Signs of the times

A sign at the Copper trailhead breaks down social distancing for users, among other things.

Your intrepid bicycle reviewer took another test ride Wednesday — and in clipless pedals, too.

Again with the winning! So. Much. Winning.

The ride included a detour intended to help Herself the Elder decode a TV issue — or try to, anyway — and while I waited for Herself to arrive by auto to deliver supplies and provide translation services, I rolled east on Copper to the foothills trailhead to see what was what.

The small parking lot was full to overflowing, and a John Law was parked down the street, which made me wonder whether The Authorities were taking a tally of trail users with an eye toward declaring the open space off limits.

A little light shining in the darkness.

Probably not. Any trails closure would be impossible to enforce without cavalry, claymores, and helicopter gunships.

And the gendarmes have plenty of other things to do, like corral teenagers who apparently take the playlist at a party a bit too seriously, chase copper thieves, and argue with jailers who refuse to book suspects.

But there were a couple of new signs about social distancing and curve-flattening posted alongside the golden oldies about staying on trails, fetching trash home, and cleaning up after Fido. So, like the rest of us, The Authorities are doing what they can given the circumstances.

Back to Herself the Elder’s place. Herself had still not arrived, so I rolled down the street a ways, thinking I’d see if there were some way to loop around to the Dark Tower without using Copper.

And then I saw the sign. “Free Masks.” Someone was going above and beyond, with no thought of reward. There may be hope for the species yet.

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21 Responses to “Signs of the times”

  1. JD Dallager Says:

    “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” Sounds like a good opening sentence, eh? Already been used by someone way brighter and insightful and talented…..need I go on…….than I. But oh so accurate in describing mankind during times of crisis. You see both the best and worst rise to the top of the thin veneer/facade we call society/civilization. I prefer to revel in the upside of people doing incredible things to elevate our species.

    “And every good artist knows that the gift comes from somewhere else, and it’s there for a reason, and that’s to make the world a better place.”
    ― James Lee Burke

    Stay safe and healthy, Mad Doggers! 🙂

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Got to keep your eyes peeled for those little bursts of joy, for sure.

      The folks at Herself the Elder’s assisted-living house provide plenty of those. They’re really going the extra mile in what must be extraordinarily challenging times for caregivers. I think HtE is the “baby” of the place, at 86; one of the residents is 105 and another 102. There’s dementia, oxygen use, mobility issues, you name it, they deal with it. And creatively, too.

      Who knew elder care is an art form? Anyone who’s ever practiced it, that’s who.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    I stopped at La Monanita a couple days ago as we had no yeast in the house and took a detour home on the River Trail in Fanta Se. It was wall to wall people, and I wonder if the Mayor shutting down city parks had anything to do with the spillover onto the trails. I’ll be sure to head outa town as I don’t normally like crowds and this old pandemic makes them even more toxic to me.

    As you say, there is just so much stir-crazy the public can take. If the state shuts down open space, I think there will be issues. But as Larry’s wife says, people are stupid. That was borne out the other day and not just by the crowds on the trails.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, I abandoned the Tramway bike path almost immediately. It’s nuts. And I’m not riding off-pavement for the foreseeable future because likewise.

      Happily, my outings being short as I continue to rehab the ankle, it’s easy to put together a moderately challenging, fun, socially distant ride on the suburban streets east of Tramway. The “serious” cyclists are still doing the usual rides, from what I can tell, so I mostly don’t see them where I am. Not for long, anyway.

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    I surely don’t qualify as a serious cyclist now, if I ever did. Haven’t turned a pedal in 3 weeks. Seems my outdoor time is better for me on two feet instead of two wheels. I haven’t given up on riding, but I’m sure that life is change, and we usually end up in a better time. At least those of us with a steady income, and a little stashed away for tough times.
    Hopefully the others will refuse to BOHICA, and get these self-serving assholes out of elected offices, but you know what the Professor says. And, I would like to hear from our man on the scene in Sicily.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I walked yesterday, just a hair over a mile, here in the ’hood. Yesterday was the first day I did without the ankle brace (in the house, anyway; I wore it on my walk). Still wearing shoes instead of my thousand-year-old Tevas while indoors, too. I think the foot appreciates the additional support.

      And I appreciate the riding, however brief. It’s nice to get outdoors, consider how a new bike behaves, contemplate the earning of a little fresh dinero.

      As regards Larry, he seems irked with us. Apparently he thinks we’re doing it wrong over here, and who knows? He may be right. He’s been in the tunnel, and we’re pretty much still in the sunlight. And I don’t know what his circumstances are at the moment.

      That said, before he disappeared on us he wrote something about me over at his place that I’m not happy about. He’s a hothead, with a point he wanted to drive home, and he cherry-picked a few bits from this blog to make it, ignoring the bigger picture I’d drawn because it didn’t suit his argument.

      It was a crock of shit, frankly, and I don’t take shit. I haven’t blocked Larry from commenting here, but I don’t care to hear from him until he’s prepared to offer an apology for misrepresenting what I’ve written.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I was wondering what happened with Larry and noted that he was pretty pissed off a couple times. Just checked his blog and well…I was a little surprised but not too surprised after seeing his comments here.

        My cousin Gina is a performance artist in NYC, out of work since there are no performances, and can’t afford the rent much longer. My nephew and his two little girls are in Buffalo in self quarantine after being exposed at a friend’s house. So far, asymptomatic. One of my colleagues called yesterday and said her son’s best friend just lost his mom in Texas. One of my wife’s quilting buddies just died of the covid up here in Fanta Se. Yeah, its grim.

        Being in the higher risk age group, we minimize our contact time with people and when we go out, go out where there are minimal people. I’ve actually thought about getting a set of rollers (I stupidly gave mine up at a bike swap when I decided I would never pin on a number again) but given my ability on rollers, I’m probably better off on the road. With minimal traffic, the risk of getting squashed is lower.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        No question you have to be vigilant. The Bug swept through that senior-citizens home over off Montgomery and Juan Tabo like thin ale through a tall Irishman.

        But we are doing what we think makes sense for us in our circumstances. We keep our distance from anyone who isn’t us; go to the grocery every couple of weeks instead of whenever we get the munchies; and wash our hands more vigorously and more often than a pair of raccoons that stumbled into some tweeker’s meth stash. We’ve made rudimentary masks, and Herself’s eldest sis, a whiz with a sewing machine, is whipping us up something a little more disco.

        We’re in a low-density area with absurdly wide streets, and it’s possible to go outside for an hour without coming within spitting distance of any other humans. See someone on the sidewalk? Wave hello and cross the street. Overtaking another cyclist? Announce your presence and intent, and go wide. Easy peasy.

        No trails. The users are all too close for my comfort, and so are the rocks and spiky vegetation. How’d you like to be the guy who turns up in the ER with a JRA injury right about now? Not me, brother. I’m even handling my own physical therapy, which is probably about as smart as representing yourself in court. But it seems the thing to do.

        • khal spencer Says:

          I stay on the same old trails over at LaTierra to avoid surprises such as the time last summer when I did an endo on a newly discovered (to me) trail that dropped into a sand pit. I also set the trail on the Stumpjumper to a slacker angle so I don’t pretend to be some sort of expert. There are very few people up there so far and everyone is pretty cool about yielding those six feet on the rare occasion we pass each other.

          The roads up north and west of town (Tour de Tano, Las Campanas Tour de Arrogant White Folk) are quiet and sparsely used.

          I’ve also set my rides to about an hour rather than my usual hours long weekend rides. Its a balance between getting outa the house and not generating more exposure hours.

          Of course last night I turned off the computer, turned off the light, and promptly tripped over one of the dog toys and almost landed on my ass. Home is still where most accidents happen.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        I was not aware of his post. Yea, it was a crock of shit. I was going to point out to him earlier, before he disappeared from here, that rural Arizona ain’t fucking Sicily for a lot of obvious reasons, but gave him a little slack instead. Doesn’t seem he’s willing to give a little slack in return. Well, Larry if you are reading this, I hope you and the professor are safe and well. But, I am siding with the “left winger” that thinks that Trump fucked this whole thing up. Having worked in the DoD for over 30 years, I can tell you that plans made and in place, in many parts of the executive branch including the DoD, to deal with this very situation were ignored. And I know a lot more about that than Larry. Bet on it.

        • khal spencer Says:

          Pat, I was surprised at the classified stuff, which since it is classified, I won’t mention. But given the pandemic’s effects on things like the critical health care systems in urban areas and potentially on aircraft carrier battle readiness, it should not have surprised me.

        • Shawn in the Gorge Says:

          It was apparent that our friend in Italy was passionate about his position, and that was just it, his position in the middle of the maelstrom of our damnpanic. As with all of us and through the kindness of our fine furry friends, Miss Sopaipilla(sp?) and Mr. O’Grady, we need to appreciate all of our views without trying to be too passionate lest those musical, artistic, beautiful, old and grumpy fellow cyclists and hobbling runners (I shant admit who the beautiful one is), and otherwise friends may choose to pelt us with old water bottles and rotten chili peppers. I seem to recall some reader on LUG that became a bit too passionate about politics and their criticisms of the LUG Tzars and was subsequently ridiculed by the LUG crowd as would be expected. I hope that when the passion of Italy subsides, that we may again be blessed with the wisdom from that part of the world.

          • khal spencer Says:

            I hope these fences can be mended too, but we all have to remember that this is not a Twitter feed or comment board on a newspaper where strangers can take shots at each other with impunity. We all live at this pickle barrel, at least virtually. Its family. Sure, families fight, but fights have consequences.

            I’ve held my tongue a few times here given some of my odd political beliefs, and I imagine others have as well. Heck, I went about ten years when my old man and I could not tolerate each other and another ten when it was pretty testy. But its funny what happens when the wife/mom gets terminal cancer. Old emotional wounds, both real and imagined, don’t seem so important any more when two old foes with a common bond are kneeling together watching someone take their last breath.

            Its O’G’s pickle barrel and O’G’s rules. When I read what Larry posted, I winced.

      • JD Dallager Says:

        IMHO, some issues are best resolved privately. Social media is the gift that keeps on giving, exacerbates differences, encourages getting the last word, and resolves very little. 🙂

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          Word, JD. I will point out that it was a pattern of behavior over a long time. It started long before this pandemic did. But, I am moving on. Enough said about this, and I’m sorry I brought it up. “He’s gone, but I don’t worry ’cause I’m sitting on top of the world.”

  4. ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmmmmm Says:

    Why are they called “clipless” pedals, when the clips are on the soles of your shoes instead of up and over the toes?

    Is that like the opposite of unravel is to un-unravel, because ravel means to unravel?

    I’m just sitting here enjoying the clement weather …

  5. SAO' Says:

    No one goes to the open space anymore … it’s too crowded!

    And the portions are too small.

  6. khal spencer Says:

    As far as being careful, I put up this post today.

  7. Stan Thomas Says:

    No more wheel-sucking…

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