The season is finally ending. No, I’m not talking about summer, although that is also the case. I’m referring to the “hot and heavy” business season. Most years I hate to see it go, but this year is somewhat different. I’ll miss my regular clients, as well as meeting new clients which sometimes become new friends as well, but this time around I’m looking forward to leaving behind the rush-rush and enjoying the slower pace of autumn. For some reason mother nature has been tugging at me stronger than usual, so I’m finding it difficult to wait until I have time to get out into some of the more remote areas and simply enjoy my surroundings. I think I’ll do much more riding this fall than usual. While out conducting business I’ve been making notes on places I’d like to revisit. Hopefully most of those notes will be followed through on. What this means to you, my followers, is more ride reports complete with pictures and descriptions of the areas visited. Be patient. My “season” isn’t quite over yet, but it won’t be long. 🙂
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill
Note: This post has also been set up as a “page” for permanent reference.
As you may have noticed from some previous posts my primary occupation is providing support and shuttle/transportation services to hikers and backpackers on the Appalachian Trail, Bartram, Benton MacKaye, and Mountains To Sea trails. After several recent requests from hikers to also shuttle them for cycling trips I have decided to “officially” extend my services to cyclists as well.
I have been in the shuttling/support business since 2001 and currently serve TN, NC, SC, VA, WV, GA, and FL from Daytona Beach and Ocala north, however I am willing to provide services anywhere within a 450 mile radius of Gatlinburg, TN or Cherokee, NC. My services have been listed with the ATC (Appalachian Trail Conservancy) for 8 years, online with White Blaze.net for over 5 years, as well as in print in the Appalachian Pages, Benton MacKaye Thru Hikers Guide, and the A.T. Guide.
Since the hiker shuttles currently provide a substantial portion of my livelihood I will be contributing 25% (the profit margin) of my cyclist shuttle income, plus all tips/gratuities received from them, to the fund earmarked to accomplish the goals as set forth in this blog’s “Purpose” page.
Please email OldSchoolCycling@hotmail.com for more information regarding shuttles or the fund.
Note: The thoughts and activities discussed in this post occurred in April, 2011.
The weather here in the mountains has finally warmed up, and dried out, enough for me to spend the time necessary to dig my old bike out of the storage building. It’s an 18 or more years old Huffy Snakeriver 18-speed mountain bike. If the dust it’s accumulated means anything I may be in for more than I can chew with it. It served me well many years back. Hopefully it can do so again now.
Since the time period referred to in my last post, Rediscovery, I spent a fair amount of what little free time I’ve had reading articles online about cycling, trying to learn about changes that have been made in the sport, what’s new for repairs and maintenance, things like that. I’ve also visited the bicycle sections of some major retailers to see what they have available compared to what I found online. Some of the items there were pretty much the same “old hat” I grew up with, some were things I have never associated with bicycles like LED or Halogen headlamps with batteries that last several days or weeks instead of only a few hours, clear and red strobe lights for the tail light, Kevlar in tires, self-sealing inner tubes, micro computers that tell you not only the bike’s speed, but what the average speed is, the time and date, your altitude, how long you’ve been traveling since your last stop (or the beginning of your trip), etc. Jeez, you’d think some of this stuff was made for the Special Forces bicycle brigade! lol
I’ve also been talking with other hikers who are cyclists when they’re not out hiking somewhere, getting their input, listening to their stories, and wishing I had regained my interest in cycling a long time ago. Each story I hear takes my mind back to a time when I could have been this person talking, telling others about last week’s or last month’s two-wheeled adventures. If you’ve never spent much time on a bicycle it’s hard to understand the freedom it brings, especially in these hard economic times when fuel is ridiculously high, and the feeling you get with the gentle breeze on your skin while cruising along listening to the sounds of nature all around you, something you seldom experience in a car. I know it will be quite a while as booked up as I am now, but I’m having a difficult time waiting to get back into cycling. As excited as I am about it I guess even if I could hit the road tomorrow it’d be too long a wait. 😉