Family History: Caryl Wilder Volunteers in Selma, Alabama

taowee 200 px highIn the fall of 2004 my grandmother Caryl (Taowee) Wilder told me the story of her involvement with the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965. Listen to a story of a fascinating time in this nation’s history and a wonderful portrait of my grandmother’s engagement with the issues of the day (18 minutes total).

On returning to her church community in Illinois she said:

It was strange how upset people got. People would come up to me and say, “Are you the person who went to Selma?”
and I said, “Yes” and they would get very upset as if I had done anything unusual. I was one amongst thousands, that’s all. It was odd to be earmarked that way.


UPDATE: this was published originally in October 2007 and is being republished February 2015 with a newly edited interview.

Here Comes the M St Cycletrack!

I looked out my office window before going to lunch and saw a crew in a red truck actively working on the cycletrack at 16th & M NW:

Cycletrack from Above

The crew assembles the cyclist with five puzzle pieces  based on guide lines…

Guide Lines of Cyclist



…and then adheres the pieces to the road surface with a flamethrower heat gun.


Installation of the bike lane

If this Bikeshare cyclist is any indication, this cycletrack can’t arrive soon enough.



Biking Gear

Bikers don’t need a lot of equipment to get around but here are a few items I use regularly.

Pearl Izumi Men’s Select Glove
As soon as I started wearing these instead of my old worn out gloves my hands started to feel better. No more numbness.

Kool Stop MTN Mountain Bicycle Brake Pads
I’ve been using these for years and I love ’em. Especially now that I finally learned how to install them properly.

GoPro HD Hero 960 #1 safety item. The new GoPros are improved so you may want that. However, this one still does the trick.

K-Edge Go-Big Handlebar Mount
To mount the GoPro camera on my handlebars I’m using this mount instead of the plastic one that GoPro sells.

Topeak Joe Blow Max Hp Floor Pump
Gotta keep air in the tires. This pump replaced one I had for years and it is a night and day improvement. This pump is fast, ergonomically designed and sturdy.

Levis Commuter Jeans
Update: These jeans are the first ones I’ve enjoyed wearing on a bike. They are reinforced, have a bike lock pocket, include weather resistant properties and reflective stripes. Plus, long legged cyclists look good in these when you’re done biking. This time of year they can be hot so you might go with the new(er) Levis Commuter 511 Shorts.


Seconds Away from Being Hit by a Red Light Running Motorist

Be extra careful on the Q Street bike lane as it crosses 9th St. I’ve seen people run the red light going both north and south on 9th and I never knew why. I now suspect it is because there are traffic signals so close together on Q and on Rhode Island Ave and (distracted? tourists?) motorists see the light at Rhode Island and not the one on Q.

Here’s the video that reminds me how timing is everything.

Explore the area in Google Maps:

New Sharrows on 8th St NE

Riders on the Metropolitan Branch Trail know that the trail by the train tracks dumps cyclists on 8th St NE under Franklin St. In the last few days sharrows have been added to 8th St NE which help cyclists and motorists share the road. So glad to see the sharrows on 8th St, even though it is a fairly quiet neighborhood street. The sharrows are helping because you can see from my lane position in the video that I am riding where the sharrows indicate I should and the motorists give me plenty of space while passing.

It does seem strange that the sharrows closest to Monroe St are painted up against the curb. Not sure what that’s about.

Road Condition of Mount Rainier’s Bunker Hill Road

Any cyclists and drivers who have been on Bunker Hill Road in the past years have suffered through the constant poor road conditions on Bunker Hill Road in Mount Rainier, Maryland. It seems to have gotten even worse after recent work done by the water utility. This video below is a no-frills (sorry — dull) look at the road condition today.

By far it is the worst road surface on my 6 mile commute to work in the city. Not being a civil engineer I’m wondering why does the utility work leave the road with so many potholes and uneven ground? Why it is left in such an awful condition?