Tag Archives: bike

Traffic Cone Cycle Slalom

’round cone play ~d nelson

Been hurt going too fast
finally has slowed me down.
Yet, even moving slowly,
no faster than I can pedal,
seemingly unavoidable obstacles
hinder otherwise graceful momentum.

Hints of road rage become bells
of mindfulness to momentarily
pause, breathe calmly & smile.
Upon remembering I’m alive
& well, compassion is borne
for myself & others involved.
Staying ever vigilant of distracted drivers.

Many are, understandably, super stressed this season.
Tired of so much real losing; losing what
was once possible for humanity & all beings.
Losing income, losing homes to fires & foreclosures.
Sad, complex social, economic & political landscapes
ruled by unqualified, greedy & unworthy leaders
who heartlessly cage children, spew anger & hate
contributing to many losing their sense of community.

thanks for not making tracks on fresh cement!

Determined to live with dignity & peace,
I’m hugging the obstacles, which I can,
while maintaining joy & playing
around with the ones I cannot embrace.
Ours & our children’s future depends upon
experiencing moments of happiness & fearlessness.
When going out, let’s laugh & play; bring the young ones.

We are very afraid of being powerless.
But we have the power to look deeply at our fears,
and then fear cannot control us…
If we can relax when our strong emotions come,
then we don’t pass fear on to our children and to future generations. ~Thich Nhat Hanh




Motoring to The Other Shore

ride 2 other shore~ d nelson

Dreaming of reaching the other shore
of Freedom & Enlightenment.
Once safely there, fulfilling the last letting go
of the supportive vessel which gets me there.

ride 2 other shore 3 ~d nelson

Being a dream, I fancied a vehicle,
a bit different from a hand-made raft (which itself is a metaphor for wisdom teachings & practice),
but rather like the one my uncle restored
in 1972 while listening to Beach Boys 45’s,
long ago when I was a kid.

ride 2 other shore 2

Confident that I’ll release this transport,
along with all desires & notions
once on the other shore,
I’m indulging now in a little model
fantasy of color, horsepower & chrome.

ride 2 other shore 5

Sweet, this dream of venturing on highways
inward to find that peaceful, distant peaceful shore.
Perhaps, with mind calm, this vehicle cleverly
decelerates slow enough to out-maneuver
fire’s smoke many of us are breathing,
and skillfully bring peace, understanding where there’s
injustice, hunger, anger & divisiveness, discrimination, misperceptions,
& sad circuses; going on in places high & low,
near, far & all around right where we’re cruisin’.

ride 2 other shore 7

“In the same way, monks, I have taught the Dharma compared to a raft, for the purpose of crossing over, not for the purpose of holding onto. Understanding the Dharma as taught compared to a raft, you should let go even of Dharmas, to say nothing of non-Dharmas.” ~Buddha, Water-Snake Simile (simile of the raft), Alagaddūpama Sutta


Better Way to Fix Flat Tires

super blue blood lunar eclipse ~ d nelson

A friendly visit to young neighbors
socializing brought smiles to us adults.
Eventually, I asked about the teen & pre-teen sitting over there.
Parents said, if heads are down, looking like they are bowing in shame,
noses glued to their cell phones, then they are playing.

I shyly went over and asked what they’re playing.
After some quiet moments, except for sounds leaking from earbuds,
I was told one name or another which I did not recognize.
“What do you guys do to play, outside”, asked I?
They said after being shuttled around, usually, they’re indoors,
“sheltered like plants in a nursery.”

As they continued to poke at their devices
I recalled going out, unsupervised to play.
We’d go out, look up at the sky & wonder.
By the time I was 7, I was out my own,
out seeing if the birdie would
eat the apple core I threw in the garden.
My friends & I would climb over nearby fences
and go play in creeks, in low & high water.

We’d dangle on the old monkey bars & jump on teeter totters.
By 3rd grade we’d be riding our stingrays a mile
to the beach, play on the cliffs & boogie board.
Their curious faces looked up from their phones
and asked how parents let us go out like that
& wasn’t I afraid of getting hurt or being abducted?

Seems it was a different time, back then in the 60’s.
I’m not sure how it’s more dangerous for kids now.
We had no computers, smart phones or 24/7 infotainment.
We got experience & paid attention to our self survival instincts.
I told them that we needed to know how
to do basic stuff like adjust our bikes & fix flat tires,
cause flats happened & still happen to this day.

In this past year I’ve had a half-dozen flats
with each one being caused by staples in the road.
They asked if those staples put in the road make me angry?
Me: “Perhaps they fell off a truck, or maybe they were put
in the bike lane intentionally, I don’t know.
I breathe in and calm my body & unpleasant feelings.
Then I take out the repair kit, patch the tire
and pump it back up.

The flat tire doesn’t make me happy, but
by showing love, caring and understanding for myself
I can show love, caring and understanding for who
or whatever reason that caused the staple to be there.
It’s still fun for me, an old guy, to play outside
& I hope you guys will get out to play more, too!”

Each thought, each action in the sunlight of awareness becomes sacred.
In this light, no boundary exists between the sacred and the profane ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Wheels on the Bike Go Round & Round

Before starting the car,
I know where I am going.
The car and I are one.
If the car goes fast, I go fast.
~Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

joyful down the trail ~d nelson

joyful down the trail ~d nelson

Innocently Young One’s high voice,
sweet & song-like, queried;
“why so serious,
must you… will you,
always be adulting?
Olderself, c’mon out,
lets play!
And I don’t mean
the lottery or cards!”

After a few calm breaths
recognizing Youngerself’s wisdom,
I said “yes, lets play,
let’s go ride a bike
out in nature,
feel the breeze,
soar past trees
unafraid to mud up
my nose and knees.”

muddy bike-1

muddy bike-1 ~d nelson

When mindfully riding
on the bike,
awareness arises
that during a cycle
bike & I are one.
Joyfully we travel together,
arriving safely in each moment
even when bouncing through
pot-holed city streets,
passed by distracted drivers,
braking into deep
ruts, puddles & streams
on the way to loved ones
who are not surprised
to hold me,
wet & muddy.
Their smile indicating
it’s a-OK for me to continue
letting go of adulting,
at least for now.

Enjoy peddling as it reduces stress, keeps you feeling young,
increases muscle strength, improves cardiovascular health,
reduces transportation costs & lowers carbon footprints upon mother earth.
Also, remember to wear a helmet, dear young ones.
Please enjoy this cycling music video, Why Cycle, Go Ride A Bike!;
produced a few years ago, featuring the singing of my friend, Manon.

Fantastic Fall Pedal

fall bikeride

fall bikeride

Feeling toasty under the blanket this morning, open to whatever today offered. With the fresh, unheated room on my face, between sheets seemed nice for a few extra moments. Daylight on the walls I’m reminded of a morning poem by Thây;

“waking up this morning I smile
24 brand new hours ahead of me
I vow to go through it in mindfulness and
look upon all beings with the eyes of compassion.”

Sitting meditation was quiet and peaceful. Then a hot café latte and quick glance at the news. Lance Armstrong stripped of 7 Tour de France titles and a decision not to award victories to any other rider. Sad feeling for cycling arises. Without hesitation I decided on a bike ride as soon as I could get ready. Was an easy choice given the perfect temperature and beautiful fall colors emerging from foliage and falling leaves. A glorious environment to be immersed in, a beautiful moment to be alive.

Pumped up the road bike’s tires to 100psi, clipped on the helmet and went off towards a wonderful nearby canyon, country road frequented by cyclists. With each breath I felt relaxation in my body, thoughts and feelings. Cycling meditation with 3 or 4 pedal revolutions per in and out breath. Traffic very light and considerate. Slowly climbing the hills, winding around the corners. Horses, barns, oak trees and grassy hills blur by.

Having happy legs and fresh breaths was a generous reward for this ride. A bonus to have mind gladdened and heart feeling light and free. So counter to the cycling news read earlier, it was a wonderful fair weather day to cycle. Wishing happy cycling to all those who chose to ride today for business or pleasure. Everyday is a good day to cycle, like these friends and strangers in Amsterdam:

Transition movement offers resilience & hope

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How inspiring to spend the day with community activists, visionaries and formerly “pissed off” moms actively transforming personal despair about our collective uncertain times into compassionate sustainable living interventions and aspirations of resilience. In an old Ford Plant of West Richmond, now home of both Rosie the Riveter and Buddhas by the Bay museums, was held the Nor Cal Regional Transition Conference. Over the past 5 or so years, Transition, originating in the UK, has become an international movement with a basis in permaculture. Encompassing inner as well as outer “transitions” to champion people, cities and regions’ cultivation of sustainable lifestyles and resilience to weather upcoming changes of economy, society, energy availability and climate. Now these actions are spreading, deepening and developing in many languages, cultures and flavors according to its national directors. Faith-based efforts by Quakers, UCC and Buddhists have also sprouted. “Inner transition” is also known as Heart & Soul in some local areas. This inner and outer work mirrors my life and career in public health and mindfulness. Seeds of this Transition movement are found in teachings of Joanna Macy, who has suggested we “take what is broken, embrace it and make it whole.” I have been very inspired by her recent book, “Active Hope”; where living example can be seen in sustainable local Transition communities, such as Transition Albany, Transition Berkeley, Transition Sebastopol, Transition Santa Cruz… and hundreds more across the planet.

During the conference representatives of Northern California community efforts presented their challenges and success in changing economies, or re-conomy and adding permaculture based on principles of wise, sustainable living. Urban and rural areas each creating appropriate solutions. Some examples are turning front and backyard lawns into “food forest” gardens, creating community gardens, promoting alternative modes of transportation (electric cars, mass transit, bikes), develop local banks, developing alternative currencies and trading, swapping of clothes, food, tools and more. Strategies to unite communities include movie nights, group garden planting parties, sustainable housing tours as well as other ways to get to know each other and create mutual support and understanding. Transition is now a powerful grassroots movement bringing together individuals, towns, businesses, and elected officials with a will for change, giving active hope for a brighter future to be possible. If there’s not a transition town where you are, perhaps with some friends you can help get one started. Wonderful that at conference end Betsy Rose sang her own songs reflecting our pain and optimism touched on throughout the day. A mindful songs classroom lesson by Betsy posted on  “May I Be Happy”.

More about Transition USA at http://www.transitionus.org/

Why Cycle?!

old bike hanging
bike hanging in the Amsterdam museum by d. nelson

Such a beautiful day here in the east bay. Got somewhere to go. Legs & heart are happy as well, requesting that the bike get taken off the wall and put down on the road. So off I’ll go, just as all these other happy ones filmed in “Why Cycle: Go Ride a Bike!” Alas, riding here is nice, but not the same as in Amsterdam, riding with so many others, where it’s mostly flat, for business and pleasure. Hope Manon and all the other cyclists are safe and happy with their baskets of kaas en zonnebloemen.