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*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘quiet bike

Peace Wave

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Okay, so, then there’s this. It’s the morning of the first Saturday in May and that means it’s World Labyrinth Day! There is a rolling wave of peaceful meditations making its way around our planet.

Every year on the first Saturday in May thousands of people around the globe participate in World Labyrinth Day as a moving meditation for world peace and celebration of the labyrinth experience. Many “Walk as One at 1” local time to create a rolling wave of peaceful energy passing from one time zone to the next…

We did not make any plans this year to specifically host an event at our Rowcliffe Forest Garden Labyrinth, so named to memorialize our priceless time and deep connection to Ian and his family and their place in Portugal, because Cyndie is not fully ambulatory. That said, she did do a milestone driveway walking distance yesterday.

When I left for an errand to Elysa’s house in St. Paul in the morning, our recycle bin was still at the end of the driveway waiting to be emptied. When I returned, it was no longer there. I was certain that it hadn’t walked itself back up to our garage, so who could have pulled off such a feat?

Our heroine didn’t just walk the full length and back, more than four times the longest she’d walked up to that point, she took along Delilah on a leash, picked up the mail, and grabbed the empty recycle bin to wheel it the whole way back to the house. By her own admission, it was a very slow and methodical walk, but nonetheless, a significant accomplishment.

As a caregiver, at this point, my primary contribution is working consistently to encourage her to elevate and cool the knee often enough to compensate for the daily increases in the amount she is using it. Cyndie has needed no coaching on exercising.

I spotted a new wildflower in our woods that image searching leads me to believe qualifies as a crocus of some sort.

The dandelions will soon carpet our grassy areas and I am hoping our transplanted trillium will appear in the woods just beyond the house shortly thereafter.

In an update on my new bicycle that was in the shop, the report is that the source of the creaking frame was down in the bottom bracket, not up near the seat tube. Something was not quite right among all the mechanisms of the crank and motor interconnections assembled at the factory. Not a problem that I stood a chance of solving on my own.

On our first day with temperatures reaching 70°F, I was able to put the bike through a thorough test, specifically choosing to leave the motor-assist off for the entire ride so as to learn the response of the marvelous machine when powered exclusively by muscle. It was a very pleasurable experience that will become even easier when electric power is desired.

Think about world peace today at 1:00 p.m. your time, regardless of whether or not you are able to be walking a labyrinth. Help build the wave.



Written by johnwhays

May 7, 2022 at 9:35 am

Animal Interference

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Cyndie planted marigolds around the property last week, including in a clay pot by the barn. It provided a nice splash of color in the otherwise gray-green environment on the backside of the barn. I spotted it right away as I passed by on the lawn tractor. One of the flowers had already been nipped off and was laying on the ground beside the pot.

Animal vandalism. What do they get out of biting off the blossom?

The next day, I passed the pot again on my way to the chicken coop. All the blossoms were on the ground. The only thing left in the sad pot was several stubs poking out of the dirt. Poor Cyndie, I thought. Her efforts dashed so swiftly after she had done the planting.

When she got home, I made sure she had seen the carnage. The next day, while I was at work, I received a text from her with a photo:

The culprits had returned to dig up the root bundles, too.

They really don’t want her to grow flowers in that pot.

Yesterday, I was able to claim an hour to sit on my bike seat and pedal down some country roads in preparation for my upcoming bike tour in the middle of June. I’m proud to say that my 1994 Trek 520 is performing admirably, and most important, quietly.

I love a quiet bike. Squeaky brakes, clicks, chain noise, or any repetitive sounds from rotating pedals or spinning wheels are a bane to my riding experience. Since my bike rolls quietly, any sound that does appear is evidence of a problem that needs to be checked out.

On my return leg last night, a sudden clicking arose. I stopped pedaling immediately and tried to identify the source. It was regular enough that I worried one of my tires had picked up something and a flat could be imminent. It got louder and louder, but also more defined.

It was refining into a rapidly repeating click-clack, click-clack.

I recognized that sound and it was not from my bike. I turned my head to glance over my shoulder and saw behind me, a young lady approaching on a galloping horse.

Just as she was about to come up beside me, a barking dog ran out of a driveway and interfered with our chance to exchange a pleasant greeting. She slowed her horse and I picked up my pace to put distance between me and the dog.

The rest of my ride home toward the smoky orange sunset was blissfully quiet.


Written by johnwhays

May 31, 2019 at 6:00 am

Rode Again

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The momentum is going in the right direction for me. I got on the bike for the second day in a row yesterday. As expected, my butt was not entirely happy with the pressure of the seat, carrying a little tenderness from the day before. But, after a few miles, that faded in with the rest of the aches and pains of resuming a different exercise after a long hiatus.

My legs were noticeably stiff about pushing the pedals so soon after the previous workout.

To keep things interesting, I planned a route in the opposite direction of my Tuesday ride. It did turn out to be very interesting, but my ultimate plan was foiled by an unexpected gravel road —a constant threat to random exploration around these parts.

I was headed north when the pavement ended, so I turned around and backtracked my way south, visible as the single line up to nowhere on the map.

Actually, it was probably a good thing, because my legs would likely have objected had my original plan worked out. The shortened ride turned out to be plenty enough exercise for day two.

Other highlights included a close encounter with a yapping lap dog who completely ignored the fervent screams for obedience which emanated simultaneously from everyone in the family who happened to be out on the lawn at the time.

I was thrilled to find a variety of locations where wild trillium is growing among ferns in the ditches of nearby roads. It bodes well for our plan to establish a carpet of our own in the woods by our house.

There was nary a home that didn’t have someone out mowing grass or planting fields. It is the season of growing and the farmers are all in a hurry to get their crops to join in the explosion of growth that is visible in how high the grass is advancing by the hour.

I also finally located the bison herd that George had told us about on one of the nearby properties. The first clue was the height and robustness of the fence around the pasture. I had to search for the animals, because they were congregated at the far end from the road, right before the elevation dropped and I zoomed away down another hill.

I’m proud to report that I successfully silenced the squeak in my shoes, so it was an all around splendid ride, with nothing but the sounds of nature and tractors to serenade me.

I also got the bike computer back up and running. Based on the data from the app on my phone, I got the settings right on the computer, because results matched very close for speed and mileage.

It’s always nice on a bike when the feedback about speed is accurate. It’s bad enough when the number reveals I’m going so slow the tip-over alarm might go off, but finding out the speed is artificially high or incorrectly low can be very unsettling to otherwise mild-mannered cyclists.

May the road roll past our tires…



Written by johnwhays

May 17, 2018 at 6:00 am