“It would be naive to think that the problems plaguing mankind today can be solved with means and methods which were applied or seemed to work in the past.” – Mikhail Gorbachev
Posts Tagged With: bicycle
“Chaotic action is preferable to orderly inaction.” – Will Rogers
“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
“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
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” – Winston Churchill
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” – Henry David Thoreau
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).
An Event Calendar has been created as promised and placed on its own page. Just click on the”Event Calendar” tab at the top of the page, or the “Blogroll” link in the right hand side-bar.
The next event will be a cycling trip from the Catamount Travel Center (4776 Little Savannah Road- 828.293.0700 – Across from Western Carolina University) in Cullowhee, NC to the Wal-Mart Super Center in Sylva, NC. The trip will begin between 1:00 and 1:30pm on Sunday, January 22, 2012, weather permitting. Everyone interested in cycling and/or our cause is invited to attend, however please contact us by email [OldSchoolCycling at Yahoo dot Com] not later than 3:00pm EST on Saturday, January 21, 2012 to verify the start-time and to let us know you’re coming so we don’t leave without you if you plan to participate in this ride. The route, not counting any possible side trips, is a little over 4 miles.
It’s a very rainy day here, perfect for daydreaming and reminiscing. There’s inside work to be done, however a link to a several week old MSN news article about an accident at an airport near McKinney, TX [history of McKinney] led me to a Google Maps search for its location since it is one I’m not familiar with. I grew up in that area but “things” have changed considerably since I lived there. It’s no wonder I’m not familiar with the airport mentioned, it was farmland when I cruised around those parts.
This search started me thinking about the tiny community where I spent a substantial portion of my youth, the little town of Altoga, located in the gentle rolling hills of northeast Texas, only a few miles from the airport mentioned in the news article.
When I was there the community consisted of 2 general stores – 1 in operation and 1 closed long ago (it is my understanding the closed one also housed/served as both a bank and a pharmacy), a doctor, a church building, a cemetery where several relatives I never knew are buried plus one I knew very well back in the day, an old yellow school bus where some of the senior residents played checkers to wile away their time, a handful of houses, and thousands of acres of farmland. I’m told there was also a public school which I don’t recall ever seeing, and several other businesses.
The Ray family, who also has family ties to Altoga, was generous enough to allow me to post a couple of pictures of the Altoga high school class from several decades ago. One is posted here and the other can be found on my Old School Cycling Facebook page along with several other article-related photos. Unfortunately I have been unable to locate any photos of the school building itself. Looking at this photo made me think… the youngest person in this photo would now be around 85 years old. That’s amazing! I can’t even begin to imagine the memories they would have of their youth. How the world has changed since that time.
For quite a few years the closed store still had a variety of items on its shelves, as well as a very heavily built “manual-style” cash register that still worked, and a rusted pot belly stove. Memory tells me the cash register was gold-colored, but it was probably brass or something similar. The picture here is exactly what I remember the register looking like. The store also had a couple of places in the back where you could sneak in if you were small enough, I was, or daring enough, ditto, to play with the cash register while imagining you were selling the dusty old bottles and boxes of goods to imaginary customers. I was sorely disappointed the day I found the access had been secured, and really crushed when I looked through a window some time later and saw most of the “play things” and the cash register had been removed. I don’t know if these things were stolen or taken away by whoever owned the property, but those are two days I’ll always remember.
My dad lived in Altoga as a youth, his girlfriend who later became his wife, lived on the far side of McKinney near Celina. His nickname at the time was “daddy-long-legs”. Seems appropriate since he stood about 6’6″ tall. If the stories he used to tell me about his days there were true, and I do believe they were, he was quite the rascal and I’m a chip off the old block. lol I’m particularly fond of one involving him, a neighbor and friend called “Poley”, a Model-A Ford truck (probably similar to the one pictured on my Old School Cycling Facebook page), a rope, and an outhouse. Need I say more? For those who are unfamiliar with the term “outhouse”… it’s a wooden (usually) outdoor restroom with no running water and only one or two seats.
There was also one about an old abandoned house used as sort-of a community theater, a drunk, and a Cold 45… the Peacemaker revolver, not the drink. Seems my dad “shot” the drunk during a performance he (my dad) was in. Actually the drunk just thought he’d been shot, but it was enough to temporarily sober him up. I guess his getting hung up in a barbed wire fence didn’t hurt the sobering up process any either. I made my own memories with that house in the mid to late 70’s. You might call it a haunting experience. I also remember my dad telling me about a tornado that hit just outside the nearby town of Blue Ridge causing substantial damage and killing almost an entire family of 9 or 10 members, and how the citizens of Altoga went to not only feed but to help the affected neighboring residents. They rebuilt a few houses and a couple of barns, re-strung barbed wire fences, and cleaned up debris, all for no pay of course, because it was the thing to do. That was a time when communities helped other communities, and neighbors helped neighbors.
One of her stories was about the time a neighbor hired some workers to bring in their crops. One of the workers decided he’d come into her house and “take advantage” of the women who lived there. Mama Sis was only in her early teens when she shot him dead with a Colt Navy pistol, a pistol she showed me, and kept, until the day she died despite my continued efforts to persuade her to let me buy it. She said it had belonged to her father during the Civil War and she could not part with it. Her family was terrified about the repercussions they were sure she would receive for the shooting, but after the sheriff heard the story he told them the worker had been trouble since he began working in the county, he believed the women’s story, and that nobody would cause any problems over her actions. I can’t imagine the relief they must have felt. Also, knowing Mama Sis, she had to have been really upset over taking a human life.
I’m going to shift gears here, then continue these recollections in another post. While I was looking up the information on the airport that started all these memories flowing I noticed a link to an announcement of a cycling trip that took place in mid 2011. It took cyclists through the rural areas mentioned above, then into McKinney. While reading that announcement I found myself wishing I had somehow known about the event and would have been able to participate. It would have been great fun to experience. Even with all the times I was in Altoga I never once rode a bicycle there. What was wrong with me? I rode almost everywhere else! Oh well, that’s in the past. What I do with the future is up to me. Hope some of you will be able to join me for some of my upcoming cycling adventures. I’ll be setting up a list of rides and locations before long so please check back for that occasionally.
Please check out the full-size pictures, and some additional ones, on the Old School Cycling Facebook page. I am also in the process of moving the pics from the old Facebook page that never worked properly to the new one as time permits, so please check back periodically for those.
In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.
The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”
The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. The former generation did not care enough to save our environment.”
He was right, that generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.
Back then, they returned their milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store.
The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.
But they didn’t have the green thing back in that customer’s day.
In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building.
They walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.
But she was right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day.
Back then, they washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the throw-away kind.
They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts – wind and solar power really did dry the clothes.
Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
But that old lady is right, they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.
Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house, not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief, not a screen the size of the state of Montana.
In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for you.
When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.
Back then, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
But she’s right, they didn’t have the green thing back then.
They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water.
They refilled their writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But they didn’t have the green thing back then.
Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service.
They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.
And they didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.
But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful the old folks were just because they didn’t have the green thing back then?