Thought Recap March 2 – March 7…

A little something different this week. Since I write a daily version of this blog on Facebook, and many people who read this are not on Facebook, I’m going to share a recap of those original Monday through Friday thoughts here each Sunday.

If you’re interested in checking them out daily on Facebook, you can follow the the link here. If you’re not on Facebook but are interested in what goes through my head as I ride each day, you can read it here each Sunday.

Monday, March 2. Practicing Mistakes

One of the best parts about riding early on Sundays is the streets are nearly void of cars. As my ride winds down though and I return to town, I pass several churches along the way. Traffic backs up as the parking lots begin to fill for Sunday services.

I take it all in.

For much of my adult life I’ve drawn many comparisons, and cultivated much of my worldview by identifying similarities between religious culture and fitness culture. On the surface that may seem like a stretch. However, the similarities between religious culture and fitness culture are numerous, and in my opinion, very telling.

It all starts with expectations.

There are expectations in society that we take care of our souls. Houses of worship, we learn at an early age, are the best place to prepare our souls for all that will confront them. There are also expectations, albeit to a lesser degree, that we take care of our health and bodies. Gyms, yoga studios, and similar places of worship are as numerous as houses of the holy.

It continues with expectations.

For many, whether we’re talking about protecting our souls or our bodies, it’s those social expectations that create intent. Whether we have a deep calling or not, many attend religious services because they feel it’s expected of them. Similarly, many exercise regularly because they feel it’s expected of them.

Location and leadership.

Because nobody is born with inherent knowledge of religious doctrine, they seek locations of practice and leadership who can teach and cultivate progress toward an increasingly moral life. In the same way, someone seeking to improve their physicality must seek a location of practice and a leader to teach them how to improve.

Ritual Obedience.

Again, whether we’re talking about the soul or the physical being, ritual obedience is necessary to make progress. Obedience to the doctrine and leadership, and consistent ritual practice of what is taught.

You go, you light the candle, you say the words, and you eat the cookie, you leave.

You go, you program the treadmill, you take the steps, do you drink the smoothie, you leave.

Clearly I’m not a priest, a rabbi, or an imam. I have though, made my living teaching different aspects of fitness and exercise for much of my adult life. I’m fortunate inasmuch as I do no group training. My lessons are all one-on-one, which enables me to teach in a way that better secures the expected results.

If there’s one doctrine that I teach above all others, it’s to execute proper form in all the exercises. I regularly tell students that if they’re not using proper form when they exercise, they’re simply practicing mistakes over and over again.

Though I don’t have occasion to enter public gyms too often these days, when I do I’m always struck by how many people are exercising outside of proper form — entire communities reassuring one another that they’re doing a good job, when in fact they’re not.

I know people will take offense to this, but when I think about that — when I think about the entire population of a gym practicing mistakes over and over again, I have to believe that happens in houses of worship as well. It’s just human nature I suppose.

If there’s a message in this attempt to compare the need for spiritual growth with the need for physical development, it’s that if we’re going to practice something, it’s probably best to not practice mistakes over and over again. Eventually, those mistakes become part of who we are.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

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Tuesday, March 3. Signs…

As if the joy and exhilaration of riding yesterday wasn’t enough, the skies were an additional reward for my effort. Gray, charcoal, varying hues of blue, and white combined to reflect the ground below in spectacular fashion. I know I say it all the time, but ‘stupid job…!’ I had to go back my stupid job.

I ride, in part, to escape the news of the day. These last few weeks though, the news has snuck in to my escape. Actually, it’s full-on molested me. The last 6-miles of my ride each day are a climb back into Fallbrook, up South Mission Road. Because it’s a steady climb, it’s the most ordinary part of my ride. I’m mostly head-down, churning, tired because it’s near the end, and this is usually where my feet begin to hurt. These days though, my eyes hurt more.

Leading up to Super Tuesday, South Mission Road gets transformed into The Alley Of Wasteful Politicians. It’s an assault to my psyche even worse than scrolling through my morning feed. Dozens of signs with the names of politicians or the numbers or letters assigned to the propositions this community should be voting for. The names Darrell Issa and Carl DeMaio pollute the 6-mile stretch. Not to be excluded is the good guy liberal candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar and some lesser judges, assessors, and so-on.

By the way, I’m not taking a political stand here, other than the fact that I believe these signs should be relegated to the past by way of a mutual agreement from all parties and by all causes.

For the second time in a few months I’ll run with my favorite quote from the 1972 book, The Limits Of Growth.

“If you want to protect the environment, stay out of it…“

Also, quit using it.

The game has changed. Political marketing has gone digital and I think that’s a good thing. I know these signs along people‘s driveways and on the sides of the roads buy bits of our brains that their sponsors hope register precisely when the ballot is in front of the voter, but but these signs are profoundly wasteful.

Signs require energy and multiple resources to be manufactured, need to be transported multiple times, and need to be disposed of when the campaign is over — if they’re collected at all. The only bigger waist than the signs themselves, are the wasted words of the politicians they pronounce.

Campaign signs should end tomorrow. The end, no justification, no rationalization, they should simply go away.

Crap. That’s just one more thing I have right that all the politicians in the country are still getting wrong.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

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Wednesday, March 4. Wearing My Plants Wrong…

Fun ride yesterday. Sleeveless t-shirt. Middle of the day. Everything is green. I’m getting my tan back. A fun little lunch-break, indeed.

I’m taking my fitness a more seriously these days. I know that’s an odd statement coming from a guy who does fitness for a living. Despite my so-called fitness lifestyle, I’ve got a weak link in the chain these days that I need to repair.

I’m consistent on my bike. I’m consistent in the weight room. I’m consistent with my stretching and with my balance work.

So what’s missing…?

My eating has been for shit.

I don’t mean that I eat junk food, that I overeat, or that don’t take my eating seriously. It’s just that my eating has become an identical reflection of my lifestyle — loosely organized, haphazard, and anything goes just to make it to the next day. In the scope of my fitness life, I’m eating good enough to get by, but I expect better of myself.

Riding as much as I do, getting enough calories is the only priority I have in eating. Balancing my nutrients and micro-nutrients is an afterthought. Because of my busy lifestyle — working and taking care of my mother, I get my calories as efficiently and conveniently as possible. This means I’m over-depending on rice, pasta, peanut butter, tofu, and convenient fruits. If you noticed a big void there, yes, vegetables are woefully missing — they only find their way into my system by way of the Thai and Chinese takeout I eat for lunch or dinner most days. I eat almost not vegetables but for a small serving of mixed frozen vegetables every 3rd day or so. In my (mostly) plant-based diet, most of those plants are wheat, rice, nuts, bananas, and soy.

I’m attempting to change that.

The biggest thing I have working against me is time. Eating vegetables, especially the better ones, takes time. It’s easier and quicker to throw down a spoonful of peanut butter and a bowl of pre-cooked rice than it is to prepare and chew on enough broccoli, zucchini, Brussel sprouts, and asparagus to sustain a 1,700 calorie ride.

Really it comes down to organization and planning, and that’s where I hope to improve.

Don’t get me wrong, I can still tuck in my shirt and make it look okay, and the blood panel from my last physical was above average for an old guy. Still, I haven’t been completely dialed in with my eating since I left Colorado in 2015. It’s time to get back on it.

That’s it. My lack of veggies has been weighing on me, so to say. I’ll keep you posted.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

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Thursday, March 5…

A Long Way From SeaWorld…

Second ride on the vintage Fuji yesterday. Not as fast as the first ride, but I faced a lot of wind heading west. Still, this bike is smooth and fun to ride. I’ll need to be cautious not to ride it too much — maybe twice a month or so.

I received a couple of unrelated emails recently, from two friends who live in separate parts of the country — each questioned me, asking why I say I live in San Diego when the pictures I show look nothing like the images they have. Let me clarify…

Most people, it seems, associate San Diego with Seaworld, Mission Beach, and our beautiful downtown waterfront. San Diego’s moniker is America’s Finest City, and I couldn’t agree more. However, I actually live about 50-miles north of downtown San Diego and 15-miles inland from the nearest beach. My home is in the unincorporated community of Fallbrook.

Fallbrook is a rural community known for its agriculture including avocados, plant and flower nurseries, citrus groves, and more recently, vineyards. And horses, we have a lot of horses. We are a community of 40,000 persons living sparsely among roughly 44 square-miles. We have a concentrated downtown with shops and restaurants.

If David Lynch built his own Mayberry, this would be it. I’m not citing this as an official statistic so just take my word for it, but we have more eccentric personalities per capita than any place on earth. We have a cross-dressing feed store manager, a cowboy poet who wears spurs everywhere he goes though I don’t believe he ever rides horses, and we have dozens more personalities who dress, speak, and behave just differently enough so they get noticed. We even have one guy who rides around town on a different bicycle, every day of the week.

Due to the hilly landscape and the large agricultural presence, there are only a few housing tracts here. Most homes have at least a little bit of land around them and some have grand properties. I often tell people the best way to see Fallbrook is to fly over it at low altitude, because there are so many homes and incredible properties that can’t be seen from the streets.

Most everyone grows some family fruit — avocados, citrus, and stone fruit, to be passed around and traded in a quasi-barter economy. Between March and early summer, it’s not uncommon for people to leave bags of fruit at the edge of their properties for anyone to take. Walk into out library or community center on any spring day and there might just be a bag of lemons or grapefruit with a sign beside it saying “take a few“.

Because this is the best growing climate in the United States, everything grows here — flowers, plants, fruits, vegetables, name it. The best part of that though, is there is visible Color 365 days a year. If fallbrook has a secret weapon, it’s the Bougainvillea. These transplants from India can be seen growing along fences brightening up the landscape in any direction one looks.

To ride a bike through Fallbrook, I often feel liked I’m on a tropical island. It’s truly that beautiful. Because most people have never heard of Fallbrook, I’m quick to say I live in San Diego. That’s true since I am in San Diego County. San Diego may be America’s finest city, but Fallbrook California is America’s most beautiful community.

Each day, when I could be doing many other things, I choose to spend a couple of hours in a bike, taking it all in at a speed which is on a more human scale than a car. This vehicle of choice, this bicycle, allows me to better appreciate all that captivates me. I smell the society garlic, the eucalyptus, and the citrus blossoms. If I see a blue heron standing in water or a turkey vulture sitting on a fence, I can stop without hazard and just take it in for a minute, and then move on to the next gorgeous scene. Fallbrook is my home.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

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Friday, March 6. If I Never Die…

It’s not always rainbows and unicorns in my head when I’m on the road. My mind goes to some peculiar places. Not necessarily dark or even bad, just strange. As I’ve said before, it’s hard to get on a bike every day for a couple of hours and not think about mortality.

I think about what might happen if I get hit by a car or if something falls off a truck and hits me in the head. As those thoughts churn, I think about my family, my friends, and any legacy I might leave behind. Sometimes though, I go the opposite direction.

I’ve survived a half-dozen legitimate near death experiences. I don’t seem to be any worse off for that wear. And that bodes the thought, every so often, what if I just keep on living…? I mean, my track record so far is 100%. By all accounts, I probably shouldn’t be here. Broken vertebrae — skydiving accident. Head injury(s) — skydiving, bike, river escapades. Notwithstanding, I once had an ER doc tell me my brain was swimming in alcohol and he wasn’t sure I was going to make it.

What happens if I keep on waking up, ongoing…?

That’s a question I think about often when I ride. Fifty-eight years old, 64 years old, 78, 93. When does that final day come…? What if it never comes…? 142 years old…? 210…?

I don’t mean that in a messianic way — that I’m not human, invincible, or that I’ll live forever. I just wonder, maybe too often, if I’ll be like Stroodle and just keep waking up each day and running like a deer, with only a little more gray on my face as time goes on.

And then there’s that deeper thought, the one that pops in and out of my head all day long and has haunted me for years…

Maybe this isn’t a life at all, just my purgatory. Perhaps I’m trapped in a waiting game that will only end as I allow it to end, by offsetting my previous wrongs by the actions of my daily rights. Purgatory plays out like Groundhog Day, right…

Wake up
Do more good than bad

Write
Do more right than wrong

Walk
Do more good than bad

Work
Do more right than wrong

Ride
Do more good than bad

Work more
Do more right than wrong

Take pretty pictures
Do more good than bad

Go to bed
Wake up, do it all again.

Each day a rebirth, but toward what end…?

Eventually, I do enough good while weeding the bad and I get to move on. Maybe that takes me 72 years. Maybe, 113 or 175 — I dunno, I just keep tryin’.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

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This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7
202 miles
9,,500’ climbing
14.8 mph avg
11,500 calories
13 hours 36 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. After 12 years of waiting, a brand new album from Cornershop — and it’s excellent. Enjoy…

Blah Blah Blog…

I’ve been writing daily for much of my adult life. For nearly 20 years I’ve been sharing that writing via several platforms, most recently this blog. In recent weeks though, I’ve been struggling to find new ideas — new thoughts to write about and to share. In considering that, it’s clear that I’m either running out of fuel for thought, or I’ve lost the creative ability to make more from less.

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Of course, it might also be that I’ve said everything I have to say. Nah, I don’t think so either. So like it or not, this is a brief piece of writing about my writing.

My reason for writing, more than any other, is to help me better understand my beliefs, or to talk myself down from them. Putting my thoughts into a digital record offers me the chance to distill them to their greatest purity and store them for future contemplation.
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Sharing my thoughts, on any subject, is never about initiating debate or changing anyone else’s mind. It’s about me showing my work in the calculations if life that take place in my mind. Writing, in that sense, is much like my physical exercise — it’s something I do to improve me, not others. In the same way I ride a bike to make my lungs stronger and do planks to tighten up my core, I write to make my mind more fit. If others find value in my writing, great. If not, no biggie.

Many suggest reading is the best exercise for the mind and the only way to broaden and strengthen one’s worldview. Clearly reading is an important exercise for the mind and I read or listen to books daily, average completing, 5-6 books per month. However, reading someone else’s and thoughts, I believe, offers a lesser platform for self-appraisal. Honest self-appraisal, in my opinion, is the best way to broaden and strengthen one’s mind. Writing and subsequently reading my own words, forces helps me distinguish the sensible from the wacky.

In this age of increasing complexity, with more voices than ever continually shouting from every direction, writing down my own thoughts helps me distinguish them from the thoughts of others, and perhaps that’s the best way to illuminate the road to self-discovery.

I’ve said for a long time that I believe the world would be a better place if people spent as much time writing Bibles as reading them. I stand with that, now more than ever. I blog, therefore I am.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7
204 miles
9,600’ climbing
15.5 mph avg
12,000 calories
13 hours 09 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 Supertramp . Enjoy…

Daily Nonsense Cap And Trade…

A big part of my riding is to offset the time I spend connected to the electronic world. Scrolling through social media, watching television, and streaming videos is what I refer to as my ’daily nonsense’. Nonsense, inasmuch as it does nothing to promote a better world and even less to create a better life for me personally. Electronic entertainment is among the cheapest and easiest forms of amusement — it’s the ultimate act of taking without giving.

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I first understood the idea of offsetting my inactivity when I was 14. My brother, four years older, had left for college and my father found me in front of the television increasingly. Until that point, having an older brother often kept me active and away from the TV. My brother and I shot baskets together, built snow caves, rode bikes, and we regularly walked along a foot trail near our house where we just talked about life. We ice-skated, swam, and played a lot of pickup football. With my brother gone to college, my activity partner was gone. After my brother left for college, my father noticed me watching television much more.

Dad did what he could to discourage my TV habit, but he also traveled a great deal and my mom was less concerned. By that point, I even had a television in my bedroom and I kept it going most of the time. One evening my father entered my room and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse…

He explained that he was going to monitor my television habits and require me to spend an equal amount of time reading or engaged in outdoor activities. I could watch as much television as I wanted, he explained, but for every hour of TV, I had do some combination of something physical or read books.

Guess what I clung to most…?
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Although he tried to emphasize the reading part of the deal, at that point it was clear that I was reading challenged, so he was content to let me play outside or ride my bike in equal portion to the television I watched. He even tracked my activity with a tablet of graph paper and a grease pencil on a clipboard he attached to his office door. This only lasted or a few months, but it was long enough that it became a habit. By the time my brother returned for the summer after his first year of college, I was probably spending more time on my bike or shooting baskets than in front of the television.

What can I say…? Habits learned through adolescence tend to stick, or at least have the potential to be reawakened later in life.

There’s a lot of talk these days about net-zero carbon emissions. In the business world, companies like Delta Airlines are taking massive steps to offset their carbon footprint in hopes of achieving net-zero carbon status by a certain date. Cap and trade is a hot topic in the business world and among world governments. Step lightly with our carbon footprints, they say, and fill them in as soon and as completely as possible.
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One could make an argument that I’m a digital media whore. I spend time daily writing for this blog, my Spoke And Word Page on Facebook, a fair amount of time scrolling through other peoples’ nonsense, and at night I watch a lot of YouTube videos on philosophy, religion, music, and cycling. I call this my ‘nonsense footprint’. It may not be as damaging to the world as a carbon footprint, but then again it might.

So I do my best, each day, to offset my nonsense footprint. I do what I did when I was a kid — I spend a lot of time outside, in equal portion to the time I spend with my nonsense. Of course I ride my bike, but I also walk twice daily, I spend time tending my gardens, and in-between clients sessions, I sit on my patio and stare at the trees and at the sky with my hands and mind free of nonsense. Although I use an audio format, I also listen to books daily for at least one hour, usually when I’m gardening or in the weight-room.
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I think this is a good way to be. Though I enjoy streaming videos, scrolling through other peoples’ nonsense, and watching Dan Rather interview musicians on AXS TV, I make sure that I detach from it all, offsetting my nonsense footprint.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7
194 miles
8,900’ climbing
14.9 mph avg
11,000 calories
13 hours 01 minute 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 Steve Earle. Enjoy…

The Faster And The Furiouser…

Another fun week of riding. I hit the 200 mile ballpark yet again. If I can maintain a minimum of 180 miles per week through June 14, 2020, then I will have a 10,000 mile year, beginning June 15, 2019. Though it’s not a calendar year, if I keep this pace, I will have ridden 10,000 miles in 365 days — a club I never thought I’d be a part of.

The first thing I do when I get off my bike is to click off my riding app to confirm my the time and distance. The app I use is Map My Ride. The instant I close the app though, I’m met with the faster and the furiouser — all the notifications I missed while I was detached from the world.

Between text messages, emails, and social media notifications, I might have 20-30 notifications to prioritize. As I walk through the door, take off my helmet, and lean my bike against the cedar chest in my living room, I attempt to triage the chaos of the moment.

My dog stares at me with the eyes of an 8th grade girlfriend as I walk right past him. He broadcasts a sense of…

“I won’t be ignored, Roy…“ in his best Glenn Close.

The cat sees me, jumps on the dining room table, which is reserved just for her, and prepares for me to feed her. I walk past her also. She meows and nudges her plate a single time with her left paw. Her eyes follow me as I head to my bathroom to change out of my sweaty gear.

My mother disrupts my path and asks me how my ride was. It’s her way of reminding me that she needs to eat too — every bit as much as the cat and dog.

Eventually, I make my way to the bathroom, change out of my sweaty clothes and into the dirty clothes I was wearing before my ride. I run a brush through my hair and put it back in a ponytail.

Through it all, I’m staring at the phone in my right hand trying to prioritize the messages and notifications I received while I was riding. I typically ignore the messages that matter most — those from my family. Sad, but true.

I put my phone down long enough to feed the cat, the dog, and my mom, in the order of whoever is making the most noise. This is typically the cat, though if mom is hungry, she’s capable of making some noise too. For his part, the dog is usually silent. Throughout the feeding process, I attempt replying to messages and notifications as I’m able.

Some of the messages that show up when I ride are work related — appointment confirmations, schedule changes, as well as eating and workout questions from clients. Work related messages take top priority. I might also get messages from family members, but unless they are noted as urgent, as mentioned, I generally reply to them later.

The social media notifications are the wildcard. There might be 15-20 of them popping up so quickly that they feel like grenades being lobbed in a war zone. Though I’m still focussed on feeding the animals and the old person, if a message warrants an immediate response, I’ll do my best to reply. If not, dismiss.

Once everyone is fed, the important messages have been returned, and if I don’t have a client waiting for me, I’ll take a minute and dictate a few bullet-points about my thoughts while riding. These highlights are put into a digital hopper, to be used in an essay to come, maybe. I have to do it though, or they’ll disappear from my mind immediately, never to be considered again.

Eventually, the chaos of my return eases. Everyone’s fed, important messages are returned, and I can catch my breath, if only for a while. Tomorrow, I’ll do it all again, just after I roll my bike through my front — the portal to the faster and the furiouser.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 6
198 miles
9,800’ climbing
15.0 mph avg
11,100 calories
13 hours 12 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 George Harrison. Enjoy…

Still Feeling Out The Wormhole…

Like many, after a more than a decade, I still wonder how social media, Facebook in particular, should fit into my life. I still wonder whether it should be a part of my life at all. And in my quietest moments, I’m often concerned about the influence social media has had on my personality.

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In 2006 my life and business were on autopilot. My days were evenly divided between working, exercising, and reading books on religion and philosophy. I didn’t even own a television and I wouldn’t have changed anything. Well into my 40s, for the first time in years, I felt like I was in a good place.

Around that time, I started a fitness blog, partially to bring credibility to my business, but also to speak out about an industry that had become so perverted that I no longer recognized it. One day a friend, a tech-industry insider, suggested that the up and coming social media platform, Facebook, would be a great vehicle to share my writing. She felt Facebook would become, in a short amount of time, the most used form of mass-communication the world had ever seen.

At the time, my internet use was limited to my fitness blog and email only. There was no Netflix streaming, YouTube was in its infancy, and my time on keyboard each day could be measured in minutes, not hours.

Subtly though, over a period of just a couple of years, I began spending more more time on my computer. At that time, I still used a desktop PC — this was 2007 or so. Checking my email, Facebook, and responding to comments on my blog usually took place at the beginning of the day or at the end of the day. If time and circumstance allowed, I might check these media in the middle of the day, but not often.

In 2008, I bought my first laptop. With Wi-Fi being more established in restaurants, coffee houses, and other public places, I began taking my computer with me just about everywhere, mostly so I could write if I was so inspired, and if had the time. I also checked email and Facebook messages more frequently.

In 2013, I got my first smartphone, an iPhone 3. That’s when the quantity of wormholes, and the gravity inside them increased. The camera on my iPhone was better than the point-and-shoot camera I took with me on my hikes. I developed an affinity for smartphone photography. As better apps and filters were being developed to support my photo habit, more platforms manifest to share those pictures, such as Hipstamatic and later Instagram. I began a seamless progression onto the social media road that I still walk today.

Facebook though, was a superior outlet because I could share both my writing as well as my photographs. Facebook was growing fast though and changing form from week to week. The increasing network of warmholes and tunnels were so easily drawn into, that at least a part of my psyche began to reside there, even when I was away from my phone or computer.

Viscerally, I was becoming aware of the negative impact this could have on my time, but I was also becoming concerned about any impact it might have on my personality. I regularly questioned whether this increase of screen time was healthy, though I never answered those questions. This might be analogous to someone enjoying a glass of wine with dinner each evening, but on the inside, knowing the 2nd and 3rd glasses were not as easily justified.

My pattern has been pretty consistent for the last 4 or 5 years — I take a lot of pictures, I write, and I share. Seems harmless, and a good creative outlet, yes…?

“If you’re going to the prom, you best be prepared to dance with them who brung ya…” Bum Phillips

The world has changed a great deal in the last 13 or 14 years since Facebook and other social media platforms took off. What has changed the most, is the profound impact social media has had on journalism, institutions, as well the unscrupulous companies pitching their wares while simultaneously mining for personal data. It’s a web of agenda and manipulation the likes of which the world has never seen — one I willingly step into every day.

What began as a platform for social interconnectivity, not only gave everyone a vehicle for their own voice, but each vehicle came with its own road. Within a few years, people and institutions were speeding, changing lanes without looking, changing roads without looking, doing countless U-turns, and constantly changing directions — and there were few rules and even less enforcement. Using social media became a lot like driving in Athens — one is best served to have diligence, patience, a good eye for deception, and a backup plan.

What makes any technology worthwhile is when it’s used for its highest purpose and with the best of intentions. I have no problem saying that most people and most agencies don’t do this with Facebook and other social media platforms. People and institutions, for the most part, behave like children on an unsupervised playground.

I can say with honesty that Facebook and other platforms have enhanced my life in ways I would have never imagined back in 2006. Many aspects of my life have improved due to the connections I’ve made and the information that’s been shared among and between those connections. I’m grateful all of this happened in my lifetime.

Facebook is a generic term to me. It’s not a company, it’s an idea that would have happened anyway, and by any other name. Social media was going to happen no matter what. Facebook just got in line first. Facebook may be broken up by the government in time. It may sell itself into pieces — of its own accord. It may even go into bankrupt someday and come out with a completely different structure. It might even dissolve entirely, if pressed by a competitor which can offer more, although that’s not likely (see Microsoft).

If Facebook disappeared tomorrow, a vacuum would be formed so quickly, it would be replaced within weeks, or sooner. It isn’t Facebook the company which has changed the world so much. It’s been the ability to communicate so quickly and with so many people — social media is about the efficiency of being human. How we continue to use this technology is up to us, but it’s not going anywhere. I still plan to use it for purposes of good, how about you…?

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7
199 miles
8,900′ climbing
15.0 mph avg
1,1,200 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’s this from James Reyne. Enjoy…

The Spirit Of 114…

Just after a picture was taken, the one below with the lifeguard stand masking the sun setting into the pacific, I stepped into the Harbor Gift Shop to purchase a vegan cookie. It’s the 400-calorie treat I enjoy at the halfway point of my 30-mile ride from Bonsall to the coast and back.

Though I usually pay with a debit card, I had some change making noise in the bottom of my riding pack the other day so I decided to use it for the cookie — and to eliminate the annoying jingle coming from my pack. With my right hand, I pulled out the last $.25 needed for the $4.75 purchase. It was a bicentennial quarter.

The first bicentennial quarter I saw was in 1976. I was 14. I have a fuzzy memory of doing some quick math to determine whether I might live to someday hold and even spend a tricentennial quarter. By quick math, all I needed to do was add 100 to my age of 14, but I probably used a pen and paper.

That was the first time I seriously entertained the idea of living past the age of 100. Only months before, a woman from Okinawa who had been the oldest known person in the world (111, I believe), had passed away. Although it was unlikely, knowing that somebody made it to 111, led me to believe I might someday hold and spend a tricentennial quarter.

By age 14, I was already strength training daily and running several times a week. I was also paying better attention to the foods I put in my body than any of my social contemporaries. I became somewhat obsessed with the idea of living to be 100-years old, though the tricentennial thing — making it to 114, I knew was unlikely.

I’m now just passed the halfway point of making it 114 — of holding and spending a tricentennial quarter.

When I held that first bicentennial quarter in 1976, the microwave oven and pocket calculator had only been around for a couple of years. The electric typewriter had been around for a few years, but manual typewriters were much more common. Gas was $.54 per gallon, and Bruce Jenner was still a man and about to become an Olympic and cultural icon as the world’s greatest athlete. TaB was the best selling diet soda.

The world has changed much since 1976. Gas is nearly $4 per gallon. The phone I’m dictating this blog into (and not typing) also contains a pocket calculator. Bruce Jenner is now Caitlyn Marie Jenner, and Diet Coke, sadly, has replaced TaB.

Despite my daily fitness regimen, including the cycling that drives this page, I doubt I’ll live to be 114 years old. I’m not sure I want to — early 70s seems like a good stopping point. We’ll see.

There’s two relevantquestions though, that I have to ask myself, should I succeed and live to be 114 years old…

– In 2076, will we still be minting coins…?
– In 2076, will there still be a United States of America to celebrate its 300th birthday…?

At this point, I’m not sure I’d bet $.25 on either of those.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 6
178 miles
7,900′ climbing
15.3 mph avg
10,500 calories
11 hours 36 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 Imperial State Electric. Enjoy…

Sipping On Humor…

Each morning in contemplative prayer, among the first things I express gratitude for is that my father raised me with a sense of humor. And if it was my father who raised me with humor, it was my older brother who helped me understand that could be applied to just about any difficult situation to make it more tolerable. To know frustration, anger, or pandemonium as a Cohen, is to do so looking for the punchline.


As a caregiver for my aging mother, humor has been my drug of choice to help cope with the all the stresses, surprises, and frustrations that go with caregiving. Humor has helped make difficult circumstances tolerable and helped keep my disposition in check, most of the time. Incorporating humor into difficult times, not only makes them less difficult, it can even make them fun and memorable, for both me and my mother. And that’s the hook for me — that when I make a joke around my mom, even if she’s a part of the joke, she laughs. Seeing a little old lady laugh can be as uplifting as watching an old dog run, something else I get to do nearly every day of my life.

I never use humor against my mother or place her as the object of my frustration. I don’t belittle her, insult her, or use jokes to make her feel poorly about herself, ever. I just throw her into the story somewhere —sometimes in the middle, more often in the periphery, and place my obnoxious or sarcastic comments around her. In a way, that humor acts like a shield, protecting her from the inner me.

In the course of a day, my mother is likely to lose something, drop something, forget something, and be unable to process a moment. When I say in the course of a day, I mean every couple of hours or so. As any of these unfold, they will most likely happen at inconvenient times. After four years, my ability to reach for a punchline rather than an F-bomb has become seamless.

I had thought of citing some examples to insert here, and had even outlined a few to be expanded on. I realized though, it’s one thing to make a joke involving my mother in the heat of a difficult moment. It’s something entirely different to try and explain that joke to people who may not even know me or her. Joking about one’s mother is one of those things that, the more you say, the worse you sound, so I’ll just end things right here.

Each morning in contemplative prayer, among the first things I express gratitude for is that my father raised me with a sense of humor. Immediately after that, I ask forgiveness for those moments when my sense of humor failed me and I lost my shit.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 6
202 miles
8,900′ climbing
15.7 mph avg
12,000 calories
12 hours 52 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 Susto. Enjoy…