Friends, Copilots, And Conspirators…

Though I always ride alone, one constant when I ride is that I’m never really alone. I have friends, copilots, and conspirators who ride along with me, if only in my mind. They just pop in and out of my psyche while I ride, as my thoughts and mood weave ideas, new and old.

Depending on what I’m looking at and what I’m thinking about as I pedal, I have different conversations with different people. There is always some combination of friends, family members, associates, and even some whom I have never met, but have admired.

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Bomer The Kreeps…

During an average ride, I might converse with as many as a half-dozen different people. I confess that some folks show up more than others, but if I’ve been connected with someone for any length of time, either in person or via social media, there’s a good chance that person has appeared beside me on one or more of my rides and  been an unwitting participant  in these conversations in my head.

There are times when I ride with people I’ve never met. Roberto Clemente, Steve Earle, Colin Powell, Robert Wright, and James McMurtry have all ridden with me at one time or another — and many more like them. And yes, Donald Trump has even been on a ride or two with me, but his presence is always forced, and the result of his own permeating bad behavior.

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My copilots aren’t just in my head. They are always on bicycles, and right beside me traveling at the same speed, no faster or slower. My imagination paces us side-by-side so perfectly that it’s easy to converse. It’s as though we are always at identical fitness levels.

We chat. We laugh. I listen. They speak. I speak. They listen. We learn more about each other as we ride. Sometimes we talk of what we already know, while others times we talk of what should or could be — what we might want for the future.

We talk about art. We talk about how we can save the world. We always talk about how things can be improved. Occasionally, we tell jokes and might even sing.

Paul Weller and I sing quite well together.

The only time I take a leadership role during our rides is in explaining what’s ahead on the routes we are riding. You see, we may be riding side-by-side, but this is my turf, so I have to explain the how to prepare for every obstacle. It might go something like this…

– This is going to be a steep hill…
– Might get a little bit curvy up ahead…
– Going to need to do a little shifting just past that tree…
– Hit it just right, and we could reach 50-mph going down this slope…

Things like that.

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There may be gaps when we don’t speak to each other at all — when just enjoy the scenery, occasionally looking over to one another and silently acknowledging what beautiful surroundings these are or the thrill of breaking the 50 mph barrier.

We don’t talk about politics too much when we ride, but when we do we are sure to agree on things. That’s the beauty of my friends being with me on my imaginary terms; we’re pretty much in agreement on everything. Or should I say, they are in agreement with me…

We agree on music. We agree on sports. We agree on the beauty of the landscape around us. We agree that the world would be a better place if we all treated one another with more kindness. We agree that a successful outcome for man is supremely dependent on religious acceptance, as well as putting all animal life on an equal plane with human life.

Go ahead, ask me if I ever ride with God, I dare ya…

Like so many others, God pops in and out. He’ll spend a little time with me, maybe has something to say or gets me thinking about something in a new way, and on a good day, maybe he listens back just a little bit. Other times, he just sits on my shoulder  with the wind in his hair and enjoys the scenery as I do.

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I love riding with my friends. It’s actually a big part of why I ride — I can spend quality time with Todd Snider or Retief Goosen every day. Goosen is great on the hills. Snider…?  Not so much.

I ride alone, but I’m never alone when I ride. So thank you for riding along with me.

This is what I think about my ride… Jhciacb

Yesterday’s Ride…

Bike: Bomer The Kreeps
29 miles
1,200’ climbing
16.7 mph avg
2,000 calories
Yesterday’s earworm: Ain’t That Peculiar, by Fanny

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 from Fanny. Enjoy…!

 

The Emotions Go To The Observer…

Got out early yesterday. By San Diego standards it was very cold — 38°F when I left the house. Double socks. Double gloves. Beanie under my helmet. Three long sleeve shirts. I still get a bit nervous about whether I’m dressed properly before I ride in winter here. I’m in proximity of several microclimates, and often have temperature fluctuations in winter of 10 to 20°. I’ve made good clothing choices so far this season.

A good rule of thumb: In winter, I dress for the downhills. Despite the cold temperatures, there’s a lot of heat and even sweat generated riding uphill. Reach a crest, go over the top, and with downhill speeds up 40 mph, 38°F, becomes roughly a 20° windchill.

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Don’t let the sunshine full ya. It was about 30° at the time I took this picture…

Was thinking about art and emotions on yesterday’s ride…

I often wonder why some songs makes me cry, that otherwise shouldn’t. Conversely, I wonder why songs that should make me cry, often don’t. I got to thinking about the balance of emotion between the artist and the observer. I say observer and not listener, because this also applies to paintings, movies, and literature. It’s just that music is my primary form of literature.

As I was peddling alongside citrus orchards and acres of vineyards, I contemplated how fragile the exchange of emotion is between artist and observer. That’s what makes art so beautiful.

There’s the external emotion — the essence of the artist, crafted and projected outward from his art, like a message in a bottle. And the internal emotion — the essence of the observer, yearning, needing, and stirring within. Those emotions meet and blend in the head, the heart, and in the soul of the observer.

I thought further about other influences in this dance.

The first time I heard the song Bad, by U2, I was driving down College Avenue in Tempe Arizona in my blue Renault Alliance. My white and gold Lhasa Apso, Scooter, was in the passenger seat. Maybe 3/4 of the way through the song, I  got a lump in my throat and began bawling. So overcome with emotion, I pulled off to the side of the road to finish listening, but more so to be less a danger in traffic. Scooter just stared quizzically.

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Since that day, I’ve listened to that song, maybe hundreds of times, and I always reflect back to the emotions I felt the first time I heard it. However, in all the times I’ve listened to it since, not once has it brought me to tears, though it still evokes an emotional response every time.

Now here’s the thing: I was scarcely listening to the lyrics the first time I heard that song. I didn’t know what the song was about. So where did those tears come from…?

Maybe it was the beauty of the day — sunny with my dog at my side and the windows rolled down. Maybe I had just gotten paid and felt a sense of relief that lightened my heart — no more ramen for a while. Certainly the way the song builds sonically was a factor in pulling me into it. Maybe it was that I was just so young and hyper-aware that I had so much of my life left ahead of me. I dunno.

Some combination of all of those things is probably what brought me to tears. And let me be clear, they were tears of joy. Now I’m certain Bono and The Edge had no idea who I was or that their song would bring tears to me that day. But along with my environment and internal emotions, the emotions they felt when they wrote and recorded that song were mitigating aspects of the dance in my soul that day.

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There are still some songs that bring tears to my eyes, but they are fewer and fewer these days. Perhaps that’s because I’m just so deep into life, and to scarred to feel as I once was able to feel.

Emotions are like clouds. They are the result of many influences, circumstances, and chemistry. And like clouds, emotions ebb and flow. They change shape, they change sizes, they change moods, and they sometimes disappear. Never though, do they stay in one place for very long.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

Yesterday’s Ride…

Bike: Cortez The Killer
26 miles
1,300’ climbing
16.6mph avg
1,800 calories
Yesterday’s earworm: Bad, by U2

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 from U2. Enjoy…!