Cycling from Home

For the Lakota, mountains, lakes, rivers, springs, valleys, and woods were all finished beauty.  –Luther Standing Bear, “Land of the Spotted Eagle”

I’m amazed at the beautiful places I can reach cycling from home.  Albuquerque is big enough that it has everything we need, but it is compact enough that you can stretch your legs and reach open space.  From almost any place in the city you can see the mountains, mesas, forests, fields and wetlands that surround us.  We are enveloped in beauty.  All underneath an oceanic sky.  When I hop onto my bicycle I can pedal to everywhere I can see and many hidden places too.  Cycling lends itself to seeking a harmony with landscapes.  Cycling can make you feel like the wind itself.  Your breath and blood and legs flowing round, propelling you forward in a gliding motion.  This blog post includes photos from bicycling journeys I’ve started and ended from our home in Albuquerque.

bending-road-air-suspended-needles

following-where-the-road-leads

Cyclists seek out roads and trails that are not too much of an imposition on the places we travel.  Roads that fit into nature and are a way into the great mystery, where we receive a softening influence.  I like cycling up roads that climb.  It slows my speed down and my perceptions open to the world around me.  I see birds soaring, leaves drifting down, sunlight splashing through the trees’ bare branches making crosshatched shadows on the ground.  With my mind open and the air quiet and still, life reverberates unbounded.  The particulars of the day come forward and kindle a sense of mystery and contemplation of the great whole.

la-luz-today

landscape-1

Ecologists, biologists and others predict the effect of our actions on the living world, including ourselves.  Cycling for me provides a poetry of motion and personal experience that compliments rational understanding.  Cycling outside deepens the connections I feel for the natural world.  I sally forth with humility, and finding affinity, I recover more of myself.  There is no way I can dominate the landscape, but I can flow with it and feel its hospitality.  Fear and uneasiness falls away.  We are nature’s head and heart combined.

standing-beauty

high

Cycling has worked well for me as a way to accommodate myself to the environment, and integrate information into my consciousness with direct experience.  It is one thing to read the weather forecast, and completely another to feel it on your skin.  One thing to read a description of a mountain range, or even look at it on Google Earth or a map, and all together different to explore the mountain and discover what’s there for yourself.  It’s never too late to start cycling from home and experiencing the living library surrounding us, the human community and natural landscapes intertwined in a beautiful dance, discovering childlike wonder again, sensing joy anew.  If we listen to our curiosity and courage bubbling up like laughter, we can experience synchronicity in discovery.  When I return home I find myself appreciating things more.  There is a beauty we can feel and be a part of.

two-track

crest-curve

curving-trees

Cycling is not the only way to open our perceptions and be in touch with the greater world, but it is one path.  In this era of transitioning to a more sustainable society, it’s challenging to participate in mainstream activities and not be contributing to the problems of our times.  We fly to conferences and meetings, and even my cycling requires car driving from time to time to go to events and races.  My philosophy is to make it worthwhile and be aware of what I’m doing, while trying to pay attention to the little things we can do to make a difference.  Cycling from home makes me feel a wonderful congruity with the world.  I go with a beginner’s mind out into the unknown, which brings me closer, one step closer, to being happy living right here at home.

riding-dirt-roads

 

The Cycling Life in Japan

received an email from my friend Stephen who recently moved from Albuquerque to Japan.  He said I could post.  Thanks Stephen!
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We leave this weekend for a cycling tour of the Shimanami Kaido:

It is a 70km route spanning eight islands across the Seto Inland Sea. Kyoko and I will take the way out together over two days, and then I’ll ride back on the 3rd day while she and her father take ferries back to the start. We’re hoping for good weather.
I have been cycling nearly daily and should have around 6,000km this year, which is not bad considering the down time for the move, and travels. I joined a Yokohama cycling club with around 120 members from 12 years old to mid-70s (which puts me number 3 in upper age at 67). They have rides every weekend and I usually join them once or twice a month. Earlier this month there was a vintage bicycle ride in Chiba on the other side of the bay from us, so I took the De Rosa out for a 60km route. There is a L’Eroica event in May that I hope to join, too.
stephens-ride

Taking the High Road with Team CSP-SBI

2016 has been a big year for us.  The highlight for me was when our new cycling team, Team CSP-SBI, won the inaugural USA Cycling National Hill Climb Championships in the master’s men 40-49 category at Pikes Peak in Colorado this July.  I love climbing mountains on the bike, but there’s never been a national event for that until this year.  The best things in life are not necessarily reaching your dreams, but having an experience that fulfills something beyond what you dreamed was possible.

the-start

and-were-off

2016 Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb / USA Cycling Hill Climb National Championships

crossing the line above 14,000′ at the 2016 Broadmoor Pikes Peak USA Cycling Hill Climb National Championships

As any competitive person knows, you appreciate achievements fully, especially because we received a lot of help.  But we’re always thinking about what’s next, what’s out there in those vistas on the distant horizon.  Part of sensing the moment is seeing it in the stream of our larger life journey.  Every step we take in life satisfies us enough to propel us forward.  It’s nice when your goals have to do with getting the most out of yourself and performing better to honor relationships and opportunities.  Doing good is our humble way of saying thank you.

 

a-tight-fit

in-the-air

I have a lot people to say thank you to.  I’m thanking you for your support, and sticking with me when I failed.  Here it goes.
David Sandusky for leading me into the American West, and sharing some crazy bike trips on horse trails in the mountains.
Michael Hernandez, the Squadra training group (each one of you!), and the Reno Wheelmen for teaching me more on the joy of cycling.
Drew Miller for climbing mountains.  I was inspired by seeing him race in 2004.  We became teammates later and shared good rides.
Jim Silverman, who represents everything that is best about the cycling scene in Flagstaff.   Jim mentored me by example.
Doug Loveday for being the entrepreneur behind Grand Canyon Racing, creating opportunities to race as a team, and being a great ambassador.
Joe Shannon for his passion for cycling and the environment, starting a movement in Flagstaff, getting me racing again, and sharing the love.
The faculty and students of SESES at Northern Arizona University.  How they love exploring outdoors.  Inspiring.
Brian Lemke and the White Mountain Road Club, for cycling tradition, commitment and community at an entirely new level.
Chris Abbott and Heather Farrell in Albuquerque, and the best of cycling, health and wellness they exemplify here.  Community excellence.
All my teammates at Team CSP-SBI.  Without you this would not be possible.
Mai Wakisaka for recognizing how cycling expresses us, and sharing the bike life together.  What good fun!

It’s impossible to single out all the energy you pick up from cycling with people.  Going through pressing circumstances together–a hard workout, a hail storm, a race–reveals character.  Witnessing so much character from common people riding bikes has uplifted my sense of humanity.  We have gobs of character.

post-race

You get the idea.  Cycling is a social thing!  And it reveals the web of life.  The sport largely runs on volunteer enthusiasm, sacrifice, love and selfless commitment.  But that’s not enough.  Success requires structure and support.  This year Team CSP-SBI was fortunate to have sponsors that literally made my cycling possible.  Thank You Sponsors.

Conservation Science Partners  http://www.csp-inc.org/
Specialized Bicycles  https://www.specialized.com/us/en/
Landscape Conservation Initiative  http://nau.edu/lci/
Live Oak Associates, Inc. http://www.loainc.com/
Congratulations on the win Team CSP-SBI.  Onward.

Cycling in the National Parks

The Tour of Utah starts in Zion National Park this August to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial, and to promote cycling as a healthy way of recreating outdoors.  This race draws top cyclists from around the world.  In 700 plus miles over seven stages, the race highlights  Utah’s unique heritage, challenging terrain, beautiful cultures and stunning landscapes.

In this one minute spotlight of Stage One you may have noticed the peloton (the group of cyclists) is crossing the road centerline.  This is because the road is closed to public traffic for the racers’ safety.  This is the case with most professional races.  In amateur races roads usually remain open to the public and cyclists use the right lane.   Protection is provided with a rolling enclosure (escort vehicles in front and behind), and intersections are controlled by traffic police while the racers pass through.

Cycling is a great way for Americans to appreciate our national heritage while preserving the integrity of the landscape.   Cycling is a solution for “NPS’s dual mission–to prevent ecological injury to parks while simultaneously promoting tourism” (Brinkley, Rightful Heritage).  It is exciting to see a cycling event highlighting features that make America unique, and showcasing our cultural identity as a healthy people inspired by our lands.  Cycling is becoming as iconic to the American identity as Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and the colorful canyons of Zion.

Resources–
https://www.tourofutah.com/
David Brinkley, Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America
http://www.nationalparks.org/our-work/celebrating-100-years-service