January 29th, 2007
If not for the kindness and protection of Tom Zimberoff, my first studio guest on tonight's episode (at 7:30; repeated on Friday night at 10:30), I suspect that I may have been forcibly abducted into a biker gang. At least, that's the vibe I got at the Cow Palace's recent motorcycle show, which I attended with a large amount of trepidation. Tom was there, showing off his beautiful new book of photographs of custom-made motorbikes, Art of the Chopper II -- and he was kind enough to introduce me to some fine artistic people sporting impressive tattoos. There were some enormous, heavily bearded folks at the Cow Palace that day who looked like they might like to eat me for brunch -- and I'm just talking about the grandparents! But with Tom at my side, they began to cotton to me -- and by the end of the day I'd achieved a certain level of popularity (though not, to be sure, as much as the Oakland Raiderettes and Hooter Girls, who also were in attendance and didn't need Tom to help them draw a crowd).
In the second half of tonight's show, I had a great time talking with two local pioneers in the field of human-powered two-wheeling: mountain bike visionaries Joe Breeze and Jacquie Phelan. Back in the day, Joe cobbed together what was arguably the very first mountain bike; now he makes "Breezer Bikes," which are designed to make self-powered commuting as convenient as humanly possible. Jacquie -- who was in the vanguard of women mountain-bikers -- is one of those people whom you might take, at first glance, to be "wacky," but is in fact incredibly thoughtful. (And yes, okay, she's also pretty wacky.) One of Jacquie's ongoing projects is WOMBATS: the Women's Mountain Bike & Tea Society -- an organization so delightfully utopian that (to my relief) both men and coffee are heartily welcomed.
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