Friday, February 15, 2019

Just For The Health Of It

        One of the young girls that helps out at my bicycle shop during Summer asked, "Why do you walk or ride your bicycle to work every day?"... Well, it's not to save gas and it's not because I'm too lazy to drive... she was stumped...I like the way it makes me feel, I finally told her. I suppose that I am a total curiosity to the people of Plumas County. For one thing, I absolutely love my work. I grew up in a college town and lived mostly in college towns until I moved to Plumas County, a little over three decades ago.
         I have advanced college degrees and I am quite sure I could be pulling in twice as much money by working within the educational bureaucracy, however I chose to do "my own thing". Twenty-five years of doing what I love has kept a smile on my face and a glow in my heart. No regrets here. I have not converted any 'motorheads' to stop racing around the hills, leaving a trail of fumes and fear with the mountain wildlife in these parts.
        So-called 'liberal notions' that you might pick up living in an 'enlightened' college community like; Tread Lightly (on the natural environment), or Living Green, or Consume Less/ Recycle The Rest, are not subscribed to daily (obviously) in the hills of Northeastern California. So, as you can imagine, ramming around the woods on your snowmobile, motorcycle, quadracycle, Wave Runner or in your Jeep are the most common ways of "communing" with nature. It's the relationship my neighbors want with nature and nothing else makes sense.  Encouraging people to cycle, sweat, hike long distance, kayak and swim, for exercise and for the good of the planet, just does not compute.
        I have nourished and grown this business (Bodfish Bicycles and Quiet Mountain Sports) with these activities in mind. We may have made a slight difference in local behaviors toward the natural world but, I'm not seeing the wave of awareness that I at one time thought possible. If the youth of Plumas County are still puzzled as to what the benefits of walking or pedaling to work daily, might be. We still have a long way to go.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Decisions Can Sneak Up On You

        How does this happen? A snowy day in early February, we are both holding plastic snow shovels and losing the battle to keep the deck clear of snow, while our eight-month-old black lab alternately grabs each shovel thinking she at a 'festival of giant plastic bones'...pulled out for her enjoyment. I pop up and say, I think we should go ride bicycles in France this year...mysteriously, Lisa answers, "I was thinking that too." We'll have to find a dog-sitter, a house-sitter and a bike shop-sitter. Hopefully the same person.
        Small and medium-sized villages separated by vineyards, forests and fields of sunflowers. Connected by small roads (petite rue) that aren't afraid to wind and climb over formidable ridges that define healthy drainages, which are sprinkled with more villages and vegetable gardens and places to erect our humble tent for a night or two.
        Seriously a dream world for cyclists and romantics who long for simpler times and honest relationships with the natives. Motorists in France do not bully the gentle traveller. The courtesy we are shown each and every day is disarming. You can cycle everyday and never feel a moment of anger toward the motoring public. This cannot happen in California or any other American state. We avoid the larger settlements, knowing there is an 'attitude change' when too many people gather in the same couple of square miles.
        People quality and food quality keep us coming back. This will be the sixth time we've chosen to invest a month or more of life wandering the hills of France. When you find a place that works for both of submit to the addiction. You can stop seeking out a better place. We love where we call home...Chester, California is outstanding...and we deeply love where we cleanse our souls and take refuge every couple of years... The hilly 'South of France' where pedaling, swimming, camping and imbibing keeps us smiling and feeling young.