Answers to Life

Well, there is a fair to middling chance I will catch some guff for this one, but then when has that stopped me before.  Everyone has their beliefs good and bad.  I tend not to dwell on those things I don’t believe in here on 15,000 miles, mainly to keep a bit of peace in the valley.

However, I do believe in a few things.  Mountain gods can save your ass and squash you like a bug, and earning good mountain karma by cleaning up trash in the mountains helps keep them on your side.. Luck IS a thing and you better be ready to jump on it when you see it,  In general, karma is a bitch and will get even eventually, but karma also is not opposed to a little bit of help from you. And, if wearing the same shirt on game day seems to work, then it is ok to wear that shirt every game day till it falls apart.

Each of these has been proven to me time and time again.  But the one to discuss here, combines two others:  1) Inanimate objects respond to the way you treat them, and you can find an explanation of parts of life in a good Science Fiction movie..

Yep, I know, this seems to not be making sense at all, but bear with me and let’s keep going.

In this case, the Movie I am speaking of is Serentiythe movie sequel to the Firefly series.

Editors note:  If you are even remotely a science fiction fan, and have not seen this series, stop now, open Netflix, and sit yourself down.  Then return to this tomorrow.  I have watched it time and again, and still love every minute of it,

I was watching Serenity the last few days as I did rides on the rollers in the shed.  It is full of great lines such as:

“Shepard Book always told me, if you can’t do something smart, then do something right” and “I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar!”

I have seen it 10 or 15 times, but for the first time, I really paid attention to the last real quote from the Captain, Malcolm Reynolds.  He explained the first rule of flying as this:

Love. You can learn all the math in the ‘Verse, but you take a boat in the air that you don’t love, she’ll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you she’s hurtin’ ‘fore she keens. Makes her a home. 

I realized then all the best spaceships out there had this, The Enterprise (all versions) Voyager, the Galactica.  Time and time again they would get the crap beat out of them, yet they kept flying and keeping people moving.

I will tell you, if that’s as far as my brain had gone, we wouldn’t have a post about it.

But then it hit me.  My bikes have proven this to me.  (Which ties in the “inanimate” object item above.) I know this makes no sense, but again bear with me.

Mr original bike and I logged damn near 13000 miles together.  Through wind, rain, heat, hell even snow.  Over big hills, mountain passes and crappy roads.  Anywhere from 2 miles to the store to 204 to Portland, that bike and I went everywhere.

And it never failed me! Yes it got flat tires, crap happens.  But in all the 13000, not once did that bike break and force me to call someone.  We understood each other and worked as a team.  And I will fully admit, there were times it did more than I could ever expect.

In the High Pass Challenge

Holding the bronze medal after the High Pass Challenge!
Holding the bronze medal after the High Pass Challenge!

I was at least an hour away from the finish, hotter than hell, almost out of water and in 90 degree heat.  I was spent.  But it I didn’t get to the finish line in an hour, I was out of luck and no medal.  I made it 45 minutes.  I swear the bike was helping me pedal.

Two years ago heading for Pacific City in the Reach the Beach

Finished Reach the Beach
Finished Reach the Beach

I led two other riders for 50 miles of non stop 20 MPH pedaling.  I NEVER do that.  Maybe the bike knew it was its last century (it was stolen 2 months later) or it knew how much I loved the ocean.  Whatever the reason, it responded better than ever before and I flew to the end.  Only the smell of beer allowed the 20 something Irishman, who’d been drafting me, to pass me and head for the pub.  That was one helluva bike and I loved it.

You might be thinking that this isn’t proof at all (or thinking I am nuts).

Well remember what happened at the Crater Lake Century?

Crater Lake


I had only had the bike for 3 weeks and barely 200 miles of practice on it.  We flat didn’t know if we even liked each other, let alone liked each other.  This was the first time in all my rides I thought about quitting.  I was fried and the bike had no reason to give me any help. I either had to do it myself or it was  time to take up crocheting.

I got through the mountain portion by the skin of my teeth and on to the flats.  I was feeling ok, and just hit the 100 miles for the day when there was a loud “POP!” and the back disc brake seized!  I could not move it at all, and I knew nothing about brakes! CRAP!  Nothing for 13000 on the last bike and dead in the water after 250 here.

I called Michelle to come get that bag you see on the back, then picked up the bike and started carrying it!  I was NOT going to have a DNF (did not finish) on my record with only 2 miles to go!  And I started with the bike, so I was finishing with it.  Well, call me crazy, but the bike took notice!  I hadn’t gone half a mile when there was another “POP!” and sure as hell I was mobile again! I think it finally realized I was willing to work as hard at is was, and we were a team.

I hopped back on and finished no problem.  Folks that was almost 5000 miles ago, and there hasn’t ever been another issue with the brakes.

The new bike proved itself again in the Seattle to Portland last year.



I was NOT going to make it,  In, fact with 15 miles to go, I called Michelle to tell her just that,  She told me she believed in me and that I was damn well gonna make it, she knew I could!  Well the bike heard her as well.  It gave me a crank of the pedals for each one that I did that last hour or so and we got ourselves over the finish line.

Cowboys used to talk to their horses, I talk to the bike,  It finds the way when I am not sure, and helps me over the highest hills.  We both love bombing down big hills, and revel in a strong tail wind.  We take care of each other and will be doing so for many miles to come!

Like the wind!

5 thoughts on “Answers to Life

  1. A great post, Tony. 🙂 We’re big Serenity/Firefly fans here too and I bought Ryan the complete set of Firefly graphic novels for Christmas. The Whedon’s and their writing team all participated in the story lines and the serials fill in the gaps between series and movie as well as continue the story a little farther. Ryan loved them!

  2. I know what you mean! I have totally bonded with Shirley, my bike. I take care of her, and she takes care of me. Between you and me…Shirley and I have such an awesome relationship, that I’m not sure I even consider her to be inanimate. 🙂

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