This week, I decided to keep my truck and not sell it for now. It is simply too convenient. While I would love to have the challenge of being forced to bicycle everywhere, it doesn’t work with reality. So the compromise: new goal is to put more miles on my bike than on my truck. The challenge starts when I returned to Ohio. At that time, my truck had 81,566 miles on it. I track all my bike rides on Strava and my all-time miles were at 1,107 when I returned. My miles are at 82,097 and 1,470 currently. So, driving is ahead of biking 531 miles to 363 miles.
Day 69 Without a Job
In the last 100 years, we have added extreme convenience to our lives. Cars drive us to just a few feet from every destination we can think of. We are climate-controlled the whole way. When we arrive we have climate control. People have actually come to believe that they need it. Do we need it? Is it really even better? No! We are missing out!
I’m not saying I want to go back to the stone age, but don’t be afraid to add some difficulty to your life! We’re designed for it! It makes us better! I haven’t had my truck (or any vehicle) with me for about a week. It’s been great. I feel great! I’m in better shape, and I get to eat twice as much food. I rode home from downtown Friday night 1AM. My headlight broke, but fortunately there was a full moon overhead to light the way. I’d have missed this with my truck to make the trip easy.
21-24 July, Tuesday-Friday: hung out with the Robinsons. Traded my tent to young Knox Robinson after we went camping in the back yard. Searched for duplexes and found some great ones. The Robinsons are in contract on one now.
As I was driving, I was thinking about “get-rich-quick” books. I have recently read several of them, mostly about real estate, and it occurred to me that many of them aren’t scams at all. They appear that way because their titles are usually something like “Multi-Family Millions.” I can verify it personally that the advice in that book is solid. So why don’t people usually take advantage? Really, why not? I think the real barriers are
- Social life: People really like having a job because they meet a lot of people through their job. It is their social life. Even people who hate their job feed off of the shared hardship and it deepens their connection with their coworkers.
- “Get-rich-quick” is a misnomer: try this: read any get-rich-quick book, but instead of focusing on all the $$$money$$$ the book is talking about that you can make, focus on the work it says you have to do. It really is a lot of work! Plus, you have to compete with others and there is a lot of personal risk. If you aren’t good at what you are doing or make a mistake working for yourself, it will affect everything about your life, not just a promotion. The reality is, they are not “get-rich-quick scams,” but actually “work-for-yourself options.”
23-25 July, Thursday-Saturday: departed in the evening for Memphis, slept in the car along the way and arrived in Memphis mid-day on Friday. Met my goddaughter, Julia and her brothers Shane and Brian the triplets. They were awesome. Went on a bike ride around the neighborhood with my cousin just like old times biking to the gas station for a pack of gum. Departed on Saturday evening for Chicago.
Again I was thinking along the drive, this time about my phone. Our grandparents’ generation said that kids were not to speak unless spoken to. I feel like we are going to say the same thing about phones as we get older. My phone is constantly trying to guess what I want to know instead of waiting for me to ask. It is surprisingly good at guessing, but it is still not worth it to have it “notifying” me all the time about random junk. “30 minutes to home via such-and-such route” “there is a back-up on I-70, such-and-such route will save you 5 minutes.” Thanks, but no thanks. I’m not going home right now and I really don’t care about 5 minutes. Shut up phone. If I want something, I’ll ask!
26-28 July, Saturday-Tuesday: didn’t sleep at all Saturday night because I was driving and listening to the audiobook Unbroken and arrived in Chicago at 4AM on Sunday morning. Got my bike out and went for a ride. I ended up riding more in Chicago than anywhere else. Brittany was a great host despite that she couldn’t ride with me 🙁 We went to Kingston Mines and saw J. W. Williams play the blues. That was the highlight–other than the Chicago Bean of course!
28-29 July, Tuesday-Wednesday: drove west to the ‘burbs and visited my cousin Rachel and her husband Tony for a day. Tony made dinner, then we went to sleep. In the morning, visited with Rachel, skateboarded their parking garage, then taught her about the phases of the moon and the tides. Drove home to Ohio and arrived on the evening of Wednesday the 29th for a game of Scrabble that I lost!
9-11 July, Thursday through Saturday: Arrived in Mapleton, UT at Gary and Leesa Price’s house. Gary is a sculptor, Leesa is a retired real estate agent. The visit started by going to the neighborhood women’s meeting where I spoke as an ambassador for the responsibility movement. The next morning, we went to Gary’s foundry and watched an actual bronze pour of four of Gary’s statues followed by a tour of the foundry. Gary made his famous salmon that evening and Woody Woodward and his wife Shea came over for dinner. Saturday morning, departed for Salt Lake City and the Family History Library.
Family History Library, Saturday, the 11th and Monday the 13th: I arrived at the mecca of family history in Salt Lake City on Saturday afternoon. I brought my family history books that had been made for me by my grandma on my dad’s side and great aunt on my mom’s side. The library is operated by the Mormon Church and they have helpers there doing service hours to show you the system. I figured out the system on Saturday, then decided to stay until Monday to continue working. www.familyhistory.org is their website and a lot of information had already been entered for me by my distant cousins. I was able to find 7/8 great grandparents, 14/16 great great grandparents. I traced most of my lines back into the mid-1800s, and all of them to who immigrated to the new world. My grandmother’s book traces back to the first Ruffing, the great Michael Toussaint born in 1635, who moved to the Alsace-Lorraine region from Rouffin, France.
Great Salt Lake Sunday the 12th: camped on the Great Salt Lake on Antelope Island State Park. Had to go down to the lake and float in it of course. It’s 6-8 times the saltiness of the ocean and sure enough, you float like a cork. Normally I sink, but even when I blew out all my air, I was able to sink only to my chin. Lounged there for a little while with the other people who were doing the exact same thing laying back with our heads, hands and feet above water with no floats, then took a shower. The fruit flies were all gathering at the lake and dying in it. The water was like a soup of dead flies so I didn’t put my head in. The flies were mixed with tiny little red specks that if you looked up close could identify as little shrimp, one of only two organisms that live in the lake.
Strawberry National Forest, 13-15 July: Monday evening, started driving toward the Rockies. Only an hour or so outside Salt Lake City, the sun was setting and I came upon the Strawberry National Forest. At higher altitude, it was nice and cool so I gave in to the camping signs. I was glad I did. On Tuesday, I did a really cool bike ride up a mountain on a gravel path. Departed on Wednesday morning southeast.
15 July, Wednesday: drove from the Strawberry National Forest to Albuquerque, New Mexico and stayed at a friend’s house. I took him and his son out for dinner, had a visit, then left early in the morning.
16 July, Thursday: drove from Albuquerque to San Antonio and stayed with Nate Robinson in his newly-rented apartment near downtown. Visited the river walk at night and biked to the Alamo the next day until departing again in the afternoon.
17 July, Friday: drove from San Antonio to Fort Worth. Traffic! It was terrible from San Antonio all the way through Austin.
17-19 July, Friday-Sunday: Arrived to an amazing Bosnian dinner, then relaxed in Fort Worth with the Matijevic’s through Sunday.
19 July, Sunday: Drove to Plano, Texas to visit my cousin, Mark. He had left the door open knowing I was coming. He was golfing, but I hung out in the pool until he arrived. He took me to a steak dinner, where after several waiters and the manager came by, it was clear that they knew him well. We were treated like kings. That evening, we caught up on Ballers on HBO.
20-21 July, Monday-Tuesday: drove straight from Plano to Tallahassee to Z’s house in Wakulla County, War Eagle Country, stopping only at a rest stop to sleep. Crossing from Texas to Louisiana near the Mississippi River, the humidity goes from dry to muggy. I was dripping sweat because I don’t believe in air conditioning.
Nothing earth-shatteringly profound in here like my last post, just the trip log.
6 July: Monday morning, departed Scottsdale and headed north on I-17. Just past Flagstaff, stopped near Sunset Canyon National Monument and biked the rest of the way to the volcano overlook.
Continued to Page, AZ, stopped at Horseshoe Bend–amazing view!–continued on and spent Monday night at a campsite called Wahweap on Lake Powell.
5 July 2015, Day 14 Without a Job
It’s the day after the 4th of July. I’m here in Scottsdale with Andrew Haines. We rode our bikes to breakfast yesterday and I’ve been inspired to write about something I’ve been meaning to for a while. Scottsdale has some great dedicated bike paths, especially along the canals.
I’m working on an idea–that might already exist–and I’m calling it “commuter cyclocross.” If it does already exist, great, but it is not widespread enough. It should be mainstream. It solves so many problems for so many normal people!
How many working professionals want to bicycle, but say, “I don’t have time,” or “The roads are too dangerous.” A lot of people use these 2 excuses to not ride the expensive bikes that are in their garages with tires that have slowly deflated since they last rode several months ago.
The opposite end of the spectrum is hard-core cyclists who claim to enjoy sitting for hours on a seat made of carbon fiber that’s barely larger than the end of the post it’s attached to. They ride 60+ miles at a time, often in a big circle, and often on two-lane highways ignoring the fact that there are cars and trucks whizzing by at 55+ miles per hour. Let’s not forget the weeny little tires that go flat from gravel or a little broken glass. Last, but not least, the spandex shorts. Really? Wind resistance is a big deal, I understand, I’ve experienced it, but aren’t you trying to get a work-out anyway? You are just alienating regular people who are now in their cars sending text messages, swearing at you, and almost hitting you. Put on some regular shorts and be an ambassador for the activity!
Neither of the above situations appeals to me. I consider myself a “cyclocross commuter.” Cyclocross commuting entails the full end of the spectrum from beginning to end of using your bike as a tool to travel from point A to point B. That is, after all, the purpose of a bike! Your goal as a cyclocross commuter is to replace your automobile as much as possible with your bike. The advantages are many. You simultaneously:
- Save fuel.
- Transform driving, traffic, and road rage–often the most stressful part of a typical office worker’s day–into light aerobic exercise that makes you feel good.
- Eliminate the daily trip to the gym goal that is another stress-causing item on your daily checklist.
- Learn your area from a totally different perspective than from the confining seat of your car.
- There are more. What are they?
There are challenges, but that’s all part of the fun.
- You show up to work all sweaty. True, but your employer would rather you show up sweaty and happy than out of shape and stressed! Bring a full change of clothes (including your wet, nasty underwear of course) and get yourself a locker at work. You can put on those nasty clothes for your ride home. Who cares what you smell like then.
- You’ll have to eat significantly more food. Eating enough can become a challenge. If your workplace is far enough away, you can forget about dieting. Your new problem will be eating enough to keep weight on! You’ll spend more on food, but that’s alright, you saved that money on gas.
- It’s dangerous. I agree, it can be. That’s why I go to great lengths to avoid highways, two-lane roads, and especially those BS bike paths made of only paint that just entice cyclists out into dangerous traffic. Are they trying to kill people? Paint is not going to protect me from a car. Oh, but there are signs that tell motorists to watch for cyclists! No thanks. I’m not getting getting someone’s radiator jammed up my rear over a text message. Cities are competing with each other like Pepsi vs. Coke to build dedicated bike paths. Use them!
- You have to travel at night. There’s less traffic, it’s cooler, and with all the money you save on your gym membership and gas, you can get some pretty cool lights. You can’t have too many blinky red lights on your back. One on your helmet, one on your shirt, one on your bike and one on your bag. Redundancy!
- There are more challenges. What are they?
Cyclocross Commuting, The Checklist
- Get a versatile bike. I recommend starting by clicking here for the Ultimate Commuter Bike.
- Pick your most common trips of the day / week / month that are under about 15 miles one-way.
- Get on Google Earth or Google Maps and make your route. In the comfort of your home, find a way around the most dangerous parts. Where there aren’t dedicated bike paths, learn neighborhood streets. Find good places to stop for food and water.
- Pick a day when you have time and can afford to be late when you run into issues along the route. Expect the first ride to be frustrating.
- After your first ride, learn from it. Adjust your route. Go shopping for gear that will make it easier. Bags, lights, rain gear, you name it: you aren’t the first person to have the problem and somebody has already made a product to deal with it.
- Try again next week. The logistics get easier each time!
Alright, I’ve convinced Andrew to go riding in the July Arizona heat. I don’t want to disappoint! Our mission: grocery shopping, church, and get pictures for this post!
Great cyclocross commuter products:
Expensive shorts, but worth it. Find them on sale somewhere:
Carry your stuff without wearing a back-pack: