The Shortest Distance

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. At least that’s what I was taught in school. I didn’t know about the exception:

“A straight line isn’t always the shortest distance between two points. The shortest distance between two points depends on the geometry of the object/surface in question. For flat surfaces, a line is indeed the shortest distance, but for spherical surfaces, like Earth, great-circle distances actually represent the true shortest distance.”

Perhaps it’s not about the two points, but HOW we move between them. 

Depending on the distance, walking is my favorite mode of transportation, (no less than six miles per day). 

If we take the truck, it means we’re on a road trip, and you have to love that! 

In the Fiat? I’m running errands in town. 

On our bikes, or in the plane? We’re enjoying a goof-off day.

What about you? What’s your favorite way to get between Point A and Point B?


Bicyclers Beware

A trip to Whitefish, Montana had us laughing when we came across this fully loaded (pun intended) bicycle. With a six-pack caddy, wine bottle holder, and a single carrier on the front, it appears the would-be bicyclist is prepared to either celebrate profusely, or drown their sorrows.

Curious, I checked to see if it is or is not legal to drink alcohol while riding a bicycle. It turns out it varies by state and what they consider non-motorized vehicles—including horses. Depending on where you live, if you decide to drink and drive a non-motorized vehicle here’s what you might expect:

“You may not be arrested for drunk driving on a non-motorized vehicle, bicycle, etc. You may be cited for any individual violation that is committed, or possibly for drunk and disorderly (if the circumstances fit). Also, some municipalities have ordinances simply for being drunk in public, and if a horse rider were in one of these areas, then they could be arrested for that.”

When was the last time you rode your bicycle?


Got Moxie?

Our walk to the dog park takes us past a place where people can safely leave their bikes. Clearly, one of the bicyclists marches to the beat of a different drummer. In other words, they’ve got moxie!


Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Moxie: noun
Force of character, determination, courage or nerve, savvy, know-how.
Example: “She showed a lot of moxie in questioning the policy.”

We’ve all got it — moxie — yet often hide it under a bushel basket.

When was the last time you showed your moxie?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Piggy Back Rides!

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A couple of weeks ago we traded in our 1990 Suburban and or 1996 Volvo and purchased a new-to-us Toyota Highlander. Quite by accident, the one that fit both our price and mileage range also happened to match the exact color of our bicycles — champagne!

We had a 2-inch hitch installed so that we could use the bicycle rack we purchased at REI’s “garage sale.” Every time we drive our bicycles to a trail head, we are, in fact, giving them a piggy back ride

Some of life’s loads, while heavy, can enhance the joy factor. Others are detrimental.

What type of load are you giving a piggy back ride to?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

No part of this blog post may be used in part, or in whole, without written permission from Laurie Buchanan. Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.

It’s What’s on the Inside that Really Counts!

Capilene Long Johns

The mornings of riding our bicycles in short pants and sleeves are done and gone. We’ve consistently been greeted each dawn by 43-45 degree weather. Add in the speed of a bicycle, and we’ve got some additional wind chill to contend with.

And while outerwear is certainly important, it doesn’t compare to the importance of what’s inside the final layer:

Moisture wicking briefs and sport bra
Capilene long underwear – top and bottom
Under helmet skull cap with ear flaps

Yep, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts! This isn’t just true for outdoor sports; it’s true for life as well. You’ll recall that Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies with in us.”

What inside your outer layer?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights ReservedNo part of this blog post may be used in part, or in whole, without written permission from Laurie Buchanan.

3 B’s and a Yahoo!

Sunday we rolled out of bed at 4am and arrived near Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin by 6am to get our wrist-bands to ride 50-miles of the Harmon Hundred bicycle ride.

It’s very early and plenty cold; about 49-degrees. Roughly 5 miles into the ride we hear gun shots! Oh Lordy! we think. We look around only to see a duck blind on the side of a hill. At this we cheer the ducks and geese on:  fly, Fly, FLY! Then it dawns on us, some hunters are wont to drink and hunt simultaneously. In our high-visibility yellow jerseys we make pretty easy targets; we pick up the pace!

Len Riding Point

There are two designated rest stops on the 50-mile route. Long before we reach the first one, we’re overcome by scent mirages. We’re both certain that we smell French toast, waffles, pancakes, warm maple syrup, honey-whipped butter, raspberry jelly, and hot coffee. Our minds are playing wishful tricks on us.

First Rest Stop

In the state of Wisconsin, courtesy dictates that you give “a” finger (not “the” finger) when you pass another person. This is true whether you’re on a tractor, in a truck, or on a bicycle. It’s easy; you simply lift your index finger, while nodding and smiling at the other person until they’re past.

Giving "A" Finger (Not "The" Finger)

When we got to where the second stop should have been mile-wise, we realized that we missed a turn. I’m no longer sweet, loving, kind, and thoughtful. Rather, I’m tired, sore, cranky, and hungry. After multiple additional miles, we arrive at the second rest stop, butt weary.

Second Rest Stop

Our total ride was 62 miles, not 50. We averaged 11.34 miles per hour, with our fastest speed being 28.67 mph. The actual riding time—pedals in motion—was 5 hours and 26 minutes.

End Of The Ride

We get home in the nick of time for showers and decent clothes before we’re back out the door and off to the Lakeside Legacy Arts Park (the historic Dole Mansion) in Crystal Lake where our friend, Kris Hayden, hosted a book signing for her newly published book, “Under the Eaves.” Here’s a LINK to her website if you’re interested in learning more about her book. From here we continue on to …

Kris Hayden Far Right (Short Dark Hair and Glasses)

… a multiple birthday celebration for Eoghan, Kayley’s brother-in-law Ryan, and Kayley’s grandmother, Effie. As you can see, a good time was had by all.

Birthday Celebration - Effie, Ryan, and Eoghan

Kayley and Eoghan


Kayley and Eoghan - Smoochin'

It was a whirlwind of a day, and we enjoyed ourselves tremendously. When we got home we crashed saying, “Yahoo, tomorrow we’re closed! We’ll just sit like two bumps on a log and contemplate the speed at which hair grows on our knees—nothing more strenuous than that!”

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.

The Law of Gross Tonnage

The Law of Gross Tonnage

The law of gross tonnage is usually thought of in terms of the maritime world—an unwritten, yet accepted nautical law that has everything to do with common sense: “If it’s bigger than you are, get out of the way.”

As bicyclists we, too, have this law. Together my bike and I weigh well-less than 200 pounds. A car—even a small one—weighs a heck of a lot more! In the state of Illinois it’s a law that vehicles passing a cyclist must give them at least 3 feet of space.

It’s a nice law to have on the books, but in our real-life experience, sometimes we’re lucky if we get 3 inches. But when push comes to shove, regardless of the written law, the unwritten, yet accepted law of bicyclists dictates, “If it’s bigger than you are, get out of the way.”

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”
Albert Einstein

“Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.”
Charles M. Schulz

“Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I have hope for the human race.”
H.G. Wells

“I thought of that while riding my bicycle.”
Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.”
John F. Kennedy

“Chasing records doesn’t keep me on my bike. Happiness does.”
Lance Armstrong after his third Tour de France victory

“Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling.”
James E. Starrs (sometimes referred to as the father of Indiana Jones)

Wasps don’t adhere to the law of gross tonnage. Even though we weigh thousands of times more than they do, they’ll still chase a bicyclist down and sting him right through his glove!

Wasps Don't Adhere to the Law of Gross Tonnage

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.

Oh Crap! What’s That Noise?

The day started out like any other non-law-breaking day. We woke up and were going to take a nice 20-mile bike ride. However, when we got to Elgin, we got to thinking, “We’re not going to have that many more nice biking days this season, let’s ride just a little further.”

Riding along, minding our own business, thinking we’ll do a 30 mile ride instead, we came across a barricade on the bike path.

We came across a barricade in the path

WHY? we wondered. We looked around and not seeing anyone, asked ourselves, “What’s the worst that could happen? It’s not like they’re going to confiscate our bikes and throw us in jail, right? Let’s just go take a quick peek and see WHY the path is closed.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way …

Where there's a will, there's a way

We find that they’re  replacing the bicycle path — it doesn’t exist — so we’re walking our bikes next to the tracks. We can see another barricade a half mile, or so, ahead that’s stopping bicyclists from coming through the other way.

We’ll just sniggle around that barricade when we get there and keep going.

Walking our bikes next to the tracks

We can see that they’re building a new bike path and a bridge. We stop to admire the work. This is going to be fantastic when it’s finished!

They're building a new bike path and bridge

All of a sudden we hear something in the distance. It’s getting louder and has kind of a rumbling feel to it. 

We turn to each other wide-eyed and say, “Oh crap! What’s that noise?” as we realize it sounds like a train!

Scrambling as fast as we can, we make it down into a work area with our bikes and turn to see a trolley ambling along, passengerless, the conductors smiled and waved as they passed.

Oh Crap! What's that Noise?

When we reached the “Stop, or I’ll gnaw my arm off now” point, we realize we’ve gone a little over 26 miles. Not too shabby.

Then in dawns on us, we’ve got to ride that same distance all the way back!

We’re so hot (90-degrees) we can hardly stand it. The little “rest area” we stop in has a water spigot. I turn it on, take my helmet off, and stick my head and shoulders gratefully under the cold running water. (yes, my eyes are still black and blue from the “gargling incident”) …

Laurie after sticking her head under cold running water

Len turns to me with a great big grin and says, “I think maybe we shouldn’t have left The Shire, Pippin.”

Len says to me, "I think maybe we shouldn't have left the shire, Pippin."

By the time we got back to Crystal Lake from Geneva, Illinois, we’d ridden 53.36 miles. Our legs are still wobbling!

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.

A Hint of Magic in the Air

The morning started out almost like any other, but there was the slightest hint of something different in the air—magic—as we turned our bikes onto the Fox River Trail and headed south to historic Elgin, Illinois.

We turned our bikes south on the Fox River Trail

Riding along the Fox River, we enjoyed the way it winked back at the sun who was flirting shamelessly with it.

The river winks back at the sun

We rode past beautiful scenery that waved its leafy fingers, beckoning us to leave the trail and play.

We rode past beautiful scenery

But we didn’t. We stayed on the trail that eventually took us within feet of the river.

The bike path took us really close to the river

We could tell by the change in scenery that we were getting close to our destination.

We're getting close to our destination

Finally, we arrive in historic Elgin, Illinois—made famous by the Elgin Watch Company.

We arrive in historic Elgin, Illinois

I love libraries. As you can imagine, lots of magic is let loose in the children’s section of the Elgin library.

The children's section of the phenomenal Elgin library.

We continued our journey to see the Grand Victoria riverboat casino. After dazzling the security guard with our brilliant smiles (and using just a hint of magic), he allowed us to use their very nice restrooms.

The Grand Victoria riverboat casino

On the return trip, we stopped and fortified ourselves for the ride back home with a delicious breakfast at “The Measuring Cup.”

We ate a delicious breakfast at "The Measuring Cup"

Then, you’ll never … ever … believe what we saw. How had we possibly missed this on the ride down? Impossible!

How could we have possibly missed THIS on the ride down?

A castle! The early morning hint of magic in the air proved to be true.

A castle!

With the zoom lens we got a closeup view. How cool is that?!

With a zoom lens, we get a closeup view

See those blue tubes hanging over our right shoulders? Those are how we drink water while riding. We wear “Camelbak” packs that each hold 100 ounces of water. When we’re thirsty, we just bite down on the bite-valve and voilà! Perfect for a long, hot ride.

Our Camelbak packs make it easy to stay hydrated on a long, hot bicycle ride

There’s magic around us all the time, all we have to do is pay attention.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.

Line of Communication – How’s Your Delivery Style?

Line of Communication by Laurie Buchanan

Riding our bicycles the other morning we passed what seemed like a never-ending line of telephone poles—a line of communication—standing smartly at attention. It made me think of the game “gossip” where someone whispers a bit of information into a person’s ear, it’s passed along in the same manner, and by the time the last person shares it out loud with the group, it’s changed considerably from the original message.

That line of thinking caused me examine my own communication and ask:

Am I clear, concise, and articulate?
Do I say what I mean, and mean what I say?
Do I deliver my message like a nail gun—hammering each point home? Or do I deliver it with graceful strength that leaves the recipient’s dignity in tact?

In other words, would I want to be on the receiving end of my own delivery style?

My mother used to say, “Laurie, make your words sweet and tender today, for tomorrow you may have to eat them.”

How’s your line of communication?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.