Shameless Promotion Department: Cycling to Crush MS

This is my annual plea for support of my bike ride to raise funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The ride is on Martha’s Vineyard on April 29.

Read about the ride here.

Read about our team here.

Read my page and support me here.

That’s all for today. You may now return to your regularly scheduled life.

Some of the Vineyard Square Wheelers ready for action.

Autumn on the Bike Path*

[This post was originally published on my other blog, Limping in the Light, ten years ago. It’s every bit as relevant today as it was then. Timeless writing is the best writing.]

Fall is a two-edged sword.  Yes, there is the the spectacular foliage.  Yes, the dreaded three H’s – hazy, hot, and humid – succumb to the three C’s – clear, cool, and crisp. But it also means the end of vacations, beach days, and a carefree attitude that summer always seems to beget.  If spring is the season of new life, then autumn, like George Harrison, reminds us that all things must pass.

The local bike path captures all the highs and lows of the autumnal equinox.  For example, there is no better place to appreciate the colorful pageantry of deciduous trees. They’re right there, at hand.  No need to fight the tolls or endless line of leaf-seeking SUV’s crawling up route 3.

On the other hand, the very same leaves that are a joy to behold can be a nightmare to navigate.  With the path’s edges obscured by decaying flora, if I’m not attentive to the track of my tires, there’s a fair chance that I could end up in a ditch.  Stopping and turning on wet leaves is a hazard every bit as well known to four-wheeled vehicles as it is to the two-wheeled variety.  The leaves also cover the mile markers painted on the path.

The air is indeed less humid and more crisp; the memory of the humidity that is the bane of some folks is as hazy as a sultry summer sky.  But that also translates to cold on my unprotected ears and nose… and fingers and toes.  A moving bike brings its own “wind chill factor” along for the ride.  I confess that I don’t like the cold.

Whereas in summer the path was carpeted with sunlight, the lower angle of the sun casts visually arresting zebra stripes of light across the path.  Luminous to be sure, but dangerous in that it camouflages obstacles in the path.  Speaking of which…

There are plenty of obstacles in the fall, some inducing falls.  For some reason, with the leaves come small branches whose radius seems to be magnified when I feel the thump on my posterior.

The most interesting bit of natural detritus is the lowly acorn.  Out of tiny acorns come mighty oaks, yes, but hit at the right tire angle, a tiny acorn becomes a mighty projectile.  They don’t endanger the rider, but woe to the one who stands nearby as one of these bullets shoots sideways from my bike.  I’m sure I’ve taken out one or two squirrels or other wildlife in my travels.

Those selfsame animals can prove another nuisance.  While they’re out gathering their winter store, I’m riding along simply trying to stay erect in this virtual minefield.  Watching out for them is more than I can deal with while self-preservation is foremost in my mind.

Reflecting on it all, there are a lot of similarities between spring and fall: increased animal activity, more debris to deal with, cooler temperatures.  But where spring means a new biking season is imminent, autumn augurs its end.  Soon, the path will be better suited for cross-country skiing, an activity for which I am ill-suited.

See you in the spring!**

*I was going to call this post “Fall on the bike path” but that would invite a catastrophe that I’m not interested in tempting… or repeating.

** Truth be told, my cycling season has no limits. I’ll see you on the bike path(s) all winter, too.

Quick opportunity announcements!

There are two opportunities coming up imminently that I want to share:

100th Anniversary Celebration!

My paternal grandparents, whose story inspired my novel “A Song in the Storm”, were married on September 11, 1921. We’ll be celebrating the 100th anniversary of their marriage with anyone who wants to join us at the Old Mill Coffee House in Chelmsford, MA, from 1-3 PM.

We’ll have a cake to share and delicious coffee (or so I’m told; I don’t drink the stuff 🙂 ) and baked goods will be for sale in the shop, as will their usual assortment of excellent locally made products. Do I need to say that copies of my books will also be available for sale?

Support the battle to destroy MS before it destroys anyone else!

On Saturday, September 18, I’ll be doing my annual fundraising bike ride to fight the scourge of multiple sclerosis. If you’d like to support me or my team in this effort, click on one of these links:

Support Rick

Support The Vineyard Square Wheelers

As you’ll see on the web site, this ride, normally held on Martha’s Vineyard in the spring, will be in Concord, MA, because of Covid.

Covid or not, MS continues to ravage lives, so we don’t take the year off. Please consider sponsoring us as we ride to destroy this destroyer of lives.

A sign of the times… past.

I’m a cyclist. I ride my bike as often as possible, wherever possible. It’s my hobby, recreation, and therapy. The great thing about riding a bike, as opposed to, say, driving, is that I’m out in the open and at ground level. As a result, I get a chance to see many curious sights I’d otherwise miss. I’ve seen all manner of wildlife, including turtles, snakes, deer, and even a coyote. I routinely encounter chipmunks playing chicken. That doesn’t even include the variety of people–the wildest of all wildlife–I’ve happened on doing everything from walking to rollerblading to dancing.

Quite often I’ll come across something that makes me think, “Hmm…”

This sign was one of them:

I don’t know where to begin with the problems this sign raises in my mind. The most obvious in this era of wokeness, is: “Men???” Really? How has feminism missed this glaring affront? What is this, 1957?!?

Then there’s the fact that these signs are more often than not surrounded by men who are merely looking at work, rather than actually performing it. Reminds me of one of my favorite quips: “A little hard work never hurt anyone who watched it.”

Finally, I know some wives (not mine, of course) who would question the entire concept of “men working”, especially around the house. That’s why you never see these signs in a kitchen.

“Slipstream” is out!

“Slipstream”, the third installment of “The Endless Cycle”, my middle-grade readers series, is available today on Amazon in paperback and Kindle e-book. The adventure concludes in the final book, “Endgame”. (The Avengers stole the name from me! 🙂 ) Watch for it on Sept 1.

Visit my author page to see the entire series so far, as well as all my other books. †

It occurred to me that I never even mentioned book 2 in the series: “Blowout”.

(Sorry that book promotions are about all I’m putting on my blogs lately, but a guy can only write so much!)