Thursday, November 29, 2007

Three calls... you're out

The few good souls who read my ranting from time may have noticed that the number of kicking-and-screaming kind of posts has gone down as the blog grows older. You might think that traffic has become less hostile and motorists have found enlightenment and respect for the carbon based commuters out there.
Unfortunately life is no Hollywood production, no happily living after, it's more a Dogme kind of plot; life is senseless shit and then you die. The thing is that I grow used to obnoxious traffic, I'll just jell an insult or spit on your car (it's the perfect time of the year for that; temperatures are dropping and humidity is rising, captain phlegm is back, the color of revenge is green.). I won't even try to write a post about it.

Unless I am really, REALLY, pissed of like this morning.
A day that starts like any other day ; I drop of LL and V at school, take my trusty bike and head of for work. At some point I have to turn left onto the main street but the street I'm on is no priority street so I wait, on the main street a women has stopped to turn left into my street (blinking indicator and everything) waiting for a car that comes down the main street but from the opposite direction. Pretty normal situation, you might say, except for this ASSHOLE in his BMW, who clearly does not feel like waiting for the oncoming car and who takes over the waiting car to turn also left into my street. Mister asshat is driving so fast and takes his turn so sharp that he literally misses my front tire by 10 cm. Yours truly gives him some verbal insult and a finger but the murderous coward is in such a hurry (he probably has to go and run over some schoolkids or whatever it is he does for a living) that he doesn't even feel to pull over to exchange some more verbal pleasantries.
First close call of the day and I only rode 700 meters, way to go.

Ten kilometers later and I am almost history, roadkill, mangled aluminum and broken bones, a statistic.

Leaving a roundabout I get almost mowed down by this blind bitch in her silver 4x4, and by 'almost' I mean that I can see the bull bar (Brussels is a very dangerous place, loads of wild buffaloes and rhinos running around) of her gas-guzzler missing my right leg and rear wheal by 5 or 10 cm, I could count the little bars of the radiator grill. I manage too keep my balance and the adrenaline races through my veins, my feet push the pedals and my bike jumps forward away from the 3 tons of murderous steel. Second very close call of the day.

7 seconds later and I bring my bike to a screeching halt (my tires are now officially no longer suited for off road riding) and turn around to (y)(t)ell the rabid soccer mom what I think of her driving skills and I even suggest her a new job and some actions to obtain sexual relief. I know 4x4 are the Nec Plus Ultra of selfishness and soundproofing but I'm pretty sure she understood every single syllable of my little speech.


I loose it, my pulse goes up and only one thought races through my brain;


I don't usually carry a hammer with me but I always keep my bicycle lock in my bag strapped to my back; that will do the trick just perfectly. I reach for the shoulder strap of my bag but fortunately, as I start loosening with the strap of my bag to get my lock out to transform her windshield into a designer puzzle, common sense gets the best of me; I pull the bag back in place, pick up my bike and drive of, shaking with rage. And when look behind me I see the 4x4 keeping at least 30 meters distance not even daring to take over.

Seriously, this time I almost went over the edge. I call myself lucky that I got away without a scratch and that I managed to cool down on time because this would have ended very nasty.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Words of wisdom...

Last night on my ride home I had this pretty annoying car driving in front of me at a blistering 20 Km/h, breaking for no reason, indicator to the left followed by a swift turn to the right,...
Anyway, yours truly was getting pretty wound up to say the least. What does an angry pt3r do? He starts muttering; come on you muppet, keep driving, some of have more important things to do an blablabla... I'm sure you get the picture.
All of a sudden I had this religious experience; a voice coming from my left shoulder said with a heavy Dutch accent; "Don't bother, he can't hear you."
No there was no shiny winged dude with a dress on sitting on my shoulder. Instead some older stringy guy on a battered touring bike materialized on my left and took over. He kept pedaling like the devil was on his tail, his bike creaking and squeaking under all the punishment.
Needless to say that I forgot all about the muppet in the car and had pleasant yet muddy ride home.

This morning I slow down at the pedestrian crossing to let some older man cross the street, but he smiles, gives me thumbs up and waves me through.

No better way to start the day.

The song I've been humming all morning: Drink the Elixir by Salad.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Me vs. Rain...

Yay! I made it in before the rain despite the multiple, yet futile, efforts of a black 4x4 and a police van who cut my lane repeatedly. I actually figured out that it's better to leave 10 minutes later in the morning so all the schools have already started by the time I enter Brussels.
That way I don't need to deal with all the queues at the school gate. Parents drop of the kids by car because the roads are to dangerous to let kids cycle to school; "There are too many cars on the road I'll drive you to school" Doh!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bitter old man...

Is it my really nature or is it all the exhaust fumes I've been breathing during my numerous commutes but most of the times my glass is half empty. V who is a real 'the glass is half full person' has still good hope for me though; she believes that underneath all the cynical grumpiness lies a cheerful optimistic pt3r hidden.
I really hope it's true, it would not dare to doubt her, especially after watching the news tonight. Sir Bob Geldolf who bitter me called a 'sad attention whore who is so desperately trying to get some Nobel Prize for whatever' has proven me so wrong that I can only but apologize. The speech he made for the Antwerp Diamond society hit home with me, it's clear that truth hurts and oh my did he hurt 'em or what? The way he questioned the conditions in which diamonds are 'made' clearly got a few of those diamond honchos uneasy, serves the greedy bastards right.

Sir I can only but salute you!

Ps: V and M, thank you again for the lovely weekend at Houffalize. The mountain biking was not what M or I had hoped for but the nature, the fine weather and last but not least the great company made up for that.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Chrome vs. GoreTex... 1-0

Spring is gone and here comes the fall, bad boy no summer. Get out your mudguards and clip on those lights, 'cause rain is back in town. Rain as in 'did you take a shower in those clothes?' not rain as in 'the garden can use a bit of water'.
Since I'm no fair-weather commuter I did not take the train into work, but biked as usual. Moments like these are the ultimate test for your cycling gear; it either passes or fails, there's no middle way.

My GoreTex rain jacket failed, miserably. By the time I got in my office I was soaked to the bone, the point where you only can get drier. Boo, overpriced shit...

My Chrome Metropolis bag on the other hand passed the test perfectly, all contents (spare set of clothes, reserve cycling gear, puncture repair kit, PB sandwiches, banana, lock,...) were drier than a camel's pussy in the Sahara. I remember L's reaction when I bought the bag a month ago in Copenhagen; Are you sure you want to spend that much money on a bag? Well let me tell you this, a bag of this quality is worth every Euro cent I paid for it, hurray for the guys 'n girls from Chrome, you know what a biker need.

Ps: I am not sponsored by Chrome, but if any of the good people of Chrome were to stumble across this blog; a pair of shins in size XL would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Man vs. Machine

You race me through the traffic jam,
convinced to get there first
And then you're stuck all 4x4
I bet you, that must hurt.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Such a perfect day...

I pointed it out before but from time to time I still make the same mistake; it seems like I only post whenever I am angered by traffic or fed up by stupid driving altogether. Right now, I could write a lengthy tirade about how I almost got crushed against a parked car by some blind beemer who changed lane without even looking and who had the nerve to honk his horn at me. I could go on about the traffic jams and about all the lemmings who, against all logic, get their death cages of steel and glass out to contribute to pollution and global warming...
I will not do so. I would like to tell you about the great morning ride I had into work today; the sun was shining and my legs were good. On top of that the European Commision had decided to make today a "FidayBikeDay". They set up a couple of stands outside the Berlaymont building to welcome cyclists, with breakfast and little goody bag with fair trade goods and a few leaflets with tips and tricks on cycling in the city.
It looks like this action in combination with the nice weather did not miss its goal, a lot of commission employees left their car at home to come by bike. Sunshine and smiling people drinking coffee, having fresh fruit salad, munching a "chocolatine". This has to put you in a good mood at the beginning of a working day, unless you're one of the lemmings stuck in morning traffic, breathing exhaust fumes.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Temper temper...

Mental note to myself; It is never ever repeat NEVER a good idea to kick into a car door or to spit on its windshield, never, no matter how stupid the driver is or how much (s)he endangers my physical integrity. It will never be a fair fight, 12 kgs of aluminum vs. 2 tons of steel.

But sometimes it gets very tempting...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

What are you made of?

Second day in a row; the moment I'm about to leave the house with LL and V to drop 'em of at school, it starts raining. And for the second day in a row I chicken out, I have no place at work to dry my wet cycling gear so I decide to take the train :-(. And to put insult ot injury; it stops raining by the time I arrive at the station, again, great... NOT.

I’m made of a precious metal, afraidium. It’s yellow, and tastes like chicken.

Fender, Robots.

Monday, September 03, 2007

When two tribes go to war...

Aaah Copenhagen... city of bikes, beautiful girls, expensive beer and anarchists. On Saturday they 'celebrated' the half year birthday of the violent evacuation of Ungdomshuset. What better way is there to celebrate than to pick a fight with the cops, plunder and pillage a few stores, Molotov for everyone, the Viking way.
Is this the last convulsion of a subculture against the blind capitalism of Anders Fogh? Face it, the 'normalisation' of Christiania, the sale of Ungdomshuset to some fundamentalist Christian organisation hit two birds with one stone. On one hand there is C.R.E.A.M. aka dough aka money money moneeeey, the second purpose is a less obvious but very noticeable nonetheless; the promotion of the Danish way. Ungdomshuset not unlike Christiania has always been a promotion of an alternative lifestyle, one that goes pretty much against everything the current government stands for; blind consumerism. Venstre might just be a liberal party but their coallition partner is a completely different story, to put it mildly. If you sleep with a dog you’ll catch his fleas, and Venstre is not only sleeping with Dansk Folkeparti but they’re also kissing… with tongues.

Friday, August 31, 2007

The romance of child neglect

Last weekend L and I took of to Copenhagen and left LL and V at home. Four days being L and P not mum or dad, pure bliss. Funnily enough the trip from Copenhagen airport over to S and F's place took longer than the flight from Brussels to Copenhagen. We missed one train, two busses and lost another thirty minutes to find an ATM. Hence my call to Denmark; please get rid of the Kroner, embrace the Euro and most of all stop moving the bus stops.
But hey L and I had all the time in the world and had spent our time useful watching people while waiting for another bus. The bus ride itself was pretty uneventful apart from the two drunken homeless guys who got on the bus one stop after us. The rest of the ride we got engulfed in a cloud of alcohol vapors and cigarette smoke (the loudest one had started smoking) that was not strong enough the mask out their omnipresent stench.
The two were on there way to a lady friend's apartment, judging by the monologue of the smoking one. "... yeah don't think I'm drunk you know, but that one bar is really nice 'cause they treat us nice there... yeah...they don't throw us out all the time... they serve us drinks... even K likes it there, she doesn't throw with bottles when we're there... yeah... I have a key to her place, which I don't need 'cause most of the time she lets me in... " Another oratory talent gone to waste.
Copenhagen was perfect; sunshine, cool art galleries, designer shops, pretty women, loads and loads of bikes, great bike shops (I dare you to name me one bike shop in Belgium that sells Chrome bags and where they let you in after closing time) , cafes with excellent food and expensive beer, one day and the credit cards were smoking. L and I had a great time; we went over to J's place for lovely diner and plaid cards and drank beers with J and J2 until the early hours. The next day we celebrated F's birthday, danced and drank till we dropped and got hung-over. The sweet life.
My mind is set; if we ever become rich and famous or manage to get jobs that allow us doing so then we move to Copenhagen, the land of milk and honey(-flavoured beer).

Friday, July 27, 2007

If I were a rich man...

Yeah yeah, money does not buy happiness and beauty lies within and all the centerfold pinups want a man with a good sense of humor... that Hugh Hefner guy must tell a mean joke.
Anyway back to the money topic.
I can't say I'm poor; L and I make enough money to keep a nice roof above our head. We manage to feed LL and V (if they want to eat what we serve 'em) and they don't have to go around wearing rags. But whenever I look around on the gazillion bicycle websites to look at the beautiful pictures, I always come to the same conclusion; F*** me I have an expensive taste.
There are many nice bikes out there, at least as many (if not even more) as there are bills to pay.
I'm not a pro biker, I manage to do a few tricks with computers instead, but I like to ride my bike, and from time to time I wonder what it would be like to ride another type of bike. How about a nice full suspension mountain bike, or some dangerous looking freerider or a sweet singlespeed road racer or a...

Who am I fooling?
I don't have the money to spend on a new bike, and even if I did have all the money to buy every bike I lust after then I still wouldn't find all the time to ride all these beautiful machines, and nothing is as sad as a bike that just stands there, a bike that never gets taken out for a ride... yes there are things that are even more sad; three-legged puppies, drowned kittens, tour de france,... but you're missing my point.
I simply can not add to all this sadness, it would break my heart, but most of all it would break my bank account.
Stop the sadness, ride that bike and ride safe.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Change of diet

Chicken and Vino... is don't think so. I better get back to a straightedge lifestyle, it will save us a headache or two. Falling of your bike changes the structure of your red blood cells and Italy is the capital of Mexico. Hematology and geography completely rewritten. Fucking muppets.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Loosing my religion...

I'm not exactly a religious guy. I always claim to be a bike riding Satanist whenever some relgious nutcase rings the doorbell to show me his watchtower or to make an appointment for the end of the world. That is of course only half the truth I'm not really a Satanist. I guess it must be quite a thrill though, to attend a black mass surrounded by all these fine naked women wearing animal masks, but I guess L would object, as would my mum.
This only leaves me with bike riding which is of course no real religion, after all there is no biking God is there? Let's get real; who would adopt a religion where your God is a cheating lying muppet with shaven legs, drugged up to his eyeballs?
Luckily there is the omnipresent holy trinity of Av, Mx, and the holy Odo. Undeniable facts and figures brought to us through the miracle of electronics and bicycle computers. This holy trinity makes biking a never ending competition with an unbeatable opponent; yourself. Always faster, better, further, no prize money at the finish, only heavy breathing and burning legs.
But I've been loosing it lately; I can no longer be bothered to speed through every traffic jam to get my average speed up, to bomb down the hill to beat my maximum speed and I don't need to ride that extra kilometer today, tomorrow is another day. Don't get me wrong, I luuuuuuurve ma bike and it is in my opinion the most optimal mean of transport in the city, but I don't want it to break my neck, biking is way too much fun for that.
I fooled Death once but He won't be fooled twice.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The boy(s) (is)(are) back in town...

It's good to ride again after more than a month being off the bike. The first days went a bit sketchy, but it seems like my legs still work as they used to, and my bike rides smoother than ever. My lbs did a nice upgrade on my machine; new gears and hydraulic disc brakes and they already paid of twice this morning. The legs might still work but I surely need to hone my traffic skills, 'cause riding the city is definitely no cruise down the beach.
The sun is shining, SUV's burn red lights, traffic is clogging up, horns are honking, I taste the pollution... It's good to be back.

Ride safe.

Monday, May 21, 2007


I went for a medical checkup last week, to see how I'm recovering from my operation of last month, and it seems everything goes according to plan. The best news is that I got the all clear to start riding again. So once I get my bike back from the shop I can start to cycle into work again. Looking forward to that.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

What does not kill you...

It's been a while without blogging but it's also been a long time without biking. I started to have stomach trouble around the same time as I picked up my bike to commute into work. Not a little bit of stomach pain but the serious **** that keeps your awake at night and feels like someone is pulling a roll of red hot barbed wire through your intestines. Needless to say that my consumption of painkillers reached an all time high, and my sleep levels reached an all time low. The local pharmacist was considering to give me the customer-of-the-week-award and L got so worried about me that she made me go to the doctor. The doctor did a couple of blood tests, made me go to the hospital to get an endoscopy but none of that really helped; they did not find out what was wrong with me, nor did the pain go away. I started to wonder whether it was stress or perhaps even bike related.
About one month ago everything climaxed; one morning I collapsed at work, colleagues found me under my desk curled up crying like a little baby of all the pain I was in. I got rushed to hospital (first time I caught a ride with an ambulance) where I was given these serious painkillers. But the pain would not drop, they put me under the scanner and all of a sudden everything got crystal clear; they pulled me from under the scanner and I went straight to the operating room. It turned out I was suffering from a intestinal torsion. An emergency operation was performed to pull everything out and put it all back in working order. After a week in hospital I was sent home for further recovery, and up to now I haven't ridden my bike.
But hey .... it only makes you stronger right? Right?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Morning ride.

You race by and honk your horn,
convinced I can not follow.
When I speed past your traffic jam,
your pride gets hard to swallow.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Well this is back to school…

Phew! Xmas holidays are over and LL and V are back to school, kind of. And daddy-o is back on his bike. The cycle computer was sleeping when I took of this morning, with sore legs and some nice morning rain to wake me up. I can feel it that I’ve been of the bike for a couple of weeks, not only do you loose the form very quickly but you also forget to think like a biker. You just need to read traffic in a different way than when you drive a car.
I’m not happy with my ride in, I burned an orange light at a pedestrian crossing and I heard the guy waiting to cross yell after me. And f*ck me he’s right, WTF was I thinking.
Mister voyager makes his turn a little too wide an almost crushes me, I go “Oi!” and he yells at me “this is a one way street you idiot!” and I yell back “Not for bicycles you blind f*ck!”. Road rage in the morning you just got to love it. NOT!
I need to obey traffic lights like everybody else and mister Voyager must learn to drive his car and learn that most one way streets are not one way streets for bicycles.
So yes, this is back to school…

Ps: My cycle computer is lying; no way that my average speed was only 24.7 or was it?