Me, Myselves, And I…

Each day, I spend 90-120 minutes on a bike. From the moment start pedaling, I am thinking. What I think about isn’t as central to this story as how I go about thinking — the process and the protocol of my internal discourse.

What I refer to as thinking, is really a discussion between myselves. Yes, there are two of me, at least. These aren’t just thoughts, but actual words that form from the center of my mind, projected outward, and are received by my ears, though no sound is ever made.

The thinking me — the guy who does most of the talking, is the superior me. He’s both the brave leader and idea man. He’s a cross between an executive at the head of the boardroom table, an attentive general, and a flippant rockstar. The thinking me does little wrong.

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The listening me — the guy who is hearing the stories, having things explained to him, and who’s actively listening, is the subservient me. He’s malleable, definitely a pleaser, and is a great sounding board. He’s not afraid to speak truth to power, but when he does, he sure doesn’t enjoy it.

The talking me and the listening me are a complementary team, and though together they may not save world, each day they try their hardest to save my soul. I would be so lost without them.

The first thing you should know about the thinking me and the listening me, is that they truly have audible voices in my mind. These are voices I hear when the conversations are taking place. And as odd as it seems, the voice that I normally hear between my ears when I speak to other people, is never present.

The thinking me is a big fan of the movie, Raising Arizona. His favorite character in the movie, is HI McDonough, played by Nicolas Cage. HI is a character that has a gift for expression and always choosing the right words, but has a lackadaisical — vaguely country voice.

The listening me is partial to the late comedian Mitch Hedberg. Another intelligent and lackadaisical southern voice, but with unusual inflection, often contrary to those which might be taught in an English diction class.

HI and Mitch talk about many things between my ears. They discuss politics, religion, philosophy, current events, and sports. More than anything else though, they talk about music — the earworms that provide the soundtrack to my daily rides. HI likes to discuss his favorite songs, albums, and artists. He goes into detail about the meaning of songs, how or why they were written, and what might have inspired them. He talks about the inspiration that he gets from the song and maybe some trivia about its recording. He loves to talk about the recording process. HI is a big Steely Dan fan.

Mitch, always curious, usually asks HI a question or two about anything he might be discussing — he wants to show Mitch that he’s truly interested. But he never asks questions about music, he just listens — he doesn’t want to sound stupid or insult HI. To his credit, Mitch never asks a dumb question, and HI always has answers, though he can be a little bit wordy.

HI and Mitch rarely disagree. If a point of contention does arise, Mitch will back off and immediately change the subject. They talk over each other — all the time. Hearing both of their voices simultaneously might be the greatest distraction I face when I ride — it’s chaotic.

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Despite that these conversations take place, that the two are contained within the conscious me, and that they are each clearly the product of the me that is writing this, my lips never move when they talk. All the discourse is silent to everyone but me. Safe cycling requires concentration, and to allow either of them to speak through my mouth might make me more dangerous on the road. It might also be cause for a curious cop to pull me over.

When I’m walking though, it’s a different story. In addition to my cycling, I spend an hour or so each day walking in the woods with my dog. HI and Mitch are with me there also, and have basically the same conversations. However, from the time I begin walking and they begin talking, my lips begin to move a little. Not much at first, and their voices are very soft. As I continue though, their voices get a little bit louder, especially HI’s, and my lips move more freely.

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As I saunter through the woods, I’m just an individual man, talking in two distinct and different voices, and other people in the nature preserve begin to take notice. To a passerby, they might question my mental health or stability. I might frighten them some. They might think I’m a schizophrenic. But I’m not a schizophrenic, I’m a man — a man with two voices emanating from one mouth. I’m having conversations with myselves about music, politics, and religion, and I do this in the voices of HI Mcdonough and Mitch Hedberg, but I’m not a schizophrenic — really, I’m not  schizophrenic…!

Myselves: Yes we are…!

Me: No we’re not…!

Myselves: Yes we are…!

Me: No we’re not…!  No you guys leave me alone, I’m trying to write!

And so it goes.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes ridden: 7
163 miles
6,200’ climbing
15.3 mph avg
9,300 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 from Chuck Berry and Keith Richards. Enjoy…

 

On Finding Simple Love…

When I feel love, I feel no pain. Perhaps that’s why I’m reaching for more these days, and finding it in places where I once didn’t — or never even thought to look for it.  And maybe it also has to do with life dishing out a little more pain these days.

I’m not talking about romantic love — that’s just novocaine for the mind. I’m talking about finding love in situations, in behaviors, and in aesthetics. I’m finding love these days in doings, in happenings, in observations, and existences. Oh, and in nature — there’s always love in nature.

Any of those are where quality love can be found — and that’s the key, quality love.  Identifying and feeling quality love these days, is one of the few things that makes me proud to be a human being.

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I’d be holding back if I didn’t confess that the weight of the world is draining me more lately. Yup, the same nonsense and bullshit that’s draining you is draining me. As we are forced to adapt to this increasing social complexity — the increasing complexity in all things human, positive and negative, I feel as though my spiritual senses are drying up.

My soul is drying…
My heart is drying…
My mind is drying…
My enthusiasm is drying…
My energy is drying…
My belief is drying…
My hope is drying…

Love though, can feed any of those, if not fill them.

So where do I find this kind of love…? Well, it has a smaller profile and is harder to locate than the hate and ignorance that stands so tall to dominate our social landscape, so I have to work at finding it.

Of course, love is in the eyes of my dog — it’s in the eyes of all dogs. But I find it just as much these days, in the eyes of a rabbit hiding nervously under the sagebrush when I walk in the mornings. In find love in the eyes of the neighbor’s cat, who stands on my car and looks my way when I bend down to grab the newspaper each morning from my driveway.  I find love in making eye contact with nearly any animal.

This might strike you as odd, but I find love in social media. Not in the nonsense and the bullshit that people exchange for the sake of simple amusement. But in those times when I am witness to human connections — when I see friends supporting friends or even acquaintances they scarcely know, and offer support during difficult times — I find that touching. What is touching if not a form of love…?

I can’t begin to tell you the love I feel when I see my mother’s expression as she sifts through pictures of her youth, of her grandchildren, and of all the places she’s been and things she’s done. I find love when I see my mother’s hands covered with age spots and I reflect on how many babies she helped deliver with those hands through the years.

Each week during my Rotary meeting, when a small golden can is passed around the room, and donations are placed in the can in support of local student enterprises that we sponsor, and as everyone drops a 5, a 10, or a 20 dollar bill into the can and makes a statement about why they’re doing so, that’s the kind of love that feeds me these days.

I might read a story or watch a documentary about a group of men who met as teens, formed a band, and shared big dreams together. And perhaps they found those dreams, but along the way they also found the agony and struggles that come with money and fame. They found fighting, addictions, breakups, and the jealousies that break friendships apart. And when I see those band members who met as children, now standing on stage looking regal under their gray hair,  putting their differences behind them, hugging, and making eye contact with one-another just before they strike a chord or beat a drum, I see the love of survival and of commitment.

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Last week, I held the wheelchair of a weakened friend as his wife helped him get in the passenger seat of their car. He is in the advanced stages of cancer and has declined further treatments. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt more love than when I shook his hand as he put his seatbelt on before I closed his car door. I wondered, as I walked away, if there wasn’t a metaphor in me closing that door, because I may never see him again.

Those are the kinds of love that nourish me these days — they are the kind of love that my soul needs most in these chaotic times

As social complexity increases, and all its cascading consequences drain the humanity from me in the day-to-day, it’s the love that I witness in little things that nourishes me just enough to keep going and to keep growing.

This is what I think about when I ride. No shit, it really is… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…
Bikes ridden: 4
202 miles
8,400’ climbing
15.9 mph avg
12,000 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 from That Petrol Emotion. Enjoy…

Left For Dead…

Vasudeva, my Specialized Allez Compact Elite, is my lightest and fastest bike. It’s also the bike with the most miles on it, which right now stands at roughly 12,000.

The only maintenance I have ever done to this bike is to keep the drivetrain (the gears and the chain) clean. I’ve never even washed it. It keeps on going.

Over the last year though, as I have added more bikes into the fold, I began riding it less and less. A few months ago, I actually began to cannibalize it in order to feed other bikes. The cassette (the rear gears) went to one bike. The wheel set (the rims) went to another. I even stole the saddle (the seat) for a different bike yet.

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Eventually, Vasudeva became just a frame with some cables and spiderwebs hanging off of it — in equal portion, and resting on my back patio. Once upon a time though, this was my soulmate bike. It had become a cast off and an afterthought.

A couple of days ago, I was watching one of those horrible Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercials — you know, the ones that make you cry because you’re looking at a Chihuahua shivering in a cage or a pit-bull with ribs so exposed that it looks like a xylophone changed to a mailbox. Yeah, one of those commercials.

Shortly after I watched that commercial, I stepped out to my bicycle work-stand on my back patio to grab a screwdriver. I looked down to see Vasudeva in the same light that I saw the shivering Chihuahua and the emaciated pit-bull.

My heart broke for my once great, but more recently neglected bike.

I made the commitment then and there to rebuild it and get it on the road within a few days. I already had a compatible cassette, a compatible saddle, and I stole the wheel-set back from the bike I assigned it to.

If you’re wondering why this bike is special to me, it’s because years ago when I decided to leave the depths that only alcohol can lead one to, this was the bike I used to ride into the next phase of my life.

Yesterday I rode Vasudeva for the first time in two months. I went out early so the conditions were good — no wind, moderate fog, and with the air temperature in the mid 60s.

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I was apprehensive as I begin pedaling, because I was taking it on a fairly long ride and had not road tested it at all. Within a few miles though, I remembered why I love this bike so much — it’s fast. I spent a majority of my time on westbound Hwy 76 hovering just above the 20 mph marker, only to let that average drop slightly on a couple of hills.

When I got to Oceanside Harbor, my turnaround point, I had averaged 19+ mph. I had never done that before.  It seems that this pit-bull with the exposed ribs, had been sweetly nursed back to life.

As I always as I do at the harbor, I stopped, ate half a vegan cookie, took a pretty picture or two of my bike, and prepared for the turnaround ride. I was a little tired from the fast ride west, but my legs loosened up quickly when I began to head home.

Within a couple of miles after my turnaround, I realized I was still riding lights-out. The weather conditions hadn’t changed. When I arrived back at my starting point, Daniel’s Market in Bonsall, I took my phone out of my pouch as quickly as I could and clicked off my riding app.

I’ve been riding this route intermittently for over a decade, and I have never ridden it faster — on a bike that was in a scrapheap and left for dead just a few days earlier.

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I could live to be 1,000 years old and ride another 1,000,000 more miles, and I will never have a ride as exhilarating or memorable as yesterday’s.

But how I will truly remember this epic ride, won’t be for how fast I was or how sweet I felt when I clicked off my app. I will remember this ride for its association with all the pit-bulls chained to mailboxes and all the Chihuahuas shivering in cages, and my great ride will be an indelible reminder of the potential of rescuing the wretched.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

Yesterday’s Ride…
Bike: Vasudeva
32 miles
1,000’ climbing
18.1 mph avg
2,000 calories
Yesterday’s earworm: Ooh La La, by Ronnie Lane & Company

Debris & Me…

To ride a bike, regardless of what I’m looking at or what I might be thinking , is to be continually surveying roadside debris. There is always roadside debris.

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Bike: Bella  Monserste Winery  Fallbrook CA

There are three types of debris I see regularly…

The first kind of debris is small and looks like it belongs there. I can’t ride 50-yards without seeing broken glass, small nuts and bolts, fast food wrappers, dead snakes and birds, and bits of broken taillight. Not that any of this should be there, but it just makes sense that they are. At worst, small debris like this might puncture a tire. These are no big deal.

The second kind of debris can make me scratch my head and wonder how it got there. Things like an embroidered woman’s blouse, the remains of a shattered Nintendo console, or two unused tickets to a Lake Elsinore Storm game — which I actually saw a few days ago. This type of debris may or may not be less hazardous, but always more conspicuous and sometimes makes me chuckle.

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Sting me… Los Jilgueros Preserve

The third kind if debris is larger, more or less fits in, can be easy to ride around, but I also know is capable of killing me — should I be in its path when it flies off a passing vehicle and lands roadside. This kind of debris includes large pieces of car or truck tire, links of chain, large pelican hooks,  small appliances, and other large or heavy  unsecured objects that fly off of passing vehicles — all of which I see regularly. I’ve seen ironing boards and window sized air-conditioning units resting comfortably in the bike lane — but they weren’t born there. They flew there.

That’s what gets me about that last kind of debris — that I know before it lands on the side of the road, it’s airborne. When I stop to think about the trajectory that carries objects like this from vehicle to roadside, I cringe. I’m not sure there’s a helmet strong enough to protect my head from a flying ironing board or a 10-pound pelican hook.

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Bike: Vasudeva  Live Oak Park

It’s not my intention to send negative energy out there, but the purpose of this blog is to share what’s on my mind when I ride. The possibility of being struck by an object like that and killed is never far from my mind. Hopefully though, the window sized air-conditioning unit stays on my mind, but never becomes a part of it. Yeah, here’s to that.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

Footnote: Just a few hours after writing this I learned that a local resident, a woman who was well-known in the real estate community, the equestrian community, and the community at-large here in Fallbrook was killed — riding her horse.

I’ve been chewing on that a lot for the last 72-hours. Some people, and I am one of them, have a hard time sitting still. We need to be active and often being active means putting ourselves at risk. Some activities are associated with more risk than others. Our friends and family don’t always understand why we take these risks. For people like me, it’s because the reward (emotional/psychological benefit) outweighs the risk (injury or even death).

Examples of this might include skiing, surfing, riding motorcycles, riding bicycles, riding horses, diving off of cliffs, flying airplanes, jumping out of airplanes, and the list goes on. I have participated in all of these.

Others are adverse to risk — they go to great lengths in avoiding it. They might be physically active, but choose activities that don’t have the potential for injury or death — or even messy hair or smudged make up. Others still, avoid activity altogether, in favor of self-preservation. Their lack of activity is largely motivated by many fears.

There is no right or wrong with any of these. Each marches to the beat of his or her own drummer, and is influenced only by the ZIP Code they are born into and by the fingerprints of those they choose to associate with through the course of their lives.

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Nature’s M&M…  Los Jilgueros Preserve

I know each day when I get on my bike there is a risk that goes with that choice. On one hand, there is the methadone of motion that soothes my chaotic mind. On the other, are the six markers I pass by in the course of a week, each honoring cyclists who have been struck by cars and killed. I accept that risk in favor of the reward, and I work very hard to minimize that risk. Most every cyclist I know does the same.

Since learning how our local resident was killed riding her horse last week, virtually everyone I’ve spoken with about it said this or something similar…

At least she died doing what she loved.

This is a thought I carry with me every day of my life — in hope that those who love me never have to speak it about me.

Thank you, for taking the time.

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Bike: Cortez The Killer  Bonsall CA

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes ridden: 4
153 miles
8,400’ climbing
16.3 mph avg
10,500 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 from Bob Mould. Enjoy…!

Passing With Shame…

Maybe 2 to 3 times per week, especially if I am riding in the early morning or into the evening, I’ll look up while I’m riding and see a day worker ahead of me, also on a bicycle.

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Bike: Vasudeva…

He won’t be on a fast bike though, and chances are the chain on his bike will be dirty, if not outright rusty. His bike will probably have never been washed or cleaned, and he might be the 3rd, the 5th or even the 10th owner of it.

He will be riding at a much slower pace than me — a measured pace. Measured, inasmuch as he will be conserving energy for the labor he is on his way to perform all day. Or if I see him in the evening, measured because he has so little energy left from the labor he has given in exchange for the meager cash in his pocket.

A day worker, by popular definition, is someone from another country, generally Mexico or Central America, of legal or illegal status, who works for cash in support of the agriculture or landscaping industries. Day worker is an appropriate term. They work all day.

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Because I am riding at a faster pace and riding for different reasons than he is, as soon as I see him, I know that I’ll be passing him. Honestly, I’m always ashamed to do this. Ashamed, not because I’m faster than him, but because I’ve got it so good.

He probably paid $20 for his bike at a thrift store or he might have gotten it for free. He doesn’t know what brand it is. He doesn’t care. All he knows about his bicycle, is that it gets him to work faster than walking, so he can make more money.

In the evenings, I often see him with a white plastic bag dangling from his handlebars or from his hand. Inside the bag there are tacos from a local Taqueria. He might stop in the park and eat them along side a couple of other day workers who are in the midst of a similar commute. Or, he may take them home to the trailer or apartment that he shares with several other people — possibly several other families.

It’s time for me to pass him.

The shame in passing him, as I’ve mentioned, isn’t because I have strong legs or because I have an expensive bike. The shame is because I’ve got it so good in my life. I don’t work nearly as hard as he does or nearly as much, yet I have much more to show for the work that I do.

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Dancing With Them Who Brung Ya….

My shame, of course, comes from my being born in a different zip-code than him.

I’m maybe 10-yards behind him and I want to call out “passing on your left“ which is the customary call for passing another hobby cyclist. Since he’s not a hobby cyclist and since he may not speak much English, I just look over my left shoulder to ensure no cars are approaching, I sweep to the inside of the road a bit, and pass him quietly with my head down. I might glance his way and if he glances back, I’ll smile and say hello, but this doesn’t happen too often.

My strong legs place me far ahead of him in short order. I feel as though he’s staring at me the whole time and that he thinks I’m a fool and that I know nothing about hard work. At this point, even if he doesn’t think this about me, I do.

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Bike: Cortez The Killer…

I continue to pedal and I contemplate what his life must be like. I wonder if he has family here with him or if they are all below the border. I wonder what type of room he sleeps in at night and how much money he wires home each week by Western Union, so his family to the south can have a better life. I think about the amount of work he’s on his way to do or what he might have already done that day.

I keep pedaling.

Eventually, my thoughts of him thin and fade. I’ll begin thinking about my next client or getting my mom out to the thrift shop for an hour. I might wonder what my daughter is doing at that exact moment or if my cat is comfortable at home watching Animal Planet from the top of the sofa. A better sofa and a bigger TV, I think to myself, than the man on the bike that I just passed probably has.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 4
171 miles
8,800’ climbing
15.2 mph avg
11,100 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 from Curtis Mayfield. Enjoy…!

The Currency Of Cool…

Let’s go down the list…

Jesus Christ
Mohammed
Zoroaster
Confucius
The Buddha
Moses
Fonzie

Wait, what…?   Yeah, Fonzie.

Despite the influence that all these prophets would have at different times in my life, there’s one that has contributed to my day-to-day more than the others.

In 1974 I was in middle school. That was the year that Happy Days premiered on ABC.

As an awkward pre-adolescent, with few friends, a father that traveled, and a mother that worked swing shift, much of my life was spent in my own little world. The thing about living in my own little world was this; I didn’t get out much except to be picked on, beat up, or completely ignored by my contemporaries, which can hurt just as much as a beating at the bus stop.

Up to that point my only savior was The Six-Million Dollar Man, Steve Austin. Looking up to and emulating Steve Austin though, came with its own set of baggage. For example, Austin wore leisure suits, the trend in men’s fashion at the time. To be more like him, since I lacked bionic parts, I wore leisure suits to middle school thinking I would be cool. Let the bus stop beatings begin. The leisure suits didn’t last long.

Enter Arthur Herbert Fonzerelli.

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I like the night life, Baby…

I received my first leather jacket as a Hanukkah gift the same winter that Happy Days began its 2nd season. In the first season, you may remember, Fonzie wore a cloth jacket. He still made it look cool, but it wasn’t leather. His leather jacket though, in the 2nd season, put him on the top rung on the ladder of cool. My new leather jacket was my first evolutionary step in the long process of becoming cool — or cooler than a guy wearing a leisure suit in the 8th grade.

The evolution would be slow.

Something I recognized from the get-go though, was that when I wore my leather jacket to school, people treated me differently — better. I might not have been the coolest guy in school, not by any stretch, but there was something about that jacket that gave me a currency which provided entrée into places, situations, and with people I had not previously had access.

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This was also around the time I began lifting weights. And though it would take years for physique to fully develop, my biceps grew almost immediately. This served me well, because when the summer came and the leather jacket became too hot, having well formed arms underneath those sleeves was another aspect of cool.

I would not add another arrow into my quiver of cool for nearly a decade. That’s when I joined the United States Coast Guard. Being in the military is one of those things can seem very cool to some people and not cool at all to others. But there’s something different about the Coast Guard. The mission of the Coast Guard being so unique, gives it a cool that the other armed forces don’t experience.

Around this time, my physique did start to develop beyond just my biceps, so I had the fact that I was in the Coast Guard, I was fairly well-built, and that I could make a Coast Guard uniform look as cool as a leather jacket going for me. After all, a good physique is what made those leisure suits work for Steve Austin.

Buy my estimation at this point, I was about 50% up the ladder of cool.

However, my cool would flatline for the next decade or so, as it should have. This was the period when I got married, began working adult jobs, and started a family. But there was this one thing…

A fortunate twist of fate was that after I left the Coast Guard, I was hired as a security guard for America West Airlines in Phoenix. America West was just starting out and wanted their security guards to be corporate employees, not outsourced. From that position, it didn’t take me long to work my way into an analyst position in the pilot planning department. This was in the late 1980s, when working for an airline made you cool by default. I continued up the ladder.

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Though my career path in aviation wouldn’t last long, having the title of Scheduling Analyst and the pay that came with it gave me confidence in the working world. My recreational bodybuilding gave me confidence in everything else.

Confidence = cool.

Something significant happened as a result of this increased confidence — I began to share my sense of humor more. My father and brother cultivated a good sense of humor in me while I was growing up, but I didn’t share it too often for my lack of confidence. As I began to let it out though, people talked to me more and let me in a little closer. As cool as having an airplane job, big biceps, and broad shoulders might have made me, being funny took me up a couple of more rungs.

Even cool people struggle, and by the time I was in my 40s, I was divorced, somewhat broken, but not altogether defeated. Time to grow my hair. Straight up, guys with long hair may or may not be cool, but when guys have muscle and long hair, it’s a slam-dunk. Conan, Tarzan, and Chicago Bears defensive tackle, Steve McMichael were all cool.

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Milestone: This bike, Vasudeva, went over the 10,000 mile mark with me this week…

And since my hair was long and I had a decent physique, this was a time I could get away with wearing a lot of bracelets, torn pink tank-tops, and going barefoot everywhere I went.

What..? Is that the top of the latter I’m reaching for…?

It was roughly 2006 when the social media began to unfold. It was important to me, from the beginning, to stay unique. Though I have participated in my share of sophomoric hijinks in social media, for the most part the things that I have shared have been as unique and original I could have them be. Few things are more cool than being original and unique.

And all of this brings me to riding a bike — bikes actually, since I currently own six. My biking is something that I do daily, and in all conditions — rain, shine, or tonsillitis. And though I don’t ride expensive bikes, my bikes are cool, mostly because I keep them clean and decorate them with colorful water bottles. When I stop at the ocean, next to a pasture, or in front of a vineyard to take pictures of my bikes, people often complement them, and very often those complements include the word cool.

If it sounds lofty, arrogant, or like I’m high on my own grandeur to refer to myself as cool, forgive me. But I do think I’m pretty cool and that’s no accident. My coolness has been by design and has served me well.

I’m not an Ivy League scholar, I can’t do math in my head, I don’t have much money, and I don’t speak Portuguese. Despite these, I’m regularly granted access to people, places, and situations that a guy in a leisure suit might never find.

People give me the time of day because they perceive me as being cool, and whether you realize it or not, cool is a form of currency. At times it can be as valuable as intelligence, scholarly achievements, occupational status, and many of the things we use to value human worth. Cool has gotten me into places that a PhD never would.

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Spring has sprung in SoCal…

Make no mistake, cool is not who I am. Cool is how I portray myself. Cool is a shell, no different than a Porsche 356, an Armani suit, or shiny white teeth veneers. Cool gets me through the door, but what keeps me there is appreciating that I ever got there at all. And I hope I do that better than anything else — to show appreciation that I’ve been accepted into nearly every room, every situation, and with every person I have ever connected.

Since I put on that first leather jacket towards the end of my 8th grade year, I have recognized the power of cool.  And I owe all of this to Arthur Fonzerelli.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 3
151 miles
8,200’ climbing
16.6 mph avg
Night rides: 3, for 75 miles
10,200 calories
9 hours 4 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 from Jackson Browne. Enjoy…!

 

Me Time: In Case Of Emergecy…

I spend roughly 90-minutes on my bike every day. A little bit less when life has me hurrying on behalf of others, and a little bit more on the weekends and on days when extra time actually finds me. It’s my Me Time.

I never squander extra time, I invest it.

In a perfect life, I would ride for about 3-hours every day — that would ideal. Maybe when I retire I can do that. Or when I semi-retire, since I plan to work at least part-time so long as I’m able.

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Vasudeva…

More than a few people have asked me about that red and gray bag I have on the top-tube of my bikes — that thing that has the appearance of a small gas tank.

It’s my tool/utility bag.

A lot of cyclists don’t like this style of bag because they break up the aerodynamics of the bike, they add a little bit more weight, and they break up the aesthetic of the bike’s appearance.

I appreciate this style of tool bag though, so much. It may influence the weight, the aerodynamics, and the aesthetic, but it’s a great insurance policy when I’m 20-miles from home. It’s larger than most cycle bags, but allows me to carry just about everything I might need on my rides.

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In the bag I keep…

– A spare inner-tube in case of a flat
– Levers to help remove a tire in case of a flat
– A CO2 pump and (2) CO2 cartridges in case of a flat
– $20 bill in case I need food/drink or a taxi (in case of a flat)
– My insurance card in case I need an emergency room
– On the back of the insurance card is my emergency contact information in case I can’t speak for myself in the emergency room
– A multi-tool with a small socket set, hex wrenches, screwdrivers, a knife, and a bottle opener — this tool can work with any fitting or fastener on any bike I own.
– A Ziploc bag to protect my phone in case it rains
– Reading glasses — to see what I’m doing during repairs

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Bike tool was a Hanukkah gift from my friend Cliff…

Also, it appears that I have 2 water bottles, one on my down-tube in the other on my seat-tube. In warm weather, they are filled with water.

In the winter though, and on cold days in particular, the bottle on the seat-tube actually contains spare gloves, a spare beanie to wear under my helmet, and spare socks. These might get used if I’m out for an extended period and rain soaks the ones I’m already wearing. I’ll just stop under a tree, swap out the wet garments for dry ones, and continue about my way.

Or, they might get used if I drop into a colder elevation which happens frequently this time of year. In a matter of several miles I can go from 50°F down to 30°F. If this gets the better of me, I can just double up my gloves, socks, and beanie to keep a little warmer — or to keep from getting too cold.

I also keep a few peppermints just under the cap, for a quick sugar in case I start to bonk.

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For longer rides, I’ll put one more tool bag on the top tube and include a little food, a spare tire, some chain lube, and usually have enough room left to add an item that might be relevant for a longer ride, such as a windbreaker or a headlamp to be clipped on later,  should my ride continue into darkness.

So that’s it. That’s what goes with me when I ride.

Be prepared.

Rarely a day goes by that I don’t reflect on my Boy Scout days, and all these years later, those lessons serve me well.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

Yesterday’s Ride…

Bike: Vasudeva
31 miles
1,500’ climbing
2,100 calories
17.1 mph avg
Yesterday’s earworm: Josephine, by Chris Cornell

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 Chris Cornell. Enjoy…!