One Thought At A Time, But Not For Long…

A client, who also reads this each week, called me out recently on my frequent use of the term, my chaotic mind. She suggested the term is an exaggeration and that I come across as anything but chaotic. Uhm, nope. I just hide it well. 

It’s hard to explain the way thoughts crowd my head. I can be thinking about a half-dozen things simultaneously — each thought separate and distinct from the others. One thought though, has to take priority at a given moment, but the others still make noise and use their sense of urgency to push the thought I’m most focused on out of the way. 

As soon as a new thought reaches the front of my mind, the others posture to take its place too, and so it goes, all day long. So whenever I talk about my chaotic mind, that’s what I’m referring to. It’s just a bunch of thoughts, on a crowded stage, each wanting to be the center of attention, but with just one podium.

If the thoughts battling for centerstage are good thoughts, then it’s chaotic, but not necessarily overwhelming. These could be thoughts of business, recreation, family or friends, good memories, or my even day-to-day responsibilities. Chaos, in those instances, isn’t intimidating nor does it lessen my mood. In fact, juggling between a number of positive thoughts can be mood enhancing, even if chaotic. 

However, if the thoughts I’m juggling are born of regret, guilt, selfishness or any combination of those, my mind is not only chaotic, but it’s also sad and depressing. These might be thought of divorce, financial concerns, lack of sleep, sick or dying friends, and on-and-on. 

It’s rare for all of my thoughts to be purely positive or purely depressing at any moment. Most of the time it’s an evenly divided field. I might be looking forward to a bicycle ride later in the day, but I might also be thinking about mistakes I’ve made as a father, husband, or businessman. In that sense, my highs and lows can often be momentary. Going from pure joy to sadness and back again isn’t a fun way to go through a day — or life. 

Each day when I ride, the lesser thoughts seem to fall away. My mind stays crowded, but the thoughts are mostly positive, even if they’re fighting for a just one position in front. If I ride long enough, every good thought gets its turn at the head of the line, if only for a while. 

Within an hour or so, after I’m done riding, the lesser thoughts return to the stage and their posturing for attention resumes — and the highs and lows of everyday life return, and I do my best to hide it. So yes, Virginia, there is a chaotic mind. A smiling face and a good attitude are my best forms of cover.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7

Miles: 191

Climbing: 7,800’

Mph Avg: 15.6

Calories: 11,000

Seat Time: 12 hours 12 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Don Walker of Cold Chisel. Enjoy…!

Feed It With Colors And Good Intentions…

If you’re reading this then you’re a part of the only generation of human beings who will ever live to have experienced life before and after the advent of social media. That’s not just a unique position the history of mankind, it’s also a unique responsibility. 

The ability to interact and communicate with so many people, so quickly, and over such a distances is a miraculous technology — on par with the invention of the wheel and the domestication of fire. I’m awed by that, every day of my life. We live in an amazing age. 

It’s only in how we use this technology though, that will define its place in our species’ history. We, the first generation to use what will be used by every generation subsequent to ours, must set the tone. I’ve argued for as long as I’ve been a participant, that most people who use social media could be using it better and should be using it for higher purposes.

The use I see of social media is often tantamount to imbeciles playing with matches. Inevitably most everyone burns their fingers. And all too often, someone burns down the house or even their community. It should go without saying that if one doesn’t play with matches, they won’t get burned nor start an unwanted fire.

Negativity only breeds more negativity, and escalation of negativity on social media is a spark to a handful of straw.

I know many people reading this who claim they don’t use social media — and actually believe that. Blogging is a form of social media. Whether you’re the writer or the reader of a blog, you’re a participant in social media. If one checks or makes reviews on Yelp, hunts for bargains on eBay or Craigslist, uses apps like NextDoor, WhatsApp, or even participates in email or texting groups, then they also use a form social media. Sharing photos via a smartphone with friends or family in distant places is a form of social media. 

I’m a fan of the technology, but not always of how it’s used. Of course I say the same about religion, government, and capitalism. I do my best to use it with good intentions. I’ve never been much of a leader, but I wish more people would follow my lead on this one.

We must use the technology of social media better.

In all of this, I’ve included some smartphone pictures I took last week. I’ll take more again next week and share them here. And I’ll probably include another opinion about one thing or another, and hope I’ve done it with the best of intentions.

Lastly, I’ll remind anyone reading this that what makes one a good craftsman, a good statesman, or a good human is understanding the possibilities, the risks, and the limits of one’s tools and technologies.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7

Miles: 192

Climbing: 7,100’

Mph Avg: 16.0

Calories: 11,100

Seat Time: 12 hours 05 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Tom Jones. Enjoy…!

Mom’s Gap Year…

On Thursday I took my shortest scheduled ride in nearly 2-years yesterday — just 24-miles. I had just a 2-hour gap between my last client session and an appointment for my mother to get her first COVID-19 vaccination. Obtaining a vaccination appointment here in Fallbrook was a big deal and I didn’t want her to miss it.

I got mom to her appointment on time. The nurse offered me a dose also, since I’m mom’s exclusive caregiver. I gladly accepted. We’ll return in 30-days for our second round of the Moderna vaccine — and we’ll be one small step closer to a reconfigured normal. Through most of my ride though, prior to our vaccinations, I reflected quite a bit on mom’s year of confinement. 

I got a lump in my throat thinking about the old woman who, just one year ago, stepped into a pandemic. I got a few lumps more, thinking about the much older woman who will now attempt to step beyond it. Mom, 90, has lived through the Great Depression, World War II, the polio epidemic, and now this. Hard to imagine, but COVID is the one which has impacted her most, despite that she’s been kept in isolation — or perhaps because of that.

Mom’s had a safe year. If nothing else, her life has been comfortable during the pandemic. If she lost anything, it was her schedule of regular activities — which was also her conduit to all human connections. Prior to the pandemic, mom had reasons to leave the house every day, reasons to speak, and reasons to listen.

Two days a week she took exercise classes at the local community center. She also participated with a meditation group at our library. She and I ate lunch out several times a week, and were often invited over to the homes of my clients for lunch or dinner. We regularly walked at Oceanside Harbor, after feeding the seagulls our leftover fish ‘n’ chips. All of those activities were good for her. Then one day, they just disappeared.

Also prior to the pandemic, I took her to one of the local markets every day, put a shopping a car in her hands, and gave her an hour to walk up and down the isles, just to look at things and say hello to the people she saw along the way. It wasn’t exactly step aerobics, but it was daily exercise and socialization — which I had no way to duplicate once the stay-at-home protocol began.

Mom’s loss during the pandemic has been the cognitive and physical stimulation all those activities provided her. Though there’s no way to measure those losses, it’s clear that she’s a different person than she was a year ago. Of course she would have continued to age without COVID, but I suspect her decline wouldn’t have been as steep.

In a month mom will get her second dose of the vaccine, and following proper protocols, I’ll begin taking her to restaurants and markets again, but on a limited basis. I’ll be taking somebody though, who can’t walk as far, who can’t process as well, who can’t remember as much, and who won’t recognize anyone she sees. 

My mother will be living with collateral damage from the virus. Her life may have been spared during the pandemic, but her physical and cognitive health have been compromised forever. And everywhere around us, whether we see them or not, there are tens of thousands more just like her. Please keep your eyes and hearts open to them. They’ll need our patience. 

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7

Miles: 191

Climbing: 8,400’

Mph Avg: 15.7

Calories: 11,000

Seat Time: 12 hours 07 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Ozomatli. Enjoy…!

Groundhog Night…

Groundhog Night…

Yesterday was Groundhog Day. Most of us learn about that in early elementary school. From there, we advance to the adult world, spending most of our lives unable to remember if we get an early spring or longer winter if the groundhog sees his shadow. Fortunately, there’s always somebody the water-cooler to set us straight.

Today though, Groundhog Day is most associated with the movie by the same name, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. Groundhog Day, the movie, is about being trapped in time, and reliving the same day over and over again. On a visceral level, most of us feel that way each day of our lives, myself included. Here we go again.

These days, at the end of all my Groundhog Days, I also get to live Groundhog Nights — as I attempt to write these musings.

Somewhere around 8:15 each evening, I suggest to my mom that she prepare for bed. As she does, I settle into the sofa and begin grasping for fragments of thoughts from my rolling meditations, to turn into stories. That’s when Groundhog Night sets in.

My mom gets up, takes two soft peppermints from the candy dish, and retires to her bedroom.

A few minutes later she returns to say goodnight to me and the dog, takes a couple more peppermints, and heads to her bedroom once again.

Shortly after that, she returns — to hand me her Life Alert pendant, says goodnight to me and the dog, takes a couple more peppermints, and goes back to her room.

Maybe 15 or 20 minutes later, she emerges to check the kitchen appliances — to make sure they’re unplugged. She takes a couple more peppermints, says goodnight to me and the dog, and returns to her room.

As I survive these interruptions and develop a rhythm to my writing, I hear her bedroom door crack open yet again.


She steps out, lets me know that there are no lights on at the house next door and that I shouldn’t go outside. She thinks they may be up to no good. She takes two more peppermints, says goodnight to me and the dog, and goes back to bed.

God, strike me with lightning if I’m exaggerating…

Well past an hour from the first time she retired to her bedroom, she returns once again — this time to go to the bathroom. From there, she takes a couple peppermints, says goodnight to me and the dog, reminds me that it’s “dark as pitch“ at the neighbor’s house and not to go outside. She goes back to bed.

Somehow I manage to find my way back into a writing rhythm, when I hear her door crack open again.

‘Motherfucker’, I mutter to myself.

She proceeds to the kitchen where she takes a Little Debbie Zebra Cake from a box in the cabinet, grabs two more peppermints, says goodnight to me and the dog, tells me she’s going to turn the light out, and returns to her room.

Some combination of these things takes place each night for a duration no less than 60 to 90 minutes from the first time she says goodnight. All the while, I attempt to attach my mind to a memory from the day’s ride and turn it into a story worth sharing.

After the Zebra Cake, I tuck her in, turn out her light, and close her door. If the gods are with me, I can return to writing uninterrupted — nearly 2 hours after she began going to bed.

If you’re counting, that’s approximately 14 soft peppermints. The good news is, at almost 91 years old, we consider those a vegetable.

This is what I think about when it ride… Jhciacb

Yesterday’s Ride…

Bike: Eleventeen Cupcake
28 miles
1,300’ climbing
16.0 mph avg
1,700 calories
Yesterday’s earworm: Pulling Mussels, by Squeeze

A Bridge Not Too Far…

It happens infrequently enough that it always shocks me. That said, it never really surprises me. I don’t think that’s a contradiction. More on that in a bit.

A regular stopping point during my rides is The Old Bonsall Bridge, just west of the community of Bonsall. The bridge was formerly a section of State Highway 76, and spans roughly 200 yards across the San Luis Rey River, 90 feet below. 

The bridge was completed in 1925. It majestically served the state of California for 65 years until it was decommissioned in 1990. In 1992 the bridge was designated as a National Historic Site. In addition to its historic status, it’s also the designated bike lane for westbound Highway 76, diverting cyclists off the new Bonsall bridge, roughly a 2,000 yards to the east.

I cross the old bridge twice on most rides — once on my way out, and again on my way home. On my return crossing, I usually stop at the midpoint of the bridge for some water and a small snack. I allow myself a few minutes to take it all in — to stand in splendid isolation on this antique structure, surrounded by native plants, trees, and occasionally some local critters and birds. For a moment in time, I’m separated from the rest of my species. 

The bridge is a little bit ancient Rome, a little bit midcentury Americana, and a whole lot of aesthetic wonder. In the five years I’ve been riding across it, I’ve stopped midpoint nearly 1,500 times. The only time I don’t stop is when I look up and see them

Them is the photographers, their assistants, and the woman or women in bikinis or perhaps a little bit less, being photographed on the bridge. 

There’s often a sports car or motorcycle involved, but sometimes other props are used — swords, guns, and even animal skin rugs. I recently witnessed a bikini-clad woman posing with a fishing pole. Some of these photo shoots are for commercial purposes, while I’m certain others are just for fun. 

No judgment from me — not at all. 

I just feel a little uncomfortable stopping on the bridge when one of these photo shoots is taking place. I don’t want to be seen as a creeper. A few weeks back though, an epic sunset was taking shape that I didn’t want to miss. 

At the the midpoint of the bridge was a black BMW, a photographer, his assistant, and a girl covered with tattoos wearing a bikini. As she Tawny Kitaen’d herself about the hood of the Beamer, one man adjusted a light reflector and the other took photographs. I stopped about 30 yards short of their shoot. 

I tried hard to not look their way. I just did my own thing and pretended I normally stop there. That’s when I remembered I do normally stop there — to drink water, eat a snack, and take a picture or two of my own. 

That evening I took a few pretty pictures, got back on my bike, and got out of there without once turning my head toward the photographer and his model. I purposefully looked down as I rode past them. 

I’ve witnessed a dozen or more of these shoots in the last five years. The women I’ve seen are usually on the younger side, some I’m guessing, a little too young. And as I exit the bridge onto Old River Road, I always remember two things…

1. Thats somebody’s daughter. 

2. Girls may be cute, but old bridges are beautiful. 

It’s a bit of a novelty to see these photo shoots, but I prefer having the bridge to myself. Probably not what 15-year-old Roy would have thought. 

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb 

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 5

Miles: 141 

Climbing: 6,100’

Mph Avg: 15.0

Calories: 8,050

Seat Time: 9 hours 26 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from The Sugarcubes. Enjoy…!

Swimming In Systems, Part II…

I have great reverence and respect for systems — generally more than I do for people. Systems, after billions of years of honing and refining themselves, are what gave us people. Systems, I’ll suggest, are the only true force in nature and are responsible for the direction of all things. That said, I tend to accept what system deliver more than what people expect from them.

When Donald Trump was elected president, I accepted it. 

For 4-years I’ve kept my mouth shut. I’ve done my job. I’ve taken care of my business, my family, and remained an active participant in my community. I’ve bitten my tongue, I haven’t lashed out, and I’ve managed to say please and thank you as I looked into the eyes of people whose values are different than my own. I’ve shown everyone the respect I think they deserve, even when I’ve disagreed with their politics. 

I know this is a bit of a stretch, but I hope that people who didn’t vote for Joe Biden can and will accept his presidency in the same way I accepted Donald Trump‘s. I know many will. I also know many won’t. Push.

And just as much, I hope that the people who supported Joe Biden and voted him into office, can walk across the end zone quietly. Don’t spike the ball. Don’t do the dance. Don’t get in anyone else’s face. Use your inside voice. Gloating is unbecoming.

Regardless of who anyone voted for, let’s just do the work now. Let’s bite our tongues. Let’s prioritize community, family, and the individual — and in that order. Let’s say please and thank you to everything that moves, especially when our pride tells us not to. 

We are just tiny constituents who spend our entire lives swimming within the many systems that led to us — most never realizing this…

Food Systems, medical systems, religious systems, education systems, family systems, transportation systems, economic systems, weather systems, ecosystems, information systems, social systems, communication systems, and on-and-on.

Political systems. 

When I think of systems, I think of David Foster Wallace’s brilliant commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2005. Wallace spoke of the old fish passing the two younger fish and asking them…

“How’s the water, boys…?“

And the two younger fish replied…

“What’s water…?“

The water, I would come to understand, is all the systems that surround us, drive us, feed us, inspire us, enrage us, protect us, move us, and so much more. And most of the time, we have no idea we are surrounded by these systems, and have even less awareness of how influential they are in driving every aspect of our lives.

We may have free will within our own skin, and perhaps a little influence within our smallest circles. Within the systems though, that drive everything beyond our thoughts and emotions, we’re just tiny constituents in a loosely packed Borg.  

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7

Miles: 191

Climbing: 8,900’

Mph Avg: 14.6 ☹️

Calories: 10,600

Seat Time: 13 hours 01 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from John Lennon. Enjoy…!

Three-Minute Scripture…

At least half of my thoughts while riding center around music — song lyrics in particular. Most often, lyrics show up in fragments. Though the whole of the song is always present, it’s those well-turned phrases that capture my thoughts and guide my moral sensibilities. A good lyric can remind me who I should aspire to be. It might also, by comparison, remind me who I don’t want to be, and which roads to avoid.

Lou Reed famously referred to a well-crafted song as the “three-minute novel”. Indeed. I’d extend that though, to suggest a well-crafted song lyric can be three-minute scripture.

When I was 16, I walked into the bathroom of a recreation center where I’d been exercising. On the gray concrete wall, just above the paper towel dispenser and written in crayon, were these words…

“And the men who hold high places

Must be the ones to start

To mold a new reality

Closer to the heart…”

It’s a verse from the song Closer To The Heart, by the Canadian band Rush. I’d heard the song dozens of times, and the album had actually been on my turntable the day prior. There was something about reading those words that day, that changed the way I think about lyrics.

That’s when I began regularly reading song lyrics from the album liner notes, to better understand them, as I listened to the corresponding songs simultaneously. It was also the day I realized lyrics offered me more than the Torah ever had. 

There have been dozens — maybe hundreds of formative moments in my life, just like that one, which have resulted from reading and re-reading lyrics while listening to music. On or off my bike, I don’t go more than 15-minutes without a formative lyric showing up in my head, usually getting my full attention. 

I often tell the story of sitting on a seawall in Oceanside California in the months after my divorce. With earbuds in and facing the spit blowing of the tops of waves, I listened to music by the band The Call, while simultaneously reading the printed lyrics of their songs. Those were religious services to me, every bit as much as listening to Rabbi Krantzler was on Friday nights in the 1970s. Listening to those songs, reading those lyrics, and staring into the sea humbled me and helped me come to terms with some bad choices in my life. 

Another lyric that stays with me daily is from the band Social Distortion. Reading the lyric regularly, while listening to the song Ball And Chain, has given me strength, over and over again, to stay away from alcohol — when nothing else I tried ever could.

And those formative lyrics — those fragments of moral philosophy which come and go in my head all day long, every one has been as impactful on me as any religious scripture ever has. In a very real sense, song lyrics have been the religious scripture that’s most shaped me. 

I know people will make the argument that there’s some pretty bad lyrics out there too. Pick any page though, in the Old Testament, the New Testament, or the Qur’an, and you’ll find some pretty bad lyrics there as well.

In my life, good lyrics have been the fingerprints of God. 

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7

Miles: 201

Climbing: 8,750’

Mph Avg: 15.7

Calories: 11,481

Seat Time: 12 hours 43 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from The Call Enjoy…

Crib Death, Redux…

Every so often I’ll be pedaling down the road and look up to see a mid-70s Chevrolet Vega. It’s a treat, since there aren’t too many out there. When I saw one the other day I began thinking about Crib Death. Honestly, there’s hardly a week go by that I don’t think about Crib Death. Crib Death brings back so many memories — wonderful memories of my restless adolescence. The Crib Death I speak of though, is the name of a car, not the unexplained medical condition that occurs with human infants.

In February of 1979 I was 17-years-old. I worked full-time as a sandwich maker at The Bagel Delicatessen in Denver. After the sudden passing of my ‘67 Ford Falcon, I needed another car to get me to and from work. I had a budget of $400 — cash I had saved in a hollowed out copy of Treasure Island. 

Scanning the classifieds in the Rocky Mountain News, one of the first cars I saw was a 1974 Chevy Vega panel wagon — for $400. Bingo. I knew Vegas had a reputation as oil burners because they had aluminum engine blocks, but the $400 price tag made it the perfect car for me. I had a friend drive me across town to take a look at it. 

A panel wagon is a compact station wagon, but with no seats in back, just a flat bed. The rear/side windows were covered over with aluminum panels. It was essentially a small truck with an enclosed bed — the type of vehicle a plumber, carpenter, or electrician might use.

I lifted the hood, opened the doors, and sat in the driver’s seat where I was captivated by the underdash Pioneer stereo. Four corresponding speakers were mounted throughout the car. That stereo was all I needed to confirm my decision. Without even bargaining, I agreed to buy the car. I taught myself to drive the 4-speed stick shift on my way home. Drab green in color, and with two bucket seats upfront, this would be my car for the next four years. 

So where did the name Crib Death come from…? My friend Jeff, who took me to look at the car that day, remarked that it looked like a hearse for little kids. I can’t remember which one of us came up with Crib Death, probably Jeff, but it stuck. And from day one, that car was known as Crib Death, by friends and family alike.

The Vega’s reputation as oil burners was well deserved. From the beginning I kept a one-gallon container of motor oil in the back of the car at all times. About every 500 to 600 miles or when the smoke from the tail pipe got blue enough, I’d stop and put in a quart of that oil.

Crib Death was a road trip warrior for my friends and I. Having no seats in back, but just the flat bed, it was  like a tiny motorhome. If I got too tired to drive, I’d just pull off at a rest stop and crash in the back. If I was driving with friends, we’d rotate taking turns napping in back while the other drove. 

In its time with me, Crib Death made trips into Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kanas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Nevada, and Arizona. All, without a major repair needed — just a lot of motor oil.

I wasn’t big on maintenance beyond the tires, brakes, and the engine. In four years, I might have washed that car just two or three times. When the windshield wiper motor went out in 1982, rather than replace it, I cut a piece of wood to the length of a wiper blade, wrapped it in plastic, and glued a squeegee strip along the bottom. If it rained, I’d open the driver’s side window and every few seconds sweep the water away with my handmade windshield wiper. When I drove my girlfriend home from college for the first time, and it began snowing as we ascended Vail Pass, she was mortified to learn this is how I kept my windshield clear during snow storms. It was a cold ride home. 

During a midnight run to Taco Bell one evening with a group of friends, as we loitered in the parking lot telling jokes and stuffing Enchiritos down our throats, somebody used taco sauce packets to write Crib Death on one of the green side panels. Since I never washed my car, the acid in the taco sauce ate through the paint over time and my car had been permanently branded with the words Crib Death.

When I reflect on all the cars I’ve owned, Crib Death wasn’t the best — not the fastest, the prettiest, or even the most dependable. To this day though, it remains my favorite car. Every so often I look online to see if I can find a ‘74 Vega Panel Wagon. They are few and far between, and I have yet to see one for sale in Southern California. If I ever find one though, and it’s proximate enough to be feasible, I’ll buy it in an instant.

Owning Crib Death also cultivated one hard and fast sensibility which remains with me to this day — that I’ll never buy a car I can’t pay cash for and also sleep in. I think that’s a good way to be.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb 

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 6

Miles: 169

Climbing: 6,750’

Mph Avg: 14.8

Calories: 9,509

Seat Time: 11 hours 21 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Willy DeVille Enjoy…

Painting With Words…

I’ve been chewing lately on creativity — of where mine fits into my life and what get lost when I over-prioritize it. Something I’m coming to terms with is that my creative impulses increasingly consume me. 

I have this compulsion to write, though the story is never primary. However compelling or impactful a thought might be, it’s secondary to forging it into something larger. Choosing and arranging the words to grow the story is what fulfills me. I enjoy selecting words and placing them into a story like a painter might place colors onto a canvas. 

A little more of this — a little less of that. I might rearrange a sentence a half-dozen times before I get it just right. I’ll place a paragraph higher or lower in the story, depending on how it all unfolds. I never know if a word, a sentence, or a paragraph will make it into the end product — until there is an end product. As choppy as all of that sounds, there’s usually a flow to it.

Writing, much of the time, is like swimming the breaststroke in warm calm water — its a gentle pleasure. Other times, it can be like swimming the backstroke upstream with one arm tied behind my back and a tennis ball stuck in my mouth. That usually means I’m trying to force something though, and it’s time to step away. Most writing sessions are more breaststroke than upstream backstroke.  

Turning little thoughts into bigger stories is always on my mind. It’s gotten to where I don’t seek or enjoy simple amusement anymore. Writing itself has become my primary form of entertainment.

I do make time for television in the form of online lectures, interviews, and documentaries, but I interrupt them frequently to pick up my phone and dictate. It might be an idea for something new, a change I wish to make to an essay in the works, or just a phrase that strikes me from nowhere that I want to store and save for later. I often wonder if this is healthy.

It seems like I should be able to enjoy a movie or go for a walk without needing to work through a thought and speak it into my phone. When I walk my dog, I write. When I drive, I write. When I watch television, I write. When I lay in bed, I write. The only time I don’t write, in the physical sense, is when I’m on my bike, and then I’m writing up a storm in my head, in hopes I can remember it to be written down later.  

I’ve never been someone who needs to document and expand on every thought that crosses my mind — just the ones that matter. Seems lately though, more of my thoughts do matter. Or maybe that’s just my rationalization to justify me painting with words — every chance I get.

This blog is a journal — a place where my thoughts can be stored, shared, and resurrected long after I’m gone. It’s a digital headstone stating that, in my mind, I was here and that I mattered. 

This quote caught my eye recently, by Seth Godin…

“Even if no one but you reads it, the blog you write each day is the blog you need the most. It’s a compass and a mirror, a chance to put a stake in the ground and refine your thoughts…”

The creator gods were working hard the day I read that in Seth’s column. Just a few hours earlier I had renewed my domain name and my web host for two more years. I guess I’ll just keep writing, and see if anything comes of it.

This is what I think about when I ride…Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7

Miles: 191

Climbing: 7,900’

Mph Avg: 14.8

Calories: 10,873

Seat Time: 12 hours 56 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from The Soul Rebels. Enjoy…

20 + 20 For 2020…

I’ve been told that I’m long-winded. Verbose. I use a lot of words. I say too much. I over write. I can’t even write my name in less than 360 words. I never met a superlative I didn’t use immediately. I’m only happy when I’m heard. Totally.

That said, I’m going to leave words behind this week, and share my 20 favorite pictures from the trail in 2020, along with my 20 favorite bike pictures from 2020. I want to start the New Year with a big thank you to everyone who has supported this platform. Words can’t express…

My 20 favorite pictures from the trail…

My 20 favorite bicycle pictures…

To all who have supported this, thank you…! May 2021 find you riding toward your own adventures, regardless of your vehicle.

You are who I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me this year. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Eskimo Joe.   Enjoy…

Ten Truths Of 10,000 Miles…

Tomorrow afternoon I’m going to ride across the 10,000 mile mark in a calendar year for the first time. For context, the world record for cycling mileage in a year is 86,000 miles, set by Amanda Coker in 2017. Still, I’m proud of my 10,000 mile effort.  

Chances are you know a handful of people who have run marathons. Chances are also, you don’t know anyone who’s ridden a bike 10,000 miles in a calendar year. Although I don’t plan to match this effort in 2021, if retirement and I meet at a reasonable age, I would like to try for 15,000 miles in a year. That remains to be seen.  

To to close out my blogging year, I thought it would be fun to share 10 truths of my 10,000 miles in 2020. I hope you enjoy it. 

Truth 1: COVID-19

Although 10,000 miles in a calendar year has been on my radar since 2016, the COVID-19 pandemic gave me some wiggle room. I didn’t change my riding habits due to the pandemic, but it did force me to scale back my work schedule. Working less provided me with more time to prep for rides and to recover from them. The ability to nap more frequently contributed to achieving this goal. 

Truth 2: Nocturnal Calories 

From a metabolic perspective, my rides usually caught up with me 10 to 15 hours after completion. It wasn’t unusual for me to wakeup during my sleep and consume upwards of 1,500 calories, usually in-between midnight and 3am. Most often it was sleeves of Saltine crackers, tablespoons of peanut butter, and sugary candies like jellybeans, gummy bears, and candy orange slices.

And tortillas — I often woke up at 2am, ate an entire bag of flour tortillas, and went right back to sleep.

Truth 3: My 2-Wheeled Children 

I wouldn’t have achieved this without a variety of bikes to ride. When the calendar year began, I owned 14 bikes. The ‘stable’ as I call it, now contains 16. I had the option of riding a different bike every day for two weeks. This was significant.

Each bike has a different geometry, placing my body in different riding postures and positions. Each bike also has its unique characteristics for riding in different conditions, on different surfaces, and each brings a different feel to every ride. Combining different bikes with varied routes kept it fresh from day-to-day. 

Truth 4: Goodbye Muscle Mass

The only negative in pursuing this achievement was my inability to put good effort into my strength training workouts. For 46 years, recreational bodybuilding has been the methadone of my existence. This year it had to take a back seat. In truth, I was never able to reconcile the internal struggle which prioritized cycling over lifting. At times, it tore me apart. 

Still, I got into the weight room 3 to 4 times a week, but my output was a fraction of what it’s been in recent years, and my body suffered noticeable losses in muscle mass and strength. As I scale back my mileage in 2021, I intend to reprioritize the weight room. 

Truth 5: Chip On My Shoulder

I rode over 350 times in 2020, missing just a handful of days. Each ride averaged 28.5 miles. I rode in the rain, the cold, after sleepless nights, on days when I was in a foul mood, and very often I rode after dark on a well-lit bike. 

The rides I’ll member most though, were the rides in the rain, in the cold, after sleepless nights, in the dark, and when I was in a foul mood. I’ll remember them because to go out in those conditions means I had something to prove. 

I grew up surrounded by people who doubted me. Teachers, friends, employers, and even family members often expected the worst for me, or expected nothing at all. I invited those low expectations by bring a screwup for much of my youth, but that ain’t me no more.

Perhaps because of that, when I set out to do something today, I make sure it gets done — and I make sure anyone who ever doubted me about anything knows about it.

Truth 6: Time Not Effort

If somebody is in reasonable cycling condition, riding 28.5 miles daily isn’t a big deal. Although I had a handful of difficult rides during the year, those were mostly the result of heavy winds, lack of sleep, or just being mentally rushed to get it done and get back to work.

The most challenging aspect of riding 10,000 miles was managing the time to get it in daily. Each ride takes roughly 2 hours. Beyond that, there’s the preparation of the bike, my clothing, and my back bag — I pack it differently each day, according to the bike I take and the weather conditions. My 2 hour rides were roughly a 2 and 1/2 hour chunk out of each day.

Truth 7: I’m Still Fat

You’d think a guy who rides a bike 28.5 miles nearly every day and still finds the weight room a few nights a week would be reasonably lean. I’m not pushing maximum density, but you wouldn’t want to see me with my shirt off — it’s not a sight for kids.

In hindsight, I rationalized that I could get away with eating a lot of empty calories since I was riding daily — a bite of this here and there, an extra spoonful (or 6) of peanut butter at night, and the occasional box of vanilla wafers add up. If I had cut my nighttime calories in half, I probably would’ve leaned-out more.

Truth 8: I Now Own Tools

I never set out to be a good bike mechanic, and I’m still not. That said, I knew if I was going to do this, I’d have to take ownership of all my repairs since the nearest bike shop is 25 away. With the help of instructional videos on YouTube, The Global Cycling Network in particular, and a little more patience than what I inherited from my father, I managed to make every repair needed in 2020.

Truth 9: Pushed By Ignorance And Hatred

For as much as I was running toward the goal of 10,000 miles in a calendar year, I was also running away from something — people, or maybe just the worst traits of some people. 

A few years back I created the hashtag #keepsmefromkillingpeople on Instagram and WordPress. The fact that I created it, underscores my frustration with so much of the ignorance and hatred being pushed by so many in the social media era. 

Deep in the rhythm of my ride, and as my thoughts turn past memories of people and places that have touched me, I’m able to let go of the ignorance and hatred that pelts me daily. 

Truth 10: Just My ‘Magination

I don’t read fiction — there’s plenty of it already in my head. Each day a friend, a celebrity I’ve never met, a significant figure from history, or even my dad rides beside me. I just imagined them on another bike to my left. We make small talk. We solve the problems of the world. We discuss physics, fitness, or write poetry and songs. There’s even been conversations about forgiving Bill Buckner. 

There’s a dozen or more people who pop in and out of my head in a week of riding. Most of them are people I have interactions with in everyday life, either in person or on social media. Sometimes, those imaginary conversations are the most meaningful ones I have.

Many will remember 2020 as a year of negativity — of social corrosion and political division, global pandemic notwithstanding. I don’t want to minimize the tragedy of the pandemic or any damage to our political and social structures. When I’m 90 years old though, and can’t remember my middle name, I’ll remember that in 2020 I rode a bike 10,000 miles. Beyond that, I’ll remember that I had more fun doing this than any other physical pursuit — and I actually achieved it. In a lot of ways, 2020 was the best year of my life — so far.

This is what I think about when I ride…

This Year By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 16

Flat Tires: 27

Seat time : 656 hours 50 minutes 

Climbing: 430,000’

Average Speed: 15.1

Calories Burned: 565,000


Total Miles: 10,008 

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me this year. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from The Style Council — of course.   Enjoy…

Earth, Wind & Fiyah…

Yesterday began for me at 12:52am. That’s when I received the first of three mandatory evacuation notices, via text message, from San Diego County. A fire, fueled by dry air and heavy winds, was burning just a few miles away.

I stood in my front yard and looked west. The horizon had an orange glow from north to south. Above the glow billowed gray smoke which was back-lit by the flames. The whole scene looked like a Hollywood soundstage.

The wind was blowing the fire away from town though. The wind charts on Weather Underground showed no expected change for at least 12-hours. I made the decision not to evacuate, but going back to bed wasn’t an option. The fire-line appeared to run the length of the border between the town of Fallbrook and Camp Pendleton.

I’d spend the next 6-hours looking out my window while toggling back and forth between the social media pages of several local fire authorities and a couple weather websites. During this time the fire grew from a few dozen acres to 3,100. At no time did I feel the town was in danger.

At 2:00pm, I was confident the fire was well enough contained that I put my wheels on the road, despite not getting any sleep. The wind had died completely, the sky was overcast, and it was 65°. All was good.

I’d been on the road just a few miles when ‘overcast’ morphed into pouring rain. Not really sure how that happened since rain wasn’t in the forecast. Fire can create its own weather though, or sometimes just re-organize what mother nature had intended. The rain lasted long enough to soak me to the core, and immediately gave way to falling ash from the fire — which stuck to my wet clothing like feathers to tar.

After the rain, the wind came back with a vengeance. All the while, I was riding toward the fire so I could see if it shifted. The wind riding home was the worst I’ve experienced since I left Boulder County in 2015. For the first time in 5-years, I rode a 5-mile split in single digits — 9 mph. I was grinding on flat ground.

As I transitioned a three-way intersection in Bonsall, I experienced something else for the first time in years — I was struck in the shoulder by Tumbleweed. That sounds harmless and even a bit funny, but the last time it happened, it knocked me off my bike and into a ditch. I stayed on my bike this time, but decided to stop and photograph the tumbleweed.

With the sky clearing again and the wind dying, I thought the worst of it was over. And just like that, the wind rain returned — just in time for my 7-mile climb back into town. My green jersey and shorts were gray with soggy ash.

The setting sun was eclipsed by storm clouds and smoke from the fire. It looked like a scene from a Cecil B DeMille film. I knew my average speed for the ride was was going to be crap. I didn’t care. In fact, I wasn’t even put off by any aspect of the experience. I rather enjoyed it all.

It was Christmas Eve. I had ridden through rain, heavy wind, falling ash, toward fire, and was hit by a tumbleweed. It occurred to me that a lot of people were home laid out on the sofa — drinking eggnog, eating cheese logs, watching television, and making smalltalk they wished they could get out of. I was doing I wanted to do — what I would rather be doing than anything. The smote failed. The ride continued. It was a holiday miracle.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

Yesterday’s Ride…

Bike: Cortez The Killer
28 miles
1,200’ climbing
14.6 mph avg
1,600 calories
Yesterday’s earworm: Tell Me That You Love Me, by Eric Clapton

Always On My Mind…

The thoughts begin in my driveway as I’m about to head out each day — that the very act riding this bike increases my odds of dying too soon. 

I check my brakes, my tires, and make sure everything on the bike is solid. I pause for a moment and remind myself to be careful. I think of loved ones. 

Going out this past Wednesday, I knew I’d be riding directly over the spot where a cyclist was hit and killed by a truck the day prior. It was like paddling into a wave the day after somebody got bit by a shark — something I’ve also done.

As I rode past the scene of Tuesday’s fatal accident, I couldn’t help but think that a man actually died there just 24-hours before. It didn’t help, knowing the man who was killed and I were the same age. 

I wondered if he was one of the local cyclists I see regularly. He and I might have exchanged waves or nods as we passed one another going in opposite directions.

I wondered if he saw it coming.

I wondered how severe his pain was during the impact.

I wondered how quickly he died.

I wondered what his life would have been had he survived — what injuries or disabilities he might have have lived with. 

I wondered who’s mourning for him.

I wondered how his loved ones and friends will carry on.

I think about the driver of the commercial truck who struck him — I wondered how his life will be impacted, ongoing, as well as his loved ones. The newspaper said he tested positive for “a drug“.  

And of course in all of these things, I wondered what if it had been me who was hit. 

I wondered how well I would do as a paraplegic, a quadriplegic, or what my life would be like living in a head injury center.

I wondered about spending prolonged time in a coma, being kept alive by tubes snaked up my nose and needles in my arms while family members argued about whether or not to pull the plug.

I wondered if there’s a life beyond this life. 

I wondered about how my loved ones and friends would carry on if it had been me.

If I’m being honest, I also wondered if I would’ve just walked away. I kind of have that history.

I thought of cycling friends who’ve been been hit by cars through the years. Some have fared better than others in their recovery. For a few, their injuries and pains will be with them for the rest of their lives.

To ride a bike on a well-traveled road, and to do so regularly, is to confront the prospect of death each time I go out. It can’t be ignored and it’s not anything I take lightly. 

To survive each ride intact requires planning, concentration, attention to detail, and that I respect the conditions and the possibilities which surround me. Those possibilities are vast. And this week, for the first time, I seriously considered giving this up.

For an 8-mile stretch on Highway 76, just after I passed the site of Tuesday’s fatal accident, every time a car passed me at a high rate of speed I cringed, ducked my head, and drew my shoulders in. It was maddening. At one point, I thought about stopping, throwing my bike into the scrub, and hitching a ride home. I really thought about doing that.

On the final stretch of the ride though, heading back into Fallbrook, I began to feel like me again — at peace. Not confident, not invincible, but feeling like that’s where I should be and that’s what I should be doing. 

In the movie, Riding Giants, there’s a scene with big wave surfer, Grant Washburn. He talks about going into the water for the first time after legendary surfer Mark Foo died on a wave at Mavericks — a surf break near Half Moon Bay. After Washburn caught his first wave in the days following Foo’s death, he said he knew he was home — he was in the right place doing what he needed to do to be himself.

This is what I think about when I ride…Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 6

Miles: 174

Climbing: 7,400’

Mph Avg: 15.6

Calories: 9’921

Seat Time: 11 hours 08 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this Christmas classic from Paul Kelly  Enjoy…


Bumping through YouTube last week, I stumbled upon a split-screen music video of a band covering Chicago’s song, Just You ‘N’ Me. I almost scrolled past it, but for whatever reason, I pushed play. Within a few seconds I could see the precision with the musicianship and hear the quality of the recording. It was perfectly in-sync with the original.

After watching the video a second time, I jumped into the rabbit hole to follow the band further. I found more covers of Chicago songs. Nearly three hours after watching the first video, I knew I had to turn my light out — my workday lay just a few hours ahead of me.  

When I woke up the following morning though, it was all I could think about. With a cup of coffee beside me and a glow in the fireplace, I went further down that rabbit hole. The group, Leonid And Friends, is a musical project from Russia, lead by Leonid Vorobyev, a former choir director, recording engineer, music producer, and bassist. 

In-between watching videos of their musical performances, I found several interviews with Vorobyev, who speaks excellent English. The project began in 2014, when Vorobyev retired from his music career at age 60. As a gift to himself prior to retirement, Vorobyev wanted to cover and record Chicago’s song, Brand New Love Affair. With the music being unavailable online, he painstakingly transcribed the music and the drum tablature, note for note, by ear.  

When he had that and a couple more songs ready to record, he called in favors from skilled musicians he worked through his years as a recording engineer and producer. Most were from Russia and a couple from nearby former Soviet republics. In addition to recording the songs, Vorobyev also video’d the recording process. It didn’t take long before they were a YouTube sensation, with thousands of followers. 

With that success, Virobyev’s new goal was to record covers of Chicago songs, with the intention of playing them live someday, with the same precision and musicianship the original band used in the studio. I have no problem saying I think he exceeded that goal.

In 2019 they did three tours of the United States, selling out most dates in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami. In Covid times, they’re still recording, branching out to cover songs from Earth, Wind & Fire as well as The Ides Of March, and Blood, Sweat & Tears. They have an active Facebook page and website where they will announce future tour dates, and also sell merchandise including a CD of Chicago covers, appropriately titled Chicagovich. My Leonid And Friends t-shirt and CD should be here by Christmas.  

Lastly, If you’re not a fan of Chicago, I get it, that’s cool. But if you’re a fan of music — or of anything good that might make you smile, you might want to check this out. This is one of the best musical projects I’ve seen in years. 

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

Yesterday’s Ride…

Bike: Coleman Laimbeer Sanders

28 miles

1,200’ climbing

14.5 mph avg

1,600 calories

Yesterday’s earworm: Old Days (Chicago cover), by Leonid And Friends 

Something To Talk About…

What’s the use of having a thought if I can’t share it…?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had something to say and felt what I have to say is worth listening to. That’s why blogging has been a perfect outlet for me. Blogging isn’t just a platform where I can share my thoughts on the world around me, uninterrupted, but it’s a place to tell my own story.

Two years ago today I began this blog, my third since 2002. Since then I’ve shared my unqualified, uneducated and unsolicited opinion on everything from religion, diplomacy, philosophy, the arts, and the moral progress of man, all from the perspective of a guy on a bike speeding away from his daily problems.

In each post over the last couple of years, I’ve tried to include my own story. I’ve done this by superimposing the world around me onto the world within me, correlating the two worlds, and sending it out in essay form. I don’t always get it right when explaining the world around me, but I do my best to truthful about my own story.

What I appreciate most about blogging is that it’s a permanent digital archive of my thoughts — of who I am. My writing is a place where I can still be found long after I’m gone, that may serve to answer any questions about me by family, my friends, or whoever might be interested. 

I’m not a professional writer, a journalist, or even an essayist. I’m a storyteller who, in many ways, is full of himself.  Who else but an egomaniac would write something every week and hope deep down that everyone on earth would read it…? I framed it this way once before and I think it’s a good way to close out today…

You go to somebody’s backyard barbecue and there’s a band there. You hear the guitar player in the band and you think he plays better than Duane Allman. You return home after the barbecue and you put on an Allman Brothers album. It takes just a couple seconds before you realize that the guy playing at the barbecue was pretty good for being in a garage band, but he’s no Duane Allman.

I am a garage band of a writer. 

I don’t have much. I don’t own a home. The car I drive is a piece of junk. My retirement plan is to work part-time washing dishes at Denny’s. But what I do have is the friendships that I value so much, and this creative outlet that has served me so well.

Writing, riding, and taking pictures have become the methadone of my existence. Individually, they’ve each been a part of my life for years. When I combined them into essay form, I feel like I own of something of value for the very first time. 

To everyone who’s followed along these last couple of years, thank you…!

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb 

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7

Miles: 204

Climbing: 8,700’

Mph Avg: 15.2

Calories: 11,607

Seat Time: 13 hours 25 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Roger Hodgson.  Enjoy…

Please Believe…

Please believe. Please. 

If you don’t believe, I’m talking to you. 

I’m not trying to argue with you, just hoping my words might make a difference.

If you don’t believe, I’m asking you to consider believing, even if it’s uncomfortable.  

Nobody wanted this to happen, and certainly nobody asked for it.

But people are dying, every minute. 

Every minute. 

Ignoring this is the easy. 

Denying it requires no effort. None. 

Consideration of facts can be challenging.  It takes work to accept that difficult circumstances and unthinkable tragedy might be real.  

It takes thought, and even some fortitude to do what’s necessary, not just what’s best for ourselves and those we know, but especially for the many many more people we don’t know.

We are all interconnected.

Ignoring or denying facts won’t make them go away. It may actually keep them here longer. Ignoring and denying will make things worse. 

It’s already made things worse.  Irony. 

So why am I asking you to listen to me, when I know as I write this you probably won’t…? You might even be mocking me or rolling your eyes.

Because I’m just asking, and I’m asking sincerely — with the best of intentions, just to be heard.

My father gave me a lot of tools to use in constructing a life for myself. The best tool he gave me, and the one I get the most use out of, is the bullshit detector. I can smell agenda, false narratives, and manipulation of facts before they come around the corner.

Like millions of others, I’ll spend the holidays mostly alone. I won’t be with my daughter and her mother at Christmas, and our holiday tradition of our daughter making Pastitsio for dinner will be postponed. Not robbed, not stolen, and not taken away from us, but postponed. 

Postponed is a small price. 

I’m disappointed with all of this — I’m disappointed with the loneliness, the loss of life, the inconveniences, and even the lost income, but I’m not mad. And do you know who I blame…? Nobody. 

I blame nobody.  

I don’t believe it’s a hoax, this pandemic. I don’t believe that deaths are exaggerated, and I don’t believe any conspiracy theories, however convenient they might be. 

I believe that masks do work, especially when used properly.

I believe that being as distant as possible from those proximate to us, especially when indoors, also works. 

I don’t believe this should be a political discussion, or a conversation that comes loaded with judgment before it even begins.

I do believe in mass hysteria — I do, but I don’t think it’s possible at this scale. No way. There are too many circuit breakers along the way. Claiming “mass hysteria” is the first evolutionary step in transforming one’s self into a denier.

I believe in the incredible science behind vaccines, and in the safety of them. I will take one without thinking twice. Without vaccines, the world we live in — the very structure of our societies, would be corroded and weaker. 

Please believe. Please. 

If you don’t currently believe, please consider believing — or trying to believe. I’ll genuinely appreciate that.

If you don’t believe, and you took time to read this anyway, thank you.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 6

Miles: 178

Climbing: 7,500’

Mph Avg: 15.9

Calories: 10,241

Seat Time: 11 hours 12 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Ry Cooder.  Enjoy…

Riding With The King…

I took my dad with me for a ride last Tuesday. He didn’t add extra weight to the bike — I just carried him in my head and my heart. I tried to spend as much time with him as my attention span would allow. 

Tuesday would have been Dad’s 91st birthday.

If I could describe my dad in a single word it would be unsettled. In his lifetime my dad was, not necessarily in order, the following…

– Reporter for the Boston Globe

– Officer in the United States Air Force

– High School and Junior College English 

– High School And Junior College business

– Salesman

– Marketing Manager

– Financial services company Executive Vice

– Political Campaign Manager

– Certified Fundraising Executive 

– Director of Development for colleges
and non-profits 

– Security Guard

– Townhome Property Manager

– Burglar Alarm Company CSR 

My dad held degrees from…

– Boston University

– University of Redlands

– Attended Boston University School Of  Law

But all my dad ever wanted to do was to teach high school or junior college. He wanted to teach in the winter months, and run a camp for teens during the summer. He wanted to do this somewhere in New England.

Well, things didn’t go as planned. Money, material things, and all that goes with raising a family pushed him toward a career in business — but his heart was never in it. I think there was some parental pressure as well. My dad was the embodiment of the most true axiom I’ve ever known…

The best job you’ll ever have is the one you just left or the one you’re going to next. Never, is it the one you’re currently in. 

Recreation would still be central to his lifestyle, but he never would start his summer camp. He channeled those intentions toward his two sons instead. When I was 6 and my brother was 10, Dad moved the family from the suburbs of New Jersey to the Colorado front range — for what he hoped would be a more active life, and a more lucrative one in matters of finance.

There was skiing in winter. In the summer there was camping, tennis, swimming, fishing, bicycling, and the summer camps he would send my brother and I to, including the Boy Scout camps we loved. Dad was a one-man recreation director.

I was well into my 40s when I realized how dedicated my father had been to seeing my brother and I active on the weekends and during the summers. He hated to see his boys sitting around the house. To this day, my brother and I both have to be active for at least a portion of every day, and we both love to be outdoors more than not. For my part, I built an entire career around the ideas of recess and summer vacation.

Growing up, my dad pushed me to become a lawyer, a journalist, or a military officer. He would’ve been cool if I’d become a rabbi. He never really got good with my fitness career. I think if he saw me now though, he’d realize I’ve been in his summer camp for like 40 years — I think he’d be okay with that.

Last Tuesday, while riding with my dad perched on my shoulder, I imagined the conversation he and I would have had about all if this now — while riding past the autumn foliage on a 65 degree day in San Diego. The conversation on went better than expected. 

Happy birthday to the man with the plan and the pocket-comb. I love you. 

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb 

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7

Miles: 205

Climbing: 9,100’

Mph Avg: 14.8

Calories: 11,552

Seat Time: 13 hours 48 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Marc Cohn.  Enjoy…

Pray The Straightaways…

Along with making to-do lists in my head, thinking back my first Pop-Tart, dreaming about retirement, and enjoying the sights and the nature around me, something I get to do when I ride each day is give thanks.

Who I’m thanking, I have no idea. Vishnu, Shiva, Yahweh, Crom, The Flying Spaghetti Monster…? I dunno. I only know that I’m compelled each day to give thanks for this wonderful life I’ve been given. Hopefully somebody is listening.

When I use the term ‘Lord’ in my gratitudes, it’s less a divine term, and relates more to packaging and delivery. Just trying to get my thanks to the right address. Sometimes, I think, giving thanks is like placing a message in a bottle and tossing it into the sea. Maybe somebody gets it, maybe not, but at least I’ve left a record of my intentions.

Somewhere in the straightaways of Highway 76, North River Road, or Old Highway 395, when my rhythm settles in, the road ahead of me is straight, and my mind is clear, I give thanks with the following prayer…

Lord, I thank you for a new day and a new chance to walk on the right path.

I ask forgiveness for the sins I’ve committed and the mistakes I’ve made. Help me have awareness that I learn from those sins and from those mistakes, that they not become repeated.

I thank you for the blessings and opportunities which surround me. Help me to recognize and appreciate the blessings. Help me fulfill the opportunities for the betterment of this world, the people in it, and the people in my life.

Help me speak the truth this day. Regardless of what situations I find myself in or what thoughts swirl through my head, help me remember it’s better to stand in a room empty of words than to fill one with lies or exaggerations.

Help me remember that my place is not to judge — that what somebody looks like or what they don’t look like is not a reflection of who they are. Help me remember that behind every pair of eyes is a heart, a soul, and a life‘s worth of experiences that I know nothing about.

Help me be a good steward to the planet today. Help me be mindful of the environment, its resources, and help me give more than I take.

Thank you for the critters that touch my life. Help me be better to them today than they are to me.

Help me be a good man today. Help me walk tall, me speak few words, and be far in my reach. Help me be kind.

I thank you for hearing these words. Amen

And the thing is, I don’t just run through it quietly in my head. I whisperer these words in a scarcely audible voice as I pedal, to ensure my intentions extend beyond my lips and project into the universe.

This is not a religious prayer so much as it is a thank you note and a to-do list — all in one. It’s a way to give thanks, and a daily reminder of who I’ve been and who I’m attempting to be. Giving thanks in this way makes at least a portion of my ride to church — a church not made by hands, with a congregation of one.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7

Miles: 204

Climbing: 9,100’

Mph Avg: 15.4

Calories: 11,623

Seat Time: 13 hours 16 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from The Bats.  Enjoy…

Riddled With Doubt…

From the time I roll out of bed each morning, until I crawl back in at night, I experience moments of doubt, often paralyzing, all day long. Of all my underlying psychological disorders, doubt tops the list. 

Doubts about everything.

My doubts are like landmines, buried in indiscernible patterns and scattered throughout my days. Sometimes I have to hit my doubts pretty hard before they explode. Other times though, they trigger with barely a touch. 

It usually begins with the ones I love.

I’ll just be moving along, seemingly in a peaceful day, when suddenly I hit a doubt. 


I’ll take a look at my mom, for example, and out of nowhere I’ll begin to question the ways I care for her. I’ll think about all the things I could be doing better on her behalf, but don’t. Then I’ll think about all the things I could do better in future, but know I won’t.

The shock of that concussion might keep in a fog for hours, despite my need to function as a businessman and as a caregiver. Eventually, it’ll give way to more peaceful moments. But then, the next one… 


In the course of a day, I’ll  doubt I’m a good businessman. 

I’ll doubt I’m a good steward for my pets. 

I’ll doubt I’m a good friend. 

I’ll doubt I’m a good father.

I’ll doubt I’m a good neighbor.  

And in a week’s time, I’ll question most every decision I made that week and wonder why I don’t put more effort into making better decisions more often — and take better actions. 

Where these doubts come from and why they show up when they do, I can’t say. And this isn’t a ‘woe is me’ party.  I wouldn’t wish these feelings on anyone. When these doubts strike it can be hard to breathe, hard to move forward in the day, and they’re always accompanied by sadness. Sometimes the sadness is subtle. Other times it’s overwhelming.

And then there’s the greatest doubt of all — whether or not even exist. And if I do exist, how much control do I really have over any of these actions and inactions which I spend so much time doubting…? Those doubts can knock me off my feet.

My doubts control me like a pimp.

By the time I walk out the front door with a bike in one hand and a helmet in the other, I’ll have experienced a handful of doubt explosions, each doing a little more damage to my psyche. Is that damage is permanent…? I don’t know. I only know that the older I get, the less I glow and the slower I move from all the mental contusions caused by doubts.

I get out on my bike and the doubts subside, if only for a while. I feel peace, exhilaration, and wonder. I don’t question anything and I enjoy everything. The days I feel the most doubt, are the days I tend to have the most meaningful rides. And if it weren’t for having to make a living, the most doubtful days would host my longest rides. I could ride for hours on a heavily doubtful day.

But all painkillers wear off, and so to does the bike ride. I’ll put the bike back in the stable and I’ll towel down. I’ll eat a handful of grapes and as I begin walking about my post-ride evening, I’ll walk on eggshells, everywhere I go, knowing at some point, I’ll trigger another doubt — I just never know when.


This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7

Miles: 205

Climbing: 9,100’

Mph Avg: 15.1

Calories: 11,645

Seat Time: 13 hours 36 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from Shuggie Otis. Enjoy…

The American Mirror…

“Beginning with the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960, the occupant of the White House has become a combination of demigod, father figure and, inevitably the betrayer of inflated hopes. Pope. Pop star. Scold. Scapegoat. Crisis manager. Commander in Chief. Agenda setter. Moral philosopher. Interpreter of the nation’s charisma. Object of veneration. And the butt of jokes. All rolled into one…”

The Limits Of Power (2008), by Col. Andrew Bacevich, PhD