Article in the Bakersfield Wellness Magazine

4 Jun


Sly Cowards

27 May

Sly cowards in cars/They attack you from behind/No time to fight back.

05/22/2013 Bakersfield, CA

Well, this made for an interesting ride. Today’s haiku was inspired by the following incident.

As I was riding in front of the college, just after heading out on my early morning daily solo training ride, near the agriculture yard, I noticed a car in my rearview mirror that appeared to be drifting over into the bike lane. As I was occupying the lane at the time, this got my attention. Watching a car approach in the mirror is a bit tricky and done well, probably takes more coordination than I’m capable of. I slowed and moved farther over to the right and when I glanced again I saw the car was almost entirely in my lane and appeared to be going pretty slowly. The next thing I know my head was violently struck from behind and the car drives, none too quickly down the road. Given the dark and my surprise I didn’t get a license number, but I did get a description of the vehicle. I also remember hearing laughter as they drove away.

Luckily, I didn’t lose consciousness or fall from my bike, but I could feel that my helmet had suffered some damage and I had a little bit of a headache. I sped up, hoping to catch them at the next intersection, but they were nowhere to be seen. I checked my helmet and found that it had been cracked pretty good, and the suspension system was also damaged. My next order of business was to call the police and report the incident, although I didn’t make an official report, as I didn’t want the delay that would entail to interfere with my workout. While I did continue with my ride it was shortened to only 35 miles and I must admit I didn’t derive my usual level of enjoyment from the act. Later in the day, a friend suggested that I call the police and see if they could check the security cameras in the area to see if they caught a video of the suspect/s fleeing from the area. Given all of the security camera issues in the news of late, I’m surprised that I didn’t think of this sooner. While I did make the report, I have not heard anything about whether they have checked on the available video.

While the incident was far from enjoyable, it did remind me how tenuous life is, and how important it is to alway be vigilant and prepared. I have now taken measures to improve my security and safety and I’ve ordered a POV helmet camera that should be able to document any future encounters.

I will report back later on the efficacy of the video or the outcome of the investigation and any future run-ins with drivers.


How Can Something So Large Move So Carefully

6 Apr

“Out of the darkness/The sunrise exposes them/Mountains from nothing.”

They appeared, as if my magic, first floating in the pre-dawn darkness and then more substantially as the sun provided a backdrop of definition. They are, I believe foothills for the Southern Sierra’s. They may not be true mountains in the same sense as their cousins farther to the north, but what they lack in height and volume, they make up for in their daunting contrast to the flatlands that make up the landscape surrounding the ribbon of roadway that allows access to their secrets.

Raw, beautifully framed, majestically revealed geography such as I observed on the ride today is one of the tangibles that make cycling a sport that transcends most others and provides a moving window into a world that most will never experience.

Part of the magic is that the view is unique to this place and especially this time and because no one will ever witness it quite the same, should the sun continue to rise on this vista for a thousand years, I drink it in and hope to savor the memory for the rest of my life.

Sometimes The Matter Minds

5 Apr

“Speed is a result/Function is a state of mind/Mind over matter?”


Todays muse arises from my contemplation of the fact that I’m unable to will my body to do that which it refuses to do. As I watched the quickly receding pack, I strove to remain in contact, but my desire outstripped my capacity. It reminded me that while the mind is a vital part of achievement, there must be sufficient physical resources to accomplish the objective.

That is not to say that we should not always continue to strive, for each time anew, the objective may be accomplished, even if it was not possible the moment before.

A Solitary Pursuit

4 Apr

“Singular pursuit/Solitary definement/Bereft of contact.”

This mornings Haiku was inspired by the solitary nature of my early morning rides.  I leave the house abut 4:30 and return about 7:00 and I rarely see any other riders on my route.  Occasionally I see some lights in the distance and I’ll speed up to see who else might be crazy enough to be on a bike at this time of day and I find that I look forward to the contact.  At the same time, riding alone is enjoyable in a different way from the typical group ride in that the quality of thought during those moments of solitude is often very productive.  

We are certainly social beings, but there is a reluctant and haunting attraction to being alone from time to time.

On the bike that aloneness can be both physical and temporal.

Some Recent Ride Haiku’s

31 Mar

So black is the nightMystery beyond light.

What else might exist?



Vlees Huis Road Race Pre Ride

31 Mar

“What purpose practice/Perfection impossible/To achieve your best.”

Our local cycling clearing house,, posted that there was to be a pre-ride/practice for the upcoming Vlees Huis RR.  I decided that the ride would be a good focal point for the days milage and I left home about 6:30, while it was still dark.  Surprisingly, it was pretty warm when I left home, no wind and some puffy clouds.

The Vlees Huis is a relatively brutal race set on 30+ mile semi-loop in the foot hills east of town. What makes the race so difficult is the 3500 feet of elevation gain every lap. Riders do between 1 and 4 laps depending on category. I was planning on doing the Masters 55+ race and that would be a single lap race, so today I only planned on doing a single lap practice.

The posting said that the ride would start at a new mini-mart west of the race start/finish line. Most folks drove from town and parked at the mini-mart, but a few of us road from town. I had over 20 miles by the time I got to the meeting location.

The group took off at a fairly sedate pace that slowly increased until the base of the first climb. I was able to stay with the group up to that point, but on the climb I was quickly dropped. Thereafter, I kept a steady, if not painfully slow pace over the rest of the course.

While on my way back home my sweet wife agreed to go out for a ride when I got home. After a short rest, I headed out to Lake Ming with my bride to enjoy the day. After I returned home from the second ride, I downloaded my rides and wrote a Haiku for each. See above and below.

“Rest is overrated/The day is too good to quit/I’ll rest when I’m dust.”