Earth Day After…

In 1970, when the original Earth Day took place, Mrs. Vogel was my 2nd grade teacher. She said something to our class that day, as we sat cross-legged in the grass outside the classroom door, that forever shaped my sensibilities when in matters of planetary stewardship…

“You wouldn’t throw trash at your mother, so why would anyone throw trash at Mother Earth…?”

Perhaps it went over the heads of the other kids, but that sentence grasped me. Mrs. Vogel was one of the few teachers I still think about. She was a hippie, as much as she could be in that profession in 1970. She was also an artist, an activist, and I don’t think she cared too much for rules. She often conducted class barefoot. Fifty years later, as I walk around my studio each day without shoes, I can’t help but feel Mrs. Vogel’s influence. On Earth Day, I always think of her.

I saw a lot of nods to Earth Day on social media last week — many of the usual suggestions…

– Eat less meat

– Recycle more

– Use less water

– Conserve household energy

– Drive less, and do so in more efficient vehicles

– Travel less

– Use less paper

– Eliminate single-use plastics

– Vote for politicians who champion fighting the climate crisis

These are important ideas, and if we all practiced them, it might benefit our ecology over time. I have my own thoughts though, on some other ideas that might have a more immediate impact on climate change. The bad news is, aside from me not being an ecologist or climatologist, is that few people I speak with seem willing to entertain these. 


No reasonable conversation about climate change should exclude the use of nuclear energy, if only as a 100-year (or so) bridge until the use of sustainable renewable energy is mastered and maximized. 


Accept that we can live without most printed materials. This would include books, newspapers, work and legal documents, magazines, pamphlets, brochures, and correspondence, etc. Virtually everything printed today begins in digital format. Since the digital infrastructure is already in place to transmit any would-be printed material electronically, the printing of most materials, regardless of justification, isn’t necessary. Yes, even our precious books. 

The amount of energy required to produce and transport our printed materials is greater than most people realize. It’s been suggested by some climate scientists that replacing all printed materials with digital copies could, by itself, create a measurable slowing of CO2 levels within a couple of decades. 


Eat less. If we ate only the calories we need each day to break even with our energy expenditure, it might be the most significant personal adjustment we could make to offset climate change  — even  ahead of driving less, using less household energy, and recycling. Virtually every calorie we eat that we don’t require increases the strain on the global food system and subsequently the environment.

Eating only what we need, and not throwing away food unnecessarily, would bolster food supply, take stress off the transportation system, and ease the agricultural system. Notwithstanding that it might make us all healthier and function better as individuals, families, and societies.

I get it — it’s difficult to consider any of these, let alone put them into practice. Most everyone reading this believe that hardbound books and newspapers are staples of an informed and intelligent culture. And most believe that there’s nothing wrong with an extra helping of mashed potatoes with dinner or to snack as we see fit. Yet these ideas, put into play on the sooner side, might help thwart climate change as well as many of the measures that are so often talked about.

But none of this really matters. Because the most important thing we can do to combat climate change is something we are increasingly unwilling to do — to prioritize bridging the gaps between political and cultural divisions. No significant steps in addressing climate change can be initiated from a divided populous and the dysfunctional Congress elected by that populous. At the most basic level, we need to grow up, quit pointing fingers, and get to work. 

I know it’s unlikely that more than a few hundred people will read this, and less likely that it will impact anyone who does. That said, I think these ideas are worth considering because they would have the most immediate and unprecedented impact on our changing ecology. Food for thought — so to say. And a nod to Mrs. Vogel.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb 

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 3

Miles: 173

Climbing: 10,500’

Mph Avg: 14.1

Calories: 9,500

Seat Time: 12 hours 12 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along this week. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like 👍🏻 and a share. Oh, and there’s this from Peter Rowan. Enjoy…

My Little Football Friend…

For over a decade, my sidekick and I walked side-by-side at the Los Juilgeros Preserve — a 25-acre nature preserve just a mile from downtown Fallbrook. It’s a place where he enjoyed hunting for sniffs. Walking off leash from an early age, he had the freedom to roam and follow his nose, but never went too far from dad — and I never took my eyes off of him. 

A few years back, around the time he turned 16, what we referred to as the Big Preserve was a little too big, and we took our walks to what we called the Little Preserve — a smaller but similar landscape, and our walks were reduced to less than a mile. And that’s where we’ve been walking for the last few years.

We don’t walk the Little Preserve anymore either. His steps are slower, his bones getting frail, and he tires easy. These days, we drive to the local school district office, which has a small park in front that’s dog friendly. I put him down, let him hunt for some sniffs, do his thing, and often he’ll lay in the sun for 5 or 10-minutes before we head home.

He still gets excited when I head to the front door, and ultimately I think that’s what it’s about — to leave the house, get in the car, and just go somewhere. When I think about it, it’s not too different than when I would take my mom to the airpark each day for lunch — just a reason to get out and see that the world is still there.

Missing the days of our longer walks, and missing the natural surroundings they took place in, I’ve been taking Stroodle once again to the Little Preserve. He doesn’t walk the trail anymore. I carry him like a little football tucked into my right arm. I carry him a few hundred yards, put him down, let him get a few sniffs, and if he’s so inclined, lay in the sun. Then I scoop him up, walk a few hundred more yards, and repeat the process until we’ve completed the 3/4 mile trail.

He’s almost 19 years old. I know this can’t go on. Each day when I wake up the first words out of my mouth are “thank you for another day“. I then ask him for one more year, but I know that’s not realistic.

It’s funny though — as old and slow as he can be when I take him for our walks, when I put on my overshirt, grab the car key, and open the front door, he jumps from the sofa like a puppy, spins a couple times, and beams with excitement. He’s my little old man and my kid, simultaneously.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 6

Miles: 179

Climbing: 8,000’

Mph Avg: 14.6

Calories: 10,000

Seat Time: 12 hours 11 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along this week. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like 👍🏻 and a share. Oh, and there’s this from John Cruz (exquisite Zimmy cover)

Three For The Road…

In a few weeks I’ll be meeting up in Victorville California with my friends Tim and Ashley. Tim and I met in 1984 at a Coast Guard recruiting office in Northglenn Colorado. Tim and I went through boot camp together, got sent back a few weeks in boot camp together, and graduated from boot camp together. Tim is as good a person as I’ve ever known, and Ashley, his wife, is too good for him.

From Victorville, we’re going to ride our bikes to Kingman Arizona. Tim and Ashley will be on a tandem bike and I’ll be on a bike yet to be determined — or yet to be purchased, depending how things unfold in the coming weeks. 

It’ll be a good opportunity to decompress and gather my thoughts on the heels of my mother’s passing. I’m not sure what changes lay ahead for me after six years of caregiving, but there will certainly be a few. Riding across the Mojave will be a good time to entertain and process any would-be changes in my future.

Our agenda for the ride looks like this…

Day 1: Victorville to Barstow 30 miles 

Day 2: Barstow to Ludlow  50 miles 

Day 3: Ludlow to Needles 110 miles

Day: 4 Needles to Kingman 60 miles 

Day 5 (optional): Kingman to Seligman  90 miles 

We’ll have a truck pre-positioned in either Kingman or Seligman. From there, we’ll load up the bikes and head back to Victorville. I’m looking forward to this. I need this. 

There’s not a lot of talking when you ride cross country. Maybe there’s time to tell a story here and there or crack a joke along the way. The good conversations don’t happen until the day’s ride is through. Tacos are ordered, beer gets opened, and you talk about the day’s ride, memories from the past, and those yet to come. 

Maybe we’ll sleep well, maybe not. We hope to stay in a couple hotels along the way, but we’re prepared for roadside camping if the illustrious Ludlow Inn has no vacancy. No matter, we’ll wake up each morning and go. There’s no better feeling than hitting the road early on a two-lane desert highway. There’s just the rhythm of the legs, the emptiness of the mind, and all that pretty stuff that will surround us. 

I explained to somebody the other day that everything I ever wanted to get out of surfing I’ve found in cycling…

  • Solitude
  • Excitement
  • Immersion into the environment
  • Escape
  • Challenge
  • Physical and mental satisfaction

I’m not sure if I’ll be blogging or even plugged in much when we’re on the road — certainly not on the day we ride from Ludlow to Needles. I’ll take a few hundred pictures along the way though, and share them on our return. Tim, who still shoots on film, is a much better photographer than me. I’m sure he’ll come up with some gems.

If all goes well, we’ll be doing a second trip from Denver to Casa de Cohen at Lake McConaughey in July. More on that later.

Though I haven’t been too active on this platform recently, I’m still writing every morning on my Spoke And Word Facebook page. If you’re interested in my daily shtick, and you should be, please check it out. Perhaps I’ll get back to writing here more in the coming weeks.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb 

This week by the numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7

Miles: 174

Climbing: 7,700’

Mph Avg: 15.0

Calories: 9,800

Seat Time: 11 hours 41 minutes

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along this week. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like 👍🏻 and a share. Oh, and there’s this from The Rave Ups. By the way, this is the first studio album by the core lineup of The Rave Ups in 30 years. It’s fantastic. Enjoy…!