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Walkin'

An essential piece of equipment for the bicycle is a handlebar bag.
There are certain things the avid cyclist simply must have at hand, like a compass, a backscratcher and a radio. A handlebar bag makes it possible.
My compass hangs from a zip tie run through the side of the handlebar bag. I added the holes myself with a hot poker. Over the five-year life of the bag, I’ve punched/burnt holes freely to hang whatever. I keep a torch on hand for this purpose. Heat a nail to white hot while holding it with a vice-grips (a trick Dad taught me) and the super heated nail slides through plastic. Just be careful you don’t hit a Bic lighter in the process, but that’s another story.
Can you understand why my spouse doesn’t let me help with simple household chores like hanging a photo?
As detailed recently, I labeled the compass as “MORAL,” but it broke shortly after strapping it on. I decided to carry it anyway, purely for its allegorical value.
It’s already paid a dividend in an inspiration it has given me: I should start a “Broken Compass Award” and then name the recipient(s) from time to time as they achieve this dubious honor.
So the first ever Broken Compass Award is split, going to Republican Senator John Ensign of Nevada, and Republican Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina. Both are “family values” politicians. Besides sleeping around, Sanford lied about being on a hiking trip so he could leave the country to visit his mistress for a few days. Ensign’s romp was with a subordinate staffer, which pushes it toward the realm of statutory rape in my book. Seriously, how do Republicans look themselves in the mirror?
On any given ride cyclists are apt to pick up pests. I once had a Redwing Blackbird whack me in the helmet several times, for example. The road was idyllic, a warm but not overly hot summer morning, gentle tail wind, small marsh on either side of the road, Wisconsin pavement and not a car for miles.
Out of nowhere, bam.
I’ve had this species of bird swoop by me before and come very close, but this was the first that ever actually touched my helmet. I’ve also had birds swoop repeatedly, but never more than a few hundred feet. My friend who hit me kept it up for nearly a quarter of mile.
Almost as annoying as having a radio stuck to Rush Limberg or Sean Insanity.
While the backscratcher is not helpful in fending off birds or birdbrains, it does come in handy for back scratching.
Speaking of radios tuned to annoying broadcasts, has anyone been listening to the Cubs lately? They’re breaking my heart again this year yet I’m trying to keep the faith. It’s not easy with routine flies being dropped, base running that looks like it belongs in a T-ball game and outfielders who can’t keep track of how many outs there are.
But this is the year, this is the year…
One piece of equipment I will not be strapping to my handlebar bag during our upcoming trip is the foghorn I purchased in the marine section at Walmart. I do have a bell, which I use frequently, and a small hand-operated horn that I toot as a joke, but the foghorn will stay home.
I try to use the foghorn sparingly since it’s so dang loud it simply startles people, but it’s just the tool when you need to get some driver’s attention. Seriously folks, put down the cell and expect a cyclist at every intersection.
The one you kill may be me.
Then again, maybe that is your intent.