The Flags Of Fast Rain And High Water…

Leaving Fallbrook on my bike, I most always head south 6-8 miles to Highway 76. At that point I can either head west toward the coast or east toward the Pauma Valley, but I have to make a choice. Either way I choose, I’ll be riding along the San Luis Rey river basin. Most of the time I ride on the shoulder of the highway roughly 1,000 yards from riverbed. Other times, if I’m appropriately bike’d, I’ll ride on the dirt paths and single-track trails which can lead within a few yards from the almost dry river.

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The increase in homeless encampments in the river basin is noticeable. Three or four years ago, along a the same stretch trails, I might have seen a handful of tents, canopies, and makeshift shelters. Today there are dozens of them visible from the road and bike paths, and probably many more that are well hidden. I’ve said before and am still of the belief that in the 20-mile stretch of the river basin between I-15 and the coast, there are probably 1,000 or more people who call that area home. Perhaps many more. 

We’re in winter now. Though we haven’t equaled the frequency of storms we experienced last season, we’re still above average with rainfall by nearly two inches. The dry river isn’t currently dry, and like most river basins, the San Luis Rey is prone to flooding during heavy rains.

As I’ve ridden along the river basin this season, I’ve noticed a significant increase in one of the more poignant signs of life which manifests after the rains — I see more blankets and clothing hanging from tree branches and from makeshift clotheslines. This is what happens when one lives outdoors and in a floodplain — their belongings get soaked with every passing storm.

Since the rains that fill the riverbed with water are the same rains that have been falling on my own backyard in recent months, I know some of the more sudden storms have occurred overnight. It’s fair to surmise that some of these shelters may have been taken out by heavy rain and fast rising waters, suddenly and while people in them were sleeping. I can’t imagine.

Yesterday, while riding from Fallbrook to Oceanside, I saw roughly 20 blankets and dozens of articles of clothing hung out to dry. I call these the Flags Of Fast Rain And High Water. They are a reminder of how fortunate I am.

When I hang a blanket or piece of clothing on my clothesline throw them in my dryer, it’s always because I’ve previously washed them, by choice, never because they got soaked by an unexpected rain in the middle of the night. Never do I have a sudden need to dry the blankets or the clothes that keep me warm.

And it’s not just in the riverbed. I’ve seen these flags of the downtrodden just about anywhere I see open space these days. If you’re not paying attention, you may not notice it, but they are there — an obvious sign that homelessness is on the increase during some of the best economic times this nation has ever experienced. That math does not add up.
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Whatever one’s opinion of homelessness is — of the reasons why or of the damage done, if you ever see these Flags Of Fast Rain And High Water, please take a moment to reflect just how fortunate you are. You might also ask yourself, if the economy is really this good, why is this on the increase…?

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 6
171 miles
7,800′ climbing
15.8 mph avg
9,800 calories
10 hours 46 minutes seat time

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 Jarvis Cocker. Enjoy…

Let ‘Em Eat Cake…

My father’s been gone for nearly eight years. He spent his last years in assisted-living in Las Vegas. He was mostly bed-bound or wheelchair-bound during that time due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. Near the end, he was taking 19 different medications. When a person is on 19 medications, having a complementary diet is important. That’s what the doctors, nurses, and caregivers of his facility claimed.

On some level I know that’s true. Additives, preservatives, and chemicals in foods can have interactions with medications that cause them to fail, conflict with other medications, or conflict with organ function. With that in mind, my father’s diet while in assisted-living was bland and offered limited options.

For elderly in long-term care facilities, meals are often the most important part of the experience. For my father, eating was just another routine obligation — an unexciting dose of calories to be chased with a glass of water, just like his blood pressure medication. The joy of eating had been lost.

During that time, I visited my father as often as my schedule and my finances allowed. One ritual I practiced when visiting him, was to stop at Taco Bell or for Chinese takeout on my way, and surprise him with food he might not otherwise enjoy. His eyes lit up if he saw me walk into his room with little white boxes of Kung Pao Chicken or a bag full of burritos. He was so starved for exciting food that watching him eat these surprise meals wasn’t a sight for kids.

I have a clear memory, on one of our final visits, of watching him take the final bite of a Chinese takeout meal. When I thought about how much sodium and other chemicals were in that meal, and on consideration of his 19 medications, I was genuinely afraid I might have just killed him — that’s not a joke. It would be a good two hours before I became confident there wouldn’t be any negative interactions between the foods keeping him happy and the medications keeping him alive.

And this is where it gets blurry…

If my father had died, I later wondered, from eating General Tso’s chicken and an egg roll soaked in sweet & sour sauce while staring out the window at a parking lot full of scooters and golf carts, would it have been any worse than if he died later that evening from pneumonia while watching Family Feud…?

I’m taking care of my mother now — she’s 90-year-old. To put it bluntly, my mom eats like shit. Since I am largely responsible for her shopping, food choices, and meal preparation, I might someday be culpable in her premature demise resulting from lesser eating choices. She only takes a couple of medications, one for blood pressure and the other for her thyroid, but food quality and quantity can impact each of them.

Most of my mother’s meals are premade from the local grocery store. I occasionally attempt to cook or assemble something from our kitchen, but regardless of the source, she takes in very little at mealtime. If she eats 1/3rd of what I serve with each meal, I consider it a victory. Generally, she eats less.

In-between meals, like many seniors do, mom craves sweets. Moon Pies, Snickers Bites, soft peppermints, and 8-ounce glasses of Coke are her fix. Though she is more mobile than my father was, and is able to get out each day, I’m certain the best part of each of her days is tasting a bit of sugar on her tongue.

I have a hard time drawing a line between what’s right and what’s wrong when it comes to the elderly and eating. I know if I fed my mother a diet of plant-based foods, limited sugars, and forced her to adhere to it, it would serve her health better and possibly extend her life.

Is it my place though, to force a 90-year-old woman to eat things she doesn’t want, or to deprive her of the things she does…? I could end up with a shiv between my shoulder blades, and when I least expect it.

Mom came up through the depression, watched a world at war, served in the military, and after all of that, had a 45-year career as a nurse. Notwithstanding, that she raised two strong-willed sons and had a husband who was good at making life difficult. At this point, if she wants to consider soft peppermints a vegetable, who am I to argue…?

I eat better than most, I think. When he was my age, so did my father. When my mother was my age, she included a vegetable at every meal, including breakfast. My mother and father were both active well into their 70s. At some point, our bodies slow down — our lives slow down. Tastes change. Priorities change. The things that bring meaning to our lives become simpler.

It might be that we could all live longer lives and with a better quality, by eating more sensibly. The only question I have is, how long does somebody want to stare out the window all day at a parking lot full of scooters…? How many episodes of Dr. Phil mark a complete life…?

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 6
179 miles
7,200′ climbing
15.8 mph avg
9,700 calories
10 hours 43 minutes seat time

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 Al Kooper and John Mayall. Enjoy…

The Great Depression…

The hardest part of living with depression isn’t the pain it causes. The hardest part is covering it up all day so I can earn a living and fit in within my community.

The last few weeks have been a little rough in my head. Knowing that I’ll get on the road at some point during each day though, has helped me charge my way through it. Some days it just takes a little extra effort to hide the chaos between my ears so that it can’t be seen.

I’ve never stuck a needle in my arm or a spoon under my nose, but have to believe that putting two tires to pavement in splendid isolation has got to be the better way to go. As my heart-rate increases from pedaling, the serotonin exchange between receptors in my brain increases proportionately. That’s the same effect that cocaine has on the brain. I’ve never purchased cocaine, but it’s probably less expensive than a bicycle habit. Still, I think this is worth the price.

Once I’m on the road, it just all falls away. I feel like John Travolta after shooting up in Pulp Fiction, driving down the road under the night sky, smiling that secret smile and all is right with the world, if only for a while.

My tempo increases, the road passes under my feet, and I think about my long-kept retirement plan — to apprentice as a sheepherder on the interior of Sardinia. That idea becomes more attractive with every BREAKING NEWS story. When I see how people argue, dig trenches, and build walls around their coveted opinions, I long to be a baby harp seal in the arctic getting clubbed for my fur – certainly that would be less painful than going through my newsfeed each morning.

I’m mostly kidding. My morning feed brings me as much fun and amusement as it does anguish. It’s just that the weight of the anguish is greater than the fun and amusement.

I don’t talk about my depression as much as I should. Most people who live with it don’t. Stigma casts a long and wide shadow. My depression is viscerally biological, but is largely influenced and exacerbated by environment — by the people who fail to think before they speak and act.

I take no medication, although I do recognize the value and the need for medication in others. Medications enhance and enable many lives for the better and they’ve certainly saved lives, but I prefer to deal with my depression organically. These are some of the ways I cope with my depression each day…

1. Strength training and stretching
2. Walking in nature
3. Catering to my creative side, mostly through writing and taking pictures
4. Riding a bicycle, daily
5. Spending time with my pets, hourly

If I add up all the time I spend organically treating my depression, it comes out precisely to every waking moment that I’m not working. That is, I’m either working or engaged in something to take my mind off the sadness that inexplicably pops in and out of my head all day long.

What may not make sense to a person who doesn’t or has never experienced these feelings, is that I have a wonderful life. I make a good living. I don’t want for anything. I probably have too much of everything. I have friends and loved ones who know me and like me anyway. On a scale of 1 to 10, my life is an 11. Given the option, I wouldn’t want to be anyone else, except maybe Kenny Aronoff. Still, intermittently throughout each day, it just shows up knocking at my door. It’s a warning knock – not to announce its presence, but to let me know it’s coming in.

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The only weapons I have against my depression are creativity and physical movement. When I’m not otherwise engaged with work or taking care of my mother, I’m keeping my depression at bay.

If you’ve read this far, I hope you’ll consider that at some point this week you’ll be face-to-face with a dozen other people who look on the outside exactly as I do — confident, well-adjusted, and perhaps jovial. On the inside though, they may be battling every bit as much as me, some much more. Since you won’t know it to look at them, please give everyone you see a little bit of grace this week. It may be just what they need to get through the day.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 6
176 miles
7,800′ climbing
15.4 mph avg
10,050 calories
11 hours 26 minutes in the saddle

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 Daniel Lanois. Enjoy…

The Spoke In Review: 2019…

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.

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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.

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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
8,618 miles
388,300′ climbing
15.1 mph avg
529,500 calories
504 hours in the saddle
27 flat tires
353 earworms
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…

That Tin Shed…

I’m getting closer to pulling the trigger on my first bike trip in a while. I’m hoping to make it happen in April or May. It’s not through Patagonia, across the United States, or along the coastal boundaries of Vietnam — though each of those is a bucket list bikepacking trip.

This trip will be a short tour — a figurative stone’s throw from my front yard. By bicycle, it’s roughly 150 miles to the town of Fillmore California. That’s one long day of riding, or more likely, two comfortable days in the saddle, with a few stops and some good people watching along the way. Perhaps twenty-four to forty-eight hours at my destination, and then two more days to return home. A five to six day trip in all.

Though I haven’t invited them yet, I’m hoping my friends Tim and Ashley from Steamboat Springs can fly out with one of their tandem bikes and join me. It’s also notable that my potential host for this trip, Bill, a Fillmore resident who I’ve never met, hasn’t been notified of my intentions either. However, since Tim and Bill will both read this, I’m inviting them to declare their respective thumbs-up or thumbs-down on this idea, and relate any questions or concerns in the comment fields.

There are essentially three draws in making this trip.

1. The first draw of any bicycle trip is the trip itself. Honestly, a bike trip from Newark New Jersey to Breezewood Pennsylvania would be just as compelling as a trip along coastal British Columbia. In cycling, it’s about being on the road and all the little rituals that go with it, as well as the people you meet along the way. Fillmore will be a great destination.

2. Bill himself. Bill, a Fillmore resident, was a college classmate of my brother at Whitman College in the late 1970s. Though Bill and I have never met, we connected on social media years ago and have had daily interactions ever since. I have no problem saying that those interactions have enhanced my life and helped make me a more positive and better living person. I consider Bill a true friend.

3. That tin shed. Each morning, while so many people are quick to demonstrate the ugly side of social media by misrepresenting themselves, by using hateful language, spreading fear by using lies, and by acting like children in a world that needs adults now more than ever, Bill is one who strives to keep it positive. Like me and a small portion of others, Bill uses a mixture of descriptive language and photographs to express positivity each day. Also like me, Bill takes photographs of the same objects and the same scenes on a regular basis, often from different angles, during different times of the year, and under different skies. It’s a daily reminder that nothing is static, and that even seemingly fixed things and predictable places are ever-changing.

There’s one object though, that Bill takes photographs and shares regularly, that has compelled me since the first time I saw it. It’s a shed on or near what I believe is Bill’s property. It’s a shed — a beautiful metal shed, resting in the foreground of the local foothills. I have no idea what the shed houses or is used for. Whether it’s tools, old trucks and farm equipment, or covers a pumping station for a well, I have no idea. I just know that I’ve wanted to ride my bike to, and to photograph that shed for years now. So this spring I’m going to do it — so long as Bill allows me on his property, and Tim and Ashley ride along with me to keep me company.

When I ride my bike each day, along the coast, through the local vineyards, beside the farms that grow tomatoes, peppers, spinach, and cilantro, taking in that beauty is such an important part of the experience. But everyday, for years now, I’ve envisioned myself riding down that unkempt road, on a bike fully loaded with gear, and approaching that tin shed for the first time. Oh, what a sight that will be. Also, I’m not really sure it’s made out of tin, but that gives it a good name.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 6
169 miles
6,600′ feet climbing
16.0 mph avg
9,700 calories
10 hours 37 minutes in the saddle

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 is this worthy cover from The greatest rock band on earth, Los Lobos. Enjoy…!

Pampered…

I was maybe 19 years old or so. Mark Regis, or Reej, as we called him, and I were doing squats at Rocky Mountain Gym in Aurora Colorado. I had 315 lbs. on an olympic bar — that’s (3) 45 lb. iron plates on each side. Real iron plates — not the padded, oversized, and underweighted phony CrossFit plates people post on their Instagram pictures today.

Honestly, I can’t remember if I did 6 reps, 8, or 10. I just remember being proud of myself as I re-racked the bar with the required ‘slam’ into the squat rack. When I turned proudly to face Reej, he whispered in his quiet voice…

“Why do you pamper yourself…?“

Inferring that, despite my effort, I could have done more reps — given more of myself.

“Why do you pamper yourself…?“ was Reej’s calling card. If I put dressing on my salad…

“Why do you pamper yourself…?“

If I warmed up my car on a cold snowy day…

“Why do you pamper yourself…?“

If I felt like taking a nap on a weekend afternoon…

“Why do you pamper yourself…?“

That was a formative phase in my life. Not in a bodybuilding sense, but in a life sense. That was the time I began questioning just how often I pamper myself, in any scenario, and just as significantly, why I pamper myself…?

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In hindsight, it’s easy for me to see that since that time, I’ve pushed myself pretty hard in most everything I do, from my personal fitness, to my business life, and in so many of my day-to-day actions. Reej’s glib remark made a lasting impact.

I don’t like quitting anything before I’m finished.

I’ve gotten accustomed to all kinds of pain.

I’ve learned to dislike being too comfortable too often.

I’ve learned to need very little.

I don’t like taking breaks.

I see sleep as a tool, not as a hiding place.

When I feel I’m pampering myself, I feel guilty, and often ashamed.

Sadly, I confess, I tend to not understand people who don’t share these values, though I try not to be judgmental.

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I guess this was on my mind yesterday as I pedaled my bike 32-miles in the pouring rain. I had an almost daemonic grin for a moment as raindrops hit my teeth and eyes and I flashed back to my friend Reej, knowing that at that moment I wasn’t pampering myself. I was cold, wet, working hard, and having fun through it all.

I’ve read multiple times that America is the pampered society it is, because it became a democracy too soon and without too much prior adversity. That once state and local governments began to form, it got too easy too soon. America’s abundant resources and little competition for those resources, almost from the beginning, might be at the root of our pampered difficulties today.

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In these tumultuous times, a statement like that is bound to offend more than a few people. I stand with it though — we are a culture of pampered people. More than a few notable historians have studied and suggested this. Pampered, by the way, is the term I use. Critical historians prefer words such as materialistic, demanding, lustful, and of high expectations with a disproportionate willingness to earn or give back.

Maybe in choosing not to pamper myself with too much too often, is how my minimalist tendencies began to form. The less one has, uses, or requires, the less pampered one becomes. I genuinely believe that.

Yesterday was just one of those days when, after a good bit of thinking about it, I couldn’t help but believe if people raised their expectations of themselves, lowered their expectations of others, and if they pampered themselves a little bit less in most aspects of their lives, we might be a much stronger nation.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 4
170 miles
6,400’ climbing
15.mph avg
10,000 calories
11 hours 5 minutes in the saddle

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 is this worthy cover from The McClymonts. Enjoy…!

Getting Back To Doing My Part…

I gave up everyday driving in 2008. Living in a small town, being in good physical shape, and never one to shy away from challenges, I gave away my Jeep and took to being a bicycle commuter. At the time, my fitness studio was located 5-miles from my residence.

The town grocery stores, hardware store, and most every shop and restaurant were located along the 5-mile route between my home and my workplace. If I had a need to go longer distances or carry heavy objects, I always had the option of borrowing or renting a vehicle. For years this is how I lived — without a car.

The smaller environmental footprint notwithstanding, saving money on gas, on insurance, and on car-related maintenance offered me a unique kind of freedom my social contemporaries didn’t understand — or didn’t seem to care about.

There was only the occasional downside to living exclusively by bicycle. I have a clear memory of December evening in 2012 — needing toilet paper at 10:30pm. The local grocery stores closed at 11:00pm. Five miles into town wasn’t a very long bike ride, but that roundtrip on a cold winter’s night felt like an eternity. It was also a good lesson for me in better planning.

When I relocated from Fallbrook to the mountains of Colorado in 2014, I’ve vowed to continue a car-free lifestyle. My only change-up was switching to a mountain bike as a commuter vehicle. Though I stayed just one year, I rode my bike most every day and for most every errand — even through heavy winds and subzero temperatures. If the weather was too severe, I would ask my landlady for a ride into town. If I needed to go into Boulder, I’d throw my bike on the municipal bus, do my errands in Boulder, throw my bike back on the bus, and ride back up the mountain where I lived.

In 2015 I returned to Southern California — still car-free. This got ugly quickly since I opted to rebuild my business in the town of Fallbrook, but initially lived in Temecula — 15 miles to the north. Thirty miles of bicycle commuting each day got old, and I became increasingly dependent on rides. I usually rode to work in the morning, and hopped rides home in the evenings when possible. Eventually I moved back to Fallbrook and continued riding a bike for all my errands.

Later in 2015 I rented a house that could serve as both my residence and my fitness studio. Shortly thereafter I relocated my mother from Colorado to join me. Around the same time my mother gave up driving and I purchased a car for the first time in nearly a decade — a used Prius. My intent was to use the car exclusively to get my mother to and from her errands, entertainment, and medical appointments.

Within weeks though, I was using my car for virtually all of my personal errands. I would use it to go to the grocery store, the hardware store, and to pick up takeout. If the morning paper failed to be delivered, I drive to 7-Eleven to get one, even though I’m looking out my window at that 7-Eleven as I write this — just a couple thousand yards away. Lazy spreads easily within my bones and psyche. It became so automatic to use the car for even the shortest errand, that I quit feeling guilty about it within a few days — after all, a Prius.

I’ve been thinking about that more recently though — how unnecessary it is for me to drive to do anything in this town. The unnecessary use of anything/everything might is at the center of most of our national issues, and yes, I actually believe that.

I own X# of bikes. I ride between 25 and 30 miles every day of my life — for recreation. If I need a Chapstick though, I’ll drive to the store. That doesn’t add up. There is no reason why I can’t dedicate one bike to being a ‘town’ bike, fixing it with appropriate racks, and using it for all my nearby errands. As pharaoh said, “And so it shall be done…”

I will continue using my car to transport my mother to and from her errands and on my personal trips beyond town. I‘ll also use it to transport my dog to and from our daily walk at the local nature preserve. At 16, he’s too old to make the 2-mile trip in a bike basket. For any local errands, needs, or visitations, I will use my town bike, ongoing.

I know there will be exceptions to this and I know I’ll fail on occasion — that I’ll use the power of rationalization to make decisions to drive rather than to ride, but I’ll do my best to keep those to a minimum. Though this coincides with the closing of the year, this is not any kind of resolution. At a time when I hear the term climate change several times a day, and almost never in a good context, this is something I should just be doing — something many people should just be doing.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 4
140 miles
5,400’ climbing
16.0 mph avg
8,000 calories

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 is this worthy cover from Clutch. Enjoy…!