Over the Hill

By Dante DeAmicis

 First a word about the “transition lifestyle.” Transportation is a big part of our lifestyle, is it not? Currently, the focus of American mobility is the car. Cars are great. But a truly sustainable lifestyle would push them off front and center. A few should have cars and us occasional users would pay them for going-my-way rides. Renting cars for rare distance, multiple stop junkets should be part of the plan. Bottom line, transition needs to work transportation into lifestyles and away from guilt trip tokenism.

 There’s nothing like killing two birds with one stone. Since I started adding the hills to the flats on regular bike trips. I’ve gotten stronger, healthier, and have lost what little taste I had for junk food. The second bird here is sustainable medical care. There is nothing more sustainable than not breaking something to begin with. Especially when it’s now obvious government and the corporations are only interested in medical triage.

 I live in Clearlake. My regular hills trips, which have gotten easier and easier, are to Kelseyville and Jerusalem Grade road. I usually take the bus one way on the Kelseyville run due to large cargo hauls. Clearlake Oaks is less than 10 miles by back roads but there is a small mountain issue. When my coffeehouse hang out opened a second shop there, over Sulpher Banks I went. My time from Catfish Coffeehouse by Redbud Park to Catfish 2 next to Shannon Ridge Wine Tasting was 52 minutes. I am four months from 60 and have never “worked out” a day in my adult life.

 Once hill riding becomes more like fun and less like special rendering you start seeing possibilities with different eyes. Transportation becomes like life should be – more of a journey than a destination. Sometimes a journey can enrich bystanders. A historical bike trip to Lake County suggested itself to me. Our one promoted cycle event, the Konocti Challenge, is self contained within the County. In planning hill trips one fact stands out – hills show no respect for county boundaries.

 Most attempts to bring a railroad to Lake County never got beyond printing stock certificates. Two efforts from the South got to the surveying stage. I’ve been researching, even finding the proposed Lake County segment on a 1910 map. I still need to clear up which railroad this was as well as spend a day in Napa researching that part of the survey. Of course if we were to create a cycle event shadowing the old aborted railroad project we would be under no obligation to keep the original boring name of the railroad as the name of the bike tour. Langtry Limited or Konocti Kannonball anyone?

 People are shocked, shocked I say, when I tell them I chose a bicycle centered lifestyle, augmented by carpools, transit, rentals, taxis, and good old walking. Surely, I must have gotten a DUI, have a temporary mechanical problem, or are severely impaired physically or mentally. Sportsters are given a pass if they display the full assemblage of neon spandex and accessories. That’s not me. I do mostly working runs. Even the sustainability crowd aren’t convinced, who are nursing a beater until they can buy a hybrid.

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