Fish & Bicycles is a general topics blog, currently published out of Bellingham, Washington, USA. No, not a blog ostensibly about Bellingham, although our fair hamlet is mentioned regularly. Think of it as the voice of someone from Bellingham, someone who writes about whatever strikes his fancy at any given moment, on any given day: current events, life experiences, art, design, music, film, theater, the written word, technology, travel, sustainability, spirituality, fatherhood, etc.
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Hey there, strangers! I wish I could say that I’m adding this post because I am, at long last, returning to blogging here at Fish & Bicycles. I really do wish I could say that. I miss it terribly. Sadly, my life path has taken a rather unfortunate turn. In July 2018, just a few … Continue reading Thanks For All...
Hey there, strangers!
I wish I could say that I’m adding this post because I am, at long last, returning to blogging here at Fish & Bicycles.
I really do wish I could say that. I miss it terribly.
Sadly, my life path has taken a rather unfortunate turn.
In July 2018, just a few months after my last post here, I was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, aka ALS, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
I remain proud of the work I did here, but mostly it was a heck of a lot fun, a great vehicle for maintaining a regular writing practice, the birthplace of my photography pursuits (posting now to my Instagram account), and an occasional outlet for venting about politics.
Alas, the past year and a half has been pretty much all-consuming, and it’s just not in the cards for me to return here to blog.
That said, I HAVE been writing. In fact, I’m nearing completion of the first draft of a memoir that will provide all the details of my journey since diagnosis, it will be published right here on WordPress.com, and I will return to Fish & Bicycles one last time to add a link to the memoir.
Update – 1/15/2020: My memoir is complete and now accessible online:
“I see the light at the end of the tunnel now… Someone please tell me it’s not a train.” ~from “I See The Light” by Cracker For the past six months or so, I’ve spent most of my writing time online using my Twitter account: @FishAndBicycles. Now, some writers would argue that calling this “writing” … Continue reading The Future Is Unstoppable – Death Throes Are Ugly...
“I see the light at the end of the tunnel now…
Someone please tell me it’s not a train.”
~from “I See The Light” by Cracker
For the past six months or so, I’ve spent most of my writing time online using my Twitter account: @FishAndBicycles.
Now, some writers would argue that calling this “writing” is being generous, and there are times when I question it as well. And yet, ultimately I really do believe that there is a value to regularly writing these short, formerly 140 and now 280-character, compositions; forced, as you are, to trim the fat and think creatively about how to say a lot with a little.
BUT, there is one significant drawback of spending so much time on Twitter: the daily barrage of bad news can wear down even the most enthusiastic optimist.
Today started out as one of those days, it was really getting to me, the despair threatening to drag me down. I thought about reposting a post that I wrote back in October 2017 about reaching a saturation point and the impulse to hide one’s head in the sand.
But then, a thought — one I’ve had before and have hoped to explore in writing at some point — changed my direction. A thought that, on my best days, I can actually believe:
…and, the future, despite any appearances to the contrary, will be much, much better.
There’s plenty to complain about when it comes to Hollywood, but one indisputable fact is that movies and TV shows are steadily and increasingly presenting images of a diverse world populated by people of color, powerful women, and non-binary gender identities.
In other words, Hollywood is more reflective of the world we actually live in than it has ever been before, and it’s having a very positive, normalizing effect. Young people who are not brainwashed by bigoted families and communities see diversity and equality as the normal, positive state of things, they are more likely to stand up for and with people of color, to see women as fully equal to men, and increasingly LGBTQ young people are feeling safer and safer coming out and claiming the right to be their genuine selves.
This is the future.
Demographic trends prove it is unstoppable.
At the same time, those who believe in white patriarchal supremacy are trying to fight off the unstoppable, and they are resorting to increasingly brash and violent measures, pushing the boundaries of legal behavior or embracing outright lawlessness and authoritarianism.
But make no mistake. These are death throes. They are ugly, but they are futile.
Anyway, as I said, that’s what I believe on my best days, and there are other days when these ideas are no solace at all.
“I see the light at the end of the tunnel now…
Someone please tell me it’s not a train.”
I can’t believe it’s been 10 weeks! This is the 5th and last post in my series on my experience with the Viking E-Bikes program, offered by my employer, Western Washington University, a program promoting electric bicycles as a sustainable transportation alternative. As I mentioned in my first post in the series, the program provides … Continue reading Viking E-Bikes, Vol....
I can’t believe it’s been 10 weeks!
This is the 5th and last post in my series on my experience with the Viking E-Bikes program, offered by my employer, Western Washington University, a program promoting electric bicycles as a sustainable transportation alternative.
As I mentioned in my first post in the series, the program provides participants with a loaner e-bike, specifically the eProdigy Jasper pictured here, for the length of a 10-week academic term, asking only that the participants write a little about their experience, to be shared on the Rider Stories page of their website.
In my 3rd post, I made a simple Good and Bad list, with my findings up to that point, and as promised, here are my updated and final observations:
So, I handed my bike in this morning and I was a little sad to do it
It didn’t help one bit that this had to be done on the first day of spring, as the number of rainy days decrease, the daylight hours increase, trees are exploding with buds and blossoms…
But, I’ll probably be buying my own e-bike soon, so hopefully I’ll be back in the saddle before too long.
True Story: When I was a kid, there was this tiny magazine called TV Guide. I was thumbing through it looking for something to watch, when I saw: State of the Union. And I thought it was like an award show, and one state would be declared the best state. So disappointing. — Fish & … Continue reading State of...
Welcome to the 4th installment of my series of posts covering my experience in Viking E-Bikes, a program at Western Washington University (my employer), promoting electric bicycles as a sustainable transportation alternative. As mentioned in the last installment, the experience so far has been a mix of good and bad. As it turns out, a … Continue reading Viking E-Bikes, Vol. 4:...
Welcome to the 4th installment of my series of posts covering my experience in Viking E-Bikes, a program at Western Washington University (my employer), promoting electric bicycles as a sustainable transportation alternative.
As mentioned in the last installment, the experience so far has been a mix of good and bad. As it turns out, a miscommunication between the program and the bike shop they’ve partnered with for maintenance and repairs resulted in the bike not having had its quarterly maintenance.
So, that explained most of the problems I experienced.
The bike was returned a few weeks ago to the shop for the tune-up it didn’t have, and to address specifically the following problems that I reported when I turned the bike in:
Within a minute of riding the bike once it was returned from the shop, I was delighted to find that all of these items had been fixed: the wobble was gone, the breaks adjusted and trustworthy, the clicking sound gone, the chain guard replaced, aligned correctly, and the grinding sound gone.
However, I’m sorry to report that another issue I mentioned in my last post — the poor experience with how the shifting of gears and power assist work together — is now, inexplicably, worse than it was, and the throttle — the on-demand power lever for when you need immediate assistance, often in safety-related situations — only works intermittently.
Imagine, if you will, these three experiences from just one day this past week:
There are at least two possible explanations for this behavior:
For now, I’ve ridden my 5-mile each way commute route a dozen times since I got the bike back from the shop, and I’m disappointed to conclude that I’m gonna have to turn it back in. The performance is just way too uneven for me, causing considerable annoyance and frustration, but worse, in some cases, dangerous moments of the bike not responding when and how I need it to, a considerable safety risk that I’m not willing to take.
I’ll mention to the coordinator of the Viking E-Bikes program my suspicion that it could be a calibration issue, but I’ll end this post with one last observation that I think is very important in the context of the program’s mission of promoting electric bikes as a viable sustainable transportation alternative.
Reliability & Maintenance Level/Cost
It’s asking enough of prospective buyers to consider spending several thousand dollars on an electric bike — when they could easily walk into REI and get a decent conventional commuter bike for $500-$600, or half that if they buy at Walmart or a used bike via Craigslist — but many buyers are intimidated by all of the technology, the more parts, moving or electronic, goes the saying, the more that can go wrong. And even if they can perform simple conventional bike maintenance, like cleaning and lubricating their chain, adjusting breaks, or changing a tire, the learning curve for maintaining or repairing the added parts and electronics, or the prospect of regularly having to pay a mechanic at a shop to do it, could be enough to ward them off, and in the case of buyers who might not cycle at all if they can’t have the power assist, fossil fuel burning automobiles may be the only alternative for them.
Add to that the possibility that, since electric bikes are still so relatively new on the market and greatly outnumbered by conventional bikes, who knows if the mechanic at your local shop even knows how to maintain or repair one.
I am a prospective buyer. It’s the main reason I signed up for the Viking E-Bikes program. I’m 53 years old, and while not grossly out of shape, the 5-mile each way commute I have now, and the hills that come with it, is sadly out of reach for me on a conventional bike.
But I LOVE cycling and my hope remains that either this bike I’m using now can be calibrated correctly, so that it functions as it should, or that a better bike is out there, with only my research and test driving in the way of finding it.
Meanwhile, it’s back to the shop once more, and I’ll provide an update in my next post.
TFW you desperately check Twitter every morning, and many more times throughout each day, looking for breaking news that the criminals currently "running" our government have been brought to justice, the nightmare brought to an end, only to find the opposite. — Fish & Bicycles (@FishandBicycles) January 25,...
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