Wednesday, October 10, 2012


King David had to set aside one third of his army to guard his stuff. His stuff, booty and treasures became a burden to him. His stuff cause him a lot of pain, yet he could not get rid of it. He was addicted you could say.

I wonder about my addiction to stuff. Why do I buy anything? Why do I have so many fountain pens (in the guise of a collection), what is it with my golf balls? Why do I have three pair of white running shoes? Why do I need four pair of cycling glasses....and on it goes.

I am starting to realize that stuff is a burden and an addiction. Our cities are designed around stuff but I am slowly, like an addict who admits to a problem, starting to see the light.

The light began to turn on when I was on a bike trip and passed through one of those shops that sells pottery, dolls, know the type. My friends were ooing and ahhing..but I was immune to the charms of that shop. I did buy a soap.

I have more bars of handmade and handcrafted soap than anyone I know, barring the soapmakers. I am not sure why.

I now do a lot of cycling. I have enough cycling clothing to last a was on sale...but why? To my credit, I have stopped buying cycling kits for some months now as I realized it was excessive.

But why do we, why do I do things to excess? I have always done so. Like a junkie looking for that one great high...trying to repeat it. With a teen I liked Rogers and Galette soap..the great smell. So now...well never can get that 'high'

So I am drowning in stuff. Occasionally I will purge and give away piles of materials, magazines, books, clothing...but the basement is still full...camping gear...from my canoe tripping days...sleeping bags for summer and winter...antique snow shoes..wooden skis...why?

When you have stuff to this extent you are never really free.  I am starting to realize that food for me is like stuff. I eat well...but I eat too much. Like having so many bars of soap. It is as if I am looking for a thrill ..but cant get it.

Addicts I know are people who live to excess in all things. Hallowe'en decorations in August, Santas on the roof...largess in all things. They are looking for a high, for a measure of satisfaction in things. It is easy to see this but perhaps harder in my case. In my case, my motto has appeared to be excess in all things.

Time to moderate. I will wean my addiction by avoiding shops...and vowing not to purchase any more soap until the last flake of my considerable collection has been used. I will also apply this understanding to food and not use it as a medicine to satiate my appetite for the impossible, for the excessive, or for the thrill.

I am getting off the roller coaster..the ride is over.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Bike Groups

I have ridden a bike as a commuter, sport cyclist and enthusiast. I frequent different kinds of bike shops and it seems to me that each type of bike has its own culture.

The Commuter
These bikes are heavy, hybrid types that the rider does not mind getting muddy or dirty. They have large panniers for a change of clothing and hauling work materials. The commuter rarely wears spandex, preferring instead to tuck pants into socks and wear street clothing. Commuters have a huge advantage in Ottawa and that is, they don't pay for parking. We are becoming numerous enough so that the city has bike lanes created just for us. These bikes are noted for their black oily chains and members of the commuter class often sport greasy chain marks on their pants or calves. Bikes are usually make of aluminum but also can be made of steel. Canadian tire, Wallmart or MEC are where they hang out.

The language
Commuters like to boast about the distance they ride to work. They will make a point of this when they are in the elevator or in the lunchroom. "Yeah well I did my 20k today,,,brutal in that snow" It is a point of pride to them that they are saving the planet and being responsible.

Commuters like to save money so will likely pack their own lunches in responsible packaging. They will bring a thermos full of their own coffee or they will go for a jog!

The Hipster
There is a fascination with fixie bikes and there is a culture around this. The fixie rides for fashion. The fixie rider wears a cap, rolled jeans and a trendy jacket. They frequent starbucks and the rim wheels generally match the chain. The idea is simplicity but often these bikes have unusual handlebars. Fixie riders frequent organic markets, Bridgehead coffee shops and the Westboro part of town. They can also be found downtown. They don't mount lights, or bells on their bike as it destroys the simple look. The bikes are steel. They congregate at Tall Trees

The language
The hipster is connected to their iphone so they will tweet and text rather than speak. "OMG your wheels match your chain and your shirt...that is SOOO cool!" "I want to get one of those you know wicker baskets in the front"

Lunches: Internet cafes so they can stay connected!

The retro
The retro rider is one who believes that bikes have not advanced much over the past 30 years and ride vintage road bikes with down tube shifters. A true retro rider will use rat trap pedals and leather straps. They generally keep their bikes immaculately clean and ride with a purpose as if making a statement. These folks will wear wool cycling jerseys and caps but never ever spandex. Brooks saddles. These bikes are steel..upgrading is admitting defeat! These folks shop on line or go to Tall Trees

The language
They will speak of the golden age of bicycles and how the old bikes were better made. They will speak about bands that have disappeared, of movies long forgotten, of fountain pens and how cell phones are a menace to the free world. If it is old, it has to be better!

A classic pub

Hint: Brooks saddles are a dead give away!

The Roadie Type A
The type A roadie has the latest computer and the latest bike with electronic shifting. The bike will have a powermeter and they will tell you everything about their bike and the geometry. The bike is squeaky clean as they clean the chain every time they think about the bike. The saddle is almost always a Fiz Ik or whatever saddle Bradley Wiggins used. They often will buy tour de France team jerseys and wear them on club rides. The type A roadie never stops during a ride, preferring to have short breaks. They will bore you with details about their wheels, the carbon frame or titanium as the case may be and why Pinarello is better than Look. A new bike every year! I have seen them at Cycle power which has its windows full of magnificent bikes.

The type A roadie would never dream of venturing on a ride unless their kit matches. They will eat in fancy coffee shops or restaurants always within reach of their bike. They drink perrier water when they stop.

Language: These folks speak about power intervals, wattage used, geometry, average speed and statistics. Anything new and fast! If they are slow, they are having a 'recovery day'. They will tell you how wonderful a rider they are within a few minutes. "Yea I was slow my average speed was only 35km/hr going uphill..I usually go much faster"  " I could have gone pro...but it does not pay enough"

Lunch: Gluten free with perrier please!

The Roadie Type B
The Type B roadie is the opposite of the Type A and usually these two groups, although they sport road bikes will not associate with one another. Type B's are older riders who have ridden for many years. They have high quality bikes but are not impressed with the latest gadgetry, While not as fixed to the past as the retro rider, the type B roadie will wait at least a few years before upgrading. They wear spandex but would not be caught dead in a Tour de France kit. They will wear local team jerseys or charity jerseys but are less concerned about matching. They go for value and will be seen at local bike shops like Bertrands. These folks stop for lunch and enjoy a good beer.

The language
These folks will speak about the history of the bike clubs or rides that they would go on. They are usually a font of information but unlike the Roadie A, they do not boast and it is only after some time that you learn of their accomplishments.

A good pub with a beer.

The messenger
These are the daring young men in their flying machines. They are usually tall and slim with beards and long hair. They  rarely wear bike helmets, preferring baseball caps or trendy wool caps. They ride single geared bikes and weave through traffic with the art of a ballet dancer. They wear shorts or knickers, are caked in mud and are the best cyclists of all. They congregate at Tim hortons for coffee and actually earn money with their bikes! Phat Moose cycles caters to these guys!

Like the hipster they are young, but because they ride for work and not for appearance or fashion, they are less connected to their iphone or ipad. They can be seen taking instruction and then with a few words ride off into the rain or snow. They don't congregate for periods of time because they have deadlines and packages to deliver

Karine's Blog

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