Tag Archives: Cycling

How 2 Wheels Changed Everything…

BikeDad

Dec. 21, 2007 is my sobriety date. I haven’t found the need to ingest any alcohol or other mind altering chemicals since that date. I’d love to claim that this occurred because of a personal epiphany or that I was suddenly struck with an urge to get healthy, but that would not be the truth. The truth was, as I was sitting handcuffed in the back of a CHP car, I decided to change my life…enough was enough. I had somehow contracted the disease of alcoholism (funny how that happens…I thought everybody blacked out and drank as much and as long as I did), and as a result of my actions while drinking…I had picked up my second DUI the night I was fortunate enough to be in that CHP car (as opposed to the Coroners van).

The State of California decided I needed to be without a driver’s license for 365 days. Damn. That was inconvenient. I had a life then. How the hell am I going to get to work, pick up my kids…do life?

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The answer took the form of 2 wheels. For the next year, I did life on 2 wheels. Entertaining my kids, work, grocery shopping…life was done on 2 wheels.

In a million years, if you would have told me I’d be a cyclist now, at age 55…I would have genuinely laughed. And I did at the spandex laden freaks I saw on the side of the road. Until I became one…

As I spent that year on 2 wheels, something clicked inside me. Every single time I set forth…those first few pedal strokes invoked a sense of freedom and youth in me I hadn’t felt since I was a kid on my Schwinn. And that feeling remains today.

Last year, I rode over 3500 miles. On the bike pictured above, I’ve ridden 12,602 miles. And I’ve become a cycling addict. Every climb calls to me like another challenge awakened…every long ride instills in me a sense of accomplishment and…well…life.

I’ve lost 30 lbs cycling and for the first time in my life, all my lab work at my annual physical was normal…hypertension: gone…high blood sugar: gone…routine labs: normal.

So it was with this justification that I decided to spend some money on my health and my future. I bought a “real” road bike. A carbon fiber dream that I’d been coveting for a few years.

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I haven’t even taken it out on the road yet. It just didn’t seem right until I eulogized my 2007 Gary Fisher Mendota…

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The two wheels that got me to the market, got me to work, to my meetings, to my kids…the two wheels that helped keep me sober and helped me quit smoking–the two wheels that profoundly changed my life and my health. I didn’t see it coming. Sometimes the best things in life work that way.

I hate to part with you my friend. And although you’ll be my campus bike when I get into UCLA in 2017…you’ll no longer be my daily rider. My daily meditation. My daily savior on two wheels…

 

 


Ryan Armstrong…uh Lance Braun…the Kings of Hubris

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Does it really matter? These two clowns are cut from the same cloth.

Dopers. Cheaters. Liars.

The Kings of Hubris.

There have been several MLB players that have admitted to doping and taken their medicine. Remember their names? Me neither. Know why? They did the right thing when confronted, cleaned up their act and moved on.

Which brings us back to the Kings…

When confronted with the evidence…they fought like caged raccoons to clear their “good” name and attack anyone with the gall to call their character into question.

Doping is cheating. End of story. It’s not right in professional cycling and it’s not right in Major League Baseball.

These athletes, whether they like it or not, are role models.  Some clearly better than others;  but simply by the nature of their profession, they influence millions of young men and women. I have teenagers who have more integrity in their pinkie fingers than these two charlatans.  The wouldn’t THINK of doping…or cheating in their careers…their passions.

Both these guys said they made “mistakes”. A mistake is when you choose letter “C” on the multiple choice exam instead of letter “B”. They didn’t make mistakes. They made calculated decisions with malice aforethought to cheat…to gain an unfair advantage over their fellow competitors.

I’m heartened to hear the outrage from many MLB players towards Braun, but until their collective bargaining unit agrees to LIFETIME bans for doping, this will go on.  That these millionaires have no real incentive to stop cheating is an outrage and an indictment of the organizations they represent.

It’s time to stop playing little league…you dope, you lose the privilege of competing…forever. End. Of. Story.


Liar, Liar, Rant on Fire…

O.J. Simpson

Jerry Sandusky

Lance Armstrong

Three individuals who committed (allegedly) crimes and steadfastly continue to maintain their innocence.  Here we have three folks who most people can agree are liars.  To various degrees for sure, but liars nonetheless.

It got me thinking about the culture of lies in our country.  O.J. was the original liar-extraordinaire for my generation. Here’s a dude that butchers, and I mean butchers, his ex-wife and her friend, is nearly completely indicted by the evidence, and yet walks free (well, Karma caught up to him, but that’s another post).

Then there’s that piece of waste, Jerry Sandusky, who so completely took advantage of the cult of personality that was Joe Paterno that his crimes were unreported for over a decade.  Multiple victims have come forth to corroborate the original accusers and yet this guy completely denies…and I mean on a wholesale basis, his horrific actions.

Finally, there’s the golden boy, Lance Armstrong.  Yes, his crimes pale in comparison to the first two, but the clinical psychology remains the same.  Deny at all costs, indict your accusers, mount a well funded campaign of misinformation.  Are these guys psychopaths or just well-to-do liars with the means to continue the ruse in the media?

To anyone in the cycling world (and I worked in it briefly) the story of Armstrong and his doping/intimidation was well known if not well documented.  The USADA finally put together a comprehensive picture of his activities this year and Armstrong continued the lie by deflecting responsibility and refusing to face the charges…a smart move clearly calculated by his handlers to reduce damage to his cancer foundation.

They all maintain their innocence in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  In O.J.’s case, his continued psychotic behavior landed him, effectively, a life sentence on unrelated charges.  Sandusky continues to molest his victims through his pathetic attempt to rehabilitate his image.  And Armstrong will likely never do the right thing and continue to deny his widespread pattern of doping.  Will this hurt his cancer foundation?  I don’t know and I hope it doesn’t.  Will the continued lies hurt him personally?  Who knows…I can just suspect that if O.J.’s lesson doesn’t teach him anything, nothing will.

In my fifty-one years on this planet, I have personally observed one immutable law: Karma=Bitch.


Can’t We All Just Get Along? Bike-Style…

(Courtesy Washington Post)

I rediscovered bicycling in 2008. I had spent many years on a motorcycle, but hadn’t given the pedal powered 2-wheeler a shot until I bought my first road bike.

It didn’t take long for me to delight in a wonderful discovery. Riding a bike helps me reimagine my childhood.  Every time I start out on a ride, and oftentimes during the ride, I experience the rush of adrenaline and joy that I felt as a child riding my bike.  It brings back memories of my 3-speed Schwinn with the banana seat and the sissy bar…my first green Continental 10-speed.

I also discovered something else…cycling saves me money. Gas prices continue to climb and I adjusted some of the moderately short trips I routinely made and found a significant savings. And I felt good about it too. I’m no tree-hugger, but there is something about not contributing to the destruction of the planet that adds tokens to your personal Karma account.

I even found a job for a while in the cycling industry and reveled in the camaraderie and passion shared by my fellow cyclist. I am thrilled to see on my morning fitness rides, more and more men and women commuting to work. I live near one of the largest biotechnology companies in the world and on any given day, I see a couple dozen cyclists, backpacks filled with work clothes slung over their backs, heading into work.

Now for the downside; cycling is inherently dangerous, especially on city streets. A driver myself, I understand the frustration of motorists who see cyclists disobey traffic laws (run stop signs, ride on sidewalks, take entire lanes when it’s not necessary), in fact, a few years ago I hit a drunk cyclist who was traveling the wrong way at night.  Fortunately for both of us his injuries were minor…so yeah, I get it. But consider the vast majority of cyclist that DO follow the rules of the road. Here are a group of people, contributing positively to the overall well-being of our planet and they are subjected to often near-fatal encounters with metal machines bigger and faster than we are. It’s not that hard to co-exist. Here are a few tips to make the commute more enjoyable and safe.

It boils down to the same old adage: walk a few miles in the other fellows shoes and you will gain a greater understanding of him and yourself…or in this case, ride a few miles in his clip-on’s…


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