Just another ride … with 13,000 friends

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Excellence is good — it makes you feel better about everything. The “Bike MS” movement is one of excellence.

If you are having difficulty visualizing 13,000 cyclists, so was I. I am not certain that I have fully absorbed the full import of that flowing sea of colorful jerseys wrapping bodies of people willing to impale themselves upon skinny bicycle saddles and crank pedals for what sometimes feels like an eternity. It was the 2011 BP MS 150 and I was there for my first attempt at riding 100 miles in one day, followed by 78 miles the second day. Many photo thumbnails follow. Click to enlarge.  Continue reading “Just another ride … with 13,000 friends”

P.J. O’Rourke on the Scourge of Bike Lanes – WSJ.com

Bicycle lane sign in New York City
Image via Wikipedia

The bicycle is a parody of a wheeled vehicle—a donkey cart without the cart, where you do the work of the donkey. Although the technology necessary to build a bicycle has been around since ancient Egypt, bikes didn’t appear until the 19th century. The reason it took mankind 5,000 years to get the idea for the bicycle is that it was a bad idea. The bicycle is the only method of conveyance worse than feet. You can walk up three flights of stairs carrying one end of a sofa. Try that on a bicycle.

via P.J. O’Rourke on the Scourge of Bike Lanes – WSJ.com.

The whole article is worth a read. Of course, I strongly disagree with his position in its entirety but especially for his lack of attention to the health benefits of bicycling, including cycling to work. On that score he offers the following:

A good, hard-played game of Mother-May-I will make us all more physically fit. Fitness being another reason given for cluttering our cities with bike lanes. But why is it so important that the public be fit? Fit for what? Are they planning to draft us into forced labor battalions?

A clever, if misguided, piece.

A most excellent adventure in the wildflowers

Well, sort of. The wildflowers in the Hill County of Texas are quite disappointing this year — at least so far. But the 2011 edition of the Hill Country Child Advocacy Center Pedal Power Wildflower Ride — that would be on bicycles — was most excellent. The number of riders was down for a variety of reasons, but as my first ride in the event it was great.

This was not exactly my first ride, as for many years I had organized the motorcycle escort group who would try to slow the vehicle traffic and look for stranded riders. The day would prove that those hills are easier done on the R1100RT BMW motorcycle with 90 horsepower! Mike Atkinson did a great job of getting riders and getting them organized — thanks Mike, and all of your motorcycle gang. Continue reading “A most excellent adventure in the wildflowers”

Tailwinds: what goes around, …

Don’t you love wind at your back? Really, literally or figuratively, it is a nice feeling to have the wind at your back. Tailwinds let you move either faster or with greater ease. Yesterday’s ride planning was to have a ride with some distance and not necessarily speed. Just getting in the distance without a maximal effort was the idea as a part of my training for the BP MS-150 in mid-April. It was known that there would be some wind. No big deal for a West Texas kid — I’m just proud when there is no dust in the air!

Bynum was out of town and the other usual suspects had plans so I laid out a 60’ish mile route and an 80’ish mile route. You know, just in case I got to the decision point and (a) felt good and (b) the winds were less than hurricane strength. I have to admit that the wind prospect was a bit concerning. Continue reading “Tailwinds: what goes around, …”

Being safe outdoors

Good idea, not always possible. For active people on two wheels or four, on snow or water, hiking, hunting or whatever — something or somebody can whack you. I have been lucky in around a quarter-million miles on a motorcycle and now closing in on 1000 miles on a bicycle (plus skiing, hiking, kayaking) — often alone — to not have been hurt along the way.

My friend John Chalmers was wearing a RoadID  the other day when we rode together — an item about which I had thought before — and that spurred me to get one. Not expensive and it makes medical and contact info immediately available to first responders. I plan to wear mine 24/7 as soon as it comes in the mail. If you are active, think about it. Click the logo for more info.

(67 x 3) + 74 = 83

If you don’t follow that math, it’s understandable. But if you take a geezer-squad of three guys 67 years young (two of them precisely that age) and one of 74 years, and put them on bicycles out to prove nothing, you get:  an 83 mile ride in the beautiful hill country of Texas.  Actually, Don Bynum (the effervescent organizer of epic rides and teller of tall tales) thinks he is in my Will and is trying to kill me, or, he is my training coach for the upcoming MS-150 ride (Houston to Austin) in mid-April. By the way, for anyone who might be reading this and is not familiar with the hill country here, check out the National Geographic “Road Trip”  Hill Country, Texas.” Continue reading “(67 x 3) + 74 = 83”

For my 67th year I … Uh, WHAT was I thinking?

Saturday, Feb 12, 2011 and it is a cold, clear day. Couple of weeks until the 67th anniversary of my day of birth. Dang, it’s colder than forecast, hoping it warms soon. The ride that Don laid out yesterday will be a good one. Now I am wondering about that life goal I set — the one about riding my years in miles each birthday. Since I usually won’t be able to do that on the exact date this can be the day for this year. We are both confident we can do the 67, 68 should be just fine, 69, 70 … I’m a bit worried about 80! Continue reading “For my 67th year I … Uh, WHAT was I thinking?”

Winter is a great time to cycle or run. Really.

I hear many people bemoan winter and the idea that they can’t get outside to exercise, or work in the yard, or … (fill in the blank).  In Texas we only have two seasons:  now and later.  Most of the winter weeks have many days that are perfectly suited to outdoor activity, including fitness walks, runs and rides. Continue reading “Winter is a great time to cycle or run. Really.”

What do ya want me to do? Die of old age?

Cover of "Secondhand Lions (New Line Plat...
Cover via Amazon

— Hub, Robert Duvall‘s character in Secondhand Lions.  And thus on New Year’s Eve, 2010, a tale begins, not in a galaxy far, far away, but on a mountain top near you.  Well, actually on a bunch of mountain tops.  My cycling buddy (and high school classmate from eons ago), Don Bynum, and I had talked of several possible “geezer rides of epic proportion” — let that idea soak in and make of it as you will. Continue reading “What do ya want me to do? Die of old age?”