Sunday, March 28, 2021

Simplifying, Eliminating Negativity, and Riding the Dahon

Lately, the Dahon Boardwalk has become my main ride as we're experiencing more spring-like weather. The small-wheeled wonder is just plain easy to ride, easy to maintain, and perfect for 90% of the flattish miles I'm currently riding after work and on weekends. Until I commute daily to the office and back, requiring more luggage capacity, I'm thankful every day that I bought this spritely folder.

I'm so happy that March has brought the sun! It may be chilly - except for the current 60s F stretch - but the blessed sunshine and geese honking overhead are signs of Spring. With a newly built home, we're starting fresh with landscaping. But for the first spring in a long time I don't feel tied to the land. A few bulbs will emerge, that I put in the ground last year. That's enough for now. I may plant a small rhododendron - I love rhoddies - but I feel liberated from trying to maintain a weed-free garden plot.

A year into the pandemic has taught me what's important. 

  • Family is number one. And..there's nothing like difficulties to illuminate siblings who are willing to help and those who run the other way.
  • Lean on friends for support. Social distancing means we can't hug, but the main thread of friendship carries on. 
  • Being outside, every day, is necessary for mental and physical health. 
  • This is the time to purge negativity: delete blog links, news items, eradicate books, and other sources that are not positive influences in my life. I keep up with daily headlines, but that's about all I can endure. 
  • I cannot be the person who saves the world, so-to-speak. I lack boundless energy like some friends/acquaintances. My mental health rests on helping my family and close friends, interspersed with restful, quiet moments, and of course, a bike ride to clear the mind.
  • Regular yoga sessions have helped improve my physical presence. There's no stopping me now!

Compared with how I felt last April, it has taken quite a while to live day to day long-term, being a traveler at heart, but somehow over the course of a year I have arrived in a contented state of mind - some of that has to do with finding employment in the bicycle industry (more on that to come!). Pre-pandemic, I had equated stagnation with non-learning. If I wasn't planning a yearly vacation, or two - I wasn't visiting new places, experiencing different cultures, trails, etc. - I felt like I wasn't growing as a person. I miss traveling, for sure, but it's not integral to my happiness. I can evolve in other ways. like pouring my energy into creative pursuits, whether that's designing a deck, constructing bike bags, sewing mittens, etc. I recently had someone build a shoe bench, that I stained, and I'm currently in the process of creating a top cushion. 

Thrown into upheaval against our will and not by choice, certainly had it's drawbacks, of course. But progress can also be defined by finding the root of happiness. And, even though there is hope on the horizon, I'm refraining from planning a 2021 vacation.

What's one thing that you've learned over the past year?

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Bike Blog Love - 9th Edition and Various Thoughts about Blogs

bike blog love and thoughts
Exploring and thinking miles, 2020-21.

I have cycling friends all over the world! How cool is that?

Reading blogs during the pandemic has become especially meaningful to me, a connection with like-minded souls who are out exploring, clearing confused minds in a what-comes-next world. I have not taken this community lightly. I've appreciated everyone's thoughts about coping during the pandemic, because, surely, it has helped not only me but others across the Internet.

Waning Interest in blogs

It's not surprising the lack of interest in writing blogs, and thus, by extension, readership has fallen. Instant gratification and connection can come from abbreviated social media sources that certainly satisfies instant connection. Who knows what the longevity of the blog format will be? In a nutshell, I think of bloggers as writers, folks with a passion who enjoy the process of explanation and sharing. It's nearly impossible to do that on Instagram, though some have tried. Whatever the long-term outcome of the blogging format, we will adapt, as 2020 has proven in other aspects of our lives.

Getting back to title of this blog. At the end of this post you'll find the 9th and probably final blog suggestions (for obvious reasons) if you prefer to skip ahead.

But first, I have to ask:

For what reasons are you drawn to particular blogs?

I have been a regular reader of some blogs (the ones that survived anyway). There are key ingredients that make me a regular follower.

  • Sticking with blog title or theme - If I'm following a bicycle blog, I want to hear about bikes or bike-related content. Occasional diversions accepted!
  • Glimpse into personal life for context - Brief references to personal circumstances makes for better reader understanding. Personal histories, work life, family, climate, etc. affect how we see the world. 
  • Writing style - Well thought out content goes a long ways. I like to see at least one photo to anchor each blog post. I can think of only one blog over the past ten years that didn't need photos - exceptional writing painted wonderful pictures!
  • Regular posting - Regular blog posts are relative. Once a month, twice a month, once every six months. There are prolific writers too! I shy away from reading daily posts (I check in once a week), but that doesn't mean they're not worth my interest. It's your blog and you do what makes you happy! 
  • Natural curiosity about things - I enjoy blogs where people challenge themselves, show passion, are true to themselves, admit failure, always learning and striving, ultimately growing as a human.

Without further ado, here are a few blogs that have appealed to me:

It's ALL An Adventure

A long haul driver who spends overnights on the road, the author recounts his layover excursions in new places. He is an adventurer, sometimes squeezing in long mileage starting from his home to visit family. 

Out and About on the Bicycles!

A retired couple living in Colorado Springs enjoys daily outings on the region's bike trails. They have owned various styles of bikes over the years and are currently contemplating yet another switch.


Splitting time between Texas and Washington State, the author espouses on anything from bike infrastructure etiquette to recent interesting stats on disappearing blog interest.