Follow by Email

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Cycling Etiquette: Potty Training 102

I debated whether to post this on my blog, but I decided to to go ahead in hopes that it will remind us that we need to respect the stores we depend upon.  The people involved are almost all good people.  What happened was not maliciousness, but rather thoughtlessness.  I, myself, have too often been thoughtless and hope to improve. The first was a light handed attempt to remind people. After a certain response, I was purely pissed off.  (Pun intended).  I decided not to correct the grammar/spelling mistakes, so if that is something that really gets to you, you might want to skip this one.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

On Mon, Aug 22, 2016 at 8:59 PM, Melissa Hall wrote:

Imagine my surprise when I got to the first store stop yesterday and the woman asked me to tell the Louisville Bicycle Club members that they are never welcome at her store again.  I have not gone back yet to talk to her and try to smooth things over yet, but she did tell me that one of the things that upset her was club members openly urinating in the back of the store.  Please note that was caught on security tape as well as witnessed by neighbors.  Some of the other things she said I feel were probably misunderstandings or just plain stupid, but I felt like I needed to address this one.

When most of us were quite small, our mama's and papa's taught us to use the big boy or big girl potty.  Boys were normally taught by their mothers, and if not by their mothers most certainly by girlfriends, to put the seat back down.  All this is potty training 101.  Eventually we ditch the diapers, take up toilet paper, and become more independent.  We lower the seat because it just isn't worth upsetting someone over.

Now for potty training 102, at least per Puddle who is now 60 and thus qualified.  The polite thing to do while cycling is not to urinate against buildings or in open areas, particularly when young teenage girls or children may witness what you are doing.  This is particularly true when there are a plethora of wooded areas and corn fields.  Yes, I am sure that each and every one of you has magnificence to exhibit and that causes others to gasp and gape in awe, but some things truly should be kept to oneself and one's loved ones.  I also know it means that you have to work to catch back up with your group or ride by yourself, or gasp, ride with the last group.  Or if you IN the last group, you have to ask the ride captain to soft pedal.  But really, you ARE big boys and girls, aren't you?

In all seriousness, please remember to treat country stores, however eccentric the owner may be, as the gold they are because they close right and left as they struggle to compete with Walmart and other big conglomerates that would never even consider putting a store in the middle of nowhere.  They allow us to ride in areas that otherwise would be much less comfortable to travel. Would you want your daughter or wife or small son to look out the window and see people exposed, whatever their intent?  As I told the group I was riding with, when my daughter was young, I would have told you that was what God gave us knives for.  Think before you act, be polite, pick up after yourselves. And show a little modesty.

Just my thoughts.  I wasn't there and didn't see any of it.  Just going on what I was told.  Puddle

_________________________________________________________________________________



      From: melanie  Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 10:36 AM
Subject: Re: [kycyclist] Cycling Etiquette: Potty Training 102
 
Perhaps if the owners treated paying customers like customers rather than 'no public toilet' aliens?
We are good business and were treated disrespectfully the moment we walked in. No smile. Looks of disgust, up and down. Spending good money. Need to pee. Not even sure why we would have this place on a store stop knowing how much they don't want us there?
M

__________________________________________________________________________________

Melanie, However misguided and self centered I might believe your opinion to be, I uphold your right to have it and to assert it.  But I also uphold the proprietor's decision NOT to allow us to use the bathroom.  Now if he had said,  you can use it, but nobody that is black, nobody that is gay, no purple people eaters, I would have a problem.  But he did not.  And his refusal was for all of us and does not justify people violating his property. 

I suppose what I wonder is WHY you came to that ride if this was a problem for you.  It was clearly announced on the list serve and on the club web site and at the ride start that there was no bathroom available at the first store stop.  You could have chosen not to ride. You could have chosen NOT to use the store, the one store in a town that by last census count was around 1,400 residents.  You could have chosen to ride to the lunch stop without stopping.  I have done so before and so have others.  But YOU chose to stop.  You say they were surly.....well maybe they had a right to be.  Frankly, had it been me I would have closed up shop and not sold us anything.  And believe me, there have been times when I have had to drink water the temperature of the outside air because a rural store has closed.  Yeah, you can ride on it even when the water is 100 degrees, but it sure is not as pleasant and renewing as a cool drink.

Take a good, long look at these stores because they are living ghosts.  The man will not make $15,000.00 profit in the next year I suspect, no less be able to afford any septic repairs.  (MY most recent estimate for replacement at my home was $15,000 to $20,000.  I am VERY careful what goes down into my septic.)  If you have children, their children may see a store like this, may be LUCKY enough to see a store like this where someone still has a dream, a remembrance of what life was before everything became so darned big.  I can almost guarantee you that your children's children will never see such a store unless gas skyrockets to where they can make a profit again.  As I said before:  they are living ghosts.  Those that haunt the countryside on bicycles realize that and cherish them along with their eccentricities.  There are so few.  And I will defend them and their eccentricities.  I will defend their right to close their restroom to everyone but employees if that is what they choose.  One by one they are folding, lost to us. 

Why this store, you asked?  Because to get the rural, low to no traffic roads, that is what you have to search out these stores.  Not only did you and others foul your own nest (the owner asked us not to return), you fouled MY nest, your hostess for the ride, as well as any other bicyclist that enjoys riding in the country rather than in the city.  I ride this route by myself often, and there are no other stores close by. 

Certainly if the majority of the club would rather not have my centuries for tour stages, let the Director know.  I know many people prefer city rides. I enjoy sharing my routes with people who enjoy them, but I have friends who will ride them with me regardless of whether they are tour stages or even club rides or I can ride alone.  This route, like most of my routes, were designed alone.  I will be going to the store to apologize and make my peace so that I can continue to have an oasis in the midst of country roads where there are little choices for store stops. 

Puddle


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Carefree Century 2016

"This is my fight song, take back my life 
song, prove I'm alright song.....Cause I've still
got a lotta fight left in me."
Rachel Platten


Being the worry wart that I am, I worry about the ride today.  While the humidity and temperature is predicted to be a bit more moderate, it is still going to be hot and I know this ride, how one hill is followed by another hill and another hill until your legs have been pounded to a pulp and beg for relief.  After awhile, they no longer listen when you tell them to just shut up and do their job.  And I am not sure that I have any business at this ride.  I am recovering, but I remain slow, particularly on hills. This is not fair to a ride captain on a club ride who stays back with the slowest rider. But there is something in me that makes me want to do this, to see how it goes, to measure where I am and how far I am from where I have been. I have yearned for the sights and sounds that a bicycle ride brings, for the company and laughter of friends, for solace and assurance that all will yet again be well.

And so I set out into coolness that is unusual for an August morning.  No, not that crisp coolness that makes one identify with the horses running nearby in pastures, manes streaming, sleekly beautiful,  kicking their legs high into the air just because of the joy of being able to do so, but still cooler and less humid than it has been.  As I reach the ride start, colored  jerseys assault my eyes as if they were flags of celebration. How did I ever think they were ugly, for I did at one time.  I realize I love the ride start, the precious sound of friends and of strangers sharing conversation, laughter intertwined with chatter, anticipation lacing the air.  For you just never know where a day will take you, and particularly a day with a bicycle.  Burns was certainly right about "the best laid plans."

I have no idea how I will do on this ride, for I still have bad days, days when my neck or back or hands plague me as if I were ancient and withered, and so I have no idea who I might end up spending the day with or if I will spend my day alone.  I think back to the last time I rode this course, this beautiful course that winds around the river with the occasional view that takes your breath away.  My husband was still alive then and I was preparing for the 1000 K through Virginia and West Virginia designed by Crista.  Paul rode with me that day, and whether it was intentional or unintentional, pushed me on every hill until my legs and my brain cried even as they both grew stronger.  But neither is here today:  Paul is not riding today and my husband is beyond my reach.  I say a prayer that God holds him dear and keeps him safe and warm and that finally, after years of constant pain, he is at peace.

I begin the ride cautiously, trying to listen to myself, the sound of my heart, the rasp of my breathing on the hills, the feel of my leg muscles, and I realize with some surprise that I am feeling well and strong.  So after the walking bridge, I begin to push even as I note the lushness that surrounds me, for despite the heat, ample rain has left the trees and fields sumptuously green, a feast for my eyes and for my soul.   For a moment, I think I might like to ride the day alone, for I always notice the scenery more, but I realize that finishing will be easier if I ride with friends.  I push past one group and jokingly wave my blue bandana in the air as I leave them behind. Still, I leave the first store stop alone only to be caught by Steve, and then Sara, and then Dave.

It is good to talk to Steve for I am comfortable with my friend of many, many years now.  There are still times when I question our friendship, for we differ so, politically, socially, economically, intellectually, but still it is one of those friendships you can count on for we have remained friends despite knowing each others flaws and differences.  We talk about his  new bike he is building up, about how I hate the gearing on my Surly and hope to replace it.  We talk about hobbies and catch up as we have not really talked with each other for months.  I get hugs from Dave and I realize how long it has been since we have ridden together, another bicycling friend who time has made as comfortable as an old shoe or a favorite pair of jeans.  I think briefly about how one of the things I most loathe about being a widow is not having anyone to talk to and who makes me laugh, for my husband could almost always make me laugh, one of his traits that I prized the most.

By the third store stop, it is hot.  The sun shows no mercy and beats down on us demanding surrender. My legs are asking if I have lost the last bit of sanity left to them, but still we trudge onward toward the ride finish.  We treat the sun with respect, but still we thumb our noses at him and ride on. And I realize that despite being dirty, sweaty, tired, and hot, I am thankful.  I am thankful for the day, for friends, for returning health, for bicycles, and even for hills that challenge us because somehow they make us a bit more than what we were.  The ride is, I realize, my fight song, and today at least I have won.