Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

19 January 2018

Reunited, Two Years Later

In some earlier posts, I bemoaned the fact that stolen bicycles are almost never returned to their rightful owners.  In most cities, if someone takes your bike, you have less than a two percent chance of ever seeing it again.

Since I don't want this blog to turn into a repository of lamentable statistics and depressing stories, I try to draw attention to the outliers and happy endings, whenever I hear about them.

Trevor Pryor

Two years ago, Trevor Pryor was working for Arizona State University in Tempe.  He propped his machine in a hallway for "only a few seconds" while he said good-bye to some co-workers.

Well, "a few seconds" is all a thief needs.  "I turned around and the bike is gone," Pryor recalls.  He checked online marketplaces like Offerup.com and Letgo.com, but found "no real leads."  

His bike

He despaired of ever seeing his bike--"my first  bike I bought with my own money", he explained--again.  That is, until last week, when a friend noticed the bike on the Facebook page of the Bicycle Recovery Action Team (BRAT:  what an acronym!), a group of vigilantes that keeps an eye out for stolen bikes.  

The friend set up a meeting to look at it .  Pryor, accompanied by an ASU police officer, went to a warehouse full of bikes in Tempe.  There, a man wheeled the bike out and the officer intervened.  "Did you know that bike is stolen?," he asked.

The man's boss claimed he bought the bike at a pawnshop and offered to sell it to Pryor for $100 because he "didn't want to take a loss."


Reporters who followed this story went back to that warehouse the other day.  It was full of bikes, but there were no people there.

At least Pryor has his bike back.  Hopefully, other bikes in that warehouse will end up with their rightful owners.

18 January 2018

How Many Australians Does It Take To....?

When we're teenagers, we (some of us, anyway) become obsessed with books we don't look at after the age of 20 or so.  Such books included, for me, the ones written by Ayn Rand and J.R.R. Tolkien.  

Now, some of you might hate me for saying I haven't read Tolkien since my freshman year of college.  I'm not saying there's anything wrong with The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit. They're just not my thing.  

The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, on the other hand, seem even more like fantasies than anything Tolkien wrote.  Actually, that's giving Ayn Rand's novels too much credit:  They seem rather like comic books to me now.  And, though some libertarians claim her as an intellectual godmother, I think she was more of a Mc Carthyist anti-Communist with a pretense of intellectuality.  

But I digress.  Just before that period of my life, there was a time when I was obsessed with another book I haven't looked at in years:  The Guinness Book of World Records.  I guess that at 12 or 13, I liked anything I could gawk at, and the book was full of such things. Some might be interesting to me now, but others would probably seem ridiculous--and the people involved just plain stupid--to me now.  

In the former category--ridiculous--falls something that recently made it into the latest edition of the book.  Actually, it's something I might want to see, if not try.

It's the world's longest bicycle:

The 41.42 meter (135 ft 10.7 in) contraption was built collaboratively by gas and oil company Santos and engineering students at the University of South Australia. 

For such a record, Guinness editors stipulate that the bicycle must be able to travel 100 meters without the riders' feet touching the ground.  Seven riders managed the feat on the bike in the video on 17 January 2015.  An earlier attempt resulted in the bike toppling over.  Luckily, "besides damaged pride and a couple of scratches, there were no serious injuries," according to Victoria Fielding, who wrote the record application.  

Now as to why someone would build such a bike--you've got me.  But I admit that I enjoyed watching the ride!

17 January 2018

Leaving The Sunshine In State

I've left the Sunshine State.

Did I leave in a state of sunshine?  

Maybe I left the sunshine in the state:

Yes, I'm back in New York now. The sidewalks look like 7-11 Slurpees without the bright colors.  And snow is fluttering down.

One thing I didn't bring with me was the wind I experienced while in Florida.  Oh well.  ;-)