Sunday Afternoon, 3-Mile Loop


Didn’t really have time for a long wind-beating today. Even so, I figured I needed a short spin of the pedals.

This is why even my shortest desperation rides are worth getting out there.

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Not Very Far Away


Not very far away, really, but a place to go. With limited time, but more than it takes for the old standby 3-mile loop, I aim for a lazy intermittent stream.

It’s up and over a single ridge. Then down the other side to a short stretch of gravel road. Turn left. Then it’s just around the bend. Maybe 15 minutes of pedaling.

Even when it’s not really flowing, there’s usually a pool under the bridge. Turtles and other critters are there. Upstream and downstream, the meanders are spotted with rock and framed with large trees. We prairie folk value a good shade. And so this is a place to go. After the day’s furious paced commerce, turtle pond meditation restores.


It is good, far removed from commercial fury, but not very far away.

We Were Cool

We were in our late teens. We were cool and knew everything we needed to know.

My cousin came to spend the summer at our house. We devoted ourselves to the pursuit of things at only the pinnacle of importance; girls, music, road trips, and a great tan. Everywhere we went, we were cool.

One of the routine activities was to make the pool circuit. Living in a large master-planned community, there were several neighborhood swimming pools. We would grab a Frisbee, hop on our bicycles, and ride from pool to pool performing our Frisbee freestyle routine. If there were plenty of young ladies to impress, we’d stay longer. If not, we’d move on to the next pool.

Toward the end of the summer, we developed certain skills. We thought alike, we talked alike, and our actions were synchronized. We were a team and we practically knew each other’s thoughts. Although two, we functioned smoothly and efficiently as if one unit. Our Frisbee freestyle routine was pretty good. And we were cool.

On one such swimming pool tour, we were riding bikes and chatting. We were choosing the next swimming pool location and it was time to make a decision about which way to go. We came to an intersection and needed to turn left or right. A quick, efficient conversation and off we’d go. A word or two of momentary coordination and we’d be on our way to more important achievements.

We were riding side-by-side. Me on the left, him on the right. He says, “Left turn?” I say, “Right!”. Maybe you can guess what happened next. He thinking “Right!” means “Yes, correct, left turn.” Me thinking “Right!” means “No, not left, let’s turn right instead.”

So on a smooth road, with no traffic, no distractions, no obstacles, and no excuses,…and in one synchronized moment…, we turn directly into one another, crash, and tumble to the pavement. After a second of silent confusion, in the middle of this unusual breakdown in communication, we both burst out laughing.

Since we were guys in our late teens, we still thought we were cool.

Back-Up Plan


I suppose there are innumerable riding obstacles. When the bicyclist makes a plan to ride, all kinds of things can pop-up to interfere. I’ve had my share over the years.

Sometimes, I think ahead and prepare a back-up plan. The thinking goes like this, “If my plan to get out and ride early tomorrow morning back-fires, when might I squeeze something in later in the day?” Occasionally, I’ll have multiple back-ups identified and watch for opportunities to open through-out the day.

That’s the long way around to say today’s afternoon ride was this morning’s back-up plan. The back-up plan ride, when things finally work out, can be especially sweet…


…in a vindication over circumstances sort of way.

Cross Country Insight

Readers of this blog who are cyclists probably already know about “crazyguyonabike.com”, the bicycle tourist’s online journal resource. I like to skip over there occasionally and live my cross country bike tour dreams through the real life adventures of others. The photographs and journal-writing skills of some of these folks can be as motivating as they are entertaining.

I’ve been reading a journal from a guy who rode his bike from San Francisco to Boston. He stayed in hotels every night. No camping. In these journals of long distance or cross country cyclists, it is common for them to have some kind of final entry describing lessons learned, touring tips, or celebratory remarks. It is also very common from them to have a final entry describing some profound life lesson or spiritual insight that they gained. Live every day to the fullest. People are basically good. America is still great. I now know that I can do anything. That kind of thing. This guy’s remarks are especially profound…and amusing…

While sitting in the nice comfortable passenger seats for three and one-half days on the 3 Amtrak trains I took to get home to California from Boston, I’d pull out the laptop every now and then in an effort to write a few profound final thoughts. It has been more than a week since my bike ride across the United States has ended. You’d think by now my thoughts would have crystallized allowing me to sum it all up into a succinct, yet profound statement about bicycle touring, life, and the cosmos.

I drew a blank every time. The creative juices have dried up. I was like Stephen King with writers block. I’d write a few words, and then hit the delete key. Maybe it’s not really that complex at all.

I like to ride my bike. I’d ride my bike every day, all day, if I could.

I could, and I did.

That is basically it on the profound thoughts and insights.

For those who are interested, here is his journal.

I have my first multi-day bicycle tour planned for this fall and am terribly excited. If this tour goes only slightly better than horrible, I’ll be restlessly scheming how to step off the corporate merry-go-round for a few weeks until I can have my own cross country cycling adventure.

My Suggestion

Pointy headed academics, business fat cats, and elected celebrities offer solutions to these turbulent economic times. Well, so do I. We need a saviour all right, but we are looking in the wrong place.

I suggest we stay away from innovative solutions and products of our own cleverness, and return to proven principles. I suggest that we remember Who is in charge, what Truth really is, and our place in the universe. I suggest we bow the knee, get to work, and put our confidence in Someone with real power.

This song by Natalie Grant is the idea. Here’s the video. Lyrics below for those who want to follow along.

__________________________________
I have been a wayward child,
I have acted out,
I have questioned sovereignty,
and had my share of doubts,

And though sometimes,
my prayers feel like their bouncing off the sky,
the hand that holds won’t let me go,
and is the reason why

I will stumble, I will fall down
But I will not be moved
I will make mistakes, I will face heartache,
But I will not be moved

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
I will not be moved

Bitterness has plagued my heart,
many times before,
My life has been a broken glass,
and I have kept the score,
of all my shattered dreams,
and though it seemed,
that I was far too gone,
my brokenness helped me to see,
it’s grace I’m standing on.

I will stumble, I will fall down
But I will not be moved
I will make mistakes, I will face heartache,
But I will not be moved

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
I will not be moved

And chaos in my life,
has been a badge I’ve worn,
and though I have been torn,
I will not be moved

I will make mistakes, I will face heartache,
But i will not be moved

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand,
I will not be moved
__________________________________

I don’t know if my suggestion will add value to our 401(k), but I am certain that it will add value to our lives.