Confession of a Wayward Cyclist

It is entirely appropriate for the content of this post to follow the previous. It is tragic how deceptively easy things can go awry.

Fitness and good health are things that can come from a devotion to cycling and they are things that enhance the experience of riding a bike. In a way, it is what biologists call a “symbiotic relationship”. However, sometimes the natural process can get all mucked-up. Sometimes a series of circumstances can weaken us and lead us in our slumber to places we do not really want to go.

A few long days at work, a few mechanical or equipment problems with the bike, a few more than typical family obligations, a couple of days of bad weather…all occurring simultaneously or in quick succession can take the cyclist veering off the road into the ditch as it were. We don’t really realize it is happening at first. Then, something jars us into a realization that corrections need to be made, and fast.

Here is a little helpful hint for the cyclist. If you sit down to have dinner, look down at your meal, and see this…

…it is time to take immediate corrective action.

Be Careful Out There

Sometimes I write. This one is about my personal experience of 1 Peter 5:8.

The Evil One

did not know the evil one
was everywhere around me
could not see his wretched fangs
dripping with saliva

couldn’t hear his stealth approach
or smell his death stench breath
didn’t feel my skin crawl
as he crouched on cat spring legs

distracted by the vanity
of material existence
staggering drunk but craving
unquenching selfish pleasures

then the shock of swift slapped face
a tragic turn of fortune
until that needful day
when survival only mattered

seeking now the hand
of Him who made it all
the evil one is out there
and I am very small

Hey, let’s pay attention and be careful out there. Otherwise, we just might be devoured.

Green Bike First Ride

Nothing fell off.

Everything generally worked. The bottom bracket is approaching the lower limits of acceptability. I might need slightly narrower pedals to give more cornering clearance. The rear tire isn’t perfectly seated, so it had a little “hop” with every revolution. It really wasn’t even noticable on the rougher pavement, but it is going get some attention just the same. The 48×17 (73 gear inches) gearing is too high for me. All was good (except the steepest climbs) with the morning 20mph tailwind, but all was not so good during the afternoon ride home into the same 20mph wind. Some days one needs to be able to ride 20+ miles into a strong wind.

On the positive side, the fit is good and ride is quite comfortable. The bike was solid, simple, and silent, just like a fixed gear bike is supposed to be.

Here are a couple of views from this morning.

It was a great day for a bike ride.

Schwinn Update

After so many days of schedule conflicts, the Schwinn project bike was finally built-up yesterday. The very first official ride is expected within the hour. So far it has only been ridden up and down the street for a few seconds as a quick build test.

It’s not exactly finished. It lacks fenders. It lacks the black cloth bar tape that will cover the initial layer cushy cork tape that is on the bars. It also lacks the light because the method of mounting the light is still under consideration. The head badge also needs to be re-attached.

Notable features include fixed gear drive (48×17), generator hub, and a rather industrial refinished Schwinn Traveler frame…all astride 650B wheels. The gearing is higher than was on the old Trek (which was 42×16) and this might need to change. It is also possible that the bottom bracket for this 650B conversion is too low.

It is a great day for a bike ride. Let the experiment begin.


It’s been a busy week here at the workplace. However, yesterday afternoon it looked like the workday was winding down and a plan to ride in the crisp night air was formed. Then the memory of the broken light bracket came to mind. Hmmm…would the red blinking light be safe enough for a ramble through the neighborhoods? Then other things come to mind…like chores and errands and…well…maybe rest would be good for the body.

There was no ride. Instead, there were errands and left-over pizza. There wasn’t much pizza left…so what then? Then, the freezer door was opened and the pint of ice cream that had been resisted for weeks was assaulted.

Instead of a fat-burning ride to help both mind and body, there was pizza and ice cream.


Boss Range Road

The Sunday afternoon ride was short and slow. There wasn’t much time for an epic ride, but there was enough time for noodling around and taking a few pictures of the winter scenes nearby. Here are a few of the things seen today.

It didn’t take long to find some curious cows. Let’s face it, they don’t see as many bicycles as pickup trucks.

There were also several interesting things just off the side of the road. The fence, the trees, and a few farm implements. Note the combination of manmade and natural barbs on the photo of the rusted post.

There was some kind of knee-high vegetation growing in a pasture. Interesting texture, interesing brown color, and a farm house way back there…

Finally, here’s why I have started using (and enjoying) wider tires on my road bike…

Even with not much time, it was another great day for a ride.

Marshall Creek Park

The Saturday morning ride was planned for a visit to Marshall Creek Park, located at the headwaters of Lake Grapevine. It was roughly a two-hour trip. It was 39 degrees and cloudy when I left…and when I returned. Another great day for a bike ride.

Intially, the ride was through urbanized areas, but before long more attractive scenary came along.

Here’s a view of the cockpit. You feel just like you were there, huh?

Just off the side of the road, it was interesting to see the green in the midst of so much winter brown.

Once at the park, it was learned that this is apparently a motorcycle and ATV hangout. There were numerous trails, banked curves, and jumps just off the main road. It was empty at 8 am this morning.

Here is the northern limit of the ride. The channels in the background are filled with Lake Grapevine backwater. There were a few minutes of peace and quiet before turning the wheels toward home.

Although this was not intended as any kind of speed ride. It was surprising that the trip resulted in an overall average of 14 mph. That included using the fixed gear bike, loaded saddlebag, platform pedals, wearing the big (ballon-shaped) jacket, and several stops for photos. It is certainly not worth bragging about, but surprising to me nevertheless.

I’m not surprised at all that I enjoyed being out on the bike.

Good News/Bad News

It is common for me to ride the bike to our Wednesday night Bible study. Last night was one of those great opportunities. The weather was glorious. It was pleasantly cool, but not cold. Riding was comfortable in a single long sleeved shirt. Gliding along and enjoying the evening, one wonders why there are not more doing the same thing? How can so many be so uninformed?

Since there was plenty of time…and all was good, I paused in a park and used a well-lit soccer field to provide light for a night photo of my freedom machine.

We had a great class and I enjoyed lingering and visiting with friends for awhile afterwards. It had cooled slightly, so a windbreaker was pulled from the saddlebag. It was another comfortable evening ride…until the light mount broke (bad news). There was a ping, ping, ping noise after the bracket gave way and the lamp, hanging by wire, bounced off the spokes of the front wheel.

The aluminum bracket was home-fabricated and worked well for about 3 months. However, there were too many deflection cycles and the material gave way about 2 miles from camp. It looks like it’s time to buy a light mount or come up with a new design.


A few days ago, reference was made to a book called, Freedom of Simplicity, Finding Harmony in a Complex World, by Richard J. Foster. There have been several concepts presented in the book that seem worthy of consideration. By that, it is meant that they seem to me to be consistent with New Testament teaching. Here is a sample quote.

We must be more precise, more concrete about this matter of holy obedience. Otherwise it will remain forever a pious-sounding theoretical ideal that does not much affect the way we live. Meister Eckhart wrote, “There are plenty to follow our Lord half-way, but not the other half. They will give up possessions, friends, and honors, but it touches them too closely to disown themselves.” As we cross over the line and venture into this second half, we find ourselves in the land of holy obedience. To gladly disown ourselves, to live in joyful self-renunciation, is the other half from which we so often draw back. Jesus declared, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). Harsh demand, this self-denial. We would much prefer more comforting words like “self-fulfillment” and “self-actualization.” Self-denial conjures up in our minds all sorts if images of groveling and self-hatred. We imagine that it most certainly means self-contempt and will probably lead to various forms of self-mortification.

What we have failed to see is this amazing paradox: true self-fulfillment comes only through self-denial. There is no other way. The most certain way to miss self-fulfillment is to pursue it. “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 10:39).

It is wonderful, this losing of one’s self through a perpetual vision of the Holy. We are catapulted into something infinitely larger and more real than our petty existence. A blazing God-consciousness frees us from self-consciousness. It is freedom. It is joy. It is life.

I cannot stress enough how essential this quality is to true simplicity of life. It is the only thing that will allow us to hold the interest of others above self-interest. It saves us from self-pity. It lifts the burden of concern over having a proper image. It frees us from bondage to the opinions of others.

The original intent of presenting this quote was to comment on it, but I think Mr. Foster spoke well enough for me. I’d appreciate the comments of those of you motivated enough to ponder it.

Ride Report

On Friday mornings, some guys at church get together for a little coffee and conversation before work. It is always a good time and, since preparations were made last night, I crawled out of bed early and peered out of the window to check the weather. There was unexpected snow accumulations on the ground.

Figuring that slow, careful travel on the fixed gear would be a little fun, I bundled up, turned on the red, rear, blinking light, and pedaled out into the silent dark.

It was an interesting ride. Slushy and slippery. It’s only a couple of miles each way, but coming home requires a climb of a hill with a slope of about 5% to 6%. Traction was hit and miss, but I was able to get up with out too many scares. Another good day for a ride.