Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Remembering Jose

Jose almost never made it to the start of a team ride. It was always a bit of a guessing game as to whether or not he would turn up somewhere along the way. Jose knew the usual route passed close by his house, so why make the extra trip to the coffee shop when he could have coffee at home with his family. As we'd head south along the lake, I kept an eye open for him. Because although a team ride was good, a team ride with Jose was better.

More often than not, there he would be, pedaling towards us in the opposite lane. He'd make a slow U-turn and catch on. I'd drift back and check in with Jose. I don't exactly remember what we'd talk about. Definitely bicycles. Probably family. He had an ironic and self-deprecating sense of humor that matched my own. After a few minutes, I'd move back up the line. No need to monopolize his time. There would be plenty of opportunities to finish the conversation later. If not on this ride, then on the next one.

That all changed forever last Friday. While Jose was out on a training ride, a van made a sudden left turn, killing him. So Jose won't be joining us on our team rides anymore. But I won't stop looking up the road for my friend. Because even if it's just in my imagination, a ride with Jose is still better than one without.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I mentioned in an earlier post that I am a child of the space age. And today marks the 40th anniversary of a monumental day, that I still recall vividly. When those words came through the television, we all collectively started breathing again. The real drama would come hours later, when Armstrong eased his way down the ladder and jumped to the surface of another world. Kennedy's admonition would not be complete for a few more days, when the task of "returning him safely to the Earth" had been completed. But we were on the Moon!

P.S. For the moon-landing skeptics (all three of you), here's irrefutable photographic evidence we were there. The unmistakable sign of human visitation: trash!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Put the phone down, and keep your hands on the wheel

Our neighbors to the south, Oregon, have passed a law banning the use of handheld cellphones while driving. We've had a similar law here in Washington for the past year. It does seem to be having some impact, although I still see far too many drivers talking or texting while behind the wheel. I read this interesting comment from a Portland resident upset about the new ban:

"This is only going to cause more accidents. Because people will just fumble around with their phones in the seat next to them, while trying to use the speakerphone option instead. Or even worse, text with the phone in their crotch while repeatedly looking down instead of out of the windshield."

So, the implication is that it is impossible not to talk or text while driving and the new law will only force drivers to adopt even more dangerous behaviors to hide their actions. Really? What on Earth did you do before BlackBerries?