Thursday, July 31, 2008

can't ride a bike wha???

those of you who know me know that i teach _a bike class for kids. those of you who don't know me now know the same. most of what we cover in this class is mechanics. the kids actually earn a bike that they keep through the program. we also try to get in some riding skills if there's time at the end of the class.
today was the last class in the july session, so the kids finished up their bikes, safety checked them, and we went for a short ride. two of the students (sisters, as it turns out) weren't comfortable enough on two wheels without training wheels to be able to join the group ride, so i stayed with them and worked on some balance exercises. i even discovered a new and easy practice method for getting used to the pedals*.
i wish i had known earlier that they couldn't ride. i would have spent more of their class time working on balance and riding skills and less on things like how to replace and adjust a derailleur cable. these two kids were some of our best mechanics that we've seen. they had a sense of wanting to figure out challenges and bike parts that i haven't seen in too many of our students.
we had to replace some reflectors, and i asked why we put the red on the back of the bike, and the white one on the front. the younger sister figured out in about 3 seconds what the reason is. blew my socks off. i think there are adults in the bike shop who don't know why we do that. in fact, i know there are, as i've seen countless bikes with the wrong reflector on the wrong end of the bike. this girl is 9.
the girls' mother did bring up the fact that one of them still uses one training wheel at home, so perhaps i was being overly optimistic about their riding abilities. i guess the family's moved a fair bit in the last year or two, so the kids haven't had a regular place to ride, nor bikes to get used to. it's hard for me to understand a kid's world that doesn't include riding a bike. we moved around a lot when i was a kid, and one of the first things we did in our new destination was to go for bike rides and figure out the neighborhood.

i realized the other day that i can't remember a time in my life when i couldn't ride a bike. i have vague memories of my dad running behind me saying "you got it! you got it! keep going!" but i can't be sure i'm not just stealing that memory from some movie or tv show. i'm kind of glad that i can't remember not riding a bike. i don't know how i would handle a memory like that.

at the end of the class, after bikes were put into parents's cars, tools were put away, the floor swept, i turned around at one point, and there were these two girls. waiting to tell me thanks.
totally made my night. even if they didn't get up on two wheels earlier...

*2 exercises for learning to ride a bike:

1. "the seat scoot"
lower the seat so that the rider can sit comfortable on the bike with both feet flat on the ground. have the rider sit on the bike, as if they're going to ride it. the rider pushes with their feet along the ground, moving forward as if they're riding a bike with no pedals, like this:

start with small steps. the rider will get more comfortable with lifting her feet up, steering, braking, etc, and her steps will get longer. eventually, she'll be able to zip around, coasting with her feet up off the ground, only putting their feet down to avoid crashing.

2. "the pedal pusher"
this method works well for kids who have ridden a skateboard or scooter before. it's a little more advanced that the seat scoot, but kids learn in different ways, and if they're motivated to learn, then mixing up the lessons will help break the monotony, and encourage success.

have the rider stand over the bike as if he's about to go for a ride. hands on handlebars, feet on ground beside the bike. lift one foot up onto a pedal while keeping the other foot on the ground. the rider's weight will eventually be on the pedal, but the other foot is busy pushing off the ground. similar to a razor type scooter, or a skateboard. essentially, with one foot on the pedal, and the other pushing off the ground, the rider has turned their pedal bicycle into one of these:

for this method, the rider will be propelling himself forward, but his weight will be on the pedal, so he'll be standing up as he's pushing along. again, helps with the balance, steering, etc.

eventually, the foot that's on the pedal will swing back and forth slightly. as it moves forward, it's freewheeling. as it moves back, it will be engaging the chain, and is, for all intents and purposes, pedalling. it's an eay victory for the rider to be pedalling so easily, and the smile i got when i pointed out that she was actually pedalling made my night.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

the list.

The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).

Learn more at Day Zero.

and without further ado, here's my list of 101 things i want to do in 1001 days:

1. sell the car
2. get 100% out of debt
3. build a welded tallbike
4. go bike camping
5. do "100 miles on a tallbike" film
6. print and distribute "on your left"
7. have art in a show in an actual gallery
8. read the complete baroque cycle books
9. complete art project with amy, complete with custom die
10. lose 30 pounds
11. go to another country
12. help my parents finish their bathroom
13. sell 5 shirts with that many designs
14. season cast iron skillets
15. walk polly the dog once a day for 7 days in a row
16. clean up poop and mow lawn once a week
17. get a tattoo
18. read all the ender's books
19. read 5 books i own that i haven't read
20. get rid of 20 books i've read
21. make one recipe from 5 cookbooks for every one new cookbook i buy
22. make one recipe from every cookbook i own
23. blog once a day for one month
24. create and publish a cookzine
25. put up pegboard and organize the garage
26. clean up desk
27. put books on bookshelves in library
28. listen to all cassette tapes in milk crate, discard the old dead ones
29. rip cds, lps, and remaining tapes to mp3.
30. watch, rip, and discard video tapes
31. go on a picnic
32. help my parents to be vegan for 1 week.
33. balance my checkbook, use it, and keep it up to date for 1 month, including EVERY purchase and deposit
34. learn flash
35. create a short flash film/video 5-6 minutes long
36. create a flash game
37. get a "bingo" word in scrabble
38. play a game of chess long distance with someone
39. learn about and develop a training regimen for commuting to work by bike
40. ride from home to work (11 miles) in 35 minutes.
41. frame anna's print, hang it in the house
42. freecycle, craigslist, donate, or ebay one thing per day for 60 days in a row.
43. cook dinner for thedalyn for 30 days in a row
44. do all the house chores (dishes, cleaning, laundry, trash, feed animals and clean animals' poop for 30 days in a row.
45. pick 3 of my favorite recipes, learn them by heart, and teach them to 3 friends.
46. take a multi-vitamin for 7 days in a row
47. watch all of ebert's 102 great movies
48. learn all the major parts and systems of a bicycle in spanish
49. finish and collect my awesome list of 80's songs
50. become a paying member of community cycles
51. plant a garden
52. cook a meal using only ingredients (spices not included) that i've grown from seeds
53. eat for 1 week using only ingredients that were grown within 100 miles from me, spices not included
54. make every recipe in 1 cookbook
55. learn a recipe from someone in my neighborhood that i've not previously met, and teach them a new one.
56. visit carl in north carolina
57. donate blood
58. mail carl's package.
59. work 8 hours in a row during a weekday without checking my personal email, websites i frequent, blogs, etc, note any difference in productivity.
60. take a ride on the cog railway
61. ride my bike to record store in arvada
62. design and build a bike trailer
63. build dalyn a bike noguchi table
64. organize craft tools, materials, etc. discard/donate/freecycle what i haven't used in 12 months.
65. climb a 14er
66. give a slideshow
67. rank 75% of the songs on my ipod and itunes.
68. plan a monthly budget, and stick to it using cash and envelopes, dave ramsey style
69. join a csa
70. contribute to savings $5 for every item on this list completed.
71. contribute to savings $10 for every item on this list not completed.
72. buy ipod for my dad. fill it 25% with music i know he likes. fill it 25% with music i hope he'll like that i love.
73. find a vegan bed and breakfast in colorado, stay there with dalyn
74. get a replacement driver's license
75. visit anna's grave
76. read for 1 hour a day for 7 days in a row
77. interview 3 non-immediate family members about what their life was like before i was born
78. cull my wardrobe to things i've worn in the last 12 months
79. brew a batch of root beer
80. make a painting for above the stairs
81. take a class on illustrator
82. send korbin a package of cool stuff
83. upload photos of anna to picasa, share with family
84. put birthdays and anniversaries into google calender
85. get a physical
86. get my teeth checked
87. leave early for work with the express purpose of enjoying the sunrise at waneka lake. bring dalyn if she'll let me.
88. ride up to ncarr
89. bake cookies for a friend and give them anonymously
90. enter a contest
91. run the bolder boulder
92. find, download, and listen to lectures online that interest me
93. visit the louisville historic museum
94. have 5 friends/families i don't talk to regularly over for dinner.
95. design, print, and distribute holiday cards for 08/09
96. buy birthday gifts for all my immediate family members in 1 year
97. file my 2007 taxes
98. take a day off work with nothing to do
99. watch dr who starting with the original season 1
100. pay for sarah to come visit colorado.
101. make new list

it's a lot to think about all at once. i'm glad i have 1001 days to do it in. making up the list was a several hours long project in and of itself, and i had to go to the internet to visit some other folks' lists to get ideas. there's a ton of people doing this thing, and it's interesting to read what other people put on their list.
i was thinking about just how much stuff i have on this list. it's a big damn list. some of the things (number 55, anyone?) are a little unnerving, and i'm not sure how i'll pull them off. if i didn't have to work, eat, sleep, spend time with dalyn, i wonder how long ticking all 100 of these things off would take. i'm starting the project on 7/31/08, and my end date is April 28, 2011. that seems like so far from now.
if i think back to 1001 days ago, and what i was doing then, it seems like so long ago. i was still running the babysitting business, delivering bread for the bakery. i'm not sure how this list would look different if the me from november, 2005 had written it. that's a really weird thing to think about...
one thing that did occur to me is that this will be a great list to go back to on weekends or evenings, when we're sitting around with nothing to do, and looking for something to entertain us. hopefully we won't burn out and lose interest once the fun/easy things are completed.

101 things in 1001 days

yesterday thedalyn brought up an idea that she saw online. make a list of 101 things that you'd like to accomplish, and do those things within 1001 days of starting. this basically amounts to 3 years. or one thing on your list every 10 days. numerous people have done this already, and i'm guessing there's all kinds of books and planners and things to buy. of course, these things will help you make your list, and may help organize and prioritize the things on it, but it won't get them done. that's sort of the point of the list in the first place, i think.
anyway, i'm still compiling my list. i'll post it here as soon as it's done. number 23 on the list is blog for 30 days in a row. i created this blog ages ago, (just looked it up, and apparently i created it in 2005) with the hopes of actually doing some regular writing, keeping friends and family up to date with what's going on in my world, finding other like minded folks, etc. as you can tell from the fact that this is the first post, that never really happened. until now.
some of the things on the list are things that i would like to do repeatedly for a finite amount of time. (number 43 is cook dinner for 30 days in a row.) some are big, one time things. (number 1, sell the car.) some are things i will have to work towards, and eventually achieve (numbers 34 and 36, learn flash, and create a flash game.) some are things i'll need to do repeatedly, in the hopes of making them a habit (number 23, blog once a day for 30 days.)

thedalyn is waiting until august 1st to start her list, officially. i figured i'd get started now, so as not to let her get ahead. she's sneaky that way. actually, i've been trying to figure out a way to get this blog rolling, and waiting for an appropriate time/threshold/some defining moment that gets me writing. i tend to put big behavioral changes off until i have some big reason to change. you know, cos blogging big behavioral change... i guess i just have delusions of grandeur, and want to make this a regular thing in the hopes of making my writing better, getting ideas onto paper, so to speak, and just plain old edification.

no more putting off. it's time for some edification.

hopefully i'll have the list finished soon, and will post it when i do.