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spin... spin.. spin
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Watching my father struggle to ride up a bumpy hill, I let out the rarest of my emotions and begin laughing. “Dad, when did you get so old. Or maybe knobby tires are not for writers?”

Awkwardly dismounting while leaving his dropper post fully extended he sighs. “Can we just go fishing?”

“We can, do you plan to do that in the spring?”

“preferably sooner,” he answers back.

“Doubtful. We won’t be done with this 6 mile loop before mid summer. You may want to reschedule your next adventure.”

He laughs and smiles. I am rarely this sarcastic. Maybe even rarely this talkative. I’m chilly and outside on a bike and can’t help my mood. I like that my mood makes him happy and when not feeling quite so smiley will try to fake it a bit in the future.

“You are so French, it truly is your mother’s fault, her being from there and all. It actually is painful for you to be happy and even more painful for you to be nice to me. So, much so that I either get one or the other. Well, jokes on you! I prefer you happy to kind.” He says with a wink.

As we start pedalling again I begin to dwell on his words and my happiness fades to feelings of disappointment. I know I let him down. Sure, he was joking. But there is still truth in is words. I struggle to be happy. It hurts those around me far more than it hurts me. The sarcasm, that I’m ok with. But the lack of sparkling excitement I bring to those I love actually brings me down.

With a shrug, I lift my front wheel off the ground and remind myself of the first time. The first time as a child when I wheelied, I felt like I had mastered the whole world.

A short time later I eat a sandwich at a small patio table. I watch people with no smile or frown. Masked emotionless strangers. It’s still weird to me. Safer or otherwise it is crappy. My father is talking about the ride then my Mom. He loves her so much he can’t have a meal without describing how she could have made it better.

“Dad, does wearing a mask bother you?” I interrupt his detail explanation of how his wife would prefect our lunch.

“Of course not. It could prevent someone else from being sick.”

“So could random kindness. I mean if we are talking mental health but people rarely bother with that.” I respond with a half smile.

“French, yes... Rachel my love. You simply will never escape being French. If you were not my favorite of all humans I maybe would not even be able to tolerate your company.” Dad tells me with a chuckle.

“I’m tolerable. I suppose one could do worse.” It strikes me as a sudden bolt. Near probably what lighting hitting the Earth is like. I can’t hold it back and I cry. Not soft tears but an explosion of sobbing. I’m so fortunate. The man who loves my mother more than breath in this world, sees me as his favorite human. With a sniffing of snot I say, “Today is perfect!”

He makes a funny face and says, “Nope, you are and bikes make you silly!”

In a stoic manner I respond, “I make bikes fast and pretty. The least they could do is make me silly.”

“French! Your mother made you French, and that is her only single lack of perfection.”

We laugh and I smile like a goofy kid who can ignore a world of chaos because they are loved.

I have grown up so much, I laugh and cry now when I feel like it. I’m not embarrassed and am truly chill with the emotion of the moment. If I were a seagull I’d be a near flawless brilliant white, soaring and diving at will! ( a reference to Jonathan Livingston Seagull written by Richard Bach, an epic book if one must know)

Yep, I’m pretty good these days. Of course I rode a bike today.
 

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Old, fat, and slow
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Sometimes it is the smallest thing …

Today it was that invisible piece of radial tire wire—you know the one ….. The one that retreats back into the tire tread when you look for it, then pokes out just far enough to create a near-invisible pinhole leak in the brand-new tube you just installed … then in the patched tube with which you replaced it, and in the multi-patched tube with which you replaced that.

And then, one day, for no comprehensible reason, the sucker sticks out its pointy head while you are examining the inner casing, and Voila---you are now ready for several minutes of fighting to extract the beast, seven-eighths of which is firmly embedded, the rest too small to grab with any tool.

Of course, you cannot quit at that point. Even if you had another tire of that size, pride and frustration goad you forward. You try needle-nose pliers, Kelly clamps …. You contemplate firing up the power drill. You push, pry, scrape, grab … and finally, again for no comprehensible reason, the thing pops out and disappears—probably to embed itself in one of your toes later on, but so what? Now you can ride your bike.

By such little victories is life sustained.
 

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Discussion Starter #17,386
No ride again this morning. Wife and I went for our annual physicals and COVID shot number one. Rain and cold tomorrow.
 

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I did! It was a little chilly at the start of the ride but I managed to get in a nice 25 mile solo ride; my first since the COVID shot. Doctor said to stay home for a few days after the shot in case we get any side effects. Nothing so far. We go for our second shot on the 2nd. We were told the second shot is the one that will possibly show some side effects. But if a fever and some chills for a day is all that people are getting, it's much better than days on a ventilator; especially at my age.

I have to check with Frankie to see if he's riding tomorrow and hopefully get in a much longer ride. :D
 

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Another raw morning here in Central Florida. Not exactly what our state's tourist brochures depict our state's weather as being. Looking at the middle of February before I can start riding in cooler weather without having to worry about catching a cold with this COVID hanging around. They are saying that it takes about two weeks after the second shot for the vaccine to reach the 95% effectiveness rate. If I don't get back to riding more, I'm going to look like a balloon on a bike. :(
 

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Another raw morning here in Central Florida. Not exactly what our state's tourist brochures depict our state's weather as being. Looking at the middle of February before I can start riding in cooler weather without having to worry about catching a cold with this COVID hanging around. They are saying that it takes about two weeks after the second shot for the vaccine to reach the 95% effectiveness rate. If I don't get back to riding more, I'm going to look like a balloon on a bike. :(
I hear the vaccine is slimming.
 

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Spin Spin Spin
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slimming in supply......guess whose fault it is......
 
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Discussion Starter #17,394
Raw in Florida. Does that mean 70 degrees?
Almost. It only made it up to 63º for a high but it was damp and very windy.

In 2019, I would have been out riding in a heartbeat. Just can't take the chance right now and it's killing me.
 

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I hear the vaccine is slimming.
I wish it would slim my body from all the weight I gained by not riding.

Supply wise, we have an adequate supply but the issue we have is that the counties were given the task of distributing the doses and they passed the buck to the hospitals. The hospitals said that shouldn't be their responsibility to schedule appointments so the county took over the scheduling of appointments. That turned out to be a disaster.

The county health department contracted the web site for scheduling to a third party. They in turn used another parties scheduling calendar for the appointments. Every time you clicked on the calendar, it would crash your session. They had a phone line open as well, but only had 50 people to handle 200,000+ seniors in our county. The site was only available for one day to make an appointment to one of two locations on one of two days. So, after numerous complaints, they shut the site down around 2:00PM.

Tampa General Hospital and the USF Medical Clinic are the keepers of the vaccine in our county since they are the only ones that have the capability of storing the Pfizer vaccine. Florida's vaccine plan is for all health care workers and first responders to get the vaccine first. The next round goes to those over 65 and then it will be open to the general public. We were able to get our shots because we are patients at the USF Medical Clinic and they started with the high risk senior patients.
 

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John, with regard to the Covid vaccine, you're actually quite fortunate. Here in good old New Jersey, the vaccination process has been opened up to virtually everybody! Smokers(!), people with possibly compromised immune systems (my 38 year old nephew scheduled shot #1 because he has some mild asthma!), etc. Yet an old army buddy of mine, who is just turning 74, and has a heart condition, has his first shot in late April! My wife and I are scheduled for mid-March!

It's being rolled out and handled quite poorly, IMHO.

Stay well all and
Best regards
 

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John, with regard to the Covid vaccine, you're actually quite fortunate. Here in good old New Jersey, the vaccination process has been opened up to virtually everybody! Smokers(!), people with possibly compromised immune systems (my 38 year old nephew scheduled shot #1 because he has some mild asthma!), etc. Yet an old army buddy of mine, who is just turning 74, and has a heart condition, has his first shot in late April! My wife and I are scheduled for mid-March!

It's being rolled out and handled quite poorly, IMHO.

Stay well all and
Best regards
Barry,

Just keep doing what you've been doing to stay safe.

Our governor said at the onset of the first batch of vaccine to hit the state that all health care and first responders would go first and all those 65 and older would go next. He has even refused to take it himself and is not allowing any of our legislators, city or county officials to take it until all the seniors are vaccinated first. However, it's our county that seems to be screwing things up as far as scheduling appointments go. In most Florida counties, you need an appointment to get the vaccine. In a few counties, no appointment is necessary and they always seem to turn away seniors at the end of the day because there are more seniors that show up than they have vaccines.
 

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Two skinny J's
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No trainer ride tonight, pretty excited. Got my mtb back from the shop just in time to start on call...BUT I'm gonna ride her this weekend f at all possible!
 

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YAY BAIKS!
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Got out for a cold ride today. It was about 28 F but the sun was shining and it was wonderful. Rode 6.5 miles out to a local nature preserve and made lunch and had tea while relaxing.

The rig.
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I made my favorite dehydrated meal of Mexican Hot Mess. I forgot my spoon and had to eat with a stick. Yay Nigal!

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