It’s time to close the door on the first year my little Spoke And Word outlet. I say outlet because I began this site to combine my desires to write, ride, and take pictures — all of which I had been practicing daily, and share them via a singular outlet.
When I began this one year ago, I also thought it might be a marketing arm for a bike shop I hoped to open in Fallbrook sometime in 2020. As I explored that more deeply though, bike shop got less and less traction. Mom and pop bike shops are closing up at an alarming rate, with Amazon and YouTube being the main reasons why. Amazon, for selling parts and components quickly and cheaply. YouTube, for being a great resource for teaching cyclists how to do their ownrepairs. That’s okay though, I make a good living as a fitness trainer and I’m much more qualified.
I’ve enjoyed waking up every morning and writing about what I might have been thinking about while riding the day before. Monday through Saturday that’s been on my Spoke And Word Facebook page, and on Sundays it’s been here. I’ve had fun looking for good photo opportunities daily — seeking out new backgrounds, placing my bikes in different positions in different locations, and doing so at different times of day in order to get unique photographs.
Neither this blog nor the corresponding Facebook page were ever intended to be too much about cycling. What I’ve sought to share is what goes through the mind of someone who spends a couple of hours each day on a bike. As I’ve gone about this in 2019, I’ve tried to improve my cycling, my photography, and my writing. I have no problem admitting to my own mediocrity in each, but at least the photography is improving — some. Charge on.
I’ll say straight up that this blog and the Facebook page have been as fun and fulfilling as anything I’ve done in some time. They’ve become my identity. As outlets, they’ve helped daily to cleanse my aching soul and chaotic mind. They’ve helped steer me in a more productive direction in my day-to-day life. They’ve also helped cultivate better decision making in all areas of my life.
2019, for many reasons, has been another great year in my life. I remain self-employed. I have the privilege of helping take care of my mother as her abilities slowly give way to time. I’ve done more volunteering in my community than in previous years. I feel like I walk the walk a little bit better and for better reasons than I have in the past.
2019 hasn’t been without difficulties, demons, and depressive days though. The very things that pushed me into cycling to begin with — depression, inexplicable sadness, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety still manifest, sometimes daily. Writing, pedaling, and photography all help keep those that bay. Any one of those might come up on me fast, but none of them are faster than a guy on a bike.
In fitness circles there’s an axiom that one can’t out-exercise a poor diet. I believe that to be true. Conversely, at least up to a point, I do believe one can out cycle some aspects of mental illness. And yes, I just used the term mental illness to describe myself publicly for the first time. In 2020, I’ll continue to use the tools I have available to cope with the brain I was given, and that’s the best I can do. I hope it works.
With just a few days left, and assuming I don’t hit by an obnoxious kid in a truck or get my head chopped off by a low tree branch while I’m pedaling, I will close out the year at just over 8600 miles. That’s 400 miles short of my 9000 mile goal. Still, it’s nearly 1000 miles more than I rode in 2018, and over 2000 miles more than I rode in 2017. I don’t necessarily think 2020 will be my first 10,000 mile year, but it might be.
To the handful of people who have followed this outlet here and/or on Facebook, thank you very much. Your support and your feedback are appreciated more than you can know. Your priorities are way out of whack, but thank I you.
This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb
2019 By The Numbers…
Bikes Ridden: 12
15.1 mph avg
504 hours in the saddle
27 flat tires
Countless smiles and moments of wonder
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 and under-appreciated Ted Hawkins. Enjoy…