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Dear PACE People,

This is the final post of the Pryor Area Cycling Enthusiasts Blog.  Next week I’ll be departing to my new home in Michigan.  If you want to continue the blog, please let me know and I’ll give you passwords and instructions.

Michigan is a very bicycle friendly state with miles of designated bike lanes on rural roads and a fair share of paved designated bike only trails.  This is a concept I have a hard time wrapping my feeble brain around, as I’m more accustomed to dodging dogs and rumbling across Oklahoma “chip and seal” roads, but I plan to explore and report back so that you will come up and check it out.    I’m taking reservations, so let me know when you’ll arrive at the Burger B&B in Onekama, Michigan located on beautiful Lake Michigan!   My new email for correspondence is  I promise a comfy bed, warm showers, good food, and custom touring service!  All for free!  What more could you ask for?

I am missing FreeWheel this year as our move is occurring at the same time pretty much.  This is KILLING ME, literally, as I can’t imagine a year without FreeWheel.  I’m depending on hearing a full report from my cycling family on the fun that they have.  To those of you who have faithfully cycled this event, have a wonderful time, and attack those hills for me!   And if you haven’t done FreeWheel, you are missing one of the best cycling experiences ever.   It’s time you signed up and enjoyed what Oklahoma has to offer…small towns, big hearted people and a life changing experience.

Noted author and businessman David Weinbaum said,  “The secret to a rich life is to have more beginnings than endings.”   However, as William Bridges points out, “We come to beginnings only at an end.”   To the faithful readers of the PACE blog, my sincere wish for you is that you also seek more beginnings than endings, but be happy that the journey to an end is the stuff of good times and happy trails.

See you on the road!



Okay PACErs…..

If you don’t think that bicycling to work is “worth” it, check out this calculator that determines how much your trip costs you per day.

Okay….I live 1.5 miles from “the office,”  but I often make several trips a day.  So yesterday, I rode my bike three times to the P Creek Rec Center for a total of 9 miles.  At $1.36 per trip, I saved a whopping total of $4.08 cents. I racked up a small bit of mileage, I was “warmed up” when I got there, and I didn’t burn any fossil fuel.  Some days I can actually get there faster on my bike than by vehicle.   On the average week I will make 10 trips which is $13.60.  Multiple by a mere 42 weeks a year (if the weather cooperates), and I have $571.2 in my pocket (that I can spend on that Garmin 405 heart monitor GPS-enabled that I’ve been coveting!)  Gotta love rationalization.  Your savings is probably greater, which means you can buy the accessories that go with the Garmin 405 and donate them to me!

And with that in mind…check out Ryan VanDuzer who cycled across our great land on a New Belgium Brewery three-speed.  With support from Team WonderBike at New Belgium, he finished in D.C. raising money for Community Cycles, an NPO in Boulder that promotes cycling as transport.

And as Fat Tire is my brew of choice….here’s the Team WonderBike website.  Join in the fun.  It doesn’t cost anything!

Don’t forget Dickens of a Ride in Claremore this Saturday, October 3.  The weather will hopefully be great.  There are hills, but they are not that scary.  Have some fun and sign up.   The following information comes directly from the Whittaker’s at Bike About in Claremore.  It’s a great ride! 

Mark your calendars for October 3rd, 2009 for a great day of food and fun.

The projected forecast is for 70 degrees – perfect for a wonderful ride through low trafficked scenic country roads, past lakes and sweeping vistas in lovely Green Country.

-6:30 am Gazebo Park Registration and packet pickup begins.

-Pancake Breakfast by the Masons.

-Routes of 30, 50, 60 and 100 miles with a family 6 mile loop.

-8:00 am mass start with Claremore Bicycle Patrol leading the start.  

-9:00am Children’s safety Rodeo at the Claremore Lake.

-Wonderful rest stops sponsored by QT and Gatorade (and goodies made by the volunteers).

-At the end of the ride enjoy visiting and having a barbeque lunch at Gazebo Park.

Come join us for a wonderful day of good old fashion fun and food.

Registration and more information:

Jane, Rebecca and I went to Claremore Sunday to “study the hills” for Rebecca prior to the Dickens ride.  She feels confident after our practice ride and it’s fun to ride near the lake…nice roads, few dogs, and some rolling hills so that you use all the gears.





Here’s Jane and Rebecca at Claremore Lake.  We had just toured the park and missed all the excitement evidently when three police cruisers came barrelling through the park.  We had observed four guys that kind of gave us the creeps by the lake, and sure enough, we saw the squad cars parked in that area later.   We were glad we missed the excitement. 

Cycle Fandango 

I found out this week that I can ride one day of the two at Cycle Fandango October 17 and 18.  All you have to do is contact Tammy at the Chamber of Commerce in Broken Arrow.  Click on the Contact Us link at the website below.   This is a first year event, but it sure looks like it could be fun.  I’ll miss the ride Saturday, but I’m camping with the crew on Saturday night in Greenleaf State Park and hitting the road on Sunday. 

Leadville 100 follow up  

The Race Across the Sky documentary about the Leadville 100 (featuring my man Lance) shows all over the U.S. for one evening only on October 22.  The nearest place to P Creek is the Cinemark out on 71st.  Here’s an interestingly huge address that they sent to my email about tickets.  I have purchased mine…can’t wait to see it.  If this link doesn’t work, try the simplier link.,1_58249_AJzHjkQAAHuXSsES7wA4s05jNk4,1_50539_AKDHjkQAARN8Sr%2FdVAoMpCXDbMY,1_2870_AJvHjkQAAV%2BgSr4PuQMIkgXoAws,1_5029_AJnHjkQAAEd2Sr0RWQZs9XxKH7U,1_5553_AJ3HjkQAAFe9Srz7Uw1iwQskX3o,1_6333_AJvHjkQAACjFSrzmswwksTEL%2FLU,1_6814_AJrHjkQAAPFHSrzdlgBj6nfS8Pw,1_7360_AKDHjkQAAOl8Srzbbwk0tE%2FMb%2Bw,1_7770_AJ3HjkQAAQakSrxKEgQDpD9NP14,1_9078_AJ%2FHjkQAAI9KSrvWtAViUhusxn0,&sort=date&order=down&startMid=0&pSize=25&hash=5157767ba540dc470d975e0536e12e13&.jsrand=3216273

Traci is Kona Bound

Traci and Justin Johnson are headed for Kona, Hawaii this week in preparation for Traci’s participation in the October 10 Ironman World Championships.  Our best wishes and positive thoughts will be with her very stroke, pedal and stride of her adventure.  A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this Pryor Creek athlete, and she is excited and pumped.  Saw her today and she has the typical pre-race jitters.   We’re so proud of her and hope all goes well, and try to get some sleep 🙂

Universal Sports (a division of NBC) will have live coverage of Kona.  You can also follow along on the internet and cheer her on as the rest of us will. 

Redman Race Report

Glen Woods sent us this report on the Redman Ironman Tri help in Oklahoma City.  It’s a great description of what goes on during a race. 

Here is my race report that I posted on the TRIOKC message board.  2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run.  I finished in 16;23 and won a second place Clydesdale win.  David Wilkins finished in 13:50.

Up at 4:00 AM, I felt good. I had my PB on toast and a banana and headed to the race site. I checked in, got my chip, finished getting my bike ready then attended the FCA worship service. After the service, I headed back to transition and got my wetsuit on and headed towards the corral. Then the rain started. I was relieved when they decided to start the race an hour late. I had not realized how bad I wanted to race until I thought it might get called off.

The start gun went off and I started swimming. All through the swim, I never took a hit or kick. I ended up with a swim PR. David Willkins from Pryor was also racing and everytime I looked up during the swim I saw him. As I was coming out of the water I heard someone say “good swim Glen” and it was David coming out at the same time.

About a 5 minute transition I was out on the bike feeling great! I thought about backing off on the 1st loop, then said the heck with it, I am going to go for it. I kept on feeling great even though the cold rain kept coming down until about 80 miles. At 80 miles my legs started to hurt. I backed off a little, and missed my bike split goal by about 15 minutes.

I came off the bike and started the marathon, but my legs were so tight I could not run. I decided I would walk for a mile, then try to run. My legs loosened up, but I never had any power when I started running. I missed my marathon goal by a mile, but that did not matter.

Sharon and Cheyenne showed up about 6 after driving in from Cheyenne’s cross country meet in Joplin. I did not see them until about 9 because they started stuffing packets as soon as they got there. My training partner Traci Johnson showed up and cheered me on each loop of the run.

I finished about 12:30, picked up my stuff and headed to the hotel. By the time I ate, showered and went to bed it was 2:30. By 5:00 it was time to get up and head back to the race site with Cheyenne. When I got there I was surprised to see Sarah Bell there already working. She did the full, when was in charge of the run course the next day! Maybe I am not as tough as I thought?

Cheyenne had a good swim, a fair bike then a slow run. Her shins had not healed and she was still sore from her cross country meet the day before. I mean come on, A 16 hour day racing, volunteering, then waiting for me, 2 and a half hours sleep and she can not even turn a good run split? I think Kids are getting soft these days.

All in all it was a great weekend racing. I requested better weather, but I was blessed to spend the time with family and friends doing what I love to do.

Pryor Fever 5k and Mud Run

We got down and dirty Saturday in P Creek at the 2nd annual Pryor Fever 5k and Mud Run.   It’s a great 5k!  Terrific support.  TYA did a great job both participating and helping in the race.   High fives to Jessica Long and her race committee for a wonderful job.  They made Pryor look great….muddy, but great!   The 5k was timed, but mud races were not.  It’s hard to run fast through the gumbo that made Mayes County famous. 

Check out the 5k results….  You’ll recognize some names I’m sure.

Used MTBs for sale

If someone needs a couple of fairly sturdy MTB, my neighbors have some.  The Free Spirit Tailwind 26″ bikes were purchased at Sears in 2000.  Three chainrings and six in the cassette for 18 gears.  DNP Epoch6 derailleur, V-brakes, front shocks.  Ridden very little.  They would like $50 per bike.  Call Judy or Dave at 825-0022. 

Weather’s great…get out there and ride. 

Bicycle Quote………..

“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life. ”
Brian Tracy



The first signs of Fall are upon us.  The cooler mornings invite us to commute via bicycle rather than car.  The open road beckons as the summertime traffic is replaced by predictable school hour travel.  You can ride every weekend in a sponsored ride if your schedule permits.  It seems that in the fall, we get our bike groove back.  

So..celebrate fall. It’s time to get out and ride before the ice storms hit.   (I’m not borrowing trouble here, just being realistic based on our two-year weather history.)

Contained in this post is an update on events past and future and hopefully some info useful and otherwise.

Events Past


Kudos to our Broken Arrow and Kansas readers (Mike, Claire..anyone else what to ‘fess up?) who did Hotter ‘N Hell in Texas in August.  Admittedly it was not hotter than hell this year.  But the free beer was still there at mile 96, so what’s not to like.  Send photos if you have them.

Dam J.A.M.

It was cloudy, cool, but it didn’t rain.  Rest stops were primo once again.  Those smoothies at Wickliffe are worthy of pedaling those hills…and, of course, the MASH unit is always a hit at the top of Pumpback.   This year, the RedNecks made their first appearance at the first rest at the Y.  The costuming was terrific.    Plus, I did have my required peanut butter cookie at First Christian/Presbyterian at the Golf Course.  I scored the recipe this year!  Thanks Lois.  And congrats to Bill M and Steve W on their first Dam J.A.M.  They’ll both be back for more next year I’m sure.  Jim, Marie, the Pryor Chamber and a cast of volunteers do a wonderful job every year.  We are SO lucky to have this event in our backyard. 

  Check out photos here….you’ll see a bunch of people you know…including YOU!

Premier Racing  TOUR OF MISSOURI

Okay…next year you HAVE to make the short trip up I-44 and watch these guys race.  They whoosh past you pulling a vacuum when they are up to full speed which is somewhere around 30 mph.  It’s truly amazing.  Rarely can you get so close to professional athletes, much less our cycling heros.  Here’s the link to the Tour of Missouri website.    And keep in mind there are only three major professional bicycle tours in the States.  We are really lucky to be so close.  The others are in California and Georgia.   Feel free to post photos if you want, Claire, you lucky dog.  She got to see them in K.C.  I always watch them zoom past at some country road.  One year a rural mail carrier and I watched them!

Leadville 100  Race Across the Sky

And I couldn’t help myself on this one.  Evidently a video company shot some at the Leadville 100 this year.  This on and off road  bicycle race is probably the most grueling one day race possible.  I can’t wait to see the finished film.  If you have the ability to watch the trailer, it’s worth 5 minutes as some of the shots are spectacular.  Plus it features my man, Lance.

 Future Events

Another local event…..

Pryor Fall Mud Run, September 26 at Pryor Creek Rec Center.  Time to Get Dirty…AGAIN!

Tulsa Fall Century, September 26 in Tulsa.  Sponsored by the Tulsa Bicycle Club….a tradition continues.

Dickens of a Ride, October 3 Claremore.  Lives up to its name, but it is scenic and the door prizes are great!

Cycle Fandango, October 17-18  Broken Arrow to Greenleaf State Park and back.  This new two-day event promises to be lots of fun.

Anyone interested in becoming an indoor cycling instructor?  See Hannah at the Pryor Rec Center 825-6909.  We can always use more cycling folks when the snowflakes fly.

 And here’s the quote for this post. Until next time, keep stroking out there.

 “Life is like a bicycle.  Most of us have gears we never use.”   Charles Schultz, Peanuts.

It was hot…and it was windy, but after it was over, several participants were disappointed they would have to wait a whole year for the next installment of Pryor’s Family Tri Day.   We can only expect our generous sponsors and dedicated volunteers to do this once a year.  But we were so happy that at least 56 brave souls decided to take Pryor’s first triathlon challenge, and we are already planning for next year.  

Our competitors ranged in age from 12 to 65 years young. Seasoned triathletes from as far away as Tonkawa, “second timers,” and rank beginners came out for the event.   At the Children’s Duathlon held after the triathlon we cheered on 11 kids and one crazy adult on a trike.

The purpose of the event was to introduce the sport of triathlon to the community with a “doable” distance, (200 meter swim, 8 mile bike ride and 1 mile run) shorter than most sprint triathlons, (1/4 mile swim, 15 mile bike and 5k run) and surely much shorter than the Ironman Distance.  

We also wanted to support our own Traci Johnson.  Traci and her husband Justin own Mid-America Rental Center, and she is a member of the Rec Center where she trains.  She is also an Ironman competitor.  Traci will race in the biggest, baddest, most difficult tri there is…the Ironman World Championships in October.  Known in the sport as simply “Kona,” because of its location in Hawaii, elite athletes from all over the world will endure a difficult 2.4 mile open water swim with currents and tides, a 112 mile trek on the bicycle across the famed lava fields where temperatures are brutal, and “for dessert,” they’ll run a marathon.   Although most of us can’t even fathom this type of event, Traci’s trip to Kona is a dream come true.  And we couldn’t let it go unnoticed. 

We’ll hopefully post results on the Rec Center website, but until then, I can post some preliminary results with some photos.  Certificates will go out in the mail this week to each participant who didn’t receive theirs the day of the race.    And I have some photos…..


Swimmers stand anxiously in line for their turn to start.  Ask even the most seasoned triathletes if calmness prevails prior to starting and they’ll answer a resounding, “No!”  Doesn’t matter if it’s the first race or the 100th, the butterflies were fluttering around the Pryor Rec Center pool Saturday morning.


David Wilkins of Pryor, Locust Grove’s former high school principal and Hulbert’s new superintendent of schools, finished second to 25-year-old Bradford Gildon of Tulsa.  Gildon was lightning fast swimming 200 yards, biking 8 miles and running 1 mile in 33 minutes 2 seconds.  David finished slightly two minutes behind Gildon.   Arryn Stacy, 22, of Pryor, was the overall winner in the women’s division.

Our wonderful sponsors made the event financially possible. Without their support and participation we’d be “treading water” and “slipping gears” and “running in circles.”

Boys and Girls Clubs of Green Country provided major sponsorship and support for the event.  Without their involvement, the idea of a triathlon event would be just that….only an idea.  We are very grateful for their participation in this event. 

Gold Sponsors:  Williams Construction, Collins Electric, Mid-America Rental Center

Silver Sponsors:  Karen and Andy Sissons, OSU-Okmulgee(Mid-America), Century 21 NEOKLA, Elliott Medical Plaza

Bronze Sponsors: Century Bank of Oklahoma, Jane Wilson Swim Coach, Debco Electric

We needed about 40 volunteers to stand in the heat for several hours on their day off and record times, direct traffic and keep the participants safe.  We are very thankful for those faithful people who did whatever they were asked. 

Everyone who participated was a winner in our eyes, but here’s the standings according to the clock.

Males Top Five  All Ages      


Bradford Gildon Tulsa




David Wilkins Pryor




Mark Fields Pryor




Andy Sissons Chouteau




Jered Auld Tulsa


Females Top Five All Ages      


Arryn Stacy Pryor




Holly Palmer Pryor




Cheyenne Woods Pryor




Melissa Martin Pryor




Stephanie Conduff Broken Arrow


Team Finishes        


Craig/Cantrell Pryor




Marshalls   Pryor


First Place Finisher in Age Groups
Males 12-19    
Ryan Pettus Pryor


Females  12-19    
Cheyenne Woods Pryor


Males 20-24    
Kelly O’Ryan Tulsa


Females 20-24    
Katy Creekmore Pryor


Males 25-29    
Bradford Gildon Tulsa


Females 25-29    
Arryn Stacy Tonkawa


Males 30-34    
David Wilkins Pryor


Females 30-34    
Holly Palmer Pryor 0:46::35
Males 35-39    
Chris Wilcox Eucha


Females 35-39    
No entries      
Males 40-44    
Andy Sissons Chouteau


Females 40-44    
Lori Pettus Pryor


Males 45-49    
No entries      
Females 45-49    
Melissa Martin Pryor


Males 50-54    
Gary Anderson Vinita


Females 50-54    
Sally Bair   Pryor


Males 55-59    
Roger Stacy Tonkawa


Females 55-59    
No entries      
Males 60-64    
Steve Wyneken Pryor


So if you can’t wait for next year, here’s the 2009 Oklahoma triathlon calendar.  Next nearby opportunity is Oct. 4 in Claremore.  Those of us who raced that one in the spring know it’s FUN!

In the meantime, don’t forget the Svitak Freedom Ride in Joplin August 22 

Pryor’s Dam J.A.M. on Sept 12 beginning in Whitaker Park.

The Pryor Chamber of Commerce has entry forms, or use this website for online registration.

Two quotes of the day meant specifically for the 40 new people who have entered the triathlete fellowship this weekend and know how cool it is to say, I’m a triathlete!”  They explored a new challenge,  took a risk, gave it their best and didn’t give up.   Congratulations to you all!

Quote #1

“The best inspiration is not to outdo others, but to outdo ourselves.” -Anonymous

Quote #2

“To ‘tri’ is to risk failure, to not ‘tri’ is to guarantee it.”  –William Arthur Ward (paraphrased)

Well, we’re in the Deep Throws (that’s Throws not Throats!) of Summer.  Don’t you just love to hear those tar bubbles on the pavement pop when you squish them?   However,  the 90 degree temps just don’t feel like the typical scorching, wring-your-shorts-out, type summer days we experience in July here in Okie land.   So there’s no excuse not to get out there and ride.    Here’s the update on upcoming opportunities. 

I’ll start first by promoting a really exciting local event…….

Aug. 8  Family Triathlon Day, Pryor Creek Recreation Center.   We are celebrating Pryor’s triathlete Traci Johnson’s lucky lottery draw in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.  Pryor’s first tri event is a beginner event so that anyone older than 12 can participate, and you don’t really have to train for this type of event.  Yet, participants will be able to say they did a triathlon!  We’ll swim (or dogpaddle) four laps in the Rec Center pool, then ride 8 miles on the bicycle, then run 1 mile.  The whole idea is to introduce lots of people to the sport and have some fun.  Younger children can participate in the duathlon which means kids on tricycles and bikes and a short run.  And we’ll have an obstacle course and Jupiter Jump also.  Entry forms are still available at the Rec Center, or comment on this blog, and I’ll send one to your email address.    You can participate an an individual, or as a team with each member doing one part of the triathlon.  It’s going to be fun, so come join us!

Sept. 12  Dam J.A.M.  Pryor   It’s happening again…the 17th year for the ride that draws cyclists from all over the place because it’s such a great opportunity to see Northeastern Oklahoma.  Our reststops are the best, (smoothies at Wickliffe and the MASH unit at Pumpback) the roads are great, the door prizes are terrific.  Now if the weather will cooperate this year, we’ll have the total package.   Come join Jim and Marie Beach (that’s the J.A.M. part) and the Pryor Chamber of Commerce in Whitaker Park as they send us on our way.

Other area rides…………………………………….

Aug. 15  Phil Svitak Freedom Ride in Joplin.  (Just an hour and 15 away from P Creek.)    This charity ride benefits the Philip Svitak Memorial Fund which provides bikes for children of military families at Christmas.  Phil was killed March 4, 2002 in Afghanistan.   He was a Joplin native and an avid cyclist.  Register online at

Aug 28-30  Hotter ‘N Hell in Witchita Falls, TX  Everyone should ride this at least one in their cycling lives.

Sept. 5  Gorilla Century in Pittsburg, KS  Part of Little Balkan Days in Pittsburg, choose from three distances.  Little Balkan Days is a big deal.  Football game at Pittsburg State, bands downtown with a street dance, carnival, golf tournament, quilt show and bunches more.  Sounds like they whole town is partying down.  Visit for more info.

Oct. 3 Yellow Brick Road Ride in Wamego, KS   Our K-State blog reader Claire wants to spread the word on this ride.    She swears we’ll love riding near Manhattan and that the terrain is NOT like Western Kansas.  It’s a good cause!

Weekly rides

Local rides every Tuesday and Thursday evening begin at 5:30 at Bike About in downtown Claremore.  Tuesday is the challenging group 20-30 miles with hills, and Thursday is the Leisure Group.  They welcome all cyclists. 

Ride reports

Several of us rode in Joplin at Tornado Alley two weeks ago.  The ride was good, great terrain and very good support, but the distances were way off.  The 50ish ride was more of a 40ish ride which left me finishing really early and wishing I’d done the 70….note to self for next year. 

Blackberries and Old Dogs

Blackberries were good this year.  There’s still a few out there.   You’ll just have to find your own patch, but any roadside in Mayes County will yield bushes if you look.   The NBC’s (Neighborhood Bike Chicks) did some recon and then a week later, we donned the Deet and gathered a few.  Cobbler is really good when you work for the fruit! 

Jane and I have both been accosted by the same aging canine out in True Acres.  He was barking his head off at us last week and I stopped to try to “talk sweet” and calm him down.  He walked right up to me, clamped his aging chompers on my left foot while it was still clipped in, applied moderate pressure, then he let go.  I was shocked!  He didn’t really hurt me…just sent a message.   Jane reported a similiar incident.  Yesterday when he went by, he didn’t even give us the time of day.  Mayes County certainly seems to have an abundance of dogs.  We kicked in the afterburners a week ago when two fisty mutts decided to chase us for almost a section west of town. 

If you have cycling info to report, please use the comment section.  And if you want to buy, sell or trade equipment, check out the link at the top of the page. 

Until next time ………….

“You never have the wind with you – either it is against you or you’re having a good day. ” ~Daniel Behrman, The Man Who Loved Bicycles

The 31st year of Oklahoma FreeWheel is history.  And with only one day of rest, most of us are ready to plan for next year. 

This was my second FreeWheel.   I’m far from the veteran for sure, but I felt I had a better handle on things this year and knew what to expect.   I couldn’t have been more wrong in that assumption.  I knew what to pack, and how to train, but this year’s route in Western Oklahoma was amazing.  I found out that this part of the state is spacious, but sparse, beautiful yet harsh, and undeniably wonderful.  And the winds really do come sweeping off the plains! 

FreeWheel ’09 started in southwestern Oklahoma in Duncan and progressed some 420ish miles to Kiowa, KS.  Our overnight stops included Apache, Cordell, Cheyenne, Thomas, Fairview and Alva (small towns with big hearts). 

This post is lengthy, so read what you like and skip what you don’t like.  But hopefully it will encourage you to take on this adventure or others like it.  There’s nothing like your bicycle and Oklahoma terrain and weather to teach you what you are made of, not to mention the 850 new friends who help you make memories.

FreeWheelers arrived Friday and Saturday in Duncan to prepare for blast off on Sunday.  Many rode to the Red River on Saturday to dip their tires in the river for good luck or just to say they rode from stateline to stateline.  Others decided to rest and prepare for the miles ahead.  Saturday is always a “reunion” day….a time to renew acquaintances from previous years and to make new ones.   We found that we had a mate from Australia joining us, a German rider and others representing many states outside of Oklahoma.  What we were not expecting was the severe winds overnight.  Several campers gave up their tents to Mother Nature.  Some of us just tried to hold up our shelter the best way we could and hope for the best.  I had all my bags, my hands and feet trying to help support the tent poles while the wind howled.  Fortunately, we didn’t have much rain, and most of us managed a few hours of sleep.

Sunday, June 7 (Day 1) started with Lt. Gov. Jeri Askins sending us off from her home town at 6:30 a.m.  The first day of riding was terrific.  A zig zag of west and north roads with a great south tailwind made for some very quick riding.  Lunch in the ball park in Sterling yielded delicious homemade brownies. 


My friend Jerry from Tulsa stopped to adjust his headgear in Cyril (pronouced like “surreal”) and then we cruised on in to Apache before noon.  Apache is a quiet place, but we were treated to snake stories from Apache’s local snake hunters.  When they removed those rattlesnakes from the containers, most of the crowded backed up a few feet.  Day 1 with 54 miles was over.

Most folks think that western Oklahoma is flat if they have never been there.  The maps show straight lines for roads.  I can only say I’d been warned, but I really wasn’t prepared for the next three days of riding with hill after hill.  The wind was less than cooperative, and several days we had severe headwinds that really become demoralizing.  However, bike riders are some of the most stubborn people I know.   Most of us have to be near heat exhaustion to stop. 


Karen and I were twinkies on Day 2.  And we ended up with the same tan lines as well

Day 2 took us from Apache through Ft. Cobb to Carnegie with lunch at the school in Mountain View.  True to its name you can see Quartz Mountain from Mt. View.  On down the road we pedaled to Gotebo (charming name) and then a turn north to Cloud Chief and west to Cordell, a town with a terrific park, great pool and excellent Mexican restaurant.  I was told that the mayor was elected by aclaimation as no one would run.  He also plays the guitar and entertained with retro 70s rock that evening.


Ironically, we camped in a park that does not allow bicycles!  Derrick slept under the no bike sign.  I logged 70.4 miles that day.

Day 3 had heat, entertainment, hills and wind gusts from hell.  Most of us agreed that this was the hardest day.  From Cordell we headed west for Burns Flat, then Canute and on to Elk City for lunch.  We first stopped at a cute coffee shop, then the Elk City Cafe that opened at 11, and then we toured the National Route 66 Museum.  Our side venture to Elk City was great, but it was probably my downfall.  The longer the day, the hotter and more windy the afternoon. 


 I rode with the Texas boys  (Michael in red and Craig in his Bert and Ernie jersey).  We mugged on a hill with Oklahoma’s newest windfarm in the background.  By the end of the day Michael and I agreed that everyone hated Craig because of his strong riding skills.  I know both of us did.  Michael and Craig encouraged curse words when we had a really long hill or a particularly bad gust of wind.  I’m not sure but I think I exhausted my list except for one which I just can bring myself to say even under the worst of circumstances.  Michael’s thermometer read 102 and the wind gusts were in excess of 35 mph.  A jolly day for a bike ride.  Needless to say Cheyenne was a welcome sight and a great community.  The park is very nice, the Methodist Church put on an excellent dinner, two FreeWheelers got married in the small chapel in the park (they rode away on a tandem), and we toured the National Park Services Washita Battlefield where Custer unmercifully killed Black Kettle’s people.  The story is sad, but as our small group marveled at the sunset over the hallowed ground, we were all moved by the majesty of the place.  Our 65 mile day was done.  Six of us were picked up by the president of the Chamber of Commerce in a stretch limo.  What shuttle service!

Day 4 started out retracing our path from the end of Day 3 which meant the killer hills; however, the wind was sort of behind us and we cruised the hills like we owned them.  It was FUN but very hilly once again.  As I was piloting solo for the first half of the day I decided to count the hills (The definition of a hill is:  the average rider, me, has to shift at least five gears in my nine gear cassette, or down one chainring).  I counted 68 hills before getting to our destination of  Thomas some 65 miles north and east.  Can we say “cardio work out?” 

As the morning progressed, the skies behind us grew darker.  About 20 miles from Thomas, I knew I’d better find some fuel to pedal faster. 


Here’s the view from the rest stop when I decided to get after it.  Great hills! 

I managed to hook up with two very strong riders, Bill and Melanie from Broken Arrow,  I had ridden with them earlier in the week and for the next 20 or so miles, we rode a fairly quick paceline.  We got to Thomas about 10 minutes before the skies opened.

I don’t camp in the rain.  I don’t like wrinkling like a prune. 


So I slept with all this fine people in the home of the Thomas Terrier’s basketball team.   I know….some people won’t understand this, but it’s actually kind of fun.  Lindsey from Stillwater and I had a great time.  She lent me some of her New Yorkers to read and many of us napped while the rain lulled us to sleep. 


Then Tracy from Springfield, Mo, Amie from Lebanon, Mo, and Jerry from Tulsa and I rehashed our adventures in the bleachers.  Amie and I ate dinner at Big T, one of two eating establishments where I had the best hamburger a carnivore could ask for…with the local speciality, Terrier Chips (homemade potato chips).   So much for that healthy training table.

Day 5 took us from Thomas to Fairview, a short day of 53 miles.  The morning was very foggy and I couldn’t resist stopping on the South Canadian River bridge for a photo.  No wind, beautiful morning.  I was in cycling heaven. 


Our lunch stop (which usually happens anytime from 8 a.m. on) was in Canton.  The First Christian Church served a hoagie sub sandwich with salad, and homemade desserts.  Hooray for the blond brownies and church ladies who can cook.   Canton Lake was next, a beautiful ride through the state park and then on to the stop in the road of Longdale.  Fairview was a short pedal and a terrific coasting hill ahead.  It lives up to its name.  Probably a place I could live for sure.  Terrific people, a great place to eat called the Tin Lion downtown…a great winery, Plymouth Valley, where several of us enjoyed the afternoon and several bottles of Dennis Flaming’s finest.    The evening brought Speed Wheel which is a criterium race held on Thursday during FreeWheel.  We all cheered for our own riders, especially Alex from Stillwater who raced a 30 minute race at speeds around 23 mph after riding 53 miles!  Sleep came easy after an busy day.

Day 6 forecast included some rain, so many of us tried to get an earlier start to get as far as we could on this 70 mile day.   The sky was turning blacker by the minute when I reached Ringwood in a stiff headwind about 16 miles into the day at around 7:45 a.m.  Thunder, lightning, and bluish black clouds tinged in that sick green which indicate hail made me seek shelter along with about 150 other people at a small “Mom and Pop” c-store.  I’d say that “Mom and Pop” made more money in the hour and a half that we were smashed like sardines in the store than they make during a whole week.   In hindsight we were probably a mixed blessing!

Many riders sought shelter in barns (with and without livestock) and prevailed on the kindness of homeowners with carports.  But structures are few and far between in western Oklahoma which left many to try to ride in the torrents.   One rider learned the hazards of riding in such weather when he had a close encounter with a semi.   Fortunately, he ended up in the grass with some scraps and contusions.  A trip to the Alva Medical Center, ice packs and painkillers were the course for the rest of his FreeWheel experience. 

We all bemoan the inconsiderate nature of some drivers who crowd bicylists.  And in light of the recent deaths of the cyclists in Sand Springs, we were all concerned.  However, it’s important to remember that in a driving rainstorm, a bicyclist is the last thing any motorist expects to see on a shoulderless road.  Sometimes it’s just better to find a place to get off the road until conditions improve.  Better to be safe and live to ride another day.  He’s an extremely lucky person.

The pavement dried and we passed through Helena and McWillie where I hooked back up with my Broken Arrow paceline of Bill and Mark which was great because the wind began to pick up and the paceline was very helpful.  By the time we got to Carmen, our lunch stop, the sun was peeking out.  

On our way out of town we passed a striking red brick building.  A barely discernable sign had what looked like the word “Home.”  I theorized it might have been an orphanage remembering Pryor’s history and the Whitaker Home.  Sure enough, a web search yielded the answer.  It was an orphanage built around the time of statehood by the I.O.O.F.  It was last occupied as a nursing home but has been closed for many years.  The building appeared to be in relatively good repair from the outside.   One website I visited indicated many believe it is haunted. 

The closer we got to Alva, the longer our paceline grew.  It’s really fun to ride a paceline and see just how fast a group can go.  Our camping facilities were in a sports complex and fairgrounds.  The heat of the day turned our treeless camping area into a sauna, so after a visit to our shower truck, many of us soaked up the coolness of the concrete floor in an adjacent building until time for the closing dinner.    A cyclist can burn between 3000 to 4000 calories in a 60-70 mile ride.  So we put the Northwestern Oklahoma State University catering service to the test.  We were the largest group they had ever served, and probably the hungriest!

FreeWheel Friday is always an evening to gather, spread the thank yous liberally to all who make the ride possible, and enjoy the company of old and new friends before departing for the final destination.  Entertainment, prizes and a fair share of the week’s war stories are the order of the evening.  That night I fell asleep listening to “mom” read a bedtime story to her children in the tent next to mine.  What a great way to end the week.  This year many families and many more kids than normal rode FreeWheel.  We were all encouraged by their tenacity and the strength of their young legs.   Our sport appears to be growing and certainly in the right direction.

Day 7 turned into “grit your teeth and ride into the wind” day.  No one would have expected a north headwind in western Oklahoma in June, but as we pushed toward Kansas, we were forced to climb more hills and use all those gears we bought.  I was very glad I had them.

We all thanked Dennis (many call him Saint Dennis because he sets up his own reststop every day and says he will until he’s in a wheelchair!) one last time.  The town of Hardtner welcomed us.  FreeWheel organizers were contacted by this tiny crossroad as they wanted to be a part of the event. 


And of course, most stop at the state line as we pass into Kansas to snap photos of the Welcome to Kansas sign and celebrate a week of fun. 

Arriving at FreeWheel’s final destination is sheer relief and bittersweet.  It’s comparable to that excited yet empty feeling after Christmas is over.   But the folks in Kiowa were cheering us as we came into town, and they offered up very tasty food in their spacious park.   Seeking out the week’s riding partners, the cyclists touch base one last time, sometimes exchanging emails, theorizing about the location and route of next year’s ride and promising to sign up again for this incredible adventure.   

It is the excitement of exploring our state, the small town hospitality, and the open hearts of Oklahomans that make FreeWheel such a wonderful experience.   And although there are some tough days, we confirm what we know each June.  Bicyclists are the best family on earth.  And families just love reunions.


Thirty-four Oklahomans invaded the shores of Lake Michigan and environs in Door County last week for Oklahoma Bicycle Society’s Grand Tour 2009.  Suzanne and Gary Cannon did a capital job arranging our tour.  It takes a lot of time to pull off this type of event, and they did it gladly.  They were still smiling at the end of the week.  And so were we!

We stayed several days in Sturgeon Bay and Sister Bay and cycled on the most bike friendly roads you’ll ever find.  Wisconsin is the second most bike friendly state, a bridesmaid to Colorado which is noted for its paved trails.  County roads are in excellent condition, bridges have bike lanes, motorists are considerably more respectful of cyclists, and renegade canines are almost non-existant.   Several of us also cycled some State Park bike paths and the Ahnapee Rail Trail which were both excellent.

Door County, for those who don’t know their geography (like me before I signed up for this trip), is a sliver of land that extends into Lake Michigan east of the “contiguous”  state of Wisconsin.  Sturgeon Bay marks the pennisula’s southernmost city and Washington Island sits like a jewel at the north of the County.  Door is know as a resort county in the summer and a winter playground for snowmobiles and crosscountry skiers in the winter.  We noted that climate wise, it is spring in Door right now, the equivalent of our mid March weather with trees just leafing out.  The cherry orchards for which Door is famous are beginning to bloom.


Deborah and Kim decided to stop and admire the blossoms.

Lighthouses and observation towers are are plentiful in Door County.  I climbed three towers and two lighthouses.  One at Eagle Bluff we weren’t supposed to be in, but we were from out of town and didn’t know any better.


I took Michelle’s picture at the top of the Cana Island Lighthouse to prove to her husband David that she DID climb to the top.  She’s afraid of heights, but the view was worth it!

Most days we rode to a destination planned by Gary and Suzanne, but on the day we moved from Sturgeon Bay to Sister Bay, we all cycled the 44 miles there.  Suzanne ferried drivers back at the end of the day to pick up our vehicles.  The weather was picture perfect and we rode through Pennisula State Park which is beautiful.   We stopped in Sturgeon Bay to consult the map and we just happened to stop in a very appropriate parking lot at 9 a.m. in the morning!IMG_0683

We did a lot of map consulation along the way.  But that’s always part of the fun of any tour.


Gary and Jana are keeping us on the straight and narrow on day two.  As you can see, the rest of us don’t really care, just as long as we end up at someplace to eat around noon time.  And eat (and drink) we did.  Several of us were happy to sample every Wisconsin beer created, and of course, you can’t have beer without cheese, right?  And Wisconsin has its fair share of wineries.  Jane, Paul and I found the oldest winery on day one in Algoma.  Lucky us!

Cave Rock State Park was a favorite stop with the group.  We could have stayed longer, it was so beautiful.  But the road beckoned us on.  Paul really liked it here.  So did I!


On our last day we rode our bikes onto a ferry that took us from Northport to Washington Island.  It was great fun and we really enjoyed cycling on this unique piece of real estate.  Schoolhouse Beach looks like something in the Caribbean with its pristine water.  The rocks are very unusual here and there’s a stiff fine if you pocket any.


On our last night in Sister Bay, we experienced the traditional Wisconsin “fish boil” and our “morales directors,” Lynn and Liz presented special “gifts” to us as part of the Survivor’s Party.

It was difficult to leave this cycling mecca, but with our adventure in Door County over, we had one last mission…purchase cheese to take home.  And Jane HAD to buy a “cheesehead” hat….which she did at Renard’s in Sturgeon Bay. 


Hopefully we’ll get back to this terrific place.  If you’re looking for a cycling adventure, consider “the Door.”


She is busy training and preparing to compete after her lottery selection to the ultimate of all Triathlons…The Ironman Championship in KONA, HAWAII!  We will all be rooting her on as she gets ready for this unbelievable experience in October.   She is the only racer  from Oklahoma.  And she trains at Pryor Creek Recreation Center!  How cool is that?

In case you don’t know, athletes in this event swim 2.4 miles, then hop on a bike to ride 112 miles along a grueling course and then…run a marathon.   Every premier triathlete who is anyone is invited and then the remaining spots are filled by lottery.  Traci was one of the lucky ones.  She gets to race with the best of the best.  She has our best wishes. and we’ll keep you updated on her training progress.     Here’s the official link to the Ironman World Championship where you can see Traci’s name on the list of competitors and learn more the event.

Meanwhile, back in Oklahoma….It’s official!  

 The Mayes County/PCRC bunch all finished the Spring Fever Sprint Triathlon last Sunday.  It was cool, a little breezy, and some of us were suffering from stuffy or runny noses, but we all finished and earned the right to say we did it.  We got cool shirts and really great hats, and most importantly a sense of accomplishment.   Some of us were racing to better our time, some of us were just proud to cross the finish line in an upright position.  Either way, we were still smiling at the end.


Here we are near the finish line after the race.  L to R:   Townsley Dowler, Leann Burger, Kristen Hubbard, Rebecca Whisman, Bob Webster and David Wilkins.  Casey King also finished but we couldn’t find him for the photo.    David posted our best finish with a time of 1:03:50 to place him 51st among 196 men. 

Contrary to what Bob says, I found out it pays to be old….with only seven in my age group, by some fluke, I finished second, and 47th overall out of 127.  My New Year’s Resolution has been met!  Townsley also place in the top half with 55th.    Men and women between the ages of 30-45 are amazing fast.    The men’s winner finished the course which was a quarter mile swim, 12 mile bike ride and 2 mile run in slightly over 49 minutes with the fastest woman only two minutes slower.   I felt like a snail compared to them.  This sport attracts some truly amazing athletes! 

Here’s a link to the results.

Our thanks to Glen and Traci for encouraging us on the course and spending the day as part of the Tulsa Area Triathletes who volunteered to help.   

Flower Power Report

Jane reports that even though the start/finish was moved this year from Honor Heights park, the “Killer Hill” is still where it has always been…right after the rest stop at the Dam.  This year’s  Muskogee Flower Power ride was a bit windy, but a good turnout and fun ride was the order of the day.   Why are hills with curves so much harder than straight ones?  She and Tom Carment managed to stop at the cemetery on the way back to the marina.  What is a pleasure ride if there’s not a few diversions?   Jane and I haven’t met a cemetery yet that isn’t interesting.  And if you haven’t checked out the one near Bryan Chapel near Boatman Road, you should!

Now…on to the calendar updates

Two major events coming up…

Don’t forget the Tour de Tulsa sponsored by the Tulsa Bicycle Club on Saturday, May 2.

And of course, Tulsa Tough May 29-31   Several routes and events to choose.  Plus real live racing.

Claire Armstrong tells me there will be a Kansas Contingency at the Crit races, so maybe she will let us know when they will be racing and we can bring our cowbells and cheer them on.  This year’s Crit is attracting some major racing circuit teams like Jelly Belly and Rock.  Could be interesting when the “Bad Boys of Bike Racing,” Rock Racing hit the Tulsa streets.

In three short weeks Jane and I join other Oklahoma Bicycle Society members for this year’s Grand Tour in Door County, Wisconsin.  I’ve never been there, but I hope to bring home some photos to share. 

The weather is prime…get out and ride, people!  And just a reminder that we have the Bike Exchange up and running now.  Just click on the link “Bike Exchange” at the top of the page to list or to look for bikes, parts, components or other legal offerings that are bike related.

And here’s your quote for this post….

“The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets.”
Christopher Morley

But hopefully, not literally!

Bike season is here if you can dodge some raindrops and tolerate an occasional gale force wind. 

Bike Exchange

Several members of PACE have requested that we have a forum for bike exchange, purchase, trade or other types of wrangling.  We have a wide variety of readers of the blog, and several are very interested in purchasing a “starter” bike. You have equipment that you would like to trade, sell, or give away to a needy beginner.  Or you may be looking for something specific and would like to make a request.  Either way, please click on the “Bike Exchange” Option above where you may find just what you’re looking for, or you may find the person who wants what you have. 

This Weekend’s Called Rides

Of course, Saturday is Video Cycling at the Rec Center at 7:30 a.m.  Wayne says he may ride after that class if you want to bring your bike to class and cycle afterward, or if you want to meet the group at 8:30 a.m.

Sunday looks like it might be very damp if we can believe a weather forecaster.  If the weather cooperates (temp above 60 and no rain), we’ll depart from the Rec Center at 1:30 p.m.

Standing Called Rides

The Claremore group rides on Tuesday, 5:30 p.m. leaving from Bike About.  We are more than welcome to join this group any time.

Spring Fever Tri and Practice, Saturday April 11

This Saturday, April 11, a practice for newbies or anyone else for that matter, will be held at the Claremore Rec Center for the Spring Fever Tri which will occur on Sunday, April 19.  The practice will consist of the swim and the bike with some pointers on transition between the two.   The swim portion will start at 8:05 at the pool, followed by the bike ride.  Bring $3 to defray the cost of the pool.  Members of  Tulsa Area Triathletes (TAT) will conduct the session. 

Amish Alley Ride, Saturday, April 11

Following the practice, TAT will sponsor a training ride called Amish Alley starting at 10:30 a.m. in Inola.  The route is a figure-8 route so various mileages (30, 41, 68, 78) are possible.  This ride may have one rest stop, (at the center of the figure-8)  but make sure you have enough water and supplies to self-support. 

Muskogee Flower Power, April 25

This is a terrific ride, very scenic and you start and finish this year from Three Forks Harbor.  I went down to Muskogee solo last year, but I made some new terrrifc new friends by the end of the ride.  (They even bought the first round at the refreshment tent after the ride!) 

Here’s the link for the entry form.  Hopefully it will open for you!

Oklahoma FreeWheel and our friend Glenn

Several of us have been spreading the good word about the wonderful experience that  is Oklahoma FreeWheel.   The ride attracts new riders every year, and compared to other state rides, this ride is inexpensive.   Aside from enjoying the open road, spending some quality time on our trusty steeds, and marvelling at the wonderful and diverse geography of our state, FreeWheel is all about comrades and fun.  So it was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of one of the FreeWheel family. 

I met Glenn Chamberlain about 30 minutes into my FreeWheel experience last year in the camping area at Marietta Public Schools.  He introduced himself, as his tent was 10 feet from where I’d pitched mine.  As a veteran of FreeWheel, he graciously showed this newbie the ropes and rode with me most of the way on Day 1,checking in with me the rest of the way. 

The Oklahoma Bicycle Society Newsletter reported that on February 22, 2009, “Glenn Chamberlain began a ride that he never finished. Glenn suffered a heart attack and died doing what he dearly loved, riding his bicycle with his friends.”   He will indeed be missed, and I know that many of us with have him with us in spirit as we begin FreeWheel this year.


Glenn mugged for my camera as we stopped on June 8 in the Arbuckle Mountains at Turner Falls.   He was a great advocate of bicycling and making sure that newcomers to the sport were comfortable and having fun.  If you know someone who is new to bicycling, make Glenn smile and take the time to offer assistance, share information and ride with them. 

Here’s the website for FreeWheel.  Come join us!

And here’s the quote for this post…………….

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.  Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.”  ~Ernest Hemingway


Okay…we go from subtropical to freezing rain and snow within a 48 hour period, but you have to love Oklahoma weather variety!   We are undaunted though, so we’re making plans….and there’s a lot to put on your calendar.  Let’s get rolling.

First up…Practice for the Spring Fever Claremore Sprint Triathlon

Mayes County will be well represented in Claremore on April 19th.  I’ve talked with several folks at the Rec Center, and the numbers of participants are growing daily.  The organizers extended the limit on entries from 250 to 350 because of the interest in this event.   And we have an opportunity to learn from the “pros.”  Glen emailed this week and his tri friend Eric Switzer has agreed to do a practice “run” for newbies on Saturday, April 11.  I promised details in an earlier post, so here’s the info from Eric’s email to Glen.  I’m a newbie, and I need all the practice I can get, so I’ll be there.  This is a great option for those of us who are unsure how this whole tri thing happens.  If you would like to take advantage of this opportunity, please contact me or Glen Woods as soon as possible so we can let Eric know how many to expect.  And please bring $3 for use of the pool.

Here’s Eric’s email to Glen…….

Have everyone at the Rec Center no later than 7:50. They open at 8am.  Make sure your bikes are secure.

Change into swim suits and be on pool deck by 8:05

Review the Snake Swim

Swim – Fastest to Slowest – figure the slowest will be about 15 minutes

Once out of pool change into bike riding attire

Meet in parking lot

Review Swim to Bike transition and Bike to Run transition

8:35 – Ride bike course – 12 miles – figure 1:20 minutes for slowest.

Done at approx 9:40.

Tulsa Tough Update

It’s right around the corner!  Registration is not open yet but will be shortly.  Visit the website and decide how far and what you would like to ride during the Tulsa Tough weekend.  Also make sure you allow some time to watch the criterion racing….  It will make you appreciate your own pace!   I’ll be going on Saturday for sure.  I’m still trying to decide if I want to do Sunday…but you have to do both days to be Tulsa Tough.  It’s that hill at Kiefer that has me thinking twice about Sunday!!!!!

And speaking of WEATHER…….   Tornado Alley is July 11

Here’s the website for the one, two, three or four state Tornado Alley ride that kicks off in Joplin, MO    They don’t have rest stops, they have “storm shelters!” 

This week’s CALLED Rides…..

The weather forecast is weird this weekend (when isn’t it weird lately?)   Wayne will have indoor cycling class on Saturday morning.  If you want to cycle afterward, there’s an option there, starting from the Rec Center at 8:30 a.m. (after Wayne’s class at 7:30).  And, Sunday at 1:30 for those who choose to go.  I will not be able to do either ride this weekend, but hey, you guys can go without me!  Rack up some miles.  Please feel free to use the comment section to make some plans among yourselves.

Wayne would like to do some called rides beginning at 4 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays.  If you are interested, please comment here and he’ll pick up your name for his contact list.  This group will average 14-16 mph. 

Have a great week!

Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle.
Helen Keller


October 2019
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