A Little Correspondence from Your Bike

Dear Sir,

I hope this finds you well. The leaves are letting go, now. The wind is picking up, and there is more rain than usual. I can tell that you ride better in cooler temperatures. Your recent century, last month, was good. Riding with your son’s bike was nice. Specialized can have an air of smugness, especially the S-Works, but he is a quiet-do-his-job kind of bike. I could tell at this century, just by the way you sat in the saddle, that this was a different kind of ride. Things were less tense. You normally don’t laugh and talk as much as you did. It must have had a lot to do with your son. I am not able to see him that much, so I cannot really go on much.

I wanted to express to you that watching the World Championships while you re-lubed my steam was great. Even Fat Boy said that he was able to stand it because Mr. Sagan use to spend a lot of time with his kind. He says that is why Mr. Sagan handles his bike so well. I gave that some thought and gave him a “maybe.” #2 Bike and I discussed how incredible it must be to have a rider in the UCI. The pampering and attention to detail has got to be amazing, not to say that you do not  give us that much attention. It is just a different level. Although I did have a conversation with a Cat 2 bike who knew a former UCI bike, and he said the abuse is pretty rough. Sorry . . . anyway, Mr. Sagan was terrific. I have a chuckle when #2 Bike said that Mr. Sagan could probably win riding him in that race. I laughed, but it probably holds some truth. The relaxed riding style of Mr. Sagan separates him from others. There are way too many riders out there who twist and fight their bikes, body flailing around, stomping the pedals in a choppy sort of way. It’s ugly to watch sometimes, all that energy wasted.

I will close for now. It is never my intention to ramble on. Please do not concern yourself with riding me in this wetter weather. I can take it. You and I need to be use to each other in the bad weather, as well. #2 Bike looked pretty haggard when he returned yesterday. He never complains though. Fat Boy even said he looked better than normal. Anyway, I will see you this afternoon.


#1 Bike

P.S. #2 Bike says hey.

His Protection

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Wrapped eternally in His wings,

In a loving aspect of worship,

I can find the little things.

Who is to say we are new to understanding His will?

For life is against the most obvious,

But I stand firmly behind His sword and shield.

My strength fails against the currents of woe,

Only stopping to catch my breath,

It is in His compelling love that onward I go.

The finishing line is just ahead or far way,

To be a glorious revelation of faith,

Above the lights of life leaves me smiling day to day.

Call It What You Will

Associated Press

It is no secret that I am a fan of Peter Sagan. It’s not just because he is an incredible bike handler and rider, or because he took the time to send me a signed photo a few weeks ago. I have been following him since his birth into UCI. A powerful sprinter, Sagan brought so much excitement to the sport and, at first, rubbed people the wrong way with his victory salutes. Like I said then and I’ll I don’t mind repeating it now . . . if you don’t like the way he celebrates (looking right at you Cavendouche), beat him.

In today’s event, I had a feeling. It started when I spotted Sagan just floating in the peloton, as if to say, “Don’t mind me. I’m just barely hanging on.” There should have been a dark cloud behind him or a pale horse running along beside him. The most interesting thing about this rider is that he is having so much fun. He’s not prideful. He doesn’t wreck people on purpose (still looking right at you Cavendouche). He seems to be a genuinely good guy. It is evident that he truly loves to be on his bike; it is more than just a job.

Now, I will have to disagree with the commentators about one thing that was said about Sagan: if he loses some weight, he would be a GC contender. Come on, fellows. Sagan was top three multiple times in the Tour de France and won the overall Green (when it was set to be slanted again his style and make it more of an “even” competition this year) . . . and here’s the kicker: he did it all with any team support! He had to beg, borrow, and steal the whole Tour, mainly because Saxo was too wrapped around the axil about Contadope. Now, you tell me (especially after today’s performance) that if you wad a nicely-built team around Sagan and they know without a doubt that they are there for him what do you think could happen? Sure, he has areas he can work on in the climbing department, which will cause some weight lose, but for the love of Pete (pun intended) that is like adding another weapon to a soldier who is already standing there with two assault rifles in each hand and a flame-thrower strapped to his back!

I can’t wait. We are just seeing the dawning of this rider. He’s coming . . . and hell is coming with him!

What’s in Doritos? – Infographic

Originally posted on One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Longer:

We have just begun football season here, so Sundays in many homes will be characterized by folks in front of flat screens cheering on their favorite team. I plead guilty. Sunday is my favorite day of the week during football season because there are games all day, followed by Sunday Night Football.

All this has to do with the fact that while we are watching we are also munching, munching. I make popcorn in coconut oil that is as healthy as it is delicious. I hope you have a similar salubrious solution to game time munchies. I ran across this infographic on Doritos and wanted you to see it. Doritos is not the answer to your game time craving.

Check out my Page – Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly for further details on healthy snacks.


Enjoy the game!


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Top 25 Sitcoms of All Time

images (4)I have completed 46 years of research for this post. The study was tedious, but I knew that my research was prove valid in years to come. I battled sleep and ignored my name being screamed from my mother’s kitchen. I endured weather conditions while turning the pole of the antenna outside of our house, while my dad yelled to me when the picture was good (anyone remember that?). I have pretended to be ill and gone through the 122 steps to set my VCR to record shows while I was absent. Sitcoms take us away from many things in life and help us (if only for thirty minutes) avoid reality, allowing humor to wash away our troubles. Here are the top 25 sitcoms . . . in my humble opinion:

25. Night Court: Forget about this one? Many have, so don’t kick yourself. It was funny in its time and is rarely in re-runs anymore. The twist of comedy that was placed into scenes by each actor with his/her own way of making us laugh is what separates this show from others. Yes, it could be corny, but it was funny.

24. King of Queens: Starting with a funny, overweight guy who is married to a pretty, little Italian girl whose dad lives in the basement and it’s got to be funny. The writing is character enriched and right on cue!

23. Sanford and Son: The whole show is centered around Redd Foxx in his living room, battling his “big dummy” son. The show is a TV icon, and there are not many people on Earth who wouldn’t recognize . . . “Elizabeth! I’m coming to join you!”

22. Gilligan’s Island: Yes, the show is ridiculous. Yes, there are so many ways to get off of the island. Unrealistic is the word that comes to mind. But who among us has not thought of being trapped on a deserted island with Mary Ann? Yes, Mary Ann is the prettiest. The goofiness of Gilligan is why this show didn’t place higher.

21. Bewitched: What a genius idea for a sitcom it was. Darren is the “head of the home,” but Samantha holds all of the power. The underlying tone of suppressing who you really are is funny and drives home a point. The later replacement Darren was the beginning of the end for the long-running show.

20. The Honeymooners: “To the moon, Alice!” was such a iconic statement that generations recognized. One of original sitcoms of television, this show became the benchmark for all others, with no frills, just an cheap apartment setting and a couple struggling to survive.

19. Everybody Loves Raymond: Comics do make good television, every once in a while. This show has such a poke-your-wife-in-the-ribs humor, followed by a statement of “that’s just like we are.” The character blend is spot-on, and the writing is hilarious.

18. I Love Lucy: The irony of the show is funny from the start: Lucy is the star of the show, but she struggles to get Ricky to let her be in his show to become a star. The antics of Lucille Ball is iconic comedy that will live for generations to come.

17. M.A.S.H.: The wounded hospital 4077 during the Korean War wouldn’t be ideal setting for humor, but it is so perfect. The laughs in a stress-filled setting allows the viewer to realize that whatever is happening in his own life can’t be all that bad. Oh, and Winchester is the best roommate.

16. Psych: A newer show, compared to the previous, but the “intelligent humor” is so packed with small pieces, scattered throughout, that a viewer can miss a hilarious section and never know it. The flashbacks to the 80s are classically funny. Oh, did you know about the pineapple in every episode?

15. Community: A community college in itself is a perfect setting. The characters that flow in and out of these small institutes of learning are comical, to say the least. The teachers are generally weird and quirky, and that only adds fuel to the fire. Who cannot help but laugh at Ben Franklin Chang?

14. Three’s Company: A sexually suggestive television show in the 70s is par for the course. Having two girls and one guy living in the same place and lying to the landlord about the guy being gay is a great foundation. The humor of John Ritter couldn’t have been done better.

13. Andy Griffith Show: Without Don Knotts it wasn’t really all that good. Yes, the show delivers great moral points and slapstick humor, but it carries the viewer to a time and place in our history that we may never see again.

12. Taxi: One of the first sitcoms that I remember seeing with my parents, as it premiered. The cast of actors in this sitcom has blazed into infamy. I can only imagine what it would cost to bring all those actors back. I can remember as a child laughing out loud at Christopher Lloyd’s character.

11. The Cosby Show: Another excellent show based on a comic’s standup, this show was almost instantly a classic. Whatever is going on with Bill these days should not cast a shadow over this great family show. My own family never missed this one, when I lived at home with my parents.

10. WKRP in Cincinnati: I had to place this show this high. Of course, like most hormonal teenagers, I was in lust with Lonnie Anderson. That aside, the show gained so much momentum, with such a wide range of characters who could not survive without the support of each other, that it burned out too quickly for me. It’s funny in the purest form. Johnny Fever forever!

9. All in the Family: How can such a racist protagonist be loved by millions? He’s an idiot. The stupidity of Archie Bunker and his “dingbat” wife is still funny today, even though many times, watching the show, a viewer might still cringe at comments from Archie. It’s television gold.

8. Cheers: Of course a bar is a great setting for a sitcom. Men sitting around wasting their life away and trying to solve the world’s problems is funny in itself. The various social and economic levels of the characters are perfect to create such rich humor.

7. Friends: Yes, this show has become legendary. The writers of this show are the real stars. From a coffee show to an apartment and back again is not the best setting for humor, unless you combine good actors and excellent and funny writers. This show will continue to be in re-runs for years and years to come.

6. Frazier: A spin off of Cheers, most of these sitcoms die hard. This is not the case with this superbly-written show. Mixing the two worlds of the brothers and their father is so good. Throw in an English maid, and you have one of the funniest sitcoms of all time. The humor doesn’t get old.

5. The Big Bang Theory: Many considered this a flash-in-the-pan sitcom that would have its funny moments and fade away, but not so fast! Laughing at nerds is nothing new, but then again it goes to show that they eventually win out in the end. The high-level of thinking combined with being confused over the most simplest of life’s problems is perfection for the genius characters!

4. Happy Days/Laverne and Shirley: These two can’t be separated. They are intertwined in the sitcom world. The simplicity of the story lines is accelerated with good, clean humor and great characters played by terrific actors. Hold up one thumb, lean back, and say “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA,” and see if 9 out of 10 people don’t know who you are portraying.

3. Parks and Recreation: A newer sitcom of the bunch that was a springboard from The Office-type concept, this show is straight out hilarious! The shenanigans of workers in the show, each with his/her own agenda, are superb. There is always one character that makes me laugh more than any other: Andy Dwyer played by Chris Platt is that guy.

2. Seinfeld: I battled with the positions of #1 and #2. They could go either way. The show about nothing is legendary television. Another comedian being the focal point is spot on. The insanity of talking about nothing AND it being funny is comical within itself! Michael Richards’s character of Kramer ranks among the best of all-time. 

1. The Office: Steve Carell is a genius. Being hilarious just using facial expressions is fantastic. Everyone knew the show was doomed when he was set not to return at the end of the 2010-2011 season. The Office Picnic was one of the biggest things ever . . . that’s what she said. Who among us can forget this? “Oh my god, Meredith! Where are your panties?!” To which the she replied, “It’s casual Friday!”

Maybe your show wasn’t on the list. That’s okay. It was funny to you, and it took you away to a happy place then it’s all good. What was that particular show that you enjoyed so much . . . or maybe still do?

This is not Normal

Exterior_635611675157792565I have traveled quite a bit and plan on doing more. I have stayed in some dumps, especially back in the day when money was a little more tight. At this point in my life, I even splurge a little on higher-end bed downs. Most places are relatively the same . . . same little soap, same little coffee pot, same towels, same furniture, same continental breakfast . . . well, you get the idea.

My wife and I find ourselves in Huntsville more and more these days for family reasons, and we have discovered the unusual. I really don’t know if this is the “norm” for all of these Marriott hotels, but Springhill Suits near Providence is such a perfect home away from home that I had to write a post about this particular one. So why spend my time writing about this? Because it’s rare. What is rare? Keep reading.

Today, I am seeing more and more businesses who only want to reach the lowest point of expectations, just to get by. Complaints? No matter. If you don’t like it, move on down the road. The customer is not a priority, for the most part, anymore. Service has lost its definition. This is not the case with Springhill Suits in Huntsville, Alabama. We started using this hotel when it had just opened for business. Of course, I was thinking that it was nice because it was new, and the newness would eventually fade away. Nope. We’ve stayed there numerous times since that first experience, and it is still the same.

Upon entering, we are always greeted with friendly attendants who are more than willing to do anything possible to make your stay a nice experience. The lobby is clean and fresh; even the elevators are spotless and pleasant. Of course, the rooms are what it’s all about, and they do not disappoint. Attention to detail is the reoccurring theme at this hotel. Let me list just five things that I haven’t seen elsewhere, even in the high-end hotels:

  • a tiny box of foam earplugs on each bed-side table
  • the ends of the toilet paper are folded to a point
  • the hand towel by the sink is folded to appear as a shirt and tie (yeah, you might have seen this before when you first check in, but it’s done at every cleaning)
  • pillows that are fluffed and placed back onto the couch (in the sitting area) in an orderly fashion
  • the shower is wiped dry and shower glass squeegeed

Attention to the tiny things is a way of showing the customer that you care. If a business cares about the small things, the big things are bound to be good as well. The general manager is Edyta Hall, and the front office manager is AJ Battle. From my perspective, these two individuals must not settle for anything less than perfection. If there is any problem, it is addressed immediately and resolved to the customer’s satisfaction . . . what? The customer? Yeah, it’s not normal, but it is at this hotel.

So, will you ever be in Huntsville, Alabama? It’s possible and should be a spot on the map to stay if you are passing through Alabama. The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is incredible. The Monte Sano State Park is gorgeous (especially in the fall). The Harmony Park Safari is really cool and fun for the whole family. And do not miss the Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment experience. To wrap up the whole experience, stay at Springhill Suits near Providence. You will be pleased.

Gastronomy_635611675145604831         Room_635611675160448866    Room_635611675137792181

All pictures are courtesy of Springhill Suites.

Rolling with My Son

At the start . . .

We talked it over, and my son thought it would be a good idea for him to start with a metric century as his first official ride. Of course, I was all in . . . no matter what he wanted to do. I couldn’t even hardly sleep the night before, just thinking about us riding together. He’s fairly new into cycling, so we chose the All You Can Eat in Huntsville, Alabama! He convinced a few more friends to do it with us, and this past Saturday morning we were off and on the move. I have written a post before on this century. It is my favorite out of all of the sportives I do all year. They cover all of the bases and assure that all riders are safe and fed and hydrated. So needless to say, I was happy that this was the first official one for Justin. WP_20150919_003[1]

At the line, numbers 443 and 444 were ready! We were not there to hammer. We were there to enjoy the sport and fellowship with others. I didn’t care if it took three days for us to finish the 65 miles. I was riding with Justin, a man whom I am so proud to call my son. I’ve watched him play sports all of his life and accomplish things academically, and now professionally, that astound me. He lives over four hours away from us now, and every moment I get to spend with him is precious. The transition from authoritarian to adviser is a difficult one, to say the least, but it’s something that isn’t quite so hard with our two.

Our crew

The day couldn’t have been ordered at a Sonic drive-thru any better than Saturday morning. The temperature was in the mid-60s at the start, with a gentle breeze. At 8 o’clock, hundreds of cyclists rolled into the hilly land of North Alabama. The trees are just beginning to turn in this part of the state but are still full enough to cast long, cool shadows over the road. The sun peaked in and out from behind huge, white clouds, but the temperature just right. I felt bathed in the warmth of God’s blessings.


Our group had a mixture of skill levels, but it was no matter. We all took care of each other and made sure that we were fall having fun. Of course, All You Can Eat has stellar food and hydration stations; and, although we skipped the first one, we partook of the rest! The day was completely amazing. We even ended up riding 3:48 for the 65 miles! This is a day that will be filed away in my memories, to be retrieved quite often, with hopes to add many more.

Yet Another Letter from Your Bike

Dear Sir,

I don’t mean to bother you just after finishing your last century (by the way, you did well). The cramps you seemed to have are new, aren’t they? I could tell your pedal stroke was affected in those last nine miles. I hope this letter finds you better. I know you’re busy, so I’ll cut right to the point.

In the position of #1 Bike I feel I have a sense of responsibility. The temperatures are cooling, and I am aware that I will be seeing less of you than before, because 29er, or Fat boy as I have started addressing him (you know . . . fat tires . . . although he says that he is does actually have fat tires, but I say they are fatter than mine, so  . . . Fat boy it is). I hate to sink to his level, but the bullying must stop, and #2 is about to come apart with all of the antagonizing. Fat boy is all in #2’s head stem. He thinks it is funny, but so do most things with a room temperature IQ level. Anyway, I know Fat boy will get more time in the woods. I fine with that; after all, we all have our roles to play. It goes without saying that we are all aware that you are the head of our dysfunctional family, but I wanted to keep you abreast of the goings on.

Oh, before I sign off, #2 bike asked me to request of you a rear derailleur check at some point. He said he’s squeaked a few times to you, but you might not have heard him. He says he’s not too worried and can push through the grinding. He’s such a trooper. You can’t help but love him. Anyway, I bid you adieu. As always, I’ll be ready this Saturday for the next century. Bon Velo!

Your Obedient Servant,

#1 Bike

I Could Stare for Hours

Star Bike in Savannah, Georgia appears to be a typical, local bike shop. If you have been reading the Secondratecyclist for any period of time now, you know that I collect local shop jerseys, so I popped in after the Savannah Century to check out the shop that has been operating in the area since 1972.

Big Joey Green met my wife and me at the door with a toothy smile framed in a beard matched to a personable face like Grizzly Adams (remember him?). Joey was out of jerseys at the time, so I just thought I give the place a once over . . . and there they were! No, not jerseys, old bikes. Cool, old bikes. Maybe I haven’t shown this side of me yet, but I love old things and places. Many times I will get on Shorpy and just look at old pictures like this one: Well, the good thing about Joey’s shop is that the bikes are there (in person, so to speak). Schwinns, Elgins, Firestones, Mead Rangers, along with others, are perched above the other floor bikes . . . where they should be. The design and flow of these gorgeous bikes are truly works of art. Joey and his business partner personally painstakingly revived these beauties. These bikes are brought into the shop by owners of days-gone-by and sold to Joey. Nothing on these bikes are “new parts.” It is ALL original! Even the tires and tubes are new, old stock!

1939 Dayton Huffman

As Joey took the time to show me and Tammy around the shop, we could tell that he was so proud of these bikes (as well, he should be). What amazed me and I never took the time to think about was the fact that many of the bike designs of the Teens and Twenties and Thirties are being brought back into today’s bikes, like Flat Foot Technology and even saddles with prostate relief grooves! Like this Huffman bike made for Firestone, it was the first full suspension bike! By the way, if you didn’t know, this is where Huffy eventually got its name.

Take a look at this Elgin . . . talk about lines! This deluxe model has many options on it . . . yes, however much money you were willing to spend the cash register keeps dinging (sound familiar?). If you can take a close look under the saddle, it has so many adjustment options to ensure “flat foot” riding and comfort. And if you look back to the first picture to the Schwinn that is behind the Firestone, it actually has the optional drum brake on the front hub! What?! How cool is that?


In a little side room, I snapped a quick picture of a Whizzer bicycle and couple of Mead Rangers! Joey said these beauties took some tender love and kindness, but are completely original. What is one of the many awesome things about Savannah is that the city has literally been around for centuries; and in that time, the bicycles were bought and stored in attics and garages. They were, for the most part, away from the elements and in nice condition. By the way, the Whizzer is a bicycle with an optional bicycle motor. Breene-Taylor Engineering, a Los Angeles-based manufacturer of airplane parts, announced the availability of the Whizzer Model “D” Bicycle Motor. This kit sold for $54.95 and included an air-cooled, four-cycle engine that was capable of producing 1.375 horsepower as well as a 2/3 gallon fuel tank. Approximately 1000 Model “D” motors were made and sold.

When I started this post, I said I could stare for hours. If I lived closer to Savannah, I would spend a lot of my time at Star. I actually think I have the bug now. I have always wanted to buy and restore a bike like this . . . by gosh, I think I will. Joey’s going to hook me up with maybe a ladies’ model (way cheaper than the men’s model) to start me off. Oh, and by the way, all of the bikes in Joey’s shop are for sale. My wife was there as my support for not going completely nuts, during my visit. I will be back though!


The Joys of Speed . . . wait . . . CRAMPS!

Savannah Century Start/Finish

Speed was the name of the game at this year’s Savannah Century in Savannah, Georgia. I’ve had a goal in mind for the 102 miles. I didn’t know exactly what it would take to accomplish my goal, not having a support vehicle handing me bottles or being able to stop at any rest areas. I stuffed my jersey with two bottles and had to two on my bike.

A Crowded Start

At one of the largest sportives that I attend, with around 2000 riders registered, from the start I worked my way to the front, to hook into the “lead” group over the Talmadge Memorial Bridge. It truly is one of the coolest views of any event I’ve done. The sun coming up over the east coast and bathing the city and the massive Savannah River in a yellow/orange light. I must admit, in the beginning and the beauty of it all, my brain was screaming negative thoughts already!Talmadge MemorialThe group was not working together. Many wanted to just sit in, while ten of us rotated on and off the front. My heart rate was at maximum, and I was getting aggravated, at a cruising speed of 27.8 mph! I started slipping back until order was restored. It became more even keel a few miles down the road. The speed began to level, and we stayed between 24 and 31 . . . but the “passengers” were still there, pedaling along quite comfortably. Grrrrrr

Bike Pedaler Crew

Bike Pedaler Crew

It’s always good to have ammunition in a foreign pack. I had two other strong riders from the bike shop I use in Columbus, Georgia. For whatever reason, the attacks began and stayed consistent throughout the ride! I kept encouraging people to work as one until we were at least within ten miles or so from the finishing line, but oh noooooooo. So there we were with very strong riders, decent riders, people who thought they were strong, and of course the passengers. I settled in and felt good, once I was able to recover and hydrate and get a bite. I had convinced my brain to calm down and understand that I’ve got this. The goal was still within reach.

Miles 50, 60, 80, and 90 clipped by at a good pace. At that point we were averaging 23.4 MPH and then it happened. I was actually ahead of my pace for my goal, so there was no need for panic . . . but I felt the first twinge in my right hamstring . . . wait, yes . . . also my left quad. These last twelve miles could have the high possibility of sucking. At specifically mile 91, it happened. The hamstring locked up, and I went to a bigger gear to push it out and it helped a bit. The group was starting to pull away. They were still within sight at 93, but it wasn’t looking good. My left quad thought it might as well join hamstring’s party.

A red light at a major intersection caused me to hold up, and most of you know what happens when you allow cramping muscles to take a break . . . yep, lock down. Mind over matter, dude! Push through this crap! Clip in and get your rear-end moving! So I did. Jens Voight began chanting his theme in my head. At mile 96 a group that had fallen away from us, early in the ride, caught up to me. I swung in line. I looked at my Garmin. I was still within reach. At mile 100 the cramps were blinding. I told myself that I would blow a hamstring before I allowed my body to tell me what it was and was not going to do. Finishing line in sight, I rolled in with my 4:30ish goal being accomplished at 4:35:55! Now, I will spend a good amount of time studying cramps. I am starting to be plagued by them often. I’ve heard all of the “remedies,” but I need to discover the reason.