- I love some of the advertisement gimmacks that are used to draw customers. No matter how many times I see a car coming out of a building, it still catches my attention.
- Bad picture of the water tower in the background that has animals painted on it with the words “Detroit Zoo”. Jill and I have been to this zoo a couple of times with our son John. No matter how big or small the zoo, they all seem to be laid out in a way that makes walking through them fun and exciting. Strongly recommend visiting any zoo for a nice afternoon but the Detroit zoo I can recommend from personal experience.
- Came around a corner and was met by three big flags announcing an apartment complex. Blue sky, beautiful day, short route (87 miles to sons house), and then these 3 flags made me proud to be an American. For some reason when they surprised me they signified all that is good in America.
Finished my ride of 87 miles at 12:15 today with a 14.8 mile an hour average. While this certainly isn’t a top speed, it does have me moving fast enough to feel good about the run. I have a noticeable omission I want to correct first. Yesterday I arrived in my 14th and last “new” state for my ride which is the mighty state of Michigan. While Michigan doesn’t seem as “eye catching” as Wisconsin, it does have some of the same scenario and certainly is a state worth visiting. My only complaint is the roads. Michigan seems to have some of the worst roads I’ve rolled over in the East with little to no shoulder. To make matters worse the drivers seem less understanding. While I ride in a consistent manner, today 3 Michigan honked their horns at me in frustration. It was obvious I had no other place to ride and I was over as far as I could be but still they felt the need to tell me to get off the road.
Another notable is that I have broken the 4000 mile barrier with today’s ride have a grand total of 4055 miles (2590 miles going out and as of today 1465 miles on the return. The shortened return is due largely to my Amtrak train ride out of California and to a lesser extent the High Speed Ferry ride into Michigan. While neither event was “riding a bike” so I can’t count the miles, I loved the experience of both and wouldn’t have traded the experience.
Thoughts on Today’s Ride:
- First a simple thought, in life you will be met with situations where you will have to make a decision quickly. Unfortunately when you make the decision quickly you may have to rely on instinct which is built largely on past experiences. This is what happened to me. I had been riding my bike for awhile and was on my 70+ mile. When you ride for awhile you get into a grove and aren’t necessarily giving the road your full attention. The road I was on was fairly narrow and traffic was light. All of a sudden a deep and wide hole appeared in front of me. Instantly, by instinct, I jerked the bike to the left to miss the hole (this was toward traffic) and then jerked it back to get out of traffic’s way. Obviously my decision worked since I am able to discuss it but what if I had jerked the bike to the left into the path of a car that couldn’t get out of my way? I thought about this long and hard. My belief is that I am always listening for traffic and knew there was no one close enough to hit me and that is why I made the decision I did. My point is there will be times in your life where you have to make decisions by instinct and once done you will have to live with the consequences. My recommendation would be to ensure whatever you are doing you build your experience level up as you increase the level of difficulty.
- The next thought is much more complicated and am curious what your thoughts are on the topic – old age. I am discovering that I am getting older (not sure I would say I am “getting old” yet) and that my body doesn’t act like it used to. When I get cut I don’t heal as fast as I used to, I can no longer stay up late easily, and when I drink red wine I get stopped up (now this is a real disaster). So “getting older” is a reality not only for me but also for others. Since people are living longer diseases that weren’t seen before are now appearing more and more. It is my belief that this reality for me and others will require new ways of thinking as my physical abilities diminish.
One of my heroes is Stephen Hawkins He had a progressive physical ailment commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Rather than succumbing to the downside of the disease he shifted his goal away from the physical and to the mental side. Was he successful? Well his “dumbed down theories” for normal people is still over my head. I would say he was a genius that was able to deal with his reality to the point that he became the foremost thinker of all things dealing with the stars.
What does this mean to me? First there is a prayer that I believe is the foremost philosophical guide for all of us called the “Serenity Prayer” (this is not a religious discussion. Feel free to change the word “prayer” with “philosophy” and replace “God” with any other word that guides your life should the words not fit into your beliefs). Here goes:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.”
Where am I going with this mish-mash of “stuff”? Goals are wonderfully fine and highly recommended. However what do you do with a goal if something happens that precludes you from reaching that goal (i.e. I wanted to do an Iron Man Triathlon but had my knees replaced which made this goal unreasonable). My contention is that the “Serenity Prayer” would cause me to believe that running a marathon in no longer in my best interest which would cause me to rethink my goal. To continue the example as I rethink my goal I might decide to ride my bike across America which is still a big challenge but won’t hurt my knees.
3. Last thought has to do with what makes me “Rob”. As I get older and can no longer do the things I like to do (like ride a bike) how does this impact my life. Does the fact that I can no longer ride the bike make “Rob” less than he was before. This took me a while to sort through because I do associate myself strongly with a bike and if I couldn’t ride it for exercise what would I do and would I suddenly be less than I was before? After much thinking my conclusion was that Rob is not the physical being. Rob is the mind, the spirit, and the desire to do something. Should my body no longer be able to ride the bike the mind could, should, and would find some other outlet for the Rob persona. Ultimately as long as I have my mind (this is what Stephen Hawkin taught me) then I exist and therefore I can perform some real activity in the world.
I would caution you however that this is a tough concept to accept and believe in. If you look at our advertising today it is all about young, beautiful, and lots of material things. I disagree that these things are important. People are beautiful through their thoughts and actions not their physical make up and material things.
As you can see short rides don’t necessarily mean lack of thinking. Sorry for the heavy thoughts but lately I have been trying to sort out what getting old means to me as I start down this path.
If you agree or disagree or would like to throw you thoughts into the mix I would love to get your opinions on these subjects. We are all getting older and if we want to remain productive and relevant these are the topics we will need to wrestle to the ground.
Wishing you my very best today, tomorrow and always!