Monday, September 30, 2013

Free Ride

"The mountain is high, the valley is low
And you're confused, on which way to go
So I've come here to give you a hand
And lead you into the Promised Land."

Free Ride. The Edgar Winter Group, 1973

Guru Photon Demo Bike/Sram Force   XLA very good friend once commented - "To a cyclist, the entire world is uphill, upwind and up yours." He said that chuckling. We were drinking beer beside a pool in Virginia, having ridden our bikes from Oregon in the Bicentennial summer of 1976.

2013, and I'm older. New riding companions, a new bike. A lot more road behind me than ahead. My friend and I set out from a high school in Northglenn only to face stiff headwinds all the way out and - as luck would have it - all the way back. Add a puncture and then, inexplicably, another. We found the cars and turned to each other.

"Let's not do that again anytime soon."

Lunch is rejuvenating, but the tire is still flat. I know better than to replace a tube without finding the cause of the puncture, don't I? Haste? Home, I search for the cause. The hole is near the stem, on the rim strip side. Uncommon, and beyond my meager skills. I head for the bike shop the next day.

Bruce looks at the rim. He looks at the rim tape. He listens to my description of the hole that led to the second flat.

"It's a tube. Karma. Replace it and forget about it."

We discuss RAAM, and the bike I will ride on my second trip across country. His suggestions are sane, reasonable. He shows me the frame - gorgeous. I'm ready to get to work, building a bike. Excited for the challenge, committed to my friends.

Standing in the promised land, surrounded by bikes, I feel the magic. My repaired wheel holds air. I want to run out of the store, get on my bike and ride. Yesterday was a struggle - and a gift, riding bikes with a friend. too soon?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Vacation Train

Do you have a favorite fall memory linked to a train? What do you imagine you would see if you were riding a train in the fall? Join the authors of Wild CHild publishing and Freyas Bower as we Take an Autumn Train Ride through our blogs.

Prizes will include

  • Four $50 gift certificates (two for Wild Child and two Freya's Bower)
  • An awesome swag package that includes:
    • Bookmarks
    • Books
    • Wild Child T-shirt and mug
    • Wild Child and Freya's Bower bags
    • Four handmade, crochet coasters by Kit Wylde
    • An autographed copy of Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
    • A rare DVD copy of the Matheson/Furst classic "Up The Creek" (lovingly used)
    • One ebook copy of Nita Wick’s short story, The Dream (previously published as part of a Freya's Bower anthology.)
    • Book trading cards
    • Signed Dangerous Waters poster
    • of "Battle for Blood: The Blood Feud"
    • winner's name as a character in Kissa Starling’s next sweet romance story.
    • A Yankee Candle
    • more...

Please visit these sites for more chances to win, the more you visit the more chances you have to win. We have 46 participating authors. You can stop at as many or as little blogs as you wish. At each stop, you will find either two chances to enter per blog to win some awesome prizes. If you visit all, that's 92 chances to win! There will be five, lucky winners.

Take the Blog Train and Visit These Blogs for more chances to win
Marci Baun/Kit Wylde Critters at the Keyboard Teresa D'Amario Judith Leger, Fantasy and Comtemporary Romance Author Writing The Fictional World of Jaime Samms Follow Where the Path will Take You The Wandering Mind of Lizzy P. Bellows Where Love and Magic Meet Kissa Starling Marianna Heusler Hell's Ambrosia C.M. Michaels The Shadow Portal The Blog Zone Blog By iMagine Ardyth DeBruyn Author Blog Shadows of the Past Dear Reader Cassie Exline -- Mystery and Romance Sarcastic Rambling & Writing That's What I Think Sue's Random Ramblings Make Old Bones Elements of Mystery Molly Dean's Blog Kenzie's Place The Forbidden Blog David Huffstetler Cassandra Ulrich Carol Marvell Andrew Richardson Nick Lloyd Fiddleeebod -- land of stories Nita Wick's Blog Ruth G. Too Poor for Texas Jenn Nixon City of Thieves Musings and Doodles Husein The Western Writer Bike Cop Blog The Character Depot Allen Currier Tracy Holohan

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Vacation Train

"It's got to be the going, not the getting there that's good." Greyhound, Harry Chapin, "Heads and Tales" (1972)

Stepping from the platform onto the train often represents the first leg of vacation travel. No matter the destination the open doors beckon. I step through them.

Autumn trips follow hot, harrowing summers of bike patrol. We commonly work short - fewer officers to handle calls - because the majority of my coworkers are younger, astride the "child bearing years." They generally take leave during the summer, when kids are out of school. The rest of us make the best of it, taking situations one at a time. Then.... It's our turn to play.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Sentry

All generalizations are false, including this one.
Mark Twain 

He wandered past us, glancing our way even as he tried to hide it. We had his undivided attention.

Cartoon of a Long Haired Biker Riding a Chopper - Royalty Free Clipart PictureThe resort office was closed, that much I had learned by tugging on the door handle. Never mind the sign telling us we were two hours late. Saturday night - the first of our vacation trip to Florida. We were trying to check into our resort and the office was closed. Great.

A quick glance at the documents I'd received.... "Call in advance for late check in." Perfect. What happens when the flight is delayed, the rental car requires a shuttle and the obnoxious guy ahead of me in line is arguing over pennies? A phone call to the complex's main number, a voice mail message and there we sat.

The guy walked past us from the other direction, like a sentry walking his post. No shirt - he should have been wearing a shirt. Impressive girth, sagging features and two respectable scars - one a zipper from sternum to beltline, the other tracing backbone for a foot or more. "It's not the years, it's the mileage" said Indiana Jones. This guy'd been places. A lot of them.

Long, gray hair pulled into a pony tail, flowing to the middle of his back. He puffed that an e-cigarette? And now, he's approaching the car. Get the--

"This is private property," the guy says to me through the millimeter I've opened my window. "You can't park here."

Now he's a meter reader. Where did he keep his ticket...oh, yuck. Maybe he should just waddle his fat ass off and mind his own business.

"It seems we're late getting here," I replied, successfully stuffing Sergeant Jim back where he belongs - in Colorado. "The office is closed, but we have a reservation."

Helpfully, the guy grabs the same brochure I'd already snagged. I let him know that. Tired, irritable. I just want to put my toes in the sand, not deal with some beat up relic of past biker glories.

"You got paperwork?"

And who the hell are you to ask?

"Yeah." I wave it at him.

"What room?"

Really, is this getting us anywhere?

I tell him and he wanders off. Thank God. Now I can concentrate on getting us out of this--

"Here." The guy hands me an envelope. "Enjoy your stay."


Didn't I feel like the biggest asshole. 

Friday, September 13, 2013


"The sea is as near as we come to another world." Anne Stevenson

The anglers plied their trade ferociously, thrashing at the water for breakfast. Around them Ft. Myers Beach awoke, the sounds of civilization - trash trucks and delivery semis - juxtaposed. One foot waves broke boldly along the shore, spending themselves as a dribble on the wet sand. The fishing continued, gulls and pelicans gulping tiny silver fish after each dive.

To the east scant purple clouds turned orange and then a bright yellow. Sunrise.

My phone sat back at the condo, so the only place I could record a new day along the Gulf was in my soul.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Memories and Miles

"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race."
H.G. Wells, novelist
Full gas.

Finished!!!! Way to go! Awesome!Road bicycling is sprinkled with expressions coined by Europeans. Terms like peloton, musette and road furniture. One wears cycling kit (jersey and bibs) while passing under the one kilometer kite. Every endeavor seems to have its special jargon known primarily to the cognoscenti. 

Headed home on a beautiful Monday, most of a ride behind me. I had pushed the pace, applying the principle that "It doesn't get easier, you just go faster" my friend Wil attributes to racing legend Greg Lemond. A glance at the cyclocomputer bore that out - I was faster.

Full gas.

Effort is a matter of definition. It is possible to go slow and still be giving everything. Last year's cycling, and the several years preceding it, bear that out. I was cycling on sticky roads, every grade a struggle. Age, I surmised.

I set goals for 2013, something I had not done in the past. The Triple, with all of the nightmare potential, became a focal point. Enter my friends.

No one let me coast. We chatted, we laughed, there were times of kidding competition. I got better, faster. We rode the long passes. Then we rode them again the following week. We did Lookout for time, and then pushed some more. 

I went full gas this summer, reaffirming old cycling friendships, and making a new one. Fall approaches too fast, which I suppose is an apt metaphor. It just isn't any easier to accept.

Thank you, Wil, Jeromy and Alicia for a special cycling season.