Tag Archives: Bicycling

Randy Ford Author- LONG LONG RIDE


            by Randy Ford

To reassure herself on a hot day Pat told Sid to pack energy bars and extra water. As she watched her husband get ready for a bicycle ride, she thought he looked healthy and strong. Even though he had been involved in a few silly falls, she didn’t worry about him
“Why don’t you come along?” he asked. “I’ll let you lead.”

No thanks, you go ahead,” she answered. There was a time she would’ve joined him. Many times she enjoyed riding with him.

Looking back on it, she remembered thinking something wasn’t quite right. She remembered thinking that there was something not quite right with him, and when he didn’t return within an hour he set, she began worrying. Indeed, had she known of chest pains, she would’ve prevented him from going. She kept coming back to this. But she also knew she couldn’t have kept him from going.
And now what? Sid’s heart attack and death hit her hard. It happened when she wasn’t there, during a bicycle ride that she refused to go on. It struck without warning, or so she thought, because she never knew about chest pains. Now she had to live alone.

He died within sight of a summit and without anyone around. She knew view from there, a view that extended for miles and miles. Why did he have to spoil this view for her? She didn’t feel ready to go there to lay a wreath, build a shrine, nor do something else. To even go to her husband’s funeral was a struggle.

Well, around the house unable to stop crying she puttered and moped and avoided opening his side of their closet. She didn’t know yet what she would do with his clothing. She tried not to think about it because it hurt too much. She tried to gather all things around the house that reminded her of him and place them in his study. She didn’t know if she could give any of it away. She threw away a few things, which caused her great pain. All she could see ahead of her was a long dreary road. She didn’t know what she would do next, nor if she could get on a bicycle again. It was funny how she couldn’t follow her own advice and adopt a cat. It was way too soon, too soon for many things, too soon to get on a bike and go on a ride.

Feeling puny and putrid she didn’t feel like eating, and she listened for Sid’s voice…wanted to hear Sid’s voice. Ached and missed him more than anything. Yearned to feel his arms encircling her again and then cried. Broke down in shower, broke down in car, and when she cried it embarrassed her. Broke down when she suddenly found herself in middle of an intersection too. She couldn’t help herself. And felt like she’d never be happy again. So she cleaned, cleaned windows, clear and cleaned both porches, kept bathroom sparkling, and pulled all weeds in yard. And as she worked herself to death, she kept recalling this and that about Sid. Oh, memories. They were so painful. Memories were painful.

There were days when she couldn’t get out of bed. Sometimes she couldn’t answer door even for friends. She resented unsolicited advice or help. No one understood when everyone thought they did. Their assumptions were bull. It got where it didn’t make any difference who was around and who came and went. She just wanted to crawl in a hole and die. Die and be with Sid.

Be brave. Don’t cry. Jesus wept. According to Bible, God saves our tears in a bottle. According to Bible, Jesus. Talking to her son helped. And as he came around more, accepting help became easier for her.

It was harder and lonelier at night. That was when she would listen for Sid’s voice. Barking dogs would irritate her. If only she could hear his voice and know he was there. Damn him! When she wasn’t paying attention, she burned herself on the stove. It hurt, and she laughed. Horrors! She laughed about it.

Yet may she not still have a life, even after what she’s faced? Why did she need such a big house? What if she sold it? Each room held memories. Ah, sure, she loved house, but why did she need so much room? But she didn’t move right away. Too soon for it too move.

So now what? From a catatonic, shattered state she began to emerge and began a search for a new beginning. As fog began to lift, she began to see that she might have a future. Maybe she could get closer to her son and spend more time with grandchildren and friends.

Sid should’ve told her about his chest pains, so that they could’ve done something about them. But Pat knew that she couldn’t go back. That last morning they read books while they ate their breakfast, all absorbed, him about God and universe and her about crime and mystery. When they spoke, it was about news of the day. “But see!” She exclaimed, thinking about him. “See what happened to you!”

Now go in peace. It was all private. Funny how she didn’t go riding with him! Peace! She knew that she needed to move down the road. Get on a bicycle again. Peace. Peace. Only she wished that there were a way to soften blow.
But she knew that her life would be tougher and rougher without Sid. She would have to find her confront zone.

Randy Ford


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by Clayton Coburn & Sharon Gill

“Tooo Much Fun” LLC

Clayton Dorn Coburn

Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas , Clayton currently lives in New Mexico.

She wrote her first book HAD TO TAKE A BREAK, bicycling misadventures in 2010. The success of the book resulted in numerous speaking engagements and participation in book festivals throughout the country. The book is now in its second printing. The sequel Had To take Another Break , More Bicycling Misadventures was released in summer of 2013.

Sharon Dorn Gill

Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Sharon currently lives in New Mexico. She graduated from the University of Texas. As a commission artist, her works are found throughout the country.

Sharon illustrated both HAD TO TAKE A BREAK, bicycling misadventures and HAD TO TAKE ANOTHER BREAK, more bicycling misadventures.



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Randy Ford Author-on the Zen of bicycle touring

      There are some lessons about life that can be learned from bicycle touring.   As a boy I owned a bicycle, a bicycle I used in my business as a paperboy.   I had a route, and I knew that route very well, no doubt better than any other part of town.   But later, when I used a bicycle to go from town to town, there was no way that I could’ve possibly known that route as well as the area of my hometown where I threw papers.   We would miss some things.   I would even say we would miss most things.   It would come down to basically following one route and seeing whatever happened be along it.   It may have been a temple or a masque.   But we rarely went out of our way to see something because we neither had the time nor energy to do that.   There was just too much to grasp without slowing down even more (such as walking), or by repeating the route over and over as I did with my paper business.

      With hills, as impossible as they were to avoid, we had to learn how to approach them.   You easily could be defeated before you got to some of the longer and steeper ones.  Often we could see them from a long way off.   Sometimes it would be for miles.   Again, we could anticipate how difficult it was going to be.   Then imagine that we’re climbing toward a summit and anticipating coasting down the other side, only to find that it was a false summit, at that moment we would know we had set ourselves up.  That realization helped.   Even with my limited knowledge of psychology it wasn’t hard for me to see what we were doing.   From a distance hills always seemed steeper and longer than they were, but that wasn’t the only problem.   The hill would then get the best of us before we reached it.   And that would cause us to expend precious energy.   I know that after we realized that hills always look steeper and more difficult from a distance that it not only made climbing hills easier, it also became a useful metaphor for living.

      Postscript: a perfect day on a bicycle was when all the hills were balanced.

Randy Ford.


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Randy Ford Author-on a shoestring in Asia

      I was born on an Air Force base in the richest country in the world, to a working class family.   My father was an aircraft mechanic, in World War II and afterwards, and after serving in the military…opting out after the war…he worked for the same airline for his whole career.

      I was fortunate but didn’t realize just how fortunate until I traveled overseas.   Peg and I had lived and worked in Manila and Bangkok.   We were working our way home in the United States.   This was our plan, a workable plan, trying to see as much of the world as we could on a shoestring.   For two years straight we lived and traveled on less than a thousand dollars a year.   We lived and traveled through out Asia and across Europe until we got to Austria.   We never ran out of resources…until Vienna…and couldn’t afford to work in most of the countries we traveled through.   The economies and consequently the pay were too low for that.   If we had stopped and worked in a country such as Indonesia, we would never have made enough to move on.

      I remember particularly seeing men sitting around in front of coffee shops throughout these countries, and most of them were not elderly or disabled.   In village after village, shop after shop, and any time during the day, we saw men hanging around.   They had nothing to do (forgot about fishermen and their nets), but when we looked around we saw women working.   Women planted and harvested the rice or tapioca.  They cared for the children, or older children took care of younger siblings while their mothers worked in the fields and prepared the meals.   City dwellers lived a different lifestyle, a lifestyle of endless toil where generally there was no such thing as a weekend.   Even there women did the heavy work (were the laborers) while men supervised.  But all of these countries then lagged behind the US in terms of industry.   We saw exceptions, exceptions as always, such as: rubber, palm oil, and tin industries in Malaysia, the tourist industry in Thailand, and the petroleum industry in Sumatra.   How great all that sounds!   But we hardly saw the difference industry made as we looked in on the people.

      And then, as white Americans, we passed through the region on our bicycles with baskets for our belongings.   The two of us, young and energetic, rode along and a crowd always found us.   In our venture we were often mistaken for missionary doctors.   With our baskets, that was an easy mistake for them to make.   It was the only explanation that made sense to them.   And then, with I suppose a hope and a prayer, they would ask us for medicine.

Randy Ford

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