Motorized bicycles that are ‘non-motorized’? Say hello to my ‘cat’

This morning was perfect for a bicycle ride from Longmont to Lyons, a distance of about 10 miles if you start at the Smith place. It’s always great fun to be on the road with nearly as many cyclists as motor vehicle operators. Mrs. Smith and I aren’t the slowest people on bicycles, but we’re not so fast that we miss the scenery, the road-killed snakes, and all the yellow skins apparently shed along the way by bananas that no longer need them.

We’re also noticing more and more of those e-bike things, which I thought were referred to as such because they have electric motors. Silly me.

I read in the Denver Post after our human-powered morning ride that the U.S. government has decreed that e-bikes are actually “non-motorized.”

And up is actually down, unless I have that backwards.

My favorite and funniest part of the article, even though this is no laughing matter:

“The Interior statement said riders must use the motor only to boost their pedaling on the trails, and not zip along on motor power alone.”

The absurdity is obvious: The Department of the Interior has determined that the riders in question don’t have motors. What’s more, we all know that cyclists, motor vehicle operators, and even riders of non-motorized contraptions that do have motors routinely fail to do many of the things they must do.

I wouldn’t deny anyone the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, as much as or even much more than I do. The arguments in favor of using e-bikes to get around are numerous, and many of those reasons are actually good.

As a writer and editor who cares about language, however, I do take exception to calling things and people something they are not.

By the way, I thought I’d share a picture of my cat, since people love cat pictures so much.

Pedal on, my friends.

B.J.

In search of good bicycle fiction

Something prompted me to search for “bicycle fiction” and “cycling fiction” this weekend. (OK, the prompt just might have been this book review.)

My search turned up some short fiction but not many exact matches. I did find A Simple Machine, Like the Lever on Goodreads and tagged it as a book I want to read.

Movies about bicycling are easy to find, often in lists like this one:

The 26 Best Cycling Movies of All Time

time lapse photography of man riding bicycle
Photo by Stepan Kriz on Pexels.com

If there are 26 “best,” that leaves me wondering how many cycling movies there are, and how much time I’m willing to put into watching.

I’m more inclined to read, if anyone out there can recommend some good novels that you consider bicycling or cycling fiction.

Pedal on.

B.J.

P.S. I read Lance Armstrong’s It’s Not About the Bike when it was considered nonfiction, so don’t bother.

 

NORTH OF GRAND: New Detective Red Shaw novel now on Amazon

A man turns up dead in a bicycle storage locker on a muggy August morning and Detective Red Shaw takes the heat.

bicycle-2462199-enhancedShaw has just outsmarted a murderous sociopath who almost killed him. Now he has another homicide to investigate—while he’s hobbled by a sore knee, distracted by a steamy new romance, and dodging accusations of coercing a confession in an old case.

Shaw and his partner probe the sometimes toxic, competitive world of amateur bicycle racing, where they find a web of cryptic social media messaging, stolen property, drug trafficking, and murder.

Get it now on Amazon!

If you somehow missed the first Red Shaw novel, called a “compelling, gut-wrenching thriller” by one reviewer, you can get that on Amazon, too: BLOOD SOLUTIONS.

Dangerous thoughts on a Boulder trail

bike-197229The tall, slender man rolled fast toward me
on his bicycle, talking to the purple-haired
woman riding next to him, looking at his phone,
unaware of his likely imminent demise.

I had the body mass index advantage, I said
later. I had a helmet. I was going downhill
as he was going up. He was shirtless and the
road rash would be ugly if he even survived.

My bicycle was new, nearly scratch-free. I had
things to do, a looming deadline, bills to pay.
I shouted, too politely, and spared his life,
as I had with the oblivious guy the other day.

The next time he may not hear me and we’ll collide
but I swear in advance that I tried to avoid him
even though I was tempted to teach him a lesson.
I really don’t have time to waste in prison.

 

I shot the piper

Out for a sunny Sunday morning bicycle ride, in search of good coffee and wildlife, I heard the reedy chant of the elusive Boulder County piper as I rolled into the little town of Lyons. I stopped at the corner, looked to my right, my left, ahead and behind, but could not find the source before it fell silent.

Thinking to press on to the Stone Cup and hoping to spot the wily creature on the way back home, I clicked into a pedal and pushed off only to stop again as the mournful drone and melody came right back to life.

Up. I looked up, and there it was.

God help me, I shot it. I bagged my first piper.

DSCN0700 (2)

Roadkill

The Duke lies still and dead on the edge of the road, his pink flamingo finery fluttering in the breeze. The Jester rolls to a stop in the loose, dusty gravel of the shoulder, then pedals away to the east. A string of purple beads glitters in the sun.

The writing on the bus

The Flatirons rock formations, near Boulder, C...
The Flatirons rock formations, near Boulder, Colorado. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Writing on the bus makes the commute go faster. Sometimes too fast.

My morning commute to work is complicated, which to me is a good thing. It varies from bicycle-bus-shuttle to Jeep-bus-shuttle, to bike-shuttle, to pure bicycle. If my bicycle makes it to work with me, I almost always ride it the 18-20 miles home and sometimes farther, depending on which of the innumerable possible routes I take.

Five or six times a year I drive to work.

My commute is never boring. I’m either reading, or doing a crossword puzzle, enjoying views of the Rocky Mountain foothills and the Flatirons over Boulder, or writing something.

Writing fiction, I’ve concluded, is the quickest way to get to work and back home to Longmont.

I hope those who’ve read my first Red Shaw novel will be pleased to hear that I made fairly significant progress just today on the next one. The working title is North of Grand.

Forget the crossword puzzles.