Saturday, September 19, 2020

It's An Honor To Be Involved In Clinical Trials

Well, we'd kind of rather not but, you've gotta do what you've gotta do. If a half dozen 200 mile drives to UC Davis Med Center in Sacramento could give you a few more years, you'll do it. Enough said, no sympathy needed. We are blown away when see how many people are going through major health trauma. The Affordable Care Act is a Godsend for thousands...no, millions! We may never catch up to the level of care all other civilized countries offer their citizens but this "Obamacare" effort has made a huge difference in the lives of so many. When you hang out near a major medical facility and hear the stories...your selfish mind is turned 180 degrees. The intensely bad air we Californians have been breathing during this last month is sure to add thousands more to the cast of severely sick people. We are already in masks and fearful of the virus that is trying to bring us all down. I've so learned to appreciate truly deep breaths...Riding my bicycle to work today helped me practice with at least one hundred impressively deep breaths. This pandemic cannot be ignored...many are trying to pretend it doesn't exist or, even more selfishly, they are trying to reinforce their political perspective by practicing denial inspite of the staggering numbers. America has the worst track record on the planet with this bug (contrary to the information thrown out there by our Commander in Chief). Lying does not alter the numbers...we are in deep trouble on the health front and even though it seems to be leveling off, that is only temporary...just hang out in front of a major medical clinic and strike up a few conversations through your mask...life is not easy for way too many Americans.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Life Sucks Right Now

I'm usually the Pollyanna type. I've always been able to see the bright side. Not this time. From six different angles I am not loving life. I don't think I can write my way out of this funk. Our AQI (Air Quality Index)is extreme...presently 480. Our rural county is on fire and we are losing residents.The Covid-19 epidemic is not going away (like magic)...we could use a little magic. We have unspeakable health problems and consequences that we are hoping to correct over the next year...and now, I have an incredible sore throat. The bicycle store is running out of product...bicycles as we know them. Tubes, tires, wheels are kaput in the most common sizes.Really no reason to be open more than three days a week. People still walk in the door saying, "Do you really want me to wear a mask? "Are these people fucking dense? Don't answer that. The stark fact that 40% of Americans are voicing their preference for a second term for the "King of the Idiocracy". What happened to admiration for honesty and integrity? Is America that dense? Reality TV stars and phoney millionaires deserve what? Not the trust and confidence of the American people. Excuse me for being so negative...but, that's where we are at right now Negative-ville. 2020 and I have such a murky vision of where we are at.

Friday, July 24, 2020

My Sweetheart Finds A New Swimming Hole

        "The water is clear and the pool is so deep and cold. I've got to take you there." Nori, our two year old Labrador is addicted to swimming holes..."She plunged in at least forty times." This new spot is only twelve miles away from home, an easy bicycle ride. Too far to run the dog...we may have to drive. I've been working six days a week...happens every Summer...I miss out on a ton of lake-bagging just so that I can install more chains, fix more flats and adjust derailleurs.
         Reaching the age of 70 has really changed my perspective...there are other accomplishments awaiting me. Who cares if I ran my own brick and mortar store for 27 years or for 30 years? Time is precious and I want to invest most of the rest of it getting wet in mountain pools. I've been discovering new 'Shin-rin Yoku' shrines with my loving best friend for the last 44 years...there's no guarantee that we'll be able to share these experiences for 50 years.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

So Many Adventures...So Little Time

       We are sitting on the bank of Domingo Lake and it hits me....How many times have Lisa and I pedaled to the perfect swimming hole and broke out a lunch for, what we always call 'A French Picnic' or 'Pique Nique de France'. Dozens, no hundreds of times. We are in our forty-fifth year of cranking out these kind of destinations and we do this exact thing at least ten times a year. We do it in France we do it in Oregon and we do it in Vermont. We've done it in Colorado, Italy and New Zealand. We have well-earned skinny dipping and lunch memories from Michigan, Spain and Maine.
        It's our MO and we want more. We've committed part of our life savings to a new AWD Ford Transit van and we are determined to continue to find new lakes to bag throughout North America. We'll show our swimming-obsessed labrador Nori Jo some of the perfectly remote places to plunge (plongee) in perfect fucking French style.
       People stupidly ask, "What will you do if you sell the bicycle shop?" After twenty-seven years of  nursing this business through thick and thin, you don't think we've figured out other things we'd rather be doing? Wild swimming with the Bodfish...best answer.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

KVCC Ribbon Cutter

         I was eighteen, in college, as the editor of the KVCC Valley Voice. My most-read editorial ended with the phrase..."Stick with us and we'll show you a rainbow (of opinions.)" Exactly one year later I moved to Hawaii to become a U of H Rainbow. I had stood on the stage at the opening of the college with Kalamazoo Valley C.C. president Dr. Dale Lake. I made a short speech about how thankful we less privileged SW Michigan students were to have a accredited school to continue our education. Dr. Lake and I held an oversized pair of scissors as we attempted to slice the ribbon that would launch this school for it's first group of 600 students (mostly from Kazoo area high schools.) It took three tries to cut the ribbon.
         A couple dozen of us had met for two years to determine what kind of curriculum would be presented here. We represented all twelve high schools in the region. The first campus buildings were temporary units set at the eastern edge of a very big paved parking lot. Most of us were not really sure what we would gain from this effort, we just knew that we wanted to continue with our education and this was the only way we could afford to do so. We were quite sure that the ten acre parking lot was overkill.
        That was over fifty years ago and it opened my world considerably...my best friend and study partner was a beautiful young lady named Pat Robinson who had attended Kalamazoo Central High School. She was the smartest person on my newspaper staff. I loved hanging out with her. I knew my stepfather was a racist but, I was really taken aback when my mother warned me, "If you bring that girl home you are going to have to find a new place to live." Yes, she was from the other side of the tracks. Black and beautiful.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

People Just Want To Ride Their Bicycles!

        More so now, than ever....people just want to ride their bicycles! Once busy thoroughfares are quiet and therefore accommodating. The danger of contracting a virus is far less than the dangers we cyclists usually face...the threat of being run over by a distracted motorist.
        In California, bicycle shops (specifically the store that performs maintenance and service on bicycles) gets a pass here in the Spring of 2020. We are considered an essential business...for commuters, families and recreationists who have been told, "Get out in the fresh air and sunshine while physically separating from others by two meters. The warm sun and circulating air is the enemy of the Covid bug."
       Who is going to keep these self-propelled vehicles operating throughout the Spring?... Bicycle shops. Families are spending more time together now than ever. The kids are not going back to school for months. Most parents are working from home, if at all. They are facing the hour by hour dynamics of home isolation like never before. We only imagined this kind of huddling when we considered burying a bomb shelter in our backyard during the Cold War with the USSR. A bicycle ride can provide the perfect opportunity for an 'attitude adjustment' superior to any other outing. Shopping used to give us the chance for that getaway time...no more, keep shopping to a minimum. Just get out and get up on your bike.
        A Spring Tune Up is usually inexpensive, especially if you go to the store where you purchased your bicycle...a little air in the tires, a little lube on the chain is often all you need (unless you left your cycle out in the snow all Winter). Bicycle mechanics are used to washing their hands several times a day. In fact, most of us are familiar with decontaminating our hands with solvents and alcohol based grease removers from the time we get to work until the time we lock the door in the afternoon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Disaster Movie

        We've executed the drive from Burbank, Ca. to Chester, Ca (nearly 600 miles) at least 40 times over the last 40 years. One has to psych-up for the escape from the West's most populous regions to the least...from the San Fernando Valley out through the desert suburbs of Palmdale and Lancaster to the relatively safe roads beyond Mohave. This last Sunday we found it a very different experience...we shared the eight lane fwys of I-5 and I-14 with only a handful of trucks. It was daylight (7 to 8am) and there were stretches of freeway with absolutely no cars in sight. Soooo...was this a set-up for another SoCal disaster movie?
         Beyond Mohave...nothing moving. A group of nearly 100 passenger jets were parked south of the highway for dry storage where we usually see a only two dozen. I treat my Honda like I want it to last for a couple of decades so,  I try to keep the speed down near sixty miles per hour. When there are no other cars in sight 62 miles per hour feels very slow. The few cars I did see passed me like I was standing still (maybe 90 mph)...have I seen this movie? A Mad Max movie? I was wishing I had a weapon...more than just an oversized pedal wrench. The Coronavirus (Covid-19) has convincingly changed the motoring mentality of the majority of Californians.
        Sure it was Sunday but, suburban Californians race to malls and 'big box' stores on Sundays. By 8am everyone is filling the football field-sized parking lots, jockeying for the best slots...on this day, the parking lots were empty. The boulevards that underpass the freeways were empty...really, there was no one in sight. We'll never see this again, I told my wife in the passenger's seat. I must say, I prefer a little more activity than this...how are the gas stations going to stay open?