something you can do on a bike, though not a car.

I travel on, and see them AGAIN on North Allen, in front of the elementary school. The same kid said he couldn’t find Central. I said, “You have to keep going.” Another kid asked, “Is it beyond Washington Avenue?”


Second boy: “See, I TOLD you so!”

Then boy #1 told me about some “furry” candy he wanted to buy, but his friends were going to go buy pot. Was this true, or an attempt to get a reaction from me? As it turns out the address they gave me was in Colonie, well past the Colonie Center mall, and I warned them it as a long ride.

I restated my directions: ride until you run into a funeral home. At which point, one of the other boys burst into a crying jag. I was told that his grandmother had just died. But this was “crying” that sounded mighty insincere, and I feel they’re trying to yank my chain, though I passingly apologize.

They went on their way, I mine, left wondering: who ARE these kids, where did they come from, what did they REALLY want in Colonie, and how the heck do they not know where Central Avenue is?
I’ve been having a lot of vivid dreams recently. One involved a relative of mine on my father’s side who accused me of mocking her when she had a child out of wedlock. this is untrue, as far as i know, but the specificity of that and other dreams is fascinating to me. These are the dreams you wish you could film, or are really glad you cannot. Another dream was particularly grotesque, again with references to my father’s people. These things are supposedly manifestations of something, but I’m at a loss to ascertain what.
Why has my mother’s phone number in North Carolina changed? New area code AND the seven digits. I’ve known the old number impressed in my mind for years. Arrgh.
Arthur at AmeriNZ on bigotry, in this case, a homophobic columnist.
Thom Wade links to the Jon Stewart/Daily Show assessment of an Al Franken amendment to a Congressional bill against rape by governmental contractors. 30 Republicans, who I thoughtfully listed in the comments to that post, opposed the bill.



Tegan had a blogpost, the title and the sole content of which was “Bleah”. I can relate.

The daughter and I both are suffering our seasonal allergies. The ragweed count has been low, but the grass has been moderate, and three days ago, was high. More than anything, this affects the sleep. I might spend nine hours in bed, but the first hour I spend coughing. Then when I DO get up in the morning, I’m logy. Everything aches and the legs feel as though they weigh 1000 pounds apiece.

The wife was so concerned about the daughter that she took her to the doctor, who confirmed that it was allergies, not a cold, that she has been suffering from.

My work computer I’ve had to shut down at least once every single workday for the past week and a half. And Ctrl-Alt-Del doesn’t work; I have to hard boot it. Seems to have something to do with Adobe.

At home, every time I go back to the computer, there is an “unresponsive script”, even when I’m looking at something not very graphical, such as my Gmail. I seem to have downloaded an unauthorized version of Windows somehow; “You may be a victim of software counterfeiting,” I’m told by my computer. I got a replacement printer, but it isn’t recognized by the computer.

And I put air in the bike tire on Thursday, but by Sunday, it was flat; now I need to take it to the shop, because I don’t know what’s wrong.

The good thing about feeling lousy is that I get more work done in the office. I have to concentrate really hard on what I’m doing, lest I lose track, and the bottom line is that I’m more efficient because I’m necessarily more focused.

I’ll miss choir rehearsal tonight, so I can attend this, but that’s not all bad, since my throat’s so scratchy, I can’t sing a thing right now anyway.

So, bleah. Regular blogging will return tomorrow. Guaranteed, actually, since it’s already done. Then Saturday’s done in my head. Sunday, I answer questions.

This too shall pass.


No Forwarding Address

Sometime last year, we started getting mail for a Hrishikesh Samant at our home. We have been at this address for nine years and the people who lived here before were not so named either. I thought it would be an easy matter to Google the name and perhaps trying to contact him. No such luck; there seems to be at least a geology and/or zoology professor in Mumbai, India and a GIS expert in the US. Here’s a video of one of them. Or maybe it’s all the same guy. But it doesn’t explain while mail, including utility bills, cable bills, and items of the sort started arriving at our door in that name.

So I decided that perhaps I should contact the authorities to see if someone was trying to perpetrate some fraud in Mr. Samant’s seemingly good name(s). I contacted the postal authorities. They told me to just return to sender. After three or four months, the mailings have seemed to stop.

Now we are getting mail for Gwen Powell. It’s all what we would consider junk mail. Moreover, we at least have a theory about how we came to get “Gwen’s mail”. My wife’s given surname, her “maiden name” if you will, is Powell. A C and a G have similar structures; the line of the G plus ar could be construed as a w, I suppose. In cursive, o and e both have loops. I need to contact these vendors to get “Gwen” off their mailing list.
There was a story this week in the local paper about an a 11-year-old boy who pedaled his bicycle into the path of a car and later died. Very sad story made worse by the fact that he waited 25 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. Someone on Twitter commented that the fact that the driver of the car wasn’t ticketed was tantamount to getting away with “murder”, and used that specific word.

Now few people complain more about how irresponsible car drivers are vis a vis bicyclists than I do. I got a broken rib about 50 weeks ago from trying to avoid a car running through a traffic light. But the facts in the case – the boy’s bike hit the passenger-side door – suggests that the boy either didn’t see the car, had his brakes fail or some other circumstance. In any case, the driver, who will undoubtedly be traumatized for a long time, doesn;’t need apparently unfounded claims of murder bandied about.


2009: A life odyssey

I’ve never been that big on resolutions. Sure I’ll work on losing weight, but I think (know) I need more…fun challenges.

Thus and therefore, I resolve:
*to play more backgammon. I’ve been playing online quite a bit in 2008. But I have an actual board with actual pieces in my cubicle, and I haven’t touched it, except to dust it off, in the nearly three years we’ve been in cuby land. This MUST change. I have one opponent lined up, and a date for next Tuesdayand a novice ready to learn.
* to play more cards, specifically hearts. I may have played once in 2008. Not acceptable.
* to see more movies. The wife and I may have to go to the virtual date plan, where one of us sees the 1 pm movie while the other watches the child, then the other sees the 4 pm movie while the first watches the child, then discuss later. It’s not optimal, but neither is seeing five movies/year.
* to play more racquetball. Actually, more correctly, to continue to play racquetball. This year, the daughter goes to kindergarten. There appears to be no preschool at her school. Since the wife can’t take her to school because of timing, it would default to me. But that would mean that I’d almost NEVER play racquetball, which might, quite literally, kill me, since it is both my primary form of exercise – especially in the winter, when I don’t ride the bike – and something with which the competition provides a joie de vivre that riding on a stationary bike or running around a track simply doesn’t generate for me. To that end, we’re investigating hiring someone to get Lydia up, dressed, fed and taken to school, perhaps a student from a nearby college. We’re paying for daycare now, so that’d be the source of the payments.
Oh, jeez, I almost forgot: come spring, I need to BUY a bike to replace the one that was stolen.
*read more books. I’ve started literally dozens that I simply never finish.
*listen to more music at home. This will be facilitated by the fact that the daughter got a boom box for Christmas. This means that the other boom box, which technically belongs to the wife – my matching one got stolen from my office a few years ago – can reside in the living room. My stereo, specifically the CD player, has ceased to work, despite taking it into the shop. So until I buy a new one, the boombox will be the primary form of entertainment in the living quarters.

I think that’s enough.

Do YOU have any resolutions that you’d like to share?

Oh, and I had one of those reminders why I do the blog this past week. My mother, sister and niece made an impromptu visit to the Salisbury National Cemetery where my father was buried, but they couldn’t find the grave site. They knew they were close, but lots of folks have been buried there in the past eight years. So my sister calls me on her cellphone; did I have a record of where he was buried? I went to my trusty blog and found the citation, section 8, grave 358. Yet another notation that while I like to provide the best of the psychodrama in my head for your entertainment, I have to do the blog for ME.


My latest bicycle adventure

I’ve been riding my bicycle all summer without using a decent bike lock, just a padlock connecting a spoke to the chain. So I stopped at the local bike shop earlier this month and got as bike light – those rides home are getting closer and closer to dusk – and a combination lock/ The next day, I ride the bike to the Y. when I’m leaving the Y, I find I can’t get the lock to unlock, so I leave it there, take the bus trto work. When I hget back to the Y, the bike is gone. Stolen.

Interestingly, I wasn’t all that upset. Sure I wish I hadn’t sunk over $100 in it this summer after the accident. But it was more profound sense of disappointment with human nature, along with a bit of surprise that anyone would actually take the heavy, clunky black 18-wheeler. This bike was stolen before, back when Carol owned it, but was recovered. Still, I’m not holding my breath.

I was also annoyed with myself for having failed to take it to the police station weeks ago, despite several invitations from those changeable road signs that reside in Washington Park.

So I guess I’ll buy new wheels in the spring. I’m just not emotionally, or financially, ready to deal with it just now.
Apparently, a bill was signed, passed and enacted by the President recently and guarantees everyone $20/ month to cover expenses related to bicycle commuting for employment. How exactly will this work?
Finding the worst of cycling images


Eveningwear, swimwear

I had gotten this e-mail from SiteMeter last week and gave me the impression that I was supposed to do something, so I did and lost about 15 hours of data (2 pm Sunday-5 am Monday). Ah well.
Albany airport weather
Time EDT(UTC);Temp.F(C);Dew Pt F(C);Pressure Inches (hPa); Wind MPH

10 AM (14) Sep 15 71.1 (21.7) 57.0 (13.9) 29.72 (1006) WNW 17
9 AM (13) Sep 15 73.0 (22.8) 57.9 (14.4) 29.68 (1005) WNW 13
8 AM (12) Sep 15 73.0 (22.8) 57.0 (13.9) 29.65 (1004) WNW 9
7 AM (11) Sep 15 73.9 (23.3) 57.0 (13.9) 29.59 (1002) W 13
6 AM (10) Sep 15 77.0 (25.0) 57.0 (13.9) 29.54 (1000) W 23
5 AM (9) Sep 15 81.0 (27.2) 61.0 (16.1) 29.48 (998) W 20
4 AM (8) Sep 15 79.0 (26.1) 68.0 (20.0) 29.42 (996) SW 15
3 AM (7) Sep 15 79.0 (26.1) 70.0 (21.1) 29.41 (995) S 16
2 AM (6) Sep 15 80.1 (26.7) 71.1 (21.7) 29.44 (996) S 17
1 AM (5) Sep 15 80.1 (26.7) 71.1 (21.7) 29.45 (997) S 18
It never got above 85 all the day before, but it was so muggy that I turned the air conditioner on for the first time in nearly a month and still couldn’t sleep past 3 a.m.

The wind knocked out power for about 15,000 customers locally. It was out in Saratoga County, primarily in the town of Wilton; Warren County; and in Rensselaer County, mostly in Troy. But in Albany, avoiding the branches on the bike was all I had to deal with.
I was pleased to see that Bike Accidents Decline As Ridership Rises. But I had one of those bike moments last week. I’m riding over a land bridge across Henry Johnson Blvd. in Albany, going with traffic as I should. Another bicyclist is crossing the bridge toward me and he waves me to go left. Not a chance. The universal rule, at least in the United States (as opposed to, say the United Kingdom) is for everyone to stay right. Besides 1) he’s in the wrong AND 2) HE can see oncoming traffic without turning around. So I kept coming, yelling “no” and shaking my head. He went around.
The widely distributed SNL opening, Tina Fey as Sarah Palin; Fey does a GREAT Palin.
Yesterday morning, I’m remembering this commercial from some years back. Certain elements I recall quite well: the voice of the woman saying “daywear, eveningwear, swimwear” actually it was more like “swinvear”. I know that the point of the commercial was about making choices or the lack thereof. But for the life of me, I couldn’t remember what the commercial was FOR.
My wife remembered it too, but she thought from just a few seasons ago, and doesn’t recall the product either.
You probably remember, though: it was one of the creative ads from Wendy’s, “Soviet Fashion Show”, from 1985. The mind goes strange places at 4 a.m.



After my accident lost me six weeks of riding time, I got on the bicycle, but it just didn’t feel right. So I decided I ought to take my bike to the shop to make sure it’s OK. Between the time it took the shop to get to my bike in the queue, them actually fixing it and me getting to it, a total of ten weeks of prime riding time was killed, alas!

So I am on my bike, functionally for the first time in two and a half months. It feels foreign, strange. The seat had replaced as were the pedals. The seat needed adjusting – it was too high; as did my helmet – it was too tight. So I decided to ride on the sidewalk the three blocks from the bike shop to the church so I could get back to the church picnic I had left to get the vehicle in the first place and do my adjustments then.

I pass a woman on the sidewalk, not a half a block from the shop, passing her four feet wide of her, going quite slowly. And what does she say? “You’re not supposed to ride on the sidewalk!” Of course, she was right, but I was rather hoping for some cosmic grace. But explaining all of this would have taken too much time, so I just said, “Not without getting killed,” which was true enough; I didn’t feel in control of my vehicle. Then she said something I didn’t hear, and I rode back, sighing.

Back at church, I then made the appropriate adjustments so that I could ride on the street.
“The cyclist is a man half made of flesh and half of steel that only our century of science and iron could have spawned.”
– (19th-century author) Louis Baudry de Saunier
“My family car is an SUB and I love it. On my new ‘sport utility bicycle’ I can cart groceries, take my kids shopping, haul a barbecue grill and make a margarita,” by Mark Benjamin. Complete with video.
More bikes as transportation.
Brilliant Bike Locking:

The Bike to Work book.
“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” – Arthur Conan Doyle.
How high are those gas prices?
A Borgman cartoon.
“A seat and handlebars have a magical way of bringing out a childish enthusiasm
that is too often thrown by the wayside as we grow up.
It’s always there. Waiting to be revived.
And when you find it again, it’s fun and strangely familiar.
Just like riding a bike.”
– Mary Buckheit
Actual sign: “Burn Fat Not Oil.” True that.
Bicycle service and parts.
Someone e-mailed this; don’t know the original source –

Green Machine

What’s your carbon footprint? And I don’t mean your cycling-shoe size.
No, I’m talking about the color of the moment: green.
“Puh-leeze,” you say, “I ride a bike. I’m greener than a hung-over Carnival Cruise passenger in a hurricane.”
Is that so? Then you won’t mind taking this climate-change quiz designed just for cyclists:
I commute by bike . . .
(a) every day
(b) couple times a week, if it’s not raining and the alarm goes off
(c) I no longer commute since getting fired for making fun of the boss’s Prius
My frame is made of . . .
(a) steel, aluminum, carbon or titanium
(b) bamboo, hemp or old Clorox bottles
(c) spent nuclear fuel rods, covered in baby seal fur
I only eat energy bars made from . . .
(a) endangered white-rhino meat
(b) locally grown, fair-trade, organic ingredients
(c) ethanol waste products
I clean my chain with . . .
(a) jet fuel
(b) citrus-based degreaser
(c) nothing, thus allowing it to exist freely in its natural state
After cleaning my chain, I . . .
(a) hose the drippings into the nearest storm drain, which empties into the local orphanage’s playground
(b) take the gunk-filled degreaser to the recycling center
(c) like I said, I don’t clean it, you fascist chain murderer you
When my water bottle gets moldy, I . . .
(a) chuck it in a roadside ditch
(b) cut off the top and recycle it as a planter
(c) use it to plug the exhaust pipe of Hummers
If I can’t ride my bike someplace, I . . .
(a) drive my SUV there as fast as possible, with my tires under-inflated and the AC blasting out my open windows
(b) walk, car-pool or take bio-diesel-powered public transportation
(c) ride the indoor trainer while watching my Al Gore videos
Why Bike? Top 5 Reasons to Ride


Roger (Finally) Answers Your Other Questions, Eddie

Answering Eddie, lest he slap me down:

You’ve done some writing about biking, including a really good post a while back with tips and such. As someone very new to biking, I had some additional queries I wanted to bounce off you. I started riding again last year, and currently ride just about every day, usually to work and back, if nothing else. I’ve started doing lots of my errands and running around on the bike as well. Anyway, I’ve had some questions related to things that come up when I ride. So, here goes:

1. Distance-wise, how much do you ride on an average day? What is the most you’ve ever ridden in one day? (Either all in one stretch or in smaller increments with stops in between?) When you ride a lot in one day, how tired are you the next day?

First, less since the child. Used to just go around town. Occasionally, a trek to the neighboring towns (Troy, Delmar, Colonie). I’d start in March or April and get really exhausted, but as I rode more and more, not so much a greater amount, but just the repetitions, it was easier in October/November. Of course, this has been bollocked by the accident. Doubt I ever went more than 20 miles in a day. Well, maybe in rural Jamestown when I was on country roads.

6. Does Carol ride too? Keith and I have a lot of fun riding together.

She did a few times. But she had this big, heavy bike that she hated. When my last bike died (or was stolen; I’ve had enough in each category, I don’t remember), I purloined hers, with her blessing. She keeps threatening to get another bike. Maybe when Lydia starts to ride.

2. Speed-wise, how fast do you go, on average? Do you feel pressured to try and go faster than you are able to or than you feel is safe when you are riding in traffic?

Again, much slower on her old bike than my previous vehicles. I used to go on Albany’s bike path and pass about four times the number of bikers that passed me; now the numbers are reversed. No, I don’t feel pressured. That’s the kind of thinking that would just lead me to road rage. And you know what Bruce Banner says about anger.

3. How do you deal with nerves when you’re riding in traffic? Do you ride on streets that are typically very busy? Do you try to plan routes around heavy traffic areas?

I avoid crossing highway entrances (Everett Road in Albany), though I have walked through there with the bike occasionally. I don’t feel nervous unless I don’t have a helmet for some reason. Generally, I look for roads with shoulders. From experience, drivers are more aggressive on four-lane roads than two, so, unless they have shoulders, I tend to avoid the latter when possible. (Heading to my house, Western Avenue is generally safer than Washington, for that very reason.) I’ve been know to zigzag through residential neighborhoods, which tend to be saner.

4. Do you look at weenies like me, who will ride on some streets but not the ones that are really busy, with contempt?

Well, I never could think ill of you, Eddie, but no. The southern end of Lark Street in Albany is narrow, yet has parking on both sides; I work hard to avoid it.

5. I have a hard time keeping a steady course when I have to look over my shoulder to check traffic and sometimes when I signal turns. It’s gotten better the more I ride, but do you have any advice? I’m afraid of drifting into a parked car or into the other lane on narrow streets due to this.

Unless you buy a mirror, which I have never used, you may have to stop pedaling when you look. I seem to have pretty good peripheral vision, so I’m usually only looking at about 20 degrees off center. Someone told me you can “train” your peripheral vision, but I’ve never done it. You may need to practice this, but I lean ever so slightly to the right when I put out my left hand.

7. Why is it on windy days, that no matter which way I turn, I’m always riding directly into the wind?

God has a sense of humor. At least I think She does.