SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 214: “Equation Of Change”

“’Let me give you an analogy from the documentary. ‘See the world as one big house, and each country, or city, is just another room in the house.’”

“Bikes are people too,” at least that is my belief. I figure if we talk to our plants, cars and lucky charms, it is fair game for me treat my bike, or should I say, bikes, with a humanistic slant.

Let me tell you a little more about my compulsion, 4 bikes I have, that is not including the three that belong to my wife, my daughters one and the tandem that she and I share rides on. Yep that’s right… We are quite a peddling family.

And as the team captain of our bicycling trio, it is embarrassingly shameful to know that I have neglected my two-wheeled family members for far too long. A point that becomes horribly apparent as I take note of the dust and grime that has formed on my favorite cross-country racing rig.

Dirt that in years past I would have painstakingly removed with gentle strokes of chamois and brush. So as I walk past my memory-sharing friend, the decision is obvious. Like a neglected relationship, it looks at me on this fine spring day, pleading, “I’ve been cooped up for way to long, set me free!”

Accepting my role in ignoring a loved one, into my peddling spandex I change. “Ouch! Richard! Did you have to put that vision in our minds!”

Hey, if you are a cyclist… you understand… If not, now you have some harass Richard material, “Spandex man to the rescue!”

I quickly get a reminder as to why I teach spinning when I hit the trail with an addition to my usual riding kit. That addition, forty pound of camera gear, 365 is never left at home.

Up hill one my firm seated friend carries me. Stroke by stroke I conquer warm up climb one, the adrenalin is beginning to flow and I’m joyfully entering what I loving refer to as cyclist nirvana. A place where time stands still and all you can hear is the pace of your breath entering and exiting your lungs. It’s a state of connection with powers above myself, and in a strange way, connected to mother earth. If you have never mountain biked, I encourage you to at least try it a few times.

Over the summit I emerge, and hitting the pedals hard, I enter into a downhill sprint. The exhilaration is empowering, wind in my face, speed opening up, 12mph…15mph…20mph…25mph… I’m in the moment.

Now there is one very important factor to riding off-road, especially when descending with momentum… “At all times… LOOK AHEAD…! WAY AHEAD!”

It’s a kind of cover your butt situational awareness; eyes scanning the trail and horizon while mentally logging all you see, constantly acknowledging it will be in your face sooner than you know it.

There is nothing more miserable than performing a handlebar vault over an ignored log, rut, rock or worse yet, and very rude, a human. Not all that promising for trail moral, I assure you.

Towards a favorite banked turn I rocket, a two-wheeled grove is raging throughout my body and mind. Nothing can stop me… Well… Almost nothing.

No I don’t wipe out (Sorry gore fans), literally as I pick my line in entering my approach path to a ripping right hand turn, I am distracted.

Emerging in stride down a slope to the South I spot the figure of a mountain trail runner. He is small and distant. At first my selfishness sets in, “Keep riding… this is your time… your going to kill that banked turn… you’ll meet a 365 friend later… pass on this gentleman.”

It’s crazy how much can go through your mind in a nanosecond and I nearly buy into this subconscious diversion. I engage in the intensity of my eye-line, yet it is impossible to escape the small voice of my sub thought, “Stop and wait, this unknown hiker has something to say.”

Ultimately, I listen in bringing my descent to a halt at the apex of my much-anticipated corner.

A couple of minutes pass before the man on the hill crosses my path, “Pardon me, I’m a photographer. I apologize if I am disruption your hike, but 214 days ago I started on a challenge. That challenge…” I explain the purpose and why’s of what we are doing in the 365 journey.

Bruce accepts the collaboration and again the voice has led me in the right way.

He begins with a point that we are hearing a lot lately, “This may sound cliché,” Bruce starts up, “The Golden Rule.”

“Not at all,” I assure, “‘we’ve heard it often, but with every offering of it, we always receive a different spin on its application or explanation. No two people are alike and that is what is so amazing about this project and the words so many have shared with us. So let me ask you this, ‘Why The Golden Rule?’”

Bruce replies with the grace of British valor (Oh, I forget to tell you, Bruce hails from the UK… place of my birth), “Because at the core we all have values, desires to be respected and desires for our voice to be heard.

And we all have dreams and hopes. None of these can be achieved on our own.”

Bruce is a committed advocate for a united society, so much so that he has put his money, time and talents behind doing something to get his message out.

First, I must inform you that Bruce is a little bit of a celebrity, an extremely recognized entertainment correspondent. I had no idea. There is no air about him, just another humble guy on the trail.

Bruce has traveled much, commuting often from the UK and America as well as many other stops in between.

I’m positive that he has experienced a vast range of cultures and individuals; an observation that I am comfortable to assume by his considerate outlook towards humanity and worry for the future.

“We all should become more conscious of the violence in the world, and the frustrations of the people towards the warnings around us.

Genetically Modified Foods, the conflicts between the haves and have nots.

What is encouraging though, is that I am noticing that the values of the younger generation is more aware… for sure.”

“’All good council, but Richard, you quoted, ‘Bruce is a committed advocate for a united society, so much so that he has put his money, time and talents behind doing something to get his message out.’”

To respond, and I know this is why I have been directed to Bruce this day, I summarize in the opening line from a documentary that he is producing and directing. Its title “Equation Of Change.”

That line, really more of a question that sets the stage for his life statement, “Could a slight change of how we live our lives day-to-day impact the world?”

The magnet that pulled me towards this stranger turned friend, and even co-advocate for a better world, has been revealed. He is an ambassador for bettering the planet. You’ll see what I mean if you view the trailer.

“’Let me give you an analogy from the documentary. ‘See the world as one big house, and each country, or city, is just another room in the house.’” Bruce expounds.

And with that he encourages, “It’s there for us to explore and even more, to take care of.”

Bruce, Thanks for the trail time, Time for me to sprint home.