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July 31, 2005

Training ride gone bad (good)

This morning I went on a training ride by myself. I decided I wanted to see where the Midtown Greenway ended, so I rode along Summit to East River Road to Lake Street and over to 18th to hop on the Greenway. Lake Street is a horrible road to ride bike on! It's really bumpy along the edges and car drivers are possessed by speed demons. Once on the Greenway I felt all the tension melt away as I was able to get up some speed and ride without bumps. I got a steady rhythm going and finally took a break at Lake Calhoun. There I filled my water bottles, cooled off and got back on my way.
I circled back around to the Greenway and kept heading West. When I passed by the Kenilworth trail, that was as far as I had gone before, so I really didn't know where I was going. I just kept following the trail around until it met up with the Kenilworth again near downtown Minneapolis. That was cool! Once in Minneapolis I got on some road, riding toward downtown. Right at Nicolette Mall I got a flat tire. Ok. No problem right?
I found a nice park bench, pulled out my kit, took off the front wheel, pulled one edge of the tire off, pulled out the tube, pumped it up to find the hole, released the air, patched it, put it back in, put the tire back on and began to inflate it. About halfway through, my pump broke and air started leaking out the handle. This is a Blackburn double-action pump and is supposed to be a good pump but this is the second time it's broken on me and left me stranded. I looked all over downtown for a cyclist that had a tire pump and as far as I knew the bike shops downtown were closed. I did walk up to One-on-one just to make sure, but sure enough. Closed on Sundays. So, I walked back down to Nicollet Mall and was planning on hopping a bus to go home with my bike in tow and head drooping. But then I saw the Target store. I went in and bought a ten-dollar Schwinn tire pump and solved my problem. After coming out I met this great guy who was riding a single-speed fixed-gear bike. We talked for a few minutes and he told me, "Once you try it you will never go back!" He also gave a ringing endorsement of One On One bike shop as experts on Fixies.
I got my tire pumped back up and headed over to the river through downtown. I found the entrance to the river road by the old grainery museum (by following another cyclist) I think eventually, being a cyclist, I'll learn my way around better just by getting out there and doing it.
So, I got a new pump, enjoyed learning my way around Minneapolis, met a fixed-gear rider and got a good workout in with a few rest breaks inbetween. Then after coming home, I even had time to even take a nap! My training has been pretty sporadic lately, almost nil really, except for commuting everywhere by bike, but this felt good.
My plan is to change myself into a morning person starting tomorrow morning. I'm going to bed early tonight and going for a hard ride before work. I think this way I will miss fewer rides and get in better shape.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:46 PM

Wedding Crasher

Yesterday morning my Father-in-Law got married again. (I got home really late last night, so I couldn't blog, sorry) It was a beautiful ceremony with just the immediate family present. Then after the ceremony we went to his house where friends and extended family were invited to have food and drink and enjoy the special day. It was really low-key but special I think.
I think it would be tough to get remarried. I've been married for 22 years, and honestly can't even imagine what it would be like without my partner. We have done a lot of growing together and form a team. One cannot live without the other. At least that's the way it seems. I'm sure if forced to separate, we would cope. My wife's mom passed away a few years ago and it was really hard on all of us. But even harder, I imagine is to go on without a person's true love. I don't know how he managed. So empty life would seem.
But his new bride is elegant, witty, smart, gracious and loving. From what I've seen she's a great mom and grandmother. She said something really cool that I wanted to capture here. I can't remember her exact words but it was something like this, "I've heard that when we lose the love of our lives, it's very difficult to remarry because no-one can measure up to what we have lost. I used to believe that. But then someone told me that it is those who have loved the greatest that know how to love and will love like that again. I believe this is true now."
We are all thrilled for both of them and are happy for them. We are also happy that we are gaining another family for holidays!
Yesterday was a perfect day. No sour notes or wedding crashers could detract from the beauty of two people coming together.

Posted by carl1236 at 7:27 PM

July 29, 2005

25-Minutes

Tonight I watched an old Star Trek Next Generation episode where Captain Picard lived a whole life-time on a dying planet in 25 minutes. Very interesting situation to contemplate. On this planet he had a wife and children. When his daughter was grown his advice to her was something like, "Don't wait. Make the most of this life now. Live now." He knew that the planet was dying.
The Picard of the Enterprise was lucky because he had a chance to live two lives. Or maybe not so lucky because he had to live on in Picards body after having lived an entire life in another body. In any case, It gives me some things to think about. I love life and belive that we should all not wait until we are dying to live. I'll take that 25 minutes now.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:19 PM

July 28, 2005

Spit on me

Tonight as I rode home, I must have had a sign on my back that said, "Spit on me," because someone in an SU-type vehicle gunned it's engine and zoomed by. When they were level with me I saw a person throw something at me and felt water splash on my face and mouth. Then they gunned their engine and zoomed away.

As they were speedng by I felt the splash. Who knows what it really was. Now I know what that feels like.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:26 PM

July 27, 2005

Joe's Response

Ok, so remember yesterday's post about the Bob Sansevere (I mistakingly thought it was Joe Soucheray because of the tone of this one) article in the Pioneer Press? After writing an email to him, he did not respond to me. But Another writer, Joe Soucheray wrote another scathing article (which I won't link to). His attitude seems to be flippant and disrespectful to bike riders who are doing something to make themselves more fit and save energy. Joe snottily says, "I asked a guy the other afternoon...[It's a rare occasion when one of 'this type' actually stops next to you at a red light, but when they do, ask them]...Can you name five top-flight cyclists besides Lance Armstrong? He swung his head to look at me. I was evil. I was burning gasoline. 'Bug off' he said, or words to that effect..."

Who is the evil one? The one burning the gasoline and acting like he owns the road or the one riding the bike?

I found out my friend Dan wrote this letter to the paper in response...

"Your recent articles on Lance/biking are truly creepy and could not be more out of touch with reality. I realize that you are just ignorant like the majority of motorheads in our country, but what is scary is that you'd write about something you know nothing about. FYI, bikers prefer to wear moisture-wicking fabrics with rear pockets (called jerseys) and virtually all of these are sold colorful (to help drivers see you) and are sold with sponsorship logos of some type (for advertising purposes, which brings down the cost to buyers). And it seems obvious (but I'm sure not to you) that the purpose of tight fitting clothes is for aerodynamics and avoidance of getting fabric caught on the seat or bike.

And regarding bikers disregarding traffic laws, why do you waste your breath generalizing about a group of people (I thought journalists tried to avoid making such a major blunder). If this is your goal why don't you mention the 99% of people who are so lazy, wasteful and careless that they use a polluting 3000 pound machine for transportation when all that is needed is a 25 pound bike to accomplish the same thing. I have found that there is virtually no need to even drive a car in the metro area. While I own a car, I only drive it about 1,000 miles per year while I bike 11,000-12,000 miles per year. My round trip commute to work (from Brooklyn Center to downtown St. Paul) is 42 miles and I bike it almost every day (I have only driven my car to work twice in the past four years). I have never understood how people can waste their time sitting in a car when they could be enjoying the ride on a bike and getting exercise at the same time (it's a shame that most people are like you and don't know the pure joy and euphoric adrenalin you get from cycling). It only takes me 10 minutes longer to bike to work than drive and the faster I go the more fun it is (which explains your claim of "riders racing through the city streets").

And during all my rides, I stop and wait at every red light (partly because I know I'll see the same drivers later and for my own safety I don't want to lose their respect). And the vast majority of other bikers I see do the same, although some don't (which is irritating) just like some drivers don't. So why do you single out bikers when the same percentage of drivers disobey traffic laws, especially when a driver's violation risks other people's lives, while a biker is risking only his own life by going through a stop sign? And why don't you write an article about the 100% of drivers who exceed the speed limit? While I have read some horrible articles by you in the past, this ranks as one of the worst. I mean you can't possibly get more pathetic than to say "will the streets of St. Paul and Minneapolis quiet down?" If you really want the streets to quiet down, get out of your SUV and bike (you'll save the planet, prevent war, reduce traffic congestion, improve your health, reduce health care costs, save money, have fun and improve your quality of life at least 300%). If you had the least bit of sense, you'd see beyond the Lance-factor and you'd be encouraging cycling and praising Lance for everything he's done."

Sure it's free speech to trash bicycle enthusiasts (and people who care about the environment), but is it helpful to our society and is it warranted? It's like someone running around swearing. They sound tough, but are all hot air. As long as he's not willing to give up his car and ride a bike, he's in no position to call anyone "Red Devils in Yellow Jerseys"

There is no real response to people like this. Maybe boycott the paper or something. I'm thinking about that. But it probably won't do any good, because papers sell on controversy.

Anyway, I loved Dan's response letter. Enjoy.

Posted by carl1236 at 4:51 PM

July 26, 2005

Owning the Road

Today I read an article by Bob Sansevere in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He seems kind of like a jerk toward other people. Is he always this way? Anyway, his column was titled, "Lance wannabes hog roads."
I don't usually like to blog about newspaper articles, because it's not new news that people can't get by picking up a newspaper and reading it themselves. And my commentary may or may not really add anything of value to the article.
But today I'm going to talk about the article in a round-about way. I'm going to share the email I sent to Bob Sansivere and not link to his article. You can look it up. My favorite quote from his writing is, "The problem is, there are far too many SOBs (Spandex-Obsessed Bicyclists) who think they own whatever road they're on."

Here is the email I sent to him, and as soon as he writes a response, I'll be sure to post it here as a follow up. If he responds at all, it will be interesting what approach he takes in writing a response. Will he:
A) Write a mocking response.
B) Write an apologetic response.
C) Get defensive
D) Be argumentative and show how right he is.
E) Not respond at all.
F) Other.

"Hi Bob,

I read your article, "Lance wannabes hog roads," in today's Pioneer Press. It's not your most attractive attitude.
The problem is, there are far too many automobile drivers who think they own whatever road they are on. What gives automobile drivers the right to endanger bicycle rider's lives? Speed? Tons of steel isolating them from the outside world? Impatience? Bicycles do belong on the road and own it. Automobiles traveling in the same vicinity are more lethal to bicycles and pedestrians (and other cars), therefore have a greater responsibility to respect the human beings walking and riding a bicycle. If you think bicycles on the road are annoying, you should try riding a bike and experiencing being tailgated and physically and verbally threatened by an automobile driver. Where is the respect and love for our fellow human beings in that? Slow down. Share the road.

John"

My second favorite quote from Bob Sansivere is, "While it is massively impressive that Armstrong overcame cancer to win a record number of Tour de France titles, I hold him directly responsible for the surge in scofflaw bicyclists."

I hold Bob Sansivere directly responsible for his lack of love for human beings who happen to be traveling by bicycles. His kind of attitude is also why we had to make laws to protect pedestrians walking in crosswalks. A couple years ago I was hit by a pickup truck driver when I was crossing a street in a marked crosswalk, almost to the center of the road by the centerline. The driver zoomed up to the crosswalk, not even seeing me two feet from his truck, then proceeded to turn left without stopping. I was spun around by the driver's side mirror on his truck and was lucky to not be lying dead on the road because of his driving. I ask Bob Sansivere, and every driver of a motorized vehicle, who is going to do more bodily damage to another human being?A pedestrian/bicycle or a pickup truck? By law bicycle riders do own the road along with motorized vehicle drivers, but who is more likely to cause the death of another human being?

My guess is that he will not respond to my email. Or if he does, he will still be clueless about how to treat other people with love and respect. We'll see. Any guesses on his response?

Posted by carl1236 at 5:38 PM

July 25, 2005

Another Rainy-Day Blog Entry

Today riding home from work in the rain I was soaked! I threw a bag over my backpack to protect it then just went on out there and rode my bike in the rain. It was so much fun it reminded me of when I was a kid. We used to play in the rain and were almost giddy at the experience. There is something about playing in the rain that's energizing.

In the past I wouldn't have done this. Now I wonder why it took me so long to get back to it. That's the shame about growing up sometimes; some of our attitude changes are not for the better. I did not melt, I had absolute fun and it was cooler than riding in the hot humidity. We often make excuses not to do something because of our attitudes, not because we physically can't do it.

Life is very good. Especially when riding a bicycle in the rain!

Posted by carl1236 at 6:05 PM

July 24, 2005

Tour de France Over - Feeling like retirement

As the Tour de France ends and Lance wins his seventh Tour he's headed into retirement from cycle racing and I'm feeling a little bit like I've already retired, before I've even raced in a real race. Well, I've done time trials, but that's not the same as a road race or criterium. It's been exactly one year now since I was introduced to the bike racing crowd: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/carl1236/dailyspirit/003379.html

Even if I've gotten in pretty good shape, I don't feel like I'm capable yet of staying in a road race or criterium. There is no such thing in the cycle-racing world as a 'beginner's race' They have CAT 4/5 races, but these seem all too fast for my conditioning. So a year after I thought about doing bike racing I'm feeling a little like I've already retired from it. Haha, I'm old enough that many people my age have already quit before I even started. But that's not the point. Now my plans have to change and I have to refocus. I'm planning on trying Triathalons next year and then someday maybe I'll go back to road racing. Triathalons seem more like time trials than group road racing. These are individual events and have a wider range of people at different fitness levels participating. My main fear with cycle racing has been getting in the way of those who are faster, and then being yanked from the race for being too slow. My fitness level is better than it was a year ago, but not quite up to the level of these CAT 4/5 races.

I don't know what I'll do about this feeling yet, but I'll keep working on my fitness level as I commute and ride everywhere on my bike. Like the Tour de France final stage, after a year of working so hard, this feels a little anti-climactic.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:41 AM

July 23, 2005

Thinning Out

Moving time is always stressful, with things to sort through, organize and pack. And usually we end up working under a time crunch. Iíve moved a lot in my life. There was one stretch when we moved seven times in seven years. Each time Iíve noticed something: Moving is also a time to take an inventory of our lives. Sure the stuff we own is not really who we are, but it is a snapshot of the many things weíve done and our interests over the years. When we are going through everything packing, carrying and unpacking into a new setting, our things donít always fit our vision of the future. For instance, Iíve been building a library in my house. Today I carried down a few boxes of books from the attic and found a stack of military books which were once very useful to me. Now Iím so far removed from the military that I donít think Iíd ever need these books again. My life at one time was entrenched in the military lifestyle, and my career depended on military skills and knowledge. The same is true for C programming books. I used to do it, but that was over 4 years ago and I havenít touched it since and donít plan on doing it ever again. At one time I devoted hundreds, thousands of hours to programming. Not so much now. These objects I own are snapshots of my hopes, dreams, devotions, and determination of past times. Touching these things gives me a chance to examine these snapshots and evaluate where I am at in life. But Life is not the snapshot. Itís a continuously flowing, changing stream. We are changing. We are life that is changing. Snapshots are static glimpses of part of that process. Like Julian Lennonís ďPhotograph SmileĒ song, often these images donít tell the story of our struggles and pain. If someone else were to look at them they might see the photograph smile. They see the snapshot but not the feelings and emotions that went into our lives at the time.
Today we helped Dave and his wife move to a new house. A lot of people showed up to help. It was really cool. Looking around I saw people from the bicycle world and people from the music world. Daveís a great musician and some of his friends are really talented. As we were moving they couldnít resist picking up one of his guitars that was sitting out and playing a little. It was very interesting and also a part of Dave I have not met yet. Guitars, keyboards, other musical instruments are all snapshots of the emotions, dreams, time and energy of this man Iíve only been able to associate with bikes. But we all have lives that keep going on, inside and outside, visible and invisible, flowing like a river. When talking with Dave about the future, he said, ďMy life is a like barge flowing downstream quickly. Thereís no changing course until it reaches the end.Ē Along the way there are a lot of encounters and experiences, but it flows on.
As we were helping Dave move, we saw some of the snapshots of his life, but we didnít see the whole photo album. They had worked really hard before we arrived to have us move only what they wanted to keep. If they are anything like me though, going through all of that stuff brought back a lot of memories. There are some very good memories and some very bad ones. But life goes on and sometimes itís important to thin out. Our stuff is not really who we are, but pictures of things we were involved in. Sometimes we can spend so much time holding on to the snapshots and miss the flowing river. Or to put it another way, we can spend so much energy trying to get our barge to carry everything downstream with us that we cannot enjoy the ride and we sink under the weight of it. Going through my stuff, I can evaluate where I am and where Iím going. Life will go on, but itís always changing and I can decide what to do and how to do it every step of the way. Itís a little easier to do that when Iím ok with thinnning out a little. It creates room in my new space, my present, for new opportunities to love, experience adventures, challenges and choices.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:07 PM

July 22, 2005

What was good about today

At the end of the day I find it's always good to look back and find something good about the day. What was it that I learned? What did I accomplish? What act of kindness did I do? Did I treat others fairly?
Tonight I got to thank Andy for writing some very nice words about me. I also got to help him with a bike for his dad. Very cool British 3-speed by the way ;-)
I also straightened up the shop more and arranged for my brother to come and help fix the computer. He did a great job and it works again! I can't even express how thankful I am for that. As a result, I got to have him over for dinner tonight. That was cool.
I went to see Jeff Ray play for an hour tonight! That's a good sound!
Actually now that I'm thinking about it, there are a lot more things about today that were good, but now it's bedtime and tomorrow I'm helping Dave move. Another good day in the works! Have a great Saturday!

Posted by carl1236 at 11:59 PM

July 21, 2005

You expect me to run this ship?

Sometimes we just have to try. No matter how hard it is. Tonight I saw a perfect reflection of something I'm going through right now. We had the movie, "The hunt for Red October" on. In the movie the Soviets in a Submarine were defecting. The captain of a U.S. sub and some others boarded the Red October and were about to accept their surrender. Then another Soviet sub started firing on them. The Americans and the Soviets on the Red October began manning the stations and evading the other Soviet sub. How on under the sea did they do that? I would think that the controls of their sub would serve similar functions but the layout and organization and shape and design of the equipment wouldn't be identical would it? But the Americans on the Red October jumped right in and started evading and firing and eventually beat the skilled Soviet adversary. Except for the American CIA guy, the other crew members didn't need any instructions and they outperformed a trained Soviet crew. There's nothing like fighting a battle in a foreign submarine. I think it's worth it though. It doesn't matter that there are torpedos coming at me. The Red October is worth saving and the lives of the crew are worth saving. Even if it is foreign to me, I can crew this sub because I have to. It makes a difference.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:26 PM

July 20, 2005

Some people are bullies

Bullies think that threats are the way to get people to do what they want.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:59 PM

어제 날씨

어제 날씨는 매우 멋졌어요! 태양이 비치고 있었어요. 그리고 온도는 시원했어요. 나는 사무실 까지 나의 자전거를 타고 갔어요. 나는 이런 종류의 날씨를 정말로 좋아해요!

매우 very (much); greatly; awfully.
멋지다 (be) stylish; smart; dandyish; refined; chic; splendid; great; wonderful; excellent.
태양 the sun.
비치다 to shine.
직업 job; occupation
이런 such; like this; of this kind.
종류 a kind; a sort; a class; a type; a variety
이런 종류의 날씨 weather of this type

Posted by carl1236 at 8:03 AM

July 19, 2005

Health and Longevity

Right now Iím reading a book about health and longevity. In this book the author relates the effects of our Socio-economic Position (SEP) with the health and longevity of people. Itís very interesting. Evidently there is a huge gap in the length of life between the wealthy, powerful and the poor, powerless. Itís easy to point the finger at lack of health care, etc. but itís not that easy. According to the author even in 10-15 year studies where the rich, poor, lower status employees and the highest status employees had the exact same health care, those with less money and status had shorter lives and more health problems. Another obvious answer was in diet. Many lower-status/income people eat less fruit and whole grains. They also have higher rates of smoking and eating fatty, high cholesterol foods. Diet accounts for some of the life expectancy related to SEP, but even in studies where the diet was the same, the differences in SEP life expectancy was still huge. The main gist of all of this was that all of the other baggage that comes along with our SEP effects our health and longevity the most. Our attitude and the way we think has the greatest impact on our health and longevity!
This is probably no surprise to people who study this kind of thing, but to us uninformed in general society, especially those of us with little money and status, it should come as an eye opener. Do people deserve to live longer lives and be healthier because of their SEP? In my opinion for this situation to change, itís not the wealth or status of people that needs to change, but the attitudes.
What attitudes could effect our health and longevity?
A sense of self-worth/value.
Care, attention to our own health and well being.
Stress.
Worry.
Fear.
Happiness.
Enjoyment.
Challenge.
As sense of purpose.
Love
Hate, angerÖ

Probably a lot of things can be attributed to our attitudes. Thatís why people have said that we create our own realities. For instance, if we view the world as Ďagainst usí then it will be. If we have purpose and determination, then the reality we create is fulfillment of purpose.

It gives me something to think about as I have purposefully and systematically decreased my social and economic status in this society over the past 5-10 years. Today for instance, I turned down an opportunity to do some specialized GIS software training for $125.00 per hour. It would have been an easy $500.00. I have now ridden my totally free dumpster bike that looks like crap for over a week and itís been a liberating experience. In our society there is this constant lust after the perceived ďbigger, better, more efficient, higher status, more respectful, etc.Ē I carry my own respect in knowing this bike was discarded and no one, even the homeless guys wanted it. And itís a pure pleasure to ride! It gets me from point A to point B. I had the freedom to dig this piece of junk out and turn it into something functioning and useful to me. Will I die sooner because of my plan to reduce my SEP? I donít think so! My self-worth is not tied to my position, rank, earning status, purchasing power, education level, etc. but based on a God given base of spiritual equality between every living thing.
Fear eats away at us in more ways than one.

To your health!

Posted by carl1236 at 12:06 PM

July 18, 2005

Haircut Number 2

Yesterday I gave myself haircut number 2 with the Wahl home-haircutting system I bought. At a conservative $10 per haircut estimate, it will take exactly 3 self-administered haircuts to pay for this equipment. In two weeks Iíll do this again and from that point on Iíll be saving $10.00 per haircut (minimum). This is a handy skill. For now Iíll keep learning on myself and practicing haircutting techniques. So far Iím totally happy with the look of my tapered crew cut. Iíve been using 4 different sizes of attachments for the clipper, the largest being ľ inch, and I think itís just right. It is sure cooler for cycling, especially with this heat wave!
The hardest part of this whole maneuver is using double mirrors to cut the back. Itís almost easier to close my eyes and feel my way through it, cutting in the proper zones with each attachment. Eye-hand coordination seems most difficult when looking into the hand mirror at the bathroom mirror and then trying to move the clipper left or right. Itís confusing to the brain. But once I get my hand in the correct position and make a few motions, my brain kind of gets the hang of it, like a special game or something. As long as I donít look away even briefly, I move my hand correctly relative to where I want it to go on my head. But when I look away, itís all over. I have to reorient my brain to the mirrored image and figure out how to turn my hand. Isnít it great how our brains adapt to whatever circumstances we throw at it? Sure it takes a little practice but it can be done. This is kind of like writing left handed, which Iíve tried before with limited success. I bet Iíd do better at that now that Iím older and can cut hair using a couple of mirrors! Our learned programming in our brain CAN be relearned!

Posted by carl1236 at 4:31 PM

July 17, 2005

The heat of the day

This morning I went with Dave and Katherine to the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis to watch the Tour de France broadcast live on the big screen. This weekend and next weekend they have opened their doors to the public to watch OLNís coverage of the Tour de France for free. It was really awesome to see the action larger than life and to see the theater packed with people! It was a whole new experience when the crowd in the theater started clapping when George Hincappie won the stage.
This stage in the Tour de France was brutal for the riders, with so many steep climbs and high temperatures wear them down. As the pace picked up and the miles went on and the hills got steeper, the riders grabbed for whatever water they could get, even taking water from the spectators who were trying to help them. Normally they donít do that because of the danger of taking something from a stranger. Today I saw many of them taking water and drinking it as well as pouring it over their bodies. On the mountain climbs the speed kept going up as Lance Armstrong and the other overall contenders tried to narrow the gap between them and the breakaway, and soon the peleton exploded into a lot of smaller groups and individuals struggling forward. As they were trying to survive the heat of the day, they were dropping like flies and just trying to survive the race.
After we left the air-conditioned theater we were hit hard by the heat of the mid-morning sun and it brought back the misery of the past few days of our heat wave. The temporary relief of the theater felt good. But Dave and Katherine donít have air conditioning at home so it was right back in it for them. We were talking about how we were all coping, or not coping, with the heat. I was saying that riding my bike yesterday wasnít too much of a problem, but when I got home I was treated to A.C., a glass of ice water and a cool shower. Katherine was telling me how itís almost impossible to get anything done at home right now and itís been miserable sleeping at night. I remember that up until two years ago, we didnít have AC either and my wife got so miserable that she started crying. It was hot we were exhausted. One of the worst things about the heat is not being able to sleep. Katherine was saying that itís been so hot that the sheets of the bed feel like they are on fire, and when itís this hot we stick to everything. We start to become delirious and grouchy and lack the desire and energy to do anything but escape the heat. I think itís really not the heat that eventually gets to us, but the lack of proper sleep. We can handle a few days without too much sleep but when it drags on we start dropping like flies, wondering if weíll survive the heat of another day.
Downtown, many of the homeless guys Iíve met have been searching for shelter; anyplace that has AC that will let them hang out for a little while. They go to the grocery store and shop for an hour and buy one thing. They go to the mall or store or library until someone tells them to move on. And how do they sleep at night? One of them told me heís getting about 3-4 hours of sleep at a time. Without a ready shower, the dirt and sweat of the day compound the problem over a few days. A couple of the guys were starting to get a little crabby in the bike shop yesterday. It didnít escalate into a problem, but some heated words flew back and forth. In a bike race, like the Tour de France, the riders can have as much water and energy drinks they want, with food along the way to maintain their strength in the heat, but these guys donít eat very well, often eating only the one free meal at the church in the evening. All they wanted to do was find a cool place to sit and crash for a while. Even a few hours of relief would be heaven.
Iíve felt like this off and on throughout my life too, drained of energy and desire to go on. When lifeís troubles hit us like a heat wave, we handle them one at a time, until they keep coming at us. Itís easy to say, ďOh I can handle the heat,Ē when we can go home to the AC and sleep at night. Itís often easy for us to give words of advice to others when we donít have a mental, emotional or physical disability. We often forget what itís like even if we have experienced the ongoing heat of everyday life. Try not being able to find meaningful work for years on end. Try being kicked out of grocery stores because we are not really shopping, but ďloitering.Ē When the pressures and struggles of life get steeper and faster and our family is dying of cancer around us, or our children are born with birth defects that require a lot more work of us, or our children steel from us and lie to us and we get laid off from our jobs because the company wanted to boost their profits, it can wear us down. We get sick and have to miss work and have to give up our dreams to pay our medical bills. Those are just examples, and each of us has our own struggles and mountains to climb, but when they keep coming and we donít have the fuel and hydration and relief, we start to fall off the back, drop out, bonk from lack of energy, until we are just struggling to stay in the race. We can easily be demoralized and lose hope. We say, ďOh I can handle it,Ē when we are on a roll. But I know, Iíve been there a few times, and no we donít always handle it, we melt and become delirious and depressed.
One thing we can all do is give each other a little relief from the heat, the struggles and rejections and hassles of life, whether thatís being a friend, listening, sharing our lunch, doing an activity together, giving a word of praise where deserved, or helping someone maintain their dignity. Even a smile can be a moment of relief, like those guys along the Tour de France race route giving the riders water bottles when they need it the most. One thing I find very sad is the lack of hope that comes from grinding away in misery. Life doesnít have to be that way, especially when we are blessed with the emotional strength, resources and time to make a difference.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:07 PM

Heute auf Deutsch

Heute schreibe ich auf deutsch. Warum? Draussen so heiss ist, dass ich im Haus bleiben moechte, wo die A.C. ist. In meinem Haus, im schlafzimmer meinen Sohn steht mein neues Bibliotek. Waehrend des tages, habe ich meine buecher zu dieses Zimmer getragt, und es macht mir viel spass diese deutsche buecher zu lesen. Deshalb sind meine gedachte nach Deutch gewendet. Ich weiss aber wie viel deutsch habe ich schon vergessen! Es ist mir klar dass ich fuer zehn order fuenfzehn jahre deutsch nicht studiert! Es ist auch klar dass meine deutsche buecher haben auf mir gewartet! Ich haette diese nur ein bisschen gelesen und meine erste Sprache ist mir zurueckgeflogen! Es ist sehr traurig aber auch, dass ich von der Sprache meinem Herz abgereist hatte. Vieleicht jetzt werde ich wie das Akkordeon wieder gespielt.

Posted by carl1236 at 1:47 PM

July 15, 2005

Renewing my Driver's License

Today after work I rode my bike over to Sears, just north of Downtown St. Paul to renew my driver's license. I had to wait for 45 minutes because there were tons of people there! I've kind of let this task slide for a while because I really haven't been driving a motorized vehicle but instead have been riding my bicycle everywhere. But I felt this strong compelling urging inside to get this done now! So I did. I didn't plan on doing this today but now it's done. It's really wierd, but I didn't really care about it. But I did not go as far as another guy I've heard of that actually went to the Department of Motor Vehicles and turned in his license. I felt like I could have though. I remember when I was in high school and wanted so badly to drive. It was a passage to adulthood and independance. I went through driver's ed, took the test and got my first car as soon as I could. But now It wasn't even an exciting process to renew my license. It was kind of sad, because I really prefer riding my bike to driving a car now.
As I was riding the couple of miles back home, each pedal stroke reminded me of why I'm doing this and how good it is. My heart was pumping, I was sweating and my blood was flowing. In my car I would have missed that, and I would have had the air conditioning on with the windows rolled up. I have a driver's license but I don't think it will be used a whole lot in the coming years.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:59 PM

Couldn't sleep

For some reason I went to bed and woke up around midnight. I tried to go back to sleep but couldn't. So I came online and did some reading and posting a few comments on blogs. One thing I found interesting was this statement at the bottom of a "Dear Abbey" column (not because it's a different person writing the Dear Abbey column, but because they post this statement at the end of the column):

"Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069."

I think when I decide to stop writing this blog, I'll find another author to take over and put a statement like this on my blog:

"The Daily Spirit Human is written by John, also known as (New author's name), and was founded by his/her friend John."

(I'm joking)

Now I'm going to bed again, hopefully to recover some balance in my sleep/awake patterns.

Posted by carl1236 at 1:39 AM

July 14, 2005

I found my helmet

Today while sitting at work I was tired so I stretched my legs out really far, leaning back in my chair and I accidently kicked something under my desk. I swear I looked under there for my helmet yesterday when I couldn't find it. I even came back later and looked again. But it was too dark under there. I had to crawl under my desk to find out what I bumped into. There it was and I'm happy I don't have to go out and buy a new one.
But this whole thing with losing my helmet might be a sign that I've got too much going on. Now I'm paying attention to that. It happens. I'll slow down a little. Life is really not a race, though it's easy to forget that.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:57 AM

July 13, 2005

Single-speed

I have been feeling like I've been stuck in one gear going uphill and my cranks are turning really slowly, like I'm slogging through quicksand. I feel like I've started many things that have no conclusion in sight and too many obstacles to fight.
Today when I was ready to leave work, I couldn't find my bicycle helmet so I had to leave without it. Somehow I misplaced it and couldn't find it when I retraced my steps. Tonight at the bike shop I was rebuilding a bottom bracket and had nothing to remove the grease with. I tried a few things but it wasn't working too well. It'll have to wait until tomorrow to finish it. I'm organizing two simultaneous bike rentals for a total of 50 bikes for a convention and feel like I'm getting sucked in over my head. It'll go ok, it's just outside of my normal working parameters.
I went to order a single-speed flip-flop hub and Dave told me he already ordered one. My yellow finders came in and the yellow-walled 700c's are already here. As soon as I get a couple of good wheels I have to lace them up, strip down this bike, prime and paint it and put it all together. Should be interesting. It'll be a bright orange bike with yellow fenders, yellow-walled 700c tires, yellow bar tape. Visible.
Almost time for the replay of today's Tour de France stage. Lance is still number one. Incredible ending today and yesterday. I feel that the competition is much greater this year and it's not so predetermined. There seem to be quite a few people who could win the overall tour this year. It makes for more exciting viewing.
Now I know why I feel like I've been in quicksand. More TV watching than I do all year and not enough sleep haha. And this is a 21-day race with half of it yet to come!
Tonight riding home though, I took a different route, avoiding the Ohio hill. The ride went a lot better and I didn't have to get off my bike to walk. So already I'm thinking it will be a better day tomorrow. Things always work out and the race goes on no matter what gear I am in.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:30 PM

July 12, 2005

The Dumpster Bike

Today at work my bike was stolen so I was stranded at work. But then by God's grace I found a dumpster bike. It's and old Schwinn 10 speed that's in pretty sorry shape. But I qickly disconnected the derailer, shortened the chain and made it a single speed, patched up the tires, adjusted the brakes and rode it home.
For nothing I rode it home. It was a good day. Going up the Ohio hill though was brutal. I don't know how you single-speed, fixed gear's do it! Maybe you are flatlanders.
I plan on riding this bike in place of my stolen bike as a commuter bike, but I have to go the longer route home because the slope is more gradual. I could replace the derailer but why? In the original Tour de France they didn't have derailers.
It's too bad that whoever threw this bike out didn't know how valuable it is. It will make an excellent replacement for my commuter bike.

Now I just have to figure out how to convert this freewheel into a fixed gear. I think Sheldon Brown had an article on that...

I'm happy my bike was stolen. Someone else gets a good ride and so do I.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:12 PM

Crappy Attitude

Here is a crappy attitude by a citizen of this fine country made up of mostly immigrants, refugees and their decendants. (from a letter to the Star Tribune) :

"We have separation of church and state in this country. Why not separation of church and work? Why should employers be held ransom to ridiculous claims of religious persecution by a group of people whom we never asked to come to this country?

I have a simple solution: If you feel you are being persecuted, go back to where you came from and leave us alone! We have many larger problems to deal with than to cater to you.

Al Heinle, Maple Grove."


Where is this guy's love? It's downright ugly and embarrassing.

Posted by carl1236 at 3:31 PM

July 11, 2005

Stone Soup

I've heard the story told a few different ways, but the premise is that someone without any food makes a show of making soup out of a pan of water and a 'magic' stone. Then it gets the best of other people and they add something to it to give it a little flavor. Pretty soon there is a real pot of stew that everyone who contributed shares.
There is a principal in this story that's applicable to a good life for everyone. In today's age of wealth and prosperity for some, there are still people living in abject poverty. There are also problems in our society like starvation, fraud, theft, assault, vandelism, etc. If everyone committed to contributing something useful and positive to solving the problems, instead of just complaining and pointing fingers, pretty soon we'd have a real pot of stew that everyone can share; nourishing and fulfilling for everyone.
Whatever small thing you can do to make a difference in this world or your corner of it, do it. Even if it's a very small thing. It all adds up and builds on itself, like stone soup until we have a whole that is greater than it's ingredients and the burden is not heavy on any one person.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:53 PM

July 10, 2005

The Gateway

Today I rode the entire Gateway trail with 9 other people. What a beautiful trail! It's almost all flat and is about 18-19 miles long. It's kind of difficult finding the start of the trail but once you're on it, it's awesome.
Really, the trail is nice, but that's not really the story that's worth telling. The story is really in the interesting, nice people who went on the ride. 2 of the guys are living at the Dorothy Day Center in St. Paul. One guy lives in his van with his wife and two live in a tent in some wooded area a little ways away from Downtown St. Paul. I'm bringing up their living conditions for a couple of reasons. It's not so I can class them as a subgroup of society but so I can tell you about a few dynamics of the ride:
One of the planned stops was DQ. One of the guys told me that he wasn't going to come because everyone was planning on stopping at DQ and he didn't have any money, but then he decided to come anyway. I'm glad he did. He really enjoyed the ride!
Another guy was borrowing a bike because his old Schwinn Caliente (A really heavy 10-speed, I used to have one) was broken. He was telling me how he uses it to get around and how useful it's been. Over the last few months I've seen a lot of the guys who live at the Dorothy Day Center. Many of them have 'earned' a bicycle at the Bike Depot by doing cleanup, fixing bikes, sorting parts, or other odd jobs. Some of them are regular customers for used parts now because they commute all over by bike. Tomorrow he's going to 'trade in' his old bike for one I have in my garage.
When we got to the park at the end of the trail, I could see a difference in people by what they ate. A couple people broke out their trail mix or nutrition bars and drank some energy drink to rehydrate. But these guys broke out a bag of day-old rolls, bread and muffins from the thrift store, which they put in the middle of the table for everyone to share. Nutrition for them is really about what they can afford to buy at the time or what someone shares with them.
Another interesting thing was that all 5 of the 'homeless' guys smoked cigarettes. And along the ride they made a few 'smoke break' stops. 3 of them even smoked while riding.
For 3 guys, this was their very first ever group ride and they definately said they were coming back for next month's ride.
One thing we all had in common though was a bike. In fact 8 of us use a bike as our primary means of transportation. But the one guy who lives with his wife in their van drove that to the bike shop and unloaded his bike from his living room. He usually drives his van everywhere, then uses the bike for short rides from his base of operations.
On the way there I rode with the heavy smokers so that no-one was left behind. I was reasonably sure on the way back that they'd all make it back ok so I rode with three people who were going at a faster pace. The Gateway trail runs really close to Lake Phalen and one of them had the idea to ride over and take a quick swim in the lake. Wow, what a great idea. We went for it. We found the beach and took everything out of our shorts pockets and had one person watch the bikes while three of us went for a swim. It was awesome. Then I came back out of the water and let the other guy go for a swim. It was very refreshing! After that we hopped on Arcade and rode down to the Swede Hollow trail back to downtown. We pulled up and the rest of the group was already there, sitting on the steps chatting and chilling out. They had been there for about 20 minutes when we arrived. Not bad for a major detour. By the way, we were almost completely dry by the time we got back. They didn't know we went for a swim and said, "I thought you guys were ahead of us!" Haha, we had to tell them we went swimming.
I am really glad I went along on this ride. These are a great group of people.
Next month, I think on the 23 of August they are planning a camping-overnighter-bike trip. That will be an experience I don't want to miss.
I have a lot more to talk about, but unfortunately I'm tired from spending all day in the sun and am headed to bed now. I'm thankful for my shower, good meal, house with AC and bed tonight. I'm also thankful I have a full-time job. I'm also thankful for the new friends I'm making who share their bread at the table.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:54 PM

July 9, 2005

Gateway Trail Ride Sunday

Sunday at 10:30am about 16 people are meeting at the Sibley Bike Depot in St. Paul for a group ride on the Gateway Trail. Anyone is welcome. We also have a tandom or another bike someone could use if they don't have a bike.
The pace will be slow and the terrain very mild. We are planning on stopping at the DQ in White Bear along the route. We'll probably hang out for a while at the park at the end of the trail and head back mid afternoon. Bring Sunscreen and a comfy saddle for a nice ride.
We'll also have a sag-wagon if anyone breaks down with a problem we can't fix (but we are bringing tools) ;-) I'm looking forward to a great leisurely Sunday.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:31 PM

Carrying bikes with a bike

Today I went to the bike shop and fixed up the four bikes we're donating to four Hmong refugees from Thailand who just arrived a week and a half ago. It took me a while because there were some major problems with a couple of them. They had come over to the shop to pick them out on Thursday evening but they couldn't take them home. first of all, my friend who brought them had no way of carrying the bikes home in his car. And the bikes needed some serious work so I told them I'd fix them and deliver them Saturday night. Ok, no problem. So after watching the Tour de France this morning I hooked up my bright-yellow cargo trailer and went to the shop to work. After fixing them I put all four bikes on my trailer standing up, side by side! I strapped them down to the hooks I put on each side and end and it was great! The trailer is 2-1/2 feet by 6 feet and has a flat bed.
So off I went through St. Paul with a load of bikes behind me. I got some seriously wierd looks of surprise and pointing. When I arrived at their house, my friend was out there painting with a bunch of his friends and relatives. Not being one to slouch, I grabbed a brush and painted. One of his cousins couldn't believe that I carried bikes behind my bike. He loved the idea of saving gas by riding my bike too. A seed planted in his brain?
On my way home in the evening I was hauling an empty trailer. Pulling this trailer with no load is really easy I've found. But with four bikes standing up on it I could definately tell what needed to be improved. Time to redesign a couple of things I think.
I was thrilled of course to use my 25 dollar flat-bed trailer for it's intended purpose.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:15 PM

July 8, 2005

Street Racing with the Neighborhood Boys

As I was riding home in the dark a few nights ago, I turned a corner and found myself surrounded by a group of neighborhood boys on bikes. One of them yelled, ďHey, letís race!Ē and he took off pedaling his little wheels like a hummingbird. I said, ďOK!Ē Then I told him he is really fast. His buddies dropped off pretty quickly but this guy picked up speed. I kept his pace, slightly behind and about 6 blocks down the road he pulled off to the corner. I waved to him and said, ďCool! See ya later! Good job!Ē I didnít know what to say to him really. Whatís an encouraging word to a kid who could spin so fast? Those 20Ē wheels were smoking! Well, it was dark and I couldnít see them actually smoking but I thought for a minute I smelled burning rubber ;-)
For me this encounter was a highlight of my day. Itís real life. Like the little boy hanging out by the bike shop looking for something to do, these boys were no different. They beg to be occupied by something interesting and challenging. They also want to be recognized, treated with respect, like real people. Too often we marginalize certain people in our society. We donít know we are doing it to them usually, because weíre not the ones watching them go outside with their heads down. Iíve seen it happen now with the homeless guys Iíve been working alongside at the bike shop. Some people are very critical of them and use degrading comments. They also distrust them and think automatically that they are going to steal things. Iíve seen one homeless guy walk away with his head down, not looking the person in the eye. I tell you, what is a guy going to believe when heís constantly told how crappy he is?
What would the outcome have been if I told those boys to beat it, get away from me, or if I mocked them and told them they were too slow to keep up with me? They might have just blown it off but they might have also hung their heads. They probably get put in their place enough the way it is. So it would be nothing new for them.
I doní t have the expertise to design and put in place new youth and homeless/people out of work programs myself, but I feel myself being drawn in that direction. I wish I could find a good volunteer to head up something like that. There are examples to follow throughout the U.S. of earn-a-bike programs and youth education programs. So I wouldnít have to start from scratch. Evidently the Bike Depot has even been part of starting neighborhood bike clubs with a set of bikes and training on basic maintenance, safety and riding activities. Itís a good idea. There should also be follow-up and ongoing work to continue what was started.
Besides full-blown organized efforts to get people engaged, being aware of and recognizing the curious boy who wants to help and the neighborhood boy who spins like a hummingbird is a good start. And itís good to comment on the things the homeless guy is doing right, rather than finding fault and making sure he knows itís his fault. Even if we are too busy to work with them or participate in something with them at the moment, there is always a respectful way to treat other people and allow them to maintain their dignity.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:44 AM

July 7, 2005

Today's volunteer from Hell

Today a couple of volunteers were putting something together and were trying to figure out how it worked. A little neighborhood boy came by and was interested in what they were doing. He wasn't being rude or disrespectful. I picked up the photograph of the finished product and studied it to see if I could help them figure it out. After we decided to assemble a few pieces one way, according to the photo, I handed the little boy the photo and asked him to hold it. Then one of the volunteers realized he was there and told the little boy to put down the picture and get out. He said, "We don't need your help, get out. Put down the paper and leave!" The little boy did what he said, but afer he left I told this guy that that was not a good way to treat another person. He replied, "We don't need someone telling us how to do something, especially when they don't know what they are doing."
I was stunned. After the boy left I told this volunteer that was pretty rude and I walked outside to catch the boy. I told the boy who was moping around out there that it was ok, not to take it personally, that the guy who said that to him was frustrated at his project and didn't know how to deal with it so he took it out on him. The boy said, 'yeah,' with his eyes down on the ground and then started playing around with a couple of other kids outside. Nothing gives us the right to treat other people like crap.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:59 PM

July 6, 2005

Tour de Minneapolis

Wednesday for my training ride I rode 41 miles. I was on an adventure, checking out new things for me. Here are the highlights:
I stopped at 3 bike shops along the way - Carlson Cyclery on Minnehaha, The Hubb further up the road and Sunrise Cyclery by the Greenway. I was happy to see that all three of these bike shops sell used bikes! Why is this such a big deal for me? Because of our disposable society and because there is a place for low-cost bikes - not everyone can afford $1000+ bikes and it makes the mobility and freedom that bikes offer more attainable for everyone.

I loved the staff at the Hubb who answered our questions about bikes with honesty and straight talk. They also had a very nice selection of bikes from $40 classics to new $1500 racing bikes.

Minnehaha. I had never ridden this road past the Minnehaha Falls park, but on this ride I felt the impact of what it means. I saw maybe a couple dozen bicyclists using it going both ways. It's a bicycle commuter's road with bike lanes on both sides. This combined with my ride on the Midtown Greenway and the Kenilworth trail all the way into downtown Minneapolis, proves that Minneapolis is WAY ahead of St. Paul in being a bicycle-friendly city. We'll just have to work on that won't we?!

Question: Why are so many of the street name signs along these trails (Greenway and Kenilworth) vandalized- painted over? Ignorance? In our society which is supposed to be so advanced and so enlightened, why does ignorance persist?

After my Tour de Minneapolis, I came back to St. Paul along the East River Road, across Summit. I stopped by the bike shop and all the volunteers were fixing bikes, grilling and eating hotdogs. We fixed up and gave away two bikes to a couple of neighborhood kids who were attracted to the excitment around the shop. They helped out loading up the trailer and cleaning as payment for their bikes. My respect and admiration go to their mom though. A little while after the kids left with their bikes, they showed up with their mom. She couldn't believe that people were giving away bikes and wanted to make sure her kids didn't steal the bikes. She called her kids on it and brought them back down to the shop to verify their story. The mom was thankful and appreciative and the kids got their bikes and a chance to prove their honesty to their mom. The mom, I thought, was being very responsible when it came to her kids. Even though she didn't believe her kids when they told her they got the bikes for free, it does show that she is genuinely involved in raising her kids. She took the time to verify what they said. And when they showed up with their mom, Dave did nothing but praise the kids for the work they did. I think the mom was satisfied and proud of her kids then. This is part of community building.

I got a great workout in and look forward to riding through Minneapolis again soon.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:59 PM

July 5, 2005

We have to be out of our minds!

Freedom comes to those that have lost their heads! The idea is that our minds complicate things sometimes. First, there are the things we have learned, engraved in our memories. These things often limit us by not allowing us to see new ways of doing or thinking. Also, many things we have been taught are not really the absolute truth but one viewpoint. If we continue in our present state of knowledge, unchallenged, lacking updates, we could be dead.
Secondly, logic doesnít account for love. Our mind has itís place but the way things work out is not always rational, thought out. Remember the Vulcans on Star Trek? They were constantly trying to get rid of their emotions to become pure logic. It never worked. Our minds tell us one thing, and itís usually very logical, but our hearts tell us something else. Sometimes we need to follow our hearts. A common question after a major fight between lovers is, ďcould you still love me after what I did?Ē Surprisingly, illogically the answer is yes. Forgiveness for others and even for ourselves is often outside of our mindís comprehension.
We have to take a look around us. If our life is not working then isnít it time to change it? The first step is to forget everything we have learned and get out of our head. Start fresh; change the attitudes and thoughts that are causing our suffering. Then create a new head, one that is guided by our hearts. This kind of transplant saved my life. Freedom is a constant process of renewal.

Posted by carl1236 at 2:50 PM

July 4, 2005

Random thoughts

A pace of 60kph in today's Tour de France stage is still really fast. On my training ride today I averaged 18.2mph. One thing to keep in perspective is that none of the riders in the Tour de France are slouches when it comes to bike racing. I think there are 118 riders and they pretty much all make it through the Tour, which lasts 21 days, with the exception of a few accidents or sicknesses.

Today my training ride included one really huge hill, coming up from Concord Street on Butler in South Saint Paul. My legs were burning and my lungs were heaving, but I went as fast as I could go. I picked that route because of this hill. As I stated before, more hill training is in my plan now. I just have to get myself to do it. Riding along the Mississippi on that beautiful trail from Butler past 694 was absolutely worth it. I'll take the hills with the great view of the river anytime. That's motivating in itself. What goes down must come back up.

Today I bacame my own barber. After lunch I rode to KMart and bought a Wahl barber kit. It even came with a DVD to show people some basic hair-cutting techniques and how to do a few different styles of hair. So I took some time to learn how to do it and which attachments to use. It's not rocket science but there is some skill to it. I found a hand mirror and plugged in the clippers in the bathroom by the sink. Looking into the mirror and going by feel, I cut my own hair. I've been wanting a shorter haircut for months now because of all the cycling I've been doing. Longer hair gets too hot and just gets all funky with sweat. But the barber I usually go to has an aversion to cutting hair too short. He says it 'looks better' than a crew cut. I took things into my own hands by buying this basic barber kit. I bought the deluxe model so it cost me about 30 dollars. I was satisfied with my very nice tapered-cut job so I'll do it myself from now on. My barber charges ten dollars for a haircut so it will only take me 3 haircuts to pay for this. One thing though, trying to figure out which way to turn the clippers while looking into the bathroom mirror at the hand-held mirror behind my head, looking at the back of my neck, can be very confusing. I started focusing my mind on the motion of my hands and not putting my trust in my eyes.

I had some amazing grilled chicken tonight for dinner. My wife is a great chef. I am really thankful for that because I get to eat very well sometimes.

I didn't ride with my neighbor as planned tonight, because when I asked him, he said no and that he would take a rain check. I thought, well, it's not even raining! Is there ever going to be a more perfect day for a bike ride? I ask the world to slow down and enjoy a bike ride around the neighborhood. Life in this form is very short.

I spray painted some more shelves for my library today. It's been a very slow process for me getting it going but now that I'm on a roll I should have this library finished this week.

I'm reading a book called "A Crossing - A cyclist's journey home," by Brian Newhouse. I started reading this book before but then loaned it to another cyclist to read while I read the book about bike messengers that he loaned me. I picked up right where I left off and so far I really like his writing. It's very interesting and engaging.

Last night I talked with a good friend who I haven't talked to in a very long time. It was good for my soul.

It's late I'm taking my bald head to bed now. ;-) On this fourth of July, I hope you found some independence from life's deceptions and struggles.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:32 PM

July 3, 2005

A bike ride with my neighbor

Today was the second time I've gone for a leisurely bike ride with my neighbor. He cleaned up an old Free Spirit 3-speed and has ridden it a couple of times before. There is one thing my neighbor and I have in common: Neither one of us like to see things go to waste and think our society has become so used to disposing of things and buying new ones. Just like my 3-Speed bike, his was full of rust when he started. He did a good job of making it into a new bike. I also commend him for his every-day maintenance habits to extend the life of everything he uses. He cleans his shoes and polishes them, he sews his own clothes and stretches his budget when shopping. Some people call it being cheap, but I call it being a good steward of what we've been given. I haven't lived up to that ideal for most of my life. I once totaled a car and had to have my dad and brother replace it's engine because I hadn't changed the oil or even checked it like I should have. I learned an expensive lesson. And I complicated their lives because I couldn't afford to buy a new car and my dad and brother are good mechanics. My neighbor has a 1989 buick that looks and runs like a brand new car. His wifes car is equally as old and like-new. His philosophy is basically to take care of the things he owns so he's not wasting anything. I like this attitude. I can try to emulate some of that by taking better care of the stuff I own. It's just stuff, but is it making the best use of what we've been given by letting them get run down and having to replace them? So tonight when we went out for a bike ride together I grabbed a rag and polished up the chrome on my 3-speed and wiped down my chain and put a fresh coat of lube on it. The chain is still really clean from the last time I rode it and did a thorough cleaning. It didn't take long, and it will help this bike last as long as I own it. It's just stuff but it's not cool to abuse it.
Today after working on my Library shelves some more, I cleaned up and put away my tools in the right spots. I have been guilty in the past of letting my tools lay around outside until they got all rusty. The 'screw it' attitude or simple laziness is really an attitude of waste isn't it? I told my neighbor today that I liked his attitude of good stewardship. I told him he takes good care of his stuff and that I admired that. It's a good trait to have. You know it took me only a few seconds to tell him this, but he really appreciated it. Sometimes it's nice to have feedback on how were are doing. He didn't expect that someone would notice his hard work. But I did. And it has motivated me over the years that we've been neighbors to do better.
Today as we finished our very leisurely ride around the neighborhood on our 3-speed bicycles I asked him to go for another ride tomorrow if he was going to be around. He got all excited about it and said, "Good Idea!"

Posted by carl1236 at 10:02 PM

July 2, 2005

Too many fun things in one day

Today was a great day. I rode with the TCBC on their "Morning Glory Ride." It was a really nice 41 mile ride. We were supposed to stop at the Morning Glory bakery/cafe but it was closed. Too bad. But the people were nice and it was a beautiful route and I got a good workout in.
After returning home I watched the first stage of the Tour de France, which I had taped so I wouldn't miss it. It was interesting. But it almost brought tears to my eyes when Lance Armstrong caught and passed Jan Ulrich. It was a time trial and they started each rider one minute apart. That had to be demoralizing for Jan. Lance came in second overall, only 2 seconds behind the leader. This sends a message to the competitors I think that Lance showed up and is in good form.
Then I mowed the lawn, took a nap, rode to the grocery store on my bike to pick up some stuff to grill for dinner, worked out in the yard more and then ate. We had company come over for a couple of hours to sit on the patio and talk so that was really fun! Now I have to get to bed so I can join Jim's Sunday morning ride and eat a Cuban breakfast!
Oh, I thought this was funny: earlier in the day my daughter was driving to the gas station close to our house because she knew it was low. But she ran out of gas and called me. I rode over there with a gas can on my bike and put a gallon in. Bicycle Rescues Car. How cool is that.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:48 PM

July 1, 2005

Look at those smiles!

I just loved this picture. Curt posted a comment on my blog entry and I followed his email to this site: http://www.wcbdd.org/

Partners in life do make a lifetime difference.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:53 PM