Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Swimming In My Own Sweat

        I've been known to sweat profusely...especially when laboring at my shop or climbing one of the local roads or trails when it's hovering in the 90's (because it never gets to 100 degrees in Chester). I can usually remedy this situation with a quick dip in the river, lake or even in my "cold plunge" hot tub at home. However, it's Winter and I'm thankful for any heat that develops in the bike shop.
        My mornings often include a 45 minute session in our TheraSauna. It's a corner cabinet of far- infrared heat therapy that has become a necessary part of my life. Not everyone can appreciate "the workout" it provides. In fact, not everyone can perspire freely...I've had a dozen different sauna buddies over the years and I'm amazed that only half of them have gotten seriously sweaty while we share this space.
        The conversations are often easy and free-flowing...just as the Finns claim, the sauna is a great place for people to expose their true feelings and concerns. Finnish parents utilize this valuable family time to keep track of their teenager's progress and concerns. I thank everyone who has spent time in the sauna with me. You are showing your love, trust and non-judgemental nature by sharing this time to evacuate the toxins with me in this intimate setting.
        The last couple of mornings in the sauna have been especially important. I've been moving kayaks, electric bicycles and furniture... and I've driven two thousand miles in the last week and a half. So, as you can imagine, a couple of hours of quiet sweaty meditation in the TheraSauna has been a life saver. Back, neck, shoulder and hip rehabilitation is an effective specialty of the far-infrared dry sauna and I need this kind of therapy four or five times a year.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

You've Got To Keep Moving

        I read once that sitting is bad for your health and sitting for long periods will absolutely kill you. Most often when I am at work (or on my computer) I am standing, squatting or squirreling around the shop like a man on a mission. I very seldom sit. I usually get about three hours of "sit time" in the evening while watching TV... however, I make a point of rising at least every fifteen minutes to do small errands around the house (get a new log for the fire, make a cup of tea, survey the property, let the dog out, let the dog in).
        I've been friends with a fellow named Jack for 30 years. He's a cyclist who migrated north to Chester in his 63rd year of life after a career as a body man (on cars) near Glendora, Ca. He made an impression on me that I'll never shake...he was mated to his roadbike like a pro-peloton cyclist and his motto was; "You've got to be smooth and you have got to keep moving." Jack is now 93 years young and when he steps into the bicycle shop where I work, he dances in...kind of sideways like he has a 40's Jazz tune playing in his head.
        I'm thinking that driving a motor vehicle is one of those things that will kill you...and unless you are a residential delivery milkman, you will always be sitting when you drive. I ride my bicycle to and from work nearly every day and as I said, I seldom sit at work, so, as you can see, I am planning to live into my nineties like Jack...one problem, I don't dance as well or as often as Jack but, I do like older Jazz.
       We have numerous gadgets that keep track of our steps, our blood pressure and count our beats per minute, generally trying to inspire us to keep moving. However, there are many more gadgets that discourage movement...presenting a screen that demands attention and distorts our awareness of the 'here and now'. In fact, these screens demand that we split our attention so that we even lose track of the task at hand (like driving, or cooking, or parenting).
       Generally, I'm saying that this 'digital age' discourages us from dancing, cycling and hiking through the days we have left. So, when you think about it, it's really no surprise that the lifespans of 'civilized' people has been shortening during this 21st century.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Rude, Crass, Dishonest, Delusional, Insensitive, Braggadocio, Insincere, Tainted and Not A Reader.

        My fourth grade teacher, Mrs Snow told me, " Chuck Elliot, you read so much and such a variety of books that I think you could be President someday." I thought, at the time, she meant President of Ramona Lane Elementary School. I was leading the "Gold Star Reading Wall" competition and we were headed for Easter Break. I had a stack of biographies under my arm. Major distractions like, Alan Shepard orbiting earth and me running (almost out of control) down dunes along the coast of Lake Michigan and as the oldest, being in charge of a pack of sisters while my step-father took my mother out to dinner three times that week, prevented me from devoting enough time to reading my vacation biographies.  And in fact, I lost that Gold Star competition to a girl named Sharon Ellis, (but, we know girls can't become President).
        Mrs. Snow hadn't a clue what it takes to become President, anyhow. I admired Presidents, especially JFK. I stopped admiring Presidents shortly after he was assassinated. I started running long-distance at thirteen which left a lot less time for reading. Maybe reading was over-rated. Now I am incredibly disillusioned about what it takes to be President, or how a President is supposed to behave.
        I pedal my bicycle long distances these days in an attempt to unravel the confusing contradictions and disasters that tie us all up in knots daily. Often, somewhere along the route I look for a place to immerse my overheated body in cool clear water so that I can find a refreshing new perspective before returning to my happy place (home). It's worked so far. I'm working on my 69th year on this planet and I'm in no hurry to follow Alan Shepard beyond this atmosphere.
        I have been reading a lot lately and am getting no closer to being qualified as a candidate for President. The qualities required for occupying such an office have all evaporated and been rendered counterfeit anyhow. I just want to find a quiet road and keep turning over the cranks until I find another perfect skinny dip.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Spooky...Those Pre-election Blues, Again.


        Where are we going with all this? Even Brazil is getting in on the act, electing a new fascist/nationalist president that wants to turn the Brazilian rainforest into cash. I just want to ride my bike! The mid-term elections will be over soon enough (6 days) but, what's not over in six days is this drought we are experiencing in NorCal. We were told that we'd have a wet warm Winter...I sure hope they are right. So much to worry about...and so little time.
        Actually, what am I worried about? I've had a good run. Now is time to put on that elder smile and enjoy each sunrise. We hiked with our six month old pup to Beauty Lake in the Caribou Wilderness this last Sunday and found that nothing had changed...still a great place to recharge the batteries and wet the whistle...whatever that means. Our Black Labrador puppy loves trail hiking and lake-bagging. She needs a lot of attention and she is not so fond of riding behind the bicycle in her trailer....she has ceased howling all the way to work...but she tries to hide when I say, Load up, it's time to go to work. So, we ride a lot less and hike every chance we get. We have learned that we can 'crate her' for one hour in the afternoon without undue stress, so that we can ride together. Nothing better than a new puppy to bring you back to the 'here and now'.
        So really, there's very little to worry about...as long as the sun keeps rising in the eastern sky and we are here to witness it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Refusing To Believe The Science

       I am absolutely amazed at how often normal Americans resist learning and information. I started thinking about this while motoring through Oregon last week.
       Let's start with reports that smoking causes cancer, respiratory disease and heart problems....and damages the people near you. This is not new information, the American Cancer Society has been throwing these facts at us for fifty years. The majority of people driving around eastern Oregon are smokers...their truck windows are coated by a blue film on the inside.
       Next, I'm standing in line at a grocery in Burns, Oregon while the store manager is training a new cashier. I'm holding a jar of organic peanut butter, a loaf of sourdough bread, celery, mustard and a baby loaf of white cheddar cheese (made in Oregon). "Oh, here's a guy that eats only healthy food." says the manager. I look at the cart behind me and the full bags in front of me...Cheetos, Diet Pepsi, Lucky Charms and Spam prevail...It's because I want to stay healthy, I reason, out loud... They all chortle loudly at the same moment.
       Exercise is another issue the literature covers quite well. You don't have to train like an athlete, you just have to keep moving under your own power...a walk with the dog or the grandkids. Americans are unique in this, from what I've witnessed around the world, they jump in the car to drive two or three blocks to get the mail, pick up kids at school or to get a morning coffee.
       Then there's the issue of 'climate change' and increasing CO2 levels and how these occurrences are changing the planet and our daily lives. Forget it.
       Americans can't figure out how to eat, stay active, give up bad habits...we are never going to have any hope of digesting the information about climate change, it just isn't going to happen....we are TOAST.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Whoa...Beware Of Angry White Men

        I'm starting to understand what's going on in this country. I've been hearing these rumblings every week for the last ten years but, I hadn't categorized this behavior correctly. I see it now. There's "attitude" in how we drive, how we recreate, how we hunt for food, how we shop, how we watch TV and play video games. How we vote. How we are willing to bully migrants and people of color, generally. Why prison populations are skewed heavily toward minorities. Why women are shoved around, discounted and still distant from true equality. Geez, it's people just like me...older, angry white men. Guys who believed in the "American Dream" but, have found it to be just outside their grasp.
        The problem may be that our expectations were a little too grand...however, now we are backsliding and may never get there. Like many dreams, the harder we pedal the more elusive the goal becomes. Anger may be too strong, for many disappointment has not yet evolved into full-blown anger.             The symptoms are there...'spring loaded to the pissed-off position'. I see it in the "Nightly News", in the campaign rallies and in the wording of propositions on the ballot. Why do we go into hock for huge noisy trucks or loud rumbling motorcycles. Why do we wear graffiti on our bodies and shave our heads? Don't tread on me, is the message......"get out of my way" is repeated often when we drive. I don't see a mellowing of this attitude in our future. Americans refuse to be humbled, or admit to being humbled. We were brainwashed to believe that we are exceptional, entitled...manifest destiny...it's in our DNA.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Goodbye Summer...Dang, Where Did It Go?

        Old people are always saying things like that...."Where did the decade go?" I'm not old so, I must be saying it for another reason. Summer, oh, the plans I had for Summer. For various reasons the season didn't go exactly as planned but, the big reason (not the new puppy) has to be the fact that I am still working six days a week during the busy season. Campouts and overnight hikes are not easy when (you have a very young puppy) your due at work nearly every morning of Summer.
        I am really looking forward to some extra days off...and feeling my body recover from wrenching on and walking bicycles to their designated sale positions and returning them to their overnight stable. I've been going through the same routine for nearly twenty-five years...inventory out, inventory in. I love marketing and merchandising and interior design but, I'm starting to feel like I'm over the initial thrill of owning my own business. Hey, it's good...it's great to be your own boss...but, it's getting nearer the time to do something else.
       I'm not using the R word (retirement) here because I seriously enjoy putting people on bicycles and watching their reactions when they see how pleasurable and easy cycling is...and how sensible the whole thing is. I'm all in for a couple more years (maybe seventy is the best retirement age) that is, unless someone wants to lay $900,000 of their recent inheritance on me for the entire package.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

What Country Are You From?

        Over the last 68 years my mother has wondered outloud, "What century are you living in? and, What country are you from?" I'll admit, I am unusual. I've never been turned-on by fishing or golf or car racing and I have zero feelings about football...American or European. I've noticed that these activities are going on around me but, I am not a fan.
        I've never wanted to jump out of airplanes, off a bridge when attached to a bungee cord or a cliff with a nylon kite strapped to my back....and most surprising, I suppose... I never wanted to be RICH. I haven't eaten red meat for several decades and I like strong ales better than watery lagers. I wish for higher gasoline prices and I cheer on higher taxes. I'd rather wear shorts than long pants and when on the edge of a body of fresh water...no matter how cold...I'd rather jump in wearing nothing at all.
       America is wasteful, nervous and moving too fast...people don't think before they leap...we worship idiots. I'm not that proud to be an American. I really never like wearing red, white and blue clothing together, on the same day. I find WAR disagreeable, unnecessary and disgusting. I wish my hard-earned money never supported it. In my lifetime America has not improved any situation around the world by "going to war." Yet, my money and friends have been sacrificed in the name of WAR.
        I actually enjoy driving and I have liked a couple of my automobiles more than a little, however, I am appalled at the number of lives that have been lost or permanently disfigured because of our habitual use and misuse of these powerful metal boxes...and to think of how much land we have scabbed-over to accommodate these cancer-spewing contraptions....all just in the last one hundred years!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Who Are We, The Bodfish People?

        Here I am practicing writing ad copy for more enlightened times.......We've been matching people to bicycles for over forty years....We've been mapping beautiful rides for cyclists for longer than that. Our bicycle shop is nearly 25 years old...in process and counting. The personal relationships we've encouraged and nurtured over this time are what make us successful and are a big part of our "life savings".
         We will continue to advise our friends and customers regarding the best rides and the safest way to conduct these outings and adventures for as long as we live. A lifetime commitment to bicycling and to our cycling friends has been a very satisfying path to follow.
        The day will come when the 'four thousand pound errand machines' (that we as a society presently worship) will be only a chapter of unbelievable stories our children will tell their grandchildren.
        The future is bright for cycling, however. Both day trips and longer adventures will increase exponentially, if only because the gas-powered motoring will fade and the utilization of the bicycle as transportation will continue to make so damn much sense. You didn't really think we could continue our "happy motoring" forever on this planet of finite resources, did you?
        We at Bodfish Bicycles and Quiet Mountain Sports are proud to nourish the cycling tradition and to pass the torch on to our... and your, grandchildren.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

No One Told Me....

        When I started taking the bicycle seriously in the early seventies (bought my first 10-speed in 1970), it came in a box, just like buying a bicycle on-line today. There were no instructions for assembly or riding...just a unassembled bike in a five foot long cardboard box. I figured out how to put it together and make it safe.
         No one told me to avoid the rough roads, broken roads or unpaved roads. I lifted my bicycle over gates, pushed it around barricades and washouts and explored double tracks that often turned out to be country driveways leading to angry ranch dogs. I didn't enjoy riding with impatient motorists on bustling EastBay motorways so, I explored the roads less traveled. I lived in Pleasant Hill when it actually featured...pleasant hill trails and tracks and far fewer developed neighborhoods.
         I migrated south, where for a couple of years I explored longer backroads east of Fresno...and then, down to the less developed environs around Lake Isabella in Kern County. I was riding a C.Itoh...a Japan built ten speed with the fattest 27x 1.4 tires I'd ever seen on a ten speed bicycle. I'd graduated to alloy rims and a backrack. Overnight outings that included climbs to old passes and fire lookout towers became my fascination....all I needed was a sleeping bag, a bag of Gorp and two waterbottles.
        I wrote about these outings in a rag called The Kern River Valley Review, which didn't last long but inspired me to continue writing a column, about my cycling adventures, when I moved 300 miles north to Butte County (Chico, Ca.) "Biking With Bodfish". I'd kidnapped the name from my village in Kern County. I continued to chronicle my forays, with hand drawn maps for more than a decade before moving to the north end of the Sierra Nevada and changing the column's heading to Quiet Mountain Sports.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

How To Be Free Of Clothing

        It's not as difficult as you think...and I don't care what you say, there are times when it is absolutely appropriate. There is no need to make anyone else uncomfortable...pick your moments and celebrate the freedom to be unencumbered and enjoy the breeze. As an outdoor expression you must be careful to pick your locations wisely. Indoors and at home only the family needs to be in agreement...nudity is not a terrible thing. Open and honest and stress-free, we are who we are and and we are judgement-free. The home Spa helps here...hot tub and sauna allow for and encourage family casual nudity. Lake bagging is one of our favorite family pursuits.
        Seeking out remote bodies of water and immersing fully (sans costume) has been one of our main activities for over forty years. When you arrive home sweaty and grimy one of the first things you do is jump in the shower...here is another opportunity...don't be so quick to get re-dressed on exiting the stall... drip dry and cool off before looking for your pajamas. Not surprisingly, there are many homes that operate under this protocol...clothing is only necessary when there are guests. I know, some people really love their clothing but really, even when it's ninety degrees?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Puppies in the Feather River

        She can't shed her fur coat...but, we sure can. Our new black labrador's name is Nori...nine weeks old. We took her down to the river just as the 'digital alcohol' hit 94 degrees. She liked it and showed us that she already knew how to "dog paddle". There were people down the way, it was too hot to care, we shed our outer layers and plunged in. Dipping in sixty degree Feather River water is the perfect way to cap an afternoon in the nineties.
        Nori Jo will have to be a swimmer, a hiker and a shop dog. It's in her 'job description'. She did not enjoy her first journey in the Tail Wagon bicycle trailer. She'll 'get it' before long. Hiking has been awkward...she thinks that the ideal healing takes place directly between her companion's feet. We are hoping to have another twelve year run with our new "project". The bicycle rides have to be done solo and traveling is a bit more difficult...even shopping trips have to be executed solo..."You stay with the pup, I'll shop."
        Oh well, we've managed to be good parents before...this is our fourth time. There are benefits...she will protect us and give our lives another important focus point. The hard part is when they expire, for whatever reason. In twelve years I'll be eighty years old and probably tired of dealing with Loss...so, enjoy them while you have them...the years are going by soooo fast.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

I Really Didn't Miss Writing In June

          Funny thing, I appreciated every single day of June. I was sure I had made a couple of contributions to the Bodfish blog...thought to put something down a half dozen times. So, what did I do with June? Wild swimming...Juniper Lake, Lake Almanor, Butt Lake...how could anyone consider wearing a suit in Butt Lake? My favorite...Naja's Paradise (about to become Nori's Paradise)...saw our immersions three times. Wild Swimming in our own sauna sweat was the favorite activity of June...only missed a couple of days. I had company nearly half of those sauna days...conversations in the sauna are always easy and rewarding.
         Dog walks with Olympia's Golden Doodle Teddy have helped us stay in shape for our new puppy....throw in a dozen bicycle rides into the hills above our abode and you have our health- enhancing activities of June. Of course working six days a week fills out many more hours. We put a lot of energy into encouraging others to 'get out there' and enjoy their body's ability to perform and glow in nature. This is the busiest season (Fourth of July week)...so, I really have to show up every day.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Shinrin yoku...This Concept Turns Me On

        I have to admit, here at the gateway to my "advanced age years", not much actually turns me on. A morning hug and kiss from my lifelong sweetheart excepted. The almost- daily walk in the woods that we've practiced for the last thirty years here in the mountains of Northern California now has an exciting label....Forest Bathing (Shinrin yoku).  It's amazing what a new definition and categorization can do for an habitual exercise.... and now, there are certified guides and organized groups for this type of bathing. I actually love this more than you can believe.
        I am not being a facetious goof here. Forest bathing, mountain bathing and lake bagging are the foundations of my peaceful state of mind and the essence of my existence.  It's why I thrive, by living in the woods, walking in the woods and bathing amongst the trees. I do not feel guilty for harvesting many of the trees that grew on my two acres...it's like weeding your garden. The survivors are healthier for the lack of competition, their boughs reach wider and they grow taller quicker than when they were crowded together. I built my house largely from the forest that stood on the same property that we have called home for the last 28 years. There are a few who bemoan the lack of a meadow or lake view from our woods but, not me. I love the forest and feel protected by their smell and their humming needles.
        Shinrin yoku is a japanese concept that was introduced to the world less than fifty years ago. I'm surprised that it took us this long to label and identify this forest blessing. Of course, forest dwellers have known of the magic of "forest bathing" all the way back to our chimpanzee beginnings. The new thing is that here in America we have learned to make money off of the activity. That's not a bad thing, many people would never discover it's effectiveness if they didn't have to use their credit card to get them in the right state of mind....shopping. Shopping for Wellness legitimizes many of our activities, hobbies and fascinations.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Life Below The Quiet Mountain

        We are about twelve miles (as the Bald Eagle flys) below an active volcano. There have been periods throughout history when volcanoes get violently active and angry as a group. The last time was during November of 2013. Seven volcanoes erupted dramatically within hours of each other around the globe. In reality, I am not a predictor of doom (Doomer). I am sure there are tough times ahead...for the Earth and the economy, and the culture of modernism. However, I do not wake up each day under a cloud of doubt or fear.
         It is good to keep in mind that we refer to the volcano above us as the Quiet Mountain because it can become explosive and loud. We can identify lava as far as sixty miles away that used to be part of what the natives referred to as Waganupa, (Mt. Tehama, over 15,000 ft. in height). Lassen Peak is one of the largest plug dome volcanoes in the world and it lives, it breathes, it steams and it waits. We are lucky to thrive and play on it's lower slopes.
        Simple hiking, biking and swimming between her magnificent folds. Over three decades of drinking from her aquifer and building a home and business out of her trees. She owes us nothing. Each day is a gift...and not a day goes by where I lose track of that fact. California in general is a land living "on the edge". We worship each sunrise and realize it can all shake and shiver and go... Poof! This enhances one's awareness moment to moment...you don't get this in Nebraska. Unless, I suppose, you live next to an ICBM missle silo.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Riding The Dirt on Skinny Tires, Now Called "Gravel Grinding"

        I've been riding the dirt roads on Road Bikes since 1973...when I moved to Bodfish, California. I immediately started writing about this in a weekly column for The Kern River Valley Review, called Outback of Bodfish. Stories about solo trips to Kelso Valley, Peppermint and Saddle Springs, Breckinridge Lookout and crossing Sherman Pass (which was unpaved in those days).
         No big deal, 27x1 and 1/4 inch tires, it's what I had and I loved ridin' the dirt. My stories were dirty stories and it seemed that no one could relate to them. During the Winter of '75 I moved to Chico, Ca. and kept up the stories under the pen name Bodfish...Biking with Bodfish. I didn't have a huge following in the Butte County Bugle but, there were bicycle riders who,  got it.
         So, after a couple of years of developing a fan-base, I decided to self-publish a book...Butte Country Bicycle Journeys. On road and off-road journeys were featured, including a dirt route to "The Coast" from the Sacramento Valley. I worked as a wrench at Chico Bicycle and one afternoon I started a sign-up sheet which announced, "Riding to the Coast, Lotsa Dirt".
         Amazing, eight people signed up! Only six actually followed through...we had a rip-roaring time on roads like; Pettyjohn, Pattymocus, Stuart Gap, Pellitreau Ridge and Usal Road. Mud, gravel, log truck ruts and smooth dirt on whatever bicycles we had...remember this is years before a "Mountain Bike" hit the market. We've since published numerous articles and three more books that include dirt and remote paved bicycle adventures.
         Cycling The California Outback, published in 1983, exclusively features gravel and dirt routes throughout Northern California. It never made the best-seller list however, for those who were not afraid, it opened a whole new world of quiet foot-twiddling. Bicycle tires come in a huge array of sizes these days, my favorite is still somewhat narrow...700x38.
        There are a million miles of quiet roads in North America all waiting for the silent traveler to come cranking along under her own power. So much easier than 45 years ago, you can have an adventure accompanied by the incredible music provided by nature and the "Rice Krispies" sound of your own tires rolling along the backroads.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Hill Cycling...Better Than Sex

        Hear me out... a couple of hours in the saddle climbing: spinning in a reasonable gear, crotch work, lungs keeping a moisture-flushing rhythm, heart exercising metronomically and sounding like a drum gathering in the Oakland Coliseum, enough scenery to knock your socks off, climbing, shifting and staying in the sweet spot, inhaling thin pure air and swigging clean mountain water, resulting in an high elevation climax that proves you are still a force to be reckoned with.... followed by a slippery/soaring flight that recalls your most exotic dreams and helps the other bodily functions return to a mellow 'valley state of mind'.                                                                                                                 Instead of five or ten minutes of ecstasy, you have a two and a half hour effort that guarantees improved health and attitude.
        Not convinced? I know I'm not the greatest salesman but, after 24 years of pretending, I have improved somewhat and I have to conclude: I'm doing something right!  I know endorphins and antigens and I am excited to launch from bed each and every morning... and I am excited to take on what the daylight hours want to throw at me.
         I'm talking RESULTS here... as I approach 68 years on the blue planet. I'm no James Brown, but damn, I feel good! Cycling is one of my great loves and I am exceedingly lucky to have Lisa, one of my other great loves, to enjoy it with. I'm not bragging here. I am appreciating... how incredibly good we've had it and the fact that it's continuing, swimmingly, toward the third decade of the 21st century.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

REtire? What is that?

        I'm not tired...I enjoy working with most people and I love fondling their bicycles. The industry has been coming up with strange, ridiculous and unnecessary configurations for this simple and therefore, glorious machine but, hey...send those technology-worshipping high-enders down the road. There's always some young mechanic who wants to hook your bike up to a diagnostic monitor to figure out why your electronic front derailleur isn't obeying your commands. Who needs that complication? What are the risks? What are the rewards?                
        Don't be stupid, keep it simple. Yes, I work with the public and there are some very strange customers, whom you can't make happy and often, they are not really sure what they want. A bicycle shop is visited by at least one of these puzzlers every month. I am a compassionate and decent person and I put a lot of effort into understanding what customers want...and I try to perform miracles without making fun of any single individual. A few of my fellow bike shop owners have thrown up their arms and sold or shut down their operation due to frustration or disgust.
         I am not there yet. I enjoy the humans who walk into my country bicycle store....there's very little "attitude" going on in a 'working class' rural bike shop. We are all just thankful to have gainful employment and to experience so many smiles coming at us from appreciative outdoor lovers.
         Yes, I'll try to call it quits at 25 years of service...Good Will, a great location and a lifetime collection of tools has to be worth a million bucks to someone trying to escape the Bay Area urban mania. I'll sell this investment (and Mom and Pop lifestyle) to some deserving soul...and yes, I know what I'll do with my remaining hours and energy. I'll invest a large portion of my time in the saddle earning the hills, especially the small roads...les petite rue...no more daily sales reports and quite a bit less Tri-flow in the lungs.
         Oh my, this is my 25th year, coming up! Hey if you know anyone who likes people as much as I do, please send 'em my way. I have an amazing lifestyle and sufficient income for them. I might settle for a little less than a million bucks.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Get Up On Your Bike, Get Down On Your Bike or Go Get A Bike.

       Just wondering...Why isn't everyone out on a bicycle? At least three days a week. So many options for those who are capable...mountain bikes, road bikes, fat bikes, electric-assist bicycles, recumbent bikes and handcycles...on road, off road, bicycle trails, rail to trail conversions, you can even ride indoors on a bike trainer (which is what I'm doing as I dictate this.).
        We know that it's healthiest to get up and move. Cycling is a cure for chronic knee pain, foot pain, back pain or even the pain of depression and the double curse of bad attitude and bad luck. It takes so little time and even less money to pop a little air into a two-wheeler's tires and drop a spot of oil on a neglected chain for a lap or two around the neighborhood.
        Do the math...what it'll cost you to get rolling will be repaid many times over by enriched living and a longer life span on this blessed planet. I've been preaching these verses for many decades, along with my gospel of healthy food selection and consumption...and, I realize, all the ranting and preaching will mean nothing until people are either desperate or stumble upon and recognize the solutions that are laying in their path.
        Do the math...we only get so many upright hours. The time is NOW to put those minutes to good use. So, here I am the motivational speaker,  riding my Cyclops Bicycle Trainer and talking into my phone, while at work.... Come to think of it,  I'd rather be wrenching and listening to Michael Franti lyrics on the shop stereo.  No, in fact, I'd rather be out on my bicycle breathing hard and listening to a mockingbird concert under a sharp blue sky.
        I'm not too far from retirement and even though I own a comfortable rocking chair, I am hoping to give it less time than I give my Brooks Professional bicycle saddle.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

One Quarter Of A Million Miles On A Bicycle (and I still thirst for hills)

        The dark days of January, no swimming to be done, outdoor cycling in snow and slush...not fun, television viewing of the national scene (the clown president and the waves he makes)...not palatable! Winter business in the bike store...non existent. So, I read and I dream and I watch videos of climbing cols in the Pyrenees and the Alps.
        The snow finally fell yesterday (end of January). Drought year? I'd say so. XC skiing is usually an energy outlet but, we need a base and two days ago the surface consisted of rock and pine needles...rough on the skis. Almost February and I'm thinking of how good it'll feel to spin up warm foothill pavement forty-five miles west of here.... when I get a day off.
        My wife says I should think about retirement and selling the store. How many days do we have left to hop on our bicycles and pursue dreamy climbs?  Time in the saddle is worth a million bucks...maybe she's right. No time like the present to ponder the possibilities here. February often brings sunny warm days, even in the mountains of Northern California. The foothills, however, are coming into their prime. The almond blossoms are causing a white/pink riot on the valley floor and the winds are warm and gentile.
       Our mission: to get more butts on bikes. Bicyclists, their steeds and cycling has had my focus for the last four decades. I don't need to be a retailer/ mechanic to get this done. However, I do need an income. so, if you know anyone..."Own your own small business, selling a product you're passionate about." Life in Chester, California is exceptional...abundant pristine water, excellent neighbors and guaranteed return customers every Spring and Summer, followed by a colorful Autumn and an extremely quiet Winter.
        The "good life" has always been an uphill climb, it's supposed to be...it's called... Earning It.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Moment That Changes Everything

        Three weeks in the city...survival depends on a radically heightened awareness of people and their machines ...congestion and movement and noise. We pedal various routes through the hilly suburbs of  Burbank and Glendale during the late morning hours, after the commuters rush off to work and finish before they scurry around seeking lunch.
         Cars backing out of driveways and popping out of parallel parking slots have to be our number one concern. Leaf blowers constantly throw clutter under our tires and obscure our aural sensory warning system, as we are fully tuned to the warning hums of rolling tires and moaning engines. We've had heart-stopping moments when car doors are flung open in our path or gadget fascinated drivers blow through traffic signs and signals in the same space that we felt we were entitled to.
         California and many other states have new laws requiring motorists to give pedestrians and cyclists a safe cushion of space before passing, usually three feet however, drivers have no fear of tickets or reprisals if they ignore this legal courtesy....and there are always a few who resent the new law and feel adamantly that the foot powered traveler has no right to share the right of way that has been dominated for one hundred years by motorists.
         We all have had those close calls when we say, "I saw my life flash in front of me." In fact, just yesterday, I sat at a traffic signal on a busy boulevard here in Burbank, patient like the Buddha, with my foot on the clutch. The green light told me to proceed, I pushed on the gas and let up on the clutch , feeling entitled to safe passage, when my wife put her hand on my wrist and gasped, I hesitated with my right foot just as a red light running Jeep Wrangler bore down from the left at 40+ mph narrowly missing my front grill.