Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Time To Shift Gears

I don't think I am over-reacting here but I am saddened by so many events that have launched in to our life's path over the last three years. I should just be thankful for the previous thirty years of peace and regularity (not to mention, excellent luck). I am not going to list these events here, believe me they have piled on. From this point forward we need to 'accentuate the positive'. Bicycle riding may be our best therapy. I have recently been reminded about how good it feels to do some regular foot-twiddling. Less standing on concrete and asphalt and more standing on the pedals and climbing in non-charred forests. Yeah, it's time to get serious about selling our business, I'm going to the professionals for consultations on this matter. I own the building, the inventory and the good name. We'll see what we can do to maximize our saddle time during our 'older years'.

Friday, October 29, 2021

For What It's Worth...

I'm thinking that people just need things to look forward to. Could be something big...a trip to Tahiti, a new truck or a bicycle. So, I gave myself a new bicycle. Last year I gave myself a new truck. We are a material society, we Americans... and we need to be entertained. Twenty years ago I took my family to Tahiti. Somehow, I think we have to moderate our American consumptive behavoirs but, I don't think we will. A very high percentage of the peoples on this planet can't even imagine this material lifestyle (that we take for granted) here in North America. We are not going to change unless we have to...and even then we'll be kicking and screaming like spoiled children. Yes, we are spoiled children. Six percent of the world's population and our impact on the life systems of this planet are way out of proportion when you consider that 70% of the earth's population is merely trying to survive from day to day, year to year. I'm thinking that this Swedish child, Greta Thunberg is absolutely on target. Large sweeping changes in our behavoirs are needed if our environment is going to improve over the coming years. All these kids want is something to look forward to, simple things like clean air, pure water and far fewer cancers.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

I Have Long Striven To Go Lightly

...Ever since my Mercury Meteor caught fire the last time and died in Fresno, Ca. Say, 1972, nearly fifty years ago. The Oil embargo and resulting gas shortages of '72 also help encourage me to stop participating in the 'Gas up and go' lifestyle. My bicycle was my best friend and I could go anywhere on a hearty lunch and a good attitude. I practiced 'carlessness for nearly 15 years...moving from a lowland college town to a mile high mountain town necessitated getting back into the motoring culture that most Californians practiced. You had to gather firewood and drive through snowy winters just to survive. Eventually we accepted a hand-me-down TV and bought cell phones. Now I own two motor vehicles and forced-air heating. Yet, I still strive to lessen my impacts on the planet and my fellow citizens. The bicycle is still key and I have invested my life's work into encouraging as many people as possible to ride one to work and for the 'health of it". Bicycle materialism can become excessive but the impacts are far less than the purchase of a motorboat and a Polaris swamp buggy or a snow machine. Ah America!

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

What Are We Going To Do About It...Lifestyle Change?

Wow, the 'Summer from Hell' has blown through our region. The Dixie Fire. We've lost villages and towns and the green oasis that always identified our area as the incredibly unique refuge from the dryness that surrounds us. As far as we know, our water quality has not been compromised in Chester. Our beautiful bicycle rides and most of our life-giving/breathing evergreen trees are gone. Our swimming-hole beaches are all covered with ash. The smoldering hills around us have seriously degraded our air quality. However, we persist...moving on with a new state of mind and a renewed awareness that this thing, Climate Change...Global Weirding, is a thing. So, what are we going to do about it? We've known about it for thirty years but, do we drive less? Probably not (We do get better gas mileage than we used to). Do we fly less frequently? I still commonly hear stories of friends and relatives attending 6th grade graduations 3,000 miles away. Do we make fewer demands on the electrical grid by tolerating temperatures above and below 72 degrees to a greater degree than we did last century? Of course not, we continue to pamper ourselves, and employ whatever means necessary to keep us relevant and in-the-know. Climate be damned!

Friday, May 21, 2021

My Understanding Of Good And Bad, Right And Just....Gone Askew!

Reality is subjective. I am discovering that the framework within which I operate, my perception of right and true is definitely askew. Honesty and integrity have always been at the top of my ideals. I somehow thought that might be true for the majority of my fellow Americans. Ha! As a cyclist, I understand that I am vulnerable...just because there is a traffic control (a stop sign) designed to keep me safe, to keep us all safe, that doesn't mean that vehicles much larger, therefore more impactful, are going to strive for order and the safety of others on the roadway. Happens all of the time...I'm safer when I accept a certain level of paranoia... believing that the motoring public is out to get me. Honesty and Integrity must be somewhere near the top of everyone's list of strivings. For instance, a proven and obvious con-man wants to run for the top office in the land. Well, you would think he would be laughed out of contention...and never stand a chance. Even though he ran twice for the top job and lost the popular vote by millions of votes each time, he has a group of 50+ million Americans who still think he deserves to be President. Go figure.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Another Hurdle Crossed...

We both had positive reports from our oncologists to start May 2021. Another year guaranteed. This is big. I am ready to sell the bicycle shop that I birthed (and nurtured) 27 years ago. I'm not going to give it away but I do agree with my darling wife, it's time to move on. I keep telling her that the perfect person is going to walk through the door (soon) and say, "I want it and I am willing to pay what you are asking." I was sure that the property, inventory and reputation were worth a million dollars, a decade ago. However, now I'll settle for half of that. Bodfish Bicycles and Quiet Mountain Sports in a precious community where the water is perfect and plentiful and the swimming is perfect. I've been told that I should hire a real estate broker and promote the possibilities to exhausted and fearful urban folk. I insist that passing of this baton will happen naturally and without undue pressure and negotiations. I am quite naive about business transactions and the overall honesty of persons interested in cycling and working on bikes...especially those who are skilled at working a wheel on the truing stand (this meditative activity clears the mind and reaches down to a person's authentic core...reassuring that honesty is always the best policy). We will "pass it on" so that this essential service will continue indefinitely for those propelling themselves with their own god-given bodily ability.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Bringing Tears To My Eyes

My ITunes selections at work are ancient but, every once in awhile I'm hearing a song for the very first time...Alexi Murdoch's Dream Of Flying hit me harder than usual this morning, as I opened for the first time this year on a Tuesday. Eric Clapton's Tears In Heaven use to be the only guaranteed tear jerker while working at the truing stand. We used to chuckle at how quick Grandpa was brought to tears over unrevealed memories. A very dear friend had physicians pull the plug on her 63 years of strong living, this last weekend. Terminal cancer is a bitch. So yeah, I'm bound to be a little weepy today at work. Thankful? Absolutely...each day, each kiss and every bicycle ride or hike is a gift. One of the unfortunate features of making it into the advanced years is the losing of friends, family and other acquaintances. It's going to happen, no one lives forever. Maybe we all connect again in the 'great beyond'...comforting thought...but I wish everyone had just a little more time.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Why Wear Your Opinions On Your Sleeve

I remember the day when, if you had a strong opinion about politics or community problems you would write a letter to the editor or, at most, share it with your friends and family. That was definitely twentieth century behavior. In the early nineties I switched careers from SuperSub at the local schools to bicycle shop owner (which I have continued with for nearly thirty years). Being a brick and mortar/ mom and pop shop owner in rural mountain town comes with certain rules of acceptable behavoir. Being a liberal is acceptable but ninety percent of your customers do not want to hear about it. Here in the twenty first century Americans feel it is proper and acceptable to utilize their internet connection to foam at the mouth about all sorts of complaints and concerns. The entire gamut of rants are thrown in our face every single day via social networking. There is now serious spillover from electronic media to encounters in the grocery store, post office and any other place that mouths and minds mingle. It seems we've all become hyper-opinionated...and I am blaming the internet and all of it's facets. We are all writers now and we can all have an audience. Our opinions are displayed out in the open for public digestion and regurgitation...and if you don't agree with me, I can electronically eliminate or disown you.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Wandering The Lost Cascades Under My Own Power

In the late 60's and early 70's us old farts loved the gravel and dirt tracks while pedaling our cycles because there was zero courtesy from motorists on the mostly narrow macadam roadways. It was a thrill to wander seldom traveled paths, double track and gravel on our two wheels (drop bars) and then come back with stories for the non-adventurous. I think this is still the attraction. An old aquaintence of mine...Kip Phillips, filled my head with stories of outings with his Schwinn 2-speed kick-back up to the high lakes of the Lost Cascades. Fishing expeditions "Before the war". We're talkin' 1938 and 1939 here. "It was an all-day affair, but we would come back with dinner nearly every time." I wrote a longer story for publication about my old friend in an early mountain biking publication called The Fat Tyre Flyer... Late seventies, before anyone was typing in and submitting stories on the internet. There is a new wave of interest in self-powered locomotion on the unpaved tracks...I have the perfect book of maps for those curious about the unpaved options in far Northern California...It's titled Cycling The California Outback with Bodfish. The renewed interest in such activity has caused the curious new pioneers to send me several inquiries about my old publication. It may have taken a worldwide pandemic to boost the excitement level to it's present fever pitch...getting away, getting outside and doing it under your own power is, well, empowering.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Book Reading Season Starts In December

I read books year-around but I really pile-on beginning in December. Donna Tartt's GOLDFINCH, an 800 page epic about art theft got me started while I simultaneously read SPHERE by Michael Crichton. PRACTICLE DEMONKEEPING by Christopher Moore and VILLA INCOGNITO BY Tom Robbins have launched me into 2021. Most of the books I read these days come from the communal-share Little Free Libraries we contribute to and mine in Sacramento, Chico and Burbank. This is one of the riskiest exposures we have in the age of COVID 19. We wear masks and gloves when leaning into these little roadside boxes. The Elmhurst neighborhood next to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, with it's numerous Little Free Libraries, has been a treasure trove for interesting books. I really don't set goals to read specific genres or titles or authors each year...the books I read actually find me. I recognize certain authors that I've had a good experience with so, I'm quick to pick them up when I see them, but I really don't make a "to read" list. I suppose reading is a form of escapism from the realities that hammer on us everyday, but I appreciate the offtime and relaxation it offers my body...and the worry centers of my brain...which explains why I don't read murder mysteries or "who done it" crime stories, as a rule.