Pedaling for Peace

On April 15, 2012 I started riding my bicycle cross-country from Jacksonville, Florida in voluntary support of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) and the work of author and Peace Leadership Director for the NAPF, Paul K. Chappell. By July 4th, I had covered over 1300 miles to just west of Luling, Texas where a major mechanical failure brought this first stage of my cross-country journey to an end. After storing my bicycle and trailer with my aunt and uncle in Weatherford, Texas, I flew from Dallas to Santa Barbara, California to attend the NAPF First Annual Peace Leadership Summer Workshop. I then lived and worked in Santa Barbara for several more months before I returned to Jacksonville and sold off the rest of my possessions that I could to help fund a continuation of my journey. Starting June 8, 2013 and ending August 9, 2013, I rode from Weatherford, through 400 miles of the central Texas hill country, including Austin, Texas, back to Luling. It was at this point that a friend of mine invited me to work for a brief period in Pennsylvania before flying me back to Santa Barbara where I continued volunteering for the NAPF as well as for the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition. As of August 9th, 2014 I began"Stage III" of my cross-country adventure, this time heading south from Santa Barbara to San Diego and then east to El Paso, TX. It was there that illness, winter weather, and diminishing resources brought that leg of my journey to an end. After staying with another friend in Columbus, GA for several months, I moved "back home" to Kentucky to stay with my dad for a while and build a better "resource base" for future endeavors including review and further tracking and primitive survival skills training at Tom Brown, Jr's Tracker School , and a possible longer tour of the east coast, northern tier, and north west coast back down to Santa Barbara, CA.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Being on the Bike is Good!

In the past week I have had three major outings on my bicycle. The first took me through relatively familiar territory; i.e. places I had driven before - Monticello Avenue to The College of William and Mary, and then through parts of Colonial Williamsburg. It was the first time I've been on my bicycle since this past winter. It was about 13 miles for that trip, in about an hour and fifteen minutes. The second trip was down south to the Colonial National Historic Parkway. I didn't know until I got there that it would be a concrete and river rock road surface, which was a little rough, but not as bad as it might have been since my bicycle is set-up with "cross" tires; i.e. usable for rougher terrain, but smooth enough for the road as well. I think if I had been on a skinny-tired road bike it would have been much more difficult riding. That second trip ended up being a little over 20 miles. I took lots of breaks along the way, as I was traveling through several historical sites in and around Jamestown. Altogether that was a little over two hours of riding. For these two rides I carried very little with me, just trying to get used to being on the bicycle again.

For today's ride, I took a west and then northern route along News Road and then Centerville Road to Richmond Road. This is a nice area to ride as they have quite a few bike lanes and there was one along Centerville Road. I still need to do some research on which roads I am officially allowed to be on. I'm thinking the shape of the numbered sign is an indicator, but I haven't pinned anything down yet.

For the record, I've always been a street rider, so even if there is a "path" off the road, or a side-walk, I stay on the road. I actually feel safer there as it is more consistent and people can see you better there then they will when you are crossing their path 10 feet from the road (as with a sidewalk crossing an intersection). On sidewalks, you also have to worry about traffic approaching the main road from the right and intersecting the crosswalk area without even realizing it, thus blocking any traffic headed down the path. Apart from that, I also whistle in high, short bursts whenever I see a vehicle approaching from the right, and I keep whistling until I make eye contact with the driver so I know for sure that they have seen (and heard) me coming. This usually keeps them from "sticking their nose" (i.e. the "nose" of their car) into my "riding zone" - i.e. the "white line" right on the edge of the road.

The benefit of being on my bicycle right now, and still having a "home to go home to", is that I have lots of time to continue to think through everything that I need to be considering as I work my way closer to "take off." As I said in my previous blog, my intention is to add weight to my bicycle gradually. As I have tested myself just with the bicycle on some of the relatively modest hills around here, I am thinking it may not be a bad idea to go ahead and get new gearing; i.e. gearing the bike as low as possible, because if it is hard at all right now, it is going to be much, much, harder when I get all my gear loaded. My whole approach right now is to keep my cadence, i.e. my "revolutions per minute" as high as possible because this is the most efficient use of my energy and it will protect my knees and other joints which could be harmed if I were straining too much. That kind of peddaling means lower gears. I may be peddaling really fast and barely moving forward, but the point is I will still be Moving Forward (or upward in the case of hills).

Back to today's ride. I have decided to stop at a local "Food For Thought" restaurant in the middle of my ride. And, as I have been thinking (but failed to act on today), I suspect the guests might have appreciated not having to look at my lycra clad hips and somewhat scraggly legs, and therefore I probably "should" have brought along a pair of "Bell's Baggy Bottoms" to cover-up a little before going in. I will be sure and do that next time! : )

Otherwise, I'm trying out my Really Fancy riding kit today from Revolution Cycles: Gore Bib shorts (i.e. with shoulder straps and no waistband), my Gore undershirt that is especially designed for high performance "wicking" of perspiration, under a regular Revolution Cycles logo adorned riding jersey. I'm also trying out my "DZ Nuts Bliss" chamois cream...and, I have to say, I think I Like It! : )) (Also of note: The tank shorts have zippers along the sides that allow me to drop the shorts without having to pull of the should straps. : ))

Finally, I am writing to you having linked up with the free WiFi and Food for Thought (the service at the house has not been working so well this morning). All-in-all, I'm kind of doing what I had in mind to do, in terms of riding my bicycle and using WiFi where available. I may even try to find the Williamsburg Library this coming week and see what they have to offer. For now's time to eat! : ))

(Oh, and one other observation of note: There are Pancake Houses ALL OVER Williamsburg. I guess, between the college students and the retirees, the economy can support a whole bunch of them. It really is pretty funny though, to see one every few blocks! Makes me think they should call this the "Pancake Belt"! : ))

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