The Annual New Year’s Day (Night) Ride!

Tonight I got out late for my annual New Year’s Day ride! After a day of hanging out with my kids, and going to my parents’ house for dinner, I felt my opportunity of sticking to my annual ride was fading quickly. But luckily, every year at this time, I feel a renewed sense of energy to get out more often as a silent resolution.

Getting home at 9pm, I knew I only had a limited amount of energy left once the kids were in bed…

New_years_rideLate last winter, after a dismal season of riding due to the shorter days, I decided that instead of getting a monthly gym membership and sitting on a spin bike for a couple of months quietly crying inside my head; I would invest in a good quality night light for my helmet…rock-drops

Many of my friends consider me a bit nuts for heading out for rides in the dark, by myself in the woods, while listening to my iPod. Well, I say to them, “Me out for rides makes me less nuts..” (said in a crazy person’s voice…).

Today I decided to share, the best that I could, what I see as I ride through the forest at night…My wife says it creeps her out. haha. Silly wife, this is not Blair Witch…Is it?

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First ride of the fall, and man, I got soaked!

Today I went out for my first mountain bike ride of the fall!

It was pouring out, and I got soaked! The ride started out dry enough. It was cloudy with sunny breaks. Once we got into the trees, though the skies opened up. I don’t know why I love it so much, but once the rain starts on a ride, I get a smile on my face…It must be a remnant of my childhood I can’t quite put my finger on.

Summer is a time most people get outside and get active. I’m kind of the opposite. I hate exerting myself in the heat. I have no energy in my legs, and my bike stuff just reeks. The trails are dusty, traction is poor, and I end up getting cramps from dehydration.

But fall is the fix for all these problems! The first rains of the season firm up the trails, traction is epic, and the temperature in my area is usually in the mid teens. Perfect!

Another great thing about riding in the fall is that the ground hasn’t been soaked for months. There aren’t huge puddles, tons of mud, and the bad wind storms haven’t blown down trees and debris yet. I find that once January or February comes around, the rocks and roots are slippery with pre-mossy slime and wipeouts are more frequent.

There are only a couple of times a year where the sun and moon line up for mountain biking. The fall and late spring!

Today was fantastic out there!

One thing about that new bike…

There is something about riding a bike for the first time.  Today my oldest son got a new ‘big boy’ bike. He was so excited! I helped him understand the way the gears worked, and off he went. He rode up and down our driveway so many times…He was having a great time.

Then… Continue reading “One thing about that new bike…”

My son’s big milestone. Bigger news than Bin Laden? Depends on your prespective.

Riding bikes
Image by curtm95 via Flickr

Today two totally different things happened that I would classify as milestones. The first is that my 8 year old finally rode his 2 wheeler bike, and the second is that Osama Bin Laden apparently got killed. What to talk about?

Of course it would be my son. Who really gives a flying poop about Bin Laden?  Continue reading “My son’s big milestone. Bigger news than Bin Laden? Depends on your prespective.”

What does Technology mean to you?

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Image by DanTheMan1000 via Flickr

I was thinking the other day about technology, generally speaking, and what it means to us. What do we simply take for granted and does it make us a happier society? Or a sad, detached, uncaring one?

I mentioned yesterday that I have a very sick family member. I was sitting in his hospital room the other day looking at all the wires, machines, and computers helping keep him comfortable. Technology is helping him without a doubt. Technology and medicine seem to work very well together. “Advances in medicine”… People living longer, getting better faster, and perhaps illness being detected early. A good thing.

But technology as a word can mean so many things. I almost always think of it as the latest and greatest gadget, operating system, application, cloud based web app, etc…In this way, technology gets a lot of flack. It can be very distracting.

My parents rarely use their computer. Their parents may have never even seen a modern computer let alone know what to use it for…So, my feelings about technology can be very generational…One of my aunt’s told me the other day that she missed my wedding announcement as she checks her email “every month or two”! Wow. I check it every 30 minutes…haha. She seems to have an issue with technology to me, but it’s not an issue for her. She just enjoys technology differently.

Can we do away with ‘modern technology‘? Is it a good thing? Is it making us smarter? More aware of world events? Would Wikileaks have been such a huge thing without technology?

I think about the things that make me happy. My fiancée, my kids, mountain biking, nature, friends, good food, delicious coffee. Technological advances have played an enormous role in my life. We had a C-Section last year, which 50 years ago wouldn’t have happened. Modern shipping, packaging and food storage gets me food and coffee that doesn’t grow here. My bike today is a totally different beast than my first mountain bike 20 years ago because of computers and technology.

BUT, hanging out with my family, friends, getting on my bike and going for a ride have nothing to do with technology. They have to do with ignoring technology for a while and enjoying life.

So, my goal is to balance technology with quality time to live a long and happy existence.

What does technology mean to you?

Leave a comment!

Experience Cycling and the History of my Bike

I don’t mean for this to sound like an ad. It’s not. For most of the people that follow my blog, you notice I don’t talk about mountain biking very often. I spend most of my time on here talking about more global and virtual events. My personal experiences online, with a computer, a web app, an operating system, or a review of something far away from single track and mud. Well today I want to talk about people closer to home. People that I deal with on a regular basis, that make my number one passion outside my family a reality.

The old cliche is that a picture is worth a thousand words. The above picture is of my beloved mountain bike. I really love it. In an unhealthy, creepy way, to be honest. I have had my 2007 Brodie Loki for a few years now and it has been the best bike I have ever had. So, when I send it into the bike store for a repair or for a more extensive upgrade, I count the hours until I can get it back.

Most of my friends and family know about my passion for cycling. A couple of days ago it was my 40th birthday, and they all got me very generous gift certificates to my favourite bike store, Experience Cycling! So, in I take it for some upgrades! This is where the story really begins. From the moment you walk into Experience Cycling, you feel important. It is this care and attention to the customer that has brought some well deserved accolades as the top rated bike store in Canada!

The entire staff has the same passion for cycling as I do. So, yesterday when I wandered in after my birthday ride looking to upgrade my front fork, Jim took care that I would have my bike back as soon as possible. Understandably the winter months are slower, but he even offered to get it done same day if I needed it! From the picture, you can see it is snowing out. I won’t be doing any riding in the next week or so(damn you Winter…), but that doesn’t matter. They know I love to ride.

The entire staff think this way. From Matt who talked to me for half an hour on the phone about the brand of fork he felt would fit with the type of riding I do(and giving me 3 different choices), to Jim, that greets me every time with a smile and a hand shake, to Dale that made sure he got the bike ready for me before his day off. Not to mention the young guy that helped me out to the car with the bike and even put it on my bike rack because I had my baby with me. This care and attention to detail is why I come back, over and over again, for the last 25 years.

How does a small store in a small town like Duncan get it so right? The answer? Will Arnold. The owner. I have talked with Will on numerous occasions and he is a man that loves what he does, and you see it when you go into the store. Jim, his brother, shows the same passion. I am still kicking myself that 15 years ago I didn’t take that mechanics job Will offered me dangling like a carrot…

So why write about my bike store? It’s just that I don’t know of any other store I’ve been to that treats their customers so well. With the advent of big box stores, online merchants, Walmarts and Costcos EVERYWHERE, and mom and pop shops going out of business, how do little companies stay in business? From word of mouth. So though I glow about my little bike store to everyone that is looking for a bike, I wanted to do my part in spreading the word in the virtual world…

Experience Cycling is getting an online presence. Here is their site. http://www.experiencecycling.ca/

Check out their Facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Experience-Cycling/140829112611352 Here you will find repair tips, bios on the staff, and updates of sponsored riders, and Will’s trips to various bike events.

If you like bikes, or like me, you love bikes, and you are on Vancouver Island, you need to do yourself a favour, and head to Duncan to Experience Cycling! Tell them Jamie sent you…

If you listen to my advice, you will look like this on your next ride…Happy…