Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Adventures of Angelica and Claudio continue

Still in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Angelica has published new information on her blog. An english version can be found at: The following are two photos from them. Links to their Fliker photo gallery of the trip can be found on the weblog.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Update - Riding

For those of you who are interested in the progress of Claudio and Angelica, they are wintering in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. We'll stay in touch with them over the Winter and keep you posted from time to time on their activities. Angelica said they hope to spend the time learning English.

I guess you know you are too busy when you do not have time to take a short ride around town. Before Nancy and I left on our long trip to California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and return across the northern tier, I had a reason for not riding. Maybe in reality, they were excuses. It had been very hot here in Tampa and my back had been bothering me so bad I considered a pain management Doc and a nerve block. However, no nerve block(I just did not like the Doc), and then the long trip. But now my back feels better so I am working to get my trusty steed, the Mongoose, back into condition. The "Hilly 100" bike ride is this weekend, but I will miss it. I need to get back into riding shape for a few weeks before I tackle a ride like that. More soon. Maybe I'll do a blog on our long trip. I need to put one together for CardioStart's surgery mission to Grenada in Jan/Feb. I also want to mention that I expect to head to Grenada about a week early so I can bike the island of Carriacou. More later.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Cold is Colder in the Yukon

This cold in the North of America is the coldest we ever imagine, we have felt it day after day, and it has turned into a great experience, we have learned how climate varies suddenly from a radiant sun to a strong rain, they are very great distances with many pines at each side of the highway and where the only company is the wind, the dangerous bears do not show themselves, because they are more afraid of the humans than we of them. Different motor-homes pass us in the highway constantly, reminding us that each one takes in life what they wish... our bicycle home!
It will stay with us in this long route, showing a little more of the world and of LIFE, now we are in Whitehorse, the capital city of Yukon. In the highway we have seen a bear cub, which was startled when it heard a car; swans, fox, beavers, white collar eagle, squirrels that do not cease to work for wintertime!!! And the giant raven which is the one that cleans the carrion and wastes. Also gorges with very nice translucent water! It is important to see how the great majority of the inhabitants care for the water.
The H2O IS NO PROBLEM!!!!! for us, what is a kind of problem is the coooooooooooooooold. Well, we are very far from our house, seeing people that pass by us very swiftly, it is difficult to see persons in the streets, you only see cars that go by rapidly, there are few houses and in most of them you can see nobody, when we reach a town there are few persons, it is not like South America, in which we saw people in the route and many people in the towns. .Maybe in South America life is in the streets and here it is the other way around? Or the weather makes the people stay much at home? Or are people hre more accustomed to loneliness? Well, we do not know what the reason is. Of what we are certain is that it is a different life style.

One Push of the Pedal nearer to Colombia

Alaska! State of USA, which in summer has approximately 20 houres of light, where the vegetation grows very swiftly...all this is for us very strange, since we feel it is day until 11:00 p.m., but our biological clock lets us know that it is already time to rest!!! Pedaling from Anchorage to Fairbanks we have found a territory with many pines and beautiful animals which appear suddenly in the way, such as squirrels and rabbits of which we have seen a lot, also a large cub of black bear that suddenly showed up and disappeared, we have felt the cold which is very strong in the days it rains. But it is very pleasant when the sky is blue, the sun warms us, the dragonflies, butterflies and bees, fly around us, but for the traveling cycle the weather is never perfect ….. It is perfect, the landscapes, the smell of nature and the sounds of this are felt fully. After visiting the Denali National Park and only feeling rain for several days and not seeing more BEARS!, we went to the second most important city of Alaska, Fairbanks, arriving in three phases of which the last one was the strong mountain. Here we will rest a little with some friends and will visit the city. The places are constituted by the people and Alaska is no exception, we have found very kind people who are very respectful and excellent hosts. From here we say “From now on each pedal push we do is nearing us more to our dear nation “Colombia”

Moose on the Road

News from Angelica and Claudio:

I'll let the direct translation do the writing. Angelica is writing;

Once we came out from Colombia we arrived at the CardioStart headquarters in Tampa, Florida, and there we met an Angel called Luz Estephanie, a Peruvian little girl, 5 years old, who had an accident in her country lost her right arm and is being supported by CardioStart so that in the city of Tampa she is receiving the necessary prostheses for her rehabilitation, more information in Several days in that beautiful city and the great day arrives, we take a plane for Anchorage- Alaska, the two of us in different flights, Angelica with a stop at Phoenix – Arizona, Claudio with stop at Minneapolis-Minnesota, we met again in Anchorage, we stayed three days in friend Owen’s house. Saturday we started the adventure taking the route North to the Denali National Park and then on to the city of Fairbanks, it has been four days of hard pedaling, a new period of adaptation to the highway and luggage. A beautiful cycle route from Anchorage to Willow and then on by the highway. We have met very kind people, the weather has not been favorable, because in this season of the year there is much rain in Alaska, on the fourth day of the trip we met Ricardo Ernst, an American citizen who lives in Trapper Creek, and who some years ago lived in Colombia. He invited us to his house. He wanted us to know a typical house of the region. He prepared a delicious dinner with wine, beer and red salmon, we rested all day today, we dried the tent, washed our clothes, we write and studied a little, we visited the surroundings and will have supper of moose. Ricardo remembers Colombia very much because people there were very kind with him. Tomorrow we will start pedaling again and hope the weather improves.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Alaska, by Bicycle

Good news from Angelica and Claudio. They made it to Anchorage and met Kenny. After a few days preparation they left for Denali and their Alaska adventure. After Demali we expect them to head south to the lower 48. I will try to meet them in Missoula, Montana, at the home of Adventure Cycling. Nancy and I will be coming across the upper US from Portland, Oregon, headed for New Jersey and hope to spend a day with them. Enjoy the photos. These are all I have for now. They are having a difficult time getting internet connections. Claudio said everytime he sits down to try connecting on his portable he finds a bear looking over his shoulder. Maybe on the next post I'll tell you about their adventure with the wolf. Remember to click on the photos to enlarge them for better viewing.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Headed to St Georges in Grenada for a week. CardioStart has been invited to install a cardiac surgery unit in the local hospital there. I visited the island last December and the facilities look very good and they have an excellent medical university located there. Some changes have ocurred in the local management so we are back for a second visit. I am hoping to make contact with a local rider I met last year at the airport. He said he could fix me up with a bike, helmet, and directions, so I am looking forward to it if time is available. Grenada is an old British Colony and thus is pretty stable as far as government is concerned. I didn't see much during the two days we were there and hope to see more this time. Grenada is about 70 miles off the coast of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez country, and the location of President Reagan's war to thow out the Cubans. I'll be back next Saturday night. Hopefully have some photos of biking Grenada.

Above photo is from the stairway from my room near the restaurant at the University Club, where we will be staying for the week of our visit. Tough life, huh?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Been Busy

A little 5 yr old girl can sure keep you busy. Luz is the 5 yr old., but what fun it is to be kept busy.(see: ) I went for bike rides on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but slipped Friday and today. My back is killing me. I think I hurt it lifting a larger bucket of concrete out of the truck on Thursday afternoon. Tylenol is being consumed at a high rate of consumption, but it seems to do little to relieve the pain. I think rest is the answer. Take a look at the photo.
I saw Chris on the side of the road on Hwy 41 on my way back from All Childrens Hospital on Friday. Chris works for an engineering firm. They give him a GPS, a bike, and a water flow detector. he is mapping out the county's water system, valves, conduits, etc. All the info is recorded on a computer he carries on his belt. That big dome is the GPS receiver and transmitter for him to download back to the office. Interesting job.
Photo #2 is Claudio and Angelica on their arrival at the Amtrak Station in Tampa from Miami. They stopped by on their way to Anchorage, Alaska for a ride from Anchorage down the Great Divide Bike Route. They will continue through to their home in Bogota, Colombia. They'll be at CardioStart House in Tampa until July 24. You can follow their adventures on their website at:
They will soon have a blog available for daily postings. Click on their photo above for a real closeup and take a look at the CardioStart patch on Angelica's shirt. The patches are available for your own shirt from CardioStart. Send me an email.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Check out the Neighborhood

Time sure flys when you're having fun. What else can I say, I guess I have been having fun, It is already July 9 and I have not written since June 30. But I thought a lot, that should count for something. A little girl named Luz has been keeping me pretty busy.(see earlier post, or weblog at ).
My recent rides have been keeping me closer to home. It is amazing what you will find if you just slow down and look around. These are some of the photos I took on a short 17 mile ride areound home.
How many people are lucky enough to have a peacock or two in their neighborhood? The colors are tremendous. This fella was just sitting there watching me pedal by. As I turned around to catch this photo I saw another one in a building lot. But don't start thinking that having these beautiful birds as neighbors is a neat thing. Have you ever heard the cry of a peacock? The first time I heard one it scared the bejeebers out of me.(is that a word, bejeebers?). They sound like a cry for help. And they are very loud. I am thinking that I might better enjoy the company of a Pantree Chicken, in the next photo. I'm not really sure what kind of bird this is but you see them all over, usually in pastures and many times sitting on the backs of cattle picking flies off them. We named them after a restaurant that was formerly in Valrico. A club, of which I was a member, had a weekly meeting at the restaurant and nine times out of ten chicken was the meal of the day. I used to kid the owner about going across the street to catch his chickens, referring to these birds. At least they are quiet, and they do a good job of picking bugs from your lawn. My favourite are the Sandhill Cranes, seen below, in a neighbors yard. Of course they are also noisy, but not like the peacocks. They move so majestically and are fairly common around here.

The photo at the right is from our own backyard. A Lady Cardinal trying to pickout just the right sunflower seed. Of course, no photo layout would be complete without one of my best friend, Jack.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Where is my Headlight?

Early to bed, early to rise....etc. What it gets me is out on the road barely before dawn. Looking for my Headlight, with a flashlight, in a shed that I should have cleaned out last year, or was it the year before. Early riding on a Saturday means no traffic, fairly cool riding, but one big drawback. La Cubanita, at Bloomingdale and Lithia Pinecrest Road is not open that early, so I must skip my Cubano Cafe Leche this morning and face the dreaded Lithia Springs Hill with no reinforcement other than a powerbar and gatorade. My camera sits at home right next to my second bottle of water. My financial analyst(wife) tells me that short term memory loss is a sure sign of old age. I tell her as long as I can remember how to get back home I am doing OK.
After a short stop at the Springs I head east to Hwy 39 and debate going to Ft Lonesome. Instead I decide to continue east and find a road that takes me back to Keysville Rd. It has been so long since I have been on these roads east of Hwy 39 I forget what connects with what. Suddenly I start thinking about what my FA said and start thinking maybe there is something to this short term memory loss. Just then I look across a field and see two deer standing in the shade of some pine trees and my camera is aimed at my dining room wall. As luck would have it, I find my way home, again, after stopping to chat with Sam the produce man at Fire Tower Hill about the new Target Store they are going to build there. 42 miles, not bad for an old man. Now I gotta go clean out that shed. Well..........maybe I'll do that tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hump Day

If you are in to good classical and movie theme music, I am sitting here listening to a theme from "The Lady Caliph", by Ennio Morricone, played by Yo Yo Mah on the Cello. It is the first I have heard it. If you can, get a copy or listen on-line.

Anyway, 39 miles today. Rode up to Hillsborough State Park north of Tampa, including 8 miles through the woods on an unpaved trail. Now I am going to need to clean the bike and chain again. There was a lot of mud on the trail, I guess from the rain a few days ago. Then back home through Dover. I took two photos as I passed over Interstate 4. Which road would you rather be on. Both photos are from the same spot. I'm happy I was on the road I was. Great ride through shady roadways(well, some of them are shady). But it was approaching 90 degrees when I got back home around 11:00 AM. The third photo was my speedometer turning over to all zeroes. Had to show the 9999.9.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Not a Bicycling Tale (but read it anyway)

Luz Estephanie Machiavello. What a beautiful name. What a beautiful little girl. We met Luz in the Childrens Hospital in Lima, Peru, on a recent cardiac surgery mission. She was injured in a motorcycle accident, which severed her right arm, in her village of Juanjui, about 300 miles from Lima in the jungles of northeastern Peru. 14 hours after the accident she arrived at del Nino Hospital. We found her after the amputation.

Shriners Hospital in Tampa, has agreed to treating Luz to fit a prosthetic arm, and to continue to re-fit the prosthetic until she reaches her 18th birthday. American Airlines donated round trip air travel for Luz and her Dad, Hilmer. Luz and Hilmer are staying with us at CardioStart House for 8 weeks during the initial phase of her treatment. Hilmer is a farmer in Peru. While he is here with Luz, her Mom and four siblings are in Peru. Naturally there is no family income during this period. Hilmer is doing some work around CardioStart House, gardening, etc. and we will be paying him a stipend to send back home to help the family during this time of trial.

If you are interested in helping the family or to offset some of the expense, we have set up a special account, "CardioStart - Luz Estephanie Machiavello Account", at Royal Bank Centura, Brandon, Florida. For account number and other information you can email or leave a comment with a return number or email on this blog. Thanks, Chuck

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Future Star

On my ride to Lithia Springs last Thursday, I came across Arthur on his way to a Summer music lesson. Boy do I remember those days. Arthur said he was happy he decided against the drums. He would need a wagon to carry them. He dreams of playing with a symphony orchestra someday. Arthur could be a budding Itzhak Perlman or Mstislav Rostropovich. Meeting and talking with people like Arthur make my day. Travelling in an automobile that chance is lost forever.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Biking and Bugs

Someplace I saw a photo of a motorcycle rider during luvbug season here in Florida. Smiling away with little black spots on his teeth. That's how I felt today on my way home from CardioStart. I never saw so many Gnats. My shirt looked like the front of a big truck after running thru a pile of luvbugs. I mean it was loaded with Gnats. And it wasn't just in one location. They were everywhere. Most of them blew off by the time I got home. But, I had loaded up with sun screen before I left the office. They did not blow off my face, neck, arms, etc. I wanted to take a photo but my hair was not combed. I had black freckles all over. You know you must like riding to eat that much protein during a ride.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Talk about a Loaded Ride

I spent some time today looking over some photos that Angelica and Claudio sent me from their recent tour around South America. Most cross country riders I read about in Adventure Cycling and other mags and blogs, ride with about 50 to 70 lbs, and consider that heavy. Take a look at Claudio's bike combo for their ride through the Andes. This is what his bike looked like when I met him in Arequipa. Of course, Boomer had eaten most of the food by that time. Makes me wish I could ride with them on their Alaska to South America ride this Summer.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Happy Day Before Fathers Day

John took Mom and me out to dinner tonight at the Shrimp Boat Restaurant in Brandon. Great food and excellent prices. I had Tuna Au Poivure(or something like that).

Rode 41 miles today. North to Hillsborough State Park and then out to Dover. See the photos from the ride.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Get the Knots Out

Well........What do you do after a long ride?
Actually it wasn't that long, just to the office in the morning and back in the afternoon, 23 miles. But that ride back was at 2:00 PM, ninety two degrees and about 90% humidity. The water sure helps the muscles relax, and about two quarts of Gatorade.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Maintenance Day

Thursday was a decent day to ride my new tire. It held up, so I guess It will be OK. Today is clean-up day. Need to clean and lube the chain and make sure everything else is in good working order and not ready to drop off at the next speed bump. Did 30 miles this AM after stopping for a haircut. Rather late though, did not finish until Noon. Stopped to talk with Sam the produce man at Fire Tower Hill. Bought some boiled peanuts. Need to ride over to CardioStart later today. Not sure I want to go out in this heat. Might just drive. Tomorrow is the Tampa Freewheelers Picnic at John B Sargent Park over on 301 North of Tampa. It's a good ride north of Brandon.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Call AAA

Flat tire, actually not really flat, just bald as my head, with the tire threads showing, so I figured maybe I better not stray too far from home today. Bought a new tire and changed it last evening, and proceeded to pinch the tube while putting it back together. Now I have a flat. Hang it up. Bought a new tube today so I'll be ready for tomorrow. If the sun stays hidden, as it has thus far today, maybe I'll ride this evening.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Good day for a ride, but.....

I had a call at 7:30 AM that I had two truck loads of dirt scheduled to be dropped at CardioStart this AM. So, had to postpone my ride so I could get over there and show the driver where to dump it. 40 tons of sand makes two pretty good size piles. Now all I have to do is spread it.
The weekend rain washed a lot of dirt away from under a new concrete slab I had poured two weeks ago, so needed the dirt to fill and grade. Maybe ride tomorrow.

Sunday, June 3, 2007


Went for ride out towards Lithia. 18 miles total. On the ride back along Kingsway Rd, a narrow, no shoulder road, a guy pulled up along side, rolled down his window and proceeded to cuss me out for riding in the street. I couldn't really understand what he was saying other than something about the sidewalk. So I took my left foot off the pedal and placed a swift kick against his rear right side door. Gosh, I wish I had golf shoes on. He stepped on the gas and left me. I wonder why these guys never want to stop and discuss the issue?

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Great Day in Tampa Bay

Raining like a tropical storm. Oh.......Yeh.......Barry is in town. That's TS Barry. No ride today. And I really felt like heading up to Hillsborough State Park. Maybe tomorrow. So......over my breakfast of Jimmy Dean Sausage, Grits and cheddar cheese scrambled eggs(I did use some "egg beaters"), some Papaya, Mango and Banana, I look out the french doors to the yard and watch the rain water the garden. Jack is in bad shape. He has days when he thinks he is a puppy again, and then the next day he can barely walk. At 16 yrs old he goes out into the yard in the rain and stands there, wondering what he is doing there. Poor guy is not long for this world. He will soon be crossing over the Rainbow Bridge. Probably the lawn mower will get a workout this week. I guess today, because of the rain, I will use the truck to go to Publix and do some grocery shopping.
Hey.....The rain has stopped, the sun is shining, we don't need no steenking groceries. I'm off to the park. C-ya.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Photo Time

Someone once told me that to keep the interest of your readers you need to keep their eyes occupied with pictures, cartoons, or just be a good writer. you can see, I'm not much of a writer, and I stopped drawing cartoons back in grade school in Sr Mary Gertrude's 4th grade class. So, I guess you'll have to look at some photos. These are of several friends. They will be visiting Tampa in July in preparation for a ride from Anchorage, Alaska, to Bogota, Colombia.(their home) Wanna go with them?
Clockwise from left:
Angelica, Agustin and Claudio

In Order of Progression:
Claudio, Boomer and Angelica

Taken in the Southern Andes during their ride around South America. Boomer, a Chocolate Lab, and a member of the family, accompanied them on 17,000 mile plus journey in 2004 & 2005. That is Boomer's trailer that Claudio is towing. You can read about their adventures and view their many photos in SA, where I met them in Peru, on their website at:

Boomer retired after this trip. He said he was tired of riding behind Claudio and could make better time on his own. Actually, getting permission for Boomer to accompany them on the Alaska south trip would be a major problem with Homeland Security. Boomer does not have a passport. I offerd him mine but my eyes are a different color.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Have you ever.....?

23 miles today. This is really starting to be fun. I am riding west on 22nd St Causeway near Hwy 301 trying to make the green light to cross. Have you ever dreamed of driving a car and the steering wheel comes off in your hands? Well........How about riding a bicycle at the aforementioned location and the clamp on the handlebars comes loose and starts to slide out? Yes......I could not steer, brake, or shift. Well.....actually I could.....but rather erratically with a handlebar that rotates and slides back and forth. So I pull over in the knee deep grass and look in my tool case for the correct hex key. Naturally I don't have one(reminder to get tools). What I did find was an old console TV set, broken. So I picked up a piece of wood from the TV and used it as a makeshift hammer(reminder to get tools) to drive the handlebar back to the center position.(Ingenuity Huh?) But now I needed a wrench to tighten it.(reminder to get tools). So the handlebar still rotates. I drive it back out, find a few splinters from the TV, and shove them under the clamp and then hammer(reminder to get tools) the handlebar back to center. SUCCESS!!! Thankfully I was only about two miles from CardioStart and some real tools.
TGTF Tomorrow is Friday again. Trip to St Petersburg. Maybe a long ride Saturday(with tools).

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

WOW....Where do the days go?

Here it is Wednesday already. How time flys when you're having so much fun. I took a short 15 mile ride this morning to Fire Tower Hill and around some local streets. Going to CardioStart in a few minutes. Of course that means riding back in the heat of the day around 3:30/4:00. However, I have convinced myself that gas costs too much. Friday is the day I drive to St Petersburg and I have been filling up every week. I am trying to stretch it out to filling up every two weeks by cutting back on driving and using the bicycle more. I need to get a pannier for the rear, or a rack pack so I can carry grocery items etc.
Back from CardioStart, naturally against the wind again. It doesn't happen very often but I had to pedal downhill as I crossed over I-75. The breeze sure does make it nice in the evenings but rough when riding. Not a bad day after all, 37 miles total.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Hillsborough River State Park

32 miles today. Again my camera was at home. It's a nice ride north out of Brandon and around Lake Thonotosassa. A few hills, nothing extreme, but a lot of shady roads. A stopover at John B Sargeant Park and a ride on the Old Fort King Trail breaks the ride and gives a respite to riding with no shoulder and a lot of Memorial weekend traffic. At least Hwy 301 has a wide shoulder and you can use the trail to stay off road for a few miles. I'll give some consideration to the TBF Annual Picnic in two weeks at Sargeant Park, if I can figure a way to carry my 'stuff' on the Mongoose.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Good Day Saturday

Was able to put in 22 miles today and never got more than about five miles from the house. Biked to Wal-Mart to do some shopping then a ride around the neighborhood. Next time I'll take my camera. There was an auto show nearby with a lot of custom cars from the 50's and 60's. Seeing those cars made me remember when I owned a 1953 Ford Custom. I remember paying $0.179 per gallon for gas. Yes, that's correct, seventeen cents a gallon. Later in the day rode to Publix to do a little grocery shopping. I am beginning to think I could probably cut 50% of my auto usage if I really put my mind to it. I am thinking that if I ride my bike places that I previously used the car, I should be able to count those miles when figuring out my gas mileage. In other words, suppose I normally used the car for 100 miles per week and got 20 miles per gallon. Then I start using the bike and am able to cut my auto miles to 50 miles per week. I am actually still going 100 miles to get my 'stuff' done. Therefore my fuel mileage should go from 20 mpg to 40 mpg. As a result my gas expense has been cut 50%. Kinda makes me feel good .

Friday, May 25, 2007


I wish I had a job so I too could be thankful it's Friday.
How's this for alternative transportation? I shot this while in Arequipa, Peru, on a surgery mission. It looks like Momma, Baby and Mother-in-Law, with Dad supplying the power.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Great day.....for a sailboat

Late start today. Doc appointment in Plant City. Was tempted to ride but just could not get ready quick enough and I wasn't sure if there was a place to wash up prior to my appointment. So I was left with only my 22 mile RT to CardioStart as my daily ride. With an easterly wind at my back, all the way, I made the trip to work in a little over 30 minutes. I know you guys with the road bikes are saying, fast??? I ride an old steel frame Mongoose. Never weighed it, but it is heavy. The bad part is the return home ride at 4:00 PM, against the same wind. Would you believe 1 1/2 hrs? Of course I did stop twice to hydrate. St Petersburg tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Happy Wednesday

Just finished a breakfast of cheese grits, banana, orange juice and a few slices of apple with decaf coffee. A short 12 mile ride this morning around the neighborhood, Davis Park and local roads. Just have too much work to catch up on. The July cardiac surgery mission to Grenada needs some fine tuning and I need to head to CardioStart House to check on the recently poured concrete pad and to see how Ernesto is doing.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Little of My Life(continued from About Me)

During WWII my Dad brought home my first bike, a single speed "English" bike with "skinny" tires. It was so big I had to step up on a wooden crate to mount. Once I got rolling I had to move my butt from one side of the cross bar to the other to pedal. I learned to brake(coaster brake) and jump off at the same time(usually). Sometimes it was not so graceful. Many skinned knees, elbows, other abrasions and contusions later, I became a master. I was allowed to leave the confines of our driveway and venture out into the beckoning world of Shallcross Avenue.

In the year 1943 there were not very many automobiles around to make biking unsafe. We had enough trouble with running into curbs, trees, light poles and the neighbors hedges, we didn't need automobiles. Mrs McCann's hedges saved me many an embarrassing "too fast to turn into the cinder driveway" arrival home. As years went by a new Columbia single speed cruiser appeared under the Christmas Tree and the old "English" bike went away, I guess to eventually be turned into our 1953 Ford Sedan.

The late 40's saw us fixing flat tires by carrying a roll of friction tape(pre-plastic electrical tape). A few wraps around the tire and rim and you were good for another days riding. Rather a bumpy ride after several tire repairs. Summer days were spent biking to the local airport for airline stickers to adorn our two wheel steeds. When we got home it was tough trying to explain to Mom & Dad that we did not ride about 20 miles to the airport. Some days it was just a ride to the creek for a day of cool bathing in the old swimming hole.

I guess I never really lost my love of biking although many things became more important. Like school, work, love, marriage, family, weddings, and finally(I hope not literally) I am back to my love for biking. My interest was probably renewed about 1999 after my first heart attack and subsequent second heart attack. Then two total knee replacements gave me something to prove, that my knee replacements were better than my originals.(and they are) Also needed to rebuild a lot of heart muscle, which I am doing by my exercising, riding, and tackling the dreaded Lithia Springs Hill.(Now you locals will know where I ride).

My son Chris,(the tri-athelete), tells me I should get a lighter and thus faster bike.(I ride an old steel frame Mongoose Mountain Bike). But heck, I am in it for the exercise, not the speed. If I was to buy a lighter, faster steed I would need to ride further to get the same exercise. Now I ride 12 miles each way to my "work" and on off days and weekends I try to do at least 20/30 miles a day. I subscribe to the mag "Adventure Cyclist", read it cover to cover, several times, and dream. if only............

I feel great. But I know to many of you, that is no surprise. Biking does that to you. Tell me about your experiences, your adventures, what started you biking. You all know now that I am an old man, so I promise not to flirt with the pretty ones. Even if I did I probably wouldn't remember why I was firting.