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#330daysofbiking Days 88 & 89: independence day cycling

Coolidge Park celebration - July 3

Happy Independence Day :D.  (You knew there would be a lot of photos for this one, didn’t you…?)

On Saturday (Day 88), we decided to head into Chattanooga for the big bash in Coolidge park.  Packed picnic paraphernalia up in the Xtracycles, and Mason and I rode the Riverwalk into downtown.  A couple of the boys had gone into the city earlier in the day, and Ross was going to be coming from work later in the afternoon with Mark, so it ended up being just Mason and I doing the riding.  And hauling all of the “stuff”. 😉 We had a great ride along the river, amazingly uncrowded for a Saturday.

Day 88 - picnic paraphernalia in the Xtracycles, along the Riverwalk

We all met up at Coolidge Park for a great picnic, concert and fireworks.  Our friend Sarah was playing with the Chattanooga Symphony in the park, which was a real treat for us, and her husband Jeff came over and joined us on the lawn while she was playing.  Good times, good food and conversation, plenty of silliness … and just great to be all together on a wonderful summer evening in the park.

the boys, the bikes, the picnic

fireworks and the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge

fireworks and the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge

Day 89: Sunday was a relaxing day at home.  A little swimming, a little biking, dinner out with boys and girlfriends, fireworks all over the nearby farms and neighborhoods (yes, it’s legal in TN).  Mark and I had a nice ride together in the early evening, passing church picnics and people having BBQ’s.  Came home to sit out on the back porch, watching fireworks, listening to music.  The boys had a game of Koob going out on the lawn. Good times. 😀 Coolidge Park was a lot of fun, but today it was just nice to be away from the crowds, hanging out with the boys and friends.  Perfect summer.

tonight's ride - away from the crowds

fireworks in the field - happy Independence Day 😀

#330daysofbiking Day 59: grateful

good night, bike

Once again, the best opportunity to ride was in the evening.  The sun was setting over my next door neighbor’s hilly field, and I just ” saw” my bike on the crest.

Today was a very fine day … not so much the biking (although it was lovely), but being embraced by some like-minded friends.  Inspiring exchanges with some great people in the cycling community – people who have such a great positive outlook on the cycling lifestyle, sharing the joy, advocating through enthusiasm … all of the stuff I love and admire and strive to be a part of in my own small way.

My friend Darryl at LovingtheBike invited me to be a part of the conversation – with a gracious mention in his June Look Who’s Loving the Bike page today, in the company of some other amazing cyclists and bloggers, including Ryan Van Duzer and his cross-country journey on a 3-speed (this is a must-watch video). 😀

I am especially enthusiastic about what Darryl is doing at LovingtheBike – there is something for everybody, and the content is always delivered in a positive, fun (and sometimes funny) way. One of my favorite posts is The Cyclist’s Wife … it is perfect!  Mostly, his site captures his attitude and excitement about cycling, his love of life and his family – and is such a great platform for spreading The Love.  I’m a fan – I hope you are too.   (And thanks again, Darryl, for letting me join in the fun!)

The other bike-y stuff of my day …. did some initial experimenting with the new boat and the Xtracycle.  Have to confess, this is looking a little sketchy.  The depth/shape of the hull on the new boat is fairly different from our old beater boat, and although I managed to get it loaded and pedal a short distance, I’m not convinced I have the pedal- and front tire clearance I need to safely take her out on the road. The X can haul virtually anything … and I’m not ready to give it up, but some additional adjustments may be called for.

Oh well.  Tomorrow is almost here.  Still loving the bike … with or without the kayak on board.

Xtracycle + kayak = bikayak

loving the ... bikayak(?)

#330daysofbiking Day 49: missed one

father and son

This should have been Day 50 … but yesterday I missed.  Didn’t ride.  😛

Yesterday was the big end-of-school-year/beginning-of-summer/graduating-kids bash at our house.  The big group of friends … volleyball, swimming, ultimate frisbee, barbeque, bonfire and The Night Shines concert in the barn.  A lot of these kids have become like family over the past few years, and it was great to just kick back and have some fun.  It turned into a rather late night around the bonfire; the music and conversation didn’t want to end.

assortment of party snapshots

Today, gratefully, the post-party clean-up was taken care of by Mark (mostly) and the boys.  Spent the rest of the day relaxing and unwinding, but got out for a ride with Mason and Mark in the afternoon.  It was a beautiful day, but the temperatures are really heating up.  Definitely feels like summer.  It’s the last weekend riding opportunity with Mason for the next month or so – on Friday he returns to APSU for five weeks to work at the TN Governor’s School for Computational Physics. Will be looking forward to getting him back in July, and more riding together…

shadow play

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#330daysofbiking Day 40: the things we find

graduation "cap"

Tonight was Dillon’s baccalaureate; tomorrow is graduation.  Since the baccalaureate was being held  just up the road from our house, he decided to pack up his cap and gown and ride there on the Big Dummy.  With his tassel on his helmet. I think he was tempted to ride with his gown on as well, but decided it would be too much flap-age. 😉

off to the baccalaureate...

It’s wonderful to see your children finding their place in the world.  People will often ask me if I am sad to see the kids head off to college, and I never think “sad” is the correct adjective.  I will miss having them close, seeing them every day, no doubt.  But the feelings of excitement and gratification to see them moving forward, celebrating their successes, discovering themselves, finding and pursuing their passions … it all eclipses anything approaching “sadness”.

I rode by myself earlier today; Mason wanted a day off.  I think my mind was pre-occupied once again, and my “eyes” felt broken – I had a hard time finding anything to shoot, camera-wise.

The internet can be a crazy place sometimes.  I received an email from a long-lost and very dear friend – someone I had worked with nearly 30 years ago, at a now-extinct software company – who had amazingly, and randomly, come across my blog.  He wrote,

I have been trying to work out the logistics for driving the hybrid less and riding or jogging to work more. Checking out blogs of the like minded Sunday morning I found yours and then I found you.  I’ve heard about this phenomena. An event triggers a flashback and suddenly a person finds himself transported to an earlier time.

And I think that is exactly where my mind was today when I was riding.  Back then, when we worked together and became close friends, I remember him being quite the passionate cyclist – at a time in my life when I wasn’t.  I remember once, while riding, he was hit by a car – badly enough to break his leg.  If I ever imagined someone who would be likely to attempt a cross-continental ride, it would have been him – he was just that kind of person.

Although it can be quite incredible, and even a little unsettling, to be “found” after so many years, it was also pretty wonderful – and brought back some very fond memories.  Youth, energy, office pranks, friends, the city of Chicago …   I had always expected him to go on and pursue his talent in the graphic arts; instead, he has found his place in the world and established a successful non-profit agency serving autistic children and adults in South Carolina.  He still rides his bike.  When needing to drive, he and his wife both drive hybrid cars.  I think he is also working on a windmill farm project in Texas(?) … And as he penned online, “Global Warming. I fixed it.  By accident. You’re welcome.” Which is exactly the type of thing I would expect him to say – and probably why we became such fast friends back then.

So … everyone is finding their way in the world.  It’s a good feeling.  Now if I could just find my eyes….

the only thing I found to shoot on today's ride; evening primroses(?) by the side of the road