18 Miles Per Hour

18 MilesPerHour is about riding through the world instead of just passing it by.
SLOWING DOWN.
As much as I try to live within the 18milesperhour way of thinking on a bike – going at just the right pace so you still take in the world around me – I often exceed that and the world passes by in a blur.
Especially on the little, seemingly insignificant routes I used to think of as mere “access trails.”
These are the ones that are usually between a mile and three miles long, often connecting the neighborhoods below to the main fire roads up in the hills. On a bike, they’re okay, but over in a blink and so I seldom really respected them, preferring instead to lavish my attention on the longer, unbroken trails.
But now that I’m adding in some off-road running, these trails are juuuuuust right. I park at the bottom and, within a quarter mile, I’m up in the nature I love so much.
They’re just steep and long enough to challenge the hell out of me.
Running on these trails has opened up areas of the mountain that I never before knew existed.
And they’ve also opened up new areas of myself that I never knew existed.
Because I’m a slow runner. I’ll never be a fast runner.
And as I plod up these trails and, after all these years, look around and take in their beauty…I don’t mind being slow.
It’s as if time, and my lifelong lack of running ability, is giving me exactly what I need right now.
And all it seems to want in return is my attention and my thanks.
So thank you.
- Brian

SLOWING DOWN.

As much as I try to live within the 18milesperhour way of thinking on a bike – going at just the right pace so you still take in the world around me – I often exceed that and the world passes by in a blur.

Especially on the little, seemingly insignificant routes I used to think of as mere “access trails.”

These are the ones that are usually between a mile and three miles long, often connecting the neighborhoods below to the main fire roads up in the hills. On a bike, they’re okay, but over in a blink and so I seldom really respected them, preferring instead to lavish my attention on the longer, unbroken trails.

But now that I’m adding in some off-road running, these trails are juuuuuust right. I park at the bottom and, within a quarter mile, I’m up in the nature I love so much.

They’re just steep and long enough to challenge the hell out of me.

Running on these trails has opened up areas of the mountain that I never before knew existed.

And they’ve also opened up new areas of myself that I never knew existed.

Because I’m a slow runner. I’ll never be a fast runner.

And as I plod up these trails and, after all these years, look around and take in their beauty…I don’t mind being slow.

It’s as if time, and my lifelong lack of running ability, is giving me exactly what I need right now.

And all it seems to want in return is my attention and my thanks.

So thank you.

- Brian

THROWBACK THURSDAY: CAMPAGNOLO CROCE D’AUNE DELTA BRAKES Sometimes those things that you lusted after when you were younger just don’t hold up. Then there are these. Named after the mountain pass in the Dolomites that inspired Tullio Campagnolo to invent the quick release. They were only made from 1988 to 1991 but have remained in my heart forever. The shape was and is so unique and sleek and elite. And always just out of my reach. I once had an exchange with a former wrench for a European team about these. He understood. He recalled the day that the team got their shipment. Opening the box, they heard a choir of angels sing as the light hit these beauties. Cut to a day later when, in the pits, he heard some of the riders flying by him at high speed, swearing at him in Italian. They couldn’t slow down. For him and his team, the lust lasted a mere 24 hours. For me, over 24 years. I know it’s impractical. I know they would be fussy, high-maintenance and would, ultimately, break my heart. But love is funny that way. - Brian

THROWBACK THURSDAY: CAMPAGNOLO CROCE D’AUNE DELTA BRAKES
Sometimes those things that you lusted after when you were younger just don’t hold up.
Then there are these.
Named after the mountain pass in the Dolomites that inspired Tullio Campagnolo to invent the quick release.
They were only made from 1988 to 1991 but have remained in my heart forever.
The shape was and is so unique and sleek and elite. And always just out of my reach.
I once had an exchange with a former wrench for a European team about these. He understood. He recalled the day that the team got their shipment. Opening the box, they heard a choir of angels sing as the light hit these beauties. Cut to a day later when, in the pits, he heard some of the riders flying by him at high speed, swearing at him in Italian. They couldn’t slow down.
For him and his team, the lust lasted a mere 24 hours. For me, over 24 years.
I know it’s impractical. I know they would be fussy, high-maintenance and would, ultimately, break my heart. But love is funny that way.
- Brian

OVER THE HUMP: OFF ROAD COMMUTE UP SULLIVAN FIRE ROAD
It’s “Hump Day” so it’s time to write about one of the more memorable hills in my cycling life.
Sullivan Fire Road is a mountain biking fixture in Los Angeles.
Take Capri road north of Sunset Blvd. in Brentwood/Pacific Palisades until it ends and turns into this fire road. About 5.5 miles of climbing takes you up and up and up until you hit Dirt Mulholland. It’s dusty, hot, exposed, steep and usually thought of as a way to get to other, more interesting trails. I used it for 15 years in this capacity.
Then I started occasionally commuting off road to the Santa Monica and this climb changed for me.
It wasn’t easy to do on my already-heavy, steel ‘cross/touring bike, laden with work bags. But once I began this long, slow climb I knew I was leaving the West Side, and work, behind. It felt like I was on vacation. I could just take my time and escape the man-made madness below.
It felt like a true escape. 
It felt better than any post-work cocktail – but that didn’t stop me from pausing under the Sullivan Oak for a sunset nip of Bushmills from my Surly Flask from time to time.
Once at the top, it was usually time to flick on the lights, turn west and take the rolling ride along Dirt Mulholland back to Woodland Hills.
Perfect.
Somehow, when it became part of my commute, it entered my heart.
It got more special.
It took the addition of work to make this climb feel like play.
- Brian 
OVER THE HUMP: OFF ROAD COMMUTE UP SULLIVAN FIRE ROAD
It’s “Hump Day” so it’s time to write about one of the more memorable hills in my cycling life.
Sullivan Fire Road is a mountain biking fixture in Los Angeles.
Take Capri road north of Sunset Blvd. in Brentwood/Pacific Palisades until it ends and turns into this fire road. About 5.5 miles of climbing takes you up and up and up until you hit Dirt Mulholland. It’s dusty, hot, exposed, steep and usually thought of as a way to get to other, more interesting trails. I used it for 15 years in this capacity.
Then I started occasionally commuting off road to the Santa Monica and this climb changed for me.
It wasn’t easy to do on my already-heavy, steel ‘cross/touring bike, laden with work bags. But once I began this long, slow climb I knew I was leaving the West Side, and work, behind. It felt like I was on vacation. I could just take my time and escape the man-made madness below.
It felt like a true escape. 
It felt better than any post-work cocktail – but that didn’t stop me from pausing under the Sullivan Oak for a sunset nip of Bushmills from my Surly Flask from time to time.
Once at the top, it was usually time to flick on the lights, turn west and take the rolling ride along Dirt Mulholland back to Woodland Hills.
Perfect.
Somehow, when it became part of my commute, it entered my heart.
It got more special.
It took the addition of work to make this climb feel like play.
- Brian 
HAPPY FRIDAY. RIDE YOUR BIKE THIS WEEKEND.
Happy Birthday Mick.
Speaking of glimmer.
And Exile. 
And Sticky Fingers.

Well, that’s all the Stones references I’ve got.
Hope your rides are more satisfying.
HAPPY FRIDAY. RIDE YOUR BIKE THIS WEEKEND.
Happy Birthday Mick.
Speaking of glimmer.
And Exile
Well, that’s all the Stones references I’ve got.
Hope your rides are more satisfying.
THROWBACK THURSDAY: 1988 CANNONDALE ROAD BIKE
Man, did I save and save and save my ass off for this thing.
But it was real.
For two years before this, I ground and mashed my way around on my older brother’s early ‘70s Nishiki Olympic.
But that was a casual, campus ten-speed that had been dressed up to look like a serious road bike.
It was a hag in drag.
But now…I was legit.
I had committed to a serious road bike.
Never mind that it was the bottom of the line, had terrible components and the cheap wheels went out of true after 50 miles.
It was $350 – the most I’d ever spent on anything and I felt like I’d arrived.
So what’d I go and do?
I went and put this one in drag, too. Just look at that poor thing.
The seat cover.
The color-fade bar tape.
The Scott tri bar.
Oh the humanity.
But warts and polka dot seat covers and all, she’ll always be in my heart.
Because to me she was beautiful.
She was my first.
- Brian
THROWBACK THURSDAY: 1988 CANNONDALE ROAD BIKE
Man, did I save and save and save my ass off for this thing.
But it was real.
For two years before this, I ground and mashed my way around on my older brother’s early ‘70s Nishiki Olympic.
But that was a casual, campus ten-speed that had been dressed up to look like a serious road bike.
It was a hag in drag.
But now…I was legit.
I had committed to a serious road bike.
Never mind that it was the bottom of the line, had terrible components and the cheap wheels went out of true after 50 miles.
It was $350 – the most I’d ever spent on anything and I felt like I’d arrived.
So what’d I go and do?
I went and put this one in drag, too. Just look at that poor thing.
The seat cover.
The color-fade bar tape.
The Scott tri bar.
Oh the humanity.
But warts and polka dot seat covers and all, she’ll always be in my heart.
Because to me she was beautiful.
She was my first.
- Brian
OVER THE HUMP: GATES PASS.
It’s “Hump Day” so I’d like to write about one of the more memorable hills in my cycling life.
If you head west out of Tucson on Speedway Boulevard, under the highway and past, well, everything, then you’ll eventually begin the long, gradual climb toward Gates Pass.
It’s not particularly challenging, as climbs go, but it’s unrelenting in the heat.
If you’ve got to suffer in those conditions, you may as well do it with a view. 
It was my first legit hill conquest as a cyclist.
It was the first time I got “you climbed that? On a bicycle?” from a passing car.
The one that allowed me to identify juuuuuuust a little with my cycling heroes as I watched the paltry, half-hour, weekend Tour recap on Wide World of Sports.
I haven’t done it in over 20 years and I doubt I’ll ever get another shot at it.
But I’d like to thank that hill for all the good times.
Now go punish some other young, upstart cyclist.
They’ll thank you later.
- Brian

OVER THE HUMP: GATES PASS.
It’s “Hump Day” so I’d like to write about one of the more memorable hills in my cycling life.
If you head west out of Tucson on Speedway Boulevard, under the highway and past, well, everything, then you’ll eventually begin the long, gradual climb toward Gates Pass.
It’s not particularly challenging, as climbs go, but it’s unrelenting in the heat.
If you’ve got to suffer in those conditions, you may as well do it with a view.
It was my first legit hill conquest as a cyclist.
It was the first time I got “you climbed that? On a bicycle?” from a passing car.
The one that allowed me to identify juuuuuuust a little with my cycling heroes as I watched the paltry, half-hour, weekend Tour recap on Wide World of Sports.
I haven’t done it in over 20 years and I doubt I’ll ever get another shot at it.
But I’d like to thank that hill for all the good times.
Now go punish some other young, upstart cyclist.
They’ll thank you later.
- Brian

HAPPY FRIDAY. RIDE YOUR BIKE THIS WEEKEND.
This day in 1996 The Spice Girls made their Telly debut on TOTP. The music world has been fighting to recover from it ever since.
While we’re on the subject, how about a Spice Girls bike.
Or Spice Road bike tours.
And best yet…how to build your own bike light with a spice jar.
 
HAPPY FRIDAY. RIDE YOUR BIKE THIS WEEKEND.
This day in 1996 The Spice Girls made their Telly debut on TOTP. The music world has been fighting to recover from it ever since.
While we’re on the subject, how about a Spice Girls bike.
And best yet…how to build your own bike light with a spice jar.
THROWBACK THURSDAY: CANNONDALE TEAM CREST
I saw it in a Tucson bike shop during my junior year of college and was smitten.
Something about the clean, white background with pops of color.
The wit of Cannondale to embrace their girthy tubes and dress them up like a tube of toothpaste.
It all sped right in and hit this newbie designer/cyclist right in the heart.
Soon thereafter I agreed to meet a fellow designer/cyclist for a ride and wouldn’t you know, he rolled up to Bentley’s Coffee on this bike. 
I’m still fast friends with Brad and will be forever, even if this was but the first of many times he’d alpha-male me with bikes I desired.
There was also the pink Cannondale mountain bike.
The Seven.
And now the Rivendell.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I know him like a brother now and he truly deserves these bikes and any other goodness that comes his way.
But in 1988 I didn’t know him that well and I was knocked back on my heels because he had MY GODDAMN BIKE.
All I had was my old gold Nishiki Olympic and a dream.
Recently I thought about ponying up the meager dough and scratching the Cannondale Team Crest itch via eBay. 
Then Brad filled me in on the bikes’ many shortcomings. 
I don’t know if he was just trying to make me feel better or not but I decided to leave it alone.
To let my fantasy stay right where it belonged. Where it was happiest. 
In the converted garage apartment of a poor, confused college student in 1988. 
- Brian
THROWBACK THURSDAY: CANNONDALE TEAM CREST
I saw it in a Tucson bike shop during my junior year of college and was smitten.
Something about the clean, white background with pops of color.
The wit of Cannondale to embrace their girthy tubes and dress them up like a tube of toothpaste.
It all sped right in and hit this newbie designer/cyclist right in the heart.
Soon thereafter I agreed to meet a fellow designer/cyclist for a ride and wouldn’t you know, he rolled up to Bentley’s Coffee on this bike. 
I’m still fast friends with Brad and will be forever, even if this was but the first of many times he’d alpha-male me with bikes I desired.
There was also the pink Cannondale mountain bike.
The Seven.
And now the Rivendell.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I know him like a brother now and he truly deserves these bikes and any other goodness that comes his way.
But in 1988 I didn’t know him that well and I was knocked back on my heels because he had MY GODDAMN BIKE.
All I had was my old gold Nishiki Olympic and a dream.
Recently I thought about ponying up the meager dough and scratching the Cannondale Team Crest itch via eBay. 
Then Brad filled me in on the bikes’ many shortcomings. 
I don’t know if he was just trying to make me feel better or not but I decided to leave it alone.
To let my fantasy stay right where it belonged. Where it was happiest. 
In the converted garage apartment of a poor, confused college student in 1988. 
- Brian
CYCLING SAFETY: DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO.
Don’t lock your phone.
Period. 
If you carry your phone as a safety device on rides, there’s no need to passcode lock it. 
But there are many, many reasons not to. Here’s a big one. 
When I had my latest bad crash, my phone was locked. 
For the first couple hours I was in and out of consciousness. Mostly not. 
In one of my rare moments of consciousness, face-down in some rocks, a stranger was holding my phone in front of my face begging me to remember the code (and my name). I got lucky and entered the right one (on the third try) and dialed my wife’s number. Then, went nighty-night again. 
I get it wrong and my wife may not have known what happened.
I. Got. Lucky. 
So forget the passcode.
Because heaven forbid, you may forget the passcode.
- Brian

CYCLING SAFETY: DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO.
Don’t lock your phone.
Period.
If you carry your phone as a safety device on rides, there’s no need to passcode lock it.
But there are many, many reasons not to. Here’s a big one.
When I had my latest bad crash, my phone was locked.
For the first couple hours I was in and out of consciousness. Mostly not.
In one of my rare moments of consciousness, face-down in some rocks, a stranger was holding my phone in front of my face begging me to remember the code (and my name). I got lucky and entered the right one (on the third try) and dialed my wife’s number. Then, went nighty-night again.
I get it wrong and my wife may not have known what happened.
I. Got. Lucky.
So forget the passcode.
Because heaven forbid, you may forget the passcode.
- Brian

THE WEATHERPROOF WHEELED WONDER OF WOODLAND HILLS.
He’s out there, non-stop, all-day on his old Merckx riding the hills in that thick coat. 
No matter the weather.
Even this weekend.
Even in 107-degree, national-news-making heat. 
My wife contends that it’s better for you to stay in and eat bacon.
I can’t tell if he’s insanely-dedicated or insane.
Then again, I can remember times in my life when that line got a bit blurred.
So in fairness there’s only one thing to say:
And drink plenty of fluids. 
And allez.
- Brian

THE WEATHERPROOF WHEELED WONDER OF WOODLAND HILLS.
He’s out there, non-stop, all-day on his old Merckx riding the hills in that thick coat.
No matter the weather.
Even this weekend.
Even in 107-degree, national-news-making heat.
My wife contends that it’s better for you to stay in and eat bacon.
I can’t tell if he’s insanely-dedicated or insane.
Then again, I can remember times in my life when that line got a bit blurred.
So in fairness there’s only one thing to say:
And drink plenty of fluids.
And allez.
- Brian