Category Archives: Advocacy & Local Issues

Bicycle advocacy both local and national, as well as discussion of local bicycle incidents with the community and/or police

This won’t mean anything if under 50 (I owe a lot to Captain Kangaroo)

800px-Bob_keeshan_captain_kangaroo_1977[1]I probably wouldn’t be the bike person I am today if not for Bob Keeshan. Captain Kangaroo. He showed me that bikes were cool. He reinforced that message every single weekday morning. And, of course, he convinced me to buy a Schwinn. OK, so I’m a bit conflicted with the idea of tangentially promoting a company that I have no love for today (Schwinn went bankrupt and the name was bought by a company that now produces BSOs, Bike Shaped Objects, that defile the original company’s dedication to quality products). But seriously, how many of us in our 50s were influenced by Captain Kangaroo’s cycling message?

We keep looking for reasons that cycling isn’t as popular with kids today as it was back in the 60s and 70s. I think it’s the lack of a Captain Kangaroo, with his consistent, every-single-day bicycle message. I wanted a Schwinn. I settled for a Sears. I eventually did buy a Schwinn Varsity, and another one when that was stolen.

I’d love to know what that marketing campaign cost Schwinn, in real (today) dollars. The cycling industry talks about how we cannot afford a huge “get on a bike” campaign, and that’s right, we can’t. It would take far more money than we can mobilize to move the needle the tiniest amount. But a consistent effort aimed at kids could be cost-effective. Schwinn wasn’t looking at the quick buck back then.

Of course, the dirty little secret is that the campaign was so effective that it lead to FTC guidelines outlawing product endorsement by hosts of kids shows. Captain Kangaroo got around it by introducing a new character, Mr. Schwinn, and had internal memos to support the view that the kids still couldn’t separate the show from Schwinn (Schwinn was still getting a very effective marketing tool).

But back to the point- I think this industry owes a lot to Bob Keeshan for introducing many of us to cycling as a cool thing at an impressionable age. If there’s anybody left alive, former Schwinn execs responsible for keeping the Schwinn/Captain Kangaroo relationship going, I think it would be pretty cool to recognize them for their contribution, and ask what advice they might have for us today. They hit a home run. Maybe they can teach us to at least get on the bases again. –Mike–

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Awesome start to the day, not-so-hot middle, great end

Climbing West Alpine we saw a few homes with "Million dollar views." I suspect that's sadly out of date; a "Million dollar view" in many parts of the bay area would feature somebody's back yard. But the "earned" view from a bike? Priceless!
Climbing West Alpine we saw a few homes with “Million dollar views.” I suspect that’s sadly out of date; a “Million dollar view” in many parts of the bay area would feature somebody’s back yard. But the “earned” view from a bike? Priceless!
Kevin providing ride and canine support for the Ravenswood Health Center ride
Kevin providing ride and canine support for the Ravenswood Health Center ride

Interesting day! It actually started Friday, when Kevin took a phone call at the shop from the organizer for the Ravenswood Family Health Center’s benefit ride, looking for someone to step in at the last moment and help out with bike support when someone else wasn’t able to make it. Kevin basically volunteered that we could do it, figuring that it was early in the morning (7am-8:30am) so we’d still have the rest of the day for our own ride or whatever else needed to get done. And maybe that would get us out on the road earlier than normal, since we’d already be up and moving!

It’s quite an event, much smaller in scale than others we’ve helped with, but very well organized, and apparently a very successful fund raiser for the organization. Julie Brody of Atherton does a pretty amazing job putting it all together.

Lemonade concession at the top of Old LaHonda Road
Lemonade concession at the top of Old LaHonda Road

Afterrward we picked up coffee and breakfast for the rest of the family, and should have been out on the road by 10am or so. Should have, but Kevin wasn’t feeling great, probably the result of strong coffee at the morning event followed by more coffee we picked up for breakfast. By the time he felt more-or-less OK it was… 12:30. A bit late for a ride to the coast and up West Alpine, but you do what you have to do. Not very fast up Old LaHonda, as I might have been feeling a bit too-caffeinated myself, but a nice reward at the top, where we found a young kid with Lemonade, asking for $1 donation to a cause (never found out what) but offering it free if you didn’t have anything on you. At that point we knew this would be a good ride!

Flat tire on 84, just west of LaHonda
Flat tire on 84, just west of LaHonda

And it was a good ride, until the first of my flats, on 84 a mile or two past LaHonda. Might be tough to see in the photo, but there’s a small piece of beer-bottle glass that pierced the tire casing. Drat, two cyclists passed while we were putting the new tube in and patching the hole in the tire with a piece of roadside trash (a part of a potato-chip bag). No way to catch back up to them, even though we were going into a pretty stiff headwind on the way out to San Gregorio, and I’m pretty good at that these days.

Stage Road skirted the coastal fog all the way to Pescadero, quite a contrast from the high temperatures back in Redwood City! And nearly all of the gravel is thankfully gone.

In Pescadero we had the requisite sandwich and face-sized cookie from the bakery and, of course, felt just a bit bloated heading back via Haskins Grade. Kevin was having just a bit of knee pain so we took it pretty easy going up Haskins, and no records were in danger of being broken up West Alpine either. That’s OK, the views were incredible and it felt great finally getting in a bit longer and bit tougher ride than the usual Pescadero-Tunitas loop.

Due to the heat our bottles were running dry so we made what was supposed to be a quick stop at Sky Londa, only to find my rear tire was going flat again. Good thing to figure that out before descending 84! Obviously I didn’t get all the glass out of the tire first time through. Guess I get flats so rarely that I’m out of practice!

In the end it was about 67 miles at a moderate pace.

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