“You cannot dream yourself into a character: you must hammer and forge yourself into one.” – Henry David Thoreau
“Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.” – Ronald Reagan
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. 🙂
“I loved words. I love to sing them and speak them and even now, I must admit, I have fallen into the joy of writing them.” – Anne Rice
“Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you.” – Marsha Norman
“Nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose – a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.” – Mary Shelley
Note: This post will also become a permanent page for future reference.
I’ve been asked several times how people can help me with this project, so here’s a partial listing of needs. As time goes on I’m sure these will change so I’ll let you know what is no longer needed, and what may have a particularly urgent need, as things develop. For information regarding where/how to send anything on (or off) this list please email me at OldSchoolCycling@hotmail.com.
First and Foremost – Let others know about this project, particularly those who may benefit from it. Without assistance from readers and/or other people participating in the rides no headway will be made. As stated in my “Purpose” post, this project is intended to build stamina and help overcome obstacles, both physical and mental, created by Prostate Cancer and/or its treatment.
Other things needed, in no particular order at this time, are as follows:
Bicycles – Gently used or new with at least 10 speeds. We’ll normally be riding in hilly terrain so a single speed bike would prove difficult, if not impossible for many people, to peddle up long hills. Others who want to participate in this project’s rides are not always financially able to afford a bicycle, therefore like the group in Houston, TX (Tour de Hood) I need to be able to provide a bicycle for them to use so they are not left out. The bikes don’t have to be state-of-the-art, just serviceable.
Bicycle Upkeep and Maintenance Items – Chain repair tools and lubricant, inner tubes, tires, pumps and/or compressed gas inflators, lighting, reflectors, etc. Anything that will aid in keeping a bike usable and operating safely.
Helmets – Safety is always a high priority for anyone engaged in cycling. In many areas the use of a helmet is required by law.
Mirrors – Either handlebar or helmet mounted. As stated in my “Inaugural Ride” post, I learned quickly this is a much-needed safety item, not just a luxury.
Safety Vest or Shirt – Anything hunter orange or that weird, highly visible, fire engine lime color with reflective strips will work. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but should be able to fit most people. My safety vest is actually intended for construction and/or roadside workers and came from Home Depot. It’s light, cool, and can be seen very well from a distance. Bike shops sell safety shirts, both long and short sleeve, intended to be worn by cyclists.
Food – Single serving snacks that do not require refrigeration would probably be best, however MRE’s would be great also. Most grocery stores have foil pack (not canned) tuna, chicken, ham etc with crackers and school lunch sized fruit cups. Anything along this line would be helpful. So would small jars of Peanut butter and a box of crackers or miniature loaf of bread. Yes, I’ll be sure nobody with a Peanut allergy is exposed to this. Some trips will require at least a snack break, others a meal. If the item(s) donated should be warmed before eating then please also include a water activated heater (such as an MRE heater) or compact stove with fuel source. When not relying on MRE’s I carry an Esbit folding stove and metal cup. The stove is compact, foldable, and uses little tablets as it’s heat source.
Water or Juice – It goes without saying that fluids on a ride of any decent length are a necessity. Bottled water, a Gatorade-like product, and/or fruit juice (that doesn’t need refrigeration) would be great. If you would like to send something like hot cocoa mix, instant coffee, etc. please include a convenient way for riders to heat it as mentioned above.
First-Aid Kits – Anything from a minor cut or scrape to a broken bone can happen during a cycling trip. Small, pocket-size kits are probably needed most, however during longer trips the rides will normally be “chased” by a support vehicle, so larger kits would also come in handy.
Funding – For some people sending money instead of goods is much easier and more convenient, either as one-time or monthly donation(s). My attorney advised me to tell you this is not (yet) a charitable organization according to IRS standards. This effort (see Purpose) is my personal attempt to provide assistance and moral support to those afflicted by prostate cancer and/or the results of same, so your donation may not be tax-deductible. Should you decide to help in this way it would enable me to purchase the items which have not been donated so I can pursue the goal(s) stated in this blog and/or buy fuel for transportation to/from ride area(s).
Note: The thoughts and activities discussed in this post occurred in July, 2011
A while back I watched a repeat of Texas Country Reporter on RFD TV. This episode included an interesting segment titled “Tour de Hood” where they featured a cycling group in Houston, TX that is open to anyone and everyone who wishes to spend a weekend morning cycling. They cycle ride around a different neighborhood each week for exercise and companionship. Simple, huh? On the surface it is, but the purpose, mission, and drive for this featured activity goes much deeper.
This is an unselfish endeavor. They operate only from donations. When donations are slow in arriving activities are paid for out of the organizers own pocket(s). What makes this even more amazing is that those participating do not have to bring anything, or do anything special, other than show up! Tour de Hood supplies everything to those who need this generous helping hand. No bike? No problem, it’s supplied, as is the water, food (fruit for health), and bicycle helmets. They even organize group camping trips with all necessary items, other than clothing, supplied if necessary. The camping trips take riders to various spots in Texas and range from one to three nights. Both of these activities are also planned for readers of this blog. Hopefully we will eventually be able to supply some, if not all, of the necessary items to those who would otherwise be unable to participate.
Originally the organizer of Tour de Hood, Dr. Veon McReynolds, wanted to promote healthy living. His premise was that a person doesn’t have to constantly visit a gym, but can instead make healthy living choices such as taking a weekly bike ride. This weekly activity has gradually evolved into something people from all backgrounds, ages, races, and family units can do together for a leisurely historical and beautiful ride around the neighborhoods, or “hoods” of Houston. Dr. McReynolds feels that these things are missed by most of us in this fast-paced world, much like the personal feelings I described in my Rediscovery post. Taking a bicycle ride, even a short one, can put us back in touch with these things while improving our health and over all outlook on life so why aren’t more people doing this?
If you would like to view the episode referred to above you may do so on YouTube by going to – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKCcYQQQMTo .
The information contained in this televised report really touched me. I had been searching for a way to do something for cancer victims, more specifically prostate cancer survivors such as myself, but couldn’t come up with any viable ideas. This episode provided me with the idea, and pathway, I had been searching for… promote awareness of this disease and help its victims by engaging in a healthy activity, cycling. [See Purpose] Cycling is an activity that serves to re-build the strength and stamina lost during the fight of, and recovery from, a dreaded disease while giving participants an opportunity to get their minds off fears and concerns by enjoying the sights and sounds always around them. This idea, Old School Cycling, thanks to Dr. McReynolds and Texas Country Reporter, was born! 😀 Please take a minute to visit their respective sites and either “like”, tweet, or email them a note of thanks.