It’s been quite a while since I wrote an article about the death of Sharon Bayler. If you follow me on Facebook or you browse my Flickr page, you can probably figure out what I’ve been up to. But if you don’t, read more below to find out more.
– Bike Walk Tennessee: advocacy will suck up every ounce of time you have.
– Work: I really should keep up my LinkedIn. Regardless, I’ve been very busy at work. I won’t be detailing it online, but I’ll share some general comments.
– Life: Yes, I’m married and it’s tough to maintain everything I have cooking, and keep the house up, spend quality time with my wife.
– Big Brothers: Me and Little Brother do find time to spend.
– Fun: Planning for RAGBRAI 2011!
You clicked for more (or you found this via Google or something)! Wow, you must be bored, or you find me amusing. You need help!
So I have been spending lots of time on advocacy. Between being president of Bike Walk Tennessee, board member of Walk/Bike Nashville and advocacy chair for Harpeth Bike Club, I’ve been pretty busy. Why do I do this? Either a) I’m compelled to promote activites that I love, recognizing the benefits it brings me, and hope I can do my small part to make our state and community healthier. Or b) Nature abhores a vacuum, someone needs to do it, and I’m being sucked in. Or c) combined with b, I have trouble saying no and continuously over-commit. Probably all the above.
Advocacy is not for the faint of heart. I’m finding that successful advocates need persistence and they need patience. The community and the employees of beauracracies have plenty of both, plus an unhealthy dose of apathy that advocates generally don’t have. Let me explain. Most non-cycling citizens think that bicycling issues are not society’s problems – bicycles are merely toys (I believe they don’t realize how addicted they are to their cars and how this will eventually be an economic crush every time the world oil market shifts.) Second, bicyclists, who understand the benefits, generally only want to ride, until someone is run over. But their enthusiasm towards advocacy is generally temporary.
A few weeks ago, Michael Montgomery was run over on Hwy 96 near Franklin, TN by a dump truck that swerved into the shoulder. It’s all worth it when the cycling community is up in arms: "HOW CAN THE DRIVER GET AWAY WITH THIS?!?!? Let’s ride on the capitol!" All the time I spend is worth it when I can do my part to direct soem of this energy towards something positive. Interestingly, BWT has managed to introduce a bill several weeks before the accident to provide justice for the future Michael Montgomery’s, the John Daugherty’s, the Sharon Baylers, the Jay Westbrooks, etc. Honestly, the timing around Michael’s misfortune is very good for the bill. Those temorary advocates are doing great things.
One last thing on advocacy. Recently, I took a week off from work, travelled to Washington DC for the National Bike Summit with 12 other folks from Tennessee. What an amazing trip. Our message? Please don’t cut bike/ped funding. DC’s theme? Cut everything. I could (and will) write a whole BLOG post about the trip, but I’ll say two things. The best experience was with Jim Cooper. He personally spent an hour with us, which is amazing. The worst experience was with Marsha Blackburn, who had a conflict with a telephone call, and her staff didn’t even take notes about what we said. Fincher, Corker and Alexander’s offices and staff were also very pleasant. Fincher’s staff had lots of great questions and generated healthy discussion. I did get to ride my bike around the capitol.
Work – ah work. We’re getting very busy at work. Lots of changes. Lots of new projects and customer demand. Constant reinvention to meet needs. And I’ve been travelling more than usual. If I’m travelling, that probably means the folks that report to me are busy. That’s a good thing. We’re starting to work with customers that have never been on our systemsor network before. Pretty cool stuff. And it reminds me of when I used to sell computers at CST and Software City back in the early 90’s.
Life – sometimes the easiest and sometimes the hardest. Everyone should avoid sharing their deepest personal business on the Internet. I will say I’m worried about my Holly. She’s getting gray feet and snout. She has terrible arthritis in her knees. Being my first pet as an adult and of course my best friend, it breaks my heart to see her in her golden years. I guess I’m lucky that I’ll outlive her but it never feels that way when we outlive someone we love (even and sometimes especially our pets.) Do dogs go to heaven? If not, I want to go where they go. By the way, Donna and I are days away from our 13th Anniversary!
Big Brothers – over four years ago, I made the commitment to volunteer with Big Brothers as a big. I was so worried at the time about what it would be like. Now a’days, me and Little Brother are simply very good friends. He lives 25 miles away now, so we don’t spend as much time together as original. Recently Donna and I got an Xbox, and Little Brother and I play BFBC2 online together. I gotta get him a microphone.
Finally, I’m anticipating my summer vacation to Iowa for the 4th time for RAGBRAI! I’ve done the ride the first two times (2007 and 2009) with Pork Belly Ventures. They’re a great service, a little expensive, but a great easy way for first-timers to enjoy the event. In 2010, my buddy Matt and I used the Register’s baggage truck. Though it’s super-cheap, sometimes the accommodations are a little primitive. And, you have to compete for camping spots with folks like the STUPID Air Force RAGBRAI team. My interaction with those guys was one of my worst RAGBRAI experiences. Growing up in an Air Force town (Eglin) I couldn’t believe the lead guy’s behavior. Anyhow, this year, we’re renting a van and doing the home stay thing. I hope it works out. No matter what, we’ll enjoy company with friends and the great experiences like no other. I will miss Iowa Poet King Blackie who passed away this year. I read his book this year, and I was looking forward to chatting about some of his theories.
That’s about it for now. It’s a beautiful day in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Yard work is on the agenda, then more advocacy work tonight…